Green Party Acceptance Speech
This speech was given at the Green Party US Presidential Nominating Convention on Saturday, July 11, 2020. This is the transcript of Howie’s Acceptance Speech after receiving the Green Party US nomination for president.
You can watch the video of this speech here.
I am honored and humbled by the support the delegates to the Green Party convention have given me and I accept your nomination.
I promise to give the campaign everything I have.
And now I want to nominate you and everyone who supports our campaign to be active participants in the campaign.
This campaign needs to be a grassroots movement if we are to win our goals.
Our country needs the Green Party now, because we are living in a failed state. It has failed on the life-or-death issues we face: the Covid pandemic, systemic racism, growing economic inequality, the climate emergency, and the new nuclear arms race.
Like Green parties in Europe and many countries around the world, our country needs the Green Party in legislatures and the executive branches of the local, state, and federal governments to provide real solutions to these problems.
The Covid pandemic has exposed for all to see how the two governing parties preside over a failed state.
With 4% of the world’s population, we have 25% of the world’s Covid infections and deaths. We are on pace to have a quarter of a million Covid deaths by the election.
Trump has just given up. Covid won. Trump is a loser.
Now Trump running around like Typhoid Mary holding rallies without masks and social distancing that are making his own staff and supporters sick.
Fortunately, Trump is collapsing in the polls. Trump is toast. Trump is a loser. And good riddance.
But where the hell is Joe Biden? When you think of Joe Biden, what policy is the champion of?
Biden lives within commuter distance of the White House press corps. He can command their attention.
He should be holding news conferences and pounding away at what our country needs right now – a test, trace, and isolate program to suppress the Covid, like most other organized countries around the world.
Especially now, six months after the pandemic started and we see Covid infections and deaths at record levels and growing at an accelerating rate in our country.
And while he’s at it, Biden should be demanding a universal mail-in ballot option so everyone can vote in this pandemic election.
These are not controversial ideological issues. We have plenty of policy difference with Biden and the Democrats. But these are common sense. This is what our country needs. Biden talks about new leadership, but where the hell is he test, trace, and isolate.
The silence of Biden, and the political leadership of both major parties, on demanding an emergency test, trace, and isolate program is complicity in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
We can’t open the economy and the schools until we suppress the virus with a test, trace, and isolate program.
The abject failure of the two-party corporate state on this emergency is why the Green Party now has to step into this political vacuum and advance real solutions to these life-or-death issues.
Racism and Police Brutality
Like the centuries-old pandemic of racism and police brutality we are now protesting in the streets.
Reforms to policing techniques are good, but not nearly enough. When the police police themselves, they get away with murder and other crimes.
We demand community control of the police. We need police commissions selected by the people in the community with the power to hire and fire police chiefs, get the racists and sadists off the force, oversee police policies and budgets, and investigate and discipline officers of misconduct.
We are not talking about review boards appointed by the politicians who created the abusive police departments we have in the first place. The politicians – and the real estate industry power structure behind them in our cities – set these police departments up to do what they do, which is to keep downscale people, particularly Black people, down, and out of upscale communities.
We need to reimagine public safety. The homeless don’t need a vagrancy charge from a cop. They need a home. A person with a mental health crisis doesn’t need an armed cop, the need the attention of mental health experts.
We must end the war on drugs and mass incarceration. With 4% of the world’s population, the US has 25% of the world’s prisoners. It is the largest prison system in the history of the world, bigger than Nazi Germany’s, the Soviet Gulags, or South Africa’s apartheid.
It is time to treat drug abuse as health problem, not a criminal problem. We will legalize marijuana and decriminalize other drugs. Instead of a criminal offense, people in possession of illicit drugs will receive ticket to appear before a panel consisting of a doctor, a lawyer, and a social worker to see how they can help you. Portugal instituted this program nearly twenty years ago and it has virtually eliminated drug overdoses and drug-related street crime and reduced the number of people using hard drugs.
