News

The Democrats Abroad Austria April Newsletter

  • Upcoming Events

    • Young Dems Pub Night Thursday, April 20
    • March for Science Saturday, April 22
    • Solidarity Sundays #3 Sunday, April 30
  • Issues and Actions

    • Looking Forward, Stepping Up: DAA is Taking Action
    • Solidarity Sundays Vienna: Persist Persistently
    • DA FBAR/FATCA Task Force Report: 15 April Filing Date!
    • DA’s new “Global Action Team” (GAT)
  • DAA Review

    • Annual General Meeting 2017:
    • Re-cap by Outgoing Chair
    • Post-AGM Get Together
    • AGM Questionnaire Results
    • A Fun Political “Sudoku Quiz”
    • “Growing the Grassroots”: Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 on “DREAMers”
  • Members’ Corner

    • Popular Political Podcasts—All for free!
    • Rational Readers Club

 

Upcoming Events


 

The Young Democrats Abroad Pub Night in April

 

 photo beaverbrewingco_zpsefvdnofl.jpg

It seems like a lot of members are taking a hiatus from drinking during Lent, so our next pub night will be the first Thursday after Easter, so there'll be no excuse not to come and join us!

Beaver Brewing Co. is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your little friends as well.

*Disclaimer: Contrary to some belief, Democrats Abroad cannot treat us to our monthly pub nights, so please be sure to pay your complete tab at the end of the night! Thanks in advance ;-)

If you prefer to RSVP via Facebook, you can!
WHEN
Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM
WHERE
Beaver Brewing Company
Leichtensteinstrasse 69
Vienna 1090
Austria
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Ashley Arreola · [email protected] · +436503749481

 


 

March for Science

 

JOIN DAA AS WE PARTICIPATE WITH OTHERS AROUND THE GLOBE IN THE MARCH FOR SCIENCE!

Albert_Einstein-2.png

We’ll be easy to spot with an American flag, our DAA signs, and we’ll be getting creative as well!

Science is grounded in facts and substantiated arguments. Science and technology are the biggest contributors to the prosperity of society via education and health care. Much remains to be done to reduce existing global inequalities. Considering the enormity of the challenges our world will face in the near future, we need solutions that can only be realized and implemented by a science-based society.

The current political climate, not only in the United States but also abroad, gives us cause for concern. The falsification and denigration of facts for ideological purposes threaten not only science, but also the basis of democracy.

We call upon you to protect, strengthen, and celebrate the democratic foundations of science. We are not alone in this mission: 400 near-simultaneous demonstrations the world over prove that science and society are both willing to work towards an open-minded future.

WHEN
Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
WHERE
Sigmund-Freud-Park
Vienna 1090
Austria
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Oliver Lehmann · [email protected]

SOLIDARITY SUNDAYS VIENNA #3: CITIZENS ABROAD AND TAXATION

 photo 4301d5b9-fb12-4007-a9f9-1e3f3ac9c01a_zpspvab5fsa.png

FATCA Schmatka? Do we as citizens abroad care about residence-based taxation?

  • How to change overseas tax misery by getting Congress to vote in our and the nation's interest!
  • Action! … Dear Honorable …We’re going to write the kind of letter to our elected representatives that gets us a reaction. Our Democrats Abroad colleagues are going door-knocking on Capitol Hill and will put your letters right into the hands of your elected representatives.
  • PS Keep your eyes on the Dems Abroad website for FATCA deadline infos!

You can RSVP via Facebook if you prefer!

WHEN
Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 04:00 PM - 04:00 PM
WHERE
Amerlinghaus
Stiftgasse 8
Vienna 1070
Austria
Google map and directions
CONTACT
Antje Lewis · [email protected]

 

Issues and Actions


 

Looking Forward, Stepping Up

By Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

It goes without saying that the 2016 US presidential election was a shock to pretty much everyone. While most of us still have the “what if” soundtrack replaying in our heads, a number of things have become clear since Trump’s inauguration on 21 January 2017. First and foremost, we, as citizens, not only stand up for our beliefs, we also get involved, we get organized, and we get active. So, regardless of the threat to our democracy that many of us perceive, we’ve proven that our voices can be heard.

 

This is why I’m excited and looking forward to my coming term as Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.

 

Read more …

 


Solidarity Sundays Vienna: Persist Persistently

By DAA Grassroots

Persist Persistently! Here’s how.

Mark your calendars: last Sunday of the month, 4 pm in Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna.

Every meeting has a topic and a real, live action. Get up on the issues, have some fun, do some good.

We’re an open group, you can come with no strings attached, or you can attach strings and help out :-) Fire off an email: [email protected]

Check us out + share: https://www.facebook.com/solsunvienna/

We have an event planned for the last Sunday of every month this whole year!! 

The Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA Task Force Report – March 2017

Democrats Abroad works hard for all Americans Abroad on a number of issues and on FATCA/FBAR in particular. As you may have become aware of over the past few years, Americans with accounts in foreign financial institutions with a total balance across all accounts at any point during the year of US $10,000 or more need to file a FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report) Form 114. This year, for the first time, the form is due for submission on 15 April, as opposed to 30 June as it has been in the past.

As Carmelan Polce, the Singapore-based Chair of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) wrote to the DPCA Leadership on 24 March 2017: “I appreciate it has been six months since you had an update from the FBAR/FATCA Task Force, but we’ve all had rather larger, more pressing fears and concerns to contemplate since last fall … and there hasn’t actually been much to say until now.” But now there IS—and the contents of this report are important for YOU as tax-paying Americans abroad. “You may be asked about FATCA and the Trump Government, so we hope these notes will help you to form answers.”

