The blog of Frederick Clarkson

Archive for the ‘Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts’ Category

This Sunday on WMUA – FM (UMASS)

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This Sunday (October 12), from Noon-1 p.m. EST,  I will discuss Dispatches with Leo Maley, who is both a Dispatches contributor and co-host of ‘Focus,’ a progressive public affairs show on WMUA 91.1 FM (Amherst).   (The interview begins a couple minutes past the hour.)   You can listen to the program live on the web.  Leo’s chapter in Dispatches is titled:  “Organizing Clergy for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts.”  Here is a quote from his important essay:

The back-story of this historic civil and human rights victory is the role of over 1,000 clergy—and numerous laypersons—who, in publicly supporting marriage equality, powerfully reframed the same-sex marriage debate in a way that helped lead to this major progressive achievement. However, the historic Goodridge decision is not the achievement I am talking about. Instead, the victory to which religious progressives contributed so significantly was the dramatic showdown vote in the state legislature in 2006 that headed off a state-wide ballot question designed to undo Goodridge and thus write discrimination into the Massachusetts constitution. This success story should embolden and inspire progressive religious activists as a model for organizing on this issue over the long haul, as well as informing our thinking about a broader and more politically dynamic Religious Left.

Writers’ Voice

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Host Francesca Rheannon of Writer’s Voice discusses Dispatches from the Religious Left with contributor Leo Maley and me, focusing on models for political organizing — notably that of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts and the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. This Friday at 4:30 PM, on WMUA-FM at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Marshall Ganz at Amherst College Oct 6th

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Marshall Ganz and former UFW general Counsel Jerry Cohen are speaking at Amherst College on Monday, October 6th.  In addition to Ganz’ work with the UFW, he has been an important contributor to Barack Obama’s organizing strategy. And of course, he also played important roles in the campaigns of Robert Reich and Howard Dean, and the founding of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (PDM.)
He is also a contributor  Dispatches from the Religious Left:  the Future of Faith and Politics in America.  I think his chapter “Thoughts about Power, Organizing and Leadership” is important for anyone considering the state of progressive political organizing — what can go wrong, what should go right, and why.  
Activism in 21st Century America
Jerry Cohen and Marshall Ganz in Conversation with Ilan Stavans
Jerry Cohen was the UFW General Counsel (1967-79) and Cesar Chavez’s personal attorney.  Marshall Ganz is Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and an organizer for Sen. Barack Obama. Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall.  Monday, October 6, 2008.  7 pm
Marshall is also a contributor to Dispatches from the Religious Left. Here is a quote from his essay, “Thoughts about Power, Organizing and Leadership:”  

A social movement tells a new “story.” Learning how to tell that story, what I call public narrative, is an important leadership practice.

Public narrative comprises three overlapping kinds of stories: a story of self, a story of us, and a story of now. A story of self communicates values that call one to action. A story of us communicates values shared by those in action. And a story of now communicates the urgent challenge to those values that requires action now. Participating in a social movement not only often involves a re-articulation of one’s story of self, us, and now, but also marks an entry into a world of uncertainty so daunting that access to sources of hope is essential. Telling one’s story of self is a way to share the values that define the people we are—not as abstract principle, but as lived experience. We construct stories of self around choice points—moments when we faced a challenge, made a choice, experienced an outcome, and learned something. What is utterly unique about each of us is not a combination of the categories (race, gender, class, profession, marital status) that include us, but rather, our journey, our way through life, our personal text from which each of us can teach.



Written by fred

September 26th, 2008 at 9:15 am

Support the PDM Half Dozen!

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Tomorrow is Democratic Primary day in Massachussetts, and five of the six candidates endorsed by Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts as part of the PDM Half Dozen are on the ballot.

The Democratic primary election is Tuesday, September 16.

The PDM Half Dozen are the 6 candidates endorsed by PDM in important legislative races where your financial and volunteer support can make a real difference—and 5 of those races may be decided on Primary Day!  Our work and donations will matter in these campaigns and we urge you to get involved.

  • Carl Sciortino (34th Middlesex – Somerville, Medford) – Carl was one of the original PDM Half Dozen in 2004.  Although he’s the incumbent and responsible for much progressive legislation, he is running a sticker campaign.  His challenger is a longtime Somerville alderman.  Carl needs our help, especially on Primary Day.   617-628-2008
  • Astrid af Klinteberg (5th Essex – Gloucester, Rockport, Essex) Astrid was a founder of PDM, and she is in a three-way contest against a DINO incumbent and an extremely well-funded challenger who was a Republican until just before this race.  978-884-6851
  • Ken Donnelly (4th Middlesex-Arlington, Lexington, Woburn, Burlington, Billerica) is seeking to fill Jim Marzilli’s former Senate seat  and facing a tough primary contest.  Donnelly is more consistently and outspokenly progressive than his opponent and has a strong proven track record working complex issues on Beacon Hill for firefighters union.  781-648-2008
  • Jim O’Donnell (22d Middlesex – Billerica) is running against a conservative Democrat incumbent. This is a chance to support a candidate who leans progressive and would represent real change for Billerica.  978-663-9965
  • Doug Belanger (2d Worcester – half of Worcester and suburbs) Primary race against a more conservative candidate and general election contest to fill the Senate seat vacated by a strong progressive, Ed Augustus.   508-797-Doug (3684)

Written by fred

September 15th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Leo Maley’s Online Bio

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Over in the right column, you’ll find the list of contributors to Dispatches from the Religious Left with online bios. The only contributor without one available online is Leo Maley, who authored an important essay, Organizing Clergy for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts, which describes the pivotal role of progressive clergy in this successful effort, and a few of the key lessons learned.   Here is his bio as it appears in the book:

Leo Maley has worked as a union and political organizer, university lecturer, and think tank researcher. He has been a columnist for the Amherst Bulletin as well as a cohost of public affairs programs on Amherst community access TV and on WMUA-FM. His articles syndicated by History News Service have appeared in major newspapers around the country. He is one of the founders of Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts; is a member of the board of Casino Free Massachusetts; and currently chairs the Amherst Democratic Town Committee. He is a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC.