“Winning Big in Hard Times: Learning from Our Ancestors” was filmed at the Washington State Labor Council’s annual convention in Vancouver, Washington in July 2013. It brings a powerful message of hope that we, like our ancestors before, can build a brighter and more just future despite the entrenched power of Corporate America and their political allies. This is not the first time that we, the people, have lived through a long period of economic and political dominance by Corporate America and our national and state governments primarily serving corporate needs at our great expense.
What did our ancestors do to strengthen our political democracy and build power that would lead to the greatest period of shared prosperity in our nation’s history? What can we learn from their successes and failures that are relevant to taking our country back? How similar is our current situation to what our ancestors faced a century ago? They faced elections bought by corporations and the wealthy. They faced a Supreme Court dominated by corporate interests. They faced corporations fiercely determined to deny working people their rights to form unions and express their demands for economic justice and fairness.
Our ancestors knew that expanding and strengthening our democracy was key to a better future. They also understood that our political democracy would not thrive unless working people had the right to organize unions and meaningful rights at work. Both democracy in the community and in the workplace were needed to create a brighter and more just future that and a broadly shared prosperity. We can learn from our ancestors and persist as they did to give their children and grandchildren a brighter future despite what seemed like overwhelming odds against them. They did it. We can too.