Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs

This post is the tenth of a twelve-part series to publicize candidate answers to our Electoral Questionnaire. Candidates were required to answer all questions to be eligible for Boston DSA’s endorsement.

Boston DSA will vote on endorsements at the July 21st General Meeting.

This section asks candidates about the BDS campaign against Israeli apartheid, protesting the US military and military-industrial complex, and de-funding defense programs.

Will you support a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid publicly, privately, and under pressure from opposition, and be accountable and communicative to the DSA wing of the campaign?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • No. This is not an issue in my district.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes. My own parents supported the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa and I am deeply concerned about the portrayl of BDS supporters as anti-semitic. As a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq I am opposed to to the militarization of our foreign policy which includes the tens of billions of dollars that we give away to Israel every year.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • I support BDS. I am willing to call for BDS in my capacity as a public official, although it is a certainty that BDS couldn’t garner more than perhaps 3-4 votes in the entire legislature at this moment. I think it is important for us to stand up for justice at the current moment. I would be happy to work closely with DSA and other BDS groups on a campaign. I believe most campaigns we could undertake in the State House are dead on arrival, but would be interested in working on campaigns that target specific corporations directly and would be public in my support of them.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

Will you unequivocally support the rights of the Palestinian people and use your office to support BDS? How do you intend to do so?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • This is not an issue in my district.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes, but I acknowledge the limitations of the office of state representative. If elected I will use my position to advocate for a future Democratic Presidential candidate who supports BDS measures.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes. I will lend my voice and the influence of my public office to the efforts of those supporting the BDS campaign – and will encourage other electeds to do the same.

Nika Elugardo

  • The Israeli Palestinian conflict was part of my studies in International Security Policy, one of my two concentrations at Harvard’s Kennedy School. I learned from women from this and other conflict areas around the world about strategies for peace and security in regimes where radical oppression is part of daily life. The Palestinian people are currently the victims of an apartheid regime that denies elements of their basic humanity. This must end, and we must stand up and be vocal. Many indigenous groups, Israeli and Palestinian, are working hard on this issue, and we should take the lead from them on how best to support the end of Palestinian oppression.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes. I would look to community leaders that are already fighting this battle. I would provide my office as the microphone that these leaders need to be most effective in the push for Palestinian rights.

Darrin Howell

  • Yes, and I’m open to suggestions on how a State Representative can best be of assistance on this issue.

If you are asked to write a statement or attend an event in support of the troops how will you respond?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • What troops? What is “support”?

Darryn Remillard

  • I am military veteran, so I would respond in the affirmative. I will always use my position to focus on individuals who serve in our armed forces rather than glorifying our military as an institution (ie, jingoism).

Segun Idowu

  • I support those who are enlisted in our armed forces. I don’t necessarily support the policies that send them into combat. As mentioned in a previous section, my focus is on supporting and taking care of the troops once they return home, as our nation has continuously failed to do.

Nika Elugardo

  • I’m opposed to wars, imperialism, and the American military-industrial complex. In any public statements about the military I would be clear to state: 1) my opposition to wars and my horror at the huge loss of life and costs they incur 2) particularly the financial costs they impose on the U.S., which we could instead use to fund a robust social safety net 3) the unfair class/racial nature of war, where rich, powerful, and primarily white people send off members of poor, disproportionately marginalized communities to fight the wars and bear the physical costs and 4) that we support our troops best by bringing them home. Also, it’s important to me to support our troops in their current reality not just by bringing them home but by providing them with health care and housing and compensation for what is taken from them, particularly in combat. Ending unnecessary combat is a critical part of that. But we should not blame the troops or allow them to bear the brunt of the wrongs of our government and military leaders. I believe in showing concern for veterans and active service members.

Ture Turnbull

  • I would need to consider the details of the event.

Darrin Howell

  • I’d have to consider the situation. Many low-income people in my community feel they have no other option than to serve in the military. We clearly need to fix that. But in the meantime, I’d have to carefully consider what the request was. It’s a tough situation to be in. I want to be true to the predominantly black and brown men and women in my community who have served, but also have serious issues with military intervention in general.

Will you vocally support protest and divestment movements against the Massachusetts-based military-industrial complex including but not limited to Raytheon, Hanscom Air Force Base, BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and Textron Systems Corporation?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes. We’ve constructed an elaborate, permanent war state and we need more people to recognize this and make the case for deconstructing this apparatus.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • We must divest from the military-industrial complex, because corporations that profit off war currently drive the bulk of American foreign policy to benefit themselves. These industries provide jobs in Massachusetts and make it hard to say “No” to war, but we must wean ourselves off a dependence on profiting from war if we hope to ever be able to bring a just foreign policy to bear in the world. The entire framework of American foreign policy is oriented towards the interests of military concerns instead of the people of the world

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes.

Darrin Howell

  • Yes.

What would you do as a state representative to advocate for moving funding away from defense spending and towards needed social programs?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Option 1

Darryn Remillard

  • Option 1

Segun Idowu

  • Option 1

Nika Elugardo

  • I would support the bill Mass Peace Action has been working on, H3363, which would provide all taxpayers information about how their tax dollars are spent, highlighting the dramatically high percentage of every federal dollar that goes toward war. Most people unfortunately don’t understand how little money is spent on housing and schools versus the war machine. The military budget is ultimately controlled by the federal government, so I will have limited power as a State Rep, but I will be a vocal proponent of slashing the bloated military budget and reinvesting taxpayer dollars into education, transportation, and other social programs that produce justice and opportunity. I will investigate any areas in which the state has authority to weigh in and be a voice fighting to transition funds from the military to social programs.

Ture Turnbull

  • As a state representative, I cannot support more defense spending in good conscience. Our budget absolutely requires redistribution. I would work to change how we channel funding and always support reduction of military spending.

Darrin Howell

  • I really do believe that the proportions should be reversed. Any civil society should spend far more on the well-being of its own people than on militarizing its borders, let alone overseas conflict. I’d have to think more about concrete steps that are within the control of a State Rep, however.

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