Media Activist Runs for Congress


norman-solomonAfter more than thirty years as a media critic, Utne Reader contributor Norman Solomon is running for Congress. Dennis Bernstein at The Progressive spoke to Solomon about this career change. “For more than forty years, I’ve been writing to change the system; now I’m running to change the system,” Solomon told Bernstein.  

For decades, we’ve seen one disaster after another as progressives have routinely left the electoral field to corporate Democrats and their Republican colleagues. We desperately need to go beyond the false choice between staying true to ideals and winning public office. Progressives can—and must—do both.

The article quotes Sean Penn, one of Solomon’s campaign supporters, at a recent fundraising event, recalling a trip he and the candidate took to Iran just before the Iraq war began.

“As hundreds, then thousands, gathered around the circle of singing women, suddenly it was the appearance of the special police,” Penn said. “And then out came the batons. As things got chaotic, I briefly lost Norman in the crowd. I was about twenty-five yards from getting to that inner circle of women who were taking bludgeons to the heads. And then I saw Norman, not flinching, standing directly beside them, and he stayed through it all.”   

Read the rest of Bernstein’s article about Solomon and read his piece “Democrats Must Push Back” at


Source: The Progressive, The Real News 

gwynn o'neill
11/21/2011 9:59:29 PM

I don't believe this guy Norman Solomon has the cajones to get the job done." We have to organize from the ground up"?? What is Occupy but that? He should be jumping up and down with joy that we the people are very visible and have turned around and faced most of what we all are up against.(In DC they just wrote out in detail what Occupy stands for.) ........................................................................................To Esainko, you may be right, but we have to try. In the act of trying, great strength is found.

11/21/2011 4:40:13 PM

Norman, your action is of course good, and if you make it to Congress, you won’t be terribly compromised as you learn the ropes. Now the But. But, as I seldom tire of repeating, failing a great positive Shock (Naomi Klein has documented the value to rulers of negative shocks), all such efforts will run afoul of a species inertia and distractibility that ensures little will get done. I doubt many progressive people realize that the political economy is in collapse, that climate change is, not merely unsolved, but accelerating (as is destruction of species, with all the attention to those threatened and endangered), that )as fracking further pollutes nitrate-heavy groundwater) , that the culturally-defined wretched of the Earth march lemming-like to oblivion. If they saw how bad things are, they would be discouraged even more than they are. (deep breath) So get elected, and as inertia rules, criticize it daily. Ally with the few Kuciniches, praise the preludes to that Shock (Arab Spring, summer of Indignant discontent, Occupying Fall, …), and meditate on FDR’s list of freedoms yet to be achieved, the minimum for a civilized society. And when (if) the Shock arrives, grasp its effects firmly. Old chains need to get lost.

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