An organizing workshop to build the movement for change based on human needs
Following the speakers, break-out sessions will combine a discussion of two issues, in an effort to build a synergy across issues and among different constituents. Participants will be asked to create specific action plans to move each of the campaigns forward. Break-out sessions include:
Report-back & Wrap-Up
Musical Guest: Bucky Halker
Breakout Sessions will feature (for detailed information see the Event Schedule)
For more details on the Breakout Sessions please download the Event Schedule.
Background Information and Event Details
Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice and several other organizations have embarked on a series of events and meeting with the long-term goal of promoting a wide-ranging multi-issue discussion of progressive solutions to the economic crisis and its root causes. We hope that this and other events like it will serve as catalysts in bringing together groups and individuals who are engaged in struggles for peace, equality, social and economic justice in order to collectively build a grassroots movement for comprehensive change. Creating connections across issues and constituencies that have vested interests in fundamental progressive change will help us develop the broad-based organizational structures necessary to advance a comprehensive people's agenda.
The June 13 event will be one step in that direction and will serve as a stepping stone for building a lasting alliance among various Chicago area groups. The event will build on a successful panel discussion organized by OPCTJ after the Inauguration titled "A New New Deal: What Should It look Like!" which presented progressive solutions in several of areas identified by President Obama as priorities. It will also build on similar efforts by other organizations such as ARC'09 (A Movement Re-imagining Change). This follow up event will focus specifically on four issues which are represented in current grassroots struggles or legislative campaigns; they must be considered as part of a just and comprehensive solution to the crisis. These issues are the following.
The Employee Free Choice Act - A strong trade union movement is an integral element in addressing underlying causes of the economic crisis and for strengthening and expanding the "middle class." EFCA will remove many of the current obstacles to workers who want to have union representation.
Single Payer Health Care - The skyrocketing cost of health care and the increasing number of those who are without health insurance or who are under-insured are the direct results of a health care system predicated on maximizing profits for the insurance companies. The most efficient and proven approach to break the link between profits and people’s health care needs is a single-payer nationalized system such as an expanded Medicare program.
Mortgages and Foreclosures - The number of foreclosures and evictions are skyrocketing. While the Wall Street is being bailed out, little has been done directly to stem the tide of foreclosures and to eliminate one of the man contributing factors to the crisis. There is a need to develop tactics and strategies on dealing with foreclosures both at the grassroots level on the ground as well as at the policy level.
Wars and Militarism - Congressman Barney Franks has proposed a 25% cut in military spending. Others have called for deeper cuts in the obscenely bloated military budget. These efforts together with bringing an end to the occupation in Iraq and reversing the escalation of war in Afghanistan are necessary not only to address long-standing neglect of areas such as infrastructure, green energy, education, health care, and others, but also to ensure that important progressive priorities do not fall victim to expanding military conflicts and quagmires.
The event will be geared, not just to educating the public on these issues, but primarily to organize and collaboratively develop specific action plans in support of these campaigns. It will bring key individuals and organizations engaged in these campaigns to help facilitate small group interactive sessions as part of a larger event. The event will be organized as a workshop with a plenary session and several break-out sessions. The opening plenary will include brief 10 minute overviews on each of the four issues presented by representatives of various organizations involved with each of the issues. Following the opening plenary, there will be several breakout sessions. Each of these sessions will be tasked with discussing two of the four issues in order to develop and build synergy across issues and among different constituencies. Facilitators with expertise on each of the focus issues will lead the breakout sessions with a focus toward developing action plans.
In the final plenary session, break out sessions will report back with a set of suggested action items or organizing tasks. These reports will be summarized and translated into specific actions with measurable goals or in resources that the participants can use their own organizing. Another goal of the final portion of the event is to get commitments from various participating groups in helping to actively organize a follow up multi-organization meeting/conference, possibly in the fall, in the Chicago area with the goal of developing a broad progressive alliance to promote comprehensive change.
Additional Resources and Related Events
Video / Resource Page for the January 2009 "New New Deal" Panel - View video segments from this successful panel, held on Jan. 25 to discuss progressive solutions to the unprecedented domestic and global crises we all face. Panelists discussed policy recommendations that can bring about real change. Topics included: the economy, green energy, health care, and foreign policy. The Panel was moderated by James Thindwa, Executive Director of Chicago Jobs with Justice, and featured Dr. Quentin Young, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program, Robin Rich, of the United Steel Workers, Bill Barclay, economist and member of the Chicago Political Economy Group; and Bamshad Mobasher, DePaul University professor and a national steering committee member of United for Peace and Justice. The following resources related to the panel are available.