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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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United States

United States of America — Green PartyCandidate for President

Photo of Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins

Retired Teamster
4,203 votes (36.2%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • CLIMATE ACTION – An Ecosocialist Green New Deal featuring public enterprise to rapidly rebuild the power, transportation, manufacturing, buildings, and agricultural sectors for 100% clean energy and zero or negative greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
  • ECONOMIC JUSTICE – An Economic Bill of Rights: Job guarantee. Guaranteed income above poverty. Affordable housing for all. Improved Medicare for All. Tuition-free public education preK through college. Retirement security by doubling Social Security.
  • PEACE – End the endless wars. US troops home. Cut military spending by 75%. No First Use of nuclear weapons. Disarm to Minimum Credible Deterrent. Negotiate mutual nuclear disarmament with nuclear powers. Sign the new Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Retired Teamster
Mail Handler, U.S. Postal Service (2018–2019)
Truck Unloader, UPS - United Parcel Service (2001–2018)
Business Developer of Cooperatives, CommonWorks (1991–2001)
Carpenter, Various and Self-Employed (1971–1991)
Bus Boy, Ranch Hand, Landscaper, Construction Laborer, Various (1967–1971)

Education

Dartmouth College, New Hampshire 4 years of study, no degree, social ecology (1977)
Burlingame and San Mateo High Schools, California High School Diploma, college prep and vocational classes (1971)

Community Activities

Co-Founder, Green Party of the United States (1984–current)
Member, Teamsters for a Democratic Union (2001–current)
Member, Vietnam Veterans Against the War (1972–current)
Member, Socialist Party USA (1973–current)
Retired Member, Teamsters Local 317 (2001–current)

Biography

Howie Hawkins is the original Green New Dealer, the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010.

He is also one of the original Greens in the United States, having participated in the first national meeting to organize a US Green Party in St. Paul, Minnesota in August 1984.

Howie became active in “The Movement” for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area. Repelled by the racism and warmongering he saw in both major parties, he asked, “Where is my party?”

From the start, he was committed to independent working-class politics for a democratic, socialist, and ecological society. He supported the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968, the People’s Party in 1972 and 1976, and the Citizens Party in 1980. Since that first national meeting in 1984, Howie has been a Green Party organizer.

As the Green Party’s candidate for governor of New York in 2010, 2014, and 2018, each time he received enough votes to qualify the Green Party for a ballot line for the next four years. In 2014, he received 5 percent of the vote, the most for an independent progressive party candidates for governor in New York history except for Socialist candidates who received 5.7% in 1918 and 5.6% in 1920.

As a Green Party candidate many times for local office in Syracuse, his vote grew from 3% for at-large councilor in 1993 to 48% for a district council seat in 2011. In 2015, he received 35% of the citywide vote for city auditor.

Outside of electoral politics, Howie has been a constant organizer in peace, justice, union, and environmental campaigns.

When his draft number was called in 1972, Howie enlisted in the Marine Corps while continuing to organize against the Vietnam War. He remains a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War as well as a member of the American Legion Dunbar Post 1642 in Syracuse.

After studying at Dartmouth College, Howie worked in construction in New England in the 1970s and 1980s. He helped organize a worker cooperative that specialized in energy efficiency and solar and wind installations.

When the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs, A. Philip Randolph, Helen Keller, and Norman Thomas re-established itself as an independent party in 1973, Howie joined and remains a member. He is also a member of Solidarity, which promotes “socialism from below” and international solidarity because the fight for freedom against all dictators and imperialisms is worldwide and indivisible.

Howie was a co-founder of the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance in 1976. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was also a leader in the anti-apartheid divestment movement to end US corporate investment in the racist system of oppression and labor exploitation in South Africa.

Howie moved to Syracuse in 1991 to develop cooperatives for CommonWorks, a federation of cooperatives that promoted cooperative ownership, democratic control, and ecological sustainability in the local economy.

