6 Socially Woke Holiday Gift Ideas for Progressive Friends

‘Tis time to celebrate the winter holidays! Traditionally, gifts are involved. May I ask what you’ll be giving your best progressive chums? If you haven’t yet decided, consider these socially woke gift ideas. They’re sure to bring smiles and heart warmth to this year’s season of peace and love.

#6 – Socially Conscious Gifts That Help Children

Want your holiday gift-giving to celebrate caring, but must avoid politics? Helping and protecting innocent children is the no-brainer social issue that everyone supports.

Shop for holiday presents that help save children’s lives, all around the world, at the UNICEF Gift Shop and Market. They sell fine items, from signature UNICEF cards, to handmade artisan jewelry, and fair-trade alpaca scarves.

Shop for a better world with UNICEF Market.

Wall calendars make great winter holiday presents. You can also find many that are appropriate for summer holidays in the southern hemisphere. For instance, nobody loves to help children more than Australian firemen. They first began producing the Australian Firefighters Calendar in order to support the Children’s Hospital Foundation. 27 years later, they’ve donated over $3 million to charities that help kids and animals.

A look behind-the-scenes of the “Australian Firefighters Calendar” photoshoots.

#5 – Games That Change the World

If you’ve ever wanted to increase anyone’s awareness of fascism, civil rights, or worker co-ops — and have fun, instead of arguments — TESA educational games are for you. They make great gifts, too. Break one out after the holiday meal. Imagine the discussion!

#4 – Mind-Opening Reading

Give the gift of reading this holiday season. Open-minded topics range from veganism to billionaire elites, from biographical history to cli-fi. Check the Library of Progressive Culture for some great books I’ve recently spotted.

One of my favorite historical reads this year was The Man Who Saved the Union by H.W. Brands. Ulysses S. Grant is known for having been an excessive drinker. True, but if his aides helped him, he could stay away from the bottle. The full Grant story is surprising, fascinating, and an enlightened history of the American Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Personally, I gave the book 5 gold stars.

Book cover of "The Man Who Saved the Union" by H. W. Brands
Book cover of “The Man Who Saved the Union” by H. W. Brands

For holiday gifts that continue to give throughout the year, consider magazine subscriptions. Progressives will enjoy the cover art and articles from The New Yorker, The Nation, Jacobin, or Dissent.

The Fall issue of Jacobin.

Finally, there is the most important reading gift, and it’s a freebie. Help friends connect to the nationwide Overdrive library app — to enjoy ebooks, audiobooks, and movies on their electronic devices. It’s free (no fines possible; loans end automatically). The only requirement? A library card. An added benefit? Conservative readers may soften toward “socialist” programs like public libraries.

#3 – Homemade-Art Protest Signs

It’s so annoying to be at a protest rally, without a good sign. This holiday season, lift the game of your nonviolent demonstrating friends. How? If you’re artsy-crafty, make a homemade protest sign for every progressive friend on your gift-giving list — tailored to the issue of their greatest concern.

The materials you’ll need:

(Attend en masse, and next year’s protest events will be awesome!)

#2 – Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book

Adult coloring has been hot for several years. It’s relaxing, and enjoyable to do alone or around the kitchen table while chatting with friends. Enter the Infographic Energy Transition Coloring Book for a trendy (and informative) holiday gift idea.

This award-winning activity book playfully breaks down climate change and the energy transition through hand-drawn, engaging infographics!

#1 – Gift Donations to Political Leaders & Activists

2020 is an election year. Now is the time to send a holiday contribution, in the name of each progressive friend, to his or her fearless political leader. That’s right. Forget exchanging gifts. Shoot the money straight to Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign (look for the red “Donate” button). Or to Tulsi, Elizabeth Warren, or any favorite Green candidate. Most candidates sell campaign merchandise. For the deluxe touch, tuck the donation receipt within the fold of a campaign t-shirt, and tie with bow.

Keep in mind state candidates running for national office. A donation to one of them may make the perfect gift for a friend of yours. Follow the links below to find revolutionary progressive candidates.

Ditto with activist groups. These organizations represent worthy causes that may fit the bill for progressive holiday gift-giving: Sunrise Movement (climate), March For Our Lives (gun control), and CodePink (peace). There are many more!

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19 Radical Progressive Candidates Running for U.S. Senate & Structural Change

Do you want single-payer Medicare for All? Do you want a Green New Deal? Then #AnyBlueWon’tDo. We need real progressives to build a U.S. Senate that’s prepared for life-saving, planet-saving structural change. Celebrated here, are the 2020 radical progressive candidates for U.S. Senate who, if elected, will make a difference.