View the full report here.

 

READ MORE...


DA’s new “Global Action Team” (GAT)

On Sunday, March 26, in the context of our new “Solidarity Sundays”, Katie Solon, Democrats Abroad International Chair, gave an update on global outreach strategies and initiatives. Citing the growing ranks of active Dems Abroad—up by 10,000 members since the November 2016 election—she said that the new buzzword is the “Global Action Team” or “GAT”. The four action priorities are:

  1. Sharing resources
  2. Networking
  3. Bubble-up ideas on “global post-it” notes
  4. “Globalizing” 2-3 national events this year (e.g. the highly successful “Women’s March on Washington” in January that was replicated not only in US but around the world.

A GAT Leadership Team is being developed and there are also several Global Caucuses:

  • The Women’s Global Caucus
  • The LGTB Global Caucus
  • The Young Dems Global Caucus, are currently recruiting country chairs and new members.

 New global caucuses are welcomed, Katie said, and the “hurdles” to create one are very low and easily surmountable. More details and Best Practices on WIKI and the Democrats Abroad website.


DAA Review


 

March 2017 DAA Annual General Meeting Re-cap

By Vice-Chair, Keith Jacomine

On March 18th members of DA-Austria met for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review the previous year’s business activities and elect a new Executive Committee.

The evening started with a business review by outgoing Chair, Keith Jacomine, and Vice-Chair, Ashley Arreola. The Chair's presentation focused on the sizeable growth in membership over the past year, the increased level of volunteerism amongst members, DAA’s financial and leadership support to the Democratic Party Committee Abroad—plus our members’ emboldened political activism. The Vice-Chair‘s presentation focused on member engagement and the numerous events, ranging from social to political orientation, that were staged over the year 2016 to keep members active and aware.

Read more...

POLITICAL SUDOKU- A “Mary Ann and Keith’s Quiz Special” by Democrats Abroad Austria on Scribd


 Post-AGM Dinner and Get-Together

By Ellen Lewis, Secretary

 

Political meetings are best digested with tasty food and a good glass—or more—of wine. Following the AGM, members enjoyed a bit of wine and tapas onsite before heading en masse to dinner at the nearby “Brickmakers Pub and Kitchen” where we had the chance to socialize with DA-A friends and get to know new people. Engaging conversations ranged from political to personal, and it was particularly refreshing to have such a mix of young and not-so-young!

There was a spontaneous invitation to continue the merrymaking at Yvonne Richard’s apartment and those of us who did had a great time. Bonding over DAA politics, especially in the present climate, fosters both activism and camaraderie! 


Results from the AGM and Online Questionnaire

By Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

I’ve long had an open question in my mind about whether our efforts at DAA are actually reaching their intended targets. Therefore, I took the opportunity of the AGM to put together a questionnaire (which was also available via an online survey) to ask members their opinions about what we were doing and how we were doing it.

Altogether, 110 members responded within a few days and the results have made us rethink some of our approaches. A total of 85% of responding members receive their news from the emailed DAA newsletter. Thus, thanks to member-at-large, Adrea Mach, look forward to a newsletter that is both bigger and more substantive.  

Read more...

DAA Questionnaire by Democrats Abroad Austria on Scribd

 


 Growing the Grassroots: Solidarity Sundays #2 on “DREAMers”

On Sunday, March 26, a good dozen members—including a surprise appearance by DA International Chair Katie Solon—and interested visitors gathered together for the second Solidarity Sunday at Vienna’s Amerlinghaus (Stiftgasse 8, 1070), which will now be this action’s permanent monthly meeting site. SolSun founding organizers Juan David Cerda, Antje Lewis and Tanya Lolonis steered this energizing event.

Read more...

 


 

Members’ Corner

Here are a few events and items that may be of interest to DAA members.

 

Popular Political Podcasts—Informative, Fun, and all for Free!

By Tanya Lolonis, Member and Grassroots Activist

Today’s fusion of media and politics, as well as media as a platform for politicians and movements, makes podcasts a terrific medium for exploring—and resisting—the Trump era. Some of the best discussions on U.S. politics are streaming through your speakers and headphones right now! Three standouts (all free on iTunes):

Read more...

 


Looking Forward, Stepping Up

 

By Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair 

It goes without saying that the 2016 US presidential election was a shock to pretty much everyone. While most of us still have the “what if” soundtrack replaying in our heads, a number of things have become clear since Trump’s inauguration on 21 January 2017. First and foremost, we, as citizens, not only stand up for our beliefs, we also get involved, we get organized, and we get active. So, regardless of the threat to our democracy that many of us perceive, we’ve proven that our voices can be heard.

This is why I’m excited and looking forward to my coming term as Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria. 

The critical issues that are keeping thousands of activists busy in the US and across the globe are the very same issues, actions, and events that are generating a new wave of members to become actively involved in DAA and will enable Democrats Abroad to help take back the Senate and turn Congress blue in 2018.

Directly after the November 2016 election, DAA couldn’t just sit still so, instead, we stepped up and responded in the best ways we knew: we organized a vigil; we joined in with and supported Caroline Kirkpatrick, who organised the “Women’s March on Washington” here in Vienna; and we gave our whole-hearted suport to the newly formed DAA Grassroots activists and started working on their monthly Solidarity Sundays. We’re investing a LOT of energy!

