Published in the November-December 2019 issue of Against the Current (#203)
Howie Hawkins for President
I AM RUNNING for the Green Party nomination for president because I was urged to do so by many Greens around the country. I am running as part of a collective leadership this “Draft Howie” committee put together that is diverse by race, gender, sexual orientation, age and geography.
We have conceived of a campaign with two basic goals: to advance an ecosocialist program and to build the Green Party.
We are emphasizing three life and death issues an ecosocialist program must address:
The Climate Crisis: We are calling for an ecosocialist Green New Deal that calls for public ownership and democratic planning of key sectors of the economy — energy, railroads, manufacturing — in order to coordinate the transformation of all productive sectors — electric power, manufacturing, agriculture, buildings, and transportation — to zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.
Growing Inequality: Inequality kills. The life expectancy gap between America’s richest and poorest counties is now 20 years. The bottom half of the income spectrum has trouble paying for rent, utilities, groceries, medical bills, and/or college costs each month. People avoid medical care because of the cost. Many die prematurely.
We call for an Economic Bill of Rights to secure universal access to living-wage jobs, an income above poverty, affordable housing, comprehensive health care, lifelong public education, and a secure retirement. We also call for reparations for African Americans, decolonization of U.S. territories, and honoring the treaties with and the land rights of Native Indians and Mexican Americans.
The New Nuclear Arms Race: The United States has initiated a nuclear modernization program to rebuild its strategic nuclear force with hypersonic speeds that are six time faster, thus radically reducing response time and putting nukes already on hair-trigger alert with even less time to respond to a perceived attack.
Washington is also deploying more tactical nukes for conventional battlefields, and meanwhile abandoning nuclear arms treaties. Other nuclear powers, fearful of being wiped out in a first strike, are following suit.
We intend to make nuclear disarmament a 2020 campaign issue. Specifically, we call on the United States to adopt a policies of No First Use and Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament to Minimum Credible Deterrent, to be followed up by urgent negotiations among the nuclear powers for complete global nuclear disarmament in accordance with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons approved by 122 non-nuclear nations in 2017.
We are making the case in the new socialist movement for independent working-class political action — so the socialist movement has its own oppositional voice and identity. We are arguing that socialism means democratic social ownership of the major means of production, rather than merely progressive social reforms that precariously depend on taxing the capitalist economy.
Our party building goals include:
Ballot Access: We intend to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 39 of those states and DC, what we do in the presidential year determines whether the Greens have a ballot line for the next election cycle so that Greens can run local races next time around.
Federal Primary Matching Funds: We intend to qualify for this one-to-one match on donations per individual of up to $250, which requires raising $5,000 in each of 20 states from donations of $250 or less per donor.
Training Organizers: The Greens tend to be reliable activists who show up, but who are not as adept at organizing as they are to mobilizing. We will hold training sessions to spread the kind of knowledge and skills that good union and community organizers have.
Expanding the Green Party Base: We are prioritizing recruitment to the campaign and to the Green Party among the groups with the most alienation from the two-party system and the lowest voter turnout: the working class generally and youth and people of color in particular.
We also hope to build more unity across the independent left. Accordingly, we are also seeking the nominations of the Socialist Party USA and progressive state parties like the California Peace and Freedom Party.
The campaign website is www.howiehawkins.us.
November-December 2019, ATC 203