- Also see related subpage(s), including Organized Power/Notes.
There is no power without relationships: two or more people come together, express and argue their concerns, develop a plan and the intention to exercise that plan, and take some sort of action. The challenge is how to teach them to get enough power to do the things they think are important. This can happen through two routes, organized people or organized money—obviously the poor have more of the former than the latter. Two or even ten people by themselves may not be able to do much, but if they begin to build coalitions with other people and learn the rules of politics, including relational power and reciprocity, then they begin to learn the process through which they can take advantage of the opportunities presented by economic, social, and political change.
-- Ernesto Cortés, Jr. | Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation - “Power”
Our Humanity: Civilizations throughout history are nearly always dominated by a tiny number of elites. Sometimes a society’s elites rule with relative benevolence, or at least refrain from causing too much harm. At other times, sociopathic individuals take control and lead entire civilizations into ruin.
Our Crisis: Empires rise and fall; tyrants come and go. But only in the past few generations have humans achieved the capacity to destroy ourselves, along with virtually every other living thing on our planet. What hasn’t changed is our behavior. The tiny elite who currently dominate most of humanity are once again leading us all to ruin. And we can’t seem to stop following.
Our Response: We can chart our own course if we choose to. Acting together, we can identify, comprehend and coherently respond to the mounting crises we face. One stepping-stone to reaching this goal is to harness powerful new technologies to communicate, coordinate and collaborate with each other. As we carefully examine the challenges that confront us, we can act together.
Organized Power dedicates itself to the task of acting with ordinary working people to harness collaborative technologies, and turn the dysfunctional power pyramid upside down.
About Organized Power
Organized Power is a civic engagement and community organizing project spearheaded by a small group of community activists in Portland, Oregon. The project’s primary organizers are drawn from current PortlandWiki contributors and others active in the Portland community. The project’s organizing focus is to connect individuals and groups living in particular communities with each other, and to also connect these intra-connected communities with one another.
Civic wikis play a central role in Organized Power’s community-building strategy. As the city wiki for Portland, PortlandWiki is a great example of a civic wiki. In addition to acting as a “knowledge commons” for a given community, a civic wiki can act as that community’s networking hub by linking together individuals and organizations who share common interests. In this way, civic wikis can function as a Wikipedia, Wikinews and WikiLeaks, as well as a community yellow pages, telephone directory and neighborhood bulletin board -- all at the same time.
Organized Power also focuses on identifying free or freely available technologies that individuals and groups within a given community can use to assist them with their organizing goals and community building efforts. In this context, Organized Power acts as a technology consultant and service provider to deploy carefully selected collaborative technologies, and to train people how to use them. The overarching goal is to assist people within the community in making use of these technologies for the purpose of bringing people together to meet, plan, communicate, collaborate, get things done and enjoy each other’s company.
Concentrated Coercion & Disempowered Communities
Markets despise uncertainty. These days, terms like "markets," "the marketplace," the "free market," and the like almost always refer to a particular marketplace order commonly called neoliberalism, globalization, or sometimes just plain liberalism. These same markets produce “negative externalities” -- costs and consequences the marketplace producers seek to avoid by foisting the off onto the rest of us. Air pollution, water contamination, soil depletion, collapse of ocean fisheries, human dislocation (ranging from widespread unemployment to forced migration to extermination), and never-ending military conflicts are just a few of the myriad negative externalities produced by modern “free markets.”
Sure the marketplace may have its downside. But hasn’t the marketplace “lifted millions of people out of poverty”? The “lifted millions out of poverty” argument is one of the most frequent claims the free market’s most ardent propagandists like to make. This argument implies that one of the free market’s most important functions, apart from making its “jobs creators” maximum profits, is to lift poor people into neoliberal prosperity. A closer look, however, calls that assumption into serious question.
For example, China is often held up as the poster country to highlight the free market’s rags to riches prowess. Indeed, neoliberal globalization has delivered formerly unheard of prosperity to millions of Chinese people. Take a peek under the surface, however, and one discovers that a huge number of the newly prosperous in China were essentially forced to leave their farms and villages and migrate to overcrowded cities, where they soon found themselves condemned to working long hours in factories and sweatshops. Some are literally worked to death, while others leap to their deaths from factory rooftops in order to escape their miserable place in the globalized free market.
