KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Katie Campbell is one of those people I often run into at the kinds of rallies the Nova Scotia Advocate likes to cover. At this time Katie is the Halifax candidate for the Communist Party. We interviewed her last week to find out more.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, and why you teamed up with the Communist Party.
I am a mother and I’m an artist. If I look back at my life, I’m not different from anybody else living in this country. I have lived through the tightening of the fiscal noose all workers are experiencing, the loss of full time work, losing benefits, going from contract to contract. I have always been a lefty. The last number of years things have become critical. For me, it was time to figure out how I could participate in creating really badly needed change.
I really like the platform that we are running on. It looks at what is wrong socially with Canada right now, and it offers solutions that don’t involve the for profit aspect of capitalism. We operate in a capitalist society, which means everything is for profit. If it’s not for profit, it’s not considered of value.
Just to illustrate this, in terms of global warming, we understand the problems, and we know the answers. But we cannot get action because our government is conflicted with capital. And they’re not willing to risk profit margins to make that shift.
And we see the same thing in terms of housing. People think they own their house, but you don’t own it until you paid the last mortgage payment. The bank owns your house, and they can evict you when you start missing payments. That makes you not that different from the people living in tents, cops can come and kick you out. We’re all living under those same conditions. Meanwhile there’s a construction boom in Halifax, we have never seen so much housing being built, even while the housing crisis has become more acute.
In a way it is also about taxation. We’ve seen a decline in corporate taxes over the past 30 years. If you shave taxes from corporations and wealthy people then you have less money to spend on social programs. Meanwhile we spend tremendous amounts on policing and the military. We could take that and move it to healthcare.
Meanwhile, we are living on stolen land, and we are committed to working nation to nation with Indigenous people, no strings attached, and not tied to continue to hold the purse strings or anything like that.
In the course of getting signatures, knocking on doors and handing out flyers, I have to tell you, what we’ve noticed is that especially younger people absolutely understand socialism and are open to it. People are looking at other options, since capitalism isn’t working for them. People are filled with rage and fear.
Isn’t voting communist merely a protest vote, that may come at the cost of a more viable progressive candidate?
People can use that kind of language, but the truth is that we have a generation of people coming up which believes in socialism. They understand it, and they want it. What’s happening is not a protest vote, it is people wanting change, and they are going to make that happen. I see this over and over while out campaigning.
All the parties have been in and out of power, and they tried this and that and nothing has happened. Something’s got to change. The Communist Party offers that change. This is where we are fundamentally different. You cannot work within a system that is hurting people and holding them back, and expect actual change to happen.
Why can’t we have a light rail between here and Sydney? Why can’t we have fast rail between Halifax and Montreal? Why not? Because it is not in the interest of capitalism to expend that money if they can’t make the profit. Whereas within socialism it’s a different metric for success.
Other parties are very conflicted, because they’re working with businesses and big corporations. The Communist Party is looking at ways to actually improve your living conditions, as well as the way that we live in this world or this society. It’s about changing that focus from purely profit for a certain class of people to making it so that wealth is redistributed into society. Within the Communist Party, there is no conflict with (the interests of) capital, because we’re simply not interested in that.
Lightly edited for length and clarity.
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