Thank you for joining me at Fox Drug in Torrance, where our friend the Egyptian pharmacist Ahmed Atallah graciously invited us to kick off our campaign for Congress in the 36th District. Like the Egyptians clamoring for democracy, we stand here to make our voices heard in the halls of power.
With the Open Primary just three months away, put on your running shoes because this is a sprint to June.
Many of you participated in my last campaign, in which we mobilized 41% of the vote. Our platform was clear – to transition from a war economy to a Green economy, where no one is held hostage to bomb-building because opportunities abound in aerospace and engineering to build mass transit, solar cities, new schools and health clinics.
Though our last race was not long ago, only last June – those who would seek to privatize and loot America have gained unfortunate traction in the interim.
Multiple wars are tearing America apart. First, the war on public sector employees, as we see in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and other states where public sector workers are threatened with the loss of bargaining rights in order to undermine the power of unions to protect our social contract. By the same token, we witness the war on the middle class, where homeowners lose their homes to foreclosure; credit-hungry small businesses close up shop, and nervous software engineers in the South Bay are told to train their replacements in India. As a teacher, I note the war on our youth, the young men and women in my classroom who, when asked about their future plans, tell me, “I want to join the military, so I’ll have a job. What am I going to do with my life? The military is my best option.” And let us not forget the war on our veterans who come home in wheelchairs, without arms and limbs, haunted by nightmares of combat, unable to collect on the benefits promised. Finally, we hear the barrage of attacks on seniors who desperately need their Social Security checks and Medicare coverage to make it through the day. The continual assault on these safety nets spawns untold lies and fear-mongering about deficits that will cripple our country.
We know the truth – the only thing standing in the way of government for the common good and no government at all is the call to deregulate and decimate – all in the name of fiscal responsibility, under the umbrella of inevitable budget cuts in a shock-doctrine approach that capitalizes on the sub-prime melt down by using the budget crisis to do what the right-wing in America has been trying to do ever since the New Deal; Gut our social programs.
We will not sit still for this any longer; we will demand that our leaders protect and even enhance the hard-won rights we have fought for, and our mothers and fathers fought, starved, and died for.
I am running for Congress, again, because now is the time for bold leadership, for someone to stand up and say NO to those would privatize and loot America, to those who would seize our Social Security checks and deny us Medicare. Instead, we need someone to say YES to a new progressive populist agenda that envisions jobs for all, single-payer health care, clean air and water, world-class schools, secure pensions, and an information highway where all can travel.
I am a teacher at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles. At a recent union meeting, I learned that 5,000 lay-off notices will be issued in the coming months. In LAUSD, where we have 700,000 students and 40,000 teachers, we can hear the rumblings of a threatened teachers’ strike next year. Where is all the money? Teachers are now expected to purchase student supplies: pens, paper, and Kleenex, the next school resource sure to be hoarded in times of scarcity. In the age of technology, when students love their Kindles, their cell phones, their lap tops, school computers are also scarce. How sad that in America, one of the richest nations in the world, we starve our students.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
In the United States, where trillion dollar military budgets deliver guns, but not butter, where 1% of the population owns a third of the wealth, where big corporations avoid paying taxes by stashing their loot in offshore tax havens, where billionaire oil barons like the Koch brothers subsidize think tanks to tell us, to lie to us, that Social Security, with over two-trillion dollars in its trust fund, is supposedly bankrupt, where a corrupt US Supreme Court rules that corporations can spend limitless amounts to buy Congress, in this United States of America we must fight to save our democracy, to put the people’s voice back in the people’s house, to stave off a dreaded feudalism, and to declare once and for all that America is not for sale.
And neither am I.
I will not take a dime of corporate money.
Because I work for you, not for big corporations driven by runaway greed.
In Congress I will lead the effort to reclaim our nation for the people, not for the robber barons, not for the banks sitting on trillions of dollars they refuse to loan, but for the great American middle class, for the people of Torrance and the South Bay, for the people of San Pedro and Wilmington, for the people in Venice, Mar Vista and West Los Angeles who deserve a real American Dream: public libraries, parks, robust fire departments, living-wage jobs, and the earnest pursuit of everlasting peace.
I am uniquely qualified to serve you in that I have been active in the labor and anti-war movements for much of my adult life. In high school I joined hundreds of thousands in the streets, protesting the Vietnam War, then volunteered on the Pentagon Papers trial working as a legal researcher. After college I organized in the fields of Delano with the United Farm Workers Union, working to improve wages and working conditions in the sweltering grape fields. Later I became involved in the anti-nuclear movement, protesting the building of new nuclear power plants, hosting radio shows to raise money for the alternative energy movement, and calling for a nuclear weapons freeze. In my work as founder of Progressive Democrats of America’s Los Angeles chapter I organized Out of Iraq community forums, testified before the FCC for media diversification, not consolidation, and worked hard to protect the fairness and accuracy of our voting systems.
In Congress I will join the Progressive Caucus and commit myself to working with the Progressive Caucus in the California Democratic Party, so that we can be spokes of one wheel, strengthening the grassroots across America. I will immediately join the Out of Afghanistan Caucus and push for congressional investigations of covert CIA drone attacks in Yemen and Somalia; for the release of soldier Bradley Manning, held indefinitely without trial, without regard to our Bill of Rights or due process. I will support President Obama’s vision for a new Middle East policy by leading a peace delegation to Israel/Palestine to visit the border towns, along with the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, so that the United States, no longer beholden to outside special interest groups, can become an honest impartial broker for peace, be it in the form of a binational state where everyone is equal, one land, one voice; or a two state solution, where there really are two independent states.
In Congress, I will make funding public education a top priority, with an emphasis on infusing our schools with state-of-the-art technology and relevant career apprenticeship programs. With high school drop out rates soaring, one of the greatest threats to our national security is under-funded schools, resource-poor, and unable to meet the needs of students who must see the connection between school and life in order if they are to come to class every day and not drop out to become street orphans or, worse, prisoners.
I am not a career politician, but a life-long community organizer. I am not looking to jump ship for a better job opportunity; only for an opportunity to serve you at a critical time in our nation’s history that demands bold leadership.
Thank you for your support. Now, let’s caravan to the rally at LA City Hall, where I will speak in support of public workers battling union-busting in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and other states.
Unions and the employees they represent are NOT the cause of the financial mess we find ourselves in – the cause is on Wall Street, with those wealthy parasites who have yet to be brought to justice. Those robber barons and banksters who plundered homeowners and stockholders have gotten away – so far, at least — with attacking the middle class, and now turn their antagonism, fed by obscene and often ill-gotten riches, on one middle class group that has not been decimated by their unmitigated greed — those public workers fortunate and resolute enough to form and be represented and protected by a union and the collective voice it projects.
We will NOT let that voice go silent; we will NOT go quietly into that good night. NOW is the moment we must rise up and say … We are America and we are not for sale.
Finally, let us join the global movement for greater democracy, the voices of reason and rebellion in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain, and let us go forward together with one voice for shared prosperity throughout the world.
We are in this together; this is our struggle; together we can win!
Marcy Winograd, CD36 campaign kick-off speech, 2/26/11, Old Town Torrance
Winograd for Congress