Writing Resolutions - Why do it, Guidelines

Submitted by Bill Crosier on December 9, 2005 - 1:33am. ::

At the PAA meeting this evening, we discussed the resolutions that our group wrote two years ago, before the 2004 primaries.  Using these resolutions in the next few months, with some minor updates/revisions, along with some additional ones, can help us in several ways:

  • Educate people about issues we care about, by explaining why a particular policy is a good idea.
  • Build support for progressive issues, and remind others that they aren't the only ones who care about them.
  • Provide one of the most effective ways of motivating voters who support progressive issues to attend their party conventions (for Democrats: precinct, SD or county, and state convention;  for Greens: to sign petitions to get on the ballot, and to attend their state convention).
  • By getting progressive Democrats to participate in their conventions, we can elect more progressive leaders in the Democratic Party.  (The Greens don't need this but the Dems do!)

The resolutions we wrote two years ago, along with some new ones, are at http://progressiveactionalliance.org/about/ -- scroll down to the bottom of that page to see the listing of resolutions/issues.  Click on any one of them to get the full text.  Most are national issues, because two years ago we were concentrating on the presidential race.  For the 2006 elections, we need to keep the resolutions on national issues, but add some others with focus on local and state issues.

Things I suggest we do:

  1. Review the existing resolutions to see what needs revising or updating.  There are the original 19 resolutions from two years ago, along with some new ones that were added recently but which have not undergone the thorough review and editing that the original ones did.
  2. Select ones for the issues that we want to present to candidates, to see which of our issues they'll support.  We need separate lists for national candidates (Congress), for state candidates (state legislature, Governor, Lt. Gov., Attorney General, etc.), and for local candidates (Co. Judge, Tax Assessor-Collector, Co. Clerk, etc.).  Remember that some of these positions may not sound too exciting but are very important.  For example, the Tax Assessor-Collector is responsible for voter registration and decides how agressive to be in purging the voter roles and whether to remind voters to re-register when they move.  The County Clerk and Co. Commissioners decide whether to use voter-verifiable paper trails or paper ballots in elections.  See where I'm going?
  3. Decide what new resolutions we need to write, especially ones to nail down state and local candidates' positions on non-national issues we care about.
  4. Revise the resolutions that need it, and write new ones.  If possible, have at least two different people (besides the author) review each resolution and play devil's advocate to help determine how to improve it.  Good review and editing makes for better resolutions that areeasy to understand, persuave on our issues, and easier to get others (convention attendees and candidates) to support.  Download the revised Resolution Guidelines document from the link below.  (It's what we used last time with some minor revisions.)
  5. Compile summaries of the resolutions in each category (for national issues, state, and local).  This can be done by just taking the "Resolved..." parts from all resolutions.
  6. Develop a questionaire for candidates with the resolution summaries, and send them to candidates with a request to tell us which ones they'll support.
  7. Post the candidates' responses on our web site, so everyone will know what the candidates say about our issues.
  8. Post pdf's of all the resolutions on our web site and encourage folks to download and print the ones in which they are interested.  Then they can take them to meetings of various groups, distribute copies, and ask those present to attend their precinct convention and support those resolutions.  It's OK if this is just a single resolution for some special-interest groups.

It may sound like a lot of work, but remember that we already have a pretty good set of resolutions.  Also think about how important to you is it to get new leadership in the Democratic Party.  The only way to do this is to get more progressives to attend their conventions and elect leaders who will lead (and who will go in the correct direction!)  If if you are a Green and have given up on the Democratic leadership, think about how nice it will be when we can get some candidates to talk about our issues.

I think we'll be able to do a better job, and get more responses from candidates, if we invite some other progressive groups to participate in this process, too.  Let me know which groups you'd like to invite.

Comments and suggestions are invited. 

Resolution_Guidelines_051209.pdf77.56 KB