Joel Rogers is a prominent U.S. academic and far left activist. He is professor of law, political science and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a long-time “government and campaign adviser and Democratic activist.”
A contributing Editor of The Nation and Boston Review, Rogers has received many academic honors and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship. Newsweek identified him as among the 100 Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the 21st century.
The first strategic meetings to plan the New Party were held in Joel Rogers’ home in Madison, Wisconsin in the very early 1990s. Present were Rogers’ wife Sarah Siskind, Dan Cantor, ACORN leaders Wade Rathke, Zach Polett, Steve Kest and Jon Kest, Steve Cobble from the Institute for Policy Studies (in an advisory role), Sandy Morales Pope (for the first 18 months), Harriet Barlow and Barbara Dudley.
Barack Obama would become the New Party’s most famous member.
In 1996, Milwaukee AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President Democratic Socialists of America member Bruce Colburn and New Party Chair Joel Rogers wrote a “provocative article” in the November 18 issue of The Nation arguing “that the left’s capacity for independent political action must be built from the grassroots up. Their stress on independent left electoral activity at the local level — whether inside, outside, or fused with the Democratic Party — evidences the realism of the New Party’s approach to building a third electoral force.”
In 1996, Joel Rogers, while at the University of Wisconsin, was one of the original 130 founders of the highly influential “progressive” grouping, Campaign for America’s Future.
The conference was themed “Radical alternatives on the eve of the millennium.”
Invitees were asked to “listen to the United States’ only independent and socialist congressman,” Rep. Bernie Sanders, “dialogue with” Joel Rogers of the New Party and In These Times’ ….Salim Muwakkil on independent politics.
On September 20, 2001, 500 people gathered at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City to celebrate Richard Cloward’s life and Work. Speakers included Frances Fox Piven, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Gus Newport (all members of Democratic Socialists of America), activists Howard Zinn, June Jordan, Joel Rogers and Tim Sampson, plus long-time voter registration advocate, Demos President, Miles Rapoport.
Cloward, with his wife Frances Fox Piven, was the originator of the infamous Cloward-Piven Strategy – the deliberate overloading of city welfare rolls to induce bankruptcy, then socialism.
Individuals and organizations with similarly progressive goals often dilute their power by working alone or even working at cross-purposes. As Americans who are politically left of center move forward, questions of infrastructure, communication, and collaboration are particularly important.
Participants included several key leaders of the “progressive” movement, including Joel Rogers.
Rogers has served on the board of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of socialist environmentalists and labor activists.