Support a Progressive U.S. Senate

Most of the candidates listed are running for national office outside your own state of residence. You won’t be able to vote for them. Yet the U.S. Senate plays a necessary role in national lawmaking, impacting every citizen from sea to shining sea.

We are all in this together. Please support every women and man running to build a progressive U.S. Senate, in any way that you ARE able:

  • Follow and share their updates on social media.
  • Volunteer to phonebank.
  • Donate a $1 (or more) to each one.
  • Talk about them with your friends and family.
  • Share this post far and wide.

19 Far-Left, Radical Candidates Running for the U.S. Senate

Dear Progressive, these are the men and women you must help get elected into office next year:

  1. David WhitfieldArkansas
  2. Diana Bray or Lorena Garcia or Andrew RomanoffColorado
  3. Ted TerryGeorgia
  4. Marilyn Jordan LawlorIllinois
  5. Kimberly GrahamIowa
  6. Steven Cox or Eric RothmullerKentucky
  7. Antoine PierceLouisiana
  8. Betsy SweetMaine
  9. Ed Markey (incumbent, co-authored GND resolution) – Massachusetts
  10. Jensen BohrenMississippi
  11. Angie PhillipsNebraska
  12. Jeff Merkley (incumbent, a progressive champion) – Oregon
  13. Justin WootonSouth Carolina
  14. Sema HernandezTexas
  15. Paula Jean Swearengin – West Virginia
  16. Yana LudwigWyoming

Every one of the above listed candidates is committed to single-payer Medicare for All. Every one of them rejects corporate money.

All Progressive Candidates Running for National Office, Nationwide

In case you’d like to see all the revolutionary candidates running for national office, state by state, the links are provided below. They include candidates running for U.S. House, as well as U.S. Senate.

Here’s to a Progressive U.S. Senate!

In 2020, we may elect a strong progressive President into the White House. If so, President Sanders will need strong progressive Senators at his back, fighting for massive structural changes. And we, the Progressive Movement, will continue to support all of them!

At this time, one of our main objectives is to fight to elect real progressives into the United States Senate… even if we don’t know them… in our own state. #NotMeUs

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Progressive Movement: Getting In the “Flow”

Hong Kong protesters inspire thoughts of evolutionary, revolutionary “flow.” Their political demonstrations flow like water: fluid, changing, adjusting, powerful. They are intentional. They are tactical.

“Be Water!”: Seven Tactics That Are Winning Hong Kong’s Democracy Revolution | New Statesman

The Revolutionary Flow, State By State

Centrist Democrats, here in America, are doing their best to block progressive flow. They are like beavers, not water. They growl for party “unity,” though they might better join the political revolution that’s flowing from coast to coast… if they want to be unified with voters. So far, we have 187 revolutionary candidates running for national office in 2020. See the breakdown below:

Protest Flows Across the Planet

All around the world, people are demonstrating. At first, protests broke out over something specific: a tax, rising prices, a bad election, judicial independence. Hong Kong. France. Chile. Ecuador. Lebanon. Iraq. Spain. The United Kingdom. Bolivia. Brazil.

Then, even in cases where concessions were won, the protests continued to flow — more like an uprising — for greater principles such as economic justice, political freedom, climate action, and to fight corruption.

Background: blue and white water tumbling over rocks. Text: "Joy like a river, from each little creek that flows free... Democracy."
It is rocky. Yet… “Joy like a river, from each little creek that flows free… Democracy.”

Take a look at the following resources. They’ll help fill-in information gaps surrounding the waves of protest that currently flow across our planet.

Do Today’s Global Protests Have Anything in Common? | BBC

Protests Around the World Explained | Amnesty International

What’s Going on in South America? Understanding the Wave of Protests | The Conversation

Welcome to the Global Rebellion Against Neoliberalism | The Nation

As Global Inequality Rises, so Are the Movements Fighting It | Inequality.org

Getting In the Progressive “Flow”

The “flow” experience is known for being highly enjoyable. So relax. STOP resisting.

Stop resisting Trump. Stop resisting Millennials. Stop resisting Bernie Sanders.

Turn off network TV. The political revolution is not being televised. Find some reliable online independent news sources, instead.

Get the Big Picture. Get in the “flow.” Join the Progressive Movement: fight for someone you don’t know. It’s beautiful, and there’s a future in it.

