ORGANIZING NOTES

November 28, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

 

 

The Audit Campaign

By Diana Dizoglio

As State Auditor, I remain committed to increasing transparency, accountability, and equity across our state government. This includes conducting an audit of the Massachusetts Legislature. Knowing where and how our money is spent is critical in helping to spotlight the ways state government is conducting business on behalf of taxpayers.

 

In March 2023, our office began an audit of the Legislature and notified the Senate President and House Speaker of my intention to conduct this audit. While all other state entities have welcomed audits from our office as matters of routine, both the Senate President and House Speaker have refused to comply with our office.

 

Despite resistance from legislative leadership on our effort to continue this audit continue reading here

 

Why Our Revolution Is Fighting To Make

The Mass Democratic Party More Democratic

                       By Rand Wilson and Henry Wortis

Party reformers, including many leaders of Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA), are working to increase democracy within the state Democratic Party. The chief decision-making body of the Party is the Democratic State Committee or DSC. DSC has 420 members. Currently the majority of the DSC’s membership (57%) is not democratically elected by the Party’s grassroots base.


That’s a problem because an unelected majority makes it nearly impossible to hold members of the DSC accountable for its decisions or individual members votes. It allows for the state chair, wealthy doners, and special interests to exert undue influence over party decision making.


The largest unelected DSC membership group is composed of 132 so-called “lifetime members” who have gained permanent committee seats after serving on the DSC for 20 years.

 

The second unelected group of committee members are “add-on” members created to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups on the DSC. There are currently 99 add-on members. These add-on members are self-nominated and then elected by members of the DSC. They are not nominated by the Afro-American, disabled, or LGBTQ+ or other constituencies that they are purported to represent.


The remaining minority of DSC members (currently 173) are elected through “ballot elections” in the 40 state senate districts via the presidential primary ballot or at “caucus elections” by representatives from local ward or town committees. Nineteen committee members are on the DSC because they are important elected officials. 


An obvious solution is to phase out 20-year lifetime members and have “add on” members elected in a public caucus. ORMA party activists first introduced proposals to make the DSC more accountable at the state convention in 2017, then again in 2022. This year, reformers brought forward a resolution calling on the DSC to create a committee to determine how to address its unelected leadership problem. It was rejected by the party’s Resolutions subcommittee.


Concerns about ensuring that historically underrepresented groups are well represented on the DSC are important. However, at a time when the state party is hemorrhaging members, especially among young adults and a growing number of working-class voters are being seduced by the far right, reformers believe the undemocratic nature of the DSC is preventing the party from responding to the political and economic realities most people face.


If you are interested in helping to build a movement for state party reform, sign up here.

For a more in-depth discussion of issues concerning the governance of the state party click here for The Inside Story:: Why Our Revolution is Fighting

To Make The Mass Democratic Party More Democratic.

 

Biden’s Campaign Could Take A Page From Bernie’s Book

In a recent New York Times article, Karen Petrou, the managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, wrote, “The West Wing may believe Bidenomics is working because the macroeconomic gurus at the Federal Reserve are telling the White House it’s working. But Bidenomics has failed to create sufficient tangible improvement in the lives of most voters in a world in which groceries still cost more than they did a year ago, average rent and mortgage rates have spiked and health and child care grow ever more unaffordable. Mr. Biden cannot win in 2024 unless he speaks to the economy as it is, not as he wishes it was.”

Here are some of the data that Petrou is talking about. In this figure, the red line shows the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the value of all goods produced in the USA, and the blue the median household income. Note that while the GDP is going up, median income is going down. What it means is that the income has plunged over the last four years. That is what people are unhappy about. Simply put, they are poorer now than they were four years ago.

That is what they blame Biden and the Democrats for. That is why they (mistakenly) think that Trump will do better than Biden in managing the economy.  When Biden and Democratic spokespeople claim that the country is doing well as a result of Bidenonomics they are talking about GDP. But it is income that determines the quality of people’s lives.   And falling incomes create angry voters.

 

Biden and the Dems will not help his election chances by continuing their current strategy. They need to change. He needs to take a page from Bernie’s book and keep the promises he made to substantially decrease student debt, expand accessibility to childcare, and decrease the cost of housing and healthcare for the majority of people in the United States.

