Boomers, Revolution, Politics

I’m an old hippie boomer and never really stopped being a hippie. Nor did many of my friends. And everywhere I’ve lived I’ve pretty much wound up with a bunch of friends who were hippies in the day and/or live like hippies now. So many of the slurs the millenials keep tossing about boomers feel like they’re talking about some other group.

From that time forward I’ve been left of democrats in my leanings. Never particularly identified with another party like Socialist or Green, but my political sensibilities were shaped by the protest days and, most especially, Oscar Lange’s On the Economic Theory of Socialism. So my perspective favors the systems places like Denmark and Sweden have created. And I delight that in millenials we finally have a group that gets the political/economic ideas we embraced so long ago.

Voting for me through all these years has been just kind of practical, vote for the least bad kind of thing. My evaluation through all the years has been that corporate influence is too strong to really “revolutionize” the government and too large a portion of the populace has not understood the more liberal viewpoints, so it has long seemed the best we could do was not to have the Republican — and indeed it has proved to be true that Republicans have always made inequality, climate issues, etc. worse and Democrats have always improved those some but never beyond what corporate overlords could accept.

I like the push for Democratic Socialism but I still see too many in government controlled by corporate sponsors (and let’s save discussion of corporate lobbyists controlling way too many watchdog agencies that are supposed to be regulating them for a whole other post). I’m encouraged by the many Democrats running without corporate help and with more Democratic Socialist platforms. This change is heartening and we need to give it momentum. But it’s also time to get outside the box and quit thinking that changing some officeholders will change the fundamentals.

Unlike much of what I read from the millenials, I don’t see it as likely we can shift the government as radically as we need to in the short time frame we have to turn climate change around. For some time I’ve been questioning the degree to which most of us in America have fallen into the habit of expecting government to “save” us and assuming if we just change some people in Congress or change the President, we will be delivered from harm. I think we need to be more rad.

Many years of study and observation lead me to believe that government will not change sufficiently or fast enough to save us. We need People Power. I’ve laid a lot of this out in the People Power series but want to include some thoughts again here.

In much of the world corporations are really running governments like puppet masters. While there’s increasing awareness of this truth, most people still want government to save us from this power. Right now, government works for corporations and throws enough sops to the rest of us to get the votes they need.  GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOING TO SAVE US.  Take that in.  It’s time we understand this truth.

While we also need to work on voting in people who haven’t taken corporate money, the two main things I see as grass roots necessities: (1) massive boycotts and (2) a huge wave of going local; starting co-ops for banking, manufacturing, food production, etc. that are run by the people for the people and employing the people.

Two percent of the people are hoarding vast amounts of wealth and acting as though the other 98% are expendable. It’s a very weird way of looking at us when our buying dollars provide the bulk of their profits. Without us buying their stuff, booking their hotel rooms, eating their food products, etc. they can’t make a profit.  The truth of this is finally hitting now in the Covid-19 pandemic and the government still can’t get it that it’s not the 2 percent they need to save. Without us out there buying, businesses are feeling the pinch (though the super rich owners and CEOs are untouched so far).

I’ve been calling for massive consumer boycotts for a long time and running around talking about how we really vote with our dollars and few have really been listening. I find it kind of funny that the Universe has basically ordered up a massive consumer boycott without anybody actually deciding to have one. Now we need to keep it up when we’re allowed to get out again.

Thirty-four years ago when I started practicing yoga and taking the Yoga Journal, then becoming interested in metaphysics and flipping through magazines like New Age Journal (now Body and Soul), etc. I began to notice a whole secondary economy in their pages.  Health foods, yoga props, meditation retreats, herbal supplements, etc. Companies you never heard about nor, in those days, ever saw on the shelves of a mainstream grocery or drugstore. Companies with healthier products and often a healthier way of doing business.

Over the years those companies have often become more known.  Some went down the dark path — Whole Foods, for instance became a corporate monster long before Amazon took over. And many more companies have been added to the list. For the most part all these places still advertise in magazines and on web sites that cater to those who are into healthy and/or spiritual lifestyles and this other economy is still under the radar.

More recently I’ve been following a more recent and quietly grown trend for forming local co-ops. From neighborhoods taking back an old shuttered business district and supporting small local enterprises, to co-op banks owned by and serving Blacks or women or poor neighborhoods to farming co-ops, etc. across the world a movement of creating local businesses that operate for local people has been spreading.

It’s been going on for long enough there are now studies showing they are making good profits, employing lots of people and paying them better in both wages and benefits. Again, mostly under the radar though if you hunt for it you can find scattered articles. (I’ve listed the People Power posts below — many links to articles and sources there) A Thrive Economy serves better than a Growth Economy.

I see this quiet growth of a whole tier of businesses operating differently, quietly in the background as our best answer and hope. We need more of it. We need the younger progressives who are excited about change to leap on the bandwagon of going local. We need to have so many products, supplies, banking opportunities, supply chains, etc. that are both supplying consumer needs and providing jobs that we can increasingly do business only with local outfits and stop buying from corporations.

We have to be the ones to break corporate power because government is not going to do it.

I love seeing lots of enthusiasm for progressive candidates and causes from the younger generations and I hope they keep working on those things. But I also hope a huge number can be persuaded to launch themselves into a local movement. While I know plenty of older hippies who are participating in local co-op type efforts and pushing for buying local, we’re kind of old for being the founders of banking co-ops and small manufacturing plants, etc.  We need you.  And I know I can speak not only for myself but for so many people I know, we’ll do anything we can to help you.

It’s time for a quiet, under-the-radar revolution in which we seize power by taking our dollars away from the global corporate giants and put them into businesses that serve us and the needs of our communities. It isn’t just getting “them” to pass progressive policies. We have to seize the reins and create the progressive roads.

The People Power posts — in these posts you’ll find many links to articles and studies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@ProudResister @davidhogg111 @WilliamMMcKee @OurProgressive @eve_levenson @EdwardJDavey @marwilliamson @ewarren

 

People Power: Not Government

Stop waiting for government to fix our problems

Stop imagining that government is capable of fixing our problems

Stop thinking that it’s up to government to fix our problems

IT IS UP TO US

Corruption and Global Corporations

Around the world, global corporations have bought their way into power and so many politicians have been bought and paid for by them that it is pointless to hope governments as they’re now constituted are going to move on a big enough scale or fast enough to save the planet.  That’s not to say we can’t also work on changing government, which will be discussed below, but for the urgent needs of now, they’re not gonna do it.

As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m puzzled as to why these corporations are hell bent to gather most of the world’s wealth into their hands and leave everyone else bickering and starving since buying power in the hands of the 98% whom they so readily consign to doom is required for them to maintain profits.  Some of the wiser corporate heads have been realizing the only way to keep going is for everyone to benefit but not enough have seen the light.

It is up to us to break their power and we do that buy boycotting their goods and services.  They control so much of our food and products  it is key, as I mentioned in the last post, is to create local markets, manufacturing, etc.  The more I research these topics, the more things land in my path about what’s already happening.  There’s a worldwide network forming of “BuyNothing” groups, which are using local barter, production and trade to avoid buying from any corporate entities.  This group is not alone in such ventures, but a place to start if you want to start opting out of giving corporations the dollars to rule the world.

Governments will only start serving the needs of all the people when they are no longer in thrall to the 2%.

Elections without Corporate Ties

The Democrats have a lot of people running now who are only taking money from crowd source type funding and refusing to take corporate contributions.  We need to start electing ONLY politicians who are free of all corporate ties and obligations.

There will be push back and the 2% has always contained members who are willing to assassinate anyone who threatens their sovereignty.  They’ve interfered in elections by convincing people of false info in order to stop passage of laws they don’t like.  They’ve orchestrated “accidents” for people like Karen Silkwood; and recently there have been 35 mysterious accidental deaths of witnesses who were about to testify against pesticide makers.  So don’t underestimate their power or determination.

Here in Kentucky, the solar power industry has been burgeoning and the utility companies are now trying to get the state legislature (Republican) to pass laws that would devastate the industry.  So far the number of jobs and revenue that would be lost seems to be holding back enough votes to keep this from happening.  Be aware though, that if we start going local and reducing corporate business on a scale big enough to get their attention we can expect them to use their power to try to outlaw co-ops, stop small manufacturing, etc.  See article on the solar story in KY.

We need to make sure our local, state and federal government officials are free of obligations to corporations.  But even that won’t stop them from mounting multi-million dollar disinformation campaigns every time the go-local movement or the climate change remedies interfere with their insatiable quest to own everything.

It’s important for us to pay attention to donors and candidates and to refuse to vote for people who are supported by corporate $$ so that over the next 4-8 (or ?) years we can build a new government that will help foster going small and local and green.

Creating a New Story and a Government to Go With It

As I’ve delved ever further into current issues, the need for change, and how to accomplish it, books and articles providing me with more info and insights are constantly dropping into my lap.  The last 10 days are so have been just the beginning of a lot of time sitting around at a hospital and now a rehab center so I’ve been catching up.  I’m really excited at the moment by Charles Eistenstein’s The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible and Michael Lerner’s Revolutionary Love.

