The endless electoral campaign is finally over and Obama won. As far as I can tell, while the Senate is slightly more liberal, the overall political configuration is similar to what existed before the election. How does that impact the Rosenberg Fund for Children?
The RFC’s principal purpose has not changed since its founding more than 20 years ago. We provide for the educational and emotional needs of the children of targeted activists in the United States. Since the parents of our beneficiaries have engaged in a large array of progressive activism, and their targeting can range from loss of a job to physical harassment, arrest or even assassination, the relationship between social unrest and the number of new applications we receive is complex.
One indicator that, while not precise, can hint at whether we’ll see an influx of new applications during a coming year is the number of those arrested at protests during the previous year. While it may surprise some of our supporters that we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of new applications since Obama was first elected in 2008, it has not surprised us. That’s because number of people arrested at demonstrations has increased dramatically since the 2008 election. While I do not have exact figures for 2012 yet, as far as I can tell several thousand protestors have been arrested so far this year. Thus, it is not startling that we’re reviewing more than 80 applications for our aid this fall.
Despite hopes for the contrary, the level of repression experienced by those protesting the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us, the continued despoiling of the environment by fossil fuel companies, the targeting of the undocumented, and the profiling of Muslims grew during the Obama administration’s first term. With the economy remaining bad, the corporations still dominating our government, the police having been militarized, and local, state and national law enforcement agencies remaining intent on branding dissenters as terrorists, we are likely to see an escalating demand for our help.
We’ve received many new applications this fall. They range from Grand Jury resisters to anti-war war protesters to a worker fired for attempting to organize a union. This reflects the ongoing agitation of an aroused populace that has endured five years of economic privation. Obama’s actions in early 2009 may well have prevented a total economic meltdown. However, most of us have seen precious little improvement since then, and there is scant indication that Tuesday’s results will turn things around.
From its start the RFC’s purpose has been to aid the children of targeted activists over the long haul. The day after Obama’s victory it still looks like we’re in for a marathon. I’m not saying that the costs of continuing dissent have increased because of the election. Rather that they already were high and I doubt they will be reduced any time soon. Simply put, what we face is more of the same.
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