State Politics

The Twilight of Liberalism: Decline of the Working Families Party

counterpunch By Peter LaVenia April 22, 2016 The Working Families Party – darling of The Nation-reading liberals in New York State – is in trouble. The NY Daily News reported this week that major unions (SEIU 1199, United Federation of Teachers, and the Hotel Trades Council) had quietly dropped financial support of the organization in late 2014. Those of us who have long fought for an independent, radical left will not mourn what is likely to be the slow decline of the WFP, though if we are lucky it may take the form of a quick implosion. The party’s stated…

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How Bernie Sanders Points the Way for New York’s Outsider Candidates

New York Observer by Will Bredderman May 26, 2015 One afternoon in 1980, a gadfly candidate named Bernie Sanders and his roommate Richard Sugarman, an adjunct professor of religion at the University of Vermont, went to the Burlington city hall to look over the results from Mr. Sanders’ most recent election: his 1976 run for governor. It was a position he had sought before in 1972, in between two successive unsuccessful attempts at the U.S. Senate, each time running on the Liberty Union Party line and its broad socialist-pacifist platform. (“He said we needed fundamental change,” recalled perennial New York…


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Illinois doesn’t have to settle for austerity

The Southern by Rich Whitney April 3, 2015 There is a certain “conventional wisdom” gripping Illinois, shared by our Governor, most legislators, and the vast majority of news media voices, including certain columnists at this paper. According to this narrative, our budget and pension systems are unsustainable due to years of state “overspending” or “living beyond our means.” Now, due to our horribly underfunded public pension systems, our state government has “no choice” but to cut or eliminate pensions and benefits for retirees, dramatically cut state spending, or do some combination of both. Neither the premise nor the conclusion are…


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The Green Alternative to Austerity Budgets

by Howie Hawkins March 25, 2014 Austerity budgets mean a whole generation of school children bear the burden of closing budget gaps with cuts in state funding for public schools. They mean scores of towns, school districts, counties, and most upstate cities bear the burden of fiscal distress and impending insolvency because state revenue sharing has been slashed. How long must we wait for meaningful steps on progressive goals like living-wage jobs for the unemployed in public works and services, fully-funded public schools, tuition-free public colleges, health care for all, affordable housing and mass transit, and climate-safe clean energy?  …


From a Green perspective, another disappointing election

by Ursula Rozum syracuse.com November 17, 2013 Ursula Rozum is a guest columnist who writes monthly for syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. She ran for Congress on the Green Party line in 2012, is an officer in the local Green Party organization and managed Howie Hawkins’ campaign for Syracuse Common Council this year. Another election has gone by and little has changed. The local power structure kept its people in office. The Democrats still hold every elected office in the city and the problems that have grown worse under their one-party rule remain the same – high poverty, high unemployment, low…