The first section of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism exhibition in 2013-14.
They came from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas . . . put down new roots in settlements like Lanare, Fairmead, South Dos Palos, or Teviston . . . camps such as Harris Tractor Farm or Cadillac Jack’s Camp . . . neighborhoods in Stockton, Hanford, and other Valley towns. They were the Black Migrants, moving from rural to rural settings, a little known part of the Great Migration out of the Jim Crow south.
Some were recruited by cotton growers like J. G. Boswell. Others traveled west on their own initiative, fulfilling a powerful ambition to succeed, along with hope to escape the bitter racism they’d come up under.
From 1960 to 1966 I photographed them in the Central Valley’s onion and cotton fields, in their unknown settlements, in their tarpaper shacks and trailers. I recorded their stories so the world could hear their voices.
I was a freelance activist documentarian, never pretending to objectivity. I’d walk up to people in a camp or field and say, “I hear you folks are getting a raw deal. I’d like to take your pictures and talk with you so people back in the city can do something about it.” They seldom turned me down.
Although my work documented scenes of dire poverty and backbreaking work, I was also committed to showing the dignity and humanity of these hard working migrants. I saw their strong families and sense of community, even the joy of turning an old rope and tree into a playground for the kids.
Unfortunately the people I met also told stories of how Jim Crow had migrated to the Valley with them: sundown laws, race riots after football games, threats of lynchings. Mothers and fathers told their children, “Just walk on by. Don’t stoop to their level.”
Black Migrants also faced another challenge: by 1961 when I photographed workers picking cotton by hand in a field near Pixley, agro-engineers had developed mechanical cotton pickers that virtually eliminated the need for handpicking by the families I was photographing.
When I returned to Dos Palos and Teviston in 2015 I found many of the folks I’d photographed in the 60’s living successful lives. The children in my 60s photos had succeeded in escaping farm work for jobs in service, hospitality, and government. Their parents’ determination, powerful work ethic, and love had paid off.
Black Migrants is an exhibition of African-American farm worker photos I took in the 1960s curated by Michele Ellis Pracy at the Fresno Art Museum. It is on display at the Kolligian LIbrary, University of California at Merced from January 22 to April 4. The address is 5200 N. Lake Rd. #275 Merced, CA 95343.
While covering farm workers’ life, work, and union organizing in the 1960s I discovered a number of African-American settlements in California’s San Joaquin Valley. These towns are a little known part of history, the results of the rural-to-rural stream of the Great Migration out of the Jim Crow south. more
Fresno Art Museum Director Michelle Ellis Pracy curated the exhibition.
Joel Pickford made the extraordinary prints.
Mark Arax and Michael Eissinger provided valuable background information on the history of the African-American settlements.
California Humanities Community Stories Program, Fresno Art Museum and its donors, and West of West Center for Narrative History of the Central Valley have provided funding.
Recovery from our deep economic and financial crisis is an opportunity to go beyond the dilemma of an economic systems that ignores earth’s natural limits to growth. However, neither our leadership nor the mainstream media give us a coherent and feasible vision of what the economy will be like when we’ve “recovered”. They betray no understanding that the global economic and financial crisis is closely linked to the crisis of ecological destruction. The basic failure of most economists to account for the value and the limits of the natural world is intertwined with several decades of financial bubbles based on fictional values and disconnected from the economy of real goods and services. Few are willing to consider that limiting population to the actual capacity of the earth is an acceptable theme for discussion.
Many policy makers and commentators appear to believe we will recover to a more subdued version of the last decades, with continuous growth of the population of consumers. This is both morally undesirable and physically impossible. Our task is to design a recovery into a new global, national, and regional economy, a sustainable economy.
This web page gathers quotes from and links to articles and reports analyzing the common roots of the natural and financial/economic crisis and asking “to what economy do we recover?” For decades, some economists, such as Herman Daly, have been describing a truly sustainable economy, capable of operating within the earth’s natural limits. At last, a mainstream columnist, the New York Times’ Tom Friedman, is reflecting this understanding of natural limits and an agency of the United Kingdom government is making the case strongly for fundamental redesign.
