You are invited to join us in a new campaign to build as and justice agenda and to oppose the conservative budget cuts and tax cuts agenda.
The current dominant themes in the media are that budget cuts are necessary, public employee unions should give up more, and taxes should not be raised. We need to contest these conservative and reactionary themes.
As a left we need to create a message that is repeated and repeated- Fund job growth- not budget cuts! And, we should not get too engaged in which funds to cut. We need to become an echo machine that reproduces a progressive view of the best response to the economic crisis in numerous formats
As we have been explaining in Democratic Left since last Spring, as a consequence of the economic crisis of 2007/2009, the states and local governments now have severe budget crises. They , and their media allies, usually propose to reduce their budgets through cut backs in services, cuts to public employment, and reduction in public pensions.
Here is how it was described on the front page of the New York Times of Jan. 17,2011, by Monica Daley.
The dismal fiscal situation in many states is forcing governors, despite their party affiliation, toward a consensus on what medicine is needed going forward.
The prescription? Slash spending. Avoid tax increases. Tear up regulations that might drive away business and jobs. Shrink government, even if that means tackling the thorny issues of public employees and their pensions.
Such news stories, editorials, and opinion pieces appear almost daily around the country and in your local press and media. What we have here is a conservative mantra of the financial crisis passed off as an intellectual consensus on economics.
This is how Richard Trumpka of the AFL-CIO described the issue today.
Here in Washington, we live in an Alice-in-Wonderland political climate. Politicians of both parties tell us we can-and should-do nothing to address our jobs crisis. The new Republican leaders in the House-who campaigned on the promise of jobs-are squandering their first days of legislative business on a vote to take away health care gains from 30 million Americans.
Yet the attacks on working families are even worse in many states. Too many governors are launching attacks on workers-fueled by the enthusiasm and the financial support of people like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire publisher behind Fox News.
When I say an attack on workers' rights, I am not talking about demands for concessions in tough times by employers. I am talking about the campaigns in state after state, funded by shadowy front groups, aimed at depriving all workers-public and private sector-of the basic human right to form strong unions and bargain collectively to lift their lives. These attacks on workers ultimately are attacks on our children-and their ability to have the kind of life we wish for them. Make no mistake: attacking workers is a choice-a choice to tear down our whole country, rather than building us up.
It's inexcusable that many of our leaders still don't realize our country rises and falls as one nation, and that a good-wage growth path is essential to our survival. That's why I gave a speech this morning at the National Press Club that laid out our vision for moving forward.
Please watch my speech from this morning about America's choices and how we can move forward-not backward:
Then, please sign our petition to federal and state leaders. It says: "I reject the politics of misery and anger. We need to build a future that lives up to our children's expectations:
After three years, our jobs crisis still is raging. Families are more squeezed than ever. Our poorest communities are totally devastated. And young adults are struggling to find their footing more than at any time in our history since the Great Depression.
Yet many of our newest governors are willing to make things worse. Last Friday in Cincinnati, Ella Hopkins and a group of her co-workers went out on a frigid night to stand in front of City Hall. Ella is a child care worker. She cares for children when parents are at work. At the end of her week, the state of Ohio pays her about $350 after taxes. She stood out in the cold to ask her new governor, John Kasich, to respect her freedom to form a union to improve her life and those of her co-workers. Kasich had said state workers like her are "toast."
In the same week Gov. Kasich made cracking down on home care and child care workers his first priority, he increased the salaries of his senior staff by more than 30 percent. Outrageous.
In some state capitals, things have gotten so bad we see not just an attack on the middle class, but an attack on economic rationality itself. Govs. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Scott Walker of Wisconsin both rejected high-speed rail through in their states. They turned their backs on jobs and their own state's future. They're betting on misery and anger, rather than hope and progress and common sense.
We know why such campaigns emerge – because they serve the interests of the financial corporations and the rich, the very people who created the financial crisis. It is our role as a left to oppose and to contest against such a narrow ideological view being accepted as the only options available. The anti tax campaign, to quote Martin Luther King Jr., “ offers explanations that don’t explain and solutions that don’t solve the problems.”
While each state budget differs, at least half of the current state budget crisis was caused by the national economic crisis even in severe cases such as California, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Arizona. ( sources available on this) This crisis was created by finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street, ie. Chase Banks, Bank of America, Washington Mutual, AIG, and others. Finance capital produced a $ 2 trillion bailout of the financial industry, the doubling of the unemployment rate and the loss of 2 million manufacturing jobs in 2008. 14.5 Millions are out of work as of January 2011.
While there will be cuts on the state and local levels, we on the left should explain an alternative, an expansion of public jobs and fiscal stimulus. The money for such as stimulus is available. The campaign will provide information on tax opportunities available for stimulus.
Elements of the campaign;
- Explain the current economic crisis in the states. Provide activists with material to respond to the media mantras.
- Suggest themes and programs to counter the anti tax rigidity.
- Explain the need for a job growth alternative.
- Test if DSA locals and members can work together in a coordinated media campaign.
- Encourage the use of the current DSA material and campaign on defending social security.
- Experiment with selecting progressive media messages that work.
- Prepare a core group of activists to follow through with the John Conyers campaign and support for a real Jobs program.
From the work of George Lakoff:
Government must protect and empower its citizens. To foster prosperity it must prepare the young for civic participation. Protection includes health care, social security, safe food, environmental protection, safe streets, job protection, etc.
Our appeal. Background.
A purpose of government is to provide opportunity for all. In economic policy government should encourage the creation of jobs and careers. Our economy needs roads, bridges, telephone lines, communications systems, energy and quality education. Our message should insist on creating jobs for teachers, police, firefighters, and similar public services. These services make freedom and prosperity possible. Conservative anti tax efforts and budget cutting demands ignore the economy’s need for infrastructure.
The challenge is to provide a much broader path to prosperity, one that encompasses working people at every education level. The nation’s productivity has grown a great deal in the last 30 years, up 80% from 1979 to 2009.
Yet with all the income generated in the past and expected in the future working people did not experience income growth. Almost all of the benefits of trade and growth went to the top 2% of earners. It is not the economy that has limited growth, but rather economic policies that provided high benefits to the rich, high risk to the middle class, and growing unemployment to those with limited education. This policy failed in the crisis of 2007/2009, now the anti tax Republicans propose that that we dig the hole of unemployment deeper with budget cuts. It is not the economy that has limited strong income growth, but rather the economic policies pursued by this and prior administrations and the distribution of economic and political power that are the limiting factors.
Specific media messages. – What we say.
We need to build the promise of America.
The promise is an opportunity for a good job. That promise is a good job for all and the opportunity to have of a good career. The tax cut mania does not promote good jobs and careers.
We need to create a message that is repeated and repeated: Fund job growth- not budget cuts! We need to become an echo machine that reproduces a message in numerous formats, letters, blog posts, responses to blogs, responses to news reports and editorials, at public forums. Our task is not to try to get the Obama Administration or state administrations to do what is right; rather our task is to educate, agitate and create an independent left political force, an organizing culture within DSA, and to cooperate with other progressive and left forces pushing a progressive message. For example, a very effective strategy is to pick up, high light, and link to progressive op-ed, opinion and factual pieces. We should be an echo chamber for reports and ideas from the Economic Policy Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the AFL-CIO and others.
More to follow.
Here are some additional ideas on designing a media message.
Untellable Truths Monday 13 December 2010
by: George Lakoff, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
To join in this campaign, contact me at email@example.com