News

November Newsletter

In this Issue –

Events:

Issues & Actions:

  • EMEA Meeting Recap
  • Gearing up for 2020 

Reviews:

  • Solidarity Sundays 
  • Black Caucus Book Club

Members Corner:

  • Trump and the Trade Unions 
  • Art Opening

 

Our Executive Committee meetings are normally held at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. The next meetings will be held on:

  • Wednesday, November 13
  • Wednesday, December 11

Members are welcome to join us at the meetings! Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location.

Follow us on:

     

 


Events 

 

Global Black Caucus Book Club

Join us at Cafe Weimar on Thursday, November 7 at 7 p.m. when we will meet to discuss April Ryan’s book Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House.

When: November 7, 2019, 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Cafe Weimar, 1090 Vienna

RSVP: Facebook or Democrats Abroad

 

 

Salzburg Meet-Up 

We’re happy to announce that Salzburg members have recently become active! We hope you’ll join us at our November meet-up. The next meet-up will not be until January 17 - so make plans to attend!

This gathering will take place in a private residence near the Musisches Gymnasium Salzburg (Haunspergstraße 77). Parking is available along the Kai closer to the residence and there is elevator-access. Please RSVP for details.

When: November 15, 2019, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Where: Salzburg 5020

RSVP: Mary Beth Kollert · m.kollert@democratsabroad.at or Salzburg November Meet-Up

 

 

Experienced Dems

We hope you’ll join us at the monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats. Remember, experience comes in all ages!

When: November 19, 2019, 6:00 p.m. 

Where: Cafe Museum, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Facebook or Experienced Dems

 

 

Primary Debate Watch Party

Join us to watch the fifth Democratic presidential debate which will take place on Nov. 20 near Atlanta – that means we’ll be watching it on November 21 in Vienna at Beaver Brewing Company. 

This time the debates will be moderated by four women – Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kirsten Welker. Forbes magazine wrote, “With men reporting twice as much as women on evening news broadcasts of major networks, it is about time more female journalists are in the spotlight.”

What effect, if any, do you think an all women panel will have? Let us hear from you on Facebook.

When: November 21, 2019, 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Beaver Brewing Company

RSVP: Please RSVP on Facebook or at Democrats Abroad Events. The restaurant has asked that we let them know how many people to expect. Thanks for your cooperation! 

 

 

Sol Sun – Welcome to Kitchen Table Talk

We’ll be tackling issues from Kitchen Table Talks to discuss policy issues that matter to Americans abroad. Our talk's feedback will help shape the 2020 Democrats Abroad Platform.

Can’t make it but you’re interested in moderating a talk? Click here to read our Kitchen Table Talk Tool Kit (or download the pdf) and find out more.

When: November 24, 2019, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  

Where: Amerlinghaus, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Facebook or Democrats Abroad Events

 

 

Women’s Caucus Film Night – Toni Morrison

Meet the Women’s Caucus as we get together to watch the new Toni Morrison documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” featuring Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Fran Lebowitz, Oprah Winfrey, Walter Mosley, Russell Banks, and Robert Gottlieb. This film portrait received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival – you won’t want to miss it!

We’ve reserved twenty tickets so DA members can sit together as a group. Please purchase your ticket online ahead of time here and send me an email to let me know.

Or you can buy your ticket at the door by November 18 – tell them you’re with DA, as they’ll be keeping a list. The screening will most likely sell out, so we can’t guarantee tickets on the day of. 

We’ll meet up at 7 p.m. at Amerlinghaus for drinks beforehand. Let me know by the 18th if you’ll be coming so I can reserve a table.

– Hilary Monihan, Women’s Caucus Chair

When: November 25, 2019, 8:15 movie

Where: Filmhaus, Spittelberggasse 3, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: h.monihan@democratsabroad.at

 

 

Thanksgiving – A Feast With All The Fixings

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m., we invite our Democratic friends and families to our annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

We have made reservations for 80 at Melker Stiftskeller in the 1st district. We’ll have a large private room all to ourselves under the arches of an almost 600 year old cellar built and owned by the monks from Melk. There will be a buffet with a 3-course feast including pumpkin soup, turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, roasted red beets and sweet potatoes, green beans, red cabbage, stuffing, knoedel, homemade cranberry sauce – and dessert. 

If you can, please bring a pumpkin or pecan pie to share. They are always very appreciated!

–––

Tickets are 25 Euros for adults and 12 Euros for children under 12. This event sold out last year and we have already sold more than half of the tickets, so be sure to reserve yours asap!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

When: November 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m. 

Where: Melker Stiftskeller, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Thanksgiving Dinner

 


Issues & Actions:

 

Dems Abroad Back in DC – Time to Call Congress!

Democrats Abroad is back on Capitol Hill again this week to talk to Congress about Residency Based Taxation, FATCA reform, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) fixes and other recommendations aimed at reducing the burden U.S. taxation places uniquely on Americans living abroad. 

Please help us demonstrate the enormous support that exists across the Americans abroad community for these critical reforms by reaching out to your elected representatives some time between the 4th and 8th of November.   This campaign guide has all you need to call or write your members of Congress.

– Carmelan Polce, Taxation Task Force Chair

 

 

EMEA Meeting Recap

Jennifer and Juan (and Katie – former DAA Chair and DA Global Chair)  joined approximately 100 other Democrats Abroad leaders, activists, and members from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region in Athens, Greece in mid-October for the semi-annual regional meeting. Over the weekend we focussed on approaches to getting out the vote in 2020 with lots of team building and opportunities to get to know and exchange ideas with other DA leaders. This was my second regional meeting and Juan’s first. It was a fabulous weekend and the Athens team did a great job organizing! 

 

Gearing up for 2020

Over the next months, this column will provide a space for the thoughts, opinions and announcements from both the DA Executive Committee and our members. While we may not endorse or support any particular candidate before the primaries, we are interested in sharing ideas about what Democrats can and will do to win up and down the ballot in 2020.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair 

 

l. Social Media Superheroes!

Democrats Abroad Austria is really excited to announce the formation of our new Communications Committee! These young people with a wealth of talent and experience will be transforming our social media platforms and helping us reach even more Americans living in Austria than ever before. Be sure to say hello to (l to r) Sophie Spiegelberger, Jessica Mijnssen, Amanda Grossman, (Brett Carnito, IT support), and Hunter Christopher the next time you see them at an event!

 

ll. Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary in Brief

Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States, and the Democratic National Committee recognizes Democrats Abroad as a state – just like New Jersey or Wyoming. And just like all the other states, DA may hold a primary to select our presidential nominee. Unlike the other states, we only choose a presidential nominee. DA Delegates will go to the Democratic Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from July 13-16, 2020. Here's how you can be involved in the three steps that will happen between now and then:

  • Sign candidate Petitions!Each campaign needs at least 300 valid Democrats Abroad members to sign their petition by January 6, 2020 to be included on the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary ballot
  • Vote in the DA GPP! The Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary will run from March 3 to March 10, 2020 at hundreds of voting centers around the world – including Vienna and other locations in Austria.
  • Be a Delegate! Democrats Abroad will send 21 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee Wisconsin in July 2020. 8 of these delegates will be our members on the Democratic National Committee. The remaining 13 will be selected during our regional and global conventions in Toronto, Canada, May 15-17, 2020. Democrats Abroad will also send alternates, committee members and a convention page.

lll. Election Countdown

On November 3rd the countdown begins... one year to take action.

  • 92 days until the Iowa Caucuses (February 3rd)
  • 121 days until Super Tuesday and the Democrats Abroad primary (March 3rd)
  • 253 days until the start of the 2020 Democratic National Convention (July 13th)
  • 331 days until the first Presidential Debate (September 29th)
  • 366 days until the Presidential Election (November 3rd)  

*All calculations start from November 3, 2019.

**366 days is correct; 2020 is a leap year!

– Amanda Grossman, DAA Comms Committee

 

 

We Can’t Win Without You! 

DA Austria is looking for people to fill the following positions so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020!

It will take a village to do all the things we need to do. Here are some opportunities to help:

  1. Take our Volunteer Survey. Have an hour to spare? We are looking for volunteers in all areas and with any time availability.
  2. DA Austria is looking for members interested in heading our Get Out the Vote, Media Relations and other vital positions. Find out more information about how to join our team
  3. Do you have an idea? We're looking for suggestions on how we can connect with more Americans in Austria, find places to advertise, events to have, and any suggestions you have to get more people to vote.  Bookmark this link and submit your ideas at any time.

 


Reviews:

 

Solidarity Sundays #27:  

Impeachment 4.0 (Or How To Get Rid of A President On the 4thTry)

What can we expect from this impeachment process? What might America look like when the smoke clears? Can our Constitution save us?

Tanya Lolonis led a civics review on October 28th on disciplining a President who abuses his constitutional power. Congress has impeached — accused of misconduct — three Presidents; it has never removed one.

What kind of offense did the Founding Fathers believe merited ejecting a President?  High Crimes and Misdemeanors do not refer to felonies or legal crimes. “High” crimes are committed by public officials, while “Misdemeanors” refer to “ill behavior; evil conduct; fault; or mismanagement.” In essence, an impeachable crime is a judgment call.

–Tanya Lolonis, Member at Large, Solidarity Sundays Coordinator

READ MORE

 

 

GBC Book Club 8: Becoming by Michelle Obama 

The members of the GBC book club met once again to discuss another great book, this time Becoming, an autobiography written by the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama is the epitome of intellect, compassion, strength, and beauty. Her book goes behind the scenes of the presidency from her perspective as a wife, mother, and First Lady and all of the baggage, stress and craziness that comes with it. Every newsworthy moment during Obama's presidency was given a unique framing and background from Michelle herself, making those stories even more memorable. We all know how accomplished Michelle Obama is with degrees from Ivy League institutions, but she remains humble. She stays grounded by remembering all of the people who helped shape her: her family, who worked tirelessly to provide her and her brother a better life; her community, who gave her toughness, strength and identity; and her teachers who saw her potential and helped her grow. We ended with a quote about continued personal growth: “For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” 

Join us at Cafe Weimar on Thursday, November 7 at 7 p.m. when we will meet to discuss April Ryan’s book Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House

– Faith Hall Herbold, Member at Large, Black Caucus Coordinator

 


Member’s Corner

 

Vernissage – American Artist Marcus Jansen

When: November 7, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Galarie Amart, Halbgasse 17, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Info

 

Trump and the Trade Unions – public discussion with leading US trade unionist Stuart Appelbaum

No one is indifferent to US President Donald Trump’s political policies: be it foreign policy, global economic, or migration policy. With one year to go before the US presidential election, what are the consequences of Trump’s policies for Americans? How has the social and labor market situation changed under Trump? How is the working population doing? What role do trade unions play in the US? What are the chances for the Democrats?

A public discussion with Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Vice President of the American Federation of Trade Unions (AFL-CIO).

Welcome introduction: Wolfgang Katzian, ÖGB President

Moderation: Sophia Reisecker, GPA-djp international secretary

Questions from the audience are welcome! Simultaneous interpretation will be provided into German and English.

Afterwards you will be invited to a small snack.

When: Monday, November 11, 2019, 5:30 p.m. (admission 5:00 p.m.)

Where: ÖGB Catamaran, Wilhelmine Moik conference room Johann-Böhm-Platz 1, 1020 Wien(U2 Donaumarina)

RSVP: Info & registration

 


Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter.

We value your membership, and we hope to see you at an event soon!


Solidarity Sundays #27: IMPEACHMENT 4.0 (OR HOW TO GET RID OF A PRESIDENT ON THE 4TH TRY)

 

What can we expect from this impeachment process? What might America look like when the smoke clears? Can our Constitution save us?

Tanya Lolonis led a civics review on October 28th on disciplining a President who abuses his constitutional power. Congress has impeached — accused of misconduct — three Presidents; it has never removed one.

What kind of offense did the Founding Fathers believe merited ejecting a President?  High Crimes and Misdemeanors do not refer to felonies or legal crimes. “High” crimes are committed by public officials, while “Misdemeanors” refer to “ill behavior; evil conduct; fault; or mismanagement.” In essence, an impeachable crime is a judgment call.

The first president to be impeached by Congress, Andrew Johnson, was impeached for being a jerk.  Racist, defiant, and demagogic, he was despised for sabotaging Reconstruction. Nonetheless, senators acquitted him to preserve the balance of powers — the principle of Executive independence from the Legislature. Significantly, Nancy Pelosi has not focused the inquiry on his policies, but on his abuse of Executive power — attempting to profit politically from his office. 

Richard Nixon denied involvement in Watergate for 16 months. Hard evidence — a tape confirming his role in the coverup— turned the public, and his party, against him. Pelosi and Schiff learned the lesson of Nixon’s impeachment:  proof matters.

