Maine People’s Alliance: Shame on your rediculous tactics!
By Mike Reynolds
for Ability Maine
    One would think given the rise of the Tea Party it would be easy to organize against some pretty absurd things going on in Augusta, yet somehow the Maine People’s Alliance has completely squandered any ability to do any real grassroots organizing, deciding it is way easier to simply stage media events and get some coverage. But honestly, holding a rally the day after cloture to try and prevent Maine’s Attorney General from joining a multi-state lawsuit against the Health Care reform bill and “delivering” thousands of postcards to prove your point is not even good activism. Do you REALLY think Governor Lepage was going to stray from his hell bent conservative agenda with a rally? Sounds like job insurance for a field organizer, and as long as those organizers do not use any individual thought and testify on bills on their own, not waiting for ludicrious “lobbying” days (that even have a training before) it looks like MPA does something, and I guess they were part of the large contingent of non-profits and other concerned voices against the budget cuts Governor Lepage has proposed.
    Let us back up and remember some of the completely rediculous tactics, because the non-profit’s website does not have ANY links on it’s campaign against Pete Harring, otherwise known as “Pete the Carpenter”, and all sorts of MPA progressives were tweeting about why a carpenter was on the transition team. This is a great example of classism within MPA, since it seems most people who are paid are field organizers who have degrees from either Bates, Bowdoin or Colby.
    It is also disconcerning that Maine People’s Alliance, whose leader has been the campaign director for a number of gay rights bills, has an admittedly “ex gay” member of their “Advisory Board.” This member was in a leadership position for the Many and One Coalition, who in 2003 held the largest anti racism rally in the US since 1990. The member resigned because “Gays were ruining the organization.” This member has also been included in at least two reports on MPBN radio, so the member is also can be considered a “voice” of MPA.  It makes you think about the tactics and smear campaigns they use against grassroots activists who they have disagreements with.
    Furthermore, MPA and Equality Maine have worked extremely closely in the pasty decade on gay rights issues, with senior members of MPA staff running several campaigns for Equality Maine.  On March 1, Equality Maine sent out an appeal for funding to fight a bill that would limit transgender rights. But the problem is, Transgender folks have largely been invisible in most of the instate advertising on many initiatives they have spent millions trying to pass. It is absurd to ask for money to protect a groups rights when Equality Maine, much like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) have honed their message to primarily focus on heteronormative couples and “wearing red to support gay marriage.” If the Maine People’s Alliance is to be taken seriously by the progressive community in Maine, it needs to stop the damaging and misinformed personal attacks, especially when their own board consists of people who have not so progressive views.