Before we report on this past weekend's Dems Abroad Global Convention, please note a LOT of news:
CHANGE THE DATE! AND THEN SAVE IT!
DAGR Independence Day Celebration
Where: ENOA, Ellinikon coast, Athens
NEW DATE: SATURDAY, JULY 9
Time: Doors open 7:30, with fun, food, fireworks and more fun after that!
The baptism that had already booked the ENOA indoor space demanded they not have to compete with outside noise. We yielded to 'first come, first served' and have now confirmed for the 9th. We can start later and avoid the heat ... and dance after the fireworks! Better late than curtail the revelry! We might even invite the French since we're so close to Bastille Day. :)
POLITICS AT THE BISTROT: How democratic are the Democratic primaries?
MONDAY, May 23, 7-9 p.m.
La Place Mignonne, Ethnikis Aminis 4, Thessaloniki
Debate on US Democratic primaries, premiere of get-out-the-vote campaigns, selection of the best Vote-here signs, mock exit poll, masterclass in social media, and more. Not a DAGR event, but definitely of interest!
Alec Mally (former US Consul General of Thessaloniki, Democrats Abroad Greece)
John Koenig, via Skype (Former US Ambassador to Cyprus, Democratic Party delegate, WA)
Michael Dukakis, via Skype (1988 Democratic Nominee for President, Northeastern University)
Dimitris Savvaidis (AddArt),
George Siakas (University of Macedonia Research Institute)
Lansie Sylvia, via Skype (Here?s My Chance, Philadelphia)
THE COFFEE PARTY aka Chapter to meet in Thessaloniki
THURSDAY, June 9, 7 p.m.
Macedonia Palace Hotel, Coffee Shop - Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki Chapter, watch for emails w/details
WORTHY GOAL: No more 'riders' slipped into unrelated bills!
The North Carolina state legislature has slipped an anti-abortion 'rider' into a Motorcycle Safety bill. Well, yes, riders do show up on motorcycles! The bad news shows up in an excellent article on Reproduction Rights, which our DAGR Women's Caucus is discussing this month. Ask to join the group on Facebook or read the article here.
WORTHIER GOAL: Make Election Day a National Holiday
In 2014, voter turnout hit a 70-year low. One reason is that Election Day is mid-week, and, with early/weekend voting cut in some states; many people can't afford to take time off to wait in line at the polling booths. By making Election Day a national holiday, every eligible American voter would be able to exercise their right to vote. This is also a proposed plank in the DA Platform draft, and President Obama has just come out in favor. PTP asks for a click in support.
HALC - ELECTION PREFERENCE SURVEY
If you'd like to let the Hellenic-American Leadership Council know how you stand on current elections, their short survey can be clicked athttp://hellenicleaders.com/WhereDoYouStand
To the family and friends of former US Ambassador Monteagle Stearns, who died Saturday at the age of 91. Stearns, who served as the US ambassador to Greece from August 1981 through September 1985, during the premiership of Andreas Papandreou, was credited as being one of the US's most able diplomats in Greece and a true Philhellene. He was known to many members of DAGR and was also the first ambassador under whom former Chair Alec Mally served. Full article is on e-Kathimerini at
STATE DEPARTMENT JOBS POSTED
The DOS Recent Graduates Program (RGP) is accepting applications from graduates of trade and vocational schools, community colleges, universities, and other qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion.
A complete application must be submitted by 11:59PM (EST) on the closing date of the announcement to receive consideration.
MORE JOBS - International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Urgently seeking many social workers, translators (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Dari speakers are all needed), people with experience working with vulnerable women and children, psychologists and many other positions! Working in Greece to provide essential care and services to the refugees. These are paid jobs; contracts are 3-6 months with possibility of extension. Interested applicants please send CVs and inquires directly to [email protected]. All jobs and details are posted here: http://www.skywalker.gr/companyHomepage.aspx?companyID=11689
DEMS ABROAD GLOBAL CONVENTION, Berlin 2016
Four 8-hour days at the monitor have come and gone. Exhausting! Exhilarating! Very well conducted!
Congratulations are in order for the international DPCA ExCom, Dems Abroad Germany hosts, and volunteers at every level of the operation. And special kudos are due the IT team that managed the WebEx connection.
DAGR Chair Karen and Vice Chair Steve, as voting members of DPCA, attended all four days, starting with the Global AGM on Thursday. Also registered as ?electors? (any elected member of ExCom could register), we took part in the EMEA Regional Caucus on Friday, both in Sanders caucus room. (The carefully maintained mask of candidate neutrality has just been whipped off to reveal our true faces.) Treasurer Alec joined the Global AGM as well, but had not signed up as an elector. He also ran our Twitter and FB feeds as elections progressed over the weekend.
