Celebrate Armistice Day on November 11
By Howie Hawkins, November 11, 2018
The November 11 federal holiday of Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. Its purpose was to celebrate peace on the anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.
The congressional proclamation of Armistice Day in 1926 said its purpose was “to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” In 1938, Congress made it a federal holiday, declaring it “shall be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
In 1954, however, with the permanent war economy entrenched after World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The meaning of November 11 was changed from honoring peace to honoring war. Militarism and nationalism became the dominant themes.
Congratulations to all of us for achieving our baseline goal in this election – retaining the Green Party ballot line statewide for the next four years.
Thank you to all of you who leafleted, phone banked, text banked, organized events, donated, and voted for the cause.
We live to fight another day. Between the collapse of the climate and the living standards of working-class New York, we have to keep fighting.
This commentary appeared in News Growl on November 3, 2018 and Workers World Today on November 6, 2018.
By Howie Hawkins
The mounting climate crisis is an existential threat that should concern us all. But millions of working-class New Yorkers are in crisis every day struggling to pay their bills and stay in their homes.
New York is the most unequal state in the nation. The top 1% took home 12% of all income in 1980. By 2015, the top 1% took home 33% of all income in the state and 41% of all income in the New York City.
Meanwhile, over these same four decades, inflation-adjusted wages declined while rent, property taxes, health dare, day care, and college costs increased far faster than the general rate of inflation. It’s a crisis right now for working people in New York.
This commentary appeared in Workers World Today on October 22, 2018.
BROOKLYN (Workers World Today) — When we work in a capitalist business, we produce more value than we receive in wages. It’s called exploitation. A rich class lives high off the hog on the labor of a working class. Under slavery, it was slaveowners exploiting slaves. Under feudalism, it was the landowners exploiting serfs. Under capitalism, it is capitalists exploiting wage workers.
In a capitalist business, our wage as workers is fixed. But the business owners take all the net income for themselves as profits. Because most people earn their living working for the tiny class that owns most business assets, the rich get richer and the rest of us struggle to pay our bills.
The other problem with working for a capitalist is you lose your freedom. The owner – or the supervisor he hires to boss you around – makes you work as directed if you want to keep your job. You have little say in how to get your work done, even if you know your job better than your boss, which in my experience has been quite often.
In a worker cooperative, each worker receives a salary during the year and then at the end of the year a share of the cooperative’s net income – a “patronage dividend” – that is proportional to the labor each worker contributed. The workers collectively make management decisions or, in a larger business, elect the board that hires the managers.
Each worker has one vote, no matter how big or small their ownership share of the business.
Statement in Response to Recent Shootings in Syracuse
Ending Urban Gun Violence Requires Ending Poverty and Discrimination
Community Policing and Youth Programs Will Help
by Howie Hawkins, October 11, 2018
Two youth, ages 12 and 15, were shot dead this week in Syracuse. Five people were shot right around the corner from my house three weeks ago. Their families and loved ones are in my thoughts.
It is no mystery where most of these youth shootings occur. They are endemic to high-poverty urban neighborhoods across the country, particularly in communities of color that are segregated and isolated by pervasive discrimination.
These shootings stem from the hopelessness, anger, and trauma of young people who start life deprived and often disabled physically, mentally, and emotionally by malnourishment, lead poisoning, periods of homelessness, and other readily solvable social and environmental conditions. They see the people in their neighborhoods in the same boat and hear a dismissive message from the larger society that their situation is their own fault.
Nor is it a mystery what we need to do about it. We need to end poverty and discrimination. The correlation of violence with social inequality and poverty is strong and global.
To the Editor:
I am the Green Party candidate for Governor.
Four years ago I finished third with 5% of the vote. Several of the issues I raised such as a ban on fracking, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and paid family leave were at least partially adopted by the Governor after the election.
