UFE's E-News December 2008

In this Issue:

 

Article One

Building the Movement for a New Economy

We often talk about teachable moments, and the economic crisis is such a moment. Teaching about how we got here helps folks understand what rules need to be changed to make the economy more secure and fair in the future. And the election of Barack Obama is also a teachable moment, one that demonstrates the power of coalition and activism.

The latest issue of our newsletter Fair Play covers movement building from teachable moments to structural change, including:

  • Q&A with Susan Williams, Executive Director of the Highlander Center
  • Lessons of History: Presidents and Fundamental Change
  • How to Keep the Momentum
  • Breaking Down the Racial Barriers to Wealth
  • Winning Tax Ideologies

  • Read it now online (PDF).
  • If you‘ve donated to UFE in the past few years, you should receive a hard copy of Fair Play by early January. If not, please consider donating now, and we‘ll send you a hard copy (if you like).
  • Read the related Op-ed, Presidents Need Help for Fundamental Change, by UFE staffer Steve Schnapp.
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    Article Two

    UFE Report to Put Spotlight on Racial Inequality

    The sixth annual State of the Dream report will once again show how Martin Luther King's vision of equal economic opportunity stands in sharp contrast to the unequal reality of different racial groups. The report will be published on January 15, 2009.

    As the official national recession enters its second year, and as the country‘s first African American President takes office, State of the Dream 2009 will expose the deep divide between how different racial groups are being affected by the economic downturn. The report looks at what policies and economic structures contributed to this racial divide and explores possible solutions that should be part of the discussions about building a new economy that‘s fair for all races.

  • Look at previous State of the Dream reports.
  • Read No Adult Supervision, by co-author and UFE staffer Amaad Rivera.
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    Article Three

    Where Fundamental Rule Changes Start

    Beginning the week of December 7, many town meetings, teach-ins and demonstrations were held around the country to collect ideas for dealing with the current economic meltdown. And there was a lot to say -- about how our so-called leaders helped create the recent financial services bubble, and about how decades of government policies led to massive wealth for those at the top and stagnant or declining real income for the rest of us.

    For example, at our local Boston event, a lively crowd heard about an impressive range of activities, from community efforts to stop foreclosures and evictions to federal policy proposals to rebuild the economy from the bottom up. For us, the goal is to help folks move their focus from short-term, crisis and recovery, to the long-term need for fundamental rule changes. And it all starts with recognizing how bad things are and accepting personal responsibility for working to improve the situation for everyone.

  • Jobs with Justice's campaign to get Congress and the new administration to enact a People‘s Bailout.
  • Beyond the Bailout: Agenda for a New Economy, by David Korten.
  • The Seven Deadly Deficits, by Joseph E. Stiglitz.
  • Good Ideas: Government Spending to Boost Consumption by the Needy and Build Infrastructure, by Citizens for Tax Justice.
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    Article Four

    The Economic Meltdown is Not Funny... Or is it?

    Question: How many stockbrokers does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Answer: Two. One to remove the lightbulb and drop it –- and the other to sell it before it crashes.

    That's one of 5 starter jokes on the website promoting a new comic book, from former UFE-er Chuck Collins and Cartoonist Nick Thorkelson. Economic Meltdown Funnies is 16 pages of ironic, sarcastic and down right hilarious info about how we got here and how we can get out. You'll find the Chamber of Financial Horrors, Predators without Borders, the Casino Economy and Playing Chicken with the Markets. Makes a perfect gift for the holidays.

  • Find it all here.
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    Article Five

    Taking the Long Way to Build a Movement

    When we conduct workshops, we're trying to create and support activists in a direct way. And when we conduct Training of Trainers (TOT), we‘re strengthening the ability of organizers and activists to help build the movement for economic justice. But this is definitely the long way: We count on each individual we work with to reach many, many more through the work they do. In that way, our impact is magnified geometrically. But it's not just a communication strategy. It‘s a way to build unity, consensus and community.

    In a recent TOT, participants were asked to discuss the meaning of certain proverbs and how they might be applied to the educational work they do. One, “when you are in a hurry, take the longer way,” led to the reflection that “taking the longer way forces us to take the time to engage and learn from each other.”

    We believe that even in this age of wondrous technology that connects us to an immense flood of electronic information and virtual contact, it is the face-to-face relationship-building, organizing, and educating that will allow us to overcome the constraints of imbalanced power, position, privilege, and wealth.

  • Learn more about our Training of Trainers Institutes.
  • Check our event calendar for upcoming TOTs.
  • Request a ToT or workshop for your organization or geography.
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