Over the coming two years, my goal as DAA Chair is to build on that energy and move it towards, not just the ExComm, but encouraging each and every one of us to take one step up. If you registered to vote from abroad, help us now to register others to vote for the 2018 mid-term elections. If you went to an event before, now help organize one. If you thought something wasn’t working right, then step up and help change it for the better. If each and every one of us takes just one little step up to the next higher level of participation, come November ‘18, we will have generated a Democrats activists’ storm–let’s make it a Category 5!

The new Executive Committee looks forward to meeting and working with many volunteers over the next few years! We would also sincerely like to thank our retiring board members, Mary Ann Balko-Koch, Stanley Hale, Christian Gauster, Eva Ciabattoni, and Fred Robinson for all their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment over the past years.


The Democrats Abroad FBAR/FATCA Task Force Report

Democrats Abroad works hard for all Americans Abroad on a number of issues and on FATCA/FBAR in particular. As you may have become aware of over the past few years, Americans with accounts in foreign financial institutions with a total balance across all accounts at any point during the year of US $10,000 or more need to file a FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report) Form 114. This year, for the first time, the form is due for submission on 15 April, as opposed to 30 June as it has been in the past.

 

As Carmelan Polce, the Singapore-based Chair of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) wrote to the DPCA Leadership on 24 March 2017: “I appreciate it has been six months since you had an update from the FBAR/FATCA Task Force, but we’ve all had rather larger, more pressing fears and concerns to contemplate since last fall … and there hasn’t actually been much to say until now.” But now there IS—and the contents of this report are important for YOU as tax-paying Americans abroad. “You may be asked about FATCA and the Trump Government, so we hope these notes will help you to form answers.”

For the full report go to http://www.democratsabroad.org/fbar_fatca_task_force_report

 

Here are the highlights of the report in a nutshell:
  • Democrats Abroad continues to support Residency-based Taxation and believes the proposal that has the best model will entail both fees and penalties for exercising the reporting exemption and be revenue neutral.
  • FBAR is due on April 15, 2017 as opposed to June 30, 2017 as it has been in the past, although supposedly there is a six-month automatic extention. DAA does NOT give tax advice–you must check with your tax advisor or FinCen’s website for the filing due date.
  • Many Americans living abroad know nothing of their obligation to report to the IRS the earnings they make in their country of residence. 
  • Double Taxation: Many areas of the tax code were developed without due consideration for the impact they would have on Americans residing abroad. 
DPCA welcomes your comments and commitment to their efforts. To get involved in this important issue visit:

2017 Democrats Abroad Annual General Meeting Review

By Vice-Chair - Keith Jacomine

On March 18th members of DA-Austria met for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review the previous year’s business activities and elect a new Executive Committee.

The evening started with a business review by outgoing Chair, Keith Jacomine, and Vice-Chair, Ashley Arreola. The Chair's presentation focused on the sizeable growth in membership over the past year, the increased level of volunteerism amongst members, DAA’s financial and leadership support to the Democratic Party Committee Abroad—plus our members’ emboldened political activism. The Vice-Chair‘s presentation focused on member engagement and the numerous events, ranging from social to political orientation, that were staged over the year 2016 to keep members active and aware.

After wrapping up the AGM’s business agenda, the floor was opened to audience participation. What followed was a spirited discussion of DA’s overrall role in the Democratic Party and many members’ desire for it to take on a more grassroots, progressive orientation. The discussion ended with an agreement that, regardless of which “flavor” or persuasion one is on the Democratic Party spectrum, we must all work together to beat the Republicans. 

Post-discussion, it was time for the 2017-2019 Executive Committee elections. While the ballots were being tabulated, Chair Keith Jacomine and Member-at-large, Mary Ann Balko-Koch, entertained members with a politically oriented Trivia Quiz: "Real or Fake Headline/Who Said It Quotes" with the top winners walking away with "valuable" prizes. Since this is perhaps not so “trivial” after all, if you would like to test your knowledge, you can find the Quiz right here! 

Following the announcement of the vote results, the new Executive Committee was introduced. They are:

Chair Jennifer Rakow-Stepper

Vice-Chair Keith Jacomine

Treasurer Marcy Fowler

Secretary Ellen Lewis

Counsel Bruce Murray

At Large: Caitlin Ahern

Ashley Arreola

Adrea Mach

Matthew Stevens

 

Our newly elected Chair, Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, then presented the priorities, focusing our efforts over the coming two years (2017-2019) to work on the issues we care about and use our work to rally voters to the polls for the 2018 mid-term elections. She closed her presentation with a call to “Be Active! Volunteer for an issue you care about! Get involved!” 

Thanks to all the members and volunteers who have tirelessly given of their time and energy this past year. If you'd like further information on what was discussed at the meeting, please email Ellen Lewis, DAA Secretary at [email protected]

 


Results from the AGM and Online Questionnaire

By DAA Chair Jennifer Rakow-Stepper

I’ve long had an open question in my mind about whether our efforts at DAA are actually reaching their intended targets. Therefore, I took the opportunity of the AGM to put together a questionnaire (which was also available via an online survey) to ask members their opinions about what we were doing and how we were doing it.

