tv [untitled] CSPAN June 6, 2009 5:30am-6:00am EDT
den ken lewis as bank of america's chairman. [applause] that effort is part of a growing pam campaign for regulation of the banking industry. at the same time she serves on president obama's economic recovery advisory board. anna knows a lot about inside-outside strategy to win changes, and how we have to change to win. so please welcome anna berger. [applause] >> thank you. it is great to be here. this is an incredible panel. it is a long-time coming. we worked hard. we have stratjiesed about how to have america's future now, not some day, not after some next election, but actually changing america's future now. i'm very excite excited to have all these kfings with you.
it was just a year ago we had this conference for take mac -- back america, and we did it. that was even before the economic collapse. that was about greed, corruption, and a bush administration that cared about the top 1% and not anybody else. i want to officially welcome you to washington. i know there have been lots of welcomes already. i want to welcome you to washington, d.c., the nation's capital, where the people have reclaimed our capital and our country and we have secured our leader in the white house. this is a new day in america, and we have just begun the work of transforming our country, our communities, and our families. we have a remarkable president. one who thinks big and acts boldly. it is good to be here with all of you. all of us together have worked hard for years to have a transformational election to work to elect progressive majority that could actually make change happen. and we have all learned how to work together to come out of our
silos to understand how electoral work can work more effectively if we work together in partnership, and that's what got us here. i am proud of the part that the labor union has done in that. they have all, generation after generation, have giveen dwsh to use their voice, passions, skills. exploited by employers, marge liesed by politicians, and left behind by our society. we are native born in immigrants. people of all colors, ordinary people who want dignity, respect, a voice on our job and in our society so they can make a difference. through their union our members have been able to use that voice to organize and change lives, not just for themselves, but for all families. during the last election, we were all proud of the work we did, because we were out there,
side-by-side with you. we are on the phones, at the doors talking about the american dream, making this about what mattered to working families. we reached all voters and sometime voters. we were in battleground states, and places we didn't know were battleground states. to win florida, virginia, colorado and have a win was amazing. [applause]. >> yeah, and we did it because we dug deeper and we were more determined than we had ever been before. we extanneded -- when al fanken is seated, i guess we have the official 60 members. [applause] we all worked incredibly hard electing him to be our president. with that election, the work we did was a frans transformational election.
how we talk about issues, the economy, race, what mattered. about how we saw policies and government. getting rid of trickle down -- understanding that government was good for all of us. it helped us understand what grassroots can do. people came toble together because they -- people came together because they wanted to build a movement for change, not just take little steps for change. i think that's what this campaign was about, to build a grassroots election about making change happen. that's what we did, and now it's what we need to do, which is actually not just have the opportunity to make change happen, but actually make it happen. our country needs to more than we've ever needed it before, because president obama really inherited a mess. let's be honest here. 8.9% unemployment.
higher for african-american and latino and going up. one in six workers in america is underemployed or unemployed. and over 60% -- 6% think they will lose their jobs next year. over 50% believe they will lose their health care this year. one in 11 homes now in foreclosure. half of foreclosures now are because of health care costs. this is the critical time. i'm proud of what this president has done already. he did move a bold agenda. a far-reaching sbedge really making a difference. er nd i was proud of the first time in the white house when he spoke to the whole press corps and said some people think you're either part of the problem and needs to be part of a solution.
