Tucson Progressive

A Voice for Progressive Thought in Arizona

Progressive Democrats of America: 300 Tucsonans ready to fight back

More than 300 unapologetic progressives packed a local YWCA for the inaugural meeting of Progressive Democrats of America, Tucson Chapter. (Photo Credit: Pamela Powers)

Who said the progressive movement was dead? It is alive and well in Tucson, Arizona.

An estimated 300 activists, liberals, Green Party members, and Democratic Party foot soldiers crammed into a large meeting room at the YWCA on the west side of Tucson Monday night for the inaugural meeting of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), Tucson Chapter.

Twenty minutes before the meeting started, it was standing room only. By the time the first speaker began at 7 p.m., all chairs were filled and people were standing 2-3 deep on the sidelines, sitting 4-5 deep on the floor in front, and standing out in the hall.

Pretty much all of Tucson’s liberal leaders and volunteers– including a significant portion of Democratic Party Precinct Committeepersons (PCs)– came to hear what Congressman Raul Grijalva, populist radio commentator Jim Hightower and PDA leaders Tim Carpenter and Mimi Kennedy had to say.

As one of the introductory speakers, Carpenter sparked cheers from the crowd with fiery rhetoric, saying, “We [PDA] are not the Democratic Party… We’re the insurgency of the Democratic Party!”

Carpenter said that PDA was born out of the presidential races of Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean. He gave a shout-out to other liberal groups whose members were in attendance: MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, Jobs with Justice, and the Central Labor Council.

Populist commentator and author Jim Hightower was the keynote speaker, along with Congressman Raul Grijalva. (Photo Credit: Pamela Powers)

“Building community and building organization. That’s what PDA is about,” said Carpenter. But despite their efforts, progressives learned in recent years that electing a Democratic Party president and Congress wasn’t enough to get progressive legislation enacted. PDA is now going to work inside and outside the Democratic Party for real change in America.

The speeches were punctuated with cheers when Carpenter, Grijalva, and Hightower talked about taking our country back from the radical right and corporate pawns in the  Republican and Democratic Parties.

Hightower warned activists that taking the country back from the corporate oligarchy that now runs it would be a long struggle and likened it to the 70-year battle for women’s suffrage.

Hightower did admit that he wasn’t beyond “colluding with the pharmaceutical industry” in his quest to rebuild the middle class. He wants them to invent a “new Viagra” that could be used to stiffen the spines of Democrats and give them the backbone to fight for the middle class, rather than kowtowing to big business and their lobbying machine.

After the speeches, attendees broke up into issue organizing teams around PDA’s six core issues:

  • Single-payer healthcare (Medicare for All)
  • Peace (ending the wars and occupations and redirecting the funds)
  • Clean elections and voter rights (including repeal of Citizens United and elimination of private funding for elections)
  • Economic and social justice
  • Accountability of elected officials
  • Environment and global warming

Republicans and Republican-lite Democrats– be forewarned. Like the Tea Party on the right, progressives are “mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore”. Well, maybe we’re seriously annoyed and not going to donate to or volunteer for Republican-lite anymore. Southern Arizona Leadership Council Democratic Party sympathizers and No Labels Democrats could be in trouble, if even half of the Democratic Party PCs in attendance decide to work for real progressive candidates and issues instead of just settling for someone who is not Republican.

The Tucson meeting was the second in a series of PDA organizing meetings across the state. According to Carpenter, the Bisbee organizing meeting drew 120 attendees; later this week PDA will hold events in Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Winslow.

Watch for an update of this story with full video of the speeches.

54 comments on “Progressive Democrats of America: 300 Tucsonans ready to fight back

  1. Carolyn Classen
    February 22, 2011

    Excellent report Pam, thanks.

  2. James
    February 22, 2011

    Uh oh Tucsons intelligent elite are out! Better watch it when these guys hit the road…whats funny is these supports support Grijalva, who emphasized he uses illegals in his elections…get ready for higher gas prices and food this summer, you can thank your democratic leaders for that  :)
    Also, are we holding anyone responsible for the 80million dollars of tax payer money that was stolen from Rio Nuevo? Or are we pretending that never happened? Well thats the democratic way of course, lets just spend the money, we’ll tax the workers and make up for it!

