What is Operation Snowflake?
A primer on how to take control of your local Members of Congress (MoC) offices, a simple modification to Indivisible Guide practices.
So, first remember the staffers are just young people who have no real say in your MoC policies, so you don’t need to actually ask them to change their minds, but I often do ask them what they think.
Every Member of Congress has at least one office per state. Go to https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members to find out your MoCs. It has your Senators (2 per state) and your Congress critter, (1 per district, based on population and this is where GERRYMANDERING starts to happen) and your district map.
Once you know this, you can click on the MoC, showing ideological metrics, www.opensecrets.org feeds into this site, so you can know who is funding them, where the money is coming from, and more…
Then, you can look up their websites, and up will come their website, bills they’ve passed, committees they are on, etc… Then go to “CONTACT ME” and usually you will find a list of offices they have in the state, for example: Senator Patty Murray has 6 in Washington State. Senator Maria Cantwell has 6, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rogers has 3. I’m lucky, they all have offices in SPOKANE that are actually in the same building or just 2 blocks away!
Once you know where they are, You can begin to really formulate your plan to go to their offices, ask for town halls, ask for a private meeting, tell your story about your issues, etc…
Do NOT expect to see your actual representative IN the LOCAL offices. If they are doing their work, they are Washington DC! If they are on recess, (yes, that’s the expression, recess!) then they are supposed to be in their districts, or in their states. Most of the time they are actually NOT working on our problems anymore, most of the time they are fundraising. But, while they are on recess, they should make SOME real efforts at Town halls and constituent meetings to better understand what we, the people, THINK and know about the issues. To find out when they are on Recess, go to http://www.house.gov/legislative/ for the CURRENT calendar. As I write this, the next recess is April 7th to April 24th. (I call it recess 2, so we can plan for more constituent led Town halls. They Rock!)
So, these LOCAL offices work 8 to 5, just like most offices, but this varies of course. I broke the day into 2 hour blocks (8-10am, 10 to noon, noon to 2pm, 2 to 4PM and clean up crew 4 to 5:30PM) So, mathematically speaking, there are 4.5 weeks in a month. That means 23 work days. For simplicity’s sake, let’s just make it 20, given there are holidays, and they are NOT always in the offices, … So:
20 days/mo x 5 time blocks/day = 100 time blocks of resistance volunteer time.
For me, I’m a democrat, so I think it should be easy to get PCO’s to be leaders and recruit 4 other people to go with them to the offices at Specific Times once a month, but anyone can be a leader and volunteer to get friends and family to come!
We are building a website which we hope will be up this week( March 15, 2017) that will include a resistance calendar which pulls from Fuse, PJALS, PP, Washington Can and several other activist websites AND the most exciting part is the SCHEDULER which we are building so people can look at it and figure out WHEN THEY WOULD LIKE TO GO, then Post it and let others know when NOT to go. I know that sounds counter -intuitive, but the point here is not to have TOO many people just standing around waiting to get heard. Just a light SNOWFALL…
For instance, I’m in the 6th LD in Spokane County. We have 105 Precincts. If each of the PCO’s took a shift of two hours, we could drive the 5 together downtown, (car pool it!) because people in our Precincts are OUR NEIGHBORS, by definition. Then we could make our presence known at the MoC offices, have an interactive chat with the staffers to write our issues down for the MoC, and be in and out of ALL 3 MoC offices in the 2 hour period. This is NOT a great photo op event! It’s a brass knuckles use of the staffers time and resources while we work, politely, on being heard.
Here’s the benefits:
Almost no effort on constituents part
Slow drifting of snowflakes (us) onto MoC’s
Is quicker to get the task done than at a rally
Builds team morale, knowledge of Precinct
It’s expandable, to other Towns, districts, states
It’s true grass roots,
Once a month activity, schedulable, accountable
Add another LD, like the 3rd, it’s about once per QTR
Take videos asking “Where’s Cathy?” and Post ‘em
It reclaims the SNOWFLAKE lable
Bring a Flag and reclaim the AMERICAN Symbol
Not a hard task for a PCO, kind of fun
Others can still hold rallies at the same time,
Meet folks and register them to vote!
Show the Democrats doing SOMETHING.
and the Negatives:
hard to gage the impact immediately
Takes a dedicated PCO/leader
Not photogenic like a rally
Takes a plan to organize it
Requires a little training/vision
Sometimes Staff aren’t there!
Leaves time during the rest of the month to go Support all our other groups, causes, allies, neighbors, friends!, Oh and Rest!
We build the infrastructure to galvanize the energy in the streets into a voting majority! CMR retires. Oh sorry, my bias is showing…
From this successful idea, and others, we have already had impacts. FUSE was able to get the 3rd town hall of the 1st recess to be attended by CMR staffers. Personally I think we (the indivisible groups) had a little something to do with it, we were there all the time and it could have served to annoy them, (it did) and then it got bad press for them, started a Facebook campaign of “Where’s Cathy”, complete with a Pretty Picture 6 foot tall CUT OUT and then when a mild mannered Jim Dawson showed up to ask them to come to an even larger Town hall than the other 2, they acquiesced. Great! We can play good cop, bad cop! With Smiles on!
MoveOn.org wants to use this type of structure to get folks into offices all over the country all day on March 23 and 24th to build resistance to the TRUMPCARE bill. We can do this… It’s not a really hard lift, and the Prize is too important!
We already have some people who are there at CMR’s office every day from 11 to 1. Yes, we work them through the lunch hour. Go protest, speak to your MoC staffers, and get lunch at the Red Robin, and support the local businesses on Post Street! One on one conversations can happen at small gatherings like this. No dialog happens at rallies. This type of effort is for a different type of outreach, it’s not intended to serve as anything but a conduit to get people to actually speak their stories to people that can help, (MoC Staffers) to show the sheer weight of the importance these issues have on people’s lives.
Honestly I’m trying to think of a down side still, but I’ll have to ask you to help with that. I’m too positive on this idea. But, I’m just a grunt, and we’d love your support, suggestions for improvements, and critiques. We’re going to do this anyway, would love to have you as an ally!
American Emergency Group
When is Operation Snowflake?
Between 9AM-2PM, Monday thru Friday.
Where is Operation Snowflake?
Starts at N. 10 Post, Spokane, WA, 99201!