Declaration of Candidacy for the Green Nomination for President
,May 28, 2019
I write to let you know that I have decided to seek the Green nomination for president of the United States.
I have decided to run because so many Greens and independent progressives and socialists have urged me to. We have conceived of a campaign designed to grow the Green Party rapidly as we move into the 2020s and provide real solutions to the climate crisis, the new nuclear arms race, and ever-growing economic and racial inequality.
I am not out here running by myself. I am running with a collective leadership.
The group that drafted me to run is deeply experienced and diverse in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and age.
They include former Green Party vice-presidential candidates Cheri Honkala and Ajamu Baraka; national party co-chairs Andrea Mérida, Tony Ndege, and Margaret Flowers; peace activist Cindy Sheehan; veterans of the black liberation movement like Bruce Dixon and Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture; progressive commentators like Chris Hedges and Kevin Zeese; the environmental scientist and DC Statehood Green Party stalwart David Schwartzman; political economist and Green New Deal policy expert Jon Rynn; the former county supervisor, almost-mayor, and public defender in San Francisco, Matt Gonzalez; and so many others.
The Draft Howie team has worked hard to get this campaign ready to go. Together we have conceived of a campaign with two fundamental goals:
- To build the Green Party as an activist and viable opposition to the two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule.
- And to put our ecosocialist program for real political and economic democracy, civil liberties, social justice, ecological sustainability, and peace on to the public agenda.
Even as we prepared to launch this campaign, two members of our core campaign team, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, camped out in the Venezeulan Embassy for five weeks resisting the US-sponsored coup attempt. That combination of movement activism and electoral politics is the model for our campaign.
Given who has asked me to run and how hard they have worked to get a campaign organized, I cannot refuse. I’m a retired Teamster now with pension. I don’t have the excuse of having to punch a time clock every night.
So I am honored and humbled that you have brought us to this point. I will work as hard as I can full time for the rest of the campaign to live up to the awesome responsibility you have asked me to take on.
Our campaign is about providing real solutions to the life or death issues we face:
- the fast-approaching existential threat of a climate holocaust that could wipe out human civilization;
- the new nuclear war race that is equally an existential threat to our survival;
- and the unacceptable but all too real crises that so many working families face every month trying to pay for food, rent, utilities, medical bills, child care, college tuition, and/or student loans, which results in a gap of 20 years life expectancy between our poorest and richest communities.
The two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule has utterly failed to provide real solutions to these pressing problems.
Our campaign is about building up the Green Party into a major party over the coming elections cycles so that we can enact the real solutions that the Democrats and Republicans will not. We want to put the Green Party in the position of electing thousands of Greens to local offices, state legislatures, and Congress as we move into the 2020s.
Impeach Trump Now
Our campaign is about uncompromising opposition to the racism and authoritarianism of Trump as well as to the self-defeating dependent politics of so many progressives who count on the corporate Democrats to defeat the ultra-right and enact progressive reforms. We are committed to independent politics, speaking up for our solutions without compromise, running our own candidates so progressive voters cannot be taken for granted by the Democrats, and defeating the ultra-right with a positive program for the people. The Democrats’ “Not Trump” is not enough.
Democratic leaders say impeaching Trump would be divisive. But Trump divides the country every day with his racist tropes and incitements to violence.
Trump has a 40-year rap sheet of corporate and personal crimes, followed by crimes and abuses of power since the day he became president. Only a rich white man like Trump could expect to still be walking free. The Republicans would have impeached Obama instantly for any of Trump’s transgressions. What are the Democrats waiting for?
We don’t have to wait to 2020 to get rid of Trump. Impeach Trump now!
That is only one among many reasons why the Greens need to run a presidential ticket and Green candidates right down the ballot in 2020.
The Greens are the progressive alternative to the Democrats’ and Republicans’ bipartisan consensus for neoliberal austerity economics and neoconservative imperialist foreign policies.
Our campaign is about taking power from the super-rich and the giant corporations and their paid-for political representatives in the Democratic and Republican parties. Our campaign is about putting power in the hands of the working class majority through new institutions of economic and political democracy that will give the people the power to enact policies that promote human freedom, social justice, economic security, ecological sustainability, and world peace.
