Monday, April 26, 2010

The White Blindspot and the Tea Party

Graphic: Cryspus Attucks, African American, One of the First to Fall


What If the Tea Party Were Black?

By Tim Wise, AlterNet

Posted on April 25, 2010,

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protesters — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game Over.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Democrat Wars: Left-Center vs. Center-Right


Who Let The

Blue Dogs Out?

By Norman Solomon

Media Monitors

April 21, 2010

"It’s one thing to support a Blue Dog Democrat in a general election against a Republican. It’s quite another thing for members of the Progressive Caucus to defend a Blue Dog Democrat against a primary challenge from a genuine progressive Democrat."

This is a grim story about the care and feeding of a Blue Dog.

Right now, Congresswoman Jane Harman is facing a serious primary challenge from a genuine progressive, Marcy Winograd, in Southern California’s 36th congressional district.

Last Saturday afternoon (April 17), I sat on stage with both candidates and other panelists at a forum during the California Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles. The room was filled with several hundred progressive delegates.

Harman has been refusing to debate her opponent, but she couldn’t stay away from the forum that afternoon. The entire convention would be voting the next day on whether to withhold endorsement of her for re-election.

The incumbent is a member of the center-right caucus of House Democrats known as the Blue Dog Coalition. In sharp contrast, she chose not to join the Congressional Progressive Caucus. When I asked why, Harman dodged the question.

Winograd promptly brought their differences into focus. She called for the government “to invest in housing, education, healthcare, transportation -- not to perpetuate a war economy that is draining us, robbing us of money that we desperately need.” And she added: “I challenge my opponent to stop voting for this war machine.”

While belonging to the largest caucus on Capitol Hill (with a membership now above 80), some members of the Progressive Caucus often say that they need more colleagues who’ll be willing to vote against war and in favor of a truly progressive legislative agenda.

But if Progressive Caucus members want to move the House of Representatives in a progressive direction, you’d never know it when there’s a chance to replace a Blue Dog with a progressive.


Harman -- who once proclaimed “I am proud to be introduced as the best Republican in the Democratic Party” -- has been straining lately to present herself as progressive while she tries to fend off the Winograd challenge.

With that goal, Harman has trumpeted endorsements from several well-known members of the Progressive Caucus. In particular, she has synced up her campaign spin with two of them from California -- Henry Waxman and Lynn Woolsey.

Rep. Waxman came through with a January fundraising letter that declared: “In Marcy Winograd’s foreign policy, Israel would cease to exist.” The powerful congressman went on to trash the co-founder of LA Jews for Peace as an enemy of Israel: “In Marcy Winograd’s vision, Jews would be at the mercy of those who do not respect democracy or human rights.”

In the same month, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Woolsey, startled longtime progressive admirers when her name headlined the invitation to a fundraiser for Harman’s campaign.

Within days, an open letter to Woolsey -- initially signed by Progressive Democrats of America leaders Tim Carpenter, Mimi Kennedy, Donna Smith and me -- gained more than 3,000 signatures from PDA activists across the country. We asked Woolsey to cancel her scheduled high-profile appearance at the Harman fundraiser.

“Given your longstanding and exemplary leadership on a wide range of peace and justice issues, it would be counterproductive to aid Rep. Harman’s re-election efforts,” we wrote. “Her pro-war record is well known, having voted most recently to spend billions to continue the occupation of Iraq and escalate in Afghanistan. Her October 2002 vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq was in stark contrast to the ‘no’ votes by most House Democrats.”

Our letter added: “Harman has an equally appalling record on civil liberties, having lobbied the New York Times to suppress the story about Bush’s wiretaps on the eve of the 2004 election, then going on television to defend the illegal wiretaps. In addition, she voted for the bankruptcy bill, then more recently voted against mortgage relief in bankruptcy court, despite the fact that several thousand of her constituents are facing foreclosure. On the health care front, she recently voted against fast-tracking affordable generic medications for patients with breast cancer, brain tumors, Parkinson’s and rare diseases.”

And we noted that primary challenges to incumbent Blue Dog Democrats are essential for replacing pro-war Congress members with genuine progressives: “The reason that we have Rep. Donna Edwards in the House today as a stalwart advocate for peace and justice is precisely because of her successful primary campaign that unseated a non-progressive Democratic incumbent. Surely such victories are in the interests of all progressives.”

Meanwhile, the entire executive board of the California Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus -- the largest caucus in the state party -- also wrote a public letter to Woolsey asking her not to go through with the Harman fundraiser.

When Woolsey went ahead with the Harman event, there was scant significance to the modest amount of funds raised. (Money is not a problem for Harman, one of the richest members of Congress.) What Woolsey’s appearance conferred on Harman’s campaign was the imprimatur of a political embrace from a longtime peace advocate who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As the winter went on, progressives in California hoped that such maneuvers would not be repeated. But the care and feeding of a Blue Dog is apt to be habitual.


On Friday, April 16 -- just before the opening of the state Democratic Party convention that would decide whether to endorse Congresswoman Harman for re-election -- the delegates received robo-calls from a heavyweight member of Congress. “I’m Henry Waxman, and my congressional district is right next to that of Jane Harman, who I’m proud to support for re-election,” the message began. It concluded: “We need to keep effective leaders like Jane in Congress.”

On Sunday morning, I was one of more than 1,000 delegates to enter the convention hall and find a four-page glossy flyer that had been placed on every chair. Most of the first page was a picture of Harman and Woolsey, standing together in front of the Capitol.

The photo caption was a quote from Congresswoman Woolsey: “Jane has proven herself to be a leader on Capitol Hill, and I join other Congressional progressives like John Conyers, Jim McGovern and Henry Waxman in endorsing her candidacy.” The second page was devoted to a letter from Woolsey extolling Harman.

When delegates voted later that morning, Harman won endorsement, 599-417.

Harman had to go to extraordinary lengths to win a party endorsement that is usually automatic for incumbent Democrats in Congress. She was able to do so largely because one-third of state convention delegates are appointed by elected Democrats -- incumbents who are very rarely willing to support any primary challenge to an incumbent.

It’s one thing to support a Blue Dog Democrat in a general election against a Republican. It’s quite another thing for members of the Progressive Caucus to defend a Blue Dog Democrat against a primary challenge from a genuine progressive Democrat.

In the case of the Harman-Winograd race, the best grassroots response from progressives around the country will be to strongly support the Winograd campaign between now and Election Day, June 8.


Soon after visiting Afghanistan last summer, I went to Capitol Hill and met with a few House members and staff. All of them were “anti-war” and involved with the Progressive Caucus. Yet the extent of insularity and the lack of urgency were stunning. Official Washington was numb.

What’s propelling the Winograd campaign -- with its passion, commitment, fearlessness and antipathy toward the corporate warfare state -- is exactly what Congress and the country need.


by courtesy & © 2010 Norman Solomon


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Trumka on Winning Jobs: Unite the Working class, Win Over the Public Intellectuals and Reject Rightwing Hate and Divisiveness



Why Working People

Are Angry and Why

Politicians Should Listen

Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka at the Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School, April 07, 2010

Good evening.  Thank you, John.  I will never be able to express how much I owe you and how much the American labor movement owes you.  The Institute of Politics is fortunate to have you as a fellow this semester.  And let me add my thanks to the Institute of Politics and Bill Purcell for inviting me to be here with you tonight. 

I am going to talk tonight about anger—and specifically the anger of working people.  I want to explain why working people are right to be mad about what has happened to our economy and our country, and then I want to talk about why there is a difference between anger and hatred.  There are forces in our country that are working hard to convert justifiable anger about an economy that only seems to work for a few of us into racist and homophobic hate and violence directed at our President and heroes like Congressman John Lewis.  Most of all, those forces of hate seek to divide working people – to turn our anger against each other. 

