Yes, the Republicans seem to be on the brink of self-destruction but...

Tom Harkin at his Senate seat

When I think of Tom Harkin, I’m reminded of the scene in True Grit when Rooster Cogburn is surrounded by four bad guys. The odds have finally caught up with him. The main bad guy, Ned, asks Cogburn if he’s ready to accept his fate. Cogburn responds: “Fill your hand, you son of a bitch!” as he charges the gang, guns blazing.

Stanley Kutler, the great Nixon historian, gadfly, and all-around mensch, has passed away.

As the Chicago mayoral race rolls through its last week, young people from Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods are rallying behind Rahm Emanuel’s challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Image credit: Missy Rosa

This morning I opened my email to find a message from “Bold Progressives,” who exist to rally support for Democratic Party candidates willing to fight for real change.

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

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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This time we’ve got some advantages.

We need to improve the condition of workers this Thanksgiving weekend. Here's what you can do.

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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