Name: Farid Ben Amor
Candidate: International Vice Chair
Member since: 2017
Country/Countries: Switzerland / Japan (just starting)
In my early career, I am fortunate to have worked in the most effective community organizing group, ACORN. I witnessed from many experienced organizers what effective voter registration and GOTV campaigns look like, and how to coordinate volunteers for large-scale digital as well as community-focused in-person actions. Around this time I also worked in Congress as an assistant on various policy areas, on the Obama campaign, and to help pass the Wall Street reform bills (Dodd-Frank) which rounded out my experiences with the policymaking and electoral elements of American activism. Since 2010, my Democratic activism has been purely voluntary, with the California Democratic Party shaping their platform and as an academic / industry member of the US delegation to various international organizations dealing with media access. My day job since has instead been in the entertainment industry, building new streaming services and startups and producing television, movies, and video games.
Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.
I’m one of those who left the US repulsed by the direction it had taken in the 2016 election. But I was eager to help from a safe distance, and started as soon as I arrived in Switzerland with the Geneva chapter. I found my greatest enthusiasm in the political discussions we had and in contacting our representatives back home. Based on this and my prior work on Democratic platforms, I was proud to serve as co-chair of the DA platform to create an inclusive process that simplified our views for better use in our activism and to reflect our unusually progressive voice, which I find to be the most progressive of any Democratic party. I am so happy to have connected with so many of you and learned from your experiences in so many countries to reproduce a platform that reflects how our home might learn from societies globally.
Why are you running for this office?
I regard the Vice Chair as a role that chiefly supports the Chair in her vision for the organization while also leading in particular areas to help share the load. I’m running to elevate the role of policy discussions in our organization into one that produces a greater throughput of policy-based contact to our elected officials back home. I see that as best achieved through a more continual platform and resolutions process that allows us to determine our to-the-minute viewpoint as DA - not a country committee or individual chapter - to make our political weight felt back home on the day’s issues. I see this as purely augmentative - I’m so impressed with the amazing work DA leaders and activists have done in making our party such an effective voter turnout engine, and I hope to keep that as a priority, especially during times like the desperate ones we just lived through.
How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA's success?
I believe having professionally worked in American politics, international organizations, and in the private sector both in large corporations and as an entrepreneur each lends relevant skills to the management of DA as an organization and our mission in advancing a Democratic agenda back home. Along with this, my volunteer experience in DA has helped me understand many of our activists and our varied attitudes on Democratic politics and the collective power we can wield when we find issues to unite on.
Are there any DA organizational or practical issues (not political goals) that you would like to address should you be elected?
I would like to build upon the success of DA leadership to-date and continue to increase the inclusiveness of our processes via the embrace of more digital tools to make that possible. Conversely, I think it is essential for the morale of all DA activists to not let any individual use arcane procedural rules to bog down the advancement of our work.
How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?
I believe the proposal I would like to advance that I described above, whether elected to this position or not, would strongly enhance the profile of DA both among Americans abroad and back home. Political engagement on current issues is as important as voter registration issues because it is fulfilling, especially when dealing with emotional and distressing issues. Increased policy engagement also has the side effect of increased electoral engagement for many because it connects the gap often felt between casting a vote and getting a policy win. And as Democrats Abroad is the most progressive state party, we have a unique tentpole that could be more strongly to the left to make our broader party a more compelling one to Democrats abroad and across the US.