Monday, November 18, 2019

Sage Advice for Barack Obama


Sage Advice for Barack Obama 
an Ex-CommunityOrganizer, Ex-Professor, Ex-President -


Dear President Obama,

I heard Valerie Jarrett on MSNBC saying you were delivering "sage advice" to, paraphrasing, those who had strayed #TooFarLeft

100% sincere CREDIT for engaging a very difficult subject.

However, HOW did it come to this?  How is it that an Ex-President feels compelled to leap into a delicate situation at a politically dangerous time.  

This is NOT a new thing.  I, myself, first got involved actively in politics in 1984 with the Jesse Jackson for President campaign, here, in Maine.  Muskie, Mitchell, and the folks who built the modern Maine Democratic Party up from nothing - went from amused to annoyed and beyond.

In 1988, we so far exceeded expectations with a 2nd place showing that is was, effectively, nearly a win.  In 1990, we elected the Chair of the 1988 Jackson campaign as Chair of the Maine Democratic Party.  That year, we elected Tom Andrews to Congress - upsetting a field of conventional candidates.

In 1992, I ran the Jerry Brown for President campaign in Maine. We won. We reelected Tom Andrews.  We flipped Maine from Red to Blue.  BUT, we had, "never been there, before".  So we did not have enough people who understood power, organization, and negotiation.  Some of us did and we tried to build bridges with the more conventional folks - those who were also willing to try.  

While we remained together & active & engaged, we had some party bridge-building success, here & there. We conceived of, developed, promoted, and instituted a Coordinated Campaign Committee to link campaigns together with the party to promote cohesion & coherence.  It remains in practice to this day.

But, this dynamic was not new in 1984, 1988, or 1992.  The convention of 1968 remains a low mark of how NOT to run a successful party & convention.  So, while we have made some progress since then - mostly, with some dangerously stupid regressions - we have FAILED to make the Democratic Party a 200,000 precinct infrastructure of grassroots democracy & community & citizenship.  Yes. I have high ideals.  Fortunately, I have high organizing real skills, it is 100% achievable, and, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION - if we are going to have true self-government.

I have done my damnedest over decades.  I keep hitting walls of culture.  A true culture of democracy would be a strange new world and people are too busy struggling to survive to go exploring strange new worlds.  Key components of the culture of our status quo are the severely limiting walls of ideology which keep us divided & conquered and also tend to block/frustrate bridge-building communication efforts.

So, I, too, struggle to survive and struggle to dream & maintain hope that we can, all, together, take a shot at doing something different so we can expect some different results.  Beyond just dreaming & hoping, I have sketched out my best take on how we might proceed.  Here is a basic "brochure site" with some quotes & a few paragraphs of concept:  AmericanCommons.com - An American Evolution of a Civil Civic Culture of, by, & for Common People with Common Sense & Common Decency | I hope to start hoping for this, again, after we get past this near-Civil War in 2020.

So, I am certainly NOT surprised that no one has been foolhardy enough to try to untangle the HACKed-up hot mess the Democratic Party had become - even with decades of relative peace to work on it. (Tom Perez seems to be doing a good job of making forward progress.)

HOWever!  NOW?  The wild horses of humanity have been running wild & free for too long now - well, at least, as relates to the Democratic Party.  People have been struggling to hard for too long and have been treated far, far, far too badly by the Democratic Party to be whipped back into submission.

I am 57, now.  When I was 21, I pulled back the curtain of the Democratic Party and saw it was NOT run by the Great & Powerful Oz!  I saw the potential for it to be worthy of its name - to be the party of the people and the party of democracy.  Despite their best efforts to dissuade me, I brought my lefty friends along and then a huge wave of back-to-the-lander organic farmers & folks came from all corners of the state where they had been since the 60s & 70s.

The young folks, today, have never experienced what I have. Even for all the difficulty, I know what is possible because we did it.  I know we can do it again IF we learn how to organize sustainably - A BIG, BIG heavy lift & cultural shift, I know.  But, I know.  SO, I know I do NOT know how to begin to persuade enough people  who do not have my experience of what is possible to try to democratize the Democratic Party and rework it into a party of, by, & for the people.

But, I DO KNOW we, the people, expect and demand respect.  

I DO KNOW that 50 years of DIalogues CANNOT be compressed & force-fed in 50 days of harsh alienating MONOlogues.

And, you've been kinda busy between 2008-2016, right?  & before that as a father, husband, professor, & US Senator...  understood.  

Please bear with me as I try to describe how I am hearing your message, right now.  I get that you are frustrated, worried, & sincerely mean well.

But, you are coming across as saying something like, "Hey! You crazy kids stop listening to those reckless old radicals who refuse to act their age!  Now shut up, grow up, sit down and just give us grown-up experts your time, your money, and your votes!  Get a life and get a job!"

And, just what the hell is Left vs. Right, anyway?

Socialism vs. Capitalism?  

It has such a Flat-Earth sense to it.

It is not as if there is an infinite continuum in either direction.

The extreme beyond Socialism is its TOTALITARIAN form: Communism.

The extreme beyond Capitalism is its TOTALITARIAN form: Fascism.

History shows us, plainly & painfully, TOTALITARIANISM IS TOTALITARIANISM - whatever the color & style of the uniform.

China, for example, went, ostensibly, from Communism (totalitarian socialism) to Fascism (totalitarian capitalism) - same stylish hipster red star uniforms.

What makes the difference is democracy - demos (PEOPLE) + kratos (RULE).

The balance between people & parties is derived via the stable-dynamic chaos of a dynamic democracy.  A muddle in the middle is the muck & mire where herds huddle in fear.  

We have the opportunity to convert the crisis of this presidency into a great national civics lesson.  By necessity, we are learning this, together, as best we can.  But, we must make the most of the opportunity or we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of 2016 & worse!  We, citizens, can discuss & debate in a civil manner and BUILD COMMON GROUND.  We will never agree on everything, but, we seem to have it backwards & upside down, now.  We focus on our disagreements rather than our agreements.  We must seek agreements where we can and agree to disagree where we cannot - and then keep at it over time in a civil manner by generating more light than heat. The truth is constructed with skill & virtue in a social context - NOT with skill & vice in an ANTI-social context.

But this takes time & culture & practice & work & infrastructure to support & facilitate it.  We are circling the void created by our collective failure to fully implement this.  We must act while we still can.

If you do not trust the PEOPLE - HUMANITY! - enough to educate & elevate them and help them learn & practice mature self-government - in 200,000 precincts, 50 states, and ONE nation - then you will treat them like a herd of beasts of burden to be driven to market & to the polls.

SO, again, 100% sincere CREDIT for engaging a very difficult subject.

SOMEHOW, to save America & Humanity - YES, I am 100% serious - we must transform the Democratic Party into a BIG-TENT, fun & fierce force for change!  We can't beat each other up & expect to win in 2020.

I close with two of my favorite quotes from a couple of folks who communicate the core idea of true democracy as well as anyone ever has, to my knowledge. 

“There can be no patriotism without liberty, no liberty without virtue, no virtue without citizens; create citizens, and you have everything you need; without them, you will have nothing but debased slaves, from the rulers of the State downwards. To form citizens is not the work of a day; and in order to have [whole human beings] it is necessary to educate them when they are children.”

– Jean Jacques Rousseau

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

– Thomas Jefferson


Thank you.

All the Very Best to You & Yours.

Sincerely,

Ed Democracy

Saturday, April 6, 2019

One Progressive's Definition of "PROGRESSIVE"

I am a pragmatic PROGRESSIVE.  I am a realistic idealist.  I am NOT a purist.  I am a patient person ... a very, very patient person.  

MY PATIENCE with deference to those who defer to those who defer - indefinitely - the needs of HUMANITY and OUR planet - EARTH - is DONE!  MAKE WAY!


My definition of “PROGRESSIVE“:

Progressive means one who seeks progress - HUMAN PROGRESS - toward fundamental systemic change which will truly, finally put common people and common decency first and foremost in all things – progress toward democracy.


