Why Our Revolution Is Fighting To Make The Mass Democratic Party More Democratic

Rand Wilson
2 min readNov 28, 2023

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By Rand Wilson and Henry Wortis (originally published in Organizing Notes, newsletter of Our Revolution Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 2023)

Party reformers, including many leaders of Our Revolution Massachusetts (ORMA), are working to increase democracy within the state Democratic Party. The chief decision-making body of the Party is the Democratic State Committee or DSC. DSC has 420 members. Currently the majority of the DSC’s membership (57%) is not democratically elected by the Party’s grassroots base.

That’s a problem because an unelected majority makes it nearly impossible to hold members of the DSC accountable for its decisions or individual member’s votes. It allows for the state chair, wealthy donors, and special interests to exert undue influence over party decision making.

The largest unelected DSC membership group is composed of 132 so-called “lifetime members” who have gained permanent committee seats after serving on the DSC for 20 years.

The second unelected group of committee members are “add-on” members created to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups on the DSC. There are currently 99 add-on members. These add-on members are self-nominated and then elected by members of the DSC. They are not nominated by the Afro-American, disabled, or LGBTQ+ or other constituencies that they are purported to represent.

The remaining minority of DSC members (currently 173) are elected through “ballot elections” in the 40 state senate districts via the presidential primary ballot or at “caucus elections” by representatives from local ward or town committees. Nineteen committee members are on the DSC because they are important elected officials.

An obvious solution is to phase out 20-year lifetime members and have “add on” members elected in a public caucus. ORMA party activists first introduced proposals to make the DSC more accountable at the state convention in 2017, then again in 2022. This year, reformers brought forward a resolution calling on the DSC to create a committee to determine how to address its unelected leadership problem. It was rejected by the party’s Resolutions subcommittee.

Concerns about ensuring that historically underrepresented groups are well represented on the DSC are important. However, at a time when the state party is hemorrhaging members, especially among young adults and a growing number of working-class voters are being seduced by the far right, reformers believe the undemocratic nature of the DSC is preventing the party from responding to the political and economic realities most people face.

If you are interested in helping to build a movement for state party reform, sign up here.

For a more in-depth discussion of issues concerning the governance of the state party click here for The Inside Story: Why Our Revolution is Fighting To Make The Mass Democratic Party More Democratic.

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Rand Wilson

Rand Wilson works as a union organizer and labor educator. He is a political activist in Somerville, MA.