Detroit's Agony, America's Choice
There are so many vacant lots in Detroit that serious plans are being made to start up family farming there. 90,000 vacant lots and homes boarded up. Detroit suffers record unemployment. Not one chain grocery store still does business in Detroit. Not one national chain retail store. Detroit residents travel to the suburbs to shop, spending
Catastrophic corporate trade policies -- embraced by both parties -- contributed directly to the bubble and bust economy that ended in the Great Recession. They contributed to the decline in America's middle class, as non-college-educated workers have lost ground since Reagan became president and conservative ideas held sway. Corporate trade, privatization, deregulation, cutting government investment, attacking unions, celebrating CEOs, "liberating" finance -- this toxic mix produced not simply the hollowing out of Detroit, but the hollowing out of America and now the Great Recession.
The recession has not yet shattered these illusions. A hopeful new president called on America to build a new foundation for its economy, but was obstructed every step of the way by conservatives in
The U.S. owns 60 percent of
America must choose. Do we stay wedded to the wrong ideas and cater to the powerful interests that have put us in the hole we are in or go another way?
That other way must be built from the bottom up, from people coming together to demand jobs and justice. Here labor is essential, and labor is stirring. In Detroit last weekend, in the great tradition of Dr.
This march will lead to others, and culminate on
We will march for jobs, for a plan to revive manufacturing in America, for investing in rebuilding vital infrastructure, for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and for putting people to work. We will march for justice, for one America, for ensuring that equal protection under the law and equal opportunity for all are not simply slogans etched on marble walls, but laws and practices embraced in daily life.
There is much talk about the "enthusiasm gap." As the poet
We can survive broken sidewalks and broken buildings. We cannot survive a collapse of spirit. In difficult times, you can't fight fate with fists or guns. You fight fate with faith and with action. Now, as we head into
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Detroit's Agony, America's Choice
(c) 2010 Jesse Jackson