Poor People’s Campaign Policy Webinar #5: Militarism and the War Economy

This is a transcription, lightly edited, of the Poor People’s Campaign Monthly Policy webinar series. These calls are open to the Campaign’s state committees and partners and serve as a space for discussion on our Moral Agenda, how our demands are playing out on the ground, and analysis on key themes of our Campaign. In February 2020, the PPC Policy Call focused on the theme of militarism and the war economy.

Lindsay Koshgarian from the National Priorities Project presented, along with other leaders from the Campaign. Her presentation is also available here as part of this compilation of resources.

Shailly Gupta Barnes (SB):

This month our policy call is focused on militarism and the war economy, as well as what an anti-war movement needs to look like to confront these forces of violence, and why it also needs to be a movement to end poverty, racism, and ecological devastation and the climate crisis we are facing all at the same time. If anyone saw the State of the Union last night, there were several disturbing and false statements made about our economy and war…and just the general building up of the narrative that a strong military makes us stronger. I think what President Trump said was, “Our military has unmatched power anywhere in the world” and that what our military is doing is securing freedom in Venezuela, Iran, and elsewhere.

Now these falsehoods didn’t start with Trump they go back to the…first chapter of US history and the massacre and violence against indigenous people. Tonight, we are going to hear from several people on the truth about our military and military spending and militarism and what we need to do to challenge all of these.

We’ll hear from Lindsay Koshgarian from the National Priorities Project and from several state leaders who have been in discussions around this area of work. And there will, as always, be time for discussion and questions. We do have a packed agenda, so we’ve asked the people who are presenting on the call to please stick within our time limits that we’ve suggested. If you have questions, put them in the chat, and we’ll do our best to answer them–if not on this call tonight, then in further correspondence and emails and other opportunities we’ll have to engage in this important subject.

Before we turn it over to Lindsay, however, I wanted to ask Trini Rodriguez from California to say a few words about that first chapter of violence and militarism.

Trini Rodriguez (CA) on the Impact of Militarism on Indigenous People

TR: Thank you for that invitation, because I do think that when it comes to the policy violence which is systemic, it has its root and it’s beginning, as we said, in the way that this country was founded. We all know of the massacres and the violence that was committed to try to displace the indigenous peoples from their lands because, of course, that was one resource that was going to make the US the huge power that it is. But I also feel that when we look at why it’s so critical to look at the ways in which these policies continue today, hen we look at the way everything was done to get indigenous peoples off their lands, it’s so connected to their culture and to how they lived in harmony, which is something we have to get back to. We know that there was a full force trying to make sure that not only people were taken off their land, but then their children were taken away. They couldn’t learn from their elders the way that knowledge was passed down in their cultures. We know that this took place in many, many forms, this separation.

What indigenous cultures are known for is making sure that we honor the connections, the original instructions that we were given, which is that we have connection to the land, we have connection to each other, we have connection to ourselves, we have connection to the divine. And unfortunately, that’s the heart that was violated when the onslaughts against the indigenous peoples took place and continue to take place.

Now what we see is that the kind of traumatization that results, generation after generation. We already know that indigenous peoples are among the most impoverished in the country, whether they are on the reservation or off the reservation, and that their history and their experience has made for a very stressful relationship between organizations or government…It’s so important for us to understand how to address that in a way to make sure we have the full participation of indigenous peoples because they are the first impacted, the most impacted when it comes to poverty and racism and militarism and so forth.

And now in our area, for instance, there’s an attempt to try to establish a detention center for minors who have been separated from their families….and its had a whole groundswell of activity against it because we know that the history of taking away lands from indigenous people laid the basis for taking away – warring and taking away – land from Mexico. And we know we have been second-class citizens ever since. It’s so important to keep that in mind, the importance of how this traumatization and impoverishment started with the indigenous peoples.

