Some Testimonials and Reactions to the Global Teach-In
Frank Goldsmith, New York, New York, United States
The issue of “government” was the 500 pounder on the Global Teach-in. Many commentators made either direct or indirect reference to the role of “government” in our current paradigm. The ambivalence is clear. The “State” as we know it has been captured by global corporate and financial interests. There is no disagreement with that; the extent of the hijacking is probably the only area of controversy.
One speaker referred to the Soviet Union as a historic example of the failure of government to produce for the country. While there was not a direct reference to the following, it certainly filled the “back story.” That is, the failure of Social Democratic governments of Tony Blair and Brown in the UK; the Spanish and Portuguese Social Democratic Governments and most dramatically the Papandreou PASOK Social Democratic government failure of Greece. It would be hard to leave out the failure of the German and French Socialist and Social Democratic Governments and the ushering in of the Merkel and Sarkozy conservative governments. This also happened as we know in Sweden, well documented by Jonathan Michael Feldman. The failure of the U.S. Democratic Party to use its landslide 2008 victory [including state governments] to enact fiscal and monetary policy to reverse the Wall Street disaster has been documented by Joe Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and many other liberal economists and commentators. They decried the direct and inter-relationships between federal administrators and regulators with Wall Street scofflaws.
There is lots of blaming and name calling to go around. The issue is how does the working class, its trade unions and reliable political party affiliations turn this grave world-wide, global crisis around? Neo-Liberal economic and anti-union demands from Brussels, Munich to Wall Street as they try to Greed their way out of the International Economic and Financial Capitalist Crisis IS NOT OVER.
We have a lot of work to do. This Global Teach-in is a good first step in that direction.
Frank Goldsmith works at Local 100, Transport Workers Union.
Bruce Nixon, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
I spoke from the London School of Economics in London. My work has evolved over the years: working in several large companies in human resources, strategic leadership development, internal consulting; and latterly my own independent consultancy Creating Better Workplaces. I now describe myself as a veteran change agent, author,writer, speaker, facilitator and activist. I worked briefly in Los Angeles, then London, five years in Jamaica, and in the City. I have travelled widely, including studying in Cuba and India, and I have wide interests. I live just outside London in Berkhamsted where I am a founding member of our Transition Town. I graduated from Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. I have published five books and several hundred articles about my work and global issues. I support many think-and-act tanks including the New Economics Foundation (nef), World Development Movement (WDM), Compass, Unlock Democracy, Garden Organic, GM Freeze and Soil Association.
The Global Teach-In was inspiring. I was immensely encouraged to hear about the many initiatives and incisive viewpoints from all over the world. The number of community initiatives all over the USA was a revelation. We don’t get that much good news in the media. Humanity faces the biggest challenge in known history – climate change, peak everything and growing destruction of the resources on which all life depends. We are confronted with massive resistance to implementing the changes urgently needed to avoid catastrophe. Occupy is an important part of growing global up-rising against domination by big money, big co, undemocratic politics and government and greed. It is not just protest. Like the Transition Town movement, it is positive grass roots action by courageous individuals and communities. We see the formation of a global consensus about what needs to be radically changed and what is to be done. At the root of it is a desire for human rights and an economy whose objective is the well being of all including all life.