Democracy, from the Greek demos (people) + kratos (rule),   literally means, PEOPLE RULE.


To truly have a democracy, we need a culture of the people, by the people, and for the people.  To sustain a culture of democracy, we need a systemic infrastructure of the people, by the people, and for the people.


Today, we have a culture and a systemic infrastructure of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.  We have corporate welfare and socialism for the rich – but, we have “survival of the fittest” free enterprise and rugged individualism for the common people and small business.


Gore Vidal said, “Capitalism, Communism, and Christianity are three great ideas which have never really been tried”.  To that list, I would add Democracy.


Progressive means one who seeks progress - HUMAN PROGRESS - by the absolute quickest means possible because people have suffered enough! – toward actually effecting the fundamental change of our culture and systemic infrastructure to reflect the fundamental principle that:


People DO NOT exist for markets or any other culture or systemic infrastructure!!!


Markets, cultures, and systemic infrastructures exist FOR PEOPLE – for humanity, for common people, and for common decency.


No less in HUMAN PROGRESS than in anything else –  anything worth doing is worth doing well!


We, the people, need to build our projects to last!


We, the people, need to practice sustainable organizing!


THIS is the absolute key to everything in human life – past, present, & future:
  • survival of the fittest IS the law of nature
  • fittest means most diverse, adaptable & cooperative
We, the people, have superior numbers and, therefore, superior power IF and ONLY IF, we, the people, are sustainably organized – diverse, adaptable & cooperative.

WORKING TOGETHER
  • coming together is a beginning
  • keeping together is progress
  • working together is success

– above from motivational poster – author unknown

LET’S GET TO WORK!
  • Let’s come together for human progress, NOW!
  • Let’s keep together to take human progress from the ideal to the real!
  • Let’s work together to keep human progress real for the long haul!


Sunday, January 27, 2019

FUTURE DEMS Organizational Renewal Network

FUTURE DEMS Organizational Renewal Network

The Democratic Party needs an infusion of democracy.

Throughout history, candidates have been more (+^) or less (-v) inclined to developing and envigorating grassroots democracy:

FDR+^  Henry Wallace+^  Truman-v  Kennedy-v  ($ + TV)-v  Johnson-v  RFK+^  McGovern+^  Carter-v  Mondale-v  Dukakis-v Jackson+^ Brown+^  Wellstone+^  Clinton-v  Gore-v  Kerry-v  Dean+^ Kucinich+^  Obama-v  Clinton-v  Sanders+^

...Roots vs. Suits ... it's an old issue … let's try something different...

...Roots WITH Suits …  we have to work together to build common ground!

Muskie in Maine managed to meld them together as well as could be done at the time.  Granted, the desperation of the Democratic Party in Maine necessitated that failure to unite the roots & suits was NOT an option!  


Over time, candidates come & go, BUT, the people will always be there.

The democratic wing of the Democratic Party CANNOT be personality-based.  It MUST be people-based.

The struggle continues to patch together some semblance of an infrastructure of democracy for our civic culture at large in our country.  LIKEWISE, the situation for grassroots activists is NO better within the Democratic Party.

During campaign seasons, candidates and their supporters can have direct or indirect effects which energize the grassroots of the Democratic Party.  BUT, campaigns are temporary and narrowly focused.

There MUST be an ongoing organizational renewal network to rebuild the grassroots of the Democratic Party to make it a BIG-TENT fun & fierce force for change year after year and decade after decade!

PLEASE NOTE:  This is ONLY a concept.  This is NOT yet in operation.
  

Saturday, January 26, 2019

NETWORK OF DEMOCRACY EDUCATORS (NODE)

NETWORK OF DEMOCRACY EDUCATORS (NODE)

a citizens' cooperative for learning, teaching, and practicing grassroots democracy


The most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen.
– Justice Louis Brandeis


"Democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people."
- Harry Emerson Fosdick


"Power goes to two poles-to those who've got the money and those who've got the people."
- Saul Alinsky

SPIRIT, PRACTICE, & CULTURE: 

+ each one teach one  /  train the trainer  /  skill sharing

WEBSITE: 

+ open-source (cc) educational resources with shareable / rateable content

  • individuals 
  • NODEs
  • tags
  • events
  • articles
  • links
  • skills
  • resources
  • volunteers


+ JOIN (as an individual) -OR- + form a NODE (form a NODE Team)


NODE Team     (  Geographically-based  or Virtual  )

  • GEN - General Coordinator
  • ADM - Administrative Coordinator
  • COM - Communication Coordinator
  • RES - Resource Coordinator


ALREADY HAVE:  lots & lots & lots of great groups of great people doing great work! (short list below)

NEED: a cooperative citizens' resource network for learning, teaching, and practicing grassroots democracy

  • Our Revolution
  • Camp Wellstone
  • PDA
  • MoveON
  • Indivisible
  • JusticeDEMS
  • Brand New Congress
  • Sanders Institute
  • Local Berniecrats
  • Womens March
  • + many, many MORE!


All of these groups NEED & use & develop & practice grassroots democracy as a means to their ends.

We NEED more groups whose means & ends, BOTH, are to use & develop & practice grassroots democracy.

A network to locate & connect existing resources and develop from there.

While NODE will not be strictly focused on democratizing the Democratic Party, it will be an open-source resource which individual members & NODEs may well choose to use to that end locally & nationally.

In point of fact, many might agree that, the Democratic Party is not likely to ever suddenly self-democratize.  Therefore, it will need help!  LOTS OF HELP!

We NEED an infrastructure of democracy. We can either build it brand new from scratch from the ground up - OR - we can upgrade & reboot something that is available, dormant, and repairable - the Democratic Party!

The Democratic Party exists in 200,000 precincts and is already hard-wired into the power grid!


The meaning of democracy is literally: 

PEOPLE RULE ! (demos + kratos) !



PLEASE NOTE:  This is ONLY a concept.  This is NOT yet in operation.


Monday, January 1, 2018

2020 starts NOW!

2020 starts NOW!  

DO in 2018 what WE DID NOT DO in 2016 !

DEMOCRATIZE the Democratic Party!

2020 starts in 2018 !

2016 started in 2014 !

The Democratic Party people who will run the 
2020 Presidential Election
will SOON be elected 
@ Local Caucuses => State Conventions => @DNC 
in 2018! 

DO NOT get HACKed AGAIN !


EXAMPLE:

2018 Maine DEMS - Calendar

MAR  4 CAUCUSES

SELF-election to YOUR LOCAL TOWN/CITY Democractic Committee (just sign yourSELF up!)

- election of LOCAL delegates to COUNTY Democractic Committee

- election of LOCAL Delegates/Alternates to 2018 Democratic STATE CONVENTION

- circulate NOMINATING PETITIONS for Maine Democratic State Committee (DSC)
- 10 signatures of Delegates/Alternates to 2018 Democratic STATE CONVENTION
- most caucuses will have (10 +/-) most or all of the numbers you need right then & there THAT DAY at the caucus!  THEREFORE, to run for DSC you will not have to track down DSC Staff to get lists of Delegates/Alternates OR, worse, wait until the last minute! This will get you directly onto printed ballots for election by YOUR County Caucus at 2018 Democratic STATE CONVENTION  (MAY 18-20 in Lewiston)

- The 2018 Democratic STATE CONVENTION will elect the Maine Democratic State Committee (DSC) which will then set rules, dates, procedures, delegate selection plans for the 2020 Democratic PRESIDENTIAL Caucus & State Convention

- The 2020 Democratic STATE CONVENTION will elect DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE (DNC) MEMBERS

- EACH STATE has some variation of this process with their own dates.  The trick is to ORGANIZE & PREPARE IN ADVANCE to take full advantage of every earliest opportunity to take command of your party to make sure it represents you & YOUR LOCAL TOWN/CITY & COUNTY.  

- Elections have consequences! PARTY ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES!  


- DO NOT leave a power vacuum for the hacks!  TAKE IT BACK for the grassroots people!

MAY 18-20 CONVENTION - LEWISTON

JUN 12 PRIMARY

NOV  6 GENERAL ELECTION DAY



Monday, September 4, 2017

Local Dream Teams in 200,000 precincts is the “moon shot” of this generation

THIS!


By @BillyWimsatt | DECEMBER 18, 2012 | The American Prospect @TheProspect

We need more people. Not just a few more. We need a lot more people—and we need them organized at the scale of corporate and right-wing power. In the next 10 to 20 years, with emerging technologies, a clear plan, and leadership, we can have local self-organized progressive neighborhood Dream Teams in all of the 200,000 precincts in the United States. Not only that, we can also have affinity-based Dream Teams: knitting-circle Dream Teams, transgender Christian basketball Dream Teams, divorced dads with kids Dream Teams, you name it.

Welcome to Organizing 3.0—21st-century style.

"Local Dream Teams in 200,000 precincts 
is the 'moon shot' of our generation."

Local Dream Teams in 200,000 precincts is the “moon shot” of our generation. It might sound impossible. But if we’re not serious about organizing at this scale, there is no way we’re ever going to win on climate, economic fairness, campaign finance, or other issues. Any political strategy that doesn’t include this level of organized people power is the political equivalent of fantasy football. It feels warm and fuzzy to daydream about, but it’s a nonstarter in the real world.

The Obama campaign’s neighborhood teams are an early prototype of the Dream Teams model. The next historical step is to build independent progressive neighborhood teams that are about more than just politics. Of course, Dream Teams will register and get out the vote when it’s election time. But that’s only one-quarter of what they will do. During the other three-quarters of the year, they will focus on local and national issues, community, culture, and building local economies. We need an updated organizing model that meets people where they’re at and rejuvenates them between election cycles.

New technologies will revolutionize our capacity to self-organize. Cutting-edge groups like the New Organizing Institute and Engage Network are experimenting with scalable self-organizing models, as are established groups like the Center for Community Change and MoveOn.org.

Keep in mind, we’re not the only ones trying to organize 200,000 precincts. Ralph Reed recently called for ten volunteers to self-organize every precinct in America. It’s crazy that no one on our side is even talking about organizing at that magnitude. That’s because we think that for everything we do, we need a grant from a foundation. Rick Warren built his 20,000-person “megachurch” from scratch without a single grant. Why? Not by organizing around issues. He did it by creating a beloved community with a narrative, which is what humans hunger for. Put another way: We need to grow a new movement culture, with DNA so irresistible that people want to self-organize it in every corner of our country. 



SEE ALSO: 

FEEL THE BERN - ONE BIG-TENT DEMOCRATIC FUN & FIERCE FORCE FOR CHANGE!

WOMEN MARCH in to Democratize the Democratic Party, PLEASE!






Sunday, March 12, 2017

POWER to BERN


The   BERNIE 2016  campaign clearly demonstrated the POWER to WIN

BOTH the Democratic Party Nomination AND the US Presidency!

This was Bernie's 1st national campaign AND it DID NOT EVEN TRY to take over the Democratic Party machinery to make it safe for democracy! 

This was actual power, clearly demonstrated against all establishment bureaucracy efforts.

What is the total eventual potential which could be developed and fully actualized?  

Was this 2016 actual demonstration 25% of potential? 50%? 75% 100%?

Only time will tell!

Many lessons, no doubt, have been learned.

Much experience has been gained!

Many battle scars are proudly sported! 

Many campaign stories are told & retold!

Our hunger for truth, peace, and justice grows stronger!

We, the people, need a Brand New Congress in 2018 and a Brand New President in 2020!

We, the people, need to stand Indivisible and work together with Justice Democrats for a Brand New Congress and make Our Revolution real and sustainable by building a strong grassroots network in 200,000 precincts in 50 states & territories and 
FEEL THE BERN in ONE BIG-TENT DEMOCRATIC FUN & FIERCE FORCE FOR CHANGE!


SEE ALSO:  

FEEL THE BERN - ONE BIG-TENT DEMOCRATIC FUN & FIERCE FORCE FOR CHANGE!

Components of POWER

The POWER Matrix