we have a strong labor movement to build our economy. [applause] the truth is people are hopeful and fearful, they what they transformational change in a percent want a change. 80% want a government that will be on their side about creating jobs here, not offshoring them and 80 percent of an activist government that is on their side and that is a risk because while we are fighting for change to the other side is not let go. we might have won this election but the chamber of commerce and the forces against change are right there and the truth is we have to be there as big as they are because they will not let this go evenly because this is a fight for power and as the head of home depot said when talking about the employee three joyce i.t. said it was at the end of civilization he knows it. so let's be serious, the end of civilization as they want to be when a top 1 percent is everything and we get nothing. [applause] and so we are just beginning to emerge from a time when a
corporate for the first, last and only say is now time for people to have this and ask when to be hard so as the chamber and the forces against us are spending money on the hill tried to make sure the republicans just say no and the democrats get incremental and small, that we have to be out there in force as well. is why our union seiu the marks what we call changed that works, 400 organizers in 35 states making sure there is a drumbeat for change. we need to do that because otherwise the change will slip away from us because they are trying to make sure it never happens and that is why everything we do together is so important as we were out there and places like north dakota, louisiana, arkansas where we have more organizers on the ground when members and the states. soviet officials understand i have to vote with us, we have to hold them accountable, otherwise the informational slip away from us and as with the other side
wants. they want to convince americans of that voting does not matter. that what they need in health care and jobs isn't going to happen and it doesn't matter whether you like the perfect president or get this is the gross is seven and win the majority, it doesn't matter, there will try to marginalize us and we can't let that happen. [applause] and that is why our union and others came together after the election to convene progressive organizations to say can we do the same thing we did before the election? can we get out of our silas and understand we have to share in strategy? wimax however on focus but we have to share a common agenda and have to bring together and maybe it will be perfect but we have to figure out how to get there and if we have the most transformational president in my lifetime and maybe there are people who are older and i have had a more transformational president, i don't know, but we have to make a successful and they can be the best i he can be. we have to retract the inside and outside but our job is to be
successful and make sure we adopt an agenda that is corollas so that is what unity 09 is about, and cable were progressive organizations to carry issues confronting gathered as savage eyes and make sure that we are third drumbeat of across the country for change. i believe that there's never been a time like this, in transformational president, 60 votes in the senate, but all of us who have begun to understand that we can work together and there are more of us a progress inside the administration than ever could have dreamed of or imagined and together we can all work side-by-side. and two sisters and brothers i am incredibly excited about what is in front of us and yet there are days away, said it couldn't he have done more or could he be further out there? absolutely and i expect there'll be more days like babbitt can i tell you that i'm so proud of what has been done already and so amazed. [applause] what are president has been willing to put himself out there on the line every single day, i
believe he knows what is happening to people across america waking up and worried about how to get their kids to and from school between two or three jobs or when they lose their jobs have they will keep a roof over their kid's head and as a tent cities pop-up across america i.p. understands that. and what we need to do is to make sure that people in the capital ummah those in the house and senate and those understand what is going on in the committees, the only people that can do that is us. we can be the drumbeat for change and the tools for change, the leaders for change, we can be the movement i just you and elections but to transform our country and have a progressive agenda that really will mean the difference for all of us and a living wage for everyone in america, health care for every single person from birth, an immigration policy that works out in the future, and a planet that is secure for the future
generations, and education system that gives our kids a better chance for a better world. i believe the progress of women to gather all of us on this panel across the room and across our world will make a difference and thank you. [applause] >> thank you, anna burger. the campaign director of a move on.org, any move on members in the audience? [applause] you know all those e-mail's f. ledger inbox, elisa are the ones you respond to your money. go and prior to joining move on, as director of the greening corporate finance, the rainforest action network, a leading the campaign to reform major banks like citigroup and to pressure wall street to invest in a grain economy.
elisa is a brilliant grassroots movement builder and a partner in this conference, please welcome elisa [applause] >> thank you for reading re nelson taking action. it's a pleasure to be here for this amazing panel and with all of you today especially with the good news we can all like knowledge, the things that we have been thinking about constantly since the election. the age of purely oppositional politics is over for now. which is just the best news that we've had in a long time. for eight years we've done enormous amount of creative thinking about new ways to save, stop, no, wait, and shot hiring in a crowded theater, but that the news is what we were doing at the amazing organizations like center for community change, and the seiu and those of you who joined at move on.org
our roster and a vibrant and diverse progressive movement that is able to take up the challenge of our day because we do have a challenge. our job actually just got a lot more tricky, it just got a lot more tricky. in saying no matter how many different ways you have to say it 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. one of the -- listen, the first thing we want to think about is matching our little dichotomy else -- smashing artificial dichotomies and getting back to the basis of democracy. in what gives every american envoys in the process and then the third challenges that we have before us is winning the battle of the story, not fighting the story of a battle. obama became president because he understood the cultural
narratives that are important to all american people and he was able to tell those stories over and over again, we have to take up the challenge and move kempthorne. so starting with smashing artificial dichotomies -- how many of you have heard people say, just four months after the election, we are back to business as usual in washington? i have, raise your hand. one of the things and that comes from that we're back to business as usual in washington is the idea you're either inside -- inside or outside, all due respect to roger, i think our job is not to be inside or outside the take the doors off the hinges and smash the walls down. [applause] part of that comes from thinking you can either be with presidents obama or against him. fully reject that notion. president obama continues to enjoy a 70 percent approval rating because he is a transformer to figure with a vision that most americans really believe in.
