April 1, 2016

Action notes

A whopping 66 percent pay rise is in the pipeline for some minimum-wage workers in New York. Workers in New York City will be the first to benefit, as they will have to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour by the end of 2018, up from $9 currently (and $10.50 for fast-food workers).

We have suggested that the Sanders campaign also regard itself as a movement that will keep going regarding of what happens in the primaries. Here are some specific ideas along these lines by Miles Mogulescu: 
. The Sanders campaign announces that it will not end with the Democratic Convention or the general election, but win, lose, or draw, will continue on as a permanent mass organization.

• The Sanders campaign agrees to fund several million dollars from its war-chest in start-up costs for such an organization.

• The campaign assigns and/or hires several organizers from its national staff to coordinate the creation of such an organization.

• Simultaneously, it assigns organizers on the national, state, local, and campus level to devote all or part of their time to building such an organization.

• The campaign announces that it will make its email list available for communication with its supporters about the organization and, after the election campaign, to communicate and fund raise on its own.

• The first building block would be an organizing meeting to be held in Philadelphia parallel with the Democratic National Convention.

• In the (somewhat unlikely) event that Bernie is the Democratic nominee, the initial task of the organization will be to elect him president. If Hillary is the nominee, the initial task will be to critically support her and prevent Trump or a Republican from taking the White House. Whomever the Democratic nominee is, the organization would also campaign to take back the Senate and House and, in particular, to support progressive candidates. If it’s Hillary, the organization would function semi-autonomously from her campaign and the Democratic Party, rallying Sanders supporters to block the Republicans.

• Between the end of the election and the Inauguration Day on January 20, 2017, intensive work would be devoted to building a network of supporters and chapters in cities, towns, neighborhoods, workplaces and college campuses.

• Around Inauguration Day, a national convention would be held in Washington to formally create the organization, ratify a policy platform, elect a national steering committee, and set forth a list of initial organizing priorities.

The organization would be devoted to uniting people across racial, ethnic and gender lines. It would engage both in electoral work and in mass protest politics. It would run people for office at every level from dog catcher, to city council, to state legislatures to Congress — mainly in the Democratic Party except where electoral law makes 3rd party campaigns practical. It would both endorse sympathetic candidates as well as run its own. At the same time, it would organize direct action on the ground for labor rights, civil rights, environmental causes, and against militarism and needless military action.

There are already several smaller organizations in place with similar goals, including the Working Families Party, National People’s Action, Democracy for America, Progressive Democrats of America, Democratic Socialists of America; mostly online organizations like Move On and The Progressive Change Campaign Committee; and loosely organized activist groups of mostly young African Americans and Latinos like Black Lives Matters and the Dream Defenders. Many of their activists and members might be interested in becoming involved in a larger new organization building out of the Sanders campaign. But, with their own history of activism and organizing, it’s unlikely most of these groups would want to dissolve themselves into a new organization, certainly not right away before it had proven itself. So the new organization would build coalitions with existing organizations. 

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