Last Monday, the North Carolina Green Party released a November 2020 press release containing several important updates: “an Election Day roundup, what’s next for Green Party ballot access, how to build the party we need for the future, and a call to resist the new expansion of Raytheon into Buncombe County.”
First, the NCGP emphasizes that 2020 was a particularly difficult year for campaigning, due to Covid-19, the “anybody-but-Trump” mentality, and other setbacks. Nevertheless, the NCGP managed to earn slightly more votes for Hawkins/Walker this year than four years ago for Stein/Baraka.
Ballot Access Update:
This year, the state legislature in New York passed an anti-democratic law that “more than doubled” the threshold required to maintain ballot access and “tripled” the petition signature requirements. As stated in the NCGP’s press release, this new law is a clear assault on the Greens and other independent parties, aimed specifically to “knock the Green Party off the ballot” in future elections.
According to the NCGP, this nationwide assault has, and will, materially impact the success of the NCGP in future local and federal elections.
In 2018, major steps were taken by the NCGP due to a law change that grants ballot access to a party that achieves ballot access for its presidential nominee on at least 35 state ballots. Due to this provision, the NCGP, for the first time, qualified as a recognized party. However, this year, as a result of “undemocratic attacks” by Democrats in several states, the Hawkins/Walker campaign fell short of that goal by five states. This means that the NCGP will likely need to petition for ballot access, a task that is also greatly complicated by Covid-19.
Third Party Now for 2024:
Matthew Hoh, member of the North Carolina Green Party, claims that regardless of Biden’s win, for hundreds of millions of Americans, “things won’t change.” This holds true for an exhaustive list of issues, including climate change, war, mass incarceration, inequality, immigration, healthcare, and so forth.
The same pressure, according to Hoh, must be called to action against the Biden administration as it has been against the Trump administration, through mass protests and direct action. If this direct action does not lead to a shift in Democratic Party values and actions, an opening will form on the left for a new party to emerge that represents “workers, the climate, and equitable society.”
According to Hoh, the Democrat Socialists of America (DSA) have worked toward a similar goal of applying internal pressure from the left inside the Democratic Party, until either the Democratic Party shifts its values or until a new party forms. This implies, as stated by Hoh, only continued hoping that the Democratic Party will “break from its moneyed interests,” which it never will.
Furthermore, Hoh claims that the Democrats in 2024 will acquire more Republican leaders, reshaping the Democratic Party into a party even more beholden to “corporations, Wall Street, established interests, and what the media calls ‘elites.'”
For that reason, Greens, socialists, DSA, and others need to organize together and create a third party for 2024, in order to finally represent the interests of the “people and planet.”
“So, Greens, socialists, DSA, et al. need to organize together in order to stand alone in 2024 to finally represent the values and interests of people and planet, as well as offer a viable alternative to the specious promises of the Democratic Party and to ensure the Republican Party devolves into a minority party.”
Even if this organization, according to Hoh, ultimately serves only to force the Democratic Party to shift its values and actions further left, and removes support from the Republican Party, it will nevertheless accomplish “more progressive change than the United States has seen in 80 years.”
Raytheon to Open Plant in Buncombe County:
Pratt and Whitney, a division of the major U.S. defense contractor and industrial corporation Raytheon, will locate an “800-job facility” in Buncombe County that creates parts for aircraft engines. Companies such as these, according to Hoh, are “flocking” to parts of the South where suppressed wages and low union density keep their operating costs low.
This project will use tax dollars to “provide for upper-middle-class jobs” in a region of North Carolina that has been devastated by job losses in the service sector. The state government, says Hoh, has “no plan to help the poorest residents of North Carolina.”
The North Carolina Green Party supports a turn away from the development of jobs in the weapons industry, and a turn towards the development of conditions that create sustainable worker cooperatives.
“We must stop celebrating jobs that destroy us, and begin creating jobs that sustain workers in North Carolina without exporting war and devastation abroad.”
