BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

SARITA GUPTA: We can have big, bold demands. And we can, in fact, win those demands together.

AI-JEN POO: The world of organizing and the world of politics is going to be increasingly reflective of the changing demographics of this country in a very positive way.

GEORGE GOEHL: We need a movement of truth tellers willing to say, "We think this is possible." And then actually going out and putting our bodies in the line in the name of a new economy.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Although we’ve only been back on the air for a couple of months, in your letters, e-mails and webpage comments a single theme emerges time and again – thank you for the reporting, for the interviews and for your commentary, you tell us, but the problems seem so insurmountable, the forces arrayed against us so large, what can I do, as one person, to make a difference? How can I help bring change to America, how can I get involved in the issues facing our country?

Well, on this edition of Moyers & Company, we’re going to tell you about some of the ways people are taking action and we’ll introduce you to some young activists – all of whom are involved with an enormous citizen effort that’s just a few days away. It's a nationwide initiative called the 99% Spring, and it takes place the week of April 9th. Its organizers aim to teach 100,000 Americans about income inequality and then send them out to spread the word from door to door and even at the shareholder meetings of our too big to fail banks – the banks we bailed out with our billions of tax dollars when the economy went up in smoke and flames four years ago.

The inspiration for the 99% Spring comes from the Occupy movement and mobilizations like this one, in the fall of 2009, when citizens from all over the country came to Chicago to confront the American Bankers Association. Organizer George Goehl brought together a coalition of grassroots organizations big and small.

GEORGE GOEHL: The one thing we have. Our own political currency is people. And people are ready to hit the streets. Today is the beginning of a much larger set of mobilizations. They’re going to take place all across the country. We’re just getting started.

BILL MOYERS: That was George Goehl then and here he is now. One of the brains behind the 99% Spring. George Goehl been a community organizer, a strategist and trainer for 20 years. He’s executive director of National People’s Action. That's a network of grassroots organizations in 14 states using direct action to battle against economic and racial injustice. Welcome, George. GEORGE GOEHL: Hey, thanks for having me.

BILL MOYERS: It's been three years since I saw you last. And Congress has enacted the Dodd-Frank Bill with some oversight of Wall Street. And the president has been sounding like a populist from time to time. Are you satisfied with the progress?

GEORGE GOEHL: We're not. I mean, I would say that it's been hard for the president to tap into that populist bone in his body. I think some of us question whether it's there. It often feels like he's kind of trying to eat his worst, or least favorite vegetable. Putting some broccoli down his throat. And he can do it for a couple days. But then he kind of moves back towards the middle.

But he's got a chance to prove himself. And I think what we need is a leader that's willing to put direct pressure on the big banks to come to the table. There's a number of things that they need to do. But some of them are very clear. They can write down principle on mortgages to fair market value. The new settlement that they just signed with the attorneys general and the big banks, it actually is around $25 billion.

That may sound like a lot. But that's 3.5 percent of the $700 billion that we are underwater as a country. So the president has power to help make this happen. He could lead the way on this. But we also have to push the big banks to pay fair share of taxes. And the biggest corporations in this country, particularly ones that crashed our economy, are not paying into the system.

BILL MOYERS: Here's some headlines that I brought to read to you. One, the Volcker Rule. That was the rule that traders can't speculate for their own personal gain using the money you and I pay in taxes.

That's part of Dodd-Frank. "The Volcker Rule, Made Bloated and Weak." That's "The New York Times." This one, "States negotiate $26 billion agreement for homeowners." But it's really going to benefit the lawyers who work for the banks. Not the homeowners. What do those headlines say to you?

GEORGE GOEHL: I think you can score more victories for the banks. And I think that what we've seen is they clearly have a stranglehold on our electoral system and our legislative process. And that if we want to shift our politics, we both have to make politicians who side with the big banks and the larger corporations pay a price for not siding with everyday people.

But we also have to engage directly with those corporate CEOs. You know, when I started organizing around banking issues, you could go down to a very important bank in the city of Chicago, and you could do a small demonstration. And probably get a meeting with the bank president.

Well, in 1990, there were 37 banks in this country that by 2009 were four banks. Now these CEOs hardly ever have to face the public. They certainly aren't touring poor neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago and other cities. And so the shareholder meeting is actually one place where we can go directly to them and engage them because they have to show up to that meeting. And we're not only going as protesters to be on the outside. We're actually going as shareholders go to on the inside.

BILL MOYERS: You bought a small--


BILL MOYERS: --number? What, maybe even one share? Something like that?

GEORGE GOEHL: Yeah. We've bought as many shares as you need to get into the meeting, we've bought.

BILL MOYERS: So what are you going to do when you get inside?

GEORGE GOEHL: Well, I'm-- interesting thing about the shareholder meeting is you do, as a shareholder, have a chance of getting the mic and directly engaging with the CEO. And last year, a woman of faith from central Illinois, Dawn Dannenbring Carlson was at the JPMorgan Chase shareholder meeting. And she said to Jamie Dimon like I believe in a,

BILL MOYERS: He's the CEO, right?

GEORGE GOEHL: He's the CEO. Yes. Of JPMorgan Chase. Said, "I believe in a compassionate, loving God who cares about people. Do you believe in such a God?" And he said, "That's a hard question to answer." But what we saw there was an opportunity for people that are customers at JPMorgan Chase who've been victimized by JPMorgan Chase actually engage the CEO in a real conversation, and put some heat on those folks.

We would like to challenge these CEOs to come out and see the neighborhoods and the communities that they've devastated. We've got blocks in Chicago that have ten bank-owned properties sitting foreclosed, barely boarded up in a neighborhood. That is a moral crisis. Like, if that happened in Jamie Dimon's neighborhood or in Brian Moynihan, the head of Bank of America's neighborhood. It'd be front-page news.

I think we have to look at two things. Which banks are too big to fail? Because we cannot have another bailout. Banks that are too big to fail are too big to exist.

But we also got to look at what banks and what corporations are too big to be held accountable. Because if they're too big to be held accountable, how are we going to have a functioning economy that allows workers and everyday people to get their fair share. But also a democracy that flourishes and allows people to engage and have real power and decision making.

BILL MOYERS: But in the spirit of Milton Friedman, one of your former Chicago residents, the only accountability corporations have in the free-market system is to make as much profit as they can for their shareholders.

GEORGE GOEHL: And we have to change that.

BILL MOYERS: How would you change it?

GEORGE GOEHL: I think there's two things. One, you know, when corporations were originally created in America, they actually had to demonstrate a public purpose that you were going to serve. And you could make profits. But you also had to say, "We're going to do this good thing for the public." So how do we move back towards that?

But there's also an interesting movement that really started out of Maryland. Jamie Raskin, who's a professor and also a State Senator moved a policy called B Corporation. Benefit corporations. And so it's a law. It's been passed in seven states. And it's going to be passed in more. That basically gives these corporations a protection against that clause that says, "Your number-one mission is to produce for your shareholders."

And in that case, you often do things that are bad for the public. I think this is a movement towards corporations having to meet a more thoughtful bottom line. That not only includes profits, but also includes their impact on communities and on the environment.

BILL MOYERS: You're making demands at the shareholder meetings. What are you demanding?

GEORGE GOEHL: A number of things. But, I think, like, we'll take, let's stick with Bank of America, for instance, 'cause there'll be thousands of people at the Bank of America shareholder meeting. One, write down the mortgages in your portfolio that are underwater to fair market value. Secondly, we need corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Bank of America has 371 tax shelters. A number of them on the Cayman Islands.

And have done everything they can to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. If you're going to get some of the benefits that come with being in a corporation in America, you need to have some responsibilities too. And third, Bank of America and a lot of the banks invest in a lot of things that are bad for our country.

Bank of America is one of the lead financiers of predatory payday lending. These payday lenders charge 455% interest rates, largely target communities of color.

The average $250 payday loan cost the borrower $750. So essentially, stripping wealth out of some of the poorest communities of our country. We need them out of that business. So those are three demands that we'll take to them at the shareholder meetings among others.

BILL MOYERS: So you're calling this shareholder spring?

GEORGE GOEHL: The larger effort this spring is called 99% Spring. And within that, there are two key components. One is actually training a 100,000 people in a new vision of what the economy could look like. And engaging people across the country in that conversation. Not only are-- this is not a predetermined vision that a bunch of us have figured out. But it is a challenge for us all to think big about what might be possible.

BILL MOYERS: What do you mean to imagine a new economy? Imagine a new future?

GEORGE GOEHL: Well, I think that we're at a crossroads. And there's three roads we can take. One, we can say, "Things are so dire. Let's just fight to keep what we've got. Let's fight to keep our homes. To keep our jobs. To keep our unions. To keep other policies that have been good for people."

BILL MOYERS: That's pretty human nature there?

GEORGE GOEHL: Yeah. And to

BILL MOYERS: To hold on.

GEORGE GOEHL: Particularly in low moments like this. Secondly, we could say, "Well, let's try to get back to what we used to have. Let's get back to the economy pre financial crisis, and back to the Bill Clinton economy." But even that, we know that economy was marked by incredible racial disparities, gender disparities and was bad for our environment.

So hopefully, we can think bigger than that. The third is to try to really reimagine what is possible. And I'm not saying any of us have the answers. But I think now is the moment. Right now because things are dire to think big about what we might be able to do.

BILL MOYERS: Example. Give me one example of what you mean by thinking big.

GEORGE GOEHL: We need to completely downsize a number of the biggest corporations in the country. We would start with the banks. But a number of them that are not only too big to fail, but also too big to be held accountable.

But at the other side, we need to actually give birth and rise up in terms of a more local, community-controlled economy in communities across the country. And sometimes when we talk about this, people are like, "Well, that sounds kind of Utopian."

BILL MOYERS: Utopian—exactly.

GEORGE GOEHL: These are not new ideas in terms of the cooperative movement and in terms of everyday people having more democratic control over the economy. What's different is the moment. You've got a much broader cross section of the country saying like, "Will this economy ever really work for me like it did in the past?"

Or you have communities of color that's saying like, "This economy really never did work for me." And so you vehicle a broader cross section of the country asking hard questions, and starting to look for new answers. And I think the community and cooperative economy's particularly interesting for two reasons. One, it actually retains wealth in communities. Less wealth leaves a city and goes off. Or a neighborhood and goes off to some gated community or to some stockholder. But secondly, I think that there-- people feel that there is something spiritually missing in their lives right now.

People want to be in community with other folks. And I think a more community-controlled economy is a place that can happen.

BILL MOYERS: But you've been leading protests and marches all these years now. And I've been covering them. And it's hard to see that anything structural and significant has changed.

