How the CA Party Killed the Net Neutrality Resolution
by juls, Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 04:37:08 AM EDT
(cross-posted from Calitics)
And the rest of the resolutions they did not want to have heard...
I learned a lot about the process of how resolutions are dealt with at California Democratic Party Conventions this weekend. It is not particularly democratic, which is not surprising. The party leaders decide what has a chance of getting approved and use the process to push off to the side any other proposed resolutions.
Take for instance the net neutrality resolution, which one would think should be heard in front of the Computer and Internet Caucus. Instead we learned upon arriving at the convention that it has been, along with a bunch of other resolutions, referred to another caucus, thereby eliminating any potential avenue for its viability at this party meeting. There is no process whereby you can appeal this move by collecting signatures, or any other appeals process.
So how and why did it get referred to the Labor Caucus?
Several weeks ago the Party leadership and upper level staff had a conference call lasting several hours to discuss the proposed resolutions. They have these calls prior to every convention. At that meeting they discuss who is on either side of the issue, what the party has at stake and decide what to do about them. They have several choices. The ones they want to have heard are allowed to proceed. All others are either denied due to technicalities, or referred to other committees.
In this case they knew that AT&T, a major party donor and sponsor of the convention, opposed the deal. Since Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, 1st Vice-Chair of the Party sits on the Executive Board of CWA #9400 they knew about CWA's issues with net neutrality. They also knew that Jim Gordon, Chair of the Labor Caucus, is also with CWA. Thus, they could be assured that the concerns of the organization would be addressed when the resolution is heard at a later date. In addition, one must be a member of a union and a dues paying member of the Labor Caucus to be heard at their meetings. Those supporting net neutrality would be unlikely to have someone to carry this for them at any meeting.
The only way a net neutrality resolution will ever have a chance of being endorsed by the California Democratic Party is to have CWA on board. The focus would have to be on how packets get treated and not deal at all with the issue of big companies like Google helping pay for building out the next generation of high speed in the country. Otherwise the Party leaders will deny us at every turn. Now it is possible to navigate the system and pass a net neutrality resolution, but it will take a lot of effort to make it happen.
Back to the process for a minute. The Party leadership knows very well about the ability to do as someone did today, end the session abruptly by calling for a quorum. In fact, they have a delegate prepared in advance to do just that if a resolution they do not want to have approved makes it through the appeals process (signature gathering) to make it to the floor. That is not what happened today. In fact, this was exactly what they did not want to have happen, as was evident in Chair Torres's reaction. They had already set it up in a way that was favorable to them and wanted the debate that was occurring to happen. Now they will have to deal with the fallout from a number of upset delegates.
This was an eye opening experience for me and a lot of bloggers. We learned a lot about how the process works. If we do ever work to support a resolution we must be prepared to compromise and work with the leadership, while still pressuring from the outside with grassroots support like the impeachment resolution folks did. Bloggers are very good about working strategically. This is one case where we would have to do just that.