P1 Events at IPS: IPS
hosts dialogues with Senior Scholar Maude Barlow and former IPS fellow Michael Klare on sustainability.
P2 The Director’s Desk:
John Cavanagh recaps exciting new partnerships and developments in 2014.
P3 Supporter Spotlight: Find out why Kathy Walker has supported IPS for over a decade.
P4 New Faces: Q&A with new staff members working on communications, inequality, and the economy.
Inside IPS A quarterly newsletter from the Institute for Policy Studies
2014, Vol. 1
Maude Barlow on stage at Busboys & Poets, discussing her new book.
Shifting the Conversation on Sustainability On March 19, the packed audience in the Langston Room at Busboy and Poets gathered to listen to IPS senior scholar Maude Barlow discuss her new book, Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever. The book includes inspiring stories of struggle and resistance from communities across the globe, as well as
The stage is being set for drought on an unprecedented scale... All the justice and awareness in the world cannot stave off this future if the water is not there.
examples of government policies that work for people and the planet.
The following week, IPS hosted a dialogue with another expert on sustainability and natural See “Sustainability” on page 3
From the Director’s Desk Last fall, on our 50th anniversary, IPS celebrated 50 organizations that we collaborate with on many fronts. Since then, we’ve strengthened several of those ties. As crises have deepened in the Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere, our Foreign Policy In Focus project has started to co-publish cutting edge analyses each week with a long-time ally, The Nation. As outrage has spread over inequality, IPS has provided the research, and generated infographics and op-eds with core allies in the fight to increase the minimum wage, tax Wall Street, and rethink the future of work. These dynamic groups include Jobs with Justice, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Restaurant Workers Opportunities Center, and National People’s Action. IPS has also coordinated closely with other allies to stimulate a national conversation on budget priorities, with several analyses of the new Congressional Progressive Caucus budget. As dynamic social movements for peace, justice, and the environment continue to grow, I am proud of the role IPS plays as connective tissue among many organizations that are shifting the momentum of history toward justice. Page 2
Breaking the Chain: On Stepping Out and Speaking up Tiffany Williams has understood the struggles of working women from an early age. She grew up with a single mother who worked two jobs to ensure that she and her brother had a place to live and food on the table in their hometown on the gulf coast of Florida. “There was a stretch of six years when my mom slept on the couch because the only apartment we could afford in the good school district was too small for our family,” Tiffany recalls. In 2008, Tiffany joined the Break the Chain Campaign at IPS to provide counseling and case management for domestic workers who had been trafficked and exploited by wealthy employers, diplomats, and representatives of the World Bank and the IMF. A year later, Tiffany transitioned from case management work to organizing. She had become increasingly frustrated seeing the same patterns in the lives of the women she was meeting every day. They were tricked by fraudulent contracts, and forced to work long hours with little or no pay. Their passports were taken, and the women always felt trapped by economic necessity, psychological intimidation, or physical restraint. Today, Tiffany continues her work of addressing the roots
of human trafficking through partnerships with organizations like the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Freedom Network, and by helping trafficked domestic workers become self-advocates so their voices, ideas, and recommendations will be heard by media and by policymakers. She also supports the Caring Across Generations campaign by assisting in various research projects, developing resources for organizing and advocacy, and by acting as the Washington, DC base for the campaign. The shift from case management to organizing has turned out to be the right decision: “I am no longer dominated by anger and fear, and the trafficked workers I meet are now part of a movement instead of just being clients struggling with their trauma alone. Organizing is healing in a way that nothing else has been.” Tiffany Williams is the director of the Break the Chain Campaign at IPS. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @Tiffany_IPS.
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resources. On March 21, Michael Klare led an intimate dialogue on oil and gas production. Michael, a former IPS Fellow and currently Five Colleges professor of Peace and World Security Studies, detailed how rising oil and gas production close to home is enabling a more aggressive stance toward rivals abroad, prompting dangerous political escalations. These discussions came at the heels of the release of a NASAsponsored study which found that civilization is moving toward collapse in the coming decades. One of the reasons for this inevitable collapse, the study suggested, is the unsustainable exploitation of the world’s resources. At IPS, we work to lift up bold ideas that challenge prevailing assumptions and point to a different way of thinking. The work and scholarship of experts like Maude and Michael play a significant role in shifting the conversation toward ideas and policies that are most beneficial to the future and the planet.
