When you look back over the past year and consider that we entered the year in fear & trembling, is it possible to exit 2017 with a sense of emerging power and even optimism that the pendulum may now swing left? Could the arc of the universe now swing toward justice? Odd thought after the tax bill. Read on.
Question of the Day: We are going to do this every few days to try to encourage more dialog in the blog. Today’s question is two part: 1) after looking over the reflection below, what was the most positive development of 2017? 2) What is the most ominous? Just post your thoughts as a comment at the end of the blog. And Happy New Year. Whatever we face in 2018, we’ll do it together.
A Look at 2017
Thanks to Marjorie Kamine who forwarded this. I was going to cobble together a list of good things in 2017 and will cheerfully forego that task now as Small Victories have done the job in spades and with humor. But this has a national lens so I wanted to preface it by a few NM and Santa Fe wins:
- Tim Keller as Mayor of ABQ (Thank you ABQ, Working Families, PDA, OurRevolution and all the grassroots folks who made it happen);
- Las Cruces City Council victories by progressives (thank you all the activists in LC who made this happen)
- Last year of Susana;
- PNM beginning to lose at the PRC and half of San Juan Generating Station has now closed (thank you New Energy Economy)
- A stronger Sanctuary City ordinance in Santa Fe (thank you Somos Un Pueblo Unido and SF Dreamers)
- 175% cap on predatory loan caps begins today; it felt like a total defeat, but 175% beats 1000% and in 2019, we’ll get 36%
- Ranked Choice Voting in SF-fingers still crossed (thank you FairVoteNM)
- A growing and stronger Retake Our Democracy that entered 2017 with 300 subscribers and exited with almost 2000
- A weekly radio show (Thank you KSFR)
- An awesome Roundhouse Activism Team that has been meeting twice a month for 9 months to develop our Roundhouse Activism Strategy for 2018-19 (Lynne Fischer, Meg Meltz, Lee Goodwin, Saraswati Khalsa, Michael Sperberg McQueen, Craig O’hare and with new members just getting on board in the past month or two)
- An extraordinary leadership team of Sara Hume, Jennifer Johnson, Cecile Lipworth, Julia Berman and Roxanne who have been meeting alternate weeks and in multiple retreats for six months, and last and most importantly,
- A wife, partner, editor, colleague, lover and co-parent of three adult kids and Quilo the adolescent cat. Roxanne, you are my inspiration and life partner. With all the above, who can complain? Here’s to creating a far, far better 2018…
I know there are more things locally to be grateful for, but Small Victories has quite a list to follow. Be well my friends. Much to do in 2018. Paul
Guys! We made it to the end of the year. Holy moly, what a year it has been. Before we go off and do some serious celebrating (aka naps for days), we decided to do a roundup of all that we have accomplished… and maybe went a little overboard, but we couldn’t help ourselves. If you want to see all 800+ victories we tracked this year, head on over to our archives.
We hope this year in review will pump you up for 2018—between the November midterms and fight for Dreamers, we have a BIG year ahead. Looking back on all we’ve accomplished, we’re feeling oh-so-ready to take on next year.
And if there’s one thing we learned from 2017, it’s this
1. First, the White House is a hot mess
SO MANY White House staff and appointees didn’t even make it through the first year:
�� Michael Flynn lasted less than month.
�� Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary after 6 months.
�� Steve Bannon was first removed from the National Security Council, then fired all together.
�� Then Pudzer withdrew, an Army secretary and a national security advisor pick both dropped out, and these advisors resigned en masse.
�� Georgetown students pushed White House aide (and Nazi sympathizer) Sebastian Gorka, to answer some tough questions, and he couldn’t take the heat. Aaand then he was also fired.
�� Trump’s Communications Director quit.
�� Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is gone. #NoMorePrivatePlanesOnOurDime
�� Trump’s cybersecurity advisors took a stand and resigned en masse.
�� Sam Clovis—a right-wing radio host who is not a scientist and is also the worst—withdrew his nomination from a senior USDA position.
�� This anti-feminist nominated by Trump to be Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues withdrew her name from consideration.
�� Omarosa is out. She either resigned, or was fired… or was dragged out of the White House.
�� Two judicial nominees were dropped from consideration, and another withdrew his name after a recent humiliating experience.
�� Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA withdrew his nomination, and Trump’s pick to head the Export-Import bank was rejected.
�� Lots of other Trump officials didn’t last either.
�� And Scaramucci can at least say he won top spot for fastest firing in the first year. #AnyoneEvenRememberHim?
2. Our voices are being heard
It hadn’t been 48 hours into 2017 before we had our very first victory—remember when the House GOP dropped their bid to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics? The press reported that people’s phone calls made the difference. We were just warming up.
We broke records with the number of phone calls we made to Washington this year, and people regularly held their elected officials accountable at town halls and protests—many of them by newly-formed Indivisible groups. According to Indivisible, by April alone, 250,000 people had attended 450 marches, town halls, and other events. #Incredible
Sometimes it seemed like we were out at a protest every day:
�� The day after Trump was sworn in, we made history as millions of people all around the globe came out to march against everything he stood for.
�� In February, thousands attended Not My President’s Day rallies in dozens of cities.
�� Tens of thousands in the US and around the world on all seven continentsmarched to support science and evidence-based research. #ScienceNotSilence
�� 120,000 people in over 200 communities marched to demand that Trump release his taxes. BTW, the 2018 tax march plans are already underway.
�� We protested to get an independent investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, after he fired Comey. Hello, Robert Mueller!
�� Thousands of people in 135 cities across the country marched for truth, calling for greater transparency from the Trump administration.
�� Dinosaurs rallied outside the White House to protest proposed budget cuts that could lead to the “extinction” of service programs like AmeriCorps.
�� Some of the protests were (literally) out of this world.
Rhode Islanders showed us all how it’s done when they interrupted Senator Whitehouse’s dinner and demanded answers for his cabinet votes.
Even the rain and snow wouldn’t stop us. And when Congress went on recess, people made sure it was far from relaxing. Everyone standing up and speaking out—like 16-year-old Deja Foxx—made a difference in more ways than one.
Some elected officials skipped their town halls, so their constituents got creative. Groups have been:
�� Following their Representatives and Senators around town
�� Holding candlelight vigils for their safe return
�� Singing songs to woo them into a hosting events
�� Using one of our favorite Easter treats to get their point across
�� Convening their own town halls
�� Or going the milk carton route to try and find them
Plus, Democratic representatives held town halls in Republican districts, since their Republican counterparts can’t take the heat.
One of our favorite stories: Indivisible Missouri wanted a town hall with their senator, but he was in Tennessee holding a fundraiser. So Indivisible Tennessee paid him a visit, delivered their constituent letter, and held a rally on their behalf.
After Senator Daines helped block Elizabeth Warren from reading Coretta Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor, a group of women showed up at his office and read it to him.
We also saw students walk out during Mike Pence’s commencement address at Notre Dame; a small, conservative Christian college protest a visit from Pence; and Harvard students pull off a stunning silent protest against Betsy DeVos.
And while we don’t approve of the majority of her voting record, even Susan Collins said it was constantly hearing from her constituents that made her vote no on the healthcare bill.
The Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in US history! We have so many feels looking back at all the photos from that day. ����
When Bill O’Reilly was fired from Fox News for sexual harassment, who knew that was only the tip of the iceberg? The #MeToo movement took the country by storm this year, though it was created by Tarana Burke over 10 years ago. Every day, the list of powerful men held accountable for sexual harassment and assault gets longer.
4. And when it comes to getting the f out of our uterus…
Handmaids popped up across the country, from Texas to Ohio, to defend reproductive rights. They even convinced Illinois’ Republican governor to sign a billprotecting and expanding reproductive rights.
Oregon is paving the way for the country by now requiring insurers to cover free reproductive health services, regardless of a patient’s income, citizenship status, or gender identity.
But this movement isn’t just in blue states—anti-abortion laws were defeated in red states, too:
Federal judges temporarily blocked companies from opting-out of covering birth control; Massachusetts is now guaranteeing free birth control; and New Mexico will let pharmacists prescribe contraceptives without involving a doctor.
