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Tuesday, 20 May 2014 01:21

Oligarchy Enshrined

Written by  Cole Stangler | In These Times
David Barrows waves a flag during a protest against money in politics outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8, 2013. David Barrows waves a flag during a protest against money in politics outside the Supreme Court on Oct. 8, 2013. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Why the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling is good news for the super-rich and bad news for progressive Democrats.

At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, a conservative election lawyer and a baby-faced electrical engineer from Alabama with a made-for-TV Southern drawl began plotting how to unravel federal campaign finance regulations.

Shaun McCutcheon had one of those “rich people problems”: He wanted to give money to more Republican candidates than the Federal Election Commission allowed. During CPAC’s Ronald Reagan Banquet, he started chatting up activist lawyer Dan Backer, according to The Huffington Post. This was low-hanging fruit, Backer assured him. A well-crafted legal challenge could take out the FEC’s so-called aggregate limits on campaign contributions—rules that blocked individuals from giving more than $48,600 to federal candidates and $74,600 to political parties and PACs in each election cycle.

Sure enough, less than a year after lawyers representing McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee filed a complaint against the FEC, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. On April 2, a 5-to-4 majority sided with the GOP’s budding benefactor, striking down the FEC’s aggregate contribution limits.

The full impact of the ruling won’t be felt until perhaps 2016, when presidential fundraising kicks into high gear. But campaign finance experts agree: McCutcheon v. FEC will encourage more money to flow into electoral campaigns, reduce the number of stakeholders in the American political system and strengthen the hand of party committees on both sides of the aisle. And, according to Supreme Court observers, the nature of the majority’s ruling invites further challenges that could topple what’s left of campaign finance law.

One impact, however, has been overlooked: The court’s ruling could well hurt the electoral prospects of progressive Democrats.

The worst, it seems, is yet to come.

A tilted playing field

The frenzy over the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision often ignored a basic fact: The nation’s campaign finance laws have long favored the rich. Since at least 1976, when the Supreme Court’s Buckley v. Valeo decision struck down campaign spending limits, the wealthy have exercised their First Amendment “speech” rights through a combination of tactics: “soft-money” contributions, self-financed campaigns, and plain old maximum-allowable donations to candidates and parties.

“People who have lots of capital, lots of resources, who want to be involved in the political process have always worked hard to find ways,” says Bob Biersack, a 30-year-veteran of the FEC who’s now a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending. “There have always been ways available to them.”

The Supreme Court has simply afforded our privileged elite more options. Citizens United infamously allows unlimited outside spending on elections. In the 2011-2012 election cycle, Super PACs spent close to$1 billion—including millions from undisclosed donors. Still, that was a fraction of the whopping $7 billion tab for the total election.

McCutcheon opens up more attractive investment opportunities for the politically inclined super-rich, particularly for those who prefer the personal touch of a direct contribution over the anonymity of a super PAC. Whereas a pre-McCutcheon donor was capped at $123,200 total in a given election cycle, she’s now free to spend as she pleases—so long as each donation respects the $5,800-per-candidate-per-racecontribution limit still in effect. As Justice Elena Kagan observed, if one considers each party’s 435 House candidates, 33 Senate candidates, 50 state committees and three main fundraising committees, a single donor can give as much as $3.5 million in direct contributions each cycle.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, about 600 donors gave close to the legal limit of $123,200 in the last election.

The portrait of this donor class is predictable: A Huffington Post analysis that focused on a smaller group of McCutcheon-limit donors found that almost half came from the financial services sector. Others hailed from the energy industry, law practices and miscellaneous business ventures. A solid majority gave to Republicans.

McCutcheon doesn’t just make it easier for the rich to give. It also makes it easier for parties and committees to aggressively court them—something that can’t be said for Citizens United.

The three main fundraising committees of each party no longer have to compete amongst themselves to win the maximum allowable $32,400 contribution from a single donor. Before McCutcheon, contributions to party committees were capped at $32,400 total per election cycle. However, since the ruling, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) can now ask the same Greenwich, Connecticut, hedge-fund manager to write each of them a $32,400 check. (These Democratic organizations declined to comment on how McCutcheon impacts their fundraising strategy.)

The Court’s ruling means that the field of influential political players will continue to shrink, according to Biersack. This trend, already fueled by an unprecedented acceleration of economic inequality, was sent into hyperdrive by Citizens United.

“What [McCutcheon] does is magnify something that was already happening,” Biersack says. “It puts the focus of political professionals of all kinds, including candidates and office-holders, on a very small group of people and institutions that have big capital resources that the political professionals need and want.”

Citizens United introduced Americans to the comically nefarious Super PACMcCutcheon will familiarize voters with newly empowered “joint fundraising committees.” These committees have been popular among the major fundraisers of both parties because they are able to sweep up large sums of money at a time. For example, in 2012 donors were able to write a single megacheck to joint fundraising committees, such as the Romney Victory Fund, which then divvied up the donations among all players: the presidential campaign, the national party committee and participating state party committees. Often used at events featuring candidate appearances, joint-fund-raising committees allow less prominent candidates or state committees to piggyback on the big name draws that command the fat checks. The old aggregate limits restricted how many entities could link up under a single joint fundraising committee. However, under McCutcheon, these super committees have become cash-guzzling monstrosities capable of swallowing up a seven-figure check from a single donor in one big gulp, then regurgitating it out to all participating committee members. Party officials can now “essentially go to one donor who’s willing and able to give $3.5 million, and ask for that kind of money dispersed to various candidates,” says John Bonifaz, president of Free Speech for People, a group that advocates for public financing of elections.