Bill Clinton’s impeachment concerned neither balance of power (Johnson) nor abuse of presidential power for political advantage (Nixon), but misdeeds outside his constitutional role. His popularity determined his fate:  he was never in danger of conviction by the Senate. Similarly, President Trump stokes his popularity with his base to keep GOP Senators behind him.

The politics of impeachment are fluid and dynamic, changing daily — even hourly. If the House votes to impeach the President, will the Democratic majority be punished in 2020? Rewarded? Will the President survive impeachment to run for re-election with the largest war-chest in presidential campaign history? Or will Senators, sensing fatal political fallout, abandon the President, make him the first to be removed from office?

What makes this impeachment process different from the first three is this:  the Framers expected a Donald Trump. They did not expect a Mitch McConnell, a Matthew Gaetz, a Kevin McCarthy. They did not account for political parties cooperating across branches of government to protect a President.It is a fundamental change in our constitutional order:  we no longer have the ambition of one branch checking the ambition of another; we have personal ambition protecting personal ambition. This process is moving fast:  we’ll know soon if our system will hold.

–Tanya Lolonis, Member at Large, Solidarity Sundays Coordinator


October Newsletter


Gearing up for 2020 – 

Despite how seamless and effortless we all would like the voting process to be, the fact is that it isn’t. People forget to change their party affiliation in time to vote in closed primaries, to register every calendar year, and to actually mail in their registration form and/or ballot. Many Americans don’t even know they actually can vote when living abroad!

Democrats Abroad and Vote from Abroad are of course here to help all Americans through the process and advocate for voters when there are snags in the system.

There is a lot of preparation work to do as we gear up for 2020 and we’re already getting started. We’re signing up volunteers for the vital work of registering and reminding people here and at home to register and vote; we’re developing our communications, press and social media teams to provide critical services; and we’re signing up call hub volunteers so we can hit the phones in January. All, of course, while we’re still providing the fun and interesting monthly events that our members have come to expect from DA Austria.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. As Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe (podcast: Campaign HQ) said on Pod Save America (Whistle While You Spy, 9.19.19), “We better prepare for an epic battle.” DA needs to stand united to work together to register Americans at home and living abroad, and to get out the vote.

Our members are the margin for victory in many elections and we’ve got a democracy to take back. We hope you’ll be a part! DAAVolunteer

– DA Austria Executive Committee

photo: Seymann - Die Weinhandwerkerei im Pulkautal

In This Issue –

Events:

  • Global Black Caucus Book Club VIII
  • Experienced Dems
  • Debate Watch Party IV
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • Thanksgiving

Issues & Actions:

  • DAA Executive Committee Changes
  • Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC
  • Gearing up for 2020
    • Voter Registration Drive
    • Now is the Time
    • It’s All About Turnout!

Reviews:

  • GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris
  • September’s Watch Party
  • Solidarity Sundays on Gerrymandering

Members Corner:

  • Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe

Events

 

GBC Book Club VIII

Becoming

Come join us at the next book club where we will finally discuss the New York Timesbest seller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady Michelle Obama. We will also be discussing the next three books we will read! We hope to see you Friday, October 4th at 7pm. Location will be given with your RSVP.

– Faith Hall-Herbold, DAA Global Black Caucus Coordinator

When: October 4, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Location will be given with your RSVP, 1080 Vienna

RSVP: Black Caucus Book Club

 

Experienced Dems

Join us at the monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats. All are welcome!

When: October 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Cafe Museum, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Experienced Dems

 

Debate Watch Party

Winnowing is the word. The next Debate Watch Party will again be at Beaver Brewing Company at 7pm on October 16th. We look forward to seeing you there for another round of democratic drinks, debate and discussion!

When: October 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Beaver Brewing Company, 1090 Vienna

RSVP: Debate Watch Party

 

Sol Sun 27: High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Google searches for "impeachment" are skyrocketing as scandals pile up around the White House. Join Solidarity Sundays for a look at the ins and outs of the process to charge, try and remove public officials for misconduct.

And if it's not a topic anymore, we'll be celebrating.

When: October 27, 2019, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Where: Amerlinghaus, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Sol Sun #26

 

A Feast With All The Fixings

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28th at 7PM, we invite our Democratic friends and families to our annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

We have made reservations for 60 at Melker Stiftskeller in the 1st district. We’ll have a large private room all to ourselves under the arches of an almost 600 year old cellar built and owned by the monks from Melk. There will be a buffet with a 3-course feast including pumpkin soup, turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, roasted red beets and sweet potatoes, green beans, red cabbage, stuffing, cranberry sauce – and dessert.

If you can, please bring a pumpkin or pecan pie. They are always very appreciated!

–––

Tickets are 25 Euros for adults and 12 Euros for children under 12. RSVP at https://www.democratsabroad.org/at_eventsThis event sold out last year, so be sure to reserve your tickets early!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

When: November 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Melker Stiftskeller, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Thanksgiving Dinner


Issues & Actions:

 

DAA Executive Committee Changes

The Executive Committee would like to give a huge thank you to Keith Jacomine who has over the years been a fantastic ExComm leader. Keith was Chair of DA Austria from 2013 to 2017 and has been serving as Vice Chair since. Under his leadership DAA held a very successful 2016 Global Presidential Primary, doubled our membership, and developed a good dose of fun in Fun-raisers and other DAA events. Both Keith and Kate have played a vital role in increasing active membership engagement as well as being so generous as they opened up their home for DAA events many times over the years and have contributed in every way possible both within Austria and in representing DA Austria Abroad. Family obligations have required the two to be in the US for the time being, but we look forward to having him back in Vienna soon!

 

“I am very honored to have been appointed as the new Vice-Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria by the ExComm Board. I will be replacing Keith, who has done a tremendous job as past Chair and Vice-Chair, and I want to say a big thank you for all his great work.” Many of you know Juan Cerda as the Co-coordinator of Sunday Solidarity Sundays and as leader of our LGBT Caucus. Juan will bring his considerable experience in political campaigning, phone banking, and event organizing skills to the ExComm Board. Juan said, “We have a great Board and super volunteers with incredibly talented people, and I know we will accomplish a lot during a very critical election year in 2020.”

 

Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC

The Taxation Task Force published a report this weekabout our expat tax advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill the week commencing Monday, September 16th.

