Thursday, December 22, 2016

Knock Knock, version 2

Knock Knock
Hello? How can I help you?
Well, I understand that you are having a party, and one of the bands you have playing is one of my favorites! I was wondering if I could join the party.
Did you bring anything for the potluck?
Well, no, I'm between jobs right now so money is tight. But I can grab something if it's required.
Sigh, no, technically it's not required, but it's only common courtesy. You should know that, you're an adult.
Right, thanks. I'll see what I can get.
Knock Knock
Hello? Oh, it's you again.
Hi there, yes, I found something I could afford from the store down the street. It's not much but I hope it helps. Oh, I love that song that's playing.
Yeah, it's an old tune but sometimes we like to play it just for the nostalgia. The more modern music doesn't quite have the bite.
And there's nothing like the classics. Can I come in?
Sure, I guess. Just, please take your shoes off, and you'll need to sign this form to say that nothing you hear or see can leave the house.
I don't understand, I thought you wanted more people. This is a really nice house, btw.
Yeah, it's been in the family for a long time. Needs some work, but we never seem to have enough help to get that work done.
I have a whole bunch of friends that I could call.
The house is pretty full already.
But I don't see very many people, where is everyone?
Oh, everyone is in their group space. Each room of the house is for different kinds of music. People usually just go into one of the rooms and stay there unless they need to go to the kitchen or dining room.
That's no fun, why not play different music in a central place so people can get to know each other while they enjoy different kinds of music?
Oh, you know, tradition. It's how we've always done it, and nobody really wants to change.
I know my friends love all kinds of music, they'd love to go from room to room getting to know people and ...
Yeah, that's kind of discouraged. It's distracting. And people here are used to their favorite music.
Oh, come on, it will be fun! Lots of people moving from room to room, talking, singing, dancing. I remember hearing stories about this house in previous times being like that, my Dad said it was a whole lot of fun to be here!
Where did you put your shoes again?
Why, do you want me to leave?
Well, no, but I wouldn't want you to lose anything...

Knock Knock, version 1

"Knock knock"
Hi, welcome! Are you here for the party?
Yeah, I heard about the party from a friend. What's going on?
Well, we want to get people together to talk about how to solve this problem.
What problem? Is it my problem? Do I have a stake in this?
Of course, come on in, let's talk about it. Did you bring anything for the potluck?
Oh, now you're telling me that I had to bring something for the potluck to be allowed in?
No, I just asked if you had brought anything. It's not required, it's just something we do so we can share the load because everyone gets hungry while they talk.
Oh, ok. So am I allowed in?
Of course! Come on in. What is your top issue?
Oh, well, I don't think my issue is your top issue is your top issue, so I don't think I should come in yet. I want to stand out here for a while and listen. Can you set up some microphones and speakers for everyone outside so we can all hear and participate without coming in the house?
"Baby, it's cold outside." Come on in.
You know that's a rape song, right? I don't think I can come in because now I'm afraid for my safety in your house.
Look, it is cold outside, it is raining, in fact there's a big storm coming and I would like to invite you to come inside so you can be sheltered from the storm and so we can talk and work on these problems together.
You don't look like me.
Why does that matter?
Well, because you don't look like me I don't think we can communicate because I don't think your experiences match mine.
You're probably right, but that just means we can tell each other stories and get to know each other better.
But I don't think my stories will be respected because my shoes are wet and that looks like new carpet.
We can wash the carpet. It's more important for you to come in from the rain. Please come inside.
I can't, you're standing in the doorway.
Ok, I'm now giving you whatever room you need to come inside.
But I don't know that I'm actually welcome.
Would you just come inside already?!
Now you're being aggressive, and I don't like that. I don't think I'm actually welcome. And I can still see you, and you don't look like me.
Do you want to join this conversation so we can work on solving these problems?
I see a green field next door. Maybe I can set up a tent and listen to the speakers that you are going to set up and talk into the microphone that you are going to set up for me.
We have plenty of room inside the house, and everyone is welcome.
I don't believe you. I haven't been invited before. At least I don't think that invitation was for me, you spelled my name wrong.
... Look, I have people who are waiting for me to rejoin the conversation. I'll just leave the door open and you can come in if you want to. I'll be in the other room.
I can still hear you. I think you're talking about me now. I don't like that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Washington State Progressive Caucus, it's time for me to return.


