I feel compelled to share the contents of this email from the Hawkins/Walker campaign, observing the anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. It contains some apt quotes from Fred Hampton, whom The Chicago PD, with help from the FBI assassinated a little more than 50 years ago. Hampton was freshly turned 21 and wise beyond his years when the cops cut him down.
This is how America has always treated its dissidents: murder, torture, incarceration on bogus charges, COINTELPRO-style infiltration of activist groups to stoke internal conflict and effectively neutralize them.
As Joe Strummer noted in "Know Your Rights":
"You have the right to free speech...
As long as you're not dumb enough
To actually try it!"
Hampton and the Panthers went beyond speech to actions that kept poor folks fed and protected. Thus the establishment decreed that they had to die.
Thursday we celebrated the formation of the Black Panther Party 54 years ago in Oakland, California.
The Black Panther Party clearly showed the willingness of regular people to organize and take action to protect their communities.
Today, we find ourselves still calling for the changes that these brave people were fighting for in the 1960s: community control of the police, reparations paid to African Americans, and social/economic equality.
As we have continued to see the murder of African Americans by police in 2020, names such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery to name only a few, the conversation has to include the importance of community control of the police.
This isn’t a new idea.
The time for this idea has already come and the need for this type of action to regain control of our nation’s police forces has never left.
In fact, it’s never been more necessary.
We’re living in an age where these headlines are blasted into feeds on every social media platform.
Entire generations of minorities and their children have been seeing the news for their entire lives while also seeing the lack of action in addressing the racism and sadism in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
It has to stop.
As Fred Hampton said, "We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I'm talking about the white masses, I'm talking about the black masses, and the brown masses, and the yellow masses, too. We've got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don't fight racism with racism. We're gonna fight racism with solidarity."
Yet neither major party is giving this matter the attention that it deserves.
Republicans, as expected, are denying the problem at best and protesting or contributing to it at worst.
Meanwhile, Democrats, as expected, have taken the slogans of organizations like Black Lives Matter to make grand gestures but, ultimately, doing nothing more to solve problem.
This is why the Green Party is so necessary.
Someone has to raise awareness of these issues.
Someone has to spell out plans for how we end the abuse, misconduct, and blatant murders being committed by police officers (who are then only given administrative leave as “punishment”).
Someone has to say plainly that the way to fight crime is to fight poverty (Angela Walker says this).
And most of all, someone has to take action.
That’s why we are asking for your support in this campaign.
It’s about coming together in solidarity to create the changes that we so desperately need in this country and in our communities.
The Black Panther Party did not sit back and spend all of their time theorizing how their communities could look.
"If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then damn it, you don't deserve to win." --Fred Hampton
They said “enough is enough” and took action to protect their communities from the very same problems that we are seeing today. They knew how their communities should look and took action to help make it happen.
Now it’s your time to do the same.
By clicking the link below and making a donation to this campaign, you are saying “enough is enough” and standing up against racism, abuse, and hatred.
Will you stand with us?
Choose to be a victor by making a donation (recommended $27) today as we fight back against Trump and the whole corrupt system that brought him here!
“Their [the police] real power is manifested in the organized guns and force. But we’re saying that the people in this community, the people in this country, don’t have any control over that organized guns, force, and power. We’re saying that the capitalist, the racist, and others have control over it. And we’re saying that we want to change it, that we want to revolutionize it, turn it over into the hands of the people, for a new process to occur. We’re saying we want community control.” – Bobby Seale, Chicago Community Control of the Police Conference, June 1, 1973
And remember: #NeverSettle
This is from an email that arrived today from Hawkins/Walker:
Just before the clock ran out for challenges in Wisconsin, the Democrats filed a challenge on our petitions, saying that the address listed for Angela Walker was a false address.
The deadline for federal matching funds has just passed, but the campaign will not turn away your contributions of $2,800 or less just because it's not magically doubled.
Texas GOP Attempt to Knock Libertarians off the Ballot Fizzles
In related news, Texas Republicans tried some funky version of virtue signaling to show the world that they also want to uphold the law (HB 2504) by challenging Libertarian candidates who also didn't pay the new filing fees. (NOTE: The usual Houston Chronicle paywall.) But they waited until after the resolution of the Democrats' legal action to knock Greens off the ballot, by which time it was too late for the State Supreme Court to do anything. Not to spoil anything, but here are the very telling last two paragraphs:
Elliott Scheirman, a Libertarian running against Rep. Dan Crenshaw in Houston’s 2nd Congressional District, said the GOP suit is a “testament to the substantial growth and support” that the Libertarian Party has gained and proof that Republicans feel threatened.
