On My Election as Membership Coordinator for Maryland Green Party, and other related topics.
To my friends, comrades, party-mates & detractors:
I hereby accept the position of Membership Coordinator for the Maryland Green Party, as determined by a representative body of my peers, as of the results being announced and uncontested in front of every participant in the annual MGP Assembly as of 23:59:59, Saturday, June 26, 2021. I congratulate my fellow officers in a job well done in winning this election, and I hope to use this time elected by our fellow Green to plant the seeds for the future of this party.
There are many personal thoughts I have, which I will save for the end of this document. I have chosen to break my silence as the sole dual target for the unfair, undemocratic, & outright cynical contesting of the elections by the former co-chairs. I have chosen to hear out & seek out the assistance of many Greens in coming to these opinions, opinions I do not take lightly, given the blatant sabotage of the will of the voters that occured.
There are 10 key points I have concluded. Those points, according to any and all available data, are as follows:
- The tabulations in the MGP party election, as performed originally by Robert Smith at the behest of MGP, were done admirably, in good faith, and in accordance to what the former co-chairs specified; any & all questioning as to the tabulation method should have been submitted BEFORE voters had their say, not afterwards. These results, as submitted, suggest that every individual named on the slate at mdgreenballot.com (henceforth known as “The Slate”) won their race clearly & decisively.
These results are as follows:
Co-Chairs: Liv Romano and Renaud Brown
Membership Coordinators: Justin Sindall and Matt Hand
Treasurer: Devonie Doles
Recording Secretary: Katherine Mays
Delegates to the NC: Margaret Flowers, Ashley Esposito, Matt Hand
Alternate Delegates to the NC: Devonie Doles, Liv Romano, Justin Sindall
2. As it sits presently, in accordance with the bylaws & historical precedent in MDGP, Mr. Cook & Ms. Rodino’s term ended on Saturday when they announced the results. Any and all statements made by Mr. Cook or Ms. Rodino made after Sunday, June 27, 2021, were made as solely the opinion of the FORMER co-chairs of Maryland Green Party and have no standing on the election results at-large, nor should they reflect the view of the Maryland Green Party as a whole;
3. Further, due to the terms expiring of the former co-chairs, and a resolution not coming prior to their terms expiring on Sunday, June 27, 2021, it would stand to reason, then, that any and all contested seats’ outcomes would then be transferred to the incoming administration;
3a. pursuant to state law, we must have a chair of the party; currently, that person is Andy Ellis & should remain so on an interim basis until these matters are resolved, serving only in a strictly legal and advisory role to the board of elected officials.
4. Since there is no formalized process for a contested election, but there are now officially seated officials as of Sunday, June 27, 2021, ANY & ALL feedback, comments, concerns & issues about the MDGP’s election process from outside sources (FairVote, LWV et al) should go to anyone in MDGP who was seated & announced publicly as of 00:00:00, Sunday, June 27, 2021. Any decision to certify results by the previous chairs were made to a gathering of our comrades on Saturday, June 26, and any contested seats therefore fall under the jurisdiction of the new Maryland Green Party officers, which have overwhelmingly been in favor of honoring the will of the voters as the tabulation method was understood by all involved.
5. Any and all attempts to undermine the will of the voters, who spoke overwhelmingly & decisively for a party officials’ race, is a bad-faith attempt to undermine the will of Green voters in this state, who turned out in greater numbers than seen in recent years;
6. Furthermore, in the interest of fairness & transparency, it behooves Ms. Rodino & Mr. Cook to forward any and all consultations done with any outside agencies to the MDGP listserv, so as to ensure that all sides of the story are & clearly were heard.
7. FairVote or LWV were not previously announced as a third party arbiter of this election, nor do their alleged results have merit on any race that was announced at the end of Virginia & Jon’s term on Saturday 11:59:59PM. Were this the case, I am certain that individuals within MDGP would have raised further questions about the tabulation method, if not voters themselves.
8. Further, when Mr. Cook insinuated that no one should have an issue with FairVote weighing in on the election to the CC, he did not consult the key constituency we MUST keep at the forefront of these conversations: the voters. Were these protocol laid out in emails or CC conversations prior to the final votes being counted? Did the voters have a phone number or email contact point for LWV or Fairvote to address their concerns, or was this done behind closed doors, if at all? The answer to those questions, as a voter in this election as well as an aggrieved party in this attempted coup by Mr. Cook & Ms. Rodino, is unequivocally NO. And for the record, I can & do have an issue with FairVote allegedly giving the former co-chairs the advice that they should overturn the election on a whim without consulting the voters;
9. Nothing that was alleged by Mr. Cook or Ms. Rodino referring to their conversations with FairVote, LWV or any outside agency has been forwarded to the CC, so there is no proof to the validity of any or all claims they may make or may have made about any of the elections that they themselves presided over in front of an assembly of their peers. This means that I do not presently take any one of their claims as in good faith. While I do not know Mr. Cook or Ms. Rodino personally, in the interest of fairness & transparency, if provided with complaints that date prior to the election that are timestamped & verified by said third-party contact, I will rescind this claim upon independent verification from FairVote, LWV, et al. To not be transparent when the stakes are this high is to act in bad faith.
