This Monday, March 20, the Baltimore CIty Council votes on whether to adopt a $15 minimum wage in Baltimore. The Baltimore City Green Party officially endorses this action. Our support for this measure arises from the simple principle that the people of Baltimore deserve to live in dignity. Anyone who does an honest day’s work should be able to come home at the end of the day with their needs sustained, their children provided for, and enjoy a reasonable quality of life.
The sad truth is that even $15 an hour, which would be about $30,000 a year for full-time work, is inadequate. For those who can only work part-time due to reasons such as child-raising, pursuing an education, disability, or simply being unable to find a full-time job, the situation is even more dire. To maintain an even lower minimum wage as we have today would be not only inadequate but unjust and immoral. Baltimore cannot afford to wait for the state of Maryland or the nation as a whole to pass an increased minimum wage. Indeed, if we can be a leading city in this movement, all the better.
An increased minimum wage would not only benefit the tens of thousands of Baltimore workers whose income would directly be affected. Hundreds of thousands of children and other dependents who make up almost half the city’s population rely partially or in whole upon the income of low-wage workers. Local businesses, especially those serving low-income areas, would benefit from workers’ increased spending power. To continue to permit low wages for those businesses who don’t see fit to provide their employees with a living does a disservice to all the other businesses who stand to gain from having those employees as their customers. When people have money in their pockets, they use it and the economy as a whole prospers.
The current low wages shift the burden of providing for workers’ sustenance from employers to the taxpayers. By reducing the scourge of poverty in our communities we can move citizens off the rolls of public assistance programs and use those tax dollars on other programs to improve the city and its services. By lifting our neighbors out of poverty we also disassemble the perverse structures that force people to turn to crime to earn an income. The violence and unease that crime creates across our city is measured not only in human suffering, but also as an impediment to further economic growth and prosperity.
While the Green Party certainly supports the increased wage, we also have reservations about the compromises that were required to get this bill to move forward. The phase in period extends over the better part of a decade and by the time the wage is actually $15/hr we fear that it will be even less buying power for working people and their families. Furthermore exempting younger workers from the wage increase fails to recognize the simple reality of our city, younger workers need higher wages too. In many cases younger workers are a primary income in their household, and for others the wage they earn is essential to paying for education and training needed to move to higher wage brackets. These compromised aspects of this bill while necessary for passage in the current climate illustrate yet again why we need bold and uncompromising leadership in the highest positions at City Hall.
The Baltimore City Council And Mayor are entrusted with the care and protection of the city’s residents. There is nothing more fundamental they can do for their citizens than to ensure that their hard work is rewarded with enough money to live on.
The Baltimore City Green Party (BGP) opposes SB739/HB949, which would stifle free speech by penalizing companies, organizations, and people who boycott Israel in support of Palestinian human rights. The proposed legislation would violate the First Amendment, which includes boycott as a form of protected speech (NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co.). We specifically condemn participation of members of the Baltimore delegation, Sen. Carter-Conway and Del. Haynes, in this attempt to squelch dissent and uphold Israel’s apartheid policies.
The call of Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) was first issued in 2005. Its stated purpose is:
“1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
BDS was affirmed by national Green Party U.S. the same year it was issued. As a local chapter of the Green Party, the BGP stands in solidarity with Palestinians and Marylanders engaging in BDS tactics. BGP calls on its 1,200 members and more than 10,000 2016 voters to oppose SB739/HB949.
For More Information
First Amendment Letter http://bordc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/BORDC-MCCRC-First-Amendment-Letter-1.pdf
Contact Your State Legislator-http://www.freedom2boycottmd.com/legislators_oppose
Baltimore City Schools face a catastrophic $130 million budget shortfall.If City Schools have to absorb this shortfall it will radically change education in our city. If nothing is done about this we will see hundreds of teachers and other school based staff lose their jobs, larger class sizes, more unscheduled school closings, and drastic cuts to the extracurricular and enrichment services that make students come to school.
This problem is quickly developing and will need a lot of attention between now and this spring when the final FY2018 Budget will be approved.
To avoid this pending catastrophe, we must be informed and involved.
There is a School Board meeting Tuesday February 14th, at 6:00 PM. It will occur in the 1st Floor Boardroom of the Baltimore City School Headquarters: 200 E. North Ave.
The agenda includes information about the FY 2018 Budget, which will likely include discussion of the cuts that are proposed and the strategy the school system proposes for avoiding them.
Before the public School Board meeting there will be a rally led by the Baltimore Teachers Union, show up at 5:00 and stand in solidarity!
Take the fight to Annapolis on February 23rd, when the Baltimore Education Coalition hosts a rally
The Baltimore Green Party will be following this issue and will continue to provide updates.
