Category: Archive

Don’t Just Denounce Trump. Demand Progressive Policies from Biden Too.

NORMAN SOLOMON – The Republican plunge into Trumpism has made the party especially unhinged and dangerous, but its basic ideology has long been a shameless assault on minimal standards of human decency. Now — while Democratic leaders and most corporate media outlets are suitably condemning the fascist tendencies of Trump and his followers — deeper analysis and stepped-up progressive organizing are urgently needed.

Climate Activists Mount Utility Strike to Urge the Shutdown of New England Coal Plant

BARBARA PETERSON – The Strike Down Coal campaign provides a COVID-safe form of disobedience, building on more than a year of direct actions to shut down Merrimack Station. Activists protest the continued burning of coal in New England by refusing to pay utility bills, and mailing coal to the utility company instead. (Facebook/No Coal No Gas)

Concerning Violence and Hate: A New Year’s Wish

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Lately, I have been reflecting on what I have in common with extremists. It turns out that the list is longer than one would think. I hold their same passions for change, an ability to withstand discomfort–put more bluntly, tolerance for risk of pain that some term masochism–and I share a lack of tolerance for passivity and denial. Extremists are people of action. I am a person of action. I empathize with their demand to be heard and seen. They want us to feel their pain, even to the point of killing us to further their cause. As a pacifist and humanist, where I differ radically is in the choice of tactics.

Justice for All Essential Workers

ANDREW MOSS – One of the most pronounced areas of inequity of the pandemic involves frontline essential workers in such fields as public transport, food manufacturing, health care, postal work, retail, and grocery work. There are necessary and feasible ways of mitigating such inequalities in the short-term, but, as with any injustice, achieving short-term mitigations doesn’t come without struggle.

The Boss Who Put Everyone on $70K

STEPHANIE HEGARTY – In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.

Peru ‘Coup’: Public Fury Forces Resignation of Interim President Leaving Dangerous Power Vacuum

ALONSO GURMENDI DUNKELBERT – The growing popularity of parliamentary coups in Latin America is frequently overlooked outside of the region, but it is nonetheless an extremely worrying practice. What has happened in Peru should be seen by the international community as a renewed opportunity to examine this new kind of antidemocratic procedure. In the meantime, without a clear consensus on how to move forward and restore stability, there will be difficult months ahead for Peru – and Latin American democracy in general.

Choose Democracy’s Whirlwind Effort to Prevent a Coup is a Crash Course in Good Organizing

EILEEN FLANAGAN – Choose Democracy — the whirlwind start-up that trained 10,000 people to prevent an election-related power grab — started with just three folks. Two had full-time jobs and small children. The other was 82 years old. Over the summer of 2020, Daniel Hunter, Jenny Marienau and George Lakey observed alarming signs that Donald Trump might not go quietly if defeated at the polls. As experienced trainers and organizers, they knew that preparation helped people to act powerfully. So they decided to prepare people to resist a potential coup based on nonviolent strategies that have worked in other countries.

Announcing “No Honeymoon” for Biden

ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of “No Honeymoon” — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The group’s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists “to join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.”

How Portland Radicalized Me

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY, MD – Today I find myself in an untenable position. I run an online encrypted mental health service to serve the Portland protest movement. This is the story of how I came to use a code name, an encrypted email and apps, and risk myself to help frontline activists.

Is It Time to Re-Envision Our Constitution?

GREG COLERIDGE and JESSICA MUNGER – The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 — if not their existence entirely — are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated.

Meet the Volunteer Organizing Team Helping Non-Union Workers during the Pandemic

ERIC DIRNBACH – As early as March, there was a clear need to find ways to assist workers in confronting the new unsafe world at work. That’s when the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, or EWOC, was born. A joint project of the Democratic Socialists of America and the United Electrical workers union, EWOC recruited volunteer organizers to talk with workers who wanted to organize around COVID-19 concerns. It created a request form for workers to fill out, which it spread through social media. Inquiries from workers started coming in every day.

Yes, It’s Time to Come Home—Now

ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trump’s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.

Governor Newsom, Oregon Governor Brown, Tribal Leaders and Klamath Dam Owner Announce Agreement to Advance Historic Salmon Restoration Plan

JENNIFER K. FALCON – California Governor Gavin Newsom today joined with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, leaders of the Yurok and Karuk Tribes and Berkshire Hathaway-owned PacifiCorp in announcing an agreement to provide additional resources and support to advance the most ambitious salmon restoration effort in history. The project, when completed, will address declines in fish populations, improve river health and renew Tribal communities and cultures.

