tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 28, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
specific. we do have some media coverage here and i think it is important that this goes out nationally for people to hear a different perspective from law enforcement . one that knowledge is the realities of our ugly history when it comes to race and racism and institutional racism in our criminal justice system. tamir rice. the child was shot with two seconds of the police officer arriving. he barely exited the vehicle. this was an officer who had a history of failure in his performance area. the department that he left to go to the cleveland police department said he was unfit for duty, particularly when it relates to firearms. in the report this comes out, he thinks he saw tamir reaching for his waistband when you are notified via at least one caller that it could be a toy gun. for you to pull right up on a potential shooter like that is
asinine. within twou fire seconds. before you even administer health of this child -- that .appens in black communities contrast that with the recent shooting of the white young man in louisiana. six-year-old boy, tragic. should not have happened but the two black officers have been indicted. quickly. $1 million bond set for both of them. freddie gray. .reddie gray he did not leave his home in baltimore on april 12, 2015 with a broken back and crushed windpipe. he did not do it to himself. yet officers would assert that that is the case and become indignant when we don't believe
them. the states attorney for baltimore who has the courage and the integrity to indict the officers was met with vitriol and aggressive response and attacks on her and her family by the police union, the officers. accountability. none. that is why this movement you see going around you, that is why the unity you have created , in the communities that you come from, white, black, hispanic, whatever religion, the unity that you have built in the movement you have built is so vital to the change we need to see. been noally, there has value of what the life in this country and it is ok to say black lives matter.
we have had our moments. there have been moments when people of all races have come together and given us some victories. but there has never been, in the history of this country -- never a consensus -- nationally, a , majority, that says you know what? everyone here should be equally valued in every process that we have. we all agree with that. there has always been at least half the country, millions of people, more than half sometimes, who would fight that with everything in them. everything in them. that is the american reality. i am not talking about the american narrative. i am talking about the american reality. when it comes to precedent, there is good reason to those -- good reason for those officers to be sure they won't be held accountable, especially when it comes to black life. trayvon martin, another kid,
stalked and killed by george zimmerman, a man, who from what i have seen and heard, gives us all a good example of a text book coward. all of his fights are with women and children. he engages trey von after he is told not to buy the real police. whiletends to be physically fighting with a child he outweighs by 100 pounds. then he gets off on the stand your ground law. contrast that with melissa alexander's case in florida. a woman, who upon being confronted by a man who had a history of physically and brutally assaulting her and who, , in that moment announced to her that he was about to physically and brutally assault her again, she produced a weapon said "no you are not. no you are not." and she fired a shot, a warning shot, in florida, hitting no one, killing no one, and she was
sentenced to 20 years in prison. the process distorted by race and racism gets us a result like that and you can believe a lot of people in florida were comfortable with that. the last case i want to talk about nationally -- there are more, but i know i am unlimited time. michael brown. michael brown was killed 10 minutes from my house, killed by darren wilson in ferguson. there were credible witnesses that described the shooting scene, that contradicted darren wilson's the count and it is a case that should have been tried on the facts in front of the jury but a prosecutor was determined to prevent that and dumped information in front of the grand jury and told them to sort through it which included
the testimony of a hostile witness for whom it was established at fact could not , have been and was not physically present at the time michael was shot. this was a prosecutor has a history of that kind of thing. 20 years earlier, a notorious shooting in a jack-in-the-box parking lot filled with students from a local school, and carried -- and the police carried out an operation on the lot with two suspects, killing them both, both of them unarmed. one of them may gainfully -- one of them a gainfully employed father. that goes to a grand jury, and it is later discovered afterward mcauliffe lied about elements of testimony in the case. key elements. but he gets this case and does the same thing and darren wilson
was allowed to leave and get his story straight. much was made about what michael brown may or might not have been doing that day? was there a strong-arm robbery? is he a thug? black criminality is common in -- we do not always handle youthful poor choices that way. i was randomly on the way up the other day and i came across something about an actor named mark wahlberg. anybody know who mark wahlberg is? anybody know who mark wahlberg is? a famous guy, well-paid, millionaire. when mark was a kid like michael brown, brutally assaulted two men, one of whom he knocked unconscious while shouting racist taunts at him. a vietnamese guy.
another man he beat so brutally he permanently blinded him in one eye. on the tape they showed me of mike, he shoved somebody. michael on the tape shoved somebody. you had officers, officials, elected people saying that is enough. his death is warranted because look at the kind of kid he was. he pushed that guy. good thing we gave mark wahlberg a chance to get his life. it is a good thing we saw he was redeemable. and what about black on black crime? what about it, while i am here? people say or ask where are the protests when blacks kill other blacks, as if that is an offset for the human rights violations, civil rights violations, and brutality received from people sworn to protect and serve us and are empowered to act by law.
first, people commit crimes where they are against the people around them, where you live. so there is black on black crime, white on white crime, hispanic on hispanic crime. it is crime. a better question is where are the organized efforts to address violence in black communities? i've been part of many of them and many of my colleagues are in the continuous, ongoing efforts to push back against the kinds of things that we see that contribute to the violence in our community and directly address it at the community level, the grassroots level, in some cases, door to door. what we have not been able to do is slow the defunding of under resourced public education slow , chronic unemployment, or the mass incarceration. that results from in equities legislated into our laws and target enforcement that follows
it. we have not been able to do that. deprivation and hopelessness -- you put those together anywhere, and you will get what you get, whether that is in st. petersburg, russia, warsaw, poland, st. louis, missouri, the bahamas -- wherever you create those conditions, you will have what you have. it is not mysterious. it is not only the violence we talk about when we address it in our community and it is important to talk about the because what it comes down to is the lost future. we have lost that future. been?ight he or she has what might he or she has given to us ? what have we lost? this violence in our communities is a problem.
i will call you specifically the problem. the number of people lost to -- the number of futures lost to violence in our community is not begin to approach the number of futures lost in our community to a criminal justice system that is at its core institutionally racist and works in concert with a public prison industry that trades publicly on the stock market and insist that states ensure -- that states insure the businesses they build and run for profit and 90% occupied. -- and remain 90% occupied. our younge that people. communitys of the that has been targeted for suffering in abuse, marginalization and deprivation,
and slaved, exploited, diminished at every turn would turned the gun on us in each other -- and each other. that part of it pains me. i look at what chicago, st. louis, and other cities, and i pray for a raise consciousness to get a clearer picture of they are, where they are, and how they got where we are. ourover, i would call out entertainers. the ones who profit from the brothers, who moved a message in our community that
the death of your brother is your mission in life, and if this is not your mission, ain't about nothing with us, and who profit from sending that point to a and see the blood on our streets and glorify and encourage it further. when you're right of freedom of expression was bought and paid for with the sacrifice that came before you -- get conscience, -- get conscious. wake up. stop allowing yourself to be used by a system that has destroyed us since we landed. , none of it changes , the fact that institutional racism is at the the criminal justice system in america. nothing we can talk about changes it not new terrorist
nothing can change the reality of the problems we have to come to grips with. you cannot sweep it under the rug, say, look over there, none of that. equal treatment under the law is the american narrative, not the american reality. we are going to have a deeply within ourselves. to make the discussion more this,table -- let me say not just in this room, but nationally, for the nation, here's how to make this racial discussion more comfortable. the problems i'm talking about , and that i talk about in all the places that i
discuss them when it comes to race and racism and institutional racism in our history with it, no one in this auditorium tonight is under -- the white people in the room -- is under indictment for any of this. why? because you did not create the conditions. we were all born into this reality. it was like this when we got here. this is what we were born into. you did not do this. trust me, it was like this when you showed up. if you are alive now. our responsibility, is to acknowledge fully what that reality is. not the narrative, the reality of our history is, where as now, -- where it has us now and do something about it, collectively, together. that is our role. that will allow us to have the discussion.
