Uncategorized

Mountain Party Affirms Commitment to Labor on May Day

The Mountain Party, The Working People’s Party, stands in solidarity with workers and their right to collectively bargain on this May Day, known also as International Workers’ Day. Our party will continue to support existing unions and will come to the aid of those unionizing their workplace. 

As we honor laborers, we are solemnly reminded of our past. Nearly 100 years ago, the country experienced the largest labor uprising in its history during the final conflict of the West Virginia Mine Wars. Inspired by Mother Jones and Bill Blizzard and armed by Socialist Party activists, the miners demanded fair wages, the freedom to trade, improved workplace conditions, and union recognition. They were ultimately confronted by both private armed forces and the U.S. Army with its bombers from the first World War at the Battle of Blair Mountain in Logan County. While a loss for the miners, unions would gain strength and encourage FDR to implement the New Deal. 

Today, peaceful avenues exist for workers to organize in their workplace, and we encourage workers to take action starting today. 

As laid out in our platform, the West Virginia Mountain Party believes in banning “right-to-work” laws and guaranteeing the rights of all workers to form a union and engage in collective action. Furthermore, the Mountain Party believes in the implementation of economic democracy through direct workers’ control over the means of production.

And we practice what we preach. The paid staff of the Green Party of the United States, our national affiliation, are represented by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the union co-founded by Mother Jones. The West Virginia Mountain Party has also endorsed efforts by workers to organize their workplaces, including the statewide school personnel strikes, the recent unionization of the workers at the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition as the OVEC Union (organized by the West Virginia IWW) and the Kroger workers of UFCW Local 400. West Virginia workers interested in helping to organize their workplaces may contact the West Virginia IWW at wviww@protonmail.com.*

*The IWW, both at the national and local level, does not endorse any political parties or candidates. 

See Also: The Mountain Party proposes a Green New Deal for West Virginia, to create high paying, secure jobs to build the future economic infrastructure based in clean, renewable energy. 

###

Uncategorized

For The People Act: How It Can Be Improved And Why West Virginia’s Senators Must Support Election Reform

contact@mountainpartywv.net

The Mountain Party of West Virginia calls on Senators Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) to work together and propose an amended version of HR1 / S1 that is fair for all political parties and removes any political conflicts of interest.

Known as HR1 / S1, the “For the People Act” is sweeping federal legislation aimed to limit gerrymandering, increase access to the polls, and allegedly improve campaign finance among other changes. While the Mountain Party certainly supports some of the changes such as making Election Day a federal holiday and mandating same-day voter registration, many proposed changes to campaign finance are problematic.

The legislation addresses dark money that currently plagues politics, but it opens the floodgates to allow new dark money to enter the political landscape with a new loophole. Money from big donors can be funneled through a national party committee to candidates at the tune of $100 million. Presently, only $5,000 can be contributed to a presidential candidate by a national party committee. Additionally, the bill will eliminate the limits on donations and expenditures candidates can receive and make. These changes present a political conflict of interest that hinders the success of real reform.

For minor political parties, two other issues have emerged from the proposed legislation. The first problem is the proposed abolishment of general election campaign block grants that political parties may acquire by winning at least 5% of the vote in the previous presidential election. This divisive and unnecessary change is an obvious effort to block the development of multi-party democracy. The second problem is the proposed quintuple increase in the qualifying threshold for federal matching funds. This change creates an unnecessary hurdle for minor party presidential candidates. An easy remedy, or compromise, to have a matching fund system that works for campaigns of all sizes is to have a tiered system, in which candidates could pursue matching funds using either the $5,000 or the $25,000 per state threshold. 

Democrats have proclaimed HR1 / S1 as the new gold standard for election reform, while Republicans fear the legislation is an assault on state’s rights, free speech, and voter integrity. Both claims are false. In the best of light, the legislation makes modest improvements to our elections. However the aforementioned subversive changes to campaign finance and the major blows against minor parties, makes this act toxic to democracy.

A much better proposal to what the gold standard for elections could be in the United States is “The Fair Representation Act” that was introduced in 2018 and 2019. This proposal would establish multi-seat, proportional representation for Congress utilizing ranked-choice voting. This could be complemented by also adopting the Clean Money or Clean Elections model that would have fully-funded, public campaign finance for all federal offices.

