Draft Howie Hawkins to Run for the Green Party 2020 Presidential Nomination
(Note: This letter was written by Greens and progressive allies who want to see Howie step forward and run for president in 2020. Click here to read his response.)
We urge Howie Hawkins to seek the Green Party of the United States nomination for president. The 2020 election is going to be a challenging campaign that requires someone with the breadth of experience and understanding that Howie has shown throughout a lifetime of political activism.
Howie is well positioned to be the candidate who will help build the Green Party into a strong opposition party able to mobilize the mass movement necessary to confront the crises we will face over the next decade. He has a long history of political activism since his youth when he was repelled by the racism of both major parties in 1964. While California Republicans successfully backed a referendum to repeal the then recently enacted Rumford Fair Housing Act, the Democratic National Convention seated the all-white segregationist Mississippi delegation instead of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party led by Fannie Lou Hamer. From then on, Howie has supported independent left parties—Peace and Freedom (1968), People’s (1972, 1976), Citizens (1980), and Green (1984–present)—and organized in movements for peace, justice, labor, the environment, and democratic socialism.
Howie was a co-founder of the Green Party in 1984 and has been active in the Greens ever since, including running for New York governor three times, campaigns that maintained the New York party’s ballot access for many years. In his campaigns for local office and governor of New York, Howie has proven to be a formidable candidate. He received the highest percentage support for a left third-party candidate for governor of New York in 100 years. When debating Governor Andrew Cuomo and other challengers, he has repeatedly demonstrated deep knowledge of the issues and the ability to communicate them clearly and persuasively.
Howie’s campaigns have cemented the Green Party of New York State’s ballot position, thereby giving the New York electorate not just a choice, not just a place to vote their values, but also a place to build power. Today, New York has a fracking ban because the significant Green vote meant Governor Cuomo could not take the votes of the anti-fracking movement for granted. Greens change things. Even better, Howie has been able to impact New York politics in this way through his commitment to true unity via legitimate, progressive constituency representation and working-class unification, demonstrated in his recruitment of very progressive running mates of color. Howie’s idea of “us” is “every one of us.”
To fight the climate emergency, growing inequality, and endless wars, we need a people’s party independent of the two capitalist parties, and Howie has the political vision and experience to advance such a party—a Green party grounded in an ecosocialist program of ecological sustainability, economic democracy, and global solidarity among working people. He has been active in socialist movements for decades, working with various organizations and parties that want to take control of the economy out of the hands of the tiny capitalist class and place it in the hands of everyday working people.
Howie’s ecosocialist program is especially evident in the Green Party’s Green New Deal—the real Green New Deal—and he is the ideal candidate to make the distinction in 2020 between a real ecosocialist Green New Deal and what the Democrats are offering. Howie was the first candidate to run on a fully developed Green New Deal platform, in 2010, combining the economic human right to jobs, income, housing, health care, and education with reconstructing the economy for climate safety and ecological sustainability.
The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 1966 Freedom Budget, and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign all called for an Economic Bill of Rights that would take FDR’s 1944 Economic Bill of Rights and implement it in a way that ended racial discrimination in education, employment, and housing. The Green Party’s Green New Deal uplifts the aims of those efforts and will also nationalize energy industries and create public utilities to transition to green energy at the local level.
The reality is that to confront climate change and the socioeconomic crises of inequality and insecurity, we must fully transform our political and economic systems. While some Democrats are using the label “Green New Deal” for their inherently capitalist program, they will not advocate the transformational changes that are imperative to stop the continuity of US militarism, racial oppression, structural poverty, or ecological and economic degradation advanced by their party and the Republicans. Unlike the Greens, the Democrats and Republicans will not fight for the creation of worker-owned community cooperatives that give workers control of their workplace; nor will they fight to end our reliance on dangerously pollutive nuclear energy as part of a transition to a carbon-free and nuclear-free energy economy.
In particular, neither of the capitalist parties have a plan to relieve the misery of Puerto Ricans since hurricanes Irma and Maria, and over a year since Maria, the acute crisis manifests as a test tube of the worst of environmental disaster, austerity policy, and residual colonial neglect.
No politician from either of the two major parties is discussing how the US must transform our foreign policy and join the community of nations. A Howie Hawkins Green Party presidential campaign will put on the national political agenda how the US must evolve into a global partner that respects the inalienable right of sovereignty and self-determination of all peoples, foreign and domestic. Notably, a Hawkins campaign would demand an immediate no-first-strike nuclear weapons policy and vigorous negotiations for global nuclear weapons abolition.
We see the only solution is to build an independent, ecosocialist party that builds power around the issues facing the working class, and to spearhead this in a campaign that represents a convergence of the social movements today, from the effort to bring police under community control, to the push for more public and affordable housing, to the call to raise minimum wages to a true living wage, to arresting climate change now. These are all issues that have been the core of Howie Hawkins’s lifelong activism, and Americans deserve a candidate and a party that are solid on the real system change we need.
For all these reasons, we urge Howie Hawkins to seek the nomination of the Green Party for president of the United States. We urge him to build a strong team that reflects the values he has shown throughout his life: political independence, economic transformation, racial and social justice, and a dramatic shift in foreign policy away from militarism and imperialism. We also urge him to reach out to other independent left political organizations to build solidarity against the corporate duopoly at this critical time in history. We are confident in Howie’s ability to achieve these objectives and urge him to run.
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Howie Hawkins has a plan to build the Green Party into a real left-wing opposition to the capitalist war parties.