    • fraser007
      February 22, 2011

      Be careful James if you make intelligent comments these blogsites will delete your comments. Ask me. I have been banned from several just for making comments like yours.
      By the way it was $230,000,000 wasted for Rio Nuevo.

    • tiponeill
      February 22, 2011

      > Better watch it when these guys hit the road…
      Much better that when the Repubs hit the road – suddenly you are swamped with anti-abortion laws, anti-gay laws, anti-hispanic laws.
      Doesn’t leave much time to think about Rio Nuevo, whatever it was.

    • Dave Ewoldt
      February 22, 2011

      Ok James, I’ll try to interject a little intelligence into the conversation–we’ll see where it goes.
      Higher food and gas prices are the direct result of a philosophy held by both Republican and Democratic leaders at the behest of the economic growth held sacred by the wealthy elite who have appropriated the world’s natural resources to increase that wealth. They didn’t work for or create those resources, they stole them. Of course, most people tend to believe a story that claims otherwise.
      Until you’re willing to face up to where the problem actually lies, things will continue to get worse. But scapegoating isn’t going to solve anything.
      I mean, what type of world do you want for yourself and your kids? One where the environment is healthy enough to support life and a dynamic economy, or one where we just consume ourselves into extinction, at least if the toxic waste dumps don’t get us first? This isn’t based on any ideology. It is a geo-bio-physical fact. A planet whose size and resources are both finite cannot be both an infinite source of resources and a bottomless pit for waste. So it seems to me that if we’re truly intelligent, we’d decide to start working together to see how we can meet our needs, now and into the foreseeable future, based on reality.

      • Pamela Powers
        February 22, 2011

        Yes, Dave, I was glad to see an environmental plank in the PDA issue list.
         
        There was an interesting story on NPR yesterday regarding how Cuba coped with the loss of oil and gas imports after the demise of the USSR (their major supplier).

      • Dave Ewoldt
        February 22, 2011

        Hi Pamela… yeah, as you know, a healthy environment is kinda my bottom line. Peace, justice, democracy and all the rest are great ideals, but none of them are going to occur on a dead planet.
         
        Cuba is a great example of what a people can do. Regardless of their politics, they learned how to create economic vitality under severe energy constraints, as well as the overall health benefits of organic agriculture.  The documentary “The Power of Community” details much of this, and provides a good starting point for what we may have to do as we head into an uncertain future of energy power-down, resource depletion and the collapse of Ponzi Capitalism, the Industrial Growth paradigm and its attendant waste.

      • fraser007
        February 22, 2011

        OMG Leftfield has a clone!! There is a plane leaving for Cuba at the Miami Airport at 8:00 pm. maybe you can make it.

        Pssst…..I will tell Leftfield that you left.

      • leftfield
        February 22, 2011

        Viva Fidel!

      • Fraser007
        February 22, 2011

        LOL

      • Frank L. Parker
        February 22, 2011

        They are still driving Studebakers in Cuba. A fine example of the “power of community”

      • Carl
        February 23, 2011

        And they’re still killing women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Still torturing people in their (expensive) global gulag.
        A fine example of the morals of Americans.

      • latino4ever
        February 22, 2011

        “Cuba is a great example of what a people can do. Regardless of their politics, they learned how to create economic vitality under severe energy constraints, as well as the overall health benefits of organic agriculture. ”
        ROFLMAO!  I notice you choose to live in the deadly evil capitalist country of the USA.  Did you hear about the Wikileaks cable that said that Michael Moore’s video Sicko was banned in Cube because it showed the medical care that only the elites get and the gov did not want the general public to see. Socialist government always fail because they are based on legalized theft.

        http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/why-socialism-causes-pollution/

      • Carl
        February 23, 2011

        We’ll have to wait until your little baby girl dies because CIGNA decided not to pay for her treatment.  It’s the American Way!  And if there’s a peep out of you when she suffers and dies, it’ll prove you to be a hypocrite.

