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Grassroots births 'populist lobby' 

LowDown

Imagine a headline blaring, "An army of 1,500 lobbyists swarms Capitol Hill."

But that wouldn't be news, since it happens every day. In fact, an occupying army of Gucci-clad corporate lobbyists is permanently encamped in Washington, numbering not a mere 1,500 — but more than 12,000.

Yes, that works out to nearly 22 lobbyists for every member of the House and Senate, and they come armed with explosive levels of campaign cash to keep lawmakers toeing the corporate line.

Yet, on April 28, the headline I mentioned should've been a news story, for on that Monday our corporate-coddling Congress critters were startled to be greeted by a very different army of "lobbyists." This one did not come from the infamous K-Street corridor of corporate lobbying firms, but from your town and mine, armed with a decidedly un-corporate agenda.

They are part of the growing majority of Americans who've been knocked down by the low-wage economy — an intentional inequality being imposed on working (and non-working) families by Wall Street, corporate chieftains and their congressional enablers.

To the surprise of those clueless elites, however, workaday Americans — even the lowest-paid and supposedly least-powerful — are not going to be passively herded into that plutocratic future.

To the contrary, they've been organizing, strategizing, and mobilizing — and the April contingent of 1,500 that went to Congress as the "Populist lobby" are members of three fast-growing, grassroots groups: National People's Action, National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Restaurant Opportunities Center.

Even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. People know they're being kicked — and they're simply not going to take it. To keep up with (or to join) the grassroots rebellion, go to npa-us.org.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

  • Even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.

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