In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather talks to Madelyn Hoffman and Angela Walker about what it means to run for higher office as a socialist woman.
Running as a socialist woman
Angela Walker was the Vice Presidential candidate for The Socialist Party in 2016. Madelyn Hoffman ran for the Green Party of New Jersey for Senator in 2017. Heather starts by asking Ms Walker about her experience running outside the corporate duopoly. Ms. Walker talks about how Red Baiting is still alive and well in the US. Her first challenge was finding ways to connect with those who might initially be put off by the word socialist.
Its always about the platform
Ms. Walker explains what her platform looked like. They ran on legalization of cannabis, investment in green infrastructure, and immigrant justice. Capitalist candidates don’t talk about these issues. She and her running mate discussed issues no one else would. Their ideas were not pie in the sky, but doable and relevant to everyday people. They connected with people around the issues. Socialist ideas resonate with those on the lower socioeconomic scale naturally, because they favor human rights. Angela does not plan to run again at this time. Running for such a high level office was draining and exhausting for her naturally introverted personality
Exhausting but Exhilarating
Madelyn Hoffman agrees with the exhaustion but also finds it exhilarating to be able to connect with working class people on issues that effect their lives. She believes socialist ideas resonate with people because they are simply common sense. She comments on how Bernie Sanders drew a lot of his ideas from socialists and drew massive crowds. Donald Trump in his state of union speech felt compelled to say the US would never be a socialist county. Madelyn wonders why he felt the need to say that, if it wasn’t true that socialist ideas are taking hold.
No Worker is Safe
Next, Angela spoke how the recent government shutdown created more socialists than you might think. People who felt safe before, realize they are only one missed paycheck from poverty. These are people who hold “safe” “government” jobs. It was an eye opener for Madelyn to see how no one is secure in this economic system. It illustrates what many of us socialist woman know but lacked a way to clearly illustrate. We are all in the same class. Madelyn tells the story of a homeless woman she met on the campaign trail who held numerous high level degrees and spoke multiple languages yet still was living on the streets.
Neoliberal Women Running For Office
The ladies move the conversation to the current mainstream neoliberal women running for president. Angela talks about the lack of intersectionality among these candidates. All factors must come into play, like class, race, gender expression, and the dangers of capitalism. Everything connects and you must have the entire conversation. There is nothing revolutionary or transformative about these women. Ms Walker feels we are being forced to sift through mindless talking points to find anything in these candidates that would allow us to support them without turning your stomach. That is a problem.
Money, Money, Money
Madelyn talks about how the second any corporate candidate steps out of line a wave hits them to force them back to the center. She talks about how the Green New Deal that AOC is talking about is missing all the good parts from when the Green Party ran on it. It lost the parts that confront capitalism. Next, Madelyn explains how Frank Pallone takes fossil fuel donations. He is blocking the NJ Delegation from supporting even the watered down Green New Deal. Ms Hoffman talks about how often she heard people telling her she wasn’t raising enough money during her campaign. People refused to take her seriously unless she took these kinds of donations. People powered her campaign, not PAC money.
How Do We Get There
The women talk about movement building. Angela believes in conversations that show people how common sense socialism is. Relentlessly own socialist concepts. AOC’s ideas aren’t new. She draws inspiration from what socialists have talked about for a decade. Angela suggests we stop paying quiet, but be intentional and clear about socialist concepts. Basic ideas like feeding the hungry come from a socialist mindset. They oppose the capitalist mindset. Madelyn believes her job as an eco socialist woman is to keep pointing out the gross inequality. Point out the elephant in the room no one else discusses – capitalism. Our reach is growing every day as long as we have voices out there talking about socialism.
Madelyn talks about her plans to run for Senate again to continue what she started. On a final and personal note. I would like to suggest how awesome a Walker / Hoffman 2020 ticket would be. Just sayin’, ladies.