Archive for the 'grassroots' Category

Tips for Chris Cillizza

Chris Cillizza has a column about how he missed Cantor’s defeat. Sadly he concludes that opinion polls are the gold standard and that he will continue to rely upon them. Big mistake. Opinion polls are commissioned by keepers of conventional wisdom and will have their blind spots. For example, as late as September 1975 presidential opinion polls did not include Jimmy Carter as an option. Big miss. In the summer of 2010 no opinion polls picked up on the issues that would launch the Occupy movement, certainly no indications that it would catch on like a wildfire with occupations sprouting up all over the country. And if you were foolish enough to confine yourself to opinion polls you would think that the suppression of the Occupations ended the movement. Wrong. A former occupier now sits on the Seattle City council. Cillizza should contact Freddie Mac, or Citi, or Wells Fargo, or almost any other bank and ask if any of their executives have been contacted by Occupy Our Homes concerning individual foreclosure cases. Or he could just follow Popular Resistance on Twitter to track left wing activism. Locally he should follow Eugene Puryear and Dan Robinson in Silver Spring. At some point all this dissastisfaction with the legacy parties will express itself by electing emergent party candidates, it could happen this year. Other races to watch are Asher Platt’s in Maine and the Howie Hawkins in New York. In the age of social media you don’t have to travel to a place to get a feel for the zeigesit, just follow the local personalities on Twitter. If it is too much trouble to develop 50 separate twitter lists to follow politics in those states, just subscribe to existing Twitter lists. I gaurantee, there is at least one political Twitter list for each state. Looking at polls will trap you in the conventional wisdom bubble. You need to expand your sources if you want to detect signficant shifts in the zeitgeist.

Grassroots training for local emergent party committees

danps’ post got me to thinking about training for emergent parties.

More Americans than ever are open to emergent party candidates. But unless they are organized, emergent parties cannot take advantage of the current atmosphere. In defense of Jill Stein, she got more publicity than all the other 2012 emergent party candidates combined. She also ran her campaign in areas where the Green Party had candidates running, unlike Nader, she ran her campaign in such a way as to reinforce Green Party local efforts. After the campaign there were two training camps. So the Green Party has done some training. But clearly more training is needed.

So, I am offering my services to any left of center emergent party. I am an experienced activist, with years of precinct operations and GOTV work for the Democratic party until I gave up on them. I can teach your committee:

  • How to analyze precinct voting history to recognize opportunities
  • How to walk a precinct (not the same as door knocking, and necessary to prepare for all other precinct work.)
  • The most efficient way to collect signatures on nominating petitions
  • How to combine precinct work and signature collection for nominating petitions
  • How to identify supporters in a precinct and recruit volunteers
  • How to organize closed communities such as high rises and gated communities
  • Social media for emergent party precinct captains. In legacy parties online communications can be delegated to a few people. Because of the media black out, every emergent party activist must be their own social media activist. I can teach you how to use social media to reinforce the work you are doing on the ground.
  • How to do door knocking
  • How to do phone bankin
  • How to identify visibility opportunities in your precinct.
  • How to organize a meet and greet for your candidate
  • How to do voter registration and absentee ballot for emergent parties.
  • How to work a precinct which is mostly renters with high turnover and a rural precinct with low turnover and all points in between.
  • How to organize for election day, the difference between poll workers and poll observers.

I guarantee that in every precinct where these methods are applied you will see and increase of at least 50 votes per precinct. There is nothing magical about this. It is a little like saying if you mulch a garden, water it twice a week, and pull weeds regularly you will see an increase in yield.

I am also offering a seminar in achieving emergent party viabilty:

The responsibilities of the local chair, how to recruit and how to delegate

Publicity for emergent parties, how to use public cable access, talk radio, and above all, social media. How to use the old fashioned letter to the editor and press release. How to arrange an editorial briefing and how and when to hold a press conference. Why negative press can be a good thing (hint, it means the establishment is scared of you.) Publicity stunts, why they work for emergent parties.

The responsibilities of the field operations coordinator. How to analyze past precinct returns to recognize opportunities. How to identify visibility opportunities. How to recruit and train volunteers, how to make volunteering
fun. How to organize petition gathering, door knocking, and phone banking. How to recognize the traps your opposition will set for you and how to protect your volunteers.

The responsibilities of the finance chair, even if it is only to organize the annual pasta dinner an auction. Why your
annual fundraiser must be early in the year, before April. (Hint, Early Money Is Like Yeast, it raises dough.)

The responsibilities of the treasurer, and why an assistant treasurer is a really good idea. Why paying your treasurer, even a small fee, is a really good idea.

The responsibilities of the webmaster, and why local committees without the resources to regularly update a website are better off with a blogspot or WordPress blog.

The responsibilities of the data base coordinator and why voter records are essential if a committee is to build on its work from one year to another.

A committee that applies my lessons to its work will see a dramatic increase in support. These methods work, they are what every effective local legacy party committee provides to their candidates. Legacy parties don’t win only through tribal loyalty and money. They also win because they have an army of volunteers who are not too grand to do this sort of work. This is what I refer to as the discipline of winning.

Each seminar takes six hours, a nourishing lunch is recommended as grassroots training is hungry work.

My fee is $300 per seminar, or $500 for both seminars if a local committee decides to get both over the course of two days. I also need travel, accomodations, and materials. Travel is a bus ticket for anywhere within 300 miles of DC, otherwise planes and trains. Accomodation is the spare bedroom in a committee member’s house, otherwise the cheapest motel within walking distance of the venue (I recommend the local library or any other free venue that is wheel chair accessible). Materials will consist of the training documents that I will email you, somewhere between six and a dozen pages, each participant will need a set.

If you are interested contact me at and I will provide my name and references.

State of the Schools Community Summit – Save the Date- Saturday, Sept. 14th – 1-3pm

The latest from Empower DC:
Education “reform” by the Mayor and Chancellor causes deliberate confusion and instability for DC families. These government officials who are rarely present in the communities they make decisions about don’t really know how these decisions affect families. They never talk directly with them; they never listen and engage in true dialog. The decisions they make such as closing 15 DCPS schools force families out of the Public School system towards the privately operated charter sector, which by no means is providing families with a better educational experience for their children. Check out this story from a grandparent we recently spoke to about how her grandchild’s school closure has affected her family this year:

“My grandson first went to a new charter school. He went one day and they put him in detention for not having on a belt. He’s only 10 years old. I talked with the principal and asked if he thought that was appropriate, to put a child in detention on the first day, when I didn’t know he needed the belt. He said “Unfortunately, that’s what we do.” He didn’t act right. So I put my grandson back in DCPS, even though I didn’t want to. Hopefully I can find another school soon.”

It is unjust that DC families have to bounce around from school to school, sector to sector without finding anywhere they feel they really belong. The time for community driven education reform is NOW. The time for solidarity is NOW. We, DC Residents, have to strengthen our resolve and say “These are our schools and we know what is best”

Join us on Saturday, September 14th for the State of the Schools Community Summit, where we will be planning next steps in true community driven improvement of Education in our city!
Saturday, September 14
1-3 PM at First Rock Baptist Church
4630 Alabama Ave. SE

Child care provided and shuttle to 1st Rock church will be
provided from the Benning Road Metro (Please RSVP)
Childcare provided, there will also be a shuttle from the Benning Road Metro taking folks to the meeting location (pick-ups at 12:30, 12:45 and 1:00pm)

January 26 Housing For All Rally!

Housing For All Rally! A Vision for DC!
At the Housing For All Campaign we believe that DC can be a place where all residents live in housing in good condition that they can afford. As the District completes it’s comprehensive housing strategy, we call on District leaders to adopt a strategy that brings us closer to that vision. In particular, we call on Mayor Gray to adopt a housing strategy that is ambitious to meet the great housing challenges DC faces.

I hope you will join us as we rally for that vision! We have invited members of the District Council and Mayor Gray to join us and share with us their vision, so that together we can build Housing For All!



Saturday, January 26 2013
Noon – 2:00 PM
Martin Luther King Library
901 G St NW
Chinatown Metro

Join the Housing For All Campaign as we rally for our vision, a District with decent, quality affordable Housing For All!
Lunch will be served. Spanish interpretation provided. Children welcome.

