tv [untitled] CSPAN June 5, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT
are out there tried to make sure it never happens and that is why everything we do together is so important in places like north dakota, louisiana, arkansas, montana where we have more organizers on the ground than ever before. we need to build that drum beat for those like to the officials understanding that they have to vote with us. we have to hold them accountable, hold them to read otherwise our transformation will slip away from us and that is what the other side wants years if they want to convince americans that voting does not matter. that what they need in health care and jobs is in going to happen and it doesn't matter whether you liked it for president or in a 60 votes in the house, it doesn't matter, they will try to marginalize us and we cannot let this happen. [applause] and that is why a our union and others came together after the election to convene progressive organize this is a can we do the same thing after that we did before? can we get out of our silos and
understand we have to share its strategy? we might have our own of this but we have to share a common agenda and a half to win an agenda together and maybe it won't be perfect but we have to figure out how to get their and if we have the most transracial president in my lifetime and maybe people who are older who might have had more chance -- transformation of president but we have to make them successful and make him to begin investing can be here and we have to figure out the inside and outside but our job is to be successful and make sure we adopt an agenda that is good for all of us. a that is why unity 09 is all about, and table were progressive organizations to care about this thing come together and strategizing make sure we are the drumbeat across this country for change. i believe there's never been a time like this one, 60 votes with in the senate. but all of us who have begun to understand we can work together and there are more or less progressive sinsyne than ever could have dreamed of, and
together we can all work side-by-side. sisters and brothers, i am incredibly excited about what's in front of us and yet their days i went up and say could he have done more are further out there, absolutely and i expect there will be more days like this but can i tell you that i'm so proud of what has been done already and so amazed about what he has been willing to do and put himself out there on the line. [applause] want -- people are waking up in the morning and were about how to get their kids to and from school between two or three jobs or when they lose their jobs how they're going to keep a roof over their kids and and as 10 cities pop-up across america he understands that and what we need to do is to make sure that people in the capital those leaders in the house and senate and those votes understand what is going on. the only people who can do that
is us. we can beat the drum for a change among we can be the tool for change, the leaders for a change, we can be the movement not just to win elections but to transform our country and transform it and have a progressive agenda that really will mean a difference for all of us a living wage for everyone in america, health care for every single person from birth and immigration policy that works now and in the future, with and a planet that is secure when future generations and education system and gives our kids a better chance for a better world. i'm of the progressive movement together all of us on this panel of cross the world will make a difference and thank you derrin descant [applause] [applause] >> thank you, speak of. ilyse hogue is the campaign director of moveon.org. any move on members in the audience?
[applause] you know all those e-mail's that plan you're in box, ilyse are the ones to respond to an action or money. and prior to joining move on her, she was director of grain in corporate finance work, with rain forest action network thought leading the campaign to reform major banks like citigroup and pressure wall street to invest in a green economy. ilyse is a brilliant grassroots movement builder and a partner in this conference, please welcome ilyse hogue. [applause] >> want and serving our e-mail's in taking action, in is a pleasure to be here with this amazing panel and all of you today. especially with the good news we kenneling knowledge among the things that we have been thinking about constantly since
the election. the age of barely oppositional politics is over. for now which is the best news that we have had in a long time here for eight years we have done an enormous amount accretive thinking about new ways to say, stop, no, wait, and sapphire in a crowded theater with the good news is well over doing that amazing organizations like center for community change, like seiu, and like all of you who joined us that move on did oregon or fostering a vibrant endeavors progressive movement that has been able to take up the talents of our day because we do have a challenge. our job actually just not a lot more tricky. in just got a lot more tricky. while saying no matter how many different ways you have to sand is a lot more complicated than sophisticated strategy is to achieve progressive change and that is our challenge today. i would argue that we have three things to think about.