10. Due to the unprecedented nature of the claims and the serious concern we have for the will of the voters being subverted, the board of duly elected officials should immediately hold a meeting to decide how to proceed further with the matter.
With those points out of the way:
I am shocked and appalled at the outright dereliction of duty & sabotage undertaken by the previous co-chairs, Ms. Rodino & Mr. Cook. When I suggested that we need a “big tent leftist coalition”, I was not expecting said big tent to be a circus tent, because this entire election & previous administration that we have to take over for has been an absolute clown show from the beginning.
First and foremost, there is no place for any kind of exclusionary dialogue in an inclusive party such as the Greens. Some of the most inspiring folks I’ve met have been transgendered, and they need to know that at least one political party has their interests at heart. Stating support for trans folks, yet allowing anti-trans elements of the Greens to continue to have a plantform in this party via DNE is no different than painting “Black Trans Lives Matter” down a stretch of road where too many trans sex workers have met an untimely demise — that kind of pandering belongs in the Democrats, not here in the Greens.
Second, I’m aghast at the failures of MDGP to maintain a modern look and feel to their digital & communications apparatus. The only way we are going to truly turn the page on the old way of doing things is to formalize a communications team & empower them to modernize and streamline everything about our online presence. This includes, but is not limited to, social media, website, site layouts, plus finding new merchandise suppliers.
If you venture to the online store of the competition, they sell 9 items and 5 of them are t-shirts. If you go to our online, you can buy a $20 keychain or $30 cufflinks, but not a single t-shirt, hat, banner, or yard sign is to be found.
This is the kind of dereliction of duty that prevents merchandise from being any sort of serious money-raiser for our party, when we need to get our name and message out there more (and more organically) than any other political party, since we don’t take the dirty money the Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians do.
The fact that Maryland Green Party didn’t:
-give the store its own link in the top bar of the site,
-have a single t-shirt, hat, yard sign, banner, bag for sale,
-have a Pride shirt ready to drop on June 1st, with the proceeds going to a great local LGBTQ+ organizing space such as Impact Hub Baltimore or Chase Brexton Health Care, who help a disproportionate amount of low-income LGBTQ+ folks with health care,
is case in point of the dereliction of duty that the previous administration did with my post.
Organizing in the Trump era was hampered by a 5-year mainstream media smear campaign. These things are only going to be fixed by going local, going digital, and reaching out to folks that the mainstream media doesn’t appeal to — this means overwhelmingly young, millennial & gen-z folks. As a millennial, I am much more likely to buy a shirt or a hat to signify my support for a cause than I am to donate & receive nothing tangible in return for that. In fact, I’d suggest spend so much more in merchandise as opposed to donations (based on my previous buying/donating habits) that it would more than even out the potential losses in the latter. Further, those shirts and hats get worn not only around town, but at the doors when we’re backing our slate of candidates.
I’d shell out for 2 $30 Green Pride shirts before I’d donate $5 per month to the party, because the shirts show my support on the doors & in the streets & the donations alone don’t appeal to me & haven’t led to tangible wins in the past. I can’t wait to turn our donor base into a critical mass of folks who want to represent Maryland Green Party in every walk of life. I’d love to further incentivize our Maryland Green Party donor program, to make the folks who do want to donate feel like they’re part of something special as well.
If we raise enough money organically, we could afford to actually retain top local talent for our party here in Maryland, as I know there’s a lot of folks here in the state who would be an asset in modernizing our outreach & coordination efforts. We have the ability to not only make the ballot every cycle, but also to raise enough money to pay for full-time organizers & potentially to be self-sustaining, if we lean into the 22.1% of people in this state who are under 18 and the 52% of people under 40 in this state. This means making the Greens cool again.
I joined the Maryland Green Party because I was inspired by the successes we’ve had with young, dynamic candidates such as Franca Muller Paz, and it was encouraging to me, as an ex-Democrat organizer who left due to the corruption in that party, to see progress being made by groups like Baltimore Greens to focus on being a serious threat where possible.