From 2001 to 2018, he worked as a Teamster unloading trucks at UPS. Now retired, he remains a supporter of Teamsters for a Democratic UnionUS Labor Against the War, the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare, the Labor Network for Sustainability, and the Labor Notes network.  Howie’s articles on politics, economics, and environmental issues have appeared in Against the Current, Black Agenda Report, CounterPunch, Green Politics, International Socialist Review, Labor Notes, New Politics, Peace and Democracy News, Roll Call, Society and Nature, Z Magazine, and other publications. He is the editor of, and a contributor to, Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate (Haymarket Books, 2006).

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid, and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Howie Hawkins:

I have proposed a budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal, which is an emergency federal program to rebuild all of the infrastructure and production systems of the country for 100% clean energy and zero to negative greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It would renovate all sectors of production: clean renewable power, electrified transportation, zero-waste manufacturing, green buildings, and regenerative organic agriculture. 

The rapid reconstruction of the infrastructure and production systems will require social ownership and democratic planning of the power, transportation, manufacturing, and broadband sectors. During World War II the federal government built or took over from private enterprise a quarter of U.S. manufacturing in order to turn industry on a dime into what they called the “Arsenal of Democracy” to help defeat the Nazis and fascists. We need to do nothing less to defeat the existential threat of climate change.

The program will pay for itself in the long run through the sale of public goods and services through public power fees, public transportation fares, public housing rents, public high-speed internet fees, and leasing or selling green machinery to Green New Deal factories.

We will finance the upfront investment through a combination of:

  • More Progressive Taxation of personal income, wealth, estates, and corporate profits.
  • Ecological Taxes on land values, resource extraction, and carbon and other pollution.
  • Budget Savings from cutting in military budget by 75% and by ending fossil fuel subsidies and other corporate welfare programs
  • Green Quantitative Easing to bail out the people and the planet this time instead of the big banks.
  • Public Money, or Greenbacks – Monetary reform to restore the federal government’s power to create debt-free money to be spent into the economy through the federal budget.

My Budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal is presented in detail and with budget estimates at https://howiehawkins.us/the-ecosocialist-green-new-deal-budget/.

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages to secure affordable health care?
Answer from Howie Hawkins:

I support a community-controlled National Health Service that treats health care as a human right and a public good. It will cover all medically necessary services with no out-of-pocket costs, including doctor, hospital, preventive care, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug, and medical supply costs.

It starts by immediately implementing National Health Insurance, what is commonly called today single-payer Medicare for All. Over 10 years, it builds out a National Health Service where healthcare facilities are publicly owned, healthcare workers are salaried, and the system is governed by community boards elected by the public (two-thirds of the seats) and health care workers (one-third of the seats). Based on a national assessment of unmet healthcare needs, it develops a plan to meet those needs, implements the plan, and converts the system to a fully public and democratically-run healthcare service.

This community-based National Health Service proposal has its roots in the Josephine Butler United States Health Care Service Act, which was introduced into every Congress for over 30 years, from 1977 to 1998 by Rep. Ron Dellums and from 1999 to 2010 by his successor, Rep. Barbara Lee. It was developed by medical and consumer advocates, and particularly by Civil Rights Movement veterans in the Medical Committee for Human Rights. It is time to again expand the health care reform agenda from socialized insurance for privatized care to a fully socialized and democratic system – publicly funded, publicly administered, and publicly delivered.

The entire plan is here: https://howiehawkins.us/the-hawkins-healthcare-plan-medicare-for-all-as-a-community-controlled-national-health-service/.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the President.
Answer from Howie Hawkins:

I support open borders with free movement between nations like it is within the European Union. International borders should be authentic fair-trade zones where people are free to travel across borders for work, shopping, residence, or recreation. People crossing international borders would be required to present their identification at a border crossing. Only people wanted for criminal charges or terrorist organization affiliation would be detained. People who cross without checking in at a border crossing would also be detained and brought to an official border crossing. 

I would immediately close the border detention camps and reunite children with their families. I support legalizing the status of all undocumented immigrants and providing a timely path to citizenship. 

