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by rossl

Jill Stein announces Cheri Honkala, poor peoples’ advocate, as her choice for VP

10:14 am in Uncategorized by rossl

Originally posted at

CBS News is reporting, in an interview with her, that Green Party presumptive presidential nominee Jill Stein has announced her choice for the party’s vice presidential candidate, to be approved at this week’s convention in Baltimore.  Cheri Honkala is the Stein campaign’s choice, a poor people’s advocate based in Philadelphia and the national coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.

There was some speculation that actress and comedian Roseanne Barr, who is also running for the Green Party’s presidential nomination, would be the vice presidential candidate.  However, Stein has opted instead for Honkala, saying in an announcement, “Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities.”

Honkala herself stated, “It’s immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world. It’s time for the 99% to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed. The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

For the time being, Honkala is also coordinating ballot access efforts for the Green Party of Pennsylvania, which is in the process of working to collect over 40,000 signatures by the end of July. Honkala joined the Green Party in 2011, when she ran for Sheriff of Philadelphia on a platform of turning the Sheriff’s office from the department that evicts people to a social service working to “keep families in their homes,” as well as establishing community land trusts so that people living near vacant and abandoned properties can control them.  Honkala ran for Sheriff after labor organizer Hugh Giordano reinvigorated the Green Party of Philadelphia with his strong run for state representative in 2010.  The campaign proposal of addressing blight and vacant lots is part of a Philadelphia-wide political effort to address vacant land in the city in recent years.  Honkala is also consistently involved in efforts to prevent individual families from losing their homes to foreclosure and other work ensuring the basic survival of some of the most economically oppressed in Philadelphia.  The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign also operates around the United States, and is part of various international poor peoples’ movements.

As mentioned earlier, Honkala has been an activist of one form or another, whether simply to ensure the survival of herself and her son in the Minnesota winter when she was homeless or organizing protests at the Republican National Convention in 2000, for decades.  Several documentaries have been made about her or her efforts, including “Poverty Outlaw,” and she was featured in the book The Myth of the Welfare Queen.  Honkala has been named one of the 100 most powerful people in the region by Philadelphia magazine, as well as being named “Person of the Year” once by Philadelphia Weekly. Her son Mark Webber is an actor, director, and playwright who used his celebrity to help her campaign for Sheriff.  In that campaign, Cheri campaigned and organized in Philadelphia, as well as travelling the country to encourage progressives to leave the Democratic Party and encourage Greens to approach politics in a way that is more inclusive of and relevant to poor people.

press conference was held today to make the announcment, which has been posted on Jill Stein’s campaign website.

[Disclosure:  I was involved in Cheri Honkala's campaign for Sheriff on many levels and this summer I have been part of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, working on a farm they are organizing in the neighborhood where Honkala lives.  I am also a member of the Green Party of PA, was active in Hugh Giordano's campaign, and have been collecting signatures to get the Stein campaign on the ballot there.]

by rossl

We have less than a week to make history: Mark Miller CAN become MA’s first ever Green state representative!

4:27 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

Last year, Mark Miller ran for state representative with the Green Party in Massachusetts.  In a two way race with a Democrat, he got 45% of the vote.  Now, after that same Democrat got appointed to another job, he’s running again.  The election is October 18, and Mark has already received the endorsement (and with good reason, he recently stood with striking postal workers, for instance) of the nurses’ union, the UAW, and Planned Parenthood, among other people and groups.  He’s also raised more money than anyone else in the race (there are four candidate this time).

So now it’s our job to push him over the edge to victory.  We know that the Democratic Party – and, it goes without saying, the Republicans – is corrupt to the core.  We know that more competitive elections and more political ideas are needed.  We know that a credible alternative will do just that, and we know that one of the key ways to build up a political alternative is to elect officials to state office.

