It appears we have entered the eve of a Trump administration. What now?
Trump rode workers’ anger at capitalism’s last 40 years: record profits from lost jobs, incomes, security and public services. For change, they voted down GOP and Dem establishments. But the system won’t let Trump bring change. There lies our opportunity.
The endless election effort is finally over (even as the next one begins to be planned by the candidates and their monied supporters). Now the nation confronts its fundamental problems after so many were swept under the rug by the “major candidates” in this election’s long exercise in mass distraction. The time lost, like the campaigns’ billions, could better have gone toward solving those problems. They just got worse during that time.
The world still remains in the aftermath of the crash of 2008 - the second global capitalist crash in 75 years - and most economists expect another downturn within the next 6-18 months. Especially because the current post-2008 crash originated in the US with the sub-prime mortgage collapse, the US has special responsibilities to deal with its economic instability and its global ramifications. Yet during the campaign, neither candidate addressed the issue. Why?
The inequality, instability and money-dominated politics besetting the U.S. all originate in basic economic decisions made by the major shareholders and corporate boards of directors they elect. These folks comprise the (in)famous 1% and their positions atop contemporary capitalist economies gives them extraordinary power, and hence responsibility for, economic conditions. What alternative organization might better serve democratic purposes? An economy of democratized, cooperatively organized enterprises is growing around the world. Yet the candidates in this presidential campaign - except for Bernie Sanders - ignored the issue. Why?
Let’s remember that elections these days are integrated parts of a system. The dominant power is intertwined with the dominant wealth. The corporate system -- and the individuals it makes rich -- normally buy the political process. That’s how systems work.
Only when massive oppositions of the people get aroused do they relearn the first of the great old lessons, that ultimate power resides with the people. When that happens, the question arises: will the people relearn the second of the great old lessons, that the power of the people becomes effective when it is organized? I believe we have already begun.
The Occupy Wall Street, Bernie, and Black Lives Matter movements are milestones along the way as people today grasp the first of the great old lessons. Building on all they accomplished as well as on the prior efforts to go beyond capitalism, we at Democracy at Work focus on that second great lesson. Our task is to help inform, focus, and, above all, organize an aroused and rising people. That’s what we do and what we invite you to do with us.
As always, thank you for supporting Democracy at Work. We would love to hear your thoughts and reflections on how we can build this momentum together, and please know we are glad to have you as a part of this movement.
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Schools… the incoming Republicans LOVE to pay private schools with public money… why not let teachers organize their own school, where they have a vote on the curriculum, as well as all the other decisions currently made by the layers of administrators and charter school corporate boards…
of course change won’t occur overnight… and there will always be new problems… unexpected consequences… setbacks… but we muddle thru the best we can, and pass the baton we’ve been given…
Professor Wolff asked…
Now comes a wave of Privatization of Public Institutions…
like schools, nursing homes, and public housing…
Now is the time to take advantage of that trend, and create Worker Owned and Operated services and Institutions, to compete with the Fat-Cats who stand to Capitalize on the Neo-Conservative Agenda…
This is precisely the time, when polarization is at its most extreme and frustration at political gridlock is boiling over, that unexpected progress can be made. Who would have thought 3 years ago that cities and states across the country would be raising the minimum wage, even to $15 an hour like here in Seattle? Or when the Army Corps of Engineers would be shutting down a big coal terminal project in response to a protest led by Native Americans, as at Cherry Point north near the Canadian border? So it’s time to think big, but in a probing, adaptable sort of way.
Viking way, after all I like their furniture and their architecture very much. However, they have not been fair to Assange. To the wonderful idea of stakeholder ownership may add the ecosystem. Look at the 2008 Ecuador Constitution for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Constitution_of_Ecuador.
I would go further by advocating for “stakeholder ownership” of all the major means of production (large corporations, key natural resources, etc.) The stakeholders would, of course, include workers and maybe suppliers or customers, maybe some non-profits, and always different levels of government from local to global, and always the citizenry at large. My first features would be those of cooperative, the government feature would resemble a partial nationalization, and the last feature is similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund and to Peter Barnes’ “With Liberty and Dividends for All”. The goal is both full societal accountability and a basic income for all that would vary with the economy at large. With appropriate variations, this could be done even on a regional or global scale. This is my vision to democratize both work and wealth.
Sure, analysis is essential, but so is vision. Just read George Lakey’s book “Toward a Living Revolution”. His first of 5 steps is “cultural preparation”, consisting precisely of analysis and vision. How far do you think Bernie Sanders would have gotten without listing the many things that would be part of his envisioned “political revolution”? Even he said very clearly that he would not be able to achieve his list of new programs without the political revolution, yet the public needed to know what he stands for.
To that, I add, ban riders in Congressional legislation.
Sue lobbyists in tort whenever they contract our representatives (eg, tortious interference?). If they want to lobby something, they must contact us, not our representatives. Only we should be able to contact our representatives. Ban lobbists from interfering with our democracy. Protect the privilege of having a representative in government. No more backroom deals.
An excellent question. In all honesty, I do not have an answer worthy of the question. I will offer the following as a start, however. My sense is that our entire model of governance is quite worthy of being questioned, discussed, revised and tested. It is also my sense that we would do this best at the local level focusing on re-localization (from banking, to food, to transport, to energy, etc). That communities do this through ad hoc advisory committees with a clear charge, open membership. That communities determine a mutually agreeable region of sufficient size that all the needs of the member communities can be reasonably met from within the region. I think of ‘world cafe’ as a possible model, coupled with Sociocracy. I would advocate making decisions Sociocratically (by consent, which can only be obtained in the absence of any paramount/reasoned objections). Sociocracy also embraces interlocking circles of responsibility with a system of communication/reporting, as one possibility to explore. Doing away with majority rule changes the dynamics and distributes both responsibility and power equally among participants.