The SCOTUS Hearing Sham and the Need for a Mass Party of the Left:
On September 26th, the Republican-led Senate judiciary committee voted in favour of Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to a lifetime U.S. Supreme Court post, filling the seat left vacant by the death of “progressive icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg” (Knott 2020).
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer claimed that the Senate Republican majority is “conducting the most rushed, most partisan and the least legitimate nomination to the Supreme Court in our nation’s history.”
No nominee to the Supreme Court has ever been confirmed by the Senate this close to a presidential election. Pushing ahead with Barrett’s nomination was especially problematic as, in 2016, Republicans refused to hold hearings for Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland on the grounds that it was an election year.
In response, Democrats opposed her confirmation, denouncing the process as a “hypocritical sham” (Knott 2020). On the other hand, Republicans argued that Barrett, previously a judge on the US Court of Appeals, was highly qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, adding there is “no constitutional barrier” to approving her nomination so close to an election.
Democrats narrowed in on the future of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that Barrett would likely vote to overturn the law when a case challenging its legality is presented before the court. Senator Klobuchar, as well as other Democrats, argued that Barrett’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act puts tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing their health insurance and other protections. Furthermore, Democrats have said that Barrett’s confirmation would imperil access to abortion and could lead to the nationwide right to same-sex marriage revoked.
Despite the Democrats’ resistance, Barrett received a speedy confirmation before election day, expanding the top U.S. judicial body’s conservative majority to 6-3.
According to Tony Ndege, the North Carolina Green Party Cochair, the sham of the Barrett confirmation and the complete capitulation of the Democrats underscores the urgency to “build a mass party independent of Wall Street power”. This party, of “labor and ecology,” would have called upon and organized workers and unions to strike, protest, and truly resist the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
Ndege asserts that the Democrats’ failure to offer any serious resistance to Barrett’s confirmation was easily and clearly forecasted. The popular resistance to this sham, says Ndege, was blunted by the Democrats’ typical “fake respectability politics” and calls for “civility”.
“The Democrats have proven time and time again that they will not protect us or even respect the majority will of its voters. Their purpose as a party ruled by the rich and their own interests is to protect the status quo of the wealthy elite above all else.”
In response to the complete capitulation of even the leftmost Democrats, Ndege highlights the need to build a new party that represents the interests of the people and planet, not the Wall Street elite who are the “proven enemies of labor, ecology, and peace.”
Such a party may take time to become well-established, but the hunger for such an organization is real. A recent poll of adult voters in the U.S. found that 60 percent believe that the nation needs a viable third political party in order to have an effective political system.
“The North Carolina Green Party calls upon the people of North Carolina to support us and join us in our goal of fighting for a new and better system. We cannot accomplish this by simply voting for the “lesser” evil and putting far less resources in building something new. Now is not the time of pragmatism and fear-based retreat—now is the time to stand up and fight for our collective survival.”
CBC/Radio Canada. (2020, October 22). Republicans approve Supreme Court nominee Barrett for Senate vote, Democrats boycott hearing | CBC News. CBCnews. https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/senate-committee-vote-barrett-1.5772266.
Doonan, D. (2020, November 30). Latest News from the North Carolina Green Party. www.gp.org/2020_11_news_from_ncgp.
Knott, M. (2020, October 12). ‘This is a sham’: Democrats, Republicans spar at Supreme Court hearing. The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/this-is-a-sham-democrats-republicans-spar-at-supreme-court-hearing-20201013-p564h1.html.
Ngangura, T. (2020, November 30). Amy Coney Barrett Is Already Tipping the Scales in Crucial SCOTUS Cases. Vanity Fair. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/11/amy-coney-barrett-is-already-tipping-the-scales-in-crucial-scotus-cases.
Relman, E. (2020, October 12). Amy Klobuchar rips hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as a ‘sham’ and urges Americans to call their senators. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/klobuchar-republicans-calls-supreme-court-hearings-amy-barrett-sham-2020-10.
Villarreal, D. (2020, September 19). Most Americans, regardless of political alignment, want a third party. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/most-americans-regardless-political-alignment-want-third-party-1533033.