It is my intention to run for Chair of the Washington State Progressive Caucus at the January reorganization meeting.  If you have seen my posts and plans for the state party, the community inclusion effort includes introducing an amendment to the State Party Bylaws that formally codifies the existence of the Constituency Caucuses, and identifies in language the reason they exist, which is building bridges to all of our communities around the state and organizing local caucus structures in the Congressional Districts, Counties and Legislative Districts over the next few years as part of an overall Community Inclusion strategy.  It's long past time to do this, and I'd like to build on the efforts that the current Board has already started that I heard about at the September WSDCC meeting.

For anyone who does not know me, I was born in Seattle, raised in Kent, spent 6 years in the US Navy, owned a small business in Everett in the 1990's, work for Nordstrom now, and I've been involved in the Democratic Party since 2003.  I've been on the Executive Board of the 46th LD since 2005 as an At Large member, KCDCC Rep and Chair.  I was one of the primary organizers for Bernie Sanders in 2015-2016, including being a National Delegate to the 2016 National Democratic Convention.  I am currently on the Washington State Democratic Central Committee from King County, elected this past Sunday.

I am one of the founders of this Progressive Caucus in Washington State, and was Chair in 2007-2008 until I stepped back to focus on being Chair of the 46th, 1st Vice Chair of King County and Chair of the Washington State Democratic Chairs Organization in 2011.  I stepped back in 2012, but returned to help Bernie get 74% in our state and 46% nationally.  I am currently involved in national organizing efforts to encourage and train progressive activists on how to be effective agents of change in their local and state party organizations so that we can promote our values and push our policy objectives into law.

My top issues are Single Payer Health Care, Climate Change Action and Economic Opportunity for All.  I have been writing, blogging, organizing and planning for 12 years.  I have a degree in Business Systems Analysis, and I want to put those skills to work building the strongest Democratic Party that this state and this country has ever known.  I ask for your vote.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What does it mean to be Progressive?

Whenever I use the word Progressive, I have some people agree with me, and others looking confused or frustrated. It's easy to understand why. Progressive is a very subjective word, with multiple meanings coming from individuals and situations. Wikipedia has this definition:

"Progressivism is a philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advancement in science, technology, economic development, and social organization are vital to improve the human condition."

I've been reading about and participating in progressive politics for a few decades now, both in and out of the Democratic Party. This is my framing and it consists of four parts.

Grassroots, People-Powered Democracy

If a decision is being made on any level of government that affects you, your voice should be heard on that issue. What we need in this country and around the world is a way for people to get directly involved in the way our government operates. Many opportunities exist now, but they are hidden behind a wall of secrecy and only the hard-core activists seem to be able to break through. We have to make the process of electoral, issue based and identity based politics transparent and open so everyone can get involved, however that works for the individual.

The Concept of WE

The Earth is a single environment. Everything that affects individuals affects groups, and the larger the subject, the larger the group that is affected. I'm tired of hearing people describe the world in terms of 'us versus them'. We're all on this planet together, and the more we understand that, the better we will be able to create a world that works for everyone. How can we get a better understanding of how everyone is linked together, and that something affecting one affects us all?

Understanding the Past

Where do our problems come from? How do they relate to each other? If we search for an understanding of our past mistakes, we gain a better understanding of how not to repeat them. Maybe we can even solve two problems with the same action. Critical Thinking requires that we have an understanding of the foundations we stand on before we start building.

Looking to the Future

It's not enough anymore to think and act for the moment. In the big picture, we are creating the world of the future by our actions today. I'm concerned about how my children are growing up, but I'm just as concerned about the kind of world their grandchildren will be living in. We should grant them the power to turn that world into whatever they wish it to be, with clean air and water, energy resources to explore their dreams, a peaceful world where people talk instead of fight with each other. What can we do now, either big decisions or small actions, that can help to create that world of opportunity?

What is your definition? What is your framing?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PCOs and friends, I need your endorsement.

Campaigns are not won by the candidate.  Campaigns are won by the community that supports that candidate.