GEORGE GOEHL: We have to ask ourselves do our actions fully line up with our convictions. We say we want this level of change. But are we really taking that level of risk? And so actually, we need a movement of truth tellers. People that are willing to go out and say, "This is what's wrong. We've found who's behind it. And this is what it could look like." But saying those things will not always make you popular.

We look back at the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Suffrage Movement and with great admiration. But at the time, this was not a group-- these were not groups of people winning big popularity contests. They were ostracized in their own time. So we need a movement of truth tellers willing to say, "We think this is possible." And then actually going out and putting our bodies in the line in the name of a new economy.

BILL MOYERS: Are you asking that of your followers now when they go into those stockholder meetings this spring? Are you saying they should put their bodies on the line and be arrested?

GEORGE GOEHL: I think we're saying that people should engage in action that shines a spotlight on the crisis and on those behind the curtain.

BILL MOYERS: All right. I'm going--

GEORGE GOEHL: In many cases in--

BILL MOYERS: --into one of these meetings and I'm going to follow you into one of these meetings. And let's say that Brian Moynihan is there as the CEO of Bank of America. What are you asking me to do? Now be specific.

GEORGE GOEHL: For a specific set of people that are ready to risk arrest, we'll be engaging in actions that will move to that level. But not everybody that's coming is going to be at that place. And if you even look back at the Civil Rights Movement, it's not like everybody--


GEORGE GOEHL: --said, "I'm ready to risk arrest." But I think there's an increasing number of people that are saying, "We are ready to risk arrest in the name of what we believe."

BILL MOYERS: Bill McKibben and the environmentalist who led a movement to be arrested at outside the White House at the protest of the building of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. They were arrested.

Spent three or four days in jail. Had a big impact in the news. And at the moment, Obama backed away from approving the Keystone. Now we have a story that the president and government are going ahead with Keystone. Just reconfiguring it so it gets around what those protesters were opposed to. You don't win in the long run, against this system.

GEORGE GOEHL: That’s why we have to change the system. And I would say that I think that we're at what is, I'm hoping is the tail end of a 40-year effort to undermine the role of government. To disempower organized workers and to deregulate the financial markets in the corporate sector.

If you were in the meetings and saw what I see happening around the country, you would be so hopeful. Because whether--

BILL MOYERS: What meetings?

GEORGE GOEHL: --whether it's a meeting in Minnesota with a bunch of rank-and-file members of a grassroots organization or in a meeting of organizational leaders from across the country meeting in Washington, D.C. to hatch strategy, people are thinking in bigger ways. People are putting their egos to the side, and their values up front. And saying, "How do we come together to create a real sea change in our politics and our economy?"

BILL MOYERS: But that is a familiar story in America life. Protest, demonstrations. The search for a better system is inherent in the American experience. And often is the loser against these mighty powers of the economic structure.

GEORGE GOEHL: Yeah. I would say we've been laying down. There have been exceptions. We've had mobilizations. We've had actions. We've had people push back. But I would say the onus is on us as the American people. If we continue to lay down, we'll continue to be walked over.

But if we step up in bigger numbers, if we come to these trainings that we're going to hold April 9th through the 15th and learn about a potential vision around the new economy, about how to engage in real, nonviolent, direct action, and move into the streets in greater numbers than we have in a long time, we have a chance to shift things. There's an appetite out there. And it's up to us as everyday people to say, "Am I going to sit on the sidelines and watch this? Or am I going to really engage in this fight?"

BILL MOYERS: How is what you're planning this spring different from what we saw in the footage I began the broadcast with?

GEORGE GOEHL: I would say, you know, a number of things. One, there is a larger set of organizations saying, "There is no road to a new and just economy if we don't build a real corporation accountability movement in this country. So you have organizations and grassroots members who work on issues as diverse as jobs and worker rights, health care, immigrant rights, banks and the environment saying separately, "We want a bunch of a corporate campaigns to try make Bank of America to do one thing." Or, "Get this coal company to do another thing." Or, "Get this employee to be a little better."

In isolation, those campaigns won't add up to enough to shift the politics of the country. But if we actually bring them together and bring our bases, bring service workers, domestic workers, communication workers, families fighting to save their homes, farmers, environmentalists together around a common agenda, building between now and the shareholder meeting, we not only have an opportunity to shift the story around what's really happening with the economy in this country. But we actually move people together.

Because people's lives are not bifurcated between I'm an environmental person. I'm an health care person. I'm a jobs person. People's lives are, you know, a big mix of all of that stuff. And so this spring, you're going to see people from all these different kind of issue silos come together under one agenda. And work together, train together and act together.

BILL MOYERS: You describe what used to be the base of the Democratic Party. And I'm sure if you got a chance as one organizer to another to see Barack Obama, he would say to you, "George, just help me keep those people in the Democratic Party, and we'll make their lives better."

GEORGE GOEHL: I think people are losing faith in the political process as it's run right now. And I think the Super PACs are a big example of that. But so I think people feel like they have to take things into their own hands, and engage directly at pressuring the corporations.

BILL MOYERS: Sounds like the Tea Party, right? They're taking things into their own hands.

GEORGE GOEHL: You know, in that way, I think there is a similarity. I mean, I think you're seeing people's movements showing up and saying, "We have to figure out how to reclaim our democracy." We hear a lot from the Tea Party that the government is the problem. We actually believe government is the prize. But right now it sits--

BILL MOYERS It’s the what?

GEORGE GOEHL It’s the prize. It’s the prize. But right now, it sits in a trophy case on Wall Street. So sometimes government doesn't feel like it's working for us. Well, it's not going to work for us until we take it back. And so that's why we have to build a much bigger movement of people willing to both confront corporate power, and then shift this summer towards engaging in the elections. And we have to be more serious about candidates that do not match up with a certain set of values or principles. And saying, "Hey, if you're not going to come with us on being willing to tax the corporations, to challenge corporate power, and to protect people, you're not going to get our vote."

BILL MOYERS: But there's still one huge wall between you and your aspirations. I know it's there, and you do too. Let me play something from our earlier conversation in which you acknowledge what you're up against.

GEORGE GOEHL on Bill Moyers Journal: I do think that on this fight, we don't win unless we figure out how to toxify the banking money in politics. Until...

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: Do what?

GEORGE GOEHL on Bill Moyers Journal: Toxify that money. It's amazing to me that the same banks that created the foreclosure crisis, sent the economy into the tail spin, needed and billions and billions of taxpayer bailouts, are still able to hand out millions in campaign contributions. You'd think there would be a political price to pay for taking that money.

BILL MOYERS: That was December 2009. That was Heather Booth sitting there with us. She was involved in the fight for financial reform.

Not only have you and others failed to do that. But it's worse than it was the last time you were here. The Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court has helped unleash an avalanche of new money into the campaigns.

GEORGE GOEHL: It's really terrifying. There's no doubt about it. But I do think what you're seeing is you're seeing a backlash around Citizens United. The money in politics that I actually think is particularly powerful because it's not just coming from the left or the right. But I think both members of both parties, and different ideologies recognize that this level of money in our politics is not going to work, so.

BILL MOYERS: It's just gotten worse.

GEORGE GOEHL: It has. There's no question about it.

BILL MOYERS: So what keeps you, why do you keep fighting? You're not going to win.

GEORGE GOEHL: Oh, boy, I, there's no way I believe that. Organizers are the eternal optimists. I think.

BILL MOYERS: You may win in your daughter's lifetime. She may win. But you know that what you're up against.

GEORGE GOEHL: That's good enough. Winning in my daughter's lifetime is good enough. I think that, like, any movement worth its salt looked ahead to the long haul. If we get too obsessed with are we winning the tactical victories here and there, it can be a little, you know, tough for us.

Because I think a lot of times what we've done over the last 30 years is we've really focused on the issues. And figured out how do we win on the issues. But if we really want to shift the country, we have to say, "How do we engage in the big battle of big ideas?" 'Cause what corporate conservatives did is, like, they said, "Let's undermine the role of government. Let's promote free markets."

Though when free markets also means free markets that get a lot of good stuff from government. "Say that we'll already live in a racially just society." Even though we know that's not true. "And promote rugged individualism." And they moved those ideas out in a very systemic and intentional way over 40 years. And it has led us to this point.

So we now have to say, "How do we engage long haul and an idea shift that includes talking about how government could be an equalizer in our lives if we reclaim it? That markets have to be regulated to protect people and the environment. That we do not live in a racially just society. That structural racism continues to keep families out of opportunities."

And that we have to name that racial justice would benefit us all. And we have to go after it and make it happen. And lastly, we're part of a community of people that are in this together. And as we win that idea battle, which I think we will win, that's when our victories on the issues will follow.

BILL MOYERS: You know, I have a corporate underwriter. My sole corporate underwriter for 25 years. Mutual of America. They've been terrific to us. How do people distinguish between corporations that are trying to be good citizens and those you have on your hit list?

GEORGE GOEHL: I think there's a set of things that corporations can do that will make them clearly good citizens. Good, corporate citizens in this country. And so I do think it is, like, making sure they treat workers with dignity. And that these are jobs with justice and people get paid.

That they actually are very conscious about their environmental impact in this country. That they pay their fair share of taxes. And that they are thoughtful to how they contribute to the community that they work in. They-- we have lots of corporations in this country that do good stuff. The 40 that we'll be visiting this spring are ones that clearly failed on all those fronts.

BILL MOYERS: So how do people find out about what you're doing?

GEORGE GOEHL: There's a couple ways. There's a website called "The 99 Spring." And that's where people can learn how do I go to one of these trainings to really learn about how people are thinking differently about the economy. And also how do I learn about nonviolent, direct action and how to do that, and how to engage in that. And out of those trainings, in many cases, people will then go do demonstrations.

And then secondly, the build towards the shareholder meetings, there's a website called And people can go on there and learn: how can I engage in some of these 40 corporate campaigns focused on 40 corporations. All will have demonstrations at the shareholder meetings. How can I plug in and be a part of this fight to really restructure our relationship with the corporate sector?

BILL MOYERS: You've been doing this for a long time. Why did you become an organizer?

GEORGE GOEHL: I'll give you the short version. But I had got in a little bit of trouble, and ended up at a soup kitchen. And didn't expect to be there. Was a little surprised to be there. And went and ate. And when I was done, I felt a little uncomfortable about being there. So I asked if I could wash some dishes. And one thing led to another. And I actually got my act together and my life together at that soup kitchen. And thank goodness, three years later, I realized soup kitchens weren't enough for me. And I had to become an organizer.

BILL MOYERS: What makes a good organizer?

GEORGE GOEHL: I do think eternal optimism. I think a sense that we are, you know, able to, like, create change and that we can engage people. But I think it's also a great organizer starts where people are at, and actually understands what people are feeling and what they are needing. And figures out how to engage them in the development of a strategy and a plan to create change. But I think probably even more in, than anything, I mean, the job of an organizer I really think is often two things. It's to get people to do things they didn't know they wanted to do when they met you. And then secondly, get them to do that with a lot of other people.

