Promoted -- GreyHawk.
Notes from Take Back American 2008 Conference
March 17-19, Washington DC
I apologize for, first, coming to this conference at the very last minute and thus rather unprepared, and second for not being the world’s best note taker, and third, for not being able to clean up my notes and get this posted yesterday, the first day. I am at the conference now, and one good thing the conference organizers, The Institute for America’s Future, did was to make sure the conference rooms and public areas of the hotel are blanketed with a wireless connection.
I must also mention that the staff at Press Registration were very gracious, and admitted me as a representative of epluribusmedia.org even though their deadline for press registration was a week past. Somehow, I just had not taken note of this conference, which is one of the most important gatherings of political progressives each year, before. Fortunately, WashingtonPost.com had a good story on Take Back American 2008 on Sunday, the day before the conference started. I also would like to note the rapid and helpful response of Cho and others at epluribusmedia.org when I contacted Cho by email on Sunday afternoon inquiring about the possibility of representing epluribusmedia.org.
Before I get to the panel, I will give a few general impressions. I was hoping to find a general sense of urgency from conference attendees about the general financial crises that have engulfed the U.S. since last summer, and are now seriously impacting the real economy. I found that sense of urgency only among a very small number of people. A worryingly large number of attendees still seem to focused almost exclusively on their particular area of concern, whether it be the environment, health care, or militarism. There is also a bit of a sense of weariness, as one panelist noted in a Q and A session, we have been spending a lot of time and effort the past seven years fighting the encroachments and outrages of the conservative movement in general and the Bush Administration in particular.
However, one significant event at the Conference occurred when Jack Layton, leader of Canada's New Democratic Party, called for a re-writing of NAFTA during his speech before the Conference luncheon. Layton is a current member of Parliament, representing the area of for Toronto. Provincial New Democratic Parties currently form the government in the province of Manitoba, and have previously formed government in British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon Territory. Layton’s call for reconsidering NAFTA is important because, in response to recent statements by Obama and Clinton, free-traders in the U.S. have insisted that there are no calls from U.S. trading partners for renegotiating NAFTA.