Progressive life in the U.S. can be rough. The two main political parties and many environmental and non-profit groups in the U.S. are not really structured to facilitate mass participation, university "activism" has turned towards the depoliticized navel gazing of much of "cultural studies", blogs are cool but limited and not immune from collective action problems plaguing other platforms for action, and the union movement has been generally on the decline for decades. How's a young person to tune in, turn on, and drop (metaphorical) bombz on the system?
United Students Against Sweatshops has filled an important void in leadership development for young progressives. The coalition has offered many yoots their first exposure to labor and solidarity organizing, and perhaps and unfortunately their last exposure to open and honest debates about politics with a small p (as opposed to big P, as in Politico), as some of us in the early days of USAS grappled with. While the group has done pioneering work on overseas labor conditions (hence the name), it has also been at the forefront of making U.S. campuses more labor friendly, both by supporting cafeteria and TA unions, and changing attitudes of upper and middle class students.
It is vital that groups like USAS continue to flourish and grow, so that there are many many more people involved in moving our country forward. Anyone who wants to help with that vision is encouraged to turn out tonight for USAS' 10-Year Anniversary Celebration here in DC, or simply donate online to a worthy cause. You can do both or either here.