While we do not expect the major parties to deliver the gold standard, we demand they improve the current system of elections in a manner that creates transparency and trust between government and the people. 

The Mountain Party is the West Virginia state party affiliate for the Green Party of the United States. Read more here: https://www.gp.org/hr_1

###

Uncategorized

Mountain Party Endorses Kshama Sawant, In Opposition To Farcical Recall Effort

SALEM, WEST VIRGINIA 一 The Mountain Party of West Virginia condemns right-wing efforts to recall Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant of Socialist Alternative.

Since becoming the first open Socialist to hold office in Seattle in nearly a century in 2013, Sawant has been a champion of the working class. She spearheaded fights for Seattle to become the first major city to pass a $15 minimum wage, secure landmark renters’ rights victories, establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day, ban chemical weapons, and tax Amazon to finance affordable housing and a Green New Deal. In consequence, Sawant has been relentlessly attacked by Seattle’s ruling class since taking office, culminating in a farcical campaign launched last year to have her recalled. This campaign is backed by Seattle’s ultra wealthy in collusion with big business to silence working class and third party voices. They aim to punish Sawant for standing up to the duopoly and its corporate backers such as Amazon.

In order to defeat capitalism and usher in a society based on workers power, working class unity and solidarity is necessary. Socialist Alternative has expressed this solidarity to us, having endorsed our party’s nominee for president every election cycle since 2012, and in the spirit of this solidarity the Mountain Party of West Virginia is proud to endorse Kshama Sawant in her efforts against this right-wing recall campaign.

###

Uncategorized

West Virginia Mountain Party Supports Electoral Reform Legislation

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 一 The Mountain Party supports three election reform bills that have been introduced in the State House and Senate. Senate Bill 229 and House Bills 2215 and 2122, if adopted and signed into law, would each make an incredible improvement to democracy in West Virginia.

SB 229 seeks to implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for the election of Justices to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. While the Mountain Party prefers that RCV be implemented for all elections in the state, this modest legislation, if enacted, would familiarize voters with the new voting system.

HB 2215 aims to get West Virginia closer to the gold standard of fair ballot access law. The bill would allow a group to become a recognized political party if the group’s candidate receives one percent of the votes in an election for any one of six statewide offices, including that of Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General or Commissioner of Agriculture. In addition, the bill allows for a group of affiliated voters to become a recognized political party if 5,000 or more individuals have identified as members of the party. Currently, ballot access for a minor political party can only occur by getting one percent of the vote for Governor or through the vigorous task of ballot access petitioning.

HB 2122 would have West Virginia join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an agreement among the states to elect the President and Vice President through a national popular vote. Sixteen states, amounting to 196 Electoral Votes (EVs), have signed onto the agreement. Once the number of signatories consists of at least 270 EVs, the electoral college would become obsolete.

With grassroots democracy as a key value of the Mountain Party, we will continue to advocate for legislation that promotes fair and equal elections.

###

Uncategorized

Mountain Party Opposes GOP Assault on Public Education

CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 一 Three years ago, West Virginia education workers set the stage for what would be a series of strikes by teachers and school service personnel across the country. 55 Strong showed the power of solidarity in 2018, striking for a much-deserved raise and the promise of a permanent fix to PEIA, and once again in 2019 over the nefarious omnibus education bill. Now, Republican legislators are putting forward a series of retaliatory bills aimed at breaking this working class movement. Codifying the illegality of public employee strikes, imposing rigid guidelines against “divisive” curricula, reducing the requirements for becoming a certified teacher, and advancing charter school legislation that will drain public resources are how Republican legislators show their appreciation to our educators.

The Mountain Party opposes in the strongest possible terms these anti-education bills. They do nothing to advance the cause of equitable education in West Virginia, nor do they provide the tools necessary for retaining qualified educators. Instead, these bills will simply provide the impetus for veteran teachers to flee the state, opening the doors to further privatization and decimation of public schools.

We believe that all public employees should have the right to engage in collective bargaining, and must retain the right to engage in collective action where needed.

We believe that our teachers know our students best, and can devise engaging lessons without the imposing oversight of those who have never been in their position.

We believe that education certification should not be so brazenly loosened, as teaching is a highly-skilled profession and should attract those with the knowledge and pedagogy to work in that field.

Furthermore, we believe that charter schools and educational savings accounts unnecessarily drain funds away from public schools and place them in the hands of private corporations. The Mountain Party unequivocally supports West Virginia’s teachers and school service personnel in their opposition to these reactive bills. 55 Strong began during a time of deep crisis in our state. Their perseverance and courage rang out from the hills and ignited a revolution nationwide. Now, with the eyes of the country set yet again on West Virginia, Republicans are showing how they truly wish to govern when no opposition is given to them. Undoubtedly, our educators are worn out from having to fight this fight year after year. Only true solidarity with our educators from all working class people in West Virginia can stop these attacks on our education system.

###

Uncategorized

Mountain Party Joins Appalachian People’s Front

SALEM, WEST VIRGINIA 一 On February 7th, the State Executive Committee of the West Virginia Mountain Party voted to affiliate with the Appalachian People’s Front (APF), a newly formed left-wing coalition dedicated to mutual aid, political education, and community organizing in West Virginia and surrounding states. Like the Mountain Party, APF is dedicated to grassroots organizing and the building of independent working-class institutions outside of the two-party system.

Founded with the participation of Mountain Party members, the Appalachian People’s Front has since late December already delivered over 300 cases of water to Minden; organized food distribution in Upshur County, Raleigh County, and Fairmont, feeding up to 300 people a week; and handed out clothing in Boone County. By affiliating with this coalition, the Mountain Party will lend its support to the expansion of such activities and dedicate itself to working not only from within the electoral system but also outside of it. The Mountain Party recognizes that the needs of West Virginians need to be met both in the long-term through progressive legislation and in the short-term through mutual aid and community organizing.

Other organizations which have thus far also chosen to affiliate with the Appalachian People’s Front include the Movement for Peoples Democracy WV, Kanawha Valley DSA, and North Central WV DSA. The Mountain Party joins these organizations and future affiliates in directly serving the people of West Virginia in ways which the two major parties have failed, as we aim in the future to serve the people via a popularly elected Mountain government.

The Mountain Party is the West Virginia state party affiliate of the Green Party of the United States and is ballot-qualified through 2024.

Organizations and individuals interested in joining the APF or wanting to learn more can send an email to apf1859@yahoo.com.

Uncategorized

Mountain Party Responds To West Virginia Lawmaker’s Participation in the Capitol Insurrection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 7, 2021

SALEM, WEST VIRGINIA 一 The West Virginia Mountain Party condemns the outrageous and ridiculous action of breaking into the United States Capitol Building, in which Delegate Derrick Evans, a Republican from the 19th District, joined the mob in a show of hostility. As a new member of the House of Delegates, Evans swore to support the constitution of the United States. Apparently he does not.

According to WV Metro News, House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R) stated, “What occurred today is unpatriotic, un-American and I condemn it in the strongest terms possible.”

The strongest terms possible would be to demand the resignation of Evans and any other WV legislator who participated in the insurrection at the Capitol.

No election was stolen in 2020. If the fringe elements of the Republican Party really are concerned with election fairness they would be part of the growing movement for electoral reform. Of course this is not the case, as real democracy is not compatible with the far-right’s vision of fascism for America.

The Mountain Party, per our platform, is committed to non-violence. We believe the best avenue to create change is through peaceful organizing.

###

Uncategorized

Mountain Party Sets Records For State Legislature And Secures Ballot Access Through 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 4, 2020

SALEM, WEST VIRGINIA 一 The Mountain Party has received more than 46% of the vote needed to retain its ballot access in the 2020 gubernatorial election. Danny Lutz received over 11,000 votes at 1.46% of the total vote, only needing 1% per state code.

In the 2020 primary, the Mountain Party re-elected its two Conservation District Supervisors to the Eastern Panhandle and Southern conservation districts. Gearing up for the general election, the party knew it would be a challenge.

New records were set in the State Senate election. Donald Kinnie received nearly 20% in the District 15 Senate race with 9,880 votes. This accounts for 1.34% of the total votes statewide received by the Mountain Party for the upper chamber. Compared to the party’s best statewide record from 2010, the raw vote count is nearly three times larger and the percentage has nearly doubled.

Another record includes a vote increase for House of Delegates compared to the previous presidential election. In the 59th House District, Robert Smith received 1,209 votes or 12.6% in a competitive three-way race in the deep red constituency. 

Another notable result of the night was David Tabb’s run for Jefferson County Assessor, where he received over 33% of the vote.

Mountain Party State Chair, Denise Binion, credits the party’s first ever candidate pledge for the improved performance. “Implementing a candidate pledge has helped to insure committed candidates who are serious about running for office.”

Despite not yet breaking through into the legislature, the Mountain Party is committed to policy advocacy and voter education. Its legislative priorities for the 2021 session will soon be announced, with primary focus on electoral reform. 

###

Uncategorized

MOUNTAIN PARTY NOMINATES DANNY LUTZ FOR GOVERNOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(WEST VIRGINIA — June 20, 2020) The West Virginia Mountain Party today nominated Daniel P. “Danny” Lutz for Governor at its biennial State Convention, which was conducted via Zoom video conferencing. The convention was originally planned to be held in Braxton County.

Re-elected on the June 9th election, Lutz has served as Conservation District Supervisor for the Eastern Panhandle, representing Jefferson County since 2016. Lutz, a Commissioned Air Force Veteran, is one of two elected Conservation District Supervisors who are active members of the Mountain Party. 

Former Mayor of Ranson and Former President of the Jefferson County Commission, Gregory Lance, was nominated for Jefferson County Sheriff. Other candidates nominated by convention include Donald Kinnie for State Senate (15), Robert E. Smith for House of Delegates (59), and Mary Kinnie for House of Delegates (60).

Nominated by primary election include Steve Hamilton for House of Delegates, seeking one of four seats, in the 48th District and David Tabb for Jefferson County Assessor, where no Republican filed to run for office.

Business addressed by the party included officer elections and amending party documents. Amendments were adopted to the bylaws to clearly affirm the party’s identity as West Virginia’s Green Party, in addition to updating its membership structure and nominating procedure. The convention was recessed to address platform amendments in the near future. 

The timing of the State Convention coincides with a major announcement from the Howie Hawkins / Angela Walker campaign for President and Vice President. Today the ticket has clinched enough delegates to secure the Green Party nomination and will be on the ballot in West Virginia on the “Mountain” ballot line. 

###

Updated June 21, 4:35 p.m.

Uncategorized

Condemnation of Trump’s Intention to Designate “Antifa” a Terrorist Organization

The recent decision of President Trump to seek the designation of “Antifa” as a terrorist organization is alarming. “Antifa” is not an organization; it has no leaders, no membership, no meetings, and no structure. “Antifa” is simply a contraction of the term “anti-fascist.” And what are the goals of anti-fascists? As our friends in the Green Party of California stated in their recent statement: “AntiFa defends and supports the right of oppressed and marginalized people to protest, march, and engage in civil disobedience in pursuit of justice. While it is never our intent to engage in violent or destructive behavior, we cannot and will not take responsibility for telling people how they are allowed to be righteously outraged. We prefer and encourage non-violent action. We also understand that some people aren’t feeling that nice anymore. Their feelings are entirely justified, and it is neither our role nor our privilege to tell them otherwise.”

If pushed forward, the designation of “Antifa” as a terrorist organization would give the Trump administration and future administrations free reign to target, harass, arrest, and neutralize anybody who dares to openly oppose fascism, especially those who consider themselves progressives, socialists, anarchists, or communists. Indeed, we have already witnessed such antagonistic state behavior from the former FBI COINTELPRO program in the 20th century, and we are witnessing already the President’s calls for lethal force against those who are standing up against state violence, who are mostly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. This is unacceptable.

Fascism is capitalism in decay. It is an attempt by capitalist state and corporate forces to tighten their grip by actively opposing a society in which all people are guaranteed the basic necessities of life. A society in which there are no longer oppressive social strata which divide people by class, race, nationality, or creed. A society in which all people are treated equally — this is the demand of anti-fascists and it is the demand of the Mountain Party. In the words of the late great James Connolly: We only want the earth.

###