It is important to learn how to answer capitalist politicians, and running for office is one way of doing so. I’m learning a lot by running for mayor of Oakland, mainly through my own mistakes, and I hope some of my mistakes can help others.
Here is a video of my final statement in an interview I did with Oaklandside magazine. For a one and a half minute summary, I think it hit the key issues pretty well. It is a reply to the question “are there any questions that have not been asked?” Below are some further comments on what I’m learning.
In my first forum, I focused almost exclusively on the larger issues, especially the need for a working class movement, a working class party and socialism. I think it came off as being almost like a broken record and also as being overly general.
So in further forums and interviews, I think I went overboard in the other direction. For instance, crime and violence is a huge issue in Oakland, just as it is elsewhere. My original response to questions about this was to point out that poverty is a basic cause of crime and that we need a $28/hour minimum wage and guaranteed jobs for all. I also pointed out that we live in an increasingly violent society and that until we revers this through a working class movement the issue of crime cannot be resolved. What is the alternative, after all? A cop on every corner – in other words Fortress America?
I think it’s fundamental to point this out, but I should also have pointed to some direct steps, which from a socialist point of view revolve around democratically elected worker/community committees of public safety. In some ways, the Black Panthers showed the way, at least partially.
So in latter interviews, I focused too much on that and not enough on the former.
That’s an example of how we have to learn to get a balance.
Overall, though, I feel pretty good about this final statement on my campaign.