Victory in 8th Circuit
In a historic decision reversing
100 years of electoral practice (Twin Cities New Party v. McKenna),
the Court of Appeals in the 8th Circuit unanimously struck down
Minnesota's ban on party "fusion." Also known as "plural
nomination" or "cross-nomination," the practice
refers to the nomination of a single candidate or slate of candidates
by more than one party, with votes cast on each nominating party's
line counting in candidate totals. A right to fusion is helpful
to minor parties, especially during their early years, because
it permits their members to express their values (voting on the
minor party's line) without wasting their votes on candidates
with no serious chance of winning. Fusion was critical to the
success of third parties in the 19th century, but was widely banned
in the U.S. after the defeat of the Populists for just this reason.
Restoring this right has been a central goal of the New Party
since its founding, and this case represents a giant leap forward
in doing so. Before the Minnesota decision, fusion was legal in
ten states; now it will be restored to seven more (the 8th Circuit
includes MN, MO, IA, NB, AR, ND, SD). Additional challenges to
state fusion bans are already underway in Pennsylvania and New
Mexico, and are contemplated in other states in 1996. Given contrary
rulings on the constitutionality of fusion bans in different Circuit
Courts of Appeal, we expect the issue to make its way to the U.S.
Supreme Court, which should result in a national restoration of
On the Way to a Living Wage
Living wage campaigns
by New Party chapters and community/labor allies are moving forward.
After an aggressive grassroots campaign by
Progressive Milwaukee/NP, the Milwaukee school board recently
voted to raise the minimum wage for school employees and employees
of school board contractors to $7.70 an hour -- liberating 3,000
low-wage service workers from perpetual poverty.
Phase Two in Twin Cities:
While we lost our battle for the living wage initiative
last November, we're well on the way to winning the war. The city
councils in Minneapolis and St. Paul are establishing an unprecedented
joint task force to propose ordinances on living wage jobs. New
Party members and allies look to dominate the Minneapolis task
force and have a strong presence in St. Paul. The New Party is
organizing a precinct leader action network in several St. Paul
and Minneapolis neighborhoods to mobilize support for living wage
Around the Country:
New Party chapters in Chicago,
Montana, Washington, D.C., and Long Island are now launching or
supporting living wage initiatives and legislative campaigns.
Similar efforts -- to raise the minimum wage or attach wage requirements
to public subsidies -- are also underway in California, Oregon,
Missouri, Idaho, Houston, Denver, Boston, New York City, and elsewhere.
Winning in Wisconsin
The New Party continues to roll through
Wisconsin, with victories this month in municipal and county primaries
in Milwaukee and Madison. Progressive Milwaukee is backing three
county board, one city council, and one school board candidate.
Progressive Dane (Madison) is endorsing nine county board candidates.
All NP-backed candidates won their primaries.
The Illinois New Party is working intensively on Willie Delgado's
state representative campaign. Delgado is part of an emerging
Latino network in Chicago. We're also backing Danny Davis in a
Congressional race, Barack Obama for state representative, and
judicial candidate Patricia Martin. In addition to the electoral
work, the NP in Chicago is supporting a local living wage campaign
and an effort to prevent the placement of a waste site on the
On the Move in Missoula
Having won a working majority
in the City Council last November, the Missoula New Party is pressing
ahead. First, they elected one of our own to be City Council President.
Then, overcoming strident conservative opposition, they led a
successful battle to repeal an anti-gay family definition housing
ordinance. A door-to-door canvass during some of the coldest months
of the year doubled the chapter's membership, and the chapter
is about to launch a house party drive.
Ridin' the Info Superhighway
The New Party is modernizing its communications capacities. We
now have a site on the World Wide Web _ http://www.newparty.org/
_ as well as two discussion groups, an open discussion listserve
and a moderated listserve. Our newly established Electronic Communications
Subcommittee will soon be working to improve the content and design
of the web page, increase our ability to do outreach in cyberspace,
and help local chapters and organizers to communicate on the Internet.
The Next Generation
Not the Star Trek crew, but the next generation
of progressive activists. The New Party will be recruiting and
training scores of young people to work on candidate and ballot
measure campaigns next summer.
It's a Big Country
...but we're moving
across it. The New Party is launching its second major house party
drive this Spring, to strengthen current chapters as well as establish
new sites. The young Eastern Massachusetts chapter just kicked
off a three-month drive, with a goal of 40 parties in the greater
Boston area. Ten leaders participated in a speakers' training
last week, and at the first event in Dorchester, 16 people attended,
10 joined, 4 became sustainers, and we raised $600. Sites being
considered for expansion are Iowa, Missouri, western Colorado,
Montana (outside Missoula), North Carolina, and New Jersey. Onward
Back to NP home.