Can New Populist Agenda Harness Passions, Create Movement From Below? By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, April 17, 2015 …Hoping they can drive a revamped public conversation and fuel a populist counter-movement from the left against an otherwise rightward lurch in the country, a coalition of progressive organizations this week is championing a new agenda designed to galvanize those demanding an economic, political, and ecological transformation in the United States. Representing more than 2 million active members from their respective organizations in more than 32 states, the four members of the coalition—the Campaign for America’s Future, National People’s Action, US Action, and the Alliance for a Just Society—say that the nation’s numerous and interwoven crises have drawn them together during a historic moment that demands a populist response.
Challenging the Power of the One Percent by Lydia Alpízar Durán, executive director of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID),.commondreams.org, April 03, 2015 Together we can take bolder steps, push each other further, and draw upon our combined knowledge and collective power to amplify our voices. Working together is the only way to reverse inequality, and to achieve a just and sustainable world.
Coalition Launches to Lead Global Fight For Open Internet and Digital Democracy By Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams, November 26, 2014 — ‘Net neutrality is not an American issue, or a European issue, or an African issue. It is increasingly a global human rights issue.’ — As a movement crystallizes around the future of the Internet, more than 35 human rights and technology organizations from 19 countries have come together as a new coalition to define and protect the idea of ‘net neutrality’ as they lead what they say is a global battle to protect the Open Internet and online freedom. The numerous and diverse groups—coming together as the ‘This Is Net Neutrality’ coalition—released a joint statement (made available in eleven languages) expressing their shared purpose…The open Internet has fostered unprecedented creativity, innovation and access to knowledge and to other kinds of social, economic, cultural, and political opportunities across the globe.
CPC Budget represents its core principles by Randy Shannon, pdamerica.org, April 17, 2015 The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the center of gravity of left and progressive politics in the United States today...The goals of the CPC are framed by its core principles: Fighting for economic justice and security for all; Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties; Promoting global peace and security, Advancing environmental protection and energy independence. http://www.pdamerica.org/component/k2/item/516-cpc-budget-represents-its-core-principles
Deep Anger: We need to rediscover something we lost along the way By Darren Fleet and Stefanie Krasnow / adbusters.org…In this world, when push comes to shove, most of us are too comfortable to care, too polite to speak out. With so much at stake we need to rediscover something we lost along the way: our anger…Dr. Glen Coulthard of the Yellowknife Dene, [and member of radical First Nations scholars] delivered a paper saying that folks on the front-lines of land, climate and environmental battles in Canada are tired of being told not to be angry; that given the ongoing process of colonization, theft and exploitation, anger is not only a natural response, but the only moral response. What he hinted at was a resurgent anger. Deep Anger…In our culture, anger is seen as impolite, brutish, violent and indulgent. It’s politically incorrect. It makes people squeamish. We’re afraid of anger like we’re afraid of obsessive passion and overt eroticism. Anger is dark and dirty, but Deep Anger is a form of empathy, care, even love…despite our civilization’s claim to reason, there is a deep irrationality, a fatal blind spot blocking out emotion and sanity. We’re so deeply in denial about what is happening to our planet that we’re risking our own extinction. Unless humanity breaks through the denial, unless we start to get angry…then we won’t ever be able to accept the challenge at hand…
Democratic Candidates Lost, But Progressive Issues Won By David Morris, Common Dreams, November 06, 2014 http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/11/06/please-note-democratic-candidates-lost-progressive-issues-won…scores of initiatives did involve hot button issues. And on these American voters proved astonishingly liberal….Voters approved every initiative to legalize or significantly reduce the penalties for marijuana possession, Voters approved every initiative to raise the minimum wage, voters rejected measures that would have given the fertilized egg personhood under their criminal codes, approved background checks… What did Tuesday tell us? When given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat candidate the majority of voters chose the Republican. When given a choice between a Republican and a Democrat position on an issue they chose the Democrat. I’ll leave it up to others to debate the reasons behind this apparent contradiction. My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks…I am buoyed by the empirical evidence: Americans even in deeply red regions are liberal on many key issues. And I am saddened that these same voters have voted to enhance the power of a party at odds with the values these voters have expressed. The challenge, and in an age where billions of dollars in negative sound-bites define a candidate it is a daunting one, is how to make the next election on issues, not personalities.