watching the person to think about is matching artificial the economy is. the second one is getting back to the basis of democracy, one gives every american a voice in the process and then the third challenge that we have before us is winning the battle of the story, not finding the story of the battle. obama became president because he understood the culture on their toes that are important to all american people and he was able to tell those stories over and over again. we have to take up that challenge and of a foreign. so starting with smashing artificial dichotomies -- how many of you have heard people say just four months after the election, we're back to business as usual in washington? i have. raise your hands. one of the things that has come to that is the idea that you are
either inside or outside of all due respect to roger i think our job is not to be inside or outside the take the doors of the images and smashed walls down. [applause] part of that comes from thinking you can either be with president obama or in against him and awfully reject that notion. president obama continues to enjoy a 70 percent approval rating because he is a chance from a figure with a vision that most americans really believe and and in their neighborhoods to their elected representatives, we will never achieve that vision. the best guess that we can give to president obama and the next four years is a vibrant favors the local progressive movement that is with him and with the
progressive movement. [applause] the other piece of smashing artificial dichotomies is the idea we either need to support of the democrats of the opposition wins. we don't need the support of the democrats in the opposition would win, we need to actually hold members of congress accountable to that which americans voted them into office for a. [applause] one of the best examples of this is senator specter switching parties. could move, give us another vote potentially gives us another vote. right? until he proves that he is going to vote with the value system of all of our constituency is it is okay. us to send we will support you if you vote for the employee free choice act, we will support you if you support a public health care option for all americans derrin [applause] if you do these we will come out
for you when you're up for reelection, if you don't all bets are off because you are accountable to your constituents in the american people. this is not a party line vote. similarly we have to get more sophisticated about how we work with all are democrats in congress. one example is the energy bill that just passed him to many. excellent effort. we lost a lot and the committee process here and there are some flaws of this bill that we hope to strengthen to the floor process but one of the lessons that we learned in this is chairman henry waxman who is arguably one of the most passionate advocates of a clean energy economy was also the chief negotiator on the spell your hard to be a champion and a negotiator at the same time. what we as a movement did not recognize is we would be doing chairman waxman a favor by elevating voices from the progress of barack's, elevating
others who have the ability because they were responsible forgetting a bill at committee to be that voice and say we can do more, there are more jobs possible if we commit more in this bill. a third dichotomy would like to smash is either hang together as a movement or fall apart. i'm a trained ecologist and i believe that the most vibrant ecosystems of the most diverse ecosystems. i believe that social change ecology as well. we're so proud to be part of a new coalition effort called unity all nine, it is a form to help pass president obama's engine and is doing a great job. we're building current communities and states that are hard to build an, elevating non-traditional messengers and when it seiu weighed in on the energy bill to say, yes, we want these jobs that with so much more impact won't in many places
about why we need a good energy bill and we're using our resources more efficiently because we know each other are doing. excellent effort and probably a part of it. at the same time our primary mandate is to represent our constituents and therefore if there comes a time where our constituents are not happy and members are not happy with the specific piece, it is okay for move on to step aside and push harder, it is okay for senator for community change to step aside and push harder. when governor bredesen name was being floated in for the director of hhs, move on got up and said we don't think he is with us, we don't think he's going to represent our needs and we were -- one of the purse out the gate, there were others to do that as well, and we were very pleased now that we have a severely as in that position. [applause] i'm going to raise through the rest because i don't have time but the second point is getting
back to the basis of democracy -- this moment in time people have had bad taste of their voice smattering and we need to maximize that absolutely. we have got to simplifies the labyrinth of policy-making in the process of how we legislate as well as content of our legislation is very confusing. the onus is on us to actually simplify both the process and the content for all americans so they can weigh in at a per betimes. who here has time to read isakson of the dupage draft of an energy bill that is fellow german? our job is to make sure that our members know what is in there and know how to make their voices heard. we need to hold all members of congress accountable. this goes back to your either with the democratic swear the opposition wins here and on the bankruptcy bill, we ran out the door the next day with senators who voted against the cramdown provision regardless of the fact they were democrats.
i was an issue that affected all americans and we sent web videos to states to lead their constituents know how they voted. we will continue to report back to our members in these days about their representatives voting records and finally we need to elevate the voices of all americans in the process. one of the most successful actions we have done all year is when banking ceos went before the house financial oversight committee to defend their expenditure of millions of taxpayer money and bonuses and corporate giants. we were able to get our members, if you want to ask a question before congress and them to us and we will get them to the representatives on the committee. 30,000 people responded and we can add those to the members of congress who were questioning the bank ceo's into things happen -- the main thing that happened is they read them, they read them and asked the
questions of these banking ceos but from that are members felt empowered, they have penetrated the walls of the use it in committee meetings and their voices were heard in them. and what we saw is congress people sitting with sheets of paper from their constituents without rich asking questions, they felt that an underage come out through their body and out to their voice and you can see them just by the fact they were sitting there with the voices of anchor from their constituents. this is a two-way process and are members of congress gained strength when their constituents in putting into the process. finally we need to focus on winning the battle of the store and not finding the story as a battle. we have got to tell stories first and then backs. this is how president obama won the election, this is what brought us back to this chance farm in place which means we need to get out first and we need to manage the media. i'm out of time but i want to say one thing about the media --
i know have lots of panels on the media but here's what we have noticed that the media is really interested in right now. where is the movement for entering on the left? who is against to? who is going to be the first one out against president obama and a little of what we like to call hot democratic on democratic action. [laughter] we never get more press and we go after the democrats. we all were to gather into actually elevate that tabloid journalism back to the basis of the stories of what america's -- americans need and want, that is where our to strength lies so i will leave you with this thought. the best if we can give to our new president is a strong vibrant movement committed to smashing artificial dichotomies, winning the battle of the story, and getting back to the basics of democracy there and i would posit as i leave you that our country will never go back to where we are here and we have achieved unthinkable gains in the last year.
