If it’s going to lead to sustained success and create lasting change, the movement to resist Trump needs infrastructure – meetings, regularly-updated online information, people willing to organize both – not just in Boston and its suburbs but across Massachusetts. That could be through new groups like the Indivisible movement, through existing groups like the Massachusetts Democratic Party, or a combination of both.
What it can’t look like is the same old people showing up to the same old meetings wondering why the young people don’t magically materialize out of thin air. As Steve Urbon reports for the New Bedford Standard-Times, it sounds like that happened at not one but two meetings along Southcoast on Sunday:
The New Bedford session was one of many such Huddles conducted by Women’s March organizers in recent days and weeks as an organizational follow-up to the protests, and it was attended almost exclusively by middle-age women fired up about the nation’s agenda as viewed through the lens of the march.
The Mattapoisett meeting, meanwhile, was long on retirees, several of whom had political experience. There were only about 3 young people, but many retirees, leading to concerns about how to draw young people into the political process.
The New Bedford Democratic City Committee has an active Facebook page but its website is down. The Mattapoisett Democratic Town Committee only has a static webpage but there’s no way to sign up and the listed contact email address is dead (UPDATE 2/28/17: They’re on Facebook!). I’m going to pick up the phone to get in touch with the committee, but expecting new members to cold-call strangers is not a path to growth.
Neither of the events were listed on the calendar of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, which had just 21 listings total statewide for the entire month of January. There’s a major Rally to Stand Up for Science planned for Copley Square on Sunday, but you would not know it from visiting any of the above.
When I moved to Fairhaven in 2015, I emailed the town chair listed on the state party website but never heard back. In January 2016, I emailed the state party saying I was eager to volunteer but hadn’t been able to get in touch with the local contact & that I couldn’t find any evidence a local caucus was planned. I got an unsigned email back that nonsensically told me “The deadline has technically passed to report your caucus but you can definitely still do so” and didn’t tell me anything about how to get involved.
I’ve volunteered for & knocked on doors for a bunch of local Democratic campaigns – Warren, Coakley, Markey, etc. – but those all pop up, burn like wildfire for a few months, then the 22-year-old local campaign manager goes back to Boston & I don’t see any of the other volunteers until the next campaign.
These are just a bunch of random data points, not analysis. I’m just bitching & moaning, not proposing a solution. But what I am hoping is that more people start talking about it.
Do you agree Massachusetts progressives and Democrats have an organizing infrastructure problem? If so, how would you start to solve it?