“When I become a socialist NYC Mayor…”
“I was determined to shake things up,” says Bloomberg. With an estimated net worth of twenty billion, the democrat turned republican turned independent is vying for a third term in office.
One of his opponents, NYC mayoral candidate Frances Villar says “Bloomberg can spend as much money as he can, as much money as he wants. But he’s never going to make me believe that he’s one of us – that he knows our needs and our struggles.”
Frances Villar is a 26-year-old university student and single mother preparing to challenge the city’s richest man in the upcoming mayoral election. She promises more help for the poor and the working class, and says her party could turn America from capitalism to communism.
“We have to tell these billionaires their time is up. It’s our turn,” says Villar.
She defines herself as an ambassador for the poor and working class, promising to put people before profits.
Villar advertises through leaflets and weekend street meetings in Brooklyn. Crowds so far are slim, but her campaign promises are heavy: rent control, tuition-free university, healthcare for all and no more foreclosures.
Francis Villar represents the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She and many of her volunteers identify themselves as communists. They say that socialism is the bridge to get them to the social economic structure that they fully support.
The Big Apple’s unemployment rate currently hovers above 9% – the highest in 16 years. Yet according to Forbes magazine, New York City is the world’s wealthiest capital, home to 72 billionaires.
“Wealth has to be organized in a way that suits people’s needs, that is the biggest problem. For me that’s what communism is. That’s what socialism is. That’s putting people’s needs as the first priority in society,” appeals NYC volunteer Alan Villar.
Villar’s campaign headquarters are situated below a beauty salon in Harlem. One fan cools down the back room where posters are stacked and leaflets are created, and Villar’s children play politics.
The walls and bookshelves are adorned with revolutionaries like Fidel Castro, Malcolm X, Marx and Lenin, all of whom serve as inspirational figures.
“They showed us that [communism] is beneficial to those who need it the most. It’s not beneficial to those living off exploitation and on racism and oppression,” insists Frances Villar.
The mayoral hopeful has unleashed an education campaign about communism. She has described the proposed structure to implement as a “collective yet classless society”, based on common ownership of property and production.
“Money and capitalism is a system that doesn’t work. People now in New York City are realizing that. Capitalism is built for a few. Not for the interests of the many,” Villar says emphatically.
The Soviet Union attempted it, North Korea is often attributed to it, but according to many scholars and supporters, true communism has never come to fruition.