Critics of Obama’s Organizing for Action Ignore Political Reality

obama college

Randy Shaw: I don’t hear any immigrant rights groups, labor unions, or progressive activist groups calling on the President to unilaterally disarm in the face of massive right-wing spending, and critics of OFA have virtually no base among those fighting each day for greater social justice.

What Activists (Should Have) Learned in 2012

Randy Shaw: Activists are in far better spirits than one year ago. Progressives see that the public is on their side, and, unlike in the aftermath of the 2008 elections, are staying engaged in the major policy struggles that elections are supposed to be all about.

California Progressives Take the Offensive

yes on 30

Randy Shaw: While progressives will be forced to invest major resources in defeating Prop 32, the other major ballot initiatives all put conservatives on the defensive and would further progressive change.

An Apology for Mass Mexican Deportation

deported mexicans great depression

Bill Fletcher: For right-wing populists and for too many of our own people, it is easier to blame the immigrant for our suffering than to recognize that capitalism will use whoever it can to weaken the power of working people.

State Convention Snubs Osborn; Avoids Fight on Millionaire’s Tax

eric bauman torie osborn

Paul Hogarth: The California Democratic Convention this weekend was not a good one for Party insurgents hoping to push for progressive change and hold its leaders accountable.

Occupy Movement Enlists New Activists for Social Change Struggles

Occupy LA University

Randy Shaw: Occupy has gone beyond the usual suspects and given a new generation of activists a desperately needed vehicle for advancing progressive change.

How Obama Can Revive Hopes for Change

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Randy Shaw: In hindsight, activists should have taken it upon themselves to become the vessels of hope rather than trusting Barack Obama. But at this political moment, it is Obama who is best positioned to restore the hopes of his core supporters.

Kucinich’s Next Quixotic Move?

kucinich-wide

Paul Hogarth: Back in 2008, his second run for President – where he seemed a lot more interested in trumpeting his attractive wife – finally provoked a primary challenge, who raised the legitimate question of what Dennis Kucinich has done for his own district.

Cesar Chavez: Change Needs More than “Yes We Can”

Jerry Brown and Cesar Chavez in 1976

Randy Shaw: It clearly appears that while candidate Obama insisted that change would not be easy, both he and many of his supporters assumed the 2008 elections would smooth the path to win victories that have never easily been won.

The Attack on Community Organizing: Who’s Next?

public employees unions

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.

The Party of “NO” Is About To Get Their Chance

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Anthony Samad: We know the Republicans will claim to support education, and jobs, and home ownership, and families but will dump them in a heartbeat for business tax credits and budget cuts.

What Activists Can Learn from Schwarzenegger and Obama

obama and arnold

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.

Taking the Fight to Orange County

Clockwise upper left: Bill Hedrick, Beth Krom, Phy Nguyen, XXXX, Loretta Sanchez

Despite minimal support from the Democratic Party leadership, Orange County has great potential to fare well in the November elections. The Obama 2008 campaign did better in Orange County than any other Democratic presidential candidate in history, raising eyebrows among some party activists.

On Cesar Chavez Day, Rediscover Cesar Chavez

Randy Shaw: Cesar Chavez dared to accomplish what most thought impossible, demonstrating the potential of national grassroots campaigns to win against all odds. Understanding the UFW’s success should cause activists to think bigger about what’s possible.

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.

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us

Hubert Humphrey with Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Berry Craig: I’m a union-card carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat. I support a public option. But you can bet your snow boots if I were a Bay State voter, I’d have trudged through a blizzard to cast my ballot for Martha Coakley, Brown’s Democratic opponent.

Defining Progressive Victories in 2010

Climate Candle

To help avoid the “defining downward” of progressive goals on the key issues of 2010, I thought it would be helpful to assess what would constitute activist victories and whether progressives should cheer measures short of what they are now backing.

Political Predictions for 2010

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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.

Holding Obama Accountable

Obama-Magician

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.

Obama’s Right Turn

Obama-Army

When President Barack Obama took office, many activists and organizations saw their role as mobilizing the public support necessary to enable him to implement progressive change. After Obama’s September health care speech this strategy appeared to be working, but the President has since ignored the progressive base and taken a sharp turn to the right.

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.

Giving Thanks to Activist Heroes in 2009

The week of Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity for us to give thanks and appreciation for those in 2009 who have worked for social and economic justice.

“Doom and Gloom” on the Left

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Nine months into the Obama era, it’s not simply the Right that is detached from the perspectives of everyday people, and not just the Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck crowd that express an “I told you so” attitude toward the President’s actions.

Michael Moore’s New Film Galvanizes AFL-CIO

michael-moore

I don’t need a phone survey or Internet poll to know that the audience was wild about Moore’s film: the audience was often so overcome with laughter, applause and sheer excitement that it often broke into massive applause, with nobody complaining about the drowning out of dialogue due to the clapping.

Obama’s Last Chance on Health Care

Obama’s desire to find a common ground was part of his attraction. This is not what most progressives find troubling. Rather, it is Obama’s reluctance to use the vast powers of the presidency to drive the enactment of his top domestic priority that many of his longtime supporters simply cannot understand.

Confronted With Truth, Blue Dog Ben Nelson Throws Hissy Fit

Since the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seem unwilling to take on Blue Dogs blocking desperately needed public option from health care and insurance reform, the job of calling them out is falling to advocates and Keith Olbermann.

Explaining the Media’s Anti-Obama Bias

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Fortunately, the Internet will not allow the traditional media to again derail the nation’s hopes for progressive change. No wonder the Obama Administration is openly courting bloggers to tell the truth about health care

Activists Rallying to Ensure Obama Administration Brings Change

hcanrally

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.

With Obama, It’s 1935 All Over Again

Obama, Roosevelt, Jindal, "Purcell"

As President Obama follows a $800 billion recovery act by proposing nearly $700 billion for universal health care, and financially ambitious programs for energy independence and education, the United States is experiencing 1935 all over again. That’s the year that followed huge Democratic gains in the 1934 election, and which saw Congress enact the two [...]

On Cabinet Picks, Obama Savvier than Progressive Critics

obamacabinet

by Randy Shaw – As Barack Obama’s Cabinet fills with Clinton Administration veterans, some are raising concerns why no “movement progressive” has been selected. Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State galvanized fears that Obama’s cabinet is unduly “centrist,” a concern amplified by the daily parade of predominately white male Clinton veterans in the “possible [...]

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