Progressives’ Shadow Party – CCC/CCCAction
The Center for Community Change (CCC) and its sister organization, CCCAction are major players in the progressive shadow party.
CCC is a 503(c)(3) organization that sets up progressive grassroots organizations and trains activists, providing resources, expertise, strategy, and support to enhance their capabilities. Its sister organization, CCCAction, is a 503(c)(4) organization, which mobilizes the groups in support of the progressive agenda. The groups have a combined staff of 275 people and “1.5 million online members.”
CCC is helping to build a nationwide political organization to promote progressive policies. As of 2013, it had 78 “core partners in 38 states.” CCC trains activists on field organizing, generating media, rallies, events, and digital campaigns. It also instructs them on how to lobby elected officials to “change state and national policies.”
The grassroots groups “doing the most promising, cutting-edge organizing and movement building” are organized by CCC into coalitions “to maximize their collective impact.” CCC then helps them collaborate to support common progressive policies.
CCC/Action was established in 2003 to do “targeted advocacy and organizing around critical policy issues.” It has 21 “state affiliates,” which generate emails, phone calls, and text messages, as well as use social media, to influence public policy. CCC/Action assists grassroots groups register voters and get-out-the-vote during elections. It also helps them in planning and executing volunteer recruitment drives, issue campaigns, and canvassing drives.
In 2013, CCCAction generated 3.3 million contacts from grassroots groups to influence policy in Congress and the White House.
The large amount of money flowing to CCC and CCC/Action reflects their importance. In 2012, CCC received $35.3 million in contributions and grants, $15.8 million in 2013, and about $8 million in 2014. Funding for CCC/Action totaled $4.5 million in 2013 and $10 million in 2014.
CCC and CCCAction are heavily supported by unions, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Government Employees, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, United Auto Workers, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, American Postal Workers Union, United Mine Workers of America, United Steelworkers, UFCW Women’s Network, and a host of local UFCW chapters.
Additional major source of funding comes from progressive foundations. The Tides Foundation made 23 grants to CCC from 2006-2011, totalling nearly $2 million. Soros’ Open Society gave $750,000 in 2013. Other foundations include the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, the Streisand Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Charles Steward Mott Foundation, and The Schooner Foundation.
Fair Immigration Reform Movement
CCC founded the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) in 2004 to organize immigration grassroots groups into a national coalition to “fight for immigrant rights at the local, state, and federal levels.” FIRM states it’s now the “nation’s largest grassroots immigration coalition,” with 30 organizations throughout the US.
FIRM works with the immigration grassroots groups to “educate and register voters, lobby national and state leaders, mobilize support for our political allies and organize opposition to candidates and legislation that hurts immigrants.”
FIRM calls Republicans “extremists” and claims the right is “being fueled by an alarming rise … of racism and xenophobia.”
FIRM organized a National Day of Action that included rallies, marches, vigils, and other mobilization actions in 150 cities and towns in 40 states.1 FIRM supports civil disobedience and “other mobilization tactics” to promote its cause.
“On September 12, more than 100 immigrant activist women, 20 of whom are unauthorized, were arrested after they blocked a traffic intersection on Capital Hill.”
“Change comes from power,” Saul Alinsky said, “and power comes from organization. In order to act, people must get together. Power is the reason for being of organizations.”
He said “An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent; provide a channel into which the people can angrily pour their frustrations. He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises.”
1) Other progressive groups that joined CCC in organizing the protests were United We Dream, CASA, Voces de la Frontera, SEIU, Planned Parenthood, and Human Right Campaign.