I’m not sure whether this is just me wanting there to be a vibrant left coalition and so seeing more than ought to be seen, or if this is, you know, the actual beginning of a vibrant left coalition that can push our boneheaded party to do better. But I’m warily excited about the One Nation Working Together movement (they call themselves that). Pictures here. They look like what I had wanted the Coffee Party to be a while back, and what I’d rather see out of the March for Sanity. No offense intended to Coffee Party or Jon Stewart, I think they fulfill a valuable role as well, and there are good friends and people I trust who worked tirelessly on the CP (no, not that CP), but it just lacked the urgency and the transparency (where do you stand dangit?) I needed.
I don’t know where they’re going to go after November 2nd. That will be the real indicator to me if this is working toward really sustainable movement building or just a ‘crikey we need to make sure we maintain a Dem majority or everything will go to hell’ thing. Not that we don’t need to maintain a Dem majority, it’s just that we did that in ’08 and we need to take it a step further and change the game. But if they elicit real grassroots support, real rank-and-file democracy; and get out of the insider game that, well, everyone has been playing since that was the directive sent to them from Day 1 (what was the appointment of the economic team if not a blindingly clear signal that this was how it was going to be?), and begin to directly and effectively challenge and shift the more boneheaded decisions made by the leaders on our side who sent those directives, well, maybe this thing’ll be legit.
Anyway. I get excited reading their website, at the very least. Anything that draws pretty unabashedly ‘Let America Be America Again‘ and the original March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (check the platform especially) demands my attention, though I know a lot of folks draw from those two in word. The judgment will be in the deed. Anyway. I’ll quote directly their mission and policy principles (there’s that combination of words I’ve been missing!) and link to their supporting organizations (again, the level of real involvement and buy-in, the mobilization of membership and empowerment of member-leaders will be a really strong indicator).
One Nation Working Together
For Jobs, Justice and Education for All
WHO WE ARE
We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all.
We are young people, frustrated that society seems willing to spend more locking up our bodies than educating our minds, yet still we find ways to succeed and shine.
We are students and newly-returned veterans – persevering in the face of mounting debt – determined not to be the first generation to end up worse off than our parents.
We are baby boomers and seniors – who saw hope killed in 1968 and will not let the dream of a united America be taken from us again.
We are conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of deep faith, united by escalating assaults on our reason, our environment, and our rights.
We are workers of every age, faith, race, sex, nationality, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ability – who have suffered discrimination but never stopped loving our neighbors, or our nation.
We are American Indians and Alaska Natives – citizens of Native nations – who maintain our cultures, protect our sovereignty, and strength America’s economy.
We are the new immigrants, raising our children in the torchlight of the Statue of Liberty, while confronting the shadows that are bigotry and mass deportations.
We are the native born. We inherited the divided legacies of settlers and American Indians, black slaves and white and Asian indentured servants. And yet, in this moment of shared suffering, we rejoice in newfound friendships and new alliances.
We are people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street’s wrongdoers got bailed out. We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America.
We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters, and other would-be champions fold in fear.
And yet, we are the majority – fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep ourselves – and our country – moving up and out of the valley greed created.
And most importantly – from ensuring women are treated fairly at work, to expanding health care coverage for millions– we have been victorious whenever we worked together. We have proven the only thing we need to succeed is each other.
And on 11-2-10, we will march again – into the voting booths. We will bring our families, our friends, and our neighbors. And once the ballots are counted, we will keep organizing, we will hold our leaders accountable, and we will keep making our dream real.
This movement will grow. It will put America back to work, pull America back together, and keep us moving ever forward.
Join us. We are One Nation Working Together: For Jobs, For Justice, For Education, For All.
And now, the policy principles:
Everyone in America deserves a just and fair chance to achieve the American Dream. Our national identity is rooted in the ideal that all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or ability – should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and contribute to an economy that works for everyone.
Yet today our nation remains in crisis. We face serious challenges, including: a deepening jobs crisis caused in part by a bubble economy of low wages and exploitative credit. We continue to struggle with a broken immigration system; crumbling infrastructure; too many failing public schools that help some, but not all, children; increased levels of division and discrimination; economic and energy peril; and environmental catastrophe. And, in this time of crisis, too many voices offer only a choice between doing nothing, and turning against one another.
Today, more than ever, we need to break the gridlock in Washington, and we need decisive leadership and policy that will move all in Congress, especially the Senate, forward. A committed public is also needed more than ever, to advance inclusive solutions that will overcome these challenges, put Americans back to work, and pull us all back together as one nation.
One Nation Working Together is about a better future for all of us here in America – a future of justice at home and peace abroad, where we create good jobs for all of us and take on the great challenges we face as a nation: rebuilding our economy; respecting all families; educating all our children in safe environments; transforming how we use energy; ensuring safe, vibrant, diverse communities; and providing for an economic future built on the principles that America has always aspired to achieve.
One Nation Working Together will chart a bold, pragmatic path toward a more unified, sustainable, prosperous future.
We will build support for the following core principles and policy ideals that taken together will advance an economy that works for everyone:
Working together for the creation, protection, and advancement of good jobs
Create new jobs in every sector, so that everyone in our country who wants to work can find a job. There should be a job in America for everyone who wants to work.
Provide immediate relief for those who are currently unemployed
- Extend the federal unemployment program, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other targeted initiatives helping those who are currently without a job
- Target help for populations and communities in the greatest need, including youth summer jobs and training initiatives
Provide immediate action to stimulate job growth and retention; and consumer demand
- Provide aid to states and cities—including direct job creation at local levels—especially in education, health care, social services and first responder workforces
- Increase the ability of small businesses to obtain assistance and support, including short term loans, grants and other forms of assistance
- Fund infrastructure investment that spurs higher economic growth, clean energy enterprises, and green jobs
Provide a fair chance for every worker in our country to succeed and advance in the workplace
- Everyone who works in America should have the right to join with their co-workers to have a voice on the job
- Pay all workers a living family wage
- Increase and index the minimum wage
- Close the race-, gender-, and all other unjust pay gaps
- End all forms of workplace discrimination and expand anti-discrimination law to be inclusive of everyone
- Protect, honor, fully apply, and expand equal opportunity and diverse business inclusion practices
- Create employment pathways and training opportunities for workers who want to advance their careers
- Make every job a safe job
- Provide paid sick days and paid family leave for all workers
Rebuild the U.S. economy for the 21st Century
- Reorient our country’s trade and tax policies to tackle job loss and currency manipulation, and promote the creation of good jobs at home
- Create a national industrial policy to transform our economy into a sustainable one that provides good jobs and a good quality of life for America’s families
- Provide greater national investment in new jobs, improved infrastructure, and public education instead of escalating military spending
- Prevent the repeat of the economic crisis by addressing the problem of financial institutions, including those deemed “too big to fail”
- Put an end to the exploitative practices that contributed to the economic crisis; increase watchdog powers of institutions such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and prohibit and punish predatory lending and mortgage scams
Working together for justice and equal opportunity for all
Advance and implement policy principles and practices that prohibit and prevent discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or ability.
Enhance, strengthen and preserve voting rights for all Americans
- Enact policies that expand access to the polls for everyone, including former felons
- Preserve policies that established to address systematic voter disenfranchisement, including the elimination of deceptive practices
- Secure voting representation in Congress and full democracy for the residents of the District of Columbia, so that our pledge of “liberty and justice for all” will apply equally to all who live in our nation’s capital
End discriminatory practices within the criminal justice system
- End racial profiling by law enforcement officials
- Eliminate statutes, such as mandatory minimums, which have had a disparately devastating impact on the poor as well as racial and ethnic minorities
- Restore trust between police officers and the communities they serve by establishing competent civilian review boards with real authority to identify and address misconduct
- Establish policies to help ex-felony offenders reintegrate into society, including job training, educational opportunities, and voting rights that reducing recidivism rates
Preserve and honor our history as a nation that is inclusive of immigrants and maintain respect for the rule of law
- Fix our broken immigration system in a way that provides for due process; protects workers and our national security; quickly reunites families, holds employers accountable, and provides a fair path to citizenship.
- Avoid or end ineffective, costly, and dangerous proposals or provisions that seek to round up, detain, and deport 12 million unauthorized workers, split families, encourage racial profiling, and divert scarce resources away from crime fighting.
- Provide for a path to citizenship for individuals who are completing an education and/or serve in their community, or in the military
Working together to protect and strengthen the safety net, and create opportunity for all
- End the foreclosure epidemic and save the homes of America’s families
- Require principal write downs in exchange for government aid for mortgage lenders or services
- Reform bankruptcy laws to protect families, working people, seniors, and students
- Prioritize safe, secure and affordable housing for all
- Provide adequate resources to end all forms of discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing
- Protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare
- Repair private pension systems
- Complete the promise of accessible and affordable health care for all people, including the public option and other effective means to provide coverage for all; and implementation of anti-discrimination provisions
Working together for quality public education for all
- Ensure that all people have equal access to affordable, adequately resourced, high quality public education throughout their lives, from preschool through college
- Provide for quality teaching jobs with training, and support necessary to continuously improve classroom practice and safety, and serve students better
- Increase federal support to institutions of higher education that provide opportunities for underserved communities, including women’s institutions, community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions
- Increase access to higher education by increasing affordability and decreasing dependency on student loans
- End the school-to-prison pipeline by investing in public education systems not prisons, and provide more education opportunities for incarcerated youth
- Create systems and structures which maximize diverse community input to assist in ending all policies and actions that directly or indirectly lead to re-segregation by race or ethnicity of our public schools
As One Nation Working Together we will work for policy principles that restore the inclusion of all communities striving to achieve the American Dream. One Nation Working Together will push for an economy that works for everyone by advocating for policy principles that result in good jobs, and well trained work forces. We will work for quality public education and training for our children, who are tomorrow’s work force. We will work for principles and laws that provide for equal opportunity for everyone, so that all have a chance to achieve the American Dream. Finally, we will support policy principles that create a path toward economic and environmental sustainability for today and for generations to come.
They’re setting the bar high, and I like it, and will be keeping watch. Even if this doesn’t turn out to work as I’d like, I’m glad that folks are starting to talk like this more and more loudly and insistently.