Wednesday, April 13, 2011

If We could be Heroes, Just for one Day...108 Americans star in "16 Corporations"

108 Americans star in "16 Corporations" video — join us to help People power stand up to Corporate power

by Eric Byler
There are 108 people in this video.  If you agree with us that we cannot allow 16 international corporations to use their immense wealth to manipulate our government and avoid paying their fair share in taxes, please use the tools you have at your disposal — your social network — to share this video and make the truth go viral.  If you want to be in our next video, CLICK HERE.
If you are willing to organize an action to hand out fact sheets at the Post Office near you on Tax Day April 18,CLICK HERE to join me and Annabel Park on a 5 PM ET strategy call tomorrow (Thusday April 14th), and CLICK HERE for more info.
We may not have our own news channel, but We the People, using our intersecting spheres of influence, can challenge the corporately-generated narrative about how our tax dollars should be spent.  We believe our money should be invested in America's future. They believe our money should be spent on tax breaks for the wealthy and tax giveaways for corporations. 
The disproven framework by which the corporate agenda is sold to partisan-minded voters is called trickle-down economics: the notion that if enough of our tax dollars are given to the wealthy, some of them will come back to us in the form of jobs and charitable donations.  It was a theory.  We tried it.  But look at the results.  Below is an excerpt from the Tipping Point essay I wrote with Annabel on Feb. 25th:
It's the Inequality, Stupid.  To drive home the point about the economic inequality in America, Dave Gilson and Carolyn Perot put together this Mother Jones piece with 5 powerful graphics illustrating the fact that 99% of Americans have been left in the dust over 30 years by the wealthiest 1%.
This graphic should become the symbol of an historic democracy movement with many names and no identifiable leader.    We have a political system that benefits people with money. Blinded by a false paradigm of left vs. right, we focus our anger at one another, instead of the underlying threat to our republic: the corruption of our government by endless cash and those who wield it.  
Much has been said about "too big to fail" banks and the massive, recurring bailouts ensured by our current banking system.  Prof. Lawrence Lessigand others have anguished over the fact that we have yet to correct this system, calling it, "the dumbest form of socialism ever produced by man: where we socialize the risk, but privatize the benefit."  And Matt Taibbi wrote inRolling Stone Magazine, "This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth — and nobody went to jail."  Terrified that this injustice would inspire a movement to change all of that, corporate interests including the Koch Brothers spent billions in 2009 and 2010 on misinformation campaigns and political theater designed to turn the resulting Great Recession into a weapon to divide us rather than the unifying wake-up call it was destined to be.  Now, potentially, this tactic will backfire, and the wake-up call so feared by the ruling elite will sweep the nation with double the force.
  • CLICK HERE to see the research behind the video above, much of it provided by Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project.
  • CLICK HERE for three effective ways to share the video.  
The style of the video was inspired by the success of Wesleyan University's "I have sex" / Planned Parenthood video, which has been viewed over 300,000 times. The video inspired a series of similar videos from across the country and around the world. The question Annabel and I posed to these students on March 25th was,"How can People Power stand up to Corporate Power?"  Their answer: a catchy idea, a notebook, some magic markers, and a camera.  A few dozen 20-year-olds used web tools that are free for anyone to use, spent zero money,and contributed to the defeat of a corporately-funded, ideological assault on women's rights and public health. 
Our web series is called "Survivor: Trickle-Down Economics" and it's designed to give ordinary Americans (who can't afford to purchase a news channel or a "grassroots" movement) the opportunity to speak out collectively using video, digital photos, or by just picking up the phone.  The video above is the third episode of the series. See the first two HERE.
It was really a lot of fun shooting in Pittsburgh PA, Kalamazoo MI, St. Michaels MD, Silver Spring MD, and Washington DC. 
I found it amazing how receptive people were to this message. In fact, they were finishing my sentences for me. The American people are ready to stand up and fight for their future.  It doesn't matter what mainstream media covers or doesn't cover.  In all my travels during the past 2 weeks, just about everyone I talked to had heard about the General Electric and Bank of America tax controversies, none of them were happy about it, and none were surprised when I said these were only two of many examples. Best of all, when offered the opportunity to contribute to the video project, they did so with pride and enthusiasm, thankful to be offered a way to make their voices heard. That's the sort of thing I live for.
Whether or not it comes to pass that corporately-generated media does justice to this story, the narrative is already shifting. Thanks to emerging media tools, We the People have the means and the knowledge to make it change for good. And when that happens, all the expensive TV advertising in the world will not be able to reverse the tide.

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