About Paul Rogat Loeb

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times, whose wholly updated new edition will be released March 30, of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association, and of Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus. See www.soulofacitizen.org To receive his articles directly email sympa@lists.groundwire.org with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articles.

If You Care About Keystone and Climate Change, Occupy Exxon

obama-phone-wide

Paul Loeb: If we want President Obama to make the right decision on the Keystone Pipeline and deny the permit, maybe it’s time to Occupy Exxon, with creative protests at local Exxon/Mobil stations.

What If Obama Taxed the Rich but Never Told Anyone?

obama shopping

Paul Loeb: Did you know Obama’s health care bill contained a $20 billion a year tax on the richest Americans? I didn’t until I stumbled onto a mention of this the other day.

From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Neighborhoods

occupy la mask

Paul Loeb: Nothing stops the Occupiers and their supporters from can raising their key issues as clearly and powerfully as possible, while reminding people that showing up at the polls still matters.

Will Obama Ever Hold the Republicans Accountable?

obama cafe

Paul Loeb: Obama has forgotten the basic lesson of negotiation — you don’t hand everything over before you start, particularly to people who have utter contempt for your values and goals.

Glued to the Weather Channel While the World Burns

stormy-weather-wide

Paul Loeb: Fox News’s managing editor even prohibited any reporting on global climate change that didn’t immediately then question the overwhelming scientific consensus.

Go to Wisconsin, President Obama

president barack obama

Paul Loeb: You need to go there and speak out, or at least speak out again and more strongly, because Americans need to understand what’s at stake, and those who are standing up there and elsewhere need to see you standing beside them.

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Seeking Republican Patriots

attack ads

Paul Loeb: Do Senators like Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk really want to open themselves up to unlimited anonymous attack ads, where they can’t even turn the mud potential primary opponents will be slinging into a potential electoral liability?

Suppose Your Actions Swung the Election

electioneering

Paul Loeb: Suppose the phone calls you made, money you donated, doors you knocked on, and conversations you initiated helped swing a critically close race, or two or three.

‘Will They Get What They’re Paying For?’ — the Best Election Flier I’ve Seen

patty murray

Paul Loeb: I’ve seen no other piece that sums up the election issues as powerfully, and would love to see organizations and candidates adapt its template for their own outreach.

Don’t Let the Russ Feingolds Go Down for the Sins of the Blanche Lincolns

russ feingold

Paul Loeb: To stand back in the next critical weeks and hand victory to the most greed-driven interests in America seems an unconscionable moral lapse. Far better to help make what difference you can in electing the electoral allies you most respect, and then keep on with all the other organizing that needs to be done.

How the Internet Can Make It Harder to Act

social media

Paul Loeb: For all the strengths of online engagement, people still need to gather together, eat, joke, flirt, tell their stories, attach names to faces, and ultimately build deeper levels of trust.

Ten Suggestions for Effective Activism

student protest

Paul Loeb: When I was updating Soul of a Citizen, an activist rabbi who was teaching the book at Florida Gulf Coast University suggested I gather togetherthe Ten Commandments for effective citizen engagement.

Does Protecting Our Children Mean Political Action For Them And For Us?

Marian Wright Edelman

Paul Loeb: Particularly in these difficult times, we often use our children as reasons to avoid getting involved in critical issues. We’ve got all we can handle holding on to our jobs and spending a little time with them. We fear political commitments will make their lives more insecure. Especially when they’re young, it may be all we can do just to go to work, come home, pay attention to their needs, and catch a few scarce hours of sleep. Yet when we do find ways to get engaged, our children can give us powerful reasons to act.

Arun Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Looking Beyond The Impossibly Perfect Standard

arun gandhi

Paul Loeb: I love viewing Gandhi not as the master strategist of social change that he later became, but as someone who at first was literally tongue-tied–shyer and more intimidated than almost anyone we can imagine. His story is a caution against the impulse to try and achieve perfection before we begin the journey of social change.

From Drunken Party Girl to Climate Change Activist

Paul Loeb: As Angie’s involvement deepened, she found more ways to act on her newfound convictions. She brought over 100 Virginia Tech students to Power Shift, a national student climate change conference held at the University of Maryland. Angie also helped plan the entertainment, and as she looked out from the stage at 6,000 students, “felt for the first time like we really have a movement.”

Reclaiming Our Hope

Nelson Mandela

Paul Loeb: It’s been a frustrating time since November 2008, but our challenge is to spend less time bemoaning our disappointments and more energy engaging with ordinary citizens the way so many of us did a year and a half ago. If we give people enough ways to act on our present crises, we never know how history might turn.

Soul of a Citizen: Vaclav Havel, Barack Obama, and Unforeseen Fruits

vaclev havel

Paul Rogat Loeb: None of us can predict when the causes we support will capture the popular imagination or enlist someone who goes on to do powerful work for justice. “Before water turns to ice,” writes psychologist Joanna Macy, “it looks just the same as before. Then a few crystals form, and suddenly the whole system undergoes cataclysmic change.”

Taking Money Out of Politics: A Grassroots Effort for Clean ElectionsTaking Money Out of Politics: A Grassroots Effort for Clean Elections

town-hall

Paul Loeb: Nothing makes us feel more powerless than the corruption of our democracy by money. It undermines progress on every issue we face. If America is ever to deal with our critical problems, we’re going to need to sever the links between wealth and politics, a task made more challenging by the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned a hundred years of precedent to increase still further the influence of companies like Exxon, United Health and Goldman Sachs.

How Democrats Can Reclaim the Youth Vote

Its so hot

Paul Loeb: Dashed hopes also matter. Politics may be the art of compromise, but from health care to Guantanamo to Afghanistan and the bank bailouts, the compromises of the Obama administration have added up to belie the image of a candidacy of change.

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