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No Class/Living Wage Meeting: 12:00 Noon, March 1st, 2014, B St. Community Center, 57 Birch St., Lewiston

Tue, Feb 4, 2014

HCCN


PLEASE PASS ON TO OTHERS IN YOUR GROUP OR AREA. THOSE IN OTHER PARTS OF MAINE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING A LIVING WAGE CAMPAIGN IN LEWISTON OR STARTING YOUR OWN IN YOUR COMMUNITY ARE URGED TO ATTEND THIS MEETING.

Next No-Class Meeting:  12:00 Noon, March 1st, 2014, B St. Community Center, 57 Birch St., Lewiston 

Agenda: 

1> Planning a $15.00 Minimum Wage Campaign.

2> Planning for International Women’s Day Event in Lewiston for March 8, 2014

3> New No Çlass Projects/Actions

4> Announcements

5> Set Next Meeting

Update on No Class: We have met in Lewiston several times and folks are getting interested in campaigns in support of working class and underpaid people in that area. We want to bring this message to other parts of Maine. Would you like to show “American Winter” or another film in your community? Or another program focusing on class/classism and economic inequality? If so, contact:
Larry Dansinger, (207) 525-7776 or rosc@psouth.net.
Summary of our last No Class program and what’s come out of it, from No Class member Chris McKinnon:
On Saturday, January 25th, 2014 No-Class sponsored a film and discussion at the Birch Street Community Center. The event was well attended and the discussion was high energy and lead to a decision that No-Class and others would organize to fight for economic justice.

A description of the film is posted on the AMERICAN WINTER website <http://www.americanwinterfilm.com/

American Winter
 is a documentary film that follows the personal stories of families struggling in the aftermath of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Years after the recession began, millions of families are struggling to meet their basic needs, and many formerly middle class families are finding themselves in financial crisis, and needing assistance for the first time in their lives.  Meanwhile, the social safety net that was created to help people in difficult times has been weakened by massive budget cuts, creating a perfect storm of greater need and fewer resources to help families in trouble. The film follows several families in Portland, Oregon in their daily struggle to keep their heads above water, while facing economic hardship, creating a firsthand view of Americans caught in today’s economic crisis.The film shows what has been happening to families across The United States, including evictions, homelessness, job loss and underemployment and low wages. It demonstrates the  harsh reality of hunger, deplorable living conditions, and overwhelming health care costs. The film American Winter aims to stimulate a “social action campaign that will focus on channeling the frustrations of struggling Americans into a movement for positive change, while also supporting legislators to pass bills that allow all Americans to have an opportunity to live a comfortable life and a chance at the American Dream.”

After viewing the film in Lewiston, many of those present decided to fight for gainful employment and a $15 per hour minimum wage. Ideas like a living wage and full employment were discussed. A consensus appeared to be building for this kind of struggle. The discussion following the film also revealed an interest in thinking through the details and complexities of crafting a program of action that would best serve the communities involved and the activists who would lead this fight for social justice. There was broad agreement amongst those present that the ongoing attacks against poor people by some local and state politicians and others must be challenged and defeated. The implication being that those present accepted the responsibility of fighting back against the dominant austerity agenda of the rich and powerful and fighting back against the idea that the poor are the one’s who should be made to sacrifice as a means of mending a broken economy.

It is in this context that we will meet on March 1st to develop a program of action. If the campaign is centered upon the struggle for a $15 per hour minimum wage that does not mean that other key social issue can not be included. Indeed, people should come to the meeting prepared to discuss strategy and tactics but also to assert what they believe to be the most important issues to focus on for themselves and/or for their families, and communities.

It is hoped that No-Class members from other parts of the state will find a way to engage in this discussion and in this emerging struggle for social justice.

Here are some links that may be helpful and suggestive about how we move ahead..

http://15now.org/
Across the country low-wage workers are rising up, protesting, and striking for a $15/hour minimum wage. In Seattle the movement is poised in 2014 to be the first major U.S. city to win $15. Voters in SeaTac, a small city outside Seattle, recently passed a ballot initiative for $15. A leader in the Fight for $15 in Seattle, Kshama Sawant, shocked the corporate elite by winning a City Council seat in Seattle as a Socialist Alternative candidate. Newly elected Mayor Ed Murray has also declared his support for $15.

See the list of endorsers for the $15 Now Campaign..  http://15now.org/endorsers/

Seattle march for Martin Luther King and $15 minimum wage
http://www.examiner.com/article/seattlelites-march-for-martin-luther-king-and-15-minimum-wage

February 15th is set for a national day of action for the $15 Now Campaign. If there is interest in doing something on that day in Lewiston, or elsewhere in the State flyers and other materials can be found at...  http://15now.org/ 

Solidarity,

Chris McKinnon

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