WASHINGTON, March 8 – Following the success of the Medicare for All Town Hall in January which drew 1.6 million live viewers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced Thursday that he will be hosting a town hall focused on inequality in the United States on March 19 in partnership with The Guardian, NowThis, The Young Turks and Act.tv.
Sanders, along with filmmaker Michael Moore, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, economist Darrick Hamilton and other experts, will discuss poverty in America, the 40-year decline of the middle class, the growing power of corporate interests and how we can build economy that works for all Americans.
"The issue of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time, yet it gets very little coverage from the corporate media,” Sanders said. “I am excited to build on the success of our Medicare for All town hall and go outside the traditional media to talk about who owns America, why the middle class is declining, extreme poverty and how we create an economy that works for everybody, not just the 1 percent.”
The event, titled "Inequality in America: The Rise of Oligarchy and Collapse of the Middle Class," will be held in front of a live audience at the Capitol Visitor Center's Congressional Auditorium in Washington from 7:00 to 8:20 p.m. and live streamed across the partners’ social media channels.
"The political establishment has completely turned away from the middle class and abandoned the American blue collar workers in favor of the wealthy elite," said TYT host Ana Kasparian. "Tax cuts are only helping the top one percent and have become corporations' best and most loyal friend . Our government needs to create opportunity for all people and it's imperative that our elected officials make sure wages increase with the productivity of this country. I applaud Sen. Sanders' work in making this the issue of our time. I look forward to working with Michael Moore, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Darrick Hamilton and the many other esteemed guests to advance the conversation and create change."
John Mulholland, Guardian US editor said: "The Guardian strives to illuminate the most pressing and underreported issues facing America today. Widening levels of inequality are of huge concern to our American readers. We're pleased to be involved in this event, helping to amplify one of the most endemic injustices in our society."
"We need a government that works for all of us, not only the 1 percent. Likewise we are proud to partner in this town hall and amplify such a vital issue. Another world is possible, but we need a better media to make it," said Harry Waisbren, co-founder of Act.tv.
Guests interested in attending in person can find more information here.
Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts
Elizabeth Warren has made her life's work the fight for middle class families. She is recognized as one of the nation's top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families, and the Boston Globe has called her "the plainspoken voice of people getting crushed by so many predatory lenders and under regulated banks."
Michael Moore, filmmaker and author
Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker, activist, and author. Among many issues his work has examined globalization, gun ownership, health care, and domestic and foreign policy.
Darrick Hamilton, Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School, New York City
Professor Darrick Hamilton teaches economic and urban policy at the New School in New York. Both his academic work and activism is aimed at promoting greater economic, political, and social inclusion. His work examines inequality and identity, racism, and socioeconomic outcomes.
Catherine Coleman Flowers, founder, Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise
Ms. Catherine Coleman Flowers is the founder of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise Community Development Corporation. Ms. Flowers has called attention to the lack of environmental and climate justice in poor rural communities, including exposing how some communities live surrounded by raw open sewage. Last year she invited the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty to Alabama, and he characterized what he saw as “uncommon in the first world.”
Cindy Estrada, Vice President of the United Auto Workers Union
Cindy Estrada is a longtime union organizer and social activist. She was first elected as vice president in 2010 and is the first Latina elected to serve as an International officer. Cindy developed a passion for the labor movement while listening to her grandparents and other family members talk about their experiences working on farms and inside the factories of Detroit. Their stories were the first of many that have guided Estrada in her dedication to empower workers and show them they deserve a seat at the table to raise and resolve workplace problems and improve their working conditions.
Professor Gordon Lafer, Political Scientist, University of Oregon
Dr. Gordon Lafer, a political economist, is a Professor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center and a Research Associate with the Economic Policy Institute. He has spent many years working as a union organizer and has seen how people have been mistreated or ripped off by their employers. His most recent book is The One Percent Solution: How Corporations Are Remaking America One State at a Time (Cornell University Press, 2017).