BILL MOYERS: So your daughter? Her name is?


BILL MOYERS: Well, given the rate I'm going, when she's ready to take your place on the lines, would you make sure I get a chance to interview her?

GEORGE GOEHL: I would love it.


GEORGE GOEHL: She's going to be a good organizer. I can tell.

BILL MOYERS: George Goehl, thank you very much for being with me.

GEORGE GOEHL: Okay. I appreciate it.

BILL MOYERS: If George Goehl’s daughter does grow up to become an organizer, she could have no finer role models than the two women with me now.

Ai-Jen Poo is director and co-founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. It includes more than 20 organizations in ten states and more than 10,000 members. She led the fight for the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights here in New York State, the first of its kind in America. And now she's fighting for a similar bill in California.

Since 2007, Sarita Gupta has been the executive director of Jobs with Justice. That's a labor organization in over 45 communities and 25 states. They work to create a broad, global movement for economic and social justice. She led the Chicago chapter of Jobs with Justice for four years and served as its national field director for three.

The two women have joined forces not only for April’s 99% Spring Action but also to build an economic campaign for domestic and homecare workers of all ages. They call it Caring Across Generations.

BILL MOYERS: Sarita and Ai-Jen, welcome to both of you.

SARITA GUPTA: Thank you.

AI-JEN POO: Thanks so much.

BILL MOYERS: How does the work you're doing connect to what we heard George Goehl talk about in the 99% spring?

SARITA GUPTA: The work connects because we're, for Jobs with Justice in particular, working on organizing and bargaining rights issues and looking at the real impacts of workers rights, we understand that there are corporations that are making decisions, intentional decisions, that in fact are stripping away the rights of workers.

How do we actually say to corporations, "Your practices can, in fact, be different, that allows for us to have the kind of economy that works for everybody"?

BILL MOYERS: So what do domestic workers have at stake in shareholder springtime?

AI-JEN POO: They're a huge and growing part of the 99 percent. And domestic workers have children and grandchildren and their hopes for them, in terms of quality public education and access to higher education and health care and economic opportunity.

All of those things necessitate a different relationship between the one percent and the 99 percent. And we would say that we're the 99 percent for the 100 percent. In that it's in the best interest of corporations in the long term that the American public is able to survive and thrive with dignity and respect.

BILL MOYERS: Unions are among your main allies, are they not? And how do you explain the phenomenon that, unions are struggling in a time when obviously the need for solidarity is so powerful.

SARITA GUPTA: You know, it's interesting, it's all about what people-- the perception that's out there. And we should not underestimate the amount of money that corporations have put into anti-union media blitzes and discussions. I mean, the narrative around unions has a lot to do with the role of corporate backed media and the way that unions are portrayed.

BILL MOYERS: So what about people you work with? Are they members of organized unions?

AI-JEN POO: You know, what's interesting is that domestic workers are actually excluded from the federal labor law that gives workers the right to organize and form unions.

BILL MOYERS: How did that happen?

AI-JEN POO: When the New Deal was being negotiated the only way that Southern members of Congress would agree to support the labor laws that were part of the New Deal package is if African American-- well, at the time, farm workers and domestic workers were excluded from the right to organize from the National Labor Relations Act. And at the time, those workers were African American. So it was an attempt to be able to prevent African American workers from being able to build power and build a political voice through organizing.

And so those exclusions remain to this day in the books, and they shape the lives of over two and a half million women who work as domestic workers every day, who are excluded from labor laws, excluded from protections. And their work is still undervalued and not respected.

BILL MOYERS: So what are they up against, day by day?

AI-JEN POO: Well, you know, I can give you a story of a member of ours named Maria, who worked for a family in Queens. She worked six days a week--

BILL MOYERS: Here in New York City.

AI-JEN POO: Here in New York. She was live in. And she took care of a child with a disability and did all of the cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing for a family of six. So 16 hours a day, six days a week. And she lived-- her sleeping quarters were in the basement, where there was an overflowing sewage system. So she literally had to put down cardboard to get to her bed at night.

And for all of that work, she earned less than $3 per hour. And so there are just incredible violations. And not every domestic worker is in that situation. But every worker is vulnerable. These exclusions have made it such that every single worker is vulnerable. And you never know what you're going to get.

BILL MOYERS: What happened to Maria?

AI-JEN POO: Maria picked up a Spanish-language newspaper that had an article about another worker, who had been in an abusive situation and had sought help at an organization called Domestic Workers United, our New York affiliate here. And so she called and she came to the office. And the organization helped her pursue her unpaid wages. In addition, she became one of the spokespeople for the New York Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Campaign. Where hundreds and hundreds of workers took days off from work, like Maria, went up to Albany time and time again. We had one member, Angelica, who said, when the governor finally signed the legislation, she said, "Wow, I think I went to Albany more than 30 times to tell my story."

BILL MOYERS: It took you six years to win that, didn't it?

AI-JEN POO: It sure did. The purpose of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in New York is to establish labor protections, basic rights and protections for the over 200,000 women who do domestic work in New York.

BILL MOYERS: How many?

AI-JEN POO: Over 200,000. Every-- we often ask people to imagine what New York would look like if one day all domestic workers didn't go to work. And we think that there's not a single professional sector, workforce that wouldn't be touched in some way by it. It really is the invisible engine behind everything else in New York.

And what the Bill of Rights did was established basic rights and recognition so that members like Maria could go to work with their head held high, knowing that they have rights and they have protections.

BILL MOYERS: So the people you work with are either in organized labor or you're trying to get them into organized labor, right?

SARITA GUPTA: That's one segment of who we work with. We also work with community-based organizations. We worked with faith-based groups and student organizations all around this issue of workers' rights and economic justice.

And for me, with Jobs with Justice, I've loved this nexus of labor and community. That actually, when we all come together, we can have big, bold vision. We can have big, bold demands. And we can, in fact, win those demands together.

BILL MOYERS: Give me an example.

SARITA GUPTA: Well, one, you know, recent example is the story of the workers at Hershey's plant in Pennsylvania. When-- you know, were--

BILL MOYERS: Big chocolate maker, right?

SARITA GUPTA: Big chocolate maker. Exactly. I love Hershey's Kisses, right? And so does most of Americans. And what we saw happen is this is the story of a major corporation that Americans love that has chosen to take work, segments of their work that were one time permanent, full-time union jobs, and turn them into temporary jobs. And bring in, in fact, workers, guest workers to do these jobs, under deplorable conditions with very little pay.

And what was interesting about that campaign was the ability to bring together temporary workers, in this case, with permanent workers in that work site, with people in the neighboring communities to say, "It is not okay for a major corporation like this to treat workers this way."

PROTESTOR: The effort to bring Hersey's to justice has officially begun today!

BILL MOYERS: Did they strike?

SARITA GUPTA: They struck. They won a major victory. Which was basically having the recruiter and the program through which the work-- the students came. 'Cause these were actually students who had come from other countries who were believed to be on a cultural exchange program and then ended up working. Right?

BILL MOYERS: Right. I remember that now, right.

SARITA GUPTA: Yeah. And so the State Department found them guilty. And has been in proceedings with them to make sure they cannot do this ever again. And for us, the most important part of that story is really calling the question on companies like Hershey's, an American company.

What does it mean for you, in order to make profits, that it's okay to take what were once permanent full-time jobs in the community that allowed the community to be thriving and to actually turn them into temporary, in this case, in particular bring in guest workers to do this work?

BILL MOYERS: But you're adversaries or critics or opponents would say, "Look, that's not Hershey's fault. That's the way globalization has occurred with two billion workers over the last several years being introduced into competition with American workers. It's the economic dynamics of our time."

SARITA GUPTA: That's right. It is about a global economic system that frankly we need to change. I think more and more the workers we work with understand fundamentally that workers in other countries aren't the problem. And even workers of other nationalities in this country are not the problem.

That in fact, there is a need for us to change the practices of corporations and the way in which money flows globally and the way in which decisions are made globally to make sure that in fact worker protections are in place. And that workers aren't, in fact, having to compete against each other for what we know and we call "the race to the bottom."

BILL MOYERS: I've read some of the correspondence that is directed to you, some of the letters you get, some of the public complaints and comments. And they include the argument, quote, "People are paid according to their education level and skills. And these people are being paid for low education, if any, and low skills."

The argument is that these domestic workers and others like them work for people who are struggling, as well, who can't afford increased benefits, increased wages. And they say the two of you are not facing reality.

AI-JEN POO: The reality that I think we need to face as a nation is the fact that we cannot sustain if we don't start protecting the resources that make everything else possible. Gloria Steinem, 20 years ago, wrote this article called "Revaluing Economics." And she talked about the two invisible resources that everything else is built upon, our care work, or the work that it takes to raise families, and the earth, the planet's natural resources.

And those two things have been unprotected, undervalued, and invisibilized as the resources that make everything else possible. And we need to fundamentally revalue those elements of our society. Including making care work more affordable for every American who needs it, making the actual hiring of childcare and long-term care, elder care workers more affordable for American families. And making sure that the workers who do that work are protected and can earn a living wage and support their own families.

BILL MOYERS: You both have been doing this a long time now, I know. And you're not even 40 yet. How did you get started as organizers? Sarita?

SARITA GUPTA: Yeah, well, I, you know, I came to this work really watching my parents, I would say. My family immigrated here. I immigrated when I was a baby to Rochester, New York. My parents are of Indian descent. And I watched them, my mother and father, make huge sacrifices to have a better life here in the U.S. and to create tons of opportunity for my brother, sister, and I.

And in that process, they built community. We were one of very few Indian families in Rochester at that time. And they were a really important force in building what's now a thriving Indian community center, associations, and whatnot. And I think that were early seeds for me and drew me to think about how communities can really come together, if workers can really come together, we can make a difference.

AI-JEN POO: I also come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother and my mother were both really influential on me. They're both incredible, caring women who lived a life of service and who raised children. And did both caregiving work and their work in taking care of other people. And still do with a lot of dignity. And it just inspired me.

And I think I also noticed that a lot of the work that they did in the home was not recognized and adequately valued. And I don't recall my mother ever sitting down as a child. She was always working in some way, one way or another. And I think it's a difficult situation that American families are in. Where we're in isolation, dealing with how we're going to take care of our kids. And how are we going to take care of our parents? And I think that for future generations, it should be different.

BILL MOYERS: You have to be tough to be an organizer. You've got to be willing to wear brass knuckles and have sharp elbows, right?

AI-JEN POO: It's true. It is true.

BILL MOYERS: Come on, confess.

SARITA GUPTA: You do. You do.

BILL MOYERS: What's the secret?

