Jim Hightower

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Jim Hightower


Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades "battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought to Be--consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain folks". Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the "80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top."

IPS connection

In 1979 Jim Hightower of Texas Observer served on the steering committee of the Institute for Policy Studies initiated Conference on Alternative State and Local Public Policies.[1]

21st Century Democrats

21st Century Democrats is a political organization that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Senator Tom Harkin, Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Congressman Lane Evans, 21st Century Democrats has helped elect progressive politicians such as U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.[2]

Early Warning: An international environmental conference for journalists and activists

Scheduled for May 17-20, 1990 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, this mixture of marxists, left radicals, socialists and liberals listed Jim Hightower, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, as one of their "Presenters". The full list of confirmed and unconfirmed speakers can be found at "Environmental Leftist Groups and Events" on Keywiki.

Socialist Debs award

Every year since the mid 1960s the Indiana based Eugene V. Debs Foundation holds Eugene Debs Award Banquet in Terre Haute, to honor an approved social or labor activist. The 1995 honoree, was Jim Hightower.[3]

New Party supporter

On 1995, four young Democratic Socialists of America members, Maggie Dyer and Jason Murphy of Little Rock, Arkansas, Matt Mayers Cambridge, Massachusetts and Eric Olson College Park, Maryland, wrote a letter to Democratic Left, July/August issue, advocating that DSA support the New Party.

They claimed Ralph Nader and Jim Hightower were New Party supporters.[4]

Campaign for America's Future

In 1996 Jim Hightower, Hightower Radio was one of the original 130 founders of Campaign for America's Future.[5]

Back to Basics conference

A Back to Basics conference on the future of the American Left, was held in Chicago October 9-11, 1998. Speakers included: Sen. Paul Wellstone, Rep. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Dudley, Quentin Young and Jim Hightower. The conference was sponsored by Sponsored by In These Times[6].

2000 WFP Convention

The New York Working Families Party 2000 Convention was held at the Desmond Hotel, March 26.

Attendees included;

There were sizable delegations from ACORN and Citizen Action.[7]

FightingBobFest speaker

Jim Hightower has been a guest speaker at Wisconsin's annual progressive Fighting Bob Fest, from 2003 to 2012.[8]

Paul Wellstone tribute

As the 2004 Democratic National Convention was poised to open in Boston , Jobs with Justice, , hosted a living tribute to the late Senator Paul Wellstone on July 25. Hundreds filled the historic Old West Church to tackle the question, “What must the Democratic Party do to live up to the progressive vision of Paul Wellstone?”

“Paul had the courage to stand the pain that comes with standing for something and not fall for anything,” said United Steelworkers of America union International President Leo Gerard. “That’s what the Democratic Party needs right now. He gave people a reason to fight, to hope.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another panel member, called for “Wellstone Democratic Clubs” to mobilize neighborhoods into the political process to re-order national resources.

Many in the audience were students at Camp Wellstone, a workshop conducted in Boston for prospective candidates and campaign workers conducted by Wellstone’s campaign manager, Jeff Blodgett, also on the panel.

Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.) pointed out that too many liberals, including himself, voted for “welfare reform” in 1996. He praised Wellstone as the lone voice defending welfare at the time.

Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner quickly jumped in, igniting the audience with a clarion call for popular direct action to ensure accountability from a Kerry administration. “We need Kerry there and we need to be there to purge the cancer (of the Bush administration) from the soul of the body politic,” he said.

When Horace Small, the moderator, pooh-poohed the importance of trade in this election, Jim Hightower, author and radio personality, nearly jumped out of his seat.

“Tell that to Texas farmers who are losing their farms or workers who have lost their jobs to NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement),” Hightower said. “Who the hell elected the WTO (World Trade Organization)? Right now, in Washington, there are too many 5-watt bulbs sitting in 100-watt sockets. The people are revolting – in the best sense. I think we are going to get George.”

Confessing to once being a Republican, columnist Arianna Huffington reminded the assembly of all the dirty tricks and disgusting tactics that are on the horizon as November nears. Saying that “Mobilization is the key,” she proposed reaching out to the 50 percent of the eligible electorate that stayed home in 2000. “If we are able to just energize 10 percent of those voters, we win.”

