Villaraigosa's Personality Draws Attention...

But, the constituencies he has helped build and represent are more important than ever

By Rosalo Munoz
Published on LatinoLA: June 22, 2009

Villaraigosa's Personality Draws Attention...

I am saddened and disappointed by Antonio Villaraigosa pulling out of the race for Governor. I'll get over it. He's still around.

It seems to me that Antonio was undercut most by his personal life, his affair, rather than his stand on labor, taxes, immigration, diversity, and the support base he has developed. Though he has been subject as well to all the other pressures of "real politique" he has been comparatively very responsive to his labor community base. So be it, he can be an extremely important figure to carry on the momentum of the big Obama vote of 2008 where labor and Latinos were so key.

Antonio, an early and big Clinton supporter, went all out for Obama in the end and played an important role in the massive big vote for change.

The Los Angeles area is the biggest mass base for progressive politics in California because of the multiracial labor community movement which Antonio has been instrumental in building. Progressives from the trenches know this.

It is based on "warriors for working families."

If the governor candidates of the Democrats take this approach they will win the base as Obama did and grow it. This is vital. California needs a stronger multiracial labor community coalition to unite the people in the state to win policies that meet our needs. In many ways, as California goes, it could be so also goes the nation in 2010. We can win the governorship, keep the Senate seat, flip Repbulican congressional, state and local districts, and possibly get the 2/3 margins for progressive taxation and budgeting and lead the way for a bigger New Deal for progressive change nationwide.

On Latinos: Nationwide last year, we made it into the big leagues not only opening possibilities of a more equitable share of the pie but making for a bigger pie. Labor/community progressive activists were the organizers, the catalysts.

The right ring has been working overtime to suppress this since Prop 187 and keeps escalating.

It's not just a statewide thing, it is national. Right wing pressures kept Richardson, Grijalva and Becerra out of the Cabinet , the fierceness and meanness of the anti-Solis campaign was strong but failed, but the shrillness has grown with the Sotomayor nomination.

They don't want successful national Latino progressive role models, unity, strength ... it could change the balance of forces for a generation or more.

For more than a decade Villaraigosa has been under attack by the far right wing as a "MECHA boy", "reconquista supporter", a big smile but small mind ... pura mierda. He has helped put Latinos on the national map, and helped make Los Angeles a labor town. He still has a lot to give to the progressive movements and for democracy.

About Rosalo Munoz:
Rosalio Munoz is a lifelong activist and journalist in the Latino and progressive movements.
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