Free film, talk in Van Etten on June 24

Everyone is invited to a free screening of “Inequality for All,” in which widely respected political economist Robert Reich, an author, professor, and former Secretary of Labor, explains in plain language how “most Americans are on a downward escalator,” while the top 1 percent get richer and richer.

The screening will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at 7 p.m., at Van Etten Community Center located at 6 Gee St. (Route 34). The film will be followed by a discussion and question and answer session with two experts. Refreshments will be served.

In the Sundance award-winning documentary “Inequality for All,” Reich looks at the impacts the increasing income gap has on the U.S. economy, on democracy, and on the lives of all U.S. residents.

“Despite its serious subject, the film is touching and often funny,” points out Maura Stephens, a member of Save S-VE, which is sponsoring the event.

Guest speakers are Victor Tiffany, a writer for the Syracuse Examiner and coordinator of the area Move to Amend chapter, working to ensure that humans, not corporations, are “persons” entitled to constitutional rights; and Steve Panton, who as AFL-CIO Southern Tier field coordinator fights to keep wage security for U.S. workers, keep jobs from being sent abroad, and stop international trade deals that would let governments and corporations break labor-rights laws.

They’ll discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial proposed “trade deal” that opponents say would further widen the income gap, expand corporate powers, and erode democracy at every level of government.

“The TPP is an act of war against middle class Americans’ standard of living,” says Tiffany.

That statement is hard to refute: Leaked TPP sections reveal it would suppress generic drugs, raising health costs; reduce internet access; subvert the environment to profits; outsource more jobs; and reduce worker safety. It would even allow foreign companies to sue U.S. communities and states for lost profits, through secret corporate tribunals.

The deal has been negotiated secretly — without congressional, let alone public, scrutiny, debate or input — to favor corporations. President Obama and some Congress members are trying to “fast-track” it to bypass congressional and public perusal; votes are expected any day.