A week from today, hundreds of thousands of Americans will join each other in Washington, D.C., in a demonstration organized by One Nation Working Together to renew the effort to build a movement, a grassroots movement, that is not dependent solely on supporting a political party to obtain its goals, but that also recognizes the need to elect effective progressive leaders at every level of government. Many Kosactivists will be in D.C. for that gathering, having been prodded along by diarists such as War on Error, DiegoUK, FrankCornish, aaraujo, stivo, dkistner, bmaples and One Pissed Off Liberal.
Many who would like to be there have good reasons why they can't, even though we'll very much join in spirit. If you think you can make it but haven't signed up yet, here's where to do it.
No single demonstration, no matter how large, just as no single election, no matter how successful, can change all the wrongheaded policies plaguing our nation, nor even fully redirect us onto the right path. But that's okay, because the 10-2-10 demonstration isn't an end, it's a beginning.
The usual suspects among media pundits will no doubt categorize what happens in Washington on 10-2-10 and afterward as class warfare. In fact, the dozens of organizations in the coalition of One Nation Working Together are engaged in self-defense for rank-and-file Americans, the majority of our population, who, for more than three decades, have been the target of an elite dedicated to an upward transfer of wealth that makes the Gilded Age look like practice.
This has been achieved by destruction of progressive taxation, union busting, over-militarizing the economy, off-shoring jobs and, as always, dividing us against ourselves in every possible way. While pushing the fakery that the middle class isn't working class, that the interests of educated professionals have nothing in common with clerks or factory workers or burger flippers, they have, for tens of millions of Americans, punctured the dream that our children will have a life at least a little better than our own. They have lined us up against each other by generation, race, gender, ableness and orientation. They have shackled us to fossil fuel and undermined every effort to adopt clean energy. They have allowed our infrastructure - both physical and social - to rot.
You can see by One Nation: Working Together's core principles that the tasks we have ahead of us are enormous. But, first, listen to what AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker has to say about 10-2-10:
Many people complain that national demonstrations and other protest gatherings take prodigious amounts of time and energy and money to put together, all done for a brief moment of camaraderie and media attention (which isn't always positive). They have a point. Local organizing and locally based opposition - the kind Baker mentions in the video above - is the ultimate key to any movement's success, whether that's electing more-better Democrats or pushing reform from outside the electoral and legislative process until they reach critical mass. That was true when trade unions and suffragists were organizing in the teens and '20s. True for civil rights and the antiwar movement in the '50s and '60s. Some say, sure, but now that stuff is old hat. Not so. I've yet to hear anybody provide a compelling argument that mass national protests are per se useless in the 21st Century, an utter waste of time, passé, counterproductive. We need both. And that's what One Nation Working Together is promoting.
The organization's essential message sounds as if it could come right out of the Declaration of Independence: equality for all. But, as we know all too well, we're nowhere near that goal after 234 years. Here is one of several sets of policy priorities emerging from that message:
Provide a fair chance for every worker in our country to succeed and advance in the workplace:
• Everyone who works in America should have the right to join with their co-workers to have a voice on the job
• Pay all workers a living family wage
• Increase and index the minimum wage
• Close the race-, gender-, and all other unjust pay gaps
• End all forms of workplace discrimination and expand anti-discrimination law to be inclusive of everyone
• Protect, honor, fully apply, and expand equal opportunity and diverse business inclusion practices
• Create employment pathways and training opportunities for workers who want to advance their careers
• Make every job a safe job
• Provide paid sick days and paid family leave for all workers
Six other sections highlight policy objectives, ranging from justice to building a 21st Century economy.
The progressive struggle isn't a destination, it's a journey. Whether in Washington or in your own community, please join others on October 2 in taking one more step along the way.
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DiegoUK has a diary on 10-2-10 here.