this is senator spectre's switching parties. potentially is gives us another vote, right? until he proves that he is going to vote with the value system of all of our constituent wednesdayies, it is ok for -- constituencies, it is ok for us to say, we will support you if you support a public health care option for all americans. if you do these things, welcome out for you, when you are up for re-election. if you don't, all bets are off. bets are off because you are accountable to your constituents in the american people, this is not a party line void in similarly we have to get more sophisticated about how we work for the democrats in congress and one is the energy back -- waxman markey bill, excellent efforts. we lost a lot and the committee process. there are some flaws with this
bill that we hope to strengthen through the floor process but one of the lessons that we learn 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. hard to be a champion and a negotiator at the same time there and what we as a movement did not recognize is we would be doing chairman waxman a favor by elevating voices from the progressive caucus, elevating other who have the ability because they were responsible forgetting a bill at committee to be that voice of saying we can do more. americans want more, there are more jobs possible if we commit more in this bill and that is our job as a movement. a third dichotomy we would like to smash is we either hang together as a movement or all parts. i am a trained ecologist, i believe that the most vibrant ecosystems are the most diverse ecosystems. i believe that of social change
ecology as well. we're so proud to be part of a new coalition efforts called unity and 09, it was formed to help pass president obama's agenda and doing a great job, we're building progressive to reduce for the long haul in states that are hard to build in, elevating non-traditional messengers and when seiu waiting on the energy bill to say, yes, we want these jobs that with so much more impact will in many places and hear from another environmental group about why we need a good energy bill and we're using our resources more efficiently because we know what we're doing. excellent effort, very proud to be a part of it and 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 are members are not happy with a specific piece, it is okay for move on to step aside and push harder, it is okay for a center for community
change to step aside and push harder. when governor bredesen name was being floated in for the director of the hhs, move on fattah authors said we don't think he is with us, we don't think he's going to represent our needs and we were -- we were one of the first at the gate and the rather is to do that as well. we were very pleased now that we have sibelius' in that position. [applause] i'm going to raise the rest of this because i don't have time of the second point is getting back to the basics of democracy. at this moment in time people have had bad taste of their voice smattering and we need to maximize that absolutely. we have got to simplify policy-making, the process of how we legislate as well as content of our legislation is a very confusing. it is on us to actually simplify both the process and the content for all americans of they can weigh in at a prepared times.
