Our Revolution Massachusetts delegates celebrate victory outside Worcester's DCU Center

Massachusetts Democrats Back Measures on Voting Reform, Criminal Justice, Climate Justice, and Student Debt Relief

Our Revolution Massachusetts delegates celebrate victory outside Worcester’s DCU Center

Worcester, June 3

Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA) delegates pushed the Democratic Party in a progressive direction here today, winning passage of platform amendments on democracy, criminal justice, climate justice, and student loan debt at the Democratic State Convention.

The party declared its support for a ranked choice voting system; making Election Day a state holiday; ensuring incarceration does not impact an individual’s right to vote; the abolition of Massachusetts super delegates; and a nonpartisan commission to draw voting district boundaries.

On criminal justice, the party called for accountability and clear consequences for the use of excessive force and brutality by law enforcement officers; an end to for-profit prisons; and for shifting funds from policing and incarceration to long-term safety strategies such as education, restorative justice, and employment programs.

Democrats declared that Democratic candidates and the party will no longer accept contributions from fossil fuel industry and infrastructure companies, for putting a price on carbon, and for more renewable energy and faster phaseout of carbon emissions.

Funding of Existing Student Loan Debt & Free Public Education (Massachusetts residents) was added into the Education plank (no means-test and no income cap requirement on who qualifies for Free Higher Ed AND funding to cancel or forgive the current outstanding student loan debt for Massachusetts residents).

Not all of ORMA’s proposals were adopted.  Its push for new housing policies to end displacement was defeated by delegates who favor building more market-rate housing.

ORMA’s proposals to make the party structure more democratic, by adding more state committee members who are elected by grassroots members and by reducing the number of signatures required to propose amendments to the charter, were also rejected.

The convention chair ruled that ORMA-backed proposals on military and foreign policy, and on peace in the Middle East, were ruled out of order although they clearly had substantial support.  The chair likewise ruled out of order a proposal that Democratic candidates must support the majority of the party platform or face loss of support by the party organization.

Even though the platform was the scheduled business of the convention, party leaders used most of the day to present over four hours of speeches by politicians and others, and only agreed to begin discussion of the platform after delegates repeatedly interrupted speakers by chanting “Vote! Vote!”   As a result of the leadership’s filibuster, a number of submitted resolutions were tabled, scheduled workshops were cancelled, and some delegates had to leave before their issues were voted on.

The convention drew the largest attendance ever for a Democratic Party platform convention, including 1,500 first-time delegates.  With over 750 delegates, ORMA supporters were everywhere at the convention.  They gathered thousands of signatures for 8 platform amendments, 2 charter amendments, and several resolutions.

Our Revolution kicked off the convention with a spirited breakfast sponsored by the Mass AFL-CIO, Mass Nurses Association, Teamsters Local 122, New England Regional Council of Carpenters, SEIU Local 888 and 1199, and many elected officials and progressive groups. State AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, Rand Wilson of Local 888, State Rep. Mike Connolly, State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, urged breakfast attendees to go home and organize.

A new organized force in Massachusetts politics this year, and a continuation of the Bernie Sanders campaign, ORMA plans a founding convention this fall.  ORMA leaders said they would redouble their commitment to grassroots organizing and pledged to come back next year with an even more formidable group of supporters in order to bring the Democratic party back to its original role as the party of the people, rather than the powerful.