Friday, January 27, 2017

A Contradictory Moment In Oregon

We have this:

and then we have this report from a Facebook post:

The Democratic Party of Oregon's (DPO) leadership team is in a panic over recent gains made by the state's Progressive wing. Since November, in county after county, party leaders and committee members have been losing power to Progressives, many of whom were instrumental in helping Bernie Sanders win the state's primary last year.

Now, it seems that the state party leadership is striking back.

In a highly unusual move, current and former members of the Oregon state legislature, and even their family members, have been hastily recruited to run for State Central Committee delegate positions in Multnomah County, just ahead of that county's organizational elections. The State Central Committee is the governing body of the Oregon Democratic Party, and the party will be holding elections for its leadership in March. State legislators who were called in to help stack the deck in favor of the current establishment include Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, House Majority Leader and Representative for House District 45; Loretta Smith, Multnomah County Commissioner; Rob Nosse, Representative for House District 42; and Mary Nolan, former House Majority Leader. The party has also tapped spouses and partners of Democratic Party staff in an attempt to dilute the influence of the party's progressives in the upcoming party elections.

DPO Staff and party resources may have been used to recruit over 100 new Precinct Committee Persons (PCPs) that were appointed at the December Multnomah County meeting. The new appointees can then vote for State Central Committee delegates at the county re-organization meeting. The DPO staff is also calling current Multnomah County PCPs asking them to attend the Saturday January 28 Multnomah County re-organization meeting -- something they didn't do for either the Washington County or Clackamas County re-organization meetings.

Clearly, Oregon's Democratic Party leadership wants to hold onto it's power, even if it means disenfranchising the thousands of Progressives in the state.

The State Party's attempt to 'put it's thumb on the scale' is reminiscent of the now well-documented efforts of the Democratic National Committee to help the Clinton campaign during the primaries.

Multnomah County will elect 18 State Central Committee delegates this Saturday, January 28th. The meeting is open to the public. Elected delegates will be voting on the officers of the Democratic Party of Oregon on March 26, 2017.

and so we can ask:

1. Does the strategy to deal with a budget shortfall necessarily depend on keeping a liberal bloc in power?
2. Is the state Democratic Party leadership willing to risk losing and alienating progressive Democrats?
3. Will either side organize and mobilize at the base to defend all social services and an all-peoples' social agenda, or will the progressives, Democrats and labor pit groups against one another?
4. Is the Democrat establishment trying to make us pay for backing Sanders? Is this vengeance?
5. Which side has the support of the core forces most involved in winning social change (people of color, labor, women, youth)?
6. Are progressives prepared to take on the fight over the projected shortfall? Can they rally the core social forces into a working alliance or take over existing alliances without destroying them?
7. Is there a unifying option for progressive Democrats outside of the Democratic Party which will actively engage in the struggle over the budget, defend all social services and build a peoples' social agenda? 

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