Former labor organizer and Plainfield resident, Matthew Andrews, 33, announced his bid for the nomination of the Liberty Union Party to represent Vermont in the US House of Representatives today.
Matthew brings energy and organizing skills developed over years as a socialist in the labor, anti-war, and environmental movements. Speaking to his broad range of political interests, Matthew says, “Narrow policy debates often prevent us from seeing the forest from the trees. I see the many political challenges we face as symptoms of a larger problem. We’re up against the limits of capitalism.”
Expanding upon his political perspective, Matthew explains “I am entering this race with a profound sense of duty to be a voice for the voiceless. Most people just want secure livelihoods and a better future for their children. But everywhere we look we see banks getting bailed out while people are evicted from their homes. Pharmaceutical companies jack up prices while millions lack access to health care. Oil companies make record profits even as our water is polluted and the climate warms. Telecommunication companies and the NSA spy on us with impunity while our government fights wars and props up undemocratic regimes. People who had hoped these problems would go away after Bush left the White House are sobering up to the difficult task ahead. We need a new way of doing things. The two official political parties are in the left and right pockets of big business. Across the country working people are beginning to talk seriously about the need for an independent political party. We have a great opportunity to lead this movement in Vermont with the Liberty Union Party.”
Matthew admits he does not have illusions of winning the vote this November. “I prefer to set more meaningful goals.” He explains, “We need to continue the conversation about capitalism that broke out during Occupy Wall Street. We need to organize ourselves into community groups, labor unions, cooperatives, and a united political party. Real social change comes not from great leaders with great ideas, but from grassroots movements that empower regular people. It’s a project that will go beyond one election cycle.”
When asked about splitting votes away from the incumbent, Democrat Peter Welch, Matthew answers, “No candidate owns your vote. By being on the ballot, I will give voters a real choice. I am standing in this election, not as myself, but as a representative of Liberty Union and the socialist movement. It’s an opportunity for voters to send a strong message. The democratic process should express the will of the people, not consolidate power for one or two political parties.”
Among those who inspire Matthew’s political activism are an eclectic list of historical figures, including Eugene Debs, George Orwell, and Henry David Thoreau, as well as modern luminaries Noam Chomsky, Glen Ford, Vijay Prashad, Richard Wolff, and Edward Snowden. “There’s already so much great thinking and activism happening in Vermont and around the country,” Matthew explains, “I want my campaign to be about sharing the good work of others too.”
“The typical way of doing politics is about spending a lot of money to sell an image to people.” Matthew said, “We can’t compete with money, but we can compete with ideas. I’m asking for your vote on election day. But more importantly, I’m asking you to become the agent of change you want to see in the world. Nothing is impossible if enough people open their hearts, open their minds, and organize together.”
The Liberty Union Party is helping Matthew to collect 500 signatures to appear on the Liberty Union primary ballot. The deadline for signatures is June 12. Matthew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-322-5069.