a year ago it was a dream that barak obama would be president, and what is even more special than that is that hundreds of millions of americans feel like they had a peace in that and if we continue to tap into that, the potential of this political moment is staggering. so i invite you all to join all of us in that challenge. [applause] >> is this not a great panel? this is terrific. deepak bhargava is executive director of the center for community change. he has been the center all about grass roots community organizing and organizing to change public policy to improve the lives of poor people there and he's made the center a leader on immigration reform, helping to build it there immigration reform movement. many of those folks are here and
will be joining us tomorrow. i hope all of you will come on tuesday night's awards dinner where deepak and the center for community change will receive our paul wellstone progressive leadership award. [applause] please welcome deepak bhargava. [applause] >> this morning. >> good morning. >> i want to thank roger in this incredible panel hearing is a great honor to be with you today. the so what is the progress of a challenge ahead of us? as i see it, it has two dimensions, is going to sound like i'm about to contradict myself when i talk a lot to dimensions but where with name. the first dimension is that we have to win now and have to win right and the second to mention is that we're going to have to build of the ideas come in the
infrastructure it will take to put in place progressive baroness for decades to come. so winning now when a right -- what is that about? john maynard keynes, an economist i am fanon who is coming in. >> -- coming back into popularity is famous for having sat in the long run we're all dead. [laughter] and i this in this moment i think he would have meant that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance a progressive policy change in our country. there really is no time for foolishness. that we have to throw everything we have at the situation at hand to ensure the transfer of an agenda on the critical issues facing our country are enacted into law. so what does it mean to win out in to win right? well, i think it means first focusing on issues where winning will consolidate and held to a man's progress of power and in
my mind there are three issues that fit that bill -- health care reform which if we succeeded will dramatically change the role of government and the lives of every single person in the united states of america and rebuild confidence and trust that we can solve a major social problems, that we can have a positive role for government in the economy in our society. second, the best teenineteen. which will restore the rights of workers to organize and to choose to join the union. this is good public policy and also smart because of the labor movement is fundamental to any kind of progressive movement in the united states, it always has been and always will be. in the third pillar i would argue is comprehensive immigration reform. the president has said that he wants to get this done. the argument for this on moral ground is crystal clear -- we
have 12 million people in our society who are operating and living in the shadows, living in terror that any time at any moment they can be picked up at the worksite or at home and separated from their loved ones. we have had mother separated from their children, we have had brothers separated from their sisters, this has been a brutal policy that we have had over the last eight years. but it is also import from the perspective of building progress of power because those 12 million undocumented immigrants if we are successful in treating a path to citizenship will join in a larger progressive coalition on all the fights for economic and social justice and a loss. we not only need to win the state's progressive challenges and price ahead of us, we need to win the right. and what i mean by this is that our obligation as progressives is to fight for principles that we hold dear. we're ultimately about the
people that we represent and so in the context of health care that means be relentless about fighting for a public plan option for every single american in the united states of america. [applause] it also means making sure that we address issues like racial disparities and access to health care. [applause] making sure that immigrants are not left out of health care and making sure that the poor and medicaid are protected. all of that is consistent with being a progressives and we have a an obligation to fight like hell to make sure it happens. in order to win out and to win right, we are going to keep organizing. the truth is that we would be doing our first community organizer and chief a terrible disservice by diluting our sell some thinking that this is about his ability to deliver for us and about whether he is stepping up to the plate in being as
aggressive as we want him to me -- it really is about our ability to read the kind of public will in the country to create the kind of demand for the progressive policy change that makes it inevitable i think the last piece of this challenge for us is going to be to make suffering visible in america. so i am struck everywhere i travel in this country working with low-income grassroots organizations the there is a social catastrophe happened in our country, so we have millions of people were being put out of their homes, we have millions of people who are losing their jobs with no adequate safety net whatsoever, and there's almost no discussion of this and the pundit class and wilson washington dc. it is our job to make that discussion front and center unavoidable every single day in washington in the scene. [applause] so that takes me to our second
task as we look at this new era we are in which used to build a bold longer-term agenda for change. now, i will confess after the election i thought in terms of those game show contests that people used to win for you get 10 minutes in a grocery store and anything you put into your shopping cart you could take home some of the we could get health care reform and put that in a basket, maybe we could get immigration reform and put that in the basket, maybe some good party provision, but then sooner later that 10 minute time would be up and we would be back to consider the politics and policies as usual here like that was the wrong way to think about the moment we are in. we could be in a situation where we can create a cycle where winning progressive policy change allows us to win more progressive policy change. and today we have been really dealing with a brightly and fighting for policy ideas that
in some ways are off the shelf and. these are things we have been fighting for for a long time but these are issues that have been blocked by the conservative dominance of this town. but there are new issues that we need to begin to lay the groundwork for an emerging issues to the groundwork for, and we for is some of that morning hearing about the need to create a new kind of economy that works for everybody. we are seeing levels of inequality and poverty and racial exclusion of our country that are fundamentally incompatible with a thriving economy or democracy. people used to say that any quality of the time that we have in our country today is the necessary consequence of a capitalist economy and a growth economy that we have to live with the reality here and if there's one lesson that this crisis has tossed in a savage inequality is actually bad for the a lot -- bad for the economy and bad for our democracy brianna [applause]
so in my mind one of the worsens that has happened over the time of conservative dominance is that it has taken all subjects and put them outside the pale of polite discourse among elites in our country, issues on a deep poverty and unemployment and radical income inequality so we are going to need over these next couple of years to build an even bigger agenda that ask questions about how much inequality is acceptable in our country, what is the role of the corporation in our country so that in 2011 and 2013 we are not just resting on the mall so what we have done in 2009 and 2010 but pushing for more the final point i want to make is that in some ways the big question for this time i think for this time is whether this will be a time when the new deal and in the new deal we saw on not just a short burst of progress of policy-making, but really a
sustained campaign to get policy change down over many years and and and the second two years of the new deal or far more far reaching in social security, the weiner act and the first two years. in my mind a question for us is will we have the kind of sustained a series of breakthroughs over multiple years or will we have a narrow window to get our shopping cart build up? and the answer that question is enough to president obama, it is up to us. thank you very much. [applause] >> this has been a great piano, a great group of speakers and great group of leaders. we have caught up a little bit in terms of our time so we have a little bit to have a discussion here and i don't know if any of our speakers want to
have an exchange or ask some questions with our other panelists? i'm sorry, we did not prepare for that, we will get to you in a second to hear and let me make an interesting comparison between the two efforts on health care health care and have a conversation about how we do parallel paths. mitch, you send the there were three principles guiding the effort by organizing for america merited there is a larger coalition called health care for american now which is lying great emphasis on the need for a public plan. we have taken the responsibility forgetting members of congress to step up to that hearing aid is in the plan in that obama
campaign on, it certainly aims at controlling costs in the way that he has made that a priority but my guess is that organizing for american decided they need to be a little more general. sacrificing perhaps the intensity on the part of your supporters, but preparing for the possibility that it might or might not get into the legislation. on the other hand, in whole bunch of us are fighting like crazy to make sure that it is in that legislation. [applause] and i know that your intention is well, but i just wanted to get your reaction to those different levels of messaging and organizing. >> sure, is this on?
we do fill our role and there is a lot of the family mansion seiu and other groups who have been active on health care reform for a number of years and to some degree we feel like we're coming to the table a little bit later than most other folks. here now, we feel our unique role in this reform effort to is to fold in -- one is from a 30,000-foot level which is when you talked about is push the debate forward and i think we have a unique ability to do that given the fact that we have a large list of supporters who are ready to get active on the s and engaged their neighbors and friends. the sec and is we feel our -- the second is we feel our role is to tell a personal story about health care like receiving thousands of personal stories that we will mind if i threw out his legislative process so that members an l