BTS 6/20/2005: Change To Win Coalition; Downing Street; Marriage - a History

On tonight’s program we look at two possibly historic announcements this week, and one historical look at the institution of marriage.

We begin with the June 15 announcement of the formation of the Change to Win Coalition – made up of the five largest unions in the AFL-CIO – which pledges to radically increase organizing – and has already stirred up fears of a split in the AFL-CIO. Jonathan Tasini fills us in.

The second possibly historic announcement comes from a bi-partisan group of Republican and Democratic congressmen who have called on President Bush to announce an exit strategy from Iraq – and this follows on the heels of Congressman John Conyers’ hearings on the Downing Street Memo. Constitutional expert John Bonifaz joins us, along with David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org.

And finally tonight we take a good look at the checkered history of marriage – with Stephanie Coontz, the historian who brought us The Way We Never Were and The Way we Really Are. Stephanie tells us that the idea of love in marriage is relatively new and the past thirty years have brought more changes to the institution than the previous five thousand. You won’t want to miss this discussion of Marriage, a History – from Obedience to Intimacy – or How Love Conquered Marriage.

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Jonathan Tasini is the president of the Economic Future Group, a national consulting group. He is also the president and executive director of the Creators Federation. He is a strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, primarily focusing his energies on the topics of work, labor and the economy. He is a former president of the National Writers Union and is President emeritus now. He blogs at workinglife.org.

He is the author of two books: "The Edifice Complex: Rebuilding the American Labor Movement to Face the Global Economy," a critique and prescriptive analysis of the labor movement (1995); and "They Get Cake, We Eat Crumbs: The Real Story Behind Today's Unfair Economy," an average reader's guide to the economy (1997). For the last twenty years, he has written about labor and economics for a variety of newspapers and magazines including The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Business Week, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He also writes a regular column on labor and the economy entitled "Working in America," which can be seen at http://www.tompaine.com .

2. John Bonifaz is the founder and general counsel of the National Voting Rights Institute, and a 1999 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In 2003, he served as lead counsel for a coalition of US soldiers, parents of US soldiers, and Members of Congress (led by Reps Conyers and Kucinich) in a federal lawsuit challenging the authority of President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld to launch a war against Iraq absent a congressional declaration of war or equivalent action. In his book, Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George Bush (Nation Books) Bonifaz lays out the case that the president violated the U.S. Constitution, when he launched a first-strike invasion of Iraq, resulting in the deaths of thousands. Bonifaz argues that if we are to preserve our Constitution, we must now act. He believes the Downing Street Minutes are deserving of an official “Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach George W. Bush, President of the United States."

3. Bonifaz's memorandum making the case for launching a Resolution of Inquiry is posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, a new website founded by David Swanson and others, together with a broad array of public interest groups that is posted on the web site. AfterDowningStreet.org is a coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war.

4. Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She is the Director of research and public education at the Council on Contemporary Families. Her new Marriage: A History, from Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage (Viking), has just been published and is being widely reviewed. Stephanie talked to us on this program about her previous two myth-breaking books, the award winning The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, and The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America’s Changing Families.