Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SP Kalamazoo City Commission Candidate Livestream Video on A Just Cannabis Economy

15 October 2019

A statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

Click here to view the livestream video.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Kalamazoo candidates address climate change, economic issues at forum

14 October 2019

By Brad Devereaux
Kalamazoo Gazette

"Argo said the city has to invest in small businesses and small business cooperatives that would be democratically run by their workers.

'And we just need to facilitate unionization in the businesses we currently have,' said Argo, who chairs the Socialist Party of Kalamazoo...."

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Eight candidates competing for three seats on Kalamazoo City Commission

14 October 2019

By Brad Devereaux
Kalamazoo Gazette

"Argo, 32, said he is chairman of the Socialist Party of Kalamazoo, a role that has included organizing community teach-ins, direct action, mutual aid and solidarity efforts with other anti-capitalist, anti-racist groups in the city. His occupation is personal support staff at Community Living Option, he said.

“For all the issues I advocate for, I understand that transformative change is only possible through vigorous working class organizing and mass mobilization,” Argo said....

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Statement Regarding Mayoral Candidate David Anderson

26 September 2019

A Statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party Candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

The following statement is in response to Mayoral candidate David Anderson's opposition to several of our campaign platform points, and other concerns I have about him as a prospective Mayor.
David Anderson has accomplished some good works for the city during his tenure as commissioner but I believe any critical analysis of his record, coupled with our city's urgent need for expedient systemic transformation, would make his prospective tenure as Mayor a barrier and hindrance towards the type of city we need to create. It is no secret to people who follow city politics that Anderson has assumed the role of a liberal, pro-capitalist politician on the board for many years.
He was one of the architects of the Foundation For Excellence, which as I have explained many times was and is a deeply problematic alternative to a progressive income tax which funnels both tax cuts and de facto financial control of the city to the very wealthiest.

The final question at our recent candidate forum cemented much of this for me, and of particular note he came out in opposition to not only some of our platform planks, but progressive platform planks shared amongst the other mayoral and commission candidates. Popular transformative proposals were all dismissed by Anderson in a quick and insubstantial manner while they were mostly embraced by the other mayoral candidates running.

- On a citizen's land bank, which is one of our key proposals to oppose gentrification and foster housing-for-all, he dismissed it by pointing to the County Land Bank that currently exists- and that if we do not like how it is currently run we should vote them (Mary Balkema) out.

While much is made of Balkema's history of racist decision making, cozying with fascists, and use of the Land Bank as a profit-making enterprise the fundamental problem with the County Land Bank remains with or without her. Unless the entire County government were replaced at once with working class radicals (a tall order to say the least), the Land Bank will bend to development strategies that curb towards profit and redevelopment that favor the interests of the wealthy. Postive change can be made on the margins (a fellow commission candidate has done great work in this regard), but this structural reality and incentive remains the same. This is why a democratically controlled Citizen's Land Bank is vitally necessary.

- He came out against a ward system, that would provide greater representation to the city by having commissioners directly elected from their neighborhoods and districts. This system has existed in many major American cities for decades upon decades. It would allow low-income neighborhoods in Kalamazoo guaranteed representation, not just those cherry picked by large donors or disproportionate representation from higher income neighborhoods like Winchell and Westnedge Hill.

Save any actual argument against it, he vaguely mentioned how "Battle Creek has had problems with their ward system." Lacking any sort of analysis, it becomes clear that Anderson doesn't want a ward system because the entrenched interests that want him as Mayor don't want a ward system.
- To publically financed elections, he asked "who is going to pay for it?" Anderson's dismissal is willful ignorance, there are funding models for such programs across the country and the world we could look at and learn from. It allows for better equity and representation, and doesn't make low-income as much of a barrier to running for office. To oppose this out of hand means you have no interest in equity in representation.

- Anderson pointed out that a progressive wealth tax cannot be enacted due to state law. I will link to the full article below regarding the Foundation For Excellence's dubious inception, but this was not always the case and a progressive income tax was once on the table to deal with the city's budget crisis. I found this particularly dishonest; he painted this as being "out of his hands."
It was Anderson in particular who helped developed the Foundation For Excellence as a billionaire-friendly alternative. It was he who helped defeat and bury the proposed progressive income tax in this city when it was still legally possible to enact it. It may be out of our hands at the moment, but Anderson was directly involved in making sure this tax on the very wealthiest did not come to pass in our city.

I am running in this election, to put it simply, because people asked me to. In this regard I think me and David Anderson have something in common. However, the people making the ask in our cases have competing economic interests, and Anderson's candidacy fundamentally represents the continuity of the status quo. In other words, a city that is socially "Bernie Sanders" and economically "Ronald Reagan."

Candidates like Anderson serve to actively negotiate between the city's oligarchs and the city's middle and lower classes. Positive changes are made around the margins, but always to that outcome which is acceptable to the very rich- which in our case is one that at the root adheres to conservative trickle down economics, a few social welfare programs are funded (but not to the scale that is necessary- just enough to maintain good "public relations" and sentiment to Kalamazoo's philanthropists), but oppressive class relations remain the same.

We all need to be more critical on our politics. Some of you know I used to be part of the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party, and may wonder why I abandoned the tactic of "pushing them to the left." I still work with many people who are part of the KCDP but many in their membership are affected, and not entirely but enough to endorse a candidate like Anderson, by a sort of cognitive dissonance that happens in most of the Democratic Party across the country. The membership is progressive in policy- many of them are workers or retired workers themselves- but they are unwilling to critically analyze how candidates and local politicians actually push, represent, or misrepresent those policies.
I am not choosing to endorse any of the mayoral candidates in this election, but from what I have seen the other 4 candidates have a lived experience of or from the working class, and are offering significant progressive policy changes to the city. In the next few years and decades, it will be important to have a Mayor that is amenable and pushable in regards to radical changes (some of which will be literally necessary for the survival of our city's working class).

