It’s so rare that we get to revel in good news these days and the domino effect of the successful teacher strikes around the country for better pay and state education funding are certainly something to smile about. But besides cheering quietly to yourself every time you read about another victory for teachers and education, you can also help support and ensure their progress in tangible ways too.
We’ve compiled 5 effective ways you can help support teachers across the country and in your own state:
1. Call Congress. Whether you’re in a striking state or not, call your members of congress to show your support of the teachers’ strikes. Demand your state fund the education system and keep teacher pay up to modern standards.
2. March with teachers. Whether you’re a parent or just a citizen concerned about the next generation, if you’re in a state where teachers are striking, grab some friends or your family and go march with teachers to show your solidarity.
3. Help with childcare. Teachers don’t want to hurt families, but the reality is that teacher strikes can leave working parents in a bind when it comes to childcare. To help mitigate this, teachers in Arizona are organizing to watch children of parents who can’t take off work to stay home with them. If you can support this effort, or can set up a rotating child watch system in your neighborhood or community, that helps everyone while supporting the teachers.
4. Explain the strikes to your kids. Talk to your children about why teachers are striking. Most kids have no idea what their teachers sacrifice for them and their education. This movement is about their future, so if possible, take them to a rally so they can show support too.
5. Donate to teacher strike funds. Some of these strikes are going to go on for a long time. Teachers need resources now to win the battle to have resources when they are back at work. We’ve included links to the official strike funds in the show notes.
So, if supporting the movement to ensure the education of the next generation is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about these 5 Ways to Support Teachers Striking Around the US via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
5 Ways to Support Teachers Striking:
1. Call your members of Congress
2. March with teachers
3. Help with childcare
4. Explain the strikes to your kids
5. Donate to funds supporting striking teachers:
Latest News: Louisiana teachers unions polling members on possible strike (WWL)
Updates: Louisiana Federation of Teachers
Teacher Fund: *Stay tuned*
Details: "Rally for Respect" planned for May 16th in Raleigh
Hashtags: #Red4Ed, #NCAEStrong, #ItsPersonal, #GetReady, #TeamNCAE
Teacher Fund: *Stay tuned*
Teacher Fund: GoFundMe for Denver Public School Teachers only: https://au.gofundme.com/dps-teacher-assitance-april27-rally'
Teacher Fund: GoFundMe for the Kentucky Teachers Retirement Legal Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/trlfsupport
Oklahoma (Strike over for now)
Teacher Fund: GoFundMe for Oklahoma Teacher’s United Teachers https://www.gofundme.com/oklahoma-teachers-united
Arizona (Strike over for now)
Details: The Outcome in Arizona (Jacobin)
Labor's Community Service Agency #RedforEd fundraiser: http://lcsaphx.org/
Arizona AEU Striking Teachers' Amazon Wish List
Google Doc Sign Ups to help locally
West Virginia (Strike over for now)
Teacher Fund: *No longer accepting donations*
The Outcome in Arizona (Jacobin)
What’s at Stake in the Teachers’ Strikes? (The Nation)
Teachers are Leading the Working-Class Insurgency (The Nation)
Posted May 4, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1181: The Red-State Revolt (Teachers Strikes)
#HandsOff: Reject Trump’s Morally Bankrupt Budget via @amprog @CoalitiononHN @CenterOnBudget @SSWorks
When you take from the poor in order to give to the rich, most people aren’t going to like you…even in America. But, as we’ve heard about today, that’s exactly what Trump and his administration are proposing in their 2019 Budget for the Federal Government.
Everyone knew the only way Republicans were going to be able to pay for the massive tax cuts they gave to corporations, millionaires and billionaires in the tax bill passed at the end of last year, was to decimate funding for the parts of the government they don’t like. This was their long game. They could hardly wait for the tax bill to pass before using the talking point that “we just can’t afford entitlements,” while simultaneously increasing the bloated defense budget and shoveling cash toward people who fund their campaigns. They got what they wanted: fulfillment of their heartless ideology and a big return on investment for their donors. They were down right giddy.
And then there’s Trump. For someone so concerned with being liked, he has zero idea how to do it. His budget does the opposite of every single campaign promise that got him elected. He said he wouldn’t cut Medicare, but the 2019 budget calls for historic cuts to the popular program. He said he would come to the rescue of Veterans, but calls for cutting $72 billion in cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance, which over 1 million veterans receive. He said he was a champion for rural Americans, but he is calling for the elimination of programs that exist entirely to strengthen economic development, workforce training and education and infrastructure in rural communities.