Groups like ADAPT and Indivisible led thousands of protests, 24-hour vigils, sit-ins, and die-ins to save our care. They were arrested again and again, and never stopped telling their members of Congress that the ACA is here to stay.
And looking ahead, we’re thrilled that the movement for single-payer health care is gainingsteam. (It would work!) And while this guy messed up big time, his Medicare-for-All bill, along with and Bernie Sanders’ bill are garnering more support than ever before. #FreeCare4All
6. We had wins for racial justice
We saw brave people risk their lives to stop white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thousands of people held solidarity rallies in at least 16 states and in front of the White House. And when Trump doubled down on his defense of white supremacists (are you f%#?ing kidding), hisadvisorsstartedresigning.
After Charlottesville, whenever white supremacists tried to rally, people were ready to stop them. Their events were turned down by cities, colleges, and, in one case, 62 different venues. Other times, alt-rightorganizersdropped out or couldn’t getenough people to attend, so they canceled events. When they did rally, counterprotestersoverwhelminglyoutnumberedwhitesupremacists, and people drowned them out, chased them away, and found fun and creative ways to disruptthem. Even Juggalos had them beat. #WhateverWorks ��
Companies and websites started banning neo-Nazis, and one particular bigot was fired, lost his book deal, and was exposed for collaborating with white supremacists. Breitbart’s traffic plummeted, and almost 4,000 companies—nearly 90% of its advertisers—have pulled their ads from the site. ����
�� University of Oregon �� California
�� University of Texas �� Dallas
�� National Cathedral �� Maryland (x2)
�� New York City (x2) �� Florida
�� Mississippi �� Massachusetts
�� Montana �� Kentucky
�� North Carolina �� Hollywood, FL
�� New Orleans (this video �� )
In Durham, NC, protesters didn’t wait for the city—they tore a statue down on their own. When the cops went looking for the person who did it, hundreds of people turned themselves in at the police station in solidarity. ❤️
Students disrupted speeches by Betsy DeVos and James Comey to hold them accountable for racist comments and actions. And on separate occasions, thousands marched for justice for Philando Castile, Anthony Lamar Smith, black women’s rights, and against state violence.
7. Immigrants are welcome here
Sanctuary cities and states stepped up their support for our immigrant community, barring police and city employees from working with ICE, prohibiting the expansion of immigrant detention centers, and paying legal fees for Dreamers and undocumented residents.
Dreamers and allies across the country marched, rallied, walked out of schools(and straight into the Senate), occupiedpoliticians’offices, held vigils, poured out in the streets, flooded into Trump’s DC hotel, blocked streets, disrupted parades, and sued the federal government. But the fight for DACA isn’t over yet—the next few weeks will be crucial.
Trump’s border wall plan has basically disappeared after funding for it was dropped from the government spending bill, and California is suing to prevent it from being built. We also love this group that convinced the CEO of a contracting company to retract their bid to build the wall. #DontDoIt
And just look at all the wonderful ways communities showed their support:
�� Cheering immigrant children on their first day of school.
�� Painting the border fence away.
�� Trolling Trump’s anti-immigrant hotline with reports of space aliens.
�� Staging a quinceañera at the Texas capitol.
�� Making a Confederate statue of Jeff Sessions and tearing it down.
�� Hosting a picnic across the US-Mexico border.
�� Thousands of immigrants went on strike (and businesses closed in solidarity) for a nationwide Day Without Immigrants.
As of this week, Arizona can no longer ban Mexican-American studies from schools.
And it worked! Federal judges held emergency hearings and blocked the order, and most of the initial detainees were released.
#NoBanNoWall protests continued across the country (and around the world), and thousands called Congress and donated to fight the ban.
Courtscontinued to ruleagainsttheban and all new iterations of the ban, including a new ruling against version 3.0 this week. Now, we’ll have wait to see what the Supremes say. This piece with the latest updates is worth a read.
