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It’s fascinating to watch an industry attempt to define and structure itself as it comes together. Imagine Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, nuclear power in the 1960s, alcohol in the 1930s, or the auto industry in the 1900s and 1910s.
I got to see shades of this recently when I visited the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup, held at L.A. Center Studios. Despite the carnival atmosphere, this was essentially a trade show for an industry in its inception. A friend had to deliver some union materials to a labor-friendly vendor, and I tagged along, chatting with representatives from all segments of the industry.
Most press accounts have caricatured the industry as a joke. But with potential national revenue that could be as large as $120 billion annually (estimating the true size is notoriously difficult), and with boosters predicting potential California employment in the tens of thousands,
It wasn’t exactly Tahrir Square, but one recent Saturday afternoon, through modern technology, I joined an estimated two million people throughout Latin America, the U.S. and Canada in 500 different venues to experience a different kind of democracy movement – call it musical democracy.
We were all gathered to watch Gustavo Dudamel of the LA Philharmonic Orchestra conduct 1,400 performers in Gustav Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in Caracas, Venezuela.
The 1,200 young members of the chorus, and the Venezuelan musicians who played alongside the pros of the LA Phil, are products of “El Sistema,” the innovative choral and orchestral training system aimed at the country’s poorest children . The program currently involves 250,000 kids and 135 youth orchestras throughout the nation of 30 million. Dudamel is a product of that system, as are the numerous talented Venezuelan musicians now getting scooped up by topnotch classical music venues throughout the world.
Founded as an anti-drug,
(The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy has just released its guide for policy activists in the form of a graphic novel and anthology of case studies. Here is veteran television producer Norman Lear’s forward to They Said It Was Impossible! How to Win Progressive Change When the Odds Are Against Us.)
I frequently meet people who love this country and worry that it is in deep trouble, but don’t know what they can do about it. It’s hard for them to see how an individual can make a real difference when our problems are so big.
But our history tells us that when individuals get together, we can create real and lasting change. And this publication tells us how LAANE is successfully taking on the challenge of building a new economy, one that is fair,
We’re currently riding a serious wave of attacks on labor unions from politicians. (Generally, but not exclusively, this has come from the GOP.) We all know about the assaults on public employee unions that started last year in Wisconsin, and have spread across the country, with proposed or enacted legislation in states such as Michigan, Ohio (subsequently repealed by voters), Indiana, and most egregiously, Arizona.
And then there’s the resurgence of so-called Right to Work legislation, which was just signed into law in Indiana, which became the first state to go RTW since Oklahoma in 2001. (That makes 23 right to work states overall.) Similar legislation is pending elsewhere, including Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire. Even states that are already right to work, like South Carolina, just want to get a little right to workier.
With Romney needing to establish more conservative cred,