We must defund the police and move a big share of their funding to needed social services. But defunding the police is not enough. There is not nearly enough money in police budgets to meet the social, and economic needs of racially-oppressed communities.
We must defund the military, too. Only then will we have enough resources to invest in the jobs, housing, schools, health care, and public services that are needed in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities that have been segregated, discriminated against, and exploited for generations, right up to present day.
That Marshall Plan for the Cities should be a downpayment on reparations. It is way past time to enact the Commission to Study and Develop Proposals for Reparations for African-Americans Act (H.R. 40 and S. 1083). That bill has been languishing in Congress since 1979. That is the next step toward reparations so African-Americans can state what they need from a reparations program, which should be a mix of individual reparations to African-American households to close the racial wealth gap and collective reparations to reconstruct and grow of Black community-controlled land and economic, cultural, and educational institutions.
We must also honor our treaties with Indigenous nations and Mexican-Americans under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Our nation most return the land and provide the social services that the United States pledged when it approved these treaties.
Economic inequality is an issue of class as well as race. Inequality is killing us.
After 50 years of stagnant wages and growing economic inequality, working class life expectancy has been going down in recent years.
People are forced to choose between rent and going to the doctor and many die because they choose the rent. They live in communities that are food deserts and die from diseases of malnutrition like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.
They die prematurely from diseases like asthma and cancer due to the environmental racism that inflicts poor communities disproportionately with air pollution and toxic chemicals.
Many are dying what sociologists call “deaths of despair” from coping with disappointing and hopeless prospects in life with alcohol and opioid abuse, suicide, and gun violence.
Declining life expectancies are unprecedented in a developed country like the United States. It is an inexcusable moral shame.
We will enact an Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and economic despair. These economic human rights include the right to a living-wage job, an income above poverty, affordable housing, Medicare for All, lifelong tuition-free public education, and a secure retirement.
We will enact the right to a living-wage job through a WPA-style jobs program with government providing jobs in public services and public works for anyone willing and able to work who can’t find a private job.
We will enact the right a guaranteed income above poverty by building into the progressive federal income tax. If your income is below the poverty line, the government will send you checks to bring up and out of poverty.
We agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. who demanded a guaranteed income in the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign and said, “I’m now convinced that … the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.”
We will realize the right to affordable housing by building 25 million new units of public housing in the next decade.
We will realize the right to quality health care by enacting a Medicare for All national health insurance program to pay for all medically necessary services for all Americans. Over the next decade, we will expand Medicare for All into a community-controlled National Health Service where hospitals clinics are publicly owned, doctors and health care workers are salaried public employees, and the whole system is democratically-controlled by public elected local health boards that federate at the state and national level for coordination and planning.
We will provide tuition-free public education from child care and pre-K through post-secondary college, trade schools, and adult continuing education.
We will provide a secure retirement for all by doubling Social Security benefits.
The climate meltdown is a life-or-death issue. It’s not just about more heat waves and stronger storms.
It’s about mass species extinctions, ecosystem collapse, and agricultural collapse. Climate scientists have estimated that under a business as usual scenario, our agricultural systems will only be able to support about 10% of the current world population.
The climate emergency is an existential crisis.
The Green Party’s answer to this crisis, the Green New Deal has our signature issue since we began campaigning for it in 2010.
Now the Democrats have taken the slogan, but they diluted the content.
The nonbinding resolution for a Green New Deal from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey dropped our ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure.
Joe Biden made clear this week he plans to continue fracking the hell out of the country.
If we don’t stop fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, we will be locked into decade more fossil fuel burning and the planet will be cooked.
The non-binding resolution dropped the deep cuts in military spending to fund the Green New Deal.
It dropped the rapid phase-out of dirty, dangerous, uneconomical nuclear power.
And it extended the deadline for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050.
Then Pelosi never let them vote on it in the House. And when McConnell let them vote on it in the Senate, all the Democratic senators voted “Present,” except the four Democrats who voted “No” with the Republicans.