So I also want to talk to you tonight about what I believe is the only way to fight the forces of hatred—with a strong progressive tradition that includes working people in action, organizing unions and organizing to elect public officials committed to bold action to address economic suffering.  That progressive tradition has drawn its strength from an alliance of the poor and the middle class—everyone who works for a living. 

Alliance with Public Intellectuals

But the alliance between working people and public minded intellectuals is also crucial—it is all about standing up to entrenched economic power and the complacency of the affluent.  It's an alliance that depends on intellectuals being critics, and not the servants, of economic privilege.   

I am here tonight at the Kennedy School of Government to say that if you care about defending our country against the apostles of hate, you need to be part of the fight to rebuild a sustainable, high wage economy built on good jobs – the kind of economy that can only exist when working men and women have a real voice on the job.

Our republic must offer working people something other than the dead-end choice between the failed agenda of greed and the voices of hate and division and violence.  Public intellectuals have a responsibility to offer a better way. 

The stakes could not be higher.  Mass unemployment and growing inequality threaten our democracy.  We need to act—and act boldly—to strike at the roots of working people's anger and shut down the forces of hatred and racism.  

We have to begin the conversation by talking about jobs—the 11 million missing jobs behind our unemployment rate of 9.7 percent.

Now, you may think to yourself, that is so retro.  Jobs are so twentieth century.  Sweat is for gyms, not workplaces.

For a generation, our intellectual culture has suggested that in the new global age, work is something someone else does.  Someone we never met far away in an export processing zone will make our clothes, immigrants with no rights in our political process or workplaces will cook our food and clean our clothes. 

And for the lucky top 10 percent of our society, that has been the reality of globalization—everything got cheaper and easier.

But for the rest of the country, economic reality has been something entirely different.  It has meant trying to hold on to a good job in a grim game of musical chairs where every time the music stopped, there were fewer good jobs and more people trying to get and keep one.  Over the last decade, we lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs—a million of them professional and design jobs.  We lost 20 percent of our aerospace manufacturing jobs.  We're losing high-tech jobs—the jobs we were supposed to keep.

For most of us, economic reality has meant trying to pay for the ever-more-expensive education needed to pursue a good job—the cost of a college degree has gone up more than 24 percent since 2000 while average wages and salaries have increased less than one percent.  It has meant trying to pay for exorbitant health care as employer coverage went away or got hollowed out.  It has meant trying to eke out a decent retirement even as the private sector shed real pensions and long-term investment returns evaporated.  Meanwhile, Wall Street middlemen raked in the bonuses.

And that was the reality for most Americans before the Great Recession began in 2007.  Since then, we have lost 8 million jobs when the economy needed to add nearly three million just to keep up with population growth.  That's 11 million missing jobs. 

We used the public's money to bail out the major banks, only to see those same banks return to the behavior that got us here in the first place—aggressive risk taking in securities and derivatives markets, and handing out gigantic bonuses.  Most galling of all—they used the funds we gave them --  courtesy of TARP and endless cheap credit from the Federal Reserve -- to fight even the most modest, common sense reforms of our financial system.

President Obama's economic recovery program has done a lot of good for working people—creating or saving more than 2 million jobs.  But the reality is that 2 million jobs is just 18 percent of the hole in our labor market. 

Anger caused by shrinking jobs and pay

The jobs hole – and the decades-long stagnation in real wages -- are the source of the anger that echoes across our political landscape.  People are incensed by the government's inability to halt massive job loss and declining living standards, on the one hand, and the comparative ease with which government led by both parties has made the world safe again for JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, on the other hand.

Rescuing the big banks hasn't done much for Main Street.  The very same financial institutions that got bailed out have not only cut way back on lending to business, they have never stopped foreclosing on American families' homes. 

The fact is that for a generation we have built our economy on a lie—that we can have a low-wage, high-consumption society and paper over the contradiction with cheap credit funded by our foreign trading partners and financial sector profits made by taking a cut of the flow of cheap credit. 

