(Chicago. IL) by Kerri Barber
Joseph Traina, a former Bernie campaign coordinator, announced a new platform for organizers to support community causes and maintain a livable wage.
The platform, The Dandelion Collective (www.thedandelioncollective.org), will provide the first of its kind means for community giving to hire experienced organizers and advocates to help with ballot initiatives, referendums, public awareness campaigns, and candidates.
Traina announced his platform launch during an exclusive interview on the Progressive Insider morning program, Hair of the Dog, describing the platform as, “…a means to change the economy of campaigns,” to allow progressive activists to embrace and exert their power and influence toward positive outcomes.
Traina says, “This is a ‘ten years in the making’ project, after studying various campaigns and why we lose or fail to build capacity for the left or why we struggle because we do not change our mechanics and campaign economies that are wasteful, sucking millions of dollars to the top”.
Millions are spent on state races with the majority of those dollars going to the senior staffers and marketing of a candidate or cause, with professional organizers left to scramble for meager wages. Most organizers do not get paid time off or health benefits. The Sanders presidential campaign was the first presidential race to unionize and among the first to offer health insurance benefits to staffers.
In local and state races or issue-based campaigns like justice reform, livable wages, climate change or other progressive issues, organizers rarely enjoy such professional benefits. Only executives running the organization at the top are offered salaries with benefits while volunteers staff the ranks and most have little to no experience in organizing themselves.
Traina is launching a grassroots-funded staffing platform to showcase vetted, experienced organizers who have already been trained and with demonstrated and effectiveness who can be hired locally to help move a cause to successful conclusion. Traina’s model includes paying professionals livable wages and helps retain talented professionals year round and keep them engaged in various efforts, using their skills and expertise to advance causes important to local communities.
He says it is a simple solution and remarks, “Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest and this is meant to combine all the best practices of organizing, coalition building, and consensus using amazing organizers from across the country to build the momentum.”
To support this effort, Traina has launched a Patreon account for donations and to provide more information.