Born out of the 2008 Obama campaign, Cambridge-Somerville for Change has been organizing for the past four and a half years to help elect progressives to office and pass progressive policies at the state and national level. We have had great success, winning most of the elections we worked on (from Patrick in 2010 to Obama and Warren in 2012 to Ed Markey just last week), and even won some issue campaigns as well (starting with the 2010 health care reform). Cambridge and Somerville are full of dedicated progressive activists, and CSfC's 1,000+ members are among the most dedicated. Yet despite this capacity, the CSfC steering committee has felt that by working independently of any state or national organization, we limited our ability to have a broader impact. For this reason, in May of 2013 we proposed that CSfC become the Cambridge and Somerville chapter of Progressive Massachusetts... and CSfC members voted to approve this proposal!
About Progressive Mass:
The mission of Progressive Mass is almost identical to that of CSfC: "We organize around progressive issues in Massachusetts, help elect and support progressive candidates for public office who are committed to making a difference on these issues, and hold elected officials accountable to progressive positions and values." (from the Progressive Mass mission statement.) Like CSfC, PM is a grassroots, individual membership-based organization, but with members across the state. Founded in 2011, Progressive Mass is just beginning to organize chapters in cities, towns and regions across Massachusetts. For more on Progressive Mass, go to www.progressivemass.com.
Why CSfC Became a Progressive Mass Chapter:
Through better-coordinated organizing with other progressives across the state, CSfC can help win more progressive legislation and elect more progressives to office. Thanks to its statewide perspective, Progressive Mass and its members can prioritize the most important progressive policy and election campaigns, then funnel progressive activists from across the state into those campaigns in a coordinated way. By being a Progressive Mass chapter, CSfC will be able to leverage those statewide resources on our common campaigns.
What Has Changed About How CSfC Operates Now that We're a PM Chapter?:
Now that we're the Cambridge-Somerville chapter of Progressive Mass, we will continue to operate much as we have before. We are not giving up the CSfC name. We are free to work on issues and candidates that Progressive Mass has not endorsed, as long as they are "consistent with the mission and values of Progressive Massachusetts." As a Progressive Mass chapter, CSfC will have to "commit to devoting at least half of [our] work and/or other resources to support for Progressive Massachusetts endorsed candidates and/or issues." However, given that Progressive Mass endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, we would have met this requirement easily had we been a chapter over the past year and a half. Also, to become an individual voting Member of Progressive Mass, annual dues are required, currently $25/year (though there is essentially a sliding scale "based on the member's ability to contribute," with a minimum of $5/year). One can participate in PM and not pay dues - considered an Associate Member - but would not have voting rights. CSfC members do not have to become paid Progressive Mass members to remain members of CSfC.