In this post, we offered a host of Actions & Opportunities that are still in play. We also offered “In Brief” links to two articles on how we should pay reparations to African Americans and one on a Bernie Sanders’ outrage over a Congressional Budget Office report indicating that we are robbed of almost $400B a year due to the 1% failing to pay taxes that are due. Together those three articles echo the theme of Thursday’s post.
Roxanne sent me a post by Seth Abramson on Twitter the other day. He posted a very well-written prediction that is, tragically, likely to transpire.Today, we present his canary in the coal mine call for sane action. But before we explore Abramson’s post, a few brief comments.
In the NM June primary, many teams formed by Indivisible chapters, Nasty Women and others played key roles in the primary, making calls, raising funds, and sending letters. We need to multiply the number of small teams operating throughout the state many, many times over: It is that important.
Throughout the year, the Retake blog, the radio show, the alerts and the Zoominars are designed to engage and educate and hopefully motivate you. Now it is time to turn that motivation into action. In dialog with Marjorie Luckey of Taos United, I am told that Taos has a team forming that is aching to get started. I know there are other teams, experienced from the primary that are ready to pivot to the general election and hopefully there are many other individuals who may not be part of teams, but are eager to either form one or join one.
Retake wants to help teams develop all throughout the state. Over the years we have formed relationships with small groups of progressive advocates in Dixon, Farmington, Las Vegas, Taos, Silver City, Las Cruces, TorC, Wheeler Park, Valencia County, Corrales, and of course, in Santa Fe and ABQ. It is time for all of these groups to begin forming teams among their friends and to grow those teams. If you are part of a team or are interested in forming one, let Retake know by writing to us at RetakeResponse@gmail.com.
We’ve been in dialog with our allies and other election operatives for the past two weeks and next week we will publish a fully updated Toolkit for teams. It will include specific priority races in NM identified through those conversations, races where 100 votes can decide the race (Remember Abbas Akhil? 80 votes made the difference). The Toolkit will also include info on swing states and key senate races. Priorities will change over the next four months, based on polls, fundraising results and numbers of volunteers working on each race and Retake will funnel information so that teams can shift their focus to meet the demands of the overall campaign.
The Toolkit will also include ways you can work with your teams remotely via Zoom (it is free for 40 minute zoom meetings). You really don’t need a guide to form and launch a Zoom group, but we will provide a step by step guide to launching your own Zoom just to make it easy. But if you can click 2-3 times you are done and it is a great tool you can use with distant friends and family.
The point is, it is looking like we will be isolating for a good while. We have an enormous opportunity over the next 4 months and we must maximize the opportunity. We can have a NM state legislature packed with new progressive legislators who won’t have to wrestle with nearly as many DINOs and GOP legislators. In this context, it is almost unfathomable what we can get done: a public bank, health security and so much more could be achieved in the 2021 session. And on the national level, the stakes are existential.
So today, there is one ask: take a few minutes to make a list. It can be as small as 2-3 people and call them, share this post. Ask them to ask a couple of friends and in an hour or so you can have formed your own team. Let us know you’ve got a team going and we will communicate with you throughout the campaign. And early next week, we will have a robust Toolkit to support your work.
And watch for the updated Toolkit early next week.
Let’s do this. If we don’t… I can’t even think about it. We need to get it done.
Forgive Consumer Debt
On Thursday we examined Neoliberalism’s Looting of America, an article describing how over the last 50 years 90% of Americans have seen skyrocketing prices erode their personal wealth and send them into higher and higher levels of debt. The post also described how what has transpired over the past 50 years amounts to wealth theft by the wealthiest 10% of Americans.
So, when I read a NYTs article about how our banks should pay reparations by cancelling all African American consumer debt along with other measures, I started to mull over how that could happen. My first reaction was that while reparations should be paid to African Americans for slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and myriad other degradations suffered for 400 years, there are other populations that have also suffered from neoliberal policies, indigenous people leading that list, but also Hispanics, and in truth, most of America. I also wondered how politically feasible it would be to address African American reparations. It occurred to me that that might be achieved by some kind of massive relief bill in 2021.
So, this is where my head went: We have just paid out trillions to banks, gas and oil, pharma, and other Wall St organizations because they claimed harm from COVID. Well, 300 million Americans have been being harmed for fifty years by Wall St. profiteering. When do we get relief? In 2008, millions of Americans lost their homes, and research has shown that people of color lost over half of their collective wealth from that one recession. But there is a history of wealth theft, diminished wages, and crushed dreams that extends for decades and, for some, centuries.
I learned online that in 2019 the total consumer debt in America was $4 trillion. A portion of that debt is held by wealthy individuals who wouldn’t need or deserve debt relief, so a relief package would likely be far less than $4 trillion. There is considerable ethical and moral justification for offering consumer relief by cancelling consumer debt. As part of that relief package we could include specific elements that address reparations for African Americans and Native Americans. Why not? The working class has, in effect, subsidized the growth in wealth of the top 10% for the past 50 years. Hmmmm. What if? Reactions?
You will find below, in the “In Brief” for today, two articles directly related to the above discussion.
In Brief: We continue to present links to 2-3 articles we thought might be of interest. Two are germane to the above ruminations on canceling consumer debt, and the other offers findings from a Congressional Budget Office report of how the 1% steals nearly $400B a year just by not paying their taxes.
- From NYTs: “Banks Should Face History and Pay Reparations” lays out rationale for banks paying reparations.
- From USA Today: “Reparations bill gets new attention amid BLM. Could other nations provide a blueprint?” offers historic examples where reparations have been paid.
