The country is filled with so much anger and so much action – but, as far as I can see, so little leadership!
Would it not be wonderful if the present protests were supported by a statement and a call for emergency united action by a broad list of known progressives, including, if possible, such as Bernie Sanders and some from his campaign, the “squad” members and congressional allies, William Barber, Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Bill McKibben, Nina Turner, Noam Chomsky, and leaders from the Black, Latinx, women’s, environmental, LGBTQ, immigrant, Native American and Muslim movements, from people active in education struggles and especially from the peace and union movements? They could try to agree quickly on common ideas for immediate joint actions and for pressures on candidates and legislators at all levels. There are so many demands which need action. The present angry, determined momentum – if it finds common directions – could achieve concrete results. These might include any or all of the following, with major stress on a few:
Re-examination of all police killings with indictments and re-trials wherever appropriate;
Freedom for people convicted on trumped-up charges or for lack of money, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, still imprisoned Black Panthers and similar cases;
Total remodeling of police system; community controls, minority participation, also proper citizens’o checking, no military weaponry, a ban on excessive violence;
No more mistreatment of migrants at the Mexican border or facing death in arid desert flight;
No evictions based on inability to pay; No empty homes as long as people are homeless;
State and federal food pantries for all now without jobs or in underpaid work;
Free medical care for all uninsured or underinsured people; plans for single-payer Medicare for all;
Cancelling student debt, free higher education, more funds for public schools in poor and rural areas;
Financial aid to family farmers, small retailers and restaurants hit by restrictions and unemployment;
Withdrawal of all troops outside the USA, funds transferred to housing, schools, medical care;
No atomic war planning or major weapon construction; conversion to peace industry; diplomacy to replace sanctions against Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, N. Korea. No more bombs for Yemen, no more drone attacks anywhere.
No voting discrimination based on ID requirements, former jailing, cheating equipment, unequal polling site distribution. Automatic registration, early and mail-in voting, Election Day half-holiday;
Decisive measures against obscene profiteering by major banks, pharma, insurance and fossil fuel companies and armament manufacturers, with genuine taxing and possible public ownership.
Reconsideration of the permission for foreign media czars to control major newspapers, TV and film rights in the USA. Democratization of media ownership;
Laws to make it easy for unions to organize and difficult or impossible to hinder their free actions.
That’s a lot – and there are others. A joint group could make recommendations and offer support and coordination on the most important ones. Of course it could do no officiating from on high – but serve only as coordinator and helper. And, above all, offer coordination and leadership:
Is such an idea desirable? Is it realistic? Is it possible? I think it would be worth trying.