AI-JEN POO: I will say that even with all the brass knuckles and the times when you have to be tough that we still find that the most powerful force for change in the world is still love.


AI-JEN POO: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: Don't tell me that you won the Albany legislature, one of the swamps of American--

AI-JEN POO: We absolutely did.

BILL MOYERS: --politics over with love? Come on now.

AI-JEN POO: We absolutely did.

BILL MOYERS: Oh, come on, come on.

AI-JEN POO: Absolutely. One of our most effective actions was this children and families march for the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. And it was children of domestic workers together with the children that they take care of, holding signs. "Respect my mommy." "Respect my nanny." And the love and the connection between the children that they take care of and their own children and the employers who really appreciate the service of domestic workers in their home. All of that love and connection was an incredibly powerful force for change.

BILL MOYERS: Those signs and those people who took part in that march, they were very persuasive. They were very impressive. But you don't get legislation passed in Albany, seriously, just by that. What else did you have to do? Did you have to threaten legislators with protests-- withholding your support for them in an election? That sort of thing?

AI-JEN POO: It takes good old-fashioned organizing. It takes bringing people together around common goals, with a plan. When everyday people take action from a place of love and a place of dignity and courage, it's incredibly powerful. So whether that looks like marches or whether that looks like going to the polls and voting. Or that looks like telling your story in legislative offices, year after year after year. It's power. Because people are driving it. And they're committed to it. And they, you know, that's the formula, is really people coming together.

BILL MOYERS: It helps to have some publicity, too. I know that you were involved in some of these women being in Hollywood, at the time of the Oscars. Because "The Help," which was about domestic workers in the South was nominated, for an Oscar. There was a lot of excitement about it. You had some women out there, didn't you?

AI-JEN POO: We sure did. We had--

BILL MOYERS: Tell me about that.

AI-JEN POO: --them in from around the country, domestic workers from the South, from the Northeast, from all over the country, who came together to celebrate this moment of the public imagination, the hearts and minds of the American public being turned towards the story of domestic workers in the civil rights era.

BILL MOYERS: So you think that was the biggest value of "The Help." I mean, it was criticized by some realistic Southern writers as being sort of a romantic version of domestic workers in the South, a too-sweet version.

AI-JEN POO: Absolutely. But for us, it was this moment of being able to raise up the stories of domestic workers today. The story of domestic workers is not a story of history, of the past. There's, as I said, two and a half million workers doing this work every day in America. And it provided an opportunity or an opening in the public imagination for us to be able to tell that story and to be able to show the American public that there are actually things that people can do now to address some of the violations that were shown in the movie and more.

BILL MOYERS: Your two organizations have come together in this Caring Across Generations. What very specific goals do you have? What specific things would you like to see change.

SARITA GUPTA: So the way that we approach the campaign, we actually talk about it as the five fingers of the caring hand. So one of them is, in fact, creating jobs, creating two million jobs in the home care industry. Two is making sure these jobs are good quality jobs. That they have real standards.

The third is that there be training and a real career pathway in this industry. Home care, by the way, is the second-largest growth occupation, you know, between now and 2018, according to the most recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is huge. And so our ability to shape the quality of these jobs is enormous. It's important to be doing. The fourth finger is really addressing the issues of how do we create a pathway to citizenship for the existing care workforce and then the fifth finger is really about affordability.

AI-JEN POO: So we're talking about offering tax credits for people who are paying for care and are really struggling to afford it. We're talking about family caregiver supports. And we're talking about increasing funding for programs that offer long-term care and support services in the home.

Right now, there's a bias in our laws towards institutionalized care. But there's a lot of data that shows that it's actually much more affordable, all told, to have people stay at home and receive care in their home. People, I think, want to live independently for as long as possible.

BILL MOYERS: What's the main wall between you and achieving what you would like to achieve with these women?

SARITA GUPTA: At the end of the day, the number one obstacle we find is people ask, "Well, how will all this get paid for? How is this possible?" And frankly, for us, we're very clear it's about the choices that we're making around our spending priorities.

But it is possible. I really believe it's possible. But that feels like the number one obstacle that we as the American people and our policymakers need to get over. That the cost of care is possible. You know? We can actually afford this.

BILL MOYERS: You two have brought new faces and new techniques-- new values to organizing. How do you see your work changing in the 21st Century? Sarita?

SARITA GUPTA: I think we're understanding more and more that we need to collaborate with each other, immigrant rights, housing rights, environmental rights, labor rights. Like, we need to actually be approaching our work together, to find the kinds of long-term, systemic solutions that we need.

But within the workers' rights movement, as well, I would say there's been huge shifts happening. I mean, with the growth of the informal sector and economy of workers that are unprotected there is a need for us to actually understand new forms of organizing amongst workers who don't fall under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act. And unions and the struggles they're facing, and begin to imagine new ways to be organizing workers at the numbers that we need, at the scales that we need to really make change.

AI-JEN POO: The world of organizing is reflecting the changing demographics of this country where communities of color are growing. Women, I believe, are 51 percent of the population. So you're seeing more and more leadership from women, from communities of color. And, you know, we're looking forward to running a domestic worker for president. So I think, you know, increasingly you're going to see that the world of organizing and the world of politics is going to be increasingly reflective of the changing demographics of this country in a very positive way.

BILL MOYERS: Ai-Jen Poo and Sarita Gupta, thank you very much for joining me.

SARITA GUPTA: Thank you.

AI-JEN POO: Thank you so much.

BILL MOYERS: Our three organizers this week have inspired us to create a page called “Take Action” on our website, You’ll find information and ideas there aimed at helping you discover ways in which you can make a difference.

As a faithful viewer of this broadcast you know that over the years we’ve been reporting on how power is monopolized by the powerful. How corporate lobbyists, for example, far outnumber members of Congress. And how the politicians are so eager to do the bidding of donors that they allow those lobbyists to dictate the law of the land and make a farce of democracy. What we have, as a result, is much closer to plutocracy, where the massive concentration of wealth at the top protects and perpetuates itself by controlling the ends and means of politics.

Here’s the latest case in point. The airwaves belong to all of us, right? They’re part of “the commons,” that in theory no private interest should be able to buy or control.

COMMERCIAL: Better buy Birds Eye!

BILL MOYERS: Nonetheless, government long ago allowed television and radio stations to use the airwaves for commercial purposes.

COMMERCIAL: He likes it! Hey Mikey!

BILL MOYERS: The advertising revenues have made those companies fabulously rich. But part of the deal was that in return for the privilege of reaping a fortune they would respect the public interest in a variety of ways, including covering the local news important to our communities. If they didn’t, they would be denied their license to use the airwaves at all. Alas, over the years, through one ruse or another, the public has been shafted. I read just the other day of a candidate for office in a Midwest state who complained to the general manager of a TV station that his campaign was not getting any news coverage. “You want coverage?” the broadcaster replied, “buy some ads and then we’ll talk!”

That pretty well sums up the game. But hold your nose, it gets worse. The media companies and their local stations, including goliaths like CBS and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, stand to pull in as much as 3 billion dollars this year from political ads. Yes, three billion dollars! And most of that money will pay for airing ugly, toxic negative ads that use special effects, snide jokes and flat out deception…

ANNOUNCER: Rick Santorum, on the economy—

RICK SANTORUM: I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be--

BILL MOYERS: To take us to the lowest common denominator of politics.

The FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, which is supposed to make sure the broadcasters don’t completely get away with highway rob-- excuse me, airwave robbery, the FCC has proposed to the broadcasting cartel that stations post on the Web the names of the billionaires and front organizations paying for those campaign ads. That’s all, give citizens access online to find out quickly and directly who’s buying our elections. Doesn’t seem like an unreasonable request, given how much cash the broadcasters make from the free use of the airwaves.

But the broadcasting industry’s response has been a simple, declarative, dismissive, not on your life! Speaking on their behalf, Robert McDowell, currently the only Republican commissioner on the FCC, said the proposal “is likely to be a jobs destroyer” by distracting station employees from doing their regular work. The party line has also been sounded by Jerald Fritz, senior vice president of Allbritton Communications. He told the FCC that making the information available on the Internet “would ultimately lead to a soviet-style standardization of the way advertising should be sold as determined by the government.”

Friends, I could not make that up.

The industry leaves nothing to chance. Through its control of the House of Representatives, it got a piece of legislation passed this week euphemistically titled the FCC Process Reform Act. Reform, my foot! Not only does the bill remove roadblock to more media mergers, further reducing competition, it would subject every new rule and every FCC analysis of that rule to years of paper work and judicial review, enabling the industry’s horde of lawyers and lobbyists, “to throw sand in the works at every opportunity” as one expert puts it. There was a noble attempt to include in this bill an amendment that, like the FCC proposal, called for stations to post online who is putting up the big bucks for political ads. Shocker, it was rejected. Score another one for the plutocrats.

There is some good news. The White House opposes this latest bid by the broadcasting oligarchy to further eviscerate the public interest. And the fate of the House bill in the Senate is uncertain. In the meantime, as far as those political ads go, we—you and I—are not totally helpless. Here’s what you can do. Under current law, local television stations still have to keep paper files of who’s paying for those ads—and they have to make those files available to the public if requested. You can even make copies to take away with you. So just go down to your nearest station, politely ask for the records, and then send the data online to the New America Foundation, or to the organization of investigative journalists called Pro Publica. Both have mounted campaigns to get the information online. We’ll link you to Pro Publica and the New America Foundation at that “Take Action” page on our own website, Each one of them is pulling together all the information on political ads they can get from you and others—crowdsourcing—and making it available to the entire country via the Internet. If you’re a high school teacher or college professor of journalism, have your students do it and maybe give them some classroom credit for collecting the data democracy needs to work.

Next week we’ll hear from Carne Ross, author of The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century.

CARNE ROSS: Well I think above all, we have to accept that government is no longer fixing things for us. We have to instead take on the burden ourselves. That is a fundamental cultural change. And I think it requires a real examination of our own role in our political circumstances.

BILL MOYERS: Also next week, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, whose efforts to stop the big banks from taking us down, again, led to a rule named after him.

That’s it for this week. I’m Bill Moyers, And I’ll see you next time.

Watch By Segment

  • Organizer George Goehl on Fighting Back

    Bill Moyers talks with activists about an initiative to open Americans’ eyes about income inequality. Moyers also delivers an essay on how the broadcasting industry has neglected its responsibility to the public.

    Organizer George Goehl on Fighting Back
  • Ai-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta on Workers’ Rights

    Bill Moyers talks with activists about an initiative to open Americans’ eyes about income inequality. Moyers also delivers an essay on how the broadcasting industry has neglected its responsibility to the public.

    Ai-jen Poo and Sarita Gupta on Workers’ Rights
  • Bill Moyers Essay: Who Pays for Political Ads?