The $3.5-million-check scenario is unlikely, as a committee would need to include all the party’s federal candidates. But the larger the pool of participants in these committees grows, the larger the checks can be. On April 9, one week after the ruling, the three main Republican fundraising committees—the Republican National Committee (RNC), the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)—joined forces to form the Republican Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee. The Victory Fund is allowed to accept a single contribution of $97,200 and distribute it evenly among the participating committees. On April 15, a group of GOP senators formed their own joint-fundraising committee that’s capable of reeling in a $98,800 check from a single donor.

This pushes up the price that donors are expected to pay for access to elected officials, says Lisa Rosenberg, a former staffer for then-Sen. John Kerry (D- Mass.) and a lobbyist for the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for more transparency in government.

“You’re going to get these members of Congress, elected officials, or would-be elected officials, soliciting these million-dollar checks,” says Rosenberg. “ ‘Oh come to my joint-fundraising committee on behalf of all these candidates.’ That’s going to be the invitation from John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi.”

Bonifaz agrees: “If you’re a donor who wants to maintain influence and access with those in leadership, you’re likely to give at that level. It means that we have increased even further the kind of disproportionate influence the very wealthy have over our politics.”

Full speed ahead

McCutcheon leaves existing campaign finance law on very shaky ground. The Chief Justice John Roberts-led majority dismissed the notion that limits on campaign contributions are necessary to ensure equality of representation.

“It would seem as if this court believes there should effectively be special speech rights for the wealthiest people in America,” says Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign, which supports electoral reforms to reduce the amount of money in politics. “They have so turned the speech argument around that they’re saying your right to speech is dependent on the size of your wallet.”

Rick Hasen, University of California-Irvine law professor who specializes in campaign finance regulation, predicts that McCutcheon “will be an essential building block to challenging other campaign contribution limits.”

McCutcheon drastically narrows the legal grounds on which the FEC can enforce any contribution limits. Since Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, the Court has justified its regulation of campaign finance on the basis of preventing “corruption or the appearance of corruption.” In McCutcheon, Roberts adopted a more stringent definition of corruption as a quid pro quo—a direct exchange of money for a specific vote.

This quid pro quo standard may provide the justification to challenge any contribution limits. “That lays the groundwork for the argument that we have laws like that—they’re called bribery laws,” says Nyhart. “So why do we need anything more?”

Hasen agrees, saying that Roberts’ opinion reads like an invitation to challenge the existing bans on soft-money contributions to political parties. Until 2002, outside groups like corporations and unions were able to give unlimited donations directly to parties, which the parties would then disburse. In response to critiques that such donations circumvented campaign finance law by allowing wealthy donors to make indirect donations to candidates, Congress outlawed these types of “soft-money” contributions. That’s part of the reason Super PACs cannot directly coordinate with candidates or parties.

So what’s going to fall first? Contribution limits to candidates or soft-money donations to parties?

“Part of it depends upon what gets challenged,” says Hasen. “The lawyers [will decide] which cases to file when. But I do think that the Roberts Court has been moving slowly, but steadily, toward knocking these things down. So if we have the same nine justices the next time these issues face the court, I expect them to fall.” 

Underdogs beware

After Citizens United, progressives warned that Republicans were on the verge of buying the presidency, the House and the Senate. In 2010 and 2012, at least, this turned out not to be the case. Much like its landmark predecessor, McCutcheon is unlikely to threaten the ability of the Democratic Party to win federal elections.

The current Republican dominance in Congress is, above all, a structural phenomenon, argues Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, which advocates for voting rights and electoral reform. Thanks to how House districting works, rural, conservative-leaning parts of the country are overrepresented, stifling the ambitions of the nation’s liberal-leaning, mostly urban-dwelling majority. Barring sudden demographic changes or electoral reforms (such as proportional representation or a national popular vote) or, say, a massive popular movement that threatens the two-party stranglehold—conservative America is likely to remain overrepresented in Congress.

Rather than swing Democratic seats to the GOP, McCutcheon is far more likely to impact what kind of Democrat is able to compete in the donation-grubbing, free-spending, advertising-saturated, deeply perverse world of 21st-century American elections. Two groups in each party, it seems, stand to gain most: Candidates who can count on the support of party leadership and those who rely heavily on large individual contributions. Each of those scenarios is bad news for progressives.

“There’s more big money. Big money is never on the side of progressive candidates. Never,” says Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).“Big money is always going to support big money shills, and progressives are not big money shills.”

Left-leaning House Democrats are often at odds with their party’s leadership. Sometimes that tension spills over to fundraising and campaigning. In 2010, for example, Congress watchers reported that the DCCC, under the leadership of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) abandoned one of the most progressive members of the House— Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) vice-chair Grayson. Grayson lost badly to a Tea Party challenger, but won his seat back in 2012. Ongoing intra-party tension could leave some CPC members on the outside of key joint fundraising committees, which in the post-McCutcheon world will only grow more powerful.

As it is, incumbent progressives trail the rest of the Democratic Party’s representatives, both in total amount raised from all sources (PACs, committees and individuals) and in the percentage of total donations that come from wealthier donors. In These Times compared the types of donations received by the 68-member CPC with those of the 55-member New Democrat Coalition (NDC), a proudly neoliberal House caucus that bills itself as the “pro-growth, fiscally responsible wing of the Democratic Party.” During the 2012 cycle, the CPC representatives reeled in an average of $584,000 in individual contributions of more than $200. Those contributions made up an average of 42 percent of total contributions per candidate. NDC members, on the other hand, took in an average of more than $1 million in such contributions—48 percent of total contributions per candidate.

