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%. People who will fight for economic, racial, environmental, and social justice.
How do we create thousands of these people? They have to start at the local level. So we looked for a model that we could take to a thousand cities across America that would churn out this kind of politician every election. 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 electing Green Party mayor (she would still be mayor today; she termed out after 8 years) — and all this despite Chevron spending millions to defeat them. Their policy changes are even more impressive: they reduced the homicide 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. We train groups to create this kind of long-lasting power in their cities.
The model is very different from what progressives are doing around the country today.
- Get a bunch of progressives together
- Wait for people to declare they are running for office
- Choose the least bad among the candidates
- Work really hard to get out the vote and get them elected
- When they do something you don’t like, get mad
The new model is different in three fundamental ways:
- 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 not only increases voter turnout, it also brings in more volunteers and potential candidates.
- Instead of candidates choosing themselves, which usually results in mostly wealthy, white, male candidates, the community cultivates candidates that might never have thought of running for office; then it runs a slate of candidates for every available seat.
- Instead of holding representatives accountable in an antagonistic relationship, residents work with elected officials from day one to determine what city priority, write proposals and laws, and get them passed.
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. Our Strategy workshop workshop introduces the five key areas to focus on to build a strong grassroots movement to take over the city.
This model has also been successfully used at the state level and we are training statewide organizations as well. We envision running slates of candidates at every level of government, local, state, and national.
We invite you to join us in taking back our country, city by city.