As this issue goes to press, the United States is finally joining most of the world’s industrial nations in providing a form of comprehensive healthcare to many who have none. I find that exciting, because it represents even with its limitations a huge, lifesaving opportunity for many low-to-moderate income families after years and years of near misses from Truman to Clinton and finally Obama.
Being resilient enough to keep fighting against the odds is also a theme of our case study on the efforts of American Airlines passenger reservation agents to organize their union with CWA that we developed with the assistance of their organizing team. But the pitfalls of less than full participation in Obamacare and what that could mean both politically and to many people personally is also the theme of the University of Memphis’s Professor Delavega’s study of the continued failure to achieve full participation in the EITC program for lower income American workers.
Similarly, Professors McLeod and Nelson from Morgan State share their recommendations on what is needed to create a more effective, and fully funded, program to fight child abuse.
On a more upbeat note, not every labor fight is a Wisconsin. Clara Wheatley-Schaller offers a comprehensive report on the ways that unions were able to come together politically to turn back the “paycheck protection” attack in California. Similarly, while we reflect on the fifty years since the March on Washington, Professor Brian Burnell reminds us in his examination of the community organizing and tactics of CORE in Brooklyn that the fight “up south” was also critical in winning the full political participation of African Americans in our communities.
Contributing editor Steve Early takes a long look at the new edition of Randy Shaw’s Activist Handbook, and noting the additions finds the work a classic for organizers then and now. Phil Mattera’s column looks at problems with the Affordable Care Act and its challenges. Noorin Ladhani gives us some insight into “start-up weekends” and what some people on the other side of the NSA call “hackathons.” John Anderson documents the widening internet access gap for lower income families in Canada due to telecom monopolies, but his story has resonance throughout North America and beyond as the digital divide widens. Finally, the backstory looks at the ongoing analysis of what happened to the United Farm Workers and at the leadership and organizing styles of both Cesar Chavez and Saul Alinsky and how they interacted.
It was both surprising and invigorating to read an interview with Glen Beck in the New York Times recently and to see Beck talk about how dangerous progressives are. This issue gives a lot of examples why he might think so. We refuse to quit. We made mistakes, but we keep trying to do better, learn new skills, and “swim like a fish in the sea of the people.” This is a good issue for all of the dangerous thinkers and doers among us.