ORGANIZING NOTES

May 28, 2024

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor Struggles That Make A Difference

 

 

Splintered and Underfunded

Splintered and underfunded, Massachusetts progressive groups are ineffective in passing popular progressive policies at the state level in spite of a Democratic trifecta. Compared with other states, Massachusetts returns incumbent state legislators to office more often than almost any other state and the state house where most votes on legislation are secret, is ruled by a powerful speaker who punishes representatives who support legislation he doesn’t like. Wealthy progressive residents support causes out of state and activists have to resort to the mammoth tasks of marshaling voters in referendums to pass broadly popular laws. And in spite of having a remarkably progressive platform the Massachusetts Democratic party does little to support these values or change the status quo.

And the need for change in Massachusetts is undeniable. Inequality in our state is higher than all but five other states. One child in four goes hungry, and we have 20,000 homeless or housing insecure children. And even with universal health insurance, medical debt in Massachusetts is higher than in all but five other states. There is a serious disconnect between the reality of many people’s lives in Massachusetts and our reputation.

 

ORMA, in coalition with other like-minded groups, MPAOC, is sponsoring an on-line forum, “The Virtual Unconvention: Uniting Progressive Activists for Change”, the day after the state Democratic Convention, to examine the gridlock preventing the changes so sorely needed in Massachusetts. Political scientists Robert Kuttner, author of “The Massachusetts Blues” , and Danielle Allen, former gubernatorial candidate and democracy advocate, will share their analyses of our current situation and their recommendations for moving forward. Breakouts on activating the Democratic platform inside the party, building coalitions to move the progressive agenda, structural change to increase democracy as well as on important issues like Medicare for All/ Single payer will follow. Registration

 

Forum organizers hope that the on-line forum is the springboard to forming working groups which will continue after the “Unconvention”. They point to the “Bargaining for the Common Good” project in Minnesota as a possible model for breaking the logjam in the Democratic Party and Legislature. The Minnesota Strategy [April 2023 Briefing]. More detailed content is in  Aligning for Power: A Case Study of Bargaining for the Common Good in Minnesota  

 

“We hope that the “Unconvention” provides impetus for meaningful change in our state, “says Nicky Osborne, volunteer organizer, “And that our efforts contribute to those of many other groups working toward the same goals. The more there are of us and the better we coordinate, the greater our chances of bringing about the changes we need to improve the lives of those who live in our state.”

 

Gov. Healey – Keep Your Promise! NO New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure!

Join Extinction Rebellion, ORMA members, and other allies to recognize the One Year Anniversary of the on-going Standout for No New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure with a party at the State House!

Every day that the Massachusetts State House is open, Extinction Rebellion Boston has people standing out in front of the State House General Hooker entrance reminding Governor Healey that she has not yet acted on her campaign promise to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure. More information about the State House Stand-Out can be found at https://xrboston.org/action/state-house-stand-out/ (the hours have changed from 9-5 to 11-3 since that was written).

The Standout has been going on since June 5, 2023. Thousands of postcards have been delivered to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. To celebrate the 1-year anniversary, there will be a party on Wednesday, June 5, at the General Hooker entrance. For more information and to RSVP for the party, see https://xrboston.org/action/state-house-stand-out-1-year-celebrati

 

More Alike Than You Thought

AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) is dedicated to forming a bipartisan majority in Congress supporting Israel.   Therefore, it funds MAGA Republicans as well as neoliberal Democrats. So far this year that has resulted in AIPAC donations of $336,000 to Ted Cruz, $315,000 for Mike Johnson, $306,000 for Kevin McCarthy, and $297,000 for Jake Auchincloss.

Auchincloss has said that federal funding for Harvard and other universities should be reconsidered because of antisemitism on campus. However, his public statements do not describe the specific acts he would sanction. Instead, he claims that anti-Zionism is used as a false cover for antisemitism.

Auchincloss supports U.S. military aid for Israel’s war.  He has not distanced himself from AIPAC, which is currently focused on defeating progressive congressman Jamal Bowman in New York.  You can support Bowman here.

 

We invite you to The Virtual UnConvention: Uniting Progressive Activists for Change on June 2, 2024, from 2 pm – 4 pm on ZoomWe are concerned about the loss of 15,000 members in the Democratic Party and want to re-engage those and other people at this critical time in our history. Please help us spread the wordOur goal is to organize around progressive issues that are in the platform but not supported by the Party or the conventionContinue Here For More Information and Links

Stop the Fossil Fuel Subsidies

10 to 20% of your electric utility payments each month don’t pay for the energy you used or the infrastructure that got it to you! Instead it was  funneled to the operators of the New England Regional power grid (ISO-NE). These funds are then used to provide fossil fuel subsidies.

This perverse system creates incentives to keep using fossil fuels because … we already paid them for it!

The No Coal! No Gas! Campaign has successfully created enough pressure to close down the last coal fired generation plant in New England and now they are turning their attention to a campaign to stop ISO’s destructive subsidies.

ISO-NE knows that the heat is being turned up on them, the same way they are turning the heat up on us by subsidizing climate change and they wont stop without a fight. They are required to hold public comment sessions which have been attended by hundreds of rate payers in the past. The next public comment session will be June 4th, 12 – 3:30, in Holyoke MA. In an effort to limit participation, they have intentionally chosen a room capable of holding only 100 people!

Help No Coal! No Gas! fight back, sign-up here (scroll to the bottom of the page) to receive details from them regarding participation in this event and future actions. They are stopping coal and gas, one plant at a time and they need our help to expand the movement.

Signature Collection: We’re Still Looking for Help

JP Progressives has committed to gathering 400 signatures each for two upcoming ballot question campaigns — the campaign to eliminate the MCAS as a graduation requirement, and the One Fair Wage-supported campaign to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers.

Can you sign up to collect some signatures in the next month? If so, please fill out this form and we will deliver you the signature sheets you need! If you’re not experienced with signature collection, we will also provide all the support or training you require!

 

The Fair Share Amendment Success!

 

In 2022 Massachusetts voters approved the Fair Share Amendment to levy an additional 4 percent tax on annual earnings over $1 million.  At the time the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center projected it would generate at least $2 billion a year. Despite Healey’s efforts to weaken the benefits of the Fair Share Amendment passed by the voters, the amendment has already generated $1.4 billion in just the first quarter!  The State has $1 billion more in tax revenue overall than they had projected in April.  Revenue from the surtax is constitutionally mandated to go toward education and transportation initiatives.  $224 million will go to K-12 programs, including free lunch and implementing “clean energy” in schools, and will allow the state to address critical needs like housing, college affordability and hunger. Additionally, $229 million will go to higher education, including making community college free for students 25 and older. And $71 million will go toward increasing the number of child care slots for low-income families. Imagine the additional good that could have been done with the tax cuts that she handed out to the wealthy!

 

      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, June 6th

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


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