Collective

Massachusetts has historically been at the forefront in the United States on worker safety and labor rights, compensation, activism, and organizing. Organized labor has been and must remain a fundamental component of our economic structure. Without it, there is no significant force representing our workers on an equal level with management and owners.

Our courts must uphold the rights of workers – including state and municipal workers – to organize themselves and bargain collectively and cooperatively for compensation and benefits proportionate to their productive work, as well as safe workplaces and fair scheduling.

Our courts must uphold contracts signed with workers’ unions, particularly by the state or municipal governments. It is the responsibility of employers to negotiate contracts they can actually execute.

We cannot achieve economic justice without securing the rights of organized labor to fight for fair and living wages in our society.

Humphrey For Massachusetts: Organized Labor

Opposition Leadership

We need someone speaking every single day to the media and other party members, without apology, for progress and for our values. This is important in any context, but it is of even greater importance with a conservative Republican governor and with Democrats taking on an opposing role.

We, the progressive core of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, are not merely right on the issues in idealistic terms; our solutions are actually more realistic and more grounded than the other side’s solutions. And when the other side occupies part of the space of our party and blurs the lines on critical issues, it becomes harder to win elections than it should be, rather than helping to retain seats in swing districts. While there is room for disagreement on policy specifics, there should be a broad alignment of values on the major and contentious issues of our time.

Voters want bold, clear, and courageous leadership in their officials. Leadership sometimes means leading the voters toward one’s point of view on the issues. We have to make our case, in plain terms, as to why we are correct on those issues.

We can only offer the voters an informed choice in making their decisions at the ballot box if we argue our case to them for our preferred positions on the issues.

December 2, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 152

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team. End notes written by Kelley.

AFD-logo-470

Topics: Big Ideas for Reforming American Governance — Criminal Justice and Prison Reform. People: Bill, Kelley, Nate. Produced: November 29th, 2015.

NOTE: Our show is now officially on hiatus until September 2016; details at the end of the episode. Thank you all for listening.

Episode 152 (51 min):
AFD 152

Discussion Points:

– Overburdened courts and public defenders
– Systemic, compounding racial bias in the criminal justice system: Arrest, representation, pleas, juries, sentencing, parole
– Mandatory minimums: What went wrong?
– The purpose of prisons: Inmate storage or rehabilitation?
– The economics of prisons: Let’s build local economies not dependent on prisons
Read more

Protecting students from intrusive school social surveillance

Thanks to my State Senator Cynthia Stone Creem for pushing legislation in Massachusetts to protect elementary, secondary, and tertiary public school students from intrusive social media surveillance by school administrators — and for being proactive on this before it becomes a big problem, as it inevitably would without legislation.

No student should have to turn over their passwords and login info to their school just to be permitted to get an education. We cannot develop a healthy, independent, and democratic civil society if students face omnipresent surveillance that discourages them from branching out in their views during a formative period.

I also believe such online monitoring could have a chilling effect on young people being able to examine and test their self-identity, particularly in less welcoming communities.

While students and children do not always have full and unlimited rights, they must retain a reasonable right to privacy. That principle doesn’t change just because technology does.

Action works

I’ve worked for and volunteered for a lot of great candidates who have come up short — so it’s pretty fantastic to have a nearly clean sweep for once, as occurred this week.

I’m so proud of the work we did in a short span to fight for Newton’s future by electing an incredible new cohort of thoughtful activists to our Charter Commission and by re-electing a number of courageous incumbents who have taken stands in favor of varied and expanded housing opportunities in our city as it grows with the booming Boston region.

This election also really helped cure the residual burnout I had been feeling from some past elections and campaigns I’ve been involved with.

I also came away with a newfound resolve to combat the forces of apathy and malaise because I saw my efforts — stuffing envelopes to friends and parents of friends, knocking on hundreds of doors, etc. — directly translating into a successful campaign. I was always happy to head out there for all these candidates and talk to voters because I felt like every conversation was helping to build a new generation of democratic leadership and to bring the city into the future.

Here’s what I ask those people in the apathetic and cynical camp: Are you going to sit around telling everyone how nothing ever changes so there’s no point? Or are you going to stand up and see if you get enough people together to help change some things?

You and thousands of people like you can sit at home, separately, complaining and telling everyone who wants to try that they should give up too. Or you can get out there and help build the growing movement to turn things around. I know which I’d rather be doing.

Bill’s 2015 Endorsements for Newton MA

My endorsements for tomorrow in Newton MA. I have met all but two of these people this year, and I have actively been canvassing for 8 of them (indicated with a *).

Vote Yes on establishing a Charter Commission, then vote for these 9 (alphabetical):
Bryan Barash*
Jane O’Connor Frantz*
Howard Haywood
Rhanna Kidwell*
Josh Krintzman
Anne Larner
Brooke K. Lipsitt
Karen Manning
Chris Steele*

Aldermen-At-Large — all of these candidates support bringing the city responsibly and inclusively into the future.
Ward 2: Susan Albright* and Marcia Johnson*
Ward 3: Ted Hess-Mahan*
Ward 5: Deborah Crossley*
Ward 8: David Kalis and Rick Lipof

School Committee
Ward 5: Steve Siegel