Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Giving: Day 3 Political Research Associates

I first got to know the work of Political Research Associates when I worked in the copy center downstairs from their office in the early 1990s. Their staff would bring in the most interesting documents to copy - including fascinating primary and secondary materials on right-wing movements, neo-conservatives, and Christian extremists. I started asking if I could make copies for myself, and struck up friendships with some of their staff. I learned first-hand from their amazing team of researchers that no matter how much we may want to dismiss certain right-wing leaders as "nuts," we only do our own progressive organizing efforts a disservice by not taking our opponents seriously.

In PRA's view, in-depth research and analysis on the right is essential for progressive movements to succeed. They succinctly explain their focus on the right on their website:
While attacks on civil liberties can come from any direction, the political and Christian Right use skillful marketing that exploits the public’s desire for quick solutions and capitalizes on today’s hectic information flow. With clever slogans that oversimplify complex public policy issues, the Right routinely scapegoats others in pursuit of their agenda.
PRA responds with fair and accurate analysis, looking beneath the sound-bites and slogans of the Right, exposing the true goals and agendas of specific leaders, organizations and movements. We then present our analysis in ways that can help the media, advocates and educators understand and challenge the Right.
When the mainstream media catches on to issues such as US ministers contributing to homophobic laws in African countries such as the recent case in Uganda, or the links between violent anti-abortion extremists and militia movements such as we saw with Eric Rudolph, they turn to to PRA for explanations and analysis.

Donation to PRA supports their Activist Resource Kits, Special Reports and other publications, and their ongoing research on a wide variety of issues with both domestic and international implications. They also maintain a vast library of primary and secondary materials at their Somerville, Massachusetts office.

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