Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A new political realignment is taking shape before our eyes

Notes from Denver on day two:

I had never been to this beautiful city with majestic
mountain views, friendly welcoming people and a proud working
class history. It is a privilege to be here now as history
unfolds and political shifts open up new possibilities to
raise the quality of life and living standards of working people.

I came to participate with labor and people's organizations who
are fired up to finally defeat the ultra-right. This varied movement
goes beyond the confines of the Democratic Party and the campaign. It
reflects an expansion of the electorate and a good understanding
of the urgency to defeat the ultra-right this year. It is a product
of years of work to create a broad, all peoples front against the
ultra right.

The labor movement is front and center here. A wonderful labor unity rally
got all the union delegates, a quarter of the whole convention, prepared.
The labor caucus, as well as big caucus meets of women, youth and Latino
voters, engaging around the platform, all report that more requests
have been incorporated than ever before.

There is a lot of passion and clarity on why it is so important that
John McCain not become president. At a celebration of the 88th anniversary
of women winning the right to vote, one speaker put it plain: Do you want a zero or a hero?

That means McCain's voting record on women's health issues is zero and
Obama's is 98.

Michelle Obama's speech on the opening night of the convention captured
the journey of her African American working class family and its hopes and
dreams, made possible by struggles since our nation's founding. It showed that her
struggles are the same as many families', and touched deeply.

Both the Latino and the women's caucus meetings were big rallies
with hundreds participating. Music and other cultural aspects have
reached out to young people.

An important venue during the convention is Progressive Central sponsored
by Progressive Democrats of America around the theme Health Care not
Warfare. It organizes at the grass roots to get support for the most
progressive members of Congress. In just four years it has gained official recognition
from the House leadership for opposition to the war and other issues.

I enjoy distributing the Peoples Weekly World / Nuestro Mundo. It givea a
chance to get reactions from the public a little bit. We are getting a
great response to the paper and our election program.

A new political realignment is taking shape before our eyes as many
ordinary people become activated for the first time and embrace more
radical solutions to meet their needs.

As John Conyers said in a panel on universal single-payer health care,
"The majority of people in our country want HR 676. It's just a matter of
time and organizing as to how much longer it will be."

The speech by Barack Obama on August 28, the 45th anniversary of the
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King Jr. gave
his famous I Have A Dream speech, will be a new milestone for our country,
a passing of the torch. The outcome of the election will be determined by
each and everyone doing their part to outfox the Rove hate machine.
Spread the word and get out the vote. That's the message on day 2.

- Joelle Fishman

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