How Progressives Won in 2015
A look back at a year of historic grassroots victories for CREDO Action’s 3.9 million members.
CREDO’s customers and 3.9 million activists accomplished so much in 2015. We stopped the Keystone XL pipeline. We chose peace over war. We stood up for workers rights and women’s rights. We fought corporate power grabs. We took on Wall Street. We spoke truth to power. Most importantly, in 2015 we came together and fought for progressive change.
If there was just one thing to know about the victories CREDO activists and customers achieved in 2015, it’s this: they were anything but victories for “Washington politics.” In fact, they were just the opposite. These were grassroots victories achieved by ordinary people coming together and making their voices heard. Through calls, signatures, and turning out in person when it mattered, we challenged status quo cynicism, even when it meant calling out those on “our side.” We fought for what we really wanted, not what we were told was possible. We refused to give up in the face of a political system that’s been rigged against ordinary citizens. And it worked. Big time.
In 2015, we saw yet again that in order to win at Washington’s political game, you don’t play it. You challenge it directly.
Only Washington politics could try to convince us that building another massive oil pipeline down the middle of North America, when we know that our only hope of holding back the worst effects of climate change is to keep dirty fossil fuels in the ground, was a done deal and the wrong fight.
Only Washington politics could suggest that instead of protecting access to the Internet as an open and level playing field, we should allow private corporations to discriminate access to data based on the user, content, or whatever they want, really, with no discernible benefit to citizens.
And only Washington politics could bring us inches away from turning our backs on a historic nuclear deal that would put the U.S. and Iran — a country with which we’ve had a tense and hostile relations for decades — on a path to peace, and instead leave open the door to more unnecessary war and the needless loss of human lives.
It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always convenient. But when we come together to speak up passionately and without compromise for our progressive values, we can do amazing things. Here’s just some of what our activism and organizing achieved in 2015:
Keystone XL: Finally Rejected
After five years — including more than 4 million petition signatures and public comments from CREDO activists, over $2 million donated by CREDO to groups opposing Keystone XL, hundreds of rallies and protests, nearly 100,000 activists pledging to risk arrest if necessary, and countless naysayers — 2015 marked the final nail in the coffin for Keystone XL when President Obama officially rejected it. Keystone XL marks the first time any president has rejected a project based on its contribution to climate change, and was a historic catalyst and turning point in the climate fight.
A Historic Peace Deal With Iran
CREDO Action scored a historic victory for the peace movement in 2015 when members beat back an effort by Washington’s leading pro-war cheerleaders to sabotage a historic deal to avert war and put the U.S. on a path to peace with Iran. CREDO activists participated in hundreds of rallies, town halls, and meetings with their members of Congress during the August recess. They held Democratic members of Congress accountable and applied tremendous pressure with over 200,000 petition signatures when Sens. Schumer and Menendez threatened to side with pro-war Republicans. And together with allies, CREDO launched StopWarWithIran.com — a hub for activism in support of the deal that generated nearly half a million petition signatures and over 50,000 calls to Congress.
Blocked Republicans efforts to gut Planned Parenthood funding
After a series of phony and thoroughly debunked videos attempting to tear down Planned Parenthood’s work serving millions of women with vital health services, CREDO Action members held off opportunistic right-wing efforts in Congress to cut off funding for clinics until those efforts were formally dropped in November. 200,000 activists urged Republicans not to defund Planned Parenthood and over 155,000 petitioned Democrats to firmly stand with Planned Parenthood against right-wing attacks. CREDO activists also took to action in state governments, with over 110,000 petitioning governors not to defund Planned Parenthood clinics. And over 4,000 calls were made to Senate offices in the summer and fall in opposition to defunding. In September, nearly 150,000 activists demanded the Department of Justice investigate the attack on a Colorado Springs clinic as an act of domestic terrorism, and more than 130,000 called for Republicans to finally shut down the sham Planned Parenthood special committee and stop wasting time and money attacking women.
Led the Fight Against Fast Track Authority for TPP
CREDO Action members took action to delay Congress from handing a blank check to the Obama administration in the form of Fast Track authority to sign the corporate giveaway trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). More than 185,000 activists demanded President Obama release the full text of the TPP, and over 70,000 activists successfully petitioned Hillary Clinton to publicly announce her opposition to the deal. Over 12,000 calls were made to Congress by CREDO activists, and a donation of nearly $60,000 was made to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Program’s activism in opposition to TPP.
Solidarity With Workers
In 2015 CREDO activists generated more than 800,000 petition signatures in support of workers’ rights and a higher minimum wage. This was part of the ongoing, broader fight for higher wages that swept through the country. CREDO members signed over 150,000 petitions launched by Wal-mart workers on CREDOMobilize.com in support of better working conditions, a minimum wage of at least $15, and access to full-time, consistent hours. Nearly 5,000 CREDO Action members in New York helped score a major victory for the Fight for $15 campaign when they secured a $15 minimum wage for all fast food workers in the state.
Some other organizing highlights from this year:
- More than 210,000 CREDO Action members helped to derail a proposed Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger and prevent a telecom monopoly.
- Nearly 230,000 CREDO Action members took on President Obama and the Washington establishment to help block the confirmation of Antonio Weiss and keep another Wall Street executive out of a top role at the Treasury department.
- More than 260,000 CREDO Action members signed petitions urging the Obama administration to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic. Thousands more called the White House with the same demand. President Obama later canceled upcoming Arctic lease sales, and Shell announced it would be ending its Arctic drilling program.
- More than 315,000 CREDO Action members ensured the defeat of an abortion ban attempt by Republicans in Congress.
- Nearly a million CREDO Action members successfully pressured the EPA to stop approving bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides while it continues to study the threats they pose to honey bees and other pollinators.
- More than 800,000 CREDO Action members joined the call to end the NFL’s tax-exempt status.
- More than 135,000 CREDO Action members demanded — and got — domestic abuser Mark Fuller off the federal bench.
- More than 25,000 CREDO Action members successfully pushed the FCC to place a cap on calling rates in prisons, putting an end to egregious calling fees for the incarcerated and their families.
CREDO customers, just by using CREDO Mobile phones and CREDO Credit Cards, generated more than $2.4 million in donations this year that went to progressive groups like Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres, 350.org, and Social Security Works. To read more about our 2015 donations, click here.
In 2015, we organized, and we won. We challenged status quo establishment politics, and weren’t afraid to challenge President Obama and other Democrats when they weren’t standing up for progressive values. We made sure that even in our broken political system, the voices of everyday citizens were still being heard.
With every victory for progressive values and progressive activism, our movement grew more powerful and we sowed the seeds of more victories down the road.
Thank you to every CREDO activist and customer who made this year’s successes possible.
The fight for peace, justice and equality is never ending. We have some big fights in the year ahead. We are so grateful to have at our side so many amazing progressive groups and millions of progressive people fighting for change. We can’t wait to see what we do together in 2016.
— The CREDO Team