    Bill Moyers talks with activists about an initiative to open Americans’ eyes about income inequality. Moyers also delivers an essay on how the broadcasting industry has neglected its responsibility to the public.

    American Crossroads' new political ad: 'Public Equity'
    Bill Moyers Essay: Who Pays for Political Ads?

Standing Up For Democracy

March 30, 2012

American history is rich with stories of social change inspired by the actions of motivated individuals and organized groups. Today’s activists are no different — facing long odds against powerful and systemic special interests.

On this weekend’s Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers talks with young but very experienced organizers George Goehl, Ai-jen Poo, and  Sarita Gupta – all involved with a nationwide citizens’ initiative called the The 99% Spring, which takes place the week of April 9th. Organizers aim to train 100,000 Americans to teach about income inequality in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets.

A 99% Spring co-organizer, George Goehl is executive director of National People’s Action, a network of grassroots organizations using direct action to battle economic and racial injustice.

Ai-jen Poo, director and co-founder of the 10,000-member National Domestic Workers Alliance, led the fight for passage of The Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in New York State, the first of its kind in America.  Sarita Gupta is executive director of Jobs with Justice, a labor organization in 46 cities and 26 states working to create a broad, global movement for economic and social justice. Poo and Gupta are also participating in an economic campaign for domestic and homecare workers of all ages called Caring Across Generations.

Moyers concludes the broadcast with an essay on what citizens can do to find out who’s paying for all those political ads running on their local television stations, including references to initiatives from ProPublica and the New America Foundation.

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  • Unsanitorial

    It seems like it would be relatively easy to do what the activists recommend if we really cared. Maybe our test has finally arrived. But if you don’t care go back to helping the 1%, and don’t deceive yourself that you are not part of the problem. About two thirds of citizens claim they’d take action if given the chance. Here it is!

  • Dana Allen

     The work of the 99% Spring is admirable.  The only problem is that they are organizing and fighting for justice within a system that has been purposely designed to make such actions fruitless in the long run.  The people’s issues will not be fundamentally addressed until we take back our power to govern ourselves.  That right exists in almost every State constitution.

     I strongly recommend that you do a program on the work that the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (  They are supporting true democracy of, by, and for the people.  They have put on 2 day Democracy Schools all over the country for years.  They are helping communities create rights based initiatives and/or Community Bill of Rights ballot measures.  This populist movement that started in Pennsyvania a while back, has spread to the 5 adjoining states.  Now it has come to the west coast.  And it is gaining steam. 

    What CELDF is supporting to actually change the way that government interacts with the people is a true paradigm shift.  It is a new way of approaching local government based on our rights to govern ourselves for the benefit of all within the community.

    Please check out the web site.  Check out what Spokane, WA has been doing with their Community Bill of Rights.  Check out all the rights based community ordinances that have passed in PA, Ohio, and New york to stop the harms caused by gas fracking, CAFO’s, etc.  You will be truly amazed and definitely want to report on this under the radar movement.

  • Republicans for Obama

    Well said.  Americans have a rich history of blaming the government–which has merit but which, by itself, does absolutely nothing–as they re-elect the same people again & again.  Complaining is what we do best.  Getting off our collective rumps takes actual effort!  Maybe while a few of us are at it, others will do a bit of self-education, in order to learn what really IS in the Constitution, and not just soak up the GOP talking points.    

  • CalvinLeman

    Rick Wolff has the solution:

    Half of the board of directors must be workers in the enterprise.

  • Anonymous

     Calvin– So true,  so way overdue!!

  • Glenda

    Privileged activists are one big turn off, spouting the same ‘ol rhetoric – squeal on your oppressors, your sadistic employers, your “massuhs” and we’ll protect you and guarantee your rights! Wrong – complaining is a quick boot to the homeless shelter and further degradation. Even for workers in the regular workforce, many states are fire at will. In today’s economy, how many of us dare speak out and jeopardize our small incomes that keep us going from paycheck to paycheck? Get real. We have no protection and that is reinforced steadily by the mainstream.

  • Unsanitorial

    Have we ever understood that “what is in the Constitution” is what  a consensus of people who care enough to read it say is there, and what that caring segment adds or changes? Not caring is killing us because selfish people are rewriting all our laws. We’ve got to salvage enough pride and fortitude to stand up and say, “Hey, that ain’t right!”

  • Glenda

     Why do you expect the general population to care about the constitution when they can’t even read a book (and no, reading the latest pulp garbage on Kindle doesn’t count).
    The Hunger Games? Give me a break. It’s amazing the time people spend watching garbage shows on tv and playing with their hand held devices. Forget meaningful conversations. The opportunity for discussion does not exist. We are only allowed to eat, drive, sleep, drink, smoke, and take whatever dose of media is prescribed for our feeble brains to keep us in our places.

  • Unsanitorial

    So, does this mean you can’t take some copying money and go down to your local TV stations and help gather the data on who pays for smear ads? Does it mean you can’t attend an education seminar about the concentration of wealth and income and how that makes democracy impossible in your country?

    Depending on your employment situation and the strict vigilance of your employer you may be correct. Even better off people with a steady income and some property and savings suffered ill effects from the 50s red scare Blacklist. It doesn’t take long for powerful interests to ruin anyone.

    If tonight you saw a lost dog in the highway in a rainstorm what would you do? What is the right thing to do for an enslaved woman crossing sewerage to her bed? The organizers shown are clean and handsome and well-spoken. They may have come from better off families. Are you doubting they have sacrificed to help others. It’s OK if you doubt. It’s OK if you’re fearful. You’d be stupid if you never doubted people or feared the powerful. It’s just that if a few more of us 99% don’t gamble by doing the right things now we’ll all be living like North Koreans in a few years, and then it  will be too late. If you give your employer your entire life without a fight they will want your extended family and everthing you can bring in. They’ll expect you to eat your dog. Sadistic capitalism is an addiction and the cure is courageous truth.
    All I can tell you is that it’s like AIDS: Silence equals Death, only worse, because slaves are the living dead.

    The theory goes that if people power gets big enough that fear and guilt are turned on the 1%. 1% is 3 million persons more or less, so what a minority! And without wealth they’re just like you. 

  • Unsanitorial

    Can’t you do more than one thing?
    Seems like we could skin this cat from both ends.

  • Unsanitorial

    Worker owned and run enterprise should be the ultimate goal, but it won’t happen without some extraordinary organizing.
    Informing the general public about maldistribution seems as good a place to begin as any. (I listen to Dr. Wolff too.)
    Really the two basic issues are the opportunity for most people to prosper, and Peace. Everything else (even women’s rights and the environment) are subsumed under those broad needs. For a long time activists have been divided and conquered, and we need to admit it.
    (Unions are an excellent example.)

  • Unsanitorial

    Calvin: You do understand that most fruit trees are grafted, don’t you? Or are you  a cider and brandy maker like Jonny Appleseed?
    (Calvin’s link indicates he sells trees by mail.)

  • Unsanitorial

    Would it do any good if M&C linked to information about how rollbacks  and austerity are being resisted in Europe?
    Spain has been very resistant this week.
    Are we still having a general strike here May 1st?

  • Anonymous

     Cooperatives are the way.  They exist under the radar.  They can be revived.

  • Ellen Roby

    Oh dear, read a history book.  Try Germany and how Hitler came in to power.  People were fed politics based on separation, hatred & fear.  They didn’t speak up and in short time were afraid to, just as you state.  Silence in response to wrongs only deepens them.  Freedom & democracy require & are dependent on the voice of the people.  Without those voices daring to make themselves heard government of the people & by the people will vanish.  The Grand Experiment, the U.S.,  will fail.  Don’t let the dream of our ancestors,and the rights of all,  be defeated by human greed & the power hungry few.  Stand up for your own sake.  A government can enslave its people only when the people allow it.  Demand our rights, while we still can.

  • Hal

    Good for you, if you actually can fight for some fairness.  I agree you need to be large and relentless, but would be sure to discuss what you can actually do realisticly based on the court system or you could just be spinning your wheels and going no where regardless of how right your position based on common sense.  Just need to put your energy focus on the right pressure points to “change the system”. It may be Congressional committee or congressmen, or someone you can effect.  Engaging without real thoughtful “marksmanship” could be useless as others have tried to add.  

    Having to go on disability and now having to scramble to get referrals for new Cardioloigist, ENT, medical supplies vendor due to elimination from my insurance HMO provider network, while getting no help with the very real food inflation vs. the miniscule government mythological inflation figures, I find it hard to survive and had to abandon activism since finding the court system is completely opposed to those trying to maintain employee benefits that were promised and then expired in two years like clockwork since there is no way to obtain any legal help unless you were lucky enough to hold a private policy.  God damn these companies to Hell for their fraud, selfishness and corruption, and the legislatures and courts for aiding and abetting this crime.  What a country?  

  • Bill

    Just a question for the supposed 99% — are you willing to spread your wealth around the world, or are you too parochial to do that?  According to global rich list, those who make $49000 per year are in the top 1% of the world’s income.  So, are all of you willing to put your money where your mouth is, or does your 99% stop at America’s borders?  Seems to me like everyone is concerned with the 99% only inasmuch as we can take some of the alleged 1%’s wealth and buy more stuff, but aren’t REALLY interested in income equality…

  • Lynn

    Bill, Are you aware of an author named Carol Sanford, “The Responsible Business?” She has the best and most insightful ideas I have come across. And, she is a great speaker.  I would love to see your talent at drawing the best from people teamed with her understanding.  Would be a meaningful show.

  • Sagefeldemeyer

     Blaming the govt. is the catnip that corporations love!  Why?  Because if Americans were as furious about the corporate take-over, then I’d feel more hopeful!

  • Edward

     Glenda, I’m in general agreement with your critique, but  _The Hunger Games_ is, in its own way, a rather sophisticated piece of fiction.  Though its audience is primarily teenagers, its social critique, nonetheless, draws from Huxley, Orwell, and Bernays  and illustrates how power over the public is maintained via spectacle.  Both the book and the film allude to your point: “We are only allowed to eat, drive, sleep, drink, smoke, and take
    whatever dose of media is prescribed for our feeble brains to keep us in
    our places.”  _The Hunger Games_ is not _1984_ nor _Brave New World_, but it’s worth the time and is a good effort to get younger readers into Huxley, Orwell, and Bernays.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you
    Wow,  I was asked to present at a shareholder meeting of a Fortune 5 Corporation that I held shares with. The Shareholder Proxy concerned Outsourcing  of jobs, firing in the USA, shutting down plants, and hiring Offshore. I did this for about 5 years, each time, the Proxy was submitted to the SEC for approval of inclusion to allow the Proxy to be voted on by the shareholders in the Annual Report to Shareholders.

