Coffee Party USA
An initiative of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.
The Coffee Party USA initiative has now merged with the Citizen Connect initiative.
Since 2010, Coffee Party USA has been a volunteer-run national organization with a network of nearly a million people. In the summer of 2021, their board voted for Coffee Party USA to continue their efforts going forward under the umbrella of the BAEF.
On August 1, 2023, after over two years of work aligning the work of the initiatives of the BAEF, we have merged operations of the Coffee Party USA initiative with the Citizen Connect initiative.
Coffee Party USA launched in 2010 with a plea, "can't we talk this over with a cup of coffee?" -- an alternative to the Tea Party tactics of disruption -- and in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. FEC decision. Initially a popular Facebook page, the Coffee Party USA evolved into a grassroots, national, cross-partisan movement with a mission to build, nurture and connect communities to reclaim our government for the people. Coffee Party USA has never functioned as a political party, nor has the organization ever endorsed candidates.
To understand the culture and character of the presence that is now known online as Citizen Connect, we are documenting the history and legacy of Coffee Party USA below.
History & Legacy of Coffee Party USA
Historical Work of Coffee Party USA
The Coffee Party USA work has revolved around creating a path to restoring America’s republic and representative democracy by:
- Identifying and advocating for legislative fixes to reform campaign finance laws, Wall Street regulations, and the tax code;
- Promoting cultural changes to address political disengagement, polarization, and widespread misinformation.
Their activities have often centered around encouraging inclusive, civil, fact-based, solution-oriented dialogue — online and in public places such as coffee houses — in which we could meet, talk, become informed and engaged as fellow Americans, rather than as members of political parties. Coffee Party USA worked to create effective civic engagement opportunities by:
- Demanding more officially sanctioned activities such as town hall meetings with officials and public reviews of policies with an invitation for public comments;
- Organizing informal community meetings in which we invite fellow Americans to exchange ideas.
- Encouraging the use of internet communications, social networking, and polling technologies to more effectively inform and involve the broad public community in an interactive debate.
Foundational Beliefs of Coffee Party USA
We believe that we share common goals as a people. We all want to live in safe communities with access to well-paid jobs that will allow us to provide for our families, help us secure a decent education for our children, and allow us to access adequate health care. We call upon the American people to transcend the hyper-partisanship that is so common today and move toward organizing communities around the mutual desire for ongoing, responsible civic engagement.
We understand that we must act boldly to not only break the cycle of corruption but also recommit to the concept of a government of, by, and for the people. We are the government. The government is us. We want to fix the problems in our government, not turn against the idea of government.
We need more – in quantity and quality – direct engagement with our government officials and with one another. Participating in our representative democracy should not be about just voting every 2 to 4 years – relying only on what appears in mainstream media and in campaign ads – and then hoping for the best. We need to engage the government in a way that promotes accountability to the public, transparency, and the spirit of E Pluribus Unum (out of many voices, one).
Coffee Party USA Goals & Issues
The goals of Coffee Party USA include electoral reform, corruption law reform, tax reform, inclusive empowerment, and local empowerment.
Corruption Law Reform
Public Accountability: Hold public servants (politicians, judges, law enforcement officers, etc.) accountable for their actions and decisions. Public servants must not be allowed to act outside the interest of everyday people. They must be honest and transparent (whether it’s in lobby ties, privacy invasion, labeling, or environmental impact).
Corporate Reform: Corporations are not people, but consist of people as workers, shareholders, board members et al. End Corporate Welfare and all Cronyism between corporations and government. Corporations have a responsibility to respect and support (employees and the general public).
Wall Street Reform: Reform banking and corporate oversight laws to protect everyday people. Appropriately fund and improve audit and reporting standards.
Citizen-Oriented Taxes: Pass or repeal tax laws to reduce our debt, enhance society, and create economic growth.
Equitable Taxation: The burden of taxation must be applied fairly to businesses and people.
Simplified Tax Code: The Tax Code should be reformed for simplicity.
Mutual Respect: Treat everyone with dignity and acceptance regardless of every ethnicity, national origin, religious orientation, sexual identity, age, ability, political outlook, or income level in a manner that is civil and meaningful.
Inclusive Dialogue: Support an Informed Citizenry with inclusion of all viewpoints with civil presentation and encouragement of civil conversation.
Constructive Collaboration: Create and support standards and practices for collaborative work and develop a commitment to each other to get to know one another while we impact the country.
Local Groups: Every community (area code minimally initially, Congressional Districts and cities ideally) should have the ability to have regular meetings of civil discourse, where education and participation of everyday people thrives.
Townhall Meetings: Establish County and City town hall meetings to voice the public opinion.
Equal Treatment and Justice: Support and endorse equity in the treatment of people.
Coffee Party USA Mission & Vision
Coffee Party USA’s mission is building, nurturing, and connecting communities to reclaim our government for the people.
Coffee Party USA envisions a nation of diverse communities sharing a culture of informed public engagement where our solemn right to vote is the only currency of our representative democracy.
Members and supporters of the Coffee Party pledge to conduct ourselves in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom we disagree. We value people from different cultures, we value people with different ideas, and we value and cherish the democratic process.
Coffee Party USA Core Values
Our mission requires we strive to live the values we want to see in our government.
We empathize and engage with one another exercising humility, listening, honesty and respect, in order to provide an emotionally safe environment even when we disagree.
We seek the truth, learn the facts, and share with others to make informed decisions relevant to the ongoing improvement of ourselves, the nation, and our shared, overlapping lives.
- Authenticity and transparency
Because we are human, in our genuine quest to restore our republic’s representative democracy we may stumble, but we will do so in plain sight, with trust and expecting a hand up from one another.
We say what we mean, and do what we say and in so doing we strive to create a country that is whole and undiminished.
We reach out, engage and connect with people from diverse communities, backgrounds, cultures, and political perspectives.
- Transpartisanship and independence*
We engage in political and social bridge-building for the sake of finding solutions to common problems, working above and beyond ideological dogmas, putting the country first.
*Many thanks to the now-defunct CitizenNow for providing inspiration and contributing to our mission statement.