Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Have fun and make a ruckus! Ideas for regional and local member meetings

Topics for Fall Local and Regional Gatherings to

  • End corporate domination
  • Establish true democracy
  • Build a just society with a sustainable and equitable economy
Have a potluck brunch or supper gathering and collaborate on a letter to the editor or an op-ed on any of our campaign topics. Here are good guidelines for how to write and submit letters and op-eds.

Health Care for Main Street Not Wall Street
1. Read “The ‘Public Option’ Is Not Dead” about the political possibility and perils for Senate Democrats and Congress if they do not pass some form of a public plan.

We must keep up the pressure with letters to the editor and calls to our Senators and Representatives. Let them know that single payer/ Medicare for All is the best solution to the problems of our current system.

2. Make plans to join the "Patients Not Profit" sit-ins at insurance company offices to demand the end to the profit-making “sickcare” system and write a letter to your local paper about your action. If you need more information for letters consult Mad as Hell Doctors, read “Health Care: Truths and Myths”, and visit Healthcare-Now and Physicians for a National Health Program.

Corporate Globalization and Positive Alternatives Campaign
1. Go to the movies with Michael Moore. Buy of block of tickets – ask for a reduced rate - and invite AfDers, family and friends to Capitalism: A Love Story. Listen to “Naomi Klein in Conversation with Michael Moore.” Continue for an after-movie dinner or desert conversation about how corporate capitalism impacts your community.

2. Build for the 10th Anniversary of WTO-Seattle – November 27 – December 5. A decade has passed since the 1999 World Trade Organization Seattle Protests. How can AfDers who were in Seattle forget the November 30 march behind our banner with labor and turtles wearing our “Protest of the Century” ponchos.

National Days of Action are being planned in communities across the U.S. and the world commemorating 10 years of struggle for a better world. In Seattle, the People’s Summit Week of Action is from Nov. 27- Dec. 5 and at the Seattle plus 10 homepage scroll down on the right to “What’s Happening Elsewhere” for an event in your community or state.

To get started thinking about how you can mark the anniversary, view this brilliant, moving video, “Labor Battles the WTO: Seattle 1999”--a vision of united struggle against corporate and elite power, true then and true now.

Or compare the labor coverage with the Hollywoodized “Battle in Seattle” (2008) movie, which was still a huge improvement over the corporate media lies, government and police propaganda that distorted the message of Seattle. The Seattle WTO People’s History Project is a site where the people and the social movements “tell their own stories, reclaim their history, and publicly fight the damaging myths past and present.”

Candidates Obama and Clinton promised to re-examine the trade agreements, NAFTA and work for trade reform - have they? No! Have a gathering to discuss free vs fair trade and local impacts and state impacts. Order a DVD ($19.93 plus shipping) of the movie “Battle in Seattle” or rent from your local independent video store or library.

3. Learn about real Trade reform we can believe in - the 2009 TRADE ACT - H.R. 3012: The Trade, Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment Act ACT sponsored in Congress by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME)

We must “Be the change we want to be!” Educate, agitate and call (202-225-3121) your Senators and Representatives and ask him/her to cosponsor. Here is a Factsheet and the list of all current cosponsors.

Stop the Casino Economy, Invest in the Real Economy

Help rebuild local economies by offering your input on GANE--the General Agreement on a New Economy--a document outlining a new model for economic development that emphasizes full employment, sustainable development, economic equity and community federalism.

GANE is a work-in-progress and its ultimate usefulness depends on you! Read it and share your ideas. Answers to our economic problems should come out of a broad public dialogue. Join in!

Community federalism is a systemic approach to development centered on the local community that builds outward to regional and national levels. It's a necessary and effective way of dealing with mounting and interrelated problems: climate change, off-shoring of jobs, the casino economy and degradation of the natural and social commons.

GANE, an Alliance for Democracy project, has been organized by Ruth Caplan, coordinator of AfD's program on Corporate Globalization and Positive Alternatives. It was developed by the Economics Working Group, while a project of the Tides Foundation, and is the result of a robust discussion among economists and policy advocates.

To help with your analysis, order extra copies of the most recent issues of Justice Rising, “Deglobalization/Relocalization” and “Money for People Not Corporate Plunder” in which many GANE topics are discussed. Also read the Fall, 2007 Justice Rising, “Moving from Corporate Extraction to the Grassroots Restoration Economy”, and the article “Restoring Local Economy and Community” .

Honest and Clean Elections
1. Corporate Personhood and Freedom of Political Speech – “The Elephant in the Room.” Now is the time to build public awakening to the issue of corporate personhood and understanding of corporate claims to protections under the Bill of Rights. It is a time to discuss how to prevent the consequences or to remedy them should the Supreme Court rule, narrowly or broadly, to expand First Amendment rights to corporations allowing expenditures on behalf of political candidates.

Now’s the time to write letters to the editor explaining corporate personhood and the impact of money in politics, emphasize a local angle or issue. Link the amount your Senator or Representative has received from the healthcare industry, for example and his/her stand on Healthcare reform.

Here’s http://www.westernmassafsc.org/calendar/court908.html basic background on the issue. For more, view lawyers Jeffrey Clements and John Bonifaz discussing the Citizens United v. FEC case. Also read the NYTimes editorial “The Rights of Corporations” and “Sotomayor Issues Challenge to a Century of Corporate Law.”

2. Honest Elections
How are votes cast and counted in your town, city or county? Will your vote count in 2010? Probably not, write Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman. If U.S. Attorney General Holder does not intervene to stop purchase by ES&S Corporation of Diebold Corporation’s voting machine division. With this purchase, ES&S would own 80% of America’s electronic voting machines and how the “power to shape America’s future with a few proprietary keystrokes.”

They conclude: As it’s done in numerous other countries throughout the world, the only realistic means by which the U.S. can establish a democratic system of ballot counting and casting is to do it the old-fashioned way. With human-scale checks and balances we might even be secure in the knowledge that our elections and vote counts truly reflect the will of the people. What a concept!

Start now to change the casting and counting of ballots in your community.

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