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from Barbara Jaccoma of NYSUT:
Here is a link to a very interesting article. No matter how you feel about the specific issues discussed there is a cogent discussion about moving a grass roots agenda forward. Let's talk about how we might use this.
>>> "Portside Moderator" <moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG> 11/10/2011 8:52 PM >>>
Progressive Victories in Ohio, Mississippi, Maine, Arizona
Provide Seven Key Lessons for 2012
by Robert Creamer
November 9, 2011
A year ago the Empire struck back. Right Wing money
capitalized on anger at the economic stagnation that their
own policies caused just two years before. They brought a
halt to the hard-won progressive victories that marked the
first two years of Barack Obama's presidency.
Last night the progressive forces tested some of the weapons
and tactics they will use in next year's full-blown counter
offensive. They worked very, very well.
Progressives won key elections in Ohio, Maine, Mississippi,
The importance of yesterday's labor victory in Ohio cannot
be overstated. It could well mark a major turning point in
the history of the American labor movement -and the future
of the American middle class.
The people of Ohio rejected right wing attempts to destroy
public sector unions by an astounding 61% to 39%.
Progressives in Ohio won 82 out of 88 counties.
In his "concession," the author of the union-stripping bill,
Governor John Kasich, looked like a whipped dog. He was.
Last night's victory will have a direct and immediate impact
on the livelihoods of thousands of middle class state
employees in Ohio. It will stall similar attempts to destroy
unions in other states. It will turbo-charge the campaign to
oust Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who jammed a union-
stripping measure through his own legislature. And it will
massively weaken Kasich and other Republicans in Ohio.
But last night's victory also carried critical lessons for
the progressive forces throughout America as we prepare for
the crossroads, defining battle of 2012.
Lesson #1: Creating a Movement. The industrial state labor
battles that culminated in last night's overwhelming Ohio
success transformed the image of unions from a large
bureaucratic "special interest" that negotiates for workers
and are part of the "establishment" -- into a movement to
protect the interests of the American Middle Class.
The Republican Governors who began these battles hoped to
make a bold move to destroy union power. In fact, they have
succeeded in creating their worst nightmare -- the rebirth
of a labor movement.
That is critically important for the future of unions -
which by any measure provide the foundation of progressive
political power in the United States. It also provides an
important lesson for every element of the Progressive
These battles put the "movement" back in "labor movement."
And the importance of "movement" can't be overstated.
Particularly at a time when people are unhappy with the
direction of the country and desperately want change -- they
don't want leaders who appear to be embedded parts of the
status quo. They want to be part of movements for change.
Movements have three critical characteristics:
They make people feel that they are part of something
bigger than themselves.
They make people feel that they themselves can play a
significant role in bringing about that larger goal.
They involve "chain reactions" -- they go viral. You
don't have to only engage people in movements one by one
or one or group by group. They begin to engage each
Because they make people feel that they are part of
something larger than themselves -- and that they can
personally be a part of achieving that larger goal --
movements inspire and empower. And for that reason they give
To win, Progressives must turn the anger and dissatisfaction
with the present into inspiration and hope for the future.
The labor movement turned the battle in Ohio into a fight
for the future of America's middle class. It turned the
battle into a fight over the dignity of everyday working
people -- and their right to have a say in their future.
Instead of being about "contracts," it was about "freedom."
Lesson #2: It's much easier to mobilize people to protect
what they have than to fight for something to which they
Every one of the big victories yesterday involved battles
that had been framed as attempts by the Right -- or their
allies on Wall Street - to take away the rights of everyday
In Ohio, it was the right to collectively bargain about
their future. In Maine, it was the right to same-day voter
registration. In Mississippi it was the right to use
contraceptives -- once it became clear that the so-called
"personhood" amendment was not just about abortion, but
ultimately about a woman's right to use birth control. In
Arizona, it was the rights of Latino Americans.
And of course, that's why the Republicans' plan to privatize
Social Security and eliminate Medicare are so toxic for them
in the election next year.
Among referenda yesterday, the one progressive setback came
in the largely symbolic vote -- once again in Ohio --
against the Health Care Reform Act's mandate to buy
insurance. The very same people who had voted against taking
away the rights of their neighbors to join a union -- also
voted against being "forced" to buy health insurance.
