Frequently Asked Questions
What is the mission of NTNC?
Niles Township Neighbors for Change is dedicated to true progressive causes that represent the political and social interests of the multiracial, multiethnic and working class residents of Niles Township. We believe in providing an alternative organization to empower Township residents in the face of an antiquated and powerful political structure - one that amplifies, uplifts and supports the voices and needs of everyone.
Why do we need the Niles Township Neighbors for Change (NTNC)? Don’t we have organizations like this in Niles Township?
The reality is that the current power structures we have in place in Niles Township are not working for the majority of township residents. They are, however, working very well for a select few. An independent, progressive, political organization will be a much-needed check on entrenched political power within the township. Existing political institutions have held near-total control over our village governments for years, and often runs unopposed in local elections. Progressive alternatives are needed across all elected offices in the Township.
Instead of working within the constraints of a national, corporate party - like the Niles Township Democrats - our dream is to build a safe hub for organizers, coalition builders, and social justice minded folks. We envision a space where our members feel empowered to take on issues that are plaguing our marginalized neighbors in order to make real, lasting change. We want to enliven our local democracies and unburden ourselves of the politics of the past.
It is our hope that through the work of NTNC, our township leads the way on breaking down the barriers built by systemic racism, white supremacy, misogyny, patriarchy, xenophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, ageism, and all the other -isms and phobias that have ignored the marginalized for far too long. We have not seen that our existing political organizations are avenues for making those changes. In order to create the world of our dreams, we need to be prepared to dig in and build it ourselves. And we’ll do that together through the Niles Township Neighbors for Change.
What is an Independent Political Organization (IPO)?
Taken from The American Prospect because this explanation says it all, https://prospect.org/power/build-independent-political-organization-but-quite-party/:
“By independent, we mean able to challenge corporate Democrats - ideologically, legislatively, and electorally - even as we help the Democrats defeat Republicans. How? By recruiting progressives to run in Democratic primaries against center-right incumbents, by paying early attention to candidate recruitment in open seats, and by focusing on defeating a few Republicans each cycle. We should be clear: This is not about taking over the Democratic Party. That won't work. They take you over, not the reverse. We propose building something outside the Democratic Party because we want to retain the ability to think like outsiders. We want - we need - to combine electoral work with community organizing, low-wage worker organizing, legislative lobbying, and even direct action. We have many allies inside the Democratic Party, but even they bow to caucus discipline and donor pressure. In their better moments, they will admit that they need pressure from the left, from outside the party, to stand up to the banks, the hedge funds, the insurance companies, the tech billionaires.
“By political, we mean having a core competency in electoral work and a public brand to accompany that work and advertise what we stand for. Unions and some community organizations and issue advocacy groups engage seriously in electoral politics. But even the best do not feature electoral work as their primary activity and core competency on a year-round basis. No one on the left has anything like the power of the Tea Party brand at his or her disposal.
“Politics is not just elections, of course, but ideas and issues, too. If we are serious about, say, increasing spending on schools and decreasing it on prisons, then we need to defeat one Democrat who is bad on this issue in a primary, defeat some Republicans when we need to flip a relevant chamber, and then tell the story repeatedly of how this happened. A new discourse on criminal justice and education will emerge. If we are on our game, we'll also place great new legislative staffers in the target states and deepen our relationships with leadership. Causes that should be easy (raising the minimum wage, say) will be easy, and we can save our energy for the harder fights.
“By organization, we mean a permanent, durable year-round operation of its own, not just an election-season coalition that borrows staff, resources, and expertise from its constituent groups. This means having a separate permanent staff, resources, relationships, campaigns, and activities that happen outside of and in addition to the work of the constituent organizations. This will require genuine power sharing, transparent rules, and independent money. No one organization or constituency can dominate the internal decision-making process, but all will need to exercise power commensurate with their contribution and potential.
“If it sounds like a political party, that's not entirely wrong. Think of it as an "inside-outside" operation, and don't freak out that it will end up like the Greens in 2000. We are standing on the shoulders of the electorally minded organizers and lecturers for the abolitionists, the populists, the Non-Partisan League, the suffragists, the CIO, the civil-rights movement, and more. Like them, we want to change the rules of the game.”
Will NTNC be endorsing candidates?
Who is allowed to join NTNC?
Membership is open to individuals who accept and abide by the bylaws, principles, and stated values of Neighbors for Change, complete the membership application, and contribute dues of money or time.
- Must be a resident of Niles Township and have a demonstrable tie to the Township, as determined by the Membership Committee.
- Must disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the Membership Committee upon applying for membership, including but not limited to: current or former employment by current or former elected officials who preside over Niles Township (including the Mayor’s Office); close association (e.g., family, employment, or volunteer work) with political campaigns in opposition to candidates endorsed by Neighbors For Change during the current election cycle or a member of a district school board.
- All Niles Township residents are welcome to seek membership, regardless of immigration status.
- For the safety and well-being of BIPOC members, the IPO does not allow ICE officers to be members of Neighbors For Change. Additionally, a potential new member must disclose current or former law enforcement employment, either public or private. This is in accordance with the group’s values and mission as a multiracial and multiethnic coalition dedicated to antiracism.
- Elected officials may participate in Neighbors For Change but will not be able to serve on the steering committee or vote for political endorsements.
Taken from the NTNC Bylaws Section III-e: https://docs.google.com/document/u/2/d/e/2PACX-1vQkfqW0zOaXiI5cIvzf9Y-KdP3xik3PVIQvRYEl9HtXjNg7rR9m3Tmf0G9QHpbANlkD8qVSCcxu6GUu/pub