ORGANIZING NOTES

June 11, 2024

        When We Organize We Win

Join Community and Labor Struggles That Make A Difference

 

 

The UnConvention Attracts State Democratic Party Critics

One hundred fifty frustrated Democrats and progressive activists gathered at  the Virtual UnConvention on June 2nd, the day following the Massachusetts Democratic Convention. “We are concerned,” said Nicky Osborne, one of the UnConvention’s organizers, “that given the multiple crises of homelessness, hunger, school debt, and the escalating costs of survival here in our state, the Democratic Party ignores its own platform. While I admire and support Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrats have more to do than honor her nomination.”

Attendees heard from Professor Robert Kuttner whose widely cited article Massachusetts Blues describes three major obstacles to passing broadly popular progressive policies. The first is the virtual lockdown of legislation in the State House and Senate by leadership. Because of the powers of the House Speaker and the Senate president to give out titles, offices, committee assignments, and  large salary increases, few representatives or senators are willing to cross them. As votes are largely secret in the House and so many policies are addressed in unreported special sessions in both chambers, constituents are in the dark about which policies their elected leaders support. Accountability is low and lobbyists and wealthy donors often have more influence than district residents. Incumbents return to office in higher numbers than all but 5 states and many run unopposed.

The second, a Democratic State Party that is steadily declining in membership, and led by  risk-averse or centrist Democrats, controlling the agenda, and seemingly incapable (unwilling?) to embrace and champion a platform recognized as one of the most progressive in the country. In the 2020 presidential primary the combined vote for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren was greater than the votes for Biden In Massachusetts, there is no effort on the part of the Party to  give a voice to the Democratic voters who supported those progressive candidates, or to encourage accountability to the platform they both embodied.

Lastly, cities and towns in Massachusetts have little power to raise their own taxes, this right being stripped from Boston and other municipalities by the state legislature in the 1920’s when Brahmin Republicans objected to the election of Irish politicians by working class voters. Unlike similar-sized cities in other states who depend on property taxes for 20% of their budget, property taxes make up 74% of Boston’s budget. The state has also limited towns and cities in many other ways so that progressive policies like rent control or ranked choice voting, even when supported by a clear majority, require legislative approval..

Danielle Allen, Democracy activist, former gubernatorial candidate, and the principal investigator for the Democracy Knowledge Project, also addressed the assembly and led a breakout on “Democracy and Renovation”. Her key points are that we have to address structural impediments to democracy. Examples of systems she believes need upgrading are our plurality system of voting and our Party primary system which narrows the field of viable potential candidates. She supports ranked-choice voting to eliminate the spoiler effect and the splitting of a community’s vote between two or more similar candidates.

Additional breakouts included “Developing a Progressive Political Alliance” within the state Democratic Party, “Building Progressive Political Power in Massachusetts” and issue-oriented breakouts on Medicare for All/ Single Payer, Gaza, and Transparency in the Legislature. Each breakout developed its own follow-up plan.

 

Click to see UnConvention Keynote Addresses

If you wish to join a follow-up meeting to one of the breakouts please fill out this form Joining an UnConvention group

 

STAND UP TO WALL STREET IN THE SUMMER OF HEAT!!

Join the sustained campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to end financing for fossil fuels.

So far, 2024 is beating even 2023 for heat—and 2023 was the hottest year in the last 125,000 years.

Which is why we’re bringing some heat to the big banks that are the main funders of the fossil fuel industry!

Summer of Heat is centered in New York City—indeed, it’s centered outside Citibank, which has lent 400 billion dollars to Big Oil since the Paris climate accords were signed in 2016. This is criminal—the International Energy Agency said in 2021 that all new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure needed to end right then. But it’s also predictable, because the banks (remember Mary Poppins?) care a great deal about money. As we learned from leaked documents a few weeks ago, Citibank told the Federal Reserve last summer that if the planet reached net zero by 2050 it would cost them $3 billion in loan losses to their fossil fuel clients.

Meanwhile, a recent peer-reviewed article in the journal Nature projected that the world economy will see an income reduction of 19% and global annual damages estimated to be about 38 trillion dollars by 2050. So, you’d think if the banks cared about money in the longer term, then they’d care about climate-related financial risks and transitioning their portfolios out of fossil fuels and into a clean energy economy, thereby reducing projected future losses and damages.

But the banks aren’t acting anywhere near fast enough. That’s why the Summer of Heat coalition—including Indigenous groups and frontline communities, environmental justice organizations, youth movements, and more—is planning to “turn up the heat” on Citibank and other fossil fuel funders via 12 weeks of sustained disruption in New York City. With a different theme each week and organizations and individuals from around the country.

Learn more here and start planning your road trip to support a future that includes climate justice and a habitable planet!

 

50 Years of Struggle to Change the Seal and Flag Seal of Massachusetts
Now – Six Legislators Hold the Key

Last Month, the Massachusetts Senate voted 30 – 9 on a budget amendment to change the flag and seal, tasking Governor Maura Healey with appointing a 10-member advisory committee – with at least two Indigenous members – to hold a public design process, make a final selection, hire a professional designer, and create a new flag, seal, and motto for the Commonwealth, all within the next 12 months.

Last week, six legislators were named to the conference committee that will reconcile the House version of the budget with the Senate’s. These are the six legislators who will decide whether the flag and seal amendment will make it to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.  This budget is to be delivered by July 1st.  Crunch Time for the Flag and Seal!

For more than 50 years, Indigenous leaders have been calling on us to change the flag and seal of Massachusetts. With a concerted push, we can finally make that happen.  Please, take a few moments today to copy and paste the following brief message – including any personal comments you might like to add – and send it to the legislators (below) in whose hands the fate of the Senate amendment to change the flag and seal now rests. Finally, and equally important, please forward this message to friends and supporters of racial justice and Indigenous rights anywhere in Massachusetts who might do likewise.

Thank you!
David Detmold, Changethemassflag.com Montague

Here is sample language to include in messaging to these key legislators and more

Join us on Tuesday, June 18th for a press conference marking gun violence awareness month. Join the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence along with our partners Giffords, Everytown, and Stop Handgun Violence as we highlight the urgent need for action to prevent gun violence.

Speakers will include Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Join us in State House room 428 at 11:45 on June 18th.

Please wear an orange Coalition t-shirt if you have one!

 

      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 20th

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

 

Campaigns End, Movements Endure


Tags


You may also like

[2024-07-09] Organizing Notes 36: A Win, But The Work Continues, ORMA Endorses Evan McKay and How To Address the Housing Crisis

[2024-07-09] Organizing Notes 36: A Win, But The Work Continues, ORMA Endorses Evan McKay and How To Address the Housing Crisis

[2024-06-25] Organizing Notes 35: Good News From Texas!? Ranked Choice Voting in Boston!? and Reproductive Justice in Western Mass!

[2024-06-25] Organizing Notes 35: Good News From Texas!? Ranked Choice Voting in Boston!? and Reproductive Justice in Western Mass!
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}