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Reasons to Celebrate: Key Progressive Gains in 2015

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From booting Stephen Harper to highlighting racial injustice, progressives can take heart in these outcomes

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer

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(Image by (Photo: Sarah Ackerman/flickr/cc))   Permission   Details   DMCA

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As the year draws to a close, it's worth noting a handful of progressive gains that people-power made possible:

Feelin' the Bern

Despite the lack of coverage in corporate media about the Vermont Independent and his presidential bit, Sen. Bernie Sanders and his call for a political revolution have resonated nationwide.

Sanders, who's put a spotlight on economic inequality, has also slammed the U.S. incarceration rate as an "international embarrassment," called for free higher education, lambasted Wall street as "out of control," and advocated for a single-payer healthcare system, has been speaking to record-breaking crowds.

He now holds the record for highest number of contributions for a White House bid, breaking the record held by President Barack Obama in 2011, and a Quinnipiac University poll this month found that, if the 2016 U.S. presidential election were held today, Sanders would win by a landslide over GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter movement has put a spotlight this year on the rampant racial injustice plaguing the nation.

It's been able to shift public opinions on racism, and as Campaign for America's Future Terrance Heath writes, it's because of the movement we know the names Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Rekia Boyd. Tamir Rice.

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It's the movement of the year, commentator Sonali Kolhatkar declared. "What the past two years have shown us is that killings of African-Americans by police is continuing to happen, continuing to be recorded, continuing to be protested and continuing to be condoned by a justice system hell-bent on absolving the killers of black folk. It has also shown us that the movement that this injustice has spawned is shrewd, adapts quickly and is here to stay," she writes.

Hello, Corbyn

When anti-war, anti-austerity socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the British Labour party in September, Salman Shaheen of Britain's progressive Left Unity party said, "British politics will never be the same."

Corbyn's victory, Shaheen said, "shatters the main parties' consensus on austerity, war and many other issues. This victory is part of a new kind of politics that is rising across Europe, as people reclaim hope and mass movements grow for real alternatives."

In November, as British Prime Minister David Cameron stated his desire to escalate the UK's military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria, Corbyn said that it is "vital" to learn from history and "not to be drawn into responses that feed a cycle of violence." World governments, he said, "must not keep making the same mistakes" in their fight against terrorism.

Ahead of his election, Corbyn also said that his party would "apologiz[e] to the British people for taking them into the Iraq war on the basis of deception and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause."

Bye-bye, Harper

Canadians brought an end to nearly a decade of rule by right-wing Prime Minister Stephen Harper this fall when they elected Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party.

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