Where the conventions were once a confluence of ideas, it's no secret they have come to strive for spectacle, turning earnest debates for improving the quality of life for Americans into platitudes. But the opportunity that the conventions have come to embody is the assembly outside the official proceedings, where people from across the country have gathered who are as passionate as the attendees, if not more.
A rousing forum for discourse, speeches, music, and inspiration was at Progressive Central, hosted at a local church outside Uptown by Progressive Democrats of America. Moderated by the acclaimed commentator for The Nation, John Nichols, the "People's Convention" ran down the list of how the Progressive movement could achieve its goals of Medicare for All, ending the wars abroad, rebuilding the labor movement, and fighting the influence of money in politics.
John Nichols spoke in interview about what he thought the story of this convention was -- Obama's opportunity to do more than just hit the right political notes, but to convince the larger population to deliver a mandate for the president who brought the Affordable Care Act to them as just a start of what's possible.
Throughout the day, speakers like Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) expressed their hopes for what a second Obama term could bring to the progressive agenda. McGovern and former Governor Mike Dukakis both attested to Mitt Romney's abismal term as Governor of Massachussettes. McGovern stressed why Romney didn't run for a second term, because he was so unpopular. Dukakis reiterated that under Romney, Massachussettes was 47th out of 50 for job creation.
The most colorful display was with folk rock duo emma's rebellion and their background dancers, members of Code Pink dressed as Vaginas, who were well-covered at the RNC. The song "Take Your Vagina to the RNC" brought the house down.
But it was the poignant acceptance of an award from PDA by the esteemed Rep. John Conyers, who has been in Congress so long he worked on the Voting Rights Act, that was the highlight. Conyers told the audience that the resistance and pressure facing Obama is greater than any Democrat he had ever seen.
Link to original article from The Huffington Post
In a move to shore up his progressive credentials in advance of an electoral challenge from the left this fall, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal confirmed on Wednesday that he will cosponsor five pieces of legislation backed by the Progressive Democrats of America, a liberal advocacy group.
That announcement comes amid frequent criticism from the two challengers Neal will face in a Democratic primary this fall that the Springfield congressman is too conservative to represent the new 1st Congressional District. Much of that district has been represented by U.S. Rep. John Olver, D-Amherst, for the past two decades. Olver is retiring at the end of his current term in January.
In Canada, the only way to see a doctor is to call one up and make an appointment. Or walk in to their office. In Britain, the only way you’ll get surgery is if you actually need it. And yet State Senator Mark Leno and 44 co-sponsors want to bring this kind of healthcare system to everyone in California! Imagine.
The Campaign for a Healthy California on Wednesday denounced the failure of the California Senate to pass SB 810, the California Universal Care Act. The bill died when it remained two votes short of passage.
Democrats fell short of previous levels of support, which successfully passed similar bills through the legislature twice before, only to be vetoed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. This year 19 voted in favor of the bill, two against, and four abstaining in spite of intensive efforts at persuasion by grassroots proponents. The bill received no support from Republicans.
The group Progressive Democrats of America hope to send a message to President Barack Obama by organizing people to vote for “uncommitted” in the Iowa Democratic caucuses.
“I believe we need an inside outside strategy,” Tim Carpenter, the founder of the group, said at an organizing meeting in Des Moines this week. “We’re not asking everybody in this room to vote for Barack Obama. We’re not voting for Barack Obama. We’re organizing uncommitted slates to go to the caucus on Tuesday to challenge Barack Obama because he gave up on his promise to single payer [health care]. He took too long to get troops out of Iraq. There’s still troops in Afghanistan. And we need a financial transaction tax.”
Page 1 of 3