I’m going to keep this short and simple:  if Mark is elected next Tuesday, he will be the first Green state representative in the country since 2009 and the highest ranking Green in the nation.  Massachusetts will join places like Canada, Britain, Germany, and Colombia in a recent explosive growth in Green Parties worldwide.  We have a chance to make history – so please, donate whatever you can afford to Mark Miller’s campaign and if you live close enough, join me in driving over to Pittsfield, MA and volunteering for the campaign (I’ll be going this Sunday).  IT IS UP TO US to create a political alternative to the corrupt two party system – no one will do it for us and this is currently one of the best opportunities in the country to do so!

Here is his website:

by rossl

Update on Cheri Honkala’s Green campaign for Sheriff of Philadelphia

11:19 am in Uncategorized by rossl

[Originally posted at, hence the somewhat dry tone about a campaign I actually have been slightly involved in.  The Green Party of Philadelphia will also be nominating candidates for other offices this Thursday, and we've been keeping busy with fracking protests, a May Day event, a monthly dinner, among other things.]

The Green Party of Philadelphia’s candidate for Sheriff, long-time activist Cheri Honkala, recently opened an official campaign office.  Other news from the campaign is also below, including a protest against the current Sheriff of Philadelphia resuming sheriff’s sales.

From the Daily Record, on the subject of her campaign’s office:

In celebration of the office opening, the campaign has released the first in a series of tracks contributed by artists from all over the country inspired by Cheri Honkala’s bid for Sheriff of Philadelphia and her promise of “Keeping Families In Their Homes” by halting all evictions based in foreclosure. The song entitled “My Name is Cheri Honkala” can be found at the campaign’s BandCamp page,, and can be downloaded for a $1 donation.

A slideshow to accompany the song featuring photographs from famous documentary photographer Harvey Finkle can be found at the campaign’s YouTube channel located at,,

Supporters of the campaign can receive a print of one of the celebrated photog’s images that have documented Philadelphia’s activist community for decades with a $50 donation. Harvey Finkle was honored by the Bread and Roses Community Fund in 2009 and is actively documenting the Cheri Honkala for Philadelphia Sheriff Campaign.

From Philadelphia Weekly, regarding the sheriff’s sale protests:

Around 4:30 Monday afternoon, anti-poverty activist and Sheriff candidate Cheri Honkala stands outside Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley’s Center City office. The veteran protester is joined by her son, Guillermo Santos, and a handful of supporters. She tells members of the press, some onlookers and passers-by that some day, she hopes we’ll all “live in a country that will make it against the law to throw families out on the streets, where people will stand up and say something.” She points at the office and tells the crowd that although 2,000 homes will be sold in sheriff’s sale the next day, “they haven’t even dealt with the corruption yet, in this office,” referring to $53 million the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t been able to account for.

Honkala has also been challenging the position of one of the several Democratic candidates running in a May 15 primary.  The candidate is generally seen as a reformer, and he would like to eliminate the office of sheriff entirely.  However,

Some critics of elimination, such as candidate Cheri Honkala say many sheriff responsibilities will be shifted to the courts if the office is eliminated, making it worse for those hardest hit by the mortgage crisis.

Finally, in a show of support from her hometown, a fundraiser is being held on April 29th in Minneapolis to benefit Honkala’s campaign:

Minneapolis – Artists Support Cheri Honkala for the “People’s Sheriff
Evictions and Sheriff’s-sale auctions of foreclosed properties are core issues for Cheri Honkala, this year’s Green Party candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia. Originally from the Twin Cities, the two years that Cheri spent in Minneapolis between 2007 and 2009 strengthened her already firm resolve to struggle for the rights of homeowners during the onset of the foreclosure crisis.

The April 29th benefit at The Blue Nile in Minneapolis is one of many being held to support the Green Party candidate for Philadelphia Sheriff across the nation. Honkala is calling for people all over the country to run for Sheriff and put an end to evictions based in foreclosure in their communities. The candidate has received an outpouring of support from artists across the U.S., including the donation and dedication of original music to the campaign from artists Sir Ben Marx (NC), Shamako Noble (CA), Mic Crenshaw (OR) and many others. The election for Philadelphia Sheriff takes place in November, 2011.

by rossl

Four upcoming Green Party of Philadelphia events: anti-fracking, public meeting, May Day, and Move to Amend

5:41 am in Uncategorized by rossl

A list of upcoming events (including an anti-fracking demonstration today) from the Green Party of Philadelphia (for facebook links, check out the GPOP’s facebook group).

Earth Day Demonstration Against Fracking

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Location: Dept. of Environmental Protection, 2 Main St., Norristown, PA

Notes: Demonstration at DEP to demand a ban on gas drilling. Stop polluting our drinking water as well as our waterways.

This demonstration has been called by the Green Party of Philadelphia and endorsed by Brandywine Peace Community, BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action, Citizens for Clean Water, Green Party of Delaware County, Green Party of Montgomery County, Protecting our Waters and Saint Vincent’s Peace and Justice Ministry.

For more info: Green Party of Phila. 215-243-7103 or

Green Party Of Phila. General Membership Meeting, 4/28/2011, 7:00 pm (open to public)

Date: Thursday April 28, 2011

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Next reminder: The next reminder for this event will be sent in 7 days, 4 minutes.

Location: Calvary Community Center, Samaritan Room, 2nd Floor

Street: 4740 Baltimore Ave., 48th Street entrance, in West Phila

City State Zip: Phila., PA

Notes: Proposed agenda includes nomination of candidates seeking election in City Council (Districts 1 and 8) and perhaps a challenger to Mayor Nutter for Mayor. Please come out to meet potential candidates, listen to their platforms, and decide if they should run for public office.

May Day Rally & Family Celebration

Date: Saturday April 30, 2011

Time: 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Location: Elmwood Park Labor Monument

Street: South 71st Street and Buist Ave.

City State Zip: Phila., PA 19153

Phone: 215-243-7103


Join us to celebrate May Day, a day that is celebrated globally to honor all workers including those who were killed in the Haymarket Riot during the struggle for the 8-hour day. Sponsored by: The PA Labor History Society and PhilaPOSH.

Endorsed by: The Green Party of Phila.

One of the speakers will be Cheri Honkala, Green Party candidate for Sheriff of Phila. Admission is free!

Move to Amend with David Cobb

Thursday, May 5 · 6:30pm – 8:30pm

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
2125 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

More Info
Come here David Cobb speak about the Move to Amend campaign, which seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.

Learn more at

Cobb was the 2004 Green Party presidential candidate. Green Party Sheriff Candidate Cheri Honkala will also speak.

by rossl

It’s Labor’s Obligation to Break the 2-Party System, and One Courageous organizer in Philly Has Started!

5:09 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

In an open letter to the leaders of the Philadelphia labor movement, the young and energetic organizer for UFCW Local 152 Hugh Giordano has challenged the city’s unions to have the courage to support the Green Party.  Giordano ran an exceptionally strong campaign as a Green for state legislature this year, raising almost $30,000 from unions and individuals and capturing over 18 percent of the vote in a three way race.  Now he would like to spread the same movement for honest politics, workers’ rights, and a clean environment (among other things) to the rest of Philadelphia, beyond his single district.

As the members of the party, which I am aiding in every way I can, build the organization for the 2011 local elections, Giordano has seized the opportunity make the area’s union leadership reconsider the popular path of supporting corporate Democrats.  In his words, “Why are we, the strong men and women of the labor movement, bowing down to the corporate bosses and politicians…Union brothers and sisters, when any one of us becomes ‘fearful’ or ‘controlled’ by a political party – it’s time to step down and pass the torch on.”

The full letter is printed, with Hugh Giordano’s permission, below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry →

by rossl

Three Green Candidates who Could Seriously Shake the Boat in their States

5:21 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

Just a note before I begin. These are just the candidates that I know of from my work in the Green Party and what I can glean online. There are plenty of other strong Green candidates for state offices all over the country. Not to mention, there are tons of strong local Green candidates. You can find Green candidates near you at

With these three candidates representing just one part of a group of strong state legislative candidates the Green Party has running across the country this year, the party has a chance to make history. Since its founding, the party has had four state legislators in office, with one of them being the result of a party switch. There’s now a good chance that they could elect that many state legislators in a single election.

