Stewart Acuff

Feb 12

Renewable Energy & Job Creation

I am very happy to be in Vancouver, Canada this morning on the way to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia to help with training for the Canadian Labour Congress’ senior organizers.

The Labour Congress is using both my books Getting America Back to Work and Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing as textbooks for the training. Getting America Back to Work makes an excellent first book on the economy for rank-and-file workers and activists, leaders, and organizers. Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing makes a great text for teaching or learning organizing. The struggles and campaigns that fill Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing show what average people working with a good organizer can do to improve their lives and win against seemingly hopeless odds. The last section of the book really gets down to specific lessons for organizers.

Now that President Obama has decided to draw a harder line with radical rightwing Republicans in Congress, it will be very interesting to hear his State of the Union speech. He will definitely address the economy, hopefully in a way that can begin to reduce the yawning economic chasm that separates the rich from the rest of us. We would welcome another shot at renewable and sustainable energy – in part because a serious effort on green energy would put hundreds of thousands of people to work, but also because climate change is real. We desperately need to reduce the amount of carbon we put in the air and catch up and compete with our economic competitors who are investing in solar and wind power – competitors like China and Germany.

It is sad to me that we in the US have two huge complementary needs – to put lots more people to work and to greatly improve all kinds of infrastructure – converting to green and renewable energy, fixing our transportation infrastructure, building a modern rail system to link every major city, fix water and sewer systems. Doing all that would greatly improve our economic productivity benefiting everyone as well as putting hundreds of thousands of us to work.
I was on Thom Hartmann’s tv show last Friday night. We discussed the possible nightmare of a national right to work law. On the David Calef’s Inside Politics radio show last night (CLICK TO LISTEN), I found out that Kansas is trying to pass right to work legislation. The radical rightwing Republican Party is absolutely committed to weakening our labor movement, then destroying it.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.

Playing Bigger Than You Are - A Life in OrganizingGet the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

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