Reformers vow to continue fight for a more democratic, grassroots-oriented party
Contempt for party activists on display at MassDems convention…
By Rand Wilson, Delegate, Ward 6, Somerville
Thousands of Massachusetts Democratic Party delegates gathered on Sept. 23 in Lowell for what was labeled an “Action Agenda” convention. Sadly, there was practically no “action” to be had.
Party leaders made no effort to organize delegates into a coherent force against racism, or economic inequality, or to win Medicare for All, Rent Control, or any of the many other aspirational goals of the party’s very progressive platform.
Except for a passing reference from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, speakers never mentioned our multi-year, grassroots campaign to successfully tax millionaires — which is the source of $1 billion in new revenue for programs like free school meals, free community college, and student debt relief that the politicians boast about!
The highlight of the convention was State Auditor Diana DiZoglio who used her time on stage to passionately sing for an audit of the legislature. Saying that the business of Beacon Hill should not be conducted behind closed doors, DiZoglio called on rank and file Democrats to gather 75,000 signatures to mandate the audit.
As in past years, almost every speaker passionately spoke about how important the grassroots, rank-and-file Democrats are to the party. However for most attendees, it was clear that the convention wasn’t about us, it was actually all about them — the elected big wigs. We were assembled in Lowell solely to applaud their speeches and cheer for their hollow rhetoric.
The real contempt for party activists was that — as in years past — deliberations concerning the party and its policies were held until after all the speeches by statewide elected officials and the other notable VIPs were concluded. In order for the resolutions to come to the floor, the newly adopted convention rules required a two-thirds vote of the assembled delegates in favor of “suspending the rules.”
Although reformers with Our Revolution and other progressive groups gathered sufficient signatures to qualify five resolutions for consideration by the delegates, it was 2:30 PM before we could make a motion to suspend the rules.
Exhausted from endless self-congratulatory speeches, and with the convention running two hours late, the remaining delegates were in no mood for a longer agenda. The voice vote failed, and it was obvious that there was no longer a quorum present to conduct any business.
The proposed resolutions called for:
1. Opposition to the influence of “dark money” in Democratic primaries;
2. Mandating hybrid participation options for Democratic state conventions;
3. Prioritizing transparency, inclusivity, and democratic representation in the Party’s decision-making processes;
4. Advocacy for a state single-payer health insurance system;
5. Endorsing regular, independent audits of the Massachusetts Legislature.
While we failed to get a delegate vote, there was broad support from many delegates for all of the resolutions. Our next step is to take them to the State Committee’s Resolutions subcommittee for further consideration and then to the next State Committee meeting on November 15.
The full text of the proposed resolutions are online here. Other resolutions that also qualified for consideration included calling on the state legislature to include organizing rights for statehouse staffers; and in support of gender neutral bathrooms.
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