as i prepare to close i was told , i have 30 minutes, and i know i'm getting there. there are things we can do to change the dynamic between police and community that they serve, the police-community relationship, the break down in it was the genesis of the movement that we see. of course, it has expanded to the discussion of race and its impact across all of our system, whether you are talking about education, health care, employment, you name it. relative to police and community, the first and foremost piece that we have to address is accountability. accountability. there is already plenty of good training. i have heard people talk about that new, this new training. we have great training already that officers receive, but it is worthless if you do not have officers that adhere to the
policy and who are not held accountable when they do not. eric garner murdered while officers violated their own policies to take his life and nobody is held accountable. hiswe get is pat lynch with chin up and his chest out looking like a doofus. accountability is everything and it starts from inside the system. one of the things i would like to see us become involved in his building a movement within the criminal justice system itself, nationally, starting with people who come from impacted communities. black and brown communities, judges, attorneys, police officers, correction officers. we can collect ourselves within that system and demand and
force the changes we want to see relative to how it operates in our community and its function in our communities. there are enough of us, and it is right. we have the moral high ground here, man. that is one of the things i would like to see. another thing that i think you would go a long way toward resolving the issues that i have seen is a special prosecutor in all cases involving use of force by a police officer result serious injury or death. the relationship between prosecutors and police departments are too close to have a reasonable expectation that the department is going after the officer in the department they working alliance with almost 100% of the time. bob mcauliffe is a prime example of that. he was recently sued after mike brown's case by a grand jury that he illegally removed from the grand jury because he
thought he had a propensity to look at things differenc differ. he is a former aclu attorney. i think i know you. -- i think i know who he is. bob mccullough takes him off the grand jury in violation of state law. you think they do not decide who gets justice and who does not? which leads me to my next point. serious that result in injury or death, eliminate the grand jury. yes, eliminate the grand jury. it is a secretive process that in too many cases involving police misconduct result in the elimination of accountability for police officers because the prosecutor has advocated for the officer in front of the grand jury and they do not want to be
tried on the fact. it is either that or have the arguments for indictment to race -- have the indictment take public. the last thing i would tell you is to support the movement that you see -- it is an american movement. don't be afraid of black lives matter. these are young people who are american citizens, just like you, but they want their rights recognized, and their right to live, their right dignity, recognized. it is not negotiable for them. it is not up for, really, discussion and they are citizens here, too, and they fully understand the history. so, as i close my remarks, i am first of all amazed i was able to get through them. i thought i was out on my feet. they ran me ragged. i had no idea what i was when i -- what i was in for when i got up at 4:30 this morning to fly
to delaware, but i am glad i came, and i appreciate you giving me your time and valuing what you thought i might have to say enough to be here tonight, and i look forward to engaging you. she said the questions need to be respectful, and they do, but nothing is off limits. you can challenge me, because i believe in free and open dialogue. i think that is the way forward, and thank you for your patience with me tonight. thank you. [applause] mr. hudson: was that too long? professor hoffman: no, you are fine. thank you so much for being here. you are the final speaker in the series we have had all semester long about race in america. we have talked about the black lives matter movement, the civil rights movement. you are here in this unique role
as having served as a police officer and now, kind of, speaking out against uncivil things that you saw. as the cofounder of the national coalition of law enforcement for justice, reform, and --ountability -- a logmein how did you go from being a police officer to seeking to hold those same officers accountable? mr. hudson: it was not a huge transition when i came to the department. i came with the same ideology, personal philosophy, disposition . everything about me was the same when i joined the department. ultimately, that is what led to me leaving that work because i am who i am. i was profoundly disillusioned, though, more than i was before i became a police officer. i became profoundly disillusioned with the criminal justice system in the united states and the conduct of some of my colleagues in particular,
and i knew i had to stopping stop being a part of that system. now, let me be clear about this -- i realize i have not said this tonight and it is important that i do. there are good police officers. there are good police officers. there are good people doing a very difficult job under very difficult circumstances, who have to make very difficult decisions, sometimes, and they deserve our support. it is a tough job. my contention is that the number of officers that will willfully abuse their authority and your human rights and your civil rights is too big a number to not have a systemic policy response in place to deal with those people. but there are good offices in -- there are good officers in the country. professor hoffman: so, i am going to pull up -- this is going to work.
-edshave a couple of op that have come up, and i recommend people looking at these articles from "the washington post" and vox. my students said the story spoke story you spoke about, the young black man with the crutches, frustrating to read about. were there other situations like that you have encountered during your time with the police force? there have been situations i have encountered, situations i have been made aware of. mr. hudson it is a very common : occurrence to see people's rights abused for little or no reason at all -- for single acts of noncompliance. this, i am aware, for example, of a colleague -- it is very interesting. him and i initially, we were probably, i would not say we
were adversaries, but we were not necessarily buddies. his father was a chief of police and his father got into politics opposite a guy that was the first african-american mayor st. -- mayor in the history of st. louis. i worked on his security detail. i used to be in shape. i am telling you. this guy, while he was in the department, in the bureau, the detective bureau. he walked in on one of his officers who was threatening a black subject in a chair with a taser held at his genitals, and he was telling them was going to say what he wanted to or else. my colleague walked in on that and he stopped it, rightfully.
he wrote the guy up, seized the taser and immediately as you expect, he was ostracized, marginalized. we do not deal with you. at the trial for this thing, i was the only person that showed up. him and his dad, ironically, that showed up in support of him. every other officer from the union and anywhere else was aligned against him. how dare he stopped him from threatening this suspect and ruin his good name? incidents like that -- i am telling you, i cannot impress upon you enough -- these are not isolated, few and far between kind of things. these are part of the daily, lived experience, and the collective experience of black people all over this country. professor hoffman: so, 15 years out of your experience in the
st. louis police department, i have a picture here of demonstrators reacting after learning the police officer shot michael brown would not face charges out side of the police station in ferguson, missouri, just about a year ago on november 24. 15 years after being out, what was your reaction? mr. hudson: disappointed, but not surprised. robert mcauliffe was doing anything he can. hewas clear early on on would do everything he can to avoid holding darren wilson accountable, and i was not surprised by it. nor was i surprised by the reaction of the community. let me share something with you to give you a sense of the community. you see those young people turn out -- here is what they have lived, what their parents have lived.
i gave a know your rights workshop four months ago in st. louis during at the end of -- during which at the end of this a gentleman in his , mid-50's, said when i was a young man, i was moving furniture, and a police officer came up to question me that question him about it, and he explained that he was moving. i'm going to move to this apartment from this apartment because i am taking my stuff. later that same day at night, , the same officer had faith mud, withown, in the a shotgun at his head, accusing him of stealing. the same officer. that took place 30 years ago where mike brown lived. 30 years ago.
