Ralph Nader to OCAW Union Convention in Denver in 1994. ABSTRACT:
“As large corporations try to control the ideology of the public through their mass media conglomerates and their political action committee domination in Congress and their ability to decide what research is done and not done in our universities, they can no longer say that people are getting better in terms of their income.”
“The second thing they can’t lay claim to any more is even pseudo patriotism. Their principal business strategy is quitting America.”
“They have often claimed that they were upstanding members of the community. They belonged to the Red Cross; they were on the boards of churches, Community Chest, [so forth]. They are now the biggest purveyors of pornography in the world. They are moving with strategic marketing plans to raise our children from what they eat to who takes care of them to how they’re entertained to what they look at as their future. KinderCare raises the kids, McDonald’s feeds them, FOX, Time-Warner entertains them. Then the addictive industries come in, at about pre-teen age. What they’re telling these children is that violence is a solution to life’s problems. That they can get further in life by eating junk food and resisting nutrition and that it’s better to watch a screen thirty hours a week than to read or think or spend time with their siblings and family or on their schoolwork.
“Did you ever wonder why important issues in American life aren’t researched, and how to create a new cream whip or dessert is worked on by food technologists at universities?
“Are those the priorities when you think of all the things that should be worked on? What they’re doing is turning our universities into their business agents, and the graduate students are working for the professors, who are consulting or moonlighting several days a month for the corporations.
“Then you wonder what these students are getting in the classroom. They learn economics, the way Exxon and the Federal Reserve wrote it. They don’t learn about the history of the populist or progressive movements, from farmer to trade union. They don’t learn about how to reorganize our economy so that we take all the abundance we have and give people an opportunity to do a lot of other things with their lives except worrying every week how they’re going to make ends meet and whether they’re going to keep their jobs. There are trillions of dollars of capital in this country, owned by a few or owned by the workers but controlled by the few. No country has achieved the level of wealth that we have and managed to concentrate either its ownership or its control in so few hands. $3 trillion of worker pension funds could control corporate America through the Stock Exchange, but it is controlled by corporate America through a few banks and insurance companies, not the workers who own it.
“The law tells us we own the public airwaves. So what are we getting that’s of any substance, that connects citizens with citizens, that rebuilds our neighborhoods, that alerts us to problems coming on the horizon? Television and radio are 90% entertainment and most of that pretty low grade. The rest is redundant news. Yet we own the airwaves. So, how come there isn’t a cable labor channel? Why isn’t there a twenty-four hour channel devoted to working people’s achievements and problems and history?
“There’s no consumer channel. There’s no citizen action channel, so that people in all parts of the country can connect.
“What’s amazing is that we don’t have a piece of the mass media, radio and TV, since we technically and legally own the airwaves. We’re the landlords; the radio and TV stations are the tenants. But we never think about it because we grow up corporate.
“We don’t even make a political issue out of what we own but don’t control. We own one third of America, the public lands where all minerals are, and the mining companies pretty much control it through their friends in Washington. We own the airwaves, we don’t control them. We own $1.5 trillion in mutual insurance money, Prudential, Metropolitan – we’re talking legally now; we’re the legal owners, [but] we don’t have a snip of the corporation’s control.
“When you grow up corporate, you don’t even make it an issue. You don’t even think about it. You think that’s by accident? We must root our history and culture in a broader framework and insulate this constant hammering and curtailment of the people’s horizons by the corporate commercial standards. In the last twenty years these corporatists and their think tanks have been re-writing history. They have been saying that trade unions ruined our competitiveness in the world. “Competitiveness” means, Hurry up, America, you haven’t reached the level of Malaysia yet. It means Pull down your standards of living. Take away your right to jury trials and injury cases. Freeze your minimum wage and have it eroded by inflation. Bust up the unions. Intimidate the workers who want to form them. Build more gambling casinos, more entertainment palaces, the roman circus. Feed it to them. It’ll numb them from what’s happening, which is, the global corporate world order is to pull down higher standard of living countries like ours. That’s what meeting global competition means to corporatists. And it’s happening. It’s not a prediction.”
“There is also a global corporate strategy to lay an autocratic bureaucracy that’s secretive over our modest democracy [World Trade Organization (WTO), which adjudicates international trade disputes through corporate lawyers, without press, citizens, union allowed] and expose our laws to declarations by secret tribunals that they’re invalid, and we either obey or pay. This is the ultimate grand design for the Global Corporate Order. If the people of this country knew what the WTO is all about, they would knock it down.
“[If our leaders] don’t drop their fatalism and resignation and constant saying, ‘There’s no way to stop it, why try?’ then I submit that it’s time for about 15,000 people to surround [each leader] in a demonstration. Thank you very much.” – Ralph Nader.
ONE NATION WORKING TOGETHER by Peter Rothberg Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by The Nation
The sobering new data on poverty has given new impetus to the One Nation Working Together movement, a coalition of union members, community activists, students, entertainers, civil and human rights leaders and progressive politicians coming together on October 2 to demand jobs, justice and education.
The figures recently released by the US Census Bureau show that one in seven Americans – that’s 45.6 million people – lives in poverty in the United States. This is the third consecutive year of increases. African-Americans saw an increase from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent, while poor Hispanics jumped from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent. Shockingly, the number of Americans living fifty percent below poverty level is at an all-time high of 6.3 percent of the country. That’s a total of 19 million people trying to get by on $10,977 annual income for a family of four.
Organizers are hoping the events on October 2 will herald the emergence of a new political force that can fill the void in representing the growing needs of larger and larger segments of the populace and wrest the fake populist mantle away from the Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck.
These words from Campus Progress’ Sara Haile-Mariam eloquently explain what the October 2 march represents.
And this video with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker lucidly details the goals of the new movement.
[O]rganizers have laid out some concrete policy goals including extension of the federal unemployment program, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other targeted initiatives to those currently unemployed; legislation to ensure that all workers earn a living family wage; the expansion of anti-discrimination law; the reform of bankruptcy laws to the benefit of families, working people, seniors, and students; the completion of the promise of universal healthcare, and increased federal support to institutions of higher education that provide opportunities for underserved communities, including community colleges and Historically Black Colleges.
The DC march is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country, who will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC at the same time as hundreds of smaller, local events are staged coast to coast.
If you can’t make it to an [event]…, you can still watch the proceedings live on Free Speech TV (FSTV) with hosts Thom Hartmann and Laura Flanders. The TV broadcast will feature main stage speeches, interviews with organizers and analysts and reporting from the crowd. The special program will air nationally from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time on DISH Network channel 9415, DIRECTV channel 348 and numerous cable stations across the country. — Peter Rothberg writes the ActNow column for the The Nation. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/21-10