This may look like a textbook example of GOP incompetence, but Kayleen observed (and I agree) that the GOP operatives know exactly what they're doing. As she put it, nobody has anything on the Republicans when it comes to voter suppression; it's a specialty of theirs.
And party suppression is voter suppression. Don't let anyone tell you it's not.
Plus, just about any district in which a Republican is running, including the district known as the entire state of Texas, is a safe district. Unlike the Democrats, who quake in their Luccheses at the prospect of facing opposition from the left, the GOP ain't worried about no Libertarian challengers.
Hey, looky here: World Socialist Website has an item up today about the nationwide effort to jack the Green Party.
As I noted in the most recent entry, this pattern is not strictly a Texas phenomenon. I was going to post something like a state-by-state rundown of Democratic party-suppression tactics, but wsws.org beat me to it.
Perhaps the most entertaining anecdote of the bunch concerns Montana. It brings me no joy, and too many flashbacks to Texas in 2010, to see that the Republicans there were found to have bankrolled the Greens' petition drive. Any situation in which Republicans assist Greens gives ammunition to Democrats who acrimoniously accuse us of being a Republican front group. At least here, the organization that approached the Texas Greens ten years ago with a large in-kind donation was coy about its partisan affiliation.
Despite wsws's fairly thorough summary, let me mention a few states and the Democratic chicanery happening in them. Let me also note, again, that I have no personal ill will toward MJ Hegar and Chrysta Castañeda, although the timing of their legal action leaves a mighty bitter taste—bitter as in old Pasadena's acrid mixture of emissions from refineries and a paper mill, not as in the pleasant bitterness of a well balanced India Pale Ale. Compounding that bitterness is the fact that, as wsws point out, "In a clear sign of their anti-democratic intentions, Democrats are not challenging the eligibility of Libertarian Party candidates, even though they have yet to pay the filing fees as well."
About this time in 2016, I was following presidential preference polls—not because I believed them accurate, but because some nationally known and respected polls were including the names Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in their crosstabs.
As of t-minus 89 days before Election Day, I haven't found any polls with the cojones to include the names Howie Hawkins and Jo Jorgensen. They and any other relatively small parties' nominees are merged into the all-purpose mystery candidate known as Other.
The biggest reason that irks me is that Hawkins (Green) and Jorgensen (Libertarian) are already officially nominated by their respective parties; Joe Biden and Donald Trump are merely presumptive nominees.
I'm going to starting checking every other day or so, maybe thrice a week, for the first sign of a polling organization that lists the Sunflower and Hedgehog nominees by name. If you see a four-or-more-candidate presidential poll before I do, please put something in the comments below.
I spontaneously decided to live-tweet this Presidential Nominating Convention thingy. See the link to the thread below.
Apart from the nominations, the best news of the day is that the Credentials Committee and the GPUS Steering Committee reviewed and rejected the challenges leveled against the delegations of four states and one caucus. As mentioned previously in this space, the challenges, mostly filed well after the deadline for such things, alleged that our delegates (yes, including those from Texas) were chosen using fishy math. Second-best is that, at least for delegates, this was the most stress-free Presidential Nominating Convention ever, in my view and that of several longtime Greenies of my acquaintance.
Content warning: muchos F-bombs and other impolite language. It's also LMAO hilarious to those of us who have been following Green politics closely in recent years, especially in this inexplicable year 2020.
Somebody give this Howie Hawkins delegate a Snickers bar. Click the Read More to see the complete rant (author's name withheld by request).
Elsewhere in this online discussion for Hawkins delegates to the Green Party's 2020 Presidential Nominating Convention, this person showed an ability to express sound reasoning in English, along with an impressive acumen for ranting. They had similarly harsh words, also in all caps, for Dario Hunter and his supporters, but I'm not going to include them here.
A bit of context may be necessary from some readers:
As we noted recently, Dario Hunter's challenge to some state Green Parties' delegate allocation process is getting support on Twitter from some people who call themselves Greens and want to install Jesse Ventura as the Greens' presidential nominee. Ventura did not make any noise about running for the nomination until all the filing deadlines had passed and half of the primary voting had taken place, so that's a non-starter. Ventura is no more likely than Kanye West to be elected president this year.
Let it be known that I bear no hatred for Hunter or Ventura, or even for their supporters. If Ventura had pursued the nomination from the beginning, he might have garnered enough support to win the nomination, and it's possible that his name recognition would win the Greens more votes than presumptive nominee Hawkins.