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        Things are the way they are because nobody says or does anything,  unless you point out some facts people will not realize, Hey this is SCREWED up big time, lets fix it, until it is way to late. That is the way its getting, your kids wont have a future if you can’t provide one for yourself.
        The tax money we pay should be benefiting us, and not hurting us. If a guy works 40 hours a week he gets taxed to hell, especially on overtime, now where does that tax money go?
        Not to his healthcare, schooling, rent, food, NOTHING (but you can get it for free through “loopholes” or being illegal). It gets wasted away to immigration, Rio Nuevo, and just plain pocketed. Now because Arizona has created a giant deficit, its time to hit up the working class some more. Pay for this and that and get nothing in return.
        Your geo-bio-physical fact doesn’t mean much, if we made logical decisions we could make ourselves last a lot longer, but nobody wants real change, its just the same thing after the same thing.
         

      • Dave Ewoldt
        February 22, 2011

        James, I pretty much agree with you. The main thing being ignored is the elephant in the living room in the form of corporate tax breaks, giveaways, and subsidies. The $70 billion the US treasury is being cheated out of every year by corporations makes the small percentage your taxes are going to look like the chump change they are. The buying power the middle class is losing is being lost to the billions going to bankster bonuses.

      • latino4ever
        February 22, 2011

        How can you give away money to the people it belongs to?  Profits that people earn do not belong to you. You are a thief.

      • Carl
        February 23, 2011

        Oh, its quite easy.  For example, I can give money to agribusiness in the form of subsidies. Happens every year, and the right wing of the USA is proud to support it.  Those corporations pay for my elections, and I’m duty bound to give them a fair exchange. They also supported my vote for NAFTA, which forced Mexico to import subsidized US agribusiness products.  What the heck, that led to more desperate people crossing the border, which was also wonderful for me and the people who support me.  See, we can give more of your money to private corporations to provide lots of high tech goodies to police the border.  That cycles more money from the treasury into private corporate pockets, ensuring that they will continue paying for my election campaigns.  And when it comes to the Pentagon — whew! — the Treasury of the US is just one gigantic slush fund for US corporations!  We love it!
        However, if you give a dime of taxpayer’s money to feed a starving woman or clothe a little freezing boy or girl, I stand by my principles and CRY FOUL!!!  YOU CAN’T SPEND MONEY THAT ISN’T YOURS!
        God I love this country!  The Disunited States of Plutonomy, better know by its aliases, the United States of America and the Corporatist State of Global Tyranny.

      • leftfield
        February 23, 2011

        As I understand it, latino4ever, when money flows from the bottom up, it’s called “freedom” and “democracy”.  But when money flows in the other direction it’s called “socialism” or “tyranny” and it is to be avoided at all costs.  Am I reading you right?

    • rex
      February 24, 2011

      Hello, immigrants ARE America. Hello!!
      Just tax the rich and we’ll pay for it. Stop this Trillion dollar war based on a dog crap lie by the Bush/Cheney gang and we’ll pay for it. Prosecute the Wall Street criminals to get back billions and we’ll pay for it. Yeah, let’s spend our money as soon as we get it back!! Don’t blame the poor immigrant who is also a victim of a horrible foreign U.S. policy that is choking the poor (not the rich) all over Latin America. Or didn’t you know that?!#%$

       Read “Open Veins of Latin America” and you will be in for a historical treat that will open you eyes and mind as never before. As far as illegals go, almost all Arizonans are illegal as they and their ansestors illegally came from across the Atlantic and never got green cards. Don’t believe me? Ask Native peoples who are still fighting the criminal Manifest Destiny theft of their land. They will tell you.

  3. James
    February 22, 2011

    Thanks Fraser for correcting the amount, $230,000,000 is quite a bit, but hey who cares right its just our money. Tiponeill is the typical, confused liberal, not really sure what it means to be a Repub…Anti Abortion laws? Heck your tax dollars are paying for free abortions right now, anti-hispanic? I’m American, we should be taken care of first before we turn ourselves into a gaping 3rd world country, and educate yourself on Rio Nuevo, it was a project that was supposed to be built downtown, but $230,000,000 of our tax payer money magically disappeared, to government officials back pockets of course.

