People all across the country are finally waking up to the reality of our socioeconomic system; a reality based on the fact that our government institutions have been captured by the wealthy to advance their own selfish interests, at the expense of the citizenry and democracy itself. This fast-spreading realization portends a new progressive era.
This is happening despite a massive and overwhelming attempt by the parasitic income takers and their minions to hide their actions amid a thick fog of lies, false narratives, misinformation, and outright propaganda.
We all know the usual suspects: The Koch brothers spending tens of millions of dollars to spread lies; and groups like the NRA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and many others.
But also, and sadly because of the insidiousness, an entire class of corporate Democrats who have thus far been able to co-opt, and neutralized the social justice/progressive movement (see: "Chris Hedges: The Liberal Elite has Betrayed the People They Claim to Defend.")
Nevertheless, despite this massive and relentless effort by the corrupt power elite, people are not buying the lies any longer; and that is a very hopeful sign.
This week, we are being told that there is a budget crisis and that we must accept more cuts, more austerity measures. But many Americans understand that austerity actually causes more economic decline rather than recovery. In response, nurses and health care workers in 13 countries had a global day of action against austerity, cuts to healthcare and for a tax on stock transactions. And there have been some victories. This week in New York City, nurses won a series of battles in the courts and electoral arena that will keep community hospitals open.Also, people like renowned economist Richard Wolff are doing great work promoting concepts like Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises (WSDEs) at Democracy at Work.
We know that the economy is rigged so that the working class is subsidizing the richest, that our wealth is trickling up. An analysis published this week found the average U.S. family subsidizes Big Business by $6,000 annually. This is outrageous at a time when most Americans are struggling to survive.
Instead of accepting cuts and declining wages, workers are fighting back. We’ve been reporting on the striking Walmart and fast food workers. Now people are realizing that they are fighting for all of us. And, in North Carolina where teachers are not allowed to unionize or strike, there is talk of a teacher walk-out.
Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises, in form if not in name, have a history extending back to some of the world’s earliest societies. From modern mankind’s hunting parties, the origins of work can be traced to its most basic purpose: the enjoyment of the “fruits of one’s labor.” Before work became synonymous with employment, humankind survived in communities through the expenditure of time and energy so that the community could reap what they sowed. No less important than the end product, was the process of work and the psychosocial benefits derived by community members from participation in that process. While it may have been that way in the beginning, the history of work has shown that time does not always equal progress. Economies have integrated and advanced technologically, but over time a greater distance has opened between the worker’s produced surpluses (the excess of their output over what they themselves consume) and the workers who produced them.These are all very hopeful signs. Although many have been sounding the alarm about the rapacious greed and rampant corruption that has engulfed our entire system of government, for many years now, the message wasn't getting through to the minimum number of people that would be needed to mount a serious resistance movement against the oppression and exploitation.
More people are employed today than at any other time in the world’s history. Democracy at Work seeks to restore the appropriation and distribution of surpluses back to the very people who produced them and to make the work itself a genuinely democratic process to that end. Human history provides a long, rich history of communes, cooperatives, labor movements, and progressive thinkers advocating them. These efforts and experiments aimed to change production, to make work better serve people’s needs and interests than existing conditions did.
But just like it happened during the heyday of the progressive movement over 100 years ago, the greed, thievery, corruption, and hubris of the ruling class has gotten to be so extreme and the consequences of their actions so severe that a significant-enough segment of the population has finally realized the true nature of the system; and they are doing something about it, in unity and solidarity.
Why does having a reality-based understanding of the challenges we face as a country matters? Because without it we can't make the right decisions when it comes to fixing those problems. And because at least in theory, in a democracy, we the citizens are sovereign...
Social movements involve a long-term struggle between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the population. Before social movements begin, most people are either unaware that a problem exists or don't believe that they can do anything about it. They believe the powerholder's societal myths and support the high-sounding official policies and practices, all of which seem to be consistent with the culture's deeply held held values and beliefs...I'm aware that there are a lot of people who feel a sense of powerlessness in the face of what seem to insurmountable challenges when it comes to the Corporate State. Others, for some strange reason, don't believe the problem is that serious and are content with a piecemeal "centrist" approach...
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.
-- Bill Moyers / "Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements"
The reality of the situation is that there is growing and deepening social justice movement across the entire country. A movement made up of multiple progressive/social justice groups coalescing into a powerful force for (real) change and hope.
I argue that whether we focus on social justice activism or politics, or both, we will be able to make better decisions by being fully informed and having an accurate understanding of the challenges we face, and the reality on the ground.
If you share that belief, tune-in to the movement, and spread the word.
Market For The People | Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook