by Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker
Our campaign has just begun to organize and fight for real solutions to the life-or-death issues of climate, poverty, racism, and nuclear war for which the two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule has no solutions. We are running out of time on these issues. Real solutions can’t wait.
In the immediate days ahead, our campaign will be in the courts and in the streets if necessary to fight for full and accurate vote counts so the real winners of this year’s elections take office.
Regardless of the relative balance of power after this election between the two corporate parties in the presidency, the Senate, the House, and the state houses, our campaign will mobilize support for our demands and for Green and independent socialist candidates in the next election cycle.
We will not be waiting for future elections to mobilize support for our demands. We will be educating the public, building coalitions, and mobilizing actions to advance our program.
To advance this program, we need more than single-issue organizations and campaigns that compete with each other for attention, time, and money. We need to build a political party that brings issues and constituencies around a common program and mutual support.
Building that party must become a common effort of Green and other independent socialist and progressive parties and groups who want a united mass party of the working people and all who love peace, justice, freedom, and the environment.
Uniting the existing independent left is not enough. We must organize into the party the people who now vote in low numbers because they feel the two corporate parties don’t represent them. These people are disproportionately working class, people of color, and young. They are the future mass base of an independent party of the green and socialist left.
The path forward to becoming a major party in US politics is from the bottom up. We must build a mass-membership party rooted in strong local chapters that can elect thousands to local office and, on that foundation, to state legislatures and the House as we go into the 2020s.
What follows are the key demands we will be fighting for.
Green New Deal
Enact an Ecosocialist Green New Deal for zero-to-negative carbon emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030 because that is what climate science indicates we must do to avert catastrophic climate calamity. It must be ecosocialist, emphasizing public enterprise and planning in the energy, transportation, and manufacturing sectors in order to rapidly transform all productive sectors—power, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, and agriculture—to zero emissions and 100% clean energy. Immediate Green New Deal demands include:
- Ban Fracking: A ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure.
- No Nukes: No new nuclear power plants and a rapid phase-out of existing nukes.
- Bioplastics: Ban new petrochemical plastics infrastructure and replace petrochemical plastics with biodegradable bioplastics.
- Just Transition: Up to five years of existing wages and benefits for displaced workers and five years of tax revenues lost by local governments due to the clean energy transition.
Working class life expectancies are in decline after 45 years of wage stagnation while housing, health care, and college costs have risen dramatically. The Economic Bill of Rights will end poverty and economic insecurity.
Job Guarantee: A public job meeting community-defined needs for social services and public works for all willing and able to work who cannot find a living-wage job in the private sector.
A Guaranteed Income Above Poverty: An income guarantee built into the federal progressive income tax structure so that people whose income is below the poverty line receive regular income to bring them above the poverty line.
Affordable Housing: Build quality public housing until everyone has an affordable housing option.
Medicare for All: Reintroduce into Congress the legislation for a community-controlled National Health Service, the Josephine Butler United States Health Service Act, which was before the Congress from 1977 until 2010. It will provide all medically necessary services to all US residents financed by progressive taxation with no out-of-pocket costs to patients. It will socialize and democratize not only health care payments through a single public payer, but also health care delivery through public hospitals and clinics, health care providers as salaried public employees, and locally elected health boards for community control and accountability.
Lifelong Public Education: Tuition-free public education from child care and pre-K through post-secondary colleges, trade schools, and continuing adult education. Cancel existing federally-held student debt. Establish an affordable interest-free federal student loan program going forward with payments scaled to income.
A Secure Retirement: Increase Social Security benefits so that every senior can afford to retire and live above the poverty line.
Ending systemic racism requires structural institutional changes that shift power from racist gatekeepers controlling access to employment, education, housing, the justice system, and other resources to community control by racially-oppressed communities.
Community Control of the Police: Establish police commissions, publicly elected or selected by lot like juries, with the power to hire and fire police chiefs, rid police forces of racists and sadists, set policies and budgets, and investigate and discipline officer misconduct.
Legalize Marijuana and Decriminalize Hard Drugs: End the war on drugs that has particularly targeted Black, Latino, and Indigenous people for mass incarceration. Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Decriminalize possession of hard drugs for personal use so the addicted can get treatment instead of prison.
Empower Racially-Oppressed Communities: A federal program of investment in community-controlled housing, schools, health care, and businesses to build up impoverished communities, particularly racially-oppressed communities that have been segregated, discriminated against, and exploited for generations.
Take peace initiatives to end the US global military empire, reduce world tensions, and create favorable conditions for negotiations toward complete and mutual nuclear disarmament under the terms of the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The peace initiatives should include:
- A 75% cut in US military spending.
- Withdrawing from the endless wars.
- Withdrawing from the over 800 foreign military bases.
- A pledge of no first use of nuclear weapons.
- Stopping the US “nuclear modernization” program that is deploying destabilizing new strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
- Disarming to a minimum credible nuclear deterrent.
- A Global Green New Deal providing aid for health care, education, clean water, clean energy, and environmental restoration, particularly in low-income countries.
The Republicans practice voter suppression through voter roll purges, discriminatory ID requirements, insufficient polling stations, and other tactics against predominantly Democratic social groups and communities. The Democrats practice voter suppression by suppressing the Green Party’s access to the ballot. Electronic vote recording systems are vulnerable to vote flipping. The single-member-district, winner-take-all system magnifies the power of pluralities and minimizes the representation of political minorities. Private campaign financing is legalized bribery by wealthy special interests. We need many reforms of the electoral system to create a full democracy based on one person, one vote.
Fair Ballot Access: End party suppression. Federal legislation to require each state to enable any independent or new party candidate to qualify for the ballot through a petition of no greater than 1/10th of 1% of the total vote cast in the district in the last gubernatorial election, with a 1,000 signature maximum.
Voting Rights: End voter suppression.
- Restore the Preclearance Provision to the Voting Rights Act: Require Department of Justice approval of state election law changes to ensure they do not discriminate against any class of voters.
- Universal Voter Registration: A federal standard that states must follow to register all eligible voters.
- Right to Vote Amendment: Put an affirmative right to vote in the constitution so laws and rulings affecting voting rights face strict scrutiny in the courts.
- Restore Felon Voting Rights: Felon disenfranchisement is a relic of Jim Crow era suppression of Black voters that has grown with mass incarceration in recent decades to disenfranchise over 6 million citizens who are disproportionately Black, Latino, and Indigenous. The US should join most of the world’s democracies in recognizing that conviction-based restrictions on voting rights are violations of human rights.
Voter-Verified Paper Ballots: A federal standard that requires all voting systems to produce a paper record of each vote that can be audited and recounted. This paper trail will provide a reliable way to check that voting machines were not compromised by human error or malfeasance. The federal standard should ban Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems that record votes directly on electronic devices or transmit results over the internet because they leave no way to check if votes were altered. All voting equipment such as optical ballot scanners and software should be publicly owned and open source for independent public inspection and testing instead of private and proprietary.
Nonpartisan Election Administration: The US is unique among electoral democracies in having elections administered by partisans of the two governing parties. Replace partisan administration of elections with an independent nonpartisan agency to administer elections.
Ranked-Choice Voting and Proportional Representation:
- Abolish the Electoral College
- Elect the President by a National Popular Vote using Ranked-Choice Voting
- Elect Executive Local and State Offices by Ranked-Choice Voting
- Proportional Representation in Legislatures through Ranked Choice Voting from Multi-Member Districts: This reform should be enacted for municipal, county, state, and federal legislatures. Establish proportional representation using ranked-choice voting for the House of Representatives by enacting the Fair Representation Act (H.R.4000)
Public Campaign Finance and Open Debates: Full public campaign financing such that each candidate who qualifies receives an equal public campaign grant sufficient to reach the voters of their district with their message and campaigns with public money, not private money. A condition of receiving the grant is participation in a series of publicly-sponsored debates.
We The People Amendment: Enact H.J.Res.48, the We the People Amendment to the US Constitution to end corporate personhood by establishing that only natural human beings, not artificial corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights and by establishing that money is property, not protected speech. This amendment will undo the Buckley v. Valeo, Citizens United v. FEC, and McCutcheon v. FEC decisions that prevent effective campaign finance regulation. The amendment will enable we the people through our elected representatives to publicly and fully regulate and finance public elections, as well as more effectively regulate corporations.
Supreme Court Reform: The US Supreme Court has become an anti-democratic super-legislative council of lifetime members who often create law and strike down laws created by the elected branches of government. Congress should reassert its power under the Exceptions Clause of the US Constitution to regulate the composition and jurisdiction of the court, such as requiring a supermajority to annul federal laws. Congress should pass laws to restore or protect rights, such as a new preclearance provision in the Voting Rights Act and codifying Roe v. Wade to protect abortion rights. Congress should enact term limits for justices by enacting the Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act (H.R.8424), which will stagger terms of 18 years to give each president two appointments per term.
Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker were the 2020 presidential ticket of the Green Party of the US and the Socialist Party USA.