Reich, powell and Lerner highlight grassroots jobs push at “Summit for a Fair Economy”:
500 activists gather in Minneapolis to organize for economic justice
Sept. 10th, 2011: Minneapolis- Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, economist and author Robert Reich galvanized a crowd of about 500 community, labor, immigrant and social justice activists in Minneapolis at the Summit for a Fair Economy on Saturday.
Watch the highlights of the summit here:
Just two days after the President’s much anticipated jobs speech, Reich called for a broader set of policies and a grassroots movement to win them.
“The only way we can get out of the jobs and wage crisis is by mobilizing Americans to demand a new WPA and civilian conservation corps, relief for struggling homeowners, federal loans to cash-starved states and cities, aid to education, and the rebuilding of our crumbling roads, bridges, ports and water systems,” said economist and author andformer U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. “It’s only through grassroots organizing and activism that the voices of average Americans can be heard above the roar of corporate and Wall Street money. They say tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy will bring back jobs. That’s not true. “ [Video of entire speech available here].
Watch Reich debunk 6 big lies about the economy:
A broad mobilization around jobs was one aspect of the conference’s goal: to build a movement focused on “rebuilding an economy that will work for everyone” by addressing growing income & wealth inequality in Minnesota and around the country.
“We are in the midst of the most extreme corporate realignment in 100 years. We are not only experiencing corporate welfare, low taxes but also undue influence of our political systems and our lives. This movement threatens our democracy, our environment our civil and human rights. This may be one of the greatness challenges facing our country in the 21st century. But I believe we can rise to the challenge,” said Professor john a. powell, Director of the Kirwan Institute for the study of Race and Ethnicity who previously founded and directed the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. [Video of entire speech available here].
Watch powell explain how corporations are good servants but lousy masters:
Labor activist Stephen Lerner, an architect of the groundbreaking Justice for Janitors campaign, implores us to create a crisis for the banks and mega rich. Lerner says: “We have a crisis. Do you think they have a crisis? What do we have to do?” The audience answered: “Create a crisis for them.” [Video of entire talk available here].
Lerner implored the audience to create a crisis for the banks and mega rich. Watch the highlights of his presentation addressing the need to create a crisis for the super rich:
Reich’s keynote remarks caught the attention of local and national media. Barb Kucera at Workday Minnesota reported that Hundreds gather in Minneapolis to organize for economic justice, while the Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant covered the summit in her column.
The conference was organized by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, a grassroots social justice organization and co-sponsored by labor, community and faith groups including CTUL (Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha), ISAIAH, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Service Employees International Union, TakeAction Minnesota and United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1189. Workshops at the event focused on creating a common vision of a fair economy and making plans for grassroots campaigns to confront unemployment, fair lending, raising revenue fairly and strengthening social insurance programs.