And then, there is the Gaslight-named “Harvest Box,” Trump’s attempt to slash and replace the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. This theoretical box would contain zero fresh food and takes away the ability of a person to make their own decisions about the food they eat. It will go down as yet another Trump brand failure, but this time that bad idea will directly hurt millions of low income people and their children.
The immorality and injustice of this budget proposal is glaring on every page. In many ways it acts as a text book for understanding just how cruel and unusual Trump and Republicans really are. The Center for American Progress has put together a number of Fact Sheets on this budget, outlining how it specifically harms various segments of the population, including the elderly, the LGBT community, communities of color, rural Americans, Veterans, women, people with disabilities, and children. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has also provided extensive research on the harmful impacts of Trump’s budget. We’ve linked to these documents in the show notes and we encourage you to check them out and share them widely.
The budget may just be a proposal right now, much of which won’t make it into real legislation, but it says so much about where Trump and Republicans want to take this country. We need to reject this budget soundly and loudly by frequently calling members of congress, and following and getting involved with organizations like the Coalition on Human Needs at CHN.org and Social Security Works at SocialSecurityWorks.org.
It’s also important to note that Trump’s budget assumes an unrealistic economic growth rate of 3 percent. The current projection in 1.9. So, the reality is that even with all of these Draconian budget cuts, the Trump and Republican tax plan will likely still leave us in deeper national debt. (Not that they actually cared, as they pretended.)
So, if making sure this country moves in a moral and compassionate direction is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Rejecting Trump’s Morally Bankrupt Budget via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Check out and share the Center for American Progress Budget Fact Sheets
Check out and share reports from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
Fact Sheet: How Trump's 2019 Budget Hurts Older Americans (Center for American Progress)
A Bad Budget for America's Place in the World (Center for American Progress)
Posted February 20, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1166: How to create a happier society and why the GOP refuses (Social Benefits)
The clips in today’s show couldn’t be more clear: we are living in the death throws of capitalism. And while technology has been able to let us limp along by solving some of capitalisms more dire problems, while exacerbating others, the issues that are left have no quick fix. So, it’s time…probably past time…to ask the question: What’s next?
Luckily, there are people working to answer that question. But they need and want you to be part of finding the solution.
The Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in the future. Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, they seek to launch a national debate on the nature of “the next system.” Using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on-the-ground organizing and development experience, their goal is to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models - fundamentally different from anything we’ve seen before - that are capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes.
Admittedly, it's a big task, but ideas with these goals in mind are already being put forth.
In May, the Next System Project released “Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth” - a project from economist, historian and activist Gar Alperovitz. This is an approach and model that offers a trajectory for wide-ranging institutional change towards real democracy over the long haul, guided by a transformative vision beyond both corporate capitalism and traditional state socialism. You can read this model and request a free copy of it for local reading and organizing groups by going to TheNextSystem.org/principles.
But if you don’t have to rely on economists to propose the next system. You can contribute your thoughts and be part of the discussion about what the next system should be with The Next System Teach-In Initiative. In 2016, teach-ins happened in communities and on college campuses across the country, engaging every day people in a discussion around the new economy and the type of world they want to live in. A complete archive of the resources created for these teach-ins is available at TheNextSystem.org/teachins. So, if your'e in a position to do so, you can go and get those resources and organize a meting in your community today.
The segment notes include all the links to this information as well as additional resources and, as always, this and every activism segment we produce is archived and organized under the activism tab at Best of the Left dot com.
So, if having an economy that works for everyone is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Creating Our Next Economy via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
The writing is on the wall. The big questions are being asked. Make sure you get a say when it comes to what’s next.
Help find the answer to "What's Next?" with The Next System Project
Read Gar Alperovitz "Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth"
Download resources and organize a Next System Project Teach-In in your community
Follow @TheNextSystem on Twitter
Is Capitalism Dying? (Forbes, 2013)
’Is Capitalism Dying?’ (Marxism, 2013)
The Pain You Feel is Capitalism Dying (Joe Brewer, Medium, 2016)
Beyond the Minimum Wage Debate: Let's Move Toward a System That Works for All (Democracy at Work)
Prof. Richard Wolff debates Fox's Stuart Varney (Democracy at Work)
Posted August 1, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1123: Preparing for the end of the world, or at least capitalism
Stop Republicans from Deregulating Wall Street & #DefendCFPB via @RealBankReform (Americans for Financial Reform)
In case you missed it, on June 8th, the House of Representatives voted almost entirely along party lines to rollback most of the financial regulations put into place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. In typical Republican dog whistle code, they had the audacity to call the legislation the “Financial CHOICE Act” and make claims that it was, at heart, a “jobs bill.” You have to wonder sometimes how much of their own bullshit they believe.
