In 2014, we continued where we left off. In January, we held another Round Table meeting, and expanded our Educate Congress letter drops calling for single payer healthcare, and opposing both the TPP and cuts to Food Stamps.
We lost the fight to prevent cuts to the SNAP program in the Farm Bill in the House by a 251-166 vote. Undaunted, we stepped up our efforts to defeat “Fast Track” legislation and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on both the House and Senate side. Economic and Social Justice Issue Team Coordinator Randy Shannon helped keep PDA supporters well-informed and connected with these issues, and Andrea Miller has been a key organizer working with the national stop the TPP coalition.
From the People’s Inaugural to Progressive Round Tables
Progressive Democrats of America kept up our intensity in 2013. When other organizations celebrated during inaugural weekend in D.C., PDA convened another Progressive Central. This conference and work session, dubbed “The Peoples’ Inaugural,” brought together leading progressives and PDA organizers at the University of D.C. Law School.
PDA kicked off 2012 with a powerful presence, greeting Democrats who participated there, getting impressive coverage, especially for asking Iowans to “send a message to President Barack Obama by organizing people to vote for uncommitted in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.” Also in January, PDA leadership joined many of our Board members and allies presenting and leading panels at the second annual Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Policy Summit in Baltimore, Maryland. As usual, we spent most of the time organizing and working, then heard our board member Jim Hightower, the featured speaker.
If progressives were frustrated by failure to win major victories in previous years, after the GOP / Tea Party takeover of the House we faced a far more difficult task. Friendly Committee Chairs like PDA Board Member John Conyers had to hand over their gavels to Republicans. Legislation that made progress from 2007 to 2010 suddenly slammed into brick walls. National Director Tim Carpenter led PDA’s response, with help from Deputy Director Conor Boylan, the revamped national staff, along with our tireless Issue Team organizers and our state and local coordinators.
2010: We hate to say we told you so, but....
PDA kicked off 2010 by launching the Brown Bag Lunch Vigil (BBLV) movement in January. An expansion of our Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign, BBLVs take our message to district offices of Congress members. PDA members and others advocate for increased funding for domestic needs. PDA and an expanding partnership have continued these vigils--usually every third Wednesday.
“We have frequently printed the word Democracy. Yet I cannot too often repeat, that it is a word the real gist of which still sleeps, quite unawakened,” wrote Walt Whitman in Democratic Vistas. “It is a great word, whose history, I suppose, remains unwritten, because that history has yet to be enacted.”
It would be easy to make a list of 10 bad things—wars, government shut-down, drone attacks, lack of progress on immigrant rights, lousy health-care reform. But it’s also been a year of extraordinary activism: whistleblowers, DREAMers, Walmart workers, peacemakers, gay rights advocates, garment workers. As the year ends, let’s pay tribute to the good things their efforts have wrought.
It’s been quite a year. And thanks to a very generous offer from our allies at Social Security Works, we can hit the ground running in 2014—because they have offered to match $5,000 in donations, dollar-for-dollar! That means your donation is worth twice as much! Happy New Year! If you would like to double your money by donating to PDA now, please click here.
We promise to make as good use of our limited dollars next year as we did in 2013. It was a very busy year:
Just before Tim Carpenter came back home to Orange County in October for a Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) event in Santa Ana, he confided in an email that his doctors might not clear him to travel.
Though battling terminal illness, Tim Carpenter is still busy moving Congress left. Tim Carpenter is the national director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). Founded in 2004 in the aftermath of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-Ohio) presidential run, the group works what it calls an “inside-outside” strategy—aimed at translating the activism of outside social movements into progressive legislation in Congress.
Citizens United is not just the default reference for US Supreme Court decisions—including the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling—that have ushered in a new era of corporate dominance of American elections. It’s the name of the conservative group that encouraged Chief Justice John Roberts and the most activist Court majority in American history to tear the heart out of what were already weak campaign finance laws.
PITTSFIELD -- Their signs read "Get Big Money Out of Politics," "Democracy Is Not For Sale" and "This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like." About a dozen of them stood in Park Square on Wednesday evening, one of 130 "rapid response events" coordinated nationwide to protest that morning's Supreme Court decision in McCutcheon v. FEC.
Any doubts about the determination of an activist United States Supreme Court to rewrite election rules so that the dollar matters more than the vote were removed Wednesday, when McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was decided in favor of the dollar.
Sam Bell is in the third year of a PhD program in geology at Brown University. Geology as in rocks. But Bell also moonlights as the the state coordinator of The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, the state affiliate of the 10-year-old Progressive Democrats of America. And in his work with The Rhode Island Progressive Democrats, Bell was instrumental to the investigation that ultimately led to the National Rifle Association paying the second largest campaign finance fine in the state's history.
Postal workers are giving it their all this holiday season, as cards and packages and returns must be collected and delivered amidst ice storms, snowstorms and wild temperature drops.
They deserve our thanks in 2013.
And our support in 2014.
Thanks to a loophole that subsidizes CEO pay, McDonald's, Yum Brands, Wendy's, Burger King, Domino's, and Dunkin' Brands trimmed $64 million from their tax bills in 2011 and 2012.
The fast food industry is notorious for handing out lean paychecks to their burger flippers and fat ones to their CEOs. What’s less well-known is that taxpayers are actually subsidizing fast food incomes at both the bottom — and top — of the industry.
In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture. A coalition of grass-roots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (like the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.
Progressive voices were heard loud and clear at Saturday’s Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) State Committee Meeting in Maricopa, Arizona.
Unlike some past ADP meetings where progressives were ignored or where progressive resolutions were tabled and not heard by the full ADP membership, the Maricopa meeting was dominated by progressives.
Tucson is one of the most impoverished cities in the country—for many reasons. The Arizona Legislature—driven by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and short-sighted, “small government” ideology—has routinely swept funds earmarked for counties and cities to “balance” the state’s budget or fund pet projects like lower corporate taxes. Beyond the Legislature’s negative impact on Baja Arizona, the Tucson economy is not diversified enough. Manufacturing is nearly non-existent in Southern Arizona. There is an over-reliance on defense spending, University of Arizona spin-offs, tourism, low-wage service jobs, and growth/development.
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