Whereas Speaker Kotek’s one-time $500 Emergency Relief proposal is a much-needed step toward financial relief but is ultimately insufficient to the mounting financial desperation of unemployed Oregonians,
Whereas Senator Wyden’s American Workforce Rescue Act is a bold step to redefine the Unemployment Crisis, but will not take effect until August 2020 at the earliest,
(1) the current pace of processing of UI applications improves significantly, with restructuring of department staff and additions from agencies such as Department of Administrative Services to assist with processing,
(2) all Oregonians who have filed for benefits with OED prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency and whose applications remain unprocessed shall be paid full benefits immediately, with a subsequent review of eligibility once all claimants have been paid. Processing of these claims shall be kept to the minimum required to prevent organized fraud, focusing on confirming identity and employment status. The Department shall be directed to adopt a default position of paying benefits should there be any doubt as to eligibility. The Department shall also default to extending existing benefits wherever possible over requiring applicants to re-apply or apply for new claims or programs.
(3) The Oregon Employment Department must address the underlying reasons for delays in processing benefit claims, and must change its focus as a Department. By the end of the 2020 legislative session, the state shall engage in a review of the Department’s technological assets and evaluate options for updating these assets to current standards. Priority shall be given to replacement systems which comply with industry standards, and preference shall be given to open source technologies as solutions. In addition, the state must also evaluate the policies, processes and guidelines of the Department on all levels. All such policies, processes and guidelines shall be evaluated from the perspective of ensuring that Oregonians receive benefits, with all other priorities being distinctly secondary.
4) We recognize that the proposed actions are not a complete solution, and that the issues with employment benefits are both far reaching and long-term. These actions are only intended as an emergency solution to an immediate problem. As such, we also direct the Multnomah County Democrats to form an ad hoc committee to formulate a permanent solution to the long-term problems faced by Oregonians needing COVID-related assistance, including economic hardship. This committee shall form a report detailing known issues and formulating suggested solutions to be presented to the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session.
Democratic Party of Multnomah County Central Committee
Resolution: 2020-13 The Debt: The Case for Reparations
WHEREAS the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) community’s claim for restitution anchors on the U.S. government’s failure to deliver the promised 40-acre land grants to their newly emancipated ancestors in the aftermath of the civil war,
WHEREAS today’s ADOS-white wealth gap originated with that unfulfilled promise of 40 acres. If the land allocations had been made to the freedmen and freedwomen, and had that ownership been protected ADOS would be in a much better position materially today.
WHEREAS ADOS have borne and continue to bear the undue burden of the cumulative effects of slavery, the near-century-long epoch of legal segregation in America known as Jim Crow, as well as the ongoing atrocities associated with the period following the Civil Rights Act of 1964: mass incarceration; police executions of unarmed black people; sustained credit, housing, and employment discrimination; and the immense ADOS-white wealth disparity. All of these chapters in American history must be considered for redress within a program for reparations,
WHEREAS while the 40 million eligible recipients of ADOS reparations constitute about 13 percent of the American population, they possess less than 3 percent of the nation’s wealth. This translates into an average (or mean) differential, per household, of about $800,000 in net worth,
WHEREAS, eliminating the ADOS-white (pre-tax) wealth differential should be a core objective of the redress component of a plan for reparations. We estimate that this will require an allocation between 12 trillion in 2016 dollars to eligible Black Americans.
WHEREAS, A reparations program for ADOS is a matter of national responsibility insofar that the multigenerational plunder and oppression of ADOS were and are products of the legal and authority framework established by the federal government. The federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction.
WHEREAS, Article 9- Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, plank 5 of the 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Platform states, “we strongly support corrective and restorative justice for past racial harms inflicted by local, city, and state governments against ADOS in Oregon
NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1 We urge Congress to establish a Congressional Commission on Slavery Reparations, which would be responsible for addressing the questions that must be considered so that restitution can be made.
SECTION 2 We support direct cash payments to victims equal in size rather than apportioned according to families’ or individuals’ “economic value.”
