The Candidate We Have Always Deserved

Mass. Peace Action Update, February 2020

Marcelle Grair and Bernie Sanders
Marcelle Grair with her candidate, Bernie Sanders

by Marcelle Grair

If you are a worker or poor person in this country, then Bernie Sanders is your candidate.

I come from a family of sharecroppers, domestic workers, retail employees, postal workers, and sanitation workers. Their work was directly connected to their quality of life. 

As a child I spent a lot of time around my maternal grandparents. I remember my grandfather, a sanitation worker, leaving very early in the morning and getting home late. I would run to greet him when I heard the garage door. My grandfather retired at the age of 64, and one year later he died.

Sanitation workers have a dangerous and stressful job, but my grandfather worked hard every day because his ability to provide for his family’s health care, housing, food and other basic needs depended on his labor. 

My grandmother was a domestic worker, a cafeteria worker at a public school, and a caregiver for many children across our community in Ohio. She started her job as a domestic worker in Georgia at the age of 14. My grandmother once told me a story about leaving work at night and being chased by a white supremacist. None of her jobs were ever easy, but she kept going because her quality of life depended on her labor. 

As a union organizer, I hear similar stories of workers not being valued, being overworked and underpaid, facing dangerous and high stress situations, and feeling overwhelmed because in the United States, life literally depends on one’s labor. 

The working class and poor deserve better. We deserve an unapologetic candidate who has been consistent for decades and will help push a multiracial working class agenda. 

We deserve Bernie Sanders. 

There are only two sides in this election: the side of working people and the poor or the side of corporate interests and greed. Those candidates who are looking for common ground with billionaires are not on the side of the working class, and none of those candidates has built a movement that can push a progressive agenda after winning in November.  

Bernie’s record and policies are centered around the working class.

His Workplace Democracy Act aims to: double union membership in his first term, establish a federal standard for just cause, expand rights for other workers to organize (domestic workers, farmers, contractors), and end anti-union laws such as the “Right-to-Work.” Bernie’s Act is also about racial and social justice. The future of unions is Black, Brown, and young. A lot of workers hoping to organize under new labor law are part of these communities. 

The labor movement needs new labor law to complement a growing openness to unions among diverse sectors of workers.

A Bernie presidency would help build an international workers movement. Corporations are multinational, which means our working class movement must be international. We must build with workers in India, the UK, Venezuela and other countries to be able to win true liberation. Many progressive folks around the world would welcome a Sanders presidency. 

Many other parts of Bernie’s platform would have a great impact on working people and the poor, including: Medicare for All, Green New Deal, College for All, and Housing for All. All of these policies are intersectional. People of color, women, trans and queer folks, and the working poor would benefit from this platform.

We may never have another chance to elect a candidate like Bernie Sanders. A candidate who believes everyday people are more important than billionaires. A candidate who will challenge the systems destroying working people’s lives. 

I am voting and organizing for Bernie because workers who have had experiences like my grandparents deserve a progressive administration.                                      

I endorse Bernie Sanders for president because I’m on the side of the working class.  

Massachusetts, join me in building a multiracial movement of workers and poor folks. Vote Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, March 3rd.

—Marcelle Grair is a union organizer in Massachusetts with 12 years of organizing experience. She’s from northeast Ohio, and her family is her primary inspiration for organizing.