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Defeat doesn’t stop left-wing activists

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:52 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

Four progressive political organizers, expressing disappointment at the results of the presidential election, called on MU students to continue grassroots efforts on Tuesday. The speakers addressed about 50 students from different political groups in Stotler Lounge at Memorial Union on the MU campus.

“What I’m afraid of is that we’re all not going to keep it up,” said Rachel Wright, an issue and electoral organizer for Mid-Missouri Pro-Vote. “We want to make sure we do. We want to not let Bush get us into this sort of depressed mode where we all just stop ... so we need to keep working hard.”

Pro-Vote, a left-wing coalition of 36 interest groups and labor organizations, intends to remain active in the coming months in issue campaigns and special races in Missouri House and Senate districts.

“We’ll definitely be working on issues from now on,” Wright said. “Campaigning for issues just as we would for a candidate.”

Paul Rainsberger of United Working People of Mid-Missouri offered a diagnosis of what went wrong for liberal candidates this year. He said fragmentation among liberal interest groups was a chief reason.

“The problem is there’s no single clear vision for all those other groups,” he said. “So we are a class divided.”

Rainsberger, who had volunteered in voter registration efforts before the election, also complained that “economic issues” such as health care, education and fiscal health “took a back seat to concerns about terrorism and moral values and guns.”

He introduced Natalie Edwards, a volunteer coordinator for the AFL-CIO in Milwaukee who worked with John Kerry’s campaign, to the students. Edwards expressed disbelief at the results of the election given the intensity of volunteer efforts.

“I don’t know what went wrong,” she said. “I’ve never seen a more concerted effort to get something done, ever.

“I am still really depressed about it.”


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