[These remarks were given on March 20, 2021, by Hillary Kane, Green Party of Philadelphia Treasurer, at a rally in support of Amazon workers trying to unionize in Bessemer, AL. Pictured above are rally organizer and Green Party member Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture (left) and Green Party members Charles Sherrouse and Hillary Kane holding the GPOP banner at the rally (right).]
Thank you to the organizers of today’s march and rally for allowing me to speak. I represent the Green Party, an independent political party. The Green Party often co-sponsors rallies such as these, joining in the fight for better working conditions, but we rarely get invited to share the podium because of deep seated fears of independent politics. Politics that doesn’t go along with the status quo - the two-party system, or in this city, let’s be real -- a one-party system.
You may know the Green Party as an environmental party and we are. But we are also a party rooted in social justice. We were founded over 30 years ago to give political voice to people’s movements – like this one against corporate greed and corruption. That same corporate greed is killing both the planet and the people. The Green Party links the ecological crisis with the economic crisis of people not having enough to provide basic necessities for themselves and their families. This is why we developed ideas like the Green New Deal – putting people and planet together over profit. Putting people to work, in living wage jobs – jobs that repair and restore our environment rather than use it up and spit it out. Howie Hawkins, our most recent Presidential candidate and himself a retired Teamster, was the first to run on the Green New Deal back in 2010. The real Green New Deal funded by deep cuts to the military.
The Green Party is an eco-socialist party. For us, that means supporting things such as unions, worker-ownership, co-operatives, and other forms of economic democracy. We practice what we preach -- our own national party staff is unionized and we are the only ballot qualified party that refuses to take corporate money. Some other parties may talk a good talk (and let’s be real, they only talk that talk some of the time), but then they turn around and take millions of dollars in corporate contributions to fund their campaigns. Don’t be fooled. You cannot stand for workers’ rights one day and then take money from union-busting corporations the next. How do you think those politicians will ultimately vote? For the people or for their funders? The Green Party will only ever stand for the people – because we are the people. We have no other choice.
As an environmental party, we are also one of the few voices who don’t believe in constant, unchecked economic growth. Development without redistribution will not lift all boats. And yet, only two short years ago, when Amazon promised jobs and development through it’s HQ2 competitions, our city led by a Democratic mayor and Democratic city council, happily bid to make Philadelphia the next home for Amazon. A bid that included tax breaks, free public infrastructure, and other corporate welfare simply to woo this company into our midst.
This is why political independence matters. And the Green Party takes that seriously. We are one of the only political parties, and I think the only ballot qualified party, that constantly and consistently challenges the two-party system at all levels of government from city hall to the state house to the White House. The union movement needs allies in government. We need laws that protect workers and their right to organize. And we achieve that by electing our own into the halls of power.
Power – that’s what this struggle is about. The power to demand dignity in the workplace and to one day achieve it. #BAmazon Workers – the Green Party stands with you.