Because of their persistent abuse of migrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (BPE) should be dismantled and replaced with a new immigration agency with personnel committed to the humane treatment of migrants and the administration of an open borders policy. 

Who gave money to this candidate?

Contributions

Total money raised: $164,168

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

1
Employees of Ventura County Air Pollution Control D
$2,046
2
Howie Hawkins
$1,324
3
Employees of American Airlines Group
$1,043
4
Employees of Our Lady Of Lourdes Memorial Hospital
$750
5
Employees of Old Republic International
$621

More information about contributions

By State:

California 19.49%
New York 14.73%
Texas 6.28%
Illinois 6.24%
Other 53.26%
19.49%14.73%53.26%

By Size:

Large contributions (34.88%)
Small contributions (65.12%)
34.88%65.12%

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
100.00%
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

What’s Wrong with Capitalism and Why We Need Ecosocialism

By Howie Hawkins

February 15, 2019

We can’t survive capitalism much longer. We need system change, not climate change, growing inequality, and nuclear war.

Relentless growth is built into the grow-or-die competitive structure of the capitalist economy. That blind growth is destroying the ecological foundations of human civilization.

Capitalism’s wage labor relationship exploits working people by robbing them of the full value of their labor and transferring it to the rich ownership class. The wages system generates growing inequality and economic insecurity.

Wage labor reduces workers to servile order takers. On the job, workers are stripped of their freedom. Their creativity is dismissed. Their self-worth is degraded. The school system teaches internalization of this oppression from an early age through segregation by race, class, and “ability” tracking. This internalized oppression carries over into political alienation and passivity.

Inequality and economic insecurity is made worse by capitalism’s periodic economic crisis. Capitalism’s profit motive among competing firms yields periodic crises of overproduction where capitalists’ have excess productive capacity and more inventory than they can sell, so they cut back production and lay off workers. Today’s mature capitalism, with the infrastructure of production largely built out, suffers from chronic stagnation due to chronic overproduction. The paucity of profitable investments in the real economy of production yields a redirection of capital to financial instruments that further concentrate and centralize ownership of the productive assets we already have rather than invest to create new productive assets. This financialization creates credit bubbles that draw wealth away as interest paid by productive businesses, consumers, and, with public borrowing and privatization, public sector goods and services—until the debts cannot be paid, a financial crisis ensues, bankruptcies spread, and the financial oligarchy forecloses on the debtors and acquires more productive assets at bargain prices. Inequality and economic insecurity grow.

Capitalism’s competitive economic structure also yields a conflict-ridden international system in which nation-states compete and go to war for resources, markets, labor, and geopolitical military advantage. Sooner or later, these wars will lead to nuclear annihilation if we don’t change the system.

The two-capitalist-party system protects this system. It gives us the illusion of choice. While there are differences between the two major parties, mainly on social issues, the two major parties largely agree on pro-corporate economic and foreign policies to defend the capitalist system that confers privileges to the upper classes who in turn fund the two major parties.

There is no point in having a third party on the left if it is not about system change. There are plenty of progressives fighting inside the Democratic Party to patch up the system with reforms. Mostly they lose. The 2020 Green Party presidential ticket should campaign for system change, for ecosocialism to bring real solutions to the life or death problems of our time.

Ecosocialism would build a democratic and cooperative economy in which a socialist mode of production and distribution predominates. It would have a large sector of public enterprises, a large sector of cooperatives, and smaller sector of small businesses and self-employed.

The public sector would encompass the major means of production held by the large semi-monopolies, roughly the 500 largest U.S. corporations that account for about three-quarters of U.S. GDP. These public enterprises would become public utilities, operating at cost for public benefit instead of for cost-plus-profit

Public ownership of the major means of production would operate under a production plan that is democratically determined. Democratic planning for public sector enterprises would decide technology choices and the allocation of investments in public goods and services like energy, transportation, housing, and health care. Consumer goods and services would be sold to consumers in the market by public, cooperative, and small businesses.

