Momentum 2009 offers seven plenaries where innovative perspectives and ideas take center stage. Capital, Rights, Carbon, Power, Conflict, Work, and Connections are the themes of this year’s plenaries. Intentionally not all-encompassing, our plenaries provide a broad framework in which speakers share their passion for new approaches to familiar problems, giving their most intriguing presentations in just 20 minutes. The fast-paced plenaries are sure to leave you with new questions and ideas. Additionally, Momentum 2009 presents one Evening Program and two Morning Briefings where we dedicate an hour for interview, conversation, and analysis of some of today’s hottest topics.
Pathways to opportunity and prosperity in America continue to be blocked by racism, homophobia, and elitism. Who defines the rules of engagement? How do private perceptions inform public choices and vice versa? How can we use ideas, network, and technology to reformulate hierarchies and enact progressive values? What does it mean to speak truth to power in the Obama era?
Policies based on blind belief in perpetual growth have led our country and the world down an economic rabbit hole. But the system is our creation and we can change it. This plenary examines how we might refine the allocation of our resources—human, financial, governmental, and material—to leverage our collective capital for the benefit of all.
A shift is underway from considering environmental issues a “special interest” to an understanding that the human impact on the planet and its life-sustaining atmosphere must inform every aspect of endeavor, from business to politics to culture. Ignorance could destroy even the possibility of bliss unless changing our ways becomes a central tenet of the social contract. This plenary’s speakers will explore this shift, how it can become a celebrated element in our renewal, and how restoration holds the promise of redemption.
For those struggling to survive in today’s global labor market, dignity and respect are hard to come by. But the ramparts of corporate greed may not be as strong as they appear. Speakers in this plenary show us how to hold ourselves, our employers, and our policy makers accountable by looking closely at the what, where, when, and how of production and consumption.
At the heart of our invocation of rights lies a belief in our shared humanity. Our society can reach its fullest potential only if everyone is at the table. How can we enact a truly inclusive social contract? This plenary explores how to confront and dismantle punitive policies that alienate those outside centers of power.
On the battlefield and the playing field, from the streets of Oakland to the streets of Baghdad, we are at war. Is violence the norm? Will the new administration lead us toward saner domestic and foreign policies, or will we be stuck with more of the same? The speakers in this plenary take a hard look at conflict at home and abroad.
We can’t hope to fashion a better society unless we recognize the interplay of the pressing issues of our time. Where do we stand in relation to our best ideas—freedom of the press, access to education, a legal system that serves the people? This plenary connects the dots between rhetoric and reality and reminds us that healthy public discourse is impossible without an informed citizenry.
As President Obama pushes to enact an alternative plan, organizers and policy makers must work the devil out of the details. Join us for a candid, up-to-the-minute conversation on where the debate stands, what is missing and how we continue to advocate from here to ensure that the overhaul of our broken healthcare system provides affordable access for all Americans.