    • tiponeill
      February 22, 2011

      > Tiponeill is the typical, confused liberal, not really sure what it means to be a Repub…
      I may not like Repubs, but it isn’t because of “confusion” – I know very well what legislation they pass.
      “Rio Nuevo” hasn’t affected my life – Repub bigotry does constantly.

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        Rio Nuevo is effecting every Arizonian’s life, because we could have had more paved roads, a smarter interstate system, not be 49th out of 50th in states in the amount spent per student, or near last in education because we all know TUSD is a joke,  given out more grants, $230,000,000 is quite a bit of money, in case you not very smart thats TWO HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS OF TAX PAYER MONEY, we could have used it for anything. There iss so bigotry whatsoever, the only people I discriminate against is the incompetent, which are people that support these parties.
         

        http://www.gilacourier.com/?p=7210

         
        Educate yourself

      • tiponeill
        February 22, 2011

        > There iss so bigotry whatsoever, the only people I discriminate against is the incompetent, …
        The Repubs so far have passed anti-gay laws, anti abortion laws, and driving while brown laws (while cutting off peoples Medicaid)  – and you think that “rio Nuevo” is important ?
        Maybe to you

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        Its not driving while brown, its driving while being illegal immigrant, Hey come in the legal way I’m all for it, but dont sneak into our country, mooch off the system and put up a language barrier, also dems and repubs have cut medicare (another thing you people voted for) and Rio Nuevo is huge, $230 mil that could have went to improving the city, now gone. I dont think you get it at all.

      • tiponeill
        February 22, 2011

        > I dont think you get it at all.
        Nope – just like old straight white people don’t “get” a lot of things – like why people don’t give a damn about “Rio Nuevo” while they are being persecuted by Repubs in Phoenix.

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        That made no sense…I think your an illegal immigrant who is mad the laws are changing, no more free ride for you :)

      • Fraser007
        February 22, 2011

        Go James!!! Give it to them!

      • tiponeill
        February 22, 2011

        > Give it to them!
        Calling someone an “illegal immigrant” is your idea of “giving it” to someone ? LOL

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        I guess the truth is offensive to some people, you obviously cant debate logically and have become frustrated.

  4. Pamela
    February 22, 2011

    …your tax dollars are paying for free abortions right now…
    That’s actually not true– at all. This is a Republican lie. You’ve been watching too much FOX News.
    http://tucsoncitizen.com/tucson-progressive/2011/02/16/republicans-declare-war-on-women-so-what-else-is-new/

  5. James
    February 22, 2011

    Aw thats cute, Pam thinks she knows what news station I watch, typical liberal always trying to speak for everyone.
     
    (CNSNews.com) – Maryland will join Pennsylvania as the second state to use federal tax dollars to pay for abortions under the new health care law signed by President Barack Obama in March, according to information released by Maryland’s State Health Insurance Plan.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/node/69559

     
    Please educate yourself before you speak, thank you :)
     

    • Florine Francis
      February 22, 2011

      I don’t have a problem with government funded abortions, usually it’s the poor who need these funds, better than having generation after generation on welfare James.  And what about those oil subsidies of 53 Billion dollars given to oil companies making record profits, when are you going to raise a stink about that? 

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        Well since you dont have a problem with it, there should be a law that says if you work, and have a job, and want to pay taxes for abortions, sign here, if not, you get to keep that part of your paycheck.
        Those oil subsidies were given by your elected leaders, so you can blame them.

      • tiponeill
        February 22, 2011

        >Well since you dont have a problem with it, there should be a law that says if you work, and have a job, and want to pay taxes for abortions, sign here, if not, you get to keep that part of your paycheck.
        I would love that deal if there also was a law that said if you want to pay taxes to invade Iraq sign here :)

      • leftfield
        February 22, 2011

        See what you can do about allowing me to keep the portion of my taxes that goes to the military-industrial complex and that portion that is not being paid by churches. 