Occupy DC

Just got the following email:
We who occupied K Street and Freedom Plaza, and you who have supported us, aspire to a world governed by compassion and consent, not by greed and exploitation. From Saturday, September 29 to Sunday, October 7, we invite you to join us for a week of teach-ins, assemblies, festivities and direct actions in order to educate, entertain, and exercise our freedom to purge destructive self-interest and create mutually beneficial community. Want to figure out how to get involved? Offer ideas for things we should be working on? Leak us some classified documents? Come on out!

On October 1st, 2012, it’ll be a year to the day since our friends bravely began sleeping at McPherson Square. Over the ensuing months, more of us joined them, inspired to try to create a community along the lines of what we’d like to see in the world – a politically conscious society that rejects greed and celebrates mutual aid. We have been successful in some ways and unsuccessful in others, and we continue to develop as a growing activist community.

We’re no longer occupying K Street, but the war hawks, debt profiteers, bailout pirates and other corporate-government door revolvers continue to use it as their base from which to occupy much of the planet. These agencies, lobbyist firms, and assorted multinationals are collectively responsible for both exploiting and drowning out the voices of the global 99%, forcing governments around the world to adopt policies that starve the common person and enrich the elite. As the concurrent global uprisings of the past year demonstrate, popular patience wears thin for these profit-hungry puppet-masters and their government enforcers.

On the morning of October 1, the one-year anniversary of the McPherson Square occupation, join us as we storm K Street and the offices of its many corporate profiteers. You know who they are. They know who they are. Their time pulling strings from the shadows is over.

(Disclaimer: Our goal is not to disrupt the day of the working class by inhibiting their commute. As long as we have a corporatist system of government, there will be civil unrest – and traffic delays will be the least of our problems.)

See our full schedule of events here:

ROCCUPY Festival / Shut Down K Street Schedule
Saturday, 9/29 – Freedom Plaza (14th St NW & Pennsylvania Ave NW)
10:30 AM – 1:30 PM – Criminal (In)justice Committee teach-in at All Souls Unitarian Church (16th St NW & Harvard St NW; all other Saturday activities are in Freedom Plaza), workshops, education, and strategizing on the Wells Fargo boycott, mass incarceration, systematic racism, and more.
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM – Tent of Dreams, an Occuplay
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM – Discussion: Where has the Occupy Movement been, and where is it going? An open, facilitated discussion about the movement of our time.
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM – Games, booths, and being together
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Spokescouncil: Planning for Shut Down K Street, future actions
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM – DINNER served at Freedom Plaza
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – People’s Assembly

7:30 PM – 8:00 PM – Radio Rahim
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM – Uptown XO
8:30 PM – 9:00 PM – Shahid Buttar, Guerilla Poetry Insurgency
9:00 PM – 9:30 PM – Gogo
9:30 PM – 10:00 PM – Beasts of No Nation
10:00 PM – Open mic

Sunday, 9/30 – McPherson Square (15th St NW & K St NW)

12:30 – 2:00 PM – Discussion: Occupy the Vote, or Vote for Nobody? An open, facilitated discussion about how the Occupy Movement should or shouldn’t relate to the election.

(2:00 PM – 4:30 PM – Please check the schedule board for a full list of workshops, discussions, affinity group meetups, and so on. Groups and individuals are encouraged to hold your own discussions or meetups. Write your topic on the schedule board. Below are the discussions already planned.)

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: The First Hour
A) Environment and Occupy – A discussion with local environmental activists on climate change, mountaintop removal coal mining, DC’s energy utility company Pepco, fracking, the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, and what all of this means for the Occupy Movement.
B) What Consensus Means to Me – A discussion on what consensus really means, anarchist and horizontal models of organizing, and decision-making in an environment of egalitarianism.
C) Citizen Journalism – A discussion on being your own press with the media activists of DC Mic Check, a project that emerged out of Occupy DC.
D) Foreclosure Crisis – A discussion on the bad and the worse on the foreclosure crisis, what has been done here in DC to resist foreclosures, and why the housing crisis has disproportionately impacted communities of color.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: The Second Hour
A) Global Crises, Global Movements – What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership and how will it destroy humanity and the environment? What are the IMF and World Bank and why should people protest them? What are all of those protesters in Greece rioting? Answers to all of these questions in a discussion with resident Occupy DC experts.
B) Anarchism 101 – A discussion with individuals in the Anarchist Alliance of DC Network on anarchism, anarchists in history, and other topics related to anarchist resistance.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Spokescouncil: Planning for Shut Down K Street, future actions
5:30 PM – 6:00 PM – DINNER served at Freedom Plaza
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – People’s Assembly
7:30 PM – Starting Line of Occupy DC Scavenger Hunt

7AM Meet at Farragut Sq.

– Two Marches will leave there and disrupt the morning for a list of some 100 secondary targets. The two marches will multiply, because we can never die.
– All Marches will end and reconverge at Freedom Plaza for breakfast and an Action spokes.
-There will be a Direct Action Teach-in.
– There will be a teach-in on Anarchist Theory by AADC
1130AM – 2PM


These are themed days of action in resistance to the system and in solidarity with the 99%. Individual, autonomous affinity groups are welcome to plan whatever inspires them.


10/1 – SHUT DOWN K STREET day of action. (Please see above.)

10/2 – Crush The Corporatocracy. A day to stick it to the notorious lobbyists, one-percenters, and Citizens-United Super PAC campaign donors who are undermining democracy and imperiling our system.

Sleepful Protest 10pm at Bank of America, Pennsylvania & 15th St NW
FB Event:

10/3 – Break The Banks. 7am – 11am, foreclose on the mortgage branch of Bank of America. 11:30 – 12:30, lunch at McPherson Square. 12:45 – 3:00, simultaneous actions targeting several DC banks using a diversity of tactics, from sits-ins and street theater to other tactical shenanigans.
FB Event:

10/4 – Election Day. 12:30pm – 2:30pm, McPherson Square. Cast your ballot and rally for DC voting rights and fair representation! Join us as we announce the winners and losers of our highly scientific election, and take a hard look at who makes DC great. Celebrate solidarity in the Occupy DC and Washington, DC, communities. Request a ballot on this page, or from Kelly Canavan or Eli Greer. Make your voice heard!
FB Event:

10/5 – Earth, sustainability, and energy day of action. A day of opposing industrial agriculture, GMOs, hydro-fracking, pollution, oil, coal, and other dirty energy, and working toward a healthy, sustainable planet.

10/6 – OCCUPY DC FREEDOM PLAZA ANNIVERSARY, a day for calling for an end to wars and militarism. The Occupy DC Freedom Plaza location began on the anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan on October 6, 2001. This October 6, join Occupy DC to oppose war and militarism, and call for US troops out of Afghanistan now!

10/7 – Occupy Democracy day of action. A day for calling for a true democracy, one month prior to Election Day. Meet 5 PM in McPherson Square for a general assembly to display what a real, egalitarian, horizontal democracy might look like!

A year ago, on October 1, 2011, ecstatic that the 99% had begun occupying Wall Street, brave activists here in Washington DC began occupying McPherson Square on K Street, the corridor where corporate lobbyists, bankers, and the 1% come to wield their power. On October 6, more fearless members of the 99% began occupying Freedom Plaza in downtown DC, about ten blocks to the south. Two active camps were established with several hundred occupiers between the two of them. They survived the snow and rain of winter and persecution from the police, until the police violently raided the camps in the first week of February 2012.

There are more reasons than ever to occupy — to dwell in the places where the 1% do their corrupt dealings, and refuse to leave. Join the 99% as we reclaim our democracy, our future, our world.

Stop the tech millionaire tax cut!

Merriam’s Kitchen linked this from their twitter account.

On Wednesday, the DC Council will consider legislation that would cut the tax rate for investors to just three percent when they invest in DC technology companies. That’s lower than tax rates paid by working District residents. DC cannot afford basic services for DC’s most vulnerable residents, like shelter for the homeless and assistance for needy families, and should not cut revenues even further by cutting taxes for wealthy investors – especially when theire is no evidence that such tax breaks provide any economic benefits.

Join the fight now by letting the DC Council know that you don’t support tax cuts for tech millionaires!

Jobs not Jails

The following flier was given to me the other day:

Jobs Not Jails Coalition Community Forum

There will be a discussion and educational forum the DC Jail, CTF, and Hope Valley halfway house. Come and speak-out about your experiences, and learn about those of others! In addition to YOUR voices the panel will include William Ridley, former Director of the Department of Corrections, Rev. Kelly Wilkins, Covenant Baptist Church, Willie “Rabbit” Williams, advocate for Returning Citizens, Doshen Martin El, social justice advocate, Phillip Fornacci, DC Prisoners Project, Moderated by Debra Rowe, Returning Citizens United.

Community Forum

July 26, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Benning Road Library, 3935 Benning Road, NE

(Blue Line to Benning Road Station)

Sponsored by : Jobs Not Jails Coaltion

for more information:

Empower DC takes our message to the Mayor



Join Empower DC to send a message to Mayor Gray:



Join the Empower DC contingent at the

Mayor’s “One City Citizen’s Summit”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meet at 11 AM

At the Convention Center

801 Mt Vernon Pl, NW

Meet at Mt Vernon Pl. entrance/across from Carnegie Library/Mt Vernon Sq Metro

*Wear your Empower DC tshirt*

Join us to deliver information to summit participants about


RSVP to , (202) 234-9119 x104

Register for the Summit at


Mayor Gray recently commissioned a study of DC schools by the Illinois Facility Fund (IFF) and paid for by the Walton Foundation (Wal-Mart) and several other interests heavily invested in charter schools. The study divided DC schools up into 4 tiers (Tier 1 being the highest “performing” and Tier 4 being the “lowest performing”). The methodology used to rank the schools into Tiers was by looking at Standardized Test Score Results (DCCAS)

Overall the study offers 4 recommendations

Invest in facilities and programs to accelerate performance in Tier 2 schools.

Close or Turnaround Tier 4 DCPS Schools. Close Tier 4 charter schools.

Fill seats in Tier 1 Schools. Sustain the performing capacity of Tier 1 schools.

Monitor Tier 3 schools.

When reading the recommendations for the specific Top Ten Clusters, IFF also recommends to close some Tier 3 DCPS schools. Here are the Tier 3 and 4 schools the report recommends to close or turn around broken down by Ward.

Ward 1 – 2 schools – Bruce Monroe @ Parkview, Cardozo High School (both Tier 4)

Ward 4 – 5 schools – Brightwood Ed. Campus, Roosevelt High School (both Tier 4) —– Macfarland Middle, Raymond Ed. Campus, Truesdell Ed. Campus (these 3 are Tier 3)

Ward 5 – 5 schools – Burroughs Ed. Campus, Browne Ed. Campus, Spingarn High School, Wheatley Ed. Campus (these 4 are Tier 4) —- Noyes Ed. Campus (Tier 3)

Ward 7 – 10 schools – Aiton Elementary, Drew Elementary, Kelly Miller Middle, Woodson High School, CW Harris Elementary, Davis Elementary, Nalle Elementary (These 7 are Tier 4) —- Plummer Elementary, Beers Elementary, Randle Highlands Elementary (These 3 Tier 3)

Ward 8 – 16 schools – Anacostia High School, Kramer Middle, Garfield Elementary, Stanton Elementary, Johnson Middle School, Malcolm X elementary, Ferebee-Hope Elementary school, Terrell/McGogney elementary school, Patterson Elementary, Simon elementary (These 10 are Tier 4) —- Orr elementary, Ballou High School, Hart Middle, Hendley Elementary, King Elementary, Leckie Elementary (These 6 are Tier 3)



Mayor Gray, We Hold YOU Accountable to

Save our Schools & Communities:

We reject the flawed findings of the IFF report and its recommendations to close/turn around DCPS schools.

We demand a moratorium on school closures until a valid community-led process is developed for evaluating our schools.

Let’s start by holding a One City Citizen’s Summit dedicated solely to Education, where students, parents and educators – the real experts – can lead the discussion on how to better our schools.

Let’s try something new. Let’s work with the community to find the solution. We look forward to your response.

Parisa B. Norouzi
Executive Director
Empower DC
1419 V St, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 234-9119

Occupy the Movie

Occupy the Movie

Occupy The Movie web site

Attention Kevin Zeese and David Swanson

You should take a look at the Interactive Voter Choice System.