READ MORE

 

Gearing up for 2020

Over the next months, this column will provide a space for the thoughts, opinions and announcements from both the DA Executive Committee and our members. While we may not endorse or support any particular candidate before the primaries, we are interested in sharing ideas about what Democrats can and will do to win up and down the ballot in 2020.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

l. Voter Registration Drive

The last week of September, DA Austria had a total of four voter registration events for study abroad students at IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) and Webster University registering students and faculty to vote. It went really well – the students and staff are appreciative that registering is made so easy by the fact that we come to them. People often have questions and being there makes it very simple for them and provides clarity.

During the week we registered more than 30 people and we expect to do as well or better in the next few months! I will be holding more events in different venues in November and again in January 2020. Anyone who would like to join should please contact me at r.saul@democratsabroad.at. Let me know if you have ideas of where you think we should have a GOTV event.

– Raina Saul-Ganev, Voter Registration Coordinator

 

ll. Now is the Time –

Vote in 2019 and Prepare for 2020!

  1. Do you, your friends or family vote in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey or Virginia? These states all have important state elections in 2019. Now is the time to request your ballot!
  2. Did you have trouble voting in 2018? Now is the time to work with us and your local election officials to fix those issues.
  3. Are you switching party affiliation or registering to vote for the first time? Voters in states with closed primaries need to switch party affiliation or register for the first time NOW! Deadlines – KY: Oct 7, 2019; LA: Oct 16, 2019; NY: Oct 11, 2019; VA: Oct 15, 2019. https://www.headcount.org/deadlines-dates/

 

lll. It's All About Voter Turnout!

by Mary Ann Balko-Koch

I feel very passionate about voter turnout! The problem we as Dems need to concentrate/focus on IS TURNOUT! #1 issue as far as I’m concerned. We need to make sure that people actually go out and vote!

In 2010 I was lucky enough to be on one of the Huffington Post buses to go to the John Stewart rally in Washington DC. This event was shortly before the midterm elections that year. As I asked the young people on the bus line around me if they were all voting on the following Tuesday, I received many excuses as to why they weren’t - they were studying in NY from another state, they had to work that day, they had just moved to NY, etc.. I knew right then and there that we were going to lose the midterm elections. When Obama came out and said that we got shellacked in the midterm elections, I took his word for it. BUT (years later it was clear) we didn’t! According to a pew research poll, only 37% of the voting age population came out and voted.

I think Obama handled this poorly at the time. Imagine if he had come...

READ MORE


Reviews:

 

GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris

DA Austria is thinking outside the box. After having a very successful GOTV event (and hearing some fantastic music) at the David Byrne concert last year, we’re taking our voter registration efforts to other unusual venues where Americans might be. In September, the team registered voters at the David Sedaris show at Gartenbaukino and DA Austria even got a shout out from him!

Send us your idea of a spot we should visit next. IdeasFor2020

 

September’s Watch Party

Democrats in Austria enjoyed watching the Democratic primary candidates at Beaver Brewing Company on September 13th. We hope you’ll join us at October’s watch party!

 

 

Solidarity Sundays 26:

The Amazing Disappearing Voter

We spend lots of time debating candidates, their health plans, climate plans, can they beat Donald Trump? None of this will matter if we don’t focus more on maybe the greatest vulnerability Democrats face in 2020: the Republican war on voting.

Republicans know the majority does not agree with them. They’re using their advantage in state legislatures to erase minority and young voters – to make the electorate as white, old, and Republican as possible. Because states determine voting rules, we’re waging a national battleover voting rights, but fighting it state by state, in courts, and over arcane rules that increase barriers to the ballot.

September 29, Solidarity Sundays took a deep dive into voter suppression. Before the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, literacy tests and poll taxes kept minorities from voting. Today, it is administrative burden, absentee ballots lost in the mail, and closed polling places. Modern suppression makes it look like you made a mistake, not that the system is mistaken.

The most sinister GOP tactic is voter purging– removing registered citizens from voting rolls. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Preclearance Section of the VRA in 2013, the pace of purging has grown exponentially.

What steps can you take to protect yourright to vote? Register to vote every January. Then double check: sometimes names get removed by mistake. Or by people who hate – what’s the word? – democracy.

Solidarity Sundays attendees wrote postcards to voters from Virginia. Both the house and senate are up for election. Winning both chambers would put Democrats in charge of re-drawing gerrymandered districts, and make Virginia the 38th – and final -- state needed to ratify the ERA.


Members Corner:

 

Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe

U.S. Embassy Austria

Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Center

Alexander Schatten, SBA Research

Moderated by Christoph Zotter, Profil

RSVP: viennaprograms@state.gov

When: October 10, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Amerika Haus, Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

ID required


Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC

The Taxation Task Force published a report this week about our expat tax advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill the week commencing Monday, September 16th. 

READ MORE


It's All About Voter Turnout

by Mary Ann Balko-Koch, DAA member and former Database Manager

I feel very passionate about voter turnout! The problem we as Dems need to concentrate/focus on IS TURNOUT! #1 issue as far as I’m concerned. We need to make sure that people actually go out and vote! 

In 2010 I was lucky enough to be on one of the Huffington Post buses to go to the John Stewart rally in Washington DC. This event was shortly before the midterm elections that year.  As I asked the young people on the bus line around me if they were all voting on the following Tuesday, I received many excuses as to why they weren’t - they were studying in NY from another state, they had to work that day, they had just moved to NY, etc..  I knew right then and there that we were going to lose the midterm elections. When Obama came out and said that we got shellacked in the midterm elections, I took his word for it. BUT (years later it was clear) we didn’t! According to a pew research poll, only 37% of the voting age population came out and voted. 

I think Obama handled this poorly at the time. Imagine if he had come out and said the following, “The Republicans are going to tell you that we got shellacked in these midterm elections. Don’t you believe them. Only 37% of you showed up to vote! Where were the rest of you? I thought you had my back! Folks, democracy can’t survive on 63% of you not showing up and participating in this process!” Then, maybe voters would have been aware of how few people vote and how important voting is, especially in the midterm elections. Maybe voter apathy could have been avoided in 2016. (You can’t fight what you’re not aware of.)

We can contact every Democrat on the planet in a GOTV campaign but if they don’t show up to vote, our efforts are useless.

Here are more statistics where it’s all about voter TURNOUT - 

AOC vs Crowley in 2018 primary - after all votes in, 11.8% turnout decided this primary.

https://nypost.com/2018/06/28/most-voters-stayed-home-for-stunning-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-win/

Doug Jones vs Roy Moore

This, for me, says it all as far as turnout goes - 25% turnout was expected, 40% showed up https://www.al.com/news/2017/12/turnout_exceeds_expectations_i.html

Most recently - NC9 2018 votes for McCready vs 2019 votes for McCready.