SB: Thank you. Thank you, Trini for this reminder. You know, we, in this current Campaign have tried to learn from the previous Poor People’s Campaign in 1968 and the challenges and sometimes missteps that were made when building relationships with indigenous people so we really appreciate your sharing with us this history and continuing to help us learn from that as we build this Campaign together. Because, in fact, if we don’t understand our history, then we are doomed to make mistakes again. So thank you.

TR: Just one more thing. I think when we look at it in a systematic way, really the importance of separating a system of a way of life to make way for one that was anti-human, anti-species, ani-earth, anti-everything – that’s why it’s so important to look at the indigenous model. Not that we are going to be able to go back, but to look to some of the tenets….because, if not, we won’t be doing systemic work.

SB: Yes, it indicates the kind of movement we need to build, the vision forward.

We’re going to now hear from a couple more people, and I think we’ll have time for more questions from the participants on the call. Lindsay Koshgarian is the director of the National Priorities Project, and we’ve worked very closely developing the Poor People’s Campaign Moral Budget: Everybody Has a Right to Live!. She’s an expert on the military budget and the history of military spending, but also the broader effects of the war economy. I want to welcome Lindsay to share with us just what we’re looking at today and where that came from and maybe help us understand what direction we need to take from here.

Lindsay Koshgarian on Military Spending

LK: Thanks, Shailly. I’m Lindsay Koshgarian. I run the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, and we look at the federal budget. The federal budget is $12 trillion, that’s twelve zeros, and we look at where we spend that money and what that says about our priorities and morals and values as a nation and what we can do to change the budget so that it better reflects our true morals and our highest values.

So, I’m going to talk about military spending in the federal budget, not just spending strictly on the military. The way that we usually talk about this is as militarism broadly defined. We’re talking about the U.S. armed forces, we are talking about nuclear weapons, but we’re also talking about all of the forms of militarism that our government pays for. We’re talking about mass incarceration and the the school to prison pipeline. We’re talking about the militarization of the border and immigration and deportation raids. So all of these are forms of government-sponsored violence. And all of them are things that our federal budget supports.

I want to thank Trini for her explanation of this. I’m showing a slide with a big sign that says, “This is Indian Land.” That is both an acknowledgement of the fact that we all are, in fact, on Indian land. It is also an acknowledgement from our nation’s earliest founding there was a militarization of this land. Our earliest wars, the earliest engagements for the United States military, the vast majority of them were all about seizing territory and indigenous land. That militarization has gone on for a very long time.

Discretionary Spending

This is my most boring budget slide. I’m going to talk mostly today about the discretionary budget, which is a portion of the federal budget. The portion that I’m not talking about is the portion that includes social security and medicare and medicaid, because the government sets those spending levels in a different way. So the process for how they set the rules for those programs doesn’t interact with the militarized spending that I’m going to be talking about today. The spending that I’m talking about, discretionary spending, includes the Pentagon and military. It includes law enforcement, it includes education and transportation. Lots of spending on housing and veterans’ benefits, science. This slide shows where that pot of money goes and it’s about $1.3 trillion. And more than half of it is for the military.

This big blue chunk here is our military spending. It takes up more than half of the discretionary budget. This is not a new situation. This is not a Trump situation. This is a situation that has been this way for a very, very long time. This pie chart is how I usually show it.

This next one is the same numbers, just shown in a different way. Just so you can see the scale of what this really looks like. This big, big, big blue bar, the tallest one on the far left, that’s our military spending. And then all of those stubby bars going along the side next to it are our spending on housing and normal operations of our government: housing, veterans’ benefits, education, healthcare that doesn’t include Medicare or Medicaid, international affairs (which are foreign affairs and diplomacy), energy and environment, transportation, science. All of these things are funded at a far lower level than the military. And, in large part, it’s because we are putting all of our resources toward the military and we are not prioritizing these other things.

Increasing Military Spending

This is one more way of looking at this. The orange line is our military spending and the blue line is our spending on anti-poverty programs, which includes housing programs and education, most of the funding that goes to public schools. It includes job training programs and public health and clinics. All of these things are, as you can see, far lower. This is a chart going back to 1976, so it’s been this way for a very long time.

Now, this is going back even further, just looking at military spending. The thing that you’ll notice if you’re looking at this chart, or the thing that I want you to take away from this, is that you can see the blue parts are our wars. You can see on the red lines there’s a spike with every war. It makes sense our spending goes up when we’re at war. What you’ll notice, if you look closely is that the spending goes back down after a war, but it never goes way back down to where it was. So every time we’re in a war, we ramp up our spending much, much higher. And then when the war ends, we bring the spending down part of the way. What that means is that, over the long term, and this chart goes back to 1940, we’re constantly spending more…and it just kind of keeps snowballing.

Now this is what happens if you look at both the military budget and start to add in some of those other things I talked about. The blue portion is the Department of Defense. You can add interest, our war debt, you can add the spending on veterans that wouldn’t be necessary if we weren’t sending people to war and bringing them back wounded and traumatized. You can see Homeland Security, which includes much of the apparatus of both deportations and border control and mass incarceration, and nuclear weapons, all of these things. If you add it all up, you get very close to $1 trillion for all of these things together, which is a huge portion of our budget. It really just doesn’t leave money for us to do other things.

The Cost of Mass Incarceration

This one shows how much more we’re spending over time on federal prisons. We are spending 7 times as much as we were in 1976 on prisons federally. That doesn’t even include state prisons, which are the vast majority of prisons. This is adjusted for inflation for anyone aware that dollars typically go up over time, but we’ve incorporated more policies that have led to the mass incarceration that we see today. This is a result of the policies that have been made over the last few decades.

This is the cost of mass incarceration in 2017, and what I want to call your attention to is this pie chart. You can see corrections agencies and policing is a huge part of the cost of mass incarceration, but I want to call your attention to this little orange sliver, which is indigent defense. That’s the only part of this pie that goes toward not putting people in prison. The rest of it is all serving that apparatus of mass incarceration.

And then on immigration, this is a similar chart to the one I showed for our prison system, but this one is on border control and ICE….Again, you can see that we are spending far more than a few decades ago, because of policy decisions that we’ve made as a country…And this is not a new thing. This is not a Trump thing. This has been this way for a very long time.

Redirecting the Budget

One of the things we emphasize in doing the Moral Budget is how we could afford things we need to do: how we could afford to end poverty, to end racism, to end environmental degradation, if we weren’t spending all this money on militarism. This is some of the ways we could cut that spending and ways we could spend it on other things.

We could cut back on spending the $14 billion on ICE and border patrol. We could cut a large portion of the $179 billion we spend on mass incarceration every year. Those are already a quite significant sum of money, and that’s not even talking yet about the Pentagon and the actual military.

Of course, there are reasons why we haven’t already done this. One of the reasons is that there are people who profit from this system. Those people have very strong interests in keeping it the way it is. We know that in some communities these things are seen as job creators. That’s also a real problem that we contend with when we try to cut militarized parts of the economy and the war economy.

Now this is looking at the Department of Defense budget to see, again, the capacity for people to profit from this system. The reality is that more than half of the 2018 Department of Defense budget went to contractors. More than half of it…and clearly there’s a system of profit in place here. When you look at this chart it’s hard to buy the lines that we’re sold that we need this budget and we need this military for our safety. We would, in fact, be a lot safer without it.

Reducing U.S. Military Presence

When we look at cutting the budget for the Department of Defense and the proper military, one thing we look at is cutting our presence around the world.

Now this is showing you places where the US has military installations around the world. The bigger the circle the bigger the installation. Or the bigger the number of installations. There are different types. There are bases. There’s what we call the lily pad which is sort of a mini-base. These are all the locations. They are all around the world. We have 800 military installations around the world. No other country has anywhere near that number. No other country has over 10 or 20 bases. This is showing the extent of our militarization and colonization of the world.