How Democratic Progressives Survived a Landslide Bob Moser, The American Prospect, Winter 2015 — They ran against Wall Street and carried the white working class. The Democrats who shunned populism got clobbered.
Populism Is Helping to Define and Build the Progressive Movement by Pearl Korn, Huffington Post, April 20, 2015
President Obama is the Most Admired Man in the World for 6th Year in a Row By: Sarah Jones, politicususa.com, December, 30th, 2013
Progressives to Dems on Budget Deal: ‘We Will Remember This Betrayal’
by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, December 12, 2014 — “People are fed up and they are watching for any sign of betrayal. No more backroom deals that help Wall Street, the giant corporations, the 1 percent, the polluters, the fraudsters, the vote-riggers, the haters, the tax-dodgers, the outsourcers, the union busters, the wage-thievers, the pension-cutters and the rest of those who are rigging the system against the rest of us.” Dave Johnson, Campaign for America’s Future
We Need to Advocate Radical Solutions to Systemic Problems by Robert McChesney — Interview By Mark Karlin, Truthout, January 4, 2015
Robert Reich’s 2014 Year in Review by BillMoyers.com StaffThis video first appeared at MoveOn.org. January 2, 2015 – As we head into 2015, it’s important to remember how quickly progressive change that seemed radical — if not a crazy pipe dream — at one time, becomes inevitable when enough people make a ruckus!
Three secrets to revitalizing liberal America – New year, same old problems by Sean McElwee, Salon.com, Jan 4, 2015 2014 was not a good year for the left. Republicans now have a stranglehold on the House, where they control the most seats they’ve had since 1948. That lead will likely last for decades. Democrats didn’t just lose the Senate, they have significantly diminished their chance of regaining it in 2016. Republicans control 31 governorships, as well as 68 of 98 legislative chambers. And of, course, the Democratic party has shown itself to be only nominally liberal, with the current frontrunner for 2016 raising money from Wall Street financiers. The left then has two problems: how to get Democrats winning and how to get Democrats to avoid becoming a party permanently in the callous hands of capital. Currently, much of the hope for a more liberal Democratic party rests on the shoulders of Elizabeth Warren, who is being drafted to run against Hillary Clinton. While Warren is formidable, it was only six years ago that the left laid its hopes for victory on a single individual and found itself sorely disappointed. The left must remember that leaders do not make movements; rather, movements make leaders. Instead of vacillating from one hero to another, the left must create a formidable power base from which to both defeat Republicans and shift Democrats to the left. This will require a three-pronged approach: mass mobilization of the non-voting population, a stable of progressive leaders and a reduction in the influence of money in politics.
New Year’s Resolution for America by Dennis Kucinich, Huffington Post, January 01, 2015 When anyone of us resolves toward self-improvement, it can impact the lives of those we love. How much more impact can we have, if in the new year we work to recreate the future of this country we love, by resolving to take bold steps in a new direction in a new year?…I have seen miracles occur, outcomes change, new directions taken when people courageously strive to challenge a seemingly unshakeable status quo, on matters both personal and public…Today, our nation’s government has been taken over by special interest groups and ideologues, who have rapidly distributed our nation’s wealth upwards, built a national security state to protect its hold on power and wealth, involved America in destructive, unnecessary wars abroad, ignored the escalating violence at home, and broken the laws of our nation with impunity, while punishing those who expose their unlawfulness…1. Ensure a full employment economy by reclaiming control of our money system. 2. Reclaim our right to privacy. 3. Make America a more peaceful place. 4. Transform America’s role in the world; focus on the needs of people here at home. 5. Establish a US Commission on Truth and Reconciliation. 6. Restore our relationship with nature and restore our planet.