    George is right, the only meeting that a publicly traded Corporation must hold annually is the shareholder meeting. Some of the tricks played were where the meeting was held in towns of 50,000 and not near large metropolitan areas or near plant or used to be plant locations. Usually announce a short time before the scheduled meeting the end of April every year.

    Over the years, the Proxy vote averaged about 7% of the total shares, approximately 100 million shares. There are about 800 Proxies in Corporate America and I was the speaker of one of them. This allowed me, to speak on behalf of the Proxy for shareholder consideration at the annual shareholder meeting that had already been sent out to shareholders in the annual report and voted on by the meeting. You can vote at the meeting after the speech and discussion.

     One of ruse’s is that if a shareholder does not cast a vote either way, for or against, the share is considered voted in favor of the Board’s recommendation not to adopt.

    60% of all Corporate shares are held by institutions like State Street and Pension funds and if the institutions do not vote, the shares they hold are used to show support for the board’s opinion which is usually, like in Offshoring, the board said should not be adopted.

    Compensation Proxies receive more votes but the results are not binding and the board is only asked to “take it under consideration” and may or may not do anything at all.

    But, the proxy does send a message and it does allow a shareholder to voice their opinion but the gate keeper is the SEC. If they say the Proxy does not have to be presented to shareholders, the Corporation ignores it and does not include it in the Annual Report to the shareholders.

    The meeting was 100 minutes long and I had 5 minutes to speak, and one year, I was asked to speak on two proxies, so I had 10 minutes on the floor with a Microphone of the 100 minute meeting, broadcast via closed circuit TV to 168 countries.

    I used terms like “Employees should be viewed as Assets and Not Commodities”  and other messages. Not knowing if I and the backers of the Proxies were effective, but, I think the message did tell the CEO, the Executives (1% Rich guys) and the Board of Directors (Other Corporate CEO’s) that the “Globalization Ruse for “Shareholder benefit” was just that, a Ruse. Because the CEO and Executives were paid 90% in Stock, they were the Shareholders pushing to chase the cheap labor in China, India, and other countries while Americans were being laid off with a wage race to the bottom.

    After about 5 years, the Proxy was submitted each year and the SEC, under George Bush ruled that the Offshoring of Jobs was ‘Business as Usual”, just the normal course of business. Today, the Fortune 5 Corporation continues to fire in the USA, closing down manufacturing plants with about 33% of the USA workforce reduced from 150,000 to less than 100,000 in the last decade. The Corporation has no Unions in the USA.

     Over the last decade today, this transnational Corporation has more employees in India than in the USA, a Corporation based in New York, 80 years old with 400,000 world wide and less than 100,000 employees in the USA.

    What Mr Goehl described is true, you have to be willing to take criticism and “stares from afar” but in your heart, like your guests, you know, it is the right thing to do. I think the small group of, as the Wall Street Journal referred to us as “Activists” did influence those Rich guys at the Shareholder meeting.

    So, as I transgress into my retirement, I plan to get back involved, “join the fray” with the Occupy groups, the younger folks (we were on-site when the police came and removed the occupiers and made sure we were visable, Seniors with a fancy truck to help a disabled homeless occupier with his worldly possessions and wheel chair out of harms way). That experience solidified our resolve to be involved again in our local community.

    Thanks Bill and thank you to George Goehl for doing what you do. We plan to be at the 99% Spring and followup with the Advertisment disclosure from the local TV stations.

  • Joseph Upton

    Thank you.  I was beginning to think that everyone who visited this site was hopelessly ignorant.

  • Rdan

     The 99% is a worldwide phenomenon, and so is the 1%. The equality hoped for in this country is also reflected in the hopes of ALL the countries. If the inequality throughout the world evened out we in the US would not have any reason to involve ourselves beyond our borders.

  • Dnadanyi

    Don’t you think that it is time to address Neoliberalization? This is a term that I have just discovered while researching the Euro, IMF, World Bank and WTO etc. They are all tied up together with Milton Friedmans Chicago school of economics, the Contract for America, deregulation, privatization, Laize Fair Capitalism. If people understand what has been going on all over the world then maybe they will understand the occupy movement. It has ruined many economies in South America and the assets of many countries have been scarfed up by corporations. It is hapening in Western Europe and we are actually in first stages of it -Enron, deregulation, privatization etc.  I hope this subject is not too hot for you because it is very important.

  • Anonymous

    Another great program. I too have noticed the number of comments asking “What can we do to make a change?” A couple of take home points that hit me were that, first of all, we are in for the long haul. Which also ties in with the idea that George Goehl made that the Republicans had long term goals and shifted away from the specific issues. Their ambition was to promote free markets, deceive about a racially just society, and promote rugged individualism. By pushing all three over the decades they could find the keys back to the kingdom. And it has worked.

    One of the most infuriating actions, or inactions, to Republicans about the Occupy Movement, and the state run media (formerly MSM), is that they don’t list specifics. Which is a good thing. The Republicans have become masters at squashing and denigrating the paradoxes of policy. Mr. Goehl outlined the talking points: government can be an equalizer; markets need to be regulated; we live in a racially unjust society; and, most importantly, that as a community we can change the status quo.

    So, what can we do to make a change? Get involved with what looks to be the first of many years of protest. Get a comfortable pair of shoes, wear sensible clothes and don’t forget to bring your water bottle. I think The 99% Spring is about to start.

  • Dnadanyi

    The neoliberals are spreading this free market theory around the world thru the WTO, World Bank and IMF and Eurozone. They are organized and have the money to spread their ideology thru Murdoch and Limbaugh etc.  People believe anything that has the word free in it and like to think they are rugged individuals.  These ideas must be explained and countered so that the world understands why there are protests all over the world. I never understood why there were protests about the WTO in Seattle 10 years ago. The explanation by the MSM was that they were professional protesters.???

  • Unsanitorial

    This society is class biased, Rick, and not only racially unjust. More men of color are in prison, not just because they look a little different from native Europeans, but because their mistreatment has made them both wary and aware, and because they are sometimes more politically sophisticated because of a cautious upbringing and their social situation. Why do you think the 70s feminist movement followed in the wake of the 60s Civil Rights struggles? Why do you think gender orientation rights efforts model themselves on Black equality? When students find tuition rising and jobs drying up they begin to understand the betrayed plight of the underclass and act like Civil Rights demonstrators (Occupy). When neighborhoods become checkerboards of evictions and short sells there is irrefutable evidence of the structural failure of an economic system ready to victimize the majority. If most jobs already have an export stamp on them pink and white collars begin to admit they are also working class. The meme of winners (middle class) and losers (poor and working poor) was long in place, but now security is slipping away. The “”Whiteman”, the educated, the skilled, the doers of  necessary work are all coming to accept their victimization. Today we have multi-millionaire doctors who own clinics, hospital corporations and imaging centers, chains of doc-in-a-box and dialysis storefronts; and we also have fastfare physicians with a McDonalds menu of malady seeing a new complaint every five minutes sixty hours a week. No one can convince me that class discrimination is not a major system of cascade collapse of everything useful and good. And it is all because we’ve been brainwashed to worship wealth and the wealthy, and to never question their worthiness or consider any remedy. At root, racism is a tool of power and not an inherent problem. It is a way of fooling an anxious people.

  • Unsanitorial

    So now we understand, my SC neighbor, that Globalism comes in several varieties. 
    The institutions you mention are now enabled to enforce a financial mythos with police and military force. (I pity Jim Kim as he assumes presidency of the World Bank.) Reconfigure your model: Occupations of strategic foreign nations are part and parcel the same thing as Austerity imposed on Greece, or Spain or the USA. It all serves the less than 1%. So let me get that straight.



  • Unsanitorial

    The “first stages” ?!  What do you think the Reagan Revolution was? And the United States deteriorated from a lower standard of fairness. Since the WWII reboot (and before in many cases) the USA has had less complete education, more lax consumer protection, more anti-labor enforcement, poorer and more costly healthcare, weaker environmental and financial enforcement, less universal abundance and access to commons, more toxic media with ruthless advertising and propagandization, cruddier elections, and a far larger glorified war machine extracting from every pitiful paycheck than any other advanced so-called democracy. It is no wonder our citizens are fanciful in their understanding and fatalistic in their acquiescence. 

    Yet it would be foolish for me to call you naive.
    The people who sheltered you did it for love, and the advantages you have enjoyed have given you the ability to accept the truth in your own time and in your own special way. Share your fresh eyes with us and help find the way. You’re on the right track.

  • Unsanitorial

    Terrific testimony and useful knowledge from Mike. His account confirms my criticism that “our” transnational corporations are global except when they need the US military, State Department, Commerce Department or Judicial system. But they are reluctant to pay for these agencies.  They go so far as to park profits offshore to evade responsibility while soliciting breaks and subsidies from Congress with bribes and no-show jobs for family and friends. The limited liability conferred by the corporate charter is only a sophisticated and legalized corruption. I hope Mike won’t forget that as he clings to customary ways; business as usual. 

  • Unsanitorial

    Motivational speakers are a dime a dozen. 
    No business operates in a vacuum, but competes with similar enterprises under capitalism. If an operator is morally strict or generous with employees and customers that business is at a distinct disadvantage in our atomized and anomized marketplace.

    For instance, I lost a once successful service operation because I was unwilling to abandon payroll and call my workers contractors or temporaries.  Before that I lost my carpentry business because I refused to hire illegal aliens as my competitors did. Shortcuts are what make a rapid race to the bottom, so I’m thankful not to be operating any crooked or exploitative enterprises today.

    It is a cruel or stupid sheltered person who advises  others to start a business in the present climate. Seems like the suggested author would be operating a profitable endeavor and not on the road running her mouth for chump change if she truly had any useful tips. Life doesn’t work a Good Housekeeping Magazine might suggest. All the pretty, sweetie, chewy, goody, fuzzy things are in the consumers’ virtual reality, and they cost money; don’t make a profit.

  • Unsanitorial

    Bill (poster), you really know how to scare and discourage well-meaning people. (Nah, you don’t!) Who put you up to this, you spoiled-sport? It wasn’t your idea. I can tell because your premise is fallacious.

    There is no reason foreign labor cannot exceed our present quality of life and buoy us up. The same Oligarchy holds them down as vexes us. Life quality involves the freedom to organize and cooperate. It includes the option not to develop commonly held resources. It includes the ability to move globally as personal inclination and resources allow. (Is Bill feeling trapped?)

    You have mistaken some fluctuating and illusory monetary values for human success. You (Bill) will be surprised how quaint your conceptual limitations become in the next decade. You are already far behind the times with your envious Limbaughisms. Too bad you assume all of us are self-centered and afraid like you. You can still grow, just widen your gaze. 

  • Unsanitorial

    So compared to Bill, the rest of us look pretty good, huh!

