woody woodruff published How the War on Drugs has warped priorities and ruined lives for 50 years in Home 2021-06-23 10:28:50 -0400
We're passing the post on the 50th Anniversary of the start of the War on Drugs. After enduring 50 years of the War on Drugs and witnessing its devastating effects on our communities, we feel it is important to change this policy now and pursue a public health and harm reduction approach. Join us to make change in this crucial area.Read more
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, June 22, 2021 in Home 2021-06-22 14:58:05 -0400
We are sending this on a Tuesday since the Progressive Maryland offices were closed yesterday in recognition of Juneteenth, a day celebrating the end of slavery that also happens to be a day in the midst of Pride Month. Following the Congressional vote to make June 19th a federal holiday, the PM Justice Task Force issued this Statement on Juneteenth 2021 that we encourage you to read.
There is much going on this week as we continue the fight for Medicare For All, Police Reform, and The THRIVE Act. You will find PM staff and leaders at the #WeCantWait Rally & March in DC this Thursday as we advocate for climate, care, jobs and justice. This and much more in the Memo.
woody woodruff published Solidifying the past, looking to the future in Home 2021-06-21 09:49:59 -0400
The establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday has energized civic consciousness in Maryland and throughout the US -- more truth spoken about the past. The future? In Maryland, one of the nation's most affluent states? New research finds the general well-being of children here has fallen from 21st among the states to 24th, with 157,000 children living in households with income below the poverty line. And that was before the pandemic. Access to the full report is included in the article from Maryland Matters.
More than 150 years after abolishing chattel slavery in the Confederate States, we join the United States of America as it celebrates what has always been an important tradition for Black Americans.
As we celebrate, we understand that being 150 years removed from a 400 year institution of depravity means that the fight for the real liberation of Black Americans is not over -- especially here in Maryland, where slavery did not end until November 1, 1864 and forced apprenticeships and property requirements for voting kept those formerly enslaved in a posture of subordination.
woody woodruff published JTF Statement on racist police violence in Ocean City in Home 2021-06-17 12:48:56 -0400
The Progressive Maryland Justice Task Force is appalled and disgusted to witness the violence and excessive use of force displayed in the viral videos that ended with the arrests of five young men in Ocean City on June 6th and June 12th, 2021.
In two now-viral videos, a young man with his hands up is tased and hog-tied; another young man, already handcuffed, is tased, held down by almost a dozen officers, and kneed in his torso at least five times, all in the act of enforcing compliance.
The JTF demands that this appalling abuse of police powers get a response from legislators beyond the predictable tsk-tsk -- that our elected representatives enhance this Session's watered-down version of police reform with provisions for community oversight in policing to ensure that police are held accountable for such heinous actions.
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 14, 2021 in Home 2021-06-14 15:28:07 -0400
Our opportunities for activism are ranked around Juneteenth, a Saturday of celebration anchoring a week that’s also at the heart of Pride Month, including our PM Pride Logo which you may notice across our website and social media.
Our gains in health and safety in Maryland, plodding but real, bring us closer to the wider organizing options we’ve been waiting for. We will increasingly find our fulfillment in high-impact mobilizing for progressive change. THAT’s the new, better normal. This and much more in the Memo.
woody woodruff published Let's "check" what we are doing to make liveable communities in Prince George's in Home 2021-06-08 08:21:56 -0400
A high school history teacher who attended a recent rally in Prince George's against gun violence found himself "discouraged that some of the speakers at the gun violence event seem to blame Black people for gun violence without addressing the root causes of the violence." As he points out, the historic wealth gap between Black and White households has meant a lack of good-paying jobs, affordable health care and mental health access, and other evidence of disparities. "What good is it to have Black men 'checking' other Black men’s behavior when the real problem is a lack of resources?"Read more
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, June 7, 2021 in Home 2021-06-07 16:07:05 -0400
Progressive Maryland continues to celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQ+ Community, this month and always. We are proud to honor the progress flag in our new PM Pride Logo which you may notice across our website and social media.
Also, as our scope and capacity are amplified by the (too-slow) gains in health and safety in Maryland, we will increasingly find our fulfillment in high-impact organizing for progressive change. THAT’s the new, better normal. This and much more in the memo.
woody woodruff published Housing advocates urge Hogan to fund legal aid for tenants in evictions in Home 2021-06-04 17:51:22 -0400
A new law gives tenants threatened with eviction a right to a lawyer -- but the companion bill funding the law failed to pass in the 2021 Session.