- From Common Dreams: ‘An Absolute Outrage’: Sanders Rips ‘Wealthy Tax Cheats’ as CBO Estimates $381 Billion in Annual Unpaid Taxes
Worst Case Scenario Is Coming
Today we present a recent Tweet from Seth Abramson, where he examines the “worst case” COVID scenario of 2.5 million Americans perishing if we do not follow science. Our health experts tried to warn us and for a time we half-heartedly embraced social distancing and began to contain the virus, but then we allowed our own myopic, pathological commitment to individualism to override any concern for the common good. And so, now that worst case scenario projected in March may be just around the corner. Read On. From Seth Abramson:
“Those of us who care about our country must accept the possibility that too many Americans are selfish or stupid for us to ever control COVID-19. That means we’re headed to the “uncontrolled” scenario experts warned of—2.5 million dead. Prepare yourself mentally for that outcome.
We should also understand that when we see videos of crowds partying it further confirms that the pandemic will last longer in America than anywhere else in the world. That means that our lives as we know them are over for *years*—not just a matter of months. Thanks, America.
None of this means those of us who care about America shouldn’t keep doing all we can to try to slow the spread of the virus and educate those who’d go to the types of parties we’re seeing in videos online—but we should be clearly acknowledging how much we screwed ourselves.
Maybe if America was more candidly and universally discussing the outcome we’re rapidly rushing toward there’d be a chance of reaching some of the stupidest, most selfish, and least responsible Americans—or at least getting their friends and neighbors to start to shame them.
I understand those saying the 2.5 million assessment came at the start of the pandemic, when circumstances were different in many respects. But we’ve no idea when/if a vaccine will be developed; daily infections are 5x now what they were then; hospital capacity is being hit.
Actions & Opportunities
8:30am, Sat. Retake Conversation with Eric Griego, Working Families Party, NM Executive Director.
A tremendous interview on a most timely issue: the 2020 election in NM and the Nation. Eric Griego has been in the political theater for decades and as the Director of the Working Families Party of NM has, over the past four years, been the chief architect behind the transformation of the NM state legislature.
Working with allies like Ole, Indivisibles statewide, Nasty Women, Taos United, and Retake Our Democracy, WFP has made the state legislature a far more progressive body than it was in 2015. Find out more about what they’ve achieved and their plans for this November.
At 10 am on Saturday, the entire 60-minute interview will be available at Retake Conversations.
75 Years & Waiting July 16, 1945 –
July 16, 2020
Loreen Mills interviews Tina Cordova discussing the shamelessTrinity testing of a nuclear bomb in land they considered uninhabited. Wrong. And they have been morally wrong then and since. If you’ve never heard Tina Cordova speak of the impact the Trinity test has had on her community and the US government’s refusal to offer redress or even healthcare support for those suffering from the fallout. We highly recommend you view this.
Watch at these times:
Saturday night, July 11, 6 pm:Channel 3, KENW-TV, PBS / Portales.DirecTV network also airs it on Channel 3 at this time.
Sunday morning, July 12, 8 am:Channel 22, KRWG-TV, the PBS station in Las Cruces.Channel 5, KNME-TV, the PBS station in Albuquerque.
Sunday afternoon, July 12, 4:30 pm:Channel 9 – KNME-TV, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Northern NMAlso seen on Comcast Cable Ch. 204 HD -or on DISH on Ch. 9 or 8825 HD)
Monday morning, July 13, 9:30 am:KANW-FM, 89.1 over the air and streaming online, an NPR and PRI station
Saturday, July 11, 10:00 AM March to Honor and Demand Justice for Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year old woman who was brutalized and killed near the Fort Hood base (many other murders have occurred at this army base) in Texas.
Actions in Support of Black Justice
If you haven’t seen Santa Fe While Black‘s call to action this week – Check it out here!
How it works:
CALL YOUR COUNCILORS :: Use the script below to either call or email the two councilors for your district TODAY. Phone calls are more impactful. If you don’t speak to someone, leave a voicemail. If you can’t leave a voicemail, send an email.
Register your call and any notes on the Action Network page after you have called or emailed.
If you don’t know who your council member is, look at this map of city council districts.
And positive test % is through the roof. So yes—even with enough PPE and ventilators for those who’ll be able to get into hospitals after they’ve reached capacity, we may see ourselves in the “uncontrolled” scenario I described if social distancing remains a political issue.
We just set a *global record* for new daily infections, and did so in *summer*. And after we set the record, giant parties and lack of social distancing continued. Hospitals across many states are a week from full capacity. What do folks think happens once flu season starts?’
Has anyone considered that the reason the Trump White House is about to unveil a “Live With It” campaign—which is basically genocide as a political slogan—is because most of America has already accepted that millions will die, as Trump long ago (reporting reveals) accepted?
Trump’s “Live With It” campaign is just a “Die With It” campaign; I hope the left will meme the hell out of that genocidal slogan accordingly. But if 40% of America accepts the slogan—as it appears it will—I don’t know what the other 60% of us can do except try to stay safe.
I try to choose my words carefully—so when I say “prepare yourself mentally” I don’t mean “resign yourself as a matter of your words and actions.” We *must* keep fighting (and voting)—but we should do so as though 2.5 million dead is a real possibility, simply because it is.”Seth Abramson
So as you sit there, simultaneously sad and furious, consider that there is something you can do. Please consider this: start today making a few calls to friends who you might think would like to be part of a small group of friends who will work in teams on campaigns in either NM state race, a swing state or in a key Senate race.
It is the most important election in our lifetimes, perhaps in the history of our nation. No one can sit on the sidelines, and there is much that can be done from home. Let’s Retake this Nation, before there is nothing to Retake.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne