I wasn’t raised to be subjugated.
In this episode Heather interviews Andrea Merida former co-chair of The Green Party and current campaign manager for Howie Hawkins for President. Andrea talks about her early life as a revolutionary child and how that shaped her into the bad ass she is today. Love her or Hate her, she is a powerful woman and voice for equity, justice, and a society that works for everyone. With a few more Andreas in the world, we could wipe out capitalism and still have time have time left to grab a beer and listen to some good funk music.
Heather Warburton 0:02
This is Wine, Women, and Revolution with your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey Revolution Radio. Hi and welcome to Wine, Women and Revolution. I’m your host Heather Warburton coming at you here on New Jersey Revolution Radio, you can find us online www.njrevolutionradio.com, get us wherever you get your podcasts from and follow us on all the social medias. In my tradition of what I like to do, I often like to bring you badass socialist women. And I think I have one of the most badass socialist women that I know. Today with me, Andrea Merida. She’s a was the co chair of the Green Party of Colorado. You were one of the five steering committee members for the Green Party National, you know, all around general badass, and I’m happy to have you here today.
Andrea Merida 0:57
Well, thank you. Thank you for having me. But let me correct you very quickly, I’m still the co chair of the Green Party Colorado. I just termed out of more than four years on the national steering committee as a national co chair.
Heather Warburton 1:11
And that’s a lot. Yeah. How long have you been the co chair of Colorado?
Andrea Merida 1:15
Oh, I think it’s about four years as well.
Heather Warburton 1:18
Andrea Merida 1:19
And I’m running for reelection. So,
Heather Warburton 1:21
Okay. When is that election?
Andrea Merida 1:24
That’s going to be next month.
Heather Warburton 1:25
Oh, and also, in addition to all that, if that wasn’t enough, she’s also a fairly awesome musician. You have a band Gumbo le Funque?
Andrea Merida 1:37
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s the band that my husband and I have. And we both love funk. And, you know, we’re both the, you know, music majors we met in music school. And I actually have a background in classical voice and, you know, sang in a little like, you know, localized opera and stuff like this. But I love funk. I mean, I’m from the barrio. So, you know, we decided we’re gonna do this, and it’s fun. And you know, it’s a great band.
Heather Warburton 2:04
And how long is your band been together?
Andrea Merida 2:05
Oh, gosh, um, this band probably was getting on for nine years now.
Heather Warburton 2:10
Oh, wow. That’s awesome. longevity for a band.
Andrea Merida 2:14
Heather Warburton 2:15
Alright, so I wanted to start kind of, I often refer to it has people’s origin stories, because you know, you’re all kind of superheroes in my mind. So Have you always been someone that’s politically engaged? Or did something really get you engaged in politics?
Andrea Merida 2:30
I have to say, Yes, I mean, and I hearken back to the fact that I’m a daughter of immigrants. I’m actually a daughter of political refugees from Guatemala. And I was born in the United States. And so struggle, and survival under capitalism has always been stuff that I grew up with. And, my father allowed us to have good Catholic school education, but he always counter posted and counterbalanced it. I grew up reading Marx. I grew up doing, you know, Das Kapital study groups when I was a kid. I also, you know, he was very engaged in, in political activity, too, when I was a kid.
And I remember being a little kid and carrying picket signs, when the Coors workers here in Colorado, wanted to unionize and, you know, picket on the picket line, in support of their bid to unionize. Picketing in front of the local power utility company, when they were shutting off power in Denver, Colorado in the winter, back in the 70s, and 80s. For really, primarily the poorest neighborhoods and that sort of thing. So, yeah, I think I’ve always been very politically active. I always say that, because I come from revolutionary parents, I don’t know how to be subjugated. Right. And so it comes out in a lot, a lot of different things. And, you know, I did go into a little lull when I had my son. And, you know, I went through that same kind of right wing, phase that every kid does, every revolutionary kid does. And I joined the military, you know, and I had my son when I was 19, while I was in the military. You know, of course, my dad was not happy about that, because he was also a Vietnam War protester.
Heather Warburton 4:25
Andrea Merida 4:26
You know, and we came from, the political activity that he ran away from in Guatemala was like the launching of the School of the Americas and the secret police trainings and things like this. And so you just, you know, needless to say, it wasn’t a positive time. I grew up and I got to see for myself really what the world was like, outside of, you know, away from my dad’s apron strings, I guess, if you want to say it that way. And, you know, I just kind of recaptured my Marxist Leninist roots. And that’s where I am today.
Heather Warburton 4:59
So you realize dad was right all along?
Andrea Merida 5:02
Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And my dad is one of my biggest heroes, he’s also one of my biggest cheerleaders, you know, I have a really strong bond with my dad, and, my mom passed away three, about three years ago. And, you know, I’m just a little acorn off of that tree right there, you know, because this is a woman that, you know, an immigrant woman and having to really push and work several jobs to survive under capitalism and had three kids and, you know, just made it happen. And so I, I’m just a little acorn off of those trees.
Heather Warburton 5:36
You think you’re badassery was probably passed down? Genetically? It’s just in your genes?
Andrea Merida 5:41
I think so. I think so.
Heather Warburton 5:43
So, you know, we talked a little bit about how you’re involved with the Green Party. When did you come to the Green Party? And how did you make that decision?
Andrea Merida 5:49
Yeah, so I was actually a registered Democrat. And I was serving on the Denver school board. I had been elected to the school board, and it’s a nonpartisan race, but it’s just like any urban city is kind of like a closed shop for the Democrats. And so I got on there. And, you know, of course, I’ve had this political background, I had this leftist orientation from the beginning. And I really thought at that time that, you know, the democrats could be something good. And was on that school board and watched this intense privatization and union busting that was being carried out by the hands of people that were registered as Democrats. And in addition to, you know, just kind of the inculcation of systemic racism within the schools and that sort of thing. And I had just had experiences in which, you know, I, I was representing a district, not only in my elected position, but as a democratic, or apparatchik representing a district that was nearly 70%, Latino, many people bilingual, if not monolingual Spanish.
And I would have experiences like, hey, well, why don’t we do this door hangar bilingual? Well, no, we can’t do that. Well, how about we just do the titles? No, we can’t do that. And when I would push it, I would be told that I was racist against white people when I had a particular constituency that I had to represent. Right. So I was coming into that seat, having these experiences with the Democratic Party. And then seeing them privatize schools, seeing them re-segregate schools through charterization. You know, in Denver, the charter school is the test factories, the kill and drill factory, zero tolerance factories, and those are specifically focused on kids of color.
And I fought very hard against the privatization. I watched to as the superintendent at that time, Michael Bennett, who’s now our senator from Colorado, basically took the teachers pension and put it on the open stock market. And if you’ve ever seen the movie, The Big Short, and the interest rate swaps, instruments that they’re talking about, well, he put our teacher pensions into that. And so I fought very hard while I was on the school board, you know, to try to save that, because when people pay their property taxes, you know, they intend for teachers to have a pension. They want something to be there for them. And, you know, we managed to save the teachers pension and, took $640 million out of the teacher pension assets out of the hands of Goldman Sachs. And, you know, and of course, it’s still in, you know, among in the hands of banksters, but at least we stabilized it. So it was out of that interest rate rate swap. And so I’m sitting there watching all of this stuff go on, and I’m just not happy with it. And it’s to my core, I can’t reconcile why this is OK.
And the Green Party in Colorado at that time, it was about 2012 2013. was very, I don’t know, shall we say, very sheltered, and it was really just this little nucleus of maybe 20-30 people around the state, you know, environmental minded, mostly white people had never really been challenged on some of these things and never had to perform. Because they themselves were not all that, not privileged. Right. They didn’t have the, the economic and the social impetus to really work for change. Right. So I encountered them. You know, I was persuaded by the national platform, which was really good, which was from the beginning, it’s always been strong against privatization of schools and pro unions. And I thought that was the place to go. And, you know, I switched to the Green Party very publicly, while I was still serving. I actually have the distinction of being the Colorado School Board member, probably most covered in the Colorado media, right. And so it was like this big old thing that I switched to the Green Party, and just been working at it ever since.
