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"Why is my tap water so thick?" A short Sam Bee segment on local elections. 

What happens locally matters. 

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Organizing and Connecting at the Local Level: Chapters and Building a Statewide Progressive Network

 

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In the Dark, Undoing the Voters' Will

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On November 8, almost 54 percent of voters in the Commonwealth voted to legalize recreational marijuana, an important step in advancing social and racial justice and combating over-policing and mass incarceration. However, yesterday, in a special session, without any public hearings or public notice, 7 legislators were able to postpone the opening date for recreational marijuana stores by six months, creating a limbo situation in which possession is legal but retail is not.

 

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JP Progressives take on Criminal Justice Reform

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Report from the field  -- JPProgressives convened a community conversation on mass incarceration, following the lead of their chapter members. Engaging with neighbors, activists, advocates and legislators, JPP is doing the work of bending the arc towards justice. By joining the Jobs Not Jails coalition, the JP chapter of Progressive Mass will continue to represent progressive grassroots commitment to social justice, and help lead the organization to productive engagement and action. The chapter invites you to join the JNJ rally on Dec 13. More details are below.

Criminal Justice Reform is a core objective of our Progressive Platform. The Massachusetts Legislature will reconvene in January. Our Legislative Agenda will once again indicate which bills need our advocacy to get us closer to the goal of undoing the injustices of mass incarceration. Stay tuned for more from us on the legislative front. 


 More Than 150 Neighbors Attend Forum in Jamaica Plain to Discuss Mass Incarceration

This year, a standing room only crowd of nearly 200 people filled the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain for a forum on the problem of mass incarceration.  The event was organized by JP Progressives, whose members had previously established mass incarceration as their top social concern.  The forum was co-sponsored by 10 other organizations, including the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Mildred Hailey Tenant Organization, Black Lives Matter Boston, and the Jobs Not Jails Coalition.

The keynote speaker at the event was Rahsaan Hall, Director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program.

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Confronting Racism - Progressive Watertown Member Speaks at Rally

Richard Marcus is a member of Progressive Massachusetts and is on the Steering Committee of Progressive Watertown. Watertown's chapter held a series of forums on Race and the Criminal Justice System in 2016. He was invited to speak at the MetroWest Rally for Respect: Love Trumps Hate. 


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The racism that threatened my father was not easily seen. 

On the day of my Mother & Father’s first wedding anniversary, they witnessed the Nazi Army marching into their home city of Vienna, Austria, under a cascade of flowers and cheers.

What my father had fled in his hometown of Berlin, was following him and it was time to flee again. Fortunately through luck and circumstance my parents were sponsored by a Jewish family in Dorchester and were able to flee to safety.  The special privilege that allowed me to be here today was that my father didn’t “look” Jewish.  My father’s family was fully assimilated and no longer practicing Jews, so my father was not circumcised.  When my father was stopped in the street by the Gestapo and was made to pull down his pants, he passed the test. Had he been I would not be standing here.

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On Question 2 the Voters Have Spoken. Is Beacon Hill Getting the Message?

I know that most of us here in Massachusetts are still reeling from the results of the Presidential election, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts on the outcome of the vote to raise the cap on charter schools.

On one hand I am delighted by the result of the vote. The voters of Massachusetts have spoken and they absolutely oppose any attempt to expand charters at the expense of traditional school districts. But on the other hand, I am utterly outraged at what the corporate education reformers have put our kids, our teachers and our school districts through over the last ten years given how little electoral support we now know that these champions of privatization have across the state.

Clear Message to MA Legislature

Consider this: Question 2 only passed in 16 out of 351 communities in the Commonwealth.

  • Seven of these communities are located in one single state rep’s district on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • The other nine are spread across six other state rep districts.
  • And the only other district where a majority of voters voted 'yes' is in Education Committee Chair Alice Peisch's district in Metro West.

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(click here for larger image; click here for original image source at WBur/Edify)

This means that the 'yes' side only carried two of the 160 state rep districts in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. It was even defeated by a 2 to 1 margin in Speaker DeLeo's district of Winthrop/Revere.

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Building for the Next Battles, Celebrating Victories

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On November 18, progressives from all over Massachusetts came together in Newton to reconnect and reflect on the past year. While we the national trend dominates all of our concerns, our member-activists are more determined than ever to dig in to the ongoing work of organizing and mobilizing our communities to engage on the issues that matter. 

In addition to the big win in defeating Question 2, our endorsees Eric LesserKen GordonPat Jehlen, Jack LewisJulian Cyr, and Mike Connolly won their races. We celebrated the hard work of the grassroots activists in our chapters -- in Worcester, Newton, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Needham, Watertown, West Roxbury, South Shore, Lexington.

Activists met and exchanged ideas and emails, and the energy for new chapters has never been stronger -- in Waltham, Springfield, Acton, Woburn, Andover, Stoughton and more every day. 

Read more from the evening from Senator Jamie Eldridge, below. Become a part of our efforts by joining us as a member, here.

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Election 2016: Move to Massachusetts

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I would like Massachusetts to run an ad campaign across the country that says, "Are you scared of your neighbor?

Come to Massachusetts, we voted against Nixon and Donald Trump, overwhelmingly.

We will still have Obamacare, marriage equality and you can smoke pot to get by for the next 4 years.

Massachusetts, an American alternative to moving to Canada.

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Election 2016: Reflections from a Progressive Grassroots Organizer for HRC

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I feel a tremendous grief for what has been and will likely be lost, as well as fear for what is likely to rain down on the most vulnerable in our society as a result of this election.

I strongly supported Hillary Clinton, in the primary and the general, and spent countless hours organizing volunteers in Malden and Melrose, knocking doors here and in New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of working with a large group of volunteers -- some veterans from other campaigns, others new faces.

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Election 2016: The Ballot Questions

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The national news on Tuesday was quite grim (I didn’t actually learn the ultimate results until Wednesday morning, avoiding the news late Tuesday night for the sake of mental health). And although those results have left me—and many of you, I’m sure—feeling rather hopeless, the results in Massachusetts earlier in the night can give some grounds for hope.

Here, I’m talking about the ballot questions. On all four statewide ballot questions, the progressive position won: the Progressive Massachusetts endorsed #NNYY. Massachusetts said no to expanding slots gaming, no to a rapid expansion of charter schools, yes to protecting farm animals, and yes to legalizing recreational marijuana and rolling back the drug war. The importance of these victories should not be lost on us.

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Dark Money and the Charter Campaign

Want a Halloween fright? Peel back the curtain and look at the dark money behind Question 2.


 

If you want to know who is funding all those commercials for lifting the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts, you’ll need a good pair of binoculars.

Just like grainy, horror-movie TV campaigns ads, the commercials you’re seeing in favor of lifting the cap are made by PACS and superPACS, organizations whose names often suggest the exact opposite of the position they support.

This is the proverbial dark money: Individual investors give money to organizations that don’t have to disclose donors’ names, but use the money to fund ads for candidates and causes under the organizations’ names.

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