Two-day visit to Plattsburgh by one of Green New Deal’s original authors kicks off Wed. evening, 11/20, with informal mixer “Green Drinks” and lighthearted live talk show “Late Night for the Planet”
PLATTSBURGH, NY— On Wednesday evening, November 20th, Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins, one of the original authors of the Green New Deal, will be a special guest at two informal events at Olive Ridley’s Taphouse & Grill in downtown Plattsburgh. The events kickoff a two-day visit by the self-described “eco-socialist” activist, former Marine and seasoned campaigner, including a public forum Thursday evening at SUNY Plattsburgh in which Hawkins will deliver an in-depth address on his truly “Green” version of the Green New Deal.
From 8 to 9:30 pm, the candidate will appear on “Late Night for the Planet,” a lighthearted live talk show about the environment started by climate-conscious student leaders in the Earth and Environmental Science Department at SUNY Plattsburgh (also livestreamed at facebook.com/LN4TP ). Immediately preceding the talk show fun, beginning at 7 pm, the “Late Night” crew hosts the local incarnation of “Green Drinks,” a meet-n-greet and environmental networking event that takes place around the world, assisted by an international organization of the same name. Olive Ridley’s is at 37 Court Street (518-324-2200).
Both events are open to the public, and there is no cover charge for either. “Green Drinks” represents a wonderful opportunity to meet Howie Hawkins in person for North Country residents, who are invited to stay and serve as audience members for “Late Night for the Planet.” Those who do will get to see a lighter side of the candidate, two other special PSU guests—Dr. John McMahon of the Political Science Dept. and Essence Hightower, Student Association President—and a pair of environmental student hosts before the focus of Howie’s visit shifts on Thursday to heavier topics—namely, the climate crisis, growing economic inequality and the new nuclear arms race, Hawkins’s top three priority issues in his campaign. Events on Thursday, 11/21, include:
- A news conference at 11 am off-campus in downtown Plattsburgh. Members of the media planning to attend should contact Fred Balzac at 518-588-7275 or [email protected] for the precise location and any other needs or questions.
- A meeting with members of the PSU Center for Earth and Environmental Science, open to faculty, staff and students in that department only. For more info, please contact Dr. Curt Gervich at 518-564-4030 (office), [email protected].
- An appearance at the “Environmental Politics and the 2020 Presidential Campaign” class, taught by Dr. Gervich. It was the focus on individual candidates running for president of this innovative, student-fueled course that served as the impetus for the visit by Hawkins, a long-time resident of Syracuse, NY.
- The public forum at 7 pm at 200 Yokum Hall, open to community members as well as all SUNY Plattsburgh students, faculty and staff. There, Hawkins will offer an in-depth presentation on what he calls the “real” Green New Deal—differentiating it from what many of the Democratic presidential candidates are currently calling for—while tackling other pressing environmental, socio-economic and foreign-policy issues facing the nation and the planet. He will also engage in a conversation with a panel comprised of students in the “Environmental Politics” class and take questions directly from audience members.
Admission to the public forum is free, and all are welcome. To learn more about this or the other two public events featuring Howie on Wednesday evening, please contact Fred Balzac—himself a student in the “Environmental Politics” class—at 518-588-7275 and/or [email protected] or Dr. Gervich at 540-818-1896 (cell), 518-564-4030 (office), [email protected].
A Focus on Achieving Real Democracy in the U.S.
A co-founder of the Green Party in the United States, Hawkins helped write the national Green Party platform plank in 2000 that was the origin of the Green New Deal and, in fact, Howie was the first U.S. candidate to run on a fully developed Green New Deal, in 2010—combining an Economic Bill of Rights with a call for going to 100% clean, renewable energy (i.e., no fossil fuels) by 2030. His three runs for Governor of New York in 2010, 2014 and 2018 put and kept the Green Party on the state ballot.
In Hawkins’s view, ballot access for third parties—particularly those on the non-corporate-funded Left—is one of the pillars of achieving real democracy in America. This month, Howie published an op-ed piece in the Gotham Gazette titled, “From the ‘Third Party’ Front Lines, How to Address Fusion Voting, Party Qualifications, and New York Democracy” (https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8915-new-york-democracy-fusion-voting-green-party). In it, he states his opposition to the current proposal by some New York Democrats to raise the state ballot access threshold from 50,000 to 250,000 votes.
One of the prime goals of Hawkins’s current presidential run is to get the Green Party on the ballot in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territory of Guam. Another objective is to build a Left unity campaign to effectively challenge the corporate duopoly of the national Democratic and Republican parties. This past October, Hawkins won the nomination of the Socialist Party of the United States. He has also been endorsed by Solidarity, a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization.
Hawkins will be seeking nominations from multiple 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 in Vermont.
“We want to unite the many against the few, the working-class majority against the super-rich elite,” Hawkins said, as quoted in a campaign press release. “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.”
Bringing People Together to Talk About Environmental Issues—in a Fun Way
The origins of “Late Night for the Planet” date back to the spring of 2019 when two young environmental leaders at SUNY Plattsburgh, Michala Hendricks and Charles Olsen, saw a need in Plattsburgh and the North Country at large for a new way to talk about local environmental/ social topics that bring concerned members of our community together rather than divide them.
The live talk show was created in order to provide a fun, informal, light-hearted platform to raise awareness about serious issues. The crew expanded in fall 2019 to include several new cast and crew members, including Hadar Pepperstone, Rahmel Pacheco and Clarice Knelly. Dr. Curt Gervich, Associate Professor in the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at SUNY Plattsburgh, serves as the project’s Executive Producer.
Working closely together as a tight-knit unit, the crew develops each monthly program—modeled after such late-night comedy staples as “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah, “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” and the venerable “Tonight Show”—comprised of such regular components as comedy, audience participation games, art, music, and serious conversation about challenging topics.
Each episode, which takes place on the third Wednesday of the month and is livestreamed on Facebook, features local, regional and national experts on a given topic. Initial episodes of the show tackled such issues as: the future of Lake Champlain, with expert guests who included Adam Saslow, a national environmental conflict and mediation professional, and two SUNY Plattsburgh professors—Dr. Lauren Eastwood and Dr. Michael Devine; barriers to adaptive outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks, featuring US Olympic bobsledder John Napier, NYS Empire Games committee member Jean Brennan and the ADK Footstuff Podcasters; and the housing crisis, with Michigan State University Housing Law Clinic Director Brian Gilmore, Plattsburgh Housing Authority Director Mark Hamilton and local resident Shannon Thayer.
The “warm-up” for each month’s talk show episode, “Green Drinks,” is an informal mixer and environmental networking event intended for anyone interested in environmental topics. Green Drinks is also the name of an international organization that assists local groups in hosting these fun-filled, yet seriously informative networking events (greendrinks.org).