imagine the accumulated experience of the people in that community. when they see -- we had credible witnesses that contradicted darren's story, which he got together, and he was never sent to trial. no one ever got the chance to hear the credible testimony. even if you accept his version, as an officer if i'm using deadly force because i feel threatened, why did you fire and any shot at michael brown while he was running away from you? if i am moving away, am i a threat, am i a threat, i am not. why are you firing at me and you do not think he had a weapon because your statement was he
was wrestling and fighting with you over yours and you retained it. so he has nothing. it should have went to trial. in addition to your work looking at calais's behavior, you have also done research on human rights abuses in particularly in the st. louis city jails with the aclu, you released a report, suffering and silence, available online. it demonstrated numerous human rights abuses. what has changed since then? mr. hudson: not much.
systemic change is very difficult. you have to have people inside the system to acknowledge the problem and to work to change it immediately. they are facing lawsuits as we speak. the prison system in america is what it is. rapid human rights abuse. we as a society, even if we don't believe it, we tacitly accept the idea at least that the moment you cross the threshold of a jail or prison, your constitutional rights are suspended, which is particularly ironic in jail settings. innocent until proven guilty still. they are violating your human rights on a daily basis. brutal beatings, sexual assaults, medical deprivation, which can be deadly.
if you have medication and you need it to survive, that is a problem. we found all of those things and we did that report. i am glad we were able to shed light on it but i know that that is widespread. it will take more work and it will take commitment of us collectively to come to a place where we understand the value of living up to our stated ideals. >> there is a class associated with this and my 25 students asked questions, they do research on the speakers, and many are concerned and interested about the body cameras. cameras and efficient solution, is there something else that should be done to hold police officers accountable? mr. hudson: i think they are a
great problem of solving the issues we have with abuse. the issue of accountability of course. with those body cameras, you can assure there will be a fight all the way through the process to how they where we see are uniformly and consistently used by the majority of police departments, all departments, because many departments right now are, on the one hand, excepting the idea that they are a good idea, they provide an objective record, but at the same time, trying to limit the public's access to the footage the body camera produces -- they want to hold it for 14 days, 21 days, before it is released, and i do not think there is enough trust in the relationship for anyone to be comfortable with the idea of a police department having so access and custody of video footage gained from an officer's conduct might be under investigation for some
potentially criminal act, you are the guys that are holding it. it is the fox guarding the henhouse. additionally, empowered civilian review oversight is something that should be in play, although i have not seen many models nationally that i would describe as wildly successful, usually because they lack the kind of authority and autonomy that would make them effective in the oversight of the police department, and the go-two -- go-to argument therefore a police department is civilian not understand what we do, you do not understand the process and procedure, you do not understand what it's like to make a split-second decision, on and on, but did not judge common sense.
professor hoffman: we had an exciting day on campus. we had a new president of the university. mr. hudson: i heard. where is he? professor hoffman: i think they are doing other events. mr. hudson: could have come to this. professor hoffman: today, didn't have had the national -- students have had the national collegiate blackout, standing with students of color, and you live in missouri. what is happening on that campus -- what is the history of race and racism on that campus, and how can students at the university of delaware and across the country work to make a difference on their campus? mr. hudson: it is a long history in missouri. i am 51 years old. there are people that i know
that attended the university that attended and they were all on our facebook feed talking about what happened when they were there and how it lined up exactly with what is going on now -- nothing has changed. everyone was collectively, very proud of what the young people at the university of missouri were able to do under these circumstances, and we think it has applications broadly, nationally, because the issue is not only at the university of missouri. there is no state university in the country that i think the not -- does not face that kind of issue on some level coast to coast, and i think students can do what they are doing already -- get involved, and you see a beautiful synthesis of like-minded students from all backgrounds. not just black students, but white students, asians, hispanics students. you have international is coming together to say we wanted world and a country where we are all equally valued and respected,
our dignity, lives, futures. we are going to work together to create that in spite of this nation's history and in spite of the powers in place who would write against these young people to sustain -- would fight against these young people to sustain the system we are in now. professor hoffman: we will get some microphones set up to ask questions, but do you have any strategies in mind that could kick off these changes that would better change the justice system. this comes from emily. you mentioned ways to change the practices and police department. what are practical things that could happen now? mr. hudson: there are two. i do not believe in broad programs, but there are two and they dovetail nicely. the one is on me and us and those in the system. i am a firm believer that
a significant part of the change that we want to see has to come from inside of the system. the people system have the most immediate opportunity and power to really force change in it. the second thing is to add that effort to the already existing movement that is on the ground, from coast to coast, to work together with folks from everywhere -- black lives matter, any other positive movement. there is movement to work with those organizations for the changes we want to see. with that pressure coming from the outside and a critical mass of people inside the system willing to have the same commitment to change, i think we can see it happen, and i think the climate in the country is ripe for it here. it is not lost on anybody -- it is not lost on anybody that the demographics in the country are
changing, and i think, unfortunately, many of the worst opponents of equal treatment under the law and equal access to opportunity are the people that would fight hardest against the changes that we want to see. there is no coincidence. none. it is not a coincidence that when barack obama was elected president, the covers came off. the covers came off. come on. as soon as he was elected president, he saw what nation was about in pockets, and we saw a growing number of local -- vocal raises that are vehemently opposed to black progress and leadership. and not have to give into that. at the end of the day we are all
americans and want what is best for our communities, families, country, and together we can move in that direction, but it has to be premised on the idea that equal treatment under the law has to become a reality and not just a narrative. professor hoffman: thank you for answering the question. i'm sure the audience has questions. we have microphones. on either side of the auditorium, we are open to questions. if you raise your hand, our student can come down and hand to the microphone to have a question for our speaker. mr. hudson: did i do a really good job? professor hoffman: he answered all of your questions. mr. hudson: don't answer that. i'm setting myself up for the
abuse when i ask that question. here comes the abuse. >> you talk about making the conversation between police -- mr. hudson: i hear him. you cannot hear him? >> you talk about what the conversation -- it could be a statement or something you can respond to -- i think we need to feel the uncomfortableness because people cannot understand without some kind of vulnerability. mr. hudson: i think your point is well made. i agree with you. maybe i should add a different choice of words. rather than comfortable, i should have said accessible -- the way to get us into the space
where we could be a little uncomfortable is to understand at the bottom of it nobody is under indictment. nobody is going to be guilty and innocent in the sense of people that are present and willing to work for change. so, yeah, there is going to be some discomfort. it is unavoidable because of who we are as a country, and when i say that, i am going to go ahead and share this -- well, i will save this for the end. there is a story i tell and i am sure it will be the guide, but it is -- vilified, but it is true. i will go ahead and tell it now. in three minutes. my dad died in 1996. my mother was remarried four years later. nice guy. i would go by their home. the guy she married with joseph jones. he was an avid reader.