1. Ben Manski. Manski is an environmental and democracy advocate running one of the strongest Green campaigns in the nation. He’s widely regarded as a fierce competitor against the Democrat in the race, while Constitution and Republican candidates are also running. He is running for the Wisconsin Assembly in the 77th District, which is in Madison. Manski has racked up an impressive list of endorsements, ranging from local firefighters’ and teachers’ unions to over a dozen current elected officials to statewide figures in the Wisconsin Democratic Party. With a platform that includes support for ending the war on drugs, the creation of a state bank, and only sending the National Guard into combat when a war is authorized by Congress, Manski is impressive not only because of the likelihood of his election, but because of his bold politics.

2. Hugh Giordano. Before the election, I’ll be putting up another post about Giordano, because I’ve been volunteering for his campaign for several months, so I’ll keep it short for now. Hugh is one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and when he’s out knocking on doors he’s a union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers. He has garnered endorsements from several local unions who have been helping with the campaign, as well as from a former Democratic candidate in the race and former US Senator Mike Gravel. He has billboards up, he’s got signs throughout the districts, and he’s got tons of support, especially in the Roxborough neighborhood, where he’s lived for most of his life. (If you donate to Hugh, which I highly encourage!, please use the mailing address and not paypal, as the campaign has been having troubles with paypal. Thanks!)

3. Jeremy Karpen. Karpen is going against the heart of the Chicago machine, a Democratic incumbent whose father is also in government. At one point he actually outraised the Democrat, although that ended once the machine’s corporate interests caught wind of it. Just like Giordano and Manski, he’s been raising an impressive amount of money for a Green and he’s garnered some impressive endorsements, including the Chicago Progressive Democrats of America, a local teachers’ union, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Tribune. When I interviewed Phil Huckelberry, a co-chair of the Green Party of Illinois, he insightfully pointed out that having even a single Green in the notorious Illinois legislature would give the body a clear conscience, and it would have the potential to create a movement in the state for clean government.

To me, that is what’s most significant about these campaigns. They reject the corruption and compromises on principle (or lack of principle from the start) that are inherent in the Democratic Party. Hugh Giordano’s opponent likes to say that she would remain independent even while being a Democrat in the legislature, but that’s ridiculous. Without the support of the Democrats, she would be nowhere. Yet Giordano, and all other Greens, can prove that better, more honest politics is possible by winning without the support of any machine.

by rossl

Don’t Tell Me You Eouldn’t Enjoy This: A Green Challenge to Rahm Emanuel

12:27 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

The Illinois Greens are very much an up and coming state Green Party. In 2006 they got over 10% of the gubernatorial vote and this year they’re poised to win one or two seats in the state legislature (for some perspective, nationally the Greens have had 4 state legislators ever), along with having some strong statewide candidates.

And Chicago is, from what I’ve gathered, the center of Green activity in Illinois. Their Senate candidate LeAlan Jones – you may remember him as the producer of the radio piece "Ghetto Life 101" when he was just 13 – is from the South Side of the city and when I interviewed the co-chair of the state party he thought their gubernatorial candidate would do best in Chicago, as well.

And now Rahm Emanuel’s running for mayor in that same exact city. I think you know what I’m getting at.

Rahm Emanuel represents much of what is wrong with the Democratic Party. The corporate, industrialist ideology that puts power and profit over people, the cold political calculations, the…well, John Halle says it much better in this CounterPunch piece than I could:

But while Emanuel shares some of their superficially electable qualities, he differs in an important respect: The necessarily backstage, covert activities of bland technocrats allows them to function as blank slates onto which gullible liberals and information starved low income constituencies could project a hopeful facade. In contrast, many of these groups now know exactly what Emanuel stands for and they don’t like it, or him, a bit.

These include environmentalists well aware of his role in pushing through the "pragmatic" appointment of energy industry shill Ken Salazar and Obama’s catastrophic jettisoning of his campaign pledge to continue the ban on off-shore drilling. Others will point to the role of the former investment banker in Wall Street friendly policies and at the expense of an economic stimulus package having the potential to reduce hemorrhaging unemployment. Health care reform advocates whom Emanuel referred to as "fucking retards" might have been wiling to forgive had he not made them look like fools for signing onto an absurd "public option" which had, as it turned out, already been removed from the table in a pre-compromise engineered by Emanuel with his friend chief PHARMA lobbyist Billy Tauzin.

Arab Americans have not forgotten the vile racist slurs which emanated from Emanuel’s father on the first days of Emanuel’s tenure in the White House, nor have African Americans forgotten that Emanuel did nothing to halt, indeed may have actively encouraged, the witch hunting of activist organizations ACORN and Green Energy Czar Van Jones.

With the Greens becoming an increasingly strong political force in the city – one of them was even recently appointed by the governor to help fix a failing public university – this has the potential to become a powerfully symbolic race.

Again, Halle:

More than a few of these members of the Democratic base are looking for payback. And the good news for them is that they have a way to obtain it. For Illinois is home to one of the most thriving state Green Parties, one which is currently fielding a substantial slate of candidates some of whom are running fully credible and in some cases potentially winning campaigns.

Among these is Rich Whitney, who in his previous race for Governor achieved a double digit showing. Another LeAlan Jones, a Polk Award winnning journalist from Chicago’s South Side is expected to acquire similar if not greater numbers of votes in his run for Senate. A third, Jeremy Karpen, recently received the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune in his race for State Legislature in a Chicago district.

The Greens should be fixing their eye on this race as their first big city mayoralty following the heartbreaking near victory of Matt Gonzalez in San Francisco a few years back.

And we should be helping them with the funds and on the ground resources necessary to pull it off.

Emanuel’s candidacy, and his eventual drubbing in the general election, should be the Greens’-and all of our-win.

by rossl

Interested in Third Parties? Skeptical of Them? Either Way, Listen in as I Interview an Illinois Green Party Veteran

3:13 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

Whether you’re interested in being part of a third party or skeptical of them as a strategy, you’ll be interested to hear me interview Phil Huckelberry tonight. He is the co-chair of both the Illinois Greens and the national Green Party.

Listen here at 8:30 PM EST tonight:

Under his leadership, the Greens gained 10.3% of the gubernatorial vote in 2006, and they hope to do the same or better this year. Phil has also run for office as a Green and been in a national leadership role for years. This year in Illinois, the Green candidate for Senate is the only African American in the race and has polled as high as 14% with the entire public and 30% with African Americans. Their gubernatorial candidate has polled as high as 11%, although he has seen a recent slump in the polls. They also have other strong candidates, like candidate for state rep Jeremy Karpen, who outraised the incumbent Democrat at one point during the race and got 21% against her last time he ran…this time he is much better-organized, though.

I’m a Green Party member (at least nominally, if not legally), but I don’t plan on asking softball questions. Please leave any questions you have in the comments or call in at 646-200-0264.

by rossl

Take Action for 3 Important Green Candidates

2:27 pm in Uncategorized by rossl

Dan Hamburg, LeAlan Jones, and Jill Stein are running three races that are very important to the Green Party this year. In California, Hamburg is a former Democratic Congressman hoping to be elected as a Green to Mendocino County Supervisor. In Illinois, Jones is the only African American in the Senate race and has polled as high as 14%, in a state where the Green candidate for governor got over 10% in 2006. In Massachusetts, Stein is less than $1,000 away from qualifying for the rest of the debates, and about $38,000 away from qualifying for matching funds.

I’ll make this as simple as possible. Here’s what each one needs from you:

1. Dan Hamburg. He is an incredible candidate, and really represents the future of the Green Party. He came in first in a primary which included ALL candidates in the race, but an ultra-conservative candidate came in a close second. With a great background and the local SEIU’s endorsement, Hamburg is both qualified for office and running a strong enough campaign to win. However, he needs help financially – that’s where you come in.

