FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 6, 2020
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Kevin Zeese, Press Secretary
Robert Smith, Media Coordinator
August 17: Howie will be in Philadelphia with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign for a march, about housing and the economic collapse, that will go to Joe Biden’s national office. Lives Over Luxury protest begins at 4 pm at the Liberty Bell and goes to Biden’s campaign Office (1500 Market Street) on August 17 during the Democratic Convention. See LivesOverLuxury.com
August 18: Howie will be petitioning in Virginia for ballot access
August 19: Howie will be at an event with the Bethesda African American Cemetery Coalition that will highlight the history of this Black community from the slave-plantation era, to an African American town to being forced out by white suburban development. See Bethesda African American Cemetary Coaltion.
Every Tuesday evening the Hawkins/Walker campaign does a livestream with questions and answers via social media. On August 11 the guest will be Ralph Nader.
Howie Hawkins comments:
COVID-19 and the Economic Collapse
The Hawkins campaign has put out a series of statements on how to respond to COVID-19 beginning on March 3. President Trump has surrendered to COVID-19 and has failed to put forward a national plan to respond to the pandemic. Former Vice President Biden is silent and not using his national podium to lead the nation or his party. Congress is in a stalemate unable to put forward the emergency measures needed to respond to the crisis.
“We are going to hit 5 million infections today and 160 thousand deaths. We are 4% of the world’s population and we have about 25% of the world’s cases and deaths,” said Hawkins. “This just shows that the two governing parties in this country are presiding over a failed State.”
Millions of evictions are coming as the federal eviction moratorium and local moratoriums runout. Unemployment is at record levels with more than 35 million lost jobs. Businesses are closing.
Medicare needs to be expanded to cover everyone in the midst of this pandemic health crisis as more than ten million have lost their health insurance due to job loss on top of the 28 million who already did not have insurance.
$2,000 per month should be provided to every person through the existence of this pandemic.
Rents and mortgages should be paid for by the federal government during this economic collapse.
Emergency regulations are needed from OSHA for workplace standards regarding COVID-19.
Enhanced unemployment should be considered as it is essential to stopping the economic collapse from worsening.
These are common sense steps that would be taken if the US were not a failed state.
In the long-run to remake the economy after this collapse, we cannot rely on private enterprise alone. We need to rebuild the economy around a Green New Deal that would transform the economy to clean and sustainable energy by 2030. Economists just put forward a plan for massive public investment to decarbonize the economy. This is what our plan calls for.
Donald Trump says climate change is a hoax, but the Democrats and Joe Biden act like climate change is a hoax. Biden is continuing the strategy of the Obama era which relies on fracked gas and oil and nuclear energy, two false, dangerous and expensive energy sources rather than calling for the transition to clean sustainable energy that is needed.
“I call for an ecosocialist Green New Deal because public enterprise and planning are needed for a Green Economy Reconstruction Program that would cost $27 trillion over ten years and create 38 million jobs,” said Hawkins. “Prior to the economic collapse finding workers to put in place the Green New Deal was the bottleneck, now the Green New Deal is the solution to the economic collapse and the climate crisis.”
The Green New Deal includes an Economic Bill of Rights because the life expectancy of people in the working class is shrinking due to inequality and the economic insecurity tens of millions of people face.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the US bombing of Hiroshima with a nuclear weapon and the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is at the closest to midnight it has ever been. The US started a destabilizing nuclear modernization program under President Obama and it has continued under Trump, now other countries are following suit.
Neither Trump nor Biden, or their parties, are talking about this existential issue. I am calling for peace initiatives to reduce tension and open the door to negotiating complete and mutual nuclear disarmament. Those peace policies include a 75% cut in military spending, withdrawing from the endless wars, a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, and disarming to the minimal credible deterrent.
People in 36 states will be able to vote for Hawkins/Walker and we are currently petitioning in 14 states.
It is dangerous for people to be petitioning during a pandemic. Our petitioners take a lot of precautions, but it is absurd that we are required to gather signatures to exercise our basic democratic right to run for office and for voters to be given a choice beyond the Democrats and Republicans.
The US is unique in requiring large numbers of signatures to run for office. This is a barrier to democracy that no other country has. While not all countries have elections for president, we can compare requirements for national legislatures for comparison purposes. In the US it varies from state to state. In Illinois over 15,000 signatures are required; in Georgia over 20,000 are required. By comparison, the United Kingdom requires 10 signatures, New Zealand requires two, Australia requires 50, Canada requires 100 in urban ridings and 50 in rural ridings.
Hawkins/Walker is on the ballot in most of the large states, e.g. California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. It is also on the three states that decided the 2016 election or has submitted signaturess sufficient to be on the ballot in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.
In some states like Vermont, Illinois and Maryland courts have given COVID relief by reducing the signature requirements. In other states like Ohio courts have said the COVID distancing requirements did not apply to First Amendment activities, so no COVID relief was granted. The Hawkins/Walker campaign with Green state parties is pursuing litigation in other states and is still seeking ballot access in 14 more states.
- Ballot access: Questioner was interested to hear that we submitted enough signatures in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania because he had heard reports there would not be enough signatures in each. Howie explained that Hawkins/Walker volunteers were collecting signatures in each and had just enough signatures in each state but then in both states, signature gatherers working with the state parties or independently added to the numbers of signatures and in both states we submitted more than enough to be added to the ballot.
- The Debate: Howie explained that the Commission on Presidential Debates is a private corporation controlled by the Democrats and Republicans that was designed to keep the debates limited to two parties. Howie said he was ready and willing to debate Trump and Biden but he did not think they were ready to debate him.
- Unemployment benefits: Howie believes the $600 additional unemployment benefit should continue as it is critical to people paying their rent, buying food and keeping the economy from collapsing further.
- Kanye West: There are reports that West is being helped by Republicans. West is seeking ballot access late, so he has missed a lot of deadlines. If you have money and the help of a major party you can buy your way onto ballots. While it used to cost $2 to $3 to pay commercial petitioners per signature, now they are asking $10 to $20 per signature. This COVID premium is not something we can afford so Hawkins/Walker is paying Greens to gather signatures and relying on volunteers as well as the campaign team.
- Literature: Campaign materials were requested that were digital and could be shared online. In particular, the questionnaire sought charts that compared Hawkins to Biden and Trump on particular issues. Hawkins replied that more materials are being developed but on the campaign Facebook page there are already charts comparing the three candidates on a large number of issues.