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Why I Will Vote For Howie Hawkins For Governor Of New York Tomorrow

I have met both Andrew Cuomo and Howie Hawkins in person. My general impression of both of these candidates in the 2014 campaign for Governor of New York was that they were more motivated their personal ambitions than by any policy concerns. Perhaps that’s typical of politicians, but the point is that I was not strongly inclined to support either Hawkins or Cuomo. Yet, in tomorrow’s election, Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, will get my vote.

Howie Hawkins, when I talked with him, couldn’t keep his facts straight. He was highly distractible, and mumbled, and accused Democratic politicians in New York State of doing things I knew for a fact they hadn’t done.

The behavior of Andrew Cuomo, however, has been much, much worse. When he gained office, Cuomo cut school and health care budgets and but refused to ask wealthy individuals to pay their share, and cut taxes for big banks. Cuomo has interfered with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s efforts to increase the minimum wage and increase access to pre-kindergarten education. Cuomo has supported charter schools that suck funds out of public schools without providing a reasonable level of educational achievement, and without being accountable to the communities that they’re supposed to serve. Cuomo has silently accepted widespread electronic surveillance against New Yorkers, and has worked to sap the power of labor unions. As Governor, Cuomo has been an ethics nightmare, shutting down an anti-corruption investigation when it began to look into his own shady dealings.

I’m tired of seeing Democratic politicians like Andrew Cuomo take the support of liberals for granted, expecting progressive activists to churn out the vote no matter how wide the gap between their ideals and the politicians’ right-leaning agendas becomes.

On Election Day, when I vote for Howie Hawkins, I’ll really be voting against Andrew Cuomo, and the cynical strategy of triangulation that he represents.

8 thoughts on “Why I Will Vote For Howie Hawkins For Governor Of New York Tomorrow”

  1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

    Have you even met any of the other candidates?

    WF is Working Families Party and WEP is Women’s Equality Party
    Andrew Cuomo (D/IP/WF/WEP)* – Incumbent
    & Kathy Hochul (D/IP/WF/WEP) – Ex-Congresswoman, Ex-Erie County Clerk & Ex-Hamburg Councilwoman

    C is Conservative Party and SCC is Stop Common Core Party
    Rob Astorino (R/C/SCC) – Westchester County Executive & Ex-Mt Pleasant School Board Member
    & Chris Moss (R/C/SCC) – Chemung County Sheriff

    G is Green Party
    Howie Hawkins (G) – Green Party US Co-Founder, UPS Worker, USMC Veteran & Frequent Candidate
    & Brian Jones (G) – Teacher & Progressive Activist

    Lgbt is Libertarian Party
    Michael McDermott (Libt) – Ex-Hauppauge School Board President & Real Estate Broker
    & Chris Edes (Libt) – Ex-State Party Chair & IT Consultant

    Steve Cohn (Sapient) – Attorney, Tea Party Activist & ’10 Candidate
    & Bobby Kalotee (Sapient) – Businessman & State Party Chair

    SWP is Socialist Workers Party
    John Studer (SWP/Write-In) – Trotskyist Political Organizer & ’13 NYC Comptroller Candidate
    & No Runningmate Designated

    There are also other statewide race as well.

    In addition to the previous notes
    IP is Independence Party
    LAJ is Life and Justice Party
    RDH is Rent is Too Damn High Party

    Tom DiNapoli (D/IP/WF/WEP)* – Incumbent
    Bob Antonacci (R/C/LAJ/SCC) – Onondaga County Comptroller, Attorney & Accountant
    Theresa Portelli (G) – Ex-Albany School Board Member, Retired Civil Servant & ’13 Albany Mayor Candidate
    John Clifton (Libt) – Ex-State Party Chair, Social Worker, Navy Veteran & Frequent Candidate
    Greg Fischer (RDH) – Business Consultant & Frequent Candidate

    Eric Schneiderman (D/IP/WF/WEP)* – Incumbent
    John Cahill (R/C/LAJ/SCC) – Ex-Gubernatorial Chief of Staff, Ex-State Environmental Commissioner & Attorney
    Ramon Jimenez (G) – Attorney
    Neil Grimaldi (Libt) – Attorney, Ex-Teacher, Ex-State Legislative Aide & ’13 NYC Mayor Candidate
    Carl Person (Libt) – Attorney & Frequent Candidate

    1. J Clifford says:

      The other candidates are far too conservative to merit consideration for a liberal like myself… except for the Socialist Workers Party candidate, who is so much of a niche candidate that he hasn’t even bothered constructing a campaign web page. Trotskyist? Anachronist, more like. He might as well call himself a Whig. I wrote this article for reasonable progressive voters, not for Republicans, Libertarians, homeschooling peppers or revolutionaries.

      1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

        J, haven’t you forgotten that another way to say Libertarian is Classical Liberal or Free Market Liberal?

        Michael McDermott (Libt) – Ex-Hauppauge School Board President & Real Estate Broker
        & Chris Edes (Libt) – Ex-State Party Chair & IT Consultant

  2. J Clifford says:

    Sure, same as how I’ve forgotten how carob tastes just like chocolate, and how unisex clothing looks good on men.

    Really, Stephen. “Free Market Liberal”?!? Nobody says that but Libertarians. I remember from the Occupy Protests, how easy it was to pick out the Ron Paul supporters in the crowd, and how very Not Liberal they were, trying to get everyone around them to change over to a no-regulation approach. No, liberals and Libertarians are miles apart.

    1. Stephen Kent Gray says:

      A political spectrum shows others wise.

      From Right to Left (European example)

      Far Right: A quite recent arrival in many countries. Far Right parties are a mixed bag, ranging from outright neo-Nazis who Put On The Reich to much more moderate groups. They are fond of simple, radical positions and strong language. They intensely dislike immigration, Islam, The European Union and the ‘left-wing elite’. They are usually in favour of a tough approach to crime, and use nationalist and populist rhetoric. Interestingly, their economic programme is usually more left-wing than right-wing. Far Right parties attract many voters who are in some way dissatisfied with the more moderate, established political parties.

      Right-wing Populists: Kind of a modern offshoot of the traditional Far Right. Right-wing populist parties usually hate on the same things the Far Right parties do but try to look presentable and spend a lot of their time distancing themselves from the Far Right parties or Neo-Nazis. Most either come straight from the Far Right tradition (which makes their efforts to distance themselves seem very implausible) or descend from splinter groups of Classical Liberal parties.

      Conservatives: The catch-all right-wing party. Best described as a fusion of the Christian Democrats (see below) and the Classical Liberals; they tend to have the economic agenda of the latter and the social agenda of the former. It is very important to note that a Conservative party will usually not thrive alongside any of these parties; in fact, a Conservative party can only flourish where Classical Liberal and Christian Democratic parties do not exist or are very small, and vice versa. Thus a European country will either have a Christian Democratic party and a Classical Liberal one (Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden) or a Conservative party (Britain, France, Spain). Switzerland does have a Conservative party alongside Christian Democrats and Classical Liberals, but it’s quite small.

      Classical Liberals: The primary defenders of capitalism and the free market. Usually popular among businesspeople and the upper class for this reason. This right-wing economic agenda is often coupled with a progressive stance on social issues like abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia, although in recent years, many Classical Liberal parties have moved to a more conservative position, especially when it comes to law and order. Americans should think of the Libertarians, but slightly more OK with social programs and much less OK with gun rights (this is Europe, remember?).

      Progressive Liberals: Somewhat rarer (and usually smaller) than any other type of (non-fringe) party on this list, but they still show up often enough to be worth mentioning here. They have a very progressive stance on social issues and often a slightly-right-of-centre economic programme. They are also known for their fondness for electoral reform; many Progressive Liberal parties have ‘Democratic’ in their name for this reason, and indeed they are, in many ways, comparable to the Democratic Party in the US. They are often seen as sophisticated, nuanced and pragmatic; this image mostly attracts votes from the intellectual elite. A Progressive Liberal party will often work together with more or less anyone except the Far Right and the Far Left, but they’re often especially cosy with the Greens, with whom they share their progressive social agenda.

      Social Democrats: Almost always the principal left-wing party, and the direct opponents of the Classical Liberals. They will often have “Labour” or “Workers'” in their name, indicating their roots in the old struggle for high wages, decent working conditions and generous social security. (In former Soviet Bloc countries, instead, they often are direct descendants of the Party.) They are clearly on the left, but not radically so, on both economic and social issues. Many of them made a move to the economic right in The Nineties (the “Third Way”), but most of them have returned to their left-wing roots since.

      FAR LEFT
      Far Left: A radically left-wing party which will defend the welfare state at all costs and doesn’t trust businesspeople. They have more in common with the Far Right than either likes to admit; both “Far” factions share a fondness for populism and simplicity, and a distrust of The European Union. Both parties channel working-class discontent and rage, but whereas the Far Right directs this rage towards immigrants and left-wing intellectuals, the Far Left tends to direct it towards bankers, businesspeople and “managers”. And yes, in a number of countries this includes Communists.

