Saturday, February 4, 2017

OurRevolution Regional Organizing Call, Sat. 2/4/17

As a hardcore Bernie Sanders supporter (aka "Berniecrat") and founding member of South Hampton Roads for Bernie, I am far from finished with local, state, and regional politics. Many of my colleagues and I were more than frustrated with how the Democrats, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, tipped the scales against Bernie Sanders and his grassroots supporters, first with their so-called "Superdelegates," then with their lousy debate schedule, and even by shutting his campaign temporarily out of his campaign's own database of supporters. Locally, I've been disgusted with my local Democratic Party group and with many of my representatives at the local and state levels. Due to frustration, I have started working locally with the Green Party, but, like Bernie, himself, I am happy to work with anyone of any party affiliation, including independents, to further Bernie's progressive agenda.

Today I joined a regional organizing call with Chandra Paetsch, a regional, multi-state organizer for OurRevolution, itself a formal outgrowth and continuation of Bernie Sanders' "political revolution." Together, we will resist our current President, Donald Trump, and all the myriad parts of his agenda which are antithetical to Bernie Sanders' campaign platform and values. Chandra was a volunteer on Bernie's campaign, both with phone-banking and on the ground. She has also worked as a union organizer and environmental activist. Social justice, economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, political reform, and getting Big Money out of politics are some of the many issues we are working for. It cheered me up to learn how many of us are still committed in spite of Bernie's primary loss and the current political national news.

OurRevolution plans to validate groups of ten (or more) individuals which align with and believe in Bernie's platform. These are welcome to join as affiliates of OurRevolution. Currently there are over one thousand groups interested nationally.

Groups affiliated with OurRevolution will enjoy wide autonomy while being provided with  materials, encouragement, coordination, and other support. Affiliated groups are also welcome to work with other groups outside of OurRevolution, and separate groups within the same general region, too. Groups are encouraged to work together as much as possible. Chandra is excited about Indivisible and sees similarities in its aims with OurRevolution. There is also overlap in membership between both groups. She also likes the Indivisible Guide and finds it a great resource for activists.

New groups may also start, although a caller suggested to use this tool to find a local or regional group before starting a new one. Even working together, too many groups can be overwhelming, and often members are active in multiple groups-- which is fine, but we need to work together, avoid becoming fragmented, and avoid burnout. The good news is lots of people want to get involved, and, like Bernie's campaign, our coalition brings together many different progressive perspectives. By collaborating, we will be more effective.

Tools for OurRevolution and its affiliates have been rolled over from Bernie's campaign infrastructure, including supporters' names, its event-organizing website and tools, calling and texting teams, training, networking, and shared experience by experts in various areas. New tools will be developed and shared, too. This event organizer at will promote events and reach out to people who want to help. Its Transform the Party Tool is not aligned with any specific party, but designed to encourage citizens' political awareness, increase participation in our government at all levels, and to improve turnout for elections.

The goal is to make our efforts bipartisan-plus and to reach out to progressives everywhere. There is no point is isolating those who want to work outside the two-party system from those determined to reform from within it. As Chandra points out, we need dedicated volunteers both inside and outside the current system. Both approaches are valuable to effect change and synergy in working together. Another OurRevolution initiative is a Sanctuaries City Project to resist federal efforts to discriminate against immigrants.

We need more diverse races locally, regionally, and throughout politics. is a site for progressives who are running for office and looking for OurRevolution's endorsement at any level. There is a vetting process, and currently many people are applying for endorsements. This is great news!

Chandra followed up our telephone call with even more great information: an FAQ Guide for local organizers, a link to the OurRevolution organizing Slack, which is also available through the FAQ Guide, and a growing list of Organizing Guides.

For activists and potential activists willing to work toward a progressive and protective vision for the U.S. this is a great organization to join. I've been very discouraged with the current direction of politics, especially at the national level, and this one call has re-energized me and improved my outlook. Let's all roll up our sleeves and work together for the long haul. With determination and working together, nothing can stop us.