In the words of, "[When] he wins, Dan Hamburg will show that the Green movement is ready to lead with fresh ideas for reviving our economy and protecting our ecosystem." The netroots has shown before that it has great skill at fundraising – just a bit of that can be stretched a long way in a local race like this. So please donate whatever you can afford.

2. But don’t give all your money away! Save some for LeAlan Jones. And even if you don’t donate to Jones, there is something else extremely important that you can do. Call Meet the Press (202-885-4598 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-885-4598      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) and let them know that they shouldn’t exclude Jones from their Senate debate. When the Florida Libertarians did this for their Senate candidate, they got the Meet the Press debate cancelled – let’s one up them and get a Green on national television!

From the Jones campaign:

Plus, we are asking YOU to call NBC’s Meet The Press at 202-885-4598 and tell them to "Let LeAlan debate!" NBC decided to shut out the only African-American candidate running for this historically African-American Senate seat. It’s time to stand up to this media BLACKout. More details in my letter to the president of NBC News

Tell them you’d like to talk to Meet the Press. Let’s do this!

3. Jill Stein. She needs to raise $100,000 by October 1 in order to qualify for the gubernatorial debates, which is really the best way for her to gain support. She is less than $1,000 from that goal, so every dollar counts!

Since the state government uses a different fundraising standard, she is about $38,000 away from raising the needed $125,000 to get matching public funds. If she can do this, her campaign will be one of the best tools in the nation for building the Green Party, and she will have a shot at winning in Massachusett’s 4-way race (that means only 25%+1 to win).

She needs to raise this money by September 24, and we can do it! Last week alone, Stein raised $25,000, a quarter of the total her campaign has brought in this year. It’s up to us.

(For the next $350 or so donated at, a fundraising site for Stein, another donor will match that donation.)

Let’s do this! Together, we can build an alternative to the corrupt, destructive two party system.

by rossl

Green Jesse Johnson Picks up Major Democratic Endorsement in WV US Senate Race

11:15 am in Uncategorized by rossl

After losing the race to represent the Democrats in a special US Senate election, former Democratic politician (and arguably, institution as far as West Virginia is concerned) Ken Hechler has endorsed Jesse Johnson. Johnson is the nominee for US Senate of the Mountain Party, West Virginia’s affiliate of the Green Party.

Salon describes Hechler and his motivation for, at 95, running for Senate:

In his 95 years, Ken Hechler has recorded history from the front lines in World War II, debriefed Hitler’s top commanders before the Nuremberg Trials, advised Harry Truman, marched with Martin Luther King, published several books, been the subject of a documentary, and — somewhere between all of this — served nine terms in Congress and four as West Virginia’s secretary of state…

You say that you aren’t running anyone and that you want to use this race to raise awareness of mountaintop removal from strip mining. Why single out this issue?

I’m not really running for the Senate, I’m running to enable the people of West Virginia to register at the polls their opposition to this devastating practice, which hurts so many people in the valleys when they dump the rocks in the soil and all the things that they’re blasting out of the mountains into people’s front yards.

Hechler received about 17 percent of the vote in the primary. Now Johnson is the only candidate in the race who opposes mountaintop removal, a situation he was also in when he ran for governor in 2008.

The following video was posted on the front page of Johnson’s website:

From the Sunday Gazette-Mail:

"People were voting not against mountaintop removal, but were actually voting against my age of 95," he said.

Johnson doesn’t have that "handicap," Hechler said.

"He’s 51 years old," Hechler said as he introduced Johnson, who also opposes mountaintop removal. "Compare that with a 95-year-old, and you’ll see why you’re going to have a huge outpouring of support for Jesse Johnson."

Johnson has previously run for governor, U.S Senate and president. He said he would run a grass-roots campaign and stand up to rich and powerful interests.

"It’s time for business as usual to be over," he said.