Why Progressives Must Stay United

A new report finds more U.S. children living in poverty than
before the Great Recession. According to the report, released Tuesday from the
Annie E. Casey Foundation, 22 percent of American children are living in
poverty (as of 2013, the latest data available) compared with 18 percent in

Poverty rates are nearly double among
African-Americans and American Indians. Problems are most severe in South and
Southwest. Particularly troubling is a large increase in the share of children
living in poor communities marked by poor schools and a lack of a safe place to

Which brings me to politics, power, and the progressive movement. 

The main event at the Netroots
Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona last weekend was a “Presidential Town
Hall” featuring one-on-one discussions between journalist and undocumented
American Jose Antonio Vargas and presidential candidates Governor Martin
O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders.

It was upstaged by ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter
activists who demanded to be heard.

It’s impossible to overcome
widening economic inequality in America without also dealing with the legacy of
racial inequality.

And it is impossible to overcome
racial inequality without also reversing widening economic inequality.

They are not the same but they
are intimately related.

Racial inequalities are baked
into our political and economic system. Police brutality against black men and
women, mass incarceration disproportionately of blacks and Latinos, housing
discrimination that has resulted in racial apartheid across the nation, and
voter suppression in the forms of gerrymandered districts, voter identification
requirements, purges of names from voter registration lists, and understaffed
voting stations in black neighborhoods – all reveal deep structures of
discrimination that undermine economic inequality.

Black lives matter.

But it would be a terrible
mistake for the progressive movement to split into a “Black lives matter” movement
and an “economic justice” movement.

This would only play into the
hands of the right.

For decades Republicans have

Originally appeared at: http://robertreich.org/post/124756365725