he had a book on his table i happened to pick up and it was called "the black press" as in media. it was about the black press in america from the mid-1800s to the early-1900s, and first of all, i was floored. i did not realize we had a black press at that time in our nation's history. and to see -- you can imagine the kinds of things they were writing about. they were all intelligently written articles, coherent, just really. -- brilliant. i came across one. when i see the conditions we are trying to address the exist -- i came across one article, a response from an editor to a speech that he heard. this speech was given by a white man that he longed to the that belonged to the american colonization society and the
american colonization society advocated for the repatriation of african-americans back to africa. they said they do not belong here. we want them out of here. they should go. let's put together an effort -- especially free blacks -- have to get out of the country. the editor of the paper angrily responded to -- the rage was coming off the page -- this comment. i will do their research because i talk about it so much, i will be challenged, the book exists, but i am not clear if he was directly quoting the guy or paraphrasing, but either way the words on the page where these to the effect that" blacks to get out of this country. need them out of here because this country, america, the
united states, will never treat them equally and value them equally. not god, nor conscience, nor the bible, could make it so. let that sink in. not god, religion, the bible -- not conscience -- the things that animate them in conduct, behavior, -- animate human conduct, behavior, and life, he believed, could let them treat blacks as anything they have ever been treated. who was he quoting or paraphrasing? francis scott key, the man who wrote the national anthem.
that is what he believed. when i say we were born into this reality, i mean it. when i say we have a real opportunity to bring substantive change to the nation, i believe it. we can do that, but we have to acknowledge the reality of who we are and where we have come from, and not just the narrative. professor hoffman: we have a question from twitter as well as some of my students, and jordan and brooke, and parker from twitter -- basically, you mentioned in several articles that racial sensitivity classes are not enough to help stop police brutality. what are some other tactics you recommend for either preventing that, or repercussions? mr. hudson: the only one that works is punishment.
the only thing that will get us to where we need to be his actual punishment for misconduct or violation. everything else will fall short. until we see officers incarcerated for their violations, their criminal acts, that is it. many officers can be dismissed from a department for misconduct, but only to be hired by the department in the next municipality over, or county over. when it comes to effecting change in the behavior of officers we see abuse their authority, that's it. that is the bottom-line. professor hoffman: let's open it up to the audience for another question. raise your hand if there is a question over here. christie. >> hi, so -- oh, gosh.
as a student, i am studying public policy, and this is something very interesting to me. what can we do to solve this -- what actions can a normal person take or someone that wants to go into public service could do to help resolve this issue? mr. hudson: first and foremost, keep your foot on the gas. keep doing what you are already doing -- mobilizing, taking actions across the country. don't stop. don't give up. don't slow down. then, as you advance your career or career path, your ideals with you and get yourself in a position -- some public policy position, to affect public policy change, and be the same strong advocate in the public arena after you leave here as you are right now.
professor hoffman: and this is a question our students often have -- what can they do, where can they go from here? mr. hudson: pretty much what i told her -- keep doing what you are doing. you are having a tremendous -- the ferguson effect. it is furious from the standpoint that somehow you would watch an officer doing his job prevents him from doing his job, what an indictment of the system that is. what they are telling you is that you watch me, i cannot work. that is ridiculous. you have an impact on the national discussion, the national agenda, which, in turn, is going to affect policy, ultimately. you are having an impact. continue to maintain your enthusiasm, energy, your clarity, and your conscience, and do the work that you do as you develop yourself
individually, and keep it in the relationship that you are building. keep showing us to build community and bridges across the spectrum of people that come into contact with you. professor hoffman: i any technology and the impact of technology on politics, and i think around this issue we have seen people using cell phones and smartphones to capture incidents like a few weeks ago -- a viral video showing a research officer at a south carolina high school slamming a student to the ground, tossing her several feet across the floor. what rattled me the most was that none of the other students reacted. this was a normal reality. the officer has been fired, but what can we do? mr. hudson: we need to remove these officers from the schools period. we never had officers in school.
when i saw that videotape, i was appalled. you talked about the students not reacting, i was more appalled by the african-american administrative said it was all right -- i am good with what happened. you must be crazy. for him to walk in and assault that child like that was beyond the pale, totally unnecessary, unjustifiable, and he should have been fired. it is that kind of reaction that reflects -- i am harking on it tonight, and i did not the guy was going to, but it is exactly why you hear people say black lives matter. had that been a white 16-year-old girl, he would not have touched her like that. he would not have grabbed her by the throat and through her across the board. he thought he could do it in
that setting with that child, and that is a problem, and it goes to accountability. i am glad to see him gone, and i hope he is out of law enforcement altogether if that is going to be his approach to the children in my community. professor hoffman: i know we will have more questions from the audience. i hopefully will wrap up my questions with this one. in delaware, as in other states, there is no minimum age for a child to be charged as an adult. this varies by state, but in a recent report by al jazeera america, black youth are over-represented. the suicide and sexual abuse rates of young prisoners are much higher than older prisoners. how should states and prisoners be treating youth as opposed to adults? mr. hudson: like his. -- like youth. their brains are different. there is so much research in the area. i would not want to be held accountable for a decision i made at 12, 13, 14 years old, for the rest of my life.
i understand accountability, and there are serious crimes by young kids they need to be held accountable for, but to deprive them of the opportunity of redemption, of ever having the opportunity to give something back from those they have taken away from to become a productive member in our society -- that is not who we really are, and luckily, all of us should understand -- i would venture to guess there is not a person in this room -- i am not looking at a room full of angels. no, sir, and no, ma'am. i am under no illusion that anyone in this room, including myself, could easily have done some things that you got away with -- whatever, but here you are now at this stage in your life and this is the person you are, fully positioned and fully prepared to do something positive and great. i think that opportunity should be afforded to everyone after we have held them accountable for
the things they do, but particularly the younger you are, and for drug-related offenses and things like that -- errors in judgment more than anything, we need to understand that our youth are our youth and treat them differently than we do adults in our system. professor hoffman: take another question from the audience. down here in the front. thank you, abby. >> thank you. talking about accountability, i go back to want, -- why, detroit, the fires in 1967. i look at sharpton, and what was her name -- marley. mr. hudson: i know sharp. >> he had the rally when it was found out it was incorrect she got raped.
mr. hudson: the little girl. >> right. also looking at duke and the lacrosse -- where is the accountability from that side, and for you not to speak for issues on that side -- you were talking about police matters, but not the other side. why are you not standing up in questioning some of the people on the other side? professor hoffman: so, when people are falsely accused of a crime that is race. mr. hudson: that is always wrong, but i came to talk about police communities, not about sharpton, the duke lacrosse team, or anything like that. however, what we're all talking about is equal treatment under the law. that theys discovered
were falsely accused, they were exonerated and the woman was held to some account, i'm not sure, for which he had done. but there are instances of people exploiting situations. sharpton has been accused of that. that young lady was guilty of that. the weight of the incidences that you and i can name that involve black people wrongly accused in the public sphere, discrediting whites in the public sphere, i think it personally pales in comparison to the number of blacks targeted by an -- and minorities targeted, and injured by a system that has been in place since the country's genesis. and it is this very moment when we sit and talk, sharpton was
wrong for his false presentation of facts and band lady was wrong and i am glad that those players were exonerated. >> another question from the audience. you have a green shirt on. >> so, considering the events in the past week with paris and refugees, president obama has made multiple statements regarding them, but yet the trending topic or i guess the popular topic is that he said popoff in one of his speeches, do you think that the media is perpetuating stereotypes by focusing on the black things politicians do and not what these politicians stand for? mr. hudson: probably yes. but that is national media. i think that people are not
-- now sophisticated enough, the majority of people, to know that mainstream media is not necessarily the best source of information that you can have. i think that people take what they present to us at face value, we gleam from it what we will and look at other sources of information to give us a complete picture of whatever the issue is. but the media and this president have had a that kind of relationship for some time, particularly certain media outlets that would vilify him at every turn. i am not always in 100% agreement with some of the things the president says or does. that is a myth, that blacks no matter what we are rolling with president obama. i support him and the terms he has had, but there have been issues with which i would disagree in the positions he has taken.
