Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
“The wealthiest country in the world manages to remain complacent in the face of alarmingly high levels of poverty by continuing to blame poverty not on the economy or inadequate social supports, but on the poor themselves. It’s time to revive the notion of a collective national responsibility to the poorest among us, who are disproportionately women and especially women of color.”
It would be nice if this is what President Obama said tonight in his State of the Union Address, and if he proposed policies that would address the real roots of the problem.
Unfortunately, as democratic socialists we know he is unlikely to suggest a full employment jobs program or universal basic income, even though 4 in 5 Americans think the government should do something to reduce poverty, and 7 in 10 think the government should do something to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.
Poverty and inequality are rooted in the capitalist system, and only a movement led by working people can build the political will necessary to find long-term solutions.
What can you do today?
• Sign up to join the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Thunderclap before the speech tonight. The Thunderclap (a social media tool that allows a group of people to all send the same Twitter and/or Facebook message at once, to maximize its impact) spreads a unified message that women and families must not be forgotten in the debate over economic justice.
• Read It Is Expensive to Be Poor by DSA honorary chair Barbara Ehrenreich (quoted above) before the State of the Union tonight for some perspective. Then, make sure to share these insights with friends and family as you watch and discuss the speech.
Choosing Democracy: Someone sues the schools to abolish teacher tenure...: By Duane Campbell Julie Watson of The Associated Press reports today in the Sacramento Bee that nine public school students are suing ...
Monday, January 27, 2014
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Thursday, January 23, 2014
by Giving People Homes
By Terrance Heath
Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. “Disgusted” by the city’s chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands — literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day.
Bower’s tactics were over the top, and so unpopular that he quickly declared “Mission accomplished,” and retired his sledgehammer. But Bower’s frustration with his city’s homelessness problem is just an extreme example of the frustration that has led cities to pass measures that effective deal with the homeless by criminalizing homelessness.
• City council members in Columbia, South Carolina, concerned that the city was becoming a “magnet for homeless people,” passed an ordinance giving the homeless the option to either relocate or get arrested. The council later rescinded the ordinance, after backlash from police officers, city workers, and advocates.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
by Dan Bacher
NOAA satellite photo of the snowpack in California and Nevada on January 13, 2013 compared to January 13, 2014.
by Dan Bacher
As a crowd of anti-fracking protesters gathered in front of Governor Jerry Brown's San Francisco office this morning to call for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in California, Brown proclaimed a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take "all necessary actions" to prepare for the record drought conditions.
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
Monday, January 20, 2014
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Martin Luther King, Economic Justice, Workers’ Rights,
and Multiracial Democracy
by Thomas Jackson
In 1968, a united black community in Memphis stepped forward to support 1,300 municipal sanitation workers as they demanded higher wages, union recognition, and respect for black personhood embodied in the slogan “I Am a Man!” Memphis’s black women organized tenant and welfare unions, discovering pervasive hunger among the city’s poor and black children. They demanded rights to food and medical care from a city and medical establishment blind to their existence.
That same month, March 1968, 100 grassroots organizations met in Atlanta to support Martin Luther King’s dream of a poor people’s march on Washington. They pressed concrete demands for economic justice under the slogan “Jobs or Income Now!” King celebrated the “determination by poor people of all colors” to win their human rights. “Established powers of rich America have deliberately exploited poor people by isolating them in ethnic, nationality, religious and racial groups,” the delegates declared.
So when King came to Memphis to support the strike, a local labor and community struggle became intertwined with his dream of mobilizing a national coalition strong enough to reorient national priorities from imperial war in Vietnam to domestic reconstruction, especially in America’s riot-torn cities. To non-poor Americans, King called for a “revolution of values,” a move from self-seeking to service, from property rights to human rights.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014
War on Poverty- Initiated by a Socialist Michael Harrington
By Duane Campbell
It was good to read this week the many articles recording the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, and many even recognized the important role played by Michael Harrington with his best seller book The Other America : Poverty in the United States (1962).
Publishing The Other America was a seminal event that led to meetings with President John F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, work with the administration, and later on President Johnson’s announcement of a War on Poverty. Harrington became a widely read intellectual and political writer on poverty and programs that could overthrow poverty. He continued for decades to critique programs that responded to poverty half-heartedly rather than organizing an effective political project for a more equal and prosperous society.
In the 1970’s Harrington went on to organize and found the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). DSA has attracted intellectually powerful, committed intellectual activists like Cornel West, Frances Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Gloria Steinem; labor union leaders; and young people, among others who align themselves with DSA. He was also the founding editor of the Democratic Left magazine.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
I'm U.S. Senator Al Franken, and I started a petition to the United States Congress and President Barack Obama, which says:
Citizens United was a disaster. It opened the floodgates for corporations to write big checks to fund right-wing special-interest attacks, helping them pour $719 million into the 2012 elections.
The question is, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to stuff this "corporations are people, elections are auctions, democracy is for sale" mess into the Dumpster of Bad Ideas?
Here's how: A constitutional amendment that puts power back in the hands of the people. The actual, human people.
Click here to sign my petition and join me in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and then pass it along to your friends.
–Senator Al Franken
This petition was started by Senator Al Franken on MoveOn Petitions Political Action Edition, which is licensed to and paid for by MoveOn.org Political Action. Senator Al Franken didn't pay us to send this email—we never rent or sell the MoveOn.org list.