FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why We Supported the Hawkins Campaign for Governor of New York State

Howie Hawkins is not a lawyer, businessman or scion of a wealthy family. Yet as a line worker for the United Parcel Service (UPS), he has managed to run for office numerous times from local to statewide, in the process helping to make the Green Party of New York State the real left opposition here. He has done this despite the default of the labor movement of which he is an active part as a Teamster; New York unions by and large have have rejected political independence and have chosen the path of least resistance, endorsing “winners” like Andrew Cuomo for governor, in the hopes of picking up a few fallen crumbs off the bargaining table.

So if you ask me why Howie Hawkins appealed to me and many other increasingly frustrated union members in the state, as we watch the conditions of workers worsen from year to year, the answer is easy to understand, Howie stands with us and for us. He is not a lawyer looking for a political career using his or her skills in argument, whether the arguments are believed or not. He is not a product of “a penumbra of quasi-political institutions—think-tanks, consultancies, lobbying firms, politicians’ back offices” to quote an article in the Economist on how countries create a “political class.”

Howie argues from the point of view of his class, the working class, and we know when we support him, that when the election is over, win or lose, he is one of us. He has worked the midnight shift (still works it in fact), in the cold and dark, shared coffee with co-workers commiserating about a bad boss, poor safety conditions and low pay and benefits.

Howie first came to my notice in his 2010 campaign for governor, which I enthusiastically supported among my co-workers on the railroad. And I found a positive response from many of them, enough to have me encourage Howie to campaign outside the rail yard, which he did successfully. I then joined him at other work sites, always with a good response from workers.

In 2013, I took a ride out to Syracuse to support Howie’s second run for city council there. Campaigning door to door in his district, I saw first hand the support and respect he has earned in his base in that city.

In 2014, Howie went from getting individual supporters like myself, to actual endorsements from labor bodies. This reflects the growing understanding among workers that they need their own political representation and political party. His campaign got nearly five percent of the vote, leapfrogging the labor backed Working Families Party for fourth spot on the ballot. In my county he got 10 percent of the vote. Howie’s campaign in 2014 has dramatically confirmed, in a big statewide race, increased support for an independent party for workers, and all of us in labor owe him a debt of gratitude for this.

Jon Flanders spent 25 years as a Railroad Machinist, member and past President of IAM 1145. Steering committee member of Railroad Workers United. Retired. He can be reached at: jonathan.flanders@verizon.net.

More articles by:

Jon Flanders spent 25 years as a Railroad Machinist, member and past President of IAM 1145. Steering committee member of Railroad Workers United. Retired. He can be reached at: jonathan.flanders@verizon.net.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 17, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry
Kathleen Wallace
Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style
Robert Hunziker
The Rumbling Methane Enigma
Frank Joyce
Will the Constitution Fail Again?
Pete Dolack
Claims that the ‘NAFTA 2’ Agreement is Better are a Macabre Joke
Andrew Levine
Biden Daze
Vijay Prashad
Not an Inch: Indian Students Stand Against the Far Right
Ramzy Baroud
Sealed Off and Forgotten: What You Should Know about Israel’s ‘Firing Zones’ in the West Bank
Norman Solomon
Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores the Need for Grassroots Wisdom
Ted Rall
America’s Long History of Meddling in Russia
David Rosen
The Irregulators vs. FCC: the Trial Begins
Jennifer Matsui
The Krown
Joseph Natoli
Resolutions and Obstacles/2020
Sarah Anderson
War Profiteering is Real
James McFadden
The Business Party Syndicate
Ajamu Baraka
Trump Prosecutors Make Move to Ensure that Embassy Protectors are Convicted
David Swanson
CNN is Trash
Rev. William Alberts
Finally a Christian Call for Trump’s Removal
Dave Lindorff
The ERA Just Got Ratified by Virginia, the Needed 38th State!
W. T. Whitney
Mexico Takes Action on Coup in Bolivia and on CELAC
Steve Early
How General Strike Rhetoric Became a Reality in Seattle 
Jessicah Pierre
Learning From King’s Last Campaign
Mark Dickman
Saint Greta and the Dragon
Jared Bernstein - Dean Baker
Reducing the Health Care Tax
Clark T. Scott
Uniting “Progressives” Instead of Democrats
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Trump & Johnson: What a Contrast, Image-wise!
Ron Jacobs
Abusing America’s Children—Free Market Policy
George Wuerthner
Mills Are Being Closed by National Economic Trends, Not Environmental Regulations
Basav Sen
Nearly All Americans Want Off of Fossil Fuels
Mark Ashwill
Playing Geopolitical Whack-a-Mole: The Viet Nam Flag Issue Revisited
Jesse Jackson
New Hope for One of America’s Poorest Communities
Binoy Kampmark
Harry and Meghan Exit: The Royal Family Propaganda Machine
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again!
Rob Okun
A Call to Men to join Women’s March
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
We All Need to Be Tree Huggers Now
Tom Stephens
The New York Times’ Delusions of Empire
Julian Rose
Fake-Green Zero Carbon Fraud
Louis Proyect
The Best Films of 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: Into Kosovo
Colin Todhunter
Gone Fishing? No Fish but Plenty of Pesticides and a Public Health Crisis
Julian Vigo
Can New Tech Replace In-Class Learning?
Gaither Stewart
The Bench: the Life of Things
Nicky Reid
Trannies with Guns: Because Enough is Enough!
James Haught
Baby Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark
David Yearsley
Brecht in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail