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Q&A with Oakland teacher on the gubernatorial ballot

on September 13, 2021

David Moore, a member of the Socialist Equality Party, is the only local candidate on the official ballot in Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall.

Though Moore opposes the recall, he added his name to the list of alternatives should Gov. Gavin Newsom lose in the challenge.

Moore lives in Emeryville and teaches in the Oakland School District, taking time off this year to care for his newborn child. He sat down recently for a Q&A with Oakland North, edited for brevity.

How are you voting on the recall? 

A: I am voting no on the recall and I’m calling on everyone to vote no on the recall, precisely because this was organized by very right-wing forces, far-right forces that are seeking to overturn even the most basic measures for containing the pandemic. At the same time, the only reason these far-right forces were even able to get millions of signatures is because Newsom, following the policy of the Democratic Party nationwide, has handled the pandemic and the wildfires in a disastrous fashion, placing the entire burden on ordinary workers. We’re at this point where billionaires have made immense profits out of the pandemic, but ordinary people face eviction, face hunger, face very unsafe working conditions. I’m running to provide an alternative to both of those sides. 

How are you funding your run for governor? 

A: It started off with a loan I gave the campaign myself. I put in about $8,000 and then I’ve pretty much made that back with donations, mostly small donations. One of the things I find very interesting about this campaign is it’s gotten a much larger play in the media and on social media than my 2018 run for Senate did. 

How do your policies differ from Newsom’s?

A: The difference between me and Newsom, and any of the other candidates, is I stand for the working class and for socialism. And that can’t be boiled down to just a handful of policies but is an entire orientation. 

The stance of every ostensible main candidate, the main Republicans, the main Democrats, is no more lockdowns. If you have mitigation measures outside of a plan for eradication, you’re simply setting up the circumstances where the virus will continue to evolve and escape vaccines, infecting more and more people indefinitely. 

Oakland will mandate vaccines for all city workers by November. What are your thoughts on vaccine mandates? 

A: I am very much in favor of vaccine mandates. I think it is essential for people to get vaccinated. Even if 100% of the population were vaccinated, that would not end the pandemic. We know that even without new variants of the virus emerging, it requires public health measures in addition to vaccines to actually contain the pandemic. 

Having worked in the Oakland Unified School District, do you agree with the reopening of schools in the district? 

A: I am 100% opposed to the resumption of in-person instruction during a surge of a pandemic. The only safe way to reopen schools is to end community transmission. We already know in the course of this pandemic, well over 100,000 American children have lost their primary caregiver. Those numbers are going to go up with the reopening of schools, even when caregivers are vaccinated. This is not even getting into the more structural problems, which is the schools have been chronically underfunded for decades before the pandemic even emerged. As a teacher in Oakland, every school I worked at ran out of soap and paper towels months before the end of the school year. 

What would you do to address the unhoused population and housing insecurity? 

A: There is no way to solve homelessness outside of tackling the immense and growing wealth inequality in this country. Housing is a social right, and then entirely, as a social right, takes precedence over corporate profits. The current approach of effectively criminalizing homelessness and using the police to push them from one place to another is worse than worthless. The thing homeless people need most is a home. That’s preliminary to getting these people social services, health care, mental health care, is getting them homes.  

What impact do you think you have running as a third-party candidate? 

A: The main impact, regardless of the outcome of this recall, is ultimately secondary to the organization of workers into a conscious fight for socialism. 

The demands of Newsom and the state Democratic Party is no on the recall and don’t even bother with question two. If we didn’t run, that’s essentially saying the only path to opposing Newsom and right-wing policies of the Democratic Party is through the far-right recall. The issue is using this as an opportunity to mobilize and educate those workers who are disgusted with Newsom and provide an alternative. If we can secure a significant section of the vote, that’s a very strong message to both the Republicans and the Democrats in support of containing the pandemic. 

If I get 1% of the vote, I’ll build off that one percent.

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Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: oaklandnorthstaff@gmail.com.

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