Progressives Have a Winning Economic Narrative — and Democrats Who Used It Won by Richard Kirsch, Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute, HuffingtonPost.com, 11/11/2014 The point of a narrative is to give people an explanation of what they are experiencing that includes what is wrong, who is responsible, and what we can do about it…Progressives have a powerful narrative and bold solutions to create an America and an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy. Candidates who run on this have won and will win. And an America that runs on these policies will do to what too many Americans no longer believe is possible: provide a better life for our children.
Democratic Candidates Lost, But Progressive Issues Won By David Morris, Common Dreams, November 06, 2014 …scores of initiatives did involve hot button issues. And on these American voters proved astonishingly liberal….Voters approved every initiative to legalize or significantly reduce the penalties for marijuana possession, Voters approved every initiative to raise the minimum wage, voters rejected measures that would have given the fertilized egg personhood under their criminal codes, approved background checks… What did Tuesday tell us? When given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat candidate the majority of voters chose the Republican. When given a choice between a Republican and a Democrat position on an issue they chose the Democrat. I’ll leave it up to others to debate the reasons behind this apparent contradiction. My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks…I am buoyed by the empirical evidence: Americans even in deeply red regions are liberal on many key issues. And I am saddened that these same voters have voted to enhance the power of a party at odds with the values these voters have expressed. The challenge, and in an age where billions of dollars in negative sound-bites define a candidate it is a daunting one, is how to make the next election on issues, not personalities.
It’s time for progressives to reclaim the Constitution by E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, July 6, 2014
…We are staring down multiple cascading ecological crises, struggling with political and economic institutions that are unable even to acknowledge, let alone cope with, the threats to the human family and the larger living world… A deep grief over what we are losing—and have already lost, perhaps never to be recovered—is appropriate. Instead of repressing these emotions we can confront them, not as isolated individuals but collectively, not only for our own mental health but to increase the effectiveness of our organizing for the social justice and ecological sustainability still within our grasp. Once we’ve sorted through those reactions, we can get apocalyptic and get down to our real work…to get apocalyptic means seeing clearly and recommitting to core values…we must affirm the value of our work for justice and sustainability…Mainstream politicians will continue to protect existing systems of power, corporate executives will continue to maximize profit without concern, and the majority of people will continue to avoid these questions. It’s the job of people with critical sensibilities—those who consistently speak out for justice and sustainability, even when it’s difficult—not to back away just because the world has grown more ominous…To adopt an apocalyptic worldview is not to abandon hope but to affirm life…By avoiding the stark reality of our moment in history we don’t make ourselves safe, we undermine the potential of struggles for justice and sustainability. Get Apocalyptic — The Case for the New Radical By Robert Jensen
The Progressive Economic Narrative in Obama’s State of the Union by Richard Kirsch, Senior Fellow, Roosevelt Institute; author of ‘Fighting for Our Health’, 2/13/2013
Corporate Triumphs, Progressive Victories and the Roadmap for a Democratic Revival by Peter Dreier, BillMoyers.com, November 5, 2014 Tuesday’s Republican wave of election victories did not reflect public opinion or the public mood. Instead it was the result of the GOP’s triumph in changing the rules of democracy to favor big business and conservative interest groups, including the triumphs of corporate money and voter suppression. But while Democrat candidates were going down to defeat, liberals and progressive won some impressive but little-publicized victories on important issues — including minimum wage hikes — especially in red and purple states, suggesting that voters are not as conservative as the pundits are pontificating…Progressive Victories…Richmond, CA, blue-collar city..where Big Oil and Wall Street sought to oust a progressive local government… the lefties won against overwhelming odds; Minimum Wages…Paid sick leave…Abortion….Public safety…Gun reform…Soda tax…Workers rights…Pot…Plutocratic Political Gains: These progressive victories are impressive, but they don’t offset the huge GOP triumphs around the country…Big Money…Voter Suppression and Low Turnout among Democratic-leaning voters…Gerrymandering…The Obama Factor…Economic hard times….
George Lakoff on Communication: “Liberals Do Everything Wrong” By Zoe Williams, The Guardian UK, February 1, 2014 http://www.alternet.org/culture/george-lakoff-communication-liberals-do-everything-wrongMini-excerpt George Lakoff, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley, has been working on moral frames for 50 years. …the left, he argues, is losing the political argument …This is what he [Lakoff] believes it would take to refashion the progressive mindset: the abandonment of argument by evidence in favour of argument by moral cause; the unswerving and unembarrassed articulation of what those morals are; the acceptance that there is no “middle” or third way, no such thing as a moderate (people can hold divergent views, conservative on some things, progressive on others – but they are not moderates, they are “biconceptual”)…If the two systems are poised in pure opposition, if they are each as moral, as metaphorical, as anciently rooted, as solidly grounded as the other, then why is one winning? … Conservatives don’t follow the polls; they want to change them. Political ground is gained not when you successfully inhabit the middle ground, but when you successfully impose your framing as the ‘common-sense’ position.”
Three Reasons Liberals Lack Traction With Voters, Despite Conservative Failures by Robert Kuttner, prospect.org, June 16, 2014
Climate Change, Economic Inequality Are One Debate, says Sen. Warren by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, June 3, 2014 Both issues show clearly that ‘we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else.
The Aggressive Progressive: Reverend Barber In opposition to every extreme and every dark time, there are always voices that speak out from the moral core of our collective humanity to defend and fight for that humanity. This brief video captures one such very eloquent voice that can encourage the spirit, engage the mind and warm the heart. The Man Behind Moral Mondays by Lynn Stuart Parramore, The American Prospect, June 17, 2013 Activists to Watch: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber by Peter Dreier, Moyers and Company, October 24, 2013
Progressive Activism Seen as Key to Democratic Turnout in Midterm Elections By Sam Knight, Truthout, May 8, 2014 … Democrats are likely to lose ground to Republicans this November if they continue to emphasize fundraising over organizing…. midterm turnout is “killing us”… the party needs to rally working– and middle-class families to bridge the enthusiasm gap…. We’ve got to get out in the street and talk to the people. That is the road to success.” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/23559-progressive-activism-seen-as-key-to-democratic-turnout-in-midterm-elections
Climate Change, Economic Inequality Are One Debate, says Sen. Warren by Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams,June 3, 2014 Both issues show clearly that ‘we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else.’
Raising Our Voices With Confidence by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, www.popularresistance.org, June 7, 2014
Can a New Populist Movement Fight Off American Oligarchy? By Jon Queally, staff writer, Common Dreams, May 23, 2014 Amid push for “new populist” agenda, can progressives ignite a grassroots insurgency, battle both parties, and save the democracy?
American Intellectuals’ Widespread Failure to Stand Up to Billionaires and Authoritarian Power By Robert Jensen, AlterNet, July 5, 2013 /american-intellectuals-widespread-failure-to-stand-up-to-billionaires-and-authoritarian-power/…if we take seriously the basic moral principles at the core of modern philosophical and theological systems we claim to believe in, in light of the data on social injustice and the serious threats to ecological sustainability, these questions should be central in the work of intellectuals…intellectuals…help us deepen our understanding of how the world works, toward the goal of shaping a world more consistent with our moral and political principles, and our collective self-interest. What are the forces that keep people, especially relatively privileged people, mute in the face of such a clear need for critical intellectual work? …I suspect that a desire to be accepted by peers is at least as powerful a motivation for intellectuals to accept the status quo. Humans are social animals who generally seek a safe and secure place in a social group, and there’s no reason intellectuals would be different.…confronting the reality of injustice and unsustainability can be morally and psychologically overwhelming for anyone…Intellectuals are in the business of assessing problems and offering solutions…to be a responsible intellectual is to be willing to get apocalyptic, and the first step in that process is to give up on the myth of neutrality. Intellectuals shouldn’t claim to be neutral, and the public shouldn’t take such claims seriously.
