REGISTER NOW: Training of Trainers | Baltimore, June 2012

"I have attended many workshops and conferences over the years and I cannot remember one that was as meaningful as this one.  I came home filled with great ideas, new techniques, renewed enthusiasm and many warm feelings about you three and the entire group. My heart was touched, my mind challenged and my body energized. Hard to beat this experience."

—Mark McDermott, Minnesota Training of Trainers participant

The U.S. economy is sputtering along, creating new jobs at a rate that won’t get us back to pre-recession levels for at least another decade. An austerity program is shrinking the public sector, tearing apart the remaining social safety net and widening the racial economic divide. Meanwhile, the top 1% are riding higher than ever. The influence of big money in politics continues to grow and the 2012 elections will push such spending to obscene heights. Global trade agreements continue to spur a race to the bottom, economic dislocation and migration, and the inability to rein in too-big-to-fail financial institutions adds up to a frighteningly unstable and potentially catastrophic economic outlook.

Ten ChairsLast fall, however, this doom and gloom scenario was pierced by the Occupy movement. The encampments, an increase in street heat activism and the brilliant reframing of the debate on the economy, from a focus on deficits and government spending to the 1% vs the 99%, has provided us an extraordinary moment in history. Although the persistence of extreme inequality, the opportunity for broad-based movement and significant social change has dramatically increased.

The role of education — not sound bites, but thoughtful reflection, analysis, and strategizing — is crucial to the success of the rejuvenated organizing and mobilizing that is taking place. We need to make sense of what's happening and further challenge the dominant narrative that ignores the structures that systemically drive inequality. We need to create and unite behind a vision of an equitable, sustainable, and democratic economy. We need to establish the conditions for a democratic, multi-racial, multi-class progressive social change movement that can alter the established relations of power.

UFE's Popular Economics Education Training of Trainers Institute explores these questions and gives participants tools for analysis that will inform and inspire action.

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