Occupy the Ballot Forum and Independent Politics

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Dan Bluemel: Because of its electoral structure, the U.S. political system has never been welcoming to third parties. Some critics have argued this leaves the political landscape entrenched in a system comprised of moderates and hardliners who, in essence, espouse the same ideology.

The Power of Kindness: Young Men and Violence

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Mark Naison: We need to have more people reaching out with love and support to the wounded children who surround us, inside and outside of our schools.

5 Things I Want from Charlotte

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Dick Price: I struggled to watch the Republican Convention, fast-forwarding through the recordings when the “snow” got too deep. As I watch the Democrats in Charlotte, I certainly hope I see enough to recover at least a part of my enthusiasm from four years ago.

Not Every Bronx Tale Has a Geoffrey Canada Ending

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n his memoir, Fist, Knife, Stick, Gun, Geoffrey Canada describes growing up on Union Avenue in the Morrisania section of the Bronx as a harrowing experience — a place where bullies terrorized young people and where no institutions, certainly not the local public schools, offered refuge or protection. It was only when Canada’s family moved [...]

Mitt’s Stupid Lies

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Julie Driscoll: Liar, liar, pants on fire . . . Mitt Romney is apparently working to out-do Michele Bachmann as the ultimate lying machine.

Romney Ignites Democratic Base

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Randy Shaw: Barack Obama’s campaign has lots of money, but there is no way it could match Romney’s success at getting this base to align with the President.

My Barack Obama Problem

Photo: Pete Souza, Official White House photographer

Mark Naison: The straw that broke the camel’s back, after many disappointments, was the image of the President regaling a $2,500 a plate dinner in San Francisco while Occupy Oakland was being attacked by an army of police.

Activist Kwazi Nkrumah Arrested at Long Beach Port (updated)

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Sharon Kyle: Kwazi Nkrumah, a long-time civil rights activist, has been arrested in Long Beach where the Occupy Movement was gathering as part of “Occupy the Ports”, a coordinated West Coast port shutdown.

Wanted: A President Who is Tougher Than Terrycloth

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Gil Troy: Presidential power also comes from the ability to reward and punish, to create careers and destroy others – demanding a ruthlessness in domestic politics Barack Obama has rarely displayed.

Jesus the Litigator

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Andrew J. Schatkin: In an age that emphasizes money, materialism, outright greed, and admiration for the rich and powerful, Jesus offers an alternative.

The Attack on Community Organizing: Who’s Next?

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Randy Shaw: Instead of Obama’s election proving the type of launching point that conservative groups experienced after Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election, community organizing opportunities are less available today than in past decades.

Who’s The Spoiler?

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Sharon Kyle: I believe that Marcy Winograd has demonstrated an unyielding commitment to stand for, do and say what’s in the best interest of the people regardless of the personal cost to her.

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Marcy Winograd for Congress 2011 Special Election

Marcy Wingrad Jobs not Wars

Marcy Winograd announced she is kicking off a campaign to fill Jane Harman’s vacated 36th CD seat. The kick off starts Saturday, Feb. 26, 10 am in front of Fox Drug of Torrance (Old Town), 1327 El Prado, Torrance, 90501. Last June, Marcy Winograd, a teacher at Crenshaw High School, ran against the incumbent Jane Harman and received 41% of the vote.

Channeling Reagan, Obama Moves to Slash Programs for Urban Poor

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Randy Shaw: The Obama Administration honored Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday on February 6 by proposing steep cuts to two of the leading programs for the urban poor: community service grants and community development block grants (CDBG).

Should Progressives Have Chosen Clinton Over Obama in 2008?

Randy Shaw: But if progressives had a crystal ball that foresaw how Obama would perform as President by the end of 2010, I think most would have backed Hilary Clinton. Here’s why.

Mandela’s Ubuntu: We Are Human Only Through the Humanity of Others

Carl Matthes: “Mandela’s Way” is about life and one’s reaction to it. It demonstrates the need for us to understand our own motivations and the need for us to develop and articulate our own sense of Life, Love and Courage. The almost three years it took for Richard Stengel to chronicle Nelson Mandela’s life’s lessons and then condense it to enjoyable readable form, makes this book indispensable.

Sarah Palin v. Bill Moyers: Take the Survey

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Sharon Kyle: Bill Moyers 4,889. Sarah Palin 1,543,755. So what’s this, you ask? It certainly isn’t the scorecard for some ridiculous game. Nor is it their annual salaries: Sarah Palin probably makes more than that.

“Uncle Tiger’s” Not Out of the Woods Yet

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Ed Rampell: Fair play demands that if Woods is sincere about doing a mea culpa, he should start by apologizing to African Americans for his record of turning his back on them in his unbridled, selfish pursuit of money, glory and sexual gratification by currying favor with the dominant majority culture.

Obama Era Sees Decline of Organizing

Clockwise from top: UNITE-HERE protests Hyatt; Immigration Rally in 2006; ACORN protests Wachovia; HCAN rally

Randy Shaw: As the midterm elections approach, progressives face a critical choice: either spend resources now on funding organizers who can win real change in 2010, or invest in the November elections to set the stage for 2011. The choice should be clear.

Obama Ignores Community Organizing Lessons

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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.

ACORN’s Problems Create Void for Community Organizing

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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.

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.

Friday Feedback: A Constitutional Convention for California

Senator Hancock said that “AS STRUCTURED California is ungovernable” and she voiced her strong support for a Constitutional Convention, as well as her total support of her friend Rick Jacobs – founder of the Courage Campaign.

Activists Rallying to Ensure Obama Administration Brings Change

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Why are the usual barriers to progressive change falling? Because, as in the 1930’s, we have grassroots movements who are pushing a sympathetic President to the left.

Shannyn Moore to Sarah Palin: Sue Me! Please!

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Threatened by litigation from Palin camp, AK bloggers close ranks, scoff at intimidation effort by cutting-and-running Governor…

LA Progressive: May 17 to May 23, 2009

A Modest Plan for Paying College Costs. –Robert Reich Budget Baloney. –Adam Eran Local Police Report Makes the Case for Federal Enforcement of Immigration Laws. –Michele Waslin “Of Course (The CIA) Misled Congress. We Were Trained How.” –Charley James The Arlen Spectacle. –Robert Illes Los Angeles NAACP Life Achievement Award. –Anthony Asadullah Samad Obama Expands [...]

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

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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 [...]

A New Wave of Community Organizers for the Obama Era

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I usually have about 20 students in the Community Organizing course I teach each year at Occidental College in Los Angeles. So far, 42 students have registered for next fall’s class. I haven’t all of a sudden become a more popular professor. There’s clearly something happening on American campuses and in the broader culture that’s [...]

Goodness, An Adult Really Is In Charge!

President Barack Obama greets President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva  of Brazil, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

While much of the mainsteam media was huffing and puffing about “Hug Gate” – the supposed gaffe where Michelle Obama was seen with her arm around Queen Elizabeth, which Buckingham Palace dismissed as a “spontaneous show of mutual affection” – Barack Obama was actually busy doing what a global leader is supposed to do: Leading [...]

Booker and Barack: What Can Obama Learn From Booker T. Washington?

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More than a century ago, the preeminent black leader of his time made a prophecy that has come to pass. When blacks had little hope, Booker T. Washington stood alone in predicting that one day a black man would be president of the United States. Almost all Americans at the time would have considered this [...]

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