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June 06, 2005

Take Back America Conference

Last week, there was a national progressive conference in Washington D.C. called the “Take Back America” Conference.  I didn’t hear about it until I was already overbooked for this time period or I would have attended.  The conference brought thousands of progressive activists, thinkers, leaders and bloggers together.  They are focused on building an infrastructure for the progressive majority, uniting sometimes disparate constituencies and training organizers.  Hooray for the organizers.  I know Progressive Majority had a part but don't know who else.

For others who missed the main event and didn’t catch it on C-Span, there is a great web-site up.  You can find videos of the primary speakers – Bill Moyers, John Edwards, Arianna Huffington, Howard Dean – and many more.  There are also pdf files up for several of the speakers.  In addition, there are links to blog coverage from some of our best progressive bloggers who attended as well as links to print and TV coverage.

It is inspiring to watch and/or read about what these folks had to say.  This is our future.  If we are to take back our country, it will be as a result of what we envision and do together.  Here are a few gems gleaned from the papers available on the site.

From "wild" Bill Moyers, who has come out of retirement to help us regain our democracy, on Washington D.C:

This is an occupied town, a company town – a wholly owned subsidiary of the powerful and privileged who have hired the influence industry to run it for them.

And, Moyers on what we can do:

So what do you do?  What do you do?  Well, progressives have to be like the Irishman who was walking down the street and saw a brawl and said, “Is this a private fight or can anybody get in it?”  Well, you’ve got to go home and jump in.  You’ve got to tell the truth about the other side.  You’ve got to fight the corruption of the system.  But don’t stop with reporting how bad they are.  It’s not enough to say how bad they are.  Show us a new vision of globalization with a conscience.  Stand up for working and middle class people and those in the middle and those who can’t stand alone.  Don’t be cowed, intimidated, or frightened.  You may be on the losing side of the moment, but you’re on the right side and the winning side of history.

And from John Edwards (who tells us that his wife, Elizabeth, is doing great) on the biggest difference between the parties:

Now, the truth of the matter is that the Republicans value one thing, and one thing alone: wealth.  And they want to make sure that those who have it, keep it.  You got it.  And it shows in absolutely everything they do.  Trying to shift the tax burden away from wealth and on to work, on to the backs of working people.

And on what Democrats stand for:

We’re going to let the Republicans stand with their friends on Wall Street, big insurance companies, big drug companies, big HMO’s, Halliburton.  And I’ll tell you who we’re going to stand with.  We’re going to stand with the teachers, with the nurses, with the factory workers, with the tech workers and with the small business owners.  We’re going to stand with every American who needs a voice, and without us has no voice.  It is what the Democratic Party is about; it is what the Democratic Party has always been about.

And from Howard Dean on what the Democratic Party needs to do and what is stands for:

First of all, the first change is, you have seen the last 18-state campaign for the presidency.  We’re going to be in all 50 states.  As we raise money, we are investing that in state parties.  The Democratic Party is going to be the grass roots party.  We’re going to have Democrats in every single precinct, including those in Kansas, western Nebraska and Mississippi. 

We need to get rid of the culture of corruption and abuse of power in Washington.  And we will do that.  We need to be the party of reform, campaign finance and election reform.  Real campaign finance reform. . . . We stand for all that is right with America.  We stand for honest government that is transparent.  We will insist that the money that working people have earned be set aside so that they someday will get it, and it won’t be used in a leveraged buyout or a bankruptcy. . . . The one thing that we have to do as a Democratic Party is not be afraid to be different than the Republicans.  Stand up for what we believe!  Stand up for what we believe!  And if you stand up for what you believe, vote by vote, precinct by precinct, election by election, year by year, we will take this country back for the people who built it.

Reading this stuff makes me puddle up.  I love to see the good guys fighting back and rousing people to take their part in this great democratic experiment we call the United States.  I think we should think about having something similar locally. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on June 6, 2005 at 10:33 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink


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Yes, indeed, Progressive Majority was there. This is I believe the fifth or sixth such conference and I've been to over half of them.

This year I spoke on two panels, one on how the recruit candidates to run for office and the second on Building capacity in the states. Progressive Majority, for the second year in a row, ran a parallel training track as part of the conference where we taught real-world political skills in addition to the more policy oriented conference.


Posted by: Dean Nielsen | Jun 6, 2005 12:50:55 PM

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