Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A Time for Action - Not Servility

Jeff CohenNorman Solomon

While Washington pundits are talking up a new civility, many progressives are bracing for the old servility -- a bipartisanship that is servile to a corporate elite that is unquenchably greedy and more powerful than ever.  

But this is not a time for despair. It's a time for new activism -- built upon one of the great achievements of the last decade: the rise of independent media.

Every day, millions of people in the U.S. get their journalism from independent news outlets that expose not just the extremist antics of Republicans, but also the corporate corruption among Democrats. These informed Americans -- fearful of Speaker Boehner and alarmed by a White House now administered by a JPMorgan Chase executive -- represent a huge base ready to mobilize in new ways.

That's the basis for the launch of a new online organization -- RootsAction.org -- an initiative endorsed by such respected independent progressives as Daniel Ellsberg, Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and Coleen Rowley.

Our first action -- in collaboration with Daniel Ellsberg -- is a petition to President Obama to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

RootsAction is a response to the quietude among many liberals that followed so many cave-ins from the Obama White House and Democratic leaders in recent years. Our strategy is based on using the Internet and social media as pathways around political discourse dominated by media conglomerates.

The Internet has spurred a flourishing of spirited indy news outlets and websites that are not only independent of corporate control, but also independent of corporate politicians of both major parties.

And the Internet gave birth more than a decade ago to a once-hopeful Netroots -- springing from nowhere to activate millions of people in a flash.

RootsAction aspires to be a new kind of online group -- one fully independent of Democratic leaders more intent on protecting Wall Street and endless war than on protecting the vast majority of Americans. Read our mission statement here.

A tragic example of why RootsAction is needed came when President Obama announced his Afghanistan escalation a year ago at West Point; major Netroots groups -- who would have raised hell had a President McCain announced the very same policy -- were largely silent or muted.

RootsAction will never be silent as Congress and the president squander billions on foreign wars while failing to meet crucial domestic needs.

Please join RootsAction so we can amplify our voices and mobilize.    

RootsAction is for people who are loyal to progressive values -- peace, economic justice, equality, civil liberties, environment -- rather than to politicians who offer progressive-sounding rhetoric but so often fail to uphold those values. If you want to be part of an online campaign group that is as independent as the hard-hitting indy journalism outlets that bring you news each day, RootsAction is for you.

Jim Hightower explains his support this way: "Real change is up to us, not to Obama or the Democratic Party. They are not the progressive movement, we are. Only grassroots initiatives like RootsAction can put progress back in ‘progressive.'"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen

Jeff Cohen is an activist and author. Cohen was an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America. In 2002, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC. He is the author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media" - and a co-founder of the online action group, www.RootsAction.org. His website is jeffcohen.org.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids

"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."

Brett Wilkins ·


Solidarity Fund Up and Running for Designer Behind Iconic Bernie Sanders Posters

Tyler Evans "has dedicated his life to the progressive movement," says the GoFundMe created for the hospitalized designer. "Now it's our time to have Tyler's back when he and his family need it most."

Jessica Corbett ·


Journalism Defenders Push for Passage of 'Game-Changing' PRESS Act

"The PRESS Act is the most important free press legislation in modern times because it would finally stop the government from spying on journalists and threatening them with arrest for doing their jobs," explained one advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


New York Times Union Workers Planning Dec. 8 Walkout, Rally Over Pay

"Our collective action is working: Management backed off its attempt to kill our pension and agreed to expand fertility benefits," the union said of ongoing talks. "But management still barely budged on some of our most important priorities."

Jessica Corbett ·


Dems Back Blue Dog Spanberger for Swing District Post Over Progressive Cartwright

The corporate Democrat's path to victory was "pretty simple," said one progressive. "Matt Cartwright supports Medicare for All and Spanberger is a former CIA agent who spends all her time punching left."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo