Most Americans oppose rule by the corporatocracy but don’t have the tools to fight back. Here are three things we need to create a real people’s movement. From author Bruce E. Levine, reposted from AlterNet.
Transforming the United States into something closer to a democracy requires: 1) knowledge of how we are getting screwed; 2) pragmatic tactics, strategies, and solutions; and 3) the â€śenergy to do battle.â€ť
The majority of Americans oppose the corporatocracy (rule by giant corporations, the extremely wealthy elite, and corporate-collaborator government officials); however, many of us have given up hope that this tyranny can be defeated. Among those of us who continue to be politically engaged, many focus on only one of the requirementsâ€”knowledge of how we are getting screwed. And this singular focus can result in helplessness. It is the two other requirements that can empower, energize, and activate Team Democracyâ€” a team that is currently at the bottom of the standings in the American Political League.
1. Knowledge of How We are Getting Screwed
Harriet Tubman conducted multiple missions as an Underground Railroad conductor, and she also participated in the Union Armyâ€™s Combahee River raid that freed more than 700 slaves. Looking back on her career as a freedom fighter, Tubman noted, â€śI freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.â€ť While awareness of the truth of corporatocracy oppression is by itself not sufficient to win freedom and justice, it is absolutely necessary.
We are ruled by so many â€śindustrial complexesâ€ťâ€”military, financial, energy, food, pharmaceutical, prison, and so onâ€”that it is almost impossible to stay on top of every way we are getting screwed. The good news is thatâ€”either through independent media or our basic common senseâ€”polls show that the majority of Americans know enough about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Wall Street bailouts, and other corporate welfare to oppose these corporatocracy policies. In the case of the military-industrial complex, most Iraq War polls and Afghanistan War polls show that the majority of Americans know enough to oppose these wars. And when Americans were asked in a CBS New /New York Times survey in January 2011 which of three programsâ€”the military, Medicare or Social Securityâ€”to cut so as to deal with the deficit, fully 55 percent chose the military, while only 21 percent chose Medicare and 13 percent chose Social Security.
In the words of Leonard Cohen, â€śEverybody knows that the deal is rotten.â€ť Well, maybe not everybody, but damn near everybody.
But what doesnâ€™t everybody know?
2. Pragmatic Tactics, Strategies and Solutions
In addition to awareness of economic and social injustices created by corporatocracy rule, it is also necessary to have knowledge of strategies and tactics that oppressed people have historically used to overcome tyranny and to gain their fair share of power.
Even before the Democratic-Republican bipartisan educational policies (such as â€śno child left behindâ€ť and â€śrace to the topâ€ť) that cut back on civics being taught in schools, few Americans were exposed in their schooling to â€śstreet-smart civicsâ€ťâ€”tactics and strategies that oppressed peoples have historically utilized to gain power.
For a comprehensive guide of tactics and strategies that have been effective transforming regimes more oppressive than the current U.S. one, read political theorist and sociologist Gene Sharpâ€™s From Dictatorship to Democracy, which includes nearly 200 â€śMethods of Nonviolent Actions.â€ť Among Sharpâ€™s 49 â€śMethods of Economic Noncooperation,â€ť he lists over 20 different kinds of strikes. And among his 38 â€śMethods of Political Noncooperation,â€ť he lists 10 tactics of â€ścitizensâ€™ noncooperation with government,â€ť nine â€ścitizensâ€™ alternatives to obedience,â€ť and seven â€śactions by government personnel.â€ť Yes, nothing was more powerful in ending the Vietnam War and saving American and Vietnamese lives than the brave actions by critically thinking U.S. soldiers who refused to cooperate with the U.S. military establishment. Check out David Zeiglerâ€™s documentary Sir! No Sir! for details.
There’s more! Head over to AlterNet to read the rest of the article and join the heady discussion in the comments!
Bruce E. Levine’s newest book, Get Up Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite is on sale through the end of August.