Last night I attended "Shaping the Future of Women's Rights" a discussion sponsored by Chicago NOW featuring Illinois' own fearless and forthright Jan Schakowsky (See our recent interview with her, "The Gloves are Off" or listen to the audio at In These Times' radio show, "Fire on the Prairie").The gathering was inspiring. Activists of all ages, involved in all types of social justice work coming together with shared concerns about women's rights, especially reproductive rights, during Bush's second term. Schakowsky hit right at the heart of many our concerns when she declared that the step not to take was moving the Democratic party "more to the center." She chastised prominent leaders of the party for suggesting that relinquishing a public and open stance on reproductive rights would help Democrats. Schakowsky called on Democrats to employ three things to focus and energize the left: confidence, discipline and coordination.We have a majority that supports our vision of combating poverty, providing social services, and promoting an agenda of peace, she told us, it's about focusing our efforts on mobilizing it effectively.Hopefully, this event is just the beginning of a progressive agenda setting that will rally us to change.
Phoebe Connelly, a former managing editor at In These Times, is Web Editor at The American Prospect.