Democratic planning of the public sector would aim not to maximize growth but to produce sufficient goods and services to meet everyone’s basic needs on an ecologically sustainable basis. Democratic planning would be how society decides whether to use increasing productivity to work more to produce more things, or to work less and increase free time at a decent standard of living.

For goods and services that are necessities, the public sector would provide them as public goods and services that are free to consume as needed, such as health care, education, child care, and urban mass transit, or at low cost, such as public housing, power, broadband, and water.

For wants and tastes that are discretionary luxuries, goods and services would be sold in the market by public enterprises, cooperatives, and small businesses. People that want to consume more would work more. People used to be rich from exploiting the labor of others would have to do real work to pay for their discretionary luxuries.

Cooperatives in the private sector would eliminate exploitation and price gouging. In worker cooperatives, the exploitative wage labor relation would be eliminated and worker-owners receive the full fruits of their labor. In consumer cooperatives, consumer-owners buy goods and services at cost instead of cost-plus-profits. Cooperative start-ups and conversions would be promoted by technical assistance and financial incentives. Cooperatives would be voluntary, not mandatory. Anti-trust and anti-fraud laws would protect the self-employed, small businesses, and farmers from unfair competition from monopolies and white-collar crime.

Hard? Pie in the sky? Abolition, winning the right to organize unions, civil rights were hard. We don’t give up the fight for what is right because it is hard. We don’t have a choice if a planet that can sustain human civilization is to survive.

Position Papers

Nuclear Disarmament Should Be a Top 2020 Campaign Issue

Summary

Proposed US policies to achieve complete and mutual global nuclear disarmament.

Nuclear Disarmament Should Be a Top 2020 Campaign Issue

By Howie Hawkins

July 7, 2019

Two years ago on July 7, 2017, 122 nations approved the text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for spearheading this achievement. Few Americans are aware of it and none of the major presidential candidates are informing us.

None of the nuclear powers (China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, UK, US) participated in the negotiations. The treaty is now being considered by the nations of the world. 23 nations have ratified it. The treaty goes into effect for signatories when 50 nations ratify it.

As the biggest military power by far in the world today, the US can play a pivotal role in initiating nuclear disarmament. US nuclear disarmament peace initiatives should start with taking US nukes off hair-trigger alert, declaring a No First Use policy, and unilaterally disarming to a minimum credible deterrent. Those initiatives would lay the foundation for following up with urgent negotiations with the nuclear powers for complete global nuclear disarmament and ratification of the TPNW.

The Growing Threat of Nuclear War

We are lucky to still be alive today because the US, Russia, and other nuclear powers have had their nukes on hair-trigger alert for launch on warning for over 60 years with enough nukes to kill us all from starvation in a nuclear winter if the blasts and radiation don’t kill us first. 

We have come close many times to blowing ourselves off the face of the Earth during international crises and false alarms. The US has repeatedly used nuclear weapons as blackmail. As Daniel Ellsberg has repeatedly explained, these threats are like the mugger who puts a gun to your head and demands all your money. Every president from Truman to Trump has used this nuclear terrorism to demand concessions from other countries. “No option is off the table.” Such threats could easily blow up into the real thing.

The “nuclear football” that is carried around with the president is for all practical purposes a fiction to reassure the public about command and control of US nuclear weapons. In fact, the power to launch nukes has been delegated far down the chain of command since Eisenhower’s presidency. Once one nuke flies, they will all fly in automated “Doomsday Machines” on both the US and Russian sides. Daniel Ellsberg documents all this in his “second Pentagon Papers,” his 2016 book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner.

Now we are into a new nuclear arms race, with nuclear modernization programs underway in the US and Russia. They are now joined by China and Pakistan in deploying “miniaturized” tactical nukes into conventional battlefields with the crackpot idea that their use won’t trigger a strategic nuclear armageddon. This new Cold War and nuclear arms race, along with the climate crisis, convinced the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2018 to move their Doomsday Clock to two minutes to midnight, as close to Doomsday as it has ever been since the 1953 crisis when both the US and USSR began testing H-bombs amidst high tensions.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM), Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF), and Iran nuclear agreements have been unilaterally abandoned by the US. Russia responded to the 2001 ABM withdrawal by increasing its nuclear arsenal. After Trump withdrew the US from the INF treaty last November, Putin followed his lead in March. The Strategic Arms Treaty (START) expires in February 2021. Trump calls it a terrible treaty. Warhawk John Bolton, who was a key player in the US reneging on the ABM, INF, and Iran nuclear agreements, is in charge of START negotiations. 

Nuclear Disarmament Peace Initiatives

The doctrines of no first use and a minimum deterrent have already been deployed by China and India, although both are now reconsidering their posture in the face of the new nuclear arms race that they fear makes their deterrent forces vulnerable to a first strike. Nuclear strategists’ proposals for a US minimum credible nuclear deterrent range from a handful to a few hundred nuclear weapons deployed on hard-to-detect nuclear submarines. The US currently has over 6,000 nuclear warheads. The point of a minimum deterrent is to deploy the minimum nuclear weapons sufficient to inflict enough damage in a strike back against a nuclear attacker to deter such an attack in the first place. Moving to a US minimum credible deterrent combined with a no-first-use policy will maintain nuclear deterrence; reduce the motivations for the nuclear arms race; ease tensions, particularly in a crisis; reduce the risks of miscalculations and accidental nuclear war; save money; reduce the risk of an omnicidal nuclear winter in the event of a nuclear war; and give the US political credibility in negotiations for mutual and complete global nuclear disarmament.

A program of US Nuclear Disarmament Peace Initiatives should include:

  • Take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.

  • Adopt a No-First-Use policy for nuclear weapons.

  • Unilaterally Disarm to a Minimum Credible Nuclear Deterrent, including

    End the nuclear weapons modernization program.

    Dismantle the land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

    Dismantle the strategic nuclear bomber force.

    Dismantle the tactical nuclear weapons.

    Dismantle preemptive first-strike forces.

    Keep a minimum credible deterrent of nuclear weapons on submarines (SLBMs).

  • Begin urgent negotiations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty toward complete global nuclear disarmament and general disarmament. 

  • Sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

It is up to the US peace movement and Green Party candidates up and down the ticket to inject these demands into the 2020 elections.

Howie Hawkins is a retired Teamster in Syracuse, New York. As the Green candidate for New York governor, he was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010. He is seeking the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

 

 

Some Domestic Policy Priorities

Summary

Racial Justice, Urban Policy, Rural Reconstruction, Civil Liberties, Media Reform, Democracy Reforms

Some Domestic Policy Priorities

 

By Howie Hawkins

 

Racial Justice

 

Ending racial oppression requires both race-specific remedies and universal economic rights that are guaranteed by government in a race-conscious way. We must strengthen and enforce anti-discrimination laws in the political, employment, education, housing, immigration, and criminal justice systems. We must take affirmative action to reverse the growing race and class resegregation of housing and schools. We must enact HR 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to consider appropriate remedies for the impact of slavery and subsequent racial discrimination on living African Americans.

 

We must empower racially oppressed communities to practice self-determination through collective community ownership and control of public housing, schools, police, and businesses. Racist attitudes can be deeply ingrained and slow to change. But we can disempower the racists by empowering oppressed communities so they are no longer subject to the decisions of the racists among employers, bankers, landlords, real estate agents, union business agents, lawyers, judges, police, and assorted professional-managerial gatekeepers, including politicians. Empowerment means democratic community control so that the masses of racially oppressed people benefit, not merely a more “representative” professional-managerial class that simply replaces the white professional-managerial class in soaking up most of the funding in salaries, grants, and contracts. Our goal is equality, not “diversity” within the unequal social hierarchies of capitalism.

 

We must enact an Economic Bill of Rights to provide universal programs for economic security in a race-conscious way. Government would guarantee all people the rights of a living-wage job, an income above poverty, decent housing, comprehensive health care, a good education, and freedom from discrimination. That is what the socialist leaders of the black freedom movement—A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Martin Luther King Jr., and others—demanded as they moved “from civil rights to human rights.” With the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 1966 Freedom Budget, and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, they demanded the implementation of FDR’s Economic Bill of Rights in a way that ended racial discrimination in education, employment, and housing. By linking racial justice to economic justice for all, we can build a majoritarian interracial movement of working people that can win these reforms. The Democrats have failed to do it for 65 years. The Greens will do it.

 

Urban Policy

 

The ecosocialist Green New Deal will rebuild and restructure our cities around egalitarian and ecological principles. Skyrocketing rents are driving working people out of their homes and communities. Sprawl development is a social and ecological disaster. Segregation by race and class has been increasing for decades, isolating the poor away from resources and opportunities and isolating the rich away in their gated communities. 

 

We will campaign for an urban policy that will reintegrate urban amenities with the natural environment. It would promote walkable mixed-use neighborhoods, convenient and affordable mass transit, clean energy, urban agriculture, green manufacturing, and a massive public housing program that is high quality, mixed income, carbon negative, and scattered site across the city/suburbs divide. It will be a jobs program, a desegregation program, and a clean energy program as well as an affordable housing program.

 

Rural Reconstruction

 

Like the original New Deal, the ecosocialist Green New Deal will have a strong agricultural program. Chemicalized and industrialized corporate agribusiness is driving family farmers off the land, rural America into depression, and ecosystems to collapse while failing to end hunger and malnutrition. It is depleting water aquifers and soils and driving insects to extinction, all leading to the collapse of ecosystems and food production itself. 

 

We will campaign for a rural reconstruction program that revitalizes and reintegrates town and country. It will center around a Just Transition to Organic Agriculture and Green Manufacturing. Its elements will include:

  • a rapid phase out of biocides, chemical fertilizers, land grabbing, and corporate farms; 
  • technical and financial assistance for converting to organic agriculture; 
  • parity pricing and supply management programs that guarantee working farmers a decent income above production costs; 
  • living wages and fair labor standards for farmworkers and other food workers; 
  • land reform and a new homesteading program to give new farmers access to land and farming resources; 
  • diversified green manufacturing in rural towns based on biodegradable agricultural feedstocks; 
  • access to health services, high-speed internet, and mass transit;
  • the regeneration of living soils to draw planet-heating carbon out of the atmosphere and into the biosphere.

Civil Liberties

 

Our civil liberties and political rights are under assault by an expanding carceral surveillance state. The US has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. Mass surveillance by the National Security Agency captures our electronic communications, including text messages, web browsing, emails, and international phone calls. Whistleblowers are bullied into silence by prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act. National Defense Authorization Acts since 2012 have included provisions to disappear US citizens into indefinite detention without charge or trial.

 

I will prioritize a freedom and democracy agenda, including an end to the war on drugs and the over-policing of minority communities, funding public defenders and legal services, bail abolition, speedy trial, open file discovery, ending warrantless surveillance, ending the persecution of whistleblowers, ending preventive detention, and presidential pardons for whistleblowers and political prisoners.

 

Media Reform

 

Freedom and democracy depend on a well-informed population. Our First Amendment freedoms of speech and press have eroded under the growing concentration of ownership of both the traditional mass media and the new social media. These giant media and tech conglomerates are replacing hard news with gossipy infotainment, corporate indoctrination, and state propaganda.

 

I will campaign for reforms to create a vital, democratic, and diverse media system, able to present a wide range of news, issues, and ideas in their full complexity, free from censorship by government or big business. Reforms should include a decentralized, democratic system of public funding of a diverse nonprofit, noncommercial media, including decommercialized, fully funded, and community-controlled public radio and television stations. We must repeal the pro-conglomeration provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, restore cross-ownership restrictions to reestablish media diversity in local media markets, and take antitrust action to break up the media monopolies. The World Wide Web must be regulated as a public good and a basic right, open and accessible to all with net neutrality and personal privacy and data protected.