I'm running for King County State Committee Man to represent the Democrats in King County, and I need your help to win this race.  Please let me know that you support my efforts to build a strong community in order to help heal our world.  If you are an old friend who has been with me through this entire journey, I'd love to hear from you.  Let's talk about history, enjoy some stories and plan for the future.  If you are new to the party, I welcome you with open arms and an open heart.  Please tell me your dreams and ask questions about how we can do this together.

There are 1,144 PCOs in King County, and I'm trying to reach out to each and every one.  I have worked with and met with elected officials, movement leaders and party leaders all across the state and around the country.  Please help me build this community by making connections with each other as we move forward.

You can endorse me on my campaign page, you can send me an email that I can share, or you can send me a message.  I hope to hear from you.

A longer tunnel

Welcome to the KCDCC!

Dear Elected PCOs

My name is Chad Lupkes, and I would like your consideration at the December 4th reorganization meeting of the King County Democraic Central Committee for the position of State Committee, identifying as Male.  I know we have multiple people interested in this position, and I welcome the vigorous discussion that I hope will occur in just two and half short weeks.

I have been working within and around the King County Democrats and the state party for well over a decade now.  I could go over that history in detail, but I've already written about it extensively when I ran for National Delegate for Bernie Sanders at the May 21st CD Caucus.  I could also give an detailed description of what I want to do on the State Committee, but I've already written about that as well.  In fact, I write a lot, and most of it comes out as a firehose of rants and opinions and links and forwards on my Facebook page.  If I'm not already connected with you on social media, expect a connection request.  If we are connected, expect more from me.  I'm not running for a "leadership" position, because I see the State Committee as a representative position.  And what elected officials, both government and party, need to be is Responsible, Representative, and Responsive.  
Just over the last year, I have
  • Launched and helped maintain social media infrastructure for Bernie Sanders.
  • Been a Delegate at every stage of the 2016 Caucus cycle, up to and including the National Convention.
  • Kept contact with the Delegates from Washington and around the country.
  • Encouraged progressives to file for PCO and become more involved in the Democratic Party.  #DemEnter or Bust.
  • Helped with GOTV and Party events around the state, from Seattle to Spokane to Vancouver.
I joined the party in 2003 hunting the smoke filled rooms in order to open them up.  I either didn't find them, or found them to be a very different thing than I expected.  No door has been closed, so far.  If a decision is going to be made, I will be talking about that decision and hearing feedback.  I know who will be making those decisions, and I have ideas about how to influence them.  I know how to help people become the decision makers.  The State Committee members represent their County Central Committees or their Legislative District organizations.  So I will represent you, while you represent your precincts and the voters in your precincts.  We also have several thousand additional precincts to fill with Appointed PCOs between now and 2018.  I am an organizer at heart, especially on social media.  It is what I have always done, and will continue to do locally, at the state level and nationally.  I also have plans and dreams to build on what I have done over the last decade in order to support progressive candidates all over the state, push our progressive agenda into all levels of government, build our party stronger than we have ever seen it before, and strengthen our communities in ways that we have not seen before, or at least not for a very long time.

Connect with me on Facebook.  If we are not already connected, send me a private message so I can approve it quickly.  I'm well over 4,000 connections, and Facebook has a limit of 5k so I'm being careful at this point to make sure that I can directly connect to the people I need to communicate with.  I want to connect with you and hear from you.

Follow me on Twitter at @chadlupkes, and let's use this tool to amplify our conversations.  I don't use Twitter as much as Facebook, but if it exists in the Social Mediaverse, I'm there somewhere.
As an Elected PCO, you will vote on December 4th for the Officers of the King County Democratic Central Committee. The meeting will be at 12pm / Noon at this union hall:

IAM Machnists Hall - Seattle
9125 15th Place South
Seattle, WA 98108

Ask me questions. If I don't know the answer, I will help you find the answers.  I've been dedicated from the very start to engage, inspire, educate and empower.  That won't change.