Vincent S. Tola, Treasurer, Baltimore Green Party
Several weeks into the Trump presidency, a majority of Americans are reeling from the shock of the new administration and the initial stages of its regressive agenda that will bring harm to many.
We have seen:
Cabinet nominees that will undermine and roll back the clock on civil rights, voting rights, environmental protection, women's health and public education.
The restart of the racist, imperialistic DAPL pipeline.
A silencing of scientific voices within the government.
A Supreme Court nominee that will seek to take away a woman's right to make decisions about her own body.
The elevation of white nationalism within the top tiers of the federal government.
The threat of millions of people losing health insurance, with no alternate plan in place.
The stated intention to dismantle regulations of Wall Street, based on the complaints of a few of Trump's “friends.”
Open hostility toward an independent press and an independent judiciary.
A wreckless attempt to ban immigration from a set of majority-Muslim nations. The continued demonization of immigrants, refugees and Islam.
Continued claims on “building a wall” with Mexico.
Relations with allies thrown into turmoil.
An escalation of hostility toward Iran.
A raid resulting in the death of Yemeni civilians (children and women), and an American soldier, labeled as “a success.”
… And let's not forget that the nuclear codes are now being held by an individual with the temperament of a middle school bully.
These are scary and difficult times.
I would claim complete opposition to the Trump administration, but there has been one significant victory for working people. That is, the death of the T.P.P. This trade deal would have dealt yet another blow to U.S. service and manufacturing industries by exporting and outsourcing more jobs overseas, while degrading the environment and protections for consumers and workers. It is a crucial victory that must not be understated. Score exactly ONE point for Trump (and minus NINETY-NINE).
It is also significant that the Trump administration seeks to open up a renegotiation of the NAFTA agreement. This is has potential benefits, but forgive me if I don't hold much hope that this regressive, racist administration will bring about positive results.
Therefore, in these times, resistance is paramount.
We, in the Green Party, have stood and will continue to stand with those resisting Trump and his dangerous agenda. In these times, we need to speak loudly and forcefully against Trump's immigration ban, his demonization of refugees and of Islam, his desecration of native lands, his denial of climate science, his collusion with Wall Street, his attacks on women and reproductive health, his anti-immigrant agenda, and his likely assaults on the poor and communities of color. We must become more organized in our resistance and louder in our speech. We will work with and stand in solidarity with those who are opposing this horrendous agenda.
And as we do this, we in the Green Party need to articulate a positive agenda. It's not enough to resist Trump, and get back to the Obama days of massive deportations. Obama deported the undocumented at a higher rate than George W. Bush. We need to demilitarize our borders and respect human rights. The Green Party would give legal status to undocumented high school graduates and allow them to attend colleges an universities on an equal basis. We seek permanent border passes between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. This would reduce exploitation by coyotes and increase the tax base of all three nations. We would seek to renegotiation trade deals in ways that benefit workers, farmers and peasants, reducing the economic push factor of immigration. Regional cooperation is the solution to immigration.
On all the fronts that we oppose Trump, we have better solutions than the Democratic Party's status quo. We have a better vision. We need to articulate it well. Furthermore, we need to continue to build on the local level, and get involved in municipal and state-level policy. There we can have the greatest impact.
So, Green Party, be UNRELENTING in your resistance to the Trump agenda. Join with others who are in this fight. But don't stop there. Articulate the Green Party's vision. Work to implement it locally, but maintain a global perspective. Champion the Green Party's values and solutions. They are the right path for communities throughout the Americas and for the world.
The Baltimore Green Party believes every vote should be counted. Accuracy of the final tally, however, is only one of many deficiencies in US elections.
- The Green Party is required to gather tens of thousands of signatures every four years in order to stay on the ballot, while the two corporate-funded parties automatically qualify.
- Greens are not allowed to vote in non-partisan judicial primaries in Maryland, which are restricted to registered Democrats and Republicans.
- Greens have to pay for their own primary, unlike the two corporate-funded parties whose primaries are paid for by taxpayers.
- Green Party candidates are often excluded from forums and debates and the media gives disproportionate free coverage to the two corporate-funded parties.
Voters do not get to hear Green Party views because of these obstacles and often do not know alternatives exist and have candidates on the ballot. We are also mindful that under Governor Martin O’Malley in Maryland, both Democrats and Republicans disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of our neighbors through zero tolerance policing, the failed war on drugs, and mass incarceration.
The Baltimore Green Party is energized by the inspiring activism that lead to their re-enfranchisement this year. And the BGP is honored to have won the votes of returning citizens, immigrants, union members, public housing residents, elders, young people, and many more who have been taken for granted by the Democratic machine in Baltimore.
