I am excited for my first post on polizeros and this opportunity to write about the upcoming biennial conference of Independentvoting.org. The theme for the conference this year is “Can independents Change America?” The mission statement of Independentvoting.org is “… to develop a movement of independent voters for progressive post-partisan reform of the American political process.”
The theme for the 2011 conference is “Can independents Change America?” Let’s examine for a minute real macro-sized changes in America; women’s suffrage, the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement and the voting rights act. All these movements fundamentally address who can participate in our democracy. These rudder changes in policy have trended towards more inclusiveness and they have all emanated primarily from independent and third party movements.
I will answer the question “Can Independents Reform America?” with another question; “Can anything but an independent populist movement reform America?” And what changes loom on the horizon? Or, more particularly, what barriers exist from allowing voters to participate fully in our democracy regardless of their ideological persuasions or partisan affiliations? We live with a system now where the parties control and often manipulate all parts of our election process and that is what I am working hard to improve.
What’s on the conference agenda?
- A keynote multimedia address from the President and co-founder of Independentvoting.org Jacqueline Salit
- A live edition of Talk/Talk a weekly discussion between Jackie Salit and independent politics pioneer Dr. Fred Newman
- A panel discussion moderated by Jackie Salit and Harry Kresky, General Counsel for Independentvoting.org featuring:
- Theresa Amato, Ralph Nader’s Presidential Campaign Manager in 2004;
- John Avlon, Senior Political Consultant, TheDailyBeast.com; Founder, No Labels
- Lenora Fulani, Co-founder, IndependentVoting.org
- Michael Hardy, General Counsel, National Action Network
- Douglas Schoen, pollster and author
- Former California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado
- James Mangia, Executive Director, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center and Founding Secretary, National Reform Party
- Cathy Stewart, Chair, New York County Independence Party
- Bradley Tusk, Founder, Tusk Strategies; Campaign Manager Bloomberg 2009
- Mock Trial
There will be a mock trial to explore a fictional (but not improbable) “people vs. the parties” controversy. A cast of prominent civil rights and election lawyers, actors, elected officials, and a famous “surprise witness” will stage a courtroom trial and in the process shed light on the growing conflict between parties’ rights and voters’ rights.
- Dispatches from the Movement
Get the inside scoop from IndependentVoting.org’s leaders on what’s happening on the ground, behind the scenes, in the hallways of power and on the street corners, as independents intensify their efforts to enact structural political reforms like open primaries across the country. This is independent politics straight from the source.
- Discussion and Dialogue
Conference attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the days’ proceedings in an open mic session, not to mention the chance to meet and mingle throughout the day.
We collectively face a number of challenges. Meeting, discussing, conversing, networking and reaching consensus; this is where government is really at. I hope to see you at the conference or shortly after.
Happy trails! Randy