The 2013 Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform is not limited to concerns of the Commonwealth. The Preamble alone mentions immigration, infastructure, national defense, diplomacy, and multiculturalism. The “Ethics and Transparency” section calls for the overturn of Citizen’s United, for example.
Delegates to the June 3rd state Convention in Worcester have an opportunity to send a message to the national DNC by voting on amendments to the following platform sections: Business and Entrepreneurship; Economic Growth; Education; Energy and Environment; Climate Crisis; Ethics and Transparency; Healthcare and Human Services; Housing; Immigration; Justice, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; Labor; Public Safety and Crime Prevention; Revenue and Expenditures; Transportation and Infrastructure; Voting and Democracy; and Women.
The current platform needs updating as a matter of course. It also needs changes in light of what just happened to our country. Our Revolution Massachusetts, Progressive Massachusetts, and Progressive Democrats of America have collaborated on a number of amendments and additions to the platform (you can find another version here). Based on delegate and other input, the Massachusetts Democratic Platform Committee will then rewrite the state platform.
The 2013 platform isn’t bad as a statement of liberal values — and the 2017 Progressives’ changes aren’t so radical as to give Democrats much heartburn. The old platform mostly gets a day at the spa. But for a picky reader there are a number of things missing from both the current version and new proposals. Despite language on reducing “defense” spending (when we’ve had a quarter century of war), nowhere in the platform is there any mention of Foreign Policy. Plus, there are a number issues that Democrats have neglected that now demand clear statements of principle — especially since the Trump administration is attacking them so viciously.
Some of my suggestions below assume Democrats will eventually regain political advantage, but some of them assume we may not — and that it may now be up to state government to protect health, environment, civil liberties, and community policing.
- Foreign Policy and Militarism — stop supporting autocratic and undemocratic regimes — no more weaponry for Saudi Arabia — slash the military budget — end undeclared wars — insist on Congress’ right to declare wars — no more aid to Israel until they end settlements — no more aid for Egypt’s dictatorship
- Democratization of the Democratic Party — will we ever be rid of superdelegates?
- End the Surveillance State — enhance citizen privacy (a word that doesn’t appear even once in the document) — get rid of the Patriot Act — eliminate FISA courts — get rid of or make No Fly lists transparent — breathe life back into the 4th Amendment
- End useless tax breaks — remove vague language guaranteeing favorable tax rates for “businesses that generate community growth and participation” — Wal*Mart? really?
- Free college education — make it even clearer that free “higher education” means a four year college education
- Environment — now that EPA and Superfund money has been slashed, Massachusetts should sue for remediation (for example, Aerovox dumped PCBs in New Bedford’s harbor and then moved to Mexico) — strengthen our own MA Dept of Environmental Protection
- Healthcare backup plan — create with other Blue States a Single-Payer Healthcare system
- Improve the “Immigration” plank by calling for Massachusetts to follow California in prohibiting any local or state officials or agency from acting in a federal capacity or spending state money to do so (this would effectively endorse Eldridge and Cabral legislation at the convention)
- Put teeth in planks that call for gender parity — all publicly-traded corporations must have at least 40/45/50% women board members
- Put teeth in the Women’s Choice plank — no public funding for institutions that refuse to provide full counseling or direct services to women
- Restore Net Neutrality to the FCC
- Create a Citizen’s Data Bill of Rights guaranteeing that your personal and online data belongs to you and not to Comcast (Europeans have had this for years)