For an Ecosocialist Green New Deal
The central theme of our campaign is an Ecosocialist Green New Deal.
The Green Party’s Green New Deal encompasses an Economic Bill of Rights and a Green Economy Reconstruction Program.
Economic Bill of Rights
The Economic Bill of Rights starts with a Job Guarantee—a WPA-style program of public jobs for the unemployed, planned locally and funded federally.
We are campaigning for the right to a minimum wage that is a living wage—$20 an hour indexed to inflation and productivity.
We are campaigning to end poverty now with a guaranteed income above poverty.
We are campaigning for decent homes for all. We want to build quality public housing until everyone has access to affordable housing. In the meantime, we want universal rent control to stop the evictions, displacement, and homelessness increasing all across the country.
We are campaigning for comprehensive health care for all. We are calling for a community-based National Health Service, not just a Medicare-for-All National Health Insurance program that leaves income-maximizing providers and drug companies feeding at the trough of single-payer public insurance. With its democratically-elected local health boards and with doctors and other providers on salary in public clinics and hospitals, a National Health Service will be more accountable and better at controlling costs.
Our Economic Bill of Rights includes the right to lifelong, tuition-free public education, from child care and pre-K through K-12 to college, technical, and graduate studies at any age. We want to boost federal funding of public schools to reduce student-teacher ratios to 15-to-1 for pre-K through 12th grade.
We want a secure retirement for all, starting with a doubling of Social Security benefits.
The economic security provided by this Economic Bill of Rights will help us build the political majority we need to carry through our Green Economy Reconstruction Program.
100% Clean Energy by 2030
Our program will get the United States to 100% greenhouse gas reductions and clean renewable energy by 2030. That is the deadline pressing down upon us. The best climate science says rich countries must achieve this goal if the world is avert runaway global warming.
Our campaign is demanding an immediate nationwide ban on fracking and all new fossil fuel infrastructure. If we don’t stop building fracking wells and pipelines, fracked-gas power plants, and fracked-oil vehicles, this new infrastructure will lock us into another 40 years of fossil fuels and a civilization-ending climate holocaust.
This rapid conversion of all sectors using energy requires a World War II-scale mobilization. In World War II, the federal government took over or built a quarter of all manufacturing capacity in the United States in order to turn industry on a dime to build the “Arsenal of Democracy” that helped defeat the Nazis. We need to do nothing less to defeat climate change.
Green Economy Reconstruction Program
That is why we call for an ecosocialist Green New Deal. Exxon and the Koch Brothers will never reinvest their fossil fuel profits in renewables. We must nationalize Big Oil and the power and gas utilities into a democratically-managed public energy system.
In order to get to 100% clean energy we must convert all sectors of production to ecologically sustainable technologies, from agriculture and manufacturing to transportation, urban structures, and habitat restoration.
The ecosocialist Green New Deal will build green manufacturing. We will rebuild manufacturing in the United States on the basis of zero-waste clean technologies, from manufacturing’s machine tool core to the manufacturing of intermediate and consumer goods.
The Green New Deal will convert corporate agribusiness to organic agriculture. Conversion to regenerative agriculture is needed to combat climate change by drawing atmospheric carbon into the biosphere and to end the pesticides and habitat destruction of industrial farming that is a major cause of the mass extinctions of species now underway.
We want to replace monocultural, chemicalized, and industrialized corporate agribusiness with family and cooperative organic farms. We want parity pricing and supply management programs for all agricultural commodities in order to insure famers and farmworkers receive a decent income above their costs of production.
The Green Economy Reconstruction Program will rebuild our railroads for electrified transportation powered by clean renewable energy. We want to prioritize public freight rails, light-rail mass transit, and high-speed inter-city rails over private trucks and cars on the roads.
Our transportation program will enable the restructuring cities and towns into walkable communities centered around the hubs and spokes of these electrified rail systems.
The Green Economy Reconstruction Program includes restoring the natural capital on which the human economy depends. We will create a new Civilian Conservation Corps to draw down carbon and end mass extinctions by restoring forests, wetlands, mangroves, and other ecosystems.