Supporter Spotlight IPS has had the privilege to receive sustaining gifts from lifelong activists, as well as families and friends of public scholars who have come through the institute in the last 50 years. Among these generous individuals is Kathy Walker, who has been supporting IPS for over 15 years, and who recently made a decision to increase her monthly gift after the institute’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2013. Kathy first became involved with IPS through co-founder Richard Barnet and his wife Ann, whose summer home was down the road from Kathy’s parents’ house in Vermont.
Kathy had become involved in social justice issues in the 70s, and getting to know the Barnets was special to her. Having been a director of a small non-profit organization, Kathy recognized the role regular donations play in sustaining an organization, and has been a loyal supporter of IPS over the years. At IPS, we know that, like Kathy, most of our supporters are intimately connected to the Institute. Many are also committed to being knowledgeable and engaged with today’s social movements. We hope that resources like this quarterly newsletter will help keep you feel connected to all of our exciting work.
Wall Street Bonuses vs. Minimum Wage A new IPS report, written by Global Economy Project Director Sarah Anderson, revealed that the New York financial industry’s bonus pool far exceeded the annual earnings of the more than 1 million U.S. full-time minimum wage workers. Covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the Associated Press, the report also calculated how much bigger the economic stimulus effect would be if the bonus pool had instead gone towards low-wage workers.
Connect with IPS Consider other ways to get involved with IPS: www.ips-dc.org facebook.com/InstituteforPolicyStudies
twitter.com/IPS_DC We also invite you to visit our project websites: • Inequality.org • Otherwords.org • FPIF.org • TooMuchOnline.org • EconomicHardship.org • JustInvestment.org Page 3
New Faces at IPS
Elaine de Leon Communications Director
Betsy Wood Inequality.org
From the first time I visited IPS, I knew there was something special about the place. Everyone I met was really passionate about their work, and truly practiced what they preached. I knew it would be a great place to grow and learn more about the issues that are most important to me.
As a former history professor, I was seeking a position that had a balance of scholarship and activism. When I discovered IPS, I was thrilled to find a think tank that not only shared my political values but also my belief that social change begins at the grassroots.
What are you most passionate about?
What are you most passionate about?
As a person with progressive values who also identifies as a Christian, I have always found that I don’t fit the labels and boxes that have been defined for me. There are people out there who share the values of IPS but may not necessarily identify as “progressive” or “left.” I want to talk about the work of IPS in such a way that reaches everyone who shares the values of the institute.
Studying history taught me that progress isn’t inevitable and that ordinary people are the ones who change history. It is hard to have that knowledge and sit on the sidelines while inequality spirals out of control and corporations take over our democracy. This moment requires all of us to mobilize for change.
What is your vision for IPS?
I would love to see IPS reclaim a progressive legacy of social change rooted in history and a politics of values and morality. My vision is for IPS to raise its public profile as the true counterweight to the Heritage Foundation. Since the Reagan era, that idea factory has wreaked havoc on our politics.
I want to see IPS become as much of a household name as other think tanks in Washington, DC. I want IPS fellows to be the preeminent thought leaders on the economy, foreign policy, and other progressive issues. Page 4
What is your vision for IPS?
Diana Torres New Mexico Fellow
What brought you to IPS? I grew up in a largely Mexicano, working class neighborhood in New Mexico and later attended Amherst College, one of the wealthiest liberal arts institutions in the nation. Experiencing the deep divide between a population with unquestionable power and a population devoid of it led me to major in Black Studies where I explored questions surrounding privilege, power, oppression, social movements, and hope. At home I worked as a community organizer with immigrant women. This work was fulfilling but I missed the research, writing, and thinking that I learned to deem as indispensable for social change during my time at Amherst.
How will your time at IPS impact your work in the future? I hope that my time at IPS will give me a more complex perspective on how I can combine my commitment to community organizing with my role as a public scholar.