We start with this worldview: The billionaires have far too much control over the 99%.
Government is a big factor. Government deregulation of the financial industry has contributed a lot to our skyrocketing inequality. And deregulation of campaign finance has led to national policy that does not represent the American people.
Our mission is to fill government with thousands of people who represent the working American, the middle class, the under-represented, the 99%.
How do we create thousands of these people? They have to start at the local level. So we looked for a model that could create lots of city councilors and mayors that truly represent the people, and we found the Richmond Progressive Alliance.
Richmond, CA was a very troubled city. It is home to a large Chevron oil refinery and for 100 years Chevron bought into every political campaign. Every decade or so there would be an explosion or a spill that would send people to the hospital and damage the environment; Richmond had the second highest homicide rate in country and terrible police brutality problems…the list goes on.
In 2003 a group of residence had had enough and formed the Richmond Progressive Alliance. Over about a dozen years they succeeded in getting a supermajority on the city council and had a Green Party mayor who termed out after 8 years — and all this despite Chevron spending millions to defeat them. Their policy changes are even more impressive: they reduced thehomicide rate 75%; they are now known for one of the best community policing forces in the country; they passed the first rent control law in CA in 30 years; they got millions in back taxes from Chevron, and more.
Their model is game changing. Wee train groups to follow it.
The three ways the RPA model really changes politics are:
- Instead of reaching out to those most likely to vote, the group reaches out year-round every year to people least served by government. This builds the base of voters, increasing voter turnout.
- Instead of candidates choosing themselves, which usually results in mostly wealthy, white, male candidates, the community cultivates candidates and run a slate of candidates for every available seat.
- Instead of holding representatives accountable in an antagonistic relationship, residents work with elected officials before the bills are written to determine what the city council should focus on.
The Incorruptibles offers support, help with strategy, we can connect you with cities around the country. The most concrete thing we offer is our workshops.
Our workshops train coalitions in each city in the best practices for becoming THE dominant political force in that city. Attendees focus on who lives there, what organizations might become involved (both political and non-political), and strategies for how to build the voter base. Our workshops for candidates cover not only the standard campaign issues but also small-dollar fundraising, framing issues, and avoiding corruption.
Once enough groups are using this model in cities, the model can also be used at the state and national levels, running slates of candidates at all levels.
We invite you to join us in taking back our country, city by city.