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Last Standing Progressive Presidential Candidate

I published “Revolutionary Progressive Candidates 2020: Medicare 4 All & No Corp Money!” on April 30, 2019. Six months later, Bernie Sanders is the last progressive presidential candidate standing. The one and only.

A lone tree on the hill
A lone, beautifully gnarled tree, on the crest of a hill, represents progressive presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. #NoMiddleGround

Presidential Candidates Who Failed to Keep Progressive Standards

Early in the life of the “Revolutionary Progressive Candidates” list, I deleted those who demonstrated collusion with corporate donors (i.e. consultations with Wall Street executives) and/or protected the interests of private healthcare insurance (i.e., did not support single-payer Medicare for All).

I deleted Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris when I learned those two had consulted with Wall Street before announcing their candidacy for U.S. President. I deleted Elizabeth Warren because she planned to accept corporate money during the General Election, were she nominated. Andrew Yang waffled on single-payer, ultimately deciding to keep a public option. Marianne Williamson also wanted to keep private insurers in the loop, so Americans could have a “choice.” Deleted. All deleted from the list.

Then it became clear that Tulsi Gabbard no longer supported single-payer Medicare for All. She, too, aimed to provide Americans with a healthcare “choice.” However, I couldn’t bare to completely delete her from the list. She got the strike-through treatment, instead. You can still see her original campaign platform on the list, but it’s clear she has been crossed-off.

Presidential Candidates Who Dropped Out of the Race

Two revolutionary progressive presidential candidates dropped out of the race since April: Mike Gravel and Bill de Blasio. They could not meet the polling and/or small donor requirements needed to join the Democratic debates. When Gravel dropped out, he endorsed Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. De Blasio rushed back to the duties of NYC mayor. Both received the strike-through treatment; for the record, you can still see their campaign platform policies.

Bernie Is the One-And-Only

That leaves one revolutionary progressive candidate for President: Bernie Sanders. He’s alone on the list, except for a few Green Party candidates. None of them are well-known. Most will be eliminated when the Green Party nominates its presidential candidate by convention, in July of 2020. None of the Greens have even a faint chance of winning the General Election.

Effectively, Bernie is the one-and-only, true-blue, progressive presidential candidate of 2020. As Berners on Twitter like to say, #NotAnyBlueWillDo! Indeed, Bernie Sanders’ progressive policies, record, and character set the standard. He is grassroots all the way, accepting no corporate money. As far as single-payer Medicare for All goes, he “wrote the damn bill!”

Bernie has recently received political endorsements from Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and the California Progressive Alliance.

Be Prepared to Vote in the Primary

Everyone, please make sure you’re registered (as a Democrat, if living in a closed-primary state) to vote for Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic Primary. Voting requirements and dates vary from state to state. Go to VoteForBernie.org to make sure you’re ready and able to nominate Bernie Sanders to represent the Democratic Party and run for U.S. President in the General Election.

Because of voter suppression tactics, investigative reporter Greg Palast would advise you to double-check the status of your voter registration — even if you think you’re registered, even if you voted in the last election! Palast found that “14 million Americans were purged from voter rolls” in 2018, alone.

Progressive State Candidates 2020

Here’s the update on 2020 progressive candidates running for Congress, state by state. So far, there are 154. Please support them as you are best able. Share their social media updates. Talk about them. Make a financial donation to your favorites, any amount will do. These are the men and women who will create a progressive Congress, to support a progressive President, to support our progressive political revolution. #NotMeUs

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First Family Pride

When Bernie spoke at the rally last Saturday, he thanked his wife, Jane, his kids, and his grandchildren.

Which is typical. But then he said something that sprang out.

Something uplifting and important…

Bernie Sanders speaking at a rally

Bernie said,

This is a family you will be proud of.

(Regarding the people in the underlayer of Bernie’s rally photo: Yes, that is Jane Sanders. The other “family” members come from a stock photo available on Pixabay.)

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Sanders, With the Bernie Squad at His Back. NYC Rally!

Today is the “Bernie’s Back” rally in New York City at 1:00 PM Eastern. We already know Sen. Bernie Sanders has bounced back from his heart attack. He appeared vital, quick-witted, and charming during the 4th Democratic presidential debate last Tuesday night. Sanders is more than OK. His campaign is surging.

