Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Greens Gone Digital

Greens Gone Digital
by C.A. Matthews

In a history-making effort, the Green Party US has become the first American political party to host an entirely digital Presidential Nominating Convention this past weekend. During the three day online gathering, Greens chose Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker to be their president/vice president candidates. The convention originally had been slated to take place in Detroit, but the pandemic put a halt to those plans as the party leadership felt it was unwise to risk their members' health and safety by meeting in person. In a few short months, the Greens  pulled together a relatively smooth running digital meeting using a variety of platforms such as Zoom, Loomio, You Tube and Facebook live-streaming.
The opening two days of the convention were filled with press conferences and workshops like a typical in-person gathering, but this time the presenters spoke to a sea of webcam faces instead of a room full of live bodies. Nevertheless, chat and voice questions where asked and answered, discussions ensued, and many participants expressed gratitude for the recordings of the presentations and Powerpoints to share and re-watch at leisure. (Link to the workshop videos below.) Better yet, there was no cut off to the number of people allowed to be in a Zoom two dimensional room like there would be in a 3-D room, and the numbers at the workshops swelled throughout the convention. 

Workshop topics included an in-depth look at the current administration's acceleration of the nuclear arms race; ways to handle the ongoing financial crisis and growing national debt; and re-branding the Green Party US as  eco-socialists to reach a wider membership with independent voters. Many presenters emphasized how the Greens are the original creators of the Green New Deal, support shrinking the military and demilitarizing the police, and are the only American political party to enthusiastically support Medicare For All as part of their platform.

There were special guest speakers as well through out the day Saturday interspersed between delegate votes. Well known Greens like 2012 and 2016 presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate, peace activist Ajamu Baraka, gave stirring speeches. Lisa Savage, currently running for the US Senate (with a good chance of winning under Maine's ranked choice voting system), also addressed the convention along with other Greens who have served proudly in both party and publicly elected positions.

At a little after 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon the tally for the presidential nominee was declared official.  Howie Hawkins, a founder of the Green Party US and the original GND candidate when he ran for governor of New York, was overwhelmingly chosen as the 2020 presidential candidate with Angela Walker as his running mate. Dario Hunter/Darlene Elias came in second in the vote tally with less than half the votes of Hawkins/Walker. A smattering of votes were given to other candidates, and a few delegates simply voted "non-committed." Former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura did receive seven delegate votes. Perhaps he will feel encouraged to run in another four years, as Jesse seems to be a favorite of Young Ecosocialists Caucus members.
My view of the GP Presidential Nominating Convention

This was my first Presidential Nominating Convention, and I was proud to attend as a voting delegate from Ohio. I'd attended the 2019 Annual Meeting in Salem, Massachusetts. I found it fascinating to meet Greens from all over the country and exchange information and ideas with them. I was looking forward to attending the convention in Detroit--less than an hour away from my home--but the virus outbreak crushed those dreams of sitting with my state's delegation and shouting out our support of our favorite candidates during the delegate roll call. Oh, well, there's been a lot of disappointments during these  months of COVID-19 lock down, nothing new there. I look forward to the future when perhaps I can serve as a delegate again and enjoy the excitement in person.

Related links:

Hawkins/Walker Campaign Website

C-Span Interview with Howie Hawkins (video)

Green Party US videos--most of the workshops were recorded and can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/GreenPartyVideos/videos