the media will do with the media does. they have to generate viewership. a lot of time, that is red meat for their viewers. host: i think we have one more question on this side. back there. >> i will stand. mr. hudson: yes, sir. >> i am standing because i want you to see who i am. in this past saturday we had a conference here at the chase center in one of our auditoriums downtown. there were about 500 people, about a 40-60 mix of black and white and it really is and was all about this issue. i say is because that was the opening event of things to come. i am offering the group here, the young people asking what they can do, they can join that movement which is here in the delaware area. there are a lot of things going
on. i will get to a question. mr. hudson: take your time. i am tired, man. host: only a few minutes left. >> i am a few years older than you, probably have a daughter your age. mr. hudson: see, we don't crack. >> the kind of question is, where do we go from here? are we undertaking an impossible task? you went back in history. my mother worked this issue until she was 92 years old. i don't know if she ever liked white people during that time, but she worked with them in an effort to change the world. she did shut down a number of
drugstores that would not serve black people. anyways, a lot of history in my life that keeps me going. and as i look at my grandchildren, my grandson, and all the issues of police that they have. i have been doing a lot of those areas. is there a solution? is it just a matter of staying with it and working at it? you mentioned there was never a time, where there was a pleasant time between the races of the country so will there ever be? , host: it almost sounds like, is there hope? are we fighting a losing battle? mr. hudson: my answer is, yes. there is hope. yes, i believe we are any position -- we are in a position
to see that you've all, to see a better relationship between the people who live in this country from different races coming ue in no small part that the demographics are changing. that is not anything to be afraid of. what you'll find is people are people. it will not be about turning the tables and we're going to get you back. no. i do not believe that. there is going to be a greater focus on human rights and equality than in many proceeding -- preceding generations. notwithstanding the civil rights movement and all that work done between races and the civil rights movement -- but right now we see numbers changing and changing ideas and motivation and energy of the very people
who are part of the changing numbers. so i think there is an opportunity if we seize it, if we have enough courage to acknowledge the reality of our country and what we want to be and do the work of getting to that place. i believe it will happen. i think i have to believe it. i have kids, too. host: before i formally thank you for coming, i want to formally think everybody in the audience for being here. this has been a very important semester in talking about race. not just in america but around campus. and i really want to as director of this series, to continue the dialogue online and on twitter, so please do not hesitate to contact me if you want to talk more about this. you can message on twitter. thank you for being here. [applause] mr. hudson: thank you.
>> today, it is q&a with eric larson on his book deadweight, the last crossing of the lusitania. ofdo consists the state world politics around the 1960's sinking of the ocean liner which some of the coast of ireland, torpedoed by a german u-boat. 1200 passengers died including 128 americans. you can watch today at 7:00 eastern. tonight, foreign affairs correspondent look at the middle east. >> the first time i really was a little deranged by trauma was in 2000. i had been in northern afghanistan, and at that point the talent then had an air
force, tanks, artillery, and we really got pretty hounded a few times. saw some pretty ugly things, and this was before 9/11. and nontry was at war one was really talking about ptsd. i had no idea what it was. it never occurred to me that you could be traumatized in any enduring way. andme back from afghanistan not a particularly neurotic person. i was really puzzled when i started having panic attacks in situations that would not normally scare me, like the new york city subway at rush hour. or a ski gondola. i was having these full-blown panic attacks and i did not understand. small crowdedg in places. feelingour, a strange that everything i was looking at scenes like a threat. crowd of people would turn and
attack me. the trains were going to fast, they were going to jump the rails and somehow plow into the people on the platform and kill everybody. some of the discussions about reporting in the middle east. held by the council on foreign relations page you can watch tonight at 8:00 eastern. >> tonight on the communicators, we look at how the music industry works. associate professor of music does this at berklee college of music discusses how new music platforms have impacted the way musicians are paid and what reforms congress can implement to make the payment structure more transparent. phillips.ed by jim >> certainly than narrative of artists and songwriters feeling
like they don't understand where their money is coming from is not new, but i think we are living in a world today where everything is trackable. the nsa can know where i am, they can know where you are, they can know what you're talking about on your cell phone. there is no reason why artists and creators should not know where their songs are being streamed. not on a significant time lag either. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. as 2015 reps up, c-span prevents congress, a year in review. a look at the newsmaking issues that took stage on capitol hill this year. join us thursday at 8:00 as we revisit mitch mcconnell taking his position as senate majority leader. address to congress, the resignation of john boehner, and
the election of paul ryan. the debate over the nuclear deal with iran, and reaction from congress on mass shootings here and abroad, gun control, terrorism, and the rise of isis. year in review, thursday at 8:00 eastern. founded in 1865, the nation is the nation's oldest a magazine and is still in circulation today. to mark the magazine's 150th anniversary, the editor joined a panel discussion on inequality in america with former labor secretary robert reisch and van jones. the event is one hour 40 minutes.
this is the last stop on our trip. 2015 marked the 150th birthday of the nation. it is daunting. [applause] host: this is our last stop in introducing a new generation to the next generation. some 3 million people come to the nation now every week in different forms, so we are proud of that. tonight we have gathered some of the great thinkers, activists on issues of fairness, fighting inequality. for a panel, i think that is vital at this time, at any time. it is a transcendent issue of our time. let me introduce our great moderator, and we shall begin.
she was the first female african-american judge in northern california, the first female african-american superior court judge in santa clara county, california. please welcome judge cordell. [applause] judge cordell: thank you. thank you so much. good evening, and welcome to today's special program of the commonwealth club of california. tonight's program is cohosted by the nation magazine. i am ladoris cordell, former judge of the superior court of california, former police auditor of the city of san jose, and your moderator for this program. 2015 is the 150th birthday of "the nation" magazine.
to commemorate this historic anniversary, we are proud to present a conversation about our country's inequality crisis, a pressing issue impacting millions of americans, and a core nation issue on which the magazine has long been sounding the alarm. the wealth controlled by the top tenth of the top 1% has more than doubled in the past 30 years in the united states, approaching unprecedented levels. san francisco most certainly symbolizes the inequality issue. the city has been wracked by battles over development, a homeless population that spills onto its sidewalks, rocketing housing costs, and increases in crime.
