ACORN’s Problems Create Void for Community Organizing

acornphoto

As ACORN cutbacks weaken one of the progressive movement’s leading organizer training vehicles, everyone from labor unions, to interfaith networks, to progressive foundations, to the Obama Administration better start thinking about how to fill this organizer gap.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Watching Latino Politics Disappear

Sotomayor

This exclusion of Latinos from the health debate, and from all public policy issues other than immigration, is neither coincidence nor accident. It is part of the same strategy that sees Latinos excluded from the cable political news shows, and from the Sunday interview shows on the traditional networks.

UNITE HERE Rejoins AFL-CIO

UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm

On the last day of the AFL-CIO convention, UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm announced that his union is leaving Change to Win and rejoining the AFL-CIO. The announcement, while not unexpected, will soon to followed by a similar decision by the Laborers Union, and represents a likely fatal blow to SEIU’s efforts to create a competing labor Federation.

Obama: Labor’s Agenda Is My Agenda

barack

Organized labor has historically been the core of Barack Obama’s political base, and now that the President finds himself in a tough fight with corporate America, he is increasingly aligning himself with the labor movement

Michael Moore’s New Film Galvanizes AFL-CIO

michael-moore

I don’t need a phone survey or Internet poll to know that the audience was wild about Moore’s film: the audience was often so overcome with laughter, applause and sheer excitement that it often broke into massive applause, with nobody complaining about the drowning out of dialogue due to the clapping.

Obama’s Last Chance on Health Care

Obama’s desire to find a common ground was part of his attraction. This is not what most progressives find troubling. Rather, it is Obama’s reluctance to use the vast powers of the presidency to drive the enactment of his top domestic priority that many of his longtime supporters simply cannot understand.

Obama’s Health Care Approach Risks His Base

Tom Daschle, Barack Obama

Activists either insist that the President accept nothing less than a public option, or pave the way for Obama’s further “compromises” on the many other issues once widely thought to represent the ushering in of a new progressive era.

Progressives Mobilize to Save Obama, Democratic Party

Clockwise from top: Nancy Pelosi, Jed Lewison, Howard Dean and Jane Hamsher.

Republicans thought the “just say no” strategy that killed the Clinton plan would also work in 2009. But they forgot that this strategy now lacks the element of surprise, and that the Internet now prevents the corporate media from entirely controlling the debate.

Obama Did Not “Punk” the Common Guy

bush-obama

Obama is using every political chit to secure health coverage for 47 million “common “ Americans, strongly endorsing the public option that other Democrats and the Republican Party are seeking to kill.

Obama: It’s Up to Activists to Enact Real Health Care Reform

ambulance

Barack Obama has created the best opportunity to enact universal health care with a public option since Truman’s presidency. He has made a strong case for the public option, and used his personal popularity to drive the issue. But it is now up to constituency pressure to get the job done.

Explaining the Media’s Anti-Obama Bias

media-victim

Fortunately, the Internet will not allow the traditional media to again derail the nation’s hopes for progressive change. No wonder the Obama Administration is openly courting bloggers to tell the truth about health care

AFL-CIO Condemns SEIU Raids on UNITE HERE

Fred Ross Jr with ILWU leader Jimmy Herman and HERE organizer Tho Do at Neighbor to Neighbor coffee protest in the 1980s

One day after 15 international union leaders vowed to provide “material and moral” support to UNITE HERE’s defense against SEIU raids, the AFL-CIO sent a letter to the UNITE HERE convention condemning “all raiding of organized workers by any union.” This letter represents a dramatic shift in position for the labor federation, which previously had [...]

Labor Movement Backs UNITE HERE Against SEIU Raids

Photo by Virginia Blaisdell.

In a dramatic blow to SEIU’s efforts to raid UNITE HERE members and jurisdictions, 15 of the nation’s leading unions pledged Monday to provide UNITE HERE with “material and moral” support. Before a wildly cheering and upbeat crowd of 700, AFSCME President Gerald McEntee denounced SEIU for the “poaching” of UNITE HERE, and for engaging [...]

As Labor Faces Turning Point, UNITE HERE National Convention Opens

Unite_Here

UNITE HERE, best known for its Hotel Workers Rising campaign and successful organizing of the nation’s gaming industry, opens its national convention in Chicago today. When the event was scheduled, it seemed a perfect occasion for celebrating five years of increased union membership in its core jurisdictions, despite tough economic times. Instead, UNITE HERE’s celebration [...]

Experts Wrong: Newsom Clear Beneficiary of Villaraigosa Non-Entry

gavin_newsom_thumbs_up

According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier & Ross, nearly all of the political experts they consulted felt that California Attorney General Jerry Brown would gain more than Gavin Newsom from the non-entry of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa in the 2010 Democratic race for Governor. Not to be too blunt, but this analysis is [...]

Message to Media: Opposition to Progressive Reforms Is NEVER About Money

Lucy-Football

The traditional media — surprise, surprise — is now trumpeting the argument that the United States cannot “afford” to provide universal healthcare. The Congressional Budget Office estimate of a $1.6 trillion cost over 10 years is said to be a “game changer,” even though the Senators complaining about this expense are backing the wasteful F22 [...]

Obama, Progressives Face Moment of Truth

healthcare rally

President Obama and his progressive supporters are at a turning point. The heart of Obama’s progressive policy agenda — universal health care — is confronting increasing opposition, and the grassroots activists that put Barack Obama in the White House must pressure wavering Senators to back the Change We Need. But mobilizing is proving difficult, as [...]

Public Rejects Newspapers’ Survivalist Rhetoric

dying newspapers

arkos Moulitsas, whose DailyKos helped shift the nation’s politics leftward, once noted that newspaper circulation began its steady decline in 1993, well before the rise of the Internet, and that “what the newspaper industry is trying to save right now isn’t ‘journalism’, it’s ‘shareholder value’.” Moulitsas created a site that regularly produces critical news “missed” [...]

UFW Alums Battle Over Labor’s Future

Dolores Huerta and Eliseo Medina

After electing the most pro-union President in decades, organized labor is being torn by internal fights. And at the heart of these conflicts are veterans of the United Farmworkers of America (UFW), whose strategic innovations have shaped today’s labor movement and whose “Si Se Puede” (“Yes We Can”) rallying cry became the hallmark of Barack [...]

Progressives Bear Blame for California’s Woes

From upper left: Jerry Brown, Phil Angelides, Gray Davis, Gavin Newsom.

As California faces a fiscal meltdown, Democrats blame Republicans for opposing essential tax hikes. But progressives own failures should not be ignored. California Republicans have been anti-tax zealots since the mid-1990’s, yet progressives failed to prioritize passing a ballot measure eliminating the two-thirds requirement for budget passage in 1998, 2000, 2004, or 2008, each of [...]

Can Obama Build A Grassroots Health-Care Movement?

plouffe

As insurance companies and health-care conglomerates ramp up opposition to real reform, activists must build a real grassroots movement that forces Congress to do the right thing. On June 6, the Obama Administration is launching an effort to accomplish this. It is making its greatest push yet to use its “Organizing for America” operation to [...]

Community Organizer Obama Asks Activists: “Where’s Your Base”?

organizer_obama

Some activists excited about Barack Obama’s community organizing background forget what this fully means – namely, that he expects groups seeking progressive measures to mobilize their base. Community organizers do not expect politicians to challenge entrenched interests absent grassroots pressure, and President Obama is not about to spend political capital on issues like Afghanistan, the [...]

Posters Show the Labor Movement At its Best

posters

When I receive a book for review, I quickly skim through it before putting it aside for future reading. But when I got Lincoln Cushing & Timothy W. Drescher’s, Agitate! Educate! Organize! American Labor Posters, I became so engrossed in its collection of historic labor posters that I could not put it down. Many readers [...]

Obama’s Surprising First 100 Days

100-daze

Barack Obama is the first candidate I have supported at any level of government whose first 100 days greatly exceeded my expectations. What has Obama done differently from the rest? First, he did not spend three months learning how to get things done in his new job. Second, he did not follow his swearing in [...]

Newsom Admits Alcohol Problem: Will His Supporters?

Gavin Newsom Alcoholic

Randy Shaw: While Newsom undergoes treatment for the root cause of his alcohol problem, we urge those claiming to be his biggest backers to learn some lessons about dealing with their politician/allies.

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