I believe that #BlueToGreen is a thing we can aggressively push for, and be successful at, if we do things differently & focus on our future — the young left that is emerging to the left of the Democrats. The sooner we can modernize our digital, communications, & organizing tools, the sooner we can take the next step to becoming what we should be at this point — a party that can compete, if not win, in any deep blue area. All but one incumbent Democrat won their House seats in 2020 with 66.7% (2/3 + 1 of the vote) or more. If we don’t focus on making serious gains in blue areas with the intent on growing a pro-youth, pro-ecosocialism movement & subsequent wing, it’s my opinion that we’re wasting the ticket & the opportunity we have to succeed where others have failed.
I have often spoke of the “50+ state strategy”, that is, the best way to consolidate leftists into one alternative party to the Democrats in each and every state. In my opinion, the biggest disservice the previous leftist movements in America did for our present movement is to separate over what amounts to petty differences in ideology. This is in direct contrast to being the catchall party for everyone to the ideological left of the Democrats, to which the 4 Platform planks & the 10 Key Values would serve admirably. Currently, almost 20% of the electorate identifies as on the left & not a Democrat.
This is why I’m here — I see an opportunity to turn us from also-rans in many folks’ eyes into serious threats for power. But we can’t do it in traditional fashion. We can’t rely on the dirty money, so we have to do some PR and some branding to not only establish camaraderie amongst our party, but to raise enough money to compete on a level with the established money & power centers in Maryland.
I tell campaigns this all the time: You don’t need to raise as much money as the big guys, but you need enough to put you on the map. We shouldn’t expect people, especially younger folks who overwhelmingly constitute our party numbers, to contribute time, money, & effort, if they don’t see the fruits of their labor. As long as we can get bang for our buck with organizers, with merchandise that people want to be seen in, and with empowering our volunteers with the tools they need to succeed, we can make this a place that people, especially the young, socialist left, want to be, that reflects a value set that speaks to their needs, as that’s our proverbial bread and butter.
To not market explicitly to the under-40 crowd, especially given the Axios poll that came out last month, linked to here (https://www.surveymonkey.com/curiosity/axios-capitalism-update/) is outright dereliction of duty.
I hope to bring in a new era of this political party. I came here to win, and to have an entire party that’d unequivocally back a leftist alternative to the corruption & malfeasance I witnessed firsthand in MD Dems. Winning doesn’t have to cost us our values, and winning doesn’t have to mean any sacrifice in anything that you’ve come to love about the Maryland Green Party. But winning certainly goes a long way to legitimacy, and I believe if we focus our energies into fixing what’s obviously broken here, with new perspectives & what amounts to one of the youngest, yet most active and most hungry cadre of officers any political party has to offer, there is nothing we can’t do in this state.
Viewing this as a traditional political party effort hasn’t worked. We need something different. We need something that’s just plain better than the status quo, and I firmly believe a different vision is what sets us apart from our predecessors. We need to look & feel like the home to the Maryland left that we can be, and that we frankly should’ve been by now.
I can’t wait. I’m ready, and I hope every single one of my colleagues & the comrades who voted for me are ready to go too, because there’s not enough hours in the day for JUST our coordinators to do the work. We need to train the next group of leaders up now.
I always say “we are the ones we were waiting for.” We ARE the leaders we were asking for. I’m the son of a union plumber and a waitress, and I’d be a fool if I forget where I came from, and where our bread is going to be buttered, so to speak. We have the chance to build something special here. I hope you all decide to join us in solidarity, but I hope you all join us because you want to win first and foremost. Winning ain’t everything, but we can’t beat the corruption without it.
I thank you all for this chance to serve, and as my first order of business, I think it’s time we clarify everything humanly possible in the bylaws, specifically about our election processes. Robert & Andy have been, in my opinion, two of the only folks previously associated with the party who have acted in good faith through & through when it comes to seating us, and their good deeds can not & shall not go unpunished in my eyes.
However, we shall say “Never Again” to a party that does not unequivocally affirm the rights of every one of its members to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Any form of exclusionary politics, aside from to exclude intolerance & hate itself, shall not be tolerated here. We owe it to ourselves to actually honor the American credo of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for our members and for our policy at large, as no political party in America can currently claim that title in good faith. We cannot let divisive elements take over.
I look forward to bringing this party into the major leagues when it comes to where we should be as a competing political party in Maryland. I have the utmost faith in our current duly elected officials to make this happen.
Let’s fight like hell. We have a whole state to win, folks.
Co-Membership Coordinator, Maryland Green Party