By Michael O'Neil
This year I had the honor of managing Howie Hawkin's campaign for Governor of NY. I've worked on Howie's past campaigns, but this was my first opportunity to collaborate with him on a daily basis. I learned so much from Howie, and over the campaign my admiration for his dedication and courage only grew.
Today is Howie's birthday, and I hope you'll help me honor Howie by supporting something he cares very deeply about.
Howie Hawkins, perhaps more than any other Green in the history of our party, has been a staunch advocate for funding the campaigns and organizing we all care about so much through grassroots methods such as our Supporting Member Dues Program for registered GPNY voters, and sustaining donations from grassroots allies. I hope you will commit to giving through one of those methods today.
How much would that matter to Howie? Let me tell you a quick story.
In 2010, after Howie's first bid for governor (winning back ballot status for GPNY following an eight year drought), Howie drafted the Supporting Member Dues Program we have in place today. I was at the meetings where Howie made the case for why sustained member dues were essential to the future of this party. I was there to vote on the resolutions he drafted to create the dues program. I worked on the implementation of our dues collection system.
At every step of the way, Howie was there to motivate us in this direction because he knew what generations of socialists, radical trade unionists and other movements for justice already knew: no one will fund a grassroots people's movement except the people.
Up to that point, the Green Party had long refused contributions from corporations and their lobbyists. That was basic – it was the reason many of us joined the Greens in the first place! But Howie took that founding belief and moved us into the next stage of our evolution: to positively commit to raising serious resources from our members. Because to be a people-owned party, we must be a people-funded party.
Now you may not believe this but, literally, as I'm writing this right now, it's occurring to me that today is not just Howie's birthday. It was on a gray December day much like this one following that 2010 election that Howie began to put his vision for a dues-funded party into action.
Eight years later, other state Green Party parties have followed our lead, and our national party is also considering passing membership dues as well. So not only has this program strengthened GPNY and allowed us to defend our ballot line through 2022 (and beyond!) but this idea is transforming how Greens organize across the country.
That's worth celebrating! So please, join me in celebrating Howie's birthday and the anniversary of a transformative idea by committing to monthly or annual contributions today.
If you're not registered to vote in the Green Party, we are very grateful for your support as an ally. You can click here to sign up for a monthly donation.
(This is also the perfect time to renew your dues or monthly donation if your previous credit card expired, or raise your giving level if you're able.)
And if you're already contributing monthly, one-time contributions are always helpful.
Thank you so much for your commitment and generosity. Let's keep growing stronger so we can fight harder!