I enjoyed listening to Derber speak and took extensive notes. He began by commenting on the whole "rapture" story that everyone was talking about yesterday. Apparently the fundamentalist preacher Harold Camping made $72 million by pumping up the fear of people around the world that sinners would be left behind on May 21. As it turns out we're all still here. We saw three trucks with big "rapture" signs posted on them driving around Copley Square yesterday in downtown Boston as they tried to warn the public about the impending doom. Their basic message was get on your knees and repent.
Derber told the folks at the meeting that the "fiscal crisis is a cover for adopting a new corporate globalization model where few people have jobs and a larger mass of people become redundant, surplus, not needed anymore."
The mainstream political parties are "incapable of resolving these three simultaneous crises - economic, environmental and war," Derber said.
He spoke glowingly about the Bring Our War $$ Home Campaign and felt it was best suited to respond to the present situation. Other key points made by Derber were:
* The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign can directly take on the idea of American global hegemony and the internal support for it.
* 58% of the American people say that the Pentagon budget should be reduced while only 18% believe that Social Security should be cut and only 20% support cuts in Medicare. This campaign supports public thinking on priorities.
* Calling for the government to cut war spending and convert the military industrial complex to sustainable production will create jobs while bailing out banks and hedge funds doesn't create them. Both parties have "failed to create jobs and their policies are in fact job genocide," Derber said.
* Real unemployment is around 20-25%
* Climate change is the most catastrophic symptom of the U.S. economic crisis and enables us to talk about "particular kinds of job creation" that would employ people for home weatherization, building wind turbines, solar, public transit and other green technologies. The kind of investment to truly make this happen though will not come from Wall Street and must be done by federal spending.
We also heard reports from organizers in Hartford, Connecticut where the city council has passed a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution; from Providence, Rhode Island where all the teachers have been fired and activists are calling for major cuts in military spending; from Boston where the "Fund Our Communities" coalition is calling for a 25% cut in military spending; and we heard from leaders of Military Families Speak Out and Gold Star Families who are now including the Bring Our War $$ Home campaign in their national work and in meetings they hold with members of Congress. It was also reported that the Massachusetts Democratic party convention in two weeks will be presented with a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution.
So it was exciting to hear of new energy emerging throughout New England around this campaign. Our message appears to be the right prescription for the current illness that afflicts the nation and the planet.
So instead of chanting "The world is going to end!" we need to just change two words and shout "The wars are going to end!" Our message has to be "get off your knees and rattle your chains."