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ELECTION 2020: Syracuse’s Howie Hawkins, a lifelong activist, is Green Party’s nominee for president

  1. Robert Harding Jul 12, 2020 Updated | 6 hrs ago | 6 min to read

Howie Hawkins is humbled. This was a possibility when he launched his campaign in April 2019, but he had to win the support of voters in the party he co-founded. 

On Saturday, Hawkins officially became the Green Party’s nominee for president. He received 210 of the 355 votes on the first ballot to win the nomination at the party’s convention, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The presidential bid is the culmination of a lifetime of activism and nearly two dozen political campaigns. Hawkins, a retired UPS employee and Teamster who lives in Syracuse, was asked to run for president eight years ago. He declined because of his work obligations. 

It would be easy to dismiss this 67-year-old who has been a candidate for various federal, state and local offices over the last three decades. As the Green Party nominee, Hawkins knows what he’s up against. He hopes, though, to change the narrative — to force Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden to discuss the Green Party’s issues. 

A leftist in a GOP family

Hawkins was born in San Francisco and raised by a Republican family. As he became more interested in politics and policy, he began to ask himself a question: “Where’s my party?” 

He recalled cousins who were told they would have to attend segregated schools because their mother was Japanese. He had other cousins, who were white, and they attended white-only schools. 

“That early I knew that that was wrong and it just bugged,” Hawkins said in an interview. 

As an elementary school student, he remembers the “duck-and-cover” drills during the Cold War. Even at a young age, he knew that diving under desks and covering his head wouldn’t shield him from the disastrous effects of a nuclear attack. 

Racism and the threat of nuclear war were personal, Hawkins says. But, he added, he grew up during the 1960s in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

“There was a lot going on,” he said. “And if you were following the news and were concerned about these things, it was hard not to get drawn into it.” 

An important year in Hawkins’ development was 1964. As a 12-year-old, he watched as Ronald Reagan, who would later become governor of California and a two-term president, opposed a fair housing law in California. Republicans his family supported successfully advocated for the repeal of the law. 

Hawkins wasn’t going to join the Republican Party after that moment. He looked to the Democratic Party, but they had refused to allow a group of Black Democrats from Mississippi to be seated at the party’s convention in 1964. 

After the events of that year, Hawkins found his home with leftist movements and political parties, the first of which was the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968. 

“Even though I could vote for it (he was 16 at the time), I was rooting for it and telling adults and bugging them to vote for it,” he said. 

As a high school student, he attended demonstrations at the University of California, Berkeley, and at San Francisco State. He viewed his role as a foot soldier at these gatherings. But when attendance started to decline in the ’70s, he was asked to increase his participation. 

“That’s how I became more of an activist,” he said. 

From Clamshell Alliance to founding the Green Party

As a young man in the 1970s, there was a possibility Hawkins could’ve been drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. In June 1972, his draft number came up. 

Hawkins said he had already arranged with the U.S. Marine Corps that he would enlist in the officer program. If he completed the necessary training, he would become a second lieutenant. But he didn’t have the money to finish school, so he didn’t become an officer. He told the Marines he would have to fulfill his duty as a “regular enlisted guy.” 

While Hawkins waited for the Marines to call him up to active duty — a call that never came — he worked in construction and continued to be active in political movements. He co-founded the Clamshell Alliance, an anti-nuclear group best known for its opposition to the construction of Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire. 

Paul Gunter, another of the Clamshell Alliance’s co-founders, said Hawkins was the group’s spokesperson and often participated in nonviolent civil disobedience. 

“I found Howie very early on in the ’70s into the ’80s as an articulate advocate for renewable energy, which was just a nascent technology at the time,” said Gunter, who is now the director of the Reactor Oversight Project at Beyond Nuclear. “But he showed himself to be a visionary for solar and wind efficiency and conservation.” 

