As a working class kid in the 1960’s, the rules of life seemed simple. For my parents, work hard, play by the rules, pay your taxes, share fairly in the wealth you create at work and have a secure retirement. For me, they were study hard, play by the rules, get an affordable college education, and reach for dreams beyond those of my parents. Continue reading “Stop the Big Rip-off and Rebuild the American Dream”
A four part history lesson of the struggles of working people to create a brighter future for all.
Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part 4 of 4
A video of the workshop with interactions with the participants
Making the American Dream Real for Everyone – 2012
I have been a political activist for many years working on economic, racial and social justice. Since late 2011, I have been making many speeches and leading interactive economic justice workshops focused on the theme of “Making the American Dream Real for Everyone.” The audiences include many unions and labor organizations, congregations, faith-based organizations, human services providers, immigrant rights activists, students, and homeless advocates.
Many participants have asked for copies of my PowerPoints, videos and other materials and resources they can use. This website is a direct response to their ongoing requests. It provides multiple PowerPoint presentations, videos of the workshop, articles that I have written, and websites and written materials that you might find helpful. Some of the materials are focused on secular audiences and others on faith-based audiences.
This work educates, inspires and stirs working people and their allies to take action to reclaim a more just and secure economic future for everyone. It builds from the economic hard times experienced by participants and those close to them. Anchored in a long historical perspective, we explore the successful and failed struggles of the American people to ensure that economic prosperity and security is shared fairly rather than concentrated primarily among the wealthy and corporations.
You might wonder why I am doing this educational work? Part of my motivation is based on how little working people and their allies understand the role that their ancestors, individually and collectively, played in creating greater economic justice and security and broadening our democracy. Many workshop participants acknowledge that their public school educations largely ignored the critical role played by their ancestors in these great victories.
To quote George Santayana:
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.”
Working people today have been systematically denied a deep understanding of the potential power that they possess based on our nation’s history. Too many of us know very little about the great victories that our ancestors won and how they did it. Those victories helped created a country with greater opportunity and security for many of them to pursue their dreams and offer a brighter future to their children. At the same time, this American Dream has not been realized by millions who were denied real access to these opportunity and security due to racism, sexism, union-bashing, homophobia, anti-immigrant bigotry, other forms of intolerance and discrimination and systematic corporate attacks against their economic and political interests.
This lack of historical economic and political knowledge has a huge impact. Simply put, if we, the people, do not know that people like us have created a better country in the past, we will not think we are capable of doing so today. My work is intended to restore hope for a better future based on our own history as working people and provide opportunities to discuss how we move forward.
The great lesson of our collective history is that working people and their allies can win a long struggle to make the American Dream real for more people. We must be guided by a deeply held vision, core values of fairness, justice and unity, and a comprehensive agenda and strategy that unites our richly diverse nation. When we are disunited, we will not move forward. When we are united, we can move forward.
Again please use any of the materials on the website to move forward our collective efforts to create a more just, secure and hopeful future for all people.
Please let me know what you think of these materials and any suggestions you have for improvements and additions.