Statement From USAction’s Co-Founder William McNary

William McNary

William McNary speaks before the One Nation Working Together march

USAction is a bold, broad, national grassroots organization determined to strengthen progressive political power in order to win social, racial, economic and environmental justice for all. USAction was founded in November 1999 and we are currently in 24 states with 34 affiliates, including national labor allies in the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Communication Workers of America.

We believe that every man and woman who wants to work is entitled to a livable job with a living wage, safe working conditions and a secure retirement. But in order to get that job, we believe that all children are entitled to a high quality public school education, regardless of where they live or who they were born to. But a solid education and a good job won’t prevent anyone from falling ill, so we believe that high quality, affordable health care should be a right guaranteed to all. And to prolong and improve our quality of life, we believe we’re entitled to an environment of pollution-free air, toxin-free water and pesticide-free food.

William McNary walks with other leaders

William McNary walks with community, labor and allied organizational leaders.

USAction attempts to do this in three ways. We are engaged in broad-based issue campaigns aimed at winning broad-based public policy changes. We engage in electoral politics, not for its own sake, but as a way to enact our far-reaching policy changes into law. And lastly, we build coalitions, networks and organizations that embody our progressive values to store and accumulate power to keep our work and our influence in place for the long term.

As we move to secure our nation’s airports, government buildings and borders, we should be just as concerned about the social and economic security of those who live within these borders and beyond. Inequality matters and we cannot continue to allow corporate demands to trump human rights, social rights, civil rights and labor rights. We must correct these inequalities and the time to do it is now!

But if we are to succeed, this cannot be about “we’re to the left of America and we’re smarter and better than everyone else.” This has to be about changing the nature of the political experience. Transformation. A cataclysmic shift in power.

We know that power is unjustly distributed along many fault lines. People are separated by wealth, income and class. By race and gender. By sexual orientation and physical ability. By language and ethnicity. If power is finite and too few people have it, our common goal should be to secure just relationships of power in our workplaces, in our communities, in our nation and in the world.

We are not merely justice seekers, though our work must be grounded in truth and justice. We are not merely policy analysts, though our work must be based on sound public policy. We are not merely freedom-lovers, although we all love freedom. We must organize to change the balance of power in this country and give more power to the people.

William McNary