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Progressive Christians - Let's Get Organized

In 2005, the American left finds itself in disarray. The loss in the 2004 elections resulting in continued conservative dominance of the federal government seared the political souls of progressives Americans. The progressive movement once again finds itself adrift in a malaise of irrelevance within the halls of power and perhaps more importantly, amongst the average American citizen.

This irrelevance is not a result of any tactical error in an electoral or activist campaign. Its certainly not a result of our ability to express our views articulately or fight passionately for what we believe. Indeed, the progressive movement has fought hard against conducting an unjust war, reducing taxes for the rich while we cut needed programs for the poor, and the appointing of those activist conservative judges. The irrelevance is a direct result of an inability to articulate an overarching progressive vision and its accompanying ideology and specific policy recommendations. With continued insistence on simply providing a contrarian view to conservatives, progressives can only hope to continue with a clouded vision, and thereby a minority position in American politics.

I propose that the American Left need to get its house in order by doing the following:

  • Establish an Agenda - We need new ideas.  We know what we're against, but we have such difficulty articulating what we're for!  Let's starting thinking big again.  Let's believe that we can provide health insurance to everyone. Let's believe we can build better schools. There's so much opportunity to for good.   Let's get our best minds together and develop a positive agenda for change.
  • Organize the unorganized - So many people have dropped out politically.  Let's not give up on them.  Let's speak to them.  This is especially true among young people.  If disaffected young people like hip hop and video games, let's find a way to speak through those forms.  Also, let's not undervalue the power of leadership.  Strong leadership brings the disaffected back into the fold.  John Kennedy inspired a generation of young people to public service. All people hear from conservatives is how bad government is and then promptly govern extremely poorly (deficits, disaster response, corruption).  The government can not solve all problems but we should embrace a vision of the noble democracy where each citizen participates providing the true consent of the governed.  Technology can open up vehicles for greater participation and involvement.
  • Use media and technology better - Stop complaining about Fox News.  If we don't their mousetrap because its unfair or untruthful, then let's build our own mousetrap!  Progressives have adopted new technologies quicker and are using them more effectively (ex. Dean campaign).  We at CrossLeft are blogging and podcasting and hope to move into aggregating content from progressive Christians around the country.  We must continue to innovate and get out in front of trends in political technology.
  • Rebuild the notion of class - the economic elites in this country have completely undermined the notion of class on economic terms.  conservative decry academia and hollywood as being against the values and sensibilities of the average family.  The real issue is that disparity is ever growing between the rich and the poor.  The middle class is shrinking and many families are one layoff away from economic disaster.  (Read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" for more on this)
  • Get real on race and racism - Clinton's national conversation went no where and did little to change the plight of folk in New Orleans or any other ghetto community in this country.  We need to have dialogue to deal with interpersonal prejudice, but we desperately need systemic solutions to the grinding poverty of the ghetto or the barrio or the reservation. 

These are just starting points and there's a lot of work to do.  Progressive Christians can allow their religion to inform new ideas, new contexts for discussion, and new organizing techniques.  Progressive Christians can also work with Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Budhists, agnositics, atheists, and others embracing a truly multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith movement for progressive social change.

Posted by stephenrockwell on November 28, 2005 at 07:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (36)

Helping The Democrats Learn To Use The Internet

One of the Dean Campaign's legacies is that the campaign, and it's supporters, used the internet to organize, communicate, and fundraise.

This impressed Democratic committees and candidates across the country, but two years later, some of them still don't know how to utilize the internet to it's fullest potential. One of my goals as Chair of the Rutland City Democrats is to help the committee learn how to use the the internet as an effective tool.

I figured the quickest way to demonstrate how powerful the internet can be is to fundraise through it. Since we don't have a large email database to send a solicitation to, I thought of another way to generate enough funds to get people starting to think about the internet's potential...an online silent auction on eBay.

By bidding in our auction, you will help the Democrats learn that the internet is a tool they should explore and use. You will also be funding the Rutland City Democrats in their quest to turn Rutland City blue again, and you might even be able to get some of you Holiday shopping out of the way early!

Some items of particular interest to this blog may be:

You Have The Power, Book signed by Gov. Howard Dean

We Love Teresa! campaign sign, signed by John Kerry & Pat Leahy

Kerry/Edwards campaign sign, signed by John Kerry, Pat Leahy & Bernie Sanders

Invitation to Bill Clinton's 1993 Presidential Inauguration Ball

3 Full Sized Packages of Green Mountain Free Trade Coffee

Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Gift Collection: Syrup, Candy, Cookies, & Spread

Ben & Jerry's T-Shirt, Size Medium, & Ice Cream Scoop

Beaded Awareness Pin from Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya

To see a full list of the items available, please go to:
Rutland City Democrats eBay Auction Fundraiser

Thank you for your support,
Jessica Falker
Chair, Rutland City Democrats

Posted by Jessica Falker on November 22, 2005 at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

¿Estaran listos para postularse como candidatos y asi cambiar el mundo?

Dolores Huerta, la Co-fundadora de la unión de Campesinos, platico con nosotros la semana pasada.

Fue una conversación muy rica y compleja y yo deseo hoy continuar la conversación con ustedes. 

Durante la entrevista ella hablo de varios temas, entre ellos: 

Hablo de la protestas contra la escuela de las Américas. Como latinos y en algunos casos imigrantes de Latino América,  ¿Que piensa usted de la escuela de las Américas y de estas protestas? 

En otras entrevistas Dolores a dicho que su estilo del activismo a sido inspirado por enseñansas catolicas, pues el propio Jesucristo nos ha dicho que pongamos la otra mejilla.  ¿Que opinan ustedes de esta perspectiva?

Ella piensa que como Hispanos tenemos que estar en acción y levantando  nuestras voces para crear un mundo mejor. Ella cree que debemos hablar contra la injusticia.  Que no es necesario esperar que nos inviten pero que hay que postularnos nosotros mismos. ¿Ustedes que piensan, estan de acuerdo?

También hablo de la necesidad para crear legislacion estatal para proteger los derechos de los campesinos, para que ellos también se puedan organizar.  Aparantemente en 1934 no se les permitio este derecho a los campesinos. El derecho fue dado a todos los trabajadores, "a excepción de los campesinos."  ¿Que piensa usted de esto? 

¿Que podemos hacer para tener un impacto en todas estas areas?

¿Estaran listos para postularse como candidatos y asi cambiar el mundo?

Posted by Kety Esquivel on November 21, 2005 at 07:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Dolores Huerta's Conversation with the Cabinet

Tonight from 8:15 PM - 9:45 PM, Dolores Huerta of United Farm Workers of America--Cofounder and First Vice President Emeritus--will participate in a Conversations with the Cabinet.  Conversations with the Cabinet is part of a regular phone conference series hosted by the Backbone Campaign. This special bilingual event is a collaboration between the Backbone Campaign, My Vote is My Voice (MViMV), and Latinos for America (LFA).

If you wish to ask a question of Dolores, please post your question here and those questions will be asked during the phone conversation.  Questions are being accepted in English and Spanish. Kety Esquivel will be moderating the first part of the phone conference in Spanish and staff from the Backbone Campaign will moderate the English version of the phone conference.  The Spanish part of the call will begin at 8:15 and the English part of the call will begin at 9 PM.  Until the end of the call, the blog will function as a place to post your questions.  At the end of the call, feel free to discuss the phone conference further.

The number to call is: 1-641-297-5500
The access code is:  77647377#

While the mother of 11 children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Dolores has been an inspirational leader of the American civil rights movement, the labor movement through "La Causa" (the farmworkers’ cause), the Chicano movement, and women’s rights. Advocating for farm worker rights, Dolores has been arrested twenty-two times for non-violent peaceful union activities.   For more about this great woman, go to:  http://www.ufw.org/  Jessica has posted Dolores' bio below in a comment field.


For those that didn't get to listen to the call, you can listen via a podcast.  Visit Backbone Campaign's website for more details.  http://backbonecampaign.org/pagen.cfm?name=podcasts

Posted by Charlene Johnston on November 10, 2005 at 03:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Finding real electoral solutions for Louisiana

Katrina dealt New Orleans a terrible blow with immediate consequences for the lives of its citizens. But without a doubt, the people of Louisiana are going to face a long-term trial as well. One of the most egregious will be crippled elections not only for the mayoral elections in February, but for statewide congressional races in 2006.

Because of population displacement, the state is going to face a barrage of problems. First, after so many refugees fled to Baton Rouge, the 6th congressional district will be buckling with an overload of constituent demands. These wildly disparate populations will clearly violate the “one person, one vote” principle. Finally, the overwhelming displacement of African Americans means many will face non-representation through an undoing of districting arrangements.

To deal with this dispersion (and amazing population loss – 120,000 people will remain in Texas alone) we need a creative plan. We can’t just conduct another census and re-draw the boundary lines to ensure fair representation – the process is too cumbersome, too expensive, and because people haven’t finished moving, premature. So what’s the solution?

Posted by RyanODonnell on November 7, 2005 at 08:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (34)