As I say time and time again, the power of the city is truly in the labor of the working class. We could shape the city however we wanted with enough direct action and solidarity- and eventually me and the Kalamazoo Socialist Party would like to see a city that does not have a role like "Mayor" and engages in direct democracy with its citizens. But to use an analogy; there is a lot of difference and a lot more energy needed when you are pushing a concrete wall versus a wooden barrier.

On a personal note, I know it is not necessarily good political strategy to critique people who I may, come November 5th, be serving with. But as one of the people who recently endorsed me said so eloquently, part of the reason I am running is to ask uncomfortable questions. So here it is; do you want a Mayor who feels obligated to provide continuity to the status quo, or one who actually seeks to bring about substantial reform? Remember that on the 5th of November, and every election after that.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

SP Kalamazoo City Commission Candidate Livestream Video on Women's Rights and LBGTQIA Rights

25 September 2019

A Statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

Click here to view the livestream video.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Andrew Argo running for Kalamazoo City Commission

24 September 2019

By Brad Devereaux
Kalamazoo Gazette

"Argo said he has organized and volunteered with many groups in the area focused on equity, justice and building political power for working people. He said he was a primary organizer for Kalamazoo For Revolution, a group formed out of the Bernie Sanders movement that served as a community watchdog and advocacy group involved in local city and county politics.

More recently, Argo said, he has taken on the role of chairman of the Socialist Party of Kalamazoo, which has included organizing community teach-ins, direct action, mutual aid and solidarity efforts with other anti-capitalist, anti-racist groups in the city...."

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Candidate Questionnaire: Joshua Bradley, Raleigh City Council, District A

18 September 2019
Name as it appears on the ballot:  Joshua Bradley
Age:  45
Party affiliation:  Socialist Party USA; Green Party
Campaign website: jbradleyforraleighworkers.org
Occupation & employer:  Hotel Accountant,  Summit Hospitality Group
Years lived in Raleigh: 26
1) Given the direction of Raleigh government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
The Raleigh city government has certainly tried to listen to the concerns of city inhabitants, but attempts to address gentrification, affordable housing and mass transit are always made within the constraints imposed by capitalist development. For example, city councils past and present have talked about the need for better mass transit, but have made zoning decisions encouraging sprawl that place effective mass transit further and further from reality. Developers are allowed to continue the construction of housing for high-end markets while affordable housing is discussed and worried over, but actual construction of affordable housing lags far behind need. There is no attempt to restrict land speculation, which drives up prices and drives out less wealthy residents. A number of things need to change. First, stop approving luxury home construction. The land speculators and  property owners can wait until the city can comprehensively address affordable housing. (The definition of ‘affordable’ itself needs to be revisited, as current assumptions leave out people who need housing but don’t meet the percentage of adjusted median income used to define what affordable housing will require in income.) Families living in hotels while developers build McMansions and expensive apartments is not justified if we aspire to a society that provides for all. Second, stop allowing developments to be designed for cars. If ever an incentive was to be given to developers (which in general I oppose), it should be the elimination of the personal automobile as a necessity. The reduction in pollution and the personal savings to homeowners and tenants would be enormous, as well as increased safety for pedestrians, especially children. Much of what we call acceptable development will become increasingly unsustainable as anthropogenic climate change advances, and, equally immediately, open space decreases . We can no longer assume unlimited expansion, and must begin to plan for denser populations and less sprawl. Finally, we have to make the city financially available, both in terms of housing and access to services, for people of all income levels. Increasing housing prices create even more commuter culture, where people who work in the city can only afford to live outside of it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

SP Kalamazoo City Commission Candidate Livestream Video on Access to Mental Health Services

17 September 2019

A Statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party Candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

Click here to view the livestream video.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sunday, September 1, 2019

SP Candidate Andy Argo Featured on MichiganLeft Podcast

1st September 2019

Andy Argo, Socialist Party candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission, was a featured guest on the MichiganLeft podcast.

Click here to listed to the episode.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

SP City Commission Candidate Livestream Video on Preparing Kalamazoo for the Climate Crisis

27 August 2019

A Statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

Click here to view the livestream video.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

SP Kalamazoo City Commission Candidate Livestream Video on International Solidarity

20 August 2019

A Statement by Andy Argo, Socialist Party candidate for Kalamazoo City Commission

Click here to view the livestream video.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What the heck is socialism anyway? Opinions in Wisconsin shaped by a growing generational divide

 20 March 2019

By Mica Soellner 
Appleton Post-Crescent

"Milwaukee was the birthplace of "sewer socialism," a movement that sought to clean up neighborhoods and factories with new sanitation systems, municipal water and power systems, local parks and better public education systems.

The city has also elected three socialist mayors in its history — Emil Seidel, Daniel Hoan and Frank Zeidler— as well as Victor Berger to the House of Representatives, making him the first socialist to serve in Congress in 1910. Zeidler ran for president in 1976 as the candidate for the Socialist Party USA...."

Friday, March 8, 2019

Trump’s Road to Re-Election Paved with Anti-Socialism

8 March 2019

By Patsy Widakuswara
VOA News

"Experts say American views on socialism have evolved, particularly those of millennials who came of age during the 2008 recession. Many became disillusioned by an economy that is delivering fewer opportunities than their parents enjoyed at the same time that the wealthiest Americans got far richer.

'We’ve had increased interest and membership since the Trump election,” said Gregory Pason, national secretary of the Socialist Party, U.S.A. “Our feeling is that people are looking for an alternative to Trump policies and understand the Democratic Party is not providing a real alternative....'"

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