Tim Jackson, Prosperity without Growth? The transition to a sustainable economy.
This paper from the UK Sustainable Development Commission is the most comprehensive response to the question, “recovery to what?” that we have found so far. Based upon several years of exploration by this Commission, Jackson’s report is a detailed analysis of the current economic/financial crisis and a powerful argument for recovery as a transition to a sustainable economy beyond consumerism.
For a summary of the report on this site go to without growth.
For the full report:
Tim Jackson, Prosperity without Growth? The transition to a sustainable economy.
Written for discontinued Sustainable Development Commission, United Kingdom, http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications/downloads/prosperity_without_growth_report.pdf
Peter Victor is a noted ecological economist at the University of York, Toronto. His recent book “makes three primary arguments on why rich countries should turn away from economic growth as the primary policy objective and pursue more specific objectives that enhance well-being. The author contends that continued economic growth worldwide is unrealistic due to environmental and resource constraints. If rich countries continue to push growth, poorer countries where the benefits are more evident, will lag. Rising incomes increase happiness and well-being only up to a level that has since been surpassed in rich countries. Moreover, economic growth has not brought full employment, eliminated poverty or reduced the burden of the economy on the environment.”
Peter Victor, 2008, Managing without Growth, slower by design, not disaster, Edward Elgar, Publishers, Northampton, MA, http://www.managingwithoutgrowth.com
This web site has links to Dr. Victor’s speeches, papers, references, and other related web sites.
Herman Daly is the economist who has contributed to building a holistic vision of how we can manage a sustainable economy. For years he worked at a small Louisiana university, shunned by “real economists”. The World Bank brought him on board for a few years in the 90s. However, he says,“The idea that economic growth should be constrained by the environment was too much for the World Bank in 1992, and still is today.” Now Daly is at the University of Maryland, not in the economics department but in philosophy.
Daly is part of a network of economists such as Faye Duchin, Robert Costanza, Richard B. Norgaard and many others who created the field of ecological economics: International Society of Ecological economicshttp://www.ecoeco.org/
Herman Daly, Special report: Economics blind spot is a disaster for the planet, New Scientist, October 15, 2008,
. . . economists have not grasped a simple fact that to scientists is obvious: the size of the Earth as a whole is fixed. Neither the surface nor the mass of the planet is growing or shrinking. The same is true for energy budgets: the amount absorbed by the Earth is equal to the amount it radiates. The overall size of the system – the amount of water, land, air, minerals and other resources present on the planet we live on – is fixed.
“The most important change on Earth in recent times has been the enormous growth of the economy, which has taken over an ever greater share of the planet’s resources. In my lifetime, world population has tripled, while the numbers of livestock, cars, houses and refrigerators have increased by vastly more. In fact, our economy is now reaching the point where it is outstripping Earth’s ability to sustain it. Resources are running out and waste sinks are becoming full. The remaining natural world can no longer support the existing economy, much less one that continues to expand.”
Herman Daly, The Crisis: Debt and Real Wealth, February 25, 2009, Bank Information Center
“Growth in US real wealth is restrained by increasing scarcity of natural resources, both at the source end (oil depletion), and the sink end (absorptive capacity of the atmosphere for CO2). Further, spatial displacement of old stuff to make room for new stuff is increasingly costly as the world becomes more full, and increasing inequality of distribution of income prevents most people from buying much of the new stuff—except on credit (more debt). Marginal costs of growth now likely exceed marginal benefits, so that real physical growth makes us poorer, not richer . . . To keep up the illusion that growth is making us richer we deferred costs by issuing financial assets almost without limit, conveniently forgetting that these so-called assets are, for society as a whole, debts to be paid back out of future real growth. That future real growth is very doubtful and consequently claims on it are devalued, regardless of liquidity.”
