ORMA Newsletter July 2020


Inside this Issue: Priorities and News | Updates From the Affiliates | Ways to Get Involved in the Revolution | New Book Club

Welcome all!

Thank you for taking the time to look at our newsletter. We know these are challenging times for all. There are many things happening around our state on the progressive front. We invite you to take a look here at some of the important issues ORMA has been involved with from May through early July and going forward. We have recently improved our website, including adding our statement on standing with the Movement for Black Lives and against racism in any form. We look forward to hearing from you, to seeing you participating in political movements and joining us in making Massachusetts the progressive leader this country needs so badly. Join us!
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2020 ORMA General Assembly Report

On May 30th, via Zoom, the 2020 ORMA General Assembly, composed of members from around the state, reviewed and discussed many of the major issues facing ORMA, Massachusetts and the nation. As ORMA members we worked together to clarify and set priorities for ORMA through to the November election.

The General Assembly opened with the recognition that our work as revolutionaries is very difficult and the challenges real. Michael Gilbreath provided a summary of ORMA accomplishments and successes, followed by statements from two of ORMA’s endorsed candidates in Massachusetts – Ed Markey in the U.S. Senate race and Alex Morse, candidate for US Congress in CD1.

Then all members broke out into groups of six to eight people to discuss priorities and actions ORMA should take. The specific focus of the morning breakout groups revolved around the question: “What are the actions that you most wish ORMA would successfully carry out in 2020?” Of course, there is no shortage of issues demanding our attention: war, poverty, racism, pollution, climate change, and immense social and economic inequities. Plus, we live in the age of COVID-19, and of Black people’s demand that white supremacy end. And that we all want to defeat Donald Trump in November. And here we are – ORMA – committed to setting priorities by a democratic vote of its members. There clearly remains great need for action on our chosen issues (listed below). In light of the upcoming national elections this year, the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and the increased awareness of racism as a lingering wound, our agenda is full of work to be done.

The afternoon full-group discussion focused on the question: “What could ORMA do to make the membership more engaged in ORMA and/or how can ORMA grow and have a far more active membership?” It was mentioned that the existing committees were all in need of more volunteers: people with tech skills or writing skills, an interest in electoral politics or political action at the state level, keeping track of calendars, planning events, responding to offers to volunteer. If you are interested in volunteering please sign-up here.

Together, we developed a list of 12 proposed areas of focus for the next 6 months, along with many specific actions that could be taken in support of each one. There will be a more detailed email sent soon about the specific actions to be taken. In a ranked choice vote, the following priorities were agreed on through the 2020 election: In descending order; The Green New Deal; Dismantling of Structural Racism (White Supremacy); Medicare for All; Money out of Politics; and the upcoming 2020 Elections.

These will be the priorities of our community, and it is a list to be proud of. More details on how to get involved in working groups for each priority are provided below (sign up here to help).

Thank you to all who were able to participate in the General Assembly and help shape ORMA’s agenda from the ground up! We hope we will be able to hold the 2021 General Assembly in person next time. This is what democracy looks like.


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ORMA Priorities and News

ORMA Endorses Ed Markey for U.S. Senate and Alex Morse for CD1.


Our Revolution Massachusetts’ first endorsed candidates for federal offices in 2020: Senator Markey and Mayor Morse

Sen. Ed Markey and Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, candidate for Congressional District 1.

Following a meticulous process that featured membership engagement at every step, ORMA members overwhelmingly endorsed Senator Ed Markey for re-election by a margin of 90% to 10% for his challenger, Rep. Joseph Kennedy.

ORMA is immensely grateful to both Senator Markey and Representative Kennedy for their enthusiastic participation in the ORMA endorsement process. Both candidates submitted letters to our membership addressing their qualifications and outlining their positions on issues, and then participated in live Q&A sessions with our members.

Please turn this endorsement into meaningful action – visit the Markey Campaign here and here.

