Newsletter January / February 2020

Inside this Issue: ORMA Priorities and News | Affiliates | Ways to Get Involved in the Revolution

Image: "They go low, we go door to door"

Picture: Meme about Bernie Sanders strategy created by GENZFOR BERNIE.

Senator Bernie Sanders Rising Nationally and in Massachusetts! ORMA Endorses Bernie and Holds a Summit Encouraging Progressive Action in the 2020 Presidential Primary Election!

The Democratic presidential primary is shaping up to be a very close one, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the current leaders in national polls. Senator Sanders is doing especially well in the key early states, including winning the popular vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. He is performing particularly well among Hispanics, young people, and voters with household incomes below $75,000. Similar to the 2016 Democratic primary, the 2020 presidential primary comes down to a delegate chase, and the 15% threshold matters greatly in contests across the country, including here in the Commonwealth. The election will be decided on turnout and the choices made by Democratic voters regarding whether they really want progressive political leadership and “change” as promoted by Sanders or a return to the illusions of centrism and neoliberal establishment politics, represented by Biden, Buttigieg, or Senator Klobuchar.

There has been a lack of polling in Massachusetts–this will change after the media turns to our state’s upcoming presidential primary vote on “Super Tuesday,” March 3rd, when a slew of states hold their presidential primary elections, including California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Vermont, and Tennessee. A Massachusetts poll conducted back in October, by WBUR/MassINC reported Senator Elizabeth Warren at 33%, Biden 18%, and Sanders 13%. Considering momentum in the polls swinging Bernie’s way since, then there are strong indications that he will rise in MA polls prior to our March 3 vote. That said, he needs support across all MA Congressional Districts to ensure 15% viability in each to collect MA delegates for the Democratic Party Convention. Every vote counts!

ORMA officially endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders last summer, and since has seen increasing interest in its membership, online communities, and local affiliates’ activities supporting Bernie. We see this in affiliates talking about the upcoming election in meetings and in “get out the vote” drives this fall. Online, there has been much activity on the ORMA Facebook page, and the ORMA Discuss forum. Local affiliates are engaged in many ways, from phone banking for Bernie in Somerville, rallying against Trump’s threat of war with Iran in Fall River, and participating in the 2020 Women’s March in the Pioneer Valley, to promoting new candidates in their communities who are supporting Bernie’s ideas enthusiastically, such as Nichole Mossalam who is running for State Representative in Middlesex 35th District (see her speak below via this link as the first speaker to the Organizing to Win summit in Braintree on January 19).

As described in more detail below, ORMA conducted an “Organizing to Win” Summit on January 19 which was supported by Our Revolution National. There was strong turnout at the Braintree meeting, consisting of many local organizers. If you were not able to attend, you can still watch the live-stream recording of the first 90 minutes here with many inspiring speakers. At this summit there were moving and painful stories about our failed healthcare system and the unconscionable choices it forces on individuals and families. We heard about the impacts of the housing crisis, and crushing student debt on the hopes of young people and working class families. But there were also stories about successes across the Commonwealth as ordinary citizens, members of Our Revolution, and allied groups came together to organize for change in their communities. Especially encouraging were members of Our Revolution Medford (jump to 51:00 in the video) who laid out for us the road map they followed that led to their recent electoral successes in their city.

This may be our last chance to vote for Bernie, given his age, unless he wins the Democratic nomination and or the general election in 2020! This is an opportunity not to be missed! Despite what the political establishment tells us, Bernie’s 2016 and 2020 Presidential runs have made history by forcing the Democratic Party to address issues it has shied away from: Medicare-for-all, comprehensive environmental efforts such as the Green New Deal, income inequality, and free college at two and four year state institutions, to name a few of the most prominent. Elections are chances to have some say on our priorities. ORMA thinks Bernie Sander’s unique campaigns have been a chance to do just that.

ORMA believes, as showcased in our endorsement, that Senator Bernie Sanders represents the best presidential candidate to lead the way on our stated prioritiesClimate Change/Green New Deal; Medicare-for-All; Money out of Politics/End Citizens United; Affordable Housing; and Voting Reform.

We will be adding a new web page dedicated to information about Bernie–stay tuned! While Our Revolution is officially independent of the Sanders Campaign for President, we remain inspired by the ideas Bernie has championed and look forward to working to promote these ideas and others outlined in our priorities, well beyond this election–whether it brings a Sanders Presidency or not.

Join us in our quest to create a more progressive and inclusive Massachusetts, with a future of economic justice for all!

Picture: We the People Act! Rep. Carmine Gentile speaking, joined by Rep. Chris Hendricks, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Dylan Fernandes, Rep. Brian Ashe, Rep. Jim Hawkins and Rep. Denise Provost

ORMA Priorities and News

Update on Money out of Politics Reforms: We The People Act Gains Traction at MA State House.

