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.”
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.
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.