On Sunday, March 26th, Mary Malmros facilitated FCCPR’s 4th General Assembly. There were about 120 people in attendance. 16 new people signed up as members. FCCPR now has more than 250 dues-paying members!
Music opened and closed the gathering. Ann Ferguson and Julia Burroughs started us off with the classic song, “ Gonna Keep on Moving Forward”, and Ben Grosscup ended the day with his original “This Changes Everything”, based on the book of the same title by Naomi Klein. Thanks to the musicians. NEWS FLASH !! FCCPR now has a Music Network of over 20 musicians who will volunteer to perform at FCCPR events. Thanks Ann & friends for adding this important & uplifting component to our work.
The Coordinating Committee has been exploring possible rental properties to open an office in downtown Greenfield. We have looked at several spaces, and local landlords are interested in our business. An office could be used for task force meetings and public events such as the one FCCPR recently hosted called “Let’s Talk Taxes”, presented by the Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center. The rent amounts are about $500/month. So we asked today if there is interest and ability of members to contribute to the monthly cost of renting an office. NEWS FLASH !! In an overwhelming show of support, 55 people pledged between $3.00 and $25.00 monthly. A few folks are able to make larger lump-sum contributions. Thank you for the great endorsement of the importance of the work we are doing together.
Next, everyone self-selected one of three different groups and spent 35 minutes discussing issues of importance to FCCPR members. David Greenberg led the discussion to explore whether FCCPR wants to affiliate with ‘Our Revolution’ (OR), the national group that evolved out of the Bernie Sanders’ campaign. There were a number of questions about top-down vs. grassroots organization, strategies and decision-making. In addition, this group felt the language in the written “Memorandum of Understanding” (MoU) provided by OR was too ambiguous for FCCPR to agree to affiliate with Our Revolution at this time. We will work on a re-write of the MoU to submit to OR for their review.
Ferd Wulkan led the discussion about the Eversource/WMECO rate hike and the upcoming hearing on Wednesday, April 26 at 7 PM at the Greenfield Middle School. Members unanimously agreed to build opposition to the rate hike through community education and to organize Eversource/WMECO customers to attend the DPU hearing.
Dave Cohen facilitated the conversation on developing criteria FCCPR would use to endorse candidates for political office. In that group we discussed the following questions:
1) How do we adapt our 7-point FCCPR program to local candidates running for positions on the School Committee or Selectboards? How do we develop progressive platforms for local elective positions?
2) Should we adopt the policy that candidates must refuse to accept corporate money for their campaigns?
3) Should FCCPR have a year round effort to build support for an FCCPR electoral program in defined electoral regions, for example in a Town, or in the State Representative District, or State Senate District, or Congressional District?
4) What kind of process should we develop to endorse candidates who ask for our endorsement?
5) What do we do if a candidate asks for our endorsement but clearly disagrees with some of our positions?
There was a lively discussion and the minutes are now posted on our website. It was agreed to schedule another meeting to continue the discussion. Those interested in participating in further discussions, should email David Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, we were treated to an engaging presentation by Peter Corbett and Tom Peake from Voter Choice MA on the topic of Rank Choice Voting, followed by questions and answers. To find out more about what rank choice voting is, go to www.voterchoicema.org Also www.represent.us has a short video about RCV. At the end of the presentation, we took a straw poll of the members present. A large majority were in favor of our pursuing work on RCV; a smaller group felt they needed more information before they could support endorsing rank choice voting.
At our last General Assembly, a team of folks volunteered to work on creating a number of logos to represent FCCPR. They designed several graphic images; two were displayed this afternoon. Overtime we plan to use several of these graphics to create buttons, bumper stickers, and banners. THANK YOU TO OUR ARTISTIC LOGO TEAM !!! It is exciting that so many people with so many talents are part of our local movement. And thank you to Robert Tobey, our in-house photographer. Check out his photos from this gathering on the website.
We’re all in this together and there is a place for everyone to contribute all of our various skills.