Side-by-side, across lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion and economic background, we can create an economy that serves us all, not just a wealthy few. We can unite to face climate change and resist the fossil fuel industry and other industries that threaten the health of our planet and communities. We can get money out of politics and build a true democracy. We can dismantle structural racism and sexism, and invest in each other.
The time for action is now. Our communities desperately need change. Wealthy private interests have bought their way into power and have forwarded a policy agenda that protects and increases corporate profits at all costs and leaves immense human and environmental destruction in its wake. By capturing our government and our economy, a wealthy, elite class (largely white and male) has shaped our laws and institutions around a short-term, individualistic ideology that glorifies, prioritizes and protects private profits, private wealth, and private markets. This oligarchy uses its money and influence to block all efforts to build institutions that promote human well-being, community and ecological wealth, and the public good.
The rigged economy this ruling class has created is tearing our communities apart. It leaves people unemployed or stuck in low-wage and often dangerous jobs, which generates poverty, insecurity, and poor physical and mental health. Virtually all of us, at one point or another, find ourselves dependent on the vagaries of job markets and our employers’ whims without any assurance that we will be able to secure affordable housing, put food on the table, heat our homes, access healthcare, pay for childcare, and care for aging or sick loved ones. Without economic stability and a social safety net, we live in a perpetual state of insecurity, preventing us from from switching to better suited jobs, pursuing entrepreneurial dreams, spending more time with our families, and investing energy and resources in our communities. While this insecurity has universally deleterious effects, it disproportionately impacts those of us who are most likely trapped in low-wage, part-time, and otherwise insecure work: communities of color, immigrants, women, transgender people, individuals who grew up in impoverished settings, and, most prominently, those who fall into more than one of these categories.
The same economic system and corporate profiteering that are wreaking havoc in our communities are wreaking havoc on our environment. We depend on our environment for our food, water, livelihoods, health and wellbeing, which are all threatened by climate change, pollution, and the degradation of our local environments. From extreme weather events like Hurricane Irene to less visible, more insidious changes that affect everything from our respiratory health to our crops, climate change threatens our communities, our economy, and, most importantly, our children’s future. At the same time, local level environmental threats including workplace exposure to toxic chemicals, air and water pollution, and destructive land use and development practices are jeopardizing the health of our workers and our families.