Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Medicare for All - Sacramento

Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution
Tuesday January 28th
6:30pm Doors open, 7pm Film, 8pm Panel
Cafe Colonial, 3520 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA
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POWER TO HEAL is a 56 minute long documentary that tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate health care for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country practically overnight.

After the screening panelists will discuss racial disparities in health care today and how the fight for health justice continues. We'll hear updates on the national fight to win Medicare for All and learn how local activists have been working to get Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui to cosponsor the Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384). Rep. Matsui is currently NOT a cosponsor.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Need to Defeat Donald Trump

By Max Elbaum
With this posting, Organizing Upgrade launches 2020: This Is Not a Drill, a regular column focused on this year’s consequential electoral battle. Authorship will rotate between the Organizing Upgrade editors and guest writers. This initial installment is by Max Elbaum.
We’re less than a month into the new year. A Trump-ordered illegal assassination brought the U.S.to the brink of another full-scale war in the Middle East, averted only because the Iranian regime showed remarkable restraint. One of the world’s seven continents recently went up in flames with average temperatures in several of Australia’s largest cities topping 104 degrees. The New York Times just ran another op-ed column comparing the 2020 election to the build-up to the Civil War, making no new points but underscoring the now-widespread recognition that racism and demographic change are once again at the center of a powder keg polarization in U.S. society.
And in ten days, as soon as the Iowa primary results are in, everything is going to get even more intense and every political activist is going to get even busier than we are already.
So it is a good moment to step back, survey the terrain, the balance of forces and what’s at stake; and set our overall goals and plan for the ugly year ahead. In my view, that kind of stock-taking leads to strategies for action based on two over-riding mandates.
First, it is absolutely essential to defeat Trump and as many of his GOP enablers as possible at the federal, state and local level in November.
Second, ousting Trump from the White House is not sufficient to address the deep-going crises that today threaten the rights and well-being of people in the U.S., the very lives of millions across the globe, and the natural environment that sustains modern human life.
Trumpism hardly comes out of the blue. It builds on 40-plus years of right-wing backlash and longstanding racist currents in U.S. society. But it combines these into an overall package unprecedented since the McCarthy period and arguably since before the Civil War. Trump and his enablers are dead set on one-party permanent political rule via a racialized authoritarian state.
The top strategists of Trumpism know their all-wealth-to-the-wealthy economic program and their climate change denialism are increasingly unpopular. They are well aware that demographic change—the rising proportion of people of color in the U.S. population—is are not working in their favor. They fear that even the already-rigged structure that gives disproportionate power in the Senate and Electoral College to small, mostly white states, plus voter suppression and gerrymandering, will not be enough to keep them in power. So they see an authoritarian state whose mass support is built on a promise to preserve “white Christian America” as necessary to implement their full program of fossil fuel-driven, no-limits capitalism and a militarized ‘America First’ global hegemony.
Even a brief sampling of administration and GOP steps taken or reported just in the last month indicates how relentlessly the Trumpists are driving toward this goal:
  • New policy built on climate change denialism: “Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law.” – New York Times, January 3
  •  “Much more aggressive” voter suppression: “Trump adviser Justin Clark: “Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program,” – Rolling Stone, December 22, 2019

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Not Me; Us - the Sanders Campaign

Naomi Klein,
IT MADE FOR a tough juxtaposition. Late Monday night, CBS News reported that Bernie Sanders had just done exactly what many critics have long called on him to do: He asked his supporters to dial back the personal attacks on rivals in the Democratic primary and focus on substantial policy differences.
“We need a serious debate in this country on issues,” Sanders said. “We don’t need to demonize people who may disagree with us. … I appeal to my supporters: Please, engage in civil discourse.” He pointed out (rightly) that “we’re not the only campaign that does it. Other people act that way as well.” But he added, “I would appeal to everybody: Have a debate on the issues. We can disagree with each other without being disagreeable, without being hateful.”
Then, early the following morning, the Hollywood Reporter sent out a press release about its new cover story with the subject line: “Hillary Clinton on 2016, her new doc and Bernie: ‘Nobody likes him.’”
Inside were excerpts from a stunningly destructive interview in which Clinton obsessively picks every scab of the 2016 primary race and refuses to say that she would endorse Sanders if he wins the nomination — the very thing establishment Democrats falsely claim that Sanders did in 2016 (in fact, as the New Yorker reported, he campaigned tirelessly for her, sometimes doing three events a day).
Within seconds, that 2016 primary feeling flooded my bloodstream. Screw what I had planned for the morning — none of it felt as importing as firing off a volley of rage tweets about Clinton, her staggering absence of self-awareness, and her outrageously revisionist history.
But I did something else instead. I blocked Twitter, chatted with my son about why he’s such a Bernie fan (“He will beat Donald Trump”), and started writing about being on the Sanders campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire over the last couple months. Because among Sanders’s steadily growing base of supporters, the mood is about as far from rage tweeting as you can get. In fact, despite the senator’s reputation as a finger-waving grump, the more time I spend with the campaign, whether in small meetups or huge rallies, the more I am struck by the undercurrent of tenderness that runs through all these events. Surprisingly enough, the force that is bridging what at first seem like huge divides — between multiracial urbanite Gen Z-ers and aging white farmers, between lifetime industrial trade unionists and hardcore climate organizers, between a Jewish candidate and a huge Muslim base — is a culture of quiet listening.

Monday, January 20, 2020

*Pain & Action | The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral R...

Countering Annual Whitewash of His Legacy, Progressives Remember the 'Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist' Martin Luther King Jr.

Countering Annual Whitewash of His Legacy, Progressives Remember the 'Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist' Martin Luther King Jr.

PPC: Call on the Democrats to Debate Poverty

Call on the Democrats to debate poverty !

Last Tuesday, we marched on the Democratic Debate, uplifting the struggles and demands of the 140 million poor and low wealth people in our nation, while demanding a full, nationally-televised, primetime debate on poverty and the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and this country’s distorted moral narrative of Christian Nationalism. 
When 250,000 people die every year from poverty, it is time for the presidential candidates to make good on the promises they made during the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress in June 2019 to push for a debate on poverty. We are sending letters to both the Democratic and Republican National Committees, calling on both sides of the aisle to have a debate on poverty in both the primary and during the general election.
Our protest was covered by Democracy Now and led to two mentions of the Poor People’s Campaign on the national debate stage, as well as a massive wave of people visiting our national website and reading our Moral Agenda.
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we commit ourselves to carrying forward the unfinished work of uniting poor and impacted people into a new and unsettling force. This is how we choose to honor the life and vision of our forebears – by reaching back into history and carrying the baton of justice another step forward together.  
A large block of the voting public will stay at home on election day if the issues that affect poor and low wealth Americans are not brought to the forefront. We’ve had nearly 30 debates since 2016 alone, and not one of them has focused on poverty. A mere mention of the Poor People’s Campaign on the debate stage or on social media will not quiet our call for a full debate on poverty. We demand that all presidential candidates and the Democratic National Committee host a #PovertyDebateNow!
Please send this letter to the DNC and the presidential candidates to call for a nationally-televised, primetime debate on poverty, then share it with your people and encourage them to take action! After you sign the letter, please use your voice online! The DNC and presidential candidates need to hear us loud and clear. 
If you are on Twitter, click here for our brief social media toolkit to put pressure on the candidates and the DNC, including handles, hashtags and sample tweets. 
Thank you for doing your part to make our voices heard!
The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Sunday, January 19, 2020

March With the Poor People's Campaign


Join Us!

