This is the first installment in a four-part series written by Jonathan Matthew Smucker in collaboration with Madeline Gardner, originally published in 2007.
They won’t do it. It’s up to all of us to stop the war.
It’s 2007, and the war continues. It is even escalating with Bush’s maddening “surge.” Equally maddening is the announcement from prominent Democrats that they will not be exercising the only power they have to rein in the administration. Instead of denying Bush more funds for the war – a move, with historic precedence, that would pressure a quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq – they are opting for a non-binding resolution, a “political statement.”
While a large majority of Americans want their leadership to bring the troops home, Democrats are using their new majority to state their heartfelt wish for the same-to pass a symbolic resolution-rather than to use actual power to make it so. New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and most other Democratic representatives are parroting Bush by equating continued funding for the war with support for our troops. They should be refuting this manipulative frame, not reinforcing it.
Many rank and file Democrats and some progressive leaders like Representatives Jim McGovern (MA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH) are pushing to end the war by cutting off the Administration’s requested funds. But it is becoming clear that the November election results – popularly dubbed a referendum on the war – are not enough for the new Democratic majority Congress to decisively exercise their power to end the war.
It is becoming clear that the majority of Americans who favor a quick withdrawal will have to exercise their own power – beyond voting – to pressure an end to the war. The politicians won’t do it without the mounting pressure of a well-organized popular movement. It is up to all of us to build such a movement.
originally published on October 20, 2010
Welcome to the second interview in our series. This week we feature progressive organizer, strategist, blogger, and author Mike Lux. Mike is the CEO of Progressive Strategies, the Co-founder of Open Left, and he has been active for thirty years on many progressive issues.
Mike is the “outsider’s insider.” He has one foot in the door (having worked on five presidential campaigns, and having served in the Clinton White House health care reform war room), and he has the other foot on the outside (having worked on many issue advocacy campaigns and on building independent progressive infrastructure).
Mike wrote a book called The Progressive Revolution which looks at the threads of conservative and progressive thought and action in the United States since the Declaration of Independence.
Listen to the full interview with Mike Lux here:
Read the full interview here:
While in Argentina in 2004 I interviewed Maba and Valde, a sister and brother from one of the Movements of Unemployed Workers1 groups, MTD Solano. Interviewing them separately, I asked them what they value most about their work with the MTD. Both answered that they like how integrated their lives are now. Maba said that while many join MTDs out of necessity, she joined by election, because her life felt too fragmented before. Now nearly everything she does is related to MTD Solano; her work at a collectively run cafe, a children’s workshop she organizes, her neighborhood, her family, etc. All of her activities share a meaning and purpose.
Political Science Professor Emily Stoper describes a similar cohesion experienced by members of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) during the Civil Rights Movement:
Many SNCC members report that before 1964, they often experienced a sense of harmony and certainty that is rarely felt by other Americans. Their lives were not fragmented. Instead of filling a series of largely unrelated roles (parent, employee, citizen), they filled only one role: SNCC worker. Instead of balancing in their heads a multiplicity of values, all of them tentative, they had one certain, absolute set of beliefs. The group provided a world order that is far more complete and stable than any that individuals could assemble for themselves. 2
This article made the rounds on Z net and a bunch of Indymedia sites back in 2006. I wrote it in collaboration with Madeline Gardner. I’m reposting here in three parts, with no edits.
Here’s Part Two. And here’s Part Three. And here’s the video.
Ritual & Engagement
It’s August and I’m back in San Francisco. I love this city. It’s been over three years since my last visit – an extended stay that started a week after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At that time thousands of people in the Bay Area launched, and for many weeks sustained, a stronger show of resistance than could be seen anywhere else in the country. People put their bodies on the line to shut down San Francisco’s financial district, as well as war-profiteering corporations throughout the region. I was proud to be a participant. I’ve spent most of the time since in my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, organizing with the Lancaster Coalition for Peace & Justice. Now I’m back in SF just a few days, already marching in an anti-war protest.
“Hey hey! What do you say? How many kids did you kill today?” the crowd chants.
I don’t join in. We don’t use chants like this in Lancaster. Actually, I can recall very few occasions where we have chanted at all. I used to chant as loudly and enthusiastically as the next person, but now something holds me back.