Film Synopsis: Noam Chomsky unpacks the principles that have brought us to the crossroads of historically unprecedented inequality - tracing a half-century of policies designed to favor the most wealthy at the expense of the majority - while also looking back on his own life of activism and political participation. He provides a penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time - the death of the middle class, and swan song of a functioning democracy. A potent reminder that power ultimately rests in the hands of the governed, REQUIEM is required viewing for all who maintain hope in a shared stake in the future.
Film Website - HERE and Trailer - HERE
Announcements and Handout Sheet
* Future FFF Programs, Table Information, Donations, Upcoming Events, etc.
* Dr. Chuck Pennacchio, Associate Professor of Liberal Arts, University of the Arts in Phila.
What is the status of the American Dream today?
* Quote - Justice Brandeis on Democracy and Extreme Economic Inequality
* Chart on economic equality - 1947 to 1979
* Chart on economic inequality - 1980 to 2014
* Video - Wealth Inequality Explained in 2 Minutes
* View the Requiem for the American Dream (Netflix)
Discussion with Dr. Chuck Pennacchio
* Handout - 10 Principles for Concentration of Wealth and Power
* How do we put the power back in the hands of the people?
* Video - I Trust You (3)
* Video - We Have All Won An Oligarchy and Lost A Democracy with Thom Hartmann (6)
* Video - Noam Chomsky - A Synopsis of Requiem for the American Dream (15)
Stay Informed and Get Involved:
* Article - Progressives Are the New Silent Majority
* Article and Chart - The American Dream, Quantified at Last
* Article - When Will Progressives Make Democracy Reform a Top Priority?
* Map of Social Progressive Index Ratings (click on country for ratings)
* Report - Sate of the Dream 2017
January 2016 - Dream On
Film Synopsis: Dream On investigates the perilous state of the American Dream after decades of rising income inequality and declining economic mobility. In an epic road trip, political comedian John Fugelsang retraces the journey of Alexis de Tocqueville, whose study of our your country in 1831 came to define America as a place where anyone, of any background, could climb the ladder of economic opportunity. Following in the Frenchman's footsteps, Fugelsang asks where the optimistic spirit of the American Dream that Tocqueville popularized is alive and well in the twenty-first century, or whether George Carlin was right when he famously quipped, "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."
Dream On is currently playing at various film festivals across the country and will air on PBS during the run-up to the election in 2016. The goal of the filmmakers is to galvanize audiences to envision a revitalized American Dream and to use the film to spark further discussion and debate about how to achieve it.
Film Website - HERE! Film Trailer - HERE!
1. Welcome and Introduction
* Our theme for the year is "Forward Together: Problems and Possibilities." This presidential election year of 2016 is a good time to consider where we are as a country and where we should be going. The list on the back of the handout has some ideas about the possibilities for our future consideration.
2. Tonight's film is 'Dream On.' It looks at the state of the state of the American Dream in the United States today. Raise your hand if you think the American Dream is alive and well today. Please consider the following questions as you watch:
* What does the American Dream mean to you?
* If the American Dream is slipping away, why is it slipping away and what can we do to get it back?
3. Show the film 'Dream On' and then discuss the questions and images below!
* Did we ever have the American Dream? Image - HERE!
* What does the American Dream mean to you? Images - HERE and HERE and HERE!
* What do we need to do to keep the American Dream from slipping away?
* Reminder to consider the list on the back of your handout.
4. Close with the Video - America the Possible - HERE! (6)
* Wealth Inequality - HERE! (6)
* Is the American Dream Still Alive - HERE! (7)
* Visualizing a Plenitude Economy - HERE! (5)
Stay Informed and Get Involved
* Article - Who Still Believes in the American Dream? - HERE!
* Book - The Betrayal of the American Dream by Barlett and Steele
* Book - America the Possible: A Manifesto for a New Economy by James Gustave Speth
* Videos with Barlett and Steele on Democracy Now - HERE (7) - HERE! (12)
* Website - What Went Wrong - HERE!
* Website - Center for the New American Dream - HERE!
* Website - Reclaim the American Dream - HERE!
* Website - Stand Up 4 Democracy - HERE!
January 2015 - "I AM"
"I AM is thought-provoking and soul-enhancing story of filmmaker Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty) who after a cycling accident awakens to his prior life of excess and greed. He investigates how he, and we as humans, can transform the way we connect with others and the natural world.
Film Trailer: - HERE! Film Website: - HERE!
* Film - I AM (DVD) (78)
* What's Possible - HERE (4)
"I AM" Gems:
* It matters what you believe - if you believe in universal connectivity, you will tend to behave one way - if not you will behave another.
* The story of the native tribe is us! ( strongest hunter keeping his spoils, others following, elders affirming, collective complacency to the needs of the weak, old, etc. )
* Living things function better in a state of empathy, compassion, and love, rather than in a state of separation.