  • Unsanitorial

    Hal, do you really expect appealing to entrenched authority figures or going through customary channels will accomplish anything? I think the “trick or treating”  days are over. This is the ultimate crisis point because the Oligarchs have spoken through their hired mouthpieces to say Austerity means the 99% is entitled to nothing for their labor, nothing for their loyalty, nothing as far as human rights-civil rights-labor rights. The financial coup backed by mechanized violence means the wealthy will try to take whatever they can, to exact any sadistic pleasure they are able. It’s survival of the fattest wallet from here on out as far as they’re concerned. Hear the End Times talk; they’re talking about the end of fairness and the fact that justice is now a commodity to be bought.

    Your testimony about being a poor health care costs victim sums it up. People in charge have no mercy for you. If there was ever a time to protest it is now when you complain of nothing left to lose.
    You couldn’t see this coming I guess, so you extrapolated from past experience. We need you Hal to explain to younger people how the old rules went out the window, and how any new rules can go out the window too, because people are frightened and complacent, trying to buy the next fad to sooth their anxiety. A better off caring person should pay your protest ticket, Hal, because you woke up. You’re ready to shoot off your mouth. Don’t go cocoon and silent now, Hal.n If you can’t do anything but write, keep doin’ it.

  • Unsanitorial

    Lead them horses to the water, Namaimo. I wanna get real drunk on co-operation.

  • Unsanitorial

    I hesitate to speak for doubtful Glenda who already seems defeated enough, but I will share my thoughts about “Hunger Games.” First, it was written by a media hack who has been colonizing young minds with drivel for decades. Second, it was plagiarized from a Japanese film (Battle Royale). Third, it Disneyfizes child soldiering at a time when forced recruitment of children into combat and related sex slavery are hot media topics. On the third point the film is less gory than the book which leads me to think it follows the fantasy building theories of Edward Bernays in the most callous and mercenary way. You might be interested to know that our secret government has long taught child soldiering as a counterinsurgency technique at School of the Americas (now WHINSEC). I would also observe why militaries prefer  17 and 18 year old enlistees who have not established a full ethical judgment or moral personality, because it is easier on average to make them unquestioning killers and atrocity committers. 
    In a society where the government also finances films like “Act of Valor” souless feelgood films like Hunger Games are more part of the disease than the antidote. Right now observe all the free publicity in the MSM. The Oligarchy recommends “Hunger Games” as a sweet and tasty part of the adolescent media diet, just like pink slime in a burger. It colonizes the subconscious so painlessly and prepares the subject for limitless degradation. “Hunger Games” is not good literature by Edward’s measure, so I ask you Edward, where did contemporary good literature go? Can the good be popular anymore?

  • Unsanitorial

    Glenda, you prompt me to include both recreational and prescription drugs as a part of media…. very provocative. Our enfeebled brains indeed! Cope rhymes with dope.

  • Unsanitorial

    correction: “a major symptom of cascade collapse” not “system”- but that works in its way too, assuming we believe our civilization is being purposely collapsed into feudal chaos

  • Unsanitorial

    Also: Hasn’t President Obama behaved like a NeoLiberal or NeoCon? Isn’t he at least “sky blue”  in his love of authoritarian power? Isn’t he a “fellow traveller” , at least, to fascism? I’m sure Dr. Paul Farmer is worried about Dr. Jim Kim , and not worried about the World Bank.

  • Unsanitorial

    Carol Sanford retains a supply side mentality in a world where that meme has been discredited. She’s all public relations feelgood tactics. She wouldn’t know a “carbon footprint” if she were standing on it. All her talk of a “systems approach” sounds so Twentieth Century in a hierarchical environment where the elite take it all. She made me suspect Seventh Generation as a fraudulent boutique brand because of her association with DuPont. She probably thinks of when WalMart hands out $1000 in leaded Chinese crayons to elementary schools as “giving back.” She’s over the hill.

  • Unsanitorial

    Corporate taxation is far more extractive than governmental taxation, and you can’t vote to repeal corporate policy. 

  • Unsanitorial

    Great routine, recalls Sam Kinison. 
    All you need is an all weather coat and a hat to cover that bald spot. Then you can scream about wimmen.

    If George had starved to death rather than accepting charity that would be a great tragedy for us all, even Paull Taylor. This shrill slurry reaction shows that George Goehl has touched Paull’s vagus nerve
    (which serves the heart).

  • Unsanitorial

    Nope, we can all count money, but caring people don’t worship it.

  • Amschrade23

    Does Mr. Moyers know that Hershey uses child labor in its cacao picking in Ivory Coast? Shameful. His guest just now said Hershey kisses were so popular..they’re awful compared to Fair Trade chocolate and let’s stop Hershey from using child slave labor!!

  • Laradcham

    Not surprised by what you stated Mikeguru, but glad you said it… as there are many who do not understand the take over by corporations and the squeeze that will continue on the people of our society until we wake up and stand up for our rights.   

  • Ellen Dibble

    Concerning the political financial underpinnings of broadcasting, what I’d like to know about my elected officials is what they do this day and that, who they meet with, what bills the staff are working on.  It seems to me most employees let their boss know these kinds of things, and aren’t we the boss?  I have tried to bring this to the attention of various NPR stations I listen to, and they say they do have interviews with various elected officials.  But it’s not at all the same.  The way it is, I’m lucky if I hear when one has spent time in the hospital, but really I’d rather know what they do when they’re well.   There are a lot of us politicians are answerable to, so it might be worth their time to actually work on getting the word out broadly, not parsing it out one by one.  I don’t need to know if they ate their broccoli, but things related to their job, yes, I think I have a right to know, or we should be finding a replacement, which at this point would mean replacing a lot of them.  Their web sites seem to be less about reporting than about boasting.

  • Jeanne Savage

    Thanks for people like you, Bill, truths are coming out. How long do you suppose it will take the  general public to say enough is enough?

  • Unsanitorial

    What can we know for sure? Who can we trust? 
    These are things the 1% never want us to answer with any assurance. Ivory Coast is a mysterious place to the typical American citizen where all types of butchery and injustice might occur, or might be said to occur, depending upon elite interests. What we do know is that concerted effort was required to ferret our student slavery at the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania. And who knows if such might not recur, especially if more no-nothing laissez-faire candidates are elected this fall.  Maybe we need to reestablish labor enforcement here at home and  corral our resident fascists before we go conquering labor particulars overseas. Most people like chocolate and the guest was only conceding her humaness by admitting her craving. But it is true that people could easily suspend consuming candy for awhile if that were a means to justice. I only want to be certain we are sure of all the pertinent facts before we act.

  • Unsanitorial

    Ellen has more than 5,000 comments at On Point.
    She lives in Northampton, MA. I have come to respect her opinions over several years. Ellen has environmental reactivity problems (allergies to smoke and particular chemicals) that have impacted her freedom and her health. Because of this she is particularly insightful about medical care. Her financial and economic comprehension are exceptional. I am happy she has favored M&C with her opinions.

  • Unsanitorial

    What can we know for sure? Who can we trust? 
    These are things the 1% never want us to answer with any assurance. Ivory Coast is a mysterious place to the typical American citizen where all types of butchery and injustice might occur, or might be said to occur, depending upon elite interests. What we do know is that concerted effort was required to ferret our student slavery at the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania. And who knows if such might not recur, especially if more no-nothing laissez-faire candidates are elected this fall.  Maybe we need to reestablish labor enforcement here at home and  corral our resident fascists before we go conquering labor particulars overseas. Most people like chocolate and the guest was only conceding her humaness by admitting her craving. But it is true that people could easily suspend consuming candy for awhile if that were a means to justice. I only want to be certain we are sure of all the pertinent facts before we act.

  • Carl

    We have all the ammunition to fight this revolution. Our enemy (banking system) has given it to us. They don’t care about votes – democrat/republican. All they care about is their oxygen – money.  Withhold student loans…withhold mortgage payments for a little a three months and they will come to the table. They will not only listen…then will negotiate. A side benefit – it would initiate a grass roots stimulus. Trickle up this time? 

  • Anonymous

    Yo tardo the unemployment rate is 22 % , the minimum wages jobs are now 40 % of all availble jobs.  So where is that 49,000 from ? Did you pull it out of your fartpipe ?   The rest of the world can go choke on a kosher circumsized sausage. They are not america’s problem.

  • Equalizer

    All organizations with good
    intentions, and their allies will need to incorporate as priority,
    the primary and only means which has the power to effect change against “Super Capitalism”, and that is the Science
    of Energy

  • Patrick

    with bush’s supreme court

  • Patrick

    with bush’s supreme court. changing things won’t be very likely. 

  • Anonymous

    Oh my, same old, same old. I began engaging in large, organized protest movements in 1965. It’s really been effective, huh? Listening to George Goehl made me depressed.  Bill, please let’s focus on people who are doing things to improve life in their individual communities. Let their inspiration be out there for others who have similar problems and can benefit from new, fresh and original ideas. Enough with the would-be Messiahs (mostly male, I notice) who are out to change the world by doing things that haven’t worked since the Civil Rights movement which took place in a very different world than the one in which we currently find ourselves! If you interview Mr. Goehl three years from now, nothing significantly will have changed.  We have an ignorant and despairing citizenry, an eroded educational system, a corporate media which passes on the big lies of those in power to the masses, an oligarchy with unlimited money and influence, and somebody believes that protests at shareholder meetings will turn the ship of state around? Sigh.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    It could be worse without George… ever consider that? It may be you owe the residual freedom to act on a community level to the resistance of we who march.

  • Taichi-wuchi

    People like the frog in the cooking pot, are susceptible to allowing the heat to be turned up until they can no longer do anything about the situation.  The republicans have a long history of supporting the supply side of economics and undermining the demand side of economics to the joy and enrichment of the supply side of economics until the economy goes bust and the demand side of the economy can no longer be support the supply side of economics.
    The democrats were always a buffer against this failure but like little black sheep they lost their way and now support the supply side of economics because of the corruption of the government system by lobbyists and now the supper pack people backed by the justice system. The people need to take back their government before we are all boiled in our own oil.

  • John D. Cooper

    I take comfort in knowing that there are people like Mr. Goehl who are willing to think big and push for what they believe in, to try to make a difference.  There will be no change without systemic change. If the free market, deregulation, too big to fail folks could do it, why can’t the other side of the argument do the same? At least George was realistic enough to recognize it will be a long time in the making. Karl Rove and his ilk have been working at undermining the system since the 60s and Nixon’s time.
    It is imperative that we have people like George Goehl, Ai-en Poo, and Sarita Gupta. We desperately need them.

  • Ubrayj02

    When it comes to answering “What can I do?” questions, I think it is both noble, and sad, that everything seems to get elevated to this “change the system” meta-level  discussion takes place.

