Ian Schlakman: Hawkins Team Sends Letter Demanding I let Hawkins Have an Unfair Advantage

From Green Party Presidential Candidate Ian Schlakman at Medium.

The Green Party, just like the Democratic Party, is in the thick of its own Presidential Primary. As Greens, we are very familiar with other parties rigging elections and playing dirty tricks to help their corrupt candidates. Of course Greens are pro-democracy and fight for fair and open elections all over the country. Democracy is even part of our party’s four main pillars.

So of course we’re obliged to have a fair, transparent, open and unbiased primary, right? Believe it or not Green Party Presidential hopeful Howie Hawkins and his campaign team don’t think we need an unbiased primary.

It all started with a tweet from the Green Party’s Official Twitter Account:

Imagine if the Democratic Party decided to only tweet the campaign launch event of Joe Biden after very carefully not tweeting about any of the other candidates that had declared before him. Every other campaign and their supporters would be rightfully outraged. But that’s what the Green Party suddenly decided to do.

I couldn’t believe that the official Green Party (GP) Twitter account tweeted this because around this time there had been about about seven other candidates, myself included, that had already announced their campaign.

Where do I get that number? On the Green Party’s own public Presidential Primary News Page. Clearly someone inside the party knew about the other candidates and as they are keeping a list of them, but they decided to only promote Hawkins.

The fact that Hawkins received special treatment in the form of a tweet using the official GP Twitter account is a clear sign that someone or some group inside the Green Party is maneuvering to promote Hawkins and leave out every other candidate by never tweeting any of the other Presidential Candidates campaign announcements.

My team didn’t take this sort of brazen and biased promotion of another candidate lying down. We quickly went to work checking every tweet the GP Twitter page had put out from Dec 2018 to May 2019 to see if other campaigns were promoted in the same way. We triple checked, and the answer was no. Only Hawkins received this special treatment.

So we replied to this tweet with a simple question for the GPUS.

Here is a copy of the Joint Letter From the Presidential Campaigns asking for basic fairness that I referenced in my tweet. https://bit.ly/2KrfAEy

The GP Presidential Campaign Support Committee responded to the Joint Letter. Here is a copy of their response. They call for more transparency, fairness, and recommend some guidelines, but say that they can’t really do anything to stop folks not following the guidelines. https://bit.ly/2Y06e60

Introducing Howie Hawkins’ Undemocratic Bullies

Kevin Zeese

Apparently just asking this question caused quite the stir behind the scenes. Before I get into that I’ll just share with you the email I received from one of Hawkins’ senior team members Kevin Zeese.

Since I can’t trust someone that would write such a crazy email to speak the truth, I’ll take a moment to say that I was told by the Hawkins team that Zeese is Hawkins’ Press Secretary. I can’t say for certain if he retained that title, but here are three screenshots of Hawkins’ own Presidential Campaign website that clearly show that Zeese is the main media contact for Hawkins. (The contact info isn’t redacted as it is publicly available on Hawkins’ website.)

https://howiehawkins.us/news/

https://howiehawkins.us/contact/

I used to very much admire Zeese. When others in the Green Party would bemoan about Zeese’s legendary long, nasty, and punitive emails over Green Party listservs, I would defend him. I won’t talk about his personal business, but I will point out that I took over from what was supposed to be Zeese’s run for Governor, here in Maryland when it became clear he couldn’t run. At the time he was grateful and seemed ready to pass the torch to a younger generation of Greens.

However, the email I received from him was classic old school Kevin. It was so nasty, belittling, and demeaning. It was clearly designed to make me feel like an insignificant pissant. It’s so important to keep in mind that this email came to me after a simple question I tweeted to the GP about how fairly it would treat all candidates. It’s insane that a simple question about fairness caused this sort of reaction from Hawkins’ top media person.

The press and media folk in a Presidential Campaign are literally the face of the campaign to the public. Zeese is a well-connected activist with a history of activism that I deeply respect, but anyone who has corresponded with him over email in any meaningful capacity knows this vicious side of him comes out if you dare to disagree with him. Countless Greens at various levels of the party have complained about this directly to Hawkins, but time and again Hawkins puts controversial bullies into key positions on his team.

Andrea Mérida Cuéllar

But what is even more scary about the Hawkins team is that Kevin Zeese is hardly the most controversial figure. Let me take just a moment to introduce you to Andrea Mérida Cuéllar.

Mérida is perhaps the most infamous figure in the Green Party. It would take hours, maybe even days to discuss how awful Mérida is. There are whole websites dedicated to exposing how awful and anti-democratic Mérida is. I’m not going to take the time to rehash the countless amount of complaints there are against Mérida. Instead I’ll just post this excerpt and link:

Excerpt from Report on Standing Rock
Concern from Green Party Indigenous Women
Concern 1 of 7:
"Andrea assumed control of our group undemocratically and made unilateral, authoritarian decisions that were hostile to the Standing Rock people, culture and Elders. She was disdainful of our suggestions as Indigenous Greens for showing respect and building community with the Indigenous people."

Link to the full excerpt here.

You’d think Hawkins would be sure to keep such a divisive figure away from being a key figure in his campaign. In fact, I know firsthand that many Greens have privately asked him to keep his distance from her. His response? Hawkins made Andrea Mérida Cuéllar his campaign manager. It seems to be a recent promotion from her old role which was campaign co-chair. Now there’s no one more higher ranking in all of Hawkins’ campaign than Mérida.

More National Committee Corruption

It should also be of note that GP National Steering Committee Members Margaret Flowers and Tony Ndege also openly and proudly support Hawkins, despite having the most critical roles inside our party as Green Party (GP) US Co-Chairs. This includes Mérida, who’s also a GPUS Co-Chair. That means three of the seven Co-Chairs openly support Hawkins. And if that’s not bad enough, most of the national committees, https://gpus.org/committees/ have a blatant Hawkins supporter on those committees.

Why is that a problem? Because as Zeese referenced in the email he sent me, the Hawkins team has no desire to have a fair primary. In fact, Zeese is on the media committee that decides things like what the party tweets out, https://gpus.org/committees/media/media-committee-members/ . The reason he’s so angry in the email he sent me is because, after my complaint tweet, rational and fair-minded members of the media committee deleted the pro-Hawkins tweet and are now blocking him and other openly biased Hawkins supporters from turning our Green Party into a 24/7 Hawkins promotion machine.

We Demand a Fair Primary Election

It’s unconscionable to turn a blind eye to this sort of blatant corruption happening in our party. There are plenty of excellent candidates running for the Green Party Nomination. And some haven’t even fully declared yet.

We’ll have no credibility as a party if we allow this to continue. This use of insider tactics to rig the primary is straight out of the playbook for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. They have no place in the Green Party. These openly biased Steering and Committee Members should be immediately suspended from their positions in the Green Party until the primary is over.

22 thoughts on “Ian Schlakman: Hawkins Team Sends Letter Demanding I let Hawkins Have an Unfair Advantage

  1. Jim Polichak from Long Island

    Have Fun in The Resistance!
    Google>>> Etsy Trump Three Dollar Bills

  2. George Phillies

    Extremely bad idea on the part of the Green Party. Sympathies.

    For where this leads, read my book Funding Liberty.

  3. Brandy Baker

    Why are you guys at IPP printing this garbage? It is apolitical gossip.

    The GP posted an announcement that someone is running for POTUS. Nothing to see here….otherwise, gossip.

  4. Brandy Baker

    My question is a fair one: why are you printing this stuff? It is apolitical gossip that reads more like the National Enquirer than political commentary. The party posted an announcement of a GP candidate running: nothing to see here.

  5. Jim

    Perhaps instead of H20 the Hawkins campaign could be rebranded as HHH – Howie “Hillary” Hawkins.

  6. Alan Augustson

    I am disappointed and disturbed. Kevin’s principal problem with Ian appears to be that he is not Howie. Much like the response I received from another prominent Howie supporter when I attempted to open a dialogue about reparations.

    Green Party “unity”: good. Green Party “uniformity”: bad in all the ways that the corporate parties are bad. We Greens need to demonstrate the same respect for the democratic process that we demand from everyone else, or we invite disastrous returns in the 2020 elections and relegation to a virtual nonentity status.

  7. SocraticGadfly

    Brandy, assuming you’re the Brandy of the former(?) North Star, you either know that this is a deal of some sort, in which case your response is somewhat disingenuous, or else you’re truly that clueless.

    Having fairly regularly read the North Star before a website switch that apparently never fully got done before I stopped looking to see if it did get done, I’m pretty sure you’re not that clueless.

    So, do you have any official affiliation with Hawkins, I next ask.

  8. SocraticGadfly

    Assuming this is the Brandy from the apparently now-defunct North Star, and having read you semi-regularly there for a couple of years, you either well-informed enough to know this is at least somewhat of a “deal” and you’re being disingenuous, or else you’re not that informed.

    I’m pretty sure it’s the former, so maybe I should ask …

    What quasi-official connection might you have to Howie’s campaign?

  9. Fayn K.

    Yet another example of a Green Party revealing itself as a gaggle of unprincipled opportunists.

  10. Jake Leonard

    Just curious…..which states do the Green Party even have a primary election outside of Missouri? And are they even binding for a presidential nomination?

    Of the states Libertarians have primary elections for president, none of them are binding. The state delegates still determine the nomination, unless some of those states are setting up delegates based on election results.

  11. paulie

    Why are you guys at IPP printing this garbage? It is apolitical gossip.

    That’s one of the things we print. As long as it’s by or about alt parties or independents it is fair game. Positive, negative, MSM, alt media, press releases, opinions, videos…you name it. If you want to change the mix click “join ipr team” at top, read the post and comments on that post already posted, and decide if you would like to change that mix with us. There is no pay, no editorial board and no required posting frequency. The other “rules” are in one of the comments there.

  12. paulie

    Extremely bad idea on the part of the Green Party. Sympathies.

    It was one tweet, and it was subsequently deleted. That’s hardly a major scandal.

  13. paulie

    My question is a fair one: why are you printing this stuff?

    Of course it’s a fair question. Did someone say it wasn’t?

    It is apolitical gossip that reads more like the National Enquirer than political commentary.

    Whether alt parties are playing favorites in gaming their own nomination process is not apolitical and is a fair topic for IPR to cover, and a response piece is welcome if someone would like to submit one.

  14. paulie

    Perhaps instead of H20 the Hawkins campaign could be rebranded as HHH – Howie “Hillary” Hawkins.

    Maybe after there’s a trail of corruption, a hawkish and corporatist record as US Senator and Secretary of State, and a few hundred million dollars in personal accounts after a career of “public service” that could be an apt comparison. Until then if he rebrands as HHH it should be as the pro wrestler.

    One tweet, since deleted, from one volunteer with access to the national party twitter account is pretty tiny as far as corruption allegations go, even for an alt party.

  15. paulie

    I am disappointed and disturbed. Kevin’s principal problem with Ian appears to be that he is not Howie.

    No, it’s that Ian (according to Kevin – I don’t know him or much about him myself, but are any of the facts in dispute?) has little in the way of political resume or active campaign of any sort. To be clear, I am not a Green Party member or supporter. But that’s what I gleaned from Kevin’s letter as posted here. His criticisms were undiplomatic, but he has a point. If you have no political resume, no non-political executive experience, very little money, few or no volunteers, no active campaign except a page that has not been updated in months – is president really the office you should be seeking?

  16. SocraticGadfly

    I noted earlier that it’s a “deal,” but perhaps not as big a deal as Ian thinks it is.

    I’ve got GP friends on Twitter, including a long-time active member, leadership positions, etc., in Harris County (Houston) who was upset about it.

    I’m a member of an “unofficially Green” FB group, and this has gotten talk there.

    Plus, Ian has the letter signed by four other candidates besides himself.

    So, sorry, Paulie, not a nothingburger.

    What would be your take if this happened in the Libertarian Party, if you’re personally LP?

    As for whoever did the tweet being “just a volunteer,” well, unless Kevin’s drawing a salary from Howie, he’s technically “just a volunteer.”

    And … if transparency is the issue, the GPUS can tell Ian and the other protesting candidates what persons, by name, currently have access to use the account. Simple enough, isn’t it?

    (Note: I’m working on a blog post myself.)

  17. paulie

    I’m not saying it’s a nothing issue necessarily. There could be other evidence of inside dealing I have not seen. I do think a single, since deleted tweet is not very compelling evidence though, if that’s all there is. You asked about Libertarians. I work with social media teams and yes, we have had things go out which were not approved and had to be pulled after they went out. Sometimes a volunteer oversteps authority and exercises poor judgment while speaking in the party voice; it happens. If it’s fairly rare it’s not as big of a deal and we do have some safeguards in place to minimimize such things.

    Now if we did have inside dealing for the nomination… we have. It has been more egregious than a deleted tweet by far. So I am sympathetic to the concern. I don’t know how valid it is in this case, I just know a single subsequently deleted tweet is not very compelling evidence by itself. I’m not saying whether more compelling evidence does exist, only that I have not seen it at this time.

    And … if transparency is the issue, the GPUS can tell Ian and the other protesting candidates what persons, by name, currently have access to use the account. Simple enough, isn’t it?

    I would hope a party would inform its members and activists who make inquiries about who all is speaking in their party’s name. Seems like a fair question to ask. I would think twice about supporting a party which turns that into confidential information. Are you saying that happened in this case?

  18. SocraticGadfly

    Thanks, Paulie. And … per what you said, maybe this deleted Tweet is the tip of an iceberg? Let’s hope not. But … for right now, if I do hold my breath, i’m only holding half of it.

    How’s that for a tangled metaphor?

  19. C. Al Currier

    “Yet another example of a Green Party revealing itself as a gaggle of unprincipled opportunists.” ..Fayn K.
    Some of the ‘brains’ of the Green-Party have extensive backgrounds in the ‘Life-Sciences’. Long ago I made numerous objections to different problems (GP) that I clearly saw as outrageously ‘unprincipled’. The ‘brain’ folks simply went to a book by Charles Darwin (Origin of Species) to clarify on their principles. They have many principles to introduce. If you are not familiar those principles, you might want to spend some time in study or review. You should be familiar with natural selection (AKA survival-of-the-fittest). The election process has many similarities. The ‘early-bird-gets-the-worm’ might seem unprincipled if you are the worm but seems principled if you are the opportunist (the bird).

  20. paulie

    “Yet another example of a Green Party revealing itself as a gaggle of unprincipled opportunists.” ..Fayn K.

    Seems like an exaggerated deduction from the known facts, but I remain open to the possibility that there’s much more than currently meets the eye there; I just won’t assume that’s the case without additional evidence.

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