As Trump’s dangerous rhetoric hit local communities, people stepped up to support. After a Texas mosque burned down, the town’s Jewish community gave their Muslim neighbors the keys to their synagogue, over $1 million in donationsflooded in to help them rebuild, and more than 1,000 people formed a human shield around Muslims at the state capitol.
�� Illinois banned “gay panic” defenses and made it easier to correct genders to birth certificates.
�� California legally recognized a non-binary gender option and banned state-sponsored travel to discriminatory states.
�� New Jersey and Portland, ME protected trans students.
�� Washington, Texas, and South Dakota shut down anti-trans legislation.
�� New York City, New Mexico, and other cities and states banned conversation therapy.
�� Philadelphia added two new stripes to the pride flag, and Boston reversed course by allowing gay veterans to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
People threw LGBTQ+ dance parties outside Mike Pence’s home—the videosmake us want to dance right now. They also rallied on the Trans Day of Visibility, blocked anti-trans bigots, marched in an intersectional Pride protest, and disrupted Pride parades to protest military and corporate sponsors. ��
10. The world has spoken: Climate change is real
From the moment Trump came into office, people accelerated the fight for environmental and climate justice. After the Trump administration banned federal science agencies from tweeting, their employees created more than 30 “rogue” Twitter accounts, some with more followers than the official accounts. And we also got Trump to remove the gag order on USDA scientists the same day it was announced.
When Scott Pruitt questioned the impact of climate change, so many outraged people called the EPA that the office had to set up an impromptu call center. And the more data the EPA deleted from their website, the more people preserved and republished it, including EPA employees themselves. #NotSoFast
Cities and states took matters into their own hands: Maryland banned fracking and Denver will require large new buildings to go green, but California is putting everyone to shame with the launch of multiple environmentally-friendly initiatives.
And when Trump pulled the US out of the Paris agreement, people responded in full force:
�� More than 60 U.S. cities and all of the other countries in the world promisedto uphold the agreement.
�� More than 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, and colleges signed an open letter committing to the agreement.
�� A group of corporations, colleges, and mayors decided to negotiate their own climate plan directly with the UN.
�� Pittsburgh declared they’ll transition to 100% renewable energy.
�� Phoenix announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
�� Bloomberg Philanthropies pledged to donate $15 million to cover America’s share of the agreement budget.
Cities divested billions of dollars from banks, including Wells Fargo, to protest their funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s working: ING sold its stake in the pipeline, and insurance giant Axa will no longer insure US pipelines.
Even huge corporations are beginning to concede that they need to do better, like car companies aiming for zero-emissions or going solely electric, and ExxonMobil shareholders demanded the company report on climate change.
And dedicated groups around the country successfully blocked:
�� A wind turbine that could kill bald eagles in Ohio.
�� An oil transportation project on the Hudson River.
�� Toxic chemicals from drinking water and baby products.
�� The creation of the largest coal export terminal in North America.
�� A hotel in the Grand Canyon.
�� A plan to let Nestle bottle water from a local Oregon spring.
�� A cancer-causing chemical from being hidden in Monsanto products.
11. We also saw improvements on criminal justice
State and local prosecutors have been fighting back against Jeff Sessions’ desire for harsher sentencing policies (because, news flash: that’s a bad idea), and we saw improvements to the criminal justice system in:
A number of states have all or nearly eliminated cash bail, leading to promising results—we’re looking at you next, California. And we saw stories of local and national organizers, thousands of donations, and app developers helping hundreds of incarcerated mothers, fathers, men, and women return home to their families.
After football players began kneeling during the anthem to oppose police brutality against people of color, Trump crassly attacked their rights to silently and peacefully protest. But their protests only increased, and players, coaches, and team owners spoke out or knelt in solidarity with the players. ��
New York City became the first city in the country to divest its workers’ pensions from private prisons! (To learn more about why this is so important, check out Enlace’s Prison Divestment Campaign.) #MoreOfThisPlease
Many innocent people were freed thanks to help from family, friends, organizers, and journalists:
�� Massachusetts dismissed more than 20,000 cases where people had been wrongfully convicted of drug crimes.
��The Philadelphia Innocence Project secured the release of yet another manwrongly convicted and imprisoned.
