“I think the president can do a great deal,” Gloria LaRiva said, “The presidency has great power.”
LaRiva is the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s presidential candidate for president for the 2016 election.
I spoke with LaRiva on Wednesday, May 24, about her campaign and her positions on domestic policy, foreign policy, and the first 100 days of a hypothetical LaRiva administration.
This is the third and final part of that interview. We talked about how the PSL would govern if the party were elected.
I think the main thing would be, the very first day, to free all the political prisoners” in the US, LaRiva began. “They’ve been brutalized for their political ideas- whether it’s Leonard Peltier, or Mumia Abu Jamal, so many others.”
LaRiva’s idea of a PSL presidency starts with emptying the prisons of non-violent offenders- and even some violent ones.
“I would work immediately on a clemency/pardon program for the hundreds of thousands who have been locked up for decades in prison, whose lives are being wasted,” she said.
LaRiva explained that most prisoners in the US are locked up for years for “economic crimes” and should be released immediately. Even those whose crimes were of a violent nature deserve the chance at life, she said.
“They have to be given education, a job, a chance at income,” LaRiva explained. “That is essential to the idea of economic well-being of the population.”
Another immediate action that LaRiva would take, she said, would be to withdraw US troops from the sprawling US empire.
“One thing the President does have power over is the military as Commander in Chief,” she said. “I would call for the withdrawal of all troops abroad- bring all troops home from the over 800 bases, and the secret ones as well.”
The sins of the past won’t be forgotten, though. LaRiva would direct the Justice Department to hold former leaders and policy architects accountable for their crimes overseas.
“We would prosecute the war criminals, like George W Bush, and Hillary Clinton,” she said.
You use the presidency to give the people the legitimacy to fight.” LaRiva believes that the office can be a tool to effect positive change- but ultimately the power lies with the people.
“You use whatever power the president has to mobilize the people,” she continued. The power of emergency action is one power LaRiva and the PSL would use, she said, to help the working class rise up.
“Nixon used the emergency action in the 1970s to create a wage freeze,” LaRiva said. “But we want to use it to create a price freeze.”
LaRiva went on to explain that the broad powers of the presidency could be used to provide housing as well, and called for a shift in priorities for the country’s economic system.
“We need to do away with this idea of capitalist rule,” she said, “The idea that the right to a home is more important than the right of a banker to a profit, or a landlord.”
The PSL’s campaign for the White House in 2016 is a step in the right direction.