Is Social Media Useless for Change?

Malcolm Gladwell

Social networking websites can play and are playing an important role in finding and connecting people who are beginning to think and feel similar things. They can help participants deepen their understanding and form common perspectives. They can help inform those who use them of possible courses of action.

The Peace Corps at Fifty

Sargeant Shriver, John F. Kennedy

Tom Hayden: It is time for Obama, and more Americans, to read their Eisenhower and begin again.

Is Progressive Dissent Public Enemy #1?

fbi raids

Lydia Howell: The US government — bought and paid for by weapons-makers and mercenaries (‘contractors’) —does not think that We The People have the right to even question, much less challenge and resist permanent war, which is bankrupting our country and civilian deaths ignites violent reaction.

Two Civil Rights Movies Find the Cost of Freedom

Ernie Dingo and Missy Higgins in Bran Nue Dae

Ed Rampell: The documentary Neshoba and musical Bran Nue Dae remind us of how far we’ve come – and, like Willie en route from Perth to Broome – how far we still have to go before we overcome and that Brand New Day of equality dawns.

Book Burning and the New Red Scare

religious intolerance

Tom Hall: As the new Tea Bag Republicans virtually guarantee gridlock and a forced double dip depression, the voters will again turn on them, giving a chance, in 2012, to candidates who offer real solutions, real progress, real hope. If we can find any.

Clapping for Conservatism

joe the plumber

Steve Hochstadt: These days it seems like only political allegiance determines judgments about whether people are good or bad. I want to be judged by how I act, not how I vote, by whether I tell the truth, how I treat my neighbors, how I live in my community, how well I take care of my mother. (Hi, Ma.)

In the Shadow of the Dreamers

Shirlley Jones and Burt Lancaster in "Elmer Gantry"

Brad Parker: It is only fitting that the avatar of the extreme right-wing political, cultural and economic prevaricators should stand in the shadow of the Dreamers nearly a half century since the eclipsing call to peace delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Where better to expose the Elmer Gantry of all things hateful, angry and victimized?

Civil Rights and Wrongs Onstage at Two L.A. Theatres

Carry It On! Bill Durhamm and Rowena Johnson (Photo Miriam Geer)

Ed Rampell: Art emerges out of our collective psyche to reflect our times, and it’s fascinating to see how L.A. theatre is responding to the current attack on our civil, human and constitutional rights and liberties.

Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

Common Nonsense Glenn Beck Triumph of Ignorance

Author Alexander Zaitchik sits down with Keith Olbermann to discuss his new book, “Common Nonsense, Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance”. Zaitchik tells Olbermann that we shouldn’t misinterpret Beck’s recent dip in ratings to mean that he is losing popularity.

Thurgood: Laurence Fishburne’s One-Man Show Brings History to Life

thurgood marshall laurence fishburne

Ed Rampell: Written by George Stevens, Jr., Thurgood is a perfect specimen of the one-man show format, with all the right ingredients.

In Defense of Ethnic Studies and American History

Five generations of a family born into slavery on a South Carolina plantation

Simon Balto: Amidst the recent assaults on ethnic studies in Arizona and beyond that propagate a myth that such programs are divisive and exclusionary, I now find myself seeking to defend and justify their importance, and to wrestle with their place in American history.

Rand Paul’s Retro America

segregated drinking fountain

Tom Degan: Coming out as he did against the one of the main purposes of the Civil Rights Act was not a stupid gaffe on the part of Rand Paul – it was a decided political calculation. He wants and needs the racist vote, and he has every intention of getting it. Are there enough bigots in that state to put him over the top? Being an ancestor of Kentucky, I sure as hell hope not.

Arun Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Looking Beyond The Impossibly Perfect Standard

arun gandhi

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.

What in the Sam Hill Is Wrong with Arizona?

arizona kkk

David A. Love: I don’t know what it is exactly about Arizona, but I do know that the state needs to be boycotted like a Montgomery bus. That state must realize that you cannot treat any group of people as lesser than the rest, nor can you disrespect the country’s largest minority group and expect to emerge unscathed. There must be a price to pay this time, and what better place to start than with the Arizona economy? When an Arizona lawmaker wants to boycott his own state, you know how bad it is.

Campaigning For and Being President As Two-Way Learning: A Benchmark

Robert Letcher: It’s not that I expected Obama to communicate with me about his policy positions, although I certainly hoped he would – even though I don’t wait around for him to call. Instead, it just seemed to me that his campaign – our campaign – would likely improve his prospects for winning if he were somehow to really communicate with this me and all the other me’s whose support he needs in order to be elected and govern successfully.

Paging Dr. King

Martin Luther King Jr.

Tom Degan: That’s what I love about this guy! American history is littered with “Christian” religious leaders. Try as you might, you can’t escape them. The thing that sets Reverend King apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn’t a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were – a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day. Please give me a day or two and I might be able to name more, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968, Day in 1980. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.

LA Progressive: March 28 to April 3, 2010 — Articles

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

Fulfilling the Dream: Completing the Undone Work of Martin Luther King Jr.

Rabbi James Wax

H. Scott Prosterman: Those of us who came of age in the late ’60′s did so at a time of painful soul-searching for our nation, but we benefited from the new era of openness and spiritual exploration that followed. I learned from Rabbi Wax that one’s politics is defined by one’s sense of humanity, or the lack thereof.

Health Care Reform: Compassion versus Freedom?

Nurse Iris Willams talks to Ella Mae Johnson .

John Delloro: State rights and individual freedom have an important place in our society but so does the values and beliefs informing the lives of Ella Mae, my father and I. Our narrative of community and compassion yearns and demands to be included in the larger story of America. Although the health care reform bill is imperfect, it communicates to us—“we are beginning to be heard.”

Education, Texas Style

Texas-ed-board

Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”

On Strategizing Progressive Social Change: Start with “It Won’t Be Easy”

History

Robert Letcher: Heck! Just talking about progressive social change is difficult. If I try to “tell it like it is”, it’s too complicated for many people to comprehend, and for some people who think that anything worth knowing should require no effort from them to understand it.

War Politics: Numb and Number

Senator Wayne Morse

Norman Solomon: While the escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps setting deadly blazes, the few anti-war voices on Capitol Hill usually sound like people whispering “Fire!”

The New Jim Crow

Michelle-Alexander

Michelle Alexander: The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame.

Black Leadership Succession: Diane Watson Did It Right

diane-watson

Anthony Asadullah Samad: People got mad love for Diane Watson, and she’s not one that we were going to let go the way of Dymally. She was going to go out on her terms. Nobody was going to force her out. But I, for one, am glad she did it right. It shows that black leaders can effectively ensure quality future leaders will continue their work.

Copenhagen Failed Us; What Do We Do Next?

Global warming

Nick Arguimbau: All considered, we have lost twenty years for bringing about meaningful climate change mitigation and we have little time left because every year that the atmospheric CO2 load increases, there is even a lesser chance that the dangerous processes can be reversed.

Friday Feedback: Martin Luther King Jr. Belongs to All of Us

Friday Feedback: Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream doesn’t just belong to any one particular group. It belongs to all of us. The civil rights struggle is a human rights struggle, and the LGBT community should be a part of it.

Do We Still Need to Celebrate Black History Month?

Greensboro sit-in: Ezell Blair Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil and David Richmond

Rev. Irene Monroe: Within the African- American LGBTQ community, Black History Month has always come under criticism. And rightly so! The absence of LGBTQ people of African descent in the month-long celebration is evidence of how race, gender and sexual politics of the dominant culture are reinscribed in black culture as well.

Don’t Call It a ‘Defense’ Budget

war and liberty

Norman Solomon: As new sequences of political horrors unfold, maybe it’s a bit too easy for writers and readers of the progressive blogosphere to remain within the politics of online denunciation. Cogent analysis and articulated outrage are necessary but insufficient. The unmet challenge is to organize widely, consistently and effectively — against the warfare state — on behalf of humanistic priorities. In the process, let’s be clear. This is not a defense budget. This is a death budget.

Friday Feedback: Martin Luther King Stood Up for What Is Right

I don’t care if you believe that whites are better than blacks, or if your religion teaches that the Bible says gays are immoral, you don’t have the right to oppress other citizens. You don’t have the right to deny the benefits of civil marriage to the children of gay citizens. Not in this country. That’s what makes Martin Luther King’s work so powerful – he stood up for what was ethically right, and his demands were in alignment with the Constitution of our great nation: Equal rights for all!

Outing King: The Hijacking of the Dream (and the Civil Rights Conversation)

Anthony Samad: Gay rights actvists have this pressing need to tie King to their cause, to legitimize their movement. They can’t find adequate venues to engage the black community on the issue of gay marriage, so they hijack King Day programs where they can dominate question and answer periods by interjecting questions around gay marriage. And they never want to have a morality conversation, as critical as that conversation is to a conversion (and shift) of America’s cultural mindset.

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