The Bernie Squad

Key figures of the Progressive Movement are coalescing around Bernie Sanders. They’re nicknamed the “Bernie Squad.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and filmmaker Michael Moore will officially announce their endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President at the rally today. Rep. Ilhan Omar announced her Sanders endorsement last Tuesday. Rep. Rashida Tlaib is expected to announce her endorsement at an upcoming Sanders rally in Detroit.

Everyone who supports Sanders for President is part of the “Bernie Squad.” If you can’t be at the rally today, don’t feel left out. Watch it on C-Span or online at Bernie Sanders Live.

Bernie's Back Rally in NYC
Be there, or watch live online.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Endorses Bernie Sanders

With signature eloquence, Rep. Ilhan Omar endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for President earlier this week.

Rep. Ilhan Omar endorses Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.

Sanders Rakes In Millions of Grassroots Bucks

In the last quarter, ending September 30th, Sanders’s campaign outraised his opponents to the tune of $25.3 million. And with $33.7 million on hand, Bernie’s campaign is more flush than those of the other candidates. Every buck contributed to the Sanders campaign, of course, has grassroots origins.

Bernie Sanders is strong and healthy. His campaign coffers are strong and healthy. Biden’s popularity is gradually dropping. Now that Elizabeth Warren has taken the lead, she’s coming under attack.

When it’s Bernie’s turn to take the lead, his opponents will be hard-pressed to find a slanderous attack that sticks — that does not inadvertently boost Bernie’s image. “Too old” is wise and experienced. “Socialist” contrasts nicely with corporate fascism. “Angry” translates into Angry-For-Us, for all of us.

Bernie has a decades-long record, the receipts. He’s fought for everyone: gays, workers, women, and PoC. While cable news networks try to dismiss him as an angry, shouting old white guy, Bernie’s supporters know the true man.

WARNING: Viewing this video may make your eyes tear.

Independent filmmaker Matt Orfalea gets it right in his video, Rising Up. Bernie Sanders is back, and rising.

View the Video-Recorded Rally

If you missed the live event, catch the entire “Bernie’s Back” rally in the video below. Enjoy a scene from the political revolution!

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United Methodist Women Join Strike for Climate Justice

The United Methodist Women (UMW) are doing their job! Climate Justice was their 2016 spearheaded focus, and now they’re officially backing the 2019 student climate strike. Are they the only mainstream church organization that’s combating climate emergency?

Climate Crisis & Church Leadership

Women are the most active church leaders on social issues. And the United Methodist Women know the poorest and most vulnerable people are first to experience the destructive effects of climate change. Therefore, they are strong advocates for climate justice. Still, that doesn’t mean the at-large United Methodist Church is supporting them, or joining the Climate Strike. In some places, the UMC quite effectively ignores the women’s leadership group.

I live near Clearwater, Florida. Around here, there wasn’t a Methodist “peep” for climate justice in 2016. More recently, a United Methodist minister of the surrounding locale employed the image of a power plant (!) — with billowing smoke pouring from the stacks — as a visual metaphor for the power of the Holy Spirit. (The Sun traditionally plays that role, to great literary and logical effect.)

Mainstream Christian denominations try to accommodate the local culture. That’s to be desired, in most cases. Around here, however, the Methodists coddle political far-right climate-denying fundamentalists — likely for the sake of numbers and dollars; there are many such folks hereabout.

Yet, the United Methodist Women are an international organization that forges ahead with effective purpose in many parts of the country and the world. Their recognition of the devastating climate crisis, and their committed push for climate justice, helps to steady my nerves. Thankfully, they are not the lone platoon of Christian soldiers on this battlefront.

Other traditional Christian voices also cry out for climate action. Christianity is the core philosophy of renown climate advocate Al Gore, a Baptist. Episcopalian presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg wants to fight climate change with religion. Pope Francis wrote an encyclical on the environment and climate change. Evangelical* Christian Katherine Hayhoe is a highly respected climate scientist. Undoubtedly, countless members of secular climate action groups also belong to a mainstream Christian denomination.

* Evangelical churches don’t fall into the category of mainline Christian protestant denominations. Hayhoe is just too outstanding not to include in this paragraph.

Climate, Reality & Responsibility

But the climate crisis isn’t about religion or politics. It’s about reality and responsibility. The good and sane United Methodist Women deserve kudos for taking a stand on climate justice. Their kindness, awareness and wisdom lead them to care for neighbor, nature, and the future. And you know what? They don’t mind if they’re not popular with the mainstream church, or the Republican Party.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

~ Psalm 24:1

Further Reading: Largest Denominational Group for Women Expresses Support for Student Climate Strike | United Methodist Women

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