Now here’s the damage report…
The so-called CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) exempts some financial institutions from many of Dodd-Frank’s restrictions that limit risk taking, replaces Dodd-Frank’s method of dealing with large and failing financial institutions with a new bankruptcy code provision, and weakens Elizabeth Warren’s extremely effective Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), along with giving power to the president to fire the agency’s director at will. The cherry on top is the elimination of the Labor Department’s Fiduciary Rule, which aims to protect people with investments from self-serving financial advisors. For more on that rule, we suggest checking out Best of the Left edition #1079 from February 14, 2017.
Some say this bill, as is, will never get through the Senate, but others are concerned that parts of it may actually have more bi-partisan support there. Either way, it sure says a lot when the bill’s Congressional Budget Office analysis noted that its deficit savings estimates were considerably uncertain because it was difficult to predict when a “systemically important” financial firm might fail.
Americans for Financial Reform, a nonpartisan and nonprofit coalition of more than 200 civil rights, consumer, labor, business, investor, faith-based, and civic and community groups, wants to hold those who voted for the Choice Act accountable for their vote. Their campaign, which uses the #DefendCFPB and #WrongChoiceAct, includes a website where you can see how your Congressperson voted on the bill and write them a letter with your concerns. Get the latest from Americans for Financial Reform on Twitter by following them @RealBankReform and check out their website at OurFinancialSecurity.org.
As always, you should call, call, call Congress, and use all of the resistance tools available to make sure your voice is heard by your representatives, and especially your Senators who will weigh in next.
So, if protecting citizens and our economy from the greed of Wall Street is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Stopping Republicans from Deregulating Wall Street and Defending the CFPB via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
The House just voted to SHRED Dodd-Frank & let Wall St run wild. Find out how your Rep voted & email them, here: https://t.co/pHP0EiABRc— AFR (@RealBankReform) June 8, 2017
Hold Congress accountable for the "Financial CHOICE Act" (H.R. 10) via Americans for Financial Reform
Explore Americans for Financial Reform's website
Follow Americans for Financial Reform on Twitter @RealBankReform
Letter to Congress: Oppose H.R. 10 – The Wall Street’s CHOICE Act Would Devastate Financial Regulation (Americans for Financial Reform)
What They Want to Hide Tells You Who They Are (Bill Moyers)
The Choice Act is Not a Community Banking Bill (American Banker, Op-ed)
Bill to Erase Some Dodd-Frank Banking Rules Passes in House (New York Times)
Posted June 20, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1113: Tax cuts and deregulation have failed before and will fail again
It’s easy to criticize a budget or tax plan entrenched in corruption, cronyism and pandering to corporations and political donors. The op-eds and think pieces practically write themselves. But unless we offer a strikingly better alternative that lifts up all people and proves a peaceful and prosperous world is truly possible, all the criticism in the world will be for naught.
What most people don’t realize is that a guide to that alternative path already exists. The Congressional Progressive Caucus puts out a progressive, alternative budget every year called The People’s Budget. This year’s subtitle is “A roadmap for the resistance.” It’s chalk full of well thought out, progressive ideas that actually work, and the details on how we’ll pay for them.
Here’s just a taste of what it says: It calls or $2 trillion in infrastructure investments to transform energy, water and transportation systems, and $100 billion to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet. It allows states to transition to single-payer health care systems and lowers the cost of prescription drugs. It ends corporate tax breaks for offshoring American jobs and profits. It closes corporate tax loopholes and raises taxes on the wealthiest few and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Credit. It invests in development of community oriented policing reforms and increased funding for voter protection and legal assistance programs. It funds public financing of campaigns to curb special interests’ influence. It calls for $1 trillion in effective early learning opportunities and a child-care-for-all program. It invests in women, communities of color and their families. It implements immigration reform and includes a pathway to citizenship. It makes debt free college a reality and invests in computer science opportunities for all students. It supports the minimum wage increase and collective bargaining rights. It ends subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies and closes their tax loopholes, while investing in clean, renewable and efficient energy, and green manufacturing. It eliminates veterans’ homelessness and increases their access to mental health care as well as job training opportunities. And it even invests in our defense system while promoting peace, through increasing funding for diplomacy and strategic humanitarian aid, and increased funding for refugee resettlement programs.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In summary, The People’s Budget invests in our country to ensure its people prosper now and for generations to come. Is it perfect? No. But this is the path we want to take. Improvements can and will be made on the way. Head over to CPCBudget.org (or the official CPC website) to read the full budget and share it far and wide. Because of its extreme lack of media coverage, we highly encourage you to write a letter to the editor of local and national media outlets asking them to cover The People’s Budget in depth. If you can, write an article about it yourself. At the very least, share it on social media and talk about it with your family and friends - because if no one knows there is another way forward, we’re stalled before we can even begin.