And, you know, and the Green Party is imperfect. You know, a lot of us are showing up with the traumas that are based in capitalism, but I think that everybody in the Green Party is committed to the idea that we must have an independent Left Workers Party, and it must stand separate from the Democratic Party. Because I don’t want to make those decisions anymore. I don’t want to have to find logic in what capitalists within the Democratic Party are doing. They’re hurting my people. And when I say my people, I mean, not just Latinos, I don’t mean just children of immigrants, but also mean the working class as well. So I’m not going to do it anymore. And that’s it.
Heather Warburton 10:31
It’s amazing how much things are, you know, you may not know that in other states, like this is mainly a New Jersey focus show. How similar things are happening across the country? Especially with the school privatization, that’s something that I’ve definitely been opposing too. And we have Cory Booker, the king of privatization comes out of New Jersey. Right. And now he’s, you know, is trying to take that agenda to being a president, and it directly harmed people in Newark. And down here in South Jersey, we see, you know, there’s the Norcross machine, which is the democrat machine. Which is again, bringing in these charter schools in the cities like Camden, trying to get rid of public schools entirely in the city of Camden. So I think it’s possible this is happening, you know, the same thing is probably playing out in every single state, even if we don’t know people, specifically that are talking about it. I think you see the same challenges with the Democratic Party playing out across the country. And, you know, that’s a lot of why I became green. And this was not one of the questions I specifically intended to ask you. But something I noticed was, I also came out of the Democratic Party. And as soon as you break from the Democratic Party, you actually get a lot more powerful. You find a much stronger, you’ve experienced that as well.
Andrea Merida 11:54
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, and I’m a pretty resolute person to begin with. And once I’ve made up my mind about something, that’s it, we’re over, because I’ve put the thought into it. I’ve weighed out in my moral core and my conscience, and we’re ready to go, but, I just kind of felt like at that point that slings and arrows wouldn’t hurt me anymore, you know, to kind of coin the biblical phrase. Even the charges of the spoiler that we get sometimes in the Green Party, I don’t care. I don’t care, because it’s like, Look, you want to talk to me about being a spoiler, but Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than than Trump. So Why doesn’t anybody ever say those are wasted votes, those 3 million extra votes that she got more than Trump? I mean, so it’s just illogical and so I know why I’m doing it. I’m resolute. It speaks to my values, and I’m not, I’m just going to be unshaken from it.
Heather Warburton 12:46
And do you see yourself having more of an impact to like, actually, crafting and influencing policies that directly relate to people like you, you know, the working class, the non privileged?
Andrea Merida 13:00
Heather Warburton 13:03
I kind of felt like, when I was part of the Democratic Party, no one wanted to hear my voice at all.
Andrea Merida 13:08
Heather Warburton 13:09
And so now, it’s, it’s often very refreshing of like, Oh, yeah, you know, like, these are things that we can do, we actually can make conditions better.
Andrea Merida 13:17
Yeah, I don’t believe that the people in the Democratic Party, the rank and file are actually listened to at all. I mean if you see how, you know, when you start talking about why you’re agreeing to rank and file Democrats, you can see it in their faces, they kind of like they agree with you, they agree with you, and their only response to is, but we want to win. And it’s like, what, win what exactly? I mean, we have to tear the system down. You know, and it’s really interesting to watch people’s metamorphosis mentally, just even on their faces when you’re having these conversations with them, you know, and, but the democratic party does not listen to its rank and file.
My husband served in the Colorado democratic party platform committee. And it was like this little, you know, the state legislators that were Democrats were nominal members of this committee, and it was like this little mushroom committee. Nobody paid attention to them. The moment they decided to run a platform plank and change the Colorado State platform, in favor of pushing the borders back from Israel, so that Palestinians could have a more just, you know, it stopped the violence against them and stuff like this. The moment that they started to do that, then all of a sudden, all of these legislators who had been on the trips funded by APAC to Israel, then they started showing up and my husband was going to have this firefight in the floor of the state convention for the Colorado Democratic Party. And, you know, he’s going up against the the Speaker of the Colorado house, and this and that, and the other and, finally they ended up having to back down because the grassroots was, you know, the rank and file was able to prevail, but boy, they don’t care until it starts, you start messing with their funding.
Heather Warburton 14:57
Andrea Merida 14:58
That’s, that’s the reality.
Heather Warburton 15:02
So your husband’s actually, you know, very political to? I haven’t talked about him too much.
Andrea Merida 15:08
Heather Warburton 15:09
He’s definitely involved as well.
