OMB Audio: What's At Stake: The 2012 Elections And The Left
The upcoming presidential election poses some interesting questions for progressives in Massachusetts. The ongoing war in Afghanistan - including the use of unmanned drones that often kill civilians – and the inability or unwillingness to stand up to corporate lobbyists eager to roll back government regulations and workers benefits are just two of many concerns that have diminished the enthusiasm for the current occupants of the White House.
Republican Mitt Romney, the face of what author and investigator Greg Palast calls vulture capitalism, hardly qualifies as a choice for these folk.
Lexington’s own Dr. Jill Stein, running for President as the Green Party candidate will attract some support; partially due to the fact that MA is not seen as a swing state and is predicted to vote strongly for Barack Obama.
On the issues side, many concerns have been heard barely above a whisper during the campaigns: poverty and hunger that continue to haunt America, wealth inequality that has reached proportions not seen since the late 19th century, and the invisibility of global climate change and nuclear disarmament that led the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists this year to push the Doomsday Clock to 5 minutes before midnight.
On Saturday, October 20th, the Boston area chapter of the Democratic Socialists of Americasponsored a Public Forum to address the election. Panelists included Harris Gruman, Political Director of the Massachusetts Service Employees International Union and former Director of Neighbor To Neighbor, the statewide organizing project on economic justice and grassroots democracy.
Gruman said, despite the fact that the economy is getting most of the lip service during election season, the mainstream candidates hardly are addressing the real issues.
Also participating was Jordan Berg Powers, Assistant Director of Mass Alliance, a progressive coalition of more than 20 labor, civil rights, environmental, and community groups.
Powers said it’s important to work on national campaigns but that the more crucial work of nurturing peace and justice values starts at the local grassroots level.
OMB Audio: Boston DSA Forum, part 1 with Harris Gruman and Jordan Berg Powers (15:02)
Meanwhile, opinion polls are doing The Twist: one day it’s Obama by a nose, the next, Romney’s a hair’s breadth away from the White House.
Other presidential candidates such as Jill Stein, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Constitution Party nominee Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party appear on a sufficient number of ballots nationwide to gain enough electoral votes to win this election.
But you wouldn’t know that since they were excluded from national debates and their names aren’t spoken aloud in polite political company.
Just for the record, 381 people were listed this year with the Federal Elections Commission as running for president; and all of those who remain are eligible as write-in candidates. Thanks toProject VoteSmart for compiling all the names.
But if it’s more about issues than horse races for you, then living in the Boston/Cambridge area affords opportunities to learn what you need to know.
The message, said Jordan Powers, basically is an old one: ‘think globally, act locally.’ Or put another way: ‘all politics is local.’
Addressing the question, ‘what’s at stake?’ for women in Massachusetts, Christina Knowles, Chairperson of the Political Action Committee of the state chapter of the National Organization for Women, said she’s “…really, really, really concerned about the numbers of progressives in [state and local] office…"
On the international front, Jeff Klein of Dorchester People for Peace noted that politicians are constantly talking about the need to defend our citizens from a dangerous world. But decline to discuss how American foreign policy historically has increased tensions in the name of 'U.S. interests.'
OMB Audio: Boston DSA Forum, part 2 with Christina Knowles and Jeff Klein (18:05)