Below is the text of the petition introduced to the National Coordinators Circle of Movement for a People's Party on November 10, 2020. Various meetings were held, a mediator was involved, and a detailed response was provided to the National Coordinators Circle on January 1, 2021. The text below includes notes (in blue) with updates on progress made through January 11th. The National Coordinators Circle ended negotiations on January 12.

To the Movement for a People’s Party National Coordinators’ Circle:

We, the undersigned MPP volunteers, hereby request that MPP leaders give serious consideration to the below stated concerns and take swift and effective action to remedy them in accordance with our proposed solutions.

In our work as MPP volunteers, we have dedicated many hours to the mission of the organization: to form a major new political party in the United States free of corporate money and influence. We take seriously and urgently that the current major parties have been thoroughly corrupted by power and greed, and have failed to meet the needs of the American People. As such, they should be replaced with a party that embodies true democratic ideals and serves the interests and needs of regular people.

As individuals, we have come to MPP through different paths, but all with the common faith that we can create a better country and world, if only we put in the time and effort. Many of us found hope in MPP, after the failure of the Democratic Party to listen and take seriously the needs of regular folks. MPP seemed to offer a space where we would be listened to and be able to work for policies that benefit the people. We felt motivated and ready to keep working toward the change this country so desperately needs.

Regrettably, in the months we have been contributing to this project, we have come to observe a number of shortcomings which have made it difficult to sustain the same excitement and belief in MPP that we once had. Promises of progress with no follow-through and the inability to effectively address problems have turned our hope and faith into disappointment and demotivation. If our mission is to succeed, we will need to be genuinely different from the existing parties and embody true democratic ideals in the core of our community. We will also need to be mindful and effective in how we engage in the work we do. It is challenging to remain optimistic that MPP and our mission can succeed without addressing these shortcomings:

Transparency

There is a lack of transparency in the organization with regard to leadership, decision-making, financials, and strategy. We do not know what happens in the National Coordinators’ Circle. There are no detailed financial reports. We do not know how we are funded, where our donated money goes, or who keeps track of the books. We do not know what process is used to make decisions. We do not know how the organization functions at the top. We are not kept privy to the strategies in place, if any exist, on how we will achieve our long-term stated goals. It is not clear how the eventual party platform will be voted on or how the founding convention will work at all.

Democracy

Volunteers often feel no sense of agency in the work they do. The volunteer and membership community is not consulted on major decisions. Decisions seem to come from the top down, rather than the bottom-up. Working group and circle members often have no influence over group goals or how work is done in their own group. Major decisions are not voted on. We don’t feel that leadership works collaboratively with the volunteer base, instead we are just given top-down directives.

Organization and Efficacy

We have observed a lack of organization and direction in MPP which causes long delays in progress, a failure to provide tangible support to state and hub coordinators, and a sense that we do not know what we are doing as an organization. There is no formal documentation, guides, handbooks, etc. There are no formal legal protections for members of the organization. There is no formal decision-making process. There are no formal bylaws. MPP leadership also seems to over-prioritize PR and celebrity attention at the expense of the concrete, tangible work we need to do to form a new party -- that is, the grassroots work of community-building and coalition-building.

Authenticity

MPP states that it has a horizontal organizational structure (SOS), but it does not function as such. When volunteers join MPP, they come in with the understanding that power is dispersed throughout this horizontal structure, that working groups and circles will have agency in the work they do, and that the work and decisions will truly be a group effort. That has not been the reality. It leaves many of us feeling that we have been misled, and that our efforts have been hijacked by an organization that is not what it says it is. Instead, we often feel that MPP is veering dangerously close to the kind of elitism that has corrupted the other parties. If we are going to be different, we need to actually be different, not just say it. We were also led to believe that MPP was going to be a coalition-based organization that would bring together, toward a common goal, the diverse organizations which share our ideals. We have not seen emphasis on this. We believe in the stated mission and ideals of MPP, but we want MPP to be what it says it is, and what was promised to us upon joining.

