General Values

General Values

This post is the first 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 socialism, class, organizing, and expropriation.

Do you consider yourself a socialist?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • No

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes

Segun Idowu

  • Yes

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes

What is socialism to you? What is capitalism to you? What is your vision of a socialist society and how do you feel we should get there?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I don’t call myself a socialist because I’m a historian and constitutional law scholar. I have been a civil rights attorney and activist for over three decades and have been to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit numerous times arguing precedent-setting cases involving the civil rights and liberties of LGBTQ persons, women, persons of color, disabled persons, and others. I have worked my entire life to combat the racism and misogyny that infects every institution in our society. I support progressive taxation, unions, pay equity, health care for all, an expanded and strengthened safety net, the guarantee of a living wage and dignified work for everyone, great public schools, free community college, restorative rather than retributive justice, environmental justice, transportation justice, and more. I could call myself something I’m not in order to gain your endorsement, but I believe strongly that you should endorse me because our values and hopes are deeply aligned, the incumbent is no friend to the things we care about and is an impediment to the changes we must make for a more just and equitable society, and because I will be a more effective and steadfast ally and advocate for the kind of change we both seek than any other challenger in the race. No one in this race has my extensive record and depth of experience in actually changing things that people believed would never change.

Darryn Remillard

  • To me socialism means that everyone has a future whereas capitalism means that were in a state of competitive tension that creates arbitrary “winners and losers”. I believe that we should create a broad, social safety net system that ensures basic needs are met.

Segun Idowu

  • I support a society where people are treated fairly and justly, both socially and economically. I believe that government has role to play in helping to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, age, country of birth, or other labels/means by which those in power seek to divide and conquer, has full and equal access to the benefits of a rich society. This, to me, does not mean eliminating all private business opportunities, but, instead, ensuring that no private business can exploit resources to the detriment of the community.

Nika Elugardo

  • At its heart, socialism is a political and economic system that centers the right of people to have control of their own existence and live fulfilled lives. Transitioning toward this economic and political system would allow people to fully develop their human potential—free from fear of homelessness, hunger, poverty, preventable disease, or deportation. Capitalism is at a fundamental level an extractive scheme that concentrates wealth and power at the top levels of our society. I don’t believe in capitalistic market controls over basic needs, such as health care, education, food security, and housing. These are basic human rights. Especially in a wealthy state and country, where corporations have bought up most property and goods, it is the responsibility of the state to create safe, public, and regulated markets that ensure equal access to and the high quality of the goods that meet basic human needs and ensure the full development of our human potential. Our current system is unethical and rife with easy and legal corruption. Socializing our basic needs economy is an important step toward justice for all. I believe that many people understand that our current economic and political system is broken. A few people have control over almost all the wealth and almost all the power in this system. I am running for office because I find that intolerable and want to focus on building a world that is just. I believe that it is our moral obligation to make sure everybody in our society is cared for.

Ture Turnbull

  • Socialism is the distribution of wealth and public service to all residents. Socialism is equity in action. I believe our problems with housing, education, economic development and healthcare can all be boiled down to pathologies of power, which is why I strive for equity in all that I do and consider myself to be a socialist. Capitalism is the direct opposite of this. It’s the building blocks of power structures that allow those with money to continue “buying money” from those without. My vision of a socialist society is one in which privatization of human necessities is completely eliminated and public service is done in the service of the public. It will require a number of legislative initiatives, but my top priorities are working on healthcare and housing justice. For the past five years I have served as the Executive Director of Mass-Care, a statewide advocacy coalition, with the mission to educate, organize and pass legislation to create a single-payer system. With Mass-Care I drafted and had filed two single payer bills, one of which passed as an amendment through the Senate with a 35 – 3 vote.

Darrin Howell

  • I’ll be honest in saying that most of my neighbors in Dorchester and Roxbury aren’t concerned with specific labels. But we certainly know systemic inequality and oppression — because we live it every day. We face barriers in access to quality housing, education and healthcare. We are barred from the traditional pipelines to good jobs that can support families. We are discriminated against in almost every aspect of everyday life, and as a result, we are arrested, incarcerated and killed at higher rates than the rest of society around us. That’s the current “system” we live in. And it’s clearly broken.

    So to me, a socialist society is a world where there is no inequality, let alone poverty. Where there is no oppression. Where there is no discrimination. Where people of color don’t have to worry about being shot when we leave the house. It’s a society where we actually care about the social well-being of our brothers and sisters.

    We have to get there. I know we can get there. But it will require fundamental change to just about every system we have in place in this country. I may be one State Representative if I’m fortunate enough to be elected. ButI have a voice, and I’ve never been afraid to use it to speak truth to power and fight for what matters most to my community. I look forward to learning from and working with you all to bring about that critical change.

In general, how do you meet your material needs and obtain the means of life?

