The following interview took place between SPMOC Chair Pat Noble and NJ Youth United Against War and Imperialism in March of 2012. It was published on page 4 of the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of The Youth Organizer (YO!), the newspaper of NJYUAR. To find out more about NJYUAR, please visit www.NJYouthUnited.org.
Interview with Pat Noble, recent socialist youth candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder
YO! You recently ran for public office. Can you give the details?
Pat: I ran for the Board of Chosen Freeholders in Monmouth County, NJ in 2011 as a socialist. I was nominated by the Socialist Party of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, a local of the Socialist Party of New Jersey. The SPNJ is the state affiliate of the Socialist Party USA. I decided to run for Freeholder with the goals of bringing a socialist alternative to the people of Monmouth County, as well as to build the local party through the campaign.
YO! Why did you run as a socialist instead of as a Democrat or Republicans?
Pat: As a socialist, it would be a complete contradiction of my beliefs to run under the banner of the capitalist Democratic Party. The Democrats and Republicans both serve as the tools to entrench capitalism’s continued success in electoral politics. How is it possible that the Democratic Party represents the working class, but at the same time is funded by and for the wealthy? It is not possible, and I could never bring myself to uphold that blatant lie by being a Democrat or running for office as one.
YO! How were you able to work your socialist viewpoint into local concerns?
Pat: I wrote a platform that offered real solutions to local problems. Some of the proposals I made were to use the former Fort Monmouth land for cooperative businesses and affordable housing, mandate that all county employees are earning a livable wage of at least fifteen dollars an hour, and enact a moratorium of eminent domain in the county. By approaching the system issue-by-issue, it becomes easier for individuals to understand socialism and some of what its application would look like.
YO! How has your candidacy helped your development and do you recommend such engagement for other youth activists?
Pat: Being a socialist is always an ongoing development and learning experience. The campaign was a great way to get in touch with the average person and what they need and believe. I recommend that youth activists involve themselves in electoral action, be it as a candidate or a campaign volunteer. The corporatist parties always try and court the “youth vote”, despite the facts that they deny the same youths an affordable higher education, and would willingly send them to fight and die in foreign wars in their name. It’s high time the youth take action, instead of rallying around lying elitists like Barack Obama and Ron Paul.
YO! What about those who say that if you want a chance to win you have to run as Democrat or Republican?
Pat: There are a few things to keep in mind when someone says that alternative parties don’t stand a chance against the two corporate parties. Firstly, the Democrats and Republicans have rigged the system in a way that almost makes them political wings of the government, rather then independent organizations. Running with either party does give you a better chance of winning an election, but to do that, you have to essentially accept that you are helping to keep the two-party dictatorship functioning. Running with an alternative party, as the system currently stands, is less a means to be elected into office, and more a means to use your platform as a candidate to build your party and spread your message. That is what alternative party campaigns are really about, spreading your ideals and strengthening their support as a result. When participating in electoral action as a socialist, the most important fact you can remember is that capitalism will never be voted away. At best, you can vote right-wing capitalists out of office and replace them with centrists. Electoral action is a way to fight the system, but it will not be the way to replace it. There has never been a point in history where the oppressors have given up power to the oppressed solely because of a democratic vote and without non-electoral struggle, and there is no reason to believe now will prove any different.
YO! How would an age eligible youth go about getting backing to run for office from the NJ Socialist Party?
Pat: If a youth in New Jersey was interested in running for office as a Socialist Party candidate, or with our endorsement, they should first read the Party’s Statement of Principles and platform, to ensure that she or he agrees with what we stand for. To find out more information about possibly running for office with us, I would encourage anyone to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.