The moment Barack Obama took the oath of office as President, many progressives breathed a sigh of relief—however tentative—that the Bush years were finally over. But it was clear within days that the conservatives have not abandoned Washington and won’t give up their strongholds without a fight. Keeping tabs on how the Right plans to thwart President Obama’s agenda—or push him well past the center line—is a critical part of PRA’s mission as America enters a new era of great promise…and deep uncertainty.
“We all wish that the election of a liberal—well, okay, centrist—President had meant that our work was done, or at least offered us a brief respite.
“The truth is even the election of a progressive would not have allowed us a break, because when conservatives lose power, they don’t take a break. The strategists dig in to analyze the past and prepare for a new future. The activists organize. And the violent take up arms—check the statistics: clinic violence incidents rise when laws become less restrictive.
“PRA’s work is more important than ever.”
That’s PRA president and executive director Katherine Hancock Ragsdale on the significance of PRA under a new Administration. PRA’s Jan Nunley interviews Ragsdale and Chip Berlet about the importance of PRA’s role in a new progressive era.
Feminism, Post-Palin Style
Was Sarah Palin’s failed candidacy for Vice President the “the death knell of modern American feminism”? Or the vanguard of a new “free-market feminism”? Public Eye editor Abby Scher’s article on “post-Palin feminism” is featured on Alternet. Read it here.
Senior researcher Chip Berlet writes in The Progressive:
“The election of Barack Obama has poked the racist beehive, and we can expect a lot of buzzing around in the months ahead. Rightists, ranging from neo-Nazis to mainstream conservatives, are eager to reframe issues in ways that invoke racialized fears among some white voters: affirmative action, poverty, education, language, taxation, health care, immigration, terrorism, and national security all have potential.”
Read and listen:
Something Old, Nothing New
The roots of the Right’s attack on Obama for embracing the human welfare policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal” go much deeper than the 2008 election season. This 1997 PRA report by Lucy Williams, “Decades of Distortion: The Right’s 30-year Assault on Welfare,” tells how it got started. Download here.
On the Road for Equal Rights
Senior researcher Pam Chamberlain presented two workshops at the 26th annual LGBT training conference Creating Change in Denver, Colorado January 29-February 1. Sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Creating Change brings together both experienced and newer activists in four days of all-day institutes and skills-specific workshops. Pam presented “Tips and Guidelines for Dealing with the Right,” using materials from PRA’s publications to augment hands-on activities. “When you hear anti-gay language, whether it’s in a public debate or around the family dinner table, sometimes we are at a loss on how to respond effectively, she said. “Debating the opposition is a skill, and it can be learned.”
Pam also led a caucus among researchers about trends in social science LGBT research, bringing together academics and activists in an opportunity to reflect on the current direction of advocacy.