Working together to affect our current political climate
By DAVID GREENBERG
“Balance will shift on the Town Council with progressive candidates having swept in Tuesday’s general election.”— the Recorder, Nov. 8, 2017 Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR), the successor organization to Pioneer Valley for Bernie, endorsed six candidates in the Greenfield municipal elections, four for Town Council and two for School Committee. All were victorious except for a write-in candidate for School Committee.
Let me explain how this worked. We did not ask candidates if they would like our endorsement; rather, candidates came to us. FCCPR expected one, maybe two. The candidates who came to us are not seasoned politicians. For most, it was their first attempt to win elective office. What drove them to get involved? We think that people are seeing the chaotic state of affairs at the national level and realize that our best chance to effect real change is at the local level.
When a candidate approached us, we asked them to sit down with our Endorsement Recommendation Committee, composed of a representative from the Coordinating Committee and from each of our task forces: labor, education, climate action, civil rights, single-payer health care, electoral politics and campaign finance reform. We discussed the Democratic party platform, our FCCPR issues, and how we could work together if they were to win. All the candidates who approached us were “vetted” and recommended to the membership for endorsement. We then had an online election, where we asked our membership, roughly 300 people, to endorse the candidates. They were all approved. CPR worked with the candidates, providing the help they needed with canvassing, phone banks, writing, campaign management, etc. About 30 CPR members, many new to electoral politics, worked on the campaigns and we found it challenging, yet exhilarating, as we worked together to affect the political climate in our community. It was especially exciting to see the candidates supporting and empowering each other. And we found what we have found many times before: When we organize, we win.
Our endorsement is a two-way street. We help our candidates get elected and they are then held accountable for the promises that they made to our members. We will have their backs and they will pursue the issues that are important to all of us, such as decent jobs with a living wage, respect for unionized workers, a safe city for all, quality education for all, and a preemptive plan to address the opioid epidemic. It doesn’t matter who anyone voted for last November; these issues impact all of us and only by working together can we address them successfully.
Our victories were not an isolated event. Many other affiliates of Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA) also endorsed progressive slates and won in Cambridge, Somerville, Worcester, Medford, Framingham ... and the list goes on! And Massachusetts is part of a national tide of progressivism that was evident in elections in Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. This wasn’t about being against Trump; it was about creating better lives for the American people. The tide is turning as people realize that working together, from the ground up, we can change the course of our own lives, and that of our community and our country. We will not be fooled by the ‘divide and conquer’ strategies of the one percent who try to pit white people against people of color, and nativeborn against immigrants. We know that our common interests far outweigh our differences. We believe that the 99 percent will ultimately be victorious in this battle for our country.
You can learn more about FCCPR by visiting: fccpr.us. David Greenberg of Colrain is a member of the Coordinating Committee of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution.