Responsible Wealth: Allies Inside the Castle Walls

How the Responsible Wealth project fits within the broader work of UFE

At UFE’s October Board meeting, we had a great discussion about what it’s going to take to build a broad social movement capable of fostering a more widely shared prosperity and a more just economy. We looked at everything from the need for a compelling narrative, a vision for the future, an organized base, an effective means of communication, and more. Part of that discussion came back to who we seek to organize and how, surfacing key questions about how UFE does its work.

One of our Board members, Bill Creighton, used a powerful metaphor that helped put this question, and the work of UFE in context. Imagine a castle that represents the power and privilege our lopsided economic system bestows on a small minority. Those on the inside represent the wealthiest among us, and those on the outside are the families struggling to make ends meet. Much of UFE’s work is focused on organizing and supporting those on the outside of the castle. Our Responsible Wealth project is organizing inside the castle walls.

UFE spends significant resources, through our educational workshops and our Racial Wealth Divide project, to engage low and middle-income households, immigrant communities, communities of color, labor unions, community groups, and others impacted by the vast inequalities created by our economic system. Much of our tax work, especially our Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative, helps support the grassroots infrastructure of organizing groups working for a more progressive tax system at the state and nation levels.

Through all of this work, we aim to build a movement capable of mobilizing and energizing those outside the castle, to march to the edge of the moat and demand an end of the vast inequalities, including the castle itself and its fortified walls that have divided our nation. However, after banging on the castle door for a while, it becomes clear that a few friends on the inside of the castle could radically change the dynamics of this struggle.

Through UFE’s Responsible Wealth project, we organize high-wealth and high-income individuals who share our vision to join us in this struggle. Responsible Wealth members, like the rest of UFE, believe that an economy so radically tilted to the benefit of the very wealthy, is not in the best interest of our nation or the communities where we live. Responsible Wealth members have spoken out in solidarity against extravagant CEO Pay, predatory lending, and tax breaks for wealthy individuals like themselves.

By engaging allies inside the castle, we stand a better chance of achieving our ultimate goal. Instead of endlessly banging on the outside of the castle door, our Responsible Wealth allies can help us to open the door from the inside. By working across class differences, UFE and our Responsible Wealth project are helping to change the debate about what a fair economy looks like. This is part of what makes UFE so unique, and in the end, effective.


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