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Businesses have their chambers of commerce. We need a Chamber of Progress
We're building an organization of progressive, liberal, moderate and other organizations, and a PAC to raise money for good candidates and organize volunteer efforts--walking precincts, tabling etc. during the 2012 campaign and onward--in support of candidates. To achieve progress, we have to change the political culture. This would be a long-term process, requiring increased focus and unity among progressive, liberal, moderate and other organizations, legislators and voters. These efforts will start to yield almost immediate results, including revitalization and empowerment of people and groups who've become frustrated and disillusioned by business as usual. Also, as better cooperation and mobilization--including sharing ideas and marshaling resources--delivers victories at the polls, in legislatures, etc. more people will join our efforts. This model can work in Maryland, DC and Virginia, and quickly expand to other states and regions.
Basic concepts: Businesses have their chambers of commerce. We need a Chamber of Progress--a meeting place and nerve-center to forge a powerful alliance and unite organizations and individuals to support common sense solutions to common challenges. Businesses set aside their commercial conflicts and unite to triumph over progressives, unions, environmentalists, consumer groups, etc. in the political arena. We have to do that as well. The Chamber can develop quickly, and begin raising awareness and creating capacity by sponsoring town hall / issue forums, debates, press conferences, a website, rallies, concerts and other events. The PAC requires filings and funding.
1. Chamber of Progress: A counter to chambers of commerce, combining a Progressive Caucus for Maryland with truly progressive membership organizations and individuals (possibly the Progressive Working Group in a modified form).
- Initial Capacity: 2 staffers, interns, website ChamberOfProgress.org, email list, regular meetings, virtual office, events, etc.
- Building toward: Physical office in Annapolis, full-time staffers, PAC (see ProgPAC).
- Structure: Modeled after chambers of commerce--outreach, membership, publicity, government relations, fund-raising, budget and other committees.
People have responded very enthusiastically to this concept. This would emerge from current efforts, and could evolve into a Progressive Policy Foundation 501(c)3. For now, we should consider hiring a 2 staffers, and recruiting interns to leverage resources and provide contributors and members with maximum effectiveness for their support.
2. ProgPAC: Progressive political action committee to help support, and raise funds for progressive candidates and officeholders.
- Capacity: Website ProgPAC.org, advisory board, at least one part time staffer, interns, volunteers, building toward full-time staff and other capacity.
- Structure: as required by law--officers, committees, and staffers as needed.
I understand these are substantial undertakings, but I'm convinced we have to think and plan big even as we take small steps to remake American politics. We are beginning work now to achieve these ambitious and necessary goals.
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