Ward and Division Organizing
Our expectation is that Neighborhood Networks will organized primarily on a division and ward basis. (For non-Philadelphians, what we call divisions are called precincts in most of the rest of the world.) As Tip O’Neil famously said, all politics is local. If the goal is to inform citizens and motivate them to support certain issues and candidates, our best hope of attaining that goal is by working, over the long term, with our neighbors. And, if we want to know what public policies best serve the communities in which we live, we have to listen carefully to our neighbors' concerns.
We hope to have a leader in most of the divisions in the city (and ultimately in the precincts in the surrounding counties) who heads up a group of activists in each division.
These division and precinct leaders will come together to form a ward (or, in the counties, township) committee.
The ward leaders will come together, possibly with some at-large members, to form the steering committee of Neighborhood Networks.
Our structure, then, mimics the official party structure of the Democratic Party (and others). But there is one critical difference: Our ward leaders won’t make decisions on the basis of which candidate gives them money. And they won’t be able to force their division leaders to follow their bidding by threatening their jobs. Neighborhood Networks will be a democracy in spirit as well as form.
In addition to the division and ward structure, our members may create issue caucuses that focus on particular public policy debates. We don’t want to replicate independent organizations that focus on particular issues. So we imagine that these issue caucuses will focus on strategy and tactics more than policy. They will guide the efforts of our organization as a whole as we give our support (or opposition) to legislative proposals in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, or Washington.
Leaders of Issue Caucuses might also be members of the steering committee.
Division and Block Leaders