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Gordon: Building the Democratic wing Feb. 4
By Jesse Gordon/ Guest Column
Thursday, January 19, 2006

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Four years ago, in the previous governor's race, Robert Reich's progressive supporters swept into the gubernatorial caucuses and rebuilt the Democratic wing of the party. The next gubernatorial race is now upon us. The anti-Democratic wing - those currently in control of our party - have spent the last four years trying to keep progressives out. But if we sweep into the 2006 caucuses like in 2002, we can win the governor's race and permanently build the Democratic wing. Here's how.

    The caucuses will elect delegates to attend the Democratic State Convention. The June 3rd convention will elect the party nominee for governor and five other statewide offices, and determine which candidates may appear on the September primary ballot. September 2006 seems far away right now, but the main event occurs in two weeks, to get progressives onto that far away September ballot.
    The six Beverly caucuses will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m. at the McKeown Elementary School, 70 Balch St. There are only two rules: Show up early, because the doors are locked at the appointed hour. And participants must have registered as a Democrat by Dec. 30.
    "Hold on," some progressives say, "in 2002 we could change our registration until the day before the caucus." Indeed, that's how Reich and crew got so many independent voters to attend - we publicized the caucuses right up until the last day. The anti-Democratic wing changed that rule - explicitly to keep out candidates like Reich, who appeal to independent voters.
    At the caucus, every Democrat in attendance gets to cast four votes: For male delegates, female delegates, one male alternate, and one female alternate. Beverly will elect 18 delegates (three elected delegates in each of six wards) and 12 alternates this year.
    "Hold on," some progressives say, "we had more elected delegates in 2002." Indeed, that's another way that the anti-Democratic wing is trying to keep out progressives. They substantially cut the number of delegates elected at the caucuses, while keeping intact the party-insider delegate positions (including six delegate seats reserved for six ward chairs). That means the party-insider delegates have more say, relatively, than in 2002. Which is why progressives need to sweep the caucuses.

To win delegate seats, we run "slates" - where the progressives agree in advance whom to vote for. You can get onto the progressive slate in your caucus if you commit now to bring a dozen friends. The progressive statewide candidates' campaigns - Deval Patrick for Governor, John Bonifaz for Secretary of State, and others - will be organizing slates as much as they can. Several progressive groups are sponsoring a Web site, www.BuildingTheDemocraticWing.com, where you can see a list of the progressives running for delegate seats (or add yourself to the list).

    "Hold on," some progressives say, "can we make a difference, or will we just be wasting a Saturday?" Indeed, the progressives who spent that Saturday in 2002 are still well-remembered for making a difference. At a caucus organizing meeting, one newcomer asked, "Are we assured a delegate seat if we run on a slate?" An experienced caucus-goer responded, "I THOUGHT I was assured a seat in 2002, but those Reich people swept in and stole our seats!" I remarked, "I was one of those Reich people, and we considered it more an exercise in democracy than stealing!"
    We can exercise democracy again this February. Show up on Feb. 4th, and let's continue building the Democratic wing.
    For updates or more details check www.BuildingTheDemocraticWing.com or contact the Beverly Democratic City Committee chair, Duane Anderson, at 978-922-2368, or Arthur Powell at 978-922-1480 or e-mail Arthurpowell@hotmail.com.
     Jesse Gordon is an elected member of the Cambridge Democratic City Committee. He formerly served as the Technology Director for the Robert Reich for Governor campaign and is currently volunteering for the Deval Patrick and John Bonifaz campaigns. Jesse can be contacted at jesse@BuildingTheDemocraticWing.com or 617-320-6989.  [continue]
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