An Entertaining Guide to bringing the CLEAR Resolution at Precinct Caucuses

Written by Marcus Mills from Community Power:

 

The CLEAR Resolution provides principles and political goals for Minnesota’s energy and environmental future.  It is based on work by Community Power, in coalition with allies operating around the state, to develop a legislative package we’re calling the Clean Local Equitable Affordable Reliable (CLEAR) Bill.  

 

Think of the CLEAR Bill as the highlights of the energy, environment, equity, justice, labor, community wealth-building, community empowerment, local freedom and plant community preservation conversations that we’ve been having between governments (large and small), regulators, utilities, polluters, unions and the green movement for decades.  

 

*** First an important note: Every caucus has a protocol for resolutions.  Perhaps they require them sent in ahead of time, in writing, or maybe there is a specific form they must be presented on, that you have to look up beforehand.  Often you have to turn in a written copy and then present it, in which case it might be a good idea to keep a copy for yourself.  And, most importantly, since this is a matter of conviction and exposure as much as anything else: bring copies to share with your neighbors. ***

So, how should this effect your caucus-going experience?  Well, my recommendation is to gauge your caucus.  Assess the likely mood of the room, or if you’re new to caucusing, ask someone you know who has been to caucuses before what to expect in terms of the atmosphere.  Here’s a few likely ways your caucus could play out:

 

Casual – It is a calm neighborly atmosphere, where much of the business is rather perfunctory and there is little rush or conflict (other than perhaps folks hungry to get home and watch their Tuesday night TV programming).  The general feeling is that of a slightly supercharged version of your average weeknight, community meeting.

 

Driven – There is a constant drumbeat to the finish line.  Prioritizing and sacrifice are regular occurrences, done on the fly, and announced as such.  There is a packed agenda, and the feeling is that the faster you get your business out your mouth and out of the way, the better.

 

Frenetic – There‘s a seven-way race for your party’s endorsement for the State House District that your precinct resides in.  You hear that there might be a contested race for the precinct chair position, and there are murmurs of the dreaded prospect of “walking sub-caucusing” for the first time since the fabled “Blizzard Caucus of 1952.”  People are wondering whether or not resolutions will even be considered, given the frantic, near chaotic pace that the night appears to be headed in, and people can only hope that their beloved caucus chair can handle the swings.

 

Cosmopolitan – All of the above prospective issues are inevitable in your precinct.  They happen every cycle, even during midterms, it’s a mess and it takes forever, but you and your fellow caucus-goers have always managed to muddle through with a minimum of casualties (I mean the most annoying interloper is regularly ripped to shreds and devoured by their new neighbors, but… “Hey, them’s the breaks, fella.  You shoulda read the room better, and people gotta eat, right? After all, it’s been 4 hours, it’s hot in here and folks’ blood sugar is getting low…”).  The resolution section of the evening is regularly forgotten, and you can remember years, in times passed, when you, specifically, have had a resolution to bring, that was quite important to you and folks you care about, and you either forgot it in the bustle of the evening or decided against trying to bring it up, so that the night could end unabated…

 

So, now that you’ve evaluated what situation you’re in, let’s go over how to approach the CLEAR Resolution, in each:  

 

If you’ve got a Casual room, (which may not feel like that to you, but, trust me if you’re not in one of the other scenarios, you have a casual caucus) please deliver the resolution in full, complete with the “whereas” statements, so as to express and spread the news of the concepts of the CLEAR Bill, highlighted in the resolution, to folks who haven’t heard it yet and may not even be well versed in the climate crisis and its local ramifications.  Don’t be discouraged if the room doesn’t adopt it as is.  The exposure is part of the point, and choice is part of the message.

 

If you have a Driven scenario ahead of you, we strongly suggest that you drop the “whereas” statement section (as shown) and only present the “Therefore…” direct resolution language, as a smart compromise between brevity and conviction.

 

If you find yourself in a Frenetic circumstance, for the reason that the frenetic case is dealing with a situation that is abnormal for your caucus leadership team and audience, we’re going to offer you some unique advice, not for anyone else…  Still insist that resolutions be handled during the flow of the evening (the best places are during the lull periods when paper ballots are being counted, or when the caucus has run out of guest speakers [i.e. candidates for office, up for endorsement at higher levels than precinct caucuses]), but instead of putting forth all of the CLEAR Resolution, propose your favorite section as its own resolution.  You’ll at least get to expose your peers to some core principles without becoming fodder for folks’ baser instincts.

 

Next, if you’re in the Cosmopolitan scenario, surprise, we’re not letting you off the hook. Why, you ask?  Because, your precinct is used to these kinds of circumstances.  They know and are prepared for the ebb and flow of business at a caucus of inner-city magnitude, there is no reason to not demand that regular order be maintained under regular circumstances.   Our recommendation is to follow the Driven model (above).

Thanks!


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