Herman Daly, Big Idea: A Steady-State Economy, Adbusters
“The closer the economy approaches the scale of the whole Earth, the more it will have to conform to the physical behavior mode of the Earth. That behavior mode is a steady state – a system that permits qualitative development but not aggregate quantitative growth. Growth is more of the same stuff; development is the same amount of better stuff (or at least different stuff). The remaining natural world is no longer able to provide the sources and sinks for the metabolic throughput necessary to sustain the existing oversized economy – much less a growing one. Economists have focused too much on the economy’s circulatory system and have neglected to study its digestive tract. Throughput growth means pushing more of the same food through an ever larger digestive tract; development means eating better food and digesting it more thoroughly. Clearly the economy must conform to the rules of a steady state – seek qualitative development, but stop aggregate quantitative growth.”
One of Herman Daly’s sources is Frederick Soddy, a chemist who became an economist in the 1920s and 30s.
Eric Zencey, Mr. Soddy’s Ecological Economy, New York Times, April 12, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/12/opinion/12zencey.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
“In four books written from 1921 to 1934, Soddy carried on a quixotic campaign for a radical restructuring of global monetary relationships. He was roundly dismissed as a crank.
“He offered a perspective on economics rooted in physics — the laws of thermodynamics, in particular. An economy is often likened to a machine, though few economists follow the parallel to its logical conclusion: like any machine the economy must draw energy from outside itself. The first and second laws of thermodynamics forbid perpetual motion, schemes in which machines create energy out of nothing or recycle it forever. Soddy criticized the prevailing belief of the economy as a perpetual motion machine, capable of generating infinite wealth — a criticism echoed by his intellectual heirs in the now emergent field of ecological economics.
Richard Smith, Beyond Growth or-beyond-capitalism
“Daly, Jackson and the rest are mistaken to assume that we can get a sustainable “steady state” economy or “de-grow” the economy “within a capitalist framework.” I contend first, that the idea of a steady-state or de-growing capitalism is based on spectacularly untenable assumptions, starting with the assumption that growth is optional rather than built into capitalism. I argue that irresistible and relentless pressures for growth are functions of the day-to-day requirements of capitalist reproduction in a competitive market, incumbent upon all but a few businesses, and that such pressures would prevail in any conceivable capitalism.
“Secondly, this paper takes issue with Daly’s thesis . . . that capitalist efficiency and resource allocation is the best humanity can come up with. I argue that this belief is incompatible with an ecological economy, and therefore it undermines Daly’s own environmental goals. I conclude that because capitalist growth cannot be stopped, or even slowed, and because market-driven growth is driving us toward collapse, ecological economists would do well to abandon this distraction and get on with the project of developing a compelling and plausible vision of a post-capitalist eco-socialist economy and to join with eco-socialists to help organize for such a resolution before it’s too late to bother trying.”
other papers by Richard Smith:
Capitalism and the Destruction of Life on Earth: Six Theses on Saving the Humans By Richard Smith, Truthout | Opinion
Truthout Interviews: Richard Smith on the Failure of Green Solutions to Solve Environmental Problems By Ted Asregadoo, Truthout | Video Interview
Thomas L. Friedman
Thomas Friedman, The Inflection Is Near?, New York Times, March 8, 2008
“Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: ‘No more.”
“We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese.
“We can’t do this anymore.”
Thomas Friedman, The Price Is Not Right, New York Times, April 1, 2009,
“Just as A.I.G. sold insurance derivatives at prices that did not reflect the real costs and the real risks of massive defaults (for which we the taxpayers ended up paying the difference), oil companies, coal companies and electric utilities today are selling energy products at prices that do not reflect the real costs to the environment and real risks of disruptive climate change (so future taxpayers will end up paying the difference).
“Whenever products are mispriced and do not reflect the real costs and risks associated with their usage, people go to excess. And that is exactly what happened in the financial marketplace and in the energy/environmental marketplace during the credit bubble.”
Another Friedman column describes “why we need a climate bailout along with our economic bailout” and considers the indicators of Mother Nature’s Dow.
Thomas Friedman, Mother Nature’s Dow, York Times, March 29, 2009
Chip Ward, Let’s Not Recover
Chip Ward, Let’s Not Recover, Ecological Ignorance and Economic Collapse, Tomgram April 20, 2009http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175061/chip_ward_let_s_not_recover
Ward first describes how an adaptive cycle (either economic or ecological) begins with rapid growth, followed by a phase of consolidation. He continues:
“The third phase in the typical adaptive cycle is collapse. If you want to know what that’s like, turn on the TV, look out your window, or knock on your neighbor’s door, assuming that you still have a window or your neighbor still has a door. Since everything’s connected, when an overgrown system spirals out of control, collapse tends to feel like an avalanche rather than erosion.