His involvement in movement politics and leftist parties led him to a meeting in 1984. At the meeting, which was held in St. Paul, Minnesota, the first Green Party organization in the U.S. was founded. 

Hawkins said his message to the meeting’s attendees was that the party should be built at the lowest levels of politics by supporting candidates for local government offices. After working to grow the party, the Greens backed Ralph Nader for president in 1996. Nader appeared on the ballot in more than 30 states. When Nader ran again in 2000, he appeared on more than 40 state ballots. 

It was in the 1990s that Hawkins also ran as a Green Party candidate. His first campaign was for a Syracuse Common Council seat in 1993. He received 1.5% of the vote. 

Hawkins has been a candidate for New York governor three times (2010, 2014 and 2018), U.S. Senate in 2006, Congress in 2008 and local offices in Syracuse. He received 48% of the vote in 2011 when he ran again for a Syracuse Common Council seat. In the race for city auditor in 2015, he received 35% of the vote. 

“Over time, we built up a base of support in the city,” he said. 

Mark Dunlea, a longtime member of the Green Party who is one of the state party’s co-founders in New York, recalls contacting Hawkins in 1988 about getting the Green Party involved in presidential campaigns. But it was in the 1990s, when Hawkins moved to New York, that he and Dunlea began working together. 

In 2018, Hawkins and Dunlea appeared on the general election ballot in New York. Hawkins was the Green Party’s gubernatorial nominee. Dunlea ran for state comptroller. 

“He’s very committed to equality and justice,” Dunlea said of Hawkins. “He’s a strong socialist, as he’s particularly stressed in this campaign. He strongly supports workers’ rights. He’s always been active around energy issues.” 

Running for president

Before 2020, one of the few offices Hawkins hadn’t sought was the presidency. He told The Citizen in April 2019 that he was asked to run in 2012, but declined because he was still employed at UPS. 

Seven years later, when he was approached again about running for president in the 2020 election, he launched an exploratory committee and then formally declared his candidacy. 

As the Green Party’s presidential nominee, one of Hawkins’ main goals is to appear on the general election ballot in every state and the District of Columbia. That’s important, he explained, because it could give the Green Party ballot access for future elections. 

So far, Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker, are on the ballot in nearly 30 states. He admitted it has been challenging because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some states eased their rules for securing a spot on the ballot, others did not. 

Hawkins also wants to highlight the Green Party’s platform. A key plank is what he described as a “full-strength” Green New Deal. He was the first candidate to campaign on the Green New Deal when he was a gubernatorial candidate in 2010. 

The Green New Deal, according to Hawkins, should aim to get the U.S. to zero negative greenhouse emissions and 100% clean energy by 2030. That would require a significant investment — $27.5 trillion over 10 years, he said. The funds would be used to help the energy, manufacturing and transportation sectors transition to clean energy. 

He has been critical of the Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal because it doesn’t include a ban on hydraulic fracturing and allows for new fossil fuel infrastructure. 

“We said we need cuts in the military budget to help fund this Green New Deal and (Democrats) extended the deadline for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050,” Hawkins said. “And when you give politicians a couple of decades, they’re going to wait a couple of decades.” 

An economic bill of rights is also part of Hawkins’ platform. He supports a jobs guarantee, which would be largely funded by the federal government. It would be modeled after the Works Progress Administration established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. 

The jobs guarantee, according to Hawkins, would provide employment to everyone who is willing and able to work. 

He also supports a $20 minimum wage that would be indexed to the cost of living and productivity and a guaranteed income above poverty, which is a proposal that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for during the Poor People’s Campaign. 

“If you’re below the poverty line, the government sends you checks to bring you up to above poverty,” Hawkins said. 

His platform includes a plan to build 25 million public housing units, a Medicare-for-all system, tuition-free schooling from pre-kindergarten through college and he wants to double Social Security benefits. 

Hawkins supports defunding police departments and reallocating those funds to social services that are better equipped at responding to drug addiction, homelessness and mental health crises. But he doesn’t believe cutting funding for police departments is enough. He wants to defund the military and shift those funds to U.S. cities through a Marshall-style plan that would focus on businesses, health care, housing, jobs and schools. 

“The best way to fight crime,” Hawkins said, “is to fight poverty.” 

Police departments would continue to exist under Hawkins’ plan, but oversight of the agencies would be done by community groups comprised of either elected members or people selected at random to serve, similar to a jury. These organizations would oversee the hiring and firing of police chiefs and address misconduct within the departments. 

To address systemic racism, one policy Hawkins endorses is studying reparations for Black Americans. He supports legislation introduced in Congress that would examine how to pay reparations for slavery. 

Hawkins hopes that his platform will receive national attention. He believes the most difficult task Green candidates face is having their issues discussed during the presidential debates. Because of the eligibility standards for the debates, Greens tend to be shut out of the debates in favor of the two major party candidates. 

“We’re just going to be talking to the political reporters around the country saying, ‘Look, we’re facing life-and-death issues,'” Hawkins said. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Cardi B Is The Best Female Rapper Alive

She has surpassed Nicki Minaj

She has a better flow, a better delivery style and well…

Part of me still wants to call it for Nicki, but I won’t! Or at least I don’t know if I should. I literally believe that Cardi is a much more skilled lyricist than Nicki. She appears to be as authentic as Ms. Petty, but she’s a different breed of a woman, with a style that is so prestine & yet some how so raw and untapped. Do not get me wrong, it may be down to my actual preference of their overall deliveries. Nicki Minaj IS a Legendary Rapper, so in any case…

… maybe they are tied.

There are other female Rappers out there, yet I won’t name them right now. I’d say that these two lyricists stand at the top of their game, and ya know what?

They Did It How They Wanted.

I’m sure they both have their own specific helpers giving them refreshing lines, and you know they have some of the illest beats of all of The Land.

But I just don’t know. Minaj killed it in the adidas track suit, but Cardi’s Press is like one good brotha would say is:

“beyond me”.

Cardi B is The Perfect M.C. She’s real, raw, and she bares it all. She knows she’s the baddest bitch on in The World, and she isn’t afraid to throw a punch.

Or let a nigga kill you.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:


Know, I’m not taking Nicki off of her High Throne. That cannot be done.

But Cardi has the highground, as in she wields the highest saber of all.

And you know what?

She’s Media Rich

She don’t care about no American feds. She doesn’t even truthfully care about our American feed. Cardi B is international. Hell, all jokes aside, I’d be her hired gun if she ever needed. She’s swift, smart, alluring, cunning, and rather tenacious. She’s landed her foot on the game in such a short period of time, and already she’s at the top of The Pyramid.

I mean, what a Bee!

She took the rap game Solo! Yet, she’s smart enough to wifey-up, bear her first child,and still look absolutely stunning.

I mean, have you honestly seen Cardi lately? She’s #ripped.

No more graphics are necessary. Cardi B, you’re The Queen Bee. Nicki Minaj may be a Queen, but you’re on top.

Me, I personally can’t wait to see her next video.


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Guessing, by my estimates

I have approximately 1 month remaining of my G.I. Bill. I have 48 months time to rehabilitate into modern society. I have the capability of taking out multiple VA-backed loans to purchase a house, or perhaps a perhaps business properties.

My saga is only just beginning, granted, God gives me the strength to continue onward. Most people, including my family, have written me off. I am alone in this cyber world. I don’t have friends that truly care for me as friends should, because I do not have friends.

I was thrown into this world, lost, I grew up without my father. But I became a Veteran just like him. I had no choice.

My mother didn’t mold me into a champion, or a hero, or a doctor for anything. She just made me. I tried to start a family, but my family still looks at me like I’m this little lost child. I’m not. I know what I can do.

