Minutes for Messaging Cluster 3/7/12
In attendance: Jessica Hall, Mary Caliendo, Maria, Frank, Shen Tong, Ian Williams, David, Sean Krause, Diane Moxley, Stuart Leonard, Goldie. Via phone: Ben Cohen, Mark, Walt, Jackie.
Discussion re A17 Tax Day: Minimum wage v. tax inequalities
Ben: Ralph Nader piece 35 mil make under $10 per hour. Greatly lagging behind inflation. Unions in bed with Congress and the current administration. When asked if you think minimum wage should keep up with inflation the majority said yes. With inflation adjustment minimum wage is equal to that of 1968**
Should we focus on the working poor/minimum wage issue. Not a particular dollar amount but discussion about a minimum living wage. Fed sets the floor for minimum wage states go higher for areas that have higher cost of living.
Focus should be congress.
A 17 initial idea was Tax Day. About tax fairness-Romney pays under 15%, corporations paying zero taxes.
Previous ideas: penny march, dump pennies in front of banks; Spring Cleaning-brooms; Target 5-6 banks.
Amy: Need to talk about taxes but minimum wage is a very important issue.
Ian: Talked about coordinating events with upcoming DC actions, how do we do this?
Stuart: the two ideas (taxes/minimum wage) do not have to be mutually exclusive. Idea about everyone being able to do something from home, signs on lawns or in windows: “I paid my taxes but_______” fill in the blank with ideas like “GE paid nothing.” Signs with slogans like Homes not Drones.”
Walt: Difference between an action and a campaign. Who do we want to collaborate with?
Maria: She is working on People’s Summit in Chicago that was planned before G8 moved locations, and they are still going forward with this action since many are coming from across the nation and internationally. She likes the ideas and feels that they will help build up to actions on May 19.
Stephen: Hard to organize quickly enough for a national campaign. Messaging perspective 4/17 might be too late for Media, media will be done with tax day by then. He sees this as a campaign May 1 through Labor Day.
Shen: Reach out to city wide GA which is happening just before A17.
Ian: re discussion on minimum wage amounts, push for more.
Amy: Different areas have different needs for minimum wage. Go with a living wage not a set dollar amount. She sees A17 as a way of supporting May 1, momentum building. Tax messaging “what are our $ being spent on,” problem with this idea is it could be perceived as anti tax.
Jessica: Minimum wage should be more than $10 per hour. Likes signs on lawns idea.
Stephen: federal would be the lowest minimum wage, local would be the idea of a living wage. Idea for tax day: identify the true 1%, put signs on their lawns.
Stuart: website idea for tax day
Ben: minimum wage should be about the federal minimum wage. Tax issue should be about tax inequality-Buffet Rule. Raise taxes on the rich.
Sumumba: Problems with May 1 and general strike. He is working with the city wide GA. MLK idea of a Revolution of values. Tax issue, 47% of taxes go to military.
Diane: likes the idea of signs on lawns of 1%, signs should state how much taxes were paid by 1%ers and corporate tax dodgers.
Ian: DC actions organizing around the idea of closing tax loopholes.
Walt: Tax ideas: 99% v. 1% and percentages of taxes paid.
Frank: discussing what taxes are used for could be too much, too broad of a focus.
Stephen: Corporate lobbyist hired to help corporations avoid paying taxes, and sometime they pay the lobbyist more than the amount they would have paid in taxes. Idea of a tax on hiring lobbyist.
Amy: Have a unifying message that can be used to enhance other actions.
Shen: Can we fuse the two? Minimum wage dollar amount with the idea of a living wage.
Jackie: likes the idea of the visual with a pie chart that shows tax spending.
David: Buddhist parable: there were children playing with toys in a burning house, an old sees this and can’t figure out how to get them out, old man shouts out “hey kids I have these shiny new toys here, come out and see,” the children run out and see that there are no new toys, old man then takes them into the chariot to enlightenment. His point is get them out of the house, we will then convince them of the rest.
Amy: We should have small discussion groups on how much minimum wage should be.
Sumumba: concern about preventative PR. Look at things holistically-Money and Politics are connected. Sunset Park occupy is working on a day without the 99%, they may all come into Manhattan for May 1.
Ian: push off ideas about military spending to another day, not tax day.
Mary: Separate minimum wage from tax issues. Minimum wage = food & security. Concerned about how people will feel about cutting military spending because this will affect veterans’ benefits.
Stephen: shouldn’t attack military spending on July 4th, doesn’t make sense. This holiday is about the birth of a nation, the correlation is that we are in one of the most patriotic moments in history.
Amy: we need a community buy in, get people who are working on other actions in here. We need to reach out and get others involved in this meeting.
Walt: He is working on Occupy Direct Action Network to coordinate ideas and actions. He is having a hard time launching the idea.
David: Keep A17 and May 1 simple. Celebrate the country and the constitution don’t violate it.
Shen: What groups to involve in upcoming actions? Citywide GA, Occupy Town Square.
Ben: Point of information: cutting military spending does not have to cut into veteran benefits, if you cut the pentagon budget then vet benefits aren’t hit.
Amy: Must get materials at events about upcoming events, go to outreach cluster.