 

Democracy Reforms

 

We do not have real political democracy, let alone economic democracy. To have a democratic society, we need to restructure government and elections.

 

Voter suppression policies need to be reversed, starting with restoring the preclearance provisions of the Civil Rights Act. We would put in place automatic voter registration, same-day registration, extended voting days, Election Day as a National Holiday, and other reforms, including mandatory voting (vote or pay a moderate fine) as practiced in Australia, Belgium, and much of Latin America, with a None of the Above option that would trigger a new election if it wins.

Ordinary people have little power over the government decisions that affect their lives. They are reduced to begging representatives who are elected in an undemocratic electoral system. In addition to improving the elections to representative offices, we will campaign for a participatory direct democracy at the base of society. We will campaign for a grassroots democracy based on community assemblies open to all citizens like New England Town Meetings. Community assemblies would have legislative power over local affairs and the power to instruct and recall representative selected to larger scales of government. The federal government will promote community assemblies with a grant program for organizing and maintaining community assemblies.

 

In every district, the single-member-district plurality-wins system of elections denies political minorities legislative representation. It imposes the logic of lesser-evil voting, so people often vote against the candidate they fear most instead of for the candidate they prefer most. We will campaign for proportional representation in Congress and electing the president in national popular vote using ranked-choice voting.

 

The undemocratic US Senate violates the principle of one person, one vote and dilutes the voting power of people of color. We will campaign for a constitutional amendment to abolish the US Senate.

 

In two of the last five presidential elections, the Electoral College has given us presidents who lost the popular vote. We will call for a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College

 

A relative handful of rich private donors dominate campaign financing. The Democrats’ proposal for partial public campaign financing on the matching funds model is a reform that doesn’t reform. It just adds some public money to provide cover for a system still dominated by private financing from wealthy contributors. We will campaign for full public campaign financing on the Clean Money model.

 

Big banks and corporations not only dominate elections with private financing, but they also have veto power over public policy because they can use a capital strike—withholding credit from government or offshoring jobs and money and blaming government—until the government capitulates. We will campaign for House Joint Resolution 48, the We the People Amendment, an amendment to the US Constitution to end corporate personhood by establishing that only natural human beings, not artificial corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights and by establishing that money is property, not protected speech. This amendment would undo the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC, and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions and enable we the people through our elected representatives to publicly and fully regulate and finance public elections, as well as better regulate corporations.

 

We will campaign for a federal law for fair ballot access that requires each state to qualify a new party or any independent candidate for the ballot through a petition of no greater than 1/10th of 1% of the total vote cast in the district in the last gubernatorial election, with a 10,000 signature maximum.

 

Hawkins is a retired Teamster in Syracuse, New York. As the Green candidate for New York governor, he was the first US candidate to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010. He is seeking the Green Party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

Independent Left Solidarity

Summary

Why independent progressives, socialists, and greens need to work together and build a united electoral front.

Independent Left Solidarity

By Howie Hawkins

October 23, 2019

One objective our campaign is to build solidarity across the independent progressive and socialist left for a mass party based in the working class majority and for all people who love peace, justice, freedom, and the environment.

Accordingly, in addition to seeking the Green Party nomination, we are seeking the nominations of the Socialist Party USA and of state-level independent progressive parties with ballot lines, including the Peace and Freedom Party of California, the Progressive Party of Oregon, the Citizens and Labor parties of South Carolina, and the Liberty Union and Progressive parties on Vermont.

Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont are fusion states where candidates may be on the ballot of more than one party. Fusion is permitted on the presidential ballot in California.

Although the Socialist Party currently has no state ballot lines, it is possible by petitioning to run Green-Socialist fusion ticket in about half of the states that permit presidential fusion on the ballot. Greens and Socialists have cross-endorsed each others’ candidates in many elections. As a member of both the Green Party of New York State and the Socialist Party USA, I have run several election campaigns on the Green ballot line with Socialist Party endorsement. On October 8 this year, Josh Bradley, also a dual member of the Socialist Party USA and the North Carolina Green Party and endorsed by both, won 10.4% of the vote in a three-way race for the Raleigh city council.

