Email, meetups and rabble-rousing speeches. Enewsletters, blogs, websites, listserves and labor rallies. PDA, DFA and MoveOn. CODEPINK, Wellstone Action! and the Courage Campaign. Like a phoenix from the ashes of the Liberal ideal we rose, just four short years ago. We are the resurrection of the Spirit of 76â€™. We are the flame of liberal thought burning down the neo-con, neo-liberal, DLC Blue Dog, stand for nothing house. We are the Progressive Movement. We are the Progressive Swarm. We come to every Democrat with the Progressive Plan in our left hand and with our right hand open, extended in inclusion and dialogue. We are the circle that draws everyone in. The Progressive Caucus is our home in the California Democratic Party.
I have worked with many of you over the last four years on issues of importance to Progressives across the country. It has been a pleasure to serve the membership as an officer of the caucus. In fact, it has been lightning in a bottle. We have had some successes like the Net Neutrality resolution that I brought forward in 2007. Collaborating with Labor Chair, Jim Gordon, we produced an unprecedented victory for all of America on this essential issue. After that I chaired and co-wrote the Internet plank of the CDP platform with Dante Atkins. I worked with our Co-Chair Jo Olson and our Vice Chair Ahjamu Makalani on the â€œImmigration Town Hallâ€. Once again, our caucus blazed a new trail in the CDP by organizing a multi-caucus event on a critical social issue.Â
The proposal that I worked on the hardest and am most proud of is the, â€œProgressive Planâ€ (www.progressivecaucuscdp.org). I co-authored this blueprint for Progressive organizing, strategizing and energizing with Ahjamu Makalani. We also received valuable editing from our fellow officers – Jo Olson, Joye Swan, Dotty LeMieux and Mayme Hubert. Not only does the analysis of the CDP and Democratic Party political infrastructure, found in the plan, still hold true today but also our proposals for change have been fundamental in building our Progressive movement in California and across the nation.Â
Because I believe that I have the vision and a plan to represent you faithfully and forcefully over the next two years – I am a candidate for Chair of the Progressive Caucus. Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you my plan for our next Progressive Caucus agenda. In this article I want to share my core policy initiatives. I look forward to your collaboration on all of these proposals.
My principal issues objective, as Chair, would be to build on our original platform and the policy initiatives it embraced. That platform changed our state Party, the national Party and the political dialogue in America. Even with the invigoration it provided for all Americans, its goals remain to be achieved:
â€“ Out of Iraq
Â Â Â - Immediate withdrawal and renunciation of preemptive war
â€“ Universal HealthcareÂ
Â Â Â - Single-payer healthcare for all Americans
â€“ Election Integrity
Â Â Â - Election Protection (count every vote as cast)
Â Â Â - Clean Money (public financing of campaigns)
Â Â Â - Eliminate its causes
Â Â Â - Alleviate its affects
Progressives have pioneered the use of the Internet and its micro-media communications in the 21st Century. Progressives use the modern technology of the Internet to organize in a new way and yes – we do get people elected. Donâ€™t let anyone tell you differently. In the coming years, we need to up the ante of our technological innovation. What we need to do now is project our liberal ideals across the Party and the nation by building a Progressive Grid.Â
I propose to you that we build a network of networks, linking the local Progressive clubs, statewide activists, the AD groups and individual members from around the 58 California counties with the Progressive Caucus. We should then link the Caucus to national organizations and build out through the states across the nation. Most importantly, we must actively help to create a Progressive Caucus in each of the 50 state Parties and add them to the grid.Â
With a Progressive Grid, a Smart Grid, we can focus Progressives, from local to state to national, to wherever the most activism is needed. In essence, we will create an inter-connected communications wheel with the Progressive Caucus at the hub – a multi-directional democratization of information. The Internet not only makes this possible but achievable through the social networking software already available.
Crafting initiatives of sound Progressive economic policy should be an integral part of the work of the next Progressive Caucus.Â
The economic theories of the last thirty years of unbridled greed have collapsed. We must demand that the DLC Blue Dog practices of compromising the needs of the people to Crony corporate protocols of narrow self-interest must give way to enlightened self-interest. America needs a complete reexamination of the entire monetary and fiscal policy apparatus as well as a more local, sustainable, renewable and humane ethic for all businesses, going forward.Â
Progressive economics is the best long-term design for creating prosperity and opportunity for all. To that end, I have been writing and collaborating on the problem and the solution. You can find my essay, â€œWhoâ€™s Minding The Store?â€ at: www.riozen.com/salon2.html. In it, I explore the social aspects of the new economic realities. Then please read, â€œProgressive Economic Principles Essayâ€ at: www.economicsfordemocrats.com. I co-wrote that article with Mark Pash. In it, Mark shares his vision for creating a quality economy through Progressive economics.Â
Our movement and our caucus is the fiery generator of bold ideas. We are the citizen response to too many years of the Blue Dog DLC moderateâ€™s electoral flops. Standing for nothing with the DLC cost the Democratic Party everything from 1994 to 2006. Progressives are the first wave of new Liberal activists and the spark that lit the fire resulting in Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008. We are a key part of the new Democratic electoral majority – Labor, Progressives and minorities.
There is a great debate going on in the CDP for the soul of the Democratic Party. On one side are those who say electing Democrats, especially incumbents, is the only purpose of the CDP. On the other side are the members who say that the Party should be the incubator of Progressive Liberal policy. Some say money is everything but we say – in this â€œAge of Informationâ€, ideas are the greatest capital of all. So, policy and issues are our Progressive focus, not personalities.Â
I believe that when principled candidates who embody Progressive ideas are joined by modern GOTV operations, then the change we have hoped for and believed in will be possible. Then the Democratic Party will be living up to its mandate.
Change is the only permanent feature of nature. The Progressive Caucus must change as well as the Democratic Party. We need to leave the comfort of our home – the caucus – and reach out to the entire Party. It is time for us to inspire the rest of our Party to invest in our policy proposals. It is time to take the Progressive Platform into every corner of the Democratic Party and America.Â
Our determination and dedication to open, accessible, transparent and accountable politics have changed the political dynamics of America. Our Progressive ideas and actions have come to demand everyoneâ€™s attention. I propose that we go further, much further.Â
I ask for your vote for Chair of the Progressive Caucus and I thank you for your support.
Valley Democrats United, President
Progressive Caucus of the CDP, Officer at Large
Platform Committee of the CDP
DSCC, Delegate, 42nd AD
Progressive Democrats of America, Board of Trustees
A.F. of M. Local 47