Progressives for Obama
Progressives for Obama has been known as Progressive America Rising since 2009.
Formation of Progressives for Obama
- All American progressives should unite for Barack Obama.
- During past progressive peaks in our political history -- the late Thirties, the early Sixties -- social movements have provided the relentless pressure and innovative ideas that allowed centrist leaders to embrace visionary solutions. We find ourselves in just such a situation today.
- We intend to join and engage with our brothers and sisters in the vast rainbow of social movements to come together in support of Obama's unprecedented campaign and candidacy. Even though it is candidate-centered, there is no doubt that the campaign is a social movement, one greater than the candidate himself ever imagined.
- Progressives can make a difference in close primary races like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon and Puerto Rico and in the November general election. We can contribute our dollars. We have the proven online capacity to reach millions of swing voters in the primary and general election. We can and will defend Obama against negative attacks from any quarter. We will seek Green support against the claim of some that there are no real differences between Obama and McCain. We will criticize any efforts by Democratic superdelegates to suppress the winner of the popular and delegate votes, or to legitimize the flawed elections in Michigan and Florida. We will make our agenda known at the Democratic National Convention and fight for a platform emphasizing progressive priorities as the path to victory.
From the Progressives for Obamawebsite;
- We agree that Barack Obama is our best option for President in 2008, and that an independent grassroots effort can help strengthen his campaign.
- It can also strengthen the mandate for his programs for stopping war, promoting global justice and securing our rights, liberties, and economic well-being. More important, independent organization at the base is needed for compelling social change no matter who is in the White House.
- We have understood, from the beginning, that Senator Obama is not a consistent progressive, and often speaks to and from the center of our country’s political spectrum–sometimes well, sometimes not. All the more reason, we think, to organize a strong progressive pole, independent of his campaign, to counter rightward drift and push him to do better on issues that will win him more solid and wider support.
- We don’t attempt to define ‘progressive’ here. We’re open to all trends, from the socialist left to moderate liberals, who want not only to defeat McCain, but also build the grassroots organizations and networks for wider and deeper change over the longer term.
Moving Obama left
In an April 1 2008 article in the The New Black magazine PFO founders Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Barbara Ehrenreich and Danny Glover explained how a new protest movement would be needed to drive a future Obama administration to the left;
- It was the industrial strikes and radical organizers in the 1930s who pushed Roosevelt to support the New Deal. It was the civil rights and student movements that brought about voting rights legislation under Lyndon Johnson and propelled Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy's antiwar campaigns. It was the original Earth Day that led Richard Nixon to sign environmental laws.
- And it will be the Obama movement that will make it necessary and possible to end the war in Iraq, renew our economy with a populist emphasis, and confront the challenge of global warming. We should not only keep the pressure on [Obama] but also connect the issues that Obama has made central to his campaign into an overarching progressive vision.
Progressives for Obama soon corralled an impressive number of left activists to endorse the new project. Signers as of July 2009 were:
- Sean Ahern United Federation of Teachers
- Jean Alonso Dorchester-Roxbury Labor Committee
- Fran Ansley University of Tennessee
- David E Apter Yale University
- Barbara Aguirre AFL-CIO
- Rosalyn Baxandall American Studies SUNY Old Westbury
- Daniel Bourke National Lawyer's Guild
- E Richard Brown Public Health, UCLA
- Paul Buhle Writer and Historian
- Anna Burger Secretary-Treasurer, SEIU
- Paul Burke Sacramento Progressive Alliance
- Malcolm Burnstein Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
- Duane Campbell Sacramento Progressive Alliance
- James Campbell Committees of Correspondence, National Co-chair
- Jeff Chang Author, 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop'
- Frank Christopher Crosskeys Media
- Steve Cobble Progressive Democrats of America
- Barry Cohen NJ Institute of Technology
- Carl Davidson SolidarityEconomy.Net
- Laurie Davidson SEIU, NYC
- John Delloro Dolores Huerta Labor Institute
- Ariel Dorfman Chilean Playwright
- Peter Dreier Occidental College