That data belies the common myth that for every Charles and David Koch, there’s a Hollywood billionaire bankrolling an army of liberals fighting his or her pet causes. Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund manager-cum-environmental activist, is the exception, not the rule.

“We have made tremendous strides over the past several years in establishing smaller contributions as one of the foundations of successful fundraising for progressives or a progressive party and McCutcheon sets that back,” says Grayson. “McCutcheon changes the incentives to once again have many members of Congress and the parties as a whole focus their attention on large contributions rather than small contributions.”

Because McCutcheon disproportionally empowers large individual donors, it thereby strengthens the base of the Democratic Party’s neoliberal wing—the ideological heirs of the Clinton-era, pro-corporate Democratic Leadership Council.
 
“The incentives have changed to basically induce me and other members to spend more time with big donors,” says Grayson. “I may or may not. It’s a decision we have to make.”
Following the money

By fueling symbiotic relations between party committees and their big donors, McCutcheon will likely make it more difficult for progressive Democratic challengers to unseat incumbents—whether they’re Democrats or Republicans.

The DCCC can be tough on some elected Democratic members of Congress, but we should pity the insurgents. “Where they’re ruthless and they really do a hatchet job, is on candidates,” says Howie Klein, a Los Angeles-based blogger who covers Democratic Party politics from his blog, Down with Tyranny!. Klein documents how, every two years, the DCCC overlooks promising progressive challengers in favor of milquetoast centrists. Ground zero this year may well be California’s 31st district, in the state’s Inland Empire region—arguably the most solidly Democratic district in the country with a Republican representative. The Democratic Super PAC, House Majority PAC, has called GOP Congressman Gary Miller “the most endangered Republican incumbent in the country.”

Instead of backing progressive challenger Eloise Gomez-Reyes, a former labor lawyer who calls for expanding Social Security benefits, the DCCC is throwing its weight behind Pete Aguilar, a banking lobbyist-turned-mayor of Redlands. As one of the 16 “top-tier” candidates who are part of the DCCC’s “Jumpstart” program, Aguilar has received “financial, communications, operational and strategic support” from the party committee since last May. In the last election, the DCCC-endorsed Aguilar somehow managed to place third in the Democratic-leaning district’s crowded “jungle primary” (which lumps together candidates from all parties), eliminating Democrats from the two-candidate November run-off and gifting the seat to the GOP. Post-McCutcheon, the DCCC will likely have more money for races like this and be able to more effectively muscle out primary candidates whose populist credentials it doesn’t like.

Rick Weiland, a left-leaning former adviser to Tom Daschle running for the Senate in South Dakota, knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of those in the Democratic Party leadership who control the purse strings. Last year, Harry Reid and the DSCC tried to recruit a former U.S. representative, the centrist Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, to replace Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, who is retiring following a stroke. But in May 2013, when Weiland announced his bid for the soon-to-be-open seat, the former congresswoman backed off. Reid has apparently held a grudge against Weiland ever since.

Today, Weiland is the only Democratic Senate candidate not to be formally endorsed by the DSCC. The NRSC has already held a fundraiser for his leading opponent in the GOP primary, Mike Rounds. The former governor has raised close to $2.9 million; Weiland’s campaign coffers stand at a paltry $740,000. (Weiland also appears to be a casualty of an ego-driven pissing match between former Senate Majority Leader Daschle and current Senate Majority Leader Reid.)

“The problem of big money and its effects on public policy is the reason I got into this race,” says Weiland, who opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, backs single-payer healthcare, and rails against Big Oil and Big Pharma. “It’s really at the cornerstone of my campaign.”

The O-word

With fewer and fewer political players in the game, more and more progressives are talking “oligarchy.” Chief among them is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He tells In These Times that the recent Supreme Court rulings are “paving the way for oligarchy in America.” Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Solow, in a recent interview at the Economic Policy Institute, made a similar warning based on the nation’s rising economic inequality: “If that kind of concentration of wealth continues, then we get to be more and more an oligarchical country, a country that’s run from the top.”Jeffrey Winters, a political science professor at Northwestern, maintains we’re already there. (Winters was the author of In These Times’ March 2012 cover story, “Oligarchy in the U.S.A.”) He describes the United States as a “civil oligarchy”—as opposed to, say, “warring oligarchies” like 19th century Appalachia, or “ruling oligarchies” like ancient Athens and Rome. Oligarchy at its core, he says, is the “politics of wealth defense.”

Results from a forthcoming study support Winters’ assessment. Political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern have found that wealthy people and corporate interest groups exert far more influence over policy than average American citizens. By measuring the correlation between the political preferences of various income levels and 1,799 policy outcomes between 1981 and 2002, their fall 2014 article in Perspectives on Politics quantifies a fact that has long fallen on deaf ears in the United States: Political power is concentrated at the very top of the economic ladder.

Gilens says he hesitates to use the word “oligarchy” because it implies a group of a certain size and his data doesn’t show exactly how large a group of affluent individuals “have real influence over government policy-making.” He and Page prefer to talk about what they term “economic elite domination.”

Because of limited data, Gilens and Page only considered the policy preferences of the top 10th income percentile. But, says Gilens,“It would be surprising if within that group of people in the top 10 percent, that those in the top 1 percent didn’t have more influence than the remainder, and of course, those in the top one-hundredth of 1 percent even more influence.”