* Cultures that survive: see accumulation of private property beyond one's need as mental illness
* Nothing in nature takes more than it needs - when it does, it becomes a cancer and destroys itself
* Every person has the "power of one.
* What is the Genuine Progress Indicator - HERE! (7)
* Steady State: Human Behavior - HERE! (9)
* The Story of Solutions - HERE (9)
* Wealth Inequality in America - HERE! (6)
* TED talk on Localizing not Globalizing by Helena Norberg-Hodge (18) - HERE!
* TED talk on The Science of Greed (17) - HERE!
* TED talk on How Economic Inequality Harms Societies (17) - HERE!
* Paul Hawkins on Sustainability - HERE! (21)
Ideas to Stay Informed, Get Involved, and Take Action!
Stay Informed: Articles and Books
* Article - Genuine Progress Indicator Information - HERE!
* Article - Our Human Nature - HERE!
* Article - Grotesque inequality is not a natural part of being human! - HERE!
* Article - New Study Suggests That Human are Not Naturally Violent! - HERE!
* Book - Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril - HERE!
* Book - Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite
Resources - HERE! Video - HERE! (18)
* Book - Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference - HERE!
* Book - Supply Shock: Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution,
Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train - HERE!
* Book - Agenda for a New Economy - HERE!
Get Involved: Websites of groups that support the common good!
* Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy - HERE!
* Moral Ground - HERE!
* Genuine Progress Indicator - HERE!
* Institute for Policy Studies - HERE!
* New Economy Working Group - HERE!
* United for a Fair Economy - HERE!
* Issue One: Fix Democracy First - HERE!
* Fair Vote: The Center for Voting and Democracy - HERE!
* Public Citizen: Protecting Health, Safety, and Democracy - HERE!
* Inequality.Org - HERE!
Take Action: Things you can do!
1. Click on Moral Ground website (HERE) to read and reflect on the questions asked!
2. Watch The Story of Solutions (HERE) (9) for ideas on game-changing solutions for moving our economy in a more sustainable and just direction.
3, Read and support the ideas in the book "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy" by Steven Hill. (HERE)
4. Use the info on the "Contact Your Elected Officials" page to let them know what you want them to support or oppose. (oppose TPP would be a place to start)
January 2014 - "The Economics of Happiness"
Film Synopsis: This film describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, an unholy alliance of governments and big business continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance - and far from the old institutions of power, they're starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm - an economics of localization. Click HERE for the full synopsis.
Film trailer -click HERE!
Film website - click HERE! It has a film study guide, other 'films for change' ideas, videos from the 2013 Conference, information about the 2014 Conference, and a way to rent and watch the full video .
Impact of Globalization:
1. Makes us unhappy 5. Destroys Livelihoods
2. Breeds Insecurity 6. Increases Conflict
3. Wastes Natural Resources 7. Is Built on Hand-outs to Big Business
4. Accelerates Climate Change 8. Is Based on False Accounting
Quotes from the film:
"In the end the only power these institutions of empire or plutocracy have are the power we as citizens yield to them...they remain in power because we accept their legitimacy. And if we withdraw that legitimacy, they lose their power over us. We shall have to raise our voices and unite ourselves and help those people who are telling the truth."
"I think we need to start imagining an economy that isn't obsessed with economic growth. One whose purpose is not the maximum profits but to provide high quality, satisfying jobs, producing goods and services that people really need."
"We need to take into account our human, community, and natural wealth and actually count the full social, environmental, and economic benefits and costs. Only then will we see that goods shipped from 10,000 miles away are more expensive than goods produced locally. The answer is economic localization."
"Localization needs the removal of fiscal and other supports that currently favor giant transnational corporations and banks. Plus we need to reduce dependence of export markets in favor of production for local needs. (often confused with isolationism, protection, the elimination of trade)"
"We should focus on 3 key mechanisms government can use to shape the economy: what we choose to regulate through trade treaties, what we choose to tax, and what we choose to subsidize."
Ideas to Stay Informed, Get Involved, and Take Action on this issue!
Bills and Petitions to support or oppose and other action ideas:
1. Bring Globalization Under Control Petition - HERE!
2. Support a No vote on TPP Fast Track Petition - HERE!
3. Support Petition to Repeal NAFTA -HERE!
Websites: Google the following groups that are active on this issue!
The Economics of Happiness - HERE!
Mid Atlantic Transition Hub - HERE!
Transition Network - HERE!
Articles, Videos, Books:
* Article - "Globalization Is Killing the Globe: Return to Local Economies" -
* Article - "Inequality: Government Is a Perp, Not a Bystander" - HERE!
* Article - "Is Cheap Food Really Cheap? The Hidden Cost of Industrial Food" - HERE!