Grassroots Democracy

Grassroots Democracy

  • Neighborhood Assemblies: Create direct democracy in neighborhood governments that function like New England Town Meetings, where all residents meet to formulate policies and programs for their community and elect committees to implement them. The Neighborhood Assemblies would replace the current TNT Area Planning Councils and reflect the smaller natural neighborhoods of the city. 
  • Participatory Budgeting: Neighborhood Assemblies that meet established criteria for organization would have the power to allocate resources provided through city revenue sharing for neighborhood programs and projects.
  • Council of Neighborhood Assemblies: A council of representatives elected by each Neighborhood Assembly would coordinate inter-neighborhood projects and advise the Mayor, Common Council, Board of Education, and representatives to county, state and federal governments. 
  • Occupy Syracuse: As citizens of Syracuse, we should Occupy Syracuse by organizing Neighborhood Assemblies even before city charter changes can make them part of the institutionalized structure of city government. Occupy Syracuse was a popular assembly open to all, practicing direct democracy to formulate responses to the problems ordinary people faced in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown. Its First Amendment rights of peaceable assembly, free speech, and to petition government for a redress of grievances should have been protected and encouraged, not suppressed. The city should apologize to Occupy Syracuse and the general public for forcibly removing the Occupy encampment in concert with a nationwide suppression of the Occupy movement that was coordinated by the Homeland Security Department in partnership with big banks and corporations. The excuse for the removal was a propane heater and tanks that were removed after the Fire Department said they were a hazard. The Mayor's order for removal was an act of collective punishment against the whole movement for the transgression of at most a few. It is a shameful blot on Syracuse's proud history of being a center for pro-democracy movements, including indigenous, abolitionist, women's, labor, environmental, and peace movements.  
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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor