— Robert Ferguson, 90, a World War II veteran (and an extended member of Amy Dudley’s family!) who well remembers the Depression, quoted in the Washington Post about the impact of the economic crisis on rural folks in West Virginia.
At ROP’s 2009 Rural Caucus and Strategy Session, many of you squeezed into a standing-room only workshop about the economic crisis. You shared your stories about how this crisis was affecting your communities and talked about ways to take collective action to respond. In what was by far the most well-attended and intense workshop of the Caucus, ROP heard y’all loud and clear: this crisis is hitting home and we want to do something about it!
ROP staff took that to heart, and put together an initial survey of potential campaign ideas which we took to Human Dignity Groups across the state for feedback. We asked you to consider a menu of options ranging from education and service to local organizing and legislative change. Some of you jumped in right away and started doing research on your local economies and financial institutions. You interviewed the CEOs of your local credit unions and began switching your money over from big banks to local institutions. You reached out to ROP to facilitate local conversations on the economy or to host ROP’s Caucus Keynote speaker Dan Leahy in your local community.
And then a month ago, ROP board members gathered at their May retreat on the beautiful Oregon coast and helped shape the final outlines of what a ROP campaign on the economy might look like.
Today we are excited to "officially" launch the ROP’s People’s Economy campaign!
We Must Build a People’s Economy!
Over the next year, ROP will be working with Human Dignity Groups and partner organizations throughout the state to create a broad movement for economic justice in rural Oregon. We’ll focus on three key areas – education, action, and policy change:
- We’ll envision a People’s Economy, facilitating dialogue that brings concrete information about the crisis and how we got here into focus alongside our own personal stories, and setting the course together what the Peoples Economy of the future will look like.
- We’ll fund our People’s Economy by encouraging investment in local wealth – including moving individuals’ and organizations’ money to our local banks and credit unions.
- And we’ll solidify our People’s Economy by mobilizing rural Oregonians to put grassroots pressure on our elected representatives in support of tax fairness, good budget decisions, corporate accountability and new ideas like Taxing the TARP subsidy to Oregon corporations and creating an Oregon State Bank.
Visit the People’s Economy page on our website to learn more about the campaign and how you and your Human Dignity Group can get involved!