An Americathat Worksfor the 99% Learning how to tell our story about what’s wrong with the economy and      what we can do...
USAction & USAction Education Fund    USAction Education Fund carries out powerful public education, outreach and advocacy...
An America that works for the 99%Learning how to tell our story about what’s wrong with the economyand what we can do abou...
1. Introductions – Your 99% story.  Suggested time – 10 mins  Find a group of 3-5 people. While you can do this with folks...
2. Big Questions – Your answers  Suggested time – 10 mins  Some people think big questions about our economy – like these ...
3. Big questions – Our answersSuggested time – 15 minsHere are our answers to these big questions. Read them aloud as a gr...
4. Big Questions – Question by Question  EXERCISE:     Over the next 5 pages we share more information on each of these 5 ...
A. Why isn’t the Economy Working?    For 30 years, the 1% have got richer at the expense of the 99%.    For the past 30 ye...
A. Why Isn’t the Economy Working WorksheetExercise – Read these facts and statements on the previous page out loud to eac...
B. How do we get our economy moving forward again?   By making our economy work for the 99%.   The American middle-class i...
B. How do we get the Economy Moving? Worksheet  Exercise –      Read these facts and statements out loud to each other.  ...
C. What do we -- the 99% -- have to do together for ourcountry?    Make our democracy work for us, the 99%.          We’r...
C. What do we -- the 99% -- have to do together WorksheetExercise           Read these facts and statements out loud to e...
D. What are we asking our Elected Officials?    Which side are you on, the 1% or the 99%.    The choice is clear. We stand...
D. What are we asking our Elected Officials? Worksheet  Exercise      Read these statements out loud to each other.     ...
5. The Big Questions – Putting it all together in your own   words  The Occupy Movement has begun to change the national d...
6. Putting our 99% story in action   If you hear a friend or neighbor share the story of the 1% (taxes on    business are...
   Jobs for the 99% Voter Pledge  JOBS for the 99%                        Not Tax Cuts for the 1%YES! I want my elected o...
7. Send your 99% story and pledge to your elected officials!   Dear Rep/Sen ____________________________________      We n...
8. Share your 99% story.  One in ten Americans are out of work. But too many of our elected officials keep talking about  ...
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An America that Works for the 99% - Training booklet

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An America that Works for the 99% - Training booklet

  1. 1. An Americathat Worksfor the 99% Learning how to tell our story about what’s wrong with the economy and what we can do about it.
  2. 2. USAction & USAction Education Fund USAction Education Fund carries out powerful public education, outreach and advocacy efforts to achieve liberty and justice for all. USAction builds power by uniting people locally and nationally, on-the-ground and online, to win a more just and progressive America. USAction organizes for power, for democracy and for change.Training Format This booklet provides information and presents questions about our economy for you to explore and learn from each other in small groups – not from presenters or an “expert.” We all know more that we think we know! We include suggested discussion times as a guide to each exercise. Feel free to share your feedback and ideas and updates at www.USAction.org/contactSpecial Thanks To Richard Kirsch and the Progressive Economic Narrative Group that have been working to develop these concepts. To all of you who have and will share our 99% story. 2|Page
  3. 3. An America that works for the 99%Learning how to tell our story about what’s wrong with the economyand what we can do about it.Training 1. Introductions – Your 99% story (10 mins) 2. Big Questions – Your answers (10 mins) 3. Big Questions – Our answers (15 mins) 4. Big Questions – Question by question (15 – 45 mins) 5. Big Questions – Putting it all together in your own words (15 -30 mins) 6. Putting our 99% Story into Action 7. Jobs for the 99% Voter Pledge (5 min) 8. Send your 99% story and Pledge to your Elected Officials 9. Share your 99% story (5 mins)Options If you have one hour we recommend you work though exercises 1-4 at the suggested pace. If you have more time, do more and take more time! 3|Page
  4. 4. 1. Introductions – Your 99% story. Suggested time – 10 mins Find a group of 3-5 people. While you can do this with folks you know – you might also consider asking some people you don’t know to work together. This is a great way to learn about the 99% and meet new friends! We have come together to make changes for the 99%. Share your name, where you are from, and one thing* (an issue, belief, person or experience) that most motivates you take action for the 99%. (*We could spend all hour sharing our stories – but so that we can get to the other parts to the training, please just share one item each!) 4|Page
  5. 5. 2. Big Questions – Your answers Suggested time – 10 mins Some people think big questions about our economy – like these listed below – are complicated and hard for most people to understand. The Occupy movement has helped show that while we can make it complicated, there are some pretty simple answers to these questions for the 99%. In this exercise we want to say the FIRST THING that comes into your mind for each of these questions! As a team or individually – say and write down one short statement that answers each of these questions. It might help to think about the common themes we heard in our introductions. How do our individual stories add up to create our collective story.  Why isn’t the economy working?  What makes the economy work?  How do we get our economy moving forward again?  What do we – the 99% – have to do together for our country?  What are we asking our elected officials? 5|Page
