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
For a recurring donation of $15 Per month to the Baltimore Green Party, you can sustain our best opportunity yet to convince Baltimore City to#VoteGreen in 2016.
The Baltimore Green Party is preparing for a “Green Summer.”We believe that if we tell Baltimore about the choice to #VoteGreen they will. We are organizing for festivals and farmer's markets, we are producing new literature and materials, and from our office we are hosting a broad coalition of community members and grassroots organizations to formulate a future looking solution based 21st century urban agenda
We don’t take corporate or PAC money like our Democrat and Republican opponents, but we do need money to compete with them. Your sustaining monthly donation of $15 today will help us in our goal to reach 100,000 voters this summer. Green values, Green solutions and Green candidates can transform this city.
We have a great opportunity, but we we can’t do it without you.
Baltimore Green Party
The Baltimore Green Party appreciates the State Board of Elections looking into the process by which the Democrats and the Republicans ran their primaries. We trust that a review of this process will make it more likely that Green Party candidates will be dealt with fairly when they appear on the general election ballot in November.
The votes of all the citizens of Baltimore, whether or not they choose to affiliate with a major party, should be counted when the outcome ultimately determines who will govern this City and not merely who has the right to represent the Republicans and the Democrats on the November ballot.
On that ballot Joshua Harris will be contesting the Mayor's race, Connor Meek will be contesting the race for President of City Council. Green Party candidates will also be on the ballot for City Council Districts 3,6, 9, 10 and 12.
The Baltimore Green Party choose its nominees for the November general election in a party run primary on May 1st and no controversy ensued.
No matter the outcome of the current electoral stalemate between State Senator Catherine Pugh and former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon, the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee will be the winner.
Maryland Election Law provides an explicit bias against parties other than Republican or Democrat. Maryland Election Law invests electoral power in a Board of Elections populated exclusively by two parties. According to Section 2-201, that law establishes a Baltimore City Board of Elections comprising “Three regular members shall be of the majority party, and two regular members shall be of the principal minority party.”
It further indicates that the Governor shall appoint members to the Baltimore City Board of Elections based on a list provided by each of the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee and Republican Central Committee. There is no provision allowing for voters identifying with minor parties or who chose to be unaffiliated.
Because of the registration dynamics currently existing in the City, this puts power in the hands of the Democratic Party establishment. Voters who are unaffiliated, or who chose to register with minor parties based on their conscience, are left to wonder who will represent their interests in November.
“This situation with the Democratic Primary doesn’t inspire confidence for how our candidates will be treated in November,” said Andy Ellis, Director of the Baltimore Green Party. “With all this power invested in a major party that can’t even manage the conduct of its own primary, what should we expect going forward?”
The Green Party of Baltimore conducted its primary election via mail-in ballot and with in-person balloting on May 1, 2016. In that canvass, Joshua Harris won the Green Party nomination for Baltimore City Mayor with 85% of the votes cast. No controversy ensued.
This year the Baltimore Green Party has a contested primary for Mayor. Three candidates- Joshua Harris, David Marriott, and Emanuel McCray- are competing for the nomination. As we approach our May 1st primary, all three candidates agreed to participate in a debate.
The debate was moderated by Roberto Alejandro, of OnBckgrnd.Com
If you are a registered Baltimore Green remember to vote by May 1st. If you have not already received a ballot you can request one by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baltimore Green Party will host a debate between the three candidates seeking the Green nomination for Mayor on Tuesday April 19th, at 7:00 PM. The debate will occur at James McHenry Recreation Center located at 911 Hollins St, Baltimore, MD 21223.
The event is open to the public but seating is limited and first priority goes to registered Green Party members. Please RSVP here
All three candidates(Joshua Harris, David Marriott, Emanuel McCray) have agreed to participate. The debate will be moderated by Roberto Alejandro. Roberto Alejandro is a former fast food worker, transit bus driver, assistant book preservationist, hospital interpreter, and handyman. He has also done some reporting in Baltimore City, and currently writes for Onbckgrnd.com.
Registered Green voters will have the chance to vote in the Maryland Green Party Primary, May 1st. Baltimore City residents can vote in person at the Baltimore Green Party headquarters at 100 E. 23rd St.
This contested Mayoral Primary race and this debate are a historic first for the Baltimore Green Party since their inception in 2000. In addition to Mayor, registered Green voters can vote for US Senate, US House, President of the City Council and five City Council candidates. Green Party presidential primary ballots will also be available May 1st.
Andy Ellis Co-Chair of the Baltimore Green Party said “ Green candidates up and down the ballot have received unprecedented attention this election season. This is a chance, before our primary, for our candidates to debate one another in front of an audience of Green voters.” Ellis continued “ This is a transformative election for Baltimore and we know the people of this city want good choices in the November general election. This debate is a key part of Green voters choosing a Mayoral candidate who can contest the General election for the first time in decades.”
The format for the debate will be:
1st question: Opening Statement
Moderator Questions: 90 seconds for questions posed to them directly, 45 seconds for follow up, 45 seconds if their name is used.
Some questions will be directed at all 3 candidates, some questions will be directed at 1 candidate
Audience Questions: Can be directed at one candidate or the whole panel.Same rules apply.
