Name: Howie Hawkins
State of residence: New York
Member of Green Party since: 1984
Campaign website: www.howiehawkins.us
Campaign Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runhowierun2020
Campaign Twitter: @HowieHawkins20
Other Campaign Social Media: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaEy6xfyQOS9LQjAN49S1ww
Campaign e-mail: [email protected]
What do you see as the mission and purpose of the Green Party?
The mission of the Green Party is to organize the working-class majority and all people who love peace, justice, freedom, and the environment into a major party and force in American politics.
The purpose of the Green Party is organize in social movements and election campaigns to transform society toward the realization of the Four Pillars of Green Politics: grassroots democracy, social and economic justice, world peace, and ecological sustainability.
Why did you choose to run for the Green Party Presidential nomination?
I am running because I was asked to run by Greens across the country. I have run credible large-scale campaigns statewide in New York four times: for US Senator against Hillary Clinton in 2006 and for Governor of New York against Andrew Cuomo in 2010, 2014, and 2018. In each gubernatorial race, I received enough votes to secure a ballot line for the Green Party. I can draw on this experience to run a credible national campaign with significant impact on the debate and party building.
What role do you see the Presidential Campaign playing in the larger picture of the Green Party of the US?
If the Green Party is to become a major party and force in American politics, we have to build it from the bottom up. We should be electing thousands of Greens to local, state, and then congressional office as we go into the 2020s. The Green Party presidential campaign can help lay the basis for this growth by:
Ballot Access: Ballot access for the Green Party in about 40 states depends on the vote the presidential ticket receives directly, or mobilized indirectly for other statewide office with its coattails. Ballot lines make it easier for local candidates to get on the ballot in their races.
Supporting Down-Ballot Candidates: The presidential campaign should defend down-ballot candidates from challenges to those candidates’ ballot placement and attacks by Democrats crying spoiler. The campaign should run with down-ballot candidates as a slate and team.
Organizing Locals: The presidential campaign should help Green Party locals get better organized. Well-organized locals are the foundation for electing more and more Greens to local, state, and congressional offices.
What are the primary goals of your campaign?
My campaign has two basic goals: putting Green solutions into the national debate and building the Green Party.
Green Solutions: I am leading with three programs to address immediate life-or-death issues.
Ecosocialist Green New Deal: To avert climate catastrophe, I have published on my campaign website a program and budget for a full-strength Green New Deal to achieve zero-to-negative greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.
Economic Bill of Rights: Inequality kills. Working-class life expectancy is declining in the US due to economic inequality and despair that has been growing for 45 years. The Economic Bill of Rights provides government guarantees of a living-wage job, an income above poverty, affordable housing, comprehensive health care, lifelong public education, and a secure retirement.
Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives: The new nuclear arms race is an immediate threat to our existence and none of the presidential candidates are talking about it. I am making it a top campaign issue for 2020. I call for a US pledge of No First Use, unilateral nuclear disarmament to a Minimum Credible Deterrent, and, on the basis of those tension-reducing initiatives, mobilizing world public opinion behind urgent negotiations among the world’s nine nuclear powers for mutual and complete nuclear disarmament.
Electing the President by a Ranked-Choice National Popular Vote: I am also answering the invariable accusations by media and Democrats that a Green presidential ticket will “spoil” the election. I say it is the Democrats who are spoiling the election. They won’t get behind the reform that will end the spoiler problem. They won’t support the solution the Greens have been giving them since they started whining about the Greens after Ralph Nader ran in 2000: replacing the Electoral College and the plurality winner system with a ranked-choice national popular vote for president.
Party Building: In order to force Green solutions into the national debate, we need to be on the ballot with credible levels of funding and organization to make a difference. That means building the Green Party in 2020 in the following ways:
Ballot Status in all 50 States and DC: See my answer to the question on this below.
Federal Primary Matching Funds: See my answer to the question on this below.
Organizing: My campaign is encouraging and helping local Greens focus on organizing, not just mobilizing. If the Green Party is going to become a major party and force in American politics, it needs to do more than just mobilize its existing base for issue and election campaigns. We need to broaden our base among the working class, youth, and people of color, the people who participate in public affairs and vote in lower numbers. We are helping Greens learn the practices that union and community organizers use to build and maintain diverse organizations. We are projecting a goal for the Green Party of building the party from the bottom up by electing thousands of Greens to local, state, and then congressional offices as we go into the 2020s.
What major platform planks do you have that you feel separate you from the other candidates?
Ecosocialist Green New Deal—I was the first candidate in the US to campaign for a Green New Deal in 2010. For 2020, I have detailed a budget for how the US can reach zero-to-negative greenhouse gas emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030.
Economic Bill of Rights—This part of the Ecosocialist Green New Deal is a program to end poverty and economic insecurity in the United States. It speaks to the economic despair of the working-class majority that is their top issue. As a program that links racial justice to economic justice for all, we can build a majoritarian interracial movement of working people that can win these reforms.
Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives—I am the only candidate of any party making this a top campaign issue in 2020.
Do you have a strategy or plan to achieve ballot access in every state?
We are helping Greens get on the ballot in all 50 states and DC. My campaign was helping states with paid and volunteer petitioners until the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures made street petitioning untenable. My campaign has assembled a team of lawyers and ballot access activists who are helping the state parties appeal to state government leaders to relieve us from petitioning and place us on the ballot. If state governments fail to provide relief, we are suing the states in court for relief.
How do you feel about the strategy to only campaign in non-swing states to help defeat Trump, also known as a “safe states” strategy?
I believe the safe states strategy is political suicide. There are no solutions for the life-or-death issues we face coming from the Democrats and Republicans. Why should Greens run if we don’t believe we are the best alternative? If Greens don’t really believe in themselves, why should anyone else?
I have addressed this question in detail for years:
I edited and contributed to the book, Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate (Haymarket, 2006), which covers the safe states debate in 2004 and has several of my statements against safe states.
When Socialist Alternative called on Bernie Sanders to run an independent campaign using the safe states strategy in 2016, I criticized their approach in CounterPunch, “Safe States, Inside-Outside, and Other Liberal Illusions.”
When Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, and others issued an “Open Letter” addressed to me and urging the Greens to run a safe states campaign, I responded with my criticism of their approach in “Every State is a Battleground.”
When the Party for Socialism and Liberation said they would run a safe states presidential campaign if Bernie Sanders was the Democratic nominee, I criticized them in “You Didn’t Join the Peace and Freedom Party to Support Democrats.”
Do you think your campaign will be able to qualify for federal matching funds?
My campaign is the only presidential campaign in any party that is seriously seeking to qualify for this program and we believe we will qualify. Qualifying will double all contributions up to a cumulative $250 from individuals, which will be crucial to support our ballot access efforts in particular, which now will involve legal fees in many states.
Why should Green Party of Utah members consider nominating you versus one of the other candidates?
I have been working in the trenches building the Green Party since 1984. I did not join recently and soon run for president.
I have experience running large-scale campaigns in New York State. I am scaling this experience up to run a impactful national campaign.
I am running a positive campaign about what I stand for and what my campaign aims to do. I have not been going on social media and to candidate debates saying what is wrong with the other candidates. I have focused on what I am offering.
I am taking the debate to Trump and Biden. I am earning major media coverage: Daily Beast, Economist, NY Post, RT, Washington Times, Washington Post, Yahoo News. I believe my campaign can force Green policy demands into the national debate.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
The failure of the Democrats and Republicans to respond properly to the COVID-19 crisis shows once again that they can’t solve even straightforward problems with obvious solutions, let alone complicated problems like persistent racism and poverty, global warming, and nuclear arms.
Trump’s response is negligent homicide. Biden is AWOL except to say it is “too harsh” to say Trump has blood on his hands because of his incompetent and self-serving response.
I am urging Greens and all people to join in demanding the following measures.
For the public health response:
– Authorize Medicare to immediately start paying for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
– Use the Defense Production Act to immediately enact a federally-guided plan to produce and distribute medical resources—tests, contact tracing, personal protective equipment, hospital beds, ventilators—to where they are needed.
– Enact an improved Medicare for All program so every person can afford the medical care they need.
– Increase funding for CDC, NHS, HHS, NSC, and other agencies that work on global infectious disease and public health programs.
– Socialize the pharmaceutical and medical supply industries as public utilities supplying the healthcare system what it needs at cost for public benefit, particularly the research and development of vaccines, antivirals, and antibiotics that the private pharmaceutical industry has stopped doing.
– Enact a permanent, universal system of paid leave for sickness and family care.
– Convert 75% of the military budget to providing health, human services, and environmental protection at home and abroad.
For the economic response to the coronavirus depression:
– A Crash Program of Testing, Contact Tracing, and Quarantining of the infected and their contacts in order to establish as soon as possible a safe basis for re-opening the economy.
– A Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures during the coronavirus economic shutdown.
– A Rent, Mortgage, and Utilities Forbearance Program for the duration of the economic shutdown where households and businesses only make payments they can afford and the federal government pays the difference in a way that is progressively scaled to household and business income.
– Federal Universal Rent Control for the duration, like the US did during the World War II emergency.
– A Guaranteed Minimum Income Above Poverty
– The full Economic Bill of Rights to end poverty and economic despair with government programs to guarantee not only income, but also jobs, housing, health care, education, and retirement.
-A full-strength Green New Deal to spur economic recovery as well as confront the climate crisis.
– Monetary Reform that replaces the Federal Reserve System and debt-based government funding with a Monetary Authority in the US Treasury Department charged with gearing the money supply to the real needs of commerce and the people by issuing debt-free public money—United States Notes, or Greenbacks, in paper and digital form—that are spent into the economy through the federal budget.