Hawkins Announces Exploratory Committee, asks “Should I run for president?”

Above: Howie Hawkins exploratory committee announcement April 3, 2019, Washington, DC. Center Howie Hawkins, to his right Ajamu Baraka, 2016, Green Party vice presidential candidate, to his left, Cheri Honkala, Green Party 2012 vice presidential candidate. Photo by Eleanor Goldfield.

By Kevin Zeese

Howie Hawkins, a co-founder of the Green Party who was the first US candidate to run on the Green New Deal in 2010, announced an exploratory campaign to seek the nomination for president from the Green Party of the United States on Wednesday, April 3.

He published an article asking people “Should I Run for President?” You can give your comment on the question at the end of the article.

At the announcement of the exploratory committee, Hawkins was joined by Greens from seven states (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York,  and Georgia) and Washington, DC.

Also participating were the two most recent Green Party vice-presidential candidates: 2016 vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, who took time from a busy schedule around the two-year anniversary of the Black Alliance for Peace, anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and protests against NATO, and the 2012  vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign who drove three hours from Philadelphia after working her graveyard shift at UPS. Howie appreciated Cheri’s effort because he used to work the graveyard shift at the UPS in Syracuse.

The Hawkins Exploratory Committee is in response to a “Draft Hawkins” movement where ore than 100 Green Party members and others urged him to run. See Draft Howie Hawkins letter.

Hawkins said if he runs, he plans to run a serious campaign that puts new issues on the agenda and builds the Green Party into a viable political party that wins elections across the country.

He described how a Hawkins campaign would promote an ecosocialist Green New Deal as a centerpiece issue that would confront the climate crisis and economic insecurity and end US militarism and imperialism.

The Green Party became an ecosocialist party in 2016. Hawkins described an Ecosocialist Green New Deal that would be very different than the one being discussed by members of the Democratic Party. Hawkins will put forward an intensive Green Economy Reconstruction Program that will seek 100% clean energy by 2030 as climate science says is essential to avert catastrophic climate change. This would require converting not just the energy system, but also the agricultural, manufacturing, buildings, transportation, waste management, and military systems, as well as restoring the productivity of ecosystems at the foundation of the human economy.

Hawkins envisions “a major mobilization of resources and the transformation of the economy to put the protection of the planet and necessities of the people before profits.” Hawkins described how “an ecosocialist Green New Deal will include an Economic Bill of Rights and an end to squandering resources on militarism and imperialism.”

Hawkins’ said the program is ‘ecosocialist’ because it entails social ownership of key industries including Wall Street banks, major oil companies, and power utilities among them. Economic planning will be required to implement new green industrial policies for every economic sector from buildings to transportation, as well as management of waste and agriculture.

If he decides to move beyond on the exploratory phase and seek the nomination, Hawkins will put forward a detailed plan about the costs of the Green New Deal and how it would be paid for. At the exploratory announcement, he gave a brief overview of funding, which included cuts to the largest carbon polluter on the planet, the military, as well as more progressive taxation of income, wealth, and estates, and ecological taxes, including a progressive carbon tax and a land value tax. Further, a network of public banks would provide low-cost financing for long-term capital investments.

At the exploratory committee announcement, Hawkins also focused on racial oppression, which has existed throughout the history of the United States and continues today. If he runs for office, he will put forward proposals to empower racially-oppressed communities. He described the need for  “community ownership and control of public housing, schools, police, and businesses,” saying, “the Green Economy Reconstruction Program will free communities of color from being subject to the decisions of racist employers, bankers, landlords, real estate agents, lawyers, judges, police, parole boards, and other gatekeepers.”

Banner for No To NATO at Korean War Memorial, April 4, 2019. Hawkins is holding the banner on the right. Photo by Tony Ndege.

Hawkins Participates in “No To NATO” protest, Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance and Campaign Finance Advocacy

The next day, Hawkins joined activists outside the US Department of State protesting the meeting of foreign ministers from NATO countries.

Hawkins distinguished himself from the two Wall Street parties who the day before gave repeated standing ovations to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he called for conflict with Russia and applauded President Trump’s call for increased funding for NATO.

Hawkins opposes more funding for this counterproductive agency, which is a military arm for Western capitalism. Hawkins recognizes NATO should be disbanded. In comments at the protest, Hawkins decried the massive US military budget calling for at least a 50 percent cut in military spending.

After the NATO protest, Hawkins joined a march through the streets of Washington, DC that passed the Lincoln and Korean War memorials on its way to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. April 4 was the date of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the anniversary of his Beyond Vietnam speech. In that speech, King highlighted the triple evils of racism, militarism and the extreme materialism of capitalism, calling for a “revolution of values.”