    • medicareblogger
      February 23, 2011

      The Hyde amendment prohibits federal dollars from being used for abortion. This law has been around for many years. The health care reform bill also addressed this issue and re-asserted that federal dollars should not be used for abortions.
      There is debate around the details because the federal government will subsidize the cost of health insurance for people who do not have group coverage.  So does that mean that a person who gets a subsidy for her health insurance will not be allowed to purchase a health insurance policy that covers abortion? That is an issue.
      And what about procedures that end a pregnancy to protect the life of the mother? Will health insurance be allowed to cover these procedures?  A Congresswoman from California spoke last week about having such a procedure when her fetus shifted from her womb and was no longer viable. The procedure she had was technically an abortion and would not be allowed under Republican proposed laws – and her health insurance would not pay for it if Republicans have their way.

  6. Tim
    February 22, 2011

    So as you can see, not only is it true, you’ve actually been sponsoring government funded abortions for almost a year now, cant afford your mistake? Dont worry, working class will pay for it! How do people actually support Grijalva anyway? The guy emphasized he wants illegals (who aren’t paying taxes and only vote in people who give them welfare, healthcare, and foodstamps at our expense) to vote in our elections, which should be illegal.
     
    But nobody cares, they will continue to vote in lying politicians and think change is coming, cant wait til the summer gas prices SKY ROCKET because we depend so much on foreign oil.

    • Florine Francis
      February 22, 2011

      What song were you singing when oil prices were at and over $4.00 per gallon while Bush was President Tim?  It’s never been the right-wing republicans fault right Tim?

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        I never said either side was right, or claimed I was any side, I’m pointing out facts, and that is a fact you cant deny, I say put someone in office who isn’t further corrupting the state.

    • Dave Ewoldt
      February 22, 2011

      Speaking of lying politicians, just how did we get into those wars in the Middle East, anyway?

      • James
        February 22, 2011

        Egpyt gained freedom in 18 days, we’ve been there 10 years and $1,155,971,760.00 later we still dont have it fixed.
         

        http://costofwar.com/en/

        Look at that counter

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  8. Jim Hannley
    February 22, 2011

    Thank you for a very inspiring report, Pamela. I attended the meeting and was impressed by the candor and resolve expressed not only by the speakers but by those in attendance. One notable absence was Organize for America, the Obama community organizing element. I would think they would have been a visible presence. I know many of those who attended and can say that, as Jim Hightower pointed out, resolve can move mountains. The Women’s Suffrage movement, getting a Constitutional ammendment showed that with resolve, the people can win.

    • Dave Ewoldt
      February 22, 2011

      Hey Jim, you didn’t really expect OFA to show up at a progressive event, did you? :-)

  9. dollarshort
    February 22, 2011

    Why are these groups backing Democrats? They are not dancing to your tune.
    I would advised cutting out the middle and creating your own party and stop allowing  a political party to take your money, use your foot soldiers but not let you sit at the adult table.

  10. hgnaz
    February 22, 2011

    Where do I sign up?

  11. tiponeill
    February 22, 2011

    >I think your an illegal immigrant who is mad the laws are changing, no more free ride for you ..
    If that’s truly what you “think”  we can leave it at that, as an example of your powers of cognition :)

  12. tiponeill
    February 22, 2011

    James -I guess the truth is offensive to some people, …..
    As I said, if you “think” “the truth” is that I am an “illegal immigrant” there really is nothing further I need to say about your thinking ability :)

  13. Charles August
    March 13, 2011

    Here are the links to the video from the meeting:

  14. IN airports
    March 24, 2011

    There isn’t a alternative to adequate research about your getaway destination .

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about.me

PAMELA POWERS HANNLEY

PAMELA POWERS HANNLEY

The Tucson Progressive

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth--not just people who agree with me or look like me. I believe that people who promote religiosity but use violence, intimidation, and lies to force their ideas upon other people are not following the teachings of any religious leader.

I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. In addition to being a blogger, I am a published author, photographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post. I am a proud member of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).

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