Altogether, 110 members responded within a few days and the results have made us rethink some of our approaches. A total of 85% of responding members receive their news from the emailed DAA newsletter. Thus, thanks to member-at-large, Adrea Mach, look forward to a newsletter that is both bigger and more substantive.

The survey also gave us a better idea of what kind of events members have attended, been popular in the past, and what types of events members would like to see take place in the future–think political actions and events and quarterly meet-ups!

Finally, out of 110 respondents to the DAA survey, almost half replied that they would like to help, but weren’t sure exactly what they could do, while twenty-nine said they would like to help with a specific issue, and another thirteen members sent their name and email saying, “Call Me”. That is a really enthusiastic response!

Overall, since the election, 11,000 members have raised their hand to volunteer to Democrats Abroad. DAA Excomm would like to thank everyone who responded to the survey and especially those of you who have stepped up to volunteer your time!

Click below to view the questionnaire results in full.

DAA Questionnaire by Democrats Abroad Austria


Growing the Grassroots : Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 - on "DREAMers"

On Sunday, March 26, a good dozen members—including a surprise appearance by DA International Chair Katie Solon—and interested visitors gathered together for the second Solidarity Sunday at Vienna’s Amerlinghaus (Stiftgasse 8, 1070), which will now be this action’s permanent monthly meeting site. SolSun founding organizers Juan David Cerda, Antje Lewis and Tanya Lolonis steered this energizing event.

Juan, our guest speaker, brought the issues of “Dreamers” to light with moving, insightful personal stories (See “Round-up on “DREAMers”: Issues and Interview with Juan David Cerda” for details). We heard about the so-called “DREAM Act”—the acronym for the “Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act—a US congressional bill first introduced in 2001 aimed at stepwise granting of legal status to undocumented minor immigrants, allowing them educational opportunities and potentially paving the way to permanent residence and American citizenship.

 

After wide-ranging discussions on America’s public perceptions of “DREAMers”—from young refugees in need of support, education and protection to “criminals” to be immediately and en masse—we moved to “What can WE—ourselves American ‘migrants’ abroad—do to help our homeland counterparts?”

 

“Contact your Congressional Representative, Senator or locally elected Sheriff!” and “Write a Letter to the Editor of your voting district newspaper!” was Tanya’s answer. She provided us not only with letters-to-the-editor writing tips and a sample letter but also the comprehensive website—http://www.50states.com/news—to pinpoint the contact details of newspapers in our previous hometowns and/or current voter registration cities. Our “homework” was to:

  1. Look up the media channels.
  2. Identify a current “hot” political issue there—“DREAMers” or another burning issue.
  3. Draft/share your “LTE” letter with [email protected].
  4. SUBMIT it per email to this news outlet or congressional or sheriff’s office within a week maximum! And, of course, if your “LTE” gets published, Bravo! Let us know what kind of feedback it produced!

 

After a brief DA global update by Katie Solon, we focused on our own SolSun thematic priorities for the coming months. Everyone was invited to propose topics, actions and hands-on help.

 

For those of you unable to attend these motivating “Solidarity Sundays” in person, our monthly DAA Newsletter will also do its part by previewing upcoming SolSun topics and reporting on their outcomes and follow-up channels, thus expanding our outreach. For queries or inputs, please contact [email protected].

Join us at Solidarity Sundays Vienna #3 on April 30, 2017.


Member's Corner

Popular Political Podcasts—Informative, Fun, and all for Free!

By Tanya Lolonis, Member and Grassroots Activist

Today’s fusion of media and politics, as well as media as a platform for politicians and movements, makes podcasts a terrific medium for exploring—and resisting—the Trump era. Some of the best discussions on U.S. politics are streaming through your speakers and headphones right now! Three standouts (all free on iTunes):

  • Pod Save America is the ideological home of the resistance. Four former members of President Obama’s inner circle - Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor - enlist journalists, politicians and activists to discuss politics, the press, and the Trump presidency. Barack Obama’s last interview as president was here, and Tom Perez and Keith Ellison both featured in the run-up to the DNC election. Consistently at the top of iTunes podcast charts in the U.S.
  • With Friends Like These is the cyber-space where political columnist and culture critic, Ana Marie Cox, conducts open, in-depth conversations with liberals and conservatives about what divides us. It’s billed as “a show about listening instead of arguing” and is a good place to get ready for those hard conversations with Trump-supporting family back home. 
  • Vox’s The Weeds is where wonkish journalists Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff and Matt Yglesias tackle complex, weighty topics — perfect if you want to use your daily commute or run to understand Obamacare, the history of U.S. immigration policy, or SCOTUS (i.e. the Supreme Court of the United States). Billed as the podcast for people who “love thinking about health care, economics and zoning.” 

For further details, please contact Tanya at [email protected].

 


Rational Readers Club

By Marcy Fowler, Treasurer

 

The Rational Readers Club of Vienna will be meeting on April 15 to discuss Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. And since we're meeting on Tax Day, we’ll also talk about current issues related to transparency in government. We’ll share tips on effectively calling our government officials and then will try out our enhanced skills by making calls to demand that Trump release his tax returns. 

Details: Saturday, April 15 at 11:00 am at Café Phil (Gumpendorferstraße 10-12, 1060 Vienna). We would enthusiastically welcome new book club members--please just contact us in advance at [email protected].

We’ll be meeting again in May (details TBA) to discuss our next book, The Captive Mind, by Czesław Miłosz.