“It may be hard to notice during the turmoil and confusion, but enormous amounts of energy are released in the collapse phase of an adaptive cycle and that leads to the final phase: regeneration. After seeds are cracked open by a forest fire, seedlings bloom in the nutrient-rich ashes of the former forest. They soak up newly available sunlight where the forest canopy has been opened. Then, as those open spaces start to fill, the growth phase begins anew. Hopefully, in our world, those empty auto-making factories will soon house a blooming business in wind turbines and mass transit.
“It is important, however, to recognize that sometimes the collapse phase leads to renewal and sometimes to an entirely different and unwanted regime. Fire, for example, can renew a forest by clearing debris, opening niche space, and resetting the successional clock, or, if combined with a prolonged drought, it can set the stage for desertification.”
Chip Ward’s essay is from TomGram, a blog at The Nation, edited by Tom Englehardt. He draws upon a group of excellent commentators from a liberal perspective for insight into the economic crisis, the political economy, climate change, oil, and US military operations.
http://www.tomdispatch.comTom Horton, the Myth of Endless Growth
Tom Horton, Growing! Growing! Gone! The Chesapeake Bay and the Myth of Endless Growth, Abell Foundation, August 2008
Full text: http://www.abell.org/pubsitems/env_Growing_808.pdf
It is summarized in the Abell Foundation Newsletter: http://www.abell.org/pubsitems/arn808.pdf
Tom Horton’s Growing! Growing! Gone! is a major essay on natural carrying capacity focused on the largest estuary in the US. He calls for the regional economies to operate within natural limits: practice qualitative development, not quantitative growth. He begins by noting that after 30 years of effort to improve the environmental conditions of the Chesapeake Bay, most indicators are worse than at the beginning. Then says,
“The blind spot is our addiction to limitless economic growth, based on encouraging an ever-expanding population of human consumers to support it. This is our mantra: Growth is good, vital to our wellbeing, or at least inevitable and must be “accommodated.” So unchallenged is this premise that day to day, we analyze it little more than we do the gravitational force that holds us to the planet. But listen to what we are, in effect, saying: With better management and technology, the human population and economy can grow forever while assuring a sustainable and high level of environmental quality, including room for the rest of nature . . .
“That is what we continue to assume, with the connivance of elected and environmental leaders, after 25 years of failing to do it. Growth is good. Growth is necessary. Growth will come. Growth can be accommodated. These are the greatest, most uncritically accepted and fatally flawed assumptions made by those charged with protecting the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.
“By an end to growth we do not mean an end to capitalism, stock markets, free trade, innovation, the profit motive or greed and corruption. Economic development would continue to underpin our prosperity—a shift to building more comfortable, affordable and energy-effi- cient homes versus more homes; to producing tastier, more nutritious burgers with less impact on the environment rather than more and bigger ones; to rebuilding our cities and towns and mass transit versus expanding the suburbs. The focus would shift to better serving those already here versus making endless accommodations for all who might be induced to come.”
Related web sites:
The Center for Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) is a rich source of resources for research and action toward a steady state economy. Particularly valuable are the educational materials to inform friends, family, and public officials. http://www.steadystate.org
The CASSE resources page includes links to several dozen other organizations working on the steady state version of a sustainable economy: http://www.steadystate.org/CASSEResources.html
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study has produced reports for policy makers, business, and households estimating the economic value of natural capital usually considered external to the human economy. This a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward. http://www.teebweb.orgs
“In our documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, our examination of population, consumption and urban growth ultimately leads us to the root cause of these challenges: an insistence on perpetual economic growth.”
GrowthBusters site has sections on a no growth economy, overpopulation, overconsumption, and action.
Global Footprint Network
“An essential step in creating a one-planet future is measuring human impact on the Earth so we can make more informed choices. That is why our work aims to accelerate the use of the Ecological Footprint — a resource accounting tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what.