One of the biggest ways we can save money and put it to better use is by ending the presence in these places. That’s also a way we can make the world a safer place for us and for other people. Certainly, nobody needs the wars that we’re bringing to the Middle East. They’re not making us safer, and they are definitely not making people who live in the Middle East any safer. This is one of the top things we need to do both morally and to make ourselves safer and in terms of saving money that we can put to other uses.

Another thing we need to do is end our wars. Closing bases and ending wars are not the same thing. These are all of the places right now where the United States is engaging in counter-terrorism activity. You can see it’s not just Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s all over the Middle East. It’s in much of Europe. It’s all over Africa. It’s in Southern Asia. So many parts of the world where the US has counter-terrorism activities going on right now. These are the activities that we need to stop. In a lot of places this activity is actually contributing to terrorism instead of helping to solve it. And it’s really destabilizing a lot of the places where we have these operations. Africa certainly does not need us to establish ourselves militarily there and that’s one of the biggest areas for expansion for our military presence in the last few years.

Here’s a list of all of the ways that we suggest cutting $350 billion from the pentagon budget. That’s in addition to the billions that we would save by ending mass incarceration and by ending deportations and raids and cutting down on our border patrol back to a reasonable border presence that’s for monitoring rather than policing and entrapping people. We could save $350 billion if we did these things. We also propose ending nuclear weapons and cuts to many other weapons programs. That would take a big chunk out of the contractors’ chart that I showed earlier, though certainly not get rid of all of it.

I do want to say that all of these things are connected: there are so many connections from the people who become police to the companies that are running detention centers for deportations being the same companies that are running prisons in many cases. There are lots of connections between these things. We need to end all of them to afford to invest in the things we need so badly.

SB: Thank you, Lindsay. Before we go on to hear from a couple of other people, I wanted to open up for questions. Are there any questions that people want to raise?

Paul Boden (CA): I just was curious, the whole thing was amazing, and then I saw in the list of cuts that healthcare for the vets was included in the cuts. I was wondering if that was in connection to the contracting issue or just how shitty the healthcare is that the vets are getting. Just why that was in that list. That’s something that may get asked when I pass this around.

LK: Absolutely, I should have explained that line. That’s actually not healthcare for veterans at all. In the Moral Budget we propose spending more on healthcare for veterans. The reason we include that cut is that in the Moral Budget we propose implementing universal healthcare. So universal healthcare would cover members of the military and vets and cover everyone and there would no longer need to be this separate healthcare system.

Trini: What is indigent defense?

LK: It’s public defenders essentially. The defense that anyone is entitled to. It does not refer to indigenous people in particular.

SB: Lindsay, I wanted to raise a point. The chart where you had, in terms of the war spending, that it never goes all the way down, but slowly ramps up. It’s the very opposite on how spending on our basic needs has been. Or it seems to be. The economy, how we experience it, is kind of a ping pong falling down the stairs, where even if there are things going up, our experience of it is still worse and worse. With military spending, over time, it’s increasing.

LK: Right. And as it increases over time it makes it harder for us to find the political will to spend more on other things. We can’t afford things, but you can see why we can’t afford things, it’s because all of the money is going into one place.

SB: We have a couple of questions in the chat about additional resources. I know the National Priorities website has a lot of information. Are there any other places we could look?

LK: I’d be very happy to share the PowerPoint. Starting with the National Priorities website there are a couple of resources that we have. One is we have a calculator where you can choose your state or your city. And you can choose different parts of our military spending and see what you could buy from that money. If you’re from Michigan, it’ll show you how much tax Michigan pays for the military or you could choose nuclear weapons or you could choose ICE to find out how much money taxpayers in your state or city are going towards those things. And then it will show you a list of other things that you could get with that money. Here’s how many teachers you could hire. Here’s how many children could go to Headstart. How many people could go on Medicaid. A list of different options like that. That’s one tool that’s available on our website.

Another one is a sort of tax receipt, which is interesting for people to see. You can also get it for your state specifically. It will show things like the average taxpayer–we’re paying more towards one military contractor than all homeless assistance programs. It’s just a shocking view of where our resources are going.

In terms of other resources, there are lots of good organizing resources. CODE PINK is a good resource. There’s a good organization called Win Without War that has good progressive foreign policy resources. In terms of resources on military spending, there’s a source called People Over Pentagon Campaign. They have a website called PeopleOverPentagon.org that is working on cutting military spending, cutting the Pentagon specifically, and shifting that money to social programs and needs that we have.

SB: I wanted to just also lift up what you said at the end about how we have to redefine what we mean by safety and security. How this is both closing bases, ending the wars, and freeing up resources that we can use to make our country and the world more secure, and it’s in line with our moral values. We shouldn’t be solving problems through violence. I think those are critical points. I think sometimes when we look at a situation like this it’s very disheartening, and it does seem as if the forces that we’re up against are more powerful than we ever will be. But I think it’s important also to remember that there have always been resistance movements against these forces of violence.

Charon, you were going to talk about this. Are you there?

Charon Hribar (NY) on Organizing in the Veterans’ Community

CH: As folks may not know, I’ve done a lot of work with veteran communities. My partner, who was going to be on but couldn’t make it, we were part of an organization called Common Defense. And we both work with the c3 part of that organization that’s called the Veterans Organizing Institute and we are thinking about how veterans’ voices help dispel a lot of the myths around militarism.

We often talk about how we can’t out-money the US military. We have the largest military in the world, but we have to figure out its weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is the veteran’s voice….being inside it and being able to understand it and then to be able to speak out against it when folks come to consciousness and sort of realize some of the myths that are being told within that structure.

…We need to…not be putting money into something which is not creating safety and protection in this country, but is actually hurting those that are in our country as well as in others. But oftentimes when we [say this], what is used against us are the veterans.

If anyone watched the Superbowl last Sunday, the whole first 15 to 20 minutes was this very large pomp and circumstance to our military and to our veterans…At this moment we are not speaking out against our veterans. We stand with our veterans, knowing that they also are not being protected by this system. How many veteran suicides we’re seeing, how many veteran families that are still on welfare that are still on food stamps…Veterans are speaking out against those things. They are playing a role against that narrative that we need this kind of military spending and protection.

I also wanted to say, because we just hit the State of the Union, if folks remember the first State of the Union, Trump got up there and, again, used the military and veterans’ experience. He had one of the Special Forces service members who was killed, he had his widow there. He had folks turn to her, everyone in the building, both Democrats and Republicans, and applaud her for 10-12 minutes. Then immediately, he went on after that to introduce how much we were going to spend more on the military budget.

Veterans Speak Out

So many people in our communities are being called out to fight in wars which are not for our people, but hurting others. Throughout history, there have been groups of veterans that have stepped up and spoken out against what they have been used for.

We have seen formations like the Bonus Army: when folks came back in the 1930s and organized across the country, as the Great Depression was going on and Hoovervilles were springing up, and veterans organized the first occupation in D.C. The Poor People’s Campaign in ‘68 learned from them and that experience and what it would look like to come together across racial lines. The [Bonus Army] were pushed back against by the government and their encampment was torn down, but they were really responsible for what we later saw was the New Deal because of the push that they had been organizing.

We’ve seen those kinds of veterans’ voices really come back similarly during the Civil Right’s Movement, knowing that protections, especially for soldiers of color who were in WWII, weren’t being awarded at home. They were asked to go overseas and not have their own protections here at home, so they came back to be a part of struggles here for civil rights.

Vietnam veterans spoke out and came together with other anti-war movements in that first Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. A lot of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s lieutenants during the Poor People’s Campaign were veterans as well.

And we see today that a lot of veterans see the contradictions within this system and, through they’re speaking out, are able to push back against this false nationalism–that if we’re questioning the military budget, then we aren’t patriotic….

