5/1/20: Capitalism, COVID-19, Green Party, and the Left: A Conversation With Howie Hawkins

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“Who is Howie Hawkins?

I first learned about Howie Hawkins in November of 2019, while an ardent supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders. I had found a candidate in Howie that I could support if Sanders lost the nomination. Howie Hawkins is one of the founders of the Green Party of the United States, and has run for office in New York before deciding to run for the Green Party nomination. A Green and Left activist, Howie has the titles of an Eco-Socialist and the Original Green New Dealer. These titles are seen in his policies throughout his campaign platform.

Why Howie Hawkins? My article was going to focus on Capitalism during the Coronavirus and Capitalism after the Coronavirus, and to get there I needed to talk to someone. I reached out to the Howie Hawkins campaign and within minutes I received an answer. An Eco-Socialist running for the Presidency was to me, the perfect person to speak to, and when they said yes, I was ecstatic. I was going to be interviewing a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and that is exactly what I did.

I have chosen two questions and two answers that I believe voters should hear. They not only exemplify the candidate, but inform people on what is at stake if we continue down the path we are going.

I asked Howie if the increased amount of frustration towards our current system would prompt change away from Capitalism.  He told me that the Coronavirus is further proof, if anyone needed it, that Capitalism doesn’t work.

We have a for-profit Healthcare system. We have public insurance plans like medicaid, medicare, and child healthcare, that pay for services. But the delivery is private, and the private delivery systems are hospitals, clinics, and corporations that hire doctors on staff. They compete, and in order to make profit or to maximize their income, some of these are nominally non-profit, but they’re still maximizing their income and paying executives high salaries. They want to run lean operations, so when this pandemic hit they didn’t have enough hospital beds, enough personal protective equipment, or ventilators. If you had a socialized medical system and you listened to the public health officials you would have that stuff on backup, because you know a pandemic could come. Public health officials have been warning us. (For example Ralph Nader, former Green Party Presidential Candidate has been talking about this for decades, saying we’re not ready, and trying to amplify what health officials have been warning about)…

“What a Socialist system would do-and we could do it under the Defense Production Act- is plan the production of these things and get them distributed for where they’re needed. I think we have a living case study right now on how a socialist system would be more efficient. They often say that Capitalism is efficient. Well… it ain’t being too efficient in getting medical supplies to where they’re needed. Let alone, what we need now is massive testing, contact tracing, and quarantining those who are infected, or those who have had contact with those infected, so we can go out and restart the economy. Trump is leaving it to the private sector and the Governors to compete with each other, and it’s not working.

“I would say the same goes for the Climate Crisis. The Green New Deal was something that I was the first candidate to run on in 2010  in this country. It was a signature issue for the Green Party for the last decade, and now the Democrats have taken it up. They took the brand and diluted the content. What I am calling for now in the Eco-Socialist Green New Deal is saying that we need to have public ownership in planning the key industries we need  to transform in order to get to Zero to negative greenhouse gas emissions, and 100 percent clean energy by 2030. You can’t do that with some subsidies here and some regulations there. The first thing they’ll do is fight you with their lobbyists and their lawyers, and they’ll slow the whole process down.

“We need to do what we did during World War II when the Federal Government took over, or built a quarter of the manufacturing capacity in this country in order to turn industry on the dime into the arsenal of democracy we used to arm the US, UK, and Russia to defeat the Nazis. We need to do nothing less to defeat climate change. We need a public energy system, a public transportation system, rails, and airlines, and a big public sector manufacturing system to build the Green New Deal Factories that are zero waste and powered by clean energy in order to make this transition. During WWII they had the office of War Mobilization- now we need the Office of Climate Mobilization, and that is what I think Capitalism cannot do, and what a Socalist Economic Democracy can do.”

I am a youth voter, who has enthusiastically supported Bernie Sanders since his first campaign back in 2016, and his endorsement of Joe Biden does not change my mind. I will not be voting for Joe Biden. So, I asked Howie Hawkins what his plan is to get the support of the youth voters like myself, who supported Senator Sanders, and do not want to vote for Vice President Biden.

He replied, “If you want College For All, Student Debt Relief, A Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and economic despair: the kind of things that Bernie Sanders was campaigning for, and if you vote for Biden, then you are opposing everything you support, ‘cause he opposes all of those things. The way to support those things through November and beyond is to support the Green Party campaign. You don’t have to win the office to make a big difference.

An example is, I got 5% running against Andrew Cuomo in 2014 for Governor. Cuomo wanted to run up the vote, get more votes than his dad got, (former Governor) Mario, more votes than he got in 2010 when he first got elected because he wanted to create the basis for running for President, and he got less votes, and I am sitting there with 5% of the vote. He had to say, “Man, what were these people talking about? How do I try to get their votes back?” We were calling for a ban on fracking, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and tuition free public college. He did the first three, little bit slower and not as fast as we would, but he basically did them, and then the college thing was a hoax, it was a scholarship to top off the other things. It wasn’t tuition free, but he even had Bernie Sanders come when he rolled it out. He couldn’t take us for granted. That’s what we can get out of this election. The more votes the Green Party gets, the more leverage we have going on to fight for things like Student Debt Relief, Free Public College, Medicare for all, and the Green New Deal. That is a big one I know  for the youth, because while the coronavirus has put it out of sight for a minute, the Climate Crisis is a lot more serious than people realize. It means mass species extinction if we are in the business-as-usual scenario, which means ecosystem collapse and agriculture collapse. There are Climate Scientists like Kevin Anderson…saying that if we go the route of the collapse of agriculture, we are only going to be able to support 10% of the human population by the end of this century, which means the Coronavirus pandemic is a picnic compared to the apocalypse we are facing…That is why I believe the young people should take a look at the Green Party and give it their support, because we are fighting for our future.”

Thank you, Howie for this amazing interview. While I could not fit in every question and every answer, believe me when I say Howie Hawkins is the real deal.

I hope this article highlights to you, the reader, the importance of a Howie Hawkins candidacy. The 2020 election will see the Democrats running one of the most Conservative candidates since the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Every election cycle we are told to vote for the “Lesser of two Evils”.  Well I’m not going to do that, because that allows the cycle to continue, and if someone tries to say that a vote for Green is a vote for Trump I like to remind them of basic electoral math. A vote for a Republican is a vote for a Republican, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for a Democrat, a vote for Green is a vote for Green, and a vote for Libertarian is a vote for Libertarian. When my dad voted for Ralph Nader in 2000 he was not voting for Bush. Guess who actually was voting for Bush in 2000? Former Clinton supporters. What about in 2008 when former Hillary Clinton supporters voted for John McCain over the “radical” campaign of the future President Barack Obama? So let me explain to you, the reader, that more often than not it is Democrats that will vote for Republicans, and Republicans that will vote for Democrats. Ralph Nader didn’t cause Gore to lose in 2000. It was former Clinton supporters.

Republicans know that running a Populist means winning the Presidency. Why don’t Democrats? From the candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, to Shirley Chisholm, to Jesse Jackson, to Bernie Sanders we see candidates that can win. Candidates that can get voters to come out and vote; from Independents to the non-voting Left. Safe Moderates don’t win elections and history tells us that. So I am telling you today that I, Aidan Freeman, am endorsing Howie Hawkins for the Green Party Nomination. I don’t vote for Rapists.”

Link: https://mccaskeyvidette.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/capitalism-covid-19-green-party-and-the-left-a-conversation-with-howie-hawkins/



Posted on

May 5, 2020

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