Nov 2, 2021
Today is MMT candidate interview number two, with Imani Oakley in New Jersey’s tenth Congressional district, which is right across from Manhattan. No surprise, she’s running against an incumbent Democratic representative who spends most of his time away from the district, is weak on gay rights, and is lavished with big donations from industries that harm the actual people in the district. But he’s a "good Democrat".
(Here’s a list of all MMT candidate interviews.)
New Jersey’s tenth is a historically majority black district, and a mostly urban and suburban area. It struggles with gentrification and poor air quality, and has some of the highest levels of foreclosures in the nation. Regarding the latter, Imani is a law graduate who served as a constituent advocate in the Senate who supported homeowners with mortgage-related concerns. In this role, she too often witnessed the amount due in monthly payments skyrocket suddenly and randomly. This is due a loophole in US federal law that allows new fees to be arbitrarily applied when the mortgage is transferred from one bank to another. The borrowers are often blamed for their own exploitation as not being "financially savvy". Stopping this practice is one of Imani’s first legislative priorities once in office.
(A big thanks to Beyond the Spectrum for the "MMT Candidate" logo.)
Imani also talks about how New Jersey is unique in the nation with its deceptive and exploitative ballot practice called "the line". In the words of Imani, candidates essentially must "kiss the ring" of those already in power in order to be featured on the ballot. Those who do are placed together as a "team" with the biggest name on the ballot, like Joe Biden or Cory Booker. Those who don’t are banished to "ballot Siberia", disconnected from all other candidates – essentially given the appearance of a footnote or misprint. Thankfully, Imani has decided to not kiss the ring, and to instead expose the practice for all to see, and win in spite of it.
You can support Imani‘s candidacy by visiting oakleyforcongress.com (that’s F-O-R, not the number 4), and by following her on social media at ImaniOakleyNJ10 (Twitter, Facebook). You’ll also find a link to donate to her campaign in the show notes.
There are three goals of this MMT candidate interview series: the first is to support and give a platform to candidates who care about all people, and because of this, are ignored by the so-called news outlets that are, in reality, news of, by, and for the rich. The second goal is to determine what these candidates need to beat corrupt opponents supported by a corrupt party in a corrupt campaign finance system, and especially, once in office, to avoid becoming corrupted themselves. Finally, the third goal is to create a community of like minded, MMT-aware candidates who can support each other through their campaigns, and especially once in office. The latter is in order to remain focused on what really matters, which is all their constituents, in an environment where there is overwhelming pressure to focus only on the needs, favors, promises, and especially money of big donors – both in and out of their district.
If you’re a candidate and would like to be interviewed by Ramona, please contact her directly on Twitter at @RamonaMassachi, or me at email@example.com. If there's a candidate you would like to see interviewed by Ramona, please let us know, and please recommend us to them!
If you like what you hear and would like to support this interview series and this podcast, please consider becoming a monthly patron at patreon.com/activistmmt.
Before we get started, a correction: Imani wanted to clarify that her incumbent opponent has one of the lowest attendance rates in the Democratic Party, but not the lowest.
And now, onto our conversation with candidate for New Jersey’s tenth congressional district, Imani Oakley. Enjoy.