The Next Four Years: Building our Movements in Dangerous Times
Bernie Sanders campaign ignited a widespread hope that our corrupted democracy, where money and power rule, could be taken back and transformed into a society based on the welfare of all. For many of us, it was the first time our values and needs were made front and center. We were elevated and inspired by a common agenda of fairness and justice.
We now have a greater awareness of the potential power we represent if we mobilize ourselves and encourage others to become involved participants. It is time now for us to think strategically on ways to harness and recapture the spirit of the political revolution we glimpsed, and place that energy toward action for change.
Regardless of the outcome of the November, 2016 elections, the peoples movements and the political revolution will face enormous challenges in the next four years. We therefore call for a post-election conference on Saturday December 3 to identify and capitalize on all opportunities for organizing open to us in an increasingly undemocratic, hawkish and xenophobic environment. The Next Four Years: Building Our Movements in Dangerous Times will help us to frame our issues and public messaging, to forge a common vision, to increase greater integration of our movements, and to build an action plan that will inspire and motivate more and more people to get involved.
If we are to realize our hope for solidarity, cooperation, justice, security and a truly democratic society we will need to build a vibrant social movement of large numbers of people. Together we will confront the obstacles to building a society that values life over death: runaway economic inequality; climate catastrophe, and war, racism and violence, at home and abroad.
The pervasive inequality in the United States is the major driver of the inherently unjust pain and unfairness that afflicts our society in the early 21st Century. It is the root cause of a range of catastrophes, including a hollowed out democracy; climate change; environmental degradation; rampant militarism, foreign military interventions and wars. The strangling impact of racism is exacerbated by economic decline for large sectors of national minorities, especially African Americans and Native Americans. African American youth are unemployed, jailed, and often brutalized at frightening levels. As we have seen in the rash of recent murders at the hands of police, these consequences are often lethal for minority communities. These murders have triggered nationwide protests, which we support.
This economic decline has also strongly impacted large parts of the white working class, leading many to support the Bernie Sanders campaign, but moving large swaths of others into reactionary and dangerous directions. To be successful, we need to address these developments.
Increasing inequality is built into the model of economic development which characterizes the global economy that rules most of the world today, and in which the USA has long played a dominant role. A hallmark of this global economy is constant expansion built on a fossil fuel energy system, dominated by wealthy fossil fuel conglomerates. These (and other military, industrial, finance) corporations end up wielding vast political power that undercuts democracy in the USA and in other nations.
The continuation of this fossil fuel system guarantees devastating climate change, the signs of which are all around us. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has been called in to secure this global fossil fuel economy and US dominance over this and other sectors of global economic systems. The wars and war preparation carried out in service of this energy empire generates vast amounts of carbon emissions, making the US military the largest source of carbon emissions in the world. The Pentagon is joined at the hip to climate injustice and to the inequality built into the global economy. We cannot address climate change or the economic inequality without opposing US military interventions and the huge defense budget that funds this war-making.
The crises that we have outlined above are inseparable and mutually reinforcing, requiring cooperation and collaboration among many diverse movements. They cannot be successfully addressed piecemeal. In order to build a truly just, secure and democratic society, we will need to build a strong grassroots movement that involves millions of new people.
We applaud the efforts of movement builders in the MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES, in Bernie Sanders OUR REVOLUTION, Rev. Barbers MORAL MONDAYS, and other promising efforts. We will give special importance to engaging young people and others who have been inspired by the vision of a political revolution for climate justice, good jobs at good pay, criminal justice reform, tuition-free college, campaign finance reform and housing and health care for all.
At this conference, we will make our contribution through the following steps:
1) Showcase and better integrate five campaigns that are linked, and fundamental, to an overall movement that addresses economic inequality, racial injustice, a society that is on a constant war-footing, and environmental degradation of the earth and all life. The five broad campaign areas are:
Healthy Planet/Climate Justice
Economic Justice: Jobs, Education, Housing
Social Justice: Racial, Criminal Justice, Immigrant Rights, Health Care
Peace, Peace Economy, Abolition of Nuclear Weapons
Strengthening our Democracy, including electoral movement building
2) Continue to develop a Massachusetts based movement infrastructure that allows us to act together strategically
3) Begin creating a bold common agenda that promises work, hope, dignity and real security to our families, and the possibility of handing a healthy planet on to our children
Registration: general admission - $35 in advance, $40 at the door; member of cosponsoring organization - $25 in advance, $30 at the door; student/low income - $10. Registration fee includes lunch, morning coffee, and reception.
Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, American Friends Service Committee, and Progressive Democrats of America.
Organizations are invited to cosponsor the conference. Cosponsors make a donation of $25-$100 depending on their ability to the conference and commit to publicize the Go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfak6CX90E3m_5Yx9Ed8ZH89alj_0WXWCO_CfkeAaDORcoCxw/viewform for information.
Full conference information at http://masspeaceaction.org/event/the-next-four-years/.
Simmons College, Paresky Conference Center (View)
300 the Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|