J. Clifford and Mother Davis are fond of making the dual argument that the Democratic Party establishment should not take liberal support for granted, and that liberals should not take for granted that the Democratic Party establishment will promote liberal parties. In order for the Democratic Party to succeed in mobilizing its core constituents, it needs to maintain a commitment to the traditional liberal values upon which this nation was founded and upon which it prospered — economically, socially, and morally. To ensure that the Democratic Party does what it should to bolster a true liberal agenda, liberals must actively organize within the Party to fight efforts of conservative Democrats to control the party bureaucracy. When the Democratic Party apparatus does not listen, liberals must be unafraid to go around Democratic Party leaders and engage in grassroots organizing around issues of importance to Americans.
A great example of this dual approach in action is the Progressive Caucus of the Genesee County Democratic Party in Michigan. The caucus’ organizing mission:
We, the members of the Progressive Caucus of the Genesee County Democratic Party have come together to carry forward those basic values that are the foundation of America. We affirm our conviction that all people are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights. While we acknowledge that people differ in such things as national origin, racial identity, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or personal abilities, such differences are superficial and inconsequential in comparison to the fundamental human qualities and needs that we all share.Because of this fundamental equality, everyone deserves equal opportunity for healthcare, employment, and a good education as well as equal protection under the law.
They’ve got a practical action plan working both within and outside the Democratic Party apparatus:
I. Support Democratic Party Activities
a) membership drives
b) fundraising efforts
c) area meetings
II. Plan and Execute Events & Activities to Express Progressive Values
c) support strikes
d) grassroots seminars and training
e) petition drives
f) organizational support
g) organizational boycotts
III. Form Alliances with Like-Minded Groups
IV. Develop a Recommended List of Media Sources
V. Develop a Communications Network
VI. Develop Fundraising Activities
VII. Recruit, Groom and Support Local Democrats for Public Office
And they’re not just sitting around writing out mission statements in a room somewhere. Although the group is pretty new, they’ve already gone and chartered a bus to the big ol’ anti-war protest in Washington, DC on September 24; if you want to hop on board, shoot them an e-mail.
Meetings of the Progressive Caucus happen second Wednesday of the month (Aug. 10 is the next meeting) at 6:30PM at the Harris Auditorium in the Genesee County Building, 1101 Beach Street, in Flint, Michigan.
This is exactly what should be happening in cities, counties, towns and villages across the nation. Kudos to this fine group of Americans.