Click here to go to the Home Page Unfinished Business in 2011 Means Handling Our Business in 2012 It’s a new year but will it be a new day? - A View from the Battlefield - By Jamala Rogers - Editorial Board

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For most of us, we left 2011with mixed emotions. And while our individual situations and progress vary, it is important that we look at the bigger picture as the struggle over who government serves and how the social needs of a nation get met. It is painfully clear that most elected officials are either incapable or incompetent of having both the vision and a strategy for addressing the big economic, social and political problems that face the country.

With a 9% approval rating, Congress has been in crisis management mode. Government operations were threatened to shut down three times and the Congress barely avoided a default on the national debt. Both the House and the Senate have passed the lowest numbers of bills in over a decade. Congress had not dealt with a substantive jobs bill and instead has passed hundreds of meaningless resolutions like upholding “In God We Trust” as the national motto or designating “Drive Safer Sunday.” Meanwhile, working families struggle to put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads, put gas in our tanks if we’re lucky enough have a car and put some clothes on our backs.

The masses have been at the mercy of these greedy, inept and insensitive people, watching their opulent, decadent lifestyles as the government and courts do their bidding. The slow burn of the 99% into an Occupy boil has been a refreshing splash across the face of a beaten down country. An empowered and energized class is tired of the carrying the economic burden of this country while the 1% continued to make unprecedented profits. The Occupy momentum must be maintained and folded into multiple strategic battlegrounds.

The GOP steam-rolled its anti-worker strategy in state legislatures across the country; they held the majority in most of those states. They left a whole lot of damage in their wake.

In Missouri, we have our hands full. We are organizing an offensive to the Republic roll-backs during the last legislative session. Anything that supported working families was attacked.

The focus is on collecting signatures for two critical ballot initiatives. One initiative would raise the minimum wage again, a successful effort waged over a decade ago. The second would set the cap on the interest rates for payday loans. Currently, the law allows these blood-sucking predators to charge up to 1900 % (APR). The rate would be brought down from the average interest rate of 400% to 36% - and that’s still legal robbery.

The new year brings with it renewed hope and enthusiasm. We can’t stop with the small victories such as forcing Bank of America and Verizon to retract additional fees for service. Those were significant but we gotta’ go after the issues that affect our quality of life - jobs, education and health care.

This is the year for the masses of people to look at alternative sources of energy, alternative economic solutions and new social relationships that make for a peaceful and sustainable world.

This is the year for challenging hypocrisy and injustices on all levels and for demanding fairness and accountability on all levels. Anything that affects the majority’s standard of living or their constitutional and human rights must be stopped.

It’s time to occupy! Not just occupy parks and the streets but occupy the legislative rotundas, school buildings, union halls, airwaves, social media, voting booths and any other space that needs working class leadership. As Bob Marley sang, those “who feels it knows it” so it will be up those of us under the boot of corporate greed, to get ourselves out from under it.

Let’s kick mediocrity to the curb and start charting the kind of government that serves the needs of the majority, not the greedy few. It’s a new year but it could also be a new day. Let’s get organized! Editorial Board member, Jamala Rogers, is the leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis and the Black Radical Congress National Organizer. Additionally, she is an Alston-Bannerman Fellow. She is the author of The Best of the Way I See It – A Chronicle of Struggle. Click here to contact Ms. Rogers.

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Jan 5, 2012 - Issue 453
is published every Thursday
Est. April 5, 2002
Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble
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