So now a lot of Americans are angry.  And we should be angry.  And just as we have seen throughout history, there are plenty of purveyors of hate and division looking to profit from our hurt and our anger. 

I am a student of history, and now is the time to remember our history as a nation.  Remember that when President Franklin Roosevelt said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," other voices were on the radio, voices saying that what we really needed to fear was each other – voices preaching anti-Semitism and Nazi-style racial hatred.   

Remember that when President John F. Kennedy stepped off the plane in Dallas on November 22, 1963, radio voices were calling for violence against the President of the United States.  And the violence came—and took John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers and so many others.  

But in the United States, we chose to turn away from the voices of hatred at those critical moments in the twentieth century.  In much of Europe, racial hatred and political violence prevailed in response to the mass unemployment of the Great Depression.  And in the end, we had to rescue those countries from fascism-- from the horrible consequences of the failure of their societies to speak to the pain and anger bred by mass unemployment. 

Why did our democracy endure through the Great Depression?  Because working people discovered it was possible to elect leaders who would fight for them and not for the financial barons who had brought on the catastrophe.  Because our politics offered a real choice besides greed and hatred.  Because our leaders inspired the confidence to reject hate and charted a path to higher ground through broadly shared prosperity.    

This is a similar moment.  Our politics have been dominated by greed and the forces of money for a generation.  Now, amid the wreckage that came from that experiment, we hear the voices of hatred, of racism and homophobia.

At this moment of economic pain and anger, political intellectuals face a great choice—whether to be servants or critics of economic privilege.  And I think this is an important point to make here at Harvard.  The economic elites at JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and the other big Wall Street banks are happy to hire intellectual servants wherever they can find them.  But the stronger the alliance between intellectuals and economic elites, the more the forces of hatred—of anti-intellectualism—will grow.  If you want to fight the forces of hatred, you have to help empower the forces of righteous anger.     

And at this moment, the labor movement is working to give voice to the justified anger of the American people.  We need help.  We need public intellectuals who will help design the policies that will replace the bubble economy with a real, sustainable economy that works for all of us.

Working people want an American economy that creates good jobs, where wealth is fairly shared, and where the economic life of our nation is about solving big problems like the threat of climate change rather than creating big problems like the foreclosure crisis.  We know that growing inequality undermines our ability to grow as a nation by squandering the talents and the contributions of our people and consigning entire communities to stagnation and failure.  But despite our best efforts, we have endured a generation of stagnant wages and collapsing benefits—a generation where the labor movement has been much more about defense than about offense.   

We in the labor movement have to challenge ourselves to make our institutions into a voice for all working people.  And we need to begin with jobs.  Eleven million missing jobs is not tolerable.   That's why we are fighting for the AFL-CIO's five point jobs program—extending unemployment benefits, including COBRA health benefits for unemployed workers; expanding federal infrastructure and green jobs investments; dramatically increasing federal aid to state and local governments facing fiscal disaster; creating jobs directly, especially in distressed communities; and finally, lending TARP money to small and medium sized businesses that can't get credit because of the financial crisis.

As we meet tonight, organizers working for the AFL-CIO's 3 million-member community affiliate Working America are knocking on doors across our country talking jobs.  We are organizing support for George Miller's Local Jobs for America Act that would target $100 billion in job creation dollars toward our country's hardest hit communities—to keep teachers in the classroom and first responders on the job, and to create new jobs where Wall Street destroyed them.  We are organizing support for financial reform and accountability for Wall Street.  We are working to counter the Glenn Beck effect and turn anger into action for real change. 

Make Speculative Finance Capital Pay to Clean Up Their Mess

But we are not just talking about how to create jobs, we are talking about how to pay for them. Wall Street should pay to clean up the mess they made, and we are supporting four ways for the big banks to pay—President Obama's bank tax, a special tax on bank bonuses, closing the carried interest tax loophole for hedge funds and private equity, and most important, a financial speculation tax levied on all financial transactions—including derivatives—that would raise over $150 billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  The financial speculation tax would have negligible impact on long-term investors, but would discourage the short termism in the capital markets that led to so much destruction over the last decade.