The Democrats have shown us that we will never get a real Green New Deal from them.
Now the House Democrats have proposed reducing carbon emissions by 37% by 2030. That doesn’t even meet the 45% called for in the last report from the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change, whose reports are always too conservative because they have to be approved by petro-states like the US, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
Trump may call climate change a hoax, but Biden and the Democrats act as if it’s a hoax.
The Green Party is here to campaign for the full-strength Green New Deal – for zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.
Our ecosocialist Green New Deal budget, which you can study on our website, HowieHawkins.US, provides for a 10-year, $27.5 trillion dollar investment in public enterprise and planning – particularly in the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors.
Our plan will convert all of our productive systems across all sectors – not just power production but also transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, and buildings – to clean energy and zero-to-negative emissions in a decade, by 2030,
because that is what the carbon budgets of climate science say rich countries like the United States must do if we are to avert the worst consequences of climate change.
What we propose to do is a crash program like what the United States did in the World War II emergency when the federal government took over a quarter of manufacturing in order to turn industry on a dime into the Arsenal of Democracy to arm the Allies to defeat the fascist Axis powers.
We need to do nothing less now through the public sector to defeat climate change.
Our ecosocialist Green New Deal will create 38 million jobs. In the midst of this Covid economic depression, we now need the Green New Deal for economic recovery as well as climate recovery.
The new nuclear arms races is another life-or-death issue that threatens to end it all for us in an instant.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its Doomsday Clock the closest it’s ever been to midnight.
The US, Russia, and other nuclear powers are modernizing their nuclear forces.
The strategic arms are becoming hypersonic, six times faster, which means we no longer launch on warning
We will take peace initiatives: a 75% cut in military spending, withdrawal from the endless wars, pledge no first use of nuclear weapons, and disarm to a minimum credible deterrent.
And on the basis of those tension-reducing peace initiatives, we will go the other eight nuclear powers to negotiate mutual and complete nuclear disarmament. We will go their with the support of the 122 non-nuclear nations who agreed to the text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons three years ago.
The International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons received the Nobel Peace Prize for that achievement, but hardly anybody in this country even knows that.
None of the major party candidates have talked about this issue. It should be a top campaign issue and we’ll make it one.
The next immediate task for this campaign is to get on all 52 ballots – the 50 states, DC, and the advisory vote in Guam.
Thanks to over 4,000 campaign contributors, our campaign qualified this week for federal primary matching funds. All contributions up to $250 per individual will be matched by Uncle Sam.
We’ll soon have another $200,000 that we’ll plow back into ballot access.
We are on the ballot, or have the signatures in hand, in 30 states. In July and August, we will be out petitioning to get on the remaining ballots.
We have appealed for relief from physical petitioning in order to adhere to public health recommendations about social distancing.
Some states gave us relief. We’ve had to sue other states for relief and we’ve won several victories in court with more decisions pending.
But in some states, we have been forced to go out with our personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for physical petition signatures.
Ballot access in the United States is harder than just about every other electoral democracy in the world. If you want to run for Congress in the United States as an independent, it takes thousands of signatures.
In New Zealand, it takes 2 signature to run as an independent for parliament. In the UK, it takes 10 signatures to run for the House of Commons. In Australia, it takes 50. In Canada, it takes 100. In Germany, 200. But in the United States it takes over 15,000 in Illinois and over 20,000 in Georgia.
Party suppression is a form of voter suppression. We are fighting the Republican voter suppression measures of picture IDs, voter roll purges, and not providing enough polling places in communities of color.
But we are also fighting Democratic Party voter suppression in the form of party suppression. New York Democrats, under the cover of the Covid pandemic, just passed a law to tripled the votes and doubled the frequency needed to secure ballot access.
When the NY Times got wind of the plan, the headline read, “The Democrats’ Secret Plan to Kill Third Parties.”