with its gleaming new buildings and influx of silicon valley wealth, san francisco has the fastest growing income inequality gap in the nation. so what does this inequality mean for the political process? for the environment? living wages and immigrant rights? and in turn, for civil society and the future of our democracy? tonight you will have a conversation with four prominent experts about key problems afflicting america, through the lens of the unprecedented wealth in the united states today. first, a senior fellow at the blum center for developing economy. he served as secretary of labor in the clinton administration
and was named by time magazine as one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. his latest book is "saving capitalism for the many, not the few." please welcome robert reich. [applause] sec. reich: oh, wow. [applause] judge cordell: ai-jen poo is director of the national domestic workers alliance. she was a 2014 macarthur genius and was named one of the world's
most 100 influential people by "time" magazine. she is the 2013 world economic forum young global leader, an author of "the age of dignity: preparing for the elder being in -- boom in a change of america." please welcome ai-jen poo. [applause] judge cordell: van jones is an environmental advocate, civil rights activist. and he is the cofounder of four nonprofit organizations, including rebuild the dream, of which he is president. he is also a cnn political contributor. van is a yale educated lawyer,
and in 2009 worked as the green jobs advisor to president obama. he is the author of the new york times best-selling book, "rebuild the dream." please welcome van jones. [applause] judge cordell: our final panelist, katrina vanden heuvel, is the publisher and editor of "the nation." she is a frequent commentator on tv and radio and the author of numerous books. her blog appears at thenation.com. please welcome katrina heuvel. [applause]
judge cordell: we are going to start our conversation with a question i am going to throw out for all of you. in a 2014 survey, inequality was the top choice for greatest threat to the world. all of the presidential candidates are talking about inequality. i give you a quote here, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse, and there are more people in poverty than ever before. those words are the words of mitt romney. [laughter] judge cordell: so panelists, are we finally at the tipping point? are americans left and right, rich and poor, all in agreement that our economic and political systems are rigged and have to change? has all of the anger about inequality become a great
unifier, or are we about to tip? [laughter] sec. reich: no. [laughter] [applause] sec. reich: should i explain? [laughter] the good news is, inequality is something people are talking about. after years of seeing inequality median wages stagnate, with the rich getting richer, finally we are getting to a tipping point, even among republicans, where it is expected to be fashionable to say something about it, but we are not anywhere near doing anything significant about it. there is one candidate who is
talking seriously about it, and a few others who are being influenced by him -- [applause] sec. reich: but i don't want to make this into a partisan forum. my biggest fear is that we may be as a nation heading into a world war. war can bring out either the best or the worst in nations. it sometimes can lead to a great deal of social solidarity, and some very good things can come out of the horrors of war in terms of the issue of inequality, but it can also bring out ugliness. we have to watch that. judge cordell: anybody else? ai-jen: i think there is other good news, which is that everywhere i turn, i see low-wage workers in motion.
i see incredible organizing among fast food workers, health care workers, domestic workers. we have all heard of the fight for 15. walmart workers, retail workers, even the baristas at starbucks. people are coming together, and i think that combined with the vibrancy of the movement for black lives, there is a sense of collective self-confidence that people who are on the frontlines lines of inequality in this country are starting to express. we actually can turn the tide on this, and we are going to come together and build the kind of movement necessary to do so. that to me is the best news in this situation. a great historian of social movements told me not long ago
that she does believe we are in the early stages of what will be the next great social protest movement of this country that will fundamentally transform democracy for all of us. she is right about a lot of things, so i am going to go with that. [laughter] [applause] van: first of all, congratulations. i think that you are right, there is an agreement about the problem, not the solution. but there are right-wing populism's that are very interesting now. in their willingness to take this on. they use terms different than are familiar to us, but you hear
right-wingers now talking about what they call crony capitalism, and that is their way of talking about the way that the government has been captured to protect big corporations at the expense of working people. i think there is a growing militancy on the right and the left. the problem is the solution is put forward by the right would make things worse. i also think that when you listen to the orange guy, trump. [laughter] judge cordell: john boehner is the orange guy. sec. reich: who else did you have in mind? van: when you listen to him, there is something interesting where there is a style of politics that could be a precursor to something. in other words, i just don't give a dad gum anymore.
there is something that is happening where people who felt constrained, there is just not enough cookies on the table now for people to be polite. the temperature is going up on both the right and left, so i do think the income inequality debate is something we should be very observant of for opportunities on the right. katrina: i think the rules are being written in different ways on the left and right. at the heart of it, we are witnessing a discredited, failed status quo of deregulation, of corporate trade agreements, of failure to make public investments, of mandatory sentencing.
all of this is coming under scrutiny and questioning. you see it in bernie sanders campaign and donald trumps. the question is, where will it head? around the world, there are movements like you are describing, both hopeful and not hopeful, whether it is in spain or canada, where it will end will require political power and movements. judge cordell: let's pick up on the political power issue. first of all, this talk about inequality has been around for years. in the 1930's, supreme court justice louis brandeis once noted, we can have a democracy or great wealth in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both. in 1956 "the nation" published an article written by w.e.b. dubois that says we turn over funds to national profit and
have few funds left over for education and health. if we talk about politics, there is a boatload of money left in the lobbying industry. in 2013, apple spent $3.3 million in lobbying. amazon, $3.4 million. facebook, $6.4 million. microsoft, $10.4 million. google spent $15 million, all to influence politicians in washington. don't we have to hit lobbying to achieve income equality, and how do we do that? sec. reich: clearly we do, and we have to get money out of politics. we have to reverse citizens united. [applause] sec. reich: we have to make sure there is public financing of all campaigns and make sure there is full disclosure of where the
money is coming from. it is easy to say what we should be doing. it is extremely hard to get the power to do it because it paints a chicken-and-egg problem. the people in power do not want to lose power, and it they fear that any fundamental change in how politics is financed would be a threat. let's go back to the issue of populism, because it is the core question. we see on the right and left upheavals and angry people, all around the world. this is not just an american problem. but the question is, how is that anger utilized? what political organization will do with that anger? this is a great challenge, it
seems, because if we are facing a common threat in the form of radical jihadists and, whatever you want to call it, that anger can be turned into something positively creative, or it can be turned into fierce xenophobia and racism. and ethnic exclusivity. we have got to take a leadership role in making sure that anger is channeled in a positive direction. everyone in this hall has to do exactly the same thing. judge cordell: anyone else? van: first of all, from an african-american perspective, the conversation about inequality starts with mass incarceration.
it starts there -- [applause] van: and then moves to the rest of it. ai-jen mentioned black lives, i think this is the most important development of our time. a lot of people got mad because kids grabbed their microphones, and that is their only point of reference, missing the entire movie. you now have a generation of african americans who are coming on the scene, they were 12 years old when obama got into office. they are not impressed with having a negro president. they are not impressed with having a democratic party that will say stuff. they are facing incarceration rates that are six time their
peers when they are doing the same things. in other words, black kids and white kids do drugs the same amount, but black kids go to prison six times more than their white peers and no one is saying anything. and you have a view of the state that it does a better job of punishing than protecting, that they do a better job of hurting people than helping. and that they see violence from the government inside the u.s. borders in the form of mass incarceration. there appears see it at the u.s. border in the form of mass deportation, and all young people see it beyond the u.s. border in the form of militarization. a seamless web of violence from the government that somehow does not protect them from the street-level violence but enhances it.
and no one is speaking for them. then you have the democratic to open itsants mouth and talk about income not, until but will recently, speak about these issues as integral to the fight. you cannot have income inequality if you are right now or what some of you were doing this weekend. [laughter] you cannot have incoming equality if you cannot get a job, a student loan, a business license. so for those young people to hear a democratic party still not dealing with it. i was very impressed, by the way, the only force besides hillary clinton that both political parties had to address in their debate was black lives matter.
which was started by three and women --young women, with nothing but a hash tag and they forced both parties to deal with them. we should celebrate that. [applause] judge cordell: it appears that race is the weapon of choice for those who want to maintain a status quote and draw attention away from any quality. -- inequality. if you look at donald trump and making america great again, that is dog whistle politics. that is code for let's make america white again. so the question is, is the black lives matter movement focusing enough on income and wealth inequality, should it be doing more in that area? this is for anybody.
sec. reich: no. i don't think they should be doing more. van: no. you have a democratic party. judge cordell: i think what has ,.erged in the last years to buy, post crash, i might even argue post obama, there has any war within the democratic party, the wall street wing and the corporate establishment wing, which often both have failed to take that into account, you could argue that the sticks apply rightly to bernie sanders. katrina and consciousness : raising done for senator warren, people are speaking in new ways. that battle goes on and it will determine the inequality the visible fight of the party
is between the wall street wing and white economic populists, i mean if you lookre mean if you look at reality, there is a white reality. the problem you have is that at the end of the day the republicans and right-wing democrats want black people to settle with trickle down economics and the left wing wants us to settle for trickle down justice. in other words, you shut up, we will not say black, we will not talk about your issues. shut up and we will talk about taxing wall street, social security and income inequality -- and you'll get yours, don't worry.
katrina: and not schools. van: and not raising the slogans of mass incarceration and as a result you have a third leg in the progressive movement, the racial justice leg, which has no home and no candidate and you are talking about dreamers on the latino side, the black lives matter movement, native americans, you have a third wing of the party that no candidate and no voice, not even the pretense of a black candidate can have that and they have exploded into view and they have brought out the best of both wings and i was proud of those young people and how bernie sanders righted himself and responded with compassion. he was taken aback. i think that these young people have brought out the boast of both parties and -- best of both parties, this is a healthy thing they achieved. [applause]
sec. reich: i think what has happened, again i do not know precisely what is going inside in a campaign or the washington precinct of a party, but i think gradually this is occurring, if you have progressives, white progressives, that they cannot maintain or get an electoral majority. but if you have progressives along with people of color, latinos and blacks, you can create a majority in america and that coalition, if you can generate it, is a winning coalition. what the democrats have done since franklin d. roosevelt was to exclude african-americans, very consciously and carefully. that was fdr's coalition, that was the white working class and with every -- and everyone else you could find in a very direct seclusion of southern african-americans and blacks.
that has been the policy of the democratic party up in till bill clinton -- until bill clinton. he tried to have a larger coalition, but the error of bill clinton was making alliance with wall street democrats and that undermined everything else, making it difficult to create a new progressive movement. so the question for the democrats and for hillary clinton and bernie sanders and martin o'malley is whether they are willing to abandon the wall street coalition and join a new winning coalition with people of color? that is the central strategic question and to my mind the only way we get any kind of change in america is the latter, not the
former. judge cordell: so if we can actually get people together, voting is the bottom line. voting is critical to society and in america, low voter turnout is the rule, not the exception. bernie sanders wants everybody to be automatically registered to vote at age 18, but that does not address the issue of getting people to actually vote. in australia, people are fined for not voting. so given how low our voter turnout is in this country, should we do the same? should we penalize people for not voting or are there other ways to get people to the polls? katrina: i would flip it, i think the crisis we are looking at is, the coalition, the rising
american coalition, the republican right sees that and they are doing everything to suppress the vote. to suppress this coming shift in our country's democracy, destiny, politics. the money pouring into suppressing the vote is staggering and akin to a poll tax, to jim crow. i think it will take movements to get out and vote. i am not in favor of mandatory voting. i could be persuaded. but i am thinking, moral mondays in north carolina come they have made a commitment to get out and vote, multiracial, multi-issue, multi-justice and toward a three reconstruction -- third reconstruction. in the third reconstruction, rallying people not only in
north carolina, but he will travel to speak about health care and mandatory minimums to mass incarceration. so there is something and that motion that we should be aware of the money that has been pumped in. my last point, i think all contributions to super pac's should be 100% taxable and it should go to voter registration. [applause] judge cordell: does anyone think that voting should be mandatory? sec. reich: i certainly don't. i think that people will vote when they have something to vote for. ai-jen poo: i think part of it is the question of agenda, if we could create an agenda for the future of the country where the
full diversity of who we are as a nation and our interests and how they are interconnected could be articulated and reflected back in a compelling agenda that is not imprisoned by the politics of the impossible, but actually what people need in this country to not only survive but to thrive. and not just some people, all people. and i think when we have that agenda we will see a desire to engage in a different way. [applause] judge cordell: both of my grandmother's were the help. they had low wages, no health care, one day off a week. long days. today's domestic workers include
mostly women. so, ai-jen, your focus and van's as well has been a long grassroots organizing. some people think this is the wrong approach and the way to think about eradicating inequality is by looking down, not up. so a conservative pundits recently said, the problem in america is not wealth, but persistent poverty. do not punish the rich, help the poor become richer. like the song we heard, make the idle poor become the idle rich. again, what is your view ai-jen, is grassroots going about it the wrong way? ai-jen poo: so, ever since the 1930's when our labor laws were put into place as part of the new deal and the deal was cut, southern members of congress refused to sign on in the fair labor's standards act, including farmers and domestic workers,
robert mentioned this. and those bills were passed within those exclusions in place and concession to other members of congress, so for more than 75 years domestic workers and farmworkers have been excluded from the core foundation of labor protection and the only thing that has changed that over time, more than seven decades, the only thing that has changed that is domestic workers organizing at the grassroots level. [applause] ai-jen poo: yes. the first round was in the 1970's, a domestic worker from atlanta, a black woman, courageous, a national heroine.
she led the workers union and one -- won minimum wage protections and this generation of domestic workers organizing and 30 cities today has one domestic worker bills of rights in six states in the last five years. so we are indeed changing policy and the course of history through grassroots organizing and that has been the only thing that has worked. that is what i would say. judge cordell: van? van: first of all, i think that we should give ai-jen a round of applause for her work. [applause] van: you know, i wouldn't dare to add to what she said. it is not going to be -- even liberal elites like ourselves just don't have the
fingertips for what is really going on all too often. so we are often trying to follow the wrong problems at the wrong time. when you talk about occupy wall street or black lives or the new labor movement, breaking all the rules. i hope i am not defending -- oh defending everybody, but you are not the darling of progressives a few years ago when young, brown immigrant women were coming into the halls of power. that was very weird. [laughter] people do not know what to make of it. they were patronizing and all of a sudden you one in three or four states and extended the rights of more people, your movement, quicker than anything else in the past 40 years with
possible exceptions of the farmworkers. this is what happens when the people who are at the bootheel stand up. so i think, we have a bunch of young people here from human rights and other places, young and kissed off and with dreadlocks -- pissed off and with dreadlocks, my ideas were much more militant. now i am on tv and i find myself kind of in a very frustrating, on the one hand, these black lives kids, they say screw you. i think there is something to be said for the contribution made by people who have a dog in the race.
