In a recent San Francisco Chronicle piece, "Occupy movement must move toward the center," Tony Fels, associate professor of history at the University of San Francisco, writes that the Occupy "movement has reached a tactical dead end."
Demonstrators don't have nicely packaged sound bites; there's no go-to spokesperson; Occupy DC is one of the last camps standing. But the movement is far from dead.
Here in California, the movement is exploding. In a recent study called "Diffusion of the Occupy Movement in California," UC Riverside researchers surveyed 482 incorporated towns and cities in California and found that 143 - nearly 30 percent - had Occupy sites on Facebook between December 1 and December 8.
According to the study, many of the small and medium-sized towns are active with likes, posts and events on their Facebook pages. For example, the town of Arcata has about 17,000 people and 2,950 subscriptions on their page.
"The Occupy Barstow website proclaimed that Barstow is 'about as far from Wall Street as you can get.' But the Barstow occupiers probably did not know that there were also Occupy actions in Weaverville, Idyllwild, Calistoga, El Centro and many other small California towns, even in very remote areas," write professor of sociology Christopher Chase-Dunn and graduate student Michaela Curran-Strange.
And the majority of Occupy cities are not in the Northern, more liberal, part of the state. They are almost equally divided between the north and south.
"The north-south finding is interesting because most people believe that the political culture of Northern California is much more Leftist than that of Southern California," Chase-Dunn and Curran-Strange write. "Our findings suggest that this is no longer true, at least as indicated by the propensity to establish Occupy sites."
The study also listed several success stories within individual movements. Occupy Riverside activists helped an ex-Marine reoccupy the home that he and his family were evicted from as a result of foreclosure. Occupy Petaluma protesters successfully petitioned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend evictions during the holidays. Occupy Redding is supporting postal workers who are protesting job cuts.
UC Riverside researchers conclude that these actions, along with the recent port shutdowns, prove that "this movement has broad support and is capable of powerful collective action."
Occupiers are using their collective action in a myriad of ways. In Des Moines, Iowa, demonstrators are occupying President Obama's campaign headquarters, saying this is the only way their voices will be heard.
"We can't afford lobbyists, so we have to be our own lobbyists, and the lobbyist job is to go to the candidates and the politicians and advocate on the behalf of issues and people," said protester Kelly Griffins in an interview with WOI-DT.
On December 19, eight Occupiers were arrested at the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines. They took over the office to demand that President Obama veto the National Defense Authorization Act and the massive $1 trillion spending bill. The Occupiers were joined by Veterans for Peace and immigrant rights groups.
"They don't want to be here to listen to us. We decided to go to the state headquarters and make them listen to us," Occupy member Daniel Bragg said in an interview with The Des Moines Register.
On December 12, Occupy groups organized a coordinated shut down of ports along the West Coast, from San Diego, California, to Anchorage, Alaska. Ports in Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon, and Longview, Washington, were shut down.
The closures were intended to support the International Longshore and Warehouse Union in Longview, Washington, in their ongoing contract battle with the Export Grain Terminal. The union did not officially support the shut down, but many workers stood in solidarity with the demonstrators.
On that same day, Occupiers in Utah and Colorado expressed solidarity by attempting to halt trucks at Wal-Mart central distribution centers. More than a dozen Occupy Denver demonstrators were arrested at a distribution center in Loveland, Colorado. According to The Coloradoan, about 50 Occupiers waved signs accusing Wal-Mart of paying low wages and treating the country like a plantation.
In Utah, demonstrators targeted three Wal-Mart distribution centers by blocking the entrances with their bicycles. Demonstrators also entered the Tooele Wal-Mart store chanting that "low, low, prices come with high, high exploitation." According to Salt Lake City Weekly, demonstrators called on employees to "organize for their rights and revolt against their employers."
On December 7, demonstrators and Occupiers from 46 states across the country gathered in Washington DC to occupy the offices of their representatives as part of the "Take Back the Capitol" action. Demonstrators wanted to meet with their senators and representatives to discuss issues like income inequality, workers' rights and tax breaks.
A note on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisconsin) office door said, "Please knock. Only Scheduled Appointments will be admitted today."
That same day, 62 people were arrested after shutting down K Street, the home of Washington's lobbying firms. About a dozen more were arrested in front of the Supreme Court.
As we near the end of 2011, where do you think the Occupy movement should go from here? What's most effective? How should the Occupy movement move forward in 2012? What can the movement do to convince people watching from the sidelines to join the movement?
Listen to Your Call discuss the future of the Occupy movement.
Vanessa Carlisle, member of Occupy Los Angeles
Katt Hoban, member of Occupy San Francisco
Justin Kramer, member of Occupy Salt Lake City
Link to original article from Truthout
This is the story of my attempts to speak publicly about my friendship with Todd Ashker, a reputed “leader” of the hunger strike in California’s prisons. Since the latest hunger strike began on July 8, the California authorities have targeted Ashker for special attention, placing articles, editorials and op-eds in the California Press that paint him as some kind of neo-Nazi devil. The evidence they give for this portrayal is entirely from 1991 and before.