Popular Resistance Is Percolating Across the Country — Inspiring Activism That the Corporate Media Always Ignores By Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, AlterNet , May 17, 2013
The Lever of Social Action by Robert C. Koehler, HuffingtonPost.com, 05/30/2013 …Reality does shift, not merely on its own but as a result of determined minorities who learn how to use the lever of social action…Now is the time to choose our future… This means thinking big: embracing a vision so enormous it overflows our sense of the possible…The lever, [Judith Hand] says, is “people power”: the strategy and tactics of nonviolent action of all sorts. The fulcrum is any weak spot in the existing power structure, any shameful but unchallenged absurdity of power (e.g., segregated lunch counters, the British salt tax). The weight put on the lever to dislodge the fulcrum could, perhaps, be called applied moral authority…
Can National Grassroots Push Depose the ‘Billion Dollar Democracy’? by n Queally, Common Dreams, January 18, 2013 Elections are now awash in unregulated money and ruled by the nation’s wealthiest, but can a grassroots effort stem the assault on democracy? …hoping that fundamental changes can be made to correct the corrosive impact of shadow money and undue influence….Thanks in large part to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v FEC, the 2012 election was the most expensive in the history of the world. And though the 2012 election is behind us, many activists—now equipped with the experience of what a modern democracy controlled by millionaires and billionaires looks like—are hoping that fundamental changes can be made to correct the corrosive impact of shadow money and undue influence…Lioz and Bowie [authors Billion-Dollar Democracy] write: “The outsized role of money in our elections is a dark cloud over our democracy—but there is a silver lining. Not since Watergate has there been so much energy behind finally building a democracy in which the strength of a citizen’s voice does not depend upon the size of her wallet.”
The Surrender of America’s Liberals, Bill Moyers interview with Adolph Reed, Moyers.Com, February 25, 2014 …Adolph Reed…if we understand the left to be anchored to a conviction that the society can be made better than it actually is and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone… as a significant force that’s capable of shaping the terms of debate in American politics…the center of gravity in American politics has moved right…the whole point of building a movement…is to unite the many to defeat the few…we can’t compete with the money that the other side has… Organized people are the only answer to organized money…
The resurgent progressives By E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, January 1, 2014 The reemergence of a Democratic left will be one of the major stories of 2014. Moderates, don’t be alarmed. The return of a viable, vocal left will actually be good news for the political center. For a long time, the American conversation has been terribly distorted because an active, uncompromising political right has not had to face a comparably influential left. As a result, our entire debate has been dragged in a conservative direction, meaning that the center has been pulled that way, too…the new militancy on the Democratic left is a consequence of a slowly building backlash against the skewed nature of our politics… the Democratic left is animated by the battle against growing inequality and declining social mobility — the idea, as [Senator Elizabeth] Warren … her allies are not anti-capitalist. Their goal is to reform the system so it spreads its benefits more widely…And here’s why moderates should be cheering them on: When politicians can ignore the questions posed by the left and are pushed to focus almost exclusively on the right’s concerns about “big government” and its unquestioning faith in deregulated markets, the result is immoderate and ultimately impractical policy. To create a real center, you need a real left.
Chris Hayes: Bring on the upper-middle-class revolution! By David Daley, Salon.com, Jun 25, 2013
Popular Resistance Is Percolating Across the Country — Inspiring Activism That the Corporate Media Always IgnoresBy Kevin Zeese, AlterNet , Margaret Flowers May 17, 2013
We Can’t Give in to the Culture of Fear and Apathy — Channel Your Discontent into Positive Action By Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, Alternet.org, August 16, 2013
Chris Hedges on the Role of Art in Rebellion, interview with Peter Z. Scheer, Truthdig.com,
New ‘Southern Strategy’? Waves of Liberal Protest Ripple Across South by Lauren McCauley Common Dreams, March 19, 2014
Elizabeth Warren’s 11 Commandments of Progressivism By Emma Roller, National Journal, July 18, 2014 “What does it mean to be a progressive?” “We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.” “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.” “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.” “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.” “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.” “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.” “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.” “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.” “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.” “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.” “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!” the main tenet of conservatives’ philosophy, according to Warren? “I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.”