When Teachers Unions Back War Escalations

troops

David Swanson: There is nothing altruistic in the idea of peace activists helping workers and the unemployed here at home. That’s how you build a movement for any political end, and that’s how you keep our young people from becoming cannon fodder.

After Health Care, Activists Must Continue Pressure for Change

Sunday's Immigration March

Randy Shaw: One clear impact of the health care victory: a deeply demoralized activist and progressive base has been reenergized. Activists who had lost faith in Obama’s ability to get things done now have evidence that candidate Obama’s “Yes We Can” spirit has not disappeared, a boost in enthusiasm that may have greater short-term significance than the substance of the health care bill.

Education Activists Need Strategy Beyond Marches

School crunch

Randy Shaw: Activists can use mass action to pressure legislators and the Governor to redirect excessive spending on prisons and other wasteful programs to education, but there is no chance this year of getting enough Republicans to win the necessary two-thirds legislative votes.

Obama Ignores Community Organizing Lessons

yes-we-can

When Barack Obama backed a Senate health reform plan that differed radically from prior proposals, he ignored the lessons he learned as a young organizer on Chicago’s South Side. Obama once knew that it’s wrong to bypass the community’s agenda to strike a backroom deal, regardless of its superior terms. Obama also understood that failing to consult with the community disempowers the base, and discourages people from participating in future organizing campaigns.

Activists Giving Obama a Pass

Obama2bush

Obama still has time to deliver for his base. But this will require activists and constituency groups to ramp up public demands for such a course, rather than thinking they are helping the progressive cause by making excuses for a president whose inspirational words about social transformation have not been matched by actions.

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.

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.

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 [...]

The Obama Progressive Agenda: A Progress Report

obama

Although progressives have already won two major victories – the stimulus package and the budget – and a reversal of a number of Bush anti-environment policies, most activists are focused on the troika of universal health care, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), and comprehensive immigration reform. Having asked activists across the nation over the [...]

Lessons of President Obama’s First Two Weeks

presidentobama

It’s been less than two weeks, but patterns have emerged that are likely to continue throughout Barack Obama’s presidency. First, Obama understands how to use the media. Examples are detailed below, but the best is the widespread media story last Thursday about how the usually cool Obama “lost it” — in front of cameras and [...]

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