Howie Hawkins, who is seeking the nomination of the Green Party won the nomination of the Socialist Party of the United States this weekend. This is one step toward building a left unity campaign to effectively challenge the Democrats and Republicans.
On Saturday, October 26 in Newark, NJ Hawkins won the nomination of the Socialist Party of the United States. Hawkins was one of two candidates to seek the Socialist Party’s nomination. Hawkins won with 65 percent of the vote. Hawkins was also endorsed by Solidarity, a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization.
“I’m honored to receive the nomination of the Socialist Party USA on the 100th anniversary of the last presidential run of socialist icon, Eugene Debs. The Socialist Party USA is the inheritor of the great tradition of Debsian socialism today, which includes working-class political independence from the capitalist duopoly parties and socialism as social ownership and democratic administration of the major means of production,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said the Socialist Party USA nomination is part of his campaign strategy of uniting the independent left to present a strong challenge to the corporate duopoly.
“We want to unite the many against the few, the working-class majority against the superrich elite,” Hawkins said. “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.”
Hawkins, who is a co-founder of the Green Party, will be seeking nominations from multiple parties that range from progressive to socialist. In addition to the Green Party and Socialist Party USA nominations, Hawkins will be seeking the nominations 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 in Vermont. Liberty Union was the first party with whom Senator Bernie Sanders ran for office. He ran for US Senate (1972,1974) and governor (1972, 1976) on the Liberty Union ballot line in Vermont.
Hawkins is a member of both the Green Party of New York State and the Socialist Party USA. He has run several election campaigns on the Green ballot line with the endorsement of the Socialist Party.
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, Cynthia McKinney running as a Green and Ralph Nader running as an independent both sought the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party. Nader won the Peace and Freedom nomination as well as the nominations of other parties in different states. 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.”
Greens and Socialists have worked together in other elections. 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.
Explaining the Unity Campaign, Hawkins said, “The platforms and perspectives of these independent progressive parties may differ on some details, but we all stand for economic, racial, and environmental 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.”
The centerpiece of the Hawkins campaign is the Ecosocialist Green New Deal, which includes a Green Economy Reconstruction Program and an Economic Bill of Rights. This program includes eliminating greenhouse gas emissions and building a 100% clean energy system by 2030, which requires reconstructing all economic sectors for ecological sustainability, not just electric power production, but also agriculture, manufacturing, buildings, and transportation. It also includes dramatically shrinking the US military, which is the largest carbon polluter on the planet, and transitioning to a peace economy. Implementing the Green New Deal will require ecosocialism—social ownership in key sectors in order to democratically plan the rapid reconstruction of all economic sectors for ecological sustainability.
Hawkins said that the “democratic socialism” of Democrats like Bernie Sanders is really the old-fashioned liberalism of the New Deal, which depends on progressive taxation of the capitalist economy to fund progressive social programs. “Until we democratize wealth and the economy through social ownership and democratic planning, the concentrated economic power of the billionaire class will be expressed as concentrated political power that will undermine progressive social programs. We need economic democracy, not just progressive taxation,” Hawkins said.
Currently, the Green Party has ballot access in 21 states, including the District of Columbia. Hawkins is working with state and local parties as well as the Green Party of the United States’ Ballot Access to Committee to be on the ballot in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Guam. See Hawkins 2020 Green Party Ballot Access.
If Hawkins wins the Green nomination he will appear on the ballot as a Green in all states where the party is on the ballot. In states that allow candidates to have more than one party nomination, he will appear on the ballot identified by all the ballot-qualified parties that nominated him. Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont are fusion states where candidates may be on the ballot identified as the nominee of more than one party. Fusion is also permitted on the presidential ballot in California.
Last week the Hawkins campaign made public its third-quarter fundraising results and announced it is on track to qualify for the Federal Matching Funds program, where the government will double campaign donations of up to $250 per donor. The campaign intends to use these funds to build the party and build a ballot-access drive to place the Green Party on the ballot in every state.
“We intend to honor the legacy of Eugene Debs on this 100th anniversary of his last run for office by running a strong unified challenge on behalf of the people against the corporate duopoly of Democrats and Republicans,” said Hawkins. “We believe we will be the first socialist campaign since Debs’ 1920 campaign to win a million votes for socialism in 100 years.”