ORGANIZING NOTES

December 12, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

 

 

Why Ayanna Supports A Cease-Fire

Growing up in a small storefront church on the southside of Chicago, whenever I felt burdened, my grandfather the Reverend James Echols would sing a song we very often sang in church: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

 

Joy has not come for families in Israel and Gaza – and my heart is heavy with grief.

 

It grieves for the 1,200 Israeli civilians who were heinously murdered by Hamas on October 7th.

 

It grieves for the 137 hostages still held by Hamas, and their families.

 

And it grieves for the over 17,000 Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli military in the weeks since – nearly three-quarters of whom are children.

 

The devastating attacks by Hamas on October 7th and the subsequent murder of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli government has brought about a collective sense of grief and loss that has been felt around the world, transcending borders.

 

And the toll of tragedy on civilians has been heartbreaking to witness. Children are dying. Entire generations of Palestinian families erased entirely. Hospitals bombed. Electricity shut off. Food, fuel, and medicine dwindling. Clean drinking water, essentially non-existent.

 

It’s clear: our shared humanity is in danger.

 

Last week’s temporary pause in fighting was a welcome step toward saving lives and reuniting families — and it was a testament to the power of diplomacy. In that pause, we saw hostages returned, humanitarian aid delivered, families reunited, and countless lives saved.

 

I was deeply disappointed to see this temporary truce end and the bombing in Gaza resume. With the violence continuing to escalate, we must keep pushing for all parties to come back to the negotiating table and work toward an immediate, permanent ceasefire to save lives, return all hostages, and finally end this horrific violence.

 

And our movement for a ceasefire is growing stronger by the day. Public support for a ceasefire is growing. Millions across the globe have echoed our calls for an end to the bloodshed — from the United Nations and the Pope, to world leaders across the globe, and an increasing number of my colleagues in Congress.

 

Activists, faith leaders, healthcare workers, and labor unions in my district and beyond have raised their voices in the name of peace. This fight will take all of us, because we are one human family, and our freedoms and our destinies are tied. 

 

We need to use every tool available to keep pressing for peace – from urging your local elected officials to sign onto ceasefire resolutions at every level of government, to partnering with local faith leaders, to highlighting the overwhelming support for this movement with the public and in our party. The ground is shifting beneath our feet – but it’s going to take all of us, at every level of government, to get this done.

 

A permanent ceasefire is the mandate, and we must respond accordingly. 

 

Yours in service,

 

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley

 

Passing an Improved Medicare for All Resolution in Scituate 

By Heather Clark

 

My success passing a Medicare for All resolution in my town of Scituate, in conservative Plymouth County, proves anyone can do this. A few lessons I learned in the process:

 

1. You CAN do it ALONE…but it’s better with friends.

Being a disorganized organizer (!) I did everything at the last minute but still managed to score a win. The process is pretty simple, and your town/city clerk can provide information and deadlines for you. I needed just 15 neighbors to sign a “warrant petition” to get on the Town Meeting ballot. Then I attended two required committee meetings (alone). Far from being the firing squad I’d imagined, committee members thanked me for educating them. Finally, right before the Town Meeting, I asked a couple of friends to speak in favor of the resolution; others I didn’t know spoke in favor, too. People even came up to me after the vote, providing an ad hoc organizing opportunity.

 

2. Start with the myths…then bust them.

Most voters have heard of “Medicare for All”, but a relentless campaign of disinformation has many voters doubting their own common sense. I’ve found it helpful to start with what Medicare for All is NOT: It is NOT “Medicare as we know it” but IMPROVED Medicare that covers ALL people for ALL medical needs. It is NOT socialized medicine, it is public insurance. It will NOT take away your choice of doctors and hospitals, but WILL take away the insurance company standing between you and your doctor. Medicare for All does NOT cost money, it SAVES money. 

 

3. “Appropriateness” objections are common…but easy to overcome. Some helpful responses:

 

-Massachusetts cities and towns have a long history of passing resolutions protesting national and international policies, from the war in Vietnam to nuclear power to campaign finance reform. 

 

-Local government is the first line of democracy for most voters. A non-binding resolution won’t “solve the problem” but it allows local voices to be heard by state and federal electeds who DO have the power to solve the problem. 

 

-The crisis of healthcare cost IS a “local problem”. Municipal health insurance costs cannibalize money needed to fund schools, infrastructure, and other local priorities. 

 

4. Make sure your public employees see you as an ally.

I consistently expressed solidarity with our hardworking, underpaid town employees. In union negotiations, they must sacrifice wages, pensions, and other benefits just to hang on to health insurance. 


A local Medicare for All resolution is a powerful tool to educate voters and keep the pressure cooking on electeds. Best of all, anyone can do it!  And, towns governed by Town Meeting are planning NOW for their annual Town Meetings in spring. Contact your Town Clerk for deadlines.

 

INSTRUCTIONS AND RESOURCES

 

Our Revolution Massachusetts Endorses Creation of a State Bank

 

ORMA’s Representative Council unanimously endorsed “An Act to Establish a Massachusetts Public Bank” (H.975 and S.632,), and agreed to join the Coalition for a Public Bank (CPB). Previously, Nancy Ryan, of CPB explained how a public bank, unlike commercial banks, will lend to small and minority-owned businesses, land trusts, co-ops, small farms, and towns. A public bank can be capitalized by state funds, providing an alternative form of investment for the state, which now often invests in socially undesirable industries. You can read more on the website:

https://masspublicbanking.org/.

Contact your state representative and state senator and ask them to co-sponsor “An Act to Establish a Massachusetts Public Bank.”

 

Contact information for your Representative and Senator is available on the Massachusetts legislature’s home page. https://malegislature.gov/  If you don’t know who your state legislators are, you can find out here.  


You can also help by connecting the Public Banking Coalition with your mayor, city council member, or select boards, as well as local business groups and other civic organizations. The PBC is eager to set up online meetings with local officials and community advocates. Contact them here!

 

Please hold the date for this upcoming forum!

 

Two, New ORMA Representatives Elected To Represent Unaffiliated Members!

The ORMA Representative Council is delighted to announce that after a ranked-choice election with twelve candidates, Ryan Costa and Rob McCarthy have won. We extend profound gratitude to all the candidates who cast their hats into the ring. Your initiative and energy made the election meaningful. We hope you will stay engaged with ORMA and salute your valuable work and willingness to serve! We congratulate Rob McCarthy and Ryan Costa and will welcome them to their first RC meeting in January. Please read their statements here.

 

‘Strategies to Build Progressive Political Power’

Conference Report Back

The December 2 Statewide Virtual Conference proved to be compelling as participants stayed tuned in for almost eight hours. Here are videos of the conference.   Please share widely:

 

Nina Turner https://youtu.be/Y43UvT5_1ME

Diana DiZoglio “A Performance Audit of the State Legislature” https://youtu.be/-MEEtvZlegY

Max Elbaum “Palestine Solidarity and the Fight Against MAGA“  https://youtu.be/sTjnsGB9jks

Full conference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ww7tdtDnsNs

                          and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_LVEkfqGI

The full conference videos include coverage of three vital panels:

Panel 1 Social/ Economic consequences in MA of excess military spending

Panel 2 Successful efforts in overcoming political obstacles

Panel 3 Challenges as we enter 2024

 

      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.

If you value Organizing Notes and its twice a month distribution schedule, please make a donation to ensure its continued existence.

Invest in Change Now!

 

Please send requests for action items, articles or upcoming events

for the next Organizing Notes to 

beccobrien.orma@gmail.com by Thursday, Dec. 21st.

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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