Closing Statement : 90 seconds
Baltimore Greens Endorse New Vision
On April 4th at the monthly meeting of The Baltimore Green Party, the active membership approved two proposals which advance a vision of a more just and sustainable Baltimore. The first, "The North Carolina Amendment" to the Green Party of the US platform, calls for an economy "based on large-scale public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy." The second proposal clarified the mission of the Baltimore Green Party in order to align the party to "economic, environmental and racial justice for Baltimore and beyond."
These two initiatives signal a commitment to offer voters a different choice than the one the Democrats of Baltimore's status quo have offered.
New Economy Amendment
The new economy amendment challenges the "labor exploitation, environmental exploitation, and racial, gender, and wealth inequality" of a neo-liberal, development focused urban strategy. In its place the amendment orients us toward "Worker-owned production, embedded in and accountable to our communities"
This amendment is supported by the Young Green Caucus of the Green Party of the United States. In Baltimore we are dedicated to involving young people in the process of democracy and we are proud to support the work of Young Greens around the country. As we move toward the General Election in November we will be building our own Young Greens Chapter.
US Senate Candidate Dr. Margaret Flowers said "The new economy envisioned by the Young Greens is starting to take root in Baltimore where the failed traditional economic model is evident. Wealth inequality is stark and disinvested neighborhoods have high rates of poverty and unemployment. Baltimore Green Party members have been working to bring democratized economic structures to Baltimore so that communities can build wealth and have greater control over and benefit from the local economy."
Baltimore Green Party Mission Statement
The membership of the Baltimore Green Party also approved a clarification of the mission statement. By consensus the party agreed to add the following language to describe the party:
The Baltimore Green Party is committed to economic, environmental and racial justice for Baltimore and beyond. Our goal is to challenge the one party rule in Baltimore city by giving voters a legitimate choice that represents the values and aspirations of the people and communities of the city.
We follow the 10 key values of the Green Party of the U.S. and use them to guide our work in Baltimore City. We are committed to Grassroots democracy as a goal and organizing principal, and believe that the power to change the city comes from the people.
Co-chair Jeremy Collins described the two proposals "Just last Monday the Baltimore Green Party passed the amendment proposed by the Young Greens Caucus, in favor of a new community based economy. The young people have an important voice and it's even more important that people recognize that power." Collins continued "People from my demographic are leading movements, protesting at their schools, and making progressive change in their communities. It all comes back to our new mission and mission statement of justice for and by the people."
When Margaret Flowers opened up her home for a Jill Stein event, I accepted the invitation excited to meet the Green Party Presidential Candidate face to face. Even though I was a few minutes late, I had a seat saved between Flowers and Stein as the discussion continued. I learned about their passion and their politics as constituents asked questions and important topics were discussed. Foreign policy, the environment, and economics is where I really found the difference, making me more comfortable with my switch.
My time with the Green Party, if characterized by one word, can be described as "learning". Listening to white people talk about issues like the environment, really opened up my eyes to some issues I never really considered.
Even as I think about the election today, if voting Jill Stein means I'm throwing away my vote, then my vote was trash to begin with. I would never consider voting for Hillary Clinton, but the response from Bernie Sanders voters have thus been disrespectful and condescending. "Oh, you're voting for her? But will she win?", once again reminding me that electoral politics is built on celebrity. But, I digress.
Sometimes I felt I was tokenizing myself in these majority white spaces. I often thought to myself, "What is my place, a 20 year old Black man, here around all these non-Black people discussing fracking and charter schools?" But then, I realized that in this space I can bring something back to my peers and, as Marc Lamont Hill said, "change the conversation". I can take what I learn back to my circles where we can have conversations on the privatization of education, the corporate media, and universal basic income. I can take these ideas back to my Black spaces, so that we can talk about structural issues - so that our discussions around Blackness can be less reactionary symbolism and more institutional progressivism. Besides, in the Green Party I join some other great Black activists like - Rosa Clemente, Jared Ball, Cynthia McKinney, Elaine Brown and more. There's no doubt that people of color have more living room in this party.
I've seen the limits of the Democrats and how soft "trickle-down economics" works as banks get bailouts while the people continue to get cuts in welfare and social programs. "Pragmatic" neoliberalism continues to sustain businesses and corporations, who already see benefits of wealth. As someone who believes in nonviolence, the Democratic love for war, violence, and empire is one entirely off-putting. Militarization, both globally and domestically, is dangerous as drones and the war on encryption threaten American privacy, and the sovereignty of those abroad.
The Green Party, for me, offers a greater alternative of ideas and that's what progressivism is supposed to be about - looking at the future and saying, "What new ideas can we bring to the table?" The Green Party is bringing those new ideas, from the grassroots, to the people.
I'm excited for the work that the Baltimore Green Party will do, especially after seeing the work our people have done. I don't want to just tell you. But you can see, here and here, the way that politics is less something our people do, and more a medium of bringing the change we need to see. Our values are consistent. Each day is a new day to learn and open the mind to new ideas and I'm somewhere I can do that. I know I'm in the right place.
Jeremy Collins is Co-Chair of the Baltimore Green Party. Visit his website itsjer.com