Many of you already know me from the work that I've done in the party and during the 2016 Presidential Primary.  I was the insider trying to bring new people in.  I was the establishment welcoming new voices.  I tried my best to walk the fence, because I was waiting and hoping that the fence would no longer be necessary.  I didn't want to make enemies on either side, because that makes the work harder.  Now the election results have knocked that fence down by force and we have to build bridges, not burn them.
We do have a longer tunnel ahead of us.  And there will be turns and strange noises on the tracks.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is still there.  I know it is.  It's up to us to make sure that light doesn't get turned off.


Chad Lupkes
PCO, SEA 46-2324

Saturday, October 08, 2016

I'm running for State Committee from King County

 I've decided to run for the State Committee Man position from King County.
I have been working within and around the Washington State Democratic Central Committee for 12 years. I have known three state party chairs, all three that I consider friends. I have seen four Presidential Cycles, and many off year elections. The new energy and incredible new activists that came into the process in 2016 thanks to Bernie Sanders AND Hillary Clinton inspired me from the very beginning of the caucus cycle last year, and while I supported Bernie Sanders 100%, I know that the only way we are going to accomplish any of our goals is by working together for the same agenda. Our platform, our values, our kids.
I want to see a revival of the Democratic Party in Washington State. I believe that there are aspects of the party that have atrophied over the last few decades, and I want the party rebuilding its full potential. Our country needs the FDR coalition to be rebuilt. We need our labor movement supported by our elected officials. We need our communities of color to know who to turn to. We need our immigrant populations to feel welcome and valued. We need our sovereign Native allies to feel the same security and respect within their borders that we desire to feel within ours.
Electorally, we need candidates in every election, from US Senator down to the most local special district. Our candidate recruitment efforts need to be boosted, and we need to recognize that the lowest level of the farm team is actually municipal boards and commissions. Working with our incumbent elected officials, I think we can build a list of those positions across the county and across the state and open doors of opportunity for our PCOs and activists to get involved with actual governance.
Legislatively, King County has an active committee that works hard to push our platform into law. But that type of engagement needs to be distributed, and it needs to be transparent in order to thrive and grow. There was a proposal for a Legislative Action Committee at the state level presented at the State Convention, one that would take significant resources to implement. We need to talk about our options, recognize our limitations, and do what we can with what we have. I believe that a distributed network of activists can be brought together through communications infrastructure. I've watched pieces and parts of this infrastructure rise and fade many times over the past decade, and I really believe that we now have the tools and teams that could really make something work.
Party building means a lot to me. I believe that the Democratic Party is THE Progressive Party in the United States, or at least it could be if people would get engaged and STAY engaged in the processes that make the infrastructure work. We need to understand the role of the party in the overall progressive movement, and we need to be an open door to progressives who actually want to work to improve our world. PCO recruitment begins on December 1st to fill every single precinct in the county, and eventually every single precinct in the state. I've been working to build this reorganization cycle into a transformation event.
And finally the most overlooked aspect of our party is our Community Outreach. I've seen outreach efforts bear fruit in North Seattle where we built lists of neighborhood groups, activist groups and non profit organizations that we can consider allies, then sent people to those groups to invite them to community outreach events. We did a District Profile dedicated to documenting this research work. That kind of profile should be a standard across the state.
If a citizen comes to us with an issue, we will know how to help them answer the three core questions of activism.
What decision is being made?
Who is making that decision?
How can I influence that decision?
In addition, we need to be the place where people with those answers go to take the biggest step, which is becoming the decision maker, running for office, becoming the decider. This is what I want to build for my State Democratic Party. And I can't do it alone. I'm very serious when I say it's time for a revival, a revolution, in our political spheres. Climate Change is the most important threat that we face. Inequality and injustice permeate our society from top to bottom. Our economy is struggling, being undermined by the Profit or Die Corporations at the top and the lack of funding for education and research at the base.
We are the Democratic Party. We must rebuild the FDR coalition. That's what I want to do.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Why me, why now

