August 15, 2010
Coming September 25: POW (the Progressive Organizing Workshop).
What you'll learn: everything you need to know about beating Republicans, and Keeping Democrats . . . democrats.
By Stan Shapiro
OK, let’s start with first things first. We must defeat the Republicans this Fall. The Republican Party has scuttled all pretenses to moderation, particularly in Pennsylvania. Its candidates for Governor and Senator, Tom Corbett and Pat Toomey, are far to the right of the last Republican holders of those offices, Tom Ridge and Rick Santorum. Yes, that’s right, Pat Toomey is far to the right of Rick Santorum. And Tom Corbett, who claims that the unemployed like being out of work, and that national health care legislation is unconstitutional, thinks taking Pennsylvania back to the 1920’s would be really swell.
So these two must be beaten, no ifs, ands, or buts. Insuring that PA remains blue this Fall is reason enough to hold a training event devoted to getting out a huge Democratic vote in November. Register now!...
Democrats must be democrats (small "d") too.
But there’s another reason. We need a Democratic Party in Philadelphia that is responsive to its members.
We all know fine Philadelphia Democrats, and the gulf between the Democrats and the Party of Yesterday is vast. But far too often the Democratic Party coddles the rich and the corporate, and forgets the rest of us. And all too often in its internal workings, the rest of us might as well not exist.
Here are some examples of Democrats putting most of us last: the defeat of a ban on plastic bags, the virtual repeal of wage tax credits for the poor, imposition of a 10% increase in property taxes with no exemptions for poor and working people. All of these occurred in the current City Council term while it has been entirely controlled by Democrats.
And here is why the Party machinery has got to be changed: it simply doesn’t understand the meaning of its name. If you name your party “Democratic Party” it should mean that you respect elections. But Tracey Gordon, duly elected committeeperson in the 40th Ward, was booted out of that position by the Democratic ward committee. That’s right. Her name was on the ballot. She got the most votes without any question. And she was told, no matter, we unelect you. That was in Southwest Philadelphia. Similar stories emerged from Bella Vista (2nd Ward) and Mount Airy (22nd Ward). That is not a Democratic Party that speaks for you and me.
We Want to Organize In YOUR Neighborhood
But we will not only be organizing to defeat the Republican ticket and to keep (make) the Democrats honest. We will use this opportunity to teach organizing the Neighborhood Networks way. That is, we will teach you how to be an organizer right where you live, on your block, in your neighborhood, in your voting division, in your ward or in your region. It’s up to you how much you want to take on. But in whatever place you choose to work, you will have acquired the tools to organize to win.
Organizing where you live is effective and fun. But don’t take our word for it. Come to POW, practice with us how to work for a better world right where you live, and see for yourself.
So save this date: September 25 from 1-4:30 PM!!
So, in short, here is what we’re going to do at the Progressive Organizing Workshop on September 25. First, we're going to organize ourselves for the short run to beat back the 18th Century Republicans. And then we'll systematically take on our long term task of making the Democrats . . . democrats. And we're going to do all of it the Neighborhood Networks way.
POW is cosponsored by AFT Local 2026, Penn Action, PeaceAction, Philly for Change, Philly Progressive Democrats of America, AFSCME District Council 47. More details will follow. Stay tuned . . . and meanwhile, save the date: September 25 at Community College of Philadelphia. If you're on Facebook, let us know you'll be with us.
Here's the tentative agenda. It's a packed program. Please try to arrive on time. You won't want to miss a thing.
1 - 1:30 Registration
1:30-2:15 Opening Plenary (Auditorium)
• Welcome: John Braxton, Co-President AFT Local 2026
• Welcome: Stephanie Singer, Democratic Ward Leader 8th Ward
• Keynote Address: Joe Hoeffel, Montgomery County Commissioner
• Remarks: Tony Payton, Jr., Pa. State Representative
• Agenda Review: Gloria Gilman, Chair Neighborhood Networks
2:15 - 2:30 Snack Break & Move to Workshops
➢ Go to Workshop in your Geographical Area
• Electoral Training- Canvass, Phone Bank, GOTV
• National & State Issues for Progressive Agenda
• Staying Organized in Neighborhoods after election
4:15-4:30 Closing Presentation (Auditorium)
• Plan to Develop Progressive Neighborhood Structure
• Next Steps
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