Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Sat

12

Sep

2009

Go Inland, Young Progressives
Saturday, 12 September 2009 05:30
by David Swanson

Separating the Midwestern state of Ohio, where soda's called "pop" and workers are sometimes allowed to unionize, from my East Coast home state of Virginia, where a governor perched on a diseased branch of my own family tree gave the nation its first right-to-work-for-less law, is nothing other than the beautiful and brutal mountains of West Virginia. As you climb those mountains headed west two things plummet to the valleys below: the employment rate and the price of housing.

On a recent book tour of Ohio, I stayed with author, attorney, and activist Bob Fitrakis at his hundred-year-old mansion just down the street from the state capitol in Columbus. This house is large enough for gatherings of thousands of your closest allies and associates, and offices for dozens of them, and Bob bought it for about the price of a half a bathroom in San Francisco or a share of a one-room apartment in Queens. The mansions nearby are for sale too, some of them for less than the price of my own small house in rural Virginia.

Columbus has a terrific progressive activist community. Virginia is worse off politically than Ohio, and I'm tied to it in lots of ways. But here's what occurs to me. Progressive activists working online can, in many cases, work just about as well from anywhere that has high-speed internet. Rather than setting up offices in coastal cities, why not set them up in swing-states and overpowered early primary states like Iowa, boosting local activism there and investing most of the rent or mortgage funds into actual work instead? If the weapons makers can manufacture a single instrument of death in hundreds of congressional districts, why can't we inject life into some of them? Why are so many labor unions headquartered in Washington, D.C.? Are those high costs a good use of working people's money?

The national president of Veterans for Peace, Mike Ferner, another of the best authors and activists we have in the country, was also my host on the book tour. He lives in Toledo in the most beautiful spot I saw on my journey, and he paid for it perhaps the equivalent of six-months' rent on a parking place in a major coastal city. Veterans for Peace is headed to Pittsburgh later this month to protest the G-20 along with many other organizations, and the working (and no longer working) people of Ohio are going to be well represented.

Also in Toledo I had a chance to see Ben Davis, a professor at the University there who has been advocating the prosecution of torturers. When torture lawyer John Yoo recently spoke in Toledo and was booed and protested, Yoo exclaimed "What is this, Berkeley?" to which another citizen activist who came to my book event replied: "No! It's Toledo!" I also met a woman in Toledo named Peggy Daly Masternack, who along with many others recently persuaded the school board to stop administering military tests to students and to notify parents of the right to opt-out of having children's contact information provided to military recruiters. This was not an insignificant accomplishment in a context where a military job looks more and more preferable to other available possibilities.

There are engaged progressives in all corners of this country. Why not join them?

David Swanson is the author of the new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press.  You can order it and find out when tour will be in your town: http://davidswanson.org/book.


More from this author:
U.S. v. Bush (6810 Hits)
By David Swanson Now, we almost all agree that Bush and Cheney have done bad things. But have they actually committed crimes? If you know...
The Melbourne Minutes: New Downing Street Memos from Down Under (7910 Hits)
By David Swanson Over a year before the United States launched an endless war on Iraq in what President George W. Bush told Congress was...
Be All That You Can Be: Leave the Army (6502 Hits)
By David Swanson As long as there has been a U.S. military, people have been leaving it. That choice has never been more appropriate than...
Closer to Home (6285 Hits)
By David Swanson I did something worse than St. Augustine did when I was a kid. I must confess I broke into a house on the other side of...
Honesty in Iraq (5476 Hits)
By David Swanson The Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently published an editorial that said of Bush: "His pronouncements now bear no...
Related Articles:
What are Progressives Waiting For? (3951 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff The Democrats in Congress last Spring voted $120 billion to continue funding of the War in Iraq, saying that they had been...
Progressives and Obama: The Clash of Narratives (3509 Hits)
by Norman Solomon By now, across the progressive spectrum, some familiar storylines tell us the meaning of the Obama campaign. In a groove, each...
Progressives Have Leverage NOW: Use It Or Lose It (1950 Hits)
by Bernard Weiner As with most Americans, my emotions were on overdrive last Tuesday night as the symbolic and actual enormity of Obama's...
Shock Absorbers: Progressives Stunned by Obama Non-Surprises (2758 Hits)
by Chris Floyd There is certainly a great deal of slack-jawed shock going around these days, especially in progressive circles, where pundits,...
Position Paper: “Super Progressives for Obama” on Guantanamo. (2407 Hits)
by Maher Osseiran The decision by president Obama to close Guantanamo was a source of deep despair and heated debates at the headquarters of the...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (0)add comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top