Author Archives: John Riccio

Organizing Principles


I’m certain the past week has been trying for all of you, I know it certainly has been for me. Despite this I hope that my letter finds you in better spirits and renewed vigor, because right now there is much work to do.

The coming Trump presidency represents an existential threat to our Republic. It is obvious that it will challenge aspects of our civil society that were long considered sacrosanct. The protection of democratic institutions and the continuation of a progressive agenda will require a robust and sustained grassroots response of us all. The conversation as to how we achieve this is already beginning and I would like to contribute to it. It is my hope that these points can help frame a larger conversation between all of us as we move to organize our local response in preparation for the next four years.
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Beginning as we mean to go on

It’s been a week since the election and while I’m certainly not pleased with the way events turned, I’m at least ready to intelligibly speak to my thoughts and plans.

First, I am prepared to hit the ground running in terms of grassroots advocacy and political action. I realize that if I had a failing in all this it was not taking a more active role in the process from the outset. In that spirit I would like to offer an open invitation to anybody interested in working together around promoting progressive policies and supporting progressive candidates. I certainly have ideas for the form this advocacy can take, but I think the discussion is one very much worth having.

Second, there are a number of groups already advocating for progressive politics and policy, but I feel the strength of Buffalo and cities like it lay in the unique dynamics of the Rust Belt. We live in the middle of a region that is fluid in its politics and, clearly, quite capable of flexing its muscle when provoked. Our neighbors are what swayed this election to the other side and, while it is not the choice I would have made, I recognize that we have more in common than not. Being neighbors we can appreciate the context that these folks exist in. We may not agree on all things but we can certainly relate and find some common ground. Further there is strength in numbers and we ignore that fact at our peril. I believe that Progressives offer a compelling message, but it is on us to sell it. The work to engage with and convince our neighbors to join us in this conversation needs to begin immediately.

Third, any response that we advocate cannot simply be another 4 to 8 years of obstruction and gridlock. Any solution that is worthwhile needs to foster understanding, compromise, and compassion in so far as those ideals are possible. We need to own our own fault in this and not fall prey to blaming the other side. Reforming the Democratic party and pushing progressive policy is a far better antidote than resenting and distancing ourselves from those that voted for Trump.

I understand these are broad statements to make, but I think putting the thought out there and inviting a conversation is an important first step. So let’s talk. Ideally I would like to take this conversation offline, so if any of this is speaking to you please send me a message. Remember, action breeds motivation. If you’re feeling down about things that’s understandable, but the sooner we undertake the hard work the sooner we’ll all feel a lot better. So, let’s begin as we mean to go on, shall we?

(This was originally published as a public Facebook post)

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