ORGANIZING NOTES 

September 5, 2023

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor struggles that make a difference

 

 

Climate Disaster on Every Doorstep

Join the Week of Rebellion – Break Our Fossil Fuel Addiction

If You aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention!

Too extreme? The daily drumbeat of climate disaster headlines about forest fires, extreme drought, flooding, record-breaking heat domes, and life-threatening storms leave no doubt that these consequences of our failure to break our addiction to fossil fuels are now a part of daily existence. 

 

It Will Get Worse!

Governments and corporations promise to cut fossil fuel use, while every year more new pipeline, wellhead, and leasing projects come online. And in Massachusetts, despite campaign promises, and supportive words, new fossil fuel projects, and climate destroying development, are approved and construction begins. From Wakefield (NEMT forest destruction) to Bedford (private jet expansion) and Springfield (new pipelines) to the Pine Barrens, state officials and politicians approve, or stand aside and allow, these projects to move forward.

 

Since Monday June 5th, every day from 9 to 5 at the State House, a broad coalition, including ORMA*, led by Extinction Rebellion (XR), has brought the demand of No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure directly to policy makers and legislators on Beacon Hill, visibly carrying the message, and visiting the governor’s office every two hours to deliver the message physically.

 

Words of Support but Where is the Action? 

A handful of legislators have shown that they agree with our demand, and we have heard from staffers that others, including the Governor’s Climate Chief, agree with us “in principle”. But to date, the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House, the three people who could be leaders, have been silent.

If They Won’t Act, Then We Must Elevate

While the Daily Standouts will continue (to take part, send an email to fossilfuels.standout.ma@proton.me), in the face of their silence we need to do more, we must put our outrage to work. Join us in the XR Week of Rebellion,

September 17 – 25. From cultural gatherings to civil disobedience, take part in building a wave of action that can’t be ignored.

 

To learn more attend the Sept. 13th meeting (via zoom) of the Our Revolution Climate Crisis Working Group, an XR member will share the details about how each of us get involved. (climate@ourrevolutionma.com)

 

(* Coalition participants have included: 350MA, the Sunrise Movement, Fridays for Future, Third Act, Poor People’s Campaign, Boston May Day Coalition, FRRACS, Red Rebels, ORMA Climate Crisis Working Group, Elders Climate Action, and Community Members of Dudley Massachusetts.)

 

Please RSVP for Sept. 6th & Sept. 20th

Activist Afternoons Turns to Evenings!

Progressive MA will be switching their biweekly phone banks to evenings. Starting  tomorrow Wednesday, September 6th at 6:30PM. Join in and help make calls in support of legislation to give State House workers collective bargaining rights so that they can have a voice at the job. Learn more HERE.  

 

A Progressive Action Agenda for the Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention

As we approach the September 23rd Democratic Party Convention in Lowell, the initial agenda might seem light on significant highlights – no candidate nods, new platform introductions, or shifts in the charter or bylaws. Nonetheless, progressives are ready to energize the convention with a half a dozen key resolutions. These proposals reflect a unified push for open governance, inclusivity, and representation within the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Endorsing these resolutions would send a clear message to the leadership about the grassroots membership’s aspirations for an active, democratic and transparent Party.

If you’re planning to attend the Lowell Convention on the 23rd, we’ve outlined key actions you can take to make an impact:

  1. Arrive Early for Signatures: Join us at 8 AM by the main entrance. Our goal is to collect the requisite 50 delegate signatures for each resolution to secure a floor vote. While this is the minimum, we aim to gather over 100 signatures by 9:30 AM, ready for presentation at 10:00 AM.

  2. Promote the Resolutions: Advocate for support within your delegation and reach out to neighboring delegations as well.

  3. Get Ready to Support: Prepare to vote affirmatively during floor votes for each resolution.

  4. Cast Your Vote: When the time comes, voice your support by voting for each resolution.

To stay updated with timely action steps and details, sign up using this form. For an in-depth understanding, you can read the full text of each resolution here. Please donate to help offset the roughly $2,000 in costs associated with our efforts to introduce and pass resolutions at the state convention.

 

The People of Lynn Are Fighting for

A Police Free Emergency Response Team

A multi-year effort to create a police-free emergency response program in Lynn has been led by the Lynn Racial Justice Coalition (LRJC). In 2021 the city allocated $500,000 to establish a program employing unarmed trained professionals.    But in 2022 a new mayor shifted the direction of the program and when, in the spring of 2023 a grant from the state provided new funds sufficient to fund emergency response teams focused on behavioral health, the city hired private consultants to draw up a plan excluding LRJC from the process further.

The consultants recommended that Eliot Community Health Services operate the program and that an agreement with the community be negotiated to define the terms of service.

The possibility of the program being housed with Eliot was in discussion with the mayor and Eliot for months unbeknownst to LRJC.

Eliot is a non-profit company that has provided community health services in several Massachusetts cities for over 60 years.  Eliot has a history of working in cooperation with the police and is known for lacking cultural competency, and no racial justice priorities in its mission or vision, making the community raise substantial concerns about the program being housed under Eliot. Despite these community concerns and calls to pause any effort to house the program under Eliot, the city moved forward with the plan.  As a result, LRJC made the decision to

participate in the creation of the program to ensure accountability and oversight for this program.LRJC demanded that a community accountability board be formed to oversee operations and that audits be regular and frequent with the consequences of a lack of performance spelled out. Negotiations are ongoing.  The latest from the city is a proposal to have a parallel program, SMARTCARE, that involves the police, operating in tandem with the Eliot program with both programs using the same call-in number. SmartCare is currently running. Stay tuned.

If you are interested in joining in advocacy for community based emergency response teams, consider becoming a member of MA PEACH (Massachusetts Promoting Equitable Accessible Community Health) Sign Up HERE

Adriana Paz and Nicole McLain of Lynn Racial Justice Coalition during negotiations with the city of Lynn in 2021. (Josh Reynolds of the Boston Globe)

 

Where Do the Candidates Stand?

 As dedicated volunteers, you have the power to engage local legislators in meaningful conversations that address our concerns. In an effort to maximize our impact we are creating questions for you to have ready when the time presents itself.  Let’s come together and ask our local leaders thought-provoking questions that delve into the heart of our most pressing issues.

EDUCATION:

Charter Schools

In several districts, ORMA affiliates are supporting candidates for school committees.  Here are four questions for candidates seeking endorsements that highlight major issues.
 

At present, the number of charter schools in Massachusetts is capped.  Do you believe the cap should be lowered, remain the same, or increased?

Massachusetts is one of eight states that require that students take the standardized testing, MCAS. Should this requirement be eliminated?

MAGA supporters have launched well-funded campaigns for school committee candidates across the Commonwealth.   What measures do you favor to end these threats?

See more questions HERE:

 

 

As we head into the next legislative session we want to take advantage of the summer break to explore upcoming issues. Advocacy involves persuading others to support our cause or viewpoint. A strong understanding allows us to communicate complex concepts in a relatable and understandable manner.  

The Cape Cod Coalition for Universal Health Care is a small group of Cape
Codders dedicated to providing universal health care coverage for all
residents of the Commonwealth.  Working with Mass Care Coalition and
building on work done by other Medicare for All (single payer) groups, we
developed a survey that will allow our towns, cities, school districts and
other official entities to calculate their savings in health coverage
benefits if An Act Establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts  (2023
House bill H.1239 and 2023 Senate bill S.744) were to become law.

This survey only requires about 30 minutes of a Finance or Human Resources
director’s time and needs only eight data elements: the town’s budget, the
total number of employees, total payroll, the town’s cost for current
employees and retirees’ medical, dental and hearing coverage. The
calculated outputs give town savings, plus employee total and individual
average savings.

For the five Cape towns and Barnstable County government in the pilot
project, projected annual town savings differ by town size, ranging from
$1.4M for Provincetown, to $6.8M for Mashpee.  The average annual savings
per employee is around $2,500, and towns would save an average of 5.4% of
their annual budget, ranging from 2.4% for Barnstable town to 10.1% for
Mashpee.  To see the savings for your town, get in touch with us at
ccc4uhc@gmail.com and we will send you the spreadsheet with embedded
formulas for your town/city officials to work with.   Very soon, a form
will be available on MassCare’s website (www.masscare.org) as well.

Our goal is to survey communities across the Commonwealth, aggregating the
data and compiling the results, so that we can all present these
compelling arguments to our legislators in the expectation that they will
vote these bills into law.  Then these potential savings will become
actual savings for the people of Massachusetts.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

Early this year Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, vowed to block President Biden’s nominee to lead the National Institutes of Health — or any health nominee — until the administration developed a plan to lower drug prices.

Now, the Biden administration, after capping the cost of insulin for Medicare patients at $35 a month under a provision of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act in January of this year,has announced that under the same Act, it will negotiate prices for certain high-cost drugs. Last week the first 10 drugs were selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Currently, Medicare spends over $3 billion annually for these drugs.  New, negotiated prices will become effective on Jan. 1, 2026.  Additional drugs will be added to the list over time.   Amongst the 10 drugs are Eliquis, a widely used blood thinner, and a rarely used anti-cancer agent, Imbruvica, which now costs $121,000 per patient per year.

The negotiated prices apply only for Medicare, but it is thought that the prices for private purchases will fall, following the example of Eli Lily who has capped out-of pocket prices to $35/month for all buyers of their 

 

      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, September 14th.

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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