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General News    H3'ed 10/5/11

Take Back the American Dream: Yesterday's (10/4) Press Conference

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    Take Back the American Dream: Yesterday's (10/4) Press Conference


Let me begin with a thought instead of a report: our revolution is a push to get done the agenda Obama promised during his campaign. After three years, we've had it and are uniting all over the country into a/The revolution. We've even been joined by at least one Frenchman, who said the same thing is going on in his country.

Something else I'd like to add: the most powerful two rhetorical elements during the last three days were, as I said before, statistics, but also antitheses, which really hit hard and evoke applause, just as certain meters did in ancient Roman rhetoric. "Nothing new under the sun," is an old Stoic saying.

And now, despite the date above, I'll go back to a news conference yesterday I didn't report on because I was too tired.

The event was moderated by Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future. Others present were Arlene Holt Baker, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; Justin Ruben, head of; Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change; Inga Skippings, SEIU's communications director; and show-stopper Van Jones, co-founder and president of Rebuild the Dream.

In her opening statement, Arlene Holt Baker criticized the president for prioritizing the national debt but expressed support of the American Jobs Act. Then she said something remarkable: that she and her fellow union members would be comfortable sitting out the 2012 election if neither candidate (I'm assuming the usual bipartisan structure with token other candidates) represents workers.

"We will drive an economy that works for all," she said, anticipating the October Days of Action, the 10th through the 16th, though other activist events will follow upon this afternoon's "Jobs, Not Cuts" rally, launched by Code Pink at the K Street Busboys and Poets this evening.

Justin Ruben of, next to speak, looked back at the brave defiance of the teachers' union in Wisconsin that inspired follow-up in other states including Ohio and Montana.

Twice as many of us are launching our movement as introduced the Tea Party to the political scene, he said. Occupations are spreading across the county. Wall Street and its allied mega-banks must stop undermining the economy.

Ruben anticipated November 17, the day that the Supercommittee announces its decision, as also a day of action and indignation if the decision weighs more toward the debt than toward jobs. Will taxes on the rich be raised?

Van Jones reiterated his image of the American Autumn that corresponds with the Arab Spring [let it not be the American Fall, I couldn't help thinking]. He looked forward to a reallignment of U.S. politics and an end to the 30-year government of the one percent over the other 99 percent.

Deepak Bhargava looked back to the 1.3 million in Ohio in opposition to the antilabor state senate bill (SB) 5 and the hundred of thousands of Ohioans who showed up to opposed the latest voter i.d. (read: suppression) law now being considered in the legislature.

Then there is the Montana victory, the biggest movement in that state in 25 years. The next battle is over our entitlement trust funds and alternative sources of revenue for true needs of the government.

Inga Skippings of SEIU spoke of the large volunteer base in her union of 2.1 million members that contributes so much energy and so many ideas, sharing our goals of jobs for all, protection of our entitlement programs, and taxing the rich and, moreover, making legislators more accountable for tasks that are not so much desired as indispensable to future well-being.

Bob Borosage spoke of this vision of the possible and the need to inspire and empower the people.

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)

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