Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Task for White Progressives

Among the gems in the packed half-hour podcast with Horace Small yesterday was his call to action by white progressives. As head of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, he is in the business of coalition building and cooperation among various interest groups. However, his call has a clear economic, cultural and political basis.

Over the past decade, the UMN has been about advancing solutions and policies to benefit largely African-American and Latino MA residents. Click the player below to listen in as Small touches on some of the Union's successes and their ongoing efforts. Also, check they site for details on current efforts and what human and other resources they can use.

To his call to progressives, he sees a need and fit. That branched from our discussion of how groups that should have a common set of interests don't see that and don't work together. I thought of the poor blacks and whites I knew in the South, who kept their distance despite strong similarities in economic needs as well as heritage and culture. Here, Small noted that the need to look down on somebody, no matter how bad your situation is, trumped common interests.

Yesterday, he called for greater activism by MA progressives into working-class communities. "Why won't white progressives talk to them?" he asked. Instead, it is the Tea Party sorts who go into a town like Weymouth, somehow convincing them to vote their way when in reality they are anti-working class, anti-union, and against the political interests of the residents there.

Small sees solid chances for organizing in blue-collar communities here, most effectively done by those who look like the residents. "They're your people. They are the people who raised you."

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