The whole issue of the "mandate" is the major card the Right
has played against the critically important Health Care
Reform Act. Of course the whole issue could have been framed
differently. The "mandate" to start paying Medicare premiums
when you're sixty-five isn't framed as a "mandate." People
do it, both because they really want to get on Medicare, and
because if they wait to pay premiums until they need it,
their premiums go way up.
That's why a Public Option was so popular with the voters.
You got to choose to join something you wanted. But it's
also the way we should have framed the overall "mandate" to
get insurance -- with premium penalties if you fail to "opt
Once the health care law becomes a fact on the ground that
benefits ordinary people, every day, it will certainly
become very popular. But that will wait until 2014 when most
of its provisions go into effect. Once it does goes into
effect, if they try to take away those benefits and the
Right will run into a firestorm of opposition.
Of course if Romney is the Republican candidate next year,
we don't have to worry about the "mandate" issue at all. In
fact, our attitude should be "go ahead, make my day." It
will be simple to neutralize any attack by Romney or Super-
Pacs on Democrats about "mandates" by simply pointing out
that the entire question is just one more example of how
Romney has no core values -- since he authored and passed
the Massachusetts health care law built around "mandates."
In the end, Romney's lack of core values is a much more
powerful message than anything having to do with "mandates."
Lesson #3: Framing the battle is key. In every one of these
issue referenda, Progressives won the framing battle.
In Ohio, Progressives made the fight into a battle for the
rights of the middle class -- part of the overarching battle
between the 99% and the 1%.
In Maine, Progressives made the battle into a fight over the
right to register to vote. Of course the right wing frame
was that eliminating same-day registration provided
protection against "voter fraud." That was pretty hard to
sustain given the fact that there had been exactly two
instances of "voter fraud" involving same-day registration
in 28 years.
The Mississippi "personhood amendment" was framed as a
battle over the rights of women to use birth control - not
to make "miscarriage" a crime.
Lesson #4: Turnout is king. In Virginia, a Republican
candidate leads his Democratic opponent by only 86 votes, so
a recount will determine whether the Republicans there take
control of the State Senate.
Turnout in the Virginia contests was low.
In Ohio, by contrast, 400,000 more voters went to the polls
yesterday than in the elections in 2010. That's one big
reason why Progressives won.
And it wasn't just inspiration and great messaging that
turned them out. Rank and file union members and
Progressives of all sorts conducted massive get out the vote
efforts in every corner of the state.
After all, victory isn't just about great strategy, mostly
it's about nuts and bolts -- it's about great execution. In
Ohio they had both.
In Arizona, the Latino community mobilized to defeat the
author of Arizona's "papers please" law, State Senator
Russell Pearce. He lost a recall election, by seven points,
52.4% to 45.4%. The Pearce defeat is just one more example
of how the Republicans play the "immigration" card at their
peril -- and how important the Latino vote will be to the
outcome next year in critical states like New Mexico,
Nevada, Colorado, Florida -- and Arizona.
Pearce didn't count on Latinos going out to vote. They did.
Lesson #5: Progressives win when we stand up straight. We
won last night where we stood proudly for progressive values
-- planted the flag -- mobilized our forces and took the
People in America are not looking for leaders who apologize
for their progressive beliefs or are willing to compromise
those principles even before they enter the fight. They want
leaders who will fight for the middle class, and fight for
change; who stand up against the big Wall Street banks and
the CEO class that they believe - correctly - have siphoned
off the nation's wealth, and whose greed has caused the
economy to collapse.
People are willing to compromise when it seems to advance
the common good -- but only after their leaders have done
everything in their power to defend their interests -- and
have mobilized them to defend their own interests.
Lesson #6: The face of the battle in Ohio was your neighbor.
The Republicans bet that they could make public employees
the "Welfare Queens" of our time. They bet that they could
make public employees the scapegoats for all that has gone
wrong with the American economy -- that they could divide
the middle class against itself.
They bet wrong.
Turned out to be impossible to convince everyday Americans
that firefighters, cops, and teachers were greedy villains.