The We The People Act (S.2163 & H.3208), an integral step towards amending the U.S. Constitution on Campaign Finance Reform, was reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. This win was bolstered by the January 29 State House press conference held by the Citizens Commission (formed by 2018 ballot Question 2) to launch their completed report. Lead sponsors Rep. Carmine Gentile and Sen. Jamie Eldridge seized the opportunity to speak on the We The People Act which aligned with the report’s recommendations. Attorney General Maura Healy was also in attendance and expressed the urgency to tackle the issue of money in politics and restore our representative democracy. January 21 marked the 10 year anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC.

Action Item: Please take a moment to send thank-you emails to committee chairs Sen. Walter Timilty and Rep. Linda Dean Cambell and vice chairs Sen. Michael Rush and Rep. John Velis as we anticipate the next committee assignment. Email Script.

ORMA Field and Affiliate Support Team relaunches (FAST).

ORMA relies on engaged progressive activists to advance Our Revolution and build geographic affiliates. To support this, we are excited to relaunch the Field and Affiliate Support Team (FAST) which has the following goals:

  • Strengthen and grow existing affiliates and organize new ones, building networks of mutual support between affiliates and identifying resources to meet common needs.
  • Organize and empower ORMA members across the state who are not yet members of affiliates, either by organizing new affiliates or through other mechanisms they may identify. Affiliates endorse candidates and campaign locally on key issues; their activities are the life-blood of OR in Massachusetts.

To contact FAST with any questions, including help with starting an Affiliate, or joining an Affiliate, email us at FAST@ourrevoutionma.com.

We are eager to grow Our Revolution MA! Please join us!

ORMA Stands Against Trump’s Threat of War with Iran and the Assassination of Foreign Officials.

ORMA stands against Trump’s rush to war. We oppose his decision to assassinate officials of another country, his bellicose threats to attack Iranian cultural sites (a potential war crime in the making), and his abject failure to live up to his campaign promise to “End Endless Wars”!

Our members joined and organized protest actions across Massachusetts as part of the National Day of Action on January 9, organized by a coalition of progressive organizations. You can find information about the protests that took place in your area at this link: https://www.nowarwithiran.org/event/no-war-with-iran/

We also support members of Congress, including: Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Ilhan Omar, in their effort to repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF); Senator Kaine in bringing forward a War Powers Resolution; and Senator Sanders and Rep. Khanna, who have introduced legislation to block any funding for a war on Iran. Please call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to urge your representatives to thank them for their support these pieces of legislation.

Picture: Our Revolution Massachusetts “Organizing to Win Summit” Braintree, Jan. 19. 2020. Speaker at the center Joseph Geevarghese, Executive Director, Our Revolution national.

Affiliates

Interested in joining Our Revolution Massachusetts? Find a group near you on ORMA’s Affiliate page located on our website! Affiliates please submit your photos to the newsletter editors if you want your photos/stories of organizing to be in future newsletters.

ORMA’s Organizing To Win 2020 Summit. What a Beautiful Day!

Councillor Will Mbah (Somerville City Council) was absolutely right when he opened his remarks at the Summit on Sunday, saying, “It’s a beautiful day!”

On Sunday, January 20th, ORMA hosted an Organizing to Win 2020 Summit in Braintree. We had a great turnout and if you weren’t able to join us, you can still watch the live stream recording of the first 90 min. Here. (See note below on endorsement status). Everyone can help follow up on the momentum of Summit by participating in our on-going efforts to speak directly with the 30,000 Our Revolution supporters and members in Massachusetts. Contact Anna Callahan at annacallahan@gmail.com to learn how, and to sign up for a phone bank. When We Organize – We Win!

We heard moving and painful stories about our failed healthcare system and the unconscionable choices it forces on individuals and families. We heard about the impact of the exploding housing crisis and crushing student debt on the hopes of young people and working class families. Joshua Chason, who’s family is shouldered with substantial student loan debt said he “can’t afford to get married” due to this debt. And we heard first hand how the fossil fuel industry continues to recklessly expand its presence in communities like Weymouth, with its construction of a compressor station, when science tells us we must eliminate our reliance on coal, oil, and gas.

We also heard about successes across the commonwealth as ordinary citizens, members of Our Revolution, and allied groups came together to organize for change in communities across Massachusetts. And members of Our Revolution Medford (jump to 51:00 in the video) laid out for us the road map they followed that led to their recent electoral successes. For example, Our Revolution Medford, pursuant to a vote of their membership, endorsed the following winning candidates in their local 2019 races: City Council, Zac Bears, Nicole Morell, School Committee, Jenny Graham, Mea Mustone, and Paul Reseau (2 other endorsed candidates lost). Also noteworthy were Zac Bears and Nicole Morell, were non-incumbents winners and will be newcomers to the City Council.

Following the opening presentations we had 4 workshops focused on what we can do today to create a Future to Believe In. Each breakout session highlighted the need to move from being “clicktivists” to being activists:

MA4Bernie 2020 led a session laying out the urgent need for action now. With the first primaries only days away, visit the MA4Bernie 2020 website or contact Robin Bergman (robinorig@gmail.com) to find out how to get involved in the campaign. ORMA members also announced the launch of a massive visibility campaign. To get involved, contact Andrew McLeod (andrewmboston@gmail.com)!

ORMA members from across the state discussed how we can work together to build new affiliates, expand existing ones, and engage more members in the struggle to realize a true people’s democracy. To learn more about how you can contribute to supporting new affiliates, contact Michael Gilbreath at FAST@ourrevoutionma.com. And then Make a contribution to help us bring to the rest of the Commonwealth the kind of success that Medford and other communities have seen.

Those ready to engage in the electoral struggle at the local level attended a session led by The Incorruptibles, which reviewed the strategy followed by OR Medford in their successful local elections to build real progressive power. To learn more, visit The Incorruptibles website or contact Anna Callahan at annacallahan@gmail.com.

Lastly, the founders of Act On Mass provided an exposé about the inner workings of the Massachusetts Legislature and why some of the most important progressive priorities and pieces of legislation, including elements of the Democratic Party Platform, fail to succeed at the State House. Reach out to Act On Mass to follow up and support the Transparency Pledge.

Events like this Summit are only possible with your support. Spreading the message of Organizing to Win across Massachusetts requires resources of energy, and people, and passion, and money. Make a donation of $20.20 today to build the Political Revolution. Better yet, help us reach our goal of recruiting 20 new Sustaining Members. Your monthly contribution of $20.20 (or any amount!) builds a reliable foundation allowing us to plan for the future, because Organized People + Organized Action + Organized Money = Power! And when we organize–we win!

Note: Candidates appearing in the video are not endorsed by ORMA, which has made no state or Congressional endorsements to date in 2020.

Event of interest: Greenfield, MA, Poor People’s Movement comes to our State.

Excerpt from the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival hosted the 11th stop of the We Must Do MORE national tour on February 5 at 7:00 pm, in Greenfield. The National co-chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, along with directly impacted and local leaders, hosted a Mass Meeting in Greenfield at the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, come together to build towards the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, scheduled for June 20, 2020.

Statement on The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival as we challenge the nation to do MORE — Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, and Educating! We are committed to mobilizing, organization, registration, and education to address systemic racism, poverty and inequality, the war economy and militarism, ecological devastation, and our nation’s distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

Affiliates Work on Many Issues, Including Protests and Film Screenings: Spotlight on OR Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution This Newsletter.

OR Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) has been sending their members info on protests and strikes in their area, including a protest January 9 against Trump going to war with Iran, and a rally supporting the Women’s March in the Pioneer Valley on January 18. Not only does FCCPR send email blasts to members, they also provide info for carpooling, volunteering, and links for how to easily spread the word about the protests on social media, and they have been holding events with other movements, including a movie night on the Green New Deal (excerpt below):

SUNRISE MOVEMENT, YOUTH RISE TOGETHER, and FCCPR for the GREEN NEW DEAL

2020 is going to be the most important year in the fight for a livable future, but whether it goes our way is up to us. To kick off this year, the Sunrise Movement held ‘Plan to win the Green New Deal 2020’ Launch Parties all over the country. Please join Youth Rise Together and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution at this free local event: Wednesday, January 29, 7:00 pm, 12 Federal St., Greenfield

They gathered to watch and discussed two short, brand new films from the Sunrise Movement about the Green New Deal and what we need to do in 2020 to win it, and then together we hope to figure out what we can do locally.

Good work FCCPR!

Photo: Screenshot of Facebook post on Our Revolution MA site of Nichole Mossalam, ORMA member collecting signatures for her candidacy for State Rep. for Middlesex District 35. Details on her Kickoff event included in the post.

Ways to Get Involved with ORMA

Want to join an upcoming ORMA Democratic Debate Watch party? Contact your local affiliate here for a list of watch parties in your local area over the coming months.

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ORMA Readers Corner

Monthly book/long read articles recommended by ORMA members.

This is an academic read into how democracies in developed and developing states fail–often through the ballot box, not by tanks in the streets. It is a comparative book, with lots of examples from around the world, but it makes a chilling case about the Trump Administration laying the seeds of a real potential threat to American democracy. It is compelling in that it states a realistic case for how the Trump Administration is impacting democracy in America without exaggerating what it has actually done! Here is a link to an article the authors wrote which is a condensed version of their argument.

Please send your reading recommendations to the ORMA Newsletter Volunteers

We Want to Hear From You!

Uninspiring quote of the month: “Former Secretary of State John Kerry, a Biden campaign surrogate, recently said Biden’s vote [on going to war with Iraq], under the circumstances, “didn’t mean you were in favor when the administration made the decision of actually going to war,” NBC News reported.” — Text excerpted from USA Today.

Inspiring quote of the month: “They go low. We go door to door.” @GENZFORBERNIE

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