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Missouri Progressive Action Group

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Saturday, September 3rd, MOPAG Meeting at 1:30 pm
St. Louis County Main Library
across from Plaza Frontenac on Lindbergh Blvd.

At the September 3rd MOPAG general membership meeting, St. Louis documentary film maker, Terry Artis will present his new film "On Ye Vikings," a prequel to his previous documentary, "The Dismantling of the Normandy School District."

Artis, a 1982 graduate of Normandy HS analyzes the chronological events which led to the loss of accreditation of the Normandy Public School district. He demonstrates how political decisions on the national level, changes in Missouri state law and DESE policy impacted the Normandy, Wellston, Riverview Gardens and St. Louis City public school districts.

Artis will take questions from the audience after the film.

The documentary will be of interest to anyone concerned about the future of public education, especially as it affects districts with a majority of low income African American students.

The meeting will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the main St. Louis County Library on Lindbergh just south of Clayton Road

A little history about MOPAG:

After the "red tide"
election of 2010, Rea Kleeman called a few of us together at her condo to talk about what to do to try to get the state Dem party to be more proactive in calling out the Repugs and explaining to voters how we are different, our values, etc.

Nine of us
signed a letter that Rea sent to Nixon, McCaskill, leaders at state party hdqs, etc. Nixon didn't answer. Claire came to our next meeting. She agreed with us but was mostly interested in recruiting us to help with her campaign in 2012. Basically, nothing happened.

So we decided to form an
organization without the word Democrat in it in hopes of attracting other progressives in the area. The board at that time included Rea, Marty Walsh (who recruited Ron Zager to be treasurer) Marty Rulo, me, Deb Lavender and one other woman whose health issues caused her to drop out soon after we formed. We are registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission and file quarterly reports of income and expenses. We are considered a "political organization" for tax purposes which had to get in order to open a bank account. But we never applied for C-3 status because we don't actually pay any employees and there is no need. So people who donate to us cannot get a tax write off.

Sometime around
fall of 2011, we got organized with bylaws and elected officers. It must have been in 2012 that Deb Lavender and that other gal who had to drop out organized a very successful meeting of reps from about 10 different progressive issue groups. It was held at the painters' hall, and Bob Burns got free refreshments from that friend of his who owns some of the Pasta Houses.

Our vision was that we would be
the information hub for all the issue groups and that we would cooperate with them on their goals. Hopefully, members of different groups would join together to do rallies, protests, etc.

Bob Burns and I were really keen on organizing a
rally for the first day of the 2013 legislative session in Jeff City. We imagined people from all the different issue groups with their signs outside the building, lots of press coverage etc. Bob looked into getting one of the unions to pay for some buses to take us there.

Then Bob came back after he
talked to whoever runs the labor board and said the union people didn't want to participate because they couldn't afford to "piss off the Republicans." And that's how they operate today. They DO get some Repugs to vote their way on labor issues.

Then the gal
from Jobs with Justice and one other group that I don't remember said they preferred to do their own thing. I think, personally, it has to do with turf protection, fundraising, paying their staff, etc. No one wants to share their "lists" because everyone has to scramble and beg for donations. I don't blame them, but I still think there is strength in numbers.

So that's when MOPAG
eventually evolved into meetings with speakers. The letter writing group was active for awhile. Marty Walsh and I tried to get people to sign up for different topics and tasks to no avail.

We tried to have an "action" come out of
every meeting, but not very many folks participated. One thing they are willing to do is sign postcards if someone has them there and ready to be signed.

What I've seen with the
Bernie groups is people with lots of different issues coming together at rallies. E. g., old folks worried about Soc Sec and their pension, college kids worried about student loans, LGBT folks, etc. But whether those with different interests will continue to want to meet and work together is the big question.

We had a nice Bernie group in Franklin County...
did voter reg, watch parties, door knocking... some even went to Iowa several times to knock on doors. Then we had the 3rd Congressional District meeting where we elected delegates to the convention, and not much has happened since.

Anyway, I hope
this summary of MOPAG's short history helps.