What a year for progressive politics: 2014 CREDO activism report

Looking to 2015, the outcome of literally thousands of fights will depend on what we can do together.

That’s because what we’ve learned in 2014 is the willingness of President Obama and his fellow Democrats to stand up for what is right often comes down to whether progressives like us organize to hold them accountable.

In many ways, this past year has been a tough one for those who care about social change. Democrats lost control of the Senate in the midterms. Grand juries in Ferguson and Staten Island declined to send to trial the white police officers who killed two unarmed African-American men. Our federal elected officials continue to pursue an all-of-the-above strategy on energy and, as a result, aren’t doing nearly enough to stop the terrifying march of climate change.

But it’s also been a year where we’ve seen our progressive flank strategy work. Fighting for the change we want to see–not merely compromise that often-cynical elites in Washington, D.C. believe is possible–has been key in helping us win some crucial fights and lose less badly in others.

The Keystone XL pipeline has still not been built as a direct result of activism from coast-to-coast and along the pipeline route, keeping some of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground. The president’s most recent public statements are his strongest ever after years of avoiding this topic. None of this would have happened without intense local resistance backed up by nearly 100,000 activists who have pledged to risk arrest in peaceful civil disobedience to stop this pipeline. One of the biggest and most diverse climate marches in history was held in New York City this fall and demonstrated the incredible momentum our movement has. The White House could not help but sit up and take notice.

After a year of intense pressure from activists, President Obama came out in favor of the strongest possible rules to protect Net Neutrality. And he finally announced an executive order on immigration that protected five million immigrants and their families from the pain of deportation. This was not all we asked for but there’s no doubt that far fewer would have been protected without the courageous activism of those who would not give the president a pass just because he’s a Democrat. The president also took steps to ensure that federal employees and contractors couldn’t be fired just because of who they love or their gender identity.

Low-wage workers nationwide have been leading inspiring strikes for a living wage and have actually won a higher minimum wage in Maryland, Minnesota, Chicago and Berkeley. And the president raised the minimum wage for federal contract workers.

As we look to 2015, it’s clear that our progressive flank strategy will be key to blocking the Republicans from making things worse and convincing President Obama and Senate Democrats to use the power of the filibuster and the veto pen to stop the worst excesses of Tea Party Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Cuts to our social safety net. Attacks on a woman’s right to choose. More wars of choice in the Middle East. Climate change. Racial injustice. Economic inequality. It’s all on the table and much of it is up to President Obama and a progressive minority of Democrats in the Senate willing to filibuster bad legislation and sustain the president’s vetoes.

Together, we’ll also be pushing back against corporations, organizing to win local victories for change, and providing progressives with ways they can make a difference on a daily or weekly basis.

Frederick Douglass wrote, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” It’s up to us to issue that demand. If we don’t, we almost certainly lose. But when we do, we sometimes win.

What follows is a brief summary of our accomplishments in 2014 and some of the victories you helped make happen. It provides us with a strong platform for pushing for change in 2015 in the crucial fights that lie ahead.

Thank you for joining us in this fight.

Read the full 2014 Activism Report.