Howie Hawkins and the Global Green Movement


With the rise of Extinction Rebellion (XR) and the recent success of the Green Party in the local elections recently, it would seem that issues of the climate and our environment are finally getting the attention and consideration they deserve in this country. With the activism of the Swedish 16 year old Greta Thunberg, alongside the proposition of a Green New Deal by US Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it would seem that this new Green movement is not simply localised to the UK. Finally, people from all over the world are beginning to take the issue of the climate more sincerely.

This does not mean, however, that this movement is exempt from leftist critique. After all, the narrative of Thunberg and XR does tend to focus largely on individual action, and pragmatism when governments are concerned, instead of searching for ideological solutions. Perhaps the issue is largely that these movements fail to acknowledge the true breadth of the situation as being a crisis of late capitalism, and how it has distorted systems of production and distribution in search of profit – with institutions having to put profits over collective good, for the security of their own position on the volatile and divisive hierarchy currently determining our livelihoods.

Thunberg’s interviews, one in which she reveals her inspiration for activism originated from seeing a picture of a starving polar bear in her class, often present her movement to be based more upon emotion than rational societal critique. The establishment media, largely subservient to the neoliberal global capitalist world order, knows this all too well. A movement which they have designated Thunberg to lead would pose no threat of substantial change, unlike, say, the ‘gilets jaunes’ in France.

Howie’s Green New Deal, unlike that of AOC, Sanders or Warren, is unabashedly ecosocialist

Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, backed heartily by Democratic presidential candidates such as Sanders or Warren, shares this similarly concerning prioritisation of pragmatism over ideology. However, the concept of the Green New Deal extends, in its totality, far beyond the limited mainstream form advocated from within the Democratic party. Back when AOC was still an undergraduate, the first campaign to run on the platform of a “Green New Deal” was Howie Hawkins’ bid for governor of New York in 2010. Having entered retirement from his work at UPS, Howie has launched an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential elections, on the Green Party ticket. Given his experience and popularity within the party, which he personally co-founded, it is highly unlikely that he will fail to receive the nomination.

Howie’s Green New Deal, unlike that of AOC, Sanders or Warren, is unabashedly ecosocialist. Acknowledging the ideological questions of the climate crisis, Howie recognises that tackling issues of the climate requires nationalisation of industry and control of the means of production. This extends similarly to the issue of healthcare: Sanders’ “Medicare for All” effectively relies on the government paying private corporations to provide healthcare to Americans; Howie instead advocates the creation of a socialised National Health Service.

The provision of jobs, tuition, housing, childcare – Howie refuses to tackle these issues within the confines of capitalism, which nobody with any chance of receiving the Democratic nomination dares to do. This is not to mention the Democrats’ scorn for denuclearisation or anti-imperialist foreign policy (notably in regard to Venezuela, NATO and the WikiLeaks scandal), which should be essential aspects of the agenda of a global Green movement – must we really mention the destructive impact of war upon the environment and those living within it?

If your goal is to unseat Trump, perhaps the Democrats are not your party

In truth, the popular vote means nothing to the Democrats, and voting Green in safe blue states will realistically be of little harm to them. Even so, if your goal is to unseat Trump, perhaps the Democrats are not your party: relying on their ridiculous Russian conspiracy, the Democrats helped to crush Al Green’s “impeachment resolution” against Trump by 364 votes to 58.

Inheriting the momentum of Jill Stein, who increased the Greens’ share of the popular vote by 1500% in only eight years, it is not inconceivable that Howie could garner 5% of the vote share in 2020, entitling the Green Party to a potential $10,000,000 for future campaigning. As we already know, American politics runs on money, and could present us with a chance to generate a real anti-capitalist opposition, not only in the USA, but also to the global destruction of the environment.

Howie Hawkins could well be the face of a new, ecosocialist form of Green politics – one which the planet so desperately needs. Let us hope such a campaign can live up to its promise.

Image by Feggy Art via Flickr.

2 thoughts on “Howie Hawkins and the Global Green Movement

  • An excelent and very descriptive article! I hope to see more of these from this wonderful writer!

    • Веома смешно


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