Monday, February 1, 2010

Opportunities for Progressives in participating in DFL Precinct Caucuses

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, Feb 2nd) is precinct caucus night. Please attend your caucus, and help us in the following ways:

To find your DFL Precinct Caucus location, use this site:

The important business of a precinct caucus is to elect a precinct caucus chair and associate chairs. It is very important that more Progressive Democrats of America (and DFL Progressive Caucus) members and supporters become DFL Party Officers at every level. Please volunteer to become a precinct chair or associate chair. The next most important pieces of business are the election of delegates to the County Unit (or in Metro precincts, the Senate District) convention, and delegates to the various preconvention committees.

We encourage you to become delegates to your County Unit convention, and also to the Resolutions Preconvention Committees.

Finally, the resolutions process is an opportunity to encourage the adoption of progressive, pro-peace policy by DFL endorsed and elected public officials, and party officers and staff. The resolutions process begins by you offering your resolution at your precinct caucus, and your caucus voting to adopt or defeat it. Resolutions adopted by a caucus get forwarded to the resolutions preconvention committee, who will then add it to a ballot to be considered by delegates at your county unit (or senate district convention). Each county unit can vote to approve and forward at least twenty resolutions to the State Convention. There delegates again vote to determine which resolutions will become part of the party platform. Success of a resolution at any level can be used to demonstrate support for our agenda when talking to legislators and media. Please report back the success or failure of our resolutions at caucuses and conventions.

Print out these resolutions and bring them to your precinct caucus on Tuesday night. If you know that your caucus site has multiple precincts assigned to it, bring extra copies of these resolutions and any supporting materials you find or create for people in other precincts. Try to arrive at least 15 minutes early, so you can distribute these materials, socialize, and make sure that the precinct convener receives a copy of your resolution and will forward your resolution and the results of votes on it to the Senate District organization.

Department of Peace Resolution on Official DFL form (PDF)

State of Minnesota shall divest from Israel Bonds Resolution on Official DFL form (PDF)

For more information about the Cabinet-level Department of Peace please consult resources at

For more information about divestment from Israel, please consult the following websites: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, PDA's Israel/Palestine Action Group, and consider that Special Envoy to the Middle East for Peace, fmr. Sen. George Mitchell has signaled that economic sanctions including cancellation of loan guarantees may be used against Israel to force them to resume peace talks (a Palestinian condition for talks is Israel halting illegal settlement construction in Arab East Jerusalem), that three DFL Members of Congress from Minnesota signed the McDermott/Ellison letter calling on Obama to work to lift the siege of Gaza, and that 4 DFL Members of Congress have signed on to H. Res 130, supporting Senator Mitchell's mission to restart the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

One potential argument to employ against any critics of the resolution in your caucus: Legislation that might implement the State Board of Investment's divestiture might make the trigger to divest an act of the State Department, similar to the legislation for divestment from Iran, crafted by MN State Senator Terri Bonoff. Resolutions are not legislation, do not have to supply the level of detail required to enact a law, but are offered to inform and instruct law-makers.

Please report back to: your notes about your caucus experience, which resolutions were offered, if you or other known progressives or peace activists were elected as delegates and pre-convention committee members, or party officers. Please also report any obvious violations of party rules that were committed to obstruct any of these resolutions.

Also - if you are unable to attend your precinct caucus but would like to be part of the process, you have a chance to become a delegate by submitting the letter nomination form (PDF) - someone must bring it in (physically) to your precinct caucus convener on Tuesday, February 2nd at or just before 7 PM. You can also bring in letters from friends and family who would support you and these resolutions at your county unit convention.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Accomplishment at 5th Congressional District DFL Convention

We accomplished something significant at the 5th Congressional District DFL Convention yesterday in seeing a petition resolution adopted addressing Aceh. The lack of cultural competency or concern for ecological sustainability in the U.S. funded tsunami efforts that I witnessed has bothered be for several years and now I feel there is the opportunity for a reassessment of those efforts and to re-target the remaining pledged aid towards peace building and biodiversity conservation.

I created a simple handbill with the text of the resolution and the following text copied out of the Wikipedia entry for Aceh:
Aceh was the closest point of land to the epicenter of the massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that devastated much of the western coast of the region, including part of the capital of Banda Aceh.

167,736 Indonesians, the overwhelming majority in Aceh, were killed or missing and 500,000 made homeless. This event helped trigger the peace agreement between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM). With the assistance of the European Union through the Aceh monitoring mission as of December 2005, the peace has held.

For more information about petition resolutions take a look at the DFL Call.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Biodiesel from oil palm threatens orangutans, primeval rainforest

Here is a link to a DailyKos post on the threat oil palm cultivation poses to orangutans. Some of the comments to the post are mine, read through them...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A last minute resolution, for Aceh - please submit this at your precinct caucus!

