Philadelphia Weekly: Greens growing as resistance to austerity mounts

The Pennsylvania Green Party is making inroads into the one-party stronghold of Philadelphia. Union activist Hugh Giordano is creating a Green political network to push back against the government policies that target working people.

This is an example of the kind of work that will be needed in SC, as budget shortfalls give politicians like Nikki Halley the opportunity to defund social programs.

Hugh ran for the PA State Assembly against an entrenched Democrat, receiving 18% of the vote. The campaign has not stopped on election day. The Philadelphia Greens are continuing to campaign, as the Philly Weekly article describes.

Giordano’s vote was hurt by the straight ticket device, which we also have in SC.   He rails against it in the first paragraphs of the article…and he’s right to.   The straight ticket vote hurts independent voting all down the ticket.   An analysis of the 2010 South Carolina Senate vote by the SC Green Party shows that 85% of the Democratic vote came from straight ticket-voters.

It’s Easy Being Green (With Help of Labor Unions)
Third-party candidates emerge as champions of the working-class.

By Randy LoBasso, Philadelphia Weekly

Hide your unions, Democrats, because the Green Party is coming to take them away.

Union support and third-party candidates don’t usually mix (especially in this union-backed Democratic stronghold), but a recent state representative race that you probably missed entirely suggests that that could change.

Hugh Giordano, a 26-year-old, Roxborough native and food workers’ union organizer for UFCW Local 152, ran on the Green Party ticket against Democrat Lou Agre for a seat in the 194th. He lost, but garnered 18 percent of the vote (23 percent in Philly)—an unprecedented number for a third-party candidate. He may have his district’s attention, but Giordano and the Green Party of Philadelphia want everyone to know that when it comes to the ballot, three isn’t a crowd. What’s more, they’ve got heavy union support—typically an automatic vote for Democrats—to help them.

“They want you to be stupid,” he says of the “party button,” which essentially allows citizens to vote along party lines without looking at who’s up for election. “It’s a way to control the voter. If you go in there and you think you’re a Democrat, you hit the Democrat button and don’t think about anyone else [in the two-party system]. Republicans and Democrats don’t identify themselves as voters. They identify themselves as a party. The party system is very slick.”

Giordano’s disgust with the system compelled him to approach union workers across the city. He wrote an open letter to them, and in it he blames both the Democratic and Republican parties for turning their backs on the working class: “Union brothers and sisters,” he wrote, “when any one of us becomes “fearful” or “controlled” by a political party—it’s time to step down and pass the torch on. WE are the voice of working people, and WE should be telling these politicians what to do; not the other way around.

We owe the Democrats and Republicans NOTHING, because they have done NOTHING for our members, for our contracts, and for the movement. How much longer are we going to support a bunch of failures?

Read the rest at: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/Its-Easy-Being-Green-With-Help-of-Labor-Unions.html

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