A memo to the Progressive Caucus on Today's Iraq vote

A Memo to the Progressive Caucus On the Eve of the Iraq Vote

TO: The Congressional Progressive Caucus
FROM: David Sirota
RE: Iraq Supplemental Vote

"As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is, not as I would like it to be," wrote Saul Alinsky, one of the 20th Century's most successful progressive leaders. "That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be - it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system."

These words are as important this week as they were 35 years ago when they were first published in the book Rules for Radicals. With the House expected to vote this week on binding legislation to end the war in 2008, a group of Congress's most distinguished progressive heroes is undecided about whether to vote yes or no. The indecision is entirely understandable. Democratic leaders have attached their binding legislation to a bill providing ongoing military funding, and many progressives understandably do not want to vote for a single dollar more for anything that could be construed as fueling the war.

The question, then, is simple: Should these progressives vote yes and accept the congressional world as it is right now -- a world filled with a unified Republican caucus that will do anything to continue the war indefinitely and a group of egotistical, pro-war Blue Dog Democrats who will do anything to lavish attention on themselves as supposedly "tough"? Or, should they view the congressional world as they wish it would be and vote no, sending the bill down to defeat?
ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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