Tag: people powered politics

Becoming a Friendly Voice at Congressional Offices

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

This is an action diary. A surprisingly simple action that the biggest sunrise is the fact that progressive groups have not been exploring this method for years. Not the statement of being arrested to be heard but a connected method that could lead to a little less lobbyist and a little more people in the lives of our elected Democrats.

The action is not “in your face” going against the elected but promoting Democratic talking points, outside of their own offices. Friendly activist greeting visitors to the offices of the members of Congress while handing out printed information about our social safety that does not seem to be getting out to the general public.

This is not an action for one single person. You will need a group and you will need to convince others in that group to participate. Then the group will need to agree on the bullet points for the handout and the proper way to address the people coming and going. Really, at least for me, that is the hard part but the group can be as small as two. After that, my limited experience with this sort day, exchanging ideas out in the fresh air has been a very good one.

With just under two weeks before Congress returns to Washington perhaps this is a bit late but this could be the sort of action that we should be promoting and discussing while Congress is at recess. Perhaps this is not for you but it is hard to imagine anyone thinking of this as being counterproductive or being unworthy of the time it would take to promote. Please read what I have in this diary and consider the positive effects of engaging others in the campaign to protect our social safety net.

An Executive Order to Stop Union Busting?

Posted earlier at both Progressive Blue and DailyKos.

The headline on this video page that has a transcript is White House could use power of federal contracting to enforce labor laws, but has no plans to do so. The Executive Order in question that would force large corporations into behaving responsibly toward workers is about laws that already exist but are not enforced, about an executive order that was signed by President Bill Clinton and then squashed by George W. Bush.

ELK: So there are currently laws on the book that say that if a company breaks the law, they can be debarred from bidding on federal contracts, meaning they can’t get federal contracts. It’s currently in this country illegal to fire a worker from their job for joining a union, but 20,000 workers a year are either fired or disciplined for trying to join a union, both of which are illegal. One-third of all, you know, union organizing drives, somebody gets fired from their job. Over 130,000 companies are federal contractors. All the big companies get some type of federal contract. If you say–if you enforce these laws, these laws about how to debar companies, these companies wouldn’t get contracts anymore.

It is the type of executive order that could get Union workers back in the mood for volunteering and getting active in supporting all the other Democrats who will be running in 2012.  

The interview came after Tuesday May 10 when Mike Elk wrote Obama Has Power to Stop Unionbusting With a Stroke of His Pen  

In the last part of the Clinton administration, when Podesta was White House Chief of Staff, the government issued executive orders to implement “high road” contracting practices that would have enforced laws on the books barring companies that broke labor, safety, and environmental laws from receiving federal contracts. President Bill Clinton’s “contractor responsibility rule” would have created guidelines, a centralized database and data standards to prevent bad actor corporations from receiving government contracts. (The George W. Bush administration ended up blocking implementation of the orders.)

But just a few days later and the enthusiasm seems to be already gone. How can you support such an executive order?

Solidarity Placing People Before Profits

Cross-posted at Progressive Blue.

I watched Paul Solman’s Making Sense on the PBS NewsHour and while putting a human face on foreclosure the story of a support group devoted to making foreclosure litigation too expensive for the banks is told. If you need to feel good about something going on in this nation, this was must see TV!

(Also viewable here or you can see it at the Progressive Blue diary.)

may not be visible here in some versions of IE

This support group called City Life/Vida Urbana has the motto “Organizing For Racial And Economic Justice” and this mission statement;

“City Life/Vida Urbana is a grassroots community organization in Boston committed to fighting for racial, social, and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy.  Through organizing poor and working class people of diverse races and nationalities;we promote individual empowerment, develop community leaders, and build collective power to effect systemic change and transform society.”

These community activist devoted to forcing banks to give up on eviction and offer homeowners a new mortgage have even more power now with all the fraudulent documents. But the story of power is people power, real people power.

Watch how those American walk into City Life/Vida Urbana just broken and feeling hopeless with no place to turn. Then they walk out not necessarily keeping their home but feeling like they have a voice and becoming community activist themselves.