A Long Overdue Discussion on Pentagon Spending

WILLIAM D. HARTUNG and BEN FREEMAN – Although he has expressed skepticism, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) is open to further discussion on how much Pentagon spending is needed to protect us, as he noted in a recent meeting with the organization Win Without War. Savings, reductions, elimination of duplicate contracts overlapping with other government agencies can amount to billions of dollars. Let the discussion begin.

Corporate Democrats Are to Blame for Congressional Losses — So Naturally They’re Blaming Progressives

NORMAN SOLOMON – Corporate Democrats got the presidential nominee they wanted, along with control over huge campaign ad budgets and nationwide messaging to implement “moderate” strategies. But, as the Washington Post noted, Joe Biden’s victory “came with no coattails down ballot.” Democratic losses left just a razor-thin cushion in the House, and the party failed to win a Senate majority. Now, corporate Democrats are scapegoating progressives.

‘This Is a Really, Really Big Deal’: Michigan Gov. Moves to Shut Down Line 5 Pipeline to Protect Great Lakes

JESSICA CORBETT – Environmental and Indigenous activists celebrated Friday after Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took action to shut down the decades-old Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac, narrow waterways that connect Lake Huron and Lake Michigan—two of the Great Lakes.

What Is The “Biden Mandate” Really?

ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Joe Biden, in blatant defiance of the wishes of Donald Trump and the Republican Party, has won the vote and claimed the presidency. He will now, as he told the nation in his acceptance speech, begin attempting to “restore the soul of America” and “marshal the forces of decency,” which sounds great but means virtually nothing unless the words are linked to a clear and courageous agenda.

Progressives Made Trump’s Defeat Possible. Now It’s Time to Challenge Biden and Other Corporate Democrats.

NORMAN SOLOMON – The evident defeat of Donald Trump would not have been possible without the grassroots activism and hard work of countless progressives. Now, on vital issues — climate, healthcare, income inequality, militarism, the prison-industrial complex, corporate power and so much more — it’s time to engage with the battle that must happen inside the Democratic Party.

Nuclear Disarmers Can’t Forget the Communities that Rely on Military Spending

TRICIA WHITE and MATT KORDA – If disarmament advocates really want to push for the retirement of the US ICBM force, we need to come prepared with answers to the economic problems it would have on these “nuclear sponge” communities. Is Congress willing to offer a guaranteed income to the constituents who will lose their jobs? Will there be an equivalent of the Paycheck Protection Program? How does a community that loses its predominant industry rebuild its economy, especially in the aftermath of a devastating pandemic?

Once We Recognize the Interdependence of the World, We can Shape a Better Future

SOVAIDA MA’ANI EWING – If there is one lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing global economic recession have taught us, it is that we live in a world that is so interconnected and inextricably interdependent that it has effectively become a single organism. This is a reality that no amount of denial will change. On the contrary, such denial will only cause us to suffer more intensely. We will be better off if we fully recognize and embrace this reality.

Portland Nonprofit Launches Attempt to Save Hospice House

EMMA HABER – In the aftermath of the closing of Hopewell House, the only hospice house in Portland, one final hope has arisen. After 30 years providing compassionate and dignified end-of-life care, Hopewell sadly shuttered its doors in 2019. With only months to raise the funds, Friends of Hopewell House, a newly incorporated 501(c) nonprofit, has launched a $5 Million capital campaign to purchase the property from Legacy Health Systems and once again open the beloved institution’s welcoming doors.

Competing with Nature: COVID-19 as a Capitalist Virus

ASHLEY SMITH – The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating as the death toll climbs ever higher around the world. Spectre’s Ashley Smith interviews epidemiologist Rob Wallace about the global capitalist roots of the current pandemic, the likelihood of future pandemics, and the types of organized resistance necessary to prevent them.

A Voice and a Vote for the People of the World

DONNA PARK – It is now more evident than ever that the world lacks the structures necessary to successfully address the many global problems facing it. The General Assembly of the United Nations represents the nations of the world. But the governments of these nations often seem more worried about protecting their national sovereignty than about addressing global problems that are existential threats to humanity.

Columbus Day in Pretend America

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The scariest part about the legacy of Columbus, and Europe’s “Age of Discovery” — ah, the white men break out of their cage and find the rest of the world — is that it’s still alive. And while there’s a growing demand that we should dump Columbus Day as a national holiday and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I think something else is necessary as well: We need to look deeply at the legacy of Columbus and begin to own it. No more whitewash!