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Howard Zinn on Convening a Progressive Cabinet [View All]

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-23-07 05:25 PM
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Howard Zinn on Convening a Progressive Cabinet
Run time: 02:39
Posted on YouTube: June 12, 2007
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Posted on DU: June 23, 2007
By DU Member: babylonsister
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JUNE 23, 2007
8:06 AM

CONTACT: Backbone Campaign
Bill Moyer: 206.356.9980, [email protected]
Diane Wittner: 401-245-3637 [email protected]

Progressive Leaders Gather at Carter Center for Progressive Cabinet Summit, Tuesday, June 26
Video Preview: Prof. Zinn Opening Greeting (Click to play)

Seattle, WA/Atlanta, GA - JUNE 23 - The Progressive Cabinet Summit, a unique gathering of over forty-five progressive policy, movement, and media leaders will take place at the Carter Center in Atlanta next Tuesday, June 26. It is being co-convened by the Backbone Campaign and the Institute for Policy Studies. Scheduled to compliment and prepare for the first ever US Social Forum, its purpose is to be a strategy session for advancing the message that progressives belong to a propositional movement with the leaders and ideas to run the country. (Download Summit program with attendee bios and photos.)

Beginning with a video welcome from Professor Howard Zinn, and facilitated by Adrienne Maree Brown, (executive director of the Ruckus Society and co-founder of the League of Pissed Off Voters), the Progressive Cabinet Summit will build on work of the Backbone Campaign its partner project Progressive Government over the past four years:

* In 2003 the then Progressive Government Institute created an extensive map of the federal executive branch.
* In 2004 Backbone Campaign, Progressive Government Institute and a small coalition created an interactive Cabinet Roster and nomination process.
* In 2005-Present the organizations merged to produce a series of podcast/webcast conference calls (61 so far) called Conversations with the Cabinet. That interview series drew from the roster to feature some of Americas most effective progressive policy and movement leaders.

Summit attendees will explore the formal creation of a Progressive Cabinet and its potential as both a communications and movement-building tool. They will begin the design process for evolving the work Backbone Campaign and its partner project Progressive Government began. They will discuss the design of the Cabinet, exploring how it might be structured to balance local and national expertise, and how to maximize participation and capture the attentions of progressive leaning citizens throughout the country through creative use of the media.

Similar to "shadow cabinets" in Europe and elsewhere, this cabinet would "shadow" current policy makers, offering critique, but also articulating progressive alternatives. As Bill Moyer, director of the Backbone Campaign says, " The Progressive Cabinet would be designed to demonstrate that progressives are not content perpetually organizing protests, but are prepared to run the country."

Unlike the infamous Cheney "shadow government," operating in an "undisclosed location," the purpose of the Progressive Cabinet would be to create greater visibility, accountability, and grassroots influence over policy priorities. "As we have seen in the past six years, the fox is far too often put in charge of the hen house, and by the time there is any accountability all the chickens are dead," says Moyer.

"Equally problematic is that opinion polls repeatedly reflect that American citizens are far more progressive than our politicians, whose need to fundraise impedes their independence, innovation, and ability to propose bold solutions to solve current crisis." Moyer goes on Despite their failure to lead DLC and DCCC type Democrats like Rahm Emanuel, Steny Hoyer, and Maria Cantwell are all too eager to assume the mantle of progressive, but run to K Street (corporate lobbyists) for marching orders and campaign dollars. We must not allow them to corrupt a term that reflects the uncorrupted hopes and hard work of dedicated advocates for human dignity, ecological sanity, and international cooperation."

"We feel that a Progressive Cabinet can help citizens overcome their sense that the current madness is inevitable. The Backbone Campaign hopes that the Summit will propel the Progressive Cabinet project as a vehicle for communicating our innovative capacity, aspirational vision and the brilliance of our leaders." Moyer continues, "Americans deserve to have confidence that progressives have the leaders and ideas to run the country. We must build a movement that fills them with that confidence."

In preparation for the Summit a number of progressive policy leaders have prepared "First 100 Days" statements as nominees for Secretaries of:
Commerce - Hunter Lovins, co-author with Paul Hawkins of Natural Capitalism
Energy - Prof. Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley's Renewable & Appropriate Energy Lab
Education - Eric Cooper of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education
State- Emira Woods of the Institute for Policy Studies
Interior - Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network and
Justice - Jakada Imani of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
US Trade Rep. - Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch

"Bush and Cheney are leaving in eighteen months, hopefully sooner. It is time for progressive leaders to take control of how progressives are seen and how we see ourselves. We must demonstrate that progressives belong to a unified, propositional movement, that transcends party affiliation with the leaders and ideas to run the country. Creating a Progressive Cabinet is a great next step."

As Stephen Zunes, Professor of Political Science at the University of San Francisco and a Cabinet nominee says "The Progressive Cabinet is an essential project at a critical time."

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