The following is an excerpt, translated from Turkish
The US Presidential Election is less than three weeks away. One of the most important items on the agenda of the elections held in the shadow of the pandemic is speculation about the strategy of the Republican Candidate and the current US President Donald Trump if he loses the election. On the agenda of the US working class; There are issues such as having to work at risk of contracting the virus, how he will go to the doctor if he does, what to put on the table for the next meal, how he will pay the rent for his house.
Looking at the mainstream media in the US, the debate on all these issues is between Trump and the Candidate of Democrats, Joe Biden, the Obama-era Vice President, and neither party under the control of the US capital class can offer a structural solution to these issues by their very nature. When it comes to foreign policy, the similarity of these two party policies becomes even clearer. Although the political system has made it impossible for anyone other than the two parties to be president, in fact, there are many other candidates in the 2020 presidential elections.
One of them is Howie Hawkins, the candidate for the Green Party. Eight socialist groups, including the Socialist Party and the Socialist Alternative, as well as some local organizations of the Democratic Socialists, support Hawkins.
A socialist, Hawkins has been in the Green Party since 1984. Retired cargo company employee. He has competed in the New York governor election three times to this day. He defended the Green New Deal project, which is now owned by the progressives of the Democratic Party, for the first time in the US political scene in the 2010 election.
THREE EMERGENCY PROBLEMS
One of the reasons Hawkins entered the election is “problems unspoken in this country.” Inequality is among the most pressing problems that the big parties have not mentioned. “The average life expectancy of the working class is declining,” says Hawkins, explaining that healthcare and housing are not accessible. “People are dying younger and have to choose between paying their rent or going to the doctor.” According to Hawkins, the average life expectancy in the richest county in the USA and the poorest county is 20 years. Hawkins says they are calling for “economic human rights” and lists their demands as free health care for all, public housing, free public schools and raising social insurance premiums so that the elderly do not live below the poverty line.
“I am the first candidate in the country to campaign for the Green New Deal,” says Hawkins, who says the climate crisis is another pressing issue. Later, the Democrats took it, diluted the content and then buried it … There was a ban on hydraulic breaking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, they removed the part related to nuclear power, reduced military spending and funding the Green New Deal, the zero emission date came from 2030 to 2050. “That is too late, according to climate scientists.” Hawkins’ plan is to “tax the rich, fund the public sector and invest heavily in clean energy.”
“The nuclear arms race is also one of the unspoken topics,” says Hawkins, and reminds us that scientists say we are close to apocalypse in the nuclear issue. Calling for ‘nuclear disarmament’ in his campaign, Hawkins continues: “ We are out of arms control agreements, we are in a strategic nuclear weapons modernization program, we have made them hypersonic, they are six times faster than before. We do all this with the mindless idea of escalating to placate it.”
Explaining its foreign policy on the basis of peace initiatives, Hawkins says they are calling for a 75 percent cut in the US military budget of $ 1 trillion, an end to endless wars and the withdrawal of troops to the country. “We currently have soldiers in 14 different conflicts around the world. We have 804 military bases all over the world. We have naval forces everywhere. And these are not navigating the ocean, they are threatening people. When we say all the options are on the table, we say we have nuclear, you have to do what we want. Instead of becoming the world’s global military empire, we must become the humanitarian superpower and protect the world from the exploitation of US-based giant corporations and banks. We must establish a Green New Deal at a global level. Let’s try to move the Global South from the 19th century fossil fuel age to the 21st century solar energy age. Let’s use our wealth to educate every child, have their vaccinations, have access to preventive healthcare and food… ”Hawkins cites the consequences of US imperialist policies by citing the Honduran coup in 2009:“ Zelaya raised the minimum wage. USA didn’t like that. There was a coup. Zelaya was exiled from the country in her pajamas. Now Honduras is a drug state and its people flee to the United States, where they are treated inhumanely. The US talks about democracy and human rights, but until it starts to implement it in the country, it won’t have any credibility on it ”. He cites the results of the imperialist policies of the USA by giving the Honduras coup in 2009 as an example: “Zelaya raised the minimum wage. USA didn’t like that. There was a coup. Zelaya was exiled from the country in her pajamas. Now Honduras is a drug state and its people flee to the United States, where they are treated inhumanely. The US talks about democracy and human rights, but until it starts to implement it in the country, it won’t have any credibility on it ”. He cites the consequences of the imperialist policies of the United States by citing the Honduras coup in 2009: “Zelaya raised the minimum wage. USA didn’t like that. There was a coup. Zelaya was exiled from the country in her pajamas. Now Honduras is a drug state and its people flee to the United States, where they are treated inhumanely. The US talks about democracy and human rights, but until it starts to implement it in the country, it won’t have any credibility on it.”