- Thorne Dreyer Movement for a Democratic Society Austin, Texas
- Terry DuBose VetSpeak.org
- Andrea Dupree Lighthouse Writers Workshop
- Carolyn Eisenberg Hofstra University
- Eddie Eitches President, AFGE Local 476
- Daniel Ellsberg Writer, Military Analyst
- Jane English Human Rights Activist
- Diane Fager Public School Administrator
- Julie Finch Progressive Democrats of America
- Mickey Flacks Housing Advocate
- Dick Flacks Santa Barbara County Action Network
- Jane Fonda Writer, Actor
- William Mandel Journalist and Activist
- Amy Manuel Denton for Barack
- Adam Hochschild Author, 'Breaking the Chains'
- Sharron Howard Lafayette Area Peace Coalition
- George Hunsinger Princeton Theological Seminary
- David Jacobs Americans for Democratic Action
- Steven Jacobs Rabbi, Progressive Faith Foundation
- Harold Jacobs SUNY New Paltz
- Mike James Heartland Cafe, 49th Ward Democrats
- Zenobia Johnson-Black National Organization of African-Americans in Housing
- Earl Katz Public Interest Pictures
- Marilyn Katz Founder, Chicagoans Against War on Iraq
- Stephen Keister MD Physicians for National Health Care
- Georgia Kelly Praxis Peace Institute
- Robin D G Kelley Historian
- Anne Lowry Klonsky Education Writer, Chicago
- Fred Klonsky President, Park Ridge Education Association, IEA, NEA
- Michael Larkin South Kingstown Peace and Justice Action Group
- Christine George Researcher and Unversity Teacher
- Antonio Geraldo Dias INDEG/ISCTE
- The Rev. John-Mark Gilhousen Progressive Democrats of Oregon
- Todd Gitlin Columbia University
- Danny Goldberg Gold Village Entertainment
- Jorge Gonzalez Cuba Journal
- Thomas Good Next Left Notes, Editor
- Van Gosse Franklin & Marshall College
- Ellen Gurzinsky Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues
- Paul Haggis Producer
- Nancy Hall City Life/ Vida Urban
- David Hamilton Movement for a Democratic Society , Austin Texas
- Lionel Heredia Freedom Media
- Jim Hightower Radio Commentator
- Eric Mar SF Board of Education
- Jay Mazur Working Families Party
- John McAuliff Fund for Reconciliation and Development
- Joe Moore 49th Ward Alderman, Chicago
- Ruth Needleman Labor Studies, University of Indiana
- Max Palevsky Philanthropist
- Robert Pardun Writer & Producer
- Patricia Paredes Texas Campus Compact
- Frances Fox Piven Author, 'Poor Peoples Movements,' CUNY
- Matilda Phillips Progressive Democrats North Carolina
- Brian Redondo Asia-American Activist
- Christine Riddiough Americans for Democratic Action
- Constancia Dinky Romilly, RN Civil Rights Activist
- Mark Rudd Writer, Organizer
- Jay Schaffner Local 802 American Federation of Musicians
- Stanley Sheinbaum & Betty Sheinbaum Publisher
- Jennifer Amdur Spitz Amdur Spitz & Associates
- Don St Clair GreenDemocraticAlliance.org
- Andy Stern President, SEIU
- William Strickland UMass, Amherst
- Dan Swinney Center for Labor and Community Research
- Harry Targ Committees of Correspondence, Purdue University
- Jonathan Tasini National Writers Union
- John Trinkl San Francsico for Democracy
- Flo Weber Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles
- Immanuel Wallerstein Yale University
- Paula Weinstein Producer
- Cornel West Author, 'Race Matters'
- Mildred Williamson Committees of Correspondence
- Betty Willhoite Living Wage Advocate
- John Wilson Obamapolitics.com
- Tim Wise Author, Anti-Racism Educator
- Rev. John Forney Progressive Christians Uniting
- Aviva Futorian Long Term Prisoner Policy Project
Progressives for Obama was originated by socialists, for socialists.
Of the four main founders, two Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Barbara Ehrenreich are senior members of Democratic Socialists of America. The fifth founder, Chicago activist Carl Davidson, the organization's webmaster was for many years a radical Maoist before becoming a leader of the Communist Party USA breakaway group Committees of Correspondence-an organization with strong ties to the communist governments of Vietnam and Cuba.
Of the endorsers Paul Buhle, Paul Burke, Duane Campbell, Peter Dreier, Dick Flacks, Todd Gitlin, Adam Hochschild, Jay Mazur, Frances Fox Piven, Christine Riddiough, Betty Sheinbaum, Stanley Sheinbaum, Cornel West and Betty Willhoite have been Democratic Socialists of America members.
James Campbell, Barry Cohen, Van Gosse, Marilyn Katz Fred Klonsky, Eric Mar, William Mandel, Jay Schaffner, Dan Swinney, Harry Targ, John Trinkl, Zenobia Johnson-Black, Mildred Williamson and Tim Wise have all Committees of Correspondence connections.
Many of the organization's founders and endorsers were former members of the 1960's far left student organization Students for a Democratic Society-which had ties to several communist bloc countries including Cuba, North Vietnam, Czechoslovakia and East Germany.
Several endorsers were involved in SDS in the 1960s including Paul Buhle, Thorne Dreyer, Dick Flacks, Mickey Flacks, Todd Gitlin, David Hamilton, Mike James, Marilyn Katz, Fred Klonsky, Robert Pardun and Mark Rudd.