I know the Todd Ashker of 2013. For some years, I have corresponded with him and...
Denis O'Hearn | LA Progressive 25 Aug 2013 Hits:572 California
“It was like a dream. From the Rules Committee committing to end the packing of endorsement caucuses by elected officials, to our anti-fracking resolution coming out of committee stronger than when it went in and then passing on the consent calendar, to the sold-out PDA luncheon and the overwhelming win by RL Miller in the Environmental Caucus, PDA and other progressives hurried from win to win pinching ourselves to see if it was real.”
As Dorothy Reik, PDA Santa Monica Mountains Chapter Leader so aptly put above, PDA was again what...
Dr. Bill Honigman, PDA California State Co-Coordinator 16 Apr 2013 Hits:800 California
California became the fifth and largest state this week to win federal approval for a new plan aimed at improving care for almost a half-million of the state’s most vulnerable patients.
Called Cal MediConnect, the new three-year demonstration program initially will enable the eight counties to pool funding and resources for so-called “dual-eligibles,” lower-income people who qualify both for federal Medicare and the federal-state Medi-Cal program for the poor (California’s name for Medicaid).
In announcing the program Wednesday in a teleconference from Sacramento, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, said...
Viji Sundaram and Paul Kleyman | New America Media 30 Mar 2013 Hits:699 California
New tactics and hands-on organizing help California Calls redraw the Golden State's political map.
Progressives who want a path to a political future where an emerging electorate is bypassing the budget battles now afflicting Congress and where decades of damage wrought by right-wingers is slowly being repaired, should look to California. There, a historic coalition of local organizers and labor unions have been remaking the landscape since 2010 by engaging “overlooked” voters.
For much of the past decade, California had terrible state budget deficits, a legislature...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 01 Mar 2013 Hits:502 California
For the 8th year in a row, healthcare reform activists from all over the state gathered in Sacramento and Los Angeles to support the annual CaHPSA Lobby Day March and Rally. Health professional students from college campuses all over California come to Sacramento every winter to lobby their legislative representatives for a single payer healthcare system.
Nurses, doctors, and activists started the day by marching into the California Association of Health Plans, and serving them with an Eviction Notice, demanding they remove themselves from...
Campaign for a Healthy California 16 Feb 2013 Hits:501 California
From 2008 to 2011, metals stolen for resale to recyclers rose 81 percent nationwide.
The thieves strike in the middle of the night and work fast, in pairs or teams. They can make an entire neighborhood go dark in minutes. They screw open the street light maintenance boxes, find the copper wires and cut. Zip, zip.
While police nab copper thieves in the act, they can’t be everywhere. Come nighttime, some streets are as black as caves. Even if thieves stopped today, utility crews would need up...
Evelyn Nieves | AlterNet 06 Feb 2013 Hits:595 California
As a lawsuit was filed to stop unregulated fracking in California, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force for the South Coast, claimed that fracking causes no environmental harm in the state.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a rapidly spreading, environmentally destructive new method of oil and gas extraction that is drawing growing opposition throughout the state by environmentalists, fishermen, tribal members, family farmers and...
Dan Bacher | IndyBay Media 01 Feb 2013 Hits:829 California
Henry Vandermeir, who cashed in a successful career writing computer books so he could spend much of the past 15 years as a political activist, was elected chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County on Monday night by the county party’s governing Central Committee.
Vandermeir, who bested gay activist Jeff LeTourneau in a 36-21 vote, replaces Santa Ana attorney Frank Barbaro, who stepped down after leading the county party for the past 12 years.
“I am going to have fun beating Republicans,” Vandermeir told Central Committee members.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER 16 Jan 2013 Hits:727 California
Dr Ami Bera, a Los Angeles-born physician son of Indian immigrants, has increased his lead in the race for California's 7th Congressional district bringing him a step closer to making history.
If he wins, Bera will only be the third Indian-American elected to the US House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in 1952 and current Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in 2004.
Running for the second time the seat around Sacramento, Bera was ahead by a razor-thin 184 votes against Republican incumbent Dan Lungren, with 88,406...
Arun Kumar | Daily News 12 Nov 2012 Hits:953 California
The shameless spectacle of billionaires drowning the airwaves should not numb us to the consequences of what is at stake if the super rich succeed in buying our elections.
While most of the national focus is on the Presidential race and some high profile Senate elections, the less profiled California ballot measures provide a disturbing portrait of what of a clearly broken system.
California Propositions 32 and 33 in particular and the onslaught of secretive political action committees that hide the names of their rich sponsors, are just...
