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Who does the Working Families Party work for?

Andrew CuomoThe Working Families Party, which began in New York and has attempted to spread to other states, stirred up considerable controversy in 2014 by supporting Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign for New York Governor. Cuomo has done much to anger New York progressives, including breaking a promise to support independent redistricting and vowing to fight labor unions in his second term.

The Working Families Party’s decision to endorse Cuomo a second time has raised questions about their strategy of urging progressives to vote for right-wing Democrats like Cuomo, as well as possible links between this strategy and the WFP’s sources of funding.

From In These Times, “Andrew Cuomo and the Sad State of the Working Families Party”:

To demonstrate the party’s weakness, one need only look at how far out of its way the WFP went to win voters by not mentioning the candidate at the top of the ticket. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum on his Facebook simply said that he was voting for “Governor of New York” on the party line—no mention of who that governor was. Party mailers featured not an image of the governor but of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose plan for progressive taxation to fund universal pre-kindergarten was thwarted by the fiscally conservative Cuomo.

And there are many reasons why the party couldn’t talk about him. Cuomo failed to make good on a central promise he made in exchange for the WFP endorsement: to push for Democrats to regain control in New York’s State Senate.

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Hawkins campaign responds to NY Working Families Party’s Cuomo endorsement

From Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones, Green Party candidates for New York Governor and Lt. Gov:

This weekend was a turning point. It’s never been clearer that the ONLY gubernatorial candidate who actually stands with working families throughout New York is Howie Hawkins. 

At the heart of our campaign is the struggle to defend and improve public education. Cuomo has made it clear that he supports the corporate privatization of our schools. That’s why Howie Hawkins asked Brian Jones, a long-time public school teacher and activist to be his running mate. As Howie said to a standing-room only crowd in New York City this weekend, “We don’t hesitate to challenge Cuomo, we’re ready for this fight.” Continue Reading

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New York Greens reach out to Working Families Party to beat Cuomo

p howie hawkins brian jonesNewsday reports:

ALBANY: New York’s Green Party is reaching out to the Working Families Party to explore a liberal coalition to defeat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The rare overture reflects a growing dissatisfaction by some liberal leaders for Cuomo’s business tax cuts and spending reductions in his first term.

“We share opposition to the conservative economic, fiscal, educational, and environmental policies of Governor Cuomo,” states the letter signed by Green candidate for governor Howie Hawkins and his running mates. “We also share common progressive policy goals, including single payer health care, raising minimum wages, progressive tax reform, fully-funded public schools, tuition-free CUNY and SUNY, a ban on fracking, and building a carbon-free economy by 2030. It therefore makes sense that we should meet to discuss how we can work together for a united fight against the Cuomo agenda and for the policy goals we share,” the Green Party stated. Continue Reading

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New York Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins urges Working Families to join the Greens following the surrender of WFP leadership

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party nominee for Governor, welcomed today the support of any Working Families Party members who still wanted to support a progressive third party independent of the two corporate parties.

Working Families Party leaders earlier today decided to bow to the demands of Andrew Cuomo and failed to nominate a slate of statewide candidates for the fall elections. The leaders decided instead that they would just give their statewide ballot line to whichever candidates win the Democratic primary – provided that Cuomo even decides then it is ok to accept the WFP line. Cuomo has previously said that he wants to see how officials conclude their investigations into the WFP’s financing of their election efforts. Although Independence Party financial irregularities in conjunction with the Bloomberg campaign doesn’t similarly bother Cuomo.

“WFP should learn from this rejection that power for working people comes from their independent political action, not acting as a faction of the Democratic coalition and handing over their votes to the corporate-dominated Democratic Party, which then takes their votes for granted and reduces their leverage and power to nothing. The WFP, along with much of the media, promotes the party as a progressive alternative, despite their failure to actually pass hardly any legislation. But every time I and other Greens have faced WFP-endorsed Democratic nominees for office, they supported more war, more money for the military, and more corporate welfare, while opposing things such as single payer health care or strong action on climate change,” noted Hawkins. “Now they have rolled over for Andrew Cuomo, the latest son seeking to inherit his father’s former office, who refuses to make Wall Street and the rich pay their fair share of taxes, who intends to make war with the public employees union, supports expanding the financial waste of charter schools and wants to impose caps on public spending. The WFP leadership has become just another self-serving political faction more interested in their personal power and patronage, just using the name working families as a advertising slogan to mislead the voters,” added Hawkins, a teamster who is the only union member running for Governor. Continue Reading