Almost 100,000 vote difference in the number of voters who turned out to vote in the special election.  If McCready had only received the same number of votes as in 2018, he would have won.

We can contact every Democrat on the planet in a GOTV campaign but if they don’t show up to vote, our efforts are useless. We need to do a better job of educating voters in the following ways:

  1. Don’t pay attention to polls!
  2. Register/request an absentee ballot on January 2, 2020. Get ahead of state deadlines. 
  3. Once a candidate is nominated then all money and effort goes into GOTV as well as education: 
    1. register those not yet registered
    2. educate people on where their polling places are, how are they getting there (carpooling?), voting buddies, voting rights, especially if someone tries to turn them away from the polls (what can they do?) 
    3. absentee ballots, special elections
    4. stress TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT!! Our focus has to be on turnout - aim for 100% and maybe we will get 65%.
  4. IGNORE the polls!! IGNORE the pundits!! Don’t take anything for granted and Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

In 2016 the turnout for both R & D primaries/caucuses was 28%.  

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/10/turnout-was-high-in-the-2016-primary-season-but-just-short-of-2008-record/

When almost 3/4 of eligible voters do not participate in the democratic process, it's no wonder that people are dissatisfied with the choice of their candidates come the general election. Somehow they don’t realize that it’s their own fault when they don’t participate in the process.

Maybe we need to offer courses - Civics 101!


September Newsletter

Events 

  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Party
  • Salzburg Meet-Up
  • Experienced Dems 
  • Solidarity Sundays 
  • Black Caucus Book Club
  • DA EMEA Regional Meeting

Issues & Actions

  • Upcoming Elections 
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Reviews

  • Black Caucus Book Club
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round Two 

Around Town

  • American Diplomacy in a Disordered World
  • Vienna Humanities Festival 

 

ExComm Dates for September and October

DA Austria’s Executive Committee meetings are normally at 7pm on the second Wednesday of the month. However, due to travels the September meeting will be moved. Our next meetings will be held on: 

  • September ExComm: Thursday, September 5
  • October ExComm: Wednesday, October 9

Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location, if you’d like to come. 

 


 

Events:

Are We There Yet? Presidential Primary Debate Watch Party

What top issues do you want to see addressed in the next #DemDebate? Here's your chance to let the Democratic Party know. All questions you submit will be shared by debate media partners here.

The 10 candidates who have already qualified are: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; the former housing secretary Julián Castro; Senator Kamala Harris of California; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and the entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Join us on September 13 at Beaver Brewery Company. Come early to get a bite to eat and a beer and then settle in as we listen to the wealth of talent that makes up the slate of 2020 democratic presidential candidates and discuss what they have to say.

When:  Friday, September 13, from 7pm

Where:  Beaver Brewing Company, Liechtensteinstraße 69, 1090 Vienna

Contact:  Faith Hall-Herbold, f.hall-herbold@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Debate Watch Party

 

Salzburg Meet-Up

DA Members and others are warmly invited to join us for a meet-up in Salzburg on the day after the third presidential primary debate. There will certainly be a lot to discuss!

The location is not yet fixed, but it will be in the vicinity of the Salzburg main train station. Please email me at m.kollert@democratsabroad.at if you are interested and then I can give you the location. It does not have to be a firm RSVP, but that is how you'll know where to join us!

When:  Friday, September 13, from 5:30pm

Where:  TBD, Near the main train station, 5020 Salzburg

Contact:  Mary Beth Kollert, m.kollert@democratsabroad.at for location

RSVP: Salzburg Meet-Up

 

Experienced Dems Meet-Up

First meeting of the 2019-2020 year!

The Experienced Dems look forward to seeing democrats and interested folks at our monthly meet-up to discuss the latest in politics and current affairs. We start at six, but you're welcome to join at any time.

Remember, you don't have to be grey to be experienced! 

When:  Tuesday, September 17, from 6pm

Where:  Cafe Museum, Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

Contact:  John Cahill, j.cahill@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Experienced Dems

 

Solidarity Sundays 26:  The Amazing Disappearing Voter

Voter Suppression undermines democracy and the legitimacy of elected officials. It also changes legislative outcomes:  gun restrictions, child-care subsidies, prescription drug price reduction, and green energy bills are widely popular with voters. Each time one of these bills passes in the House, the Republican majority in the Senate blocks it. Let’s be clear:  there wouldn’t be a Republican majority in the Senate if the electorate looked more like America. And the electorate keeps shrinking, becoming whiter and more Republican, due to voter suppression.

Solidarity Sundays believes democracy isn’t a fight, it’s a practice. For our September meet-up we’ll discuss voter suppression, and the organizations pushing back. Bring ideas to share on how Americans living abroad might contribute to the battle for Voting Rights back home.

What:  Coffee, Cookies, and Civics

When:  Sunday, September 29, from 4-6pm

Where:  Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna

Contact:  Tanya Lolonis, solidaritysundays@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Solidarity Sundays

 

Black Caucus Book Club

At October's book club we will discuss the New York Times bestseller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Come join us!

When:  Friday, October 4, from 7pm

Where:  TBD Vienna

Contact:  Faith Hall-Herbold, f.hall-herbold@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Black Caucus Book Club

 

DA EMEA Regional Meeting

Do you want to dump Crazy Trump and ditch Moscow Mitch? Do you want to be one of the thousands of DA members around the globe to get out the vote and make that happen? 

If so, you’ll want to join Democrats Abroad as we get together for a series of workshops, training sessions, and presentations to prepare for the 2020 election. There will also be a welcome reception by DA Greece, caucus events, a cocktail reception, and a gala dinner. 

This is a fantastic way to experience the breadth and depth of DA’s leadership talent, exchange ideas, and keep up with 2020 get out the vote plans. I’ll be there with some other Excomm members – we hope you’ll join us! 

Please feel free to contact me at chair@democratsabroad.at with any questions you may have. For more detailed information about the DA EMEA Regional Meeting and to RSVP, click on the link

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

What:  Democrats Abroad Regional Meeting for Europe, Middle East, and Africa

When:  October 12-14, 2019

Where:  Athens, Greece

RSVP: EMEA Regional Meeting 

 



Issues & Actions:

 

How to Make A Difference at Home

Sleepy special and state elections may seem minor, but we should all be aware by now just how important state governors and legislatures can be as a push-back to Trump and his devastating policies. That’s why if you vote in any of the following six states please make sure to spread the word to your family, friends, and social media contacts to vote in the 2019 elections! 

