A Fresh Start for Progressives on the East Side

Founding of New Democratic Club Marks a Fresh Start for Progressives on the East Side

City Council Member Ben Kallos and Local Activists Come Together to Form the Four Freedoms Democratic Club

New York, NY – Today, a group of East Side progressives and activists, including New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, District Leader Jean Fischman, and local activist M.J. Dillon announced the formation of the Four Freedoms Democratic Club, a local political club dedicated to reform, progressive activism, transparent decision-making, and civic engagement on the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Yorkville, El Barrio and Roosevelt Island. Four Freedoms seeks to train the next generation of local leaders and is open to all East Siders looking to engage on issues of importance to the community.

The grassroots organization has a strong volunteer operation, an active and dedicated membership, and a commitment to financial transparency. Four Freedoms aims to revitalize East Side Democratic politics with its brand of inclusive, transparent and progressive activism. Consistent with the City’s progressive moment, Four Freedoms seeks to promote opportunity for all.

“One of the famous Four Freedoms outlined by FDR was “freedom from want,” and these excited, engaged activists will be working to ensure that no New Yorker has to live with want,” said City Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am proud to support these members in their new endeavor, and believe that their choice to emphasize FDR’s Four Freedoms shows how effective, empathetic and determined to make change this group will be.”

Senator Liz Krueger also joined Four Freedoms, saying: "Even now, decades upon decades later, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four freedoms -- freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear -- define who we we are, what we believe in, and what we are working toward as progressive Democrats. I am thrilled by the formation of a new, activist Democratic club on the East Side, and look forward to having them as partners in the fight for a city and state that deliver on the promise of the four freedoms for every resident, regardless of creed, origin, or means."

At the Four Freedoms organizational meeting held on Febuary 6th, 2014, members assembled elected Kim Moscaritolo as Interim Chair, Gabriel Panek as Interim Secretary, and M.J. Dillon as Interim Treasurer. Four Freedoms’ dozens of members include Obama 2012 campaign staff and volunteers as well as former members of several local Democratic clubs.

Four Freedoms is the first on the Upper East Side to file finances with the New York State Board of Elections, a rare move among political clubs, which have not historically been required to publicly file their finances – making it possible to circumvent campaign contribution limits. A 2013 Citizens Union report entitled “Hidden from View: The Undisclosed Campaign Activity of Political Clubs in New York State,” stated: “As a result of not filing and reporting who contributes to them [political clubs] and to whom they make expenditures, a shadowy world of political activity is hidden from view.” Four Freedoms has pledged itself to reform, and has committed itself to best practices in financial disclosure.

“I’m proud to be part of the Four Freedoms Democratic Club and believe we will be able to move away from politics as usual. Whether it’s working on behalf of reform-minded political candidates or advocating on the issues that matter most to our neighborhoods, we hope Four Freedoms can help recruit young, energetic leaders and impact the quality of our local democracy,” said founding member M.J. Dllon.

Four Freedoms Democratic Club will hold its official launch party Tuesday, February 25 from 7-9pm at Off the Rails (1754 2nd Avenue, between 91st and 92nd Streets). Admission is free, donations are accepted, and all are welcome.