SocraticGadfly: Howie Hawkins in Dallas

September 12, 2019

Howie Hawkins in Dallas

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins had about 2 hours in Dallas to visit with Greens and Green-leaners interested in getting to know more about him Saturday.

Hawkins was introduced by his campaign treasurer, Travis Christal. He then spoke for a little over an hour, then fielded questions. He apologized if anything he said was repetitious. He'd been in Arizona until late Friday, helping with a party ballot access drive there, and said he had only had about two hours of sleep.

He said that he got every Bernie Sanders backer who dropped by his ballot petition table to sign. Note the smartphone and the "Bernie" image in the photo at right; it embiggens when you click it.

He said that many of the signers said that, if Sanders didn't get the Democratic nomination, they'd vote Green in the general. We'll see; I'm sure many of them who said that in 2016 didn't follow through.

That said, Hawkins did say that, on the issue of "lesser evilism" voting that "You're defeating yourself before you even start."

First, one thing I liked was his realism. He said it's highly unlikely he'll be elected president, if he gets the party's nomination, but Greens need to be out there fighting. He cited his 2014 New York gubernatorial campaign, where he forced Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo to the left, including signing an anti-fracking bill, to get re-elected.

"We move the debate. We don't have to win the election to move the debate," he said.

Hawkins didn't cross the line into AccommoGreen territory, and I don't think he ever would (unlike Jill Stein in 2016) but that's always an issue that bears watching in my book. I agree with his idea, but Greens should never run assuming that that's going to happen or assuming they can make it happen.

Back to where I was two paragraphs ago.

Hawkins started his talk with ballot access issues. He noted that in Canada and Britain, a minuscule number of signatures were need to run for parliaments there, versus the thousands required for U.S. Congressional races of independent candidates or third-party ones whose parties lack ballot access. (Mike Gravel has now urged his supporters to help Hawkins on this.)

He said that being retired after more than 30 years of unionized labor gave him the time to help with this at various states, as well as the time to heed calls by many to put his organizing experience, and his political experience, to run for president. And this is important not just for 2020, but for the rest of the decade and beyond, he said.

Speaking of the unionized labor, he also noted that President Barack Obama, whom he later called the Deporter in Chief, had agreed to sign off on reducing pension protections, at the push of current Democratic presidential candidate and then Vice President Joe Biden.

From there, Hawkins enumerated three "life or death" issues:
1. Climate change
2. Income inequality
3. The revived nuclear arms race.

The first issue should be obvious to any Green. So should the difference between the Green Party's Green New Deal, spearheaded in part by Hawkins, and the Democrats' watered down version of that.

Here's Howie's now explicitly ecosocialist Green New Deal.

On the second? In terms of job security and other issues, Hawkins noted that, after FDR, every Democratic president has had at least one Congress in their term or two terms where the Democrats controlled both houses, and yet, income inequality and job insecurity have risen under them as well as under Republicans.

As an ex-Marine who has seen tactical nuclear weapons, Hawkins said that tactical nukes as well as a revised push for strategic level nuclear arms — especially missiles with much higher speeds and thus less warning times — were an existential threat.

I totally agree here. And ANY Democrat (that's YOU, Tulsi Gabbard) who voted to expand our nuclear arsenal is NOT a peace candidate. Period. This is another aspect of the Tulsi Kool-Aid vs reality that too many Greens are still drinking. That would be the "I support Moar Nukes" Tulsi.

So, it's Howie that is a peace candidate — along with other Greens who have the same stance on nuclear weapons.

Hawkins finished by looping back to ballot access and tying it to larger issues of Green organization. He noted that the largely white background of the party was an issue. However, he said just taking a walk in a minority neighborhood wasn't the best way to improve this. Rather, trust and relationships needed to be built, he said.

He didn't address a pet peeve of this blogger and a number of other Greens — namely that the national party's "decentralization" plank in its Ten Key Values tends to favor "paper" state parties in places such as Ohio. I don't know how much of an issue that part of party organization is for him. But it is for me. I see today's national GP as being like the Articles of Confederation era national government.

And, I did disagree on the issue of "open borders." To me, open borders is almost like free trade instead of fair trade. Yeah, the EU may have open borders (to a degree; you generally don't qualify for welfare benefits when you move to a new member state). But, that's within the EU only.

The US and Mexico's economies are not integrated to the degree the EU member states are. As far as something more parallel to that? EU member states in southern and southeastern Europe are tired of Middle East refugees coming to their countries, but wanting to ultimately go to Germany or Scandinavia, and then in turn being blocked.

As for the economics? Measured in purchasing power parity, the US per capita income is more than three times that of Mexico and far greater than that of Central American states.

The gap between Germany, the best-off larger EU nation (I'm excepting Luxembourg, Ireland and Norway) and Bulgaria is only about 2.25 to 1.

On the flip side, re refugees and the EU starting to rethink open borders? The gap between Germany and Syria is FAR larger than that between the US and El Salvador.

I don't know what else can be done better beyond ending military interventions and destabilizations (which is plenty big enough), but I'll take a pass on open borders. To me, in the US vs. Latin American situation, it comes off as a sort of Wilsonian nation-building internalized.

I do know it's not just me on this issue. About 15 years ago, The Nation had a piece supporting open borders and got strongly attacked by readers.

Had he meant something like Julián Castro's reduced penalties, civil only, for illegal border crossings, which Tulsi Gabbard has called "open borders" on wingnut media sites, it might be different. But he cited the EU and he clearly means open border.



Note: I have not yet formally committed to a single candidate, but Hawkins is on my shortlist along with Dario Hunter and Ian Schlakman. I wish I had been able to squeeze in going to the state convention down in Temple to hear Hunter but I couldn't. I hope one or both is in the Metromess in the near future.


Down in Houston, David Bruce Collins still doesn't agree on Hawkins take on All Things Russia, but says we don't need purity tests and likes what he heard overall.

As for purity tests? We all have them. We just have different parameters for how we construct them and how loose or tight of boundaries they have.


Green candidates will be on stage together at the GP Black Caucus hosted debate Sept. 20. I'm now reminded of what Bruce Dixon thought of the mix of tokenism and paper-party issues that led to at least some people getting on said caucus last year.



Hello Socratic Gadfly,

I have seen your comments on Independent Political Report but have not until now visited your website. I am impressed!
Are you aware I am also a candidate for the Green nomination? I am listed on politics 1 dot com. This is my FIFTH election cycle!
(Allende was elected on his fourth!)
Are you aware that after the debacle of the Green Annual Meeting in Salem, MA, that I decided to not attend, I called for an Emergency Meeting On Strategy and Security. Ad Hoc Committee if necessary.
I am now calling for a boycott of the Green party until such a meeting. On the ground that since we (GP) are going to lose anyway, no harm no foul.

Gadfly said...

Robert, I'll take a look at what you have to say. Yeah, that national meeting was not perfect. I'm not quite at THAT point yet, but, the party needs to get more organized. IMO, problem No. 1 is the "decentralization" plank.

Gadfly said...

Uhh, never mind my first comment, and please, after reading your blog ... no, I'm not going to say anything more.


Hey Gadfly,

First name basis is fine with me!
First you impress me, then disappoint. Please comment on my blog. Share the link love!
The last comment was quite some time ago by Chris Lesiak. Recently I emailed him which started a conversation. He commented on IPR with a phone # which I did call We talked. Next thing you know William S. (without the S.) Saturn commented what I told Chris I interpreted as a veiled threat directed at him. But how did Saturn know about Chris' and my email conversation about The Turner Diaries? BTW Saturn has written much about me over the years. But I suspect something happened to him in 2013. So I suggested to Chris that he file a complaint with his local police. He said no, no problem. Now I haven't heard from him.
Now I suspect Saturn is an online Israeli persona. Whether he started that way back around 2008 or not then something happened to him in 2013 or not, I do not know.
Do you know if there was a presidential debate at Salem without me or not? Was Howie there? I don't seem to be getting emails from the GP anymore.
I remember Richard Winger and I were going to attend and meet at a Green Annual Meeting in North Carolina I think but we figured it was so underattended that it was not worth while. Probably around 2012.
Yes, like it or not I am the originator of PLAS, the strategy for the GP to win the elections. Tom Knapp and I started the discussions but then he bailed. Recently 2016 I endorsed he and Darcy (Richardson) for the Reform party nomination. Probably neither one of them realize that that ticket COULD be a PLAS fusion ticket. Just like I tried in 2008 Gravel/Ruwart (Mike and Mary)to point out. Then I asked Mary for the Boston Tea Party nomination with me and she politely declined. She had declined the LP vp nomination letting a.h. Wayne Allan Root (WAR) take it and milk it.
So, have I dropped enough names for you? I have more...

Gadfly said...

Whatever "more names" you have will not be dropped here.

You didn't read between the lines the first time.

First, you are probably not just anti-Zionist but anti-Semitic from what I can tell.

Second, I have no interest in your fusion ideas, especially with people like Knapp who are wingnuts even within the Libertarian Party, which means they're wingnuts indeed.

Third, I reject conspiracy theorizing in general.

So, no, you wont be commenting more on this post or others.

Otherwise? Go be a Libertarian. Or a Tea Partier. Stop trying to infiltrate the Green Party.