  6. 6. 3. Big questions – Our answersSuggested time – 15 minsHere are our answers to these big questions. Read them aloud as a group. What do you like aboutthese responses?EXERCISE:Ask each other one of these questions. Draw from the responses below and what you wrote earlierto give a one sentence response to each. Why isn’t the economy working? For 30 years, the 1% got richer at the expense of the 99%. What makes the economy work? The economy works, when it works for the 99%. How do we get our economy moving forward again? By making our economy work for the 99%. What do we – the 99% – have to do together for our country? Make our democracy work for us, the 99%. What are we asking Congress? Which side are you on, the 1% or the 99%. 6|Page
  7. 7. 4. Big Questions – Question by Question EXERCISE: Over the next 5 pages we share more information on each of these 5 big questions. We provide a few more facts, statements and tested messages.  On each page read the additional information out loud to each other.  Circle the two statements that you find the most compelling.  Add your own facts – from your own life, neighborhood and community.  Now use these few facts and statements to create your own answer to this bigger question. OPTIONS: Depending on how much time you have and how you would like to work as a team you can:  Review all 5 questions together as a group (estimated time – 30 mins)  Divide into pairs and have each pair review 2 questions (estimated time 20 mins)  Each individual picks a question, prepare a response and share with the team (estimated time 15 mins) PICK ONE and get to work! a. Why isn’t the economy working? For 30 years, the 1% got richer at the expense of the 99%. b. What makes the economy work? The economy works, when it works for the 99%. c. How do we get our economy moving forward again? By making our economy work for the 99%. d. What do we – the 99% – have to do together for our country? Make our democracy work for us, the 99%. e. What are we asking our Elected Officials? Which side are you on, the 1% or the 99%. 7|Page
  8. 8. A. Why isn’t the Economy Working? For 30 years, the 1% have got richer at the expense of the 99%. For the past 30 years the rich got richer while the middle-class and working families got squeezed and crushed.  The richest 400 families own more than 150 million Americans, half the country. Taxes on the richest were cut in half.  The rich can’t spend enough to keep the economy going. The $100 million earned in one year by the CEO of Bank of America could have provided median incomes to 2,000 families.  If our nation’s economic growth had been shared fairly for the past 30 years, wages would be 60% higher than they are now.  Add your fact or statement here _____________________________________________________ Corporations pushed up profits by pushing down wages and benefits and shipping our jobs overseas.  Corporations are sitting on $2 trillion in cash – instead of creating jobs in America they are making CEOs and shareholders richer. Corporate taxes are at an historic low in terms of the economy and share of federal revenues.  Since 1999…2.9 million jobs have been eliminated in the US…while 2.4 million have been added overseas by US multinationals.  Add your fact or statement here! _____________________________________________________ As the 1% grabbed more and more, the 99% got squeezed, saved less and borrowed more, particularly from their houses. When the housing bubble burst, the government bailed out Wall Street but let homeowners go underwater, drowning the economy.  Working and middle class families haven’t had a raise in a generation, but costs for the necessities in life – health care, education, housing, and child care keep going up.  Most of us don’t expect to be rich or famous, but we do expect to earn a decent living and good American benefits for a hard day’s work.  Add your fact or statement here! ___________________________________________________ 8|Page
  9. 9. A. Why Isn’t the Economy Working WorksheetExercise – Read these facts and statements on the previous page out loud to each other. Circle the two that you find the most compelling. Add a fact and/or statements – from your own life, neighborhood and community. Create your own answer to the question Why isn’t the Economy Working?For 30 years, the 1% have got richer at the expense of the 99%......________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Feedback: What worked well: What could be strengthened: 9|Page
  10. 10. B. How do we get our economy moving forward again? By making our economy work for the 99%. The American middle-class is the engine of the economy. We all do better, when we all do better.  The people who wrecked our economy should be paying for it, not profiting from it.  Deregulating Wall Street and trickle-down tax cuts for the rich didn’t create jobs.  Workers who get decent wages and benefits, who can support their families, who shop on Main Street – that’s who create jobs.  It’s simple really: Our economy works better when every American who wants a job is working.  Add your fact or statement here! _____________________________________________________ A strong middle-class, the engine of the economy, is built by the decisions we make together.  Decisions to invest in our people, expand opportunity and provide security - a world- leading education, quality affordable health care, protections at work, retirement security.  Decisions that will pave the way for businesses to innovate and meet the future: green jobs; fuel efficient cars and high speed rail; fixing our crumbling; bridges, roads, water and sewer lines; a modern, energy-saving electric grid; high-speed internet in every home and business.  Writing rules that boost businesses that do the right thing: create good jobs here in America; make safe products; safeguard our food, water and air; save energy and make and install green sources of energy.  Add your fact or statement here! _____________________________________________________ 10 | P a g e