All these transformations require economic democracy based social ownership and democratic planning of the big banks and industries. Profit-seeking in markets has not and will not solve these ecological problems. It is time for democratic government to be the solution, not the problem.
Our ecosocialist Green New Deal will revive the economies of the Rust Belt, inner cities, and rural America.
We will build clean, zero-waste Green New Deal factories in every congressional district. We will replace the military/industrial complex that has done this to fortify political support for its wasteful budgets with a green/industrial complex.
What will do differently with mobilization is that we are not going to give the factories we build to the super-rich and their giant corporations as was done after World War II.
This time we are going to spread the wealth by turning the factories over to the workers as worker-owned cooperatives.
Paying for the Green New Deal
We are going to pay for this Green New Deal with more progressive taxes on income, wealth, and estates; with ecological taxes on carbon and other pollution and resource extraction; and with expansive monetary policies.
The bottleneck for the Green New Deal is labor, not technology or capital.
Renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil and nuclear fuels, especially when their subsidies are removed. There is plenty of capital in the economy to invest in a Green New Deal. US capitalists have $6 trillion in liquid assets they have invested in financial markets, which just rearranges and further concentrates who owns the productive assets we already have. The world’s capitalists have over $20 trillion hidden away in more than 80 offshore tax havens. All this money could be used for investments in the real economy of production. This unproductive capital must be taxed and channeled through the public sector for investment in new Green New Deal productive assets.
Budget for an Ecosocialist Green New Deal
The Green New Deal budget we are releasing today shows it will create over 23 million jobs, including over 5 million manufacturing jobs. The real unemployment last month was 15.6 million, or 9.3%. That number includes part-timers who want full-time jobs and people who want jobs but are discouraged from looking because they can’t find work and thus not counted in official statistics. That means we have plenty of work for the people migrating to the United States.
We are releasing the policies and budget for this ecosocialist Green New Deal today as the standard against which any Green New Deal proposal must be measured. The Green parties of the world are the original Green New Dealers. Some Democrats have taken the brand, but they have diluted the content. That is another reason why Greens up and down the ticket must run in 2020.
The budget for the ecosocialist Green New Deal requires about $2 trillion a year in public investments. Private investment in the economic transition will be leveraged by the public investment and the business opportunities it creates.
Some of this money will come from a more just tax system. It is better to tax the rich upfront than to borrow money from them with bonding and the transfer more of our wealth to them through interest payments on the debt.
But some of the money will have to be borrowed or created by the government.
We want to capitalize Green New Deal public banks in every congressional district that can finance Green New Deal projects at lower cost because they operate at cost rather than profit-maximization and they bypass the Wall Street banks’ fees and commissions. The state Bank of North Dakota has shown us how to do this for a century.
The federal government will also need to create or borrow money for a portion of these investments.
We support the Green Party’s modern Greenback platform plank to nationalize the Federal Reserve into a Monetary Authority in the Treasury Department with the power to create money as digital money or paper United States Notes (Greenbacks) and spend it into the economy. This debt-free money is our preferred method.
But pending enactment of that reform, we support a policy of Green Quantitative Easing, only this time instead of bailing out the big banks, we will bail out the people and the planet. Green QE involves bonding for Green New Deal projects. It will increase the national debt, but as long as the dollar is the world’s reserve currency we can borrow as much as we need for the Green New Deal until the economy is at full capacity without risking inflation.
In any case, it will cost us far more if we ignore the existential threat of climate change.
We also want to get the federal government’s priorities straight. The bloated military budget, including the departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security is now over $1 trillion a year.
We want to cut the military budget by 75% in order to increase our security. The biggest security threat we face is climate change. A $250 billion military budget will still be the world’s largest. It is far less costly in terms of personnel and weapons to defend a home territory than to invade and occupy foreign territory.
We are demanding that the US adopt a non-offensive defense posture, withdraw from over 800 foreign military bases, and be the world’s humanitarian superpower instead of its global military empire. Let’s make friends instead of enemies. Let’s help poor countries provide their people with clean water, elementary education, and preventive medicine. Let’s help them leap over the fossil fuel age into the solar age. Let’s use the savings from military spending to invest in a Global Green New Deal. That is how we make peace with the world’s peoples and the planet.
