Organizing Principles & An Invitation to Act Before January

Not to be dramatic, but our planet and our grandkids’ future is at stake. We can’t sit idly by and wait for someone else to resist. The bad new is, there is no quick fix, no brilliant idea to turn back the clock. We have to face this reality and challenge it.

we-the-peopleBefore introducing our revised organizing principles, a few announcements.

Bob Dylan & George Carlin. If you missed yesterday’s blog, the rendition of Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall is so worth the time. Patti Smith stumbles a bit because she was overtaken by emotion, but the lyrics were clear and evocative and the stumble actually enhanced the performance. And George Carlin in 3 minutes captures exactly how America is being lulled into accepting the Corporatocracy’s terms. We got a note from George Carlin’s daughter, Kelly, thanking us for including him in the blog. Click here if you missed it.

Monday, Dec 19, 9am at the Roundhouse. Protest the electoral college. Click here.

Tues, Dec. 20, Immigration 101 with Santa Fe Dreamers Project. 5:30-7:30pm
Meow Wolf, 1352 Rufina Circle, Santa Fe, NM – Allegra Love will present a two-hour training covering immigration law and actions we and our city can take. A great follow up activity to yesterday’s Somos Un Pueblo Unido’s Pro-Sanctuary Rally. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Action Team Planning Meetings. People are always asking: What can I do?  We have formed Action Teams for advocacy at the Roundhouse and City Council, outreach, direct action, research, ward reinvigoration, and social media and traditional media. Planning meetings are scheduled the first two weeks of January. To find descriptions of the teams and time and dates of the next meetings, click here.

Retake Our Democracy

Organizing Principles & What You Can Do Before January

Two weeks ago, I developed a summary of the reasons why Retake Our Democracy was formed, the unique need it fills, and its vision, mission, and strategies. Since then we have received input from a quite a few and we have revised this summary quite a bit. But it is still the expression of a relative few. If we are going to Retake Our Democracy, we need our organizing principles to be an expression of more of a collective vision, so if you click here, you will find the summary of our mission, vision, and the challenge we are addressing. At the end of that summary is a place for you to provide comment. Please provide input: What is missing? What can be improved or clearer? What is really good and should be stressed elsewhere? I encourage people not only to comment, but to reply to other people’s comments. I only ask that comments be civil and if you disagree with someone you do so respectfully. There are no bad ideas, only those ideas that are never expressed. Thanks

At most every meeting I attend, no matter what the focus of the meeting, I am asked, but what are we going to do about Trump? There is the Hamilton electoral challenge, click here for more information on the effort to stop Trump by having electoral college voters refuse to vote for him.  And there is a protest scheduled for 9am at the Roundhouse on Monday, the 19th. I hope to see you there. But, in truth, I don’t really feel any effort to derail Trump has a chance to succeed, as I explained in that blog.

So where does that leave us? What can we do?

My answer is one word: Organize. We need a very large, very engaged, and very nimble movement with people constantly poised to take action. There is no easy way around it: this is not going to be easy and it will take everyone one of us working together to oppose each and every Trump initiative that is in conflict with democratic, progressive values. And it is not enough to just be against Trump. We need to be FOR something and that is why Retake Our Democracy has crafted an initial set of statements about what we aspire for America to become, as described above.

We can’t just sit back and assume that the next four years will pass and then we’ll elect a Messianic president who will fix things.

First, Presidents don’t fix things, only small groups of people working together do.

Second, to elect a President who might help us advance our goals, we need to have a very strong base of well-informed progressive voters and make sure they get active.

Third, we need to start conversations with folks who voted for Trump. We have to help them connect the dots and see that immigrants and Muslims are not what is degrading their lives, it is the corporatocracy and the Democratic and Republican parties as they are currently constituted.

Finally, we have to be organized to resist whatever is about to hit us. So sitting back is not an option. Action is.

To be effective in our action, we need to engage, educate, and activate people throughout our communities. If you want to get active, sign up for one of our Action Teams and come to one of the Action Team meetings slated for early January. Click here for a description of the Action Teams and a schedule of Planning meetings. It is at these meetings where we will develop strategies to oppose the Trump regime.

Those meetings are a couple of weeks away, and there are a few things you can do to help us expand our base:

  • Reach out to 2-3 friends and family members and include the link to our mission, vision, and values summary. Ask them to read it, tell them you are active in the organization and feel that they might find it a good place to express their outrage or concerns. Ask them to sign up for the blog, and follow up with these folks, asking them what they thought about a recent blog—seriously, this is the single best thing you could do.
  • If you use Facebook, go to our website and share the blogs you especially like — use the Facebook button at the end of every blog. Go to our FB page, “like” it if you haven’t already, and share things you think others might want to know.
  • The holidays are for family, and while it isn’t a great time to drop political bombshells, in many families, talk about Trump and our situation is going to be inevitable. Should that discussion occur, tell them about Retake Our Democracy and encourage them to sign up for the blog;
  • We are going to be organizing House Parties on an ongoing basis beginning in January. Start making a list of people you know who might be interested, and try to have a mix of people you know will want to get involved and those who might be more conservative. Some House Parties will have an issue theme, some will simply be: “I am floored by where this country is headed. Let’s get together and talk among friends, share what we are feeling and figure out what we can do together.” House parties will be one of the initial strategies for building our base outside Santa Fe, so those of you who don’t live in Santa Fe, start making a guest list and contact us for more info. We will provide speaking points, discussion topics, and optional video links. This is a tremendous way to get your friends involved and have fun.

Don’t even begin to think that contacting friends won’t matter. You never know when one call or one email can turn into one person getting really active. For example, someone forwarded a recent blog to a friend in Houston. That person wrote to me and she wants to form a Retake Our Democracy Activist Hub in Houston. She has been posting on Facebook non-stop and forwarding our blog to friends. After the holidays, I am going to ask her to host a house party to engage more people. You may have a friend in Deming just waiting to get active. And that is how it starts.

9 thoughts on “Organizing Principles & An Invitation to Act Before January

  1. All the grass roots activities you have mentioned are necessary but I am not convinced are sufficient. Too many of us think we have sufficient understanding of human behavior and behaviors of complex systems. After all we are human and we live in a “complicated” world. But how much insight do we have even of our own behavior and how do we deal with emergent behavior of truly complex systems (such as community and social movements)? Progressive people motivated by positive emotions tend to argue logically. That is good but again not sufficient for those people we need to influence. Have we identified progressive people with expertise in these areas? Are we fully using their insights? I know that some may be thinking that I am arguing for manipulation and propaganda. However, to not address our emotional nature including our focus on self or belief in earthly messiahs, will give con men the upper hand. We must be better at understanding these aspects or the corporatists and their ad men will win way too often.

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    • Very thoughtful comment. That is why we are going to work slowly. There has been a burst of interest. A “what can we do now to stop this.” but the only way we can stop this is with a thoughtful, methodical development of leadership and an organization created to do this work long-term. That is why I have shied away from the Electoral College….we can stop this if we act now effort. It is time to build a broad movement, not a knee jerk response to horror. Yes, it is horrific what faces us, but plunging in without a plan is not the solution. Keep engaged.Together we will first build an infrastructure of leadership, a constellation of strategies, and a long-term plan to build.

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      • Paul, thank you for your response. I absolutely agree with the need to work slowly, thoughtfully and methodically. I hold a similar view about the low likelihood of any short term action to be successful in preventing the transition of power (such as the Electoral College doing the right thing even if Obama be willing to direct the CIA to brief them or the nation on tampering by Russia).

        If you agree that insight into human and complex systems behavior may be useful to a methodical approach let me know. I introduced myself at yesterday’s NM Progressive Coalition meeting. I will be glad to share my knowledge of these areas and have access to a developing network of talented individuals to contribute to this initiative.

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  2. We simply must fill all the Precinct Chair positions with Progressives so thst we csn put Progressives in the Party adminstration. We can then elect these people to the State Central Committee, so thst we can put Progressives in the Party adminstration. If you know the date of Santa Fe County Precinct Elections please post here.

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  3. Protest the Electoral College.
    Sounds good – so I went onto the Hamilton Electors website, under “about” I found the following statement –

    “In 2016 we’re dedicated to putting political parties aside and putting America first. Electors have already come forward calling upon other Electors from both red and blue states to unite behind a Responsible Republican candidate for the good of the nation.”

    So we are uniting red and blue states to protest the President Elect just to find another Repulican ?????? !!!
    Maybe I’m missing something….

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    • See my comment above. My bottom line. Trump is going to be President. It is time to organize very thoughtfully at the grassroots level and develop a sustainable movement. Thank you for your comment.

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  4. This posts talks about the Protest of the Electoral College on Monday organized by the Hamilton Electors. Have you read their website? Quote: “Electors have already come forward calling upon other Electors from both red and blue states to unite behind a Responsible Republican candidate for the good of the nation. Please show your support for these courageous citizens by sharing their message, and your concerns about Donald Trump, using #HamiltonElectors. America should have the best person for the job as President.”

    This message seems a bit contradictory. First, it talks about getting behind a “Responsible Republican candidate”, then it says, “America should have the best person for the job…”.

    Does that organization have a hidden agenda? If so, why is it being promoted on this site?

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    • IN truth, this is one of those rare occasions, when I wanted to be responsive to so many people who hold hope that the Electoral College will do anything other elect Trump. So I scanned that article and included the information about the demonstration Monday. But my heart isn’t in it. After a day of training on community organizing, I realize now that must be far more strategic and focus on what can really have meaningful, long-term impact. This resistance and movement building is not a series of strategies, it is leadership development, strategy development, relationship development, all for the long-term. Thanks for calling me out a bit. Onward into the fog.

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