Massachusetts Democratic Party rejects proposed convention resolution to make the party more democratic
● Reformers propose drastic reduction in the number of unelected positions on the Party’s ruling body.
● Rules Committee refuses to lower qualifying signature threshold to bring resolution to convention delegates for a vote, while Party is restricting access to delegate contact information
● Despite obstacles, reformers determined to gather 500 qualifying signatures for a full convention vote
On May 4, sixty-eight delegates submitted a resolution to the 2022 Mass Democratic Party Resolutions Committee calling for the elimination of life-time positions on the Democratic State Committee (DSC), the Party’s leadership committee. These unelected members comprise about one-third of the committee’s membership. Read the cover letter signed by 68 delegates and the proposed resolution here.
“With the exception of diversity and youth additions, we believe that the majority of the DSC membership should be democratically elected,” said Rand Wilson, an elected convention delegate from Somerville. “The more than 120 unelected “lifetime” members serving on the State Committee make up about 30% of the state committee. With the additional approximately 100 appointed diversity and youth “add-on” positions, 62% of the state committee is actually unelected. The end result is a majority of our party’s leadership is unaccountable to its grassroots base and lacks a sense of urgency to address a broken political system and a rigged economy.”
On May 5, the Resolutions Committee voted against the reform resolution. With a majority of the committee unelected DSC members, the rejection was hardly a surprise: of the 39 members appointed to the committee, seven are unelected lifetime members.
Signatures from 500 delegates on a petition are needed to bring a resolution for a vote by the entire convention. Under normal circumstances — at an in-person convention — proponents of a resolution easily gather signatures from the thousands of delegates streaming into the convention hall. The 500 delegate signature threshold of support is easily reached. This year proponents will be required to gather delegate signatures remotely, weeks before the convention.
But, because the 2022 convention will be conducted with both in-person attendees and on-line attendees, and because the party has determined that all votes on resolutions will be conducted before the convention, the 500 delegate signatures must be submitted in advance, by May 21. Further thwarting any effort to support resolutions, has provided reformers with a 2022 convention delegate list containing email contact information for only 498 certified delegates (out of a total of more than 5,000), LESS than the required 500 signatures! In contrast, the DSC provided complete delegate contact information to candidates for state office who are seeking support for the party’s nomination.
Proponents of the resolution appealed to the party Rules Committee to reduce the signature threshold, knowing that a similar appeal to reduce the threshold for the 2021 state convention was successful. However, this year, the Rules Committee refused.
“Denying proponents a list with full contact info in a virtual convention where there is no opportunity to gather signatures from delegates in-person, makes collecting 500 qualifying signatures nearly impossible,” added Wilson. “It’s a serious procedural violation of due process and fairness to deny elected party delegates an opportunity to pursue a legitimate convention objective.”
Nevertheless, reform supporters are making every effort possible to reach delegates and obtain the 500 qualifying petition signatures before May 21.
“Eliminating unelected lifetime members on the DSC is only a first step in democratizing our Party,” said Martha Karchere, co-chair of Our Revolution Massachusetts and a delegate from Jamaica Plain. “After the 2022 Democratic Convention, we will continue to build a reform movement to bring more democracy to the Party and to hold Democratic candidates and elected officials accountable to our platform.”
“The Democratic Party is losing membership. Young people, people of color, and working families are growing disillusioned and alienated by promises of change that go unfulfilled,” said Jared Hicks, a DSC member from Dorchester. “We need to work together to build a state party that responds to the needs of the majority and encourages participation to meet the urgent challenges we face.”
For more information about the movement to reform the state party, email: MassDemsForReform@gmail.com or call (857) 242–6045.