Credit to Michael Whitney via Flickr.com
Sociologist Frances Fox Piven is one the most dangerous people in the world (at least, Glenn Beck thinks so). So why would Salon sit down with her? She’s also an expert in social movements. Reporter Josh Eidelson goes in depth with Fox Piven on the continued power of the Tea Party, the Occupy Movement, and the power of youth.
One of Piven’s most interesting points regards the power of disruptive movements. She discusses the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its offshoots, asserting that two of its most successful strategies were flamboyance and the ability to disrupt business. These strategies have yielded success for Occupy, but also for a larger ambition for social change. Indeed, as Piven points out, Occupy influenced the rhetoric of American politics and helped show that the grassroots power of other decades is far from gone. She even believes working outside the system is now the most effective path to progress:
“Going to Washington is largely a waste of time. But causing trouble is not.”
Photo by Nevele Otseog via flickr.com
The shifting ethnic and racial composition of the United States has social scientists and political strategists busy calculating the “new electoral math”. By 2040, Latinos will surpass 30% of the population, while whites will be a minority. A new study from the Pew Research Center suggests this could spell serious trouble for the GOP—children of Latino immigrants are more likely to lean Democrat than their parents.
Jody Agius Vallejo, a sociologist at USC, believes that the data is correct: Latino voters are going blue. She pushes back against the notion that the Latino vote will eventually break toward the Republicans due to “traditional values,” instead arguing that Republican policies like Arizona’s controversial SB1070 will continue to drive Latino voters to the left. She puts it bluntly:
Latinos are presently not attracted to the Republican party and there is no reason to think that Latinos will become Republicans just because a few Republicans support immigration reform.
Immigration reform figured prominently in both President Obama’s State of the Union address and Senator Marco Rubio’s GOP response. As the debate heats up in Congress, the increasing voting power of Latinos will certainly factor into how both major parties draw up their positions.