Democrats Abroad Austria March Newsletter

In this March 2017 issue:

  1. Upcoming Events

    1. 2017 Annual General Meeting and Elections – March 18

    2. Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 – March 26

  2. Issues and Actions

    1. Grassroots Grow Roots

    2. Reflections from the Outgoing DAA Chair

  3. DAA Review

    1. Solidarity Sundays #1 in Support of Planned Parenthood

    2. Graz Meet-Up – Afternoon of Action

      4. Member's Corner

    1. International Women’s Day/A Day Without Women – March 8
    2. April 15 Join Trump taxes call-in  http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/tax-day-trump-protest-democrats-235064.
    3. April 22 Science March 

 

1. Upcoming Events

    • 2017 Annual General Meeting and Executive Committee Election

Please join fellow DA Austria members on Saturday, March 18th to recap a very eventful 2016 and elect members of the Executive Committee.

JOIN US:
Date: Saturday, March 18, 2017

Time: 3:30 - 5:30 pm (doors open at 3:00 pm)

Place: SPÖ Neubau, Lindengasse 64 (ground floor), 1070 Vienna

Contact: Mary Ann Balko-Koch, [email protected]

 

Please pre-register for the meeting by clicking here to contact -> Mary Ann Balko-Koch ([email protected]).

Include your: Name, address, phone number and voting state in your email to her so that your record stays current. This will help us start the meeting on time and ensure that we have an accurate vote count. We encourage all members to pre-register, even if you're uncertain that you can make it, in order to minimize long waiting lines.

We are making a group reservation for dinner after the meeting at 6pm at The Brickmakers, Zieglergasse 42 (a five-minute walk from the meeting location)  http://www.brickmakers.at. If you'd like to be included in the reservation, please inform Mary Ann when you pre-register.  We need to tell the restaurant how many we will be, so we’d appreciate your pre-registration by Saturday, March 11 if you plan to join us for dinner!  

 

    • Solidarity Sundays #2: Action for DREAMERS & Team-building for Future SolSuns
Time: Sunday March 26, 4-6pm 
Place: Central Vienna, address TBA
Contact: [email protected] 
DAA Grassroots brings you yet another fun and informative action event! 
 
On the last Sunday of every month in 2017, we are organising a “Solidarity Sundays”– a short, late afternoon devoted to one high-priority issue for Democrats.
 
Our volunteer team for March 26 invites you to take action for DREAMERS. We'll address the current wave of deportation of undocumented immigrants and write letters to the editor of our hometown papers–the most-read page of any paper and a great place to advocate. Our team will help you find the address of your local papers, and have advice and sample texts at hand, plus a printer for you to use. Make your voice heard!
Parallel to this action, we are going to choose topics for our future SolSuns. It’s your chance to suggest and adopt a topic and work with our Grassroots  mentors to make a Solidarity Sundays come alive. Be part of the Resistance! Check the democrats.abroad.org/at  events page and keep an eye on the DAA Facebook page for location information. 



2. Issues and Actions

    •  Grassroots Grow Roots

In the aftermath of the election, three DAA members, Antje Lewis, Tanya Lolonis, and Juan David Cerda, banded together to “Make America Safe for Democracy Again!” They set themselves the challenge of activating Democrats Abroad members and U.S. ex-pats in Austria, and to have fun while doing it. Since November, Grassroots of Democrats Abroad Austria Caucus has developed a format and a growing list of ideas to turn frustration into action. 

In the spirit of the activist groups Indivisible and Solidarity Sundays, Solidarity Sundays Vienna plans monthly meet-ups to target a specific issue or non-profit organization under threat by the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled houses of Congress. 

The goal of this grassroots effort is to build a community of activists in Austria. The ideas and energy that the group generates reflect a participatory approach: DAA members are encouraged to propose an issue to target and the Caucus will help you organize your action or event. 

What issue do you wish to support? Join us! We’ll support you in constructing events that educate and activate, whether it be contacting our representatives, conducting teach-ins or read-ins, skywriting, or marching. Contact Tanya, Antje, or Juan to get the wheels in motion for a Solidarity Sundays Vienna action you’d like to see. Grassroots of DAA Caucus wants to hear from you: we know you have LOTS to say!

 

    • Reflections from the Outgoing DAA Chair, Keith Jacomine

Four years ago at the March Annual General Meeting, I was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria. My, how time has flown by.  Over the past four years, we have seen the highs of the second term of the Obama presidency and the beginning of the nightmare of the Trump Administration. Could the contrast be any greater?

 

In looking back over this time, I'm proud of our many accomplishments: in both the midterm and presidential elections volunteers made thousands of phone calls to encourage members to vote and provide support on casting absentee ballots; we ran a very successful global primary where over half of our members cast a ballot; and we increased our membership significantly over that period. And it wasn't just hard work and no play – DAA became more active in the expat community and increased member engagement through social outings such as Fourth of July and Thanksgiving events, participation in the Pride Parade, wine tastings, theatre events, and Young Dems Pub Nights.

 

For all their help and support in making the past four years a success, I'd like to thank our many volunteers and my fellow members of the Executive Committee: Vice-Chair Ashley Arreola; Council Chris Gastner; Secretary Eva Ciabattoni; Treasurer Fred Robinson; and Members-At-Large Stanley Hale, Caitlin Ahern, Mary Ann Balko-Koch and Matt Stevens.  

