Govern-orporation……..A Public/Private Partnership
If it feels to you that everywhere you look these days, things in this country are going to hell in a handbasket, you???re not alone; you???re also not a CEO or Hedge Fund manager.
Home Foreclosures are at record highs, unemployment rates (artificially low to begin with) stuck at over 9%, and those who still have a job see their wages stagnant, responsibilities expanded and more often than not they hear the company plans to move its operations overseas.
Kids are suffering from cuts to vital or preventive health care programs, schools are being shut and after school programs becoming a virtual thing of the past. Many kids are hiding from ICE and local police in fear that at any moment their whole world could be turned upside down with a deportation to a country they have heard of but never really known.
Unions, perhaps the biggest factor behind the fact that we once HAD a large middle class, are seeing their members attacked by government at every level and corporations in every trade.
And then there are the 40 million (plus) people who are living in poverty — the ???canaries in this coal mine.??? Housing assistance has been cut 60%, disability assistance and family assistance is all but wiped out, millions are living in homelessness with 960,000 kids in Public School who have no homes, and we have a 10-fold increase in the incarceration rates of Mentally Ill people. In Native American Tribal communities, over 50% of the youth know someone who has or who have themselves attempted suicide. Public Parks are locked shut or closed at dusk and public sidewalks are patrolled by private security guards hired by local business groups.
I stop now only because this exercise is so damn depressing. The list is in no way complete but I trust you get the premise. Shit???s Bad!
It???s as though Manifest Destiny, Jim Crow, Ugly Laws, Anti-Okie and Business Improvement Districts had an orgy and produced what we now simply call America.
The days of social consciousness applying to only one segment of injustice and oppression are over. We can???t claim to care about ???the homeless??? but buy Nike and stay at a scab hotel. We need to stop thinking that tenant rights for people living in public housing are somehow different than they are for people living in private housing or that America???s continued support for apartheid in Palestine is any different than then the ???anti immigrant??? fever that is sweeping the land here.
We all know the amazing strength we possess. The righteous work of our allies and the sacrifices when their work leads to incarceration, General Dogon most recently. Our commitment, intelligence and fearlessness has never been, and is not now, in question.
The question we face today is how we build a movement. Not a campaign or an issue based coalition, but a movement. A movement that truly embraces diversity of people and understands that issues may come and go (currently mostly coming), but that what is important is how our government is treating its people.
The broader we see ourselves as part of the people, the better we can identify the trends that are becoming so clear at this point: that we have lost our government to a mind set of corporate gluttony and political corruption that has pitted us against each other to the point where we are all drowning in the sea of trickle down economics.
On Friday August 5th, 2011 at 4pm in San Francisco???s Union Square, representatives from throughout the West Coast along with allies from Chicago and NYC are getting together and laying the groundwork so this movement can grow. People from community organizing and immigrant right communities, from union, homeless, health, and housing groups, from music and education, we will all be marching, dancing, and dropping in to say hello to our ???friends??? in the financial district. Not for their benefit, but for ours.
We???ll practice what we preach. We???ll speak to the issues of all our communities and practice how we meld our common humanity in with our individual pride. And then we???ll do this again, and then again and then again ….We???re going to get really really good at it, and when we do, when we really do connect all our energies, intelligence, and passions, then we???re going to be able to create a pretty damn decent place for people to live!