The short answer: to make the needed changes will take time, effort, staying power, commitment, integrity, patience … commitment to the precautionary principle and the principle of do no harm. My sense is that neither the process nor the exact outcome can be predicted.
I wish I had something far more concrete to offer. It will be in the search that we will find the answers, I believe.
After WWII was when the US was rebuilding Europe that’s why there was a huge industrial boom. Besides many companies sell to both sides of a conflict the oil companies, banks, big pharma are worldwide conglomerates. Capitalism knows no Nationalism! It is about making money and war with its destruction offer a great potential for gain.
1. Acknowledge fallacies & eliminate electronic voting. Replace with paper ballots.
2. Acknowledge fallacies & impact of gerrymandering. Outlaw.
3. Bring back and enforce Glass Steagal.
4. Bring back and enforce original boundaries/intent of corporate charters.
5. Break up big banks.
6. Significant reductions of military, pentagon budget, and close all overseas bases
7. Eliminate Citizens United.
8. Federal funding of all elections. No additional monies.
9. Return League of Women Voters to oversee all political debates. Abolish National Elections Committee.
10. Emphasize Relocalization, and support with Federal/State funding.\
11. Consider Sociocracy as an alternative decision-making model and organizational set of tools/protocols.
12. Examine/critique and possibly abandon majority rule.
13. Promote worker owned coops.
14. Reform tax code. Remove welfare for the wealthy.
15. Legislate CEO salary as 12/1 ratio to that of lowest paid worker.
16. Significant government support of conservation of energy.
17. Science based, factual examination of the harm done if politicians, organizations, and prominent individuals continue to promote the manufacture and installation of Industrial Wind Turbines & solar arrays (I can provide well-researched references)
It is my sense that these concrete steps are necessary.
Legislation is then voted and passed by a simple majority of all citizens.The system is called VOTE-COIN and a full explanation is available if want it by replying to this comment
It has matured to the point that we are getting less options in almost every facet of our daily lives. Everything has condensed from office supplies, sporting goods, gas stations, phone companies, TV/internet providers, airlines, to car manufacturers as company after company is devoured to cut costs and supposedly improve efficiency. This has a devastating effect on the quality of life of the average American worker. Less choice, worse jobs. We work two and three peoples jobs because we’re so afraid of losing ours. We don’t dare take time off lest they decide they don’t need us. We put up with psychological and physical abuse by our employers because we have few job choices.
While companies bring in workers from overseas, HB1 or immigrants have left their countries which have no opportunities due to factory farms and trade agreements, our wages have stagnated and dropped. The companies who closed US factories and moved overseas were encouraged by the US Chamber of Commerce and engage in a race to the bottom to find low wages. These same companies have parked their profits offshore to avoid US taxes. It’s a win-win for them and a big loss to our country, which must rely on a larger proportion of tax revenue from workers who are being squeezed for health care, collage, child care, and everything seems to cost more. $1000 is the new $100 and you cannot get ahead.
If it weren’t for credit America would be imploding. It keeps the workers working and they have that large screen, high-def, TV that they can scream at even though it’s not paid for! We need fundamental change, a redistribution of wealth and worker co-ops to start. Neither party can provide this type of change because they are all bought and paid for by the wealthy, capitalist elites.
I am also grateful for what Bernie’s OurRevolution is doing. More than half of the candidates on that website are winning or have won their elections!!
For me this is reason enough to want to find ways to address the concerns of those that are either non believers or experience alienation. The first step is to acknowledge that the opinion of every one matters. Even those that make one cringe or are upsetting. Easier to say than done. It helps when I think that all of us are flawed in some way but not necessarily in all ways.
That our biology includes self preservation processes that are important but may also be inappropriate for our time. This is an important because in times of fear or crisis our brains see situations in a black or white perspective i.e fight or flight. This made sense 10,000 years ago when we were frightened by a dangerous animal, but is less valuable today when the source of fear or anger is not of an immediate threat.
Our brains can better analyze situations, see options and solutions when in a calm or reflective state. My own opinion is that a large number of people are in a continuous state of anxiety or fear due either to health, personal, or economic conditions and made worse by a constant flow of negative stories and images. The more we can provide a calming influence on our neighbors the better. Smiles help.
about what is going on with the actual economics and political systems (arround the world in general and particulary in the USA) with a critical thinking and also taking actions to make of this a better world. In this sense, I would like thank Profesor Wolff (independent if we agree or desagree with some of the justment he makes related to the current events and the solutions he proposes),for the effords and sacrifices he has been doing along hes entire adult life to be able to come to this moment and resources and means which alloud us to shear our frustrations and ideas of how to come out of the present great difficulties.
I am not a USA citizen and I do not live there, but I appreciate very much the bravery that have shown Profesor Wolff along all these years speaking the way he does about the political economy of USA, complementing it with a Marxist criticism and solutions of its condradictions. Certainly Profesor Wolff and Bernie Sander among other countless USA citizen (like Stephen Resnick and Noham Chomsky ) have been fighting to opening the actual more pluralistic political-economic space of discusion, which we are enjoging now. But, this is just the begining, there is much to be done. Hence I agree that we sould keep working and organizing our self.