- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
A Real Reform Movement
There has been a lot of talk on this site and the progressive community about the so called “reform” movement. I am a big proponent of such movements because I have always ascribed to what David Cohen said, “We don’t need bigger government, or smaller government. What we need is better government, a government that works for the people.” The question is, how do we create a reform movement that includes everyone, one that includes a broad cross section of the great economic, social, racial, and geographical makeup of our great city?
I would say that the 3 main organizations that are proponents of the so called reform movement are Young Philly Politics, Philly For Change, and Neighborhood Networks. I have been involved in this site since it was just Dan, Ray, Alex, Ben, myself, and Dan’s Mom. I have been involved in Philly For Change since it was Philly For Dean. I, in all fairness, never really got involved in Neighborhood Networks.
These three organizations have created change in our city and have helped energize the progressive community behind reforming government and getting good candidates elected. Yet, I don’t think that that is enough. We have no wins under our belts. Maria was a win for the reform movement, but not by the reform movement, and I think that anyone who knows some of the politics behind that race will agree.
One day I talked to a friend of mine who has been involved in politics in the Northwest for over 20 years. He said that the one thing that people in the progressive community didn’t understand was that all of the progressives that were elected in the past such as David Cohen and Ed Schwartz had institutional support in working class and poor black areas by organizations such as the Northwest Alliance which, incidentally, got Donna Miller and John Myers elected, but that’s a whole other story for a whole other day.
These candidates and the organizations that supported them, stemmed from the Civil Rights and Labor movements, movements that were created because of broad social injustices to people of all walks of life. That was the power behind those machines. While I like and respect all of our organizations, I don’t think that they have a broad enough appeal to create the movement in which we need to create in order to have a real reform movement. Most of our members are educated, professional or activists types, White, and located in Center City, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see a white man in Chestnut Hill with a post graduate degree having much injustice going on in his life.
The question is, how do we create a movement or be apart of a movement that achieves these goals? How do we create a true reform movement that is as diverse as our city? How do we create a movement that includes the people who would most benefit from reform? How can we be educated by them? Yes, I’ll say it again. How can we be educated by them? Because we seem to talk a lot about “educating the public”, which, frankly, is borderline insulting and elitist. I think that we, I as much as anyone else, have a lot to learn from them.
I surprisingly, have no answer for this question. I have advocated in the past, and still do advocate being a part of the Ward structure, which is not why I post this. Even if we were involved in the Ward structure more, we would get more progressives elected, but we wouldn’t be creating the kind of movement in which I think we need to create.
I would like to open up the floor for your ideas on the subject.