This Fourth of July weekend, as the United States celebrates independence and democracy, Moyers & Company pays tribute to the champions of grass roots action fighting against the moneyed interests trying to buy and control government. These populists are seeking real change -- not from the right or the left but from the bottom up.
One of their most articulate spokesmen is writer and commentator Jim Hightower, who travels the country preaching the gospel of populism. A former congressional aide and two-term agriculture commissioner of his native Texas, he is the author of several books of progressive wit and wisdom and edits a newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown."
Hightower tells Bill Moyers, "There is a growing rebellion and an increasing awareness among different groups fighting different battle that they are connected... People are beginning to get together and see their common interest." He adds, "There is a greater power that is building up in the countryside, simmering, bubbling in different places and that's going to come together."
Following Hightower's conversation with Bill Moyers, a documentary spotlights the recent Rising Voices for a New Economy conference in Washington, D.C., at which 1100 grass roots members of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and the National People's Action Together (NPA) rallied to learn organizing methods and put truth to the power of government and corporate America.
According to NDWA director Ai-jen Poo, "The interests and forces that we're up against are so very powerful that we can't afford not to build a movement that is as inclusive and is broad and as deep as it can possibly be." NPA director George Goehl agrees but cautions that it means, "All of us bending towards each other. It means all of us giving up some control and some of what we would love to have be at the center of the fight so we could collectively have more power."
Bill Moyers hosts a weekly hour of compelling conversation about the state of American democracy, featuring a range of scholars, activists, scientists, and newsmakers.