Meet Melissa Calderon

TS: How long have you been a member of the Socialist Party USA?

MC: For about a year.

TS: What led you to join?

MC: The belief that education, health and medical care should be funded, managed and administered by the government on all levels. I became interested in the socialist movement when I was 18-years-old and stumbled onto a brochure that been planted inside a newspaper stand.

TS: What was your upbringing like?

MC: I grew up in a middle-class environment in California, in a conservative household.

TS: What problems are people facing in your community? And how do you think socialism would solve those problems?

MC: The issues most affecting my community is lack of living-wage jobs and healthcare. Socialism would solve these problems by offering socialized healthcare and doing away with the capitalist system.

TS: What are some of the biggest challenges to organizing and being a socialist in Mississippi?

MC: The biggest challenge in organizing and being a Socialist in Mississippi is re-educating a community of people who are stubborn and who will fight to hold onto the traditional beliefs and ideas of their parents, grandparents and community.

TS: What would you like to see happen now and in the future in terms of Party activity?

MC: I would like to see the party assist its members in Mississippi — especially Hattiesburg — more, to help them spread the word within a safe established group of fellow socialists. Because as we all know, the word socialism in a poor, working-class Republican state like Mississippi, socialism is a dirty word. Especially in the area of Mississippi where I live, where it’s white, middle class and old.

TS: In what ways do you integrate socialist principles into your everyday life?

MC: By continuing to fight for equal rights, for living-wage jobs, socialized healthcare, education and childcare for working families. Also, I’m continuously fighting for women who choose to stay home to raise their children, making sure that they have government support to do so within government birth control limits.


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