In Kansas City on June 23, IREHR co-sponsored a public forum on “The Global Crisis and the Fight for the Common Good.” The speakers were Kansas City organizer Mike M. Enriquez and Juli Highfill, a professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan.
Enriquez talked about recent Occupy protests in Kansas City, “They proved to us and countless others–the 99% – working and poor people –have real strength in their numbers and power in unity.” He also talked about the need for greater levels of organization and for increased attention to fighting racism. “In order to have a significant impact the movement of the 99% needs a number a things,” he said, “one, we’ve got to build our numbers; two, we’ve got to have educational and training programs; three, we have to devise new arguments to win the hearts and minds of a great majority of Americans; and four, perhaps most importantly, we have to address the racial divisions that are preventing us from creating a broad-based multi-racial movement of working and poor people.
Highfill, a long-time student of Spanish politics who had just returned from eight weeks in Madrid, talked about how the drive towards austerity had created the so-called debt crisis. The received wisdom that the debt crisis resulted in the drive towards austerity is wrong she said. And she presented the data to prove her point. Highfill also described the various strands of the social movements that are resisting the “downward spiral.” An article by Prof. Highfill accompanies this report on the forum.
The event was co-sponsored with KC99, an organizational outgrowth of the Occupy movement, and with the Social Responsibility Board of the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. IREHR board member Gina Chiala chaired the forum.