SB: Thank you Charon. Lupe are you still on the call? I was wondering, Lupe, if you could talk about some of your work in immigration and around the Homestead Center down there in Florida, your community.

Guadelupe de la Cruz (FL) on Immigration and Militarism:

GDLC: Good evening everyone. My name is Guadalupe. I’m a community organizer and immigrant advocate in south Florida….Perfectly from Lindsay’s slides, you can see how much investment there is especially on controlling the border and issues of ICE. A couple of things that we see in our community is there’s an increase of ICE raids, of pick-ups. In our backyard the Homestead Detention Center was the largest child migrant center in the whole US. You just see these companies, these corporations come into these towns and, you know, basically live off and profit off of the hardship that so many people are facing.

Through my experience and years working with so many in the immigrant community, you ask the same question: Why were you coming into this country? What were you hoping to do for your family and for yourself once arriving here? The answer was always the same: I’m fleeing from violence, I’m fleeing the wars that are happening in my county. And then you start to see, well, why are these governments having such wars? Why are they displacing such communities and directly impacting indigenous communities?

We tend to put immigration issues into a silo and tend to push them aside and not think that this has a direct impact on how much money is coming into a community for what is commonly used to secure a community. So we have these campaigns which say “secure communities” which basically means that the government is pumping millions of dollars into controlling a certain population–in this case the immigrant community. We have this administration, built hate and directly targeting an immigrant population and saying these people are criminals. Continuing to criminalize them. Continuing to put that label upon them. And making it to a point where our society is accepting of that, leading to not care and not question the money that is being invested into doing these types of actions. By that I mean, more policing in our community, more detention centers that are being expanded, more border patrol and ICE presence in our communities. It just becomes a norm, where we are not associating anymore to what is the real issue: the militarization that continues to happen in our community.

So I speak from my community and what we continue to see…How do we wake up our society and fight for us to keep pushing this force away from our most vulnerable and impacted communities?

SG: Thank you Lupe. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is the work that you’re doing and many others on the call to fight back and to raise those critical questions and say that none of this is okay. And we’re not going to stand by and have our communities destroyed and disrupted and detained and deported….It’s really important that we start to fight to make these connections as you all are doing. If people are open to staying on for a few more minutes, I’d like to open it up for more comments. I’ve asked Adam Cox from Arkansas to close us once we’re done, but if there are others who would like to comment and contribute to the discussion now, we would really welcome that.

Additional Discussion

Eric: This is Eric in Philly. Hi. Thanks for that great presentation, it’s really powerful, and I look forward to receiving it and really studying. One thing that struck me in the Moral Budget and reading it was part of the cuts you were calling for was cutting military jobs and ending military recruitment and I think that is possibly not the most in terms of money that we could recoup, but I think it’s a very important point that should be brought out in terms of ending the poverty drat which exist and ending the fact that people have no choice to go into the military to survive for their families. I would love it if we could bring that out even more.

LK: Thank you, that’s really good to hear. One thing, there actually were big savings with that. When I showed the map with the bases, those bases are all staffed with tens of thousands of people. Approaching 200,000 troops stationed overseas at any given time all around the world. So if we stop recruiting those people, people cycle through the military relatively quickly. It would only take a few years for us to have a lower, smaller military overall. Like you say that helps with the poverty draft, it helps free up money that we can invest in better types of jobs. We know that if we spend money on creating jobs, we can get more jobs and money if we invest in health care, clean air, education, than when we invest that money in the military.

PB: This is Paul. I was thinking in terms of connecting Trini’s comments and Lindsay’s presentation and Lupe’s comments, how we could bring artists into this discussion to connect the way we’re militarizing our police departments, our borders, our 800 bases around the world and where we came from when we stole this land. Some ways to visually make these connections, so it’s not so abstract… We did in the Without Housing report, it was very dramatic about how the numbers just kept going down….I think connecting those things in a visual way would be a really strong way of getting it out on a mass basis.