    Our world has recently passed its peak oil production. We face diminishing supplies of nearly every chemical base of our extractive industrial base.

    Our cities are almost uniformly going broke.

    Do we have a predatory finance industry? Is our national politics corrupted by big money donors? Yes.

    Moving beyond this system requires a turning of our collective backs from this destabilizing system, and build into our lives the ability to provide for our survival without external, federal, state, inputs.

    Food production needs to be moved closer to where we live. Communities need to kick the car driving habit where they can. Electricity and water us needs to be vastly conserved, and harvested sustainably. Exchange needs to be removed from the cash industry, and household barter economies need to fill the gap.

    Big protests are as dependent on the underlying system they fight to change – oil dependent, culturally bankrupt, and corrupted by the power of large interests in this country.

  • Taichi-wuchi

    The fat cat .0001 percent is controlling 99 percent of the wealth.
    They are undermining the lives of millions of our people with their traitorist behavior.
    We need to go to a million dollar personal wealth limit, a ten percent interest maximum and not allow more than a million dollars deposed into foreign banks.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I never thought I’d read that from you, T-w.
    I was gonna set the cap at $10 million net worth and $250K yearly salary, with a COLA idex for inflation.  

  • Dnadanyi

    Did you see the bears?

  • Todd Downing

    Interesting that Occupy was not mentioned once in the whole show.

  • Dnadanyi

    Unsanitorial (what a name)
    You are right.  The corporate world organized a long time ago. The Carter administration got no where and then Reagan and the supply side gang did their damage. I will not forget that era with all the bigger is better, all the mergers and acquitistions-Carl Ichans and others that made so much money greenmailing etc.  Clinton continued the damage with repeals of Glass Steagall and NAFTA etc. I truly was in the dark like most people until W. became president.  I noticed all the books that were being written and thought maybe I had better start reading.  It has taken me this long to catch up and undertand what has been happening. TV and papers do not tell us what is happening.  I tell my friends “you don’t know what is happening in the world”.  You  will  not believe it. But my conservative friends stick their heads in the sand and say “but I believe in the free market”. They have been trained not to listen to anyone but FOX not even CNN God forbid PBS. They  think it is about paying more taxes or paying for minorities(southern strategy).  Or they say they don’t want to read because they might get depressed. My liberal friends don’t want to read either.  They will listen to Maher and Maddow but that is the extent.  I gave my friend a shopping bag of books to read but she hasn’t read even one. So ok I am learning what is going on but am really not up  to snuff about these global organizations.  This is really scary stuff that no one seems to talk about. I know that you and Grady are disappointed in Obama and I was hoping for more, but what choice do we have? I really think that the huge corporations have concentrated the wealth and power to the point that the President hasn’t much power. In the 70s corporations got organized and they have the money and with it the power. They put forth a simple message and repeat it over and over andpeople vote against their own interests.


  • Dnadanyi

    The electric companies always say they are cooperatives. They send me a bill and I pay it-what is cooperative about that?

  • Dnadanyi

    I am unfamiliar with the terms sky blue or fellow traveller. I certainly do understand what the neocons had in mind when they  invaded Iraq. I guess it is tied us with my new term neoliberalization. Free trade more corporate money.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Taboo? Like saying, “I was down at the Communist Front cell yesterday discussing the Daily Worker?”
    Like saying,”An FBI dupe brought by a dummy bomb and some misfiring AK47s, wanted us to take a ride over to Newark Airport in his well-monitored van.” If you read Chris Hedges and Glenn Greenwald and Sibel Edmonds you’ll find that every radical dog is dragging about 11 tails and keeps looking up for a halo (drone). And you wonder silently to yourself,”How can a broke country so in hock to the 1% that they keep bailing out the same 1%, so they can’t afford no more schools or foodstamp cards or Medicaid, can afford all these spooks with all these duplicate digital do-dads following everthang I say and where I do my business, and how many squares of Charmin I use?”

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I told you I saw the new habitat that goes all the way to the river on another page. There were two carrot kiosks and we bought some but we couldn’t stay long and they were hiding. An old French lady was trying to get them on a long lens and said there were at least two.

    Two women students from Lausanne improvised an exercise that afternoon in which they were two talking bears hiding from the tourists. “If it’s tourist season can we eat one?”

    Unsanitorial  (my former mentor) was telling me you live in SC pretty near where I used to live near Charlotte. They are claiming coyotes all around. Seen any?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Nice summary. What happens when we  read a book? We have a one-sided conversation with the author.
    And what effect does that have? Maybe we feel informed and not so alone but it changes little. 

    If you were courageous I could meet up with you and make a video about what you think, what you found in those books, how you choose to live responsibly and what you think citizens should do next. I do that as my contribution to reform these days; gather a history of this turbulent time. And then I share the best parts in activist gatherings. When I get a good film together I will enter it in a festival.

    When I make a video and edit it with the subject’s approval many of them feel a relief, like they have found they’re pretty normal and agree with most people on the big issues. The paranoia dissipates because they realize no authoritarian apparatus can track and imprison us all. Everything is normal still. It’s only normal that a bought government serves the buyers. It makes me and my friends smile within though that mentally we are becoming some pretty rough  customers. We ain’t buying the softsoap anymore. Things will change radically within 5 years and Obama will be walking around without bodyguards like Gorbachev. Maybe Barack can have a two-bedroom apartment so Sasha and Malia can spend the night. He’s so fit he could do a walkup. He said push him so we will. He’ll be like the Wizard of Oz without the National Security State. I think you might be one who helps tear down the walls.
    What do you think? You sound pretty forceful when you write. Your heart must be like a blushing bodacious Santa Rosa plum, almost ripening with each breath. Summer came early with all its bounty. People are preparing to dance in the  downpour.

  • Dnadanyi

    Yes I finally had time to do some reading and saw your reply about the bears. The bears used to stand in the pit on their hind legs and beg.  They were very good at catching and also amusing.  They probably have nicer things to see and do now in their new habitat. So you made a killing in oil and went to Switzerland.  Did they tell you about the Swiss yodel? Yes I now live in SC in a crappy Pulte house that will be full of mold if the lawyers don’t help us. You guys are so smart. I want something to read about you know the IMF, Euro etc. DN

  • Namaimo

    Many electric companies are true cooperatives, Dnadanyi.  You pay lower rates because of it!  You do.  It may not seem so, but that is the truth.

  • Stupid Git

    Thanks for everything you do Mr. Moyers. This is one of the few reasonable news shows left and helps me calm my frayed nerves after a week of fear, paranoia and sensationalism.

  • Dnadanyi

    Are you making fun of me?  I am doing the best I can.  No of course no one(I hope believes everything they read), but if they read enough they can figure out many things-not all but enough to know that there is much more to learn and that people in power are keeping the real truth hidden under a basket of lies.

  • Dnadanyi

    I hope this is true but why are all the states in spite of the Enron debacle in line for deregulation?

  • Dnadanyi

    top secret america

  • Dnadanyi

    Never saw any-just read about them in the paper today along with wild b oars and armadillos.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I suspect you know some things that I don’t. You have traveled and you seem to have an insider’s understanding of our military and foreign affairs. Who are you really?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Have you read John Perkins’ “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”? I expect you’ve heard of “core- periphery” theory in economic development (see Wikipedia entry). It might surprise you that Dr. Paul Farmer (Partners in Health) has written an explanatory analysis of Haitian history “The Uses of Haiti” and another global analysis “Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor.” I do not question the motives of these authors.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    I’m not kidding at all. My wife Gladdie and I have excellent digital video equipment and are ready to capture your persona. That’s what I do now that I’m retired for health reasons. Now I do mean to suggest that  reading books will not satisfy your values after awhile. You say your daily contacts brush off your concerns. I thought maybe you’d like to attend an event or have a meal with others capable of listening with a receptive ear. All on your terms of course. We have similar frustrations to yours so I’m not making fun. What makes aware people love animals?

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Did you read Neil Shea’s article on our soldiers in Afghanistan when you were over at American Scholar? He provides an important insight.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    SG- How can we access some of your films? 
    Have you made one about sex workers in  Thailand? I saw your comments at American Scholar. It is wonderful sharing this commentary with sensitive, talented persons such as yourself.
    I make interview documentaries with the help of my wife and friends.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Hint: click on a person’s Avatar panel (upper left of post) to see where they post and what they have written.

  • Dnadanyi

    Sorry to disappoint you. I have travelled but know very little about military and foreign affairs except what I read. BUT what do you mean about the 5 year comment.  What do you know that I do  not? I love what you are doing at the occupy movement.  It is like Speilberg’s account of the Holocast.  I hope that I see it on TV some day. The truth is we are a stupid society.  98 % of people do not know anything about what is going on. The ones who worked for corporations have drunk the coolaid. The rest are brainwashed by Rush. Unless they are professors or CEOs.  I am just scratching the surface by reading books and reading this blog. You have insider knowledge about Wallstreet that the rest of us peons do not have.

  • Dnadanyi

    Thanks.  I was going to look up The Trap, Falling behind, Social Murder and the Impact of Social Inequality. never heard of core-periphery theory but will look into.

  • Dnadanyi

    I would love to meet you both.  I have a cat to deal with and am far away.  I will thnk about it.

  • Dnadanyi

    Thanks for the tip. I only took econ 101 so will have to read and digest about Core-periphery. I do know what a gini- coefficient is-sort of. I guess neoliberalization works so well for the corporations that they will keep pushing it world wide in spite of the failures of whole countries and near collapse of the entire world economy. I makes me think about Hillary who will soon be candidate. Bill was in bed with the Neoliberalists and their daughter worked for a hedgefund??? Maybe whats her name will win in Mass.

  • Dnadanyi

    just bought 2 new books Hit Man and Power inc.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    No, I was a publicist guy who defended the system and encouraged people to invest. I worked on a crazy investigation of Wachovia Bank right after the Meltdown for Goldman Sachs. 
    I came from being a Senate aide which happens routinely now. before that I was a child actor. Then Wells Fargo bought Wachovia. It was all make believe, no way to sort things out. I know nothing, nothing…. just like Sergeant Schultz. I am friends with some commodities traders and fund managers who took my little nestegg and grew it, that’s all. It’s who you know, not what you know. But I do know enough to be sure the system is robbing the workers to enrich the greedy.I’m reading books, so I’m a peon just like you. I have a formal education but was mostly informed by Figgers Institute.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Your book choices sound excellent.

  • GradyLeeHoward

    Refresh me on the “5 year thing.” I write too much and forget what I said.

  • Dnadanyi

    I don’t know what a publicist guy is but would love t0 learn what you discovered about Wachovia.

  • Aripapp

    thank you mr.moyers

  • mike

    we really wish you would have nuru international on your show…….it’s a positive step toward ending extreme poverty and in that way combating terrorism…….please check it out………