One reason we are running a presidential ticket is because the presidential vote determines whether a state Green Party has a ballot line for the next election cycle in 40 states. In most states, it takes 1%, 2%, or 3% of the popular vote.
We can win those ballot lines in this election and enable our local candidates to run in upcoming elections. Our goal is to elect thousands of Greens as we go into the 2020s to local office, and the local districts of state legislatures and Congress, in order to build the Green Party into a major party and force in American politics from the bottom up.
Difficult as it is, ballot access is under out control. But we don’t control the corporate mass media.
Our message to the corporate media to do you jobs as journalists. Cover the issues, not just the horse race.
I’m looking at you NPR, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, NY Times.
You’ve been acting like state media for the 2-party corporate state.
Stop censoring us by pretending we don’t exist or we don’t matter. Cover us, too, and let the people make up their own minds.
I’m ready to debate Trump and Biden, but I’m not sure they are ready to debate me?
Are there any serious news organizations out there to sponsor such a debate, say with all the candidates who are on enough state ballots to win the electoral college?
That would be a four-way debate, with the Greens and Libertarians as well as the Democrats and Republicans.
Or is the mainstream media continue bowing down to the Commission on Presidential Debates. That sounds like a government agency. But in fact it is a private corporation jointly controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is designed to keep competition to the 2-party corporate state out of debates.
It is time for nonpartisan civic organizations and serious news organizations to take back the debates from the two major parties.
I’m afraid our corporate-dominated news organizations and foundation-dominated civic organizations are not up to the task.
Which brings up media reform. The old business model for print media is broken in the era of social media. It is time for public funding of independent investigative journalism.
To ensure their independence from the power structure of the corporate state, the board giving grants for this journalism should be selected randomly from the people, like juries.
Media reform should also involve vigorous anti-trust action and the reinstitution of limits on cross-ownership of multiple media outlets. We need to maximize the diversity of independent media in every media market and across the country.
The first question the media asks us is are we afraid of spoiling the election for Biden.
But it is Joe Biden and the Democrats who are spoiling the presidential election.
The Green Party has been giving the Democrats the proven non-partisan solution to the spoiler problem since we ran Ralph Nader in 2000:
Abolish the Electoral College and elect the president by a ranked-choice national popular vote.
The last two Republican presidents were losers of the popular vote when they were first elected. But the Electoral College put them in office.
You would think the Democrats would realize they have a problem and embrace our solution.
Instead they whine about the Greens and fight to keep us off the ballot.
We are not having that.
We are here to improve the election.
We are here to advance real solutions to the life-or-death issues of our time:
Test, trace, and isolate to stop the Covid carnage.
Medicare for All so the sick can be healed.
The Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and economic insecurity.
The Green New Deal to stop climate catastrophe.
Peace Initiatives to prevent nuclear annihilation.
A ranked-choice national popular vote for president so the candidate most favored is elected to the office.
Make Your Vote Count
To the Bernie Sanders supporters, we say don’t vote against everything you supported in Bernie Sanders with a vote for Biden who opposes all those things. Nobody will know your a progressive when you vote for Biden. You’ll silence you own voice and get lost in the sauce.
To the 100 million voters who stayed home in 2016, the Green Party gives you a reason to vote. You are disproportionately working class, people of color, and youth. You are the future of the Green Party. Now is the time to be counted, to vote, and be heard.
Everybody knows what a vote for the Green ticket means. Don’t waste your vote. Don’t let the corporate Democrats take your vote for granted. Don’t give away your power. Make yourself heard. Vote for what you want and make the politicians come to you.
And finally, get involved in the campaign. Go to HowieHawkins.US to find out more about our campaign and how you can get involved.
This campaign will only work if it is a grassroots movement.
Now is the time to get involved. We face life-or-death issues.
The two-party corporate state has failed. Now is the time to join the campaign and the Green Party to advance the real solutions to our problems.
Our lives depend on it. We’re running out of time. And real solutions can’t wait.