Progressive Democratic Convention: thinking beyond November
The first ever Progressive Democratic Convention is being billed as "Beyond Boston: Building the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party." Most of the members of the House Progressive Caucus will be there. Something is happening. What it is.
As Dot Maver (National Campaign Manager for Kucinich) puts it: "The quest for peace, health care, civil liberties, justice, and all the other issues we believe in did not end in Miami. [Location of Democratic Platform Committee meetings.] It will not end in Boston. [Democratic National Convention.] It will not end in November. It has only just begun."
We have in the U.S. House of Representatives today a House Progressive Caucus of about 55 members, including one Independent (Socialist). Dennis Kucinich is co-chair of that caucus, along with Barbara Lee (representing Oakland, California). Our own Peter DeFazio (Fourth District, Oregon) is an officer of the House Progressive Caucus.
It isn't a Democratic Party caucus, although most of the members are Democrats. It isn't enough, but it IS something, a place to start. Now, if Ralph Nader would ever run for Congress and get elected, or if the Green Party would ever get some people elected to the Congress --- what would be their first step? Would it not be to join the House Progressive Caucus?
Another something to think about: Where will the impetus for any Federal legislation in the direction of Instant Run-off Voting (IRC), for example, come from -- if not from the House Progressive Caucus? And, will the influence and prospects of the House Progressive Caucus be better with a Kerry administration and a Democratic Congress or under a Bush administration and a Republican Congress?
We don't like it but we live in a two-party system ("duopoly") so, as a practical matter, we have to work within one major party or another. Ask any environmentalist: they tried "working both sides of the street" -- it doesn't work. Now Nader is trying it, but will it work?
It's a paradox, but the way to changing the system -- since you always have to start where you are at -- lies through the Democratic Party.
BEGIN KUCINICH PRESS RELEASE ON
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
Kucinich to speak at Progressive Democratic Convention
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2004
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has accepted an invitation from the newly-founded Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) to speak Thursday at the first-ever Progressive Democratic Convention at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center at Roxbury College, 1350 Tremont Street, in Boston.
The Convention -- Beyond Boston: Building the Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party -- will feature a host of prominent elected officials, prominent political figures, and activists who will gather to begin devising a political strategy to advance a progressive agenda from within the Democratic Party. The event runs from 10 am to 3 pm. Kucinich is scheduled to speak around 2 pm.
The PDA, one of the newest progressive organizations that have sprung up in recent months, "will reflect a broad desire by many within the Democratic Party to champion progressive issues, along with working to defeat President George Bush," according to its recently released statement of purpose.
Kucinich Deputy National Campaign Manager Tim Carpenter , himself a moderator for the Progressive Convention, said "The kind of change progressive Democrats have been advocating this election year doesn't happen overnight. All the work up until now has been a great start, but we need an organizational infrastructure to sustain continued progressive activism within the party. PDA, with the support and cooperation of other organizations, can provide that. And what better way to start than to hold a progressive convention the same week as the Democratic National Convention."
Other confirmed speakers include former Governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean, Senatorial candidate Dorris "Granny D" Haddock (D-NH), Cynthia Peters , Fund the Dream DNC Coalition; Dr. James Zogby, Arab American Institute; Tom Hayden, Author/Former Senator CA; Marianne Williamson, Global Renaissance Alliance; Kevin Spidel, Progressive Vote; Boston Councilman Chuck Turner (District 7); Medea Benjamin, Code Pink and Global Exchange Co-Founder and Bill Moyer, Project Director, The Backbone Campaign, and others. PDA has also extended invitations Reverend Jesse Jackson, Executive Director of Rainbow/PUSH and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).
Contact: Andy Juniewicz, Senior Communications Director and (216) 409-8992 or (216) 221-6598 Chris Ortman, Convention Press Secretary (617) 738-0275 or (513) 382-8789.
To schedule an interview, write to firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information about the Congressman's schedule, see www.kucinich.us/schedule.php.
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