      Greens: As the name implies, a party that cares a great deal about sustainability and the environment. They support clean energies and oppose nuclear power and GM Os. This is usually coupled with a firmly left-wing (though not in a traditional way) economic agenda and a very progressive stance on social issues. Natural allies of the Social Democrats and the Progressive Liberals.
      Green parties also sometimes have a strong business-friendly/classical liberal wing or similar internal factions. Most common lines of divide are the aforementioned classical liberal against social democratic, social democratic against far left or “Fundi” (“fundamentalist”, opposition strategy) against “Realo” (“Realpolitik”, strategy of working towards a coalition)
      In some other Green parties, left-wing economic ideology is so ingrained that business-friendly Greens formed small splinter groups with limited chances of success. In some countries, there are also niche environmentalist groups that blend traditional “green” concerns with Christian Democratic positions on some issues.
      Pirates: This is a special type of political platform. They usually advertise themselves as an alternative to the other political parties. No clear definition if they are left or right [though many analysts view them as leftist] and the pirate parties claim themselves to be above all political spectrum. They demand liberalising or abolishing copyright, greater transparency in government, direct democracy, and removing what they see as excessive government controls. They are also suspicious of companies, partly motivated by the pirates’ advocacy for copyright and intellectual property reform. They are usually [sometimes mistakenly and not always so] lumped together with Anonymous, and their voter base is typically very young and extremely tech-savvy/nerdy.
      Regionalists: This is Europe, after all. Regionalist parties exist in various forms and range from advocating secession to demanding autonomy. Vary wildly on their other political platforms, ranging from left-wing (e.g. the Republican Left of Catalonia) to center-left/social-democratic (e.g. the Scottish National Party) to center-right (e.g. the New Flemish Alliance) to right-populist (e.g. the Italian Lega Nord) to far-right (e.g. the Vlaams Belang or “Flemish Interest”).
      Christian Democrats: A party guided by Christian principles. They are often very close to the centre, although slightly to the right of it. They tend to have a moderately conservative position on social issues, but not a very clear economic agenda note . Natural allies of the Classical Liberals, but they will also often work together with the Social Democrats (see below) in a “Grand Coalition”. They’re somewhat more uncomfortable when they have to work together with the Far Right, as has happened in the Netherlands.

      The term “market liberalism” is used in two distinct ways.

      Especially in the United States, the term is often used as a synonym to classical liberalism. In this sense, market liberalism depicts a political ideology, combining free market economy with personal liberty and human rights, in contrast to social liberalism, which combines personal liberty and human rights along with a mixed economy and welfare state. The former kind, is also known in the US popularly as “libertarianism”.

      In Europe and elsewhere, the term market liberalism is often used as a synonym to economic liberalism, depicting a policy supporting the economic aspects of liberalism, without necessarily including the political aspects of liberalism.

      Economic liberalism is the ideological belief in organizing the economy on individualist lines, meaning that the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by individuals and not by collective institutions or organizations. It includes a spectrum of different economic policies, but it is always based on strong support for a market economy and private property in the means of production. Although economic liberalism can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, it tends to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition. However, economic liberalism may accept government intervention in order to remove private monopoly, as this is considered to limit the decision power of some individuals. While economic liberalism favors markets unfettered by the government, it maintains that the state has a legitimate role in providing public goods.

      Economic liberalism is often associated with support for free markets and private ownership of capital goods, and is usually contrasted with similar ideologies such as social liberalism and social democracy, which generally favor alternative forms of capitalism such as welfare capitalism, state capitalism or mixed economies. Economic liberalism also contrasts with protectionism because of its support for free trade and open markets. Historically, economic liberalism arose in response to mercantilism and feudalism. Today, economic liberalism is also generally considered to be opposed to non-capitalist economic orders, such as socialism, market socialism and planned economies.

      Also, who crowned you arbiters of who and what is liberal and what is and isn’t liberal?

      Libertarianism (Latin: liber, “free”) is a political philosophy that upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgment.

      Libertarians generally share a skepticism of authority; however, they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling to restrict or even to wholly dissolve pervasive social institutions. Rather than embodying a singular, rigid systematic theory or ideology, libertarianism has been applied as an umbrella term to a wide range of sometimes discordant political ideas through modern history.

      1. J Clifford says:

        Stephen, I don’t hear anyone but policy wonks talk about “market liberalism” or “classical liberalism”. These are labels for political philosophies, and they don’t match the way that Americans actually use the word “liberal”.

        No one crowned me arbiter of what is and isn’t liberal, Stephen. I am simply observing that, in commonly spoken American English, the only people who would use the word “liberal” to describe Libertarians are Libertarians. When an American talks about an “economic liberal”, it is understood by other Americans that what is being referred to is a person who favors income equality and government regulation of political contributions and business activity.

        Though Libertarians may have some socially liberal ideas (though a conspicuous number have intensely right wing social ideas – witness the NeoNazi enthusiasm for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign), this does not make them liberals, any more than my big ears make me an elephant. In America, go out on a street corner and ask 100 people what economic policies liberals favor, and you’ll be told that they want higher taxes, more regulation of businesses, higher wages, and stronger labor unions. You won’t be told that liberals want lower taxes and free markets. Will anyone talk about “classical liberalism” or “market liberalism”? I doubt it.

        This is the gap that causes Libertarians to be continually rebuffed when they try to siphon off liberal voters saying, “We really agree about most things!” No, American liberals disagree with Libertarians about a great many things.

        May I note that you yourself, in your Twitter profile, state that “Right Wing Populism” is among your “heroes”? That’s what I’m talking about when I place, as most Americans do, Libertarians on the Right.

    2. Stephen Kent Gray says:

      To clarify the meaning of terms:

      The term “progressive” is today often used in place of “liberal”. Although the two are related in some ways, they are separate and distinct political ideologies. In the U.S. in particular, the term “progressive” tends to have the same value as the European term social democrat, which is scarcely used in American political language.

      The reason for this confusion in the U.S. might partly be rooted in the political spectrum being two-dimensional; social liberalism is a tenet of modern progressivism, whereas economic liberalism (and its associated deregulation) is not. According to John Halpin, senior advisor on the staff of the center-left Center for American Progress, “Progressivism is an orientation towards politics. It’s not a long-standing ideology like liberalism, but an historically-grounded concept … that accepts the world as dynamic.”

      Cultural liberalism is ultimately founded on the belief that the major purpose of the government is to protect rights. Liberals are often called “left-wing”, in contrast to “right-wing” conservatives. The progressive school, as a unique branch of contemporary political thought, tends to advocate certain center-left or left-wing views that may conflict with mainstream liberal views, despite the fact that modern liberalism and progressivism may still both support many of the same policies (such as the concept of war as a general last resort).

      American progressives tend to advocate progressive taxation and oppose what they describe as the growing and negative influence of large corporations. Progressives are typically in agreement on an international scale with left-liberalism in that they support organized labor and trade unions, they usually wish to introduce a living wage, and they often support the creation of a universal health care system. In the United States, liberals and progressives are often conflated, and in general are the primary voters of the Democratic Party which has a “large tent” policy, combining similar if not congruent ideologies into large voting blocs. Many progressives also support the Green Party or local parties such as the Vermont Progressive Party. In Canada, liberals usually support the national Liberal Party while progressives usually support the New Democratic Party, which traditionally has had provincial electoral success in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and, since the recent federal election, in Quebec.

      The Progressive Movement, historically associated with left-wing politics, began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating tenement housing and child labor. They also called for better working conditions for women. It also contributed to the development of progressive education.

      Political parties such as the Progressive Party were organized at the start of the 20th century, and progressivism was embraced in the administrations of American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Moreover, in Europe and Canada, the term “progressive” has occasionally been used by groups not particularly left-wing. The Progressive Democrats in the Republic of Ireland took the name “progressivism” despite being considered centre-right or classical liberal. The European Progressive Democrats was a mainly heterogeneous political group in the European Union.

      Social liberalism is a political ideology with the belief that the right to freedom from coercion should include a societal foundation. Social liberalism seeks to balance individual liberty and social justice. Like classical liberalism, it endorses a market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights and liberties, but differs in that it believes the legitimate role of the government includes addressing economic and social issues such as poverty, health care and education. Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual. Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world, particularly following World War II. Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or centre-left. The term social liberalism is used to differentiate it from classical liberalism, which dominated political and economic thought for several centuries until social liberalism branched off from it around the Great Depression.

      A reaction against social liberalism in the late twentieth century, often called neoliberalism, led to monetarist economic policies and a reduction in government provision of services. However, this reaction did not result in a return to classical liberalism, as governments continued to provide social services and retained control over economic policy.

      1. J Clifford says:

        Stephen, your use of the term “economic liberalism” as equated with deregulation is simply not in accord with the way that most Americans would understand the term. For most Americans, economic liberalism refers to a political ideology that is based upon the belief in the power of democratic government, through fair regulation, to bring about a just society in economic terms.

        Here’s the heart of our disagreement, as I see it: Your writing suggests that Americans simply don’t use the word “liberal” correctly. So, you write that “The term “progressive” is today often used in place of “liberal”. Although the two are related in some ways, they are separate and distinct political ideologies.” As I see it, the first sentence in this selection proves the second sentence to be culturally inaccurate. If “progressive” is often used as a synonym for “liberal”, or “conflated”, then it IS a synonym for “liberal”.

        If you want to say that Libertarians are liberals because they might be referred to as such in Europe or Canada, then I propose that you consider what would happen if Libertarian candidates started referring to Ottawa as “the capital”, talked about wanting to get elected to “Parliament”, and began to substitute British words like “queue” in place of American equivalents. They’d be looked at as even more odd than they already are.

        We live in the United States of America, and speak American English. We don’t speak English wrong. We speak our own version of it. In American English, Libertarians are not liberals.

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