> By selling your labor for a wage or salary;

> By managing and/or capturing the surplus value produced by the labor of others;
> By receiving government benefits or entitlements;
> By investment interest, rents, or other financial method;
> Other/please explain.

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I work part-time in the Specialty Department at the Whole Foods in Jamaica Plain and part-time as an attorney, primarily serving the LGBTQ community, while I am running for State Representative.

Darryn Remillard

  • I am a veterinarian and I provide veterinary services in exchange for pay.

Segun Idowu

  • I am currently running full-time for the office of State Representative for the 14th Suffolk. Previously, I worked in local government as a legislative aide to City Councilor Charles Yancey, followed by my work in Visitor Services at the Edward M. Kennedy for the US Senate, and most recently, as the Executive Director of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA).

Nika Elugardo

  • Currently I am campaigning full-time and not receiving a salary of any kind from another job. Previously, I worked by selling my labor for a salary at a nonprofit doing community development. My bio follows: For more than 20 years, I worked in community and economic development, partnering with public, private, and nonprofit leaders active in Black and Latino communities in Massachusetts. I founded the research and consulting departments at the Emmanuel Gospel Center, which has supported breakthrough models and collaboration in education, youth violence prevention, and anti-trafficking in Boston and other urban areas across Massachusetts. Later, I served as Jamaica Plain Liaison and Senior Policy Advisor to Massachusetts Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, strengthening advocacy for legislative, budget, and policy initiatives in housing, healthcare finance, consumer protection, transportation, elder care, and financial services. My professional career helping nonprofit and business leaders work together to break injustice and open doors to opportunity began at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, where I managed the NCLC’s Foreclosure Prevention Project. Bringing housing advocates and banking institutions to the table, the Project had an 88% success rate of keeping people in their homes. I also helped update model NCLC payment plans that made energy affordable to low-income families and elders while saving money on utilities. This kind of win-win negotiation has marked my continued career as an organizer, trainer, and leader in collaborative community development.

Ture Turnbull

  • By selling your labor for a wage or salary

Darrin Howell

  • I believe the democratic process playing out in my community requires my full attention, so I am currently a full-time candidate. But in general, I meet my family’s needs by selling my labor. I make no secret of the fact that I share the experience of many in my community who have struggled at times to make ends meet. I have depended on social supports to help put food on the table and maintain safe housing in the past.

Will you lend your office’s assistance to the independent political and economic organization of the working class?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Of course.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes.

Segun Idowu

  • I would need more clarification on what specifically is being asked, but to the extent that I am legally able, I intend to use my office to the benefit of all working people.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, enthusiastically and as a champion for workers’ rights and for ending poverty in our state.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. Our communities need all the help we can get! We need to organize!

Are you in favor of expropriating the capitalists, the banks, and the real estate monopolies, and putting those resources to use satisfying human needs, under a socialist program with democratic workers’ control?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • What do you mean by expropriating? I have seen far too much violence in my life and I am a pacifist, so I do not support violent revolution. I support progressive taxation and increasing taxes on corporations. I also believe in the power of people coming together to demand change and in the power of civil disobedience to bring about change. I believe that no one should be poor or powerless in the wealthiest country in the world and I will continue to do everything in my power to give voice to the voiceless, to empower the powerless, and to raise up those most crushed by injustice and inequality.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes. More importantly I believe that we should de-privatize goods and services that belong in the public domain such as municipal electricity, internet, trash and recycling services and emergency medical services.

Segun Idowu

  • I am in favor of using the immense wealth in this state – including that of banks, large corporations, and wealthy individuals – to make sure that everyone in my district and the Commonwealth has access to decent healthcare, an affordable home and decent food, a quality education, reliable public transportation, and access to any other assets the state has to offer. I believe that raising taxes on the wealthy is simply asking them to pay their fair share.

Nika Elugardo

  • I strongly support ending corporate welfare, eliminating corporate tax credits and earmarks (except as rewards for exceptional social justice and corporate responsibility, e.g., surpassing required limits for reducing carbon footprint or culturally humble and competent training of urban youth to work in fulfilling jobs), holding corporations financially accountable (through taxes, fees, and regulations) for social costs broadly defined, limiting unconscionable wages and exploitative profit margins, breaking up monopolies, and directing those funds towards social programs to satisfy human needs under robust democratic control by the people. I support strong and robust unions that give workers real control of their work, and I support helping workers form cooperatives and other worker-owned and worker- managed enterprises that give them democratic control in the economy. DSA and I are both committed to creating a world that is based on justice and not on exploitation, which puts people over profits and ends the oppressive system in place today. I look forward to working with DSA to build a future that we can be proud of.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • I have long been an advocate for policies and programs that help to ensure people can meet all of their essential needs. And for more than a decade, I’ve been on the front lines fighting against those who seek to remove us from our homes, keep us from feeling safe, and prevent us from having the resources we need to be healthy. Many of these fights have targeted the major corporations and millionaire/billionaire class who will do all they can to avoid paying their fair share to support our communities.

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