Senator Markey won our members’ trust so overwhelmingly because at every step of our evaluative process the differences between the candidates’ policies and priorities were clear.

Senator Markey was the only candidate to put forward a labor agenda, citing his advocacy in the fight for $15, the fight to expand public sector unions, and the fight to safeguard union elections. He was also the only candidate to put forward an immigrant agenda, citing his work to defend refugees with the Grace Act and to protect DACA and TPS recipients. Members also noted Senator Markey’s support for Rep. Pressley’s “baby bonds” bill to close the racial wealth gap, and his work with Senators Sanders and Warren, and Reps. McGovern and Pressley, to suspend the Iran sanctions that exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis.

Since winning a special election in 2013 Senator Markey has amassed a solid record on environmental, climate, gun safety, and consumer protection issues. He co-authored the Green New Deal, and his leadership has led to legislation to address the humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border, as well as protect LGBTQ+ rights, and ensure that Donald Trump cannot launch a nuclear first strike without Congressional approval.

Senator Markey has demonstrated he will push the Senate to live up to the promise of racial justice, economic justice, and a livable planet for all. We look forward to working with Senator Markey as he plays a leading role in pursuing equal rights for working families, the most vulnerable and exploited among us, and to ensuring a “Recovery for All” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Markey campaign quickly responded to news of ORMA’s endorsement, “Our Revolution Massachusetts members are staunch defenders of the environment and proponents of a Green New Deal, Medicare For All, and affordable housing, all of which lie at the heart of this election, and I am honored to receive their endorsement,” said Markey. “The effectiveness of movements depends on the kind of people-driven advocacy that ORMA practices and that I have the privilege of championing everyday. I believe that by working together we can achieve the real, structural change that we need.” The endorsement was reported in the Politico Massachusetts Playbook.

Our Revolution Massachusetts is proud to announce our first endorsed 2020 candidate for Congress, Mayor Alex Morse.

Alex was born and raised in Holyoke, where he grew up in a housing project with two working-class parents. At 22 he ran for mayor of his hometown of Holyoke and won, making him not just the youngest mayor Holyoke has ever had but also its first openly gay mayor.

As Mayor, Alex has accomplished a great deal in his eight years of service and has continued to add to his streak of “firsts.” He was the first Massachusetts mayor to call for the legalization of marijuana and under his leadership, Holyoke became Massachusetts’ first sanctuary city and began the implementation of a needle exchange program. He is also the first mayor to prominently and intentionally demand the inclusion of Puerto Rican works in public art; this is significant because Holyoke has the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans per capita outside of Puerto Rico. Alex believes that Healthcare is a right, not a privilege and he enthusiastically supports Medicare for All, encouraging the City Council to pass a resolution in favor of it. He’s also the first CD1 Congressional candidate to host an entirely Spanish speaking town hall. There is, however, something he accomplished that wasn’t a first! As Mayor he has replaced the last coal plant in Western Massachusetts with the commonwealth’s largest solar field, putting Holyoke on track towards 100% renewable energy. Alex actively supports the Green New Deal and is endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, as well as 350 Action.

It’s safe to say that Alex Morse is comfortable breaking molds and challenging the status quo, all while rejecting PAC money and relying on small dollar donations. He’s exactly the type of Congressional Representation we need, and the type of candidate ORMA is proud to endorse.

Alex Morse is challenging one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, Richard Neal, who is the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and someone who has held his Congressional office for longer than Alex has been alive!

Neal is arguably the second most powerful Democrat in the House and one of our barriers to passing the Green New Deal and Medical for All federally. Neal actively opposes Medicare for All and is moving to deny uninsured victims of Covid-19 the benefits from an extension of Medicare. Notably, he accepted $496,000 from the healthcare industry in 2019 alone. Neal is the only MA Congressperson who has not endorsed the Green New Deal.

The people of Massachusetts Congressional District 1 deserve a Congressman who knows what it means to be working class and who knows how to advocate for the needs of people!

ORMA enthusiastically endorses Alex Morse who is not afraid to confront a corporate Congressman, who is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights, for affordable housing, healthcare, racial justice, and social justice, who is for immigrants and the working people of this country!

Alex’s website: aAlexMorseforCongress.com/


Report from ORMA’s Virtual Summit

Over the past two months not only did ORMA host our General Assembly where members were asked to voice their views, help shape policies, and vote on priorities, ORMA also conducted a virtual summit at the end of June focused on the issue of racial equality with some of the top leaders on the topic in our state.

At ORMA’s June 28 virtual Summit meeting, National Our Revolution announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Ed Markey. Markey has established a reputation as a leading advocate for strong action to prevent irreversible Climate Change. He made a bold move in 2019 when he joined with “Squad” member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to launch the Green New Deal.

Our Guests

Our Hosts


 

At the ORMA Summit Markey appeared with another member of The Squad, Massachusetts’ Representative Ayanna Pressley (Congressional District 7). Pressley and Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards presented legislative proposals designed to dismantle structural racism. Pressley has introduced a resolution to Condemn Police Brutality and Demand Nationwide Reforms that has already attracted 200 co-sponsors. A roll-call vote on her bill will be an indicator of how far the upswell of anti-racist opinion has impacted the GOP.

She, as well as Bernie Sanders and Markey in the Senate have proposed an Ending Qualified Immunity Act that would remove a significant barrier to actions to combat police violence. Pressley pointed out that we are treating essential workers as if they are disposable. At the summit she said that in the face of COVID-19 it is essential to preserve housing for these workers by providing rent and mortgage protection and blocking evictions and foreclosures. Further, with school closings, unsafe public transport and the closures of small businesses to provide essential support for essential workers, including immigrants, we must provide cash payments, health care, child-care and small business support.

Councilor Lydia Edwards also outlined steps that cities, towns and local governments can take to reduce the effects of white supremacy. For instance, Boston just passed an ordinance that prohibits city use of facial recognition technology, making the city the first of its size to take this bold step. The Councilor and colleagues have proposed creating a new agency that would deal with emergency needs to address social problems. The agency would be staffed with personnel trained to deal with social problems and would provide an arms-free alternative to the police. Cities will also need to create a civilian review board with subpoena powers to assure accountability of police and other agencies. From this point on, community members must play a role in the creation of police contracts and in the reimagining of police forces and their demilitarization.

At the summit it was announced that ORMA members recently used ranked choice voting after the General Assembly to identify the five issues that are our priorities through the 2020 election. These were, in descending order: The Green New Deal; Dismantling of Structural Racism (White Supremacy); Medicare for All; Money out of Politics and the Elections.

ORMA now needs volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to work on these priorities. For each priority we have set specific goals for the year:

Green New Deal –

  • Obtain 200 signatures in each MA state representative district to place ballot initiatives on fossil fuel restrictions and legislative transparency on the local ballot in 2020. Thanks to a late-breaking settlement with the state, you can now officially sign these ballot signatures from your computer. H.4700/S.2701)
  • Stop healthcare institutional immunity from liability
  • Achieve 100% endorsement of M4A by the MA Congressional delegation (oppose Neal, Lynch, and Moulton)

Money out of Politics –

Elections 2020 –

September 1 Primary
Support Sen. MarkeyAlex MorseDr. Robbie Goldstein and other endorsed candidates

Protect democracy
Guaranteed mail-in ballot
Pass Ranked Choice Voting ballot initiative

November 3 election
Democracy or the GOP/Trump/autocracy
Now is the moment for you to volunteer to work on the issue or issues most important to you.Here is the link to get involved and volunteer in ORMA’s 2020 Priorities via working groups. You can do much of the work from home and we need you NOW!

In solidarity,
ORMA


Money out of Politics: We The People Act is Within Striking Distance of a House Floor Vote.

The We The People Act (S.2163 & H.3208), an integral step towards amending the U.S. Constitution on Campaign Finance Reform, has a historic opportunity to get a vote, but we need your help to make it happen!

Earlier this year the House resolution passed its joint committee for the first time ever and advanced to the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling, the final step before the floor. All of a sudden COVID-19 arrived like a ton of bricks and the legislature was shut down. The We the People Act was moved to the back of the calendar with most other legislation, and now, procedurally it can be brought up for a vote at any time.

Despite a global pandemic, the We The People Act has never been this close to the finish line. Once passed, it would make Massachusetts the historic 6th state to apply for an Article V convention to propose a U.S. Constitutional Amendment to fix the corruption in our campaign finance system. It would put maximum pressure on Congress and either forces them to propose an Amendment or allow the states to propose the amendment instead.

Our champions within the legislature see a window and will be pushing for the first ever House vote on the We the People Act in the coming weeks, but they need backup. The legislature needs to see and feel that this legislation and issue has incredible support within the public. They need to hear from you.

Action Item: Please take a moment to email your State Representativeand urge him or her to help pass the We The People Act. Also, please follow up with a phone call: Ask your State Representative to write to Speaker Robert DeLeo requesting that the We The People Act be brought to a vote in the House as soon as possible. Then ask him or her to send you a copy of the letter that he or she sends to Speaker DeLeo. To increase your impact, ask friends and relatives to follow your example!

Thank you all for what you’ve done so far and we’re excited to keep you updated. Let’s do everything we can to PASS the House!


Ranked Choice Voting Initiative Unofficially Clinches its Place on the MA Ballot. A record number of signatures submitted.

The following press release is from Voter Choice for Massachusetts 2020. Many ORMA members reported signing to get Ranked Choice Voting on the ballot in 2020.

“Boston, Mass. – Voter Choice for Massachusetts 2020 is one step closer to securing a place on the November ballot for its historic citizen’s initiative to bring Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) to Massachusetts. The grassroots campaign has now submitted more than 136,000 signatures to Secretary of State William Galvin for validation, far surpassing the number of signatures required by the Massachusetts Constitution. The Secretary of State’s office will now review the signatures to validate those entries over the next thirty days.

“We’re celebrating today in Massachusetts, and our entire team is incredibly proud to have submitted a record number of signatures to Secretary Galvin’s office,” said Brian Bass, Organizing Director for the campaign’s 2019 and 2020 signature drives. “We are confident that Ranked Choice Voting will be included on the Massachusetts ballot in November. We worked tirelessly to engage voters across the Commonwealth over the past year to make this happen. It’s clear to us, as more reformers join our ranks, that Massachusetts voters want more choice, more voice, and more freedom when they vote.

“Ranked Choice Voting is simple, fair and easy. On your ballot, you can vote for just one candidate like you always have, or you can rank your first choice, your second choice and your third choice, just like you rank things in order in your everyday life,” said Shauna Hamilton, Deputy Campaign Manager. “If your favorite candidate can’t win, your vote is instantly counted for your second choice so your vote matters more.”

To protect both voters and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Judicial Court on April 29, 2020 issued an Order allowing for e-signatures during the second set of required ballot initiative signature collection. Since then, volunteers for the ranked choice voting campaign have collected e-signatures through a DocuSign online program, working with Secretary of State Bill Galvin and local town clerks.

“This was the first electronic signature drive to get a citizen’s initiative on the ballot in American history,” said Cara Brown McCormick, the campaign’s leader. “Together we gathered signatures at a rate of one every two minutes for 40 days in a row, and were fortunate to be able to do the whole drive while keeping everyone safe.” Contact: Charlie@sqcomms.com, 617-894-6905

About Voter Choice for Massachusetts 2020: Made up of tens of thousands of citizens across the state, Voter Choice for Massachusetts is a non-partisan campaign of Democrats, Republicans and Independents working together to place a question on the 2020 ballot to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Massachusetts elections starting in 2022.
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Interested in Joining an ORMA Book Club?

A message from ORMA member Jennifer Chute:

I would like to start a book club that focuses on a different book every couple of months that supports different progressive issues. The more we are educated about a subject, the stronger advocates we can be. It also is a chance for us to come together (virtually at the moment) to discuss important topics and provide support for each other as we come up with action steps to support the issues discussed. This is also an opportunity for inactive members to rejoin and potential new members to join us for vibrant progressive discussions.

Our Revolution stands firmly in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, but in order to effectively do so we need to do our homework. That’s why I would like to invite you to join me reading “The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. In order to move forward, we need an accurate and educated perspective on our history and how we got here.

Please email me at: chutejennifer@gmail.com if you are interested in joining a zoom meeting to discuss the book and I will be contacting everyone once a date and time is set. I am looking to have our first meeting the first week of August.


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ORMA Affiliates

Black Lives Matter rally in Fall River June 4th, 2020

Fall River, June 4 Black Lives Matter protest. ORMA members attended, the mayor of Fall River, and local police officers all took a knee.

Affiliates active in protests, COVID-19, and holding public officials accountable.

Across the Commonwealth affiliates dealt with stay at home orders, Zoom meetings, and protesting while in facemasks. The affiliates have been active in too many areas to recount fully. A few of the highlights include protesting for black lives, anti-police brutality, and against racism, in cities as big as Boston, Worcester, Springfield, to towns as small as Greenfield, Northampton, and Amherst. Actions of neighbors helping neighbors during the pandemic have been prevalent as well as holding political leaders accountable, such as in Medford, where ORMA Medford, and ORMA endorsed newly elected City Councilor Zac Bears, have been demanding fellow members of the Council show up at meetings and keep government running.
We thank you all for your tireless efforts and hope reform is on the way! Keep us posted on your upcoming events and what you have accomplished locally.     Back to top

Ways to get involved with ORMA. Join us!

Interested in joining Our Revolution Massachusetts? Find a group near you on ORMA’s affiliate page. You can also volunteer for actions around the state and join the ORMA Facebook group to stay connected.

Interested in working on ORMA’s priorities? Our members have spoken and we have established 5 top priorities for the rest of 2020. To implement these priorities we need participation in Working Groups that will concentrate on each one. Please choose one or more groups you want to be a part of on the form to the right. The 5 priorities are: Advocate for the Green New Deal, Work to Defeat Structural Racism, Advocate for and pass Medicare for All, Eliminate the influence of money in politics, and the 2020 elections (local, state, and Federal)

If you sign up, you will be contacted by a member already engaged in each area, or by a representative of our Political Action and Civic Engagement committee to answer questions and help connect you with others interested in the same work.

We are mindful that many members already are involved in other organizations working on these same issues. ORMA feels strongly that often our most valuable work can be to lift up and amplify the work of allied organizations. If you are one of these folks we would especially value your participation in our working groups.

Affiliate meetings moved online: Please check your email from your local affiliate for details.

ORMA affiliates are holding meetings online, checking in on each other, and staying in touch via online resources across our state. Please check your email for more details.

BE IN OUR NEWSLETTER: Affiliates please submit your photos to the newsletter editors (newsletter@ourrevolutionma.com) if you want your photos/stories of organizing to be featured in future newsletters.

ORMA Readers Corner

Here is our monthly book recommended by ORMA members!

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander. This book has turned into a new age classic addressing the criminal justice system and systemic racism, especially how the two fit together. It has already had lasting effect on public discourse on the topic. This book is being featured as the first book in the newly organized ORMA book club–see details above on joining if you missed it.

Please send your reading recommendations to the ORMA newsletter volunteers who write this newsletter! We would love to hear from you.

We want to hear from you!

Uninspiring quote of the month: Trump when touring the CDC on March 6th: “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

Inspiring quote of the month: “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.” – Frederick Douglass: If there is no struggle there is no-progress / Blackpast.org

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