Lawmakers and tenant advocates urge the governor to fund the law, leveling a playing field in which landlords generally, but tenants seldom, have representation. Maryland Matters has the coverage.Read more
woody woodruff published Hogan UI cancellation spurs Dems' focus on his vetoes, too in Home 2021-06-03 12:39:09 -0400
Though he was late to the game, Gov. Hogan's attempt to drive workers back to possibly unsafe jobs has galvanized the state's Dems. They were looking the other way from his outrageous late vetoes of progressive measures, but may have to focus on them after all. Lawmakers are reportedly asking about a special session.
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, June 1, 2021 in Home 2021-06-01 15:19:52 -0400
It's the first day of "Meteorological Summer" and a great one to launch purposeful organizing. Oh, right, you were already doing that...
Happy Pride Month! 🌈 Progressive Maryland continues to celebrate and advocate for the LGBTQ+ Community, this month and always. We are especially lifting up Queer and Trans people of color. We are proud to honor the progress flag in our new PM Pride Logo which you may notice across our website and social media.
Thank you for being part of this movement.
woody woodruff published Gauntlet thrown as Senate GOP says "what insurrection?" on Jan. 6 in Home 2021-05-31 11:02:13 -0400
The Senate GOP late last week bowed to the bidding of Mitch McConnell (and Trump) and blocked a bipartisan panel to seek the full story of the infamous insurrection at the US Capitol. That outrageous refusal to face facts fits into the larger right-wing plan to gain and hold power at the expense of democracy -- a plan outlined in the PM BlogSpace last week by analyst Sean Dobson. Here's a recap of that deep-diving, four-part series on "The Once and Future Takeover."
woody woodruff published The Once and Future Takeover IV -- Democracy advocates take working class issues to heart in Home 2021-05-29 10:16:50 -0400
We have seen in this week’s deep exploration of the GOP right wing’s strategies – taking advantage of resentments among the former culturally dominant but now dwindling white working class, finding weaknesses in the US’s antiquated system to reverse electoral outcomes at the state and federal level – that only an informed and active pro-democracy movement can protect our future elections by making executive, legislative, behavioral and other changes at every level.
Analyst Sean Dobson, who is board chair of Progressive Maryland, outlines the surprisingly broad agenda – both difficult and energizing – that progressives and their pro-democracy allies must tackle NOW to ward off a right-wing takeover of government that, if not fought early, could be very difficult to reverse and result in a permanently authoritarian nation.
Pro-democracy forces "need to truly and massively deliver to the working class – white, black, and brown -- in a way that tangibly hoists median living standards. The obvious need to jump-start the economy, fight climate change, and invest in (green) infrastructure offers historic opportunity to do so – but only if Democrats finally act on their professed principles and ignore their big campaign donors."
You can read the earlier installments of this week-long analysis at
https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover, https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover_ii and https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover_iii_plugging_gaps_in_our_institutionsRead more
woody woodruff published The Once and Future Takeover III -- plugging gaps in our institutions in Home 2021-05-28 09:59:04 -0400
In the first two parts of analyst Sean Dobson’s account this week, we have seen the shape of the failed Trump coup in 2020 and the many flaws in our electoral system that could be far more exploited by an organized post-Trump white-supremacist GOP rightwing core at the next opportunity. What are the ways that pro-democracy forces could contest those strategies – not only the obvious ones that happen before, during and even after Election Day but the less-visible vulnerabilities that require legislative and executive action sooner rather than later?
In the third of four parts, Dobson -- Progressive Maryland's board chair and a progressive historian of modern politics -- the activist path is laid out that will be required to mount the best defense against a likely more coherent GOP takeover attempt. Keeping police and the military neutral and militias weak are critical tasks, as is reining in the unchecked power of social media and the Russian trolls who surf it. As we find, “Nothing in the US Constitution or federal law specifically mandates that the President be popularly elected” and that leaves the field open for a lot of GOP mischief that must be fixed legislatively.
Here is how the fixes can be accomplished. This full essay can be read here.
photo:Saul Loeb/getty imagesRead more
woody woodruff published The Once and Future Takeover II -- vulnerabilities and vengeance in Home 2021-05-27 09:36:17 -0400
In the second of four parts, analyst Sean Dobson outlines the weaknesses in our ageing constitutional system that could be exploited by right-wing zealots, especially elected Republicans in federal and state office. Existing strategies of voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering (the GOP is much better at the latter) will combine with further attacks on the judicial system, top to bottom, as well as internal party attacks to remove GOP officials who remained loyal to the democratic electoral system, as Dobson, who is board chair of Progressive Maryland. Further, the already-flawed Electoral College system is further open to exploitation by GOP state legislators. Each part of the strategy is well known to be vulnerable to manipulation but, added up, the dangers this poses to democratic process are truly alarming and will need to be addressed.
