Media Alert November 10, 2010
Where Do We Go From Here? December ITT Cover Stories Chart Way Out of Progressives’ Dilemma
Marilyn Katz and Amy Dean, veteran activists from labor, anti-war movements offer wake-up call, new organizing strategies in brand-new December issue. Both are available for interviews (contact info below)
CHICAGO—Thoroughly “shellacked” in the midterm elections, the remaining Democrats in Congress and their leader in the White House now must change course to avoid being sent into the political wilderness by voters in 2012.
But the Democratic Party’s problems run much deeper than just mediocre candidates and a sour economy, veteran activists Marilyn Katz and Amy Dean argue in In These Times’ December issue cover package, “Where We Go From Here.” They argue the problems are fundamental, and result from the party’s unwillingness to foster the popular movement that elected Barack Obama president in 2008, and inability to offer a strong alternative to the GOP’s platform that responds to citizens’ needs outside of Washington.
“Ultimately, the DNC and White House political operatives missed the point: when people are acting together they feel empowered,” Katz, the longtime anti-war activist who founded Chicago-based MK Communications (full bio below), writes in “What We Lost After We Won in 2008.” “By failing to maintain group activities and infrastructure, the Democrats left people feeling atomized, disempowered and paralyzed.”
Since President Obama has cast himself as mediator rather than change-maker since taking office, progressives must re-organize across the ground to build the “national grassroots vehicle that Obama for America and Organizing for America could have been,” Katzs writes. Read her story at http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6629/what_we_lost_after_we_won_in_2008.
Dean’s message—forget Washington, learn local organizing lessons—is grounded in her experience as “the most innovative figure in Silicon Valley,” as the New York Times once described her (full bio below). She argues in “A New Blueprint for Change” that we must notice how organized labor and other progressive movements have found their voice at the local and state levels to score “victories that concretely benefit working- and middle-class communities.”
“Unless the local base begins to lead and national politicians follow,” writes Dean, the youngest person and first woman to lead a major labor council with the AFL-CIO, “1994 and 2010 will only be two dates within a much larger litany of setbacks.” Read Dean’s story at http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/6626/a_new_blueprint_for_change/.
Marilyn Katz is the founder and president of Chicago-based MK Communications. An anti-war and civil rights organizer during the Vietnam War, she served with Lee Weiner (one of the Chicago 7) as co-head of security during the August 1968 protests at the Democratic National Convention.
Katz has founded and led many groups, from the Chicago Women’s Union, Reproductive Rights National Network, Chicago Women Organized for Reproductive Choice in the 1960s and 1970s to the Chicagoans Against War in Iraq in 2002 which organized the October 2, 2002 rally at which President Barack Obama made his now-famous anti-war speech.
While Katz’ early professional life was spent as a filmmaker, after serving as media and press consultant for Harold Washington’s unexpected 1983 mayoral win, she founded MK Communications, a full-service media, community and government relations company which represents numerous government, community, nonprofit and philanthropic entities throughout the nation. A fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, Katz serves on numerous boards, including local community and corporate boards, Human Rights Watch Chicago and the national board of J Street.
Amy Dean is co-author, with David Reynolds, of A New New Deal: How Regional Activism Will Reshape the American Labor Movement (The New Century Foundation, 2009).
Dean’s roots are in the American labor movement where she served for almost 20 years. From 1993-2003 Dean, served as President and CEO of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. During her tenure, the New York Times called Dean, “the most innovative figure in Silicon Valley.” As leader of the 15th largest regional labor federation in the country, Dean represented more than 90 unions and 110,000 members in the heart of Silicon Valley. She was the youngest person and first woman to lead a major labor federation of the AFL-CIO.
Dean is founder of two successful and innovative nonprofit organizations. In 1995, she founded Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA), a non-profit organization committed to rebuilding the links between regional economic policy and community well being. In 2005, Dean founded Building Partnerships USA, a national organization dedicated to increasing civic and political participation to strengthen democracy and advance social and economic justice at the regional level.
Dean has also served on the Board of Governors of California’s Community Colleges and has received many awards for her leadership including Woman of the Year from the San Jose Mercury New, John M. Gardner Exemplary Leaders Award from the American Leadership Forum, and the Gloria Steinem Women of Vision Award from the Ms Foundation.
She can be reached via http://www.amybdean.com/.
phone (773) 772-0100, x224
In These Times writers are available for interviews.