At this point we might ask ourselves: What kind of “prosperity” forces subsistence farmers out of their villages and into overcrowded cities, where it works them to exhaustion -- or even to death -- in near slave-like conditions? Is this the same “free market prosperity” that abandoned once-thriving communities in heartland America, transforming them from wholesome, family oriented communities into crime-ridden, hopeless rust-belt wastelands? Why would people in any community choose to do this to themselves? If markets despise uncertainty -- meaning a disruption to business as usual -- doesn't it follow that people would despise any disruption to life as usual even more?
One of the most pernicious “externalities” the neoliberal regime imposes onto the rest of us is the delusion that “there is no alternative” to the current marketplace arrangements imposed by major multinational corporations onto communities all over the globe. A range of trade agreements and other marketplace arrangements strip local communities of much of their sovereignty, and hands it over to oligopolistic corporate entities and other marketplace actors. What emerges are anti-democratic arrangements in which money, goods and small number of affluent individuals flow freely while the rest of humanity is condemned to economic and political servitude.
Empowering Alternatives: Working People’s Campaign
“We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
What would a working people's campaign include?
What would an economy that prioritized the interests of everyday working people ahead of business interests include?
Jobs for anyone who wants to work.
The value of a person's labor is reduced to zero if the "free market" is unable or unwilling to buy it. If a worker depends on her labor for her livelihood, and her labor has no market value, she is unable to support herself. This is an unacceptable social compact. A society that cannot assure that its own citizens can provide for their own livelihood loses legitimacy.
Most capitalist "free market" ideologies treat a person's labor as just another commodity. This leaves the worker at the mercy of "the marketplace." Unlike most other commodities, a person's unused labor is lost forever; she cannot hoard it or store it for future use. Many workers depend solely on the value of their labor to support themselves. Whenever a worker's labor is valued at nothing, she loses not only the value of her unused labor, but potentially the ability to support herself. This arrangement exposes the worker to unacceptable risks to her livelihood.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
In recent years reports of the numbers of working Americans living paycheck to paycheck ranged from 42% (2011) to as high as 77% (2010). Other phrases used to describe this “living paycheck to paycheck” phenomenon included “two paychecks away from homelessness” or even “one paycheck away from homelessness.” In light of all this, a particular question begs us to ask it: What kind of economic system puts anyone in jeopardy of homelessness?
As we meditate on the question we just asked ourselves -- “What kind of economic system puts anyone in jeopardy of homelessness?” -- perhaps we can broaden the question by asking ourselves “What kind of person terrorizes, brutalizes, tyrannizes, robs, degrades, defrauds and routinely abuses others?” A criminally insane person? A sociopath? A tyrant? A person possessed by demons? When folks with this same mentality demand we drastically cut their taxes while publicly subsidizing their activities in myriad ways so they can become better “jobs creators,” why do we give them the time of day?
When these same folks claimed that some of the public largess they’re grabbing at our expense will come trickling back down upon us, creating a rising tide that will lift all boats -- even our meager, leaky little vessels -- why did we fall for it? When their schemes finally came crashing down and plunged the entire world into the Great Recession, prompting them to demand that we bail them out at public expense, why did we comply? When they go right back to their excesses and financial orgies after grabbing all of our public loot, then demand cutbacks and austerity for the rest of us as punishment for all the overspending we did to bail them out of a catastrophe of their own making, why do we put up with it?
Is there more to living in a democracy than just casting the occasional vote? Is there more to “free expression” than just grinding your teeth while a handful of elites in big business, government and media tell you what to think and how to behave? Why is it that we seem to always end up with “the best democracy that money can buy”? Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
- Half of all Americans are just two paychecks away from living on the street.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
- For the first time ever, half of all Americans think the American Dream is over.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
- America is slipping behind the rest of the world in health, education and living standards.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
- Millionaires and billionaires pay zero to 15% tax rates while up to half of working Americans’ income is siphoned off to pay all sorts of taxes.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
- A handful of politicians and business executives make decisions that negatively affect millions of us.