Regardless of what happens with the recounts in Pennsylvania and the Midwest, we will continue building in all Baltimore neighborhoods and communities resisting the oppressive policies favored by both Clinton and Trump. We stand united with the Baltimore organizations and organizers who are redoubling their commitments to social justice regardless of which of the corporate-funded candidates becomes president. If you are doing the work, know that you have an ally in the Baltimore Green Party.
The Maryland Green Party (MGP) and Baltimore Green Party (BGP) are proud to announce CASA in Action’s endorsement of Ian Schlakman for Baltimore City Council District 12. CASA in Action is a 501(c)4 organization that engages in educational, legislative, and political activities in support of immigrants. This endorsement demonstrates the viability not only of the Schlakman campaign, but the growing viability of the Green Party as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican policies of mass deportation, mass incarceration, border walls, and destabilization of Latin American countries. It is the first time CASA in Action has endorsed a Green Party Candidate.
According to CASA in Action leadership, Schlakman earned this endorsement “in the trenches of the Fight for 15 movement” and because of the role of immigrants and advocates in writing his progressive platform. Nationally, the Green Party calls for an end to the border militarization initiated by President Bill Clinton, continued by Pres. George W. Bush, and accelerated by Pres. Barack Obama, who has deported over 200,000 immigrants, more than any other president in United States history. The Maryland Green Party is in the vanguard of the call for a new way forward, as presented in a White Paper on Latin American Foreign Policy recently published by the Council on Hemispheric Relations. (The Slate includes Dr. Margaret Flowers for Senate, and Nnabu Eze (MD-3), Kamesha Clark (MD-4), Nancy Wallace (MD-5), George Gluck (MD-6), and Myles Hoenig (MD-7) for House of Representatives.) The White Paper identifies U.S. militarism and intervention as root causes of forced migration. The MGP is pushing for an end to the U.S. foreign and trade policies that force people from their homes and the immigration and policing policies that criminalize them when they arrive. Immigrants are welcome here!
The past two weeks have exposed a lot of things for this country. The Republican Party has espoused its hateful rhetoric to cheers. The Republican Party has used fearmongering and hateful rhetoric - nothing new - to once again prop up candidacies that threaten democracy and freedom. However, the Democratic Party, as a party of short-term memory and half-truths, can’t meet the needs of the people, nor defend them. In this message, I want to help define what’s real and what’s true; a piece of the conversation that Baltimore, if not most of us, have been missing for a long time.
In a place of lies, we must be the truthful. The Democratic Party is not a party for the working class or the marginalized. The Democratic Party is not a party of nonviolence. When Bill Clinton cut welfare programs via the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, many Americans suffered, while another class of Americans were elevated. When former Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor Martin O’Malley incarcerated a large population of Baltimoreans, he destroyed communities of people who really just want to live and exist like the rest of us. While Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake gavels in the DNC she is fast tracking a 535 million dollar TIF that will exacerbate the inequity that is destroying our city, again elevating one class of citizens over another.
These leaders are not Republicans; however, the same state-administered injustices foster under them. This is their standard. Injustice is bipartisan.
The Democratic Party is not a party of social justice. Protest is admonished and civil disobedience is met with a Democrat-led militarized police system. You do have a few outliers - a few of them personal inspirations to me, like Nina Turner and Mary L Washington, the latter a state delegate in Maryland. But these leaders stand on the fringe making the best of they can in a counter-progressive party. Their ideas and vision may better fit the Green Party.
It is clear now that we need a more radical worldview; we need a broader, greater political imagination. We need to remember what it means to love progress, to the love planet, and to love people. When Maryland Green Party Senatorial Candidate Margaret Flowers protests alongside my friends in solidarity for #AFROMATION, it shows that we are not alone. When our mayoral candidate speaks power to justice, truth, and green jobs, he’s saying that our communities have value beyond a market or revenue stream. This is what real hope looks like - solidarity. This is what real change looks like.
So, what does that mean for us? When the Green Party hosts its convention next week, it will be humble. It will be small. We admit this. We have internal work to do. We have well-deserved criticisms. The left does have to do better with the race conversation. The left does have to learn how to engage. We know this.
Here in Baltimore, we have a budding movement where the people are sick of the status quo. We have a full slate of candidates, from Senate, to Mayor, to City Council. We are building this movement with everyday people like you. Greens are standing up for justice and are standing up for the people - at all intersections! Where some people have dropped the ball, it's important we carry the movement forward - with our voices, with our hands, with our dollars - wherever and however we can.
I, a 21 year old Black boy from South Carolina, am so inspired by the people I’ve been able to interact with. I am inspired by the actions. I am inspired by the possibility of what could be.
If you’re new here, welcome. If you’ve been with us, thank you. I’m excited for what we build. I’m excited for this opportunity to grow with you.
With radiant love,
Co-Chair of the Baltimore Green Party