Interview with Socialist Party USA 2008 Presidential candidate Brian Moore

Posted by J.D. On Wednesday, November 26, 2008 0 comments
Why Socialism? Can you explain for those who aren't familiar with the platform you ran on?

Brian Moore: Because we want to achieve a radical systemic change of economic systems that will better serve the common good, and bring a more egalitarian and quality life than under capitalism. Under capitalism, only a small elite of owners, senior company officers and investors reap the rewards and profits, and they do it on the backs of the common every day worker. They do not share the benefits with those who have worked the most.

Our platform is based on social justice, egalitarianism, and world peace. We have a communal responsibility to our fellow man, and not the concept of "self-interest" that capitalism pushes and tries to legitimize as part of our nature and noble. It is selfish, egotistical, and unfair. It is based on a small group inheriting the wealth and the power, or on those who compete against their colleagues and neighbors.

When and how did you become a Socialist?

Brian Moore: I only became a Socialist two years ago, but realized I was a "closet socialist" for the last ten years. As a political candidate I always promoted a national socialized health plan, antiwar, favored a guaranteed annual income, advocated worker control and elimination of corporate control. However, I also grew up in a traditional Irish Catholic family where we were instilled with the spirit of fairness and equality by our parents and religious teachers. I trained in a catholic seminary in the Franciscan Order in the Missions of California, which was dedicated to serving the poor and impoverished peoples of the world.

I also spent almost three years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Latin America and was exposed to the poverty, and inequities of society, and of our country's economic policies on other third and fourth world countries.

What benefits do you feel that Socialism offers to society as opposed to other philosophies like Capitalism?

Brian Moore: Fairness, equality, equal opportunity and economic rights of full employment, access to full education through university participation, access to quality housing and comprehensive medical, dental and mental health benefits. Society is more democratic under socialism, with workers and citizens owning, managing and controlling the companies and communities they live and work it. Decisions are made locally and on a group basis.

Whereas, capitalism is an economic system where decisions are made at the top and come down in a dictatorial fashion. The companies are owned and controlled by a select few. Communities are usually run by a strong local government, or by political leaders who have been bought off by corporations. There really is no participatory decision-making by the majority as is under socialism.

Socialism also de-centralizes government, and takes the power out of the hands of government bureaucrats and a strong military. Socialism relies on citizen input and control, it directors government employees to implement the citizen councils and commissions who set policy and make the decisions.

A new Labor Department report states that employers cut 240,000 jobs in October - bringing the year's total job losses to nearly 1.2 million. Does Socialism offer a solution to the growing unemployment problem?

Brian Moore: Yes, confiscate and ration all for-profit corporations. We transfer ownership, management and control over to the workers, and thus eliminate the big salaries and stocks and dividends that go to a select few at the top who traditionally have inherited the wealth and the power. We decide on the value of the products and services, their prices, and then share in any nominal profits with the workers. More importantly, we reduce drastically industries and institutions that do not contribute to the welfare of our society. We no longer use the "for-profit" motive as rationale for the existence of developing a product or service.

Instead we use "improving the quality of life" for all citizens and our communities as the rationale for production and the distribution of services. We eliminate, or reduce drastically the defense budget, all overseas bases, end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, phase out our nuclear power plants, shut down our for-profit corporations, the 1600 private insurance agencies, the intelligence agencies, the homeland security agency, etc that taxes our economy and annual budgets. We free up billions of dollars for the development of mass transportation systems, small farms in the rural areas, schools, more medical facilities and providers to adequately serve the 305 million Americans, end the wars, and downsize our military and their subsequent expenses.

We radically transform our society from a military-industrial economy, based on wars and defense contracts, to a more social society to promote more leisure time, shorter work weeks, longer vacations, child care, etc. We salary our physicians and medical providers, own the hospitals and clinics, and free up 30% of the health care dollars that traditionally went to private companies in the form of profits, administration, paper work, advertising, etc.

We will retrain all defense industry people to learn how to develop and produce social products and services that benefit the society and the common good.

Your platform stated that you would "Nationalize Oil Industry, Pharmaceutical Industry, Banking and Insurance Industry, Railroad and Automotive Industries, and Entertainment and Sports Industries". How do you feel this would benefit the country?

Brian Moore: As mentioned in the previous answer, we would free up and re-distribute the profits and availability of new dollars for products and services that better benefit the community and the general welfare. Right now those "extra" dollars are kept in the pockets and bank accounts of 5% of the nation, the business leaders, who control the power a nd wealth and abuse the rights of 95% of the population by underpaying them, depriving them of full access to health care, pensions, time off, social services for their family, plus not to speak of the harm these for-profit companies have down to our natural resources for the profit motive. They have violated our waters, our land and our air, to their selfish ends, that many times ends up in perennial wars to protect their economic interests at the expense of peoples' welfare.

How do you respond to critics who claims that "income sharing reduces individual incentives to work, and therefore incomes should be individualized as much as possible"?

Brian Moore: To the contrary, workers have a greater incentive to work in order to make MORE money, plus improve their families' and the society's well-being. In addition, they participate in setting criteria, determining the production and distribution of the products and services, and thus participate in such a democratic fashion that they feel a part of the outcome. They now, for the first time, like owners, take pride in their work, because they are the real owners. They can see the result of their labors, and know they had a full participatory role.

Furthermore, the workers will be the judges of their co-workers, and citizens in their society who have handicaps and limitations. Usually, juries and co-workers are harder on themselves. So anyone who abuses the system, will suffer the consequences.

How do you respond to people that say Socialists just want to punish those who are successful by taking their money away and giving it to others?

Brian Moore: Socialists want a more egalitarian society where everyone is given an equal opportunity to live a quality life and to fulfill their aspirations. We also believe that citizens have an obligation to the common good and the general welfare of society, and that we should share our benefits with our fellow citizens, within reason.

We are still willing to have managers, administrators and CEO's of companies and institutions make more money per their responsibilities, but we wish to cap the ratio of 5 to 1, or, at the most, 10 to 1. However, now in our society we have small groups of people who inherit the wealth and the power, and make in excess of 100 to 1 or even 1,000 to 1 compared to their workers. This is pure greed, selfishness, and undemocratic.

If people do not uphold their end of the bargain in a socialist society, they will not be given a free ride. They, too, will suffer the consequences.

Do you think America will move closer to Socialism any time in the future?

Brian Moore: Yes, we are now. Look at the bailout, the automotive industries, the teetering economy under capitalism, putting us on the verge of collapse. In addition, we have social security, public transportation, public schools, Medicare, Veterans Administration services, etc, which are elements of socialism in our society.

If the economy collapses, we will have a watershed toward socialism. We just have to have the infrastructure ready.

What are your views on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Brian Moore: We should pull out of both countries immediately. I would give them no more than three months for the three major tribes to assemble, knock out a constitution, hold a vote, and take office. We should not only pull out all of our troops from both countries, but also shut down the military bases, the private reconstruction contractors, and bring them home as well.

We should pursue those responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, and the other failed flight disasters, as criminals, just like we did on the Lockerbie incident in Scotland.

Those responsible should be pursued and prosecuted as criminals, instead of declaring a war on terrorism, and going after entire countries or cultures.

Do you feel that America will move closer to conflict with Iran? If so, what are your views on that potential conflict?

Brian Moore: Not if I have anything to say about it. We should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and begin to offer Nuclear Disarmament treaties to every country who possesses them, in order to begin an immediate and comprehensive phase out of all nuclear weapons.

If we are unwilling to disarm, then Iran should be entitled to commercial development of nuclear power, just as we do, and the nearby Pakistanis, Indians, and Israelis have now as well.

There is absolutely no reason for the United States of America to even come close to a potential war with Iran. They have no military to speak of comparable to ours, and we can monitor, if not cease the nuclear development if we take the leadership in disarming our own nation.

In 2006, you ran as a Green Party-endorsed Independent candidate for Bill Nelson's Florida Senate seat. Were you an advocate of Socialism at this time already or did that come later?

Brian Moore: I was a closet Socialist, without knowing it. I supported a socialized health care system nationwide, a guaranteed income for all citizens, a sharing of the authority between the corporate owners and the workers; and the cessation of the initiation and the actual invasion of Iraq.

However, I really did not become a strong advocate of the Socialism until about 18 months ago, and it has grown monthly, as I become more immersed in the socialist culture, mindset, and campaigns.

Another aspect to keep in mind is that I was brought up in a Irish-Catholic family, where we were taught about right and wrong, justice and fairness, and the importance of one adhering to their principles. I also entered the Franciscan seminary to study to become a priest in an Order dedicated to the cause of correcting poverty in the world. To help the downtrodden, the poor, and the huddled masses.

I also entered the U.S. Peace Corps and became knowledgeable and familiar with worldwide poverty and destitution, and the inequities of our society, and of our own unfair foreign policies and economic practices.

I have read that you were nominated by the Mississippi Natural Law Party for President in August of 2008. You also ran for the Peace and Freedom Party nomination which ultimately went to Ralph Nader. Were you already running on the Socialist Party USA ticket at this time? If so, were you simply trying to amass a larger political base by pursuing the other nominations as well?

Brian Moore: Yes, I was. That is correct, I was attempting to obtain a larger political base in order to attract media and press attention and to become a known entity with as many states as possible.

You received 6,563 votes in the 2008 Presidential election. Knowing that this election had people riveted between Barack Obama and John McCain, did you feel that any third party candidates had a chance to garner any appreciable amount of votes?

Brian Moore: I suspected early on, because of the Obama phenomenon, the fear of a Republican winning, and the negative experience of Nader in the 2000 election, that people had the "spoiler" situation on their minds.

On the other hand, I felt that the country was not happy with the choices that they had; an untested, relatively unknown candidate, who was also black for the first time; plus, a more conservative, more elderly candidate whose changing loyalties to the issues, caused confusion in the minds of the voters.

Sine we were official "write-in" candidates in 22 states, we also believe we will garner additional votes, and possibly put us over the 8.000 to 8,000 vote range.

However, all third-party candidates, to my knowledge, or their parities, received substantially less votes than in the previous two or three elections. Nader, McKinney with the Greens, Barr with the Libertarians, Baldwin with the Constitution Party, etc. all received from one-fourth to one-eight the votes they had received in previous elections.

Do you have an opinion about anything specific that may have hampered the success of your campaign?

Brian Moore: Lack of money, resources, unsupported by my political party and members, and their failure to assist us in petitioning and signature collection In approximately 5 to 10 other states where we could have gained ballot access.

Secondly, the press and media blackout, mostly, and its concentration on just the two major party candidates. The debates without third-party candidates, etc.

And the nasty image of socialism in our country, reinforced by the red-baiting and fear-mongering of John McCain and Sarah Palin; plus all the political pundits referred to socialism as negative, wrong, communist, unpatriotic, unrealistic, and unacceptable.

Was there anything about your campaign that you would consider a disappointment? Is there anything you achieved that you didn't foresee?

Brian Moore: Yes, I was very disappointed in the press and media's continued blackout of minor party candidates; and other minor party or independent candidates not including us in their requests to participate in presidential debates, or include us in their criticism of not being included in the national debates that only included the two major candidates.

I was also disappointed that the press and media's concept of "socialism" is still in the past. They have contributed to and reinforced their biases and false images of the socialist philosophy and economic system, and of the Socialist Party. The fourth estate falsely equates the SP with big government and the sharing of personal possessions and property.

Our campaign also expected more national support from the Socialist Party and membership as well as the collection of signatures for ballot qualification from the membership in individual states.

Do you have any intention of running for office again? If so, what office would you be pursuing?

Brian Moore: Who knows. We need to assess the results of this election, since the votes are still coming in. We just gained 910 write-in votes from Texas today, so we are now around 7,610 total votes. We hope to reach the 10,000 vote mark when all the write-in votes come in by late December or January, 2009.

We want to promote socialism, and we also believe that the capitalist system is on the brink of collapse, so I would say more focus will be more on setting up some concrete plans for a sudden transformation to socialism, and to continue to promote the new image of socialism, and educate the public about its rich heritage in our country.

While congressional and a U.S. Senate races are coming up in my home state of Florida in 23 months, I have more of an interest in building the locals in Florida and nationally, and also educating myself about socialism is other parts of the world, especially on the partial successes in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.

Your campaign bio has an impressive list of civic involvement. Is there anything specifically you feel particularly proud of achieving?

Brian Moore: In Washington, DC I helped bring heating oil to low income minorities in the inner city over several cold winters; the city of Wash. DC erected fence barriers with roofs, over all the freeway overpasses as a safety measure for pedestrians and children on bikes due to my initial letters to the DC government about one such bridge across the street from the HUD building on 7th & E Streets, SW. Multiple bridge overpass fences throughout the city were implemented soon thereafter.

I lobbied against the construction of an International trade center for Union station, with my writing letters-to-the-editors, personal editorials and guest columns, resulting in the project's stoppage for Union Station. In its place there is now a highly successful Union Station store and shopping and restaurant center.

I then followed up with organizing my neighborhood in the southwest section of DC to fight the construction of the International Trade Center on the southwest DC waterfront. We ultimately won, after several years of meetings and demonstrations, and the new International Trade Center, called the Ronald Reagan Building, was moved to 14th and Pennsylvania Ave, NW, and constructed there.

This was a great environmental achievement on the part of our neighborhood in protecting our neighborhood identity and environment, which I lead and we succeeded in.

What is your opinion on the passage of Proposition 8 in California and the various protests that have followed its passage?

Brian Moore: I favor the recognition that marriages between same-sex partners are legitimate and should be recognized and treated as such.

Thank you very much for your time and I wish you luck in any future political endeavors.


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