By Cliff Sommers and Kevin Zeese
Green Party Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins saw serious shortcomings in what he heard from the Democratic candidates in the recent presidential debates and provided insights on how Green policy proposals differ significantly with those of the Democrats. Howie discussed Medicare for All, immigration reform, gun violence, socializing public safety net programs, the real ecosocialist Green New Deal, international trade and nuclear disarmament.
The last three issues are all central to the Hawkins campaign for president. Hawkins pointed out that the “Green” GND is ecosocialist as while conversation to clean sustainable energy by 2030 is essential but is only part of the plan. Hawkins calls for an immediate ban on fracking and stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure. The Democrats so-called Green New Deal does not include these essential steps. New infrastructure locks the country into fossil fuels for decades to come. The transformation to a renewable resource-based new economy must also be accompanied by a just transition for displaced workers, including jobs for all who can work, a living wage income and benefit guarantees. The insecurity that will be created by climate chaos requires the US to build a social safety net that includes healthcare, housing, and access to the essentials of life — Hawkins calls this an Economic Bill of Rights. Hawkins’ ecosocialist Green New Deal will transform many sectors of the US economy among them manufacturing, transportation, construction, and finance. Hawkins also confronts military spending and the fossil fuel abusing Pentagon as well as calling for an end to wars for oil, and transforming the US from a military superpower to a humanitarian superpower as part of a global Green New Deal.
Regarding immigration reform, Hawkins calls for “fair trade” with border zones that allow free movement of people as a basic human right in response to the free movement of capital and industry across international borders. On nuclear disarmament, Hawkins highlighted the need for the USA to move away from the first-strike capability, a commitment to no first use, dropping the more than the trillion-dollar development of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons and the need to promote new international nuclear arms disarmament treaties as strategic priorities. Hawkins is calling for Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament to a Minimum Credible Deterrent.
Following the Democrat’s second debate, Howie Hawkins summed up what he heard from the candidates, this time focusing on the issues of Medicare for All, Immigration and Civil Justice Reform.
On improved Medicare for all, Hawkins said the proponents of the program did a poor job of explaining the benefits of a single payer system, specifically the economic benefit of doing away with unnecessary bureaucratic administrative costs wrought by insurance industry involvement caused by the complex payment process of thousands of health insurance plans. Hawkins pointed out there is a cost-benefit of large scale pooling risks to reduce everyone’s overall cost. Currently, one-third of the cost of healthcare in the US is due to administrative costs created by the insurance industry.
On immigration, Hawkins advocates the Green Party position which is modeled after the open borders between nations in Europe. Hawkins believes that labor, not capital, will be the bottleneck factor in implementing a green new economy as the ecosocialist Green New Deal will create more jobs for which the US does not have enough workers. He pointed out that the Democrats fail to recognize that more people coming to the United States is GOOD for the economy. People bring creativity to the economy that creates jobs and provides workers who will take jobs that many in the US do not want. Hawkins was critical of Tulsi Gabbard’s failure (seconded by De Blasio) to support tuition-free higher education for immigrants. He described this as a failure to support the Dreamers.
Hawkins also focused on criminal justice reform, making note of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s deserved criticism of Sen. Harris for her role in pushing death penalty cases in California as well as her prosecution of marijuana cases. He also noted that Gabbard does not support extending education benefits to immigrants and talked about Mayor De Blasio’s failed role in disciplining the police officer who strangled Eric Garner live on video, an incident that sparked national outrage over uncontrolled police brutality. Recently on July 23, Gabbard also voted yes on House Resolution 246 opposing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a nonviolent global movement that seeks to end Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians. Hawkins, an activist in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against South Africa’s Apartheid government in the 1980s and ’90s, also supports the movement for BDS against Israel. House Resolution 246 is widely seen as a stepping stone in the Democrat-Republican effort to make expressions of BDS illegal in the United States.
The Democratic debates demonstrate why the Green Party is essential to the 2020 election cycle. Hawkins will bring new ideas and policy proposals that focus on the necessities of the people of the United States as well as protection of the planet.