He is currently associate director of the leadership academy of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and a vice chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. La Luz is credited as the architect of a grassroots campaign that resulted in a 1998 law granting bargaining rights and the right of unionization to 120,000 public employees in Puerto Rico.
During his college years, LaLuz joined Students for a Democratic Society and in the early 1970s was active in the Connecticut branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Allied to Castro’s Cuba, the Marxist-Leninist PSP agitated for Puerto Rican independence and committed several bombings and other terrorist acts on U.S. soil.
LaLuz was expelled from the PSP in 1976 and went on to join the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee the following year. He became chairman of the Hispanic Commission of DSOC before the merger with the New American Movement that created Democratic Socialists of America in 1982.
He eventually became active in Democratic Party politics. In 2008, he was “on loan” to Hillary Clinton’s primary election campaign and later was the chairman of Latinos for Obama and campaigned in Colorado and New Mexico registering, educating and mobilizing voters until election day.
LaLuz explained his tactics to the Peoples Weekly World:
“The Obama campaign is working in both New Mexico and Colorado, among other states, telling Latino voters about McCain’s terrible stands on the economy and about the horrible role Republicans have played and continue to play on immigration… “We are showing how the companies and outfits that exploit Latino workers are the people behind McCain,”
Between now and Election Day LaLuz said that the Obama campaign is registering voters in New Mexico and Colorado and developing lists of tens of thousands of Latino supporters for Obama.
Over 300 Sanders activists attended Democratic Socialists of America’s “Socialist Caucus” on July 27th, 2016. Jose LaLuz, DSA vice-chair and veteran labor and Puerto Rican rights activist, brought down the house with an impassioned plea to end United States colonial rule in Puerto Rico.
Watch Jose LaLuz curse the Tea Party at the 2011 DSA convention: