Brandon Griffin Hoping To Bring Socialist Perspective To Beacon Hill

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Brandon Griffin is tired of the way politics is normally done on Beacon Hill.

The 41-year-old Whitman resident, who works in financial adjustments for a tech company, doesn’t think that the Democratic and Republican parties represent the interests of working people.

Therefore, Griffin is running for state representative in the Seventh Plymouth District as a member of the Workers Party of Massachusetts, a socialist political party that is officially recognized by the state. He is running against state Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington), who has represented the district since 2019. The district, which is a little more than 20 miles south of Boston, includes Whitman, Abington, and precincts 2 through 4 of East Bridgewater (but not precinct 1).

While the Workers Party is a relatively new political designation — officially recognized by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office only in early 2021 — Griffin comes into the race with some experience as an elected official. He’s a member of the planning board in the town of Whitman and served a one-year term on the Whitman Board of Health from 2021 to 2022. He’s also a member of the town’s Community Preservation Committee, a position he was appointed to by the Whitman Board of Selectmen. 

He says he thinks it’s time to offer the people something different at the state level. 

“We’re at a point in our society where socialist politics need to be involved in elections to raise awareness and specific to the district, there hasn’t been much competition for this seat,” Griffin told NewBostonPost in a telephone interview. “A lot of it is the lack of competition.”

As a left-winger, Griffin said it’s important to run for office to raise awareness of the ideas that he and the Workers Party have for the Commonwealth. One of the points he is emphasizing:  the Democratic Party does not the interests of the working class — and they’re not socialists.

“We want to shred this idea that Democratic Party and liberalism, in general, is set up to help the working class people when it’s really just a case of the Democrats a bit mirroring what the corporate Republicans do,” Griffin said. “It’s all capitalism and there’s infighting here and there, but none of them are looking out for the person who wakes up and goes to work every day. I think with COVID, inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine – which has been shamefully promoted by the Democratic Party. In total, we’ve sent $60 billion to fight this war that’s benefitting no one.”

“People are sick, people are tired, people are looking at their bank statements dwindling, and people want a way out,” he added. “I think it’s important for socialists to run for office in a time like this when it’s completely necessary.”

If elected, Griffin says he would like to prioritize the development of affordable housing while limiting the development of for-profit condominiums that he says benefit builders and real estate developers over tenants. He also wants to see policies that level the playing field between rich towns and poor cities.

“It’s not just to say we want more affordable housing and throw it out there like so much liberal reform that gets put on the floor, passed, and nothing happens,” he said. “I would remove the word ‘may’ from a lot of the verbiage where much of the burden is placed on towns like Brockton and New Bedford where the ‘may’ is the ‘may’ in the sense of ‘each municipality may build this or may tax that.’ I think creating a uniformity an equality between towns like that and Wellesley. I think an affordable housing bill that was sweeping instead of pigeonholed into communities that are already overburdened.”

Griffin also noted that he supports the Fair Share Amendment on the November ballot. It’s a millionaire’s tax that would increase the state income tax rate on income exceeding $1 million per year by four percentage points, from 5 percent to 9 percent. 

Griffin said he wants to ensure that the money would be spent the way advocates of it are promising:  on public transportation and education. 

“I don’t think it is a direct solution to an overwhelming problem,” Griffin said of the millionaires tax. “I guess it’s better than not having the corporate wealth tax raised to being a fair share. But as far as what happens with that funding, that remains to be seen. Historically, the sales pitch is a lot better than what actually ends up happening. So the funding that would come from that, I think there should be committees to set up to enforce how it is delegated out, where it goes, and why. It will be new money coming into the coffers of the state and unfortunately, often state coffers where funding goes to die.”

On domestic issues, Griffin expressed support for single-payer health care, rent control (with caveats), free public college and technical schools, and legal abortion.

While Griffin supports legal abortion and said he doesn’t think people should have to apologize for what he views as a medical procedure, he also said that he thought it is wrong that some people personally attacked the incumbent, Sullivan, for voting against the ROE Act abortion expansion bill in 2020. The bill allowed for abortion after 24 weeks in cases of fatal fetal anomalies, eliminated parental consent for 16- and 17-year-olds seeking abortions, and removed born-alive protections from previously-existing Massachusetts law.

On that point, Griffin said:


Whatever Ms. Sullivan’s reasoning may be, that was her vote. She was rightfully elected and she can vote however she wants. I’m not looking to capitalize on that, but I’m looking to bring to light how close of a margin the 2020 ROE Act was passed by. The House override barely passed, it was like four votes and Ms. Sullivan was one of those against. Not only am I for the state staying out of the decision entirely. I don’t like the states’ rights argument because it goes back to a time where a state can do anything.

I hope that the people see when the Workers Party puts out a stance, it is our stance and it is unyielding. I hope I am viewed as a pro-reproductive rights candidate. I am 100 percent in favor of the state staying out of medical procedures unless the burden is on the working class person who couldn’t possibly afford a hospital stay or whatnot.

When it comes to Roe v. Wade, I want to express that I am 100 percent pro-abortion and I don’t think it should have to be explained or apologized for.

Also, the last thing I want is for people to get worked up in a frenzy and attack Ms. Sullivan personally for a political vote. I disagree with her on many things, but the personal attack stuff is facile and I don’t believe in it. We both grew up in Abington, we’re both people, and personal attacks cheapen our message – which is an equitable society, including equitable health care, and not having to apologize for a personal choice.


Griffin also takes some positions that people might not ordinarily associate with left-wing politicians.

He doesn’t like toll roads and other regressive state fees; he opposes the state’s plan to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in 2035, calling it “capitalist liberal virtue signaling”; and he supports gun rights.

“I am 150 percent against the liberal advances to continue making gun ownership problematic and difficult for working people because in the process, you can be stonewalled right at your police station,” Griffin said. “That’s the folks that sign off on your approval for LTC. I’m 100 percent behind loosening restrictions.”

LTC stands for license to carry.

Griffin said that while gun violence in the United States is a tragedy, taking away the right of ordinary people to defend themselves is not the solution. 

“It does not excuse letting working people not have access to something the state has full access to,” he said. “If working people can’t defend themselves against a militarized state with tomatoes and snowballs, it’s just an illogical piece of liberal reform that’s just oppression. You have zero protection from the state.”

As for how he became a socialist, Griffin said that for much of his adult life he was apolitical, but he was always disgusted by war. He said he was in his 30s when he started becoming politically engaged.

“I’ve always been disgusted by the fact that poor people from country A to country B to kill and be killed by poor people ordered by the ruling class, oligarchy, or whoever runs the economy,” Griffin said. “Sadly, in the U.S., it’s become the dirtiest form of capitalism. They want to take whatever they can and that kind of pushed me to start examining what I saw as left-wing philosophers like Noam Chomsky.”

Griffin became politically involved before U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) ran for president, and he spent a few years involved with the Democratic Socialists of America’s South Shore chapter. Much of his DSA focus was on tenant organizing, which is when tenants band together to advocate for improved living conditions or against rent hikes and evictions, or on other issues in their buildings.

“I’ve never seen working people and activists come together in a small-volume, higher-result way,” Griffin said of tenant organizing. “That work was really important, especially through COVID, when people were let go, had their benefits and hours cut. What the landowners and to a lesser extent the property managers did was completely uncuffed from true economics. It’s the same as what the oil companies and the power companies have done.”

While Griffin said he respects many people involved with the Democratic Socialists of America, he worries that, at times, it is too willing to abandon socialist principles to support liberal politicians and policies.

“The more I looked at it, and it’s unfortunate because I respect many in the group, but they have been co-opted by careerists and academics,” he said. “And it’s sad because they were a large organization, then Bernie Sanders was kind of shooed out by the liberals and looking back and looking at Bernie, he was a great catalyst but not a great example.”

“We know how much it costs to live here outside of the price gouging,” he added. “You should not be paying $2,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. The person who bought it already owns it, their mortgage didn’t go up, it’s just exploitation and at what point is there an end?”

Griffin emphasized that while he does have some agreements with members of the two major political parties, he wants to put people over profit.

“I care about the people who are being stepped on by people who don’t need any more money and are happy to grind up your bones to make their bowls,” he said. “It’s a sick culture with out-of-touch politicians who don’t care and while I may have agreements here and there with Johnny Republican and Janey Democrat, there is no correlation between the socialism we want to put forth and those two parties. We’re providing another option if people want to pursue it.

“We want to get our message out there, dispel some of the bad press, shut off the mainstream media, build affordable housing, and never punch down, always punch up.”


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