Accountability

There does not seem to be any way to hold leaders accountable for their actions. When decisions are made that may negatively impact the community, there is no formal process to have our concerns addressed or to obligate leaders to do better. When we voice our concerns, we feel dismissed and not heard. There is a culture of fear around challenging the National Coordinators’ Circle. Individually, volunteers fear being removed from the organization if they try to speak up about their concerns.
Many of these concerns have previously been brought forward at different times by different volunteers, but they have mostly been dismissed, ignored, or suppressed. We feel our voices are not heard, our contributions not valued, our time and effort not appreciated, and our humanity not recognized. We have no sense of agency or ownership within the organization to which we have donated many hours of labor.

In order for MPP to be successful, we need to be an organization that makes its volunteer community feel heard, respected, and empowered. Otherwise, we will not be able to retain volunteers and keep up the enthusiasm we need to accomplish our mission. We feel disheartened by the failure of MPP to embody the kind of democratic ideals it should, but we believe MPP can start to do better if the following solutions are adopted:
  1. We must have a formal, horizontal organizational structure, including detailed bylaws which require:
    1. A democratic decision-making process which involves volunteers at all levels in decisions about goals and how work is done
NOTE ON PROGRESS: There was a vote for the People’s Party name and for moving to Guilded. Additional open meetings have been held for all Volunteers and the Organizing Working Group.

NOTE: MPP updated the website description to no longer describe the organization as horizontal and be more in line with current structure.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: There was no member input on the Advisory Council or Force the Vote. The votes on the name and for moving to Guilded were constructed in a way that was leading. Decision making processes for issues that affect volunteers remain unclear. 
    1. A national leadership circle that is non-hierarchical
[NOTE: When the National Coordinators Circle (NCC) votes, all members hold an equal vote.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: It remains unclear how the National Coordinators Circle operates.]
    1. Election of all leaders and option for recall
[NOTE: It has been said that the election of leaders and option for recall will be discussed and voted on by the MPP community as part of party bylaws and structure “coming soon” in 2021.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: Working Group (WG) Coordinators are elected by working group members annually and can be re-elected as few or many times as the working group chooses. The National Coordinators Circle is made up of WG Coordinators. No current WG Coordinator has been elected and there is no option for recall at this point.]
    1. Detailed roles and responsibilities of leaders, including that the role of leaders is to listen to and serve their community
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: There is a leadership page on the MPP website outlining who the members of the National Coordinators Circle are. Duties and responsibilities are outlined in the Interim Operating Procedures Document.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: Duties and responsibilities of the National Coordinators Circle are currently not outlined publicly.]
    1. Formal accountability/grievance processes
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: A formal accountability and grievance set of processes has been posted in the Interim Operating Procedures Document yet to be voted on.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: A formal accountability and grievance set of processes have not been publicly disclosed for platforms like Slack, Basecamp, etc.]
    1. Financial transparency with periodic, detailed financial reports published
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: IRS filings are available on the transparency page of the MPP website. The Financial Coordinator has made herself available to answer questions on financial transparency.
OUTSTANDING ISSUES: There has not been updated instructions shared to access financial documents posted on Slack as of the beginning of 2021.]
  1. The design of the organizational structure and the bylaws must be open to input from volunteers.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: The Organizational Structure and organizational chart were posted on MPP’s website. Interim procedures (NC says these are a precursor to bylaws) were shared with the petitioners in December, but have yet to be released to MPP as a whole and no process for input and editing has been announced. The bylaws are scheduled for release for review on 12/15, according to CC, there is room for feedback from volunteers.

NOTES: There was no input from the volunteers in drafting the organizational structure or the organization chart.]
  1. We must have thorough professional documentation of standard operating procedures, including guides and handbooks for hubs and coordinators, as well as information guides for outside organizations we attempt to ally with.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: NCC has started working on documentation.
NOTE: Documentation could use some improving and updating to bring it to the level of professional documentation; NCC states these are works in progress. 

