Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Tool Unveiled for Iowa Progressives

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 3/18/17
This Saturday, March 18th, marked an exciting day for the Iowa progressive movement. Iowa Teamsters Local 238 Secretary Treasurer, Jesse Case, unveiled the new 501(c)3 Teamsters Community Action Network, or TeamCan. The event was attended by nearly 200 leaders and activists representing labor unions, civil rights groups, environmentalists, progressive religious leaders, and many recent  local start-ups working to fight the Trump/Koch agenda at every level.  
Case outlined TeamCan as a non-profit with the multifaceted agenda of connecting the dots for the entire movement, as an umbrella group to offer coordination, training, and support. From now on, when a small group of activists in rural Iowa are wondering how best to build a local strategy, TeamCan will be there to assist them with planning, leadership training, and link their efforts and needs with other progressive groups in the area.
Far from settling for just accomplishing the seemingly impossible dream of a coordinated progressive movement, TeamCan also has devoted resources to putting community organizers on the ground in rural Iowa communities long ago abandoned by other progressives.
Such an unprecedented organizing effort has the ability to strike at the very heart of the right wing strongholds in the state, by reaching out to the growing number of minority and under-represented working families struggling to survive there, telling their story to give a voice to their quiet desperation, and offering a link to the power and support of organized labor and progressives of every ilk throughout Iowa.
"We can continue to focus on the little things that divide us," said Case, "or instead focus on the larger goals that we all share in common. Our enemies don't waste time fighting over tiny differences, and neither should we."
TeamCan is the most exciting new tool for activists in the state of Iowa in recent memory, and has the opportunity to bring all of our efforts into coordinated laser focus toward achieving larger shared goals of defeating our mutual enemies. Please check it out, and think about how your group or organization could contribute to the effort and benefit from being part of this movement. 


  1. That sounds great, but I don't see anything about farm issues. Is there memory of the farmer-labor solidarity of past decades? The Trump Republican farm bill is coming soon with significant work in 2017. They will surely fail in major ways for farmers and therefore for rural Iowa. Democrats abandoned the big farm justice issues in 2001 when Tom Harkin became Senate Ag Chair. That "compromise strategy" failed. Iowa farmers need fair prices and that's became a huge issue again over the past few years. Republican 'free' market ideology, led by Senator Grassley for decades, has chronically failed agriculture, as abundant data shows.

    1. Brad, I think you make an excellent and valid point. And I can appreciate your frustration. This effort is about trying to find solutions to problems just like this one and figure out how to put the pieces of all of our puzzles back together into a cohesive movement with shared purposes. And I KNOW there are a lot of progressive farmers out there. Perhaps it is a matter of figuring out A way to get all of you together. Please plug your information into the TeamCan website and see if they can help link you to some organizations in your area. And don't feel alone brother, Democrats abandoned a lot of us. Part of the solution is in how we organize ourselves going forward, and another big part is creating politicians (regardless of party) who answer to we, the people, and not corporate interests. Thanks for reading.

    2. P.S. If there aren't any likeminded groups already in existence, then TeamCan can help you build one in your area.

  2. "We can continue to focus on the little things that divide us," said Case, "or instead focus on the larger goals that we all share in common. Our enemies don't waste time fighting over tiny differences, and neither should we."

    The only way to accomplish this is to have an honest, difficult discussion about priorities and leadership of and for the party. I've been trying to figure out how to approach facilitating that discussion, and how to entice people into being willing to have it, for months. Without a moment of apology from both sides, and the willingness of both sides to own their mistakes, it won't happen. The 20%+ of the Democratic Party getting left on the table is too much support.

    1. Alex, if you read closely, you will see that there is absolutely NOTHING mentioned about electoral politics anywhere in the blog, or on the TeamCan website. What we are talking about here is building a coalition, not to win elections, but to direct the foot soldiers of the progressive movement to areas of common interest and people fueled solutions.

      If it were just another group meeting about how to get Democrats elected, you would never find me there, brother. Some member groups may be electoral in nature, but the endeavor is about direct action to solve real problems for real people (something the Dems should have been doing for us), and working together when we share common goals.

      Before I will ever support another Democratic candidate for office in ANY way, I will ask them to pledge NO MONEY from ANY corporation or business group, and NO MONEY from the Democratic Party, or affiliated house and senate funds... unless they agree to do the same. We have voted in what many perceive to be the lesser of two evils, two party politics long enough. They can no longer hold it over our heads that if the Democrats aren't elected then the worst case scenario from the other side might happen, because it has. The right attacks without taking prisoners, gives no apologies, and makes big, sweeping changes. Until there is a party and a candidate who does the same on the left, there is little else for me to discuss with anyone about it.

      I do what I do, not because I believe in parties, or platforms. Rather, I believe that people organizing for change and social justice is the only thing that has ever mattered. Politics is merely a reflection of collective moods (or at least it ought to be). Nothing good has ever come without people getting together and fighting like hell for it. I think if you give TeamCan a try, you won't be disappointed.