Showing posts with label Vision. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vision. Show all posts

CSfC Becomes a Chapter of Progressive Mass

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!

Cambridge-Somerville for Political Engagement

“We got used to the politics of disappointment -- figuring out how soon we were going to be let down. ... There’s a different dynamic in the ... politics of hope. It’s much more challenging. It means you’ve got to get up and do something. There’s opportunity. If you don’t take advantage of that opportunity, you really have to bear responsibility for not doing so. That’s how I see the time we’re in. ”

One of the most unique and exciting elements of the 2008 Obama campaign was the distributed leadership model.  When we were starting out, during the spring and summer of 2008, we had so many volunteers to organize, so much work to do, and no full-time staff, that we had no choice but to embrace the distributed leadership model.

CSfC Economic Fairness Team and the Rebuild the Dream Campaign
We are meeting at Christina’s Ice Cream near Inman sq. on Friday evening at 7:00PM, to discuss CSfC's role in the Rebuild the Dream campaign.  If you're unfamiliar with this ten-point, progressive policy campaign, the Rebuild the Dream web site and a one-page PDF overview are good places to start.

The address is: 1255 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139-1338, (617) 492-7021.

First Steps - Lobbying Senator Kerry and the Super Committee

CSfC's Economic Fairness Team has been meeting and planning for the past few months and at our September 21st community meeting we unveiled our three initiatives:
  • Join the efforts of the Defend the American Dream campaign 
  • Unelect Senator Scott Brown
  • Lobby Senator Kerry in his role on the Congressional Super Committee
The Super Committee initiative has the shortest time-frame, and one of the Super Committee members represents Massachusetts, so we have a short-term organizing opportunity and we're starting out by focusing our efforts there.

Electoral Victory in 2012 via Economic Fairness in 2011

Cambridge-Somerville for Change is kicking off our Economic Fairness campaign at a community meeting this Wednesday, September 21st, at the Central Square YMCA in Cambridge, starting at 7:00 PM.  We're beginning to work on several parallel paths, including
  • Educating voters about Scott Brown's opposition to economic fairness policies, like voting to end  unemployment benefits and supporting a budget that eliminates job-training programs.
  • Lobbying Senator Kerry and the other members of Congress's Deficit Super-Committee to preserve the social safety net.
  • Support the Contract for the American Dream campaign to protect and grow the middle class.
Gradually, as our attention turns toward the 2012 elections, the issue advocacy campaigns will become more heavily oriented toward electoral organizing.  Our goal is to build the popular, progressive policy arguments to draw distinctions between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, in an issue arena where the overwhelming majority of voters agree with us.  It's a big goal.  We'll need a lot of help. 

Can you join us on Wednesday?

Join the Discussion at

The Obama-Biden transition team has created a discussion forum for people to post their thoughts and comments about the question:

"What worries you most about the health care system in our country?" 

You can join the discussion at

Also, if you want to post your Vision for Change on this website you can use this Vision for Change form.

How We Become The Change We Seek

Ken Thomson shares his vision for what Cambridge/Somerville for Change should do next:
"This victory alone is not the change we seek, it is only the chance for us to make that change."
-- Obama's Victory Speech, 11/4/08
It is not just Obama who has the chance to make that change we seek, it is all of us. In fact, it is likely he cannot make the kind of changes we all envision without us bringing together the grassroots behind those changes. Already we've seen how the machinations of Washington can begin to chip away at the potential. The antidote to the constant grinding away at the chance for change is a constant flow of energy from the people who carried the campaign to the voter.

We have the chance to change the way our democracy itself works. To move from an outdated and poorly functioning representative democracy to a true participatory democracy. What would a participatory democracy look like? It would include broad-based networks working between elections on the issues that embody the change we seek. Networks with enough political clout to make Congresspeople do the right thing or risk losing their jobs two years from now. Networks with enough issue savvy to nudge Obama himself in a better direction when expediency lures him toward a well worn rut of political safety.

We don't need to repeat what the Democratic city committees or Democratic state committee are doing with candidates, or what single issue groups are doing on their individual issues. We can support their good work without being coopted by them. If we are to make real change, we need to develop organization structures and tap grassroots energies that existing groups have not tapped.

Three elements seem essential:
  1. In order to retain our political focus, we need to turn our efforts to specific issue work on the key elements that make up the change we seek. We have the potential to build on the broad coalition of the Obama campaign. We won't always agree on every issue. Part of our work will be to find ways to forge
    consensus on each of the issues we undertake.

  2. In order to keep alive our collective energy, we need to develop action strategies that can achieve rapid intermediate victories along the path to longer-term change. A way to do this may be to tap into and amplify some of the issues shaping up to be most dramatic and important of Obama's first days in office including major thrusts on energy and the economy, and specific actions such as Guantanamo, FISA, and related security vs. liberty issues.

  3. In order to work effectively, we need to organize on a level that bridges local action and national impact. The Congressional Districts seem a perfect place. grassroots organization at this level is relatively scarce. Our Congresspeople provide one of the most direct links to national policy available to us. And our work through and on our Congresspeople may be the kind of support most needed by the new administration to achieve our common goals. If we take this on, we need to develop both a powerful Congressional district force, and a strong network which allows our district organizations to work closely together when the issues demand.

I hope we can discuss these issues as we work out our plans for the future wonders we anticipate.

Is this a way forward you see? Share your thoughts in the comments below or send us a blog post of your very own by sending an email to


Cambridge-Somerville for Change is an all-volunteer community group dedicated to harnessing the grassroots energy and spirit of change inspired by the Obama campaign. Our organizing work includes electoral and issue-based campaigns at the local, state, and national level. Our members have chosen to work on promoting economic fairness, comprehensive health care reform, creating policies that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide for fair and adequate access to public transportation, and promoting in-state tuition for immigrant youth.

This is an organization built by and for you, the community, and we look forward to your participation and feedback. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about getting involved, please email
or call us at
(617) 302-7324.

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