The Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) will convene its sixth annual “Take Back America” conference in Washington, D.C., June 18. Every year for the past five years thousands of union members, peace, civil and human rights activists, and environmentalists have gathered for these conferences. They are unique in bringing together a wide array of progressive forces seeking to defend democracy and reclaim our country from the tentacles of the extreme right wing.

The conferences have cheered fiery speeches against the Bush agenda by labor, civil rights, women’s rights leaders and progressive politicians.

The gatherings also feature workshops and panel discussions on a vast range of topics: the growing economic inequality, the need to strengthen union rights as promised in the Employee Free Choice Act, the Apollo Project for energy independence, jobs and environmental protection, defense of Social Security, Medicare, and enactment of legislation to insure health care for all.

Last year, the Take Back America conference came out swinging against the war in Iraq, a topic that looms this year as well.

The brainchild of CAF co-directors Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey, these conferences are among the most important forums for discussing strategy to defeat the Republican right while exerting pressure on the Democrats to fight for working families. Many if not all of the Democratic presidential contenders will speak at this year’s conference, along with other candidates.

These gatherings are a chance for left and progressive forces to counter the pervasive dog-eat-dog ideology of “free market capitalism” that blares non-stop from our corporate media.

It was this type of broad coalition of progressive forces that helped bring into being the New Deal in the 1930s and ’40s. The New Deal created jobs for millions of people, guaranteed an income for seniors and disabled through Social Security, encouraged union organizing and funded the building of many state and national parks that we enjoy today.

Participants in these conferences are guided by a vision that together we can defeat the forces of war, racism and reaction and build a world of peace, equality and prosperity. We share this vision.