Normal voters recognized them as their neighbors -- as
people just like themselves.
The 99% versus the 1% frame is critical to making clear that
the problem with our economy has nothing to do with how much
teachers, or firefighters, or steel workers, or home care
workers, or Social Security recipients make for a living. It
has everything to do with growing economic inequality, the
exploding financial sector, and an unproductive class of
speculators and gamblers who don't make anything of value
but siphon off all of our increased productivity.
Lesson #7: Progressives win when we frame the issue as a
In Ohio, Progressives did not frame the debate as a choice
between two sets of policies and programs. They posed the
question as a choice between two different visions of the
It was a choice between an America with a strong, vibrant,
empowered middle class, where every generation can look
forward to more opportunity than the one that went before -
or, a society with a tiny wealthy elite and a massive
population of powerless workers who do their bidding.
It was posed as a choice between a society where we're all
in this together -- where we look out for each other and
take responsibility for our future as a country -- or as a
society where we're all in this alone -- where only the
strong, or the clever, or the ruthless can thrive.
If given a clear, compelling choice, Americans will chose a
progressive vision of the future every time.
[Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and
strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How
Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a
partner in Democracy Partners and a Senior Strategist for
Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter
from Stuart Napear of Freeport:
County Executive Mangano's Town Hall Meetings
The world is becoming an even scarier place!
From: Fftlocal1889@aol.comDate: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 14:17:36 -0500Subject: County Executive Mangano's Town Hall MeetingsTo: email@example.com
Dear FFT members,Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is planning to lay off more than 1,000 workers and mandate employees and retirees to pay twenty-five percent into their health insurance costs. In addition, Mangano is hoping to pass the Fiscal Crisis Reform Act, legislation that will grant him dictator-like powers. If passed, it would provide him with the authority to “abolish departments, bureaus, offices and employments, control the administration of all departments, offices and functions of county government.” What’s more, the legislation would allow him to modify existing contracts and benefits and to freeze wages for all County employees. This bill is a blatant assault on the principles of collective bargaining and an attack on working men and women throughout Nassau County. We need to make it abundantly clear to our elected officials that they cannot use the Michigan model of politics here on Long Island. The passage of this legislation has tremendous ramifications for workers in Nassau County, Long Island and beyond.County Executive Mangano will be holding Mobile Town Meetings to rally support for his bill and his agenda. We need to raise our voices in opposition to his proposed bill that would abolish collective bargaining. Hopefully you will be able to attend one of the meetings and express to him the importance of our contract and that it is our constitutional right to have a contract.
County Executive Mangano’s Mobile Town Hall Meetings occur two days per week at various locations throughout the County. The meetings, unless specified otherwise, will be held on Tuesday’s from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on Thursday’s from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The schedule through December is as follows:
• Thursday, November 10th, at Rockville Centre Library, located at 221 N. Village Ave. in Rockville Centre.
• Tuesday, November 15th, at Hempstead Library, located at 115 Nichols Court in Hempstead.
• Thursday, November 17th, at Hewlett-Woodmere Library, located at 1125 Broadway in Hewlett.
• Tuesday, November 22nd, at Syosset Library, located at 225 S. Oyster Bay Road in Syosset.
• Tuesday, November 29th, at Hillside Public Library, located at155 Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park.
• Thursday, December 1st, at Seaford Library, located at 2234 Jackson Avenue in Seaford.
• Tuesday, December 6th, at Bethpage Library, located at 47 Powell Avenue in Bethpage.
• Thursday, December 8th, at Great Neck Library, located at159 Bayview Avenue in Great Neck.
• Tuesday, December 13th, at Port Washington Library, located at 1 Library Drive in Port Washington.
• Thursday, December 15th, at Jericho Library, located at 1 Merry Lane in Jericho.
• Tuesday, December 20th, at Merrick Library, located at 2279 Merrick Avenue in Merrick.
• Thursday, December 22nd, at Lynbrook Library, located at 56 Eldert Street in Lynbrook.
HELP PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF WORKING MEN AND WOMEN ON LONG ISLAND!
FFT Third Vice-President
Political Action Chairperson
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