I am a Socialist

I am a socialist. I believe in socialism because I believe in equality for all. I am a socialist because I believe it should be common sense that we have democracy in the workplace and in schools. I am a socialist because I believe in basic needs, including housing, food, healthcare, education and energy and I believe they should be affordable to all and not the means for profit.  I am a socialist because I believe in full federal equality for LGBTQIA individuals, including amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” I am a socialist because I believe that gender is a social construct and the government should remove gender/sex from government forms, state IDs/licenses, and voter registration. I am a socialist because I believe in universal access to child care, family leave, paid sick and vacation. I am a socialist because I believe in a universal basic income and a living wage of at least $20 per hour.

We need socialism because capitalism is failing. The U.S. is failing its citizens when it comes to healthcare. Even with the ACA, many Americans cannot afford the copayment, deductibles, payroll deductions and denial. Many people skip their prescription medications and avoid going to the doctor because they do not have the money to cover the deductibles. Further, of the 1.4 million Americans who file for medical bankruptcy each year, 75 percent have health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), did help and did increase the number of insured Americans. Unfortunately, according to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2023 31 million people will still lack coverage. However, having insurance does not solve all the problems because having insurance does not guarantee access to care or protection from financial ruin due to health care costs.

Just look at this example, one of my medications, Procysbi, costs over $72,000 for a 30-day supply. This is a 3,000% increase compared to the original drug, Cystagon.

Not everyone is failing with capitalism. Corporate American is doing great with capitalism, they are even providing slave labor to foreign workers all over the world. Furthermore, wages are stagnant or falling, costs of child care and college continue to rise exponentially, and full-time jobs are hard to come by.

Yet, political pundits are surprised when they learn that the American people do not support capitalism. According to an April 2016 Harvard University poll, 51 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 reject capitalism and 33 percent support socialism.

We need socialism because there should be no profit in health care. We need a health care system that works for all. We need a system where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of age, color, creed, economic status, ethnic identity, familial status, gender identity/expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

That system to solve all of these problems associated with health care is single payer health care and because the federal government appears unable to act, the State of Iowa must take a stand and protect their people.

We need socialism because no one should go into debt while trying to get an education. We need tuition free and debt free college. We need an education system that is a right to every citizen.

Go here to fight for single payer health care: IASinglePayer

Red and Black!

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Leaving Nebraska and Forward Equality

That Rally that started a lot of internal drama within the Omaha LGBT Community over my grassroots organizing.
That Rally that started a lot of internal drama within the Omaha LGBT Community over my grassroots organizing.

I decided to leave Forward Equality and most progressive grassroots organizing in Nebraska because I need to focus on my own well-being. Forward Equality has been a project of mine for about four years. Several friends and I formed Forward Equality in 2010 to work on progressive issues, at the time mostly queer issues. However, in the past couple of years moved to be focused on a variety of progressive issues.

Making the decision to leave Forward Equality and conclude all Forward Equality operations was very difficult for me. I personally invested a lot of my time and energy into Forward Equality and the progressive issues. Many of the issues were very personal for me.

tumblr_m6cqwlbVTa1qzhkvho1_500For instance, I am very passionate about healthcare being a universal human right because I personally know that continuous treatment for chronic medical conditions saves lives and so does preventive healthcare services. I am also very passionate about workers’ rights and a living wage because I have seen firsthand how poverty hurts children and families. Not to forget how discrimination, harassment, and bullying affects all humans especially youth and how it is literally killing our youth. 

 

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Having an awesome time rallying against HATE

In addition, it is difficult for me to leave Forward Equality and the progressive community in Nebraska because Nebraska is my birthplace. I grew up there. I don’t want to give up on making Nebraska a safe and welcoming place. I don’t want to let Nebraska continue to be a place that I feel shameful to be from. I want to someday be proud of coming from Nebraska. 

Me in Pre-op with Diane and family
Me in Pre-op with Diane and family

All of these progressive issues are so important to me, I cannot even use words to express how it feels to have worked on them for so long and then need to move on. However, after some discussions with my support network and healthcare team, I decided to conclude all of my progressive grassroots organizing in Nebraska. 