��A Buzzfeed story helped free a Chicago man after spending 23 years behind bars in a likely-wrongful conviction
�� After ProPublica and Vanity Fair released an investigative report, Nevada issued a pardon for a man who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 21 years.
Students can look forward to school lunches for once:
�� New York City is providing free lunch to every single student in public school.
�� New Mexico outlawed school lunch shaming.
�� Spelman and Morehouse students secured free meals for food insecure students.
�� A fund honoring Philando Castile’s work as a cafeteria supervisor raised enough money to erase every St. Paul student’s school lunch debt.
13. And this is why every vote counts
Tireless work from black organizers gave Doug Jones his shocking win in Alabama. Jones, and everyone else, should read this letter from the groups that elected him. #PoliticiansWorkForUs
This November looked very different from last year! This year delivered so many historic wins from people of color, transgender candidates, women, and socialists. You can find all of them here, but we can’t help but highlight the newly-elected Andrea Jenkins, Danica Roem, Larry Krasner, and Vernetta Alston; the fact that every member of the Palm Springs, CA City Council identifies as LGBTQ+; and Ashley Bennett’s triumph against a Republican politician who made a sexist joke about the Women’s March. #Winning
Earlier this year, we cheered on these candidates:
�� khalid kamau, a socialist and Black Lives Matter organizer, was elected to city council.
�� Randall Woodfin won the Birmingham, Alabama mayoral race.
�� Chokwe Antar Lumumba became mayor in Jackson, Mississippi, carrying on his father’s legacy.
And there were other big wins in special elections, including some seats that have never been held by a Democrat before:
A Hawaii state rep left the Republican party to join the Democrats, and a Republican judge resigned to protest his own party’s behavior—and so the governor could appoint a Democrat to replace him. We also can’t forget the elation we felt when these senators persisted and reclaimed their time.
We have our eyes on the 2018 midterms:
- Scientists and Muslim-Americans are signing up to run.
- 16,000 women told Emily’s List they want to run for office (compared to 920 total in the past two years).
- 369 women are running for Congress, more than ever before.
- A bunch of GOP reps, including Jason Chaffetz, aren’t running for reelection in 2018.
- It will soon be easier to learn who is funding political ads on Facebook and in California.
104 women currently serve in Congress, the largest amount in our history, but we’re hoping 2018 will blow that number out of the water.
And while we’re talking about all the election wins, we have to talk about the important work being done to protect voting rights.
We loved seeing 80,000 people march in Raleigh, NC for voting rights, and were thrilled to learn that College Park, Maryland granted undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens voting rights in local elections.
And nearly every state came out against the Trump administration’s election commission, which eventually suspended their voter data request. But that’s not all—the commission is being investigated while facing seven federal lawsuits (they already lost one), and now one of their members is suing them as well.
14. It was the year of Superwomen & #OscarsNotSoWhite
Even though Trump doesn’t care about the arts at all, we’re happy Congress understands why they are so important—and increased funding to the NEA in 2017. But that was only the beginning.
From box office successes:
⭐ Hidden Figures beat Star Wars at the box office its opening weekend.
⭐ I Am Not Your Negro became the highest-grossing theatrical release in its distributor’s history.
⭐ Wonder Woman broke box office records all over the place—beating previous grosses by women directors and all superhero origin stories to date.
To a lot of firsts:
⭐ Girls Trip became the first film to be written, directed, and produced by, and starring, people of color to cross the $100 million mark.
⭐ Get Out director Jordan Peele became the first black writer-director to have a feature debut earn more than $100 million.
⭐ Moonlight was the first best picture winner at the Oscars to have an all-black cast AND the first film centered on an LGBTQ character.
⭐ Viola Davis became the first black woman to win an Emmy, Tony, and Oscar for acting.
⭐ Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim man to win an Oscar.
⭐ Riz Ahmed became the first South Asian—and first Muslim—man to win an acting Emmy.
⭐ Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing.
⭐ Michael Che became the first black head writer at SNL.
Phew. Thanks again to Marjorie Kamine
Happy New Year to All. Be safe. Designate a driver.
Paul & Roxanne