[applause] judge cordell: hillary clinton does not want a system that will provide free college education for everybody. she said, i do not want to take -- pay for the education of donald trump's children. neither do i. is she on to something or should college and vocational education be free for all? other countries do it, why not here? sec. reich: i think it is very important in building the coalition that we're talking about and the grassroots we are talking about, to seek a kind of system in which not only is public higher education free, and i do not think that donald trump's children would go to public higher institutions, but
also that we have a single payer health care system. this is very important. [applause] sec. reich: we may not be able to do this next week or next year, but it is something to aspire to. it builds and enlarges social solidarity. and it creates the kind of links between the poor and the upper class, blacks and whites and latinos, between americans generally that can support this kind of set of institutions. and the fight is going to be long and difficult, but building on something, i have just returned from several weeks in red america, red cities, red state. you may wonder what i was doing there. [applause] sec. reich: i was trying to flog a book. i did not do well in red states, but what i did discover, i had a meeting with some farmers in
missouri who were organizing against some of the big agricultural businesses and factory farms. they call themselves republicans, but they were organizing against what they consider to be and were in fact some of the forces that were systematically eating away at the profits and destroying the environment. i met a small business leader, not only in stature, they were tall. but they were small business leaders in cincinnati and they were organizing against big businesses, big franchisors, that were undermining their profits and monopolizing. and across red america, i kept running into people who were organizing against the powerful, the wealthy, the monopolists. and the fight for people that i met in st. louis and kansas city are doing the exact same thing
and these people need to be linked up. the moral monday people who i met in raleigh, they are beginning to link up with groups about the same issues of power and wealth. sec. reich: so i think there is a trans-partisan movement. judge cordell: you have been writing about it. katrina: there is so much about history we can retrieve, radical history, which is what when bernie sanders talks about denmark, but the idea of trust-busting, we need to revise that. if you recall years ago in the fight against media concentration and for media democracy, the fight the media was central to, you had -- because both did not like bigness, they wanted diversity and local. there is corporate bigness, so if the tea party had not been so
racist, you could have found some alliances there. you have written about this. that the future of politics is between the establishment and the anti-establishment. within the -- the bigness -- sec. reich: there are two antiestablishments now. van: we are finding in the work i do, the green tea movement. [applause] [laughter] katrina: is that right? i have heard about the coffee part. van: the coffee part is liberal. [laughter] van: no, there is a group, the green tea movement and the argument they make is very compelling. shouldn't every american have the right and liberty to power
their own homes with their own power, without being dictated to by companies that will tell you, when you are going to pay your energy bill, it will cost -- how much it will cost, and yet you do not have that right in america. so people are saying we are tired of being dominated by power companies telling us that we cannot have our own homes and to sell power on the grid. it is important to understand this. we are working very closely with the far right on criminal justice issues. newt gingrich and i told -- pulled together a summit.
we said if we can get 100 leaders together for one hour on criminal justice, we could change everything. we got 700, this was in march, including 10 congresspeople, to cabinet secretaries and others. in march this happened, so in february people said this was impossible, now they say it is inevitable. there's a conservative critique that says government bureaucracy gobbles up money. in a christian view, they do not treat every soul with respect and there is no redemption possible. and a libertarian point of view, they are the enemy of liberty. so, you say, i do not trust these guys. who do you trust? i can point to three republican governors, in ohio, in texas, closing prisons.
but i cannot think of a democrat governor in the country that is closing prisons. even jerry brown. cuomo got pulled into kicking , and screaming, a compromise that would have been better if he led on it. my point is, i'm just going from earlier, there is -- in the temperature is rising. the liberty and justice for all moment here, liberty, that is republicans, the liberty and justice for all moment is coming. judge cordell: so you are listening to the commonwealth program, this is presented by "the nation" in commemoration with their 150th anniversary and
we are discussing inequality in america. we have van jones a former white house adviser and commentator. and katrina vanden heuval. editor and publisher of "the nation." a former police auditor for the city of san jose and your moderator. and you can hear programs on the radio, catch up with us on facebook and twitter and a view us on the youtube channel. we are at a point where we want to go to questions that have been submitted from the audience. before we do that, let's do a quick inequality jeopardy round. i will give a quote about inequality to you all and you tell us who said it.
and remember, you need to answer in the form of a question. [laughter] if you do not know the answer, take a good guess. first quote, a republican is for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict, the man before the dollar. >> ted cruz. [laughter] >> andrew carnegie. judge cordell: abraham lincoln. >> almost ted cruz. judge cordell: next. you can't get rich dealing with politicians, then there is something wrong with you. >> willie brown. [laughter] judge cordell: willie brown he says. >> be careful, you know what city you are in. judge cordell: donald trump.
the law in its majestic equality for bids of the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges, bending on the street and stealing bread. >> anatole france's. judge cordell: bingo. last one. those are my -- those are my principles and if you do not like them, well, i have others. [laughter] >> richard nixon. judge cordell: groucho marx. [laughter] judge cordell: now we will turn to questions from you all. how do we give individuals enough power to be effective but not enough to be corrupted? >> can we give a lifeline? van: we should give a round of applause.
[applause] judge cordell: who is the epitome of justice. van: it is all in balance. this is a dynamic system, people want to figure out -- i voted in 2008 and everything did not get fixed, i quit. i mean, this is a dynamic system we will continue to interact with and learn from and hopefully for another 1000 years. there is no single answer, even if you fix it today, with new technology tomorrow, it is not
in interstate. judge cordell: you write that it really is not corruption, it is people making rules? sec. reich: the new form of corruption is big institutions, large corporations, wall street, and also some very wealthy individuals who are buying their way into american politics in the form of changing the rules the way that the market functions. they do not think of themselves as corrupt, they think of themselves as the way they have to lobby to maintain themselves and they obey rules of obligation, but it actually undermines the system. but back to your question, your honor. may i call you your honor? judge cordell: i appreciate it. sec. reich: well, why we -- while we are handing out appreciation.
you have been exemplary. [applause] van: and you are both great artists, i didn't realize that you are an accomplished artist, so maybe the left brain and the right brain are working together. judge cordell: back to our question. ai-jen poo: i think if you look at the healthiest democracies around the world one thing may have in common is vibrant social movements. one thing, one of the most important things we can do is add oxygen to social movements, because that creates the context for good governance in my view.
sec. reich: i think you're absolutely right and the greatest enemy of social movements is cynicism. [applause] sec. reich: and every single time anybody detects a degree of cynicism about politics in our democracy to function as it should, as it can, they are contributing to a self of filling prophecy -- self fulfilling prophecy. judge cordell: it is tricky in terms of media coverage. katrina: we do a lot of investigation and you expose corruption in the hope that wrongs will be righted, but it can also lead to cynicism so there is a balancing act. not only is it cynicism, it is cynicism about the role of government. i have heard so many people and they are right, the government is not working on behalf of the people. but to throw it out is the wrong way to go, you want to tak