“The Ecological Footprint is a data-driven metric that tells us how close we are to the goal of sustainable living. Footprint accounts work like bank statements, documenting whether we are living within our ecological budget or consuming nature’s resources faster than the planet can renew them.”
The International Society for Ecological Economics
For several decades ecological economists have analyzed the failures of mainstream economics that led to the current crisis. They have developed and tested models for a prosperous steady state economy that operates within earth’s natural carrying capacity. They argue that the purpose of any economy is to deliver sustainable quality of life, not more and more stuff. Their home page is http://www.ecoeco.org/
The Community Solution
“The Community Solutions program, started in 2003, is a national resource for knowledge and practices on low-energy living and self-reliant communities. We educate about the coming global oil production peak and climate change, and design solutions to the current unsustainable, fossil-fuel based, overly centralized way of living.” This organization focuses on food, housing, and transportation. http://www.communitysolution.org/index.html
The Story of Stuff is Annie Leonard’s 20 minute educational video on the costs of the rampant Consumer Society that is getting lots of play in classrooms: http://storyofstuff.com/
The New American Dream provides a vision and practical tips for responsible consumption and explores quality of life beyond consumption: http://www.newdream.org/consumption/beyond.php
“(Sanders) has mobilized a large number of young people, these young people who are saying, “Look, we’re not going to consent anymore.” And if that turns into a continuing, organized, mobilized—mobilized force, that could change the country—maybe not for this election, but in the longer term.” Noam Chomsky
The Movement is starting to explore how it moves forward whether or not Bernie wins nomination. The Movement is the many organizations and individuals who are working for a fundamental return to core democratic values of equity, justice, community, and respect for nature.
I’ve gathered links to resources on how the movement that has come together around Bernie Sanders’ agenda for revolution can continue to build momentum. There’s at least one planning event, several current books, several new virtual organizations, and many commentaries in alternative media.
Events and organizations
The People’s Summit
The People’s Summit is meeting June 17-19 in Chicago, an event organized by a coalition of progressive organizations, including many ____ for Bernie groups.
The call for participation begins:
“At a time of tremendous turmoil and progressive opportunity, we invite you to participate in a historic convening of organizations and individuals committed to social, racial and economic justice. On June 17-19, in Chicago, after the party primary season and before the party conventions, we seek to bring together activists committed to a different kind of agenda: a People’s Agenda that can enhance and expand issue campaigns and hold all elected officials accountable to popular demands for justice, equality and freedom. We envision this Summit as further deepening the relationship between participating organizations rooted in principled anti-corporate politics, development of community leaders, direct action not based on partisan identification, and strategic organizing to build power.”
Many of the partner organizations for this People’s Summit are ad hoc groups supporting Bernie, such as Labor for Bernie, African Americans for Bernie, etc. as well as environmental, progressive political, and social justice organizations.
Brand New Congress
America needs an honest, accountable Congress to enact Bernie’s program. But trying to win each Congressional seat one-by-one is impossible. So let’s run one campaign to replace Congress all at once (except those already on board) that whips up the same enthusiasm, volunteerism and money as Bernie’s presidential campaign.
We’re building on the tools, tactics and networks that we developed together on Bernie’s campaign. But to pull this off, the volunteer movement will have to wield more power and resources than on any campaign before. This means volunteers on the ground will run their own offices and voter contact operations, and will have access to all necessary tools and materials from the start
We’re going to challenge incumbents in their primaries—both Republicans and Democrats—with a unified campaign that America can believe in and will actually pay attention to. By running a unified campaign, we’ll be able to:
- Create enough excitement nationally that new voters will register and vote in congressional primaries, all of which historically have very low turnout
- Massively scale voter contact: our national volunteer force will overwhelm incumbents tiny paid local staff.
- Gain huge economies of scale in advertising, direct mail, and staffing.
- Use one constantly-improving campaign infrastructure as we move from election to election.
- Let candidates focus on the issues instead of the logistics of running a campaign.
