By Howie Hawkins
One objective of 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 for president, 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 of Vermont.
Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont are fusion states where candidates may be on the ballot line 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 a 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 candidates appearing on the California primary ballots of both partiesa
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.