  11. 11. B. How do we get the Economy Moving? Worksheet Exercise –  Read these facts and statements out loud to each other.  Circle the two that you find the most compelling.  Add a fact and/or statements – from your own life, neighborhood and community.  Create your own answer to the question How do we get the Economy Moving Forward Again? By making our economy work for the 99%....... ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Feedback: What worked well: What could be strengthened: 11 | P a g e
  12. 12. C. What do we -- the 99% -- have to do together for ourcountry? Make our democracy work for us, the 99%.  We’re not broke, we’ve been robbed... By the Wall Street speculators who wrecked our economy and got bailed out. By the corporate lobbyists who bought our democracy out from under us. By the super-rich who paid politicians to cut their tax rates in half while their incomes went up 500%.  We know the problem – our democracy has been robbed by the 1%. The rich and powerful legally bribe politicians to rig the rules in their favor – crashing our economy, crushing the middle class and wrecking our democracy.  Over the two years of the 2007-2008 election cycle, politicians, parties, and pacs raised $7.2 million every single day (Sundays and holidays included), on average, to influence and win federal elections. That’s -- $301,000 every hour!  Our democracy only works when all of us have an equal voice in making the rules we all live by. That’s why we need to tear down barriers to voting and limit lobbying and big campaign contributions.  It’s up to us to organize together, in our communities across the country, to make our democracy and our government work for the 99%.  Add your fact or statement here! _____________________________________________________ It won’t be easy, but it’s up to us!  It up to everyday Americans to hold our elected representatives responsible for protecting and expanding the middle class.  Throughout the nation, from small towns to big cities, from town halls to state capitals to congress, people are standing up to take back our nation from those who put profit before country and greed before our families.  There are more of us (ordinary Americans) than there are of them (CEO’s and the richest few.) We can get America back on track if we use our strength in numbers.  Add your fact or statement here! _____________________________________________________ 12 | P a g e
  13. 13. C. What do we -- the 99% -- have to do together WorksheetExercise  Read these facts and statements out loud to each other.  Circle the two that you find the most compelling.  Add a fact and/or statements – from your own life, neighborhood and community.  Create your own answer to the question What do we – the 99% -- have to do together for our country?By making our democracy work for us, the 99%......________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Feedback: What worked well: What could be strengthened: 13 | P a g e
  14. 14. D. What are we asking our Elected Officials? Which side are you on, the 1% or the 99%. The choice is clear. We stand with the 99% - the working families and the small businesses that create two-thirds of American jobs. They stand with the 1% - the Wall Street speculators and CEOs who cut our wages, crashed our economy and shipped our jobs overseas. Politicians need to put our economy and workers first, not the millionaires funding their campaigns. The question we have to ask every Elected Official is: which side are you on? Will you stand will us on a Platform for the 99%? Good jobs for everyone in America  Rebuild our infrastructure.  Create green jobs for energy independence.  Educate our kids and care for our elders.  Pave the way for businesses that create good jobs in America. Make Wall Street, corporate America and the super-rich pay.  Tax Wall Street speculation to pay for Main Street job creation.  End tax breaks for corporations that ship profits and jobs overseas.  Ending the Bush tax breaks for the rich means we could cut tuition in half for every two and four year college student in America. Invest in opportunity and security for our families.  Educational opportunities for our children.  Keep Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid secure. End corporate control of our democracy  Put our democracy back in the hands of the 99%.  Stop corporate funding of elections.  Make it possible for candidates who refuse big money contributions to win the support of contributions from the 99%. 14 | P a g e
  15. 15. D. What are we asking our Elected Officials? Worksheet Exercise  Read these statements out loud to each other.  Circle the two that you find the most compelling.  Add a fact and/or statements – from your own life, neighborhood and community.  Create your own answer to the question What are we asking our Elected Officials? Which side are you on – the 1% or the 99%? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Feedback: What worked well: What could be strengthened: 15 | P a g e
  16. 16. 5. The Big Questions – Putting it all together in your own words The Occupy Movement has begun to change the national debate about what’s wrong with our country from one focused on debt to one focused on the 99%. In the hours, days and weeks ahead, our job is to keep building momentum for our solution – An America that Works for the 99%. That will happen in conversations this week, and when you get back home – with your family, neighbors, co-workers and elected representatives. Take a minute and think about how you can work what we’re covered today into the following conversations:  You are talking to a neighbor and learn that her husband just got laid off. She says “I can’t believe this company, after all the workers have done to make Corporation X profitable, they are picking up and taking the jobs overseas.” What would you say next to see if they might be interested in getting involved in our Campaign for the 99%  You are at a family get-together and Uncle Joe says, “The problem with our economy is all these darn regulations. If we would just let business do what they do best without all the red tape we would all be back to work!”  You are taking with a friend who says – You know I listen to talk radio sometimes and they make the problem out to be Obama’s fault. But I just don’t know. Who do you think is really to blame for the economic mess we’re in?  You are at work and a story comes on the news about the state budget deficit. Your co- workers says – They keep taking more of my money – don’t know what they are going to do with it!  You are having a conversation with a friend about an issue – and he says – well, what can we do anyway! The politicians are all bought by the rich and corporations. We don’t have a chance. What do you say to him about why his involvement can make a difference?  Make up your own scenario! 16 | P a g e
  17. 17. 6. Putting our 99% story in action  If you hear a friend or neighbor share the story of the 1% (taxes on business are too high, we need to cut regulation, the deficit is the real problem) share our story of An America that Works for the 99%.  When you see an article in your paper that promotes the story of the 1% -- write a letter to the editor with our 99% story.  Call in to a talk radio show.  Meet with your Member of Congress and ask ‘which side are you on?”  Sign our Jobs for the 99% pledge to ask your elected officials to stand up to the 1% and deliver jobs for the 99%. (see next page)  Ask 9 friends and neighbors to sign our Jobs for the 99% pledge.  Share your 99% story with your Member of Congress (see postcard)  Share your 99% story with us at USAction.org/stories  Ask 9 friends and neighbors to share their stories with us and their member of Congress.  Ask 9 friends and neighbors to do this training together.  Take Action! with local Jobs for America Campaign, or in local/state fights, in your community  Occupy -- elected officials offices, fancy fundraisers, corporate headquarters, everywhere!  Occupy the Voting Booth! 17 | P a g e
  18. 18.  Jobs for the 99% Voter Pledge JOBS for the 99% Not Tax Cuts for the 1%YES! I want my elected officials to stand up for the interests of the 280Million Americans in the 99% and work to:  Create good jobs in America NOW! End those tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations that ship jobs overseas, and instead invest in creating jobs here and putting money in people’s pockets right now.  Make Wall Street and the ultra-rich pay their fair share. Millionaires, big corporations and Wall Street bankers should not pay a lower tax rate than teachers, nurses and secretaries.  Ensure security and opportunity for our families. Put families first by protecting Social Security Medicare, Medicaid. Give all our children a quality, affordable education, from Kindergarten through college.  Represent people, not CEO campaign contributors. End corporate control of our democracy and allow candidates to get elected by matching small contributions from the 99%. Signed ________________________________________________________________ Date _____________________ Together we can take back our government and our economy for the 99% www.USAction.org 18 | P a g e
  19. 19. 7. Send your 99% story and pledge to your elected officials! Dear Rep/Sen ____________________________________ We need jobs for the 99% -- not tax cuts for the 1%. Stand up for the interests of the 280 million Americans in the 99 percent and work to:  Create good jobs in America NOW! End tax breaks for corporations who send jobs overseas.  Make Wall Street and the wealthiest 1% pay their fair share in taxes.  Put family security & opportunity first by protecting Medicaid, Medicare and quality affordable education.  Represent people, not corporations. Add your personal message here! ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Name ______________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________ City/State _________________________________Zip________________ Email ________________________________ Phone_________________ 19 | P a g e
  20. 20. 8. Share your 99% story. One in ten Americans are out of work. But too many of our elected officials keep talking about what to cut and who to fire, not how to get Americans working again. And if Congress doesnt act soon - four million more Americans will lose the Unemployment Insurance benefits that are keeping their families above water. Share your 99% story about how the economic crisis has impacted your family. Together, we can focus our leaders attention on the simple fact: America works best when every American who wants a job is working. Visit us at USAction.org/stories Read our report Hardly Working: Stories from Un- and Under-Employed Americans at http://j.mp/HardlyWorkingReport. 20 | P a g e

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