<a Review of the May 6th Annual Convention by John Blumensteil>
After a 3-year COVID hiatus, May 6, 2023, witnessed the reopening of the “big tent” political convention of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party in Worcester, MA. The GRP once again met face-to-face at the First Unitarian Church, on Main Street. What a joy and inspiration to see our fellow progressives face to face and spend a day together politicking, socializing, and reinvigorating ourselves for the struggle ahead.
The day kicked off with a welcome by our co-chairs Mike Pascucci and Lois Gagnon. Our political fire was rekindled by a keynote address by Dr. Jill Stein who, with her usual sharp critique and inspiring voice decisively enumerated the current crises generated by our duo-polistic political system run by the corporately owned Democratic and Republican parties.
By her clear articulation of the betrayal of the working class and poor, the railroad workers, the debt crisis of students, the housing and food crises, the environmental crisis, and the perpetual war crisis it was made patently clear that the Green Party, US and the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts are not “spoiler parties” but rather essential advocates for truth in the service of People, Planet and Peace.
It was a bold introduction to the convention presenters representing a large segment of the social movements doing critical work for the sustainability of humankind. These movements are the driving force of the people’s desires. They need a political party that carries their message and efforts to the electoral arena via the GRP.
Over the course of the day, the convention participants were informed by activists from varying social movements critical to building a winning coalition. From Mass-Care's efforts to develop a single-payer, government-run health system (Dr. Pat Down Berger), to John “JR” Rivera’s work with Tenants Union of Western, MA fighting for affordable, livable housing, to Dr. Paul Mathisen, Director of Sustainability at Worcester Polytechnic Institute discussing our critical water needs, to Alishia Morales from the Workers Strike Back organization– a developing national organization to support labor organizing efforts at a time of substantially increasing national labor activism; to Dr. Paul Popinchalk’s presentation on the “Zen of Climate Change” and Evren Pallares of Teamsters Local 170 discussion the very real potential of a UPS strike by teamsters which would be one of the largest labor actions in the US in decades.
In addition to these inspiring presentations, a special panel of current and past GRP members who have run for or are running currently for state or local offices shared their experiences with the group. The goal is for such presentations to provide both encouragement and strategies that have proven effective in such grassroots campaigns.
The common threads that ran through these powerful presentations were 1) all issues are critical to human dignity and well-being, 2) all are under attack by the ruling elites of both mainstream political parties and 3) all emphasized the need to build power from the grassroots up and not to count on the Democrats or Republicans to become advocates for the people...
If we want to fulfill the goal of the convention, “Building a Massachusetts that Works for All of Us '' we must do so collaboratively across all groups with whom we have shared values.