Our campaign is about putting nuclear disarmament back on the world’s agenda. The US has failed to live up to its disarmament responsibilities under Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Obama administration initiated new nuclear arms race with its $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program. The Trump administration followed that up by withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force treaty as well as the Iran nuclear deal. These developments mean that the US and its adversaries are now developing tactical nukes for conventional battlefields, which will easily escalate to strategic nukes and global nuclear annihilation. Our campaign calls for a recommitment to negotiations for global nuclear abolition. We demand that the US honor its treaty obligations and restore the Intermediate Nuclear Force treaty and the Iran nuclear deal. As immediate steps, we demand that the US take its nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, adopt a No First Use policy, and unilaterally disarm to a minimum credible nuclear deterrent. The US should then follow up those peace initiatives with urgent negotiations for complete global nuclear disarmament as provided for in the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and demanded by the text of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons approved by 122 nations in 2017.
Green New Deal vs. Neo-Fascism
Our campaign sees itself as part of an international movement for a Global Green New Deal. It is the rallying cry for a program for economic prosperity and climate sanity that can unite Greens, socialists and progressives, as we just saw in late May with the strong gains by the Greens who campaigned for a Green New Deal in the European Parliament elections last weekend.
The Green New Deal is the program with which we can build the political majorities to defeat the rising ultra-right of Trump and his neo-fascist counterparts around the world. The Green New Deal is a positive program of hope that can defeat the neo-fascists’ negative program of fear based on racism, xenophobia, fact-free irrationalism, and authoritarianism.
Economic and Racial Justice
The Green New Deal is the centerpiece of an aggressive program to reverse the economic and racial inequality that has been growing for the last four decades in the United States.
The Economic Bill of Rights will provide a floor of economic security for all Americans. The promotion of public enterprises and worker cooperatives will distribute income from work more equitably in the first place at the point of production than tax and transfer programs after income has been inequitably distributed.
Beyond these universal programs, our campaign will undertake race-conscious programs to remedy the race-conscious injuries of slavery, disenfranchisement, dispossession, discrimination, and segregation.
Racial justice starts with enforcing the anti-discrimination laws already on the books concerning employment, education, and housing, which have been neglected by both major parties.
We call for reparations for African-Americans for four centuries of slavery and discrimination.. We call for passage of the House Resolution 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.
But we don’t want to wait for the reparations study to make a down-payment on reparations now. That down-payment is what the Economic Bill of Rights is. It encompasses the demands that the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King, Jr. said black and poor people had come to collect on the nation’s “promissory note” to them. That promissory note was to be fulfilled by an Economic Bill of Rights. It was carried forward by King and other civil rights leaders with the 1966 Freedom Budget and the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. We are here to say it is way past time for America to make good on its promissory note and enact this Economic Bill of Rights, which President Franklin Roosevelt called upon Congress to enact in his last two State of the Union addresses in 1944 and 1945.
Racial justice means ending this nation’s horrific immigration policies that separate children from their parents and deny due process to immigrants seeking asylum from violence and political persecution. Our campaign calls for open borders like within the European Union. After after checking in at an official border crossing, people who are not wanted for a crime should be free to travel in and out of the United States. International borders should be authentic fair-trade zones where people are free to travel across borders to work, shop, recreate, and reside.
Our campaign is about fair trade in commodities and capital while protecting the human right to freedom of movement. We want trade agreements to be reformed or replaced to benefit working people and protect the environment in the US and around the world. We oppose the corporate-managed trade agreements that have enabled global corporations to play the workers of different countries off against each other in a race to the bottom that has undermined unions, wages, benefits, and safety and environmental standards. We support domestic content laws to enable the US to rebuild its manufacturing base to implement the Green Economy Reconstruction Program. Secret trade tribunals to which only corporations and governments have access to adjudicate trade disputes must be replaced with public courts to which citizens and unions have access.
