As we do every Monday, we post links and summaries of posts from last week. In addition, we provide an update on what is coming this week in the legislature and a guest post from Eduardo Krasilovsky, who offers commentary on a historic conflict between between America’s impulse for democracy and historic roots in oligarchy. Great stuff.
“Legislative Update” will be regular feature of the Retake blog for the next two months. We will likely post fewer blogs over the next weeks as we focus on tracking and advocating for legislation.
For a democracy to be responsive to the needs of regular people, working people, retired people, students, small business owners, it must be a participatory process. Over the past year, we have seen millions of people across the nation, most recently in Georgia, participate in the election process by calling, texting, canvassing, and donating. In New Mexico, over the past four years, we have vastly changed the composition of both chambers of the legislature and installed a Democratic Governor, Land Commissioner, Auditor, Secretary of State. That matters. What happened in Georgia matters for all of us. What happened in the June primaries in NM matters to all of us.
These gains will matter far more if all of us are engaged in the legislative process here in NM. We have 20 Transformational Bills and over 25 Priority Bills to fight for. Our legislators will hear from industry lobbyists for healthcare, insurance, banking, gas & oil, utilities, big pharma, big agriculture, and other industries. Those lobbyists will share misinformation to undermine the understanding of legislators who have little time, no staff, and much to absorb.
It’s up to all of us to put in as much time as we can spare to participate in that process. Retake volunteers work hard to make it easy for you to navigate the issues, understand the bills, and raise your voice effectively. For it to work, we all must do our part. The process begins in earnest now, with hearings slated today, tomorrow and every day this week. In those hearings, legislators will vote to advance or kill important legislation we support. Today, committees will decide whether to advance a Civil Rights Act and to Repeal the Abortion Ban. Tomorrow, they will vote on two important environmental bills. Read on! And then please become a part of the process. We need you. But do you know who needs you more? These people:
- Our essential workers who risk their lives to stock shelves, deliver medicine, administer vaccines, and work to save the lives of those infected with COVID.
- Our rural communities whose economies have been decimated by this recession and whose needs have been ignored for decades.
- Our tribal communities who bore the brunt of the pandemic and continue to have their rights, land, and water exploited.
- Our communities of color who are marginalized economically, victimized by our criminal justice system, and subject to daily racist policies and practices.
- Our immigrants who live in fear of deportation: thousands of children separated from their families and thousands of adults and children living in squalid detention centers across the country, with NM having the second highest proportion of private prisons in the nation;
- Our seniors living on fixed incomes who must pay ever higher utility, medication, insurance, and housing costs;
- Our neighbors living with chronic conditions or disabilities that require increasingly expensive treatment and/or medical attention that requires them to visit medical facilities where they could be exposed to COVID.
That is an awful lot of people who need legislative relief. If we pass the bills on our Transformational list we will bring universal healthcare to New Mexicans, banish private prisons, expand early childhood education, offer paid sick leave to our essential workers, free ourselves from the greedy grip of utility monopolies, and deliver meaningful resources to our tribal and rural communities. And that is but six of our 20 Transformational bills. To review all our Transformational and Priority bills click here. To find out how you can participate effectively in the process, read on!
Legislative Alerts: Legislative alerts are published almost daily throughout the session. They include information about committee hearings of the bills we support.
The alerts provide information on how to view a hearing from your couch, how to offer comment to legislators during the hearings, and how to email and call legislators to tell them your views on the bill. By all accounts, it is a very effective way of meaningfully participating in the legislative process. We’ve been told many times over the years that in just a few minutes each day, you can weigh in on the issues that matter most to you. And with the legislative process now online, you can play an even more active role without getting in your car. If you are not receiving alerts, click here.
Signed Up But Not Getting Your Alerts? There is a glitch in the new email platform we are using to send alerts and the glitch is impacting some of our subscribers. We have received reports from people who had always been receiving our alerts who are saying they are not receiving them now. We sent our first alert for this session on Saturday and one this morning (Monday). Some members of the alert network have told us that they have located their alert in their “Promotions” folder. So you may want to check there and in your spam folder.
If you have signed up already, and are not receiving alerts, please use this link to sign up again. If you still don’t receive them, write to RetakeResponse@gmail.com. In the meantime, you will find links to all alerts here.
Weekly Legislative Huddle. Retake hosts a weekly Zoom meeting Fridays from 3:30-4:30pm to discuss our advocacy efforts, how bills are progressing, what hearings are coming, and to hone our advocacy. Click here to register for this meeting. It is a great way to learn more about the legislative process and how you can effectively advocate.
Let’s Do This….Together!
America’s Desire for Democracy
in Conflict with Our Historic Oligarchic Roots
From Eduardo Krasilovsky
It is my experience that humans are able to hold, and live with, significant contradictions for a lifetime. So it seems natural for us to create cultures full of contradictions. American presidents had always had to ‘preside’ over a Republic divided into an all powerful existing Empire and a Democracy in the making.
It has been dangerous to not know, or not accept, or forget that this Republic was created by a Ruling Class for the satisfaction of its needs. This Republic, like many others, is of the ruling class. But this very Republic has also wished to serve the bottom 80% (more or less) classes living under the thumb of the minority Ruling Class.
There is then a difficult balancing act confronting all presidents in the USA and now Joe Biden. (Presidents in almost all other nations also are, ultimately, at the mercy of their country’s ruling class, but they do not have to also run an Empire.)
This country can not fully develop into a democracy until its people unveil and confront the lies they were told about the history of the country and about who they are from the moment they were born. In the meantime we live in a republic where a majority aspires to live in a democratic society and where a small minority of Oligarchs constantly work to subvert and destroy the fulfillment of those aspirations.
I believe nobody living in the Americas ever experienced ‘democracy’ and most confuse the privileges of class, money and race with democracy. We do not even know what are the full range of ‘necessary conditions’ to create and nurture a democracy.
I do have hope in the children of the 21st century. They amaze me! Like Amanda Gorman did/does — a poet, an artist of the 21st century bringing to life a new, more humane narrative. As always, only time will tell.
Eduardo came across an article from David Sirota published by the Daily Poster. It amplifies on Eduardo’s commentary. It is important to keep our eyes wide open and continually enhance our understanding of the forces at work. Thank you, Eduardo.
A Look Back at Last Week’s Posts
With video from MLK, Jr., Valarie Kaur, Amanda Gorman, and reports on the impact of the transition to Biden, last week’s posts didn’t lack inspiration. If I had to pick one post to review, I’d choose the one at the bottom, published on Saturday and covering the critical need to begin addressing the needs of rural America and rural NM.
Legislators Misinformed on Key Bills & Legislative Session Begins Tomorrow; Biden’s First Days Packed with Actions; Tribute to MLK, Jr.
Monday, January 18. In addition to MLK, Jr. quotes and video, we offer a timely depiction of the historic evolution of the white supremacy MLK, Jr. fought to end. We also offer more on Biden’s plans for his first days in office, details on our legislative strategy, and our regular Monday retrospective on last week’s posts. Read on! Life is gonna start looking up!
Personal Stories Can Show How Individuals are Harmed by Poor Healthcare Coverage; Plus Legislative Survey Results
Tuesday, January 19. In this post, we offer a powerful Bill Moyers video interview with civil rights activists James Cone and Taylor Branch. We build upon that theme with another quote from MLK, Jr. on the importance of bold progressive action, followed by commentary from Retake responding to a reader who wrote that it was time to stop jabbering about progressive values and priorities and just allow the country to return to normal. We respectfully disagree with that position, and in this post we explained why. Finally, we outline how Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign is using personal stories to explain the very human impact for people with poor insurance coverage.
We Somehow Survived, But So Many Did Not;
Today We Turn the Page
Wednesday, January 20. We offered a personal reflection on this day that we’d all been awaiting for years. As I waited for the inauguration to begin I felt a mixture of trepidation, sadness, relief, and hope, with the focus of this post being our need to maintain hope. We also offer an update on the New Mexico legislative session, including a breakdown of the new Senate Committee membership and chairs, one of the most important decisions made by Democrats.
An Inauguration Like No Other; Our Transformational Bill List Is Up to 20; What the Heck is Fusion Voting?
Thursday, January 21. We offer commentary on the inaugural, the dignified afternoon White House briefing, and entertain the difference between seeking revenge and seeking justice. We close with the video of the extraordinary reading by inauguration poet Amanda Gorman. We include that video again today and, again, Valarie Kaur’s inspirational cry “what if the darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb.” Roxanne laughs at me, as I’ve probably posted this video 10 times since the speech was given in January 2017. But I still can’t watch it without tears.
The Critical Importance of Addressing Rural Needs: It’s About Justice & the Only Way We Heal America
Saturday, January 23. This important post focuses on research from three rural lawyers who propose five policies to address rural needs and advise that government failure to respond to those needs was the fodder for Trumpism.
We also update you on what is coming in the Legislature, with a focus on bills addressing rural NM that we strongly support. We also offered two important News In Briefs, one focused on how Trump furiously appointed a slew of high-level defense administrators to disrupt Biden’s early diplomatic moves, and the second from Heather Cox Richardson, a two part-post with the first half focused on the total absence of COVID planning left by Trump, and the second on how the filibuster came to be and why it is so important it be eliminated.
The post also includes the Saturday Retake Conversation with Roxanne and I previewing the 2021 Session with a focus on additions to our Transformational Bill list and a discussion of why we are prioritizing rural and tribal infrastructure and educational bills. If you missed this post, it would be a good one to review. The discussion of the critical importance of the national and NM Democratic Party focusing on the needs of rural America is something we all need to consider.
Winona LaDuke Speaks Out on Local Choice Energy
Local Choice Energy will be heard tomorrow, so if you are seeking motivation to attend via Zoom, to offer comment, and to contact our legislator, this video will definitely increase your motivation.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation