99% Spring comes to Louisville on Sunday [Opinion: The Arena]

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99% Spring comes to Louisville on Sunday [Opinion: The Arena]

What: 99% Spring Direct Action Training

When: Sunday, April 15th, 10:00 - 5:00 PM

Where: 3813 Taylor Blvd., Louisville, KY 40215

Louisville residents will gather on Sunday, April 15th to take part in an unprecedented week-long nationwide progressive mobilization, called 99% Spring, to take back the country for the 99%.

At the meeting, the activists will be trained in non-violent direct action and will be connected with others in their community to take back Louisville for the 99%. The event in Louisville is part of a week-long mobilization that will train more than 100,000 activists nationwide.
99% Spring will build off major progressive actions last year including the protests in Wisconsin for worker rights, the actions outside the White House to stop the Keystone Pipeline, Occupy Wall Street and the Move Your Money campaign. The event in Louisville will be one of nearly a thousand trainings like it going on across the country.

In Louisville, the training will bring concerned citizens from all walks of life together with members of organizations with long histories of working for economic and social justice including MoveOn.org, Jobs with Justice, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, the Teamsters, 350.org, the Fairness Campaign, Women in Transition, Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political Oppression, the AFL-CIO, the Louisville Peace Action Committee, Louisville Interfaith Paths to Peace, the ACLU, the UFCW, and many more.

Organizers of the 99% Spring contend that virtually all aspects of our economy and government have been taken over by "the 1%", a tiny minority of ultra-rich and powerful people who have corrupted our democratic processes to funnel ever-more wealth and power to themselves. While the 1% may not necessarily "target" the other 99%, it simply isn't concerned with their wellbeing and views them as collateral damage.

In part, this control over government is evidenced by over a generation of deep tax cuts for the most wealthy that have been paired with deep cuts to social services, infrastructure investment, education, and a host of protections for everyday Americans. But equally important is the control the 1% has gained over the regulatory process. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been rendered largely impotent. The Federal Trade Commission no longer protects consumers and markets from decreasing competition brought about by huge corporate mergers.

Policy disputes have come to be driven by lobbyists from competing industries, while the interests of consumers go unheard. Examples of the corruption of government from being of, for, and by the people, to being of, for, and by the rich stretch on without end. Pharmaceuticals that are invented here and manufactured here, are sold here for many times more than they are sold anywhere else in the world. The mobile phone industry has used the power of government to rig the US market so that consumers here pay far more, for less capability, than people in Europe or Asia. Consumers are forced to buy more gasoline than they should because corporations have managed to keep US standards for fuel economy lower than elsewhere. The food industry has all but eliminated meaningful safety inspections and mini-epidemics of poisonous food that once were shocking to the point of outrage have become commonplace.

​All of these things, and much more, provide the impetus for the 99% Spring movement, as it truly is an effort to focus the energy and power of our government back onto the needs and concerns of everyday people, even when that means opposing the desires of the American aristocracy.

"​Things never should have been allowed to get to this point." is how an open letter from the 99% Spring organizers begins. While that is certainly true, the hope of the organizers is that the 99% of us who don't have our own lobbyists on Capitol Hill will rise up to defend themselves, and to change the direction of our nation for the better.

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Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions). 

​Full Disclosure: The author is a volunteer organizer for MoveOn.org, one of the organizations promoting the 99% Spring.