ORGANIZING NOTES

February 6,2024

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

 

 

The Pressure Cooker

             As Israel wages its genocidal war on the Palestinians in Gaza and the administration supports Israel, pro-ceasefire advocates think of pressuring Biden to change policy or end his re-election campaign. Advocates of this strategy cite a successful historical precedent. In January of 1968 Vietnamese troops won a devastating victory over American and South Vietnamese forces in what is now known as the Tet Offensive. Opposition to the war in the U.S. grew rapidly. In the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy surprised the country by winning 43% of the vote compared to 49% by incumbent President Lyndon Johnson. Stunned, Johnson withdrew his candidacy.    

                      Today, opposition to the Biden administration’s policies is growing. In Michigan, the relatively large Arab American population has made electoral opposition meaningful. But elsewhere, the inability of third parties to attract significant numbers of voters, combined with the fear a Trump victory would bring fascism, has severely limited interest in an electoral strategy. While third-party candidates are potential spoilers, the biggest danger to Biden’s re-election is that youth, POC, and Arab Americans will sit out the election and not vote

                     In Massachusetts, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley is a leading advocate for a Ceasefire now. Senators Warren and Markey now advocate for an end to unconditional aid to Israel, although they have disappointed by failing to endorse the demand for a long-term ceasefire. Congressman Stephen Lynch, a conservative Democrat, surprised many by signing on to a ceasefire demand.

             Efforts to increase pressure have increased in the Commonwealth. The City Councils of Cambridge and Somerville passed ceasefire resolutions. Medford has a resolution on its agenda. The Cambridge Democratic City Committee passed a strong resolution by a surprisingly one-sided margin: 35 to 5.

             There have been demonstrations and standouts from one end of the state to the other. There was a large standout in Northampton over the weekend and earlier several hundred people participated in a loud and energetic Labor for Ceasefire picket outside the offices of Congresswoman Katherine Clark in Malden. The Malden demonstration is of particular interest because it focused on Clark in Congressional District 5. CD5 includes Framingham, Sudbury, Natick, Wellesley, Weston, Waltham, Lexington, Watertown, Woburn, Stoneham, Medford, Malden, Revere, and Winthrop. Clark is the House Minority Whip. This makes her the Massachusetts legislator holding the highest rank in the Biden administration. 

            There will be increased ceasefire advocacy within her district in the coming period. There will shortly be a large demonstration in Boston and, possibly, satellite demonstrations in Worcester and Springfield. The Poor People’s Campaign and Mass Peace Action initiated this event, but many other organizations and labor unions have joined in. Turn up your heat to increase the pressure.

 

It’s 2024; Who Benefits from the 2024 Tax Package

Broadly touted by the legislature and the governor as tax relief, who benefits from the 2024 tax package passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Healy?

 

Here’s a graphic from the Mass Budget and Policy Center which illustrates how much a qualifying household receives from the tax legislation endorsed last Fall.

Question: Why did the MA state government overwhelmingly approve this tax package so tilted to benefit the very wealthy just after the Fair Share Ballot won? 

(Quick reminder; in November of 2023 a majority of voters from across the state endorsed a Constitutional Amendment requiring the wealthy pay a surtax of 4% on their income over $1 million.  They would pay 4 cents on every dollar only on income over $1 million. This increase in state revenues was estimated to raise $1.3 billion and had to be spent on public transit and public education.)

 

Answer: The wealthy didn’t want to pay more taxes and the media controlled by corporations and wealthy individuals reported repeatedly that the rich were thinking of leaving the state. Even though the Mass Budget and Policy Center produced a report showing that this was a false narrative,( There is no evidence the rich are leaving), it was repeated again and again by the governor and many other elected leaders.

 

Maura Healy is embracing the previous governor’s Pioneer Institute-informed economic policies of trickle-down economics, a belief that the rich are job creators. The state legislature contains few elected leaders who rent, take public transport, or send their children to public schools in poor districts. It’s easy for them to discount the importance of services to be paid for by the Fair Share Amendment and give away almost half a billion in tax cuts to the wealthy. In addition, in a State House ruled by an iron fisted Speaker who doles out committee positions bringing tens of thousands of dollars in extra income, it is a near miracle that three courageous representatives, Michael Connelly, Erika Untermeyer, and Dan Sena risked his ire by opposing this tax package. 

 

A thriving Massachusetts economy depends on a strong infrastructure of public transportation, public education, and good, dependable, and affordable healthcare. Allowing the wealthy to accrue disproportionate wealth while depriving public services is not only immoral, it is bad economic policy.

 

Volunteer with ORMA to work inside and outside of the Democratic Party to bring about change.

 

Join others with Progressive MASS to take action with our partner organizations to protect democracy and promote civic engagement, in the company of your friends and neighbors. You will write postcards, make phone calls, and take other actions on a range of issues ranging from voter registration, voter turnout, and progressive state policy.

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Thursday, February 15 @ 7pm

Online teach-in with Medea Benjamin, Stephen Kinzer and Dennis Kucinich

As the second anniversary of the war in Ukraine and the beginning of the 5th month of the attack on Gaza approaches, the peace movement’s call for a ceasefire in Gaza continues to grow. Mass. Peace Action and (other co-sponsors) invite you to this online teach-in to increase our understanding of each conflict. To help us gain greater clarity on these matters we are happy to present 3 speakers who have important information and reflections to share with us.

 

Major NEW Fossil Fuel Projects Paused

Facing a rising tide of national opposition, and threats of major civil disobedience in Washington DC, President Biden and Energy Secretary Granholm paid attention—calling for a pause in the approval process of 12 (new) LNG projects.  Official White House Statement.

This is great news for our movement, our climate, and the frontline communities threatened by these proposed projects. The impacted projects in the U.S. would spew out as much climate-warming pollution as 223 coal plants per year, and if completed, these EXPORT facilities would increase domestic prices, and despite industry and warmonger claims, Europe doesn’t need the gas!

 

This is a pause, not a halt


Now, we turn to defending this win—in part by making sure that the people who made it follow through. We have to keep up the pressure on Biden to cancel the projects, send a message here.

 

      If you would like to work with ORMA Members on

  • Climate Change
  • Community-Based Alternative Emergency Response Teams
  • Ranked-Choice Voting
  • Housing For All       

ORMA depends on your support to continue Bernie’s Political Revolution to create a society, a politics, and an economy that works for everyone, not just billionaires, corporations and the political elite.

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Please send requests for action items, articles or upcoming events

for the next Organizing Notes to 

beccobrien.orma@gmail.com by Thursday, Feb. 15th

We’d love to have you send us your favorite pictures of Bernie here in MA!

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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