The next system
http://thenextsystem.orgThe Next System Project is an ambitious multi-year initiative aimed at thinking boldly about what is required to deal with the systemic challenges the United States faces now and in coming decades. Responding to real hunger for a new way forward, and building on innovative thinking and practical experience with new economic institutions and approaches being developed in communities across the country and around the world, the goal is to put the central idea of system change, and that there can be a “next system,” on the map. Gar Alperovitz and Gus Speth are co-chairs.
Download the introductory report of the Next System Project:
Next System interview: Noam Chomsky on Organizing for a Next System
The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution by Micah White
“The only way to learn the art of revolution is to try, fail and try again. The dynamics of social change are too fluid for anything less than relentless innovation and persistence.”
“Part manifesto, part memoir, and part history of activism, The End of Protest is a radical document in every sense of the word. The comprehensive work explains White’s belief that protest is fundamentally broken within modern society, and new paradigms are needed for progress to continue.
“Protest is broken. Recent years have witnessed the largest protests in human history. Yet these mass mobilizations no longer change society. Now activism is at a crossroads: innovation or irrelevance.
“In The End Of Protest Micah White heralds the future of activism and declares the end of protest as you know it. Drawing on his unique experience as the co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, a contagious protest that spread to eighty-two countries, White clearly articulates a unified theory of revolution and the principles of tactical innovation that are destined to catalyze the next generation of social movements. from interview of White by Jaime Lubin: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jaime-lubin/the-spirit-of-activism-fr_b_9780946.html
http://endofprotest.com/ a sample of the book http//endofprotest.com/sneak-preview#start
This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century. Mark and Paul Engler
Truth-out interview with the authors: How to Create an ecology of change http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/35862-how-to-create-an-ecology-of-change-by-combining-movement-uprisings-with-long-term-organizing
“This Is an Uprising examines the strategy differences between traditional schools of organizing and mass mobilizations. They argue that each plays an important role in creating social change and should be used in conjunction to be most effective in reaching a shared goal.
“. . . a key argument that we make in the book is that there is a craft to uprising — that there is a history of people grappling with the challenges of how to create momentous revolts, and that they have identified some really valuable skills and concepts in their organizing. The more we learn about this history and the more seriously we take on this craft as something that can be studied and refined, the better able we will be to guide moments of mass unrest when they break out, and the more adept we can be at creating these moments from scratch.”
“In This Is an Uprising, we are most interested in mass mobilizations. We focus on these because we think they represent a type of action whose dynamics are not widely understood. But in the end, it takes a lot of different kinds of organizing and citizen engagement to create social change. Mass protests interact with more long-standing efforts to build progressive organizations. They interact with countercultural communities. They interact with political parties and people working inside the formal structures of politics.
People Get Ready, The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy
“Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour—or its greatest moment.”
“The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.
“The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny—before it’s too late—and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.”
Commentaries on the future of the movement
People for a Shared Program http://www.sharedprogram.org/
People for a Shared Program is a place to explore, develop and organize around left programmatic ideas. Below you will find a document – Possible Ideas for Going Forward – which the 87 initial signers offered as a starting point for this process. We invite you to read this document, discuss it and suggest additions or changes in our forum and/or in a blog post. We will regularly update the document in accord with good suggestions and display the current version below.
Around the world powerful and diverse possibilities are in struggle. We the signers of “Some Possible Ideas for Going Forward” think one high priority for progress is activists developing, discussing, and settling on priorities around which to organize multi issue activism in coming months and years. We hope this document can help inspire more conversations within groups and movements that, over time, come to a synthesis. We do this in the spirit of self-organization – and as a rejection of preformed inflexible programs and agendas imposed on activists from above. We believe only program that is fully understood and owned by grassroots participants can win lasting change. http://www.sharedprogram.org/#!initial-document/ozjgn
A Radical Alliance of Black and Green Could Save the World
“A beautiful thing is happening: Advocates for racial justice and for environmental protection—too often, movements quite distant from each other—are coming together in a new way. One can see it in the campaign of National People’s Action and the Climate Justice Alliance to push for a just and locally empowering transition to clean energy; in the New Economy Coalition’s inclusive membership and commitment to front-line communities; and in the projects of the Evergreen Cooperatives, in inner-city Cleveland. These new efforts (may they multiply!) are grounded on a strong foundation. When one explores the roots of both the environmental and civil-rights movements, one finds a strikingly similar radical critique. Both movements have called for a deep restructuring of society and the economy; in both cases, that call is based on an affirmation of life and the devoted care that life requires of us.”