So, if showing America there is an alternative to Trumpism and heartless Conservatism is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about The People’s Budget via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Check out The People's Budget at cpcbudget.org and spread the word.
This new budget points the way forward for Democrats (The Washington Post)
The People’s Budget, not Trump’s budget, will help working Americans (Economic Policy Institute)
The People's Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System (Common Dreams, 2015)
Posted May 12, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left edition #1103: Freedom isn't free, it's paid for with your taxes
Some are describing Trump’s recently released "skinny budget" more accurately as a "starving budget." It guts essential programs and services that were already minuscule parts of the federal budget, while inflating the already gluttonous defense budget by $54 billion.
While it’s true that this budget, as is, would likely never pass Congress, the ideology it represents can and will. The budget reveals the conservative fantasy: erasure of nearly all of the societal benefit programs that improve life for millions in the name of national security. But it also represents just how truly out of touch conservatives are with the priorities of the American people.
We know this because of the great work done by organizations like The National Priorities Project: a non-profit, non-partisan federal budget research organization that works to inspire individuals and movements to take action so our federal resources prioritize peace, shared prosperity and economic security for all.
For example, according to the National Priorities Project, 8 in 10 Americans wouldn’t mind raising payroll taxes and taxing income over the earnings cap to ensure Social Security is on sound financial footing. Meanwhile, Trump is proposing massive tax cuts, especially for people like himself. Only 22 percent of Americans support reducing health spending and 61 percent strongly value making Medicare sound, but Paul Ryan and conservatives are still on a mission to cut health spending and hurt Medicare recipients. Despite 67 percent of the country supporting efforts to improve the education system, for decades only 6 percent of our budget has gone toward education spending. Now, conservatives are proposing doing away with the Department of Education almost entirely. This data, as well as an impressive live tracking of our war spending, is organized on NationalPriorities.org.
While the budget is in the spotlight, this is the time to call Congress and tell them your priorities - and perhaps remind them about the priorities of the majority of the country as well.
The Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) is an alliance of national organizations working together to promote public policies which address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations. They are asking people to take action by writing and calling Congress to urge them to pass a spending bill that invests in basic living standards and fundamental human needs - not one that continues to cut these programs. Go to CHN.org and click the “Take Action” tab to learn more and directly send a message to your Congress person.
Of course, we always encourage you to call Congress whenever you can, because outside of attending a town hall or speaking directly to your rep, calling is the most impactful way to make your voice heard. So we’re pleased to share a brand new tool with you - built by one of our awesome listeners - that makes calling even easier.
Stance is an online calling tool that uses your location to pull up your reps, lets you record your voice message and then puts your message straight into your reps voicemail. There's no looking up a reps contact information, no waiting on hold or dealing with busy signals, or even talking to anyone - just record your message and Stance does the rest. You can also make your Stance public to encourage others to act and even tweet your Stance directly at your representative. Head over to takeastance.us today to try it out.
So, if investing in our society for the benefit of all is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Calling Congress to Demand they Stop the Budget Cuts & Invest in Human Needs via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
It seems we always have money for war. Politicians have showed us their priorities. Time to demand they listen to ours.
Tell Congress to pass a spending bill that invests in basic living standards and fundamental human needs via Coalition on Human Needs (@CoalitiononHN)
Leave Congress a direct voicemail with Stance
Federal Budget TipSheet - Social Insurance and Earned Benefits (National Priorities Project)
Federal Budget TipSheet - Health Care Spending (National Priorities Project)
Trump's Budget Cuts (National Priorities Project Blog)
HEAD SMACKER: Trump Plan Slashes Taxes on Companies Already Dodging Taxes (Coalition for Human Needs Blog)
Posted May 2, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left edition #1100: Building a strong society and an innovative economy (Earned Benefits)
As we heard Professor Richard Wolff explain in Edition #1079 ("If you're not at the table, you're on the menu"), President Obama’s Fiduciary Rule - which aims to protect people with investments from self-serving financial advisors - is under threat.
After years of debate, research and industry lobbying, the rule was supposed to take effect on April first of this year. But Trump has intervened by asking the Department of Labor to analyze the rule again and rescind or revise it if it is “inconsistent” with Administration priorities. To make matters worse, the fox is - yet again - in the hen house. Former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn is now the director of the National Economic Council and he is on the record with the Wall Street Journal saying he wants the Fiduciary Rule gone.
Senators like Elizabeth Warren are leading the charge to argue for the best interests of those with pensions and retirement funds, who are losing more than $17 billion every year without this rule in place. In a recent letter to the Acting Secretary of Labor, Edward Hugler, Warren noted that she wrote to over thirty leading finance companies about their stance on the Fiduciary Rule. Twenty one of them wrote back saying the rule is good for workers saving for retirement and companies are prepared to meet the compliance deadline.
Warren goes on to say,
"...to rescind this rule or to delay the implementation of this rule in any way would rip billions of dollars in retirement savings from the pockets of hardworking Americans and put it straight into the hands of giant financial institutions."
So, what can you do? You need to call your Senators today and every day and tell them to act like Elizabeth Warren. Tell them they need to publicly and pro-actively support and protect the Fiduciary Rule so that you, and everyone with investments that their future depends on, receives financial advice in their best interest. The team at Indivisible Guide has prepared call scripts specifically for the Fiduciary Rule issue to use when calling your senators. To access these scripts, go to the Fiduciary Rule Scripts page at IndivisibleGuide.com.
And again, we want to ask that you help us in our work to amplify the most effective activism. If you have come across an action or a new organization that is doing great work getting people engaged to resist the Trump agenda, please share it with us by emailing Amanda@bestoftheleft.com.
So, if stopping big banks from siphoning off workers’ retirement savings is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Telling Your Senators to Support & Protect the Fiduciary Rule via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.
Trump has always been right about one thing: the system IS rigged. Now let’s stop him from helping big banks keep it that way.
So what now? Tell your members of Congress what you think. Use our script as a start. https://t.co/dwRHL7mJWq— Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) February 7, 2017
Call your Representatives and Senators to demand they publicly support and protect the Fiduciary Rule: 202-224-3121 (Capitol switchboard number)
Fiduciary Rule is Now in Question. What's Next for Investors? (The New York Times)
Market Recap - Executive Actions Planned for Dodd-Frank and Fiduciary Rule (Personal Capital)
"You Might Die Younger" Without the Fiduciary Rule (Personal Capital Blog)
Retirement Plans: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, HBO)
Posted February 14, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1079: If you're not at the table, you're on the menu (Trumpian Economics)
It’s time for a refresher.
In Best of the left Edition #1072, we talked about a new vision for our economic future and we even heard some policy proposals to help make this vision a reality - but we still need more than that. We need people like you to get organized and make it happen.
Democracy At Work, an advocacy organization founded by Richard Wolf - economist and host of Economic Update - encourages people across the country to start and get involved in Democracy at Work Action Groups in their community.
Democracy at Work Action Groups are built on the belief that everyday community leaders can influence policy, politics and culture through action and advocacy on the local and national level. Through these groups, we encourage you to get in touch with your local politicians and propose co-op friendly policies like the one we heard about in edition #1072 from the labor party in the UK: a simple proposal to give workers the right of first refusal to purchase a business before it’s sold or goes public.
To find an Action Group in your area, visit democracyatwork.info/groups to view the map of existing Action Groups across the country and the group’s contact information. If you don’t see one near you and would like to start one you can send an email to Democracy at Work’s group organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, if creating a new economic system that works for everyone is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about joining Democracy at Work Action Groups via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.
Someone else has been calling the shots for too long. Fight to own your work, so you can own your future.
10 Ways to Challenge Capitalism's Death Grip on Daily Life (via Truthout)
Cooperatives: The key to climate action? (via Democracy at Work)
Energy cooperatives are booming in Germany (via DW.com)
Worlds 8 Richest People Have Same Wealth as Poorest 50% (via The Guardian)
This Worker-Owned Cooperative is "Bigger than a Business" (via DCist.com)
Workers will get right to buy out bosses under Labour rule (The Independent UK)
Corporations Open Cash Spigot for Trump's Inauguration (The New York Times)
Posted January 17, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1072: A progressive vision for our economic future
Episode #1066: "The economics of the greater good" is about getting a new perspective on multiple levels: the personal, one step up to your immediate surroundings like where you work, and all the way up to the societal and political level. But it’s important to always remember that these levels are all connected. As the student and feminist movement of the 1960’s taught us, the personal IS political.
We do hope that you’ll take some of the ideas expressed in this episode and apply them to improve your own life on a personal level. But you can take it further than that. Depending on what you can and are willing to contribute, there are many things you can do, but one of the best things is to take action in your own community. Grassroots movements are the backbone of national change and we need an army of skilled changemakers to build those movements more than ever.
That sounds a bit daunting, right? So instead of giving you a single action to take today, we found to tool to help you become a citizen activist.
Whether you’re new to activism, or just looking for a refresher course, we strongly encourage you to sign up for Citizen Muscle Boot Camp from The Story of Stuff Project. This free, online video course is designed to get you “flexing your Citizen Muscles” and building the skills you need to make change on the issues you care about in your communities.
Call it your new years resolution, call it the first step in your renewed determination in response to the election, call it whatever you want - but if you need a helping hand getting started then check out the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp.
The boot camp is hosted by Annie Leonard, founder of The Story of Stuff Project and current Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and provides hands-on, interactive online exercises, and some additional tips and exercises to practice as you go about your day. All you need to participate is an internet connection and the willingness to spend about an hour or two a week for four weeks learning how to make the world a better place.
Head over to bootcamp.storyofstuff.org to register and start your training today. The sooner we can get started on making change in our own communities, the better we all will be.
If having effective skills and tools to create change on the personal, communal and societal levels is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
Get trained. Stand up. Fight back. There is no time to lose.
After the Election: We Keep Pushing Forward (Story of Stuff Project Blog)
She Was Just One Person…Until She Joined Up with Her Neighbors to Take on Nestlé (Story of Stuff Project Blog)
All Hands on Deck! How We'll Move Forward in 2017 (Story of Stuff Project Blog)
Posted December 20, 2016, written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman
Hear this segment in the context of the latest Best of the Left Edition #1066: The economics of the greater good
If concern for your health isn't usually enough to keep you away from Wendy's then maybe their labor rights abuses are. Right now, there is a farmworker union-led national boycott of the fast food giant and these activists need your support.
It turns out Wendy’s is not one of 14 corporate retailers in what is called the “Fair Food Program.” According to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (or CIW) leading the boycott, the Fair Food Program (which they created) is a “unique partnership” between farmworkers, farmers and companies like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Walmart that exists to root out abuse and sexual harassment in agricultural fields from coast to coast.
But not only has Wendy’s not joined, they…well, they are kind of being dicks about it.
First, they started getting their tomatoes from Mexico to circumvent Fair Foods and avoid scrutiny from US regulators. That means they are now supporting farms where workers confront wage theft, sexual harassment, poor living conditions, child labor and even slavery without any protections.
Then, adding insult to injury, Wendy’s recently published a “Code of Conduct” for suppliers that leaves out the two major components of the Fair Food Program: worker participation and verifiable enforcement mechanisms for standards. So, it basically amounts to just a bunch of empty, vague promises.
You can support this boycott by, you guessed it, not eating at Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program…and by visiting allianceforfairfood.org to learn more and sign the Wendy’s Boycott pledge. And of course, you can spread the word via social media using the hashtag #BoycottWendys.
While you’re at it, consider making worker’s rights and protections part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like Alliance for Fair Food, Farmworker Justice, Fight for 15, Jobs with Justice, Good Jobs Nation and other organizations fighting for worker justice for all.
So if supporting the efforts of labor unions and all agricultural workers is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about boycotting Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program via social media so that others in your network can take action too.
DON'T EAT AT WENDY'S!
Learn more about the reasons for the boycott at allianceforfairfood.org
Sign the pledge to boycott Wendy's
Attend a "Behind the Braids: Wendy's Boycott Tour" event near you
Spread the word on social media via #BoycottWendys
There is a Nationwide Boycott of Wendy's Underway (via The Nation)
Students Declare Nationwide Boycott of Wendy's Over Farmworker Concerns (via The American Prospect)
Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.
Hear the activism segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1050: "Unions or not, we are still all in this together"