One of the harder tasks for progressive political activists is to recognize when we win something. We're used to getting beat up, hurting, and painfully pulling together the courage to move on to the next necessary fight.
But hey -- US progressives have been (part of) some big wins for people power in the last week. Let's celebrate before moving on.
At least for now, the US is not going to make war in Syria -- and maybe now will become never! This time, the people said NO and our leaders followed. Sure, our rulers got a lifeline from a self-interested Russian nationalist, but hey, we got to take what we can get. And keep making friction in the system.
David Swanson, a peace activist whose purism I often think impedes building broad coalitions, is saying this well:
Read it all.
And then, over the weekend, Larry Summers took himself out of the running for appointment as chair of the Federal Reserve system. The president had wanted to give him the job, but, again a wide variety of people simply said NO. Summers was one of the architects in the Clinton administration of releasing the financial and banking business from any restraints, all to great profit among Wall Street wheelers and dealers. He may have all sorts of good economic plans now, but putting one of the guys in charge who enabled the crime is just wrong.
The popular NO to Summers worked because a new crop of Democratic Senators on the Banking Committee (where their votes were essential) have come along who listen to progressives. It's worth learning the names: John Tester, an old fashioned rural populist from Montana; Jeff Merkley, a tough progressive policy guy from Oregon; and Sherrod Brown, a union-backed economic populist from Ohio. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who actually understands finance, was also expected come out against Summers. These people bear watching.
For a fuller discussion of how liberals won this one, see Jonathan Chait.