What’s the Future of Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution?
By Kate Aronoff April 25, 2016
Future of the revolution won’t look anything like Sanders; it will be led by millennials and people of color
How Bernie Sanders and Occupy Wall Street Cracked Open America’s Political Imagination by Benjamin Dangl Published: 28 April 2016
” In many ways, the influence of Occupy Wall Street is all around us. “Occupy has entered our DNA. It is in our forms of relating, organizing and being,” activist and author Marina Sitrin wrote in 2014 on how the DNA of occupy has traveled, changed, and multiplied in many social movements. “No longer seen with the occupation of parks, plazas and squares, Occupy has relocated, it is in us, it is in our ways of being, relating and coming together. People are changed—feel more dignity and organize for a different world because of it,” Sitrin explained. “We have created a new generation of organizers/activists who are not part of a movement to win one thing and then declare victory, but a movement that is about changing everything. And little by little this is happening.””
How Sanders Could Lay the Foundation for a Third US Political Party
Saturday, 16 April 2016 00:00By Geoff Gilbert, Truthout | Op-Ed
A new, independently financed political party could make Sanders’ call for “political revolution” and his claim that he is trying to build a movement more than a dream boldly proclaimed by an inspiring, if not quixotic, leader. It could deliberately seek to unify our currently fragmented movement cultures and operate as a vehicle for the substantive promise of Sanders’ “political revolution”: deep institutional and cultural reform. Doing so, it could begin to fulfill our country’s lofty aspirations: a society truly ruled by the people with meaningful input available to everyone, absent discrimination on any basis — race, gender, sexuality, nationality or religion.
Most importantly, perhaps, an independently financed party could seek to define this broad policy platform, not primarily through the input of elite power brokers funneled through the corporate-financed media and think tank complex, but with the input of grassroots leaders already engaged in building such a society.
How Progressives Can—and Must—Regain the Moral High Ground
In the South, we’re building a broad, new movement rooted in right and wrong, not left and right.
“The patches of the fusion coalition in the South lie all around us: Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, the Equality Federation, Southerners On New Ground, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, and progressive churches. But progressives and liberals must learn not to throw away the moral high ground and walk away from religious discourse. At the heart of faith is love, justice, fairness, and a measure of mercy for all people. Many people get to a social ethos grounded in love by way of ethical reasoning or political tradition. But we must not write off the millions, from Baptists to Buddhists, who get there by way of a myriad of faith traditions.
“Over the past decade here in North Carolina, we have witnessed the power of moral dissent to challenge the forces of injustice. Our adversaries have hijacked the concept of morality and shifted it to such personal matters as abortion and homosexuality. But by taking back the moral high ground on issues like Medicaid, voting rights, and poverty, our Moral Mondays movement won the support of a dozen major religious denominations and rallied tens of thousands in the streets of our cities and towns.”
Bernie and Beyond 2016
by Peter Olney, for Labor for Bernie, March 26, 2016 Now is the time to unite in a new force for a democratic economy
The Chicago Teachers Union strike https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/04/chicago-teachers-union-strike-karen-lewis/
The Long March of Bernie’s Army, Where it came from; where it’s headed.
By Harold Meyerson, A vice-chair The Democratic Socialists of America, March 23, 2016
“Leaders of unions, community-organizing groups, minority organizations and student groups, prominent environmentalists and Sanders activists, precinct walkers and online campaigners—some longtime allies, some total strangers to one another—are “all in one large, shifting conversation,” in the words of one such leader, to figure out how to build the Revolution once the Sanders campaign is done . . . they are debating ideas on how to create something—organizations, coalitions, networks, local, state, national—that can capture and build on the energy and politics that the Sanders campaign has unleashed.
The challenge of creating an enduring left out of Sanders’s young supporters, who have brought the passion, energy, and numbers to his campaign, is particularly daunting.
What Does a Socialist Movement Look Like?
