A Letter from the American Heartland

The guest we had on tuesday’s show, Carol Grimaldi, said that she had to get involved with Jobs Now! after reading A letter from the American Heartland. I remember this being passed around OccupyKC and really reminding people what they were fighting for. So here it is again for anyone who hasn’t read it before or who may have forgotten what was written.

A Letter from the American Heartland

The view from the American heartland today is a grim one, lying almost
beyond our poor powers of description.

The predatory accumulation of wealth and power by a tiny fraction of
our population is on an alarming path of exponential growth. At the
same time, our access to the essential resources which provide the
bedrock of our prosperity is on a clearly visible path of long-term

Jobs — the lifeblood of our middle and working classes — are
shuffled around the world like pawns in a game of corporate chess,
seeking the minimization of labor cost in the poorest of countries,
while providing goods and services to the most profitable markets of
prospering elites.

Despite rapidly rising productivity, wages have remained stagnant for
more than 30 years.  Now massive and persistent unemployment and
underemployment make a mockery of what was once thought of as the
American Dream. Education, hard work, and personal sacrifice no longer
assure a secure standard of living. Where each generation could once
expect a better life than the one that come before, we now bequeath to
our children a world where their future is likely to be poorer than
the past.

Health care costs rise relentlessly each year and ever greater numbers
of us are forced into the ranks of the uninsured and uninsurable,
facing physical and financial ruin at the whim of fate. At the same
time, public subsidies for education at every level continue to
decline, foreclosing on the promise of upward mobility.

Global environmental sustainability is sacrificed on the altar of
corporate profit… and the seas are rising around us.

Our historic two-party system now exhibits the undeniable signs of
long-standing internal rot and decay. One pillar of the system — the
Republican Party, the so-called Grand Old Party — has been hijacked
by corporately-funded anti-intellectual extremists who summarily
reject the founding principles of American democracy, historically
grounded in a philosophical commitment to human rationality.  The
other pillar — the so-called Democratic Party — is fatally divided:
its dominant centrist faction appears to be held in an inescapable
death-grip by the global financiers of Wall Street.  What remains of
its progressive wing has grown too weak and timid to defend the
interests of the vast majority against the unconstrained rapacity of
the corporate elite.

Our protections against cynical corporate funding and domination of
public discourse and elections have recently been stripped from us by
our highest court.  The essential principle of the equal rights of all
natural persons before the law, has at least been fully extended to
the contrived legal fabrication of corporate personhood, while the
voting rights of student and the poor are systematically revoked with
fabricated claims of voter fraud.

Our mainstream corporate media, in base abandonment of their calling
to ‘the forth estate’, uncritically accept, endorse, and propagate
this cynical political charade.

In the face of these grim realities, we — the people of the United
States, the great mass of its diligent and industrial middle and
working classes — pause in the faithful execution of our daily duties
to rise in protest against this disgraceful and intolerable state of

We commit ourselves to the development and support of a program of
public education and political activism in steadfast opposition to the
domination of our country by corporate elites.

We propose to convene a non-partisan coalition of diverse
constituencies — men and women of all races; students and teachers;
workers, professionals, and unemployed; religious and non-religious;
straight, lesbian and gay — all under the campaign banner of Jobs
Now!: real jobs, good jobs, ‘living wage’ jobs, environmentally
sustainable jobs that fulfill the promise of providing each and every
one of us with a reasonable share of our collective social prosperity.
We demand the immediate adoption of Full Employment as the overriding
national economic policy goal.  This demand, together with the
implementation of effective enabling policy, will be known going
forward as The Heartland Agenda. We invoke long-standing principles of
legal, non-violent, direct action in advancement of our cause.

We issue a non-partisan call to our current political leadership to
join us in this campaign, or risk implacable opposition and electoral

We encourage and implore our fellow citizens to shake off the sense of
futility which now pervades our public discourse, and lend your
full-throated voices to this campaign — a Heartland Campaign — for
the hearts and minds and souls of our people, our country, and our

And to this end we pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our personal honor.

We, the People
Kansas City, Missouri
October, 2011



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