This autumn will see special elections in North Carolina Districts 3 and 9. NC-9 is having a special election because of ballot tampering. Read More 

There are also five states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia — that will hold General Elections in November 2019 for state executive offices, state legislative offices or both. 

Don’t forget overseas voters need to submit the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)to request a ballot each calendar year to be guaranteed to receive ballots for elections in that year. Absentee ballots will be sent out on September 21.

First-time voters may simultaneously register to vote and request a ballot using the FPCA if the form is submitted according to the voter registration deadline. All other voters must submit the FPCA by the ballot request deadline

For more information about what’s on the ballots in the State elections and how to register to vote, go to What is on the Ballot in 2019? 

 

We Can’t Win Without You!

DA Austria is looking for people to fill the following positions so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020!

It will take a village to do all the things we need to do. Here are some opportunities to help:

  1. Take our Volunteer Survey. We are looking for volunteers in all areas.
  2. DA Austria is looking for members interested in heading our Youth Caucus and Hispanic Caucus and other vital positions. Find out more information about how to join our team
  3. Do you have an idea? We're looking for suggestions on how we can connect with more Americans in Austria, find places to advertise, events to have, and any suggestions you have to get more people to vote.  Bookmark this link and submit your ideas at any time.

 


 

Reviews:

 

GBC Book Club 

The group met up at a private location to discuss We were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Each chapter represented a year in the presidency of Barack Obama. The presidency of Barack Obama was monumental and was nearly scandal free, a far cry from the current administration. Coates, as well as the rest of the nation, are still analyzing the factors that lead to individuals voting first for Obama and then for Trump, including what racially motivated factors that were at play beyond the standard “economic anxiety” that was put forward as a main cause. Coates uses the historical precedence of the Reconstruction era that saw the successful integration of African Americans into the political and socioeconomic systems of the US only to be driven back during the backlash of Jim Crow era that followed. The chapters were so packed with beautifully written commentary, personal storytelling, and information that the group did not have enough time to discuss them all.

Even so, we will move on with the next book club where we will discuss the New York Times best seller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Come join us on Friday, October 4th at 7pm. Location TBD.

– Faith Hall-Herbold, Black Caucus Coordinator and Member at Large

 

How to Meet Your Next US President

June and July had great turnouts at our double-header Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties. We had the chance to meet and discuss with lots of members, new members and concerned non-Americans who hope we’ll dump Trump – it was wonderful to meet all of you!

As we go into the fall, the field of candidates will narrow down and the debates themselves will certainly heat up. It may feel like a long time until November 3, 2020, but the first primary caucus is in Iowa on February 3 – just six months away. And DA’s Global Presidential Primary, where you can vote for DA’s delegates to the convention, will take place March 3, on Super Tuesday. 

We hope to see you at an upcoming debate night watch party where you’ll be able to “meet” the future President – all the candidates have been joining in!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

 


 

Around Town:

American Diplomacy in a Disordered World

On Thursday, September 19, IWM Permanent Fellow Ivan Krastev will talk with Ambassador William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about America's changing role in the world and the purpose of American diplomacy. Registration is required. Find the registration form and more information at IWM Geopolitical Talks.

 

Vienna Humanities Festival

The fourth Vienna Humanities Festival will take place from September 26-29 with the theme Hope and Despair. As always, the IWM and Wien Museum have lined up interesting speakers to discuss “the burning issues of our time.” Most of the events are free. Find the program and more information at: Vienna Humanities Festival.


Join Our Team – We can’t do it without people like you!

DA Austria is looking for people to fill the following positions so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020!

Caucus Coordinators

Hispanic Caucus

General description for Caucus Chair positions:

  • Disseminate information to members
  • Coordinate caucus-related events in Austria
  • Periodically report to the global caucus steering committee
  • Find ways to add diversity to non-caucus events

Caucus Chair specific job descriptions:

Hispanic Caucus Chair: The caucus Chair coordinates and plans events and activities aimed at the Hispanic American community, works to raise awareness of issues concerning Hispanic Americans, and promotes National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

Youth Caucus Chair: FILLED!

Please be sure you are an official member of the caucus you are interested in leading. Go to their website, linked above and click the join button.

 

Communications Coordinator FILLED!

  • Work with Chair & ExComm to set communication goals 
  • Build up and oversee a Communications Team (Comms Team)
  • Work with Chair & ExComm to draft internal membership communications: Monthly newsletters, regular national emails, occasional voting notification emails, occasional invitations to events, etc.
  • Ensure that information on DAAT is updated regularly (Excom and chapter contacts, events, activities, etc) on the DAAT website
  • Communicate and coordinate with the international Communications Director on a regular basis

 

Get Out The Vote Coordinator

  • Form an “Elections Team” of various officers, at large members and others to coordinate all aspects of GOTV work in the runup to the 2020 elections
  • Plan and coordinate phone banking
  • Coordinate and organize info-stands and voter registration tables
  • Organize mass mailings to DAAT’s membership encouraging registration, voting, and donations (working in some cases with the Communication Coordinator)
  • Distribute information, templates, and know-how from DA International to the DAAT Excomm

 

Media Contact

  • Demonstrate verifiable experience and/or training in the fields of Media, Press and/or PR
  • Work with Chair & ExComm to set media goals 
  • Act as liaison between DAAT and international press officer
  • Write and organize translations (by one of our volunteer translators) of relevant press releases  (those not provided by international press officer)
  • Maintain national contact database for journalists / press contacts (googledoc)
  • Record and archive all press activities, articles, interviews (googledoc)
  • Create press kits for Global Primary and 2020 election

 

Social Media Coordinator (Part of Comms Team) FILLED!

  • Work with Chair & Comms Coordinator to set social media goals 
  • Develop a schedule of posts and web content
  • Create timely posts to DAAT social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Monitor all posts and comments on DAAT social media sites
  • Communicate and coordinate with the international Communications Director on a regular basis

If you are interested in one of these positions, please send an email to chair@democratsabroad.at

All positions will be appointed by the DAAT Chair with the consultation of the Executive Committee for a term of two years. Coordinators and Caucus Chairs may be removed by the DAAT Executive Committee at any time for conduct contrary to the interests of DAAT.