Thursday began with work on the Platform to be discussed on Sunday. The DPCA AGM had required officers and committee reports, quite interesting actually. Then a discussion ensued on whether to have AGMs all in DC, alternating DC and worldwide, etc. Pros and cons on both choices.
Those of you who've joined our local meetings via WebEx know there's a big screen where files and slides can be shown and, to the right, a video of the main meeting, a list of participants, and a type-chat facility.
By Friday, we discovered chatting was risky. You had to be very careful not to send a private comment to 'everyone,' to keep the 'everyone' channel open for 'hand up to speak' queues and voice votes. Like this:
"Aye/No," Send to everyone. Okay!
"Young guy is sharp. Other one seems full of himself," Send to everyone. Whoops!
Alec observed the Sanders Global Caucus on Saturday. (A thin veil drops quietly to the floor.) We tried to run Skype at the same time, but couldn't mute WebEx without muting Skype. So, we figured out we could open up Skype on laptops, then swing over to the desk-top screen to chat to 'everyone' or cast votes on delegate candidates. Check delegate hopefuls' bios on the DA Wiki. Post a screen shot to Facebook. Check that young alternate's Twitter feed. Multi-task! Yes!
Coffee break, 10 minutes: pop yesterday's coffee in the microwave, throw in a load of laundry, wash breakfast dishes, check snail mail in lobby, grab cup, back to desk as the meeting reconvenes. Whew!
Pledged Delegates are apportioned to the nearly 68-32% spread of the GPP vote. That meant of the 13 pledged delegates, 9 went to Sanders and 4 to Clinton. EMEA also had more to elect than Americas and Asia-Pacific, as it had had a higher GPP turnout. Finally, each CC got the number (or fraction) of votes proportional to its turnout in its region. Complicated, but an algorithm handled it and we just clicked a radio button.
Sunday, a few tempers frayed. One IL lawyer took exception to an off-hand reference to 'Chicago politics.' Another, also IL bar, smoothed ruffled feathers. (The DAGR elector from Ohio refrained from noting what neighboring states say about Chicago.) Delegate elections, left-over from Saturday, were finished. Affirmative Action goals were fairly met, 16 of 18 points fulfilled by the Sanders delegates.
Election of 3 new DNC members (4-year terms) was accomplished. Platform work ran on until the room had to be cleared at 6 p.m. CET, and will be completed by WebEx in the next week.
Speakers smiled at each other as they argued. The work UNITY was used 87 times (at least).
The DA Delegation to the Democratic Nation Convention, July 25-28, including elected pledged delegates, new and current DNC members, and the International Chair and Vice Chair, is listed on the DA Wiki at
Steve: "Highlights for me ...
1. The passion and earnestness of new, young candidates...new members to Democrats Abroad (perhaps even the DP)...their commitment to getting and staying involved.
2. The conscientious and professional organization and leadership (of the process) throughout the global meeting.
3. I came away from the experience feeling that there will be party unity (at least in DA) after the convention and support for our party's nominee. Obviously, strong feelings expressed in both camps...but I did feel that I could trust the representatives we elected (after fighting hard for their positions in Philadelphia) understand that electing a Democrat in November is our top priority. This was important for me, and was an idea that informed my own voting."
Alec: "As many of you know, I declined to run for Chair in 2015 in part because I saw our party's nominations process as controlled by the DNC, thus the path to the coronation essentially foreordained. The vitality and determination of the Sanders campaign over the last year has made me rethink many of my earlier views on how our party works and I was amazed to see a number of truly democratic candidate selection mechanisms/practices in action (not 100% but still?) at the Global Convention and the depth of support for Senator Sanders in Democrats Abroad globally. Now however, the watchword going forward must be “Victory in Unity."
Karen: "The DA Platform says it all! Progressive, sensible, do-able! Once or twice, someone wanted to remove a plank as it was too visionary, would never pass, etc. The plenary kept it in, to raise the issue and set a goal. There's a high level of expertise among members plus a lot of just well-informed people. Our work will become part of the DNC Platform -- and that's a floor fight you won't want to miss! With the nomination still wide open, everyone's worried about how to keep those bright, committed Sanders millennials on board should Clinton win. Well, the Platform is the key!"
AND THAT'S THE NAME OF THAT TUNE!
Winter Lesson Student Performances
Dora Stratou Greek Dances Theatre, Philapappou
Sunday, May 22, starts after dark, 9-ish, chair's group about 10:30-ish
One of the senior 'beyond 3-yr certificate' classes will be performing dances from Avestades, Thrace. As this class is large, the program is double, an aerobic selection including: Tapino, Baidouska, Zonaradiko, Gaitani, Koulouriosto, and Mantilato. Your DAGR Chair will be the old lady about 5th from last in the circle.
2016 seems to be speeding up, or at least our emails seem to be coming out more frequently. We hope it strikes a balance for you between enough-news and not-too-often.
Till next time!
Karen and the ExCom