Socialism in America Is Closer Than You Think:
Experiments with public ownership are thriving across the country. The challenge is to link them and scale them up. By Gar Alperovitz, February 11, 2016
once owned more land
than he could ride across
in a day’s time.
He fought Miller & Lux
for the water of the Kern River
way back before it became
a channel of dry sand.
In 1961 I pulled off 99
as a storm ended
and the dark sky opened
to let the setting sun shine
upon the shacks of Black Okies.
Teviston was lit up
puddles reflecting day’s last light.
pieced together from scrap wood
How would Lloyd Tevis
have calculated the value
of this one and only memorial
to his great wealth?
A caution: this event would likely be most powerful if there is no campaign rhetoric at all. Not needed!
Support for veterans recovery and empowerment would be a strong first step in a sequence of celebrations of our innovation and compassion as a people. It builds upon Bernie’s strong record as a Senator making veterans issues a personal and legislative priority. The rally could be broadcast live stream, via youtube, and on network time (make them complete to get it! ) Use network commercials & social media to promote it.
Bernie, Jane Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard come on stage to celebrate a series of veteran empowerment programs– a few of many examples are:
• Legal and action organizations helping veterans to avoid foreclosure.
• Operation Freedom Paws training veterans to train comfort dogs and the PTSD vets who will benefit from their companionship.
• a team of Tripod dogs (3 legged) performing with wondrous capability and ready to start visiting VA hospitals and children’s hospitals. (A seed project to organize and fund. )
• Community support networks for PTSD veterans.
• A program to heal combat dogs home from war with PTSD.
This is change happening now. You tell me, how are we going to multiply these programs? Tell me how I should support this sort of grassroots support for veterans as President. Tulsi Gabbard asks for guidance on legislation she’ll introduce.
With this and other similar events buying time, the campaign can test development of an action campaign organization & funding in parallel with the Campaign organization. (Discussion of Bernie’s long-term agenda is balanced with action now, in order to enlist a broader range of people ready to hear that common sense set of ideas.)
Move on through other realms of grassroots innovation, creative programs in Black & Hispanic Communities; the new wave of labor organizing; social and environmental entrepreneurship; innovative schools in low income communities breaking out of the teach to the exams assembly line unlearning; breakthrough community health care programs . . .
I’m not waiting for you to elect me President.
You know, I’m an activist with a few common sense ideas for getting back to a country that works for everyone. It’s going to take some time to achieve those revolutionary changes. We’ll continue campaigning on that track and you’ll all be helping me after you elect me. But we can’t wait!
So what do you say we just start changing things now?
Let’s make this campaign for the future a wave of innovation and compassion across the country. There’s no time to loose.
On way to act is fixing things our robber baron politicians are tearing apart. I say we can start fixing these disasters! Our movement is growing, so let’s continue with all the nitty gritty work of winning the votes’ AND let’s start fixing and creating as we continue to grow.
Don’t try to tell me it can’t be done! Remember how people in New Orleans came together to rescue the stranded on roof tops and take care of the sick and wounded, before the Bush Government responded with troops and corporate contracts.
Community begins in our deep desire to take care of one another in disaster and the slow burning crisis so many of us are enduring. Well let’s unleash that spirit in Florida.
A different sort of grassroots action we can take: we must stop the cycle of violence when a shooting victim’s buddies go out for revenge.
In Compton there’s a neighborhood house where friends make a healing space for friends or sisters and brothers of someone who’s been shot. They form a circle of compassion around the poor soul torn up with grief. He or she can rap or dance or stomp out his anger and grief. They heal together and lay down their guns .
Let’s multiply healing places like this all across the country. You know how to do it! My action staff will help you.
This is not the only thing we can do to end violence. Until we have our landslide victory and take both houses, legislation isn’t very likely. So let’s act now. Tell me your dreams and we’ll start realizing them.
We Can’t Wait!
I produced this narrated slideshow on Teviston—one of California’s Black Okie Communities—for the Framing Migrant Labor exhibit at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Agrella Gallery. My photos of the Wilson family are part of an exhibit that features Matt Black’s work, along with photos by Otto Hagel and Morrie Camhi.