Vivien Labaton

Vivien Labaton is the director of strategic programme initiatives for The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Recent Articles

Why Movements Matter

Paradigm-shifting elections don't shift paradigms if there aren't corresponding social movements for change.

One thing we now know with certainty, more than two years into Barack Obama's presidency, is that change is an uphill battle. We're already defending hard-won gains on health care and financial reform (not to mention the fundamental legislation of the New Deal and the Great Society), and any hope for progress on civil liberties and immigration now seems remote. Even urgent action on jobs has been eclipsed by deficit-cutting zeal. But this sobering period has also seen inspiring moments of push-back -- glimmers of hope that signal momentum on several core priorities for social-justice advocates. They could be fleeting, or they could signal a resurgence of the progressive engagement that captivated so many just three years ago. Whether such a revival emerges is up to us. That's why the next major project for progressives is not an election. Rather, it is to take a page from the Tea Party and knit what might seem like disparate actions into movement-building -- both to create a lasting...