After the primary debate, which largely ignored upstate New York and many critical issues starting with climate change, I proposed four regional debates (NYC Metro area, Capital District, Central NY and Western NY) to each focus on a topic area: The Economy; Government Reform; The Environment and Climate; and Social Policy, including education, health care, housing, criminal justice, and civil rights.
The debate rules should be determined by all of the candidates and the media and civic organizations, not just Mr. Cuomo. The media and civic organizations should organize the debates and hold them whether or not Cuomo decides to appear.
This commentary appeared in Workers World Today on September 21, 2018.
By Howie Hawkins
Wage theft can even happen to unionized workers
BROOKLYN (Workers World Today) — National studies have shown that one-third of low-wage workers experience wage theft every week. Two-thirds have had wages stolen at some point in their work lives.
Employers use a variety of means to avoid paying wages their workers have earned: working them off the clock, failing to pay overtime, failing to pay the minimum wage, and simply disappearing without paying, an occurrence that is too often experienced by workers who are hired by contractors for temporary laboring jobs in construction, demolition, landscaping, and truck loading, hauling, and unloading.
But it is not just low-wage workers in smaller businesses who face wage theft. A study based on a compilation of court cases by Good Jobs First and Jobs with Justice found that wage theft is built into the business model of some of America’s biggest corporations. Walmart, with $1.4 billion in total wage theft settlements and fines, is the worst offender, followed by FedEx with $502 million. Retailing is the industry with the highest aggregate penalties ($2.7 billion), followed by financial services ($1.4 billion), freight and logistics ($828 million), business services ($611 million), and insurance ($557 million). Among top offenders are household names like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and State Farm Insurance.
This commentary appeared in the Socialist Worker on September 18, 2018
By Howie Hawkins and Jia Lee
and , Green Party candidates for governor and lieutenant governor in New York, explain how their campaign is aiming to raise expectations that have been systematically lowered by the state’s Democratic Party leaders.
WHEN OUR Green Party campaign for governor and lieutenant governor of New York settled on the campaign slogan of Demand More! we had three points in mind.
First, we wanted to “raise our expectations,” as Ralph Nader always enjoins us to do. In New York, that means, first of all, clean government. Public corruption is rampant.
More than 50 state officials have been driven from office since 2000 for ethical or criminal violations. During Governor Cuomo’s most recent term, the Speaker of the Assembly, the leader of the Senate, two of Cuomo’s top aides and a slew of Cuomo campaign contributors who received lucrative state contracts have been convicted of a variety of bid-rigging, bribery, fraud and kickback charges.
This commentary was published on the national Green Party website on Labor Day, September 3, 2018 and in Workers World Today and Socialist Worker on September 5, 2018.
by Howie Hawkins
I’m a Teamster who had his pension cut 20% with the approval of the U.S Treasury Department just before I retired. Existing retirees were cut 30%. These cuts were made by a bipartisan act of Congress in 2014 that removed the guarantee in the 1974 Employment Retirement Income Security Act that earned pensions could not be cut. I planned my retirement on that guarantee. The consolation prize for my pension cut is that I can go back to work for up to 1000 hours a year at UPS unloading trucks while still receiving my diminished pension. But I lose my seniority and start over at the state minimum wage of $10.40 an hour.
One big reason I am the Green Party candidate for Governor of New York is because New Yorkers need a raise. I am not the only worker losing ground. Wages are low and stuck in place. Pensions are disappearing. But rent, health care, college, and property taxes keep going up and up. The rich get richer while the rest of struggle to pay our bills and even stay in our homes.
This article appeared in Workers World Today in Brooklyn on September 1, 2018.
The Green New Deal is an Economic Bill of Rights
"The Green Party has been campaigning for a Green New Deal that would be the fulfillment of the original New Deal’s aspiration for an Economic Bill of Rights – with added right to a clean and sustainable environment, particularly to address the mounting climate crisis." - Howie Hawkins, the 2018 Green Party candidate for Governor of New York.