Social Justice and Civil Liberties
Our campaign is about ending the war on drugs and mass incarceration. We call for the legalization of marijuana and the decriminalization of other drugs on the model of the Portuguese harm reduction policies. Drug abuse is a health problem, not a criminal problem. Criminalizing opioids contributes to the carnage of fatal overdoses. Addicts need help, not incarceration. Drug abuse treatment should be available on demand.
The criminal justice system needs major reforms. We support aggressive federal action against white nationalist terrorism and federal intervention against local police misconduct.
Our campaign will defend abortion rights and reproductive freedom.
We will campaign for the freedom of the LGBTQIA+ community, in particular for passage of the Equality Act to amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, education, housing, credit, public accommodations, adoption, foster parenting, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs, military service, and jury service.
Our campaign is about aggressive action to reduce the off-the-charts gun violence in America. We respect the right of law-abiding adults to own pistols, rifles, and shotguns. But we demand basic gun safety measures to protect public safety, including universal background checks, a ban on the sale of, and a buyback program for, military assault weapons, and “red flag” laws to remove firearms with due process from individuals who may present an imminent danger to themselves or others.
Our campaign will defend our civil liberties. We will fight against the prosecution whistleblowers and publishers under the 1917 Espionage Act, which has always been used for political repression and never more so than during the last two administrations. The Assange indictments under the Espionage Act are a full-out assault on freedom of the press. We call for a total ban on warrantless mass surveillance by our government.
Real Solutions Can’t Wait
To those who say these demands and Green candidates have to wait until Trump is removed in 2020, we say join us in demanding that Trump be impeached now.
To those who say Greens will split the vote and enable the Republicans to win, we say join us in fighting for the ranked-choice popular vote for president and proportional representation in Congress in order to end the vote-splitting dilemma once and for all.
Two of the last three presidents lost the popular vote. The Democrats, who won the popular vote but lost the presidency in those elections, but have never campaigned to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a ranked-choice popular vote for president. That is exactly why the Green Party must run candidates—to put proposals like this into public debate that the two capitalist parties ignore.
The Democrats have their billions in campaign funds. Trump is the most unpopular president in history. If the Democrats can’t landslide Trump in 2020 (if he is not impeached, convicted, and removed from office first), they can’t do anything.
The majority of congressional Democrats and their leadership share the militaristic foreign and military policies of Trump and the Republicans. They have supported Trump in increasing military spending, funding the new nuclear arms race, and in the regime-change war against Venezuela.
Those are more reasons why we need the Green alternative now, not after 2020.
While some congressional Democrats support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, most of them do not. And even those who took the brand of the Green New Deal into Congress watered down the content that the Green Party has campaigned for over the last decade.
The Nonbinding Resolution for a Green New Deal introduced into Congress by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey extended the deadline for zero greenhouse gas emissions for 2030 to 2050. It cut the ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure. It cut the deep reductions in military spending with the savings to be invested in a Global Green New Deal.
Then Speaker Pelosi would not bring this diluted Green New Deal to the House floor for a vote. On the Senate side, Leader McConnell brought it for a vote and not a single Democratic senator voted for it.
We will be damned if we wait on the Democrats while the planet burns.
Build the Green Party
I am asking you to join us in this campaign. It will only be successful if we have tens of thousands of small donors and activists on the ground. The major thrust of our campaign activities in 2019 will be helping the Green Party get on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The US has the most restrictive ballot access laws of any electoral democracy in the world. And the Democrats and Republicans designed the system that way. But we are going to beat their system anyway.
Our campaign will qualify for federal matching funds early so we can start receiving matching funds at the earliest possible date, January 1, 2020. That means you contributions of up to $250 will be doubled by federal matching funds. The major party candidates, who are so flush with corporate money, refuse matching funds so that they can go far over the spending limits of the matching funds program.
Our campaign will employ experienced organizers to help Green Party locals get better organized and support down-ticket Green candidates.
Our campaign will be helping our local Green parties and candidates to expand the party base among the working class, youth, and people of color.
As a candidate, I will be a voice for this program of positive change. But the campaign will not succeed if we don’t build a movement of activists and donors to take our organizing and solutions to the people. Please join us now. The climate, peace, and our life expectancies can’t wait.