Occupy the Michigan Democratic Party!

Next Saturday, the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) is having its first-ever Fall Issues Convention. It is called Engage Michigan and is being chaired by former Secretary of State candidate Jocelyn Benson.

Here’s a bit about what is being envisioned, from Chair Benson:

What intrigued me most was when the conversations turned to the people in the room: what could we do better to engage our families and colleagues in fighting for a better Michigan?

What solutions could we offer to fix the short and long-term problems in our neighborhoods, cities and state?

How can we better frame these solutions when we talk to others or write letters or post blogs – in a way that inspires and motivates others to get involved?

Out of these conversations came the idea to have a larger, statewide conversation, for people to convene and discuss policy solutions that reflect the values that drive us to be involved in political change.

This Spring the Michigan Democratic Party’s State Central Committee voted to host a Fall Issues Convention devoted to these themes. They asked me to chair it, and I assembled a group of community leaders from around the state to help plan.

At our first meeting, the one concern foremost on everyone’s mind: make this count. We don’t want this gathering to be just another opportunity for people to get together and talk. We want this to be a working meeting. A gathering where Michigan Democratic Party members come prepared for action on innovative ideas that address the problems that plague our state, and with real plans for how we all can work together to Engage Michigan in fighting for our future.

We called the convention: “Engage Michigan: Values, Vision, Victory.” It will be held in Lansing at the Lansing Center on Saturday November 12, 2011 and is open to any member of the Michigan Democratic Party. The agenda will focus on three areas:

Values: Why are you a Democrat? What are the guiding principles that you believe should underscore state policy?

Vision: What key reforms will create jobs in Michigan, improve education, fight corruption and protect our pocketbooks?

Victory: What can we do together to reach out to families, friends and neighbors and engage them in our battle to enact reforms for a better tomorrow?

So, readers of this blog: how can you help?

Do you have an idea for a reform that can improve our state?

What values do you believe should guide these reforms?

Have you found a way to truly engage your friends, family, colleagues and neighbors in pushing for positive solutions?

Share them on our Facebook Engage Michigan page. Visit www.engagemichigan.com to sign up…

This is your opportunity to be a part of a collective effort to help our state and our economy grow and flourish once again.

What is your vision for a better Michigan?

Join the conversation today.

This is a rare opportunity for Michigan Democrats who generally feel they have good ideas about the direction of our party in Michigan to be heard. Frankly, after the embarrassment of a convention last February where a contender for the chair’s position claimed he was being charged a “poll tax” and the incumbent chair Mark Brewer all but shut down any dissent, after their complete lack of involvement or support of any kind of the recalls happening around the state (until they needed money to fight off recalls against Dems), and after generally accomplishing almost nothing to get the grassroots activism & activists in our state fired up and motivated, I have despaired of our party. In fact, if this event weren’t being hosted by Jocelyn Benson, I might just skip it myself.

But this may be a rare time when the MDP is going to listen. And, if that’s true, it’s vital that Democrats around the state let them know what they want from their party. I will be pushing for more things that activate our grassroots organizers. I would like to see the MDP get more involved in helping local organizers and activists push back against the Republican overreach we are experiencing daily in our state. We have had a unique opportunity to engage these people, many of whom have never been that particularly politically active but who are fed up with Republicans rolling back the clock and the progressive achievements of the past several decades.

In my opinion, the MDP has spent too much time sending out press releases that nobody gives a damn about and not enough time encouraging local activism.

What do YOU think the MDP should be doing? Are they doing things right in your mind? Are there things they can do to help push back against Republicans that will also light a fire under activists so that we win big in 2012?

Next Saturday, November 12th, you’ll have a chance to speak your mind. It’s free and it’s important.

Occupy the Michigan Democratic Party!

Click HERE to register (it’s free.)

I am a chemist by day and progressive liberal blogger by very early morning and very late night. I live just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan with my lovely and talented photographer wife, Anne C. Savage. I am a vegetarian and an avid organic gardener who loves to cook. I'm heavily involved in county-level Democratic Party activities and am on the Washtenaw County Democratic Party Executive Board as co-vice chair for precinct organizing.
Chris Savage (aka Eclectablog)
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  • memiller

    I’ll be there, helping to facilitate the group sessions. I know that the intention is to listen to the voices of the party. I am confident that this will be a positive experience for all of us.

    On the subject of press releases — they don’t cost anything to speak of. Occasionally a Brewer quote makes it into the media as part of a story on the subject at hand. They may help some local activists frame responses to issues. OK, they may not be a major weapon, but what is the downside?

  • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

    There’s no downside to sending out press releases. I don’t see them as being helpful to rally grassroots organizers that make the difference in elections and in creating real change. On top of that, they never issued an press releases in support of the grassroots efforts happening around the state (like the efforts to recall GOP legislators that are doing the most harm in Michigan or to repeal Public Act 4 – The Emergency Manager Law.)

    Sending out press releases that don’t accomplish much isn’t “doing something” unless it’s combined with actually … you know … doing something.

    I share your hope (not quite ready to say ‘optimism’ yet) that this convention will breath some life into our state party. If it does, it will reinvigorate many of us who are dissatisfied with what we see as a lack of effective leadership in the MDP.