Cooperation among independent progressive parties is nothing new for the Green Party. It led to the merger of the DC Green Party and the DC Statehood Party into the DC Statehood Green Party in 1999. It led to the merger of the Green Party of Massachusetts and the Rainbow Party of Massachusetts into the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts in 2002. It led to the affiliation of the Mountain Party of West Virginia with the Green Party of the United States in 2007.

In 2008, both Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader sought nominations of both Green and Peace and Freedom parties, with both appearing on the California primary ballots of both parties.

In 2016, Green candidate Jill Stein also sought the Peace and Freedom Party nomination, explaining that “I want to help foster solidarity and build a unified movement to oppose the two parties of the wealthy and their corporations.”

In 1984, the Citizens Party and the Socialist Party both nominated the presidential ticket of Sonia Johnson and Richard Walton, which appeared on the Peace and Freedom Party ballot in California and Consumer Party ballot in Pennsylvania. Walton went on to co-found the Green Party of Rhode Island in 1992.

The platforms and perspectives of these independent progressive parties may differ on some details, but we all stand for economic justice, social equality, anti-imperialism, emergency climate and ecology action, and an end to mass surveillance, mass incarceration, and the persecution of immigrants and refugees.

We all stand for independent political action in opposition to the two-party system of corporate rule. We know that the Democrats, let alone the Republicans, will not solve the problems we face. They will not enact Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, or deep cuts in military spending and an end to US imperialism.

When we win proportional representation, multiple parties on the left could compete in elections and cooperate on common goals in legislative bodies after elections. But under our current winner-take-all electoral system, our best strategy for maximizing our political influence and winning elections and immediate reforms is a united front of independent non-sectarian left parties.

We need solidarity and cooperation in order to maximize our vote and make the public, the media, and the politicians hear and deal with our demands. We need solidarity and cooperation in order to build relationships and trust for further joint campaigns. Whether this leads to party mergers or more multi-party electoral coalitions is for the future to determine.

Either way, our goal must be to unite the many against the few. The vast majority – the working class, people of color, and youth – is politically alienated. They vote in low numbers because the Democrats and Republicans do not address their needs and concerns. That is how the few, the superrich and their giant corporations, maintain their rule. The politically alienated majority is the future electoral majority for a mass party of the left. An essential step in reaching and organizing that majority is to fight less among ourselves and more together for the demands of the many against the few.

We hope to advance this independent left solidarity and cooperation through our 2020 presidential campaign.

 

 

 

Videos (5)

Extended Interview: Howie Hawkins — January 9, 2020 Mountain Lake Journal, PBS, Plattsburgh NY

While it’s getting a lot of national attention now, the Green New Deal was originally the idea of upstate New York Green Party Candidate Howie Hawkins during his run for Governor in 2010. He believes his Green New Deal plan is what’s needed to successfully combat climate change. Hawkins has been now been recruited to run as the Green Party’s Presidential Candidate in 2020. During a stop at SUNY Plattsburgh just before Thanksgiving, he talked about his party’s signature Green New Deal proposal. He also joined us in our MLPBS studios to talk about his run for President

Third Parties and US Politics, with Howie Hawkins — January 9, 2020 On Contact with Chris Hedges, RT

Chris Hedges talks to Howie Hawkins, who has sought elected office through the Green Party, about the history of third parties in the US, whose platforms are often coopted by the two-party system while being denied participation in televised debates.

— January 9, 2020 Howie Hawkins 2020 Campaign

Howie Hawkins makes his announcement speech presenting the strategic goals and policy platfomor of his campaign for president.

— January 9, 2020 Howie Hawkins 2020 Campaign

Howie Hawkins presents his budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal and answers questions at the Ecosocialism Conference, Chicago, September 28, 2019.

— January 9, 2020 Howie Hawkins 2020 Campaign

Howie Hawkins summarizes the goals and platform of his campaign and answers questions.

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