Is this the best we can do? Can we do better?
Creating a People's Budget
- Participatory Democracy in Chicago: Participatory Budgeting is Working, Important, and Going to Stay
- Introduction to the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Project from (Chicago) Alderman Joe Moore
- From Budget Cuts to a People's Budget? Connecting Participatory Planning and Public Budgets in New York (Vimeo)
- Chicago Alderman Joe Moore explains to a New York audience why "in many respects, by giving up power (to constituents) I ended up having more power, because this was the single most popular thing I had done in my 19 years as member of city council."
- In April 2012, the Finnish innovation fund Sitra organized the first participatory budgeting process in Finland. As a result, among few others, a new PB project was elected to receive funding. Helsinki City Library users now have the chance to plan and decide projects for the upcoming new central library.
- Forty-five years ago, the A. Philip Randolph Institute issued “The Freedom Budget,” in which a program for economic transformation was proposed that included a job guarantee for everyone ready and willing to work, a guaranteed income for those unable to work or those who should not be working, and a living wage to lift the working poor out of poverty. Such policies were supported by a host of scholars, civic leaders, and institutions, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; indeed, they provided the cornerstones for King’s “Poor Peoples’ Campaign” and “economic bill of rights.”
- This paper proposes a “New Freedom Budget” for full employment based on the principles of functional finance. To counter a major obstacle to such a policy program, the paper includes a “primer” on three paradigms for understanding government budget deficits and the national debt: the deficit hawk, deficit dove, and functional finance perspectives. Finally, some of the benefits of the job guarantee are outlined, including the ways in which the program may serve as a vehicle for a variety of social policies.
- After the March on Washington, Dr. King, Randolph and Thomas worked together to promote the groundbreaking “Freedom Budget,” which proposed:
- the abolition of poverty
- guaranteed full employment
- full production and high economic growth
- adequate minimum wages
- farm income parity
- guaranteed incomes for all unable to work
- a decent home for every American family
- modern health services for all
- full educational opportunity for all.
- updated (and expanded) Social Security and welfare programs.
- equitable tax and money policies
- Poor People’s Campaign
- History of Poor People's Campaign
- The Poor People’s Campaign 43 years later through the lens of Occupy Wall Street
- (Superb analysis: The Poor People’s Campaign — 1968 [in contrast with] The “Occupy” Movement — 2011)
- Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
- March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
- Statement by Dr., Martin Luther King Jr., President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Announcing The Poor People's Campaign. Atlanta, Georgia, December 4, 1967.
- King Versus the Tea Party: From the Poor People's Campaign to Occupy
- Dr. Martin Luther King's Economics: Through Jobs, Freedom
Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus
- This document is the budget published by the Congressional Progressive Caucus for fiscal year 2012. Its Executive Summary begins with this paragraph:
- Budgets are more than collections of numbers; they are a statement of our values. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget is a reflection of the values and priorities of working families in this country. The “People’s Budget” charts a path that keeps America exceptional in the 21st century, while addressing the most pressing problems facing the nation today. Our Budget eliminates the deficit and stabilizes the debt, puts Americans back to work, and restores our economic competitiveness.
- The People's Budget (Basic overview of the Congressional Progressive Caucus’s “People’s Budget” highlights, drawn from source material.)
Additional Articles & Resources
- Movement Building
- This page is for those who are interested in a modern day application of the WPA.
- The Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements
- Making it real: Obama & his apocryphal "Now Make Me Do It" -- Obama Can Win Big With FDR Formula
- Class Warfare Waged by FDR Holds Lesson for Obama
- What Occupy taught the unions -- SEIU and others are embracing the movement that has succeeded as they have faded
- Unions and the movement -- Howard Zinn on class in America Pt4: A reinvigorated labor movement needed for a great social upheaval
- "90 percent of the workforce is unorganized. They're organizable. This 90 percent of the workforce are not people who are rich. They're people who need unions. They need to raise their wages. They need to be able to face their employers with some strength rather than the weakness of an individual facing a corporation. So there's a reservoir of possibility there for organizing."