“We make up 4 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of Covid-19 deaths are from us,” says Hawkins, describing the USA as a “failed state”. According to Hawkins, “The more organized states; It carried out testing, contact tracking, and quarantine practices, and now people can go to school and work. It’s not safe to go back to school or work right now in the US. The pandemic is still violent.”
WHY IS MY MAIN CALL OFF?
It is almost impossible to see presidential candidates other than Democrats and Republicans in the US mainstream media. There is no candidate other than these two parties in the discussion programs, which are broadcast live on televisions before each election, where presidential candidates compete. Hawkins explains the mainstream media’s doors being closed to these ideas with these words: “The way the capitalist class is ruling this country is a two-party system. Both parties are in control of the interests of the companies. So this system is not more democratic than one-party states. Delusion of choice is created, but they agree on issues such as economy, foreign policy and environmental policies. On the other hand, we have a monopolized media sector. There are five major conglomerates holding television, print media, entertainment, sports. They nurture the interests of companies that advertise to them… At the same time, political advertisements have a revenue-increasing role during the election period. So this is something very ingrained. There is no rule that you cannot establish a third party, but it is very difficult to enter the ballot. For example, you are an independent person who does not have a place on the compass, in order to enter the Congress, you need between a thousand and 10 thousand signatures varying according to states. It is much more difficult to get on the ballot here than in most countries.
LOCAL PARTY BUILDING
In these circumstances, Hawkins explains how to reach the voter: “We must build a genuine party with local branches and organizations in communities where people know and trust us personally.” “Behind these organizations there are very wealthy people who do not want the system to change, they tend to align with the progressive part of the Democratic Party. So the base is not self-leading, they are waiting to be told online what the next step will be. We need to build a political culture where the base interacts with each other and makes each other stronger with speakers, thinkers, writers. If we are going to change the system, it must be from the base.”
WHY DO YOU VOTE?
In the 2016 elections, the Green Party’s candidate Jill Stein was blamed for Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Trump for allegedly splitting the votes in key states. We ask Hawkins, why would the voter vote for you, although you cannot be elected? “To improve our agenda. For example, in 2014 I ran against Andrew Cuomo for the governorship elections in New York. Cuomo wanted to get more votes than he got in the previous election, but he got less and I got five percent of the votes. My supporters also adopted policies from my campaign to get the game. Such as the prohibition of the hydraulic fracture method, the increase of the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour, the family leave of the workers… We don’t have to win the election to move the debate forward. We represent what the majority wants in terms of climate, healthcare, endless wars. So this is an opportunity for people to vote for what they want and for politicians to come to them. ” According to Hawkins, the electoral success gained locally is crucial to the opportunity to create spaces that can exemplify the desired change across the country.
THE FUTURE OF THE
LEFT IS HERE In the 2016 Presidential elections, the turnout rate was 55 percent. The feeling of helplessness created by the two-party system also has an effect on the low turnout in the US elections. Hawkins points out that this mass of people who do not vote is disproportionately from the oppressed sections of society and adds: “The future of the left in this country is in the 100 million people who did not vote in the 2016 election. These people are disproportionately made up of business class, non-whites and young people. These are the people that the left should organize.”