For most Americans, being labeled a Communist is not a mark of distinction. Communism has time and again been refuted as an effective organizing principle for an economy or a country—not to mention that some of history’s worst crimes against humanity were committed under a totalitarian breed of the ideology called Stalinism.
But then, the members of the Restaurant Opportunities Center are not like most Americans.
Meet Fabricio Rodriguez, the lead Workplace Justice Coordinator for the Restaurant Opportunities Center in Philadelphia (ROC). Rodriguez is best known today for his work pushing a one-size-fits-all paid leave mandate on Philadelphia’s restaurants. But Rodriguez first achieved notoriety as vice president of the student body at Mesa Community College, when he proudly declared himself a member of the Communist Party USA
Yes, such a thing does exist—a self-described “militant” and “activist” political party that’s still upholding the ideals of Marx and Lenin–judgments of history be damned. (Rodriguez was also an organizer for Democratic Socialists of America.)
Fortunately for “red” Rodriguez, he probably didn’t have to moderate his views much (if at all) when he started working for ROC. After all, ROC’s co-founder has framed her group’s mission as the elimination of capitalism. As an instructor at the City University of New York, she had a sign on her door that read “Capitalism is not healthy for children and other living things.” And she’s frequently presented at far-left conferences with names like ““Beyond Precarious Labor: Rethinking Socialist Strategies.”
If this antiquated and disproven political ideology is what Jayaraman and Rodriguez have in mind for restaurants in this country’s major cities, policymakers should feel comfortable sweeping them in to the “dustbin of history” alongside Marx, Lenin, and the rest.