Terms of Reference for the Progressive Caucus
Background: The Progressive Caucus Terms of Reference were developed through a participatory and transparent process involving over 30 members of Democrats Abroad (DA), from all three DA regions.
- Informal open group discussions at DA Global Meeting - May 2017
- Two shared Purpose Workshops at DA Global Meeting - May 2017
- Shared Purpose Workshop (virtual meeting) - May 2017
- Caucus Issues Survey - August 2017
- Planning Discussion – September 2, 2017
- Draft developed by participants representing all 3 regions – Sep-Oct 2017
- Online open review for comments and suggested edits – October 2017
- Two online discussion meetings to ensure wide participation - October 2017
- Feedback from DA Global Executive – November-December 2017
- Approval by participants in the process – January 2018
- Approval by DA Global Executive Committee – January 13, 2018
- Signed by 31 founding members
Terms of Reference
The Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad (ProDA) is an affinity group for members of Democrats Abroad (DA) who:
- Embrace policies that will proactively advance the United States toward a society rooted in economic fairness and social, racial, and environmental justice, particularly for the most vulnerable people in our society;
- Seek increased transparency, fairness and accountability in political processes; and
- Support international cooperation, peace, and mutual respect.
ProDA will advance the DA mission to provide Americans abroad a Democratic voice in our government and elect Democratic candidates by mobilizing the overseas vote. ProDA will proactively work to get out the vote among progressive Democratic voters abroad, and engage Caucus members in advocacy for progressive policy positions.
We believe Democratic candidates for elected office who embrace progressive policies that affect the majority of Americans will become more competitive in U.S. elections because potential voters at home and abroad will be more receptive to get out the vote efforts for candidates that will more accurately serve the interests of the majority of Americans.
ProDA is uniquely positioned to recruit and retain both new and returning Democratically-aligned voters, because we share many similar values, especially with the younger generation, but also with strong progressive Democrats of any age - a majority of both groups largely identify with progressive issues and self-identify as progressives.
ProDA will seek to engage Americans abroad by providing opportunities for education on progressive issues (particularly policy positions that are popular among U.S. voters), co-develop unique campaigns for activism, and deepen member engagement in the voting process. Members and potential members of ProDA - will be encouraged to share their needs from and expectations for DA and the Democratic Party, to proactively involve themselves in DA activities, and to work toward creating positive change in America and the lives of Americans abroad by making informed voting decisions in their home states.
ProDA will work to elect Democrats and strengthen DA and the Democratic Party through activities of interest to ProDA members and general DA members alike, by:
- Getting out the vote of progressives living abroad, including among non-DA members;
- Focusing Caucus member energy to help elect progressive Democrats and to provide resources for DA members to support those races;
- Bringing in new DA members, interested specifically in ProDA;
- Increasing engagement and volunteer involvement by DA members through new programming appealing to those with affinity to ProDA, such as speakers, book clubs, social events, advocacy campaigns, GOTV efforts, and joint activities with allied organizations;
Organizing ProDA members to advocate for economic fairness and social, racial, and environmental justice through rallies, protests, and advocacy campaigns, with particular emphasis on new forms of political action, such as promoting our experiences with progressive policies as Americans abroad and collaborations with like-minded local and global organizations.
With the DA Platform as a guideline, the Caucus will embrace specific issues based on emerging opportunities and determined by Caucus members in a democratic fashion. Potential areas of effort include: healthcare; corporate governance and monopolies; union and worker rights; affordable, debt-free and/or free post-secondary educational opportunities; economic policy; global security and reduced militarism; taxation; support of small business and cooperatives; campaign finance reform; energy policy; transportation systems and infrastructure; environmental protection; the commons (i.e., cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of our society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth and digital resources such as fair and fair-use internet); systemic racism; criminal justice reform; civil and voting rights; and democratic institutions and processes.
- Promoting and/or organizing community service to connect our values and actions. This could include trainings, global service days, and/or outreach that demonstrates a commitment to serving our communities. A group of members could make direct contact with American citizens abroad to assist them with needs (e.g., assistance navigating a new city, language support or information on local resources, etc.); members could volunteer locally to support activities that reflect our values; local actions could be coordinated in a global DA effort around events like Earth Day; and other community service opportunities.
- Serving as a trusted source for DA on progressive policies and the benefits of supporting them;
- Advocating for increased fairness, accountability and transparency in the Democratic Party and encouraging the Party to further embrace issues and causes that can inform or further reinforce the values of our party. In some cases, ProDA will propose resolutions, DA charter amendments, and Platform planks that will strengthen DA’s ability to execute its mission; and
- Seeking cooperative and productive relationships with aligned groups such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus, state-level progressive caucuses, and other organizations composed of progressive Democrats and potential Democratic voters.
- Urge its membership and all U.S. citizens, both domestically and abroad, to vote in all U.S.-based elections and primaries when eligible to do so;
- Support ProDA activities at the Country Committee and local chapter, and precinct level, wherever interest arises;
- Communicate on multiple channels including a dedicated ProDA webpage on the Democrats Abroad website, social media and traditional media;
- Follow the DA Code of Conduct, and accordingly, have zero tolerance for sexism, racism, or other kinds of discrimination;
- Encourage one or more Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad representatives to attend DA Precinct, Chapter, Caucus, Council, Country, Regional, and Global Meetings;
- Collaborate with other DA caucuses and councils, the DA International Executive Committee (ExComm), Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA), its Global Committees, Country Committees, and local chapters, as well as DNC elected officials and members;
- Ensure Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad membership records are regularly updated within a DA-held database, checked for accuracy, protected for privacy, verified as required, and backed-up for safe-keeping;
- From time to time, review and update the ProDA’s Terms of Reference.
Membership in Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad shall be restricted to members of Democrats Abroad.
ProDA will have the following leadership structure: a steering committee consisting of a chair or co-chairs and 3-4 regional representatives, in which the 3-4 regional representatives are each from a different region whenever possible, and the remaining steering committee consisting of at least 5 at-large members and not more than 15 at-large members; the steering committee must make every attempt to include members from each region whenever possible, and should seek to emphasize an inclusive age and diversity range. The chair or co-chair(s) shall all be appointed by the DPCA chair. The at-large members shall be appointed by the chair or a majority vote of the co-chairs. All substantive decisions will be made by majority vote of the steering committee as a whole, including co-chairs, regional reps and at-large members.
ProDA seeks to include other officers and utilize alternative and/or additional leadership structures, in which all substantive decisions will be made by majority vote. ProDA will endeavor to develop leadership models that best reflect democratic principles as interpreted by the ProDA steering committee.
ProDA will aim to develop a more representative leadership model that will augment democratic decision-making within the Caucus, to operate by our core values and widen the appeal of both ProDA and Democrats Abroad. This will entail a shift toward a rotating leadership model able to maintain the required 2-year terms of DA with hopes of a collaborative, non-hierarchical structure, and ensure healthy and democratic debate in the process and decisions of ProDA with emphasis on respectful dialogue with individuals of all identity groups.
ProDA leadership shall:
- Consult with the Democrats Abroad International Chair/Executive Committee as necessary;
- Organize regular caucus meetings, meet regularly, organize work, and delegate responsibilities;
- Form issue-specific and/or operationally-specific committees;
- Seek out and designate subject matter experts;
- Ensure the Caucus performs its work within the structure and rules of Democrats Abroad;
- Report to the DA International Chair and/or the International Executive Committee at regular intervals;
- Report to DPCA leaders at regular intervals.
The Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad is formed in accordance with Section 4.6 of the Democrats Abroad Charter at the behest of the International Chair of Democrats Abroad. First formed on January 16, 2018 with dates of amendments to this document to be cited in subsequent versions.
[Signed by…31 Founding Members]