At last, a New Year cometh! I say “at last” because, politically, 2011 was a rough ride.
Let me just mention a few of the bigger bumps: non-stop Congressional gridlock, Donnie Trump, the working class depression, Obama’s serial surrenders to raw Republican partisanship, Newt Gingrich, the re-emergence of Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko arrogance, right-wing governors gone wild, Rick
“Oops” Perry, more tax breaks for corporations, Newt Gingrich (again) — and, at year’s end, both Sarah Palin and The Donald suggested that they might run for president (which could set up a titanic clash of big hairdos).
Yet, we should not despair about the many political downsides of the old year, for they have prompted a series of very promising uprisings at America’s grassroots. Progressives in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana, Colorado and Mississippi (yes, Mississippi!) scored big gains, and the Occupy Wall Street eruption all across the country has lifted spirits, revitalized grassroots organizing, and put some real “move” in the movement as we head into 2012.
In January, for example, a strong and savvy coalition will mobilize a nationwide campaign for repealing “corporate personhood” and the Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United edict. Also, the rise of the non-corporate economy is booming, with millions of Americans turning to co-ops, credit unions, farmers’ markets, fair trade shops and other local enterprises that ordinary people control, not absentee profiteers. Plus, strong, genuinely populist candidates for the U.S. Senate and House are running next year, including Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Norman Solomon in California, Ilya Sheyman in Illinois and Eric Griego in New Mexico.
We have important work to do, so don’t moan about 2011 — organize for 2012.
For more information on Jim Hightower’s work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com.