Andrea Merida 15:11
Yeah, yeah, he’s a member of the Denver Green Party local, as well. And, you know, we’re both very active in the local, local activist scene, you know, we are kind of like, a couple of people that we really seek non sectarian relationships with people on the left here. And so we’re kind of I would say, we’re kind of seen as a peacemakers between like, say, anarchists, and the, the former ISO and the Trotskyist people that are here, as well as, you know, some of these other, you know, left leaning immigrant groups, and this and that the other. And we try to what we’ve tried to do not just here and I, but people in the Denver Green Party as well. We’ve tried to posture ourselves as the bridge between, you know, all of the different, you know, we’ve got PSL here as well, we’re comrades with all of them, you know, because we, we really want to work toward a non sectarian left.
Heather Warburton 16:08
Real left unity. So I did want to get into you know, you seem to either inspire people to love you, or they hate you. Clearly, I’m in team love you. When, you know, where do you think why do you think you cause such a divide in people? Is it just people don’t like their white supremacy challenged?
Andrea Merida 16:33
Well, you know, I think that we all need to be on the left, especially, you know, we need to be very honest about the level at which white supremacy and colonization has really impacted us. And we have to really challenge the notions that we have about human beings. And I think, you know, I said earlier that I wasn’t raised to be subjugated, I don’t know how to subjugated. And I’m an extremely confident person, right, and I and I look like a Latina, I am a working class person. I’m very proud to do that. And I think that I really ruffle the feathers of people who expect Latinas to be docile and do the housework. And, you know, and “Oh I’m not racist, because you know, I’m nice to you” kind of a thing. And it’s like, that’s great if you can have some interpersonal politeness toward me, but what are your really are your deep seated attitudes towards people like me, you know, do you?
It’s kind of like, and I’m going a little bit off field, and I’m gonna reel this back in, but it’s sort of like sometimes when you hear liberals talk about immigrants, they’re like, Oh, no, we should love everybody, because immigrants hold up the, you know, they do the jobs that nobody wants to do. That is inherently a racist thing to say, because what you’re saying is, is that my function, as a person of Latin American descent, is only to prop up your economic system. In other words, you have accepted capitalism in your heart and your mind, and understanding that some people are here to be exploited. Right? What you’re not given to me is the human right to immigration. Right.
Heather Warburton 18:16
Andrea Merida 18:17
So it’s kind of like, it’s, it’s what we have in the in the Green Party. A lot of times there are people that haven’t reconciled that issue. And they’ve never seen a Latino who is a socialist… shit, a Marxist Leninist, who is not ever going to back down, you know, and I’m not, I’m not an evil person, I’m not, you know, I’m very, I’m a very compassionate person. When Che Guevara says that, you know, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, revolutionaries are guided by great feelings of love, I feel that and I’m a Christian on top of it, and I am a practicing Catholic. And so, you know, I see each individual as you know, as gift, you know, and they’re all blessed, and I have a responsibility to be a, you know, good to them, and this and that and the other, but sometimes, I also have to be good to myself. And sometimes people don’t understand that me standing up for myself is not anything against you, but I have a right to stand up. Right.
And so, if you come from a liberal perspective, liberals that I and you know, I always say this, liberals are fundamentally authoritarian. Right? If you do not believe that I have the right to stand for myself, then you’re gonna have a problem with Andrea Merida. Right? And because I’m going to stand for myself, I’m going to put things out on the table. You know, I don’t attack people. But I’m very frank about things, right. And there are people who are not ready to deal with that. Plus, there are people in the Green Party that don’t want us to be a socialist party. And so it’s, you know, even though there are other people, you know, like my former SE, colleague, Gloria, Matera, for example, who is Italian American, who’s also an avowed socialist, you know, she doesn’t get the focus that I do, it’s easier to look at me, because of their deep seated stuff, and I recognize what’s going on. And then, you know, you get a lot of attacks online, and this, that the other by people who have never talked to me in their lives. They don’t know who I am, they wouldn’t be able to pick me out in the crowd, they just, you know, it’s that we do have a fair amount of trolls, you know, so.
