When President Donald Trump claimed in his State of the Union Address that “wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders, while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards,” it was his latest of countless efforts to accuse Democrats and liberals of being “soft” on migration. Like the entirety of Trump’s speech, this claim was misleading and outright false on many levels. The notion, for example, that “liberal elites” support open borders while a billionaire president defends the working class from the migrant “threat” is outrageous. Among the many problems with the argument is that it ignores — or rather, intentionally obscures — the fact that the U.S. working class itself is composed in significant part by millions of migrants.
Two very different “populisms” that have arisen in response to neoliberal capitalism in the West. A left-leaning social-democratic “progressive populism” targets the capitalist concentration of wealth and power and the unbridled pursuit of private profit as enemies of the people and the common good. This populism is egalitarian and radically democratic. It tends towards socialism. Its attractive policy agenda, supported by working-class majorities, includes the downward distribution of wealth, the expansion of the social safety net, university quality health care, increased minimum wages and union power, public jobs programs, and the protection of livable ecology (a Green New Deal).
Skepticism of our intelligence agencies’ claims is warranted, as history has shown. From overthrowing the democratically elected Allende government in Chile and lying about it to secretly selling weapons to Iran in the 1980s and lying about it to falsely declaring that Iraq had provided al Qaeda with weapons of mass destruction, the CIA’s history doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in their credibility. The FBI similarly helped to lead us into Iraq under false pretenses (see this video from 15 years ago of none other than lead Russia investigator Robert Mueller) and has a long history of targeting anti-war and civil rights activists with dishonest smears. And as exposed by Edward Snowden during the Obama Presidency, the NSA has lied repeatedly to Americans about their warrantless spying programs.
It’s startling when your hometown is labeled the worst city in the United States for African Americans. That’s what happened in Peoria in late 2016 when a survey by the online publication 24/7 Wall St. rated the central Illinois city at the top of its list of the “Worst Cities for Black Americans.” The slap at Peoria wasn’t even the worst indignity suffered by the people of the city at that time. Shortly afterward, world-famous machinery maker Caterpillar Inc. said it would close the company’s Peoria world headquarters and move to Chicago. The decision was announced after years of discussion about the future of the company’s headquarters, during which the locals were consistently misled to believe that Caterpillar was committed to remaining in the city. The move reflects the deindustrialization and associated ills that are afflicting Peoria and scores of other small cities across the Midwest.
By James Petras for Information Clearing House - July 13, 2017 "Information Clearing House" - Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990’s progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US’s corporate for-profit medical system into a national ‘Medicare For All’ public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda. Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right. To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.
By Steve Early for Beyond Chron - Since 2004, members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) have won ten out of the sixteen city council and mayoral races they have contested in their majority minority city of 110,000. Last November, progressives gained an unprecedented “super-majority” of five on Richmond’s seven-member council—despite more than a decade of heavy spending against them by Chevron Corp. and other big business interests. For 12 years, RPA candidates have distinguished themselves from local Democrats by their lonely, Bernie Sanders-like refusal to take corporate contributions. Now two Progressive Alliance leaders–city councilors Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin–are preparing to run as “corporate free” candidates for higher office. It’s the first time either one has sought a ballot line outside their own blue-collar refinery town. Both hope to capitalize on the energy and enthusiasm (and campaign donations) of thousands of former Sanders supporters, including those who tried to reform the Democratic Party at its statewide convention in Sacramento May 20-21.
By Ronald Newman for ACLU - On Saturday night, people at more than 2,200 events around the nation tuned in for the inaugural event of People Power, a new platform harnessing nationwide grassroots resistance to the Trump administration’s assault on our Constitution and our values. At the event, we announced “Freedom Cities,” a campaign that provides a concrete plan for the People Power team to play offense in cities and towns across the country. Even before “Freedom Cities,” our grassroots activism has borne fruit, as evidenced by the incredible protests around the country that brought defeat to President Trump’s first attempt to ban Muslims and refugees.
By Greg Kaufmann for Talk Poverty - The night after Alton Sterling was killed by police, I got home from work late. When our three children were asleep, my wife and I finally had a moment together. The first thing she said, as if she had been sitting on it all day, was: “I feel like we need to get a Black Lives Matter sign for our yard. I know it would be unusual in our neighborhood.” We live in Chevy Chase, D.C., in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the city. There are about 30 houses on my block, and only one African-American family that I know of.
By Staff of The People's Revolution - The 2016 election cycle has revealed a deficit of democracy in our country and a failure of our major institutions to respond to the needs of the American public. As a solution to this dilemma, a grassroots coalition of organizers is sponsoring an inclusive gathering named The People’s Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 23, 2016. This event will bring together regular people ready to build a more sustainable, cooperative and democratic country together. With your help, we hope to take the first steps towards reclaiming our country for the people it is supposed to represent.
By Rachael DeCruz and Gerald Hankerson in The Huffington Post - When two young black women from #BlackLivesMatter disrupted a rally that Bernie Sanders was speaking at, we saw a crowd of progressive, mainly white liberals spiral into anger, frustration, and even hate. If the conversation stays focused on debating the tactics used by the activists, we're missing the point. Were the actions of these women uncomfortable to watch? Yes. Did they upend a carefully planned event that progressive organizers had spent months working on? Yes. Did they use the most effective tactics, in the most effective way? That question detracts from the bigger, and far more important question of what it means to be a white ally in the fight to dismantle systemic racism. If two people's actions cause someone to revoke their support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it begs the question of whether their support was ever there to begin with.
By Chisolm Allenlundy in Talk Poverty - “The South is not, today, one whole.” Those words, uttered by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. in a March 30, 1963 essay for The Nation, are as true today as they were then. In that statement, Dr. King invoked the dedicated minority of progressive Southerners who were determined to bring racial justice to the region, while simultaneously putting pressure on the equally-dedicated majority hell-bent on maintaining the status quo. Indeed, if anything is true of the curious collection of states commonly referred to as the “American South,” it is that things never seem to change. Or, at least, that was the story told in a recent Politico Magazine article by Michael Lind that claimed the South is simply deadweight on the rest of the nation. Lind harps on some themes that we Southerners, and particularly progressive Southerners, are all too familiar with: our soaring economic inequality, our propensity for violence, our pitiful progress in advancing racial justice. In making all of these statements, Lind is by no means incorrect, yet the focus is wrong.
By Ralph Nader in Common Dreams - "We have an opportunity to set the most progressive trade agreement in our nation's history," it states on BarackObama.com, the website of the president's "Organizing for Action" campaign. One must seriously question what President Obama and his corporate allies believe to be the definition of "progressive" when it comes to this grandiose statement. History shows the very opposite of progress when it comes to these democratic sovereignty-shredding and job-exporting corporate-driven trade treaties -- unless progress is referring to fulfilling the deepest wishes of runaway global corporations. Here are 10 reasons why the TPP is explicitly not a "progressive" trade agreement. . .
In Mr. Obama’s speech at Nike last week, his comments to Matt Bai of Yahoo over the weekend, and White House press secretary Josh Earnest’s comments to reporters on Monday, Mr. Obama and his White House staff have repeated a string of personal insults directed against prominent liberal Democrats in Congress, liberal Democrats across the nation, organized labor, and leading public interest and environmental groups who share doubts about the TPP trade deal. Mr. Obama’s tirades on trade have included accusations that these liberal Democrats are ignorant about trade policy, insincere when offering their opinions, motivated by politics and not the national interest, and backward looking towards the past. Obama’s repeated attacks against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in which he charged that Warren’s concern about the trade bill is motivated not by a reasoned view of what is right for America but by her personal political motivations, is one of the most dishonest and repellant examples of character assassination and contempt by any American president.
On Saturday, Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) responded with a letter essentially telling Obama to put up or shut up. If the deal is so great, Warren and Brown wrote, the administration should make the full negotiation texts public before Congress votes on a "fast track" bill that would strip the legislative branch of its authority to amend it. "Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules," Warren and Brown wrote in the letter obtained by The Huffington Post. Democrats and some Republican critics have been particularly frustrated by Obama's decision to treat the TPP documents as classified information, which prevents them from responding to Obama's claims about the pact in detail.