Randy Shaw: Why did California progressives do so well in the midterm elections, in contrast to conservatives’ success nationally? A major reason is that the state’s activists pushed progressive policies without seeking approval from politicians.
Emily Spence: Why, why have human population numbers been exploding during my lifetime without the attention of every expert on the planet being focused upon this question?
Paul Hogarth: What good is defending a Democrat, who will simply give bi-partisan “cover” to right-wing forces of obstruction who want Obama to fail.
Lauren Steiner: Stand up and be counted at rallies and public hearings. Make telephone calls, sign petitions and write letters to public officials and newspapers and get your friends to do the same. Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” There is so much you can do. Learn more here.
Paul Hogarth: For years, House Democrats have joked that House Republicans are the “opposition” but the Senate is the “enemy” – and it’s easy to understand why.
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.
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.
Mario Solis-Marich: As the pressure mounts around the country on the police state known as Arizona, eyes turn to Washington for comprehensive immigration reform. Top Senate aides informed me this morning that despite news stories to the contrary, Majority Leader Harry Reid has not backed off of the idea of pursing an immigration bill as the next order of Senate business. The clarification is one that may be too nuanced for some but is an indication of the balancing act the Leader feels he must make to hold the Democratic caucus together while trying to pursue legislative remedies to the huge problems left to fester during the days of the past Republican majority. The clarification however will probably not satisfy the Latino community as the disrespectful sting of the slap in the face delivered by Arizona lingers.
Emily Spence: With the current peak-oil interval, we have a grace period when oil is still fairly inexpensive and abundant. At the same time, we cannot expect our government leaders to help society transition off of heavy oil dependence on account of their being controlled by “big business” interests. Therefore, it is up to average citizens to create the reforms that lead into localized economic and social development.
Articles by H. Scott Prosterman, Carl Bloice, Carl Matthes, Adam Eran, Alfee Enciso, Robert Reich, Diane Lefer, Anthony Samad, Jim Fuller, Tom Degan, Michele Waslin, Georgianne Nienaber, Ron Briley, Tracy Emblem, Rev. Irene Monroe, Nomiki Konst, Randy Shaw, Jane Baek, Mario Solis-Marich, Andrea Christina Nill, Shamus Cooke, Ron Wolff, Sikivu Hutchinson, Marcy Winograd, Walter Moss, and Sharon Kyle
Adam Eran: Appropriately for April Fool’s, Republican California Assemblyman Roger Niello’s editorial appears in the Sacramento Bee protesting California’s public policy response to climate change (AB32). As evidence that AB32 is misguided, he cites the discredited Varshney study and the similiarly biased California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) oil-industry-funded study of AB32.
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.
Adam Eran: The one thing we don’t want to do is subsidize even more petroleum consumption. If we gave oil producers a special tax break (like the “depletion allowance”), or paid for the military protection for those increasingly important overseas oilfields, gas would be artificially cheaper at the pump, and we would have abandoned the “magic of the marketplace” for crony captalism, where a few favored interests get the lion’s share of public policy benefit.
Randy Shaw: Many progressives are so excited that Obama is not Sarah Palin that they accept any small step as a great leap forward. The irony is that many of these progressives saw a night and day difference between Obama and Clinton in the primaries, yet now accept policies from Obama that are virtually identical — if not more conservative — than those we feared from a President Hilary Clinton.
Emily Spence: You cannot leave critical matters for future administrations to sort out in a meaningful manner. Despite vicious backlash for your stance, you must vigorously work to change our collective course now rather than continue the same old policies that your predecessors in office had and that, obviously, do not work.
Andrea Christina Nill: According to Gibbs, the question isn’t whether President Obama still supports passing comprehensive immigration reform, but rather, whether the White House can be convinced that there is enough bipartisan support to get it passed. A recent affirmative statement from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) indicates that at least one key GOP member is reaching out to his colleagues and encouraging them to embrace the immigration issue. Meanwhile, themajority of Republican and Independent voters already support comprehensive immigration reform.
Randy Shaw: In the Beltway, the Obama Administration frustrated key constituency groups and organizations by failing to push for transformative change. In the world where most people live and work, activists were not deterred by Obama’s inaction and instead seized upon the “Si Se Puede” spirit to build successful campaigns for justice.
Paul Hogarth: California desperately needs to abolish the two-thirds requirement to pass a state budget, and even an amendment that does not include taxes would be incremental progress. But unless labor unions start putting real money in this effort, and the Democratic Party makes it the priority it must be, it’s going to get lost in the shuffle – and we won’t have what it takes to run a winning campaign.
Randy Shaw: pecifically, activists must employ what I describe in The Activist’s Handbook as the “fear and loathing” approach that has long proved necessary to get most politicians to do the right thing. Activists must make Obama fear the political repercussions of not backing progressive positions, even to the extent that the President comes to “loathe” those creating such pressures.