Please check the following blanks:

__A new 2008 Action Agenda Item

__National Security & International Policy

After the line that says "Be it resolved that" add the following text

the United States government, and its representatives in the United Nations should renew its commitment to fulfilling the promise made by former President Bill Clinton:
... the U.N. mission has been to build back better, to ensure that these recovery efforts do not simply restore communities to their pre-tsunami vulnerability, but instead leave the survivors of the disaster safer than before

The renewed commitment to relief for Aceh should include peace building, providing relief and rehabilitation to the victims of the former conflict, as well as the survivors of the Dec. 26th, 2004 tsunami.

This commitment should include investment in developing fair trade relationships for village scale enterprises producing agricultural commodities, for investment in renewable energy (other than biodiesel from oil palm oil), and include an investment in conserving biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

Update: 08/30/11 Alertnet link to page the Clinton quote was extracted from appears broken. Here is a link to a document about Aceh in which the story about Clinton's involvement is told: May 2009 Aceh recovery newsletter:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pre-caucus party and fundraiser 4:30 - 6 PM, February 5th India House on Eat Street

You are invited to a pre-caucus event with a vegetarian buffet and a mango lassi.

Let's talk about what to do with this political season (caucuses and conventions) now that all of the true progressives have dropped out of the presidential contest... should we cast ballots for "UNCOMMITTED" and try to send "Peace First!" delegates to the Democratic National Convention? Should we continue to pursue the impeachment of Vice President Richard Cheney during a presidential election? Would you submit my resolutions when you caucus, and consider becoming a delegate or alternate for me or another Peace First! candidate?

A resolution that I would like to see adopted to the Action Agenda would call on the Democratic Party to seek to meet the commitments made to the people of Aceh after the Dec 26th, 2004 tsunami by former president Bill Clinton - that we would rebuild Aceh better than it was. We need to commit resources to habitat conservation, peace-building, developing fair trade connections for smallholders of agroforestry crops like rubber, and reforestation using native Sumatran forest trees. We need to respect the terms of the peace deal there, try to preserve Acehnese languages, cultural knowledge, and yet ease their transition into a direct relationship with the modern world and global commerce. We need congress to assert that the 1999 ban on arms sale to Indonesia will remain in force as long as there is any chance this conflict, or other internal wars in the archipelago, could flare up again.

We also need to seek global controls on the trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons, and cut of the flow of ammunition into places like Somalia, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iraq, after our speedy withdrawal.

Suggested contribution is $25 (cash is best, but you can write checks or use plastic to pay some portion of the event costs directly to India House ) but I won't turn anyone away who can't pay full price. I want to meet you before we caucus!

Beyond that first free mango lassi, you are responsible to pay for your own drinks.

India House on Eat Street
1400 Nicollet Ave S.
4:30 - 6 PM Tuesday, February 5th - just before caucus!

Soren C. Sorensen for U.S. Senate

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Democrats! Introducing the DFL precinct caucus - what happens when?

On February 5th, this happens at a caucus site near you, and you are invited! Please caucus for me, for peace, and for the conservation of biodiversity. I'll be posting more information as we get closer to Super-Duper Tuesday!

Use this link to find your caucus site: DFL Party - find your precinct caucus location!

  • 6:30 PM - Registration and Presidential balloting begins

  • 7:00 PM - Caucus convenes, elects caucus chair, precinct chairs, and 2 or more tellers to count ballots

  • 7:30 PM - Delegates to Senate District/County Unit (and in Minneapolis a seperate election of delegates to the Minneapolis City DFL Convention)

  • 8:00 PM - Presidential balloting ends, ballots counted, results announced

  • until adjournment - Other business includes collecting $$$ contributions for the DFL party, the election of committee members (arrangements, credentials, resolutions, etc.), and discussing and voting on resolutions submitted by caucus participants

What is a DFL precinct caucus? Your precinct caucus is a neighborhood meeting run by volunteers from your local DFL party organizations. It is the first step in the endorsement process for DFL candidates for local, state, and national offices. Precinct caucuses are also where we cast ballots in a binding presidential preference poll that awards delegates to the national democratic convention by proportion, above a 15% threshold. These national delegates are elected at the Fifth Congressional District and MN State DFL Conventions. Caucus process uses Robert’s Rules of Order, and is outlined in the Official Call.

Why should I attend my caucus? These are meetings where citizens can make their voices heard. It allows you and your fellow Democrats to come together and discuss the issues that matter to your community. The state party builds its platform based on resolutions you submit at this meeting. Anybody participating in the caucus is eligible to be elected a delegate or party officer should they desire to be active in the DFL after the caucuses.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Iraq Moratorium Day (#4)

Expect an announcement from me on Iraq Moratorium Day #4.

In the meantime I would be happy to hear from you if you would support my bid for the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) endorsement for United States Senate.

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