And it’s also coming from people that don’t understand that we in the party have rules and processes. And they assume that I’m going to be just like anybody else and be corrupted, and I’m not, I know what the rules are. And I follow those rules. And my attitude towards the rules we have in the party is, if you don’t like them, change them, use the democratic process to change them. And we have done that, you know, so
Heather Warburton 20:47
Right. In Colorado, for example, you definitely started focusing more on dismantling white supremacy and on elevating feminism, like, we have a set of key 10 key values in the Green Party. And not everybody always upholds them all the same, right? Some get kind of ignored. And you when you came into power, definitely sort of changed that dynamic of these are important values here, I’m going to uphold them.
Andrea Merida 21:13
Well, I expect those those 10 key values to apply to everyone. And I want to create a space in at least in the Green Party Colorado in which if you’re still working through that stuff, that’s fine, let’s let’s put it on a table, let’s be honest. I’m going to be compassionate with you. Because I also know that the the discrimination that you might be doling out on others is a lot of times it’s unintentional, right? It’s just it has to do with conditioning under capitalism. So I’m not going to attack you as a human being about it. But if you cross the line with me, then we have to deal with it. Right? So you know, and I get a lot of static about basically what happened in Colorado and long story short, we had sexist people who were using a white supremacist attitudes and, you know, postures and stuff like that toward me, I was fine when I wasn’t in the in the co-char seat.
But once I did, it was crazy. And I’m the first Latino to be to hold a Green Party of Colorado co-chair seat ever in the history of Green Party, Colorado. And I knew that we weren’t living up to our potential, you know, and there were a lot of people who held held very nativist, anti immigrant, you know, there’s people in the Green Party Colorado, who former chairs, for example, I mean, there’s one guy runs a blog that talks about how we have to stop immigration, otherwise, our environment is going to be torn up, like they have in Latin America. You know, with without even talking about the the colonization. And, I mean, it’s just, it’s crazy, right? You know, and so this is the kind of stuff that we had to deal with in Colorado, and, you know, I knew that those people weren’t going to be amenable to moving themselves a little bit leftward looking at the social kinds of things.
So I’m a very effective organizer. I have to say, this is one of the things that pisses people off about me because I do get the job done. And, you know, I, you know, got good comrades in, you know, I helped launch a few new locals, and they were full with anarchists and socialists and communists, you know, and who were very much opposed to oppression, you know, and internalized white supremacy and, and doing that work on in their own in their own right. And then it kind of came to a head because my former co chair at the time, was so frustrated with me, because of my organizing and stuff literally threatened to hit me. I mean, it’s, we have it, you know, we have, you know, audio recordings, we have screenshots of, you know, of him, you know, basically copying to it, and this, that, and the other. And so, this, you know, it really came to a head around the 2016 election, and the male co chairs, local co chairs, you when you’re a female co chair, and you’re supposed to be sort of like the the, the conflict resolver or for everybody else, I mean, who is it that Who do you go to? Right, right? When you’re, when you’re the one at the top would you go to so I mentioned what had happened to me to a couple of the male local co chairs.
And so the male local co chairs decided to recall this co chair, and they were nearly successful. And he then he resigned in the middle of the proposal period, right. And then it kind of just blew up there from there, because then it was like me lying. And, you know, you know, my husband was was witness to his threat. I mean, got right in my face. And, you know, this sort of thing like this. And of course, my husband had to be lying, because we’re associated and this and that and the other. So, you know, we ended up changing, we dealt with that we’ve had to deal with a lot of attacks and smears, there’s a lot of really crazy, you know, attacks about me out there, you know, what, whatever. But what we do have in Colorado, as a result is an explicitly anti capitalist and anti oppression state party, and people of color and transgender people and all kinds of different people working class people are very comfortable to organize in our space, because we’ve created a safe zone for them.
Heather Warburton 25:12
Oh, you really transformed Colorado. And I think that people that fall into the love you category, yeah, see the work you’ve done, and the transformation. And, you know, I want to say the Green Party’s not perfect, we are made up of people. People have a lot of work to do to dismantle the society, they’re raised it you know. We’re a product of the society were raised in, but the Green Party is making amazing progress. I think that’s important to stress that we’re really transforming, the party is transforming into a very serious force to be reckoned with.