SB: I think that’s right Paul. WRAP has been doing that work for a long time. I think that’s a call out to the artists and cultural workers and policy folks for all of us to work together on that.

TR: I had a similar thought. Just remembering the Vietnam image of NAPALM and the girl running that just turned things around. Obviously there was already a lot of activity, but something that would help us bring it down to the community level, this issue of all these wars, where abroad, and the way we are militarizing in our own country, the impact it has on health and mental health especially…I know some friends who come from other countries, and their whole childhoods were raised in war. And they are not right. They are traumatized. They are triggered very easily and that’s true in the inner cities as well….Where we live is not well. I was just thinking about that when listening.

Ricky Rodriguez (NC): I’m Ricky out in Durham. I guess, in a way arts and culture, I know Charon, if y’all know Anu, Ani, Tami, we’ve been doing a long, multi-week cultural reading of the Moral Budget. Doing more studio sessions is something we encourage every city to do. By studio I mean giving space for artists to experiment with the messaging. One thing I notice by wartime imagery and anti-war imagery, it’s something, I feel like we’re more desensitized to now in our younger generation is that we’re used to a lot of violent imagery. It’s in our movies, TV, video games. Video games are designed to shoot people in the face to a large extent. Something to encourage, now that we’re so saturated with violent imagery, how do we take the information we have and have something? What’s the opposite, the constructive thing, what’s the world we want to imagine when we’re not growing up with war? What does that world look like? It’s a process we’re trying to poke at and get at a lot more. Just an encouragement that kind of work is going on to present that story, that imagery, that science fiction in a way, or speculative fiction for all of our organizations and our work.

SB: That’s great Ricky. Thanks for sharing that. And again, if we think of the kind of movements that broke through in the 30s and the 60s the mass cultural activity that was necessary to popularize the vision of what a society ought to be was so critical… It’s a good transition to Adam Cox. Adam is a musician from Arkansas and had a song to share as we close out this call. Are you still with us Adam?

Adam Cox (AR) on music and culture:

AC: Well thanks for having me on the call. It’s been really great. I know you asked me to do a particular song by Jacob, but just the mood in the air due to the events here lately with the president’s acquittal and everything. The nonsensical rhetoric that we’ve heard for multiple days now, I was thinking of a song that I haven’t done in forever. I used to do it with Jacob, I know you asked me to do one of his songs, and we used to do it years ago. I stopped doing it during the #MeToo movement. Just a disclaimer, there’s a line in there that says “Stand up and fight like a man.” And I apologize if it’s offensive in any way. Do you mind if I do that song?

SB: Absolutely. Feel free to do what you think is best.

AC: I’m glad everyone could join us tonight. Glad to hear that people care and are doing things, it’s always awesome.

(in song)
Mailman came by, the look in his eyes
Nothing but bills views
So I mailed out a note and this is what I wrote no joke from me to you
Congressmen won’t you be a man
Fight for the working man too
Just say no don’t you sell your soul
Stand up and fight like a man
Got a letter you see it was straight from DC with a coupon for a washing machine
But it told me to buy, with all my might, with this country it’s counting on me
Congressmen won’t you be a man
Fight for the working man too
Just say no don’t you sell your soul
Stand up and fight like a man
So I went out and bought the machine that in thought was the best that money could buy
But lo and behold what i was told that the CEO of General Electric was none other than your congressman and mine, well that dirty rotten guy
Congressmen won’t you be a man
Fight for the working man too
Just say no don’t you sell your soul
Stand up and fight like a man
Fight for the working man too

SB: Thank you Adam. (cheers) So we will continue to fight for everybody. I know Jacob meant that we should be fighting for everybody. And we should use all of our strengths, all of our relationships, everything we have to bring to that fight because we have a lot to fight for. So thank you to Trini, Lindsay, Lupe, Adam and everyone who has been on the call tonight.

Laurel Ashton:
Alright, y’all know what we’re doing. Forward together?

Not one step back!

Forward together?

Not one step back!

Forward together?

Not one step back!