Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine at the 2016 Left Forum

runawayinequality"How Do We Build a Mass Movement to Reverse Runaway Inequality?"

a panel discussion on U.S. inequality, Saturday, May 22, 2016


Les Leopold's 'Runaway Inequality' Powerpoint presentation

Runaway inequality comes at a steep price. The money that enriches the few is extracted from all that we hold dear – our public life, our incomes, our health and the education of our children. It is making poor the richest country on Earth. Until we do something about it. Right now, we lack a robust mass movement with the power to reclaim our economy and our democracy to make it work for the 99 percent. Instead, we have thousands of individual groups working on every issue from fracking to a living wage. We have unions fighting for their members and worker centers fighting for immigrant rights. We have protests ranging from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to climate justice. We have hundreds of progressive websites and journals to cover all this activity.

But we do not have a coherent national movement with a clear and bold agenda that links us together. This workshop will describe the ways in which runaway inequality is at the root of many of the problems we face, including the meteoric and disastrous rise of the financial sector, defunding of the public sector, environmental destruction, increased racial discrimination, the gender gap in wages and the rise of our mammoth prison population. Les Leopold will posit that if we share a clear understanding of runaway inequality – and the basic economic situation we face – we can begin to build a common, broad-based movement for fundamental economic justice that will take on America’s economic elites.

scottlesBetween The Lines' Executive Producer Scott Harris introduces the panel discussion and Les Leopold, executive director, president and cofounder of The Labor Institute. Les, a graduate of Oberlin College (BA 1969) and Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs (MPA 1975), co-founded the Labor Institute with the economist David M. Gordon (1944-1996). He is the author of: "The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor: The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi," (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007) "The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance Destroyed our Jobs, Pension and Prosperity and What we can do about it," (Chelsea Green Publishing. 2009); "How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour: Why hedge funds get away with siphoning off America's Wealth" (John Wiley and Sons, 2013).

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