From the Executive Director

These past months PRA has been implementing our commitment to "Action Research" in exciting new ways, specifically through the activities of researchers Pam Chamberlain and Palak Shah.

With the goal of discussing the implications of the research done in her recently published study, Deliberate Differences, Progressive and Conservative Campus Activism in the United States, Pam is traveling to different schools around the country and having discussions with student activists on campus. After initial trips to the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Texas Austin, Pam reports in this edition of PRAccess certain patterns in student responses to the PRA report. Progressive students confirmed their disinterest for any form of debate on campus, despite the need for such forums in any vibrant democratic institution. More important, they are anxious for any advice to improve their effectiveness, particularly given the lack of mentorship on campus. In April Pam will be speaking to groups in California and Washington DC.

Plans are in the final stages for Palak Shah, editor of our just published Defending Justice, An Activist Resource Kit, to conduct a series of workshops on the Kit to activist groups around the country. Palak will lead workshops for criminal justice activists in New York City and California in April. In May, PRA will host a Boston launch party for Defending Justice followed by a workshop conducted by Palak for criminal justice activists in the area. All of you in the vicinity will be receiving more details next month.

Chip Berlet, PRA Senior Analyst, has been devoting most of his time to researching and writing a definitive history and analysis of a powerful, but little known organization, National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC). This is a group that deceptively bills itself as "fighting for workers," when, in fact, it occupies a key role in the trajectory of right wing anti-labor activities. The PRA report is being done in collaboration with the Washington-based organization, American Rights at Work, whose Chair is David Bonior, former Democratic Congressman from Michigan. Chip's work, near completion, will be jointly published by PRA and American Rights at Work.

I also want to give you an update on some of the activities of our President Emerita, Jean Hardisty. At this writing, Jean is scheduled to speak about her current topic of research, "Marriage Promotion: Bogus Cure for Poverty" at an April 21 lunchtime seminar on the Wellesley campus. Jean is now a Senior Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Research on Women, and her presentation is part of a larger collaborative research project with the Women of Color Resource Center. The Project, funded by Ford Foundation, analyzes the intellectual roots of the promotion of marriage as a cure for poverty among women and children.

As the challenges to democracy and social justice continue to mount, our in-depth research and ‘transfer of knowledge' workshops for activists are needed even more.

It is the generosity and support of many of you that makes this possible.

  • More articles from Spring/Summer 2005 PRAccess
  • PRAccess: Spring/Summer 2005

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