The study also doesn’t examine the mechanisms by which the rich exert their influence over public policy. Nevertheless, Gilens says he’s been able to rule out other potential factors based on prior research—such as, say, disproportionate levels of political engagement, interest or knowledge.


“The bottom line is that money in politics, generally, and campaign contributions, third-party spending and so on, is absolutely central in explaining the greater influence of people with money,” says Gilens.

The fight back

No one-shot remedy will level the electoral playing field. But an increasing consensus holds that a constitutional amendment strengthening campaign finance regulations is a necessary first step.

“I don’t know what the Congress could do to fix this that the Court wouldn’t rule as unconstitutional,” says South Dakota’s Weiland. “So we’ve got to change the Constitution. Then we can take a look at the best path forward to reform how these campaigns are funded and waged.”

Weiland says he’s handed out thousands of calling cards that, on the back, include his preferred language for an amendment: “So that the votes of all, rather than the wealth of the few, shall direct the course of this Republic, Congress shall have the power to limit the raising and spending of money, with respect to federal elections.”

Such an amendment would overturn the Supreme Court’s Buckley v. Valeo ruling in 1976, which allows for unlimited campaign spending. Without spending limits, it’s more difficult to make the constitutional case for contribution limits.

The Senate recently agreed to allow a floor vote on such an amendment—the first time that’s happened since Citizens United triggered calls to update the Constitution.

Others believe any such amendment needs to go even further. They say the problem lies in the concept of corporate personhood—a court precedent that goes back to 1886 and Santa Clary County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.

Move to Amend, a coalition that includes groups like CODEPINK, the Sierra Club, Progressive Democrats of America and Free Speech for People, calls for a constitutional amendment to establish that “money is not speech” and that “human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.”

No matter how an eventual amendment reads, the road to ratification will be long. In order to be considered, a constitutional amendment needs to first earn the support of a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. Alternatively, two-thirds of the nation’s state legislatures can request that a constitutional convention be held. But for an amendment to actually be ratified, it has to win approval from three-fourths, or 38, of the nation’s state legislatures.

Free Speech for People’s Bonifaz takes the long view: “In our history as a country, we have dealt with these kinds of major threats to our democracy in the past via a constitutional amendment.”

Seven previous constitutional amendments, he says, have addressed “egregious” Supreme Court rulings. The 19th Amendment, for example, overturned prior Supreme Court rulings that prevented women from exercising the right to vote.

“The power that we as a people have under Article 5 is designed to ensure that when the Supreme Court engages in this kind of egregious decision-making, or when we face some other kind of threat to the franchise and must lift up the promise of American democracy, that we have that power to use it. And I think we’re in that historic moment again.”

Nick Nyhart, meanwhile, offers an analysis that hasn’t exactly stood the test of time—the worse things get, the greater the chances of a popular backlash. He points to the demonstrations that followed theMcCutcheon decision. In some 150 towns and cities across the country, thousands of people turned out on short notice to protest the ruling.

“The good news,” says Nyhart, “is that as the system gets worse, as people see these headlines about individuals being able to give $3.5million directly to candidates through a bundling process … and see the tens of millions that other people are putting into politics, and the hundreds of millions being bundled by people like the Koch brothers, there is a reaction.”

Popular outrage may well be mounting. But time isn’t on the side of reformers. Each election cycle in the current climate threatens to make elected officials and political parties more beholden to big-pocketed contributors, and thus less likely to reform the system. Meanwhile, the Roberts majority has yet to consider a campaign contribution limit that it hasn’t decided to strike down.

One imagines the corporate donor class salivating: Who will be the next McCutcheon?

Cole Stangler is an In These Times staff writer and Schumann Fellow based in Washington D.C., covering labor, trade, foreign policy and environmental issues. His reporting has appeared in The Huffington Post and The American Prospect, and has been cited in The New York Times. He can be reached at cole[at]inthesetimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @colestangler.

 

Original article on In These Times

Read 7013 times Last modified on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 01:29

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    Detroit suspends water shutoffs for 15 days

    The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.

    “In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”

    Written on Monday, 21 July 2014 17:01 Read more...
  • Hundreds Turn Out To Protest Detroit Water Shutoffs
    Hundreds Turn Out To Protest Detroit Water Shutoffs

    As many as one thousand people showed up outside Cobo Center in downtown Detroit Friday, calling for an immediate moratorium on service shutoffs by the city’s water department.

    Among them was “Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo, who appeared unexpectedly, calling on others to join the demonstration.

    Written on Friday, 18 July 2014 20:33 Read more...
  • Detroit water shut-offs condemned as threat to health
    Detroit water shut-offs condemned as threat to health

    The decision by the bankrupt city of Detroit to cut off the water supply to 80,000 homes with outstanding water bills is a public health disaster in the making, says the largest professional association of nurses in the US.

    National Nurses United has called for an immediate moratorium on the shut-offs, and is leading a march in Detroit on Friday to make its demands clear.

    Written on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 18:03 Read more...
  • A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit: Stop the Water Shut Offs and Restore Democracy – July 18th Protest
    A National Call to Link Arms for Detroit: Stop the Water Shut Offs and Restore Democracy –  July 18th Protest

    On July 18th thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets, and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents; what the UN has called a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1PM, linking arms with the citizens of Detroit to protest the hostile corporate takeover by Wall Street banks and their ALEC-led political allies in the Michigan Statehouse, including Governor Rick Snyder.

    Written on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 20:00 Read more...
  • This Bus Is Transforming The Lives Of The Homeless
    This Bus Is Transforming The Lives Of The Homeless

    Most of us have suffered through the frustration of needing to quickly get ready for work, only to have to wait for a roommate to finish his shower. Now imagine having to share that shower with not one or two other people, but hundreds.

    That’s precisely the situation facing San Francisco’s estimated 6,436 homeless residents, who currently have just seven places in the city where they can shower.

    Written on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 21:36 Read more...
  • Detroit's Water War: a tap shut-off that could impact 300,000 people
    Detroit's Water War: a tap shut-off that could impact 300,000 people

    A right-wing state and corporate push to cut off water is economic shock therapy at its most ruthless and racist, but resistance is growing. Since spring, up to 3000 Detroit households per week have been getting their water shut-off – for owing as little as $150 or two months in bills.  The official rationale for the water shut-downs – the Detroit Water Department's need to recoup millions – collapses on inspection. Detroit's high-end golf club, the Red Wing's hockey arena, the Ford football stadium, and more than half of the city's commercial and industrial users are also owing – a sum totalling $30 million. But no contractors have showed up on their doorstep.

    Written on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 12:20 Read more...
  • In Sign of 'New Economy' Rising, Vermont Bill Champions Worker-Owned Co-ops
    In Sign of 'New Economy' Rising, Vermont Bill Champions Worker-Owned Co-ops

    Worker-owned co-ops got a boost on Monday when Independent Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled an initiative in Vermont that champions what many call "the new economy."“At a time when corporate America is outsourcing millions of decent-paying jobs overseas and with the economy continuing to struggle to create jobs that pay a livable wage, we need to expand economic models that help the middle-class," Sanders said during a press conference in Burlington. "I strongly believe that employee ownership is one of those models.

    Written on Sunday, 08 June 2014 13:43 Read more...
  • 'Labor priests' reviving social justice teachings -- and action
    'Labor priests' reviving social justice teachings -- and action

    "Labor priests" were a recognized presence in the labor movement of the 1920s through the 1960s. Father Barry, the Karl Malden character in the 1954 film "On the Waterfront," was the model of the priest who sided with workers.

    Priests conducted Parish Labor Schools where workers interested in collective bargaining studied Catholic social justice doctrine, labor law, and parliamentary procedure.

    Written on Saturday, 07 June 2014 19:13 Read more...
  • Why I Support the Fast Food Workers Strike
    Why I Support the Fast Food Workers Strike

    Fast food workers across America aren't waiting on Congress to raise their pay. This week, they’re taking matters into their own hands by organizing a nationwide strike aimed at securing better pay for their families and basic rights in the workplace.

    Written on Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:34 Read more...
  • Chicanos, how did we become America’s new slave culture?
    Chicanos, how did we become America’s new slave culture?

    In my journey as a community activist and Chicano advocate, I’ve experienced many fascinating elements that have inspired me but also scarred me to my very soul. I have fought the Chicano politician who capitulated in the selling out of his community, broke bread with the “Old Man” whom lent the little he had but gave unselfishly of his wisdom, and have shared space with our sons who have fallen victim to a privatized prison system. I have fought the white dragon of racism and today… today will begin the telling of those many travels.

    Written on Thursday, 15 May 2014 00:58 Read more...
  • Democrat? Green? Independent? The ‘Run Bernie Run’ Jockeying
    Democrat? Green? Independent? The ‘Run Bernie Run’ Jockeying

    Northampton, Massachusetts—When Bernie Sanders said in a Nation interview in March that he was prepared—not at all certain, but prepared—to run for the presidency, that got a lot of political activists thinking.

    Written on Monday, 12 May 2014 20:46 Read more...
  • US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont launches Progressive Democrats of America 10th anniversary in Northampton
    US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont launches Progressive Democrats of America 10th anniversary in Northampton

    Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders does not believe his support for the working class makes him unusual.
     
    Though he finds that many people who call themselves progressives believe they are in the minority, he does not believe this about himself, he said.
     
    “Every idea I ever espoused, I believe, is what the vast majority of our country believe,” Sanders told a crowd of around 400 people who filled the sanctuary at First Churches Friday for “A Conversation with Senator Bernie Sanders,” an event sponsored by The Nation magazine, Progressive Democrats of America, and radio station WHMP.

    Written on Monday, 12 May 2014 13:09 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders bound for Iowa
    Bernie Sanders bound for Iowa

    WASHINGTON – First, he traveled to New Hampshire. Now he's bound for Iowa.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is hitting all the familiar campaign stops as he considers whether to run for president in 2016.

    Written on Thursday, 08 May 2014 14:42 Read more...
  • Progressive Democrats meeting May 8 to organize Sanders '16 presidential run
    Progressive Democrats meeting May 8 to organize Sanders '16 presidential run

    Vermont Democratic Socialist to be in Iowa on May 17

    DES MOINES — Jeff Cox isn't sure what it means that Sen. Bernie Sanders will be visiting Iowa later this month, “but I do know it's a long way from Vermont.”

    “I was a bit surprised that he was on the program,” Cox said about Sanders' planned appearance at the May 17 Clinton County Democratic Hall of Fame dinner.

    Written on Thursday, 08 May 2014 00:06 Read more...
  • More Than A Fifth Of America’s Children Are Going Hungry
    More Than A Fifth Of America’s Children Are Going Hungry

    More than one in five American kids lived in a “food insecure” household in 2012, according to the newest annual Mapping the Meal Gap report from anti-hunger charity Feeding America.

    The food insecurity rate for children nationwide is 21.6 percent. That number rises to almost three in ten kids for a long list of states including New Mexico (29.2 percent), Mississippi (28.7 percent), Arizona (28.2 percent), Nevada (28.1 percent), Georgia (28.1 percent), Arkansas (27.7 percent), Florida (27.6 percent), and Texas (27.4 percent).

    Written on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 12:37 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders Warns Americans Are Losing Faith In The Political System
    Bernie Sanders Warns Americans Are Losing Faith In The Political System

    MANCHESTER, N.H., April 12 (Reuters) - Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders warned that a growing number of Americans were losing faith in the political system at a New Hampshire site that often hosts presidential primary debates. But he said he is "many, many months" away from deciding on a White House run.

    Written on Monday, 14 April 2014 19:01 Read more...
  • Greedy Oligarchs Oppose Minimum Wage
    Greedy Oligarchs Oppose Minimum Wage

    One of the hot issues in this year’s political races is whether the Federal minimum wage should be increased.  It might seem obvious that if lower-income people had more money to spend it would be good for almost everyone.  President Obama and the Democrats have proposed that it be raised from its current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.  Certainly, it would benefit the 17 million workers who’d get the increase—two-thirds of them women, who generally make less than men to start with.  So raising the minimum wage would be a step toward pay equity. Some states have higher minimums, but none above the proposed level. Two states, Maryland and Connecticut have moved theirs up to the $10.10 level.

    Written on Saturday, 12 April 2014 18:25 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders seeks to pull Democrats left in 2016 primary
    Bernie Sanders seeks to pull Democrats left in 2016 primary

    WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders has been calling activists and traveling the country with a question: Could he vault from his US Senate seat representing what is fondly called the People’s Republic of Vermont to the White House?

    His next stop in search of an answer is the first presidential primary state of New Hampshire, where this weekend he plans to bring his campaign complaint about America becoming an “oligarchic society.’’

    Written on Saturday, 12 April 2014 14:25 Read more...
  • Nurses and lawmakers resume push for financial transactions tax
    Nurses and lawmakers resume push for financial transactions tax

    WASHINGTON (PAI)--Saying it would raise money, curb speculators and force the financial finaglers who caused the Great Recession to partially pay for its impact on you and me, National Nurses United and the Congressional Progressive Caucus relaunched their drive for a financial transactions tax.

    Written on Thursday, 10 April 2014 13:29 Read more...
  • 'With Liberty and Justice for All' -- Our Democracy on the Brink
    'With Liberty and Justice for All' -- Our Democracy on the Brink

    The promise of "liberty and justice for all" remains a vital part of our nation's Pledge of Allegiance, and is embedded in our childhood memories of starting each school day with this oath. 

    Written on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 15:54 Read more...
  • GOP’s shameful treatment of the powerless
    GOP’s shameful treatment of the powerless

    The Bible’s injunction that we shall be judged by how we have treated the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) appears in different forms in virtually every religion or faith. And surely the measure of a country is how it treats the most vulnerable of its people — children in the dawn of life, the poor in the valley of life, the ailing in the shadows of life, the elderly in the dusk of life.

    Written on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:58 Read more...
  • NELP Applauds Senate Vote to Renew Emergency Jobless Aid
    NELP Applauds Senate Vote to Renew Emergency Jobless Aid

    Unemployed Ohio Navy Veteran Urges House Speaker Boehner to Hold Vote

    Statement of Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, on the U.S. Senate’s passage of the bipartisan five month renewal of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation:

    Written on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 00:18 Read more...
  • Thoughts on a Bernie Sanders Run
    Thoughts on a Bernie Sanders Run

    ... if the candidate has a real mass base, is building a broad progressive front around a clear, transformational program, and sees the candidacy as one step in a multitiered process, then it might be worth going for it.

    Written on Sunday, 06 April 2014 00:27 Read more...
  • How Social Security Was Saved
    How Social Security Was Saved

    The release of the White House’s 2014 budget in April 2013 was a stomach-churning occasion for American seniors who depend on Social Security. In an effort to woo the austerity-now crowd, President Barack Obama included in his proposal a new formula to calculate Social Security cost-of-living adjustments: the chained consumer price index, or chained CPI. Presented as a harmless technocratic fix, chained CPI would have hit America’s retirees in the pocketbook by reducing their Social Security cost-of-living increases.

    Written on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 00:00 Read more...
  • 'Better Off' Budget Attacks Status Quo with Bold Progressive Vision
    'Better Off' Budget Attacks Status Quo with Bold Progressive Vision

    Economic blueprint by Congressional Progressive Caucus makes commanding argument for what's possible, but will it again be ignored by nation's powerful elite?

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 22:09 Read more...
  • Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day
    Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day

    When I boarded the plane to Cairo, Egypt, to make sure everything was in place for the women’s delegation headed to Gaza, I had no reason to think I’d end up in a jail cell at the Cairo airport and then violently deported.

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 18:51 Read more...
  • UDC Law School - Social Justice Law
    UDC Law School - Social Justice Law

    The public service-oriented UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (www.law.udc.edu) is the public law school of the nation’s capital. Unlike most other law schools in America, all UDC-DCSL students receive a high-quality, practical, hands-on program of legal study. In addition to the traditional law curriculum, each UDC-DCSL student, under the close supervision of attorney-professors, provides 700 hours of much-needed legal service to low-income Washington, DC residents in one of the School’s eight clinics.

    Written on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 19:20 Read more...
  • I was brutally attacked.
    I was brutally attacked.

    Just the other day I hopped on a plane to Egypt, eager to join the international delegation of 100 women headed to Gaza for International Women’s Day. Little did I know I would be stopped at the Cairo airport, detained, held overnight in a cell, then in the morning brutally assaulted by Egyptian authorities. 

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:42 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’
    Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’

    Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign.

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:24 Read more...
  • 2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits
    2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits

    WASHINGTON – The number of people who have lost their unemployment benefits as a result of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program’s expiration has surpassed two million this week, according to a new analysis from Ways and Means Committee Democrats.

    Written on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 17:01 Read more...
  • Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin
    Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin

    On route to a women’s conference in Gaza, Code Pink founder and peace activist Medea Benjamin was detained by Egyptian police and held in an airport prison cell for several hours without being charged. During her detention, the petite Benjamin said she was “jumped on” by Egyptian police and “violently handcuffed” resulting in a  fractured my arm, dislocated my shoulder, torn ligaments.

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 21:20 Read more...
  • CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women
    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow
    The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow

    In case you hadn't noticed, the debt ceiling was raised several days ago, so quietly that it barely made a ripple in the press. No threats of shutting down the government or hostage-taking emanated from Senator Mitch McConnell -- or from his even more radical right-wing cronies in the House -- this recent go around.

    Written on Friday, 28 February 2014 02:55 Read more...
  • What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke
    What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke

    It’s debt ceiling time, and the United States economy is once again on the brink, held hostage by extremists hell-bent on forcing cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Oh, wait. That was last year. In 2014, for the first time in three years, the vote to extend the nation’s debt ceiling did not bring the United States to the brink of default in a high-stakes game of slash and burn.

    Written on Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:37 Read more...
  • The United States of Poverty and Inequality
    The United States of Poverty and Inequality

    New report shows that no matter which state you live in, the 1% are making even more gains as the rest fall back

    Over the last three decades the wealth of the nation's very richest 1% has grown ten times that of the average worker and over that time period that same tiny elite has captured more than half of the entire income increases, leaving the bottom 99% to divide the remaining gains.

    Written on Saturday, 22 February 2014 16:11 Read more...
  • Michael Sam stands tall
    Michael Sam stands tall

    “I’m a football player, and I’m gay.” With those words, Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end from the University of Missouri, demonstrated courage far beyond that demanded on the football field. And America may, for the first time, witness an openly gay man playing professional football.

    Written on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 03:20 Read more...
  • Preserve social programs that work
    Preserve social programs that work

    I started a chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America in Springfield a few years ago. Since then our chapter has grown to include the Greater Springfield Area. At an event last fall in front of U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin’s office we had 75 folks attend from various unions and organizations, many of them traveling from Normal, Bloomington, Peoria, Jacksonville, Morrisonville and Champaign.

    Written on Friday, 07 February 2014 03:25 Read more...
  • Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee
    Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee

    Congressman Keith Ellison(D-MN, 5th District) / Author of the new book, My Country 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future joins Thom Hartmann.

    Written on Thursday, 06 February 2014 22:36 Read more...
  • JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address
    JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

    The country seems turned off and tuned out to the Congress, politics generally and the federal government in particular. The good news is the emerging grass-roots movement exemplified by The Dreamers and the burgeoning campaign among low income workers around the nation, offering a clear challenge to the political gridlock, the inaction and non-work by Congress. Seeking to respond to this grassroots energy and to combat the frustration many people are feeling around the country, President Obama presented an optimistic tone, an uplifting message and a new plan of action to move America forward.

    Written on Thursday, 30 January 2014 20:01 Read more...
  • State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade
    State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade

    President Obama wants 2014 to be a “year of action” in which the country finally begins to address a wealth gap that has made the term “income inequality” the catchphrase of the moment. And he framed the crisis well in his fifth State of the Union address:

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:32 Read more...
  • House passes $956B farm bill
    House passes $956B farm bill

    The House on Wednesday approved a mammoth, $956 billion farm bill in a bipartisan vote.

    Members approved the House-Senate agreement on farm policy in a 251-166 vote. A majority of Republicans backed the bill, with 63 GOP no votes. But a majority of Democrats opposed it, with 103 voting no.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender
     Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender

    When some of the greatest musicians in the world gathered five years ago to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of the musician who inspired them all, Bruce Springsteen told Pete Seeger: “You outlasted the bastards, man.”

    And so he did.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:30 Read more...
  • State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way
    State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way

    President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night will focus on inequality, on the reality that this economy does not work for working people. Given the obstruction of House and Senate Republicans, the president faces the reality that little of what he proposes can pass this Congress. He has vowed to use his “pen” and “phone” to act unilaterally where he can. But the real challenge is to explain to the American people what the reality is, what must be done and who is standing in the way.

    Written on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 15:56 Read more...
  • Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade
    Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade

    Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that increasing the power of unions is key to addressing income inequality in America.

    “We need a comprehensive plan, but let’s start with increasing the right to collective bargaining,” Ellison said on MSNBC. “We’ve got to get workers on the job in a position to demand that the wealth that they create be shared by the company. That’s a key thing. If you look at how wages has stagnated in the United States and you look at how union did something that has gone down, the lines track right together. You got to get power in the hands of the workers. That’s key.”

    Written on Thursday, 23 January 2014 18:18 Read more...
  • Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice
    Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice

    As I went from event to event Monday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, I was struck by both the tribute and the distortion.