Though there’s much more to them, both make key points about how our cultures and governments are defined by the stories about the world we have developed.  Capitalism, scarcity, wealth gaps, etc. are all considered necessary and inescapable but they’re actually just constructs that have survived because we were convinced to believe in them and now no one questions those beliefs.  Lerner has valid criticisms of both major U.S. political parties, which arise from the degree to which both are mired in a global corporate view.

In order to accomplish real change, we need to shift our structures to reflect a different set of beliefs and values.  To work on a thrive economy instead of a growth one.  To insist that our elected representatives have no ties to corporate power.  To make love and compassion primary forces and the heart of policy and government.

Marianne Williamson was the only candidate who tried to get us to understand the need for this shift and I’m terribly sorry she’s left the race so soon. We need thousands of candidates who understand how dramatically we must change.

Whether our Constitution has sufficient flexibility and enough humanitarianism at its core is a question I’m still contemplating.  Perhaps we need to prepare for something altogether new?

 

People Power: the three key paths

My People Power series has been dormant for a while, though often in my thoughts,  On one hand I keep feeling there’s perhaps another piece to add to the mix.  And on the other it feels like it’s ready for a conclusion.  The conclusion is at the forefront for me these days as I watch the push and pull between democratic forces and right wing autocratic forces around the world and I’m feeling some urgency on the “what to do” so I’m concluding while holding a door open for more 🙂

I’m seeing three main arenas for our attention, which I’ll summarize here and then give each its own post:

The “be-ers” — going inward

Maybe I should say, “the woo woo crowd”…  I believe so completely in our interconnectedness and how the vibration of each of us impacts the whole, that I actually think our most likely source of salvation will be having enough people consciously clearing their issues and raising their vibrational levels — ’til we lift the consciousness of the world.

The do-ers–going local

The biggest enemy I’ve seen to democracy and equality is global corporatism and the best answer I see for breaking their power is a large-scale movement of local co-ops creating small-scale manufacturing, banking, farming to supply jobs, goods and services at the local level.  The best way to beat them is to stop participating in their businesses but that means we need other buying options and jobs for those who will be displaced.

Many current issues like police brutality and water supply problems are best dealt with on the local level as well and need serious organizing and action.

Everybody change government

Most people in many movements are still looking to the government for change.  I think the government in most countries is too broken and too tied to corporate interests for that to happen.  In the U.S. the most hopeful thing I see is multiple candidates raising their campaign money through crowd funding which will leave them unentangled with corporate interests.

At every level of government we need to concentrate on electing people who are completely free of corporate influence  Both be-ers and do-ers can contribute to campaigns, volunteer to help elect good candidates and GO VOTE!

Previous People Power Posts:

People Power: Government

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am intrigued these days by the degree to which most Americans on both sides of the current divide assume government action of one sort or another is the best solution to everything.  It’s a big expectation to hold toward a government that isn’t really ruled for the people or by the people.  Until we address the issue of elected representatives who are governed by the 2%, I don’t think we can count on the government to lead any significant change.

People don’t seem to want to explore the degree to which global corporations and their money run the government in the U.S. (and probably many other countries).  And I believe the finger pointing and divisiveness suits them very well because it keeps everyone blaming “those people”–the immigrants, the refugees, the Muslims, etc– instead of blaming the real culprits, the 2% and the companies they manage.

The first time I was aware of it being pointed out was John Kenneth Galbraith’s New Industrial Society and the situation of industries ruling nations has only grown worse.  Many successors to Galbraith have been pointing this out for the decades since.

The grip of defense contractors and the associated massive over-spending in the Pentagon is one of our biggest problems and nobody in the government is willing to even raise a question about it, though many studies have shown that a reasonable reining in of military spending would free enough funds to pay for every social welfare/benefit program there is and some new ones too.

But other industries also pay massive amounts in campaign contributions and then expect “their” representatives to toe the line.  We need laws to stop these corporate super PACs but first we need enough corporate-free representatives to even pass such a law.

In the 2018 election we finally had a number of candidates running without corporate backing and many whose campaigns were funded by individual donations.  There seem to be a growing number of activists and politicians who are aware of how important this is but I think we need to grow this awareness.  We should not accept any candidates for any office who are not certified free of any corporate backing.

In my vision I see the possibility of this changing but I also see it changing too slowly to address many problems.  People Power is the answer.

The People Power series so far: