India Walton, Democratic Socialist candidate for mayor of Buffalo
- Nurse, organizer and Democratic Socialist India Walton is the Democratic candidate for mayor of Buffalo.
- She says she is not a Democrat because the party has not kept its promises.
- She says her policies are meant to help the poor, but they will also benefit the rich.
I’m Nicholas Carlson, Insider Global Editor. Here is the last part of my series, The EIC Interview, condensed and edited for clarity.
How is socialism different from democratic socialism?
I never studied socialism except in elementary school. My values correspond most closely to social programming and the belief that government must serve the people. Getting caught up in the conversation about socialism versus democratic socialism versus democracy is semantics. It’s super confusing. The bottom line is that we are just putting people before profit. As easy as that.
You could probably have a similar political agenda, just call yourself a progressive democrat and not have to deal with all that semantic baggage. So why don’t you just call yourself a Democrat?
Because progressive democrats have done a disservice to the people, and I want to be accountable to the people I serve. We also knew that Buffalo politics worked in a vacuum and that to stand out we had to be different from the same old neoliberal Democrat milquetoast.
When some people hear the word socialist, even if it’s part of ‘democratic socialist‘, they think you want everyone to have the same amount of money and the same lifestyle, no matter how hard they work. or how talented they are. Is this what you want?
Well, you know, as a mayor, I can’t effectively abolish capitalism, can I?
I think in fact, if people are less poor, rich people will be richer because there is more money circulating in the economy. I believe the poor are working, talented people, but we have a system that has been put in place to keep certain groups of people impoverished while others, you know, are making record profits from the work of others.
So no, I don’t believe that hardworking people should be the only ones poor. Those who work hard should have an equal opportunity for justice and fairness. This means that resources, especially when they come from taxpayers’ money, can benefit the working class.
I sometimes hear people say they don’t want a tie; they want equal opportunity. Is this also your goal?
Well, you know, the word equality is kind of loaded. I prefer to use the term fairness. What fairness means is that if a person has been 50 feet behind the start line for the last hundred years, then we have to provide that 50 feet to bring it back to zero before we can even start, is not it ? This is what fairness means.
Our platform is to bring swamp and fringe people into the mainstream and invest in things we all deserve like quality education, housing, health care, and good paid work.
What do you think about the fact that the rich get richer if the poor are too? You know, is it okay if this is what happens?
If the poor get richer?
This means that, if you put in place programs that help the poor achieve economic gains, is it okay with you if one of the results is that it helps the rich too?
I don’t know if the poor can get “richer” …
We live in an economic system where, when people are less poor, the natural consequence of that, intended or not, is that the rich keep getting richer, right? So there really is no way for us to prevent the rich from getting richer.
But what we need to do is appeal to the sensibilities of a lot of rich people, that they should pay their fair share, that they should pay their workers a fair and decent wage. And society as a whole will fare better if we don’t expect some people to suffer for the benefit of others.