Stories by ruth conniff

By Ruth Conniff on February 24, 2015

Certainly, Walker has tapped into a powerful current of resentment among strapped, non-union workers. He was re-elected on a promise to make teachers pay more for health care and pension benefits, and on an appeal to private sector workers that they if they lack the security unions provide, why should their neighbors be so lucky? Image credit: AP

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By Ruth Conniff on February 06, 2015
Scott Walker delivers State of the State 2015 address. Image credit: Rebecca Kemble

Sticking it to Wisconsin in order to build a winning national campaign turns out to be a very successful strategy, judging from the rave reviews Walker has been getting from his fellow Republicans. Image credit: John Glowaki

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By Ruth Conniff on January 21, 2015

It was gratifying to listen to Obama score points with popular, progressive ideas. And social media made it even more fun. But here's the problem: those out-of-it Republicans are still winning.

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By Ruth Conniff on January 07, 2015

In 'Islam' Means Peace, The Progressive's managing editor Amitabh Pal reports on the history of nonviolence in Muslim societies around the world—a much-needed perspective today, in the wake of the execution-style killings, apparently by fundamentalist Muslim gunmen, of editors and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine in Paris.

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By Ruth Conniff on December 23, 2014

Scott Walker “dropped the bomb” back in 2011 with Act 10, which did away with most public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Now the Republican leadership in the Wisconsin state legislature is gearing up to throw a Molotov cocktail at all workers. Making Wisconsin a “right to work” state is at the top of the Republicans’ agenda, according to state senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (Republican of Juneau).

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By Ruth Conniff on December 23, 2014

Just in time for the holidays, we got a burst of cheery news from Washington. 

Obama's surprise gift--restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba--delighted everyone tired of watching the Administration's constant compromise and retreat from the far right. 

And, predictably, it brought out the Republicans' inner Grinch.

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By Ruth Conniff on December 12, 2014
Image credit: Tim Pierce

There is a lot of excitement about Senator Elizabeth Warren's progressive stance. And young women voters The Progressive interviewed are more enthusiastic about Warren than Hillary Clinton. Image credit: Tim Pierce

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By Ruth Conniff on December 08, 2014

This animated video by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore looks at school privatization through the eyes of little Timmy, a kindergartener who likes his public school.

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By Ruth Conniff on November 26, 2014

How do progressives regroup after the Republican victories of 2014? It starts at the very local level, says Scott Spector, whose group, Wisconsin Progress, is building a progressive farm team.

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By Ruth Conniff on November 05, 2014

There will be a lot of triumphant rightwingers on television in the coming days. Progressives need to rally and fight back.

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The problem is that Walker's simplistic childhood memories of Reagan don't come close to getting it right. Scott...

Activists hold sign supporting Net Neutrality

That’s right. We won. Image credit: dontblockmyinternet (Flickr)

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently vowed “to break” the “monopoly” of public education

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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