This is the second of four parts being published on the PMBlogSpace this week. The complete essay may be read at https://seandobsonprogressive.wordpress.com/category/blog/
The right-wingers at the core of today’s GOP demonstrated January 6, 2021 that they have no interest in American democracy if it interferes with their goal: political, financial and cultural dominance of this nation. In this deep-diving essay, Maryland progressive leader and analyst Sean Dobson shows how close this frothing minority came – and could come, in the future – to overcoming the democratic processes that we are used to thinking of as normal elections. Donald Trump was the clear perpetrator of the attack on the Capitol and Congress in January but the sentiments and strategies of the Republican right predated him and will be rehabbed by his clumsy failure. A next round could succeed in upending democratic electoral processes by targeting their dangerously fragile 18th-century roots with 21st-century strategies, as Dobson -- board chair of Progressive Maryland -- shows here. In the first of four parts we see how Trump’s and Trumpism’s assaults on the election before, during and after Election Day, imperfect as they were, nearly succeeded in undoing the majority rule on which our process is grounded. A coup has failed, for now; a future one has better chances unless understood and fought against.
This is the first of four parts being published on the PMBlogSpace this week. The complete essay may be read at https://seandobsonprogressive.wordpress.com/category/blog/
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 24, 2021 in Home 2021-05-24 15:27:12 -0400
It’s People’s Recovery Lobby Week this week so we are pushing Congress to pass a comprehensive American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan as large as the physical reality of the climate crisis, the health crisis and the economic reality of mass unemployment and underemployment, and the structural reality of systemic racism.
Been to a statewide COVID Forum? Attended a Justice Task Force event? Have you taken part in a local organizing meeting for a County Chapter or Fair Elections? Supported our drug policy work? If the answer is yes to any or all of these: thank you! Now we ask you to take a next step to help us expand our work and impact on these issues-- join hundreds of other local PM supporters and become a Progressive Maryland member.
This and much more in the Memo.
Happy birthday today (Monday) to Bob Dylan, an 80-year-old White folk singer who in 1963 wrote and recorded “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” about the 1963 beating death of a Black barmaid by a drunken and abusive young White man, son of a tobacco-wealthy Charles County, MD, family. Allies everywhere. And everywhen.
Thank you for being part of this movement.Read more
woody woodruff published Maryland has many workers who cannot join a union. This must change. in Home 2021-05-20 15:17:05 -0400
"Maryland is one of only three states that has no statewide law covering collective bargaining rights but allows every jurisdiction to decide whether they want to have collective bargaining or not. The result is that 90% of local jurisdictions do not have any law that allows public workers to have a union. Some of the biggest municipalities where public workers do not have union rights are Gaithersburg, Hagerstown, Salisbury, Cumberland, Hyattsville and New Carrollton. This is also true for a majority of Maryland counties."Read more
Activist and former House of Delegates member Jimmy Tarlau outlines in a Maryland Matters opinion column why this practice stems from Maryland's dominant Democratic power structure and its tacit compliance with business interests, not those of working families.
woody woodruff published Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, May 10, 2021 in Home 2021-05-10 16:08:51 -0400
Much Love To Moms: PM Weekly Memo for Monday, May 10, 2021
This past Mother’s Day Weekend, we reflected on the many roles of mothers in the world, and the impact of the pandemic on womxn and families. We are thinking about all the mothers who have lost children, and all the children who have lost mothers. And to all those who chose to be mothers, chose not to be mothers, are unable to carry a child, have adopted or fostered children, have two moms, have chosen mothers, have estranged relationships with their mother, etc. - we are sending much love to you all.
As does Gaea, a love that we all return.
One way in which we can all stand with womxn is by fighting for Medicare For All, worker’s rights, and people’s recovery. This and much more in the memo.
Thank you for being part of this movement.
The PM Team
woody woodruff published Looming eviction crisis as emergency ebbs brings multiple calls for official relief in Home 2021-05-05 12:15:07 -0400
In a whirlwind week of events threatening a tsunami of evictions and homelessness, activists urged the state government to protect renters against eviction as courts re-opened, a federal judge voided national tenant protections (and then reinstated them) and yesterday (Thursday, May 6) executives of the state's biggest population centers jointly urged Gov. Larry Hogan to stop Maryland courts from enforcing evictions when tenants were often unable to appear in the newly opened courts to defend themselves. See more in this blog post.
Solidarity is critical, in and outside of Prince George's County. Big money and corporate thinking just about run the show and we the people must become the showrunners.