Student Anti-Sweatshop Activists Win Historic Breakthrough

USAS students celebrate with factory workers

Randy Shaw: Numerous experts argue that the global “race to the bottom” is inevitable and beyond the power of activists to change. Fortunately, student anti-sweatshop activists ignored these claims, and have now defied the conventional wisdom.

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.

Mehserle-Grant Verdict Aftermath: Oakland Lives Another Day

Mehserle Verdict

H. Scott Prosterman: Regardless of the verdict, some element of violent protest was inevitable. Ironically, most of those arrested were white, suburban anarchist, rather than black activists.

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.

OFA Should Reassess Organizing Strategy

Real Captain America

Craig Williams: An old Teamster organizer once told me “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” It’s also an insult to working people and the tradition of organizing.

Study Shows Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants Would Produce $1.5 Trillion Benefit

UCLA professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda

Andrea Nill: A new study by University of California at Los Angeles professor Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda suggests that comprehensive immigration reform, which includes an earned path to legalization for undocumented immigrants, could generate at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.

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.

Full Disclosure of Congressional Stock Portfolios

There is a movement underway to require members of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court to provide full disclosure of their stock portfolios.

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 [...]

It’s Not Just McArthur Park

may day

Violent May Day Immigration Rights Rally rganized as a peaceful May Day March and immigration rights rally, the events held at MacArthur Park last week turned violent when members of the Los Angeles Police stormed into the mostly peaceful crowd of workers, activists, media, and immigrants at the Los Angeles rally. Today’s technology facilitated the [...]

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