In comments at the memorial, Hawkins described the need for an Economic Bill of Rights as well as an emergency program for 100% clean energy by 2030. He said this was inspired by King’s Poor People’s Campaign and its call for an Economic Bill of Rights to a living-wage job, a guaranteed minimum income above poverty, decent housing, comprehensive health care, and a good education. Hawkins described how an ecosocialist Green New Deal would confront King’s triple evils as well as the climate crisis and be a transformational change in values.

Hawkins joined representatives of the Women’s Caucus of the Green Party in supporting clean money campaigns. At the US Supreme Court and at a meeting on April 3, Hawkins described the need for public funding of campaigns as well as a host of reforms needed to create real democracy in the United States including more fair ballot access, proportional representation, ranked choice voting and candidates having time on cable and broadcast media.

Green Party members at US Supreme Court advocating public funding of elections, April 3, 2019.

About Howie Hawkins

Hawkins is a retired Teamster who is 66 years old. He has been an economic justice, anti-racism, and environmental activist who has opposed US imperialism his entire life. He is a three-time Green Party candidate for governor of New York who won 5% of the vote in 2014, the highest return for a progressive third party candidate in NY in 100 years. He was a co-founder of the Green Party of the United States in 1984. Hawkins lives in Syracuse, NY.

His exploratory committee website is HowieHawkins.us. Please review and comment on “Should I Run for President?”

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About Kevin Zeese

Kevin Zeese is a public interest attorney who has worked for economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He co-directs PopularResistance.org which works to build the independent movement for transformational change. Zeese co-hosts, Clearing the FOG a radio podcast which airs on We Act Radio, Progressive Radio Network, and other outlets.  He is recognized as a leading activist in the United States in the series Americans Who Tell the Truth. Zeese was an organizer of the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC in 2011.  He serves as president of Common Sense for Drug Policy and is a co-founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, now known as Drug Policy Alliance as well as a former director of NORML. He is a co-founder of Health Over Profit for Everyone which seeks to put in place National Improved Medicare for All. Zeese is an advocate of Internet Freedom and is a leader of the campaign for Title II Net Neutrality to ensure equal access and treatment for everyone on the Internet.  Zeese served on the steering committees of the Chelsea Manning Support Network which advocated for the Wikileaks whistleblower and is on the advisory board of the Courage Foundation which supports Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and other whistleblowers. Zeese is an election integrity advocate who a co-founded TrueVote Maryland which led a successful campaign to end the use of paperless voting machines in the state.  He has been active in independent and third party political campaigns including Peter Camejo for governor of California served as press secretary and spokesperson for Ralph Nader in 2004 and as a senior advisor to Jill Stein in 2016.  He ran for the US Senate in 2006; the only person ever nominated by the Green, Libertarian and Populist Parties of Maryland and the only person ever nominated by the Green and Libertarian Parties for a statewide office. Zeese served as Attorney General in the Green Shadow Cabinet.

20 thoughts on “Hawkins Announces Exploratory Committee, asks “Should I run for president?”

  1. Fernando Mercado

    Surprised it took him this long to run….

    Oh I’m sorry “Formed an exploratory comittiee”.

    If he dies run, the race is pretty much over for the other Greens (Sorry Sedinam and Ian)

  2. paulie

    Surprised it took him this long to run….

    I’m not. Running for president is a lot different than running for governor. It’s much more expensive and generally involves a lot more extensive travel. For a regular working person who is not wealthy, especially if they have a family and a job with regular hours, it’s a massive undertaking that requires a lot of support from other people on an ongoing basis. It disrupts the candidate’s life for a year or more and, in addition to lots of fundraising, requires assembling a team of volunteers and constantly following up to make sure they do what they promise and keep doing it.

    I told Howie to run, and to NOT be an AccommoGreen if he gets the nomination.

    I don’t get the sense he is or ever was an AccommoGreen.

  3. Fernando Mercado

    But Paulie, He’s run for literally every other government position, plus he’s a party founder, and as per every Leftist Third party party founders are always bound to run.

  4. paulie

    He may well be, and I hope he is. But that difference – one state vs 50 plus district, territories etc – is why it’s not surprising he hasn’t done it before or already announced.

  5. Jared

    FM: “Though he’s definitely the front runner, should he run.”

    Per your Curry interview, whatever you do, avoid the term “presumptive nominee” at all costs. ;P

  6. paulie

    Being a frontrunner has a precondition, which is running. At this point that is still a maybe. I agree that he will be the likely frontrunner should he decide to run but that is a subjective opinion, not a fact.

  7. Jake Leonard

    The Green Party is a dead party. They’ve lost voter support because of Jill Stein running three times, resulting in the Libertarian Party being the top alternative party in voter support. The Green and Constitution parties might as well stop running candidates in states they don’t have major party status in.

  8. paulie

    They’ve lost voter support because of Jill Stein running three times

    She’s run for president twice; both times better results than the previous presidential cycle.

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