But seeing so much profound stupidity and ignorance (yes, there's an important distinction) from these folks on Twitter makes me queasy. Ignorance of the process is only partly their fault: Mass media outlets don't do enough to educate people about it; even if they did, the information would likely have to compete with the tsunamis of mis- and disinformation already in circulation. This is why I am keen to convince Greens and Green sympathizers to become active within the Party, so that they will understand what goes into creating and maintaining a "third-party" campaign.
I hope all that context doesn't spoil the message below the fold.
Happy Treason Day!
That's what we saw on roadside marquee in front of a gun shop in Grimes County today. Kayleen and I took a drive up that-a-way on a mission to deliver hundreds of leftover Natural Awakenings magazines to the regional publisher thereof. (As Patrick Henry would say, "If this be Treason, make the Most of it: Buy you a big-ass Gun!")
One of the cool things about history is that we get our choice of which traitors we admire.
Today was a good opportunity to do make the trip to prairie lands; next weekend wouldn't have worked as well, seeing as we'll be shoulders-deep in the Green Party's Presidential Nominating Convention. Being a delegate to this year's convention involves a lot more email than in years past: We don't have a crew handing us a nifty delegate packet in person. Every email gets me a bit more excited, a bit more confused, and a bit more nervous, hoping that the technology will cooperate and allow us to participate.
Think what you will about that sign at the gun shop: Treason is soooo American. If it's true that the leaders of the Confederate States of America were traitors, it's also true of the rebels who "freed" the North American colonies from Great Britain and its chief sponsor the British East India Company. Call me a traitor if the proverbial shoe fits. If speaking out against the triplet evils of racism, capitalism, and imperialism—and against the corporate state that embodies all three—makes me a traitor, I will wear the label proudly. Just make sure that I get a fair trial before you assemble the firing squad.
Nah. It doesn't make me a traitor by the Constitutional definition, because I have not lent aid or comfort to any declared enemies—unless you count monthly Patreon donations to Abby Martin and Eleanor Goldfield.
Do I admire Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and that whole crowd of former namesakes of public schools? Not particularly: The cause to which they devoted their treason is odious to me. The system against which they were rebelling, industrial capitalism and wage slavery, is just as odious. I can't admire Lee for his reputation as a skilled military strategist because...well, war is a racket, innit?
Do I admire the folks portrayed in the cast of Hamilton, which I joined millions of Americans in watching last night? To a limited degree: While from my 21st-century perspective I can support their desire to escape from the corporate yoke, that whole "I don't like slavery but I'm perfectly willing to keep benefiting from it" posture adopted by the historical Hamilton and Jefferson rubs me wrong. I can still admire their accomplishments that moved humanity forward while disdaining their less noble deeds.
Similarly, I can admire a polished speaker and knowledgeable wonk like Millennial African-Iranian-American Jewish-convert attorney-rabbi Dario Hunter for some political positions he has expressed and winning election to a Rust-Belt-small-city school board. I can like that he represents an alternative to Just Another Old White Dude Presidential Nominee. But that doesn't require me to like the entire Candidate Dario Hunter package.
So about That Convention...
The PNC itself begins at 11 am Central Daylight Time on Saturday 11 July; the current plan calls for the nomination process to end by 7 pm. The whole Detroit 2020 Annual National Meeting (ANM) runs from the 9th through the 12th, including the final discussions of platform amendments and entertainment from YouTube politicomic Ron Placone (whom fans of Jimmy Dore might recognize as the nerdy redheaded sidekick, and whose witty repartée frequently catches Jimmy off-guard and gets him guffawing). In case you haven't seen it, here's Ron's April 2020 interview with Howie Hawkins (52 minutes plus).
Delegates will participate via Zoom and Loomio. Regrettably, I still don't have the coordinates of the Facebook Live feed for non-delegates.
As I have reported, Hawkins has already claimed enough delegates to win the nomination outright, but runner-up Dario Hunter is challenging the allocations of delegates in some states, backed by some Twitter trolls clambering to see Jesse Ventura nominated. I mentioned that GPTX Treasurer Travis Christal has been fuming about the challenge, but not that current co-chair Laura Palmer and multi-term former co-chair katija gruene are adamant that the challenge regarding Texas delegates is a) after the posted deadline for such and b) based on a lack of understanding of the Proportional Approval Voting process.
In intra-GPTX conversations and public Facebook posts, kat has likened Hunter's railing against the GPUS leadership to "COINTELPRO tactics" of "divide and conquer," with the modern variant of tossing identity politics into the mix. Such COINTELPRO-style infiltration would be nothing new to Green Party veterans: been there, been burned by that. Even so, it's always tricky tripping up the infiltrators before their divisive behavior begins, primarily because they are skilled in winning people's confidence. It's what infiltrators do.
Do I think that Hunter is deliberately trying to fragment an already-fractious Green Party? Or do I give him the benefit of the doubt that he perceives unfair treatment and is willing to fight it? Is Hunter a snake in the grass or just naïve? Possibly both? I haven't reached my own verdict yet, but some people I know and trust certainly have, for reasons I'm opting not to explore in detail here.
Speaking strictly for myself, I am both eagerly anticipating and dreading next Saturday's events. Will a pack of Hunter enthusiasts take up valuable convention time and impede the Party's progress? Will the Party leadership allow the challenge to be presented before the first round of voting takes place? If this were not a virtual meeting, would the majority shout them down? Will they figure out a way to shout them down via Zoom?
The late, legendary Barbara Jordan was the first-ever Congressmember from Texas District 18, which she helped create as a state senator, and which I have inhabited for the past nine years. From the very beginning of her tenure, she admonished staff that not only must there be no impropriety in the office, but there must not even be the appearance of impropriety. She knew better than to give ammunition to colleagues or press who might seize any opportunity to bring down an outspoken black liberal woman from the old Confederacy's largest city.
Have the insiders in the Green Party of the United States engaged in enough appearance of impropriety that attorney and rabbi Dario Hunter can build a case against them?
Nothing will be official until 11 July, but Howie Hawkins of New York has amassed a simple majority of the 350 delegates apportioned for the Green Party's Presidential Nominating Convention. There are fewer than 50 delegates still to be selected.
This news is hardly unexpected given how the quest for the nomination has played out. Hawkins entered the race with an actual track record of running for high offices in New York State, and he is considered a co-founder of the Party. (Second-place candidate Dario Hunter has actually been elected to a school board in Youngstown, Ohio.) The Green New Deal on which Dr. Jill Stein ran in 2012 and 2016 started with Hawkins, whether or not he actually coined the term.
In case you haven't caught the news, Teamster activist Hawkins has selected long-haul truck driver and activist Angela N. Walker as his running mate. For those of you keeping identity politics scoresheets, Walker checks off not only the African American and Woman boxes, but also the LGBT+ box. An Armed Forces veteran like Hawkins, Walker also has electoral experience, including a run for sheriff of Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) in 2014. They have also both worked with Socialist Party USA, which has endorsed their ticket; Hawkins-Walker will likely appear on the ballot lines for SPUSA and GPUS in New York, which allows fusion candidacies.
On a personal note, I have donated to the Hawkins and Hunter campaigns, and I did not have a stated preference between them. My habit is never to presume anyone's nomination until it's signed, sealed, and delivered; I'm not happy about the way he has acted in public appearances as if his nomination was in the bag, appearing on programs such as Redacted Tonight VIP without more than an indirect reference to the other Green presidential candidates. However, I will be glad to be able to answer the inevitable question from the mis- and underinformed, "Who's your (y'all's) candidate?" without saying, "Well, the nomination hasn't been determined yet, and we have about six candidates contesting for it..." by which the asker has fallen asleep.
First, a disclaimer: I like and respect Howie Hawkins as a candidate for president, but I haven't entirely made up my mind whether I'll be a delegate for him at the Green Convention in Detroit next year. I also like and respect Dario Hunter, the other Green who has met the requirements for presidential candidacy thus far, but I have yet to meet him in person.
That said, after last night (see this hour-long video of last night if you're so inclined), if Hawkins does win the Green presidential nomination, I plan to campaign for him as hard as I did for Jill Stein in 2012 and 2016, and possibly as hard as I remember promoting Ralph Nader in 2000. This is especially true if the Democratic Party nominates yet another triangulating centrist.
I am willing to overlook recent missteps in which Hawkins echoed the establishment narrative about Russia interfering with US elections, because no candidate is going to get everything right. Folks who accuse Greens of imposing "purity tests" on candidates because we can't abide voting for centrist Democrats can stick those accusations where the proverbial sun don't shine.
More importantly, however, I have enormous respect for some of the progressive luminaries lining up to support him, including the late Bruce A. Dixon and 2016 VP nominee Ajamu Baraka of Black Agenda Report. Plus, yesterday former Alaska senator Mike Gravel, briefly a presidential candidate in this cycle, urged his supporters to back...no, not Bernie; no, not Tulsi; Howie.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.