In these discussions, I also had to decide if I wanted to disclose why this is needed. I am still not sure the answer to that or if there is a right or wrong answer. Therefore, I will say this; Nebraska in general contains a lot of painful and hurtful events and statements. This includes many of the attitudes and lack of inclusion I faced there while organizing around many of the progressive issues I cared greatly about. Overall, some of what happened there and what was said was harmful to my health. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of empowering and awesome events and statements that helped me learn and grow. 

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Having an awesome time with Forward Equality volunteers rallying for equal marriage rights and the defeat of Nebraska’s superhate marriage amendment (416).

 

From April of this year on, I will be moving forward and working on those progressive issues that do not hurt my well-being. Thus, I will focus my progressive grassroots organizing in Iowa and I will only exert the physical and emotional energy that is within my ability. 

Survival

Pyramid_of_Capitalist_SystemSurvival in this world is most difficult, especially if you weren’t born into a well off privileged family. 

Many people in this world don’t have food, water, or shelter. Yet, there are many people in this world that have more then enough food, water, and shelter. Why is that? I have an answer for you, it’s simple, because of capitalism. 

Capitalism is a mode of production based on private ownership and greed as a means of production. Capitalists produce commodities for the exchange market and to stay competitive must extract as much labor from the workers as possible at the lowest possible cost. The interest of capitalism is to pay the workers as little as possible to make a large profit. In other words capitalism is the exploitation of the workers. (hesta)

Capitalism is what creates the environment in this world where a majority of us are just struggling to survive. We or the us do not have the ability to just go out and fully enjoy life by spending our Thanksgiving buying away at retail stores. We cannot afford to because many of us would be choosing from either paying bills or feeding ourselves or our children.  In this world, there is about 1% of the world’s population that owns 40% of the world’s wealth, there are about 34,000 children dying every day from poverty and preventable diseases, and there are about 50% of the world’s population living on less than 2 and a half dollar each day. (theguardian)

I personally am effected by the destruction of capitalism. I grew up with a family that would rather spend their money out buying things then saving their dollars to help pay for my college education or to help pay for my future medical expenses even though they knew very well that one day I would need a kidney transplant. (I am trying very hard to not bash anyone in particular)

20130107-graph-poverty-on-the-rise-in-americaEven, when I was in high school capitalism was hurting me. I needed to get a job to help pay for things I needed and as any high school student wants to have money to spend on things that they want, which I know is a form of greed. Thus, I got a job at Burger King and I was paid $5.55 an hour. You know, for just a part-time after school job it wasn’t the worst but still that was very little. I barely had any money to do anything with. Then, I get to 11th grade, now I really need to take care of myself with buying food, paying for things for school, and then paying for gas to get to work. Thus, I get a job at SpeeDee, paying at $8.00. That is over the minimum wage at that time, but it still isn’t nearly enough for me to pay for my pills which weren’t a lot and buy food, plus pay for gas to get to work. I couldn’t save any money and I worked every day of the week and on holidays. Then, we get to my Senior year in high school, now, I am needing to fully take care of myself and I was making $7.75 at JCPenney. Again, barely was making it. All of this was because of capitalism and how these private ownerships were exploiting me to get the most labor out of me while paying me the bare minimum. 

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Yes, I am a survivor of my illness but not of capitalism. Capitalism is literally killing our children. It is starving our elders. Capitalism is killing God’s creation. 

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Image from google

This leads me to what I believe we can do to end the starvation, and exploitation.

I believe we need socialism and so does Albert Einstein,

“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society. (MontlyReview)

I am a strong supporter of Democratic Socialism. Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet public needs, not make profits for a few. We do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. We believe that social and economic decision should be made by those whom they most affect.

I believe that a people have a right to a job, education, healthcare, secure retirement, living wage, in addition to civil rights. I believe that socialism is the extension of democracy to all parts of society. Leading to the general improvement of humanity.

While, I am aware, that we cannot just throw capitalism in the trash over night, I do believe that we can take steps to ease the hardships of millions of people. I believe some steps that we can take is passage of H.R. 676 the Single Payer Health care Plan, H.R. 1010 the Fair Minimum Wage Act, and passage of right to strike bills.  

Please visit forwardequality.wordpress.com to learn more about progressive issues and ways to act. 

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