Why the Philadelphia Democratic Party needs a Progressive Caucus

A group of progressive Democrats, many of us committeepersons, came together last summer in response to the Democratic Party’s failure to seat a duly elected Democratic committee person, Tracey Gordon. See the YYP post discussing this at:

The comments on this post cite the court cases which support the rights of duly elected committeepeople and include a link to the 1966 PA Supreme Ct. case which ruled that the Democratic Party cannot ignore the will of the voters.

In response to this incident, a group of progressive Democrats with affiliations to a wide range of community and civic organizations formed a Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus.

Our group was also inspired by the formation of a Progressive Caucus in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. I was recently elected to the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee and have learned that there are far more progressives around the State than I had realized—e.g., there is a progressive caucus in Monroe County.

The Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus has tried to have a discussion with the Party Chair, Bob Brady, about the Party’s failure to seat Tracey Gordon. Not only will he not meet with us, he even refuses to accept correspondence from us. See Holly Otterbein’s report in this week’s City Paper:

According to a group of riled-up Democratic committee people, getting a letter to Congressman Bob Brady can be hard — especially if he doesn't like what it has to say. Gloria Gilman, a Center City lawyer, sent him a dispatch on Jan. 26, signed by her and 13 other Democratic leaders, demanding that the Democratic City Committee, which Brady heads, meet with them to discuss how the party has "failed to honor the will of the voters. "

The letter was returned, with the word "Refused" scrawled by hand across it. Gilman sent City Paper a photograph.

Even without opening it, Brady might have had a sneaking suspicion about what criticisms the letter contained. Back in August 2010, Gilman sent a similar dispatch to Brady — this time signed by more than 40 Democratic committee people and activists — that accused party leaders of acting "in bad faith" to unseat committee person Tracey Gordon, who was elected to the 40th Ward in Southwest Philly during May's primary but then immediately kicked out by the ward leader ["When Elections Don't Matter," News, Holly Otterbein, July 9, 2010]. By the Democratic City Committee's own admission, they didn't let her in, in part, because she wanted to shake up the party.


Many thanks to Holly Otterbein who broke this story and who has kept on top it. We would never have known of this if not for her July 9th article. Otterbein’s article sparked the discussion which led to the formation of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus.

The Progressive Caucus is open to all registered Democrats who subscribe to our mission statement and principles. If you would like information about the newly formed Progressive Caucus contact Gloria Gilman, Chair of Neighborhood Networks and former committeeperson in the 22nd ward at gmgilman@igc.org or Karen Bojar, committeeperson in the 9th ward and member of Pennsylvania State Democratic committee at kbojar1@verizon.net

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