About Us

Who We Are, What We Do

The New England Alliance for Democracy is an autonomous part of Alliance for Democracy (AfD), a national, grassroots organization dedicated to ending corporate rule and fostering true, participatory democracy and fair, regionalized economies. Both the national and local Alliances are dedicated to nonviolent, systemic change, locally- and regionally-based.

Our model is the great anti-corporate Populist movement of the 1880s and ‘90s, begun in the hill country of Texas and spread throughout central and southern United States. The movement had important consequences such as banking for the people (largely farmers in those days), decent incomes, popular education by 50,000 lecturers, launching the co-op movement, and popular election of senators, but fell short of becoming the national standard because it failed to consolidate with industrial and urban workers of the East.

Founded in 1995, the North Bridge and Boston-Cambridge chapters—in and around Boston—have combined to call for collaboration among all pro-democracy groups in New England and beyond.  We believe that local and regional economies can thrive, and that the New England town meeting can be a model for a more active and direct democracy on issues affecting people's daily lives.  We believe that working together we can influence national and even international policies.

Like national AfD, we endorse and support campaigns of other groups, including anti-war coalitions, fair trade groups, economic and environmental justice initiatives, the campaign to amend the Constitution to eliminate corporate access to personhood rights, and other anti-corporist goals.

Local and regional groups can also choose to support efforts that respond to needs in their communities. Recent examples are work on solar feed-in tariffs in Oregon, alternative media projects in Oregon and California, working with local farmers to defend local food systems and community traditions in Maine, and efforts to prevent federal interference in local government in Boston.

Through forums and local organizing we can support the work of the national AfD and also initiate projects of specific local and regional importance.  National and local AfD campaigns have included:

  • working in the Move to Amend coalition to amend the constitution to assert that corporations are not persons and have none of the constitutional rights accorded persons;
  • support for a variety of campaign finance and other electoral reforms; working to educate people about the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to illegal manipulation;
  • replacing corporate globalization with a model of fair trade that recognizes the rights and interests of the peoples of all nations, and rejects the power of multi-national corporations;
  • helping to form and support state citizen trade policy commissions;
  • working on rights-based ordinances that strengthen the autonomy of cities and towns, assert the rights of nature, and reinforce home rule principles; defending local communities from large-scale water extraction for bottling and selling outside the watershed, and from corporate take-over of public water and sewer systems;
  • working toward systems of participatory budgeting, locally and regionally, to insure that budgets reflect the needs and interests of the people;
  • working with a variety of groups to institute a universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system;
  • educating people, including students, about the concepts of the common good and the public interest.

We are open to all, and try to live daily the change we advocate.