Just six weeks before many international students start their fall terms, ICE has implemented a rule change that would force thousands out of the country.
Under the new student visa regulations, international students must enroll into in-person classes at their institution to remain in the United States. ICE waited until many colleges and universities had already finalized their class schedules or made decisions about being entirely online for the term to announce these changes.
ICE’s goal here is transparent: Force as many foreign students out of the United States as possible, in the middle of a global pandemic. Remember – the cruelty is the point.
There’s hope. MIT and Harvard have launched lawsuits to block the Trump administration’s sabotage. Across the country, students and teachers are making last-minute 1 credit courses to help international students stay here. It’s inspiring to see.
But it shouldn’t be the burden of college undergraduates and TAs to block Trump’s inhumane policy agenda. Our leaders have to act against a transparently xenophobic rule change that was kept hidden until the very last moment.
Shockingly, it gets worse. Many experts suspect that the Trump administration’s real motivation was to force colleges and universities to reopen in-person classes this fall – even if it was unsafe. As the second wave of COVID crashes upon numerous states, it is unthinkable that our federal government would force schools to choose between deporting students or risking their lives.
Thanks for your help,

Fight for $15
Monday, July 20: Strike for Black Lives  
RSVP for a strike or protest >>

I live in Florida, where coronavirus cases are spiking, and I've had to fight at my job at Checkers just to get masks and gloves to be safe.

Our bosses don't care about us – they don't care whether we live or we die – as long as they make money.

Police beat us and kill us – they don't give Black lives the dignity we deserve as human beings. It ain't right.

I've had enough. I believe that we've ALL had enough.

That's why I'm walking off my job on July 20 as part of the Strike for Black Lives.

July 20th: Join the Strike for Black Lives.

Don't see an event near you on the map? Sign up to host your own event.

We demand:

  • Justice for Black communities. That means higher wages, better jobs, and unions for all so we can build real economic power. It means healthcare for all, action on climate change, better education opportunities, criminal justice reform, and most of all – listening to Black workers and leaders.
  • Elected officials and candidates use their authority to rewrite the rules so that Black communities can thrive. We need safe and fair voting so all of us can participate in our democracy.
  • Corporations take immediate action to dismantle racism, white supremacy and economic exploitation wherever it exists, including in our workplaces. Employers like Checkers and McDonald's need to pay higher wages and give us sick leave, we need personal protective equipment (PPE) and hazard pay during the pandemic. We need to disrupt the cycle of poverty that has existed for generations.
  • Every worker has the opportunity to form a union, no matter where they work. People of color need a seat at the table to be able to fight for our families and communities.

We won't win because politicians or companies decide out of the goodness of their hearts to give us what we demand. We will win only because we join together with ONE voice to force politicians and companies to give us what we've always deserved.

Together in justice,

Alex Harris
Checkers Worker
Tampa, FL
Fight for $15

P.S. The Strike for Black Lives will be happening during a worsening pandemic. If you plan to attend an event in person, take a look at our Coronavirus Safety guide.

From Fight for the Future:

Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI) has introduce an amendment that will prevent local police forces from getting tear gas,1 drones,2 armored vehicles,3 and high-caliber weapons of war4 from the military. This important amendment — in addition to initiatives to defund police departments and hold police officers accountable for committing crimes against the public — will help combat systemic police brutality in the U.S. 

Contact Congress TODAY to stop police departments from buying military weapons.
Arming police forces with military weapons doesn’t reduce crime or protect law enforcement officers from violence.5 In fact, police forces that are equipped with these weapons are more likely to kill civilians.6 Even worse, militarized police forces often target Black and minority-majority communities, where getting killed by the police is among the leading causes of death.7
Local law enforcement agencies have bought billions of dollars worth of guns, explosives, helicopters, and more from the military.8 Senator Brian Schatz (D–HI) wants to end this practice by passing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.9 This important amendment will prevent the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, but only if more members of Congress support it. 

Contact your Senators and Representatives now and tell them to support the Schatz amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. 

P.S. Stopping this one program is an important step. But the fight to end police violence can’t end there. Please learn from, support, and donate to organizations like Movement for Black Lives, Black Visions Minnesota, MediaJustice, and Stop LAPD Spying who are leading this work.

[1] USA Today
[2] Ars Technica
[3] CNN
[4] Courthouse News
[5] PBS
[6] CATO Institute
[7] LA Times
[8] Newsweek
[9] Sen. Brian Schatz on Twitter

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