- Tax & Income Distribution
- Professor Richard D. Wolff - Class Warfare (Alternative Radio Podcast)
- People dread taxes. The tax code is a labyrinth few citizens dare to enter save for the rich and powerful who hire lawyers and accountants to figure out ways to game the system. One corporation paid $26,000 a year to maintain a post office box in Bermuda as its legal headquarters. That little trick saved them $40 million in corporate taxes. Not bad. Taxes on the wealthy used to be high. During the Eisenhower years in the 1950′s, a fairly conservative period which saw tremendous economic growth, the tax rate for the haves was 91 percent. Today it’s a third of that, and few actually pay that much. In true Orwellian fashion, if you raise these issues you are accused of class warfare. There is class warfare all right. It’s been successfully waged by the affluent 1 percent against everybody else.
- DEAR AMERICA: You Should Be Mad As Hell About This [CHARTS]
- HERE'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE ECONOMY... (And How To Fix It)
- Richard Koo's Awesome Presentation On The Real Reason Why This Recession Is Completely Different
- Prosperity Economics
|“||Austerity economics has prosperity backward. Prosperity doesn’t just “trickle down” from the top. It depends on the common investments and sources of security we agree on as members of a democracy, on institutions—especially unions—that ensure that gains are broadly shared, and on a healthy democracy that can sustain sound economic policies and check today’s economic winners from undermining the openness and dynamism of the economy.||”|
— (From Executive Summary.)
- - Quick Overview
- - Executive Summary
- - Full Report
- - Key Policy Recommendations
- - Prosperity for All: Here’s the Plan (07/31/2012 | Jackie Tortora)
- We might learn something from history. During the 1920s, income concentrated at the top. By 1928, the top 1 percent was raking in an astounding 23.94 percent of the total (close to the 23.5 percent the top 1 percent got in 2007) according to analyses of tax records by my colleague Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty. At that point the bubble popped and we fell into the Great Depression. But then came the Wagner Act, requiring employers to bargain in good faith with organized labor. Social Security and unemployment insurance. The Works Projects Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. A national minimum wage. Taxes were hiked on the very rich. And in 1941 America went to war -- a vast mobilization that employed every able-bodied adult American, and put money in their pockets. By 1953, the top 1 percent of Americans raked in only 9.9 percent of total income. Most of the rest went to a growing middle class -- whose members fueled the greatest economic boom in the history of the world. Get it? We won't get out of first gear until the middle class regains the bargaining power it had in the first three decades after World War II to claim a much larger share of the gains from productivity growth.
- The Ninety-Five Theses on the Ills of Europe
- Capitalism Is The Crisis (Full Movie) (YouTube)
- How To Destroy The Occupy Movement And How To Prevent It From Failing
- A Constituent Power Greater Than its Parts: Occupy and Workers from the Port Shutdown to the Primaries
- Book review: Hessel & Morin — The Road to Hope
- See the sections "What are the problems?" and "What are the solutions?" for useful ideas.
- THE NEW COMMON SENSE (Pastebin)
- A Declaration of INTERDEPENDENCE, born of necessity, from and for the collective conscience of the "99%" to and for the oligarchic "1%" of the United States of America.
- Over the course of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for older Americans aged 55-plus reached a level not seen during any other recession in the past 60 years.
Federated General Assembly
- The Federated General Assembly (FGA) project is building a new web platform that combines community organizing techniques and ideas, lessons and patterns from social networks, web standards and best practices, all together with the very real ecosystem of Occupy itself: occupations & their working groups, the values and principles, and all the coordination & communication challenges.
Peoples Assemblies Network
- Includes Peoples Assemblies News and Peoples Assemblies Groups.
Real Jobs Creation
Tired of the bullshit from self-styled "job creators" who can't seem to stop yammering endlessly about all the mythical "jobs" that our overly generous cuts to their taxes are supposedly "creating"? Maybe there's a more straightforward way to actual, tangible, real-wage jobs...
