Oct 07, 2011 Ken Jackson Uncategorized
It was a hot summer day, a day when most people are trying to get in from the 90 degree-plus temperatures. Howie Hawkins was speaking with people in front of the now shuttered Valley Plaza P&C grocery store about something called the Green Party. This was the beginning of the process of obtaining a line on the ballot for The Green Party, which means the Greens would have the same status as the established political parties, (Democrat, Republicans, Independence parties, etc.) to place their own candidates on a ballot without the uphill battle of gaining the approval of a “major” political party.
These activities occurred over a decade ago as Howie Hawkins was working to convince people at the grassroots level to sign his petition to gain a line on the ballot. He started working in grassroots politics, and over the years he’s never stopped or waivered.
Howie doesn’t just run for office like an autumn pumpkin appearing on cue in season. And, depending on how he defines himself, perhaps it’s better to select a political perennial over not knowing what will germinate out of the political ground.
Hawkins’ activism knows no season; don’t look at him as perennial foliage but as a Green-infused politician empowered with a boundless bouquet of ideas that continuously bloom regardless of season.
He’s a long-time advocate of public power where benefits aren’t just extended to businesses but real public ownership, control and power to the people. He’s worked with senior citizens as they organized and learned how to address their concerns to the mayor.
With Howie, don’t expect a snazzy suit with matching tie, appointments by the elected powers-that-be to select commissions, authorities or committees.
What you get with Howie is someone you know is committed to the people of this city and will be just as committed to the needs of the 4th Common Council district. Unlike our usual candidates, Hawkins is not the selection nor byproduct of the two-party system that forces you to select between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber. He channels the spirit of Shirley Chisholm, the late congresswoman and first black woman elected to congress in 1968; captured in 1972’s documentary film, “Unbought and Unbossed.”
The election of Howie Hawkins would send a message to both parties that the people ultimately have the power. Power is then transferred from the ballot box to our city’s elected officials and on to influencing legislation and the enforcement and/or removal of policies and procedures.
If Howie Hawkins loses the election you’ll see him the next day at the Green Party office on South Salina Street in the heart of the black community, pushing forward the interests of the people. If he were a true political perennial he’d wait, like everybody else, for the next election growing season.
Ken Jackson is the editor of Urban CNY and a weekly columnist for The Eagle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.