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Monica Moorehead: The Revolutionary Black Woman Running for U.S. President

Interviewed By Sankofa Brown | @SankofaBrown | with thanks to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

Monday, July 4, 2016.

Monica Moorehead is a 2016 U.S. Presidential Candidate representing the Workers World Party. Along with her running mate Lamont Lilly, Moorehead intends to reach working class and oppressed people around the country by talking about real issues and real solutions. This interview was conducted via email and transposed verbatim. Visit http://workersworldparty.org and follow the Moorehead/Lilly campaign via twitter @wwp2016.

[Sankofa Brown] I recently posted about your campaign on my Twitter account (@SankofaBrown) and the feedback, in my opinion, was phenomenal.  A common response I received was, “Why haven’t I heard about her/this campaign before?” So let’s start there, can you tell me about your background as an organizer (some of the struggles you’ve been involved with), your political party affiliation, and a summary of your campaign’s platform?

[Monica Moorehead] I am a 64-year-old Black woman who was born under segregation in Alabama.  My parents, who were professors at Alabama State, a historically Black University, participated in the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-56, driving Black people to and from work.  I became political as a teenager in Hampton, Virginia when I was kicked out of the band at a predominantly white school, for refusing to play the school’s theme song, “Dixie”, the anthem of the Confederacy.  I first met with the Workers World Party (WWP) in the early 1970s while attending Hampton Institute (now University), another HBCU, as a supporter of political prisoners like George Jackson.  I helped to distribute the Black Panther Party newspaper on the weekends.

It was WWP’s strong stance on fighting racism and national oppression that helped to broaden my political views that white supremacy along with many other oppressions are rooted and nurtured within imperialism, the worldwide system of capitalism.  I have been mainly involved in fighting racism including defending Joann Little, a Black woman who was acquitted for killing a white guard who attempted to rape her in prison; fighting for the freedom of political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal in Pennsylvania.  I helped to found the U.S. Out of Southern Africa Network in the mid-1980s to demand that U.S. corporations get out of apartheid South Africa and to build solidarity with the African National Congress, Congress of South Africa Trade Unions and other allies.  

Our platform is based on a number of principles:  showing solidarity with workers and oppressed peoples here and worldwide who are engaged in struggles, big and small, against all forms of capitalist oppression, whether we agree with the ideas of the leaders or not.  It is important for revolutionaries and activists to oppose their own imperialist governments in order to weaken those governments.  The workers inside imperialist countries have more in common with other workers in developing countries.  Ultimately, our goal is to influence as much of the working class as possible inside the U.S. to fight for revolutionary socialism.    

[SB] Despite the fact Bernie Sanders’s popularity has made it somewhat easier to talk about socialism in America, many people still have a negative perception of socialism.  How does socialism address the problems that people - particularly oppressed people - face in this country and abroad?

[MM] First of all, socialism is an economic system that is based on the workers, including oppressed peoples, being empowered to collectively take all means of production out of the private hands of the corporate bosses, to meet human needs.  Socialism is comparable to a broad affirmative action program where those who have been denied the most under capitalism, are given preferential treatment to lay the basis of building parity, which is a process.  Basically, socialism views the skills of all workers as respected, and pools them together to produce for the common good of all, but it will take a revolution to lay the basis for this transformation of society – be it strikes, shut downs, etc., on a broad societal basis.  Socialism means uprooting the old repressive apparatus including the police, ICE, FBI, CIA, capitalist government agencies and replacing it with an apparatus that will administer real change.  

[SB] A common rebuttal to the radical change you’re calling for is that it is unrealistic and that it cannot come to form within this country.  How do you respond to that critique?  

[MM] I would say that the conditions are more than ripe for a socialist transformation due to the fact that the productive forces (that is, industries and services based on technology) are on such an advanced level, including a highly developed working class – whether workers are employed or unemployed, skilled or unskilled.  While all the wealth is produced by the workers, the main contradiction is that all the wealth is stolen and controlled by the bosses who do not pay the full value of what workers as a whole produce as a class, which are wages.  Once the production is taken out of these private hands and liberated by the workers, it will help with an easier transformation from capitalism to socialism, including creating institutions that promote equality amongst all peoples regardless of their nationality, geography, language and history.

[SB] There are some who see the entire electoral process as rigged, corrupt to the core, and a mere show by the elites to continue the illusion of democracy.  This perspective leads some people to see voting as a waste of time.  What role does engaging in the elections have in a revolutionary struggle?

[MM] It is important for revolutionaries to engage in the electoral arena because it is another strategy and tactic to reach out to workers and oppressed peoples.  Every four years our class is saturated day in and day out about the importance to vote for a Democrat and Republican, which is no choice at all.  Whenever WWP has made a decision to run national candidates, we make it clear from the jumpstart, that the elections are a fraud and a set-up; that voting for one capitalist politician over another one will not make our lives better; that conditions will not fundamentally change for the better; that politicians represent the interests of Wall Street and banks; that capitalism is a system that can’t be reformed by policy which is the main message of someone like a Bernie Sanders, who has the allegiance of millions of young people who are anti-Wall Street.  Our election campaigns speak to the issues of the day and the need to building solidarity with the most oppressed, i.e. Black people, Latinos/as, Muslims, immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, prisoners, young people who are disenfranchised and marginalized on a daily basis by the status quo.  

[SB] Donald Trump’s sensationalized campaign of white nationalism has created a “Defeat Trump by any means necessary” attitude around the country.  Some people believe voting for Hillary Clinton - despite her not being their ideal candidate - is the only practical way to defeat Trump.  This is essentially the common “lesser of two evils” narrative.  Do you believe that a Trump presidency is more dangerous than a Clinton presidency?  Why should people consider supporting a third party candidate in this election?

[MM] We can certainly sympathize with those who see the Trump candidacy being more of a danger than Clinton’s especially if they are Mexican, Muslims and women.  Trump’s rhetoric is more incendiary, openly racist and neo-fascist in character.  The Clinton candidacy, however, is just as dangerous as Trump’s, if not more so because she is the darling of the Wall Street establishment and the Pentagon.  As Secretary of State under Obama, she was the main representative of U.S. imperialist policy whether it was the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya in 2011 or the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Honduras in 2009.  What makes Clinton so dangerous is that under the guise of being pro-woman, pro-union, etc. she is using anti-Trump fear to force the masses to vote for her and the Democratic Party, which has the same goals as the Republicans; that is to continue to carry out the neoliberal policies of austerity and war on behalf of the profits of big business.  People should support third party candidates like our candidates because we tell it like it is by exposing capitalism and the dangerous plans its politicians have in store for our class, and why we need a united fightback.  

[SB} What distinguishes your campaign from other Third Party campaigns on the left?  

[MM] Besides promoting independence from the big business parties, we use our election campaign to help orient others on the left on why it is important to be a part of a united front to forward a revolutionary agenda for socialism.  The revolutionary left is weak inside the U.S. and worldwide and anytime a revolutionary Party inside the U.S. can help promote left or socialist unity, it helps strengthen morale and confidence within the movement and our class.  We have more in common than we think.  

[SB] Whether to his demise or triumph, Bernie Sanders has intensified the conversation about getting money out of politics.  For the sake of transparency, do you mind saying how your campaign is financed?  

[MM] All of our campaigns are financed by our members making contributions and mass fundraising amongst allies and friends.

[SB] Despite who is elected for President in November, what should working class and oppressed people do to create the change they want to see?  

[MM] By joining an organization that they feel seeks the change they want to see happen because it won’t happen with an election.  Once the elections are over in November, the economic attacks on the part of the billionaires will intensify because the capitalist economic crisis will intensify, so the activists and revolutionaries must be ready for the challenge of fighting back collectively which also means not allowing racism, sexism and other artificial forms of inequality divided us.  

[SB] What can people do to support your campaign?

[MM] People should go to workers.org/wwp/ and click on the "Get Involved" tab and fill out the form.  That website will also have our campaign statements, fightback program, mobilizing protests at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in July, how to donate to our campaign and more.  ■

Sankofa Brown is a writer, organizer, and PhD sociology student based out Kinston, NC. Follow him on Twitter @SankofabBrown.

Monica Moorehead: The Revolutionary Black Woman Running for U.S President

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