Dear young progressives

Twitter is the main place where I get all political (though I do share some things on FB when I know the specific topics are of interest to friends) and I’m following quite a few young progressives. I love that we finally have a whole new crop of excited advocates for change. Seems like us old hippies have been waiting forever for another generation to take up the banner.

But I’m also seeing a lot of the strain of “if I don’t like everything about candidate, I won’t vote”. that has been the bane of Democrats for years. I’m not unsympathetic as I’ve felt like I was holding my nose and voting many times over the years.  I’m just practical and I knew the corporate hold was too strong. And maybe at another time I would say, sure, go ahead and hold out for your ideals.

But now is not the moment. I think many of you are so young you don’t know about how third parties, not voting and (in Reagan’s case) Democrats defecting to Republican brought us Ronald Reagan and the Bushes, all of whom contributed all they could to bringing us to where we are now.  Were their democratic opponents progressive or offering any real change? Nope. But would they have been better and managed to do more to stem this right wing conservative tide Reagan started than the Republicans? Yes they would have. Know how much we all love JImmy Carter now? That’s the guy Dems wouldn’t vote for in 1980.

But this time is worse. This time there is a right wing wave of Republicans who wish to take down democracy. They want an authoritarian dictatorship. And they’re already lining up tools. No one seems to be taking the antifa as terrorists declaration seriously because there is no such group. But that’s the worst part. Having made the declaration, because there is no actual group, they can call any Democrat, liberal, progressive, etc. an antifa — therefore a terrorist — and start rounding us up into camps.

I doubt they’ll be so bold before the election, but trust me, if you let Trump be elected again, you can kiss any chance at any kind of progressive agenda good bye.  Probably for decades. Until there is a revolution to overthrow the dictator. In the meantime, millions will have been thrown in camps or murdered, the Constitution and the U.S. as we know it will be over.

You won’t just not have a progressive president, you’ll watch every progressive in Congress being executed or jailed, every liberal judge , executed or jailed. every leader of a liberal group, executed or jailed. This is no time for playing around with the snowflake bit of refusing to vote or voting for a no-chance-to-win third party. If you want the possiblity of moving to a truly progressive agenda in 2024–or being able to vote at all, you need to just Vote Blue.   And yes, I know, the whole idea stinks. Save us from DJT. Do it anyway.

I love your enthusiasm and that you have seen beyond what most leftists of my era couldn’t see — the power of global corporations and their hold on politics.  I was into studying the Power Elite, so I kind of got it back then but couldn’t get people to listen.  You get it. Hold on to what you know. Plan for 2024 after we get the right wing out of their positions of power. But this time, vote to get them out before it’s too late.

And, as I’ve noted in my People Power posts, you also need to expand your thinking beyond government. The only way to break global corporate power is to destroy their profits. And we do that with how we spend. It means we need more local banks, health centers, manufacturing operations, food markets, etc. to provide the alternatives to Amazon and Walmart and Bank of America, etc. This is possibly more important than getting rid of corporate Democrats.

So I’d suggest, hold your nose, vote for Biden and then every down ballot progressive you can and put your enthusiasm into starting local co-ops and moving consumers to boycott global corporations. Been reading and thinking about this stuff for 50 years. So maybe I”m just over the hill.  Or maybe I know a bit…

People Power: The do-ers

The Three Key Paths: The Do-ers

 

Many in our society snort contemptuously upon hearing people are praying.  They think it’s useless and consider it “doing nothing.”  “You have to DO something,” they tell us.  At this point in history we don’t have time to convert the disbelievers, they just need to have some constructive things to do [though I’ll plant the thought expressed by Charles Eisenstein in The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, that often our rush to “doing” is ill-informed and at best maintains the status quo and at worst actually winds up causing harm].  See previous post on whether praying IS something.

A number of these People Power posts have explored the importance of “going local”.  For that we need increasing numbers of people on the ground who are forming environmental justice groups, creating small-scale local manufacturing, growing organic healthy produce and finding ways to market it, building co-ops for banking, local businesses, health services, etc.

As long as a relatively small number of global corporations hold most of the wealth and mind-boggling amounts of power, environmental and humanitarian crises will become ever more rampant.  To save the planet and to help ALL people to thrive we have to get out from under their control.

Two crucial steps are required to accomplish this.  (1) Quit buying their stuff.  Without profits we provide them, their power disappears.  You vote with every dollar you spend.  Pay attention to how you’re voting.  (2) Since we will still need food, clothing, etc. we need local enterprises to provide us with goods and services and also to replace the jobs that will be lost as big corporations fail.

In Buddhism’s Eightfold Path, I think several branches apply here: Right Livelihood, Right Intent, and Right Action.  The idea is that we do no harm and try to benefit others in everything we do.  Obeying Right Livelihood means making money by only working for or investing in places that are also obeying the rules of Right Action, etc.  Obeying Right Action means you make decisions about buying, selling, and what to do in life based on doing no harm and whenever you can helping others and/or the world.  Right Intent means coming from a place of compassion and heartfulness in every step you take.

To me, there is no way to be in alignment with these paths while working for, investing in, or purchasing from major corporations that harm the environment, treat workers badly, produce harmful items, etc.  A major path of doing therefore involves boycotting those companies and helping to create alternative means of employment and production that operate to bring health, thriving, and sustainability to all.

Another reminder of some new thinking on economics — the idea of a “Thrive Economy” instead of a Growth one, which I think will wind up reflecting the thought that much more needs to be local:

I’ve really been contemplating this and just in my own life I can see it’s very hard to boycott until local alternatives are more prevalent.  I buy a lot from Amazon.  I’d rather not do business with it.  But most of what I buy is only available to me now in other equally yucky corporations.  And to buy from those places I have to drive (environmentally bad as well) to parts of town I loathe, cope with the worst traffic areas, and wander around in overly big stores filled with largely unhappy people.  Right now, Amazon’s free delivery wins.

I shop a fair amount at our local food co-op and also Trader Joe’s, which so far I consider to be a good company, and I need to do more with the local farmer’s market.  But many other things I buy are simply not available as local goods.  Much activity is needed to create viable manufacturing and marketplaces in local areas.

Environmentally speaking there are many actions do-ers can take.  I keep touting Project Drawdown — there are many innovations that individuals or neighborhood groups could adopt and much inspiration for figuring out new ways to help.  If that’s your main interest, plenty of things to do, starting with QUIT BUYING FROM GLOBAL CORPORATIONS.

For do-ers there are also contributions in the land of government and elections but that is for the third post in this concluding (or maybe not 🙂 ) series.

Okay do-ers, there’s your to-do list.  Go forth!

Previous People Power posts;