ORGANIZING NOTES

November 14, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

 

 

The images of destruction and suffering in Israel and Palestine are unbearable and we all need to take action. ORMA encourages everyone to engage in their preferred way to make their voices heard for Peace in the Middle East. 

For those who resonate with the following organizations please follow these links:

 

Book Bans Threaten the South Coast Communities

By Nicky Osborne

The first hint that anti-LGBTQ forces were gathering on the South Coast was in September, 2022 when the Old Rochester Regional High School, (ORR), School Committee received a complaint about nine books (primarily related to LGBTQ and other marginalized groups) in its library. The books remained in the library but the complaint triggered a concern that rippled through the communities of Rochester, Marion, and Mattapoisett, all served by the ORR.

 

This past May, in local elections in all three communities there were candidates running on platforms calling for removing books on critical race theory, sex education,orLGBTQ issues. For the most part, the candidates with more extreme views were not successful in their bids for office.

 

Progressive activists, alarmed by the emergence of these candidates, began to investigate their funding. What they found was alarming.  Rochester received funding from a local PAC and a national organization.

 

The Massachusetts Family Institute, (MFI,https://www.mafamily.org/about/)

was one of them.  According to its website, the MFI is a nonprofit policy group dedicated,  “….to strengthening the family and affirming the Judeo-Christian values upon which it is based,”  MFI has advocated for a variety of far-right positions, including opposing same-sex marriage, proclaiming that “….all sex outside of heterosexual marriage is detrimental to families.” According to a local newspaper, New Bedford Light,  “from 2015 to 2019, tax records revealed that MFI collected over $2.7 million in grants, gifts, contributions, and fees, much of this from outside of Massachusetts. In 2019, the group spent more than a quarter-million dollars on lobbying efforts, including over $100,000 on lobbying designated as “grassroots.” 

 

In addition, Rochester Citizens for Responsible Government, was formed as an Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee or IE PAC. It’s purpose was to participate in the “…electoral process in Rochester, MA and surrounding communities,” according to the group’s statement of organization. A resident contributed $20,000 to the PAC of which half of it went to support the reelection of two candidates who supported book banning. The treasurer is Thomas Datwyler, who worked on  Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign and is a Wisconsin-based campaign finance consultant. 

 

Southeast communities in Massachusetts are now organizing to respond to these far-right campaigns and to prepare for the 2024 election. There is concern that these reactionary movements will be better organized and better financed the next time around. 

 

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Nicky Osborne, Political consultant at https://ourrevolutionma.com/contact-orma/

 

It’s Time for Polluters to Pay the Bill!

For decades, fossil fuel corporations have made record profits while destroying our shared environment. And for decades, taxpayers have picked up the tab for cleaning up the mess. Worse still, where do those record profits go? The same place practically all of the enormous profits of the US economy have gone for the past [40] years. The wealthiest of the wealthy, to the 1%. 

Under the banner of Make Polluters Pay, Better Future Project, in partnership with 350 Massachusetts, Mass Power Forward, and a number of other organizations including the ORMA Climate Crisis Working Group, have joined together to say Enough is Enough. We’re mad as hell, and we aren’t going to take it any more!

The principle of Make Polluters Pay is simple: those who make a mess should be the ones to clean it up. Any well-behaved 5-year-old would tell you this is fair. So why do we let big oil, coal, and gas corporations get away with it? 

It’s time we turned that around. The costs of climate change are growing every year as the effects become more and more extreme. We need strong legislation to ensure that the profitable fossil fuel corporations are held accountable for their actions. It’s time for them to pick up the tab!

Better Future Project, in partnership with 350 Massachusetts and Mass Power Forward, working with lead Sponsors Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Steve Owens, have filed legislation (S.481/H.872) to create a climate change superfund which will establish the climate change adaptation cost recovery program. It will require companies that have contributed significantly to the buildup of climate-warming greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to bear a share of the costs of needed infrastructure investment, raising an estimated $75 billion over 25 years from the 20 largest polluting companies. This influx of funds will enable the commonwealth to prepare for the coming climate impacts.

Holding polluters responsible for the damage they have caused is wildly popular across the political spectrum; 77% of Americans support holding big oil and gas companies accountable. This is the next step for Massachusetts to be a leader in combating climate change. You can get involved now by signing the petition to ask Governor Healey to include a climate superfund in her budget, or by signing up for the campaign email list.

The next phase of the campaign will entail lobbying key Senate and House leaders on the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources

 

To this and other climate lobbying priorities, Mass Power Forward and Sierra Club are sponsoring Climate Lobbying Training dates. It is critically important that constituents in Sen. Rausch’s District and Rep. Cahill’s district join this effort! 


November 15th 5 PM – https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002HRjwAAG&mapLinkHref=

 

OR-Endorsed Candidates Win Multiple Victories in Several Cities

In last week’s local elections, there were cities with significant multiple victories by OR-endorsed candidates. In Medford Zac Bears, Kit Collins, Nicole Morell, and Justin Tseng were elected to the City Council, and Jenny Graham, Sharon Hays, Mea Mustone, and Paul Ruseau won seats on the Medford School Committee.  In Boston, where both local ward councilors and at large council seats were on the ballot, Julia Mejia, Henry Santana, and Ruthzee Louijeune won at large seats and Ben Weber won in District 6.  In Cambridge, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler won a seat on the Council, returning after a two-year absence. Four OR-endorsed candidates were elected to seats on the six-member School Committee, where they will be joined by the Mayor who will be selected by the incoming City Council.  The winners were David Weinstein, Rachel Weinstein (no relation), Jose Luis Rojas Villareal, and Andrew King (or, possibly, Richard Harding).  The reason for the uncertainty about the last seat is that the final count, which will include any late absentee ballots, will not be done until November 17.  At the moment, Andrew King leads Richard Harding by three votes.  Both are OR-endorsed.

          In addition, there were scattered individual victories by progressive candidates in cities and towns without an active OR affiliate capable of endorsing them.  Given the importance of local elections for building the number of progressives in the first tier of elected office, a challenge for the future will be whether new OR affiliates are created or if other progressive organizations begin to run local slates. 

 

Join Mass Alliance on Wednesday, November 15 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at St Paul’s Cathedral in Downtown Boston to bring our progressive community together and welcome Vanessa Aguirreche Snow, the new Executive Director of Mass Alliance, as we create and share a vision for the future of Massachusetts progressive politics!

 

Additional speakers are Jon Cohn of Progressive Mass and Rep. Sam Montaño.


Tickets are available here.

Call to Conference

Dec 2, 2023

Massachusetts has the reputation of being one of the most progressive states in the country. Yet we lack legislative transparency, and we have a progressive Democratic Party platform that the leadership ignores and a state government that has ttremendous difficulty passing progressive legislation.

In response, the Massachusetts Progressive Action Organizing Committee (MPAOC) invites you to an online Strategy Conference.  We will focus on how progressive activists can gain the power to pass vigorous meaningful legislation and initiate changes to improve the lives of all of our citizens.

In panels and breakout groups, conference attendees will examine paths to increase progressive power, identify the obstacles to our success. and learn strategies to overcome them.  See SCHEDULE HERE

 

A Huge Win for Labor

“Get up, Stand Up – Stand up for your right”* by Rand Wilson and Peter Olney.

The “Hot Labor Summer” grew into an even “hotter” labor Autimn for the U.S. working class.  The newly reformed United Auto Workers won historic contractual gains by selectively striking the “Big Three” domestic auto makers: Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (a merger of Fiat, Chrysler, and Renault). On October 30, the union concluded tentative agreements with all three companies, pending membership ratification votes. 

Read Full Article 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, Nov. 10th.

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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