Ending the Disgrace Through Widespread Worker Ownership

Recombined excerpts from Democratic Party Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders, Speech to Supporters, on Thursday, June 16th, 2016, with comments by Michael A. Peck, 1worker1vote.org co-founder and executive director:

  • “Real change never takes place from the top down, or in the living rooms of wealthy campaign contributors. It always occurs from the bottom on up – when tens of millions of people say “enough is enough” and become engaged in the fight for justice.”
  • “This campaign has never been about any single candidate. It is always about transforming America.”
  • “It is about ending a campaign finance system which is corrupt and allows billionaires to buy elections… Together, 2.7 million people made over 8 million individual contributions to our campaign – more contributions at this point than any campaign in American history. Amazingly, the bulk of those contributions came from low-income and working people whose donations averaged $27 apiece. In an unprecedented way, we showed the world that we could run a strong national campaign without being dependent on the big-money interests whose greed has done so much to damage our country.”
  • “It is about ending the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality that we are experiencing where almost all new wealth and income goes to the people on top, where the 20 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million.”
  • “It is about creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace of native Americans who live on the Pine Ridge, South Dakota, reservation having a life expectancy lower than many third-world countries.”
  • “It is about ending the incredible despair that exists in many parts of this country where – as a result of unemployment and low wages, suicide, drugs and alcohol – millions of Americans are now dying, in an ahistorical way, at a younger age than their parents.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace of having the highest level of childhood poverty of almost any major country on earth and having public school systems in inner cities that are totally failing our children – where kids now stand a greater chance of ending up in jail than ending up with a college degree.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace that millions of undocumented people in this country continue to live in fear and are exploited every day on their jobs because they have no legal rights.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace of tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable deaths because they either lack health insurance, have high deductibles or cannot afford the outrageously high cost of the prescription drugs they need.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace of hundreds of thousands of bright young people unable to go to college because their families are poor or working class, while millions more struggle with suffocating levels of student debt.”
  • “It is about ending the pain of a young single mother in Nevada, in tears, telling me that she doesn’t know how she and her daughter can make it on $10.45 an hour. And the reality that today millions of our fellow Americans are working at starvation wages.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace of a mother in Flint, Michigan, telling me what has happened to the intellectual development of her child as a result of lead in the water in that city, of many thousands of homes in California and other communities unable to drink the polluted water that comes out of their faucets… In America. In the year 2016. In a nation whose infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace that too many veterans still sleep out on the streets, that homelessness is increasing and that tens of millions of Americans, because of a lack of affordable housing, are paying 40, 50 percent or more of their limited incomes to put a roof over their heads.”
  • “It is about ending the disgrace that, in a given year, corporations making billions in profit avoid paying a nickel in taxes because they stash their money in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.”
  • “We must end the disgrace of having more people in jail than any other country on earth and move toward real criminal justice reform at the federal, state and local levels.”

Ending the Disgrace means “that when we talk about growing our economy and creating jobs, we need great business people who can produce and distribute the products and services we need in a way that respects their employees and the environment.”

Ending the Disgrace means that we as a determined people take the steps to level the playing field to empower Americans from all corners of the country and all walks to life so that they may have the right and opportunities to choose to self-recreate into great business people. Our vision is that America’s rising worker-owners will produce and distribute the products and services they own and manage in their democratic workplaces within solidarity-infused ecosystems that interconnect local, living communities and economies. Supporting more inclusive worker ownership guarantees ultimate respect for employees and the environment.

Our vision is that Ending the Disgrace means that a nation of immigrants can invent, build, measure, prove, replicate and scale hybrid workplace models that showcase self-fulfilling, “virtuous cycle” metrics to combat and defeat all structural inequalities of opportunity, mobility and wealth aggregation.

Our vision is that America’s disgracefully tilted and unequal, so-called “free market” must self-transform to become truly free for all Americans instead of just benefitting an overtly and overly privileged few. This organic, bottom-up transformation will occur through a return to widespread and deepened worker ownership practices. Workplace freedom will mean the individual right to choose to share instead of being involuntarily shared, an equal right to vote, a voice that is heard and a seat at every decision-making table to field competitive and profitable industries where worker-owners get to decide how to align their values with how their profits are distributed.

Our vision is that one worker, one vote workplace ownership must return center ring as the ineluctable and original American system condition of a country by, for and with its people.

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” – Senator Edward M. Kennedy – August 12, 1980