With 750 Everyday Americans From More Than 30 States Pledging to Bring Populist Agenda Back Home To Define The Public Debate As 2016 Election Season Heats Up
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2015 – Tonight, more than 750 members of four national progressive organizations together with their allies are gathering in Washington, DC to announce a New Populist Alliance around the Populism2015 Agenda. Members of the four organizations from more than 30 states, including key primary states like Iowa and Nevada, will be trained this weekend on how to inject the bold ideas from their progressive agenda into the Presidential debate and down ballot races in 2016.
National People’s Action, Campaign for America’s Future, Alliance for a Just Society, and USAction, together with other allied organizations are unveiling the Populism2015 Agenda that has the potential to energize millions of people in the coming year who are looking for – and not finding yet in the public debate – real solutions to the triple crisis of growing inequality, a broken democracy and a planet in peril.
“Presidential candidates of both parties agree that inequality will be a defining issue in the upcoming elections. But we need them to address the crux of the issue: the imbalance of power between everyday voters and corporate America,” said George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action. “Candidates should get specific about real solutions like closing offshore tax havens, implementing a financial speculation tax, building a green economy, and overhauling the justice system. For too long everyday people, especially people of color, have been left behind and locked out. When it is more clear than ever that serve and protect really means kill and deport, we know it’s past time to fundamentally transform our society. Our populist agenda offers a road map for candidates.”
“Movements grow when ordinary people make themselves subjects of history,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. ”We saw that with Occupy Wall Street, with the Dreamers and the extraordinary mobilization around immigration, with the demonstrations against our criminal injustice system after the Michael Brown shooting, and just recently with the ‘Fight for $15’ strikes by low-wage workers in more than 200 cities. The debate about our future is already taking place in demonstrations on the ground. But the movement we assemble at Populism2015 is an answer, not a threat, to politicians and leaders who want to side with the hopes and needs of working people.”
The positions in the agenda created by the new populist alliance are big and bold: making corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes and enacting an Robin Hood Tax on financial speculation; dismantling structural racism and creating more better outcomes for people of color; and shifting to an economy that runs on clean energy through energy efficiencies, investment in renewables, and the creation of millions of green jobs. The full agenda is available below and at populism2015.org/platform.
Conference attendees plan to take the agenda home to call on candidates stumping in states like Iowa, Virginia, Nevada, and Colorado, Ohio, and New Mexico to support the planks of their populist agenda. They’ll also challenge candidates to stand with everyday people instead of big money interests as presidential hopefuls visit Chicago, New York and other cities to fund-raise.
“At Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, we’re ready to go home ask candidates the tough questions. When Mitt Romney came to Iowa, we asked him if corporations were people and forced him to make his position on the issue clear,” said Barb Kalbach, a cardiac nurse and fourth-generation family farmer from Dexter, Iowa. “This year, we’re going to ask Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other candidates where they stand on the issues in our agenda, point by point.”
“I’m inspired by the ideas in this agenda,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson, a retired city employee and a 15-year leader with Virginia Organizing from Newport News, Virginia. “Too many elected officials and candidates talk big about the problems we face, but don’t come through for people like me and my community. This agenda is going to help us hold them accountable.”