Andrea Merida 25:45
Yeah, you know, I really gotta hand it to the comrades that are in the party right now. I mean, you all in New Jersey are one of my you all are one of my favorite parties. You know, because you just came in there and you said, No, we’re red, we’re here, you’re gonna have to deal with it. Right. And so there are many state parties, there’s Alabama I want to call out, you know, there’s great comrades in Missouri, there’s I’m missing lots of people. Oh, you know, definitely there was a contingent in Texas, for example, in, you know, we’re as working class people, we need to take breathers we need to take rests, because our lives are very tough in the first place. And, you know, we just need to regenerate that sort of thing.
But I also want to hand it to the liberals in the party that are really recognizing the wave and understanding Finally, that the 10 key values are absolutely not achievable under capitalism. They’re just not, you know, and they’re deciding to meet us halfway, and maybe they, they still have some sort of a romanticized notion about their own potential to become capitalist or wealthy themselves. But they also see the writing on the wall, right. So I want to, I want to give a shout out to those liberals that, that meet us halfway there. But, you know, we really were getting stronger. You know, in the areas where there are a lot of socialists eco socialist, that’s where, oh, my God, like North Carolina is on fire right now, you know, with the excellent candidates that come out of there. And so you know, and it’s in what it comes down to is that when you have a group of people who have a material interest in trying to make change, right, be it because of their social or their political situation, economic situation, but also, because maybe they understand things from a particular ideological bent. When you have people who have an impetus for material change, you’re going to get the change, you know, so it’s, it’s exciting to sit back and watch this stuff happening?
Heather Warburton 27:42
Well, I think that leads me really well into my next question of, what does the ideal society look like to you? What are you fighting for? What do you want to see, when we’re done with the struggle? Are we ever done with the struggle?
Andrea Merida 27:57
I don’t think that we’re going to be done with the struggling even after we defeat capitalism, because we still have to decolonize ourselves from some attitudes, right. And there’s going to be a period, you know, the, I want to see a communist society. I want to see us actually get there. I want to see full emancipation of the woman and that includes the transgender woman. I want to see full emancipation of the working class, you know, I want economic democracy. I want a safe, clean environment. I want us to be able to produce only what it is that we need, and for us to have a democratic decision on what that is. You know, so I, you know, that’s, that’s fairly utopian. But you know, I think it’s achievable. I don’t know if we’ll achieve it in my lifetime. But I’m certainly going to be building, building those blocks so that we can get there. You know, I just had a granddaughter about a month and a half ago. And I’m thinking forward for what I’m going to leave behind for her. So I’m just going to keep swinging at it. And organizing and building, rebuilding the left so that we can achieve it.
Heather Warburton 29:07
This is a question I asked a lot of guests. Do you consider yourself an optimist?
Andrea Merida 29:12
Oh, yeah, I’m very much an optimist. You know, I i understand that the odds are long and the stakes are high. The road is long. But I have confidence in us. I have confidence in the working class. Because all these years of trying to survive under capitalism has made us strong, and we’re ready. And we’re resilient. We’re creative. The fact that we can even generate profits at all under this predatory capitalist system is 100% a testament to our abilities. And so I have so much confidence in us that we can do this. And it’s, it’s exciting to me, I’m giving myself chills right now thinking about it. We’re ready.
Heather Warburton 29:57
And I also want to talk about like, what we’re doing right here. We’re a couple of women sitting and talking about communism, openly and like so it shows things are changing. Like, I’m publishing this on my media company. That’s an anti capitalist media company. Like we’re making progress for sure. Yeah.
Andrea Merida 30:16
You know, and I want to give a shout out to DSA you know, and Bernie Sanders definitely, even though he himself does not directly talk about socialism, right? There, there are people like that there are elements like that, that are making it easier for us to have these open conversations, right? Um, you know, we’re still going to be attacked, where, you know, especially as women on the left, there are liberal men, in particular, because right wing men, at least they kind of will leave you alone for the most part. But liberal men like to come at us and tell us what we should say and what we can’t say, you know, and so we’re always going to have to be opposing that sort of element. But yeah, it’s a lot easier. We have to give credit where credit is due.