 

MA Medicare For All Bill Could Have Saved Quincy Hospital

  By Sandy Eaton, RN, South Shore M4A

On a recent Saturday afternoon, about thirty attendees gathered in the community room of the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy to hear how a state bill for single payer health insurance, often referred as improved Medicare for All (M4A), could make their lives better.

 

Dr. Alan Meyers, a retired of pediatrician and founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, explained how, even after the passage of the  precursor of the Affordable Care Act passed in Massachusetts, almost a third of people in the state report having an unmet health care need in their family due to cost. Some skip medication doses and many delay or forgo care because of deductibles and copays. Up to a third of all money spent in our healthcare system, the most expensive in the world, goes to billing and administration. The current M4A legislation would change everything, he said. It would cover services not currently included in insurance, such as vision, dental and long-term care, and there would be no co-pays or deductibles. “None, not one dime, ” he emphasized. The entire program would be paid for through taxes, with only those with incomes over $500,000 paying more.

 

Sandy Eaton, a retired Quincy nurse, speaking on behalf of the South Shore Coalition for Human Rights, said single-payer financing may have saved Quincy’s 124 year old community hospital had it been in place, valuing each person’s health, and life, equally. The “free market” approach to health care created a  system of haves and have-nots, of winners and losers. “In health care, we cannot afford any more losers.” He shared his fear that he and his wife will now have to travel far to reach critical services. “You all know that saving time in the diagnosis of a stroke or a heart attack saves brain and cardiac muscle cells,” he said.

 

Lyn Newkirk, a retired CPA and leader of South Shore Medicare for All, had been invited to explain the results of a new tool called the M4A calculator, which can analyze the money a city or town could save if it could switch employee benefits from private insurance to M4A. To learn how much Quincy could save with the M4A calculator click here.

 

Join the MA Organizing Conference on Saturday, December 2nd!

US Foregin policy supports a genocidal war in Gaza, a never-ending war in Ukraine and an economy based on war at home; it is critical now more than ever to build our political power for change

Stop Artificial Turf

A new network is in the process of forming to fight artificial turf across Massachusetts. The new group welcomes both individual members and representatives from allied groups. Our hope is to provide mutual aid and support to MA groups and residents working on fights against artificial turf, coordinate support for state-level legislation and state regulations to control, limit, or ban artificial turf, and educate the wider public about the dangers of artificial turf for athletes and communities as well as for the environment, the climate and health. If you are interested in joining the new network, please contact climate@ourrevolutionma.com

 

When Revealing State Secrets Is Good News

It is well known that Massachusetts is governed with greater secrecy and tighter control by the political leadership of the dominant party than any other state. Votes are held in secret, texts of bills are not available to legislators until just before votes, and legislators are appointed to committees or chairmanships according to the whims of the Speaker of the House or the Chair of the Senate. Therefore, when someone threatens to turn the rock over and bring into the light of public scrutiny what is going on, we must cheer.

           It is the State Auditor, Diana DiZoglio, who is moving closer to doing just that. She can do it by performing an audit of the legislature. This would be a performance audit, to reveal how decisions are made, and how money and power are distributed. She proposes to gain the right to do this by a vote of the people of Massachusetts in favor of a state audit ballot initiative. Volunteers just submitted over 84,000 signatures requesting a vote.  Only 75,000 signatures were needed to qualify for a vote in November 2024. In a related victory, the Democratic State Committee (DSC), the 420-member leadership of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, voted unanimously to support this effort. This surprising result came about because ORMA members and other progressives within the Democratic Party successfully brought a pro-audit resolution through the DSC Resolutions Committee. It was one of four progressive resolutions the Committee supported and submitted to the DSC as a package deal. The package made it through.  Good News!

We’re In The Struggle For The Long Haul:

Find Gratitude, You’ll Sleep Better

Fighting for our Political Revolution is exhausting. Current events overwhelm, allies’ and comrades’ energies slump, we snap at our friends and forget to nurture our families. How do we sustain our passion, our hope for change, our belief that our society and our communities can do better? As harsh as current events seem right now, it is our relationships, our joy in the natural world, even tiny pieces of it, which replenish us. We must dance as we create revolution. Our brothers and sisters in Indigenous struggles show us the way. Music, art, love help us recover and Science tells us that Gratitude releases oxytocin the ‘love hormone,” improving mood, immunity and chronic pain. Onward!

 

      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, Dec. 7th.

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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