My name is Chad Lupkes, and I’m asking for your vote on May 21st, as well as your help over the next few years. This Political Revolution goes beyond 2016, and we’ve always known that.
I was born in Seattle and raised in Kent. I’ve lived in the Puget Sound my entire life, except while I was in the Navy. I owned a progressive bookstore and gift shop in Everett for three years in the 1990’s, and went to a private university to rack up school loan debt that I’m still paying off.
One of my classes was State and Local Government, and one of the assignments was to attend a meeting of a political organization. I had not been cognizant of how the party was structured, so I discovered that I lived in the 46th LD, and that the meeting of the 46th LD Democrats was the next night. I attended, and it was really, really “interesting”. Supporters of Lyndon Larouche were standing on chairs singing protest songs because their candidate wasn’t being taken seriously enough to be invited to the Democratic candidate debates. The police pulled them outside, and I volunteered with the party immediately. I started looking at how to improve, i.e. build from scratch, a website that would actually accomplish what they needed done during the run-up to a Presidential Caucus cycle. I had a lot to learn, so I started by transcribing the entire PCO Handbook into a website. You can still find that site on my Seattle Webcrafters domain.
Then my wife felt some lumps in my neck, and I went to get them checked out. The Nurse Practitioner at my doctor’s office told me to sit tight and she made my doctor drop everything. He then got on the phone and made an appointment for a CAT Scan across the highway, immediately. After a few days, I had a biopsy scheduled at Swedish Ballard. And a day or so later, I got a confirmation phone call saying that I had Stage II-B Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
I had started working for Nordstrom in 2000, and I had their health care insurance. I’m really glad that I did. When the EOB’s started coming in the mail, we realized that without that insurance, we would have had to sell our home to pay those bills. Then I heard someone talking about how 47 Million people in our country, in MY country, didn’t have any health insurance at all. They couldn’t even make an appointment with a doctor, let alone get anything else. That was Howard Dean, and that was my wake up call. I have been Single Payer or Bust ever since.
While going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I continued to build the website of the 46th, along with a few others. I started reading history about how the political evolution of the Democratic and Republican Parties have gone over the entire history of our country. I read about the Progressive Era and the Long Gilded Age, and started really putting the pieces together about what had gone wrong. And how to put it right. I got more involved.
I caucused for Howard Dean at the 2004 Precinct Caucuses. I ran for PCO. And lost, by 1 vote, to a supporter of Lyndon Larouche whom I actually never saw again. She moved away before the 2006 cycle and I was able to take the PCO position officially. In the meantime, I joined the executive board of the 46th LD as an At Large member in 2005, then became the King County Committeeman in 2007. I became the chair of the 46th in 2009, as well as vice chair of the King County Democrats, and vice chair of the Chair’s Organization.
I attended the Seattle launch of Howard Dean’s Democracy for America, and helped launch the state level organization, Democracy for Washington. After several years of work trying to keep the people who had been inspired by Howard to stay engaged with the party, we realized we had been successful and folded the organization into Progressive Majority Washington. All of our members were active officers within the Democratic Party.
I also helped form the Washington State Progressive Caucus, starting within the 46th LD where we had meetings the week before the district meetings in order to talk about the upcoming agenda and have a more in depth discussion about the issues, debates, votes, endorsements, and whatever else was happening in North Seattle. We actually held the first candidate forum for the position of State Party Chair in 2006 when Paul Berendt stepped down after 11 years. The members of the executive board were not sure what was happening until we invited the district chair to sit in at a meeting. He stopped worrying and started helping us.
I had caucused for someone in 2008 that I choose because of the message he had been putting out. I didn’t yet know that the Edwards campaign was defunct, although we on the state steering committee knew he wasn’t going to stick with it. I had watched both the Obama and Clinton campaigns through the summer and fall of 2007, and only the Obama campaign really built a grassroots organization that I could find. When we got to the precinct caucus, I switched to Obama. But I didn’t run for national seriously because many others had done the work over the previous year, and they needed to go.
After the success the Democratic Party had in 2006 in gaining back control over the US House and Senate, and the intense health care debates that seriously mirrored what had been seen in 1993, we saw 2010 coming and really couldn’t do much to stop it. Then the 46th had a shock. Our State Senator Scott White, who had been the district chair that attended the progressive caucus meeting in 2006, died suddenly in October, 2011. He was a good friend, mentor, former chair of the district, and someone I really wanted to see continue into higher and higher office. He had one of the largest hearts I knew, caring about everyone. His doctor never caught the fact that it was too large. The resulting contests within the 46th LD to fill his vacancy, and then the State House vacancy that came from David Frockt taking his place in the Senate, tore the district apart. At least that’s how I saw it. I didn’t have time to grieve. I ran the vacancy appointment meetings, and watched the executive board split down the middle. It burned me out. I started making mistakes during meetings, and it got to be too much. I resigned as chair, stepped away from the party, and focused on my family for a while.
During this whole time I had been listening and supporting Progressive Talk radio, especially Thom Hartmann. I loved Fridays, when “America’s Congressman”, who in 2006 became “America’s Senator” would give an hour of his time to tell the truth about how things were going in Congress. Bernie Sanders never strayed off message, never gave into despair, and always gave me hope that someone, at LEAST one person in DC had my back. I knew about the Congressional Progressive Caucus, one of my good friends had worked as the Executive Director of the Progressive Congress organization. (Darcy Burner is now running for the State House in the 5th LD.) In early 2015, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do during the next caucus cycle. I looked at Martin O’Malley, and mostly liked what I saw. I wasn’t thrilled with Hillary. I knew all about the Third Way Coalition, and I really didn’t want a repeat of the 1990’s.
Bernie Sanders announced his intention to run for the Democratic Nomination on April 28th. I announced on that same day that I was in. This was (is) a drop everything moment. I started the Facebook group “Washington for Bernie Sanders”. I brought in my best friend Mario Brown to start the Page and to help me build the organization. The mission was to maximize the number of delegates that Washington would send to the National Convention in Philadelphia.
I worked with grassroots leaders from all over the country setting the foundations for Bernie’s domination of social media. I worked with over the summer to capture and rebroadcast as many speeches as we could. Mario and I were asked to lead the volunteers when Bernie first came to Seattle in August. And Mario and I started doing caucus training sessions every weekend somewhere around the Puget Sound area, telling people how this could actually succeed. We were not selling the idea of Bernie Sanders as President, he was doing that just fine. What we were focused on is how the grassroots could actually win. And people responded. We have had people step up in all 10 Congressional Districts, and most counties and legislative districts. We got Votebuilder access in December, and started providing lists for people to canvass their neighborhoods. We started promoting the phone banks that were going into Iowa and New Hampshire.
When staff arrived in Washington, they met with us and our team. For the very first time, a presidential campaign came in and said they wanted to amplify and magnify what we were already doing, not take over or start over from scratch. Instead of giving orders, they asked us what we needed, and then made it happen. The closer we got, the more we all focused on phone banks going into our own state. We knew what could happen if we stayed focused on positive campaigning and empowering the grassroots. But what actually happened was far and away beyond our expectations.
Obama in 2008 got 67.56% at the precinct caucuses. On March 26, 2016, Bernie Sanders got 72.7%. We won every county. The lowest number was 60% in King County. We had done it. It had never been about what I could do on social media, or what Mario and I could do with trainings, it was about what everyone who was inspired could do when we worked together.
I have been trying to gather delegate lists and provide them to people who need them. We’ve been doing video calls so I can answer questions from all over the state, and joining in the campaign calls. Members of our team built the website which is promoting the idea of keeping the Political Revolution alive after the Convention and after November. We’ve done this before. We can do it again. We can built a better tomorrow.
I want to tell this story in Philadelphia. I want to listen and talk with people from all over the country, people given hope that if we work together we can really achieve a better tomorrow. People excited by the possibilities of political action, not disappointed by what the corporate media tells them to think. I need your vote to make that happen. I need your help to spread the word and tell people that this was never just about one candidate, one office, and one election cycle.
I know how to work within the Democratic Party to enact change. I’ve done it. I know how to build external party groups and use them to expand the outreach efforts of the party to the progressive movement as well as push issue positions and policy ideas from the larger movement into the party. I’ve done it. I know how to teach people to answer the three core questions of an activist: “What decision is being made?”, “Who is making that decision?”, and “How can I influence that decision?” Answers to those three questions are what drive change.
In 2008 the slogan was “Yes we can”. In 2016, it’s “Oh Yes We Will”. No matter what they say, we’re going to build a world that our children can grow up in. We’re going to build a future.
I ask for your vote on May 21st.