What I can never do is get married. I can never have a wife (or a husband) if I am going to build myself up from this misery that is now my life. So many have struck gold, so many artists and entertainers, fashion models and socialites, musicians, et cetera. I don’t know if I’ll ever be wealthy, because I wasn’t taught how to be. They didn’t know what they were doing with me, because I was special. So special, that I know what I am doing. I guess.

No one seems to think I know what I am doing.

This drives me. This motivates me. I am not a soldier anymore. I made the rank I had to. Corporal Brandon Mecella Carey Walker. But it was not for service, but for my own selfish pride and glory. I did what I had to do, and I almost certainly didn’t care for anyone in my path. Why would I?

Look at America. We idolize violence. We pay millions upon millions to those who synthesize it for our viewing pleasure. We love to kill, and our heroes are those that kill for us to watch.

This is America.

I often wish I were just a cosmic fiber drifting about on Jupiter, but I am not. I am a Human Being, and I know what this means. I am intelligent, so much so, that I understand my flaws on this planet. I’m never the smartest person in any room, because that is the way I was raised. That is what I was made into.

It is fine. I can go into great lengths my own trials and tribulations, but for now I shall not. I never may, unless I write it. But I first must finish Mecella’s Dreams II through V.

After I finish these books, I will write a novel. Mecella.

Until then, granted I maintain, muster of my own, and remain free, I shall blog here on my website.

-Mecella

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This is My Blog

I write exactly how I like to write. You can mock me, you can tempt me, you can try to persuade me differently. It won’t matter. This is my blog.

I am going to tell my stories, share my poems, and share with the world my perspective. I wrote my Dreams, and now I am working on a bit more than just those. I am working right now. This is my site. I am doing my work, like some do the Lord’s work, and that is merely so.

Did you know that I have a lot to say? I bet you think it doesn’t matter.

Guess what? It does. Everything we say matters. Everything we do, matters. We’ve already deducted it down to our gestures, but our actions do often speak louder than words. I learn this everyday, because I am imperfect. I am flawed, broken, beat-up, broke, and maybe even on my last lung. But that won’t stop me. I was once a cavalryman, and although not their best, I served.

Now begins my tales. Now begins my stories. Now begins my beginnings. Now begins my adverbs and passages and posts that share with the world, my personal views on current events, news and even celebrity gossip. There’s nothing I won’t cover, because what I cover is my perspective. Note: I might seem like I am rambling at times, but bare with me.

I love life. What do I love about life? The Arts. I love entertainment. As an American, I often venture into my mind and drift away aloft by the ideas and concepts that Directors dream up. I am always so fascinated by their stories.

The Arts. They captivate me. They move me. They drive me. I feel them, and they influence me everyday. I’m a bit of an artist myself, and I like to liken myself to “The Greatest Poet Alive”. Perhaps for gaffes, if anyone notices I want them to take it rather seriously. I also bid thee to read thy book, Mecella’s Dreams.

I am a poet, and I love to write. But more so, I love to make sense of things. I have done so on my own regard, but along the way I have, as my poetry depicts, become enveloped in sin. Man sins, and Women must win. They always win, for we always sin, yes we men, into another day. Why do I so heavily objectify men as to be the cause of major worry and concerns?

War.

But beyond that, I will talk more. Not now. I merely have my own perspective about what is going on. For if I didn’t, I would think that it were the other way around, and it can’t be, right?

Right?

Maybe my thoughts will come off as cynical, maybe they will appear against your faith. Maybe you simply will not agree.

That’s fine. I encourage debate. I welcome debate.

Until then:

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Best Nickelodeon Performer Thus Far.

And One of the best singers in the entire world.

She’s actually just simply amazing. Her God is a woman music video speaks volumes, because truthfully, God is a woman. God is womankind. God comes from their love. We all come from our mothers. They are important to us. If we all stopped fighting, we could perhaps all just turn to our mothers and make the world a better place. A world without division, beyond a world where we are just black and white.

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