When it comes to creating jobs, some in Washington say: Go slow—take half steps, don't spend real money.  Those voices are harming millions of unemployed Americans and their families -- and they are jeopardizing our economic recovery.  It is responsible to have a plan for paying for job creation over time.  But it is bad economics and suicidal politics not to aggressively address the job crisis at a time of stubbornly high unemployment.  In fact, budget deficits over the medium and long term will be worse if we allow the economy to slide into a long job stagnation -- unemployed workers don't pay taxes and they don't go shopping; businesses without customers don't hire workers, they don't invest and they also don't pay taxes.

But we must do much more to restore broadly shared prosperity.   

We must take action to restore workers' voices.  The systematic silencing of America's workers by denying their freedom to form unions is at the heart of the disappearance of good jobs in America.  We must pass the Employee Free Choice Act so that workers can have the chance to turn bad jobs into good jobs, and so we can reduce the inequality which is undermining our country's prospects for stable economic growth.   

We must have an agenda for restoring American manufacturing—a combination of fair trade and currency policies, worker training, infrastructure investment and regional development policies targeted to help economically distressed areas.  We cannot be a prosperous middle class society in a dynamic global economy without a healthy manufacturing sector.

We must have an agenda to address the daily challenges workers face on the job – to ensure safe and healthy workplaces and family-friendly work rules.                  

And we need comprehensive reform of our immigration policy based on ending exploitation and securing fairness, working for an America where there are no second class workers.     

Each of these initiatives should be rooted in a crucial alliance of the middle class and the poor—the majority of the American people.  And those of us in the labor movement know that we can only achieve these great things if we work together with community partners who share our goals, and with government leaders who share our vision.               

Government that acted in the interests of the majority of Americans has produced our greatest achievements.  The New Deal.  The Great Society and the Civil Rights movement -- Social Security, Medicare, the minimum wage and the forty-hour work week, and the Voting Rights Act.  This is what made the United States a beacon of hope in a confused and divided world.  In the end, I believe the health care bill signed into law last month is an achievement on this order, one we can continue to improve upon to secure health care for all.

But too many thought leaders have become the servants of a different kind of politics—a politics that sees middle-class Americans as overpaid and underworked.  That sees Social Security as a problem rather than the only piece of our retirement system that actually works.  A mentality that feels sorry for homeless people, but fails to see the connections between downsizing, outsourcing, inequality and homelessness.  A mentality that sees mass unemployment as something that will take care of itself, eventually.            

We need to return to a different vision.              

President Obama said in his inaugural address, "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth."  Now is the time to make good on these words – for Congress, for President Obama and for the American people.                  

These are big challenges.  But it is long past time to take them on.  If you are worried about the anger in our country, if you don't want the forces of hatred to grow, be a part of the fight for economic justice and a new economic foundation for America.  Be a critic of power and privilege, not its servant.              

Be the source of the ideas that can rebuild our economy and restore confidence in government.  As students, as teachers, as workers—all of us can play a role in this great effort.  Whether here within the university, at think tanks, in the government, in the press, or even working with us in the labor movement, working people need the help of engaged policy intellectuals if we are together going to build an economy that works for all.              

Think about the great promise of America and the great legacy we have inherited.  Our wealth as a nation and our energy as a people can deliver, in the words of my predecessor Samuel Gompers, "more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures."                 

That is the American future the labor movement is working for.  Let me be clear:  There is no excuse for racism and hatred.  All Americans need to unite against it.  The labor movement must be a powerful voice against it.  But you cannot fight hatred with greed.  Working people are angry—and we are right to be angry at the betrayal of our economic future.  Help us turn that anger into the energy to win a better country and a better world.


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