Dems Win When Dems Vote!

Don't forget – overseas voters MUST register to vote in every calendar year. Even if you registered for the 2018 midterms you will need to register and request your ballot for special elections in 2019.

If you, your friends or your family vote in North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi , New Jersey or Virginia? Remind them to vote in the upcoming special elections because Dems win when Dems vote and special elections matter!

+

July's Newsletter

Events

  • Global Black Caucus
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round Two
  • Experienced Dems
  • SolSun

Issues & Actions

  • The Difference You Make
  • How Activists Spend Summer Break

Reviews

  • DAA Talks
  • Pride Parade
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round One
  • Solidarity Sundays

ExComm Dates for August and September

Our Executive Committee meetings are normally at 7pm on the second Wednesday of the month. However, due to summer travels the September meeting will be moved:

  • August ExComm: none
  • September ExComm: Thursday, September 5

Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location.


Events:

 

Global Black Caucus

We were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an award-winning collection of powerful essays and articles written during the Obama era that thoughtfully examine the issues of race that are still prevalent in the US today. Come join us!

– Faith Hall-Herbold, Black Caucus Coordinator and Member at Large

WHEN: Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: The venue will be given along with your RSVP.

Visit this event on Facebook

 

Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties #2

It's debate time! Join us as we get together to watch and discuss the second round of debates.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

WHEN: Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: Fladerei, Hugo-Wiener Platz/Mittersteig 2a, 1040 Vienna

 

Experienced Dems

Experienced Dems is on a "Sommer Pause." We will meet again in September and I look forward to seeing each of you at that time.

–John Cahill, Experienced Dems Coordinator

 

SolSun

Solidarity Sundays is tanking energy and will be back on September 29th!

– Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, SolSun Co-Coordinators

 


Issues & Actions:

The Difference You Make

There is exciting news from the latest Election Assistance Commission survey results for the 2018 mid-term elections. While there is still some analysis to be done, it really looks like the turnout from overseas was THREE TIMES as high as in the last mid-term elections in 2014. This is an AMAZING result - an increase that far outstrips any stateside growth in voter turnout. Julia Bryan, DA International Chair, mentioned that Democrats Abroad and our efforts likely accounted for close to half of all voter turnout in 2018. I would only add that we probably directly impacted 50-75% of all DEMOCRATIC votes from overseas. I'll say it again. This is amazing - for a "state party" to have such a tremendous direct impact on voter turnout. Admittedly, this was a highly visible mid-term election. But this increase is a testament to the efforts of our leadership and our amazing volunteers. However, I would be remiss (or at least I think I would be remiss) if I didn't also mention the impact of money.

We spent well over $100,000 on GOTV activities in the last two months of the 2018 election. That money went towards a range of expenditures, but I will highlight two that played a big role in last year's amazing growth: funding for our CallHub phone-banking operations; and paying for social media advertising through Facebook ads that targeted overseas Americans and in particular "liberal" potential voters. These two elements, together with all the other great GOTV activities like voter registration booths, emails, and SMS-messaging, helped drive the incredible increase in voters. Volunteers help get out the vote. And money helps get out the vote. And we need both. So I would encourage all of you to donate what you can to Democrats Abroad - and encourage everyone you know, your members, your friends wherever they are, and your family to support us. There will be more to come as to how each of you can help - and more to come, I am sure, about the amazing 2018 results. But it's good to know that we really do make a difference.

– Art Schankler, DA Co-Chair Fundraising Committee

 

How Activists Spend Summer Break

It‘s summer. It‘s hot. Your brain is short-circuiting from a diet of Policy-by-Twitter. So much to react to, so much to save, so much to do. Democrats Abroad Austria and Solidarity Sundays urge you to use the summer months to retreat, relax, and re-charge. Come fall, we need you fit and focused: we have a democracy to take back. But activists (and who isn’t one after 2016?) are restless with nothing to do. We‘ve curated a small collection of articles, podcasts, and films to keep you engaged in the conversation of democracy. Check out one or two over the summer and keep your activist muscles limber.

Podcasts:

At publication, there are twenty-three Democratic presidential candidates. Who are they? Why are they running? What do they bring to the fight for democracy? The political podcast “Pod Save America” is conducting in-depth interviews with each candidate. Download their “2020” interviews, plug in your earphones, and let candidates tell you the problems they identify in our democracy, their solutions, and why they think they can solve them. http://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-america/

For an irreverent, savvy and informed unraveling of the mysteries of the Mueller investigation by a binder full of women, check out the Mueller She Wrote podcast.http://www.muellershewrote.com/

Articles:

The New York Review of Books discusses important books as an indispensable literary activity. It`s also incisive on politics. For those who take holiday relaxation seriously and pack beach reads rather than political tomes, NYRB offers good discussions of key books—without having to read them (unless you want to):

Streaming:

Robert Mueller says his report speaks for itself. Read it yet? If 400+ pages is a slog on a holiday, here’s a novel way to take in all ten counts of obstruction: A live reading (one hour) of the Mueller Report by Hollywood stars: The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts. http://lawworksaction.org/

Films:

Cope with our current political climate with comedy. We can’t promise you‘ll forget about global warming, right-wing nationalists, misogyny, racism, and homophobia, but a few laughs can restore heart and sanity for the work ahead:

National populism: To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942). Carole Lombard‘s final role is spent among a troupe of hilariously bad actors disguising themselves in order to mess with occupying Nazis in 1939 Poland.

Global warming: The Day After Tomorrow (Roland Emmerich, 2004). When this film came out, it was a far-off, apocalyptic flick. Now, it‘s a bit too real, but Dennis Quaid and a young Jake Gyllenhaal apply hotness to the battle of surviving climate change.

Donald Trump: Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956). Famous for being mentioned in the opening song of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and featuring a young and dashing Leslie Nielsen, re-watch this to remember that we are more powerful than any monster.


Reviews:

 

DAA Talks with Eric Frey –

A View of America and Journalism in the Age of Trump

It was a sweltering evening on June 4th when about 30 DA Austria members and friends gathered to hear Dr. Eric Frey, Senior Editor of der Standard, discuss his perspective on current issues in the US and Austria. After a thorough analysis of the upheavals in Austrian politics, Frey moved on to what he and many Europeans are hoping the Democrats will do to make sure Trump is a one-term president. Not surprisingly, the audience had many questions and a lively question and answer period followed.

Many thanks to Dr Frey for giving his time to speak with us!

–Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

EuroPride 2019

We want to extend a big thank you to all those who joined the 2019 EuroPride Parade on June 15 in Vienna by marching and showing solidarity with DA Austria. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and we gathered together to show our support of LGBTQIA+ rights worldwide!

Our theme was “Love Trumps Hate” as well as “Make Love, Not Walls.” It was a blast and (not to forget) a great message! We saw much love and support from bystanders who approached us for photos, flags, and just loved seeing us out there resisting the hate and policies of the current administration.

Laura and I had the honor of planning this year’s march and we couldn’t be happier with the turn out! It was a great group of people, over 35 of all ages came out and endured the heat to show their pride together. It truly was beautiful and colorful! The “MAKE LOVE, NOT WALLS” t-shirts were a big hit, and if you would still like to get one we could make another order if we get enough people interested. Let us know.

We are especially excited and energised for next year. Plans are already in the making for a bigger, more colorful, louder, and progressive march! As always we are excited for anyone's ideas, contributions, or even help in making next year’s march a reality. You can reach us at j.eckhart@democratsabroad.at and laura.farmwald@hotmail.com. Thanks again and stay proud!

Colorfully yours,

– Joey Eckhart

 

A note from a member: Thank you Laura and Joey and everyone else who helped make Democrats Abroad Austria's participation in the Europride Parade 2019 so incredible. I'm sure many people invested countless hours and great effort before the parade even started. Consider just the t-shirts: drumming up a team, conceiving, discussing, designing, spreading the word, taking orders, placing the order, picking up the shirts, selling the shirts... but that's not all: participation registration, flyers, flags and buttons, stunning banners, signs, a cart of supplies, water spray bottles ... even refreshments and watermelon! As a gay man, I was very touched by the solidarity and support so many DA allies displayed for us LGBTIQA+ people! I had to dash off at 1:30 to get ready to sing a concert, but I left with a full heart. Thank you, Scott W.

 

Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties, Round One

Fifteen or so DA Austria members got together each evening on Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28 to watch the first round of the 2020 presidential primary debates. And we weren’t alone! There were over 250 watch parties in the US and another 57 organised by Democrats Abroad around the world.

The way we win is by reaching voters and organizing everywhere. That is why we’re hosting these events – so that Americans around the world can hear firsthand from the candidates on their ideas for the American people. The lineups for each night were selected through a process that ensures no candidate begins the debate calendar at an immediate disadvantage because they've been relegated to a "kids table" debate. On the first night were: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren. The second night’s lineup was: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

All of the candidates attended our watch parties (see pictures). However, many candidates also accepted an invitation by Democrats Abroad and either came in person or sent a video to the Annual General Meeting that took place in May in Washington D.C. Listen to what they said to DA.

The two watch parties began with attendees trying to name all the candidates and sorting them into the two debate nights – there were many unknown’s! Then we listened carefully to what they had to say to help us learn about their positions on issues – and to fill out our buzzword bingo cards! Afterwards, there was lots of informal discussion about the candidates, both their positions and their performances.

The next watch parties will be held on July 31 and Aug 1, and September 13 & 14 (see events for details). Because of the time difference, the watch parties will always be the day after the debate. We hope you’ll join us!

–Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

Solidarity Sundays #25: The Green New Deal & You

Violent and frequent hurricanes. Record heat waves. Thousand-year floods. Devastating wildfires. Rising sea levels. Species decimation. Climate disruption is here, and scientists tell us we have 10 years to radically decarbonise to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. With the GOP in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, Democrats are the only party discussing how to address our near-apocalyptic crisis. What are they proposing?

Faith Hall-Herbold took Solidarity Sundays attendees through the key points of the Green New Deal. As the name indicates, the GND is inspired by FDR’s New Deal which addressed the Great Depression. The document is short and radical – short on specific policies and radical in its policy aims. It calls on the US to: (1) enact a climate change action plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030; (2) re-structure the economy with cooperation between unions, communities, business, and government; and (3) ensure justice so that coal workers, rural communities, and people of color aren’t left behind during the transition.

READ MORE

A global climate strike, expanding beyond school children, has been called for 20 September 2019. It will be followed by a global week of action: http://globalclimatestrike.net. Details on how to participate as part of Democrats Abroad Austria will be in the September DA Newsletter.

DA Austria
http://www.democratsabroad.org/


Solidarity Sundays #25: The Green New Deal & You

 

Violent and frequent hurricanes. Record heat waves. Thousand-year floods. Devastating wildfires. Rising sea levels. Species decimation. Climate disruption is here, and scientists tell us we have 10 years to radically decarbonise to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. With the GOP in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, Democrats are the only party discussing how to address our near-apocalyptic crisis. What are they proposing?

Faith Hall-Herbold took Solidarity Sundays attendees through the key points of the Green New Deal. As the name indicates, the GND is inspired by FDR’s New Deal which addressed the Great Depression. The document is short and radical – short on specific policies and radical in its policy aims. It calls on the US to: (1) enact a climate change action plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030; (2) re-structure the economy with cooperation between unions, communities, business, and government; and (3) ensure justice so that coal workers, rural communities, and people of color aren’t left behind during the transition.

It’s a tall order. It’s made more difficult by the fact that the fossil fuel industry is more organized than the renewable energy lobby. But Hall-Herbold identifies two reasons for hope that we can act in time: first is the sorry state of America’s infrastructure. This offers the chance for bi-partisan cooperation to repair and upgrade electricity generation, road and rail transport, and buildings. The GND emphasis on massive federal investment in clean energy is politically appealing – especially now that Democratic candidates have stopped mentioning the politically radioactive “carbon tax”.

The second opportunity resides in the youth movements demanding government action on climate change. Natural systems appear to have “tipping points” in which positive feedbacks accelerate the rush toward disasters. Loss of sun-reflecting snow and ice, for example, accelerates the pace of global warming. Our socio-economic system may be developing “good” tipping points. Alternative energy sources are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels, and may initiate a rapid shift to the former. Political campaigns, too, can have outsized results. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg inspires people to protest around the world through the amplifying effect of the internet and social media. Public support for the policies that will be necessary to transition to a low-carbon economy is critical: more young people voting, and spreading awareness of the costs of climate change hold promise of a good tipping point in the near future.

A global climate strike, expanding beyond school children, has been called for 20 September 2019. It will be followed by a global week of action: http://globalclimatestrike.net. Details on how to participate as part of Democrats Abroad Austria will be in the September DA Newsletter.

–Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator