On Saturday, April 17th, dozens of community members in San Diego participated in a car caravan demanding single-payer healthcare for California. The event was part of a statewide call-to-action issued by the California Nurses Association, and continues the mobilization for universal healthcare that began in February. An assembly bill introduced by the CNA, AB 1400, would represent a significant step toward universal health care in California. It’s scheduled to be heard in committee on May 22nd.
The San Diego car caravan was organized by the Peace and Freedom Party, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and also included a couple dozen supporters from the community who came out to participate or found the event while passing by and joined. Participants decorated their cars with flags and signs to express that healthcare should be a human right and drove through San Diego where they were greeted with honking horns and cheers. (Please see below for images of our comrades from the PFP and PSL participating in the caravan.)
Over 3 million people in California are uninsured; many others who have healthcare coverage struggle to pay for essential services. Before the COVID pandemic, 57% of Californians supported replacing private health insurance with guaranteed coverage from the government, and this was before the pandemic caused millions of Californians to lose their jobs and employer-provided healthcare.
Jose Cortes, a PSL member and 2020 Peace and Freedom congressional candidate, provided the opening remarks and explained the need to go beyond reforms and organize for systemic change. “When the costs of food, housing, and medication go up, people find a way to pay for them, because we have no other option. We need to dispel this myth, this absolute capitalist propaganda that a ‘free market’ will make healthcare less expensive. That has been proven false time and time again. Necessities like medicine, healthcare, housing, food, and water should be guaranteed human rights for all, not an opportunity for corporations and the ruling class to make a quick buck!”
Cortes also connected the austerity and oppression at home to the failures of US foreign policy. “If our government has the capacity to occupy, bomb and terrorize countries around the world, then it should have the capacity to provide healthcare. Take that $715 billion from Biden’s Pentagon war budget and put it into social programs that are desperately needed!”
The Peace and Freedom Party is a socialist electoral party that maintains ballot access in California and continues to struggle year-round to make healthcare, housing, education, and all basic necessities guaranteed as constitutional rights. If you live in California, you can register to vote Peace and Freedom today!
– written by Anzy Adams; photos by Michaela Malone and Zach Farber
Emily von Gerichten
Supporters along the route