While some of the Excom members are running to retain their positions, both Ashley and I are not seeking reelection in our current capacities due to term limitations. Additionally, two of our long-serving Executive Committee members-at-large, Stan Hale and Mary Ann Balko-Koch, have chosen to retire at this time. I'd like to give Ashley, Stan a Mary Ann a special thanks.  

 

Ashley has been an invaluable co-conspirator during my tenure as chair. She provided youth and vigor to the group and brought a fresh can-do approach to our discussions. Ashley is also directly responsible for creating the Young Dems group in Austria and getting them together for monthly outings.  

 

Stanley joined DAA as Media Contact in 2006 and served until 2017, and also for many years formatted and dispatched the newsletter. Stan says one of his unforgettable experiences as our media contact was the early breakfast on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at the Lion Rampant pub in the 19th district with a group of delirious expats who had spent the night following the election results with live CNN streaming and the never-ending stream of journalists who interviewed him in German. We thank Stan for his many years ensuring that we, our positions and Democratic candidates are favorably represented in the press.  

 

Mary Ann has been on the Executive Committee since 2010 and is responsible for membership and our member data base.  Through Mary Ann's hard work and dedication, our membership data base has consistently been ranked as one of the cleanest and most accurate in all of Democrats Abroad.  The accuracy of our data base and the resulting verified membership is important for things such as the number of votes our country committee gets to cast for some Democratic Party Committee Abroad business matters.  I say this partly in jest but it's an accurate statement: I've known Mary Ann to spend countless hours emailing, writing or calling unverified members in an effort to ensure that they still reside in Austria.  Since I became chair, Mary Ann has been my first call if a question arose that I couldn't answer.  I thank her for her time, commitment and friendship during the past four years.  

 

Knowing our slate of candidates who have so far tossed their hats in the ring, I am confident and optimistic that Democrats Abroad Austria will continue to be an active and vital organization in these challenging times and that DAA will continue to fight for democratic and progressive ideals – and we will work our asses off to get Democrats elected in the 2018 midterms and win back the White House in 2020.

Thank you again for giving me the honor to serve as chair. It's an experience I will cherish forever.

Sincerely,

Keith M. Jacomine

Democrats Abroad Austria Chair 

 

 

3. DAA Review

    • Solidarity Sundays #1 in Support of Planned Parenthood

On Sunday, February 26, more than thirty members and non-members joined us at Die AU for the very first Solidarity Sundays Vienna. Thanks to the efforts of DAA members Allison Gutscher and Lizzie Stevens it was a HUGE success!

 

We watched a short film about the history of Planned Parenthood, discussed ideas for future actions, and listened to some great songs performed by Danny Chicago. It was a family affair and everyone did a lot of writing.  On Monday, more than 100 postcards were sent by DHL to the States to be mailed with the USPS to our senators and members of Congress. Thanks to everyone who did their bit to make this event successful!

 

Join us at Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 on March 26. Details TBA on our Facebook page, #SolidaritySundaysVienna. There is a lot of solidarity out there – we garnered 216 likes on the main Solidarity Sundays FB page! For more information about the threat to Planned Parenthood go to #IstandwithPP.



    • Graz Meet-Up: Day of Action

On Friday, February 17th, a few motivated Dems braved the rain to meet up in Graz and brainstorm actions to take from “the Green Heart of Austria”. We composed a list of helpful links and resources, which is shared on the Democrats Abroad in Graz Facebook group (please join if interested!). If you’d like a copy of the document, or to stay in touch if not on Facebook, contact Caitlin Ahern at [email protected].

 

4. Member's Corner 

    • International Women’s Day / A Day Without a Woman – March 8 

In celebration of the International Day Without a Woman, and in support of all women around the world, our friends at the Rational Readers Club of Vienna will not be working on March 8. Instead, we will be meeting to discuss The Rebel by Albert Camus, recent events related to intersectional feminism, and the Indivisible Guide (https://www.indivisibleguide.com/).

We welcome anyone who would like to join us--please just contact us in advance at [email protected]. We will be meeting again in April to discuss our next book, Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, and would enthusiastically welcome new book club members.

Details: Rational Readers Club of Vienna will be meeting Wednesday, March 8 at 11:30 am at Café Phil (Gumpendorferstraße 10-12, 1060 Vienna), and will be wearing red in solidarity with women around the world. Please contact [email protected] to RSVP or to inquire about joining the book club. In addition, there are many events planned in Vienna for International Women's Day. Please click here for a comprehensive listing


Grassroots Grow Roots

In the aftermath of the election, three DAA members, Antje Lewis, Tanya Lolonis, and
Juan David Cerda, banded together to “Make America safe for Democracy Again!“
They set themselves the challenge of activating Democrats Abroad members and U.S.
ex-pats in Austria, and to have fun while doing it. Since November, Grassroots of
Democrats Abroad Austria Caucus has developed a format and a growing list of ideas
to turn frustration into actions. 
In the spirit of the activist groups Indivisible and Solidarity Sundays, Solidarity
Sundays Vienna plans monthly meet-ups to target a specific issue or non-profit
organization under threat by the Trump Administration and the Republican-
controlled Houses of Congress. 
The goal of this grassroots effort is to build a community of activists in Austria. The
ideas and energy that the group generates reflect a participatory approach: DAA
members are encouraged to propose an issue to target and the Caucus will help you
organize your action or event. 
When DAA members Allison Gutscher and Lizzie Stevens said that they’d like to
organize a postcard writing action for Planned Parenthood, the Grassroots Caucus
brainstormed with them and offered practical assistance to help them make it
happen. The very first Solidarity Sundays Vienna is set for Sunday, February 26!
(details below) And on Earth Day, April 22nd, DAA member Danny LoCasio – Danny
Chicago – is coordinating our participation in the March for Science Vienna. 
What issue do you wish to support? Join us! We’ll support you in constructing events
that educate and activate, whether it be contacting our representatives, conducting
Teach-ins or Read-ins, skywriting, or marching. Contact Tanya, Antje, or Juan to get
the wheels in motion for a Solidarity Sundays Vienna action you’d like to see.
Grassroots of DAA Caucus wants to hear from you: we know you have LOTS to say!

