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Strategies to Build Progressive Political Power

Sat December 2, 2023 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm EST

MPAOC conference

Call to Conference

Dec 2, 2023 – online

Massachusetts has the reputation of being one of the most progressive states in the country. Yet we lack legislative transparency, and we have a progressive Democratic Party platform that the leadeership ignores and a state government that has ttremendous difficulty passing progressive legislation.

In response, the Massachusetts Progressive Action Organizing Committee (MPAOC) invites you to an online Strategy Conference.  We will focus on how progressive activists can gain the power to pass vigorous meaningful legislation and initiate changes to improve the lives of all of our citizens.

In panels and breakout groups, conference attendees will examine paths to increase progressive power, identify the obstacles to our success. and learn strategies to overcome them.


9:30 Welcome and call to order

9:50 Nina Turner – Plenary Speaker – founder, We Are Somebody; former Ohio state senator and Bernie Sanders campaigner

10:30 Panel 1 – Social/ Economic Consequences in Massachusetts of excess military spending

Three activists who organize to support the social and economic needs of the people of Massachusetts will speak on how the Pentagon budget is starving state and local budgets.

Rep. Mike Connolly, state representative from Cambridge and Somerville, will speak about needed housing policies, including social housing and rent control.

Katie Murphy RN, president of the Mass. Nurses Association, will talk about the crisis in nursing and healthcare as providers try to rebuild the increasingly profit-driven system after COVID.

Jonathan King, professor emeritus of molecular biology at MIT and board co-chair at Mass. Peace Action, will address the impact on the important science and technology industries in Massachusetts.

11:30 Diana DiZoglio, Massachusetts State Auditor

11:50 Breakouts 1

12:50 Lunch break

1:20 Special presentation – Rep. Max Frost (D-FL)

1:30 Panel 2 – Overcoming Obstacles: Learning From Successful Campaigns

Three speakers from three different, successful Massachusetts-based issue campaigns will name the three largest obstacles to their goals and the strategies they used to overcome them, using examples from their work.

Sonia Chang-Diaz, former State Senator and 2022 candidate for Governor, will talk about how she worked with allies to pass ‘The Student Opportunity Act’, later renamed ‘The Promise Act’, which significantly increased funding to poor school districts.

Harris Gruman, executive director, SEIU State Council, will speak about the successful Raise-Up campaign he helped lead to increase taxes on income over one million dollars (The Fair Share Amendment) to fund public schools and transit.

Tricia Farley Bouvier, state representative from Pittsfield, will tell us about the campaign she helped lead which resulted in qualified undocumented immigrants being able to get driver’s licenses. 

2:30 Breakouts 2

3:30 Panel 3 – What Are We Going to Do?

Speakers from grassroots organizations which have advanced the progressive agenda will be asked to identify barriers to continued progress as we enter 2024.  Each will be asked to talk about strategies they employ and how they will use them to advance their political agenda. 

Andrea Miller, founding board member of the Center for Common Ground, will talk about her work to build Democracy Centers in the U.S. South, addressing in particular the challenge of alienation from electoral work that is growing in communities of color.

Shanique Spaulding, executive director, Mass. Voter Table. She is a political, social, and reproductive justice activist who has dedicated nearly a decade to organizing people in BIPOC communities across Massachusetts. The MVT advances civic access, engagement, and representation to increase resources and power for people of color and working-class people toward achieving a multiracial democracy.

Nicky Osborne will speak about her work to organize in southeast Massachusetts against MAGA supporters who are running for school boards with funding from major right-wing organizations. She will talk about the extent of the MAGA threat in Massachusetts and effective organizing techniques.

4:30 Special Presentation – “Palestine Solidarity and the Fight Against MAGA“, Max Elbaum, editorial board, Convergence magazine.   He is co-editor, with Linda Burnham and María Poblet, of Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections (OR Books, 2022).

5:00 Wrapup & Adjourn

Breakout Topics (choose 2 when you register)

See Detailed Breakout Descriptions

Breakouts 1 – Morning (11:30 am)

Fund Healthcare Not Warfare: Maternal and Child Health
American Power, its History, and the Current Moment in the Middle East
A Rural New Deal
Struggle and Progress in Building a Progressive Public Sector Union – the Experience of the Mass Teachers Association
Grassroots Strategies to Protect Reproductive Rights: Activism and Legislation
Poor People’s Campaign 40 Day State House Initiative
Breaking the Logjam on Mass. Medicare for All
Ukraine: A Time for Peace
We Need Global Climate Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis

Breakouts 2 – Afternoon (2:30 pm)

21st Century Economic Bill of Rights
Continuing Struggles for Quality Public Education
Run For a Local Elected Position
Got Legisplained? Common Pitfalls of Grassroots Lobbying & How to Avoid Them
Gaza, Palestine and Politics
Campus Organizing: Building Enduring Power and Training Organizers Through Labor Unions
Change the Flag and Seal of Massachusetts
Organizing for Racial and Economic Justice with One Fair Wage
Statewide Housing Justice Policy & Organizing

Register to attend. Registration:  $25 regular admission, $5 student/low income, $75 supporter.

Sponsored by Massachusetts Progressive Action Organizing Committee (Our Revolution Massachusetts, Progressive Massachusetts, Progressive Democrats of America, Massachusetts Peace Action, and North American Indian Center of Boston) and by Act on Mass, Indivisible Mass, and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution.  Organizations are encouraged to cosponsor the conference; they will be acknowledged in publicity and at the conference, are invited to organize a breakout and attend planning meetings, and are asked to give a $50 donation and to publicize the event.   Use the Register link to become a cosponsor.


Sat December 2, 2023
9:30 am - 5:00 pm EST
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