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: Documents and procedures must be provided and implemented in Hubs, Circles, and Working Groups. Guides for Circles and Working Groups are needed.]
  1. We must have a clear strategic plan for the steps we will take as an organization to accomplish our mission, including strategies for coalition building and expansion. The creation of this plan must be open to input from volunteers.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: An Electoral Strategy Circle has been formed and appears to be working on a strategic plan.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: There has been no publicly disclosed formal progress reports coming from the Electoral Strategy Circle outlining timelines and updates on any strategic plan(s) pursued in gaining ballot access state-by-state.]
  1. We must have a clear plan and documentation of how the future party platform will be drafted and voted on. The creation of this plan must be open to input from volunteers.
[NOTE: There has been discussion of Ranked Choice Voting and Star Voting. Moving to Guilded will replace the discussion forum. 

OUTSTANDING ISSUES: Nothing set or in writing as a guiding document. It is unclear how members can get involved in the Platform Committee or the sub-committees to discuss specific platform planks ahead of the Founding Convention.]
  1. The above guides and documentation must be produced immediately, before focusing on expansion. It is crucial to have something concrete for local coordinators to offer potential members and allies if we are going to be able to bring them in.
    1. Policies and procedures that relate to the safety of volunteers, coordinators, and MPP itself should be designed with professional legal consultation, to ensure protection of individuals and the organization.
[NOTE: The Organizers Toolkit and Interim Operating Procedures documents have been shared. NCC states policies and procedures have been, and will continue to be, designed with legal consultation.]
  1. We must reinstate the Regenerative Culture working group as a full working group which includes the role of upholding the MPP community agreements and eventual bylaws throughout the organization, including at the leadership level. The fact that the basic organizational structure was altered by the CC without input from the volunteer community was a direct violation of our values and supposed horizontal structure and is unacceptable.
    1. An Ombudsperson/s role or circle must be implemented immediately as part of Regenerative Culture to provide transparency and accountability in the national Coordinators’ Circle.
    2. We demand the protection of the Regenerative Culture working group in the bylaws. In serving the accountability role, the Regenerative Culture working group and the Ombudsperson/s role/circle must be protected from retaliation, reprisal or reorganization in response to performing their duties.
    3. National Coordinators’ Circle meeting minutes should be produced by Ombudsperson/s and published for community review.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: NCC states they will revisit these topics as bylaws are drafted. Meeting minutes are promised to be released monthly in Workplace Announcements. 

OUTSTANDING: Regenerative Culture has not been reinstated as a Working Group and an Ombudsperson/s role has not been created.]
  1. We must center regular folks in this movement, including in our national calls, not just celebrities, to avoid tending toward elitism or sensationalism.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: Inclusion of regular volunteers has occurred on multiple national calls to date]
  1. Demographic/affinity groups such as Black Voters for a People’s Party must also be empowered to determine their own goals and strategy, not just be told to engage in outreach. We need something tangible to offer before we do outreach. We need to know that our advocacy for our constituencies will be heard and responded to with regard to drafting policy.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: The National Coordinator’s Circle has encouraged demographic/affinity groups “to draft platform recommendations as part of their mandates alongside their leading mandate of outreach to their communities and growing MPP.”]
  1. We must develop guidelines for how and when local hubs are allowed to engage in self-organized action on behalf of MPP. We want the freedom to organize direct actions locally. We need legal status and protection for this.
[NOTES ON PROGRESS: National has provided more information for hubs in the Organizing Toolkit and the MPP Hub and Community Group Fundraising document.]
We believe the above changes would do a great deal to remove the roadblocks that stand in the way of progress, and help MPP move toward fulfilling our mutual goal of forming a major new corporate-free party. Unless these changes are implemented, it is difficult to imagine how this shared mission can be a success. We seek collaboration between MPP leadership and volunteers to implement these proposals. Together, we can remedy these issues and help MPP become the organized, effective, authentic, and truly democratic organization we know it can be.
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