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.
As the 2016 presidential campaign creeps out of the gates, American politics seems to be at yet another crossroads. Discontent over economic inequality, unchecked climate change , and systemic racism in the criminal justice system have spurredgrowing protest movements across the country. Meanwhile, the country’s two major political parties are more polarized than ever, endlessly locked in a farcical partisan dance that brought governance to a standstill. Voters can be forgiven for thinking that the democratic process is broken and that their leaders have failed to respond to their most urgent needs—it’s no surprise that the 2014 midterm election had the lowest turnout in 72 years.