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Thu Dec 25, 2014, 09:43 AM

The New Populist Movement: Organizing to Take Back America. [View all]

The New Populist Movement: Organizing to Take Back America.
Mar 2014

The new progressive populist movement is rising up in the United States. Inspired by an expansive vision of greater economic opportunity for all Americans, this new movement is also fueled by anger over politicians' broken promises. After decades of recurring economic crisis, which now seems systemic and permanent, millions of Americans have come to realize that much of our democratic system is now owned by a moneyed elite that use their power to resist real change and to manipulate the economy for their own financial gain.

Even the mass media know something big is going on. At the end of November, a Washington Post headline announced, "More liberal, populist movement emerging ahead of 2016 elections." And the New York Times, in a September article, reporting on the new progressive insurgency, cited the excitement generated by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the new populist mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio. These and other media reports have been based on important new populist victories that represent the visible tip of a very large iceberg:

Low-wage workers and their allies have filled the streets of America's major cities, demanding a living wage and the right to bargain for wages and benefits. Their basic demand, echoed now by political leaders, is that full-time work should pay enough to keep a family out of poverty.

The cry of "break up the big banks" is now heard from protests at bank shareholder meetings to the halls of Congress. Many of the groups who worked to pass the Dodd-Frank bill have joined with housing advocates and others to demand Wall Street prosecutions - and real bank reform championed by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. Warren.

Lawrence Summers, President Obama's top choice for Chair of the Federal Reserve, was stopped from getting that important job by a coalition of civic activists, including women and financial reform groups. Their favorite, Janet Yellen, was appointed instead.

The national debate on the future or Social Security has been flipped - from "Stop cutting benefits" to "Expand Social Security." Activists got Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin to introduce a bill with Sen. Sherrod Brown to expand benefits. Sen. Warren helped achieve critical mass. Conservative "Third Way" operatives attacked, but actual Third Way Members of Congress denounced their own group - and several actually embraced Social Security expansion. And after grassroots pressure, President Obama withdrew his plan to cut Social Security benefits...

Political reporters have tended to frame the New Populism as either a challenge to President Obama - or as an agenda and constituency for whoever might run against Hillary Clinton. But hard experience has taught us we need to build an independent force that can fight the big corporate interests and shape a positive agenda for all politicians who claim be for progressive change.

To be clear, this new movement is still coming together, most visible politically in the grassroots campaigns to raise the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/roger-hickey/the-new-populist-movement_b_4899347.html


Very good article. It goes on to list the 12 big elements of the emerging New Populist agenda:

1. Revive Sustainable Economic Growth, Creating Jobs for All.

2. Invest in America's Infrastructure and in New Jobs for the 21st Century.

3. Make Work Pay - and Fight to Reduce Inequality in America.

4. If the Rising American Electorate Succeeds, America Succeeds.

5. Guarantee Access to High Quality Public Education for All.

6. Strengthen and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

7. Make the Rich and Corporations Pay Their Fair Share.

8. Stop Bad Trade Deals, and Balance Trade Based on Global Labor Rights.

9. Reform the Financial System to Safely Serve the Productive Economy.

10. Invest in Energy Technologies that Drive a Sustainable Economy.

11. Reduce the Military Budget and Invest at Home.

12. Strengthen Democracy.

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