who here has time to read isakson group dupage staff even energy bill that is filled with charts and graphs 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 we're either with the democrats or the opposition wins -- on the bankruptcy bella weaver out the door the next day with senators who voted against the cramdown provision regardless of the fact they were democrats, that was an issue that affected all americans and we sent away videos two their states to let the consensus on how they voted. it will continue to report to our members in the states about the rep. voting records and finally we need to elevate the voices of all americans in the process. one of the most successful actions we've done all year is when banking ceo's wife before the house financial oversight committee to defend their expenditure of millions of
dollars on taxpayer money bonuses and corporate junkets. we were able to get -- we said to remember if you want to ask a question of them before congress, send them to us and we will get them to the representatives on the committee. 38,000 people responded, 30,000 people responded and we handed those to the members of congress who were questioning the bank ceo's. two things happened -- the main thing that happened was they read them and they ask the questions of these banking ceos but two things happen from that -- are members felt empowered, they attended -- they penetrate the walls of this in committee meetings and their voices were heard and them. what we saw is congress people sitting with sheets of paper from their constituents with outrage asking questions. they felt that average come out through their body and out to their voice and you can see them and their spines stiffen just by the fact they were sitting there with the voices of anger from
their constituents. and this is a two-way process -- are members of congress gain strength from their constituents and putting in the process. miley we need to focus on winning the battle of the store and not fighting is a battle, we have got to tell stories first and then backs. this is how president obama won the election and what brought us to the transformer to place which means we need to get our first 20 to manage the media. i'm out of time but i want to say one thing about the media, we've got 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 of the laughs, is a dance to, who is going to be the first one out against president obama and a little bit of what we like to call a hot democrat on democrat action. [laughter] we never get more press than we go after the democrats. if we all work together to actually elevate that tabloid journalism back to the basics of
the stories of what american -- americans want and americans need, that is where our true strengths lie so i will leave you with this thought -- the best gift we can give to our new president is a strong vibrant movement committed to smash and artificial dichotomies, winning the battle of the story, and getting back to the basics of democracy and i would say is i leave you that our country will never go back to where we are. we have achieved unthinkable games in the last year. a year ago it was a dream that barack obama would-be presidents 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 nafta, the potential of this political moment is staggering so i invited to all to join all of us in that challenge. [applause]
>> is this not a great panel price this is terrific. [applause] executive director of the center for community change, he has made the center all about grassroots community organizing and organizing to change public policy to improve the lives of poor people. he's made the center a leader on immigration reform, helping to build the fair immigration reform movement, many of those folks are. town and will be joining us tomorrow. i hope all of you will come on tuesday night's awards dinner. or he and the center for community change will receive a are paul wellstone progressive leadership award. [applause] please welcome him. [applause] >> it morning.
the morning. i want to think this incredible panel. in is a great honor to be with you here today 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 about the two dimensions but bear with me. the first time mention is that we have to win out and have to win rights, and a second endive mentioned is we're going to have to deal with the ideas, the infrastructure it will take to put in place progress of governance for decades to come here and winning out and winning right, what's bad about? john maynard keynes, an economist i am fond of who is coming back into some popularity who is famous for having said that in the long run we're all dead. [laughter] and buy this in this moment i think he would have meant that we have a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to advance progressive policy change in our country. if there is no time for foolishness, that we have to throw everything we have at the situation at hand to ensure that a transformative agenda on the critical issues facing our country are enacted into law. so what is a need to win out and to win right? well, i think it means first focusing on issues where winning will consolidate and helped to advance progress of power in in my mind there are three issues that pit that bill. health care reform which if we succeed willis dramatically change the role of government in the lives of every single person in the united states of america and then rebuild confidence and trust that we can solve it major social problems, that we can have a positive role for government in the economy and our society. second, the employee free choice act which will restore the right
of workers to organize and to choose to join the union. [applause] this is good public policy, it is also smart because the labor movement is fundamental to any kind of progressive movement in the united states, always has been and always will be. and a 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 grounds 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 work site or at home and separated from their loved ones. we've 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 important from the perspective of building progress of power.
because those 12 million undocumented immigrants if we are successful in treating a path of citizenship will join in a larger progressive coalition on all the allies for economic and social justice that are ahead of us. we not only need to win these progressive challenges and buys a had of us, we need to win them right. and what i mean by this is that our obligation as progressives is to fight for principles that we hold dear. we are 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, making sure that immigrants are not left out of health care, making sure that the poor and medicaid are
protected. all of that is consonant with who we are as progressives and have an obligation to fight like hell and i'm sure it happens. in order to win out and win rights we're going to have to keep organizing, the truth is that we would be doing our first community organizer in chief a terrible disservice by a diluting ourselves and thinking that this is about his ability to deliver for us and about whether he is stepping up to the plate and being as aggressive as we want him to be -- there really is about our ability to create the kind of public will in the country to create the kind of demand for a 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 community organizations that
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