Rose Ann DeMoro | Common Dreams 25 Oct 2012 Hits:1095 California
Prop. 30 - Tax Increases for Education, Public Safety
Recommended vote: Yes
This measure would mean an increase in fair funding for education, while its defeat would send California deeper into the revenue rabbit hole opened by Prop. 13 three decades ago.
In the two years of Jerry Brown's governorship, the state has cut $56 billion from education, health care, and police and fire services, making the state’s stagnation almost permanent. Someone needs to run for governor on a platform solely focused on the disastrous cuts in public higher education. But...
Tom Hayden | Tom Hayden.com 24 Oct 2012 Hits:1501 California
The September 29, 2012 opening of the Green Music Center (GMC) at Sonoma State University (SSU) was nothing less than a grand celebration of wealth and privilege. Beaded dresses, tuxedos, and political elites blended in a glorious aristocratic coming out. The ceremonious inauguration was a joining of the regional symphonic upper elites in delusional expectations of continuing high-class cultural immersions.
Built in a time of an economic recession and including $47 million in public bonds, the $150 million GMC represents one of the most opulent expensive building projects in the history...
Peter Phillips | Project Censored 18 Oct 2012 Hits:804 California
The 2010 Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United trampled on America's founding principles, swamped our democracy in corporate cash and needs to be overturned," said Brad Newsham, the San Francisco cab-driver who organized today's event. "Some truths are so self-evident that the Founders felt no need to mention them. Truths like, 'Corporations are NOT People.' 'Money is NOT Speech.' 'Elections are NOT Auctions.'" continued Newsham. "But in the shadow of Citizens United, we all have to step up and protect America's sacred principles. That's why over a thousand of us...
AlterNet 14 Oct 2012 Hits:1005 California
High gasoline prices have become a political wild card in California, where several tight races are pivotal to Democrats’ slim hopes of winning back control of the House
Gas prices are always higher in California, but lately they’re bad even by Golden State standards, soaring a half-dollar in one week to average $4.67-per-gallon on Oct. 9.
Republicans have sought political mileage from pump prices, and there is more to come. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), who faces a challenge from Democrat Raul Ruiz, is running an...
Ben Geman | The Hill 13 Oct 2012 Hits:871 California
Hoping to build a larger coalition from the ranks of the Democratic Party, about 22 members of the Progressive Democrats of the Santa Monica Mountains (PDSMM) gathered on Sept. 18 for their monthly meeting to hear Alan Minsky, interim program director at KPFK radio (90.7 FM), report from the trenches of the Republican and Democratic Conventions.
Dorothy Reik, PDSMM president, Tom English, Julie Levine and David Troy joined Russell Greene, Chair, San Fernando Valley Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America, and Lila...
Annemarie Donkin | Topanga Messenger 10 Oct 2012 Hits:1011 California
LOS ANGELES — One year after federal law enforcement officials began cracking down on California’s medical marijuana industry with a series of high-profile arrests around the state, they finally…
Two weeks ago, we got word that Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan would be in Fresno September 8 for a campaign fundraising dinner. The only details we had were that…
LOS ANGELES — Sebastian Flores walked out of Al Salam Pollería with a free bag of white-feathered chicken heads.
Mr. Flores, 26, an immigrant and a regular customer of Al Salam,…
Along Broadway here, in the heart of Chinatown, immigrants crowd around fruit and vegetable shops, asking prices in Mandarin and Cantonese. Men hawk huge red grapes from a…
As voter suppression laws spread across the country, voting rights advocates can take heart: the biggest state in the nation is on the cusp of passing a major voter…
California on Thursday became the largest state in the nation to urge Congress to draft a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
The Democratic Club of Big Bear Valley will feature Bill Honigman, M.D., on issues related to health care beyond the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the…
ABSENT A political earthquake, expect state Assemblyman Jared Huffman to be the next member of the House of Representatives from the new North Bay-North Coast Second Congressional District.
Huffman was the…
It has been a great honor to serve on the Advisory Board of Progressive Democrats. I have been proud to be affiliated with PDA as it's grown, in a short…
Join Jim Hightower, Tom Hayden, Ben Day, Mimi Kennedy, Thom Hartmann, Cole Stangler, Medea Benjamin, Andrea MillerRep. Jim McGovern, Tim Carpenter, Mark Dudzic and John Nichols
For support in organizing within your state, contact:
State LeadershipDr. Bill Honigman
Email us at: email@example.com
FresnoLos AngelesMarinMontereyOrangePalm Springs and Surrounding Desert CitiesSacramentoSan DiegoSan Fernando ValleySan FranciscoSanta BarbaraSanta Monica MountainsShastaSonomaSouth Placer (CD-4)Southeast Los AngelesYolo Want to bring progressive change to California? Start a PDA chapter; send us an email and we'll get you started.
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Information from SourceWatch