- Green industry
- California green jobs more recession resistant, study says
- Where the Iberdrola money's really going
- Here's an emerging trend in Portland: When the city says it's handing out tax dollars to keep "green" businesses in town, chances are the money's actually being paid to those businesses' landlords.
Organized Power -- An Association of Independent Unions
- “inspiring a movement”
Organized Power can function as a vehicle for organizing independent unions into an association of independent unions.
- Solidify connections with neighborhood associations, community organizations, faith groups and other stakeholders in the community.
- Write "model legislation" that benefits working people and their communities.
- Provide training in technology, communications, proactive acting and assertiveness to rank and file union members and staff.
- Build capacity in effective use of technology for organizing, political lobbying and building alliances.
The association will function much in the same way as a chamber of commerce functions for its business and corporate membership.
Rather than business interests, the association will promote the interests of working people, and the interests of working people's allies in a given community.
The association will write model legislation to promote the interests of working people.
Revenue / Dues: (initial idea) Two cents per hour per union member. For overtime hours paid at an over time rate, the per-hour dues will adjust proportionally.
- Organized Power provides working people a chance to give her/his "two cents" to promote the interests of working people and their allies.
Links to “Independent Union” Associations & Organizations
- Launched in 1999. Focuses on federal employees.
- "Helping workers since 1979." From mission statement: To promote and support the collective interests of Independent Unions and workers throughout Canada through organizing, servicing and education. CNFIU also aims to foster long-term growth and unity by effective communication, participation and action.
- Anti-Union Associations, Organizations & Front Groups
- From SourceWatch: The Center for Union Facts is a secretive front group for individuals and industries opposed to union activities. It is part of lobbyist Rick Berman's family of front groups including the Employment Policies Institute. The domain name www.unionfacts.com was registered to Berman & Co. in May 2005.
- Dave's Note: This organization, despite its hostility towards unions, has a pretty impressive database of labor unions.
- LaborPains.org - "Because being in a union can be painful."
- From SourceWatch: LaborPains.org is a joint blog of the Center for Union Facts and the Employee Freedom Action Committee associated with lobbyist Richard Berman. Contributing bloggers include J. Justin Wilson, Martin F. Payson, and John N. Raudabaugh.
... our minds are accustomed to think about something, about a problem ... our personal desires, fulfilments, sorrow, anxiety and so on ... ‘thinking about’. We are (inquiring into) thinking itself ... not about something ... but thinking together. ... Please see the difference: thinking together does not mean that you agree or disagree, accept or reject, defend or offend, but together find out if it is possible by thinking together we can act together ...
-- Jiddu Krishnamurti
One of wiki’s least understood features is the potential the wiki platform offers for deep collaboration, or what the great spiritual and psychological philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti called “thinking together.” In the context of a civic wiki, deep collaboration often emerges through the collective participation of a core group of contributors. As pages are created, information gathered and presented, and photos, drawings, videos, sound files and other media are plugged into various articles, the wiki’s “personality” starts to take shape.
Unlike the hierarchical structures -- political, economic, social -- that govern a neighborhood, city or town, wikis can offer people living in a given community an accessible means to participate in building their own community information resource and knowledge commons. Wikis offer a democratic, collaborative platform that people in a given community can use to contribute to their own governance. Participants can build upon what others have already contributed. As people freely interact with each other in this way, a participatory culture begins to emerge. Spontaneous organization starts happening, and a valuable community resource comes into being.
A prominent wiki innovator once described the wiki as "the simplest online database that could possibly work." In an age of social media, blogs, and other online technologies, wikis stand out. Unlike the others, wikis encourage participatory creativity, particularly in the realm of knowledge creation. Although rare, such collaborative and cooperative interactions can come close to "thinking together" as described by Jiddu Krishnamurti.
The Debate Society: "Drinking Together"
Of course "thinking together" is a difficult, almost incomprehensible notion in a shallow, me-centric culture unaccustomed to even thinking in solitude, much less in cooperative collaboration with others. Ours is a culture that often relegates to the debate floor the gibberish that passes for "serious" thinking. We want "experts" -- