REVISED DRAFT 2/1/21
PROPOSED GREEN-RAINBOW PARTY ACTIVISM FOCI IN 2021
SPONSORS: Eileen Wheeler Sheehan, sponsor; David Keil, co-sponsor
VETTING COMMITTEES: AdCom; all chapters and working committees.
FLOOR MANAGER: Eileen Wheeler Sheehan
SHEPHERD: David Keil
The purpose of this proposal is to provide a context for the organizing and communicating of Green-Rainbow 2021 policy priorities including the focus of our effort and the importance of working with (but not working for) like-minded organizations.
The new American president drew millions of disenchanted voters to the Democratic side of the ballot in 2020. His history and campaign oratory promise a return to “normal.” This proposal will directly attack the inadequacy of his “normal” for the majority of voters. Especially in Massachusetts, where a Biden win justifies the conservative style of most Democrats on Beacon Hill, voters need a progressive alternative. The GRP can offer that alternative if we remain focused on the causes of voter disenchantment. It is not enough to be “progressive”. Many groups and candidates claim that mantle. The GRP needs to focus on how Joe Biden’s promises are a toxic stew for poor and working people. We believe that this proposal offers diverse party members the chance to stand up for their own priorities under a common party vision.
The goals of the Green-Rainbow Party, together with fellow Greens nationwide, are ambitious and yet essential to the existence of people, planet, and peace. We will accomplish our goals by electing officials at all levels of government and by supporting those officials through coalitions of like-minded activists. Officials without movement support cannot implement radical change, nor can movements without elected representatives. A longer GRP "Party Agenda" (2015) appears at http://www.green-rainbow.org/platform.
Our 2021 actions will focus on social justice, planet justice, and peace. They will support the working class, the racially oppressed, and the poor via specific demands that lead to healing and progress. Importantly these demands include:
- Enhanced ‘Medicare for All’ (universal single-payer coverage for physical health, mental health and dental) recognizing that healthcare is a human right.
- Total Forgiveness of rent, mortgage and utility payments for those unable to make payments, and cancellation of all student debt.
- An eco-socialist Green New Deal bold enough to halt climate change, end the climate emergency, and create a green sustainable and just economy.
- Demanding racial justice and justice for immigrants, calling for community control of the police, citizenship/right to vote for undocumented immigrants, ending the incarceration epidemic, the school to prison pipeline and ending prisons as we know them, recognizing that Black and Brown Lives Matter.
Our goals will also include
- Bold reform of the electoral system through instituting public financing of campaigns, lowered signature thresholds for ballot access, inclusion of all candidates in debates, Ranked Choice Voting and hand counted paper ballots.
- Labor and family protection in the time of the COVID pandemic including the right to be paid a living wage to stay at home if the workplace is unsafe due to COVID.
- Calling for a ban on all new fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts, bans on the production, sale and use of polystyrene and unnecessary uses of plastics and toxins, in order to protect our land, our waters and all living things.
- Defeating the war machine by making the connection between the bloated military budget (which the Green Party calls to be cut by at least 50%) and lack of funding for domestic needs. We will demonstrate the moral implications of war by exposing the massive loss of life from illegal interventions as well as the enormous carbon footprint by the Military Industrial Complex. We will protest the massive influence of the weapons manufacturers in Massachusetts’ economy.
At this time in history, our party will stand as the real alternative to the destructive duopoly. We will let the reigning powers know that the status quo must go.
The action priorities of the Green Rainbow Party are to apply our platform and values by use of our membership and resources; by running election campaigns wherever possible; and by participating in movements for peace and equality. Our message is based on a common understanding of the current situation. We seek to build chapters throughout Massachusetts. Our election work will include recruiting and training candidates.as well as supporting Green aligned legislation.
Social movements in which we participate include the current massive movement for racial justice; efforts by labor for safety and relief in the Covid period; resistance to war; efforts for women's rights; and efforts against deportations.
Reducing and eliminating abuses of women, immigrants, and Black people will require sustained actions in the streets, independent of the two parties. We will participate in such movements and use our election campaigns to advocate for them. In doing so we will make alliances with groups like unions, community groups, and other organizations. We will build our party and its membership by recruiting activists. Green candidates can build mass movements and gain a positive hearing from their participants and supporters.
Mass actions built by broad action coalitions can stop US aggressions in places like Venezuela, Iran, and Asia. The Green Rainbow Party can play an initiating role. We can play an initiating role in ESL classes for immigrants, challenging support of our congresspeople for Indonesian and Thai dictators. We can challenge the national support for Israel. We can initiate a call for condemnation of the US role in the Saudi attack on Yemen, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world according to the UN.
White-supremacist groups felt a boost with their invasion of the Capitol, incited by the former president and many members of Congress. We can expect more ultra-right-wing violence and must prepare for defense against it. Our goal in this would be to build mass actions to limit the intimidation of targeted groups by these racist forces.
A climate movement and a housing movement that are independent of the duopoly will be part of our work. Our concerns include pipeline construction, state control of local school boards, and eviction of working-class tenants and homeowners for unpaid rents and mortgage payments. We can support the Day of Mourning actions in Plymouth and work for statewide recognition of wrongs done and the need for reparations to indigenous nations. Part of our responsibility is to counter health misinformation that is contributing to the spread of the Covid virus.
Context of this proposal
Mass protest actions by women, immigrants, African Americans, and their allies were high points of the last four years. The "Black Lives Matter" protests challenged racist local police and Trump's federal marshals in the streets. The former President, with support from the majority of his party's Congress members, attempted to nullify the Presidential elections by illegal bullying tactics. A period of widespread Trumpism may continue in the form of bullying, voter suppression, and rejection of democratic election procedures. While the Democrats were the intended targets of Trump's coup effort, Democrats have also led the way in suppressing the voices and ballot status of third-party alternatives, a permanent coup against free elections. Neither side of the two-party duopoly has any solution for the problems of the society, including the problem of street violence and autocratic power grabs.
The Covid pandemic has shown the danger of a profit-based health system and a public-health system tied to the whims of politicians.
The Biden administration poses a significant danger of war in the Mideast, Latin America, and Asia. Threats loom against Iran and Venezuela.
The climate crisis remains with us, worsening yearly. Significant actions initiated by young people filled Boston City Hall Plaza, where indigenous leaders from Boston and New England were part of the speakers list. The climate strike movement must be revived.
- Increase active membership to 100 - 120.
Active member is defined by the following together:
a. registering to vote as Green
b. membership in a chapter, or a willingness to maintain contact
c. willingness to do work for building the party in accordance with needs
d. willingness to participate in decision-making.
- Repair, augment, or replace the NationBuilder software.
- Develop an attractive, accessible website
- Set fundraising goal upward of $10,000.
- Improve effectiveness of working committees by testing new methods of work.
- Increase the number of GRP holders of local government office by 10.This is meant to refer to both elective and appointed seats. Since many offices of local government are ’non-partisan.’ Some who dislike Dems, might be pleased to run as Green, and especially so, as Green-Rainbow,
- Develop and file a House Bill on Climate Change, possibly through a House member might be sought to submit.
- Supporta bill that establishes health-care for all persons residing in Massachusetts as a legal right
- Develop webinars on the subject of Green politics.
IMPLEMENTATION: All committees and chapters need to have a consistent overall message to deliver. This proposal envisions asking each working committee and each chapter for their primary targets, for developing relevant materials, and for hosting discussions on how to target the specific audiences. If we can develop some basic literature for the first quarter, we will need to assess and improve our messaging for subsequent periods. Brian’s feedback surveys can greatly assist in that.
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: We do not have direction from working committees and from chapters as to marketing materials. Should materials be requested, we would expect the costs to be under $1000 for print materials and would expect to raise said costs through voluntary donations.
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I see 2021 as an opportunity for the GRP to take back some public political leadership on the THREE key issues that “everyone” in the United States has finally awakened to: addressing both 1) the climate crisis and 2) racial injustice, and bringing about 3) universal health care.
While I agree that “4) structural impediments to democracy in our political system/elections processes” and “5) the obscene overreach of America’s military investments” both remain as fundamental obstacles to a better world, I fear that we will only squander our precious energy spinning our wheels on those two issues if we take them up as top priorities in 2021.
Of course, to regain some of our party’s credibility on climate, race, and health issues, we will need to align ourselves and articulate our messages much better than we have done in the recent past (especially important that we stop uttering fractured, sometimes paranoid responses to fundamentally sound public health recommendations to curtail a novel infectious disease threat). We might also take every opportunity to assert just how our party’s perspective and values bring something more intrinsically compassionate, as well as potentially far more effective, than what we have seen thus far from the purveyors of individualistic private/corporate values.
Now is a time when others who have not been responsive at all to these problems before are beginning to shift (even the underachieving Democratic state legislature sent a climate bill to Gov. Baker !). I suggest that Green-Rainbow party members need to spend 2021 being constructively engaged as spokespeople/cajolers/allies, to enhance and reinforce harbingers of a broader public support for ecological wisdom, respect for all people, and care for the health and well-being of others. If we focus on these increasingly widely-shared collective ideals of restoring a healthy planet to a healthy society filled with healthy people, we have the chance to be credited with accelerating the design and implementing meaningful, sensible essential public policy.
In order to increase our membership and become an effective political organization, it is essential that we create a compelling political program. As a party that believes in decentralization and grassroots democracy, it is essential that we involve the local chapters and general membership. This proposal calls on the leadership of the state party to create this program without grassroots participation.