SECTION 3 We support the proposal in H.R.40 to develop a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations for ADOS. A body of commissioners appointed by congress must be established to provide congress with a detailed template for legislation that will activate a comprehensive plan for ADOS reparations. This will include specifying criteria for eligibility and specifying precisely how the amount and deployment of a reparations fund will raise ADOS net worth sufficiently to eliminate the (pre-tax) ADOS-white wealth gap within a specified amount of time. Commissioners shall not be paid, but they will be reimbursed for expenses associated with the fulfillment of their responsibilities.
SECTION 4 We support the development and application of a rigorous and accurate curriculum, fully integrated into public school instruction across at least three generations at all grade levels, telling the story of America’s racial history.
SECTION 5 We support the designation of a protected group status known as ADOS or American Descendants of Slavery, not to be mixed with a general Black designation.
SECTION 6 We strongly support providing potential claimants with free genealogical services to assist them in establishing that they are the descendant of an ancestor enslaved in the US, anti-fraud guidance, and access to free financial management instruction.
SECTION 7 Establishment of a monitoring system to ensure the wealth gap is closing.
Adopted on July 9, 2020
Submitted by Platform Resolution and Legislative Committee, Quinton Blanton, Anti Blackness Study Group
In the book From Here to Equality, Dr. Sandy Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure.
Is it illegal to allocate funds specifically to ADOS?
No. There’s no intrinsic illegality to group specific or race specific policies. Japanese American reparations, for example, were group specific.
How will we be able to tell who is eligible for reparations vs. who is not?
Two criterion can be advanced for eligibility. First, an individual must establish that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the US. Second, an individual must demonstrate that they have self-identified as Black, Negro, or African American on an official document-perhaps making the self-report of their race on the US Census—for at least 12 years before the enactment of programs tied to the funds. This criteria was created by Duke University economist William “Sandy” Darity.
Why is the ADOS distinction necessary?
ADOS is a necessary distinction because if reparations do in fact gain traction nationally, people who are opposed to reparations could make the argument that Black immigration to the U.S. has increased significantly since the 1980’s, they were never enslaved in the U.S. so why should they be paid reparations? From a legal standpoint, a reparations claim against the federal government must be specific and requires inclusion and exclusion.
How will the effectiveness of a reparations program be measured?
According to Dr. Darity, the goal of a reparations program for ADOS should be to close the racial wealth gap in its entirety. Therefore, it is essential that the mean gap be erased, rather than setting a far less ambitious goal such as closing the ADOS-white median differential. Establishing a monitoring system to evaluate whether the ADOS-white wealth gap disparity is closing will be desirable.
How to calculate the cost of reparations?
There are a variety of strategies for calculating the size of social debt that is owed. Professor Thomas Craemer has calculated the cost of reparations through a stolen labor framework. In today’s dollars, he arrives at an estimate of $14 trillion for the cost of American slavery to the enslaved. The central argument of Dr. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, which I tend to agree with is that the elimination of the ADOS-white wealth gap should provide the foundation for the magnitude of the debt owed.
Where will the money for reparations come from
As journalist Matthew Yglesias has proposed, Congress could direct the Federal Reserve to fund ADOS reparations either in part or in total. Given the overnight transfer of 45 to 1 to $1.5 trillion without any difficulty—and this funding mechanism would not have to affect tax rates for any American. Moreover, the Federal Reserve is a public bank charged with conducting a public responsibility.
Why should I have to pay reparations? My ancestors didn’t own any slaves.
The culpable party is the U.S. government. Often, the federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction. ADOS reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt; ADOS reparations are a matter of national responsibility. Furthermore, The poverty created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system, just like the wealth created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system.
White ethnics such as the Irish and Italians came here and were discriminated against by the U.S. government, yet they still rose in spite of their handicaps why didn’t ADOS do the same?
It is important to note that in some respects, the Irish were treated worse than Blacks for the most part when they first arrived in the U.S. However, they were eventually absorbed into whiteness due to their willingness to inflict violence against ADOS and by expressing anti-ADOS sentiments. The Democratic Party and early labor unions also eased the assimilation of the Irish into whiteness. Whitness is a social construct that is dynamic. It expands and changes based on its need. I suggest everyone read Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.
White people have never received “handouts” from the government, why should Black people get governmental “handouts”?
Framing reparations as a handout or a one time check rather than a debt is a conservative, right wing talking point that is untrue. A program of reparations is much more than a check. It must include multi-pronged policies and laws, protections, therapy, and training to fill the void of knowledge gaps. Also, white America has in fact recieved numerous handouts from the federal government including 160-acre land grants through the Homstead Act, access to New Deal and Fair Deal programs, the G.I. bill and much more. While white America received these handouts ADOS were denied access to them and were never given their 40-acres, which is partly why the ADOS-white wealth disparity is so vast, entrenched, and unshakeable. The wealth ADOS managed to accumulate in the nineteenth and twentitieth centuries was far too often plundered via white mob violence, lynching, redlining, and credit discrimination.
Indigenous people, advocates, and allies: You are all welcome to work on the Tribal Sovereignty article of the platform as well as related resolutions and legislative actions.
The Tribal Sovereignty Study Group will meet monthly on the third Tuesday from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. via Google Hangouts starting July 21. The proposed agenda for the first meeting is as follows.
6:15 p.m. Check in and agenda approval with changes, if needed 6:20 p.m. Planning: next steps for Legislative Action Items 6:50 p.m. Discussion: strategy for the 2021 Legislative Sessions 7:05 p.m. Next steps for Study Group including recruitment of more Study Group members 7:15 p.m. Adjourn
We would love your participation! Email Ruth Jensen to get involved.
The meeting will be open to members of the Central Committee
6:30 PM Registration and sign in to be credentialed
BREAK OUT SESSIONS
More details will follow as we approach the day and time of the meeting.
Traditionally, our July meeting is a picnic, a chance to socialize and get familiar with each other. That is not to be this year, but we want to have a virtual equivalent.
We will have Zoom breakout rooms for particular interests in the party. Meet with others who share your interest and learn about the party functions. Learn about our climate action team or the campaign committee. Learn about how our meetings work.
7:15 PM Business Meeting begins, this will be an
Precinct Committee Persons = The Central Committee
You, the elected PCPs, began your new terms of office as the governing body of The Democratic Party of Multnomah County on June 12th, 2020. There remain vacant PCP positions. Invite Democrats to join us! They can apply to fill vacant positions here.
In the coming weeks, the newly elected PCPs of Multnomah County will gather (via video conference) to elect new district leaders and assistant district leaders.
Thank you all who are coming forward to make a difference in our communities. District Leadership is a wonderful way to increase that impact, working with your PCPs to connect with your legislators and the Democrats in your district.
A Resolution Calling On The Portland City Council To Ban The Use Of Area Of Effect Weapons By the Portland Police Bureau
Whereas: The city of Portland has a long history of protesting injustice, and,
Whereas: The Portland Police Bureau has an equally long history of suppressing protest (peaceful or otherwise) with a level of force that can only reasonably be described as excessive, and,
Whereas: This level of force routinely involves the use of indiscriminately targeted, area of effect weapons such as Tear Gas and Concussion Grenades, and,
Whereas: While the possession of Tear Gas is legal for civilians, its deployment within the city of Portland is explicitly limited to law enforcement personnel, and,
Whereas: Concussion Grenades, (AKA Flashbangs) are legal for civilians to purchase, but require that any civilian wishing to own such devices undergo a background check administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A tax of two hundred dollars per item is also levied against such purchases, and,
Whereas: Police agencies are explicitly exempt from the aforementioned tax requirement, while private citizens are not, and,
Whereas: The platform of the Multnomah County Democratic Party states in its “Abuse Of Power” section, legislative action item 10, “We support ending law enforcement exemptions at every level from gun control laws, and,
Whereas: The availability and legal use of Tear Gas by the Portland Police Bureau and the untaxed availability of Concussion Grenades to the Bureau does constitute an exemption to existing gun control laws that benefits the Bureau over the common people of the city of Portland, granting easy, legal access to and use of such weapons to the police and denying easy, legal access to and use of such weapons to the average Portlander, ergo,
Be It Resolved By The Democratic Party Of Multnomah County That the use of Tear Gas, Concussion Grenades, rubber bullets, sound weapons and any other form of area of effect or area denial weapons does constitute an abuse of power on the part of the Portland Police Bureau, and as a result a letter will be drafted to the Mayor of Portland and all members of the Portland City Council asking for the use of these weapons by police to be formally banned, effective immediately.