    The tribute is remarkable. Martin Luther King held no public office. He amassed no great fortune. He led no victorious armies

    Written on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:03 Read more...
  • Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”
    Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”

    One day after a top Obama administration official deflected a congressman’s call for executive action to raise labor standards for contractors, activists Wednesday announced the filing of a new Department of Labor complaint over alleged wage theft in a government building. The complaint alleges that dozens of workers in D.C.’s government-owned Union Station are owed over $3 million in back pay and damages for rampant failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:26 Read more...
  • King’s evolving Dream
    King’s evolving Dream

    It is that time to pause and think about the incredible life and contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., oftentimes referred to as MLK. He was named Michael King Jr. after his father ­ who later changed both their names to Martin Luther, in honor of the religious reformer.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South
    Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South

    After drawing thousands of protesters to the state legislature and inspiring the arrests of more than 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience, North Carolina's Moral Monday movement challenging the extreme conservative agenda of the state's Republican-controlled legislature and administration is gearing up for more actions in 2014.

    Written on Monday, 13 January 2014 13:30 Read more...
  • On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'
    On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'

    U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the "War on Poverty" has shifted from helping the poor to fighting them.

    McGovern, a Democrat who represents the 2nd district, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday about hunger in America and potential cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the proposed Farm Bill.

    Written on Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • War on Poverty wages on
    War on Poverty wages on

    Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated in his State of the Union address to the Congress, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 18:11 Read more...
  • Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?
    Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?

    At the Future of America Learning Center in the West Bronx, the pre-K curriculum is built around adult jobs—visiting real workplaces and then learning about the vocabulary and skills that grown-ups use every day.

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 01:24 Read more...
  • Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job
    Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job

    Back in the days before modern feminism, a young woman looking for work might typically be advised, politely, to “learn a trade,” with the implication that she wasn't bound for college or an elite career, but a humbler job as, say, a secretary or seamstress. Such a phrase might sound condescending today. Yet working in a trade might still be sound career goal for a woman, if she gets the right kind of job—in a union.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:30 Read more...
  • Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality
    Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality

    This Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, tens of millions of Americans will travel to Walmart stores to look for holiday discounts on computers, toys, and cell phones as well as to buy groceries and basic household items.

    Written on Saturday, 30 November 2013 15:20 Read more...
  • McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs
    McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs

    He was CEO of the hamburger behemoth, McDonald's, pulling down a hefty $8.8 million in pay. Last year, though, Skinner retired, and, rather than getting a gold watch, he was given a load of gold — so large that even a Brink's armored truck would have been too small to haul it all away. His salary of $753,000 was the least of it.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:44 Read more...
  • Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'
    Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'

    Sen. Warren: 'Social Security is incredibly effective, it is incredibly popular, and the calls for strengthening it are growing louder every day.'

    With Social Security cuts once again on the table in closed-door congressional budget negotiations, a growing movement has taken the offensive, demanding that lawmakers strengthen, rather than stranglehold, our social safety net.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:36 Read more...
  • Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts
    Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts

    Ryan’s office on Wednesday received a petition signed by more than 700,000 people that said there should be “no grand bargain” in the budget negotiations being led by Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.”

    Written on Saturday, 16 November 2013 03:10 Read more...
  • House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill
    House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill

    The farm bill will almost inevitably include deep cuts to the food stamps program—unless House Democrats join with conservatives to kill the bill. The food stamps program—which helps feed one in seven Americans—is in peril. Republicans in the House have proposed a farm bill—the five-year bill that funds agriculture and nutrition programs—that would slash food stamps by $40 billion. But by taking advantage of House Republicans' desire to cut food stamps as much as possible, Democrats might be able to prevent cuts from happening at all.

    Written on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:28 Read more...
  • Food Stamps, Yes!
    Food Stamps, Yes!

    If you’re reading this column, you probably don’t participate in a government program such as SNAP, to help provide food for your family. If you can afford to have a newspaper delivered to your home, or if you have a computer and an internet connection so you can read online, you may have more than enough money for food.

    Written on Friday, 04 October 2013 01:50 Read more...

Does Your Legislator Support the Robin Hood Tax?

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries.

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Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

Email Your Senators and Rep - Say No On Fast Track and TPP

Send an email directly to your Senators and Representatives courtesy of our partners at CWA. Enter your zip code and your members are automatically selected.

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Sign the ERA Petition

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On Friday, September 12th more than 150 activists will go to DC and Demand that their Senators and Representatives support removing the ratification deadline from the ERA (SJ Res 15 and HJ Res 113)

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Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

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Hand Deliver a Letter to your Rep on Jobs

If your Representative is not currently a cosponsor of HR 1000 they may not completely understand how important full employment is to your community; click on your state at the bottom of this page to see all the cosponsors in your state. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

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Report on your TPP Contact

Please let us know your legislator's stance on Fast Track Authorization for the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as their stance on the TPP in General. Click here to report the response.

The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax: John Nichols and Keith Ellison and Michael Lighty

Why The Robin Hood Tax

Rep. Jim McGovern on Protecting SNAP

Workers Speak Out on the TPP

PDA Labor Panel - Progressive Central III

Main Street NOT Wall Street

The Trans Pacific Partnership: Corporate Global Domination

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

Lori Wallach Leaked TPP Documents (Democracy NOW)

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Lori Wallach on Thom Hartmann (Great Minds) - The TPP

TPP Downloads

The following documents are available from the Oppose TPP Downloads Folder

June 29th TPP Powerpoint

CWA TPP Jobs Report

Endorse HR 1000

Read the bill text and endorse HR 1000 as an individual or an organization