Heather Warburton 30:55
So yeah, I mean, Bernie Sanders did just mentioned class warfare. In a recent statement, like the conversation is changing. And I think that’s important. And speaking of changes, you’re no longer one of the national co chairs, you have a new job. You are the campaign manager for Howie Hawkins. Now, I know, I’m supposed to be an unbiased journalist here and say, you know, they’re all a lot of excellent candidates, but I’m, I’m in team Howie camp right now.
Andrea Merida 31:28
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I’m really excited to be working with Howie I mean, he’s as a as a younger green leader. He’s someone that I’ve always looked, looked up to, I mean, Howie is extremely unequivocal about the fact that we need an independent working class party of the left. He’s just, he’s not even, it’s not even up for debate. And this is what I love about is just so open about it. He’s an excellent organizer, you know, he’s a longtime activist on various issues. And he’s an unapologetic socialist. And he has been the whole time. And it’s funny, because when we have these these discussions in the Green Party, you know, and you’ve seen on the national level where there’s, there is really strong liberal opposition to socialist being in the party, where we actually have people that are like, Well, you know, if you’re a socialist, why don’t you join the Socialist Party.
And of course, my response to that is always well, because I’m registered green in Colorado. So you know, that’s, that’s why, but they have this attitude that we shouldn’t be there and Howie Hawkins is a testament. He’s been there since the beginning. He was there since the first organizing meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota and 1984. So I think we need to take a lot of example from Howie, you know, he has been there working alongside these liberals for for all these years. And here he is, he’s running for president, and I think he should be.
Heather Warburton 32:52
So hows Team Howie’s campaign coming along,
Andrea Merida 32:56
Man, you know, we were still pulling it together. One of the things Greens dont have is a lot of electoral experiences, but this team that we have, including myself consistent people that were working on the Jill Stein campaign, so they are coming to the, to the Battle of very prepared, you know, we have a really great team, we have a lot of volunteers. We have a lot of systems set up, you know, I I’m very proud of our of our website, I’m proud of the you know, organizing that we’ve got going on, we’ve got a really strong ballot access and matching funds program.
You know, we’re showing up to help out with ballot access and states where we don’t live, you know, Howie sets the example, in New York, there are some cases sometimes where you had to go out and collect petitions to get on the ballot. And, you know, he’s putting his money where his mouth is as a candidate by going out and doing the work himself. And he’s going to be in Arizona next week for several days. And one of the main things he wants to do is go out and collect signatures. I mean, he’s even registered with the Arizona secretary of state so that he could be legally allowed to collect signatures alongside the Arizona greens. Wow. You know, I don’t see this level of commitment to building a party from the other campaigns, I have to say, but that’s all right. I mean, Howie knows the stakes.
Heather Warburton 34:17
Yeah, and, you know, there’s, there are a lot of campaigns and, you know, hey, if you want to reach out and come on in NJRR you know, you know, where I stand, but, you know, I’m willing to bring other voices on. But, you know, I’m really impressed with the work that you guys are doing on Howie’s campaign and, you know, I’m, you know, not very secretly hoping he’s the nominee.
Andrea Merida 34:38
Well, you know, we’re going to work for it, you know, we believe in having to state our case, and we’re not assuming that anybody’s just going to, you know, give Howie support, you know, we’re going to have a conversation with greens, and we’re going to state our case, because they deserve that respect. We don’t feel entitled, it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. You know, in the in the final analysis, whether he was at that first meeting or not, even though he was, we still have to give each green the respect of convincing them to support this campaign. So, you know, we’re not, we’re not calling it a done deal. It’s not a fait accompli , we’re going to work for it, because that’s what socialists do. You know.
Heather Warburton 35:21
Alright, so we’re about out of time for today. We’ve got a little bit over, but that’s okay. Do you have any final closing words before we close it out today?
Andrea Merida 35:29
Well, I would, I would just say that, you know, women to the left in the Green Party stand up you know. Use your voice. Even it like the saying goes, even if it shakes because you know you’re doing the right thing, you know that you’re doing this thing for the for the good of humanity, and try to be compassionate with other women and other people who are on the right of you, and try to understand that they’re trying to decolonize themselves from capitalism. But you just keep running and look out, look for women on the left and find your community there, because we’re going to get this done.
Heather Warburton 36:04
All right. Thank you so much for being here today. It’s been great talking to you.
Andrea Merida 36:08
Thank you. Likewise
Heather Warburton 36:09
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