Last weekend, all over the United States 21st Century Town Hall Meetings were held by an organization that calls itself AmericaSpeaks. The town hall meetings focused on the budget and economy in America and featured a particular focus on cutting deficits.
Leaders from health care organizations like Healthcare-Now! and Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), which both continue to advocate for a publicly financed system of health care in this country, sounded the alarm (along with others) when they heard that AmericaSpeaks was funding efforts for organized citizen input into the conversation on how to balance the budget and fix the economy.
The following videos feature Margaret Flowers of PNHP and Katie Robbins of Healthcare-Now!. They were both interviewed at the US Social Forum in Detroit. (For more info on the US Social Forum, click here.)
The two talked about how the US Social Forum was re-energizing their organizations' push for Medicare for All and addressed the latest development or possible threat to social programs in this country, AmericaSpeaks "21st Century Town Hall Meetings," funded by interests unopposed to cutting Social Security and Medicare to address economic problems in the United States.
Both had plans to attend the AmericaSpeaks meeting on Saturday, June 26th, on Wayne State University's campus and protest. The meeting was tucked away in the center of campus, free from public visibility. There were maybe twenty people who showed up to protest. Those who came to protest found out they could go into the AmericaSpeaks meeting and participate in town hall meeting.
The two went inside and attended the meeting. Afterward, I caught up with Flowers and talked about the meeting -- who was in attendance, what agenda was being pushed, the setup and process of the meeting, etc.
There was much indication after the AmericaSpeaks meetings on the budget and economy took place for six and a half hours that the American people were able to beat back the free enterprise agenda that those behind the AmericaSpeaks were hoping participants would support. For example, Frances Perkins wrote about attending a meeting in Augusta, Maine. While expressing an understanding that the organizers would likely spin the results and continue to spin the results to advance their agenda, Perkins concluded:
Here's the real story: More than 3500 people in cities across the United States came together to sit at tables with strangers for six and a half hours to work on reducing the 2025 deficit, and this was their overwhelming answer to the problems we face: "We do not shrink from raising taxes on those most able to pay. This means those in the top two tax brackets. This means Wall Street. We do not shrink from cutting the military budget. And we do not shrink from taxing the use of fossil fuels." What a challenge to Congress, which dares not do any of these things. May it give our representatives courage.
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