Upsurge in Activism was Good News for Progressives in 2014

Posted Dec. 31, 2014

MP3 Interview with Dave Johnson, fellow with Campaign for America’s Future, conducted by Scott Harris


As 2014 came to a close, U.S. politics veered to the right, with Republican party election victories at both the state and national level. The GOP took control of the U.S. Senate and increased their majority in the House of Representatives. Right-wing governors won hotly contested campaigns in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio and Michigan. The mid-term election, however, set a record for the lowest voter turnout in more than 70 years, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. Low voter participation certainly isn’t a good omen for either the Democratic or Republican party, or for a healthy democracy.

But despite the gloomy news in electoral politics, there was something new bubbling to the surface across the country. Outside of traditional politics, people are becoming increasingly active on a number of important issues. Groups advocating congressional passage of immigration reform legislation picketed politicians’ offices and engaged in civil disobedience. Low-wage fast food workers and those employed in the retail industry staged the largest protests and strikes in recent history, targeting some of the nation’s biggest corporations, including Walmart and McDonald's. The world’s largest protest on climate change was held in New York City and other communities across the country on Sept. 21. And the protests that hit the streets in Ferguson, Missouri following the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August, erupted into a full-fledged national movement against police violence in communities of color after grand juries in both Ferguson and New York City declined to press charges against white police officers involved in civilian deaths.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Dave Johnson, a fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future and a senior fellow with Renew California, who in this end-of-the-year segment, reviews some of the good news for progressive activism witnessed in 2014 that he wrote about in his recent column, "Holiday Bright Spots for Progressives."

Find links to Dave’s recent column, "Holiday Bright Spots for Progressives," and other end-of-year political reviews by visiting

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