|With its glittering chandeliers in the lobby and $200-per-night room rate, the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, D.C. seems like an incongruous place for a convention of working-class people talking about taking power back from the 1 percent.
As Ai-Jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), points out when she takes the stage to address a crowd full of organizers from around the country, the people making decisions about the economy don't look like the ones in this room.
About 1000 activists have congregated for the joint convention between NDWA and the community-organizing network National People's Action (NPA). NPA has been holding such gatherings, in which members from its affiliate groups around the nation come together to share stories, strategize, and raise a little hell in the streets of D.C., for 41 years. This year, it’s joined with NDWA in an attempt to build something bigger that can work for long-term success—what NPA director George Goehl calls in an interview “moving from checkers to chess.”
As David Moberg reported for In These Times in February, under Goehl, NPA has shifted its former community-organizing model toward something that looks a lot more like movement-building. That includes teaming up with groups like NDWA and others in order to add to their collective strength and actually build a strategy that won’t stop at winning neighborhood or even citywide victories. Ultimately, the NPA and their allies hope to reshape the American economy so it actually works for everyone.
Their plan for a “people's new economy” calls for “democratic control of capital, racial justice, corporations for the common good, ecological sustainability and real democracy.” That's not a small list of goals, but NPA isn't interested in small any longer. The phrase “structural transformation” is frequently invoked over the weekend. Organizers repeatedly point out at plenary sessions and panel discussions that inequality was not an accident—that it happened by design as a result of deliberate steps taken by the wealthy to consolidate their own power—and that long-term plans will be needed to counteract it as well.
“We realized,” Goehl tells me, “that we actually had to figure out how to do real strategy and put together a set of moves that were designed to contest for power—in the world of narrative, in the world of elections, and in terms of structures—the kind of legal forms that dictate who has power and who doesn't.”
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—GOP congressman doesn't know why we have the oil subsidies he voted for:
|It's a real pattern now. Republicans voted unanimously to protect oil company subsidies earlier this year. But now that those oil companies are announcing record profits, these very sameRepublicans are refusing to publicly acknowledge that the reason why the subsidies are in place is because they voted for them.
The latest example: Republican Congressman Randy Fultgren, who couldn't even explain why we have subsidies in the first place. […]
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, today's morning frenzies: jobs & Benghazi. Greg Dworkin adds his two cents, and adds that Christie's still toast, tech companies push back on data collection, the partisan divide on issues of race is growing, and celebs are eschewing the WHCD. He also previews his upcoming Sunday Kos interview with E.J. Dionne. Ireland opens up the "don't look backward" can of worms, arresting Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in connection with a 1972 political murder. Then, another view of the relationship between the tech giants and the government, via The Guardian.