|July 2003 Report|
Dear friend of Progressive Portal:
The past few months have been, well, hope-filled, awe-inspiring, calamitous, uplifting, depressing, outrageous, dangerous -- in short, the Chinese were right when they defined "crisis" as meaning both "danger" and "opportunity."
You haven't heard much from us in awhile for several reasons. For one thing, I was sidelined for weeks by a life-threatening health emergency (I'm better now). Before that, during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, we were so busy that we weren't able to step back and write to you.
But although we've been out of touch, behind the scenes we've been building
the infrastructure to take Progressive Portal, and its particular brand of effective
activism, to the next level.
Portal, Phase II:
New Staff, New Action Campaigns
In the early stages, Progressive Portal had a "staff" of one (yours truly), augmented by dozens of wonderful volunteers. In order to offer you more opportunities to act effectively, we've entered a new phase.
To edit our Action Alerts column, we've hired Henry Norr, a former San Francisco Chronicle journalist fired for his anti-war activism. The Action Alerts column offers a new opportunity for action almost every day, and introduces you to a range of progressive organizations.
We've also signed on Rachel Findley, an experienced freelance writer and peace campaign activist, to author our own letter-writing campaigns. We've just launched a new campaign (more on that in a moment), and several more are in the works -- including one to save the Constitution from the maws of John Ashcroft and company.
Of course, we continue to rely on volunteers for a lot of our work. Please see our latest volunteer opportunities.
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Take Action Today:
Militarism vs. a Gentle Sea Mammal
One of Progressive Portal's most important missions is to help unite disparate social causes into a coherent movement. Today we announce a new campaign that brings together conservationists and anti-militarists -- in the U.S. and Japan.
Off the shores of Okinawa, Japan, lives a highly endangered colony of sea mammals called dugongs. Closely related to the manatee, the gentle, shy dugong is a beloved symbol of peace to people throughout Japan. Only about 50 dugongs remain in Japan.
In a bitter irony, the Japanese dugong population is threatened by plans to construct a U.S. military base offshore, right on top of the dugongs' sea-grass feeding grounds and coral-reef habitat. U.S. bases in Japan are key to this country's efforts to control Asia and the Middle East. So, a Japanese symbol of peace is threatened by U.S. instruments of domination and war.
There are several reasons why this campaign, developed in conjunction with Japanese activists, is important. First, it is an opportunity to cement relations between U.S. activists and the relatively new Japanese advocacy community, strengthening both. Second, the issue is uniting environmental activists with peace activists, a powerful confluence. Finally, this is a winnable campaign. The strong sentiment in Japan, backed by the international pressure we -- you -- can bring to bear, can play a critical role.
Please send your letter straightaway: CLICK HERE.
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Signs of Hope
In Troubled Times
These are challenging times for progressives in the U.S. Every day brings news of another step backwards by the White House, Congress, state or local government.
However, there are reasons for hope -- reasons to think this is the darkness before the dawn.
Most of us know people who've gone through unexpected spurts of personal growth. Such moments are not easy to predict, but after the fact, one can sometimes look back and see how they came about.
Cultures, too, go through growth spurts. Recently, we've begun to see indications the U.S.'s own social "psychology" may be about to experience a "growth spurt." For example:
Don't get me wrong: John Ashcroft, John Poindexter, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and their cronies continue trying to undo several decades of progress. But what a few weeks ago looked like an unstoppable march toward desolation is beginning to prove quite stoppable, as activists -- including the Progressive Portal community -- tackle the issues with renewed vigor, greater effectiveness, and more resources.
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Speaking of Resources ...
We Need You Now
Progressive Portal has been sustained these past months largely by purchases from our extensive stock of peace and justice flags, shirts, posters, magnets, patches and other items (including the new War Profiteers Playing Cards). We thank our customers for that support. But sales alone will not keep us going.
Donors are the long-term lifeblood of our work. We are very grateful to our one-time contributors and Day Sponsors (monthly donors) for helping us continue operating, but we need many more financial supporters if we're to continue over the long haul.
Please take a moment to visit our donation page and make a one-time contribution. Or, by pledging a monthly amount, you can sponsor an entire day of Progressive Portal, a half day, or a quarter day, and your name will appear at the top of nearly every page on our site.
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Heiwa (Japanese for "peace"),
P.S. Key links for you to take action right away:
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