29 October 2016
By Autumn Minery and Bryer Sousa
Bryer: Welcome Angela and thank you for being here.
If you’d like to introduce yourself, that would be great. Of course, you
are Mimi Soltysik’s running mate, the Vice Presidential ticket for the
Socialist Party USA. But to be able to represent SPUSA, you must have
engaged in quite a bit of activism during your life?
Angela: Yeah, my name is Angela Walker; I am a
native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I currently live. I have served as
the Legislative Director for the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998. I
served the union for two years and was also a member of Occupy the
Hood…[W]e were able to get a lot of linking between the unions and tried
to make sure that they kept touch with other unions and organizations;
grass roots organizations that were doing really important work. So I
did that for a few years. Then in 2014, I ran against David Clark here
in Milwaukee County as an independent socialist at the time, and we all pulled 21% of the vote… as an unknown, broke socialist…
Bryer: You pulled 21% of the vote?
Angela: Yeah, and I say “we,” because it was a
collaborative effort. I was a working class candidate and the others who
were working on the campaign were working class members as well. But
67,000 something people out of 350,000 in the county put their bets on
an unknown broke working class candidate, who was explicitly socialist,
so I thought that was pretty dope.
Mimi and the SP watched that campaign, which was unknown to me, but
it was a big deal, apparently. Evidently, it got people really excited
about it, so when he was considering this run for President, he called
Bryer: That’s quite the story. Especially because
you were able to bring around a collective of working class individuals.
That being said, what does ‘socialism’ mean to you? That is, where did
you get the inspiration to lean towards socialism? Was it an American
intellectual? Was it working class people?
Angela: For me, it’s working class people. I mean,
my family is all working class folks and they’ve practiced socialism
without ever calling it that. So I’ve been exposed to socialist ideas my
whole life. Nothing new. For me it just makes sense. We are talking
about people primarily in black and brown communities that have been so
horribly affected by capitalism (and the violence that is brought about)
in so many ways. People are ready to embrace concepts that we know that
are explicitly socialist, but also…it is just common sense. I mean, if
you’re having an issue with housing and affordability and things like
that in your area, and if people can pull their resources and go in on
one of the many abandoned buildings in our community, and then turn that
into a co-op which works to get people not only housed, but housed at a
rate they can afford, why wouldn’t you do that? Why wouldn’t you talk
about that? You know, at the time of Fight for $15, why are we not
talking about worker ownership of the workplace? It makes sense. You
know there is this issue of ‘deserve;’ who deserves living wages?
Everyone does! I don’t care if you scrub toilets for a living…you
deserve a living wage, and you deserve a say in how your workplace is
run. You should be up in arms. Such things make sense to me.