Monday January 20, 2020 
7:30 AM Leaving 
Oak Park Community Center
Martin Luther King Blvd And Eighth Ave
At 8:00 AM

Bring Your Banners
Bring Your Flyers
Build Your Organization

March Against Poverty, Environmental Devastation, War
and Institutional Racism and Reawaken Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign

The March will start at the Oak Park Community Center and Join Other Marchers at the Sacramento City College at 9:15 AM
Program and Tabling at Sac City College

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dissensus Politics 
A strategy for winning economic rights
April 20, 1968

In the week after his death, Martin Luther King was memorialized as both leader and symbol of the Southern black confrontation with white America, a confrontation of such moral clarity and intensity that it moved a majority of Americans to unite in support of the civil rights legislation of 1964 and ‘65. This interpretation confirms the widely held belief that Negroes cannot obtain justice unless they coalesce with other groups in a majority alliance - which means, of course, the national Democratic coalition. According to this view, it is the wishes of a majority that finally impel political leaders to act. The task, therefore, is to identify the issues and exchanges by which a unified majority 
But the political dynamics of the Southern phase of the civil rights movement may have been quite the reverse of what is commonly supposed. We would argue that its legislative victories were not the product of a majority consensus, but of cleavage in the North-South Democratic coalition. The political impact of non-violent protests, of “moral confrontations,” was to widen that cleavage. The legislative concessions of 1964 and ‘6^ owed less to the numbers of people committed to the civil-rights movement - whether blacks or their white allies - than to the sharply divisive impact the movement had upon an already strained North-South Democratic partnership. And if this theory is correct, it may be that blacks and other minorities can also compel future gains from the majority coalition by threatening to disrupt it. 
Negroes have been part of the Democratic coalition for almost four decades - that is, beginning with the reorganization of the Democratic Party during the elections of 1928 and 1932, when an alliance was struck between urban ethnic groups in the North and  the traditionally Democratic South. In 1936, a majority of blacks voted Democratic for the first time, As members of that coalition, blacks have obtained minor concessions. In 1940, for example, a Roosevelt-oriented Supreme Court declared the white primary unconstitutional and in 1941 FDR established the Fair Employment Practices Commission. Each concession to Negroes was fiercely resisted by Southern Democrats who succeeded in warding off civil rights legislation of any significance for nearly three decades. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Bernie-and-Elizabeth Matters More Than Bernie-vs.-Elizabeth

Bernie-and-Elizabeth Matters More Than Bernie-vs.-Elizabeth: History will remember both Sanders and Warren for taking on American capitalism. Their differences won’t loom that large.

Progressives/Left Urge Unity in Primaries and Beyond

Progressives Urge Unity In Primaries And Beyond

Progressive groups urge Sanders-Warren unity to defeat corporate Democrats in primary—and then Donald Trump. Common Dreams: “The heads of six progressive advocacy organizations—some that have endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, some backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, and others who have remained neutral thus far—issued a joint statement calling for unity among the two candidates and their supporters on Thursday morning, arguing that the largest beneficiaries of this week’s dust-up between the two campaigns are establishment Democrats, corporate defenders of the status quo, and ultimately President Donald Trump. The statement (which can be read in full below) was signed by the heads of Democracy for America, Our Revolution, RootsAction.org, Sunrise Movement, Working Families Party, and Justice Democrats. It argues that the a best chance for progressives in the United States to defeat Trump ‘does not lie with an establishment or corporate Democrat,’ but rather with unified progressive front. While Our Revolution, RootsAction, and Sunrise are all openly backing Sanders, the Working Families Party has officially endorsed Warren. Justice Democrats and Democracy for America, meanwhile, have yet to throw their support behind any of the 2020 primary candidates in the Democratic field. Despite the divergent approaches to the primary, the groups called for unity to ensure that Trump is defeated in November and that a truly transformative and progressive vision can take hold. According to the joint statement, ‘the surest way to defeat Trump is for the Democratic Party to nominate either Warren or Sanders, as these are the candidates best able to energize voters by providing a vision of a decent society and a fair economy. This vision is sorely needed, as is an administration that will implement far-reaching reforms toward a more just society.'”

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Choosing Democracy: War is a Racket !

Choosing Democracy: War is a Racket !: The last week has been a roller coaster. Many of us have breathed a slight sigh of relief as things deescalate a bit around Iran. But ...