Sunday, March 5, 2017

Our Revolution Organizing Call, Sun. 3/5/17

The purpose of this meeting was to go over a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Our Revolution and affiliated groups and to lay out a vision for the future.

The solution for recent Democratic losses is progressivism and the types of policies Bernie Sanders laid out. One key idea is the idea of "all for one and one for all," a need for solidarity by our movement in response to attacks vs. a variety of vulnerable communities. What we are doing is important, because victories are going to be won at the local level. Our Revolution plans to use a distributive and lean organizing model like that used by Bernie's political campaign, giving tools, training, and resources to the people, so they can lead. This will stretch resources by depending on grassroots volunteers and become a people-led movement. Our Revolution National will serve a similar role to Bernie's campaign, connecting local and regional groups to drive work on the local level., doing more with less.

The MOU is a simple document and pretty straightforward. Groups agree to align with the Our Revolution Platform, available online. The MOU outlines the national group's expectations of partner groups and what they can expect in return. Each group will have a point of contact, to be filled out in the MOU paperwork, to be sent by DocuSign and signed off after the organizing phone call.

The "Roles and Responsibilities" section outlines what Our Revolution will do to empower local groups, including promoting local events through their website and emails, up to 4,000 people targeted in the local area, reaching people with a history of active involvement. The idea is to grow membership and get local people to events and increasingly involved with local groups. Our Revolution will provide electronic membership sign-up forms to house contact information in a database to be shared with the local groups (still in development).

Our Revolution will have monthly regional telephone calls to assist with local questions and issues, and to connect local groups with what is going on in D.C. and with upcoming campaigns. Affiliates will be hosted in a specific section of Our Revolution's website, searchable by zipcode, and hosted on their map to increase exposure and help new members find us. There are over 1,000 groups now, in total.

Local groups are asked to come up with a plan: local issues and actions (a vision) aligned with Our Revolution's priorities as a local Our Revolution group.

The MOU has a section on membership and confidentiality. The idea is to be as inclusive as possible, time-wise, financially, etc. Anyone who attends any Our Revolution meeting, training, or event, or has donated any amount, is automatically a member.

Fundraising: the MOU asks that we stay compliant with local, federal, and state campaign finance laws. Our Revolution organizers are not lawyers. Groups interested in fundraising should begin by reaching out to the state secretary of state to see what is allowed in the state. Like Bernie's campaign, Our Revolution suggests keeping low overhead costs and to engage in as little fundraising as possible. Signing the MOU does NOT give a group any organizational (501C-4, etc.) status. The MOU also asks groups not to engage in any illegal activity; doing so will cause a termination of the relationship. Local groups also have the right to terminate the relationship.

Independence of Parties: Groups are independent and cannot enter contracts in the name of Our Revolution, which will not be held responsible. Once affiliated and on the Our Revolution website, local groups will be able to use the Our Revolution name as an affiliate and Our Revolution logo online on social media, etc.

The endorsement process: Our Revolution will reach out to and solicit advice from local chapters regarding endorsements of particular candidates. This process is not finalized yet, and will be utilized where a majority of OurRevolution groups in a particular area endorse the same candidate. Our Revolution groups are asked NOT to counter-endorse an opposing candidate and cannot, under the agreement, use the Our Revolution name or group tools to support an opposition candidate. Local groups CAN use these tools to support candidates in local races where Our Revolution has not endorsed a candidate.

There will be overlap of groups within the same geographical area. Whenever possible, we should work together with other groups rather than forming more, and avoid fighting among ourselves and work out differences. Sometimes there are issues over group names, for example. Our Revolution will be releasing a training module on conflict resolution.

There is an upcoming watch party on March 21st to launch Our Revolution's national campaign. This will be like Bernie's watch parties, but on a larger model because of the number of groups involved.