One of the great strengths of the progressive movements in the 1960s was their willingness to collaborate and work towards a shared goal. It was no coincidence that the civil rights movement celebrated many wins, alongside progress in the women’s rights and gay rights movements. The victories gained by all these groups actually resulted in the neo-liberal pushback that sparked in the late 1970s and continues to the present.
However, there is some awareness rising that in order to push forward progressive movements, we need to collaborate. Over the past several years, the deaths of unarmed men of color at the hands of police has resulted in the Black Lives Matter movement. The rise of social media and the attention given to the repeated deaths of individuals in contact with police has sparked a national conversation about racism in not only the police forces, but also our country in general. Most importantly for the structural shift needed to actually address this issue effectively, is the discussion around the overwhelming inequality that divides the haves and the have nots which is at the root of these community tensions.
Issues such as a living wage are being raised, as are practices and policies within the criminal justice system. Serious dialogue about the “war on drugs” and its impact on poor communities have resulted in reforms for decriminalization of marijuana. Part of the success of that campaign has been framing the issue not as a drug question, but as a criminal justice – and even an economic – question.
The recent success of campaigns to raise the minimum wage have gained a lot of traction, and they are doing well to collaborate with other movements. Over the Quixote Center’s long history, we have often collaborated with partners. We attribute a lot of our success to these collaborations and the understanding that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.