From: Kathleen Bridgewater <bridgewater@...>
Date: Sun May 15, 2005  10:55 am
Subject: Re: [pdama] What happened?

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On May 15, 2005, at 9:26 AM, Jeff Boudreau wrote:
> Can anyone give the 30,000 foot view what happened yesterday? A lot of
> us on the floor were "WTF???????". This was NOT democracy in action!

Hi,
I was certainly among the confounded, and if I am still misinformed,
please correct me. The scene was of a Party Gone Wild and I am glad
the press had skedaddled already. Patty Marcus, a progressive county
chair in Franklin County and a person who fought hard for every
progressive issue as a member of the platform committee, is NOT upset.
Although I am not totally clear, she was able to assuage my concerns:

#1 She said the two men at the podium ARE to be trusted. I
nevertheless felt they did a poor job of communicating to the assembled
folks who needed to have the process explained. We were not all
insiders who were aware enough to know either the procedures or the
even which topic was being voted on. However, they were abiding by the
rules to the letter. One is the chief counsel for the party. I got
the definite feeling that by the end there was a majority that wanted
to leave and a roll call was not supported.

#2 TO MY UNDERSTANDING (limited because I did not take part in the
tabulations) there were not enough signatures on the two voting
amendments or the reinsert the America in the World amendment to cause
a floor debate. Certainly, people were not falling all over themselves
to sign since the media has completely ignored these issues. Black box
voting gets rejected out of hand as conspiracy theory and we must work
to correct this lack of information.

#3 The Iraq Resolution paper was written in a non-regulation manner,
but the chair (Phil Johnston) felt strongly enough about it to present
it under the rules himself. Apparently all the signatures helped
persuade him that it would be the will of the convention. He oddly did
not call for the nays. I know there were nays because I had not been
able to convince a number of them. The resounding nature resulted in
acclamation. Which is OK for those who want early withdrawal, and not
so OK for those who think we should be staying there to prevent a civil
war. That was not democratic, but it was clearly a majority.

My take on all this is that progressive Democrats in Massachusetts must
do a number of things to become the decisive majority:
1) unite our efforts whenever possible
2) stay in contact about issues
3) co-sponsor events and spread the events across the state (Bev Harris
is a good example of how to start. The League of Women Voters of
Amherst, a decidedly nonpartisan group, has long advocated the
progressive stand for single payer health care. They are almost ready
to send out a whole packaged event on universal single payer health
care, speaker and all. Want one?)
4) sponsor issue workshops where the background information is shared
so that people who know little will not feel at sea or intellectually
excluded from the discussion; This will expand the progressive wing of
the party. (There were a large number of delegates who voted on the
platform who did not know what universal single payer health care is.
Neither did they know they were more than the Romney and Tavaglini
proposals on the table. Don't feel bad if you are among them.)
5) link websites and share commondreams.org/buzzflash.org, moveon.org,
6) work to establish think tank groups
7) help support students who are wanting to support progressive
politics. (They need to be welcomed. The right is doing this
amazingly well through the Independent Women's Forum and the Federalist
Society. They have set up hard to ignore scholarships and networks.)
8) You list the rest!

By and large, it was a messy ending to a generally smooth-running
convocation of almost unwieldy size. These were some of the most left
of center people in the country. Keep that in mind. I am reassured
that this is the group in which the progressives can spread their
message most effectively. We are the inside of the inside-outside PDA
theory. Don't get discouraged. I spoke to lots of regular folks with
open minds and good hearts who just need information to become
progressives. (I also talked to others who were going to take more
convincing.) Let's not forget that many of the Democrats we are
looking for are currently outside of the active party. They are
potential voters who can change 2006 by not only their own vote, but by
working in New Hampshire within the Democratic Party campaigns or with
Swing the Vote as it works for REAL National Security through the vote.
We can bring them in by joining the town committees and caucuses. We
can become the not-another-Republican-Party that Kennedy spoke
eloquently of yesterday.

My questions are:
A) What do people think about Deval Patrick's potential to be a
progressive candidate? (I have heard him three times now and he
definitely grows on me. I have much to learn about all three
candidates. Patrick has the most charisma on stage. Being a governor
is more than that, of course.)
B) On a totally pedestrian note: Does anybody know what happened to 3
of my clipboards? (KB or RM on back of 2, and an orange plastic one)
Please bring them to the JWJ Health event in Worcester next Saturday if
you have them.

What an exhilarating effort people put in Friday and Saturday. Every
minute will bear fruit if we stay focused on 2006 and 2008.

Kathleen Bridgewater
Amherst