I asked these questions so NDFA can have a discussion about where the organization is going in the future.
I posted some early responses to stimulate the thought process for NDFA voting members.
Specifics below the fold:
Question 1. In April, 2018, Northside DFA will have just completed the March, 2018 primaries and be switching to focus on 2019 municipal elections when Mayor of Chicago & Chicago's 50 aldermen will stand for election.This is two years and eight months from the August, 2015 voting member retreat.What is the SUCCINCT version of where NDFA will be as an organization at this point?
Get Dems elected to Congress:
More volunteers to elect progressives:
NDFA should be focusing on getting more Dems elected to Congress. We can start by supporting Dems who run for Congress against Repubs in Illinois.
Hopefully BIGGER (more campaign volunteers) and therefore more powerful! But power is only a means to an end - we want to elect progressive candidates to enact progressive policies (ie., progressive income tax etc)Work issues as well as elections.
Still strong and fighting for progressive values because the core of the group is dedicated. Fighting specific causes such as citizens United and corporate monopolies.Split into Chicago DFA & subchapters
Split into Chicago DFA (which supports, nurtures & grows chapters) and a network of chapters organized along borders of Chicago community areas, muncipalities & townships.
Question 2. Please use the space below to expand on the vision you expressed above.
Citywide liberal coalition:
We need to involve and work with more minorities - possibly as part of a citywide liberal coalition.
Growing future leadership
Enough people are willing to be active and let their voices be heard that I'm confident other members are able to stop up if a void is left by a key figure.
Executive director for Chicago DFA
Chicago DFA would have an ED that raises money. Ideally there would be an organizer who is focused on starting chapters. And then there would be an administrator who provides support to chapters. They don't have to hire their own administrator.
Question 3. Five years from now will be August, 2020. The Illinois primary will presumably be in March, 2020. This will be the year of a presidential election.What is the SUCCINCT version of your vision for NDFA going into the 2020 general election?
Help Democrats defeat Republicans
We should support the Democratic candidate for president (whoever it is) and any Democrats running for Congress against Republicans.
Gerrymandering is the enemy?
Hopefully President Hillary will earn our support for re-election - but I DO hope Bernie and Elizabeth will get lots done in the Senate. Is it POSSIBLE to retake the House as soon as 2016? We really need an alternative to gerrymandered districts.
The difference between the three year and the five-year vision is I hope aggression. Continual aggression fighting for values and with little moral conscience from the opposition I fear that our side will half to use the same level of aggression to fight back. So a five-year plan would be more aggressive than the three-year plan
Gerrymandering is our friend?
Before 2020 elections cut a deal with Madigan/Cullerton. NDFA helps them win swing seats & NDFA gets something.
Question 4. Use this space to expand upon your vision for NDFA in the summer of 2020.
Citizens United & stuff
We will have defeated citizens United but still be fighting for inequities and financial problems for the less fortunate. Maintaining aggression and expanding the fight against local and national causes
The 2020 election is the election the maps will be drawn based upon.
Question 5. What is your vision for how NDFA interacts with other organizations in Chicago?
We can work with other organizations that share our goals.
Lead by example
Somewhat irrelevant into a point apathy might be the best course. This is not about impressing groups, being a leader and being strong will entice others to follow
Coalition focused on 2019 City Council
There should be a coalition of progressive orgs that work to identify progressives in all wards and recruits challengers for 2019. The unions can participate, but leadership should include full spectrum of progressives in Chicago, not just a few unions. The coalition should contribute money for hiring staff that will do the work & be held accountable.
Question 6. What is your vision of how NDFA interacts with organizations in Illinois or in the greater Chicago region?
Same as above
Same answer. While having working relationships is important if the group acts and shows leadership others will follow and trying to win outside influence might not be that important
Be part of a strong coalition that includes black, Hispanic, and other minority groups.
Netroots Nation 2016
Having Netroots Nation in St. Louis in 2016 is an opportunity. Starting the day before Netroots Nation & continuing into the conference there should be meetings between progressive organizations throughout Illinois. Hopefully, NDFA can convince DFA, MoveOn & maybe DailyKos to do work to pull this together.
Question 7. What is your vision for how NDFA should interact with Democracy For America?
Follow the leader
We should make sure our goals match those of DFA.
Love DFA, not the question
Love DFA as a national group. I contribute a small amount monthly, and periodically on line. Not sure how to answer question, however.
50 state strategy
Convince the national group to invest in the 50 state strategy and fight back for elections on all levels. Cities, school boards, townships, counties. The Republicans and the tea party are starting to win at the local election level. The national group can assess and I hope the local vision includes persuading them to do so
Shared staff in Chicago
DFA should have a staff person in Chicago. This person could work for Chicago DFA about 20 hours per week and DFA about 20 hours per week. (Of the DFA time, I would like to see 4-12 hours per week going to coordinating DFA's large chapters.)
Question 8. What is your vision for how NDFA should do fundraising?
Raise more money?
I don't know anything about NDFA's financial situation. If we're short on money, then we need to raise more of it.
I've loved all our fundraisers! Maybe we should encourage small monthly donations to the North Side DFA?
Fundraise on issues
Fund raise for individual causes, I would donate for representation for an antitrust lawsuit, others might donate for the school board, while others might have their own issues that Tug at their personal heartstrings
Get voting members involved
NDFA needs to leverage personal contacts of voting members to grow the fundraising base.
Question 9. What do you envision NDFA's brand being in the future? How is this different from NDFA's brand now?
Revive Democracy For Illinois
Right now it seems to me that we're too narrowly focused on the north side of Chicago. We need to expand our vision to the whole Chicago metropolitan area, to Springfield, and to Washington DC. Instead of Northside Democracy for America, let's make it Democracy for Illinois!
More advocacy on election issues
I like our current brand. But we will need to work to enable our political system to work for PEOPLE - non-partisan redistricting, free air time for candidates and/or public financing of campaigns.
Shift Overton window
Continue to go more progressive and less corporate Democrat. With the tea party so extreme we need to counter more extreme ourselves. Fight not because we want to, because we have to
Be a national model
NDFA's brand is: the most democratic progressive political organization in Chicago. I would like to see it become a model for progressive organizations around the country (the world?).