-by Eva Putzova
Our political establishment has nurtured an entire ecosystem of organizations that grooms and supports a pipeline of “leaders” friendly to corporate interests who protect domestic and foreign policy status quo when elected or, in all kinds of advocacy roles, perpetuate the symbiotic relationship with corporations at the expense of the people.
In September, I shared with you my perspectives on what we can do to help progressive candidates win on the first try and after much discussion with my fellow progressive congressional candidates and other leaders and activists, Catch Fire is launching this week.
Our mission is to take chances on uncompromising, unapologetic, and authentic progressive leaders early and support them concretely and practically.
When people make the tough decision to take on a citizen initiative, run for an office, or build a movement, Catch Fire steps up by:
Issuing personal grants and providing long-term coaching by licensed professionals to working women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ folks, and immigrants, giving them the same financial freedom and support system to build their campaigns and organizations as the cherry-picked corporate tools selling out our communities have.
Creating a virtual space for a community of leaders to connect and support each other as they travel the lonely journey of candidacy or movement building.
Developing talent that can manage critical organizational functions, especially communications, fundraising, data, compliance and finances. With learning by doing as our mantra, we will be a hub of progressive talent to counter the power and expertise of the corporations-approved high-flying consultants.
Shaping the public narrative of progressive policies by collaborating with progressive artists to share stories the mainstream won’t.
Our programmatic goals are ambitious and our success will depend on our ability to attract supporters who understand the need for a long-range approach to developing progressive leadership. We can’t just simply say that we want regular working people to represent us, we actually have to make it possible for regular working people to run for public office. If you want to become a founding supporter of Catch Fire, you can contribute here or if you want to underwrite a larger part of our program, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With guidance from our terrific advisory board, we are determined to avoid the fate of even some initially well-intentioned progressive organizations whose purpose became reduced to support the consultancy class.
Our first advisory board is comprised of 2020 congressional candidates Adam Christensen (FL-03), Eva Putzova (AZ-01), Hector Oseguera (NJ-08), Ihssane Leckey (MA-04), Jen Perelman (FL-23), Mckayla Wilkes (MD-05), Morgan Harper (OH-03), Rachel Ventura (IL-11), 2018 congressional candidate Randy Bryce (WI-01), 2017-2019 Arizona state representative and 2012 congressional candidate Wenona Benally (AZ-01), National Tribal Advisor to Senator Sanders 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign and 2017-2019 Arizona state representative Eric Descheenie, 2018 Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kelly Fryer, legal scholar and musician George Bisharat, political blogger and Blue America PAC founder Howie Klein, and my congressional campaign’s formal Communications Director Steven Piasecki.
If we are going to succeed in asserting progressive power, we have to build progressive institutions and Catch Fire-- a 501(c)4 organization-- is becoming a part of that partner network.