The program included the presentation of awards to two attorneys, Julie Patino and Nadine Cohen, both of whom have fought difficult battles to protect affirmative action and voting rights of Massachusetts residents and immigrants. Other panelists included Al Franken, media personality, noted Columbia professor Frances Fox Piven and Anna Burger, vice president of the Service Employees International Union.[9]

Endorsed Marcy Winograd

In 2006 Jim Hightower a National Radio Commentator was a National and State endorser of Marcy Winograd of the Los Angeles Progressive Democrats of America in her unsuccessful primary bid for the Democratic Party nomination 26th Congressional District in California[10]

Progressives for Obama

In 2009 Jim Hightower, Radio Commentator was listed as a signer of the Progressives for Obama website.[11]

Wellstone Action

In 2009 Jim Hightower was listed as a member of the Advisory Board[12] of Wellstone Action, a Minnesota based organization based on the political legacy[13] of that state’s late ‘progressive” Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone Action and Wellstone Action Fund combine to form a national center for training and leadership development for the progressive movement. Founded in January 2003, Wellstone Action's mission is to honor the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone by continuing their work through training, educating, mobilizing and organizing a vast network of progressive individuals and organizations.

Progressive Democrats of America

Jim Hightower serves on the Advisory Board of Progressive Democrats of America.[14]

"Progressive" Cabinet "nominee"

In September 2008, Chicago based socialist journal In These Times asked its editors and writers to suggest their top progressive choices for a potential Obama Cabinet.[15]

We asked that contributors weigh ideological and political considerations, with an eye toward recommending people who have both progressive credentials and at least an arguable chance at being appointed in an Obama White House.

This group of people would represent at once the most progressive, aggressive and practical Cabinet in contemporary history. Of course, it is by no means a definitive list. It is merely one proposal aimed at starting a longer discussion about the very concept of a progressive Cabinet—and why it will be important to a new administration, especially if that administration is serious about change.

David Moberg suggested Jim Hightower for Agriculture Secretary - he also spoke highly of Tom Harkin and Jon Tester:

Two current U.S. senators would make excellent secretaries of agriculture.
One is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Harkin has been a committee chair and leader on agriculture issues, opposing deregulation and favoring supply management, conservation, antitrust actions and many progressive policies — only some of which he has managed to put into law.
The other is freshman Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), an organic farmer with a distinctive flat-top haircut. Tester is a populist who is sympathetic to environmental issues and critical of corporate globalization. He might push more comprehensive reform than Harkin would.
But here’s the problem: Both are needed in the Senate.

Luckily, Obama can call on Jim Hightower, who is best known for his crusading print and radio journalism and his pithy, punchy, populist proverbs — like his book title, “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

But the funny, feisty Hightower also knows his farm and food issues. As Texas Agriculture Commissioner from 1983 to 1990, he promoted organic agriculture, alternative crops (like wine grapes and native plants), direct international marketing by small farmers, strong pesticide control and comprehensive environmental management.
Hightower would be a cheerfully combative complement to Obama’s ultra-cool post-partisanship (although he may have been too post-partisan for some Democrats by supporting Ralph Nader in 2000).

If Obama ever needs a Cabinet member to attack the fat cats who keep the sweet stuff for themselves on the top shelf — out of reach for the little guy — he could send Hightower, who would perform the task with glee.

Institute for Southern Studies Project Advisors

The following members served as Project Advisors at the Institute in December 2011:[16]

2012 DSA Conyers Fundraiser

Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee, held a fundraising reception for Representative John Conyers, Jr., at Colors Restaurant on Sunday, May 27th 2012, from 2-5 PM. Guest of honor was Jim Hightower—noted progressive radio commentator and editor of the Hightower Lowdown.

Co-hosts were David Bullock, President of the Detroit branch of Operation PUSH, Tim Carpenter, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America, David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director of the Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network.[17]

Public Citizen

Hightower is a board member of the Public Citizen Foundation.

RootsAction endorser

RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, and many others.[18]

References