Democrats Abroad Austria February 2017 Newsletter

In this February 2017 issue:

  1. Upcoming Events

    1. Vienna Young Dems Pub Night - Feb. 24th

    2. Salzburg Meet-Up – Feb. 24th

    3. Graz Meet-Up - Feb. 17th

    4. Solidarity Sundays Vienna #1 - Feb. 26th
    5. Save the Date: Annual General Meeting – March 18th

  2. Issues and Actions

    1. Call for Nominations - Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elections 2017

  3. DAA Review

    1. Candlelight Vigil at US Embassy

    2. Women’s March on Washington – Vienna

    3. Special thanks to the AIBC - Vienna

 

1. Upcoming Events


1. Vienna – Young Dems Pub Night – February 24

dems commit


Young Dems pub night is back! It's been a while since we have gotten together, so we hope to reunite as well as welcome all the new people that have joined lately. We have a reservation for 10 people at 7PM in the non-smoking section at the same location we held our election night party. Our very own Doug Andrews will also be playing LIVE at 8:30PM, so some of us may stick around a little longer to listen to him. Please RSVP if you can via the website or our Facebook event. For questions, contact our DA Vice Chair at [email protected]

JOIN US:
Date: Friday, Feb. 24th

Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: The Golden Harp Landstraße, Erdbergstraße 27, 1030 Vienna
Contact: Ashley Arreola, [email protected]

 


 


2. Salzburg Monthly Get-together 

 

Our next meeting will be Friday, February 24 at The English Center at 17:30. Members and friends are welcome. So please give Mary Ann a quick call at +436645923408 (or send a text) to let her know you are coming.

Note: This will be our last meeting! If anyone would like to take over the Salzburg meetings, please contact Mary Ann!


JOIN US:
Date: Friday, Feb. 24th
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Place: The English Center, Haunspergstrasse 37A, 5020 Salzburg  
Contact: Mary Ann Balko-Koch 0664 59 23 408

 


 

 

3. Graz Meet-Up – Day of Action February 17th at Bar28 4:00pm to 6:00 pm

The Women’s Week of Action happens to coincide with our semester break, so we are planning an afternoon of action in Graz either before or after – let’s take some time to sit down and brainstorm actions we can take from Austria’s second city. We’ll have laptops and phones ready to make calls and contact our representatives. Date and location is at Bar28 – please contact Caitlin Ahern [email protected], +436503125572, if interested!

 


4. Join Grassroots of Democrats Abroad Austria as we stand with Planned Parenthood at our first Solidarity Sundays Vienna event.


Planned Parenthood is under attack like never before. Congress is gearing up to block millions of patients from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at Planned Parenthood, which will hit low-income folks and people of color the hardest. We must act now.

Who we are
As Americans in Vienna, living abroad has left many of us feeling disconnected from the actions being taken by our fellow Americans in the US. That’s why Grassroots of Democrats Abroad Austria is starting a Vienna chapter of Solidarity Sundays with regularly scheduled events focusing on issues that matter. We invite you to join us in building a community of activists here in Vienna.

At our first Solidarity Sundays Vienna event we will be getting personal by decorating and writing postcards to our government representatives to express our deep concern about the imminent threat to Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights across the globe.

The event will kick off with a speaker (to be announced), followed by introductions on why we are inspired to fight for Planned Parenthood and how the organization has impacted us personally. Then it’s time to get busy writing and decorating our postcards. The event will close with a few songs from Democrats Abroad Austria’s very own Danny Chicago.

Not American and still want to get involved?

You are more than welcome to participate! Following the #IdesofTrump action in the US to flood the White House mailbox on March 15th , we will also be writing and mailing pink slip postcards directly to Donald Trump to express our opinions of his policies on women’s reproductive rights.

What to bring?

 

  • We will provide postcards and pens.
  • 50 cents per postcard to cover postage (Estimate 2 euros for 3 cards to representatives and 1 to Donald Trump). We will be sending all postcards in a package to the US, which will be mailed from there to save on costs.
  • Cash for food and drinks provided by die Au
  • Craft items (markers, glitter, etc.) for those who want to get extra creative with your postcards
  • Pussy hats

Planned Parenthood

Where: Die Au

When: February 26th 4:00pm to 6:00pm 


Please RSVP to this event on Facebook so we can gauge how many participants to expect.
For more information on how to get involved and support Planned Parenthood, please visit their PP Action site.
This event is hosted by Grassroots of Democrats Abroad Austria.

For questions about the event, please contact Allison Gutscher or Lizzie Stevens

 

 

 


5. Save the Date: Annual General Meeting – March 18th

Please save the date for our Annual General Meeting on March 18th in Vienna. Location and time TBA. See below for information on the elections held during the meeting.

 


 

2. Issues and Actions

1. Call for Nominations - Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elections 2017

Democrats Abroad Austria will hold its 2017 Annual General Meeting in Vienna on March 18th.  At the meeting, elections will be conducted to fill the following positions for two-year terms:

•    Chair

•    Vice-Chair

•    Treasurer

•    Secretary

•    Counsel and

•    up to 6 Members-at-Large

The job descriptions for the members of the DAA Executive Committee can be found below.  If you would like to run for any of these positions, please send your name and a short bio to the Nominations Committee by February 14, 2017. Send to: [email protected] with a copy to [email protected]

A list of candidates and bios will be sent to all members – with the official announcement of the meeting on February 18th. Nominations will also be taken from the floor at the AGM.

Best regards,

Kate McGrath and Eva Ciabattoni

2017 Democrats Abroad Austria Nominations Committee

DAA Executive Committee Job Descriptions

From the DAA Bylaws:

Article V: Officers

The Officers of the organization shall be the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Counsel. The Vice-Chair shall be of the opposite sex of the Chair.

Article VI: Chair

The Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the organization, shall call and preside at all meetings of members and of the Executive Committee, and shall have responsibility for all activities approved by the Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee. The Chair shall sit ex-officio on all committees of the organization including Standing Committees, with full voting privileges.

Article VII: Vice-Chair

In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall call and preside at meetings of members and of the Executive Committee. The Vice-Chair shall have such other duties as the Chair shall define, such as chairing Standing or Ad hoc Committees.

Article VIII: Secretary

The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings and all files and administrative records of the organization. All such records shall be open for inspection by members.

Article IX: Treasurer

The Treasurer shall manage the finances of the organization, maintain its financial reports to members and make and maintain such financial reports as may be required by law (including without limitation the laws and regulations of the United States and of the individual states applicable to political parties and contributions to them). All such records shall be open for inspection by members. The Treasurer will co-sign with another Executive Committee member on the Democrats Abroad Austria bank account. With advice from the Executive Committee, the Treasurer shall prepare an annual budget to be approved by the Executive Committee. The budgetary year will begin and end near the date of the Annual General Meeting.

Article X: Counsel

The Counsel shall be available for consultation by the Committee or its Officers on legal and procedural questions relating to Democrats Abroad Austria and its activities. If no Counsel is available, Democrats Abroad Austria will rely on the DPCA International Counsel.

Duties of the Members-at-Large are not spelled out in the Bylaws; rather they are self-selected in consultation with the Executive Committee. Current Members-at-Large have taken on a variety of responsibilities including:

*Salzburg Coordinator

*Database Manager

*Media Contact

*Social Media and member communication

*Membership engagement

*Graz Coordinator




3. DAA Review

 

1. DA Austria's Candlelight Vigil

Since the election, many of us have all been in a state of shock, disappointment & angst. On Friday, Dec. 2nd, some of DA Austria's members gathered in front of the U.S. embassy in Vienna to hold a candlelight vigil in order to let the world know that we believe in diversity, stand up for civil rights and will continue to fight against hate and for human rights. Candlelight vigils and similar protests like this are being held across the world from Hungary to Japan to Guatemala in solidarity of the Women's March in Washington, and this was just the first of many that DA Austria will participate in. It was a very nice evening filled with great ideas as to how we as citizens can stay involved from abroad, because it is so very important to unify and overcome the hateful and discriminatory rhetoric that is coming from the White House right now. It is moments like these that we are reminded that it is crucial to continue to fight for the values of justice and liberty that we as a nation believe in. We were honored to hear the personal stories of members and were happy to provide a place of comfort for Americans to come and express their feelings and ideas. We were also proud to present our new DA Grassroots Movement in Vienna, so please let us know if you are interested in getting involved. Contact Tanya Lolonis at [email protected].

 

To check out photos from the evening, see our Facebook photo album.

At the Vigil, member Robbie Ierubino read a poem he composed expressing his feeling about the election results:

 

We the united

We the families

We the individuals

We the native

We the foreign-born

We the religious

We the free

We the oppressed

We the young

We the forgotten

We the divided

We the heartbroken

We the citizens

 

We the Americans

Are different than you think

We the people



2. Women’s March on Washington – Vienna

On January 21st, Americans, Austrians and people from all over the world took part in the Women's March in Vienna. At the march, Brigitte Hornyike of the Austrian Fraurenring spoke, followed by DA member Laura Rockwood. Despite the -8 degree temperatures, it was estimated that 1,500-2,000 people marched together from Karlsplatz to Stadtpark. After marching, women from One Billion Rising performed their internationally known dance, Break the Chain, and DA member Danny LoCascio performed “These Times They Are a Changin'” by Bob Dylan.

 

Following the march, the lead organizers of the Women's March on Washington and Women's March Global have continued their efforts to make change in the US and around the world. The Women's March on Washington released an action plan titled 10 Actions/100 Days. This action plan holds ideas in which Americans abroad, as well as those in the States, are able to take part. Members of DA have also been meeting together to talk about what we can do about the issues happening in the States while living in Austria. It is wonderful to see the new excitement and energy towards activism here in Vienna following the march. Let's keep it going!

 

 

3. Special thanks to the AIBC - Vienna

We would like to thank the AIBC for the use of the baseball field at the Prater for our very successful 4th of July picnic and softball game. Everyone had a great time and we strongly encourage those interested in volunteering to check out their needs for the upcoming season here!