I write to ask you to sign a pledge to vote Green Party this November. Particularly to vote for Howie Hawkins the Green Party candidate for Governor. Only the votes for him and Jia Lee for Lt. Governor count towards the 50,000 voter threshold for legal party status www.howiehawkins.org.
Of course we hope for a much higher vote total. Howie’s 5% of the vote (184,000) in 2014 helped pushed Cuomo to ban fracking and support paid family leave and raise the minimum wage (though not the $15 an hour statewide target we had advocated).
It is a tough time out on the streets these days.
I have traveled the state for the last 5 months. The energy that we saw in defiant protests in the months after Trump’s ascension has atrophied. In many places they have been limited by becoming a partisan effort just for Democrats. Statewide many people seem numbed by despair, praying for some electoral miracle but largely seem to be losing hope. They may turn out to vote but turnout at rallies on many issues have been down this year from 2017, especially if Trump is not the immediate target.
And so many people have personal problems, With jobs and a lack of income. Government bureaucracy. Predatory financial institutions and companies. Corrupt politicians. Laissez-faire crony capitalism run amok.
It is a tough time for those who believe that electoral politics need to be utilized in the organizing for a progressive revolution.
The Green Party needs your help to continue as the leading national progressive third party in the US – part of the worldwide Green Party movement. Green Parties in most other countries have far more impact and success since almost all democracies use proportional representation.
I also want to announce that I plan to retire from the Green Party after this election. It is time for new energy and people to take leadership. I will remain an enrolled Green but no longer serve on the state committee or other party positions. Or be a candidate or campaign manager.
When I helped launch the Citizens Party in 1980, I made a commitment that I would stick with third parties even if took 20 years. It has been 34 years now (I took 4 years off or so between Citizens Party and launching the state Greens in NY.)
I plan to focus on green work around climate change with the Green Education and Legal Fund (a 501c3) as well as related projects like an Albany-based “green” radio station. And winter is coming and chores need attention.
To be honest it is much easier to work in the nonprofit world when you have no association with a third party due to concerns re legal problems and political push back from those with money and power (vastly overstated to scare people). Another way third parties are suppressed.
I do think the Green Party needs to play a more active leadership role in issue organizing and community building.
Please sign the pledge to Vote Green. It increases our chance of getting the 50,000 votes needed to maintain our ballot line if we have identified supporters to help with voter turnout. There are 5 candidates and double the number of parties fighting for ballot status. The democrats, the 1% and others would not mind seeing the Green voice disappear.
The Greens are pretty much correct on their issues. They want system change, revolution, Eco socialism, not incremental reforms that Democratic Party gatekeepers will approve. They have a strong commitment to values like grassroots democracy, non-violence, social and economic justice and ecology. (I am one who wants the Greens to be much stronger and active on environmental issues, starting with climate change).
I believe that if we are to survive climate change, it will occur outside of America’s two major parties.
Stop by Big Toad Road if you want my very long lecture on all the things wrong with the Greens. We are aware of our limitations and the need to change and expand.
The biggest problem however is not the Green members but rather the unfairness of our electoral system, starting with our winner take all electoral contests (one of 3 countries in the world using). Add in the inherent corruption of money and power (with the lack of control on spending on races) and you emerge with 2 right of center parties. Now the crazy far right (fascists) and the corporate right (Democrats).
The two parties use their control of the political process to shut down real alternative third party voices.
The Greens have managed to survive over three decades while major third party efforts with strong financial investment by labor, women and community organizations withered away. The New Party imploded and re-emerged as the Working Families Party in NY to focus on fusion. The WFP has good values but they are compromised by being an appendage of the democrats with the chase for money as a key factor in many of their decisions. A far different road that the Green Party seeks to travel.
The Green Party deserves the right to continue to exist in New York as a legal party. The last time we lost our ballot status – in 2002 after Gore Bush Nader – we did successfully win the legal right for people to enroll as Greens, which is important. Ballot status makes it far easy for our candidates to get on the ballot, enabling them to spend their time talking to voters rather than chasing after signatures to comply with arcane elections laws. Half of the election law cases in the US used to be in NY (last time I checked).
The debate over the spoiler issue is a long one that is ongoing. I will pass on debating that here. But you can google to find Green perspectives on this (and please read exit polls especially about Green voters.). I support the Green Party on this.
We should immediately demand the adoption of Ranked Choice (or IRV) Voting to eliminate the lesser of two evils problem which is horrible for our democracy. Proportional representation – like the rest of the world’s democracies other than England and Canada – is the real solution.
The Greens said Trump would be horrible – as would Clinton. Trump has proved us correct.
The Democrats conspired against socialist Bernie Sanders, threw the primary to the global elite, and then somehow Clinton managed to alienate so many Americans that they voted for Trump to block her.
Trump – and the fact that he could be inaugurated and still has not been removed from office whether by impeachment, indictment or resignation – is frightening. White bigoted sexist nationalism, increasing threat of the use of violence, helping to deflect attention from the massive looting by the wealthy and the ever growing military budget.
We can debate the best way to end the era of Trump. We all need to be engaged in nonviolent organizing efforts that promotes democracy and equality. But the defeat of Trump needs to lead to the type of world that I want, not the imposition of the Clinton democrats and the global elite that pays lip service to caring about the rest of us. That embraces the war machine and fossil fuel companies.
We desperately need to increase the odds of surviving climate change while avoiding civilization collapse and mass species extinction. That is why I devote most of my time to climate justice. Post-election we need a united progressive effort to move to 100% clean energy and no fossil fuels so far. We have to dramatically ramp up our demands on the political and economic leaders. We have to confront them in the pipeline ditches, the halls of government, the courts – and on the ballot box.
I became involved with electoral politics through ACORN. ACORN focuses on winning power for low and moderate income people. They always work on elections since that is one way that power is exercised in this country. ACORN tried to create a third party in 1980 but retreated back to the Democrats when they were unable to move the unions and black churches. Some of us left ACORN at the time to help start the Citizens Party, which 4 years later led to the formation of the Green Party. (ACORN later started the New Party and then the Working Families Party as a hybrid effort to use fusion, making it more of a political club or PAC than a third party.)
For decade the Greens have taken principled positions in New York. Issues they embraced when initially they were controversial later became adopted. GLBTQ rights, including same-sex marriage. Jason West and Rebecca Rotzler in New Paltz. Ban fracking. $15 minimum wage. Green New Deal, 100% clean energy by 2030. Paid family leave. Single payer health care. End the war on drugs. Stop Mass Incarceration. Drop the Rock with Grandpa Al Lewis. Support of the right of Palestinians for justice- and the right of all in the Middle East to be safe from violence. Cut the military budget by half or more. Welfare rights. Public housing A guaranteed income and the right to a living wage job. Etc.
The Greens were started in Germany over no nukes and local development issues.
New York is a much better place when the Greens have the full rights of a political party. It gives us hope and another tool for real change.
Please vote Howie Hawkins for Governor, the Row D ticket of state and local candidates, Tuesday Nov. 6
Sign the Voter Pledge.
Get your friends to sign the vote pledge. 10 of them who support a different world.
Green for State Comptroller