It’s getting harder to answer friends who ask me: “Why do you bother working within the Democratic Party?

It’s getting harder to come up with a convincing answer to friends who ask me: “Why do you bother working within the Democratic Party? It’s hopeless.”

My answer: in the near future, working to build space for progressive politics within the Democratic Party is the only option. I still believe this, but recent events have really tested my commitment.

Last summer many progressives Democrats learned that the Philadelphia Democratic Party had refused to seat duly elected committeeperson Tracey Gordon. This incident gave birth to the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus. Please see our website and Facebook page.

Party Chair Bob Brady refused to respond to the repeated attempts of Tracey Gordon and of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus to resolve the issue.

After all these attempts to contact Brady, Tracey Gordon’s lawyer Irv Acklesberg wrote to PA Party Chair Jim Burn requesting a grievance hearing with the PA Democratic Party State Committee. See the attached letter from Irv Acklesberg to Jim Burn.

Burn’s response is attached. Burn makes the preposterous claim that Tracey Gordon has not exhausted Philadelphia Democratic Party grievance procedures.

In his reply to Jim Burn's letter, once again Irv Acklesberg documents the repeated attempts to contact the Philadelphia Democratic Party re this matter. Irv’s letter notes that Dep. Executive Director Fadia Halma asked him to give Brady one more opportunity to address the grievance. Halma acknowledged receipt of Irv’s April 26 letter to Bob Brady. Brady ignored Irv’s letter, as he did with previous communications. Since almost four months have elapsed, Brady has had ample time to respond and as Irv states in the attached letter, the local exhaustion requirement has been met.

Also, there is no process applicable to a challenge of a duly elected committeeperson, because such a challenge would be unconstitutional, as decided by the PA Supreme Court and the State Rules (which require county committees to have a contest procedure, except where the committeeperson was elected, presumably because the party can't allow such challenges).

Irv further states in the attached letter that he will seek redress in court if this cannot be resolved internally. I would think that Burn would want to avoid the negative publicity which would ensue.

I understand that Burn has a close relationship with Brady and that Brady was instrumental in Burn’s becoming Party Chair. However, this personal relationship should not stand in the way of the party’s honoring the results of a democratically conducted, decisively won election.

When I do voter registration work, I encounter more and more young people of all backgrounds who want to register as Independents. It’s getting harder and harder to convince them (especially those who identify as progressives) that there is space for progressive politics in the Democratic Party.

The Philadelphia Progressive Caucus hopes in 2014 to encourage significant numbers of progressives to run for county and for state committee. If we can’t guarantee that if they win election that they will be seated, how will we ever convince them that Democratic Party is worth their time and energy?

When there are so many ways

to push the city, state, and country in a progressive direction that are so much more effective than working in the Democratic Party (which, for SO LONG has been futile), there's no reason to do so. Personally I devote a lot of time to the Green Party, but there's also protesting, non-partisan civic groups, community-based groups, direct action, unions, and SO MANY other ways to affect change that won't inevitably end in defeat for honest, hard-working, progressive people who are civically engaged, like working within the Democratic Party will.

Scaring the City to do something...

Is easier if you can win agreement from Dominic Pileggi to back your cause.

We're in a unique situation in Harrisburg where Brady has zero pull at the state house and neither does the City.

This doesn't mean you change your registration or anything, but spreading your wings at the state level can definitely scare the D33 and the City into taking up your cause.

For instance, look at the land bank legislation... this is a topic that for a lot of very old political reasons the City dares not touch to the dismay of the camp of urbanists who support revitalization of urban space. Most of the drafting is being done by Republicans, but it affects the City the most and it's being closely monitored by PennPraxis.

For all intents and purposes, reform at the City level is hard to do until the political body which controls most of the organs of City government has to be reformed. And the only way to shock it into reform is to weaken it so it will reform itself.

Cue the paragraphs of chaff explaining why this is flat wrong and why another 15 years of sitting in the DCC trying to reform it from the inside will take us places.

I won't consider our local Democratic machine anywhere near reformed until Janie Blackwell is involuntarily removed from office by her voters or by electioneering by the Brady machine (or the Brady machine crumbles altogether).

I'm not entirely frowny-faced. Look what happened to Marge Tartaglione. 30 years as a Commish and the voters booted her out.

Rizzo Jr. being shown the door was mostly out of demographic change in the Lower NE, but it's still a sign that the machine is fracturing, nonetheless.

The Democratic political machine has put the City in a straight-jacket. Signs have surfaced that the machine has some foundation cracks. I'd rather spread those cracks wide open and throw sand in the gears rather than work within the party trying to repair it.

Join and Stregthen The Green Party!

Why do you all you talented and progressive active citizens continue to get upset and cry over the Democratic party time and time again?! Put your efforts and talent's to real use through growing the Green Party of Philadelphia!

We are always looking for people to take a leadership position in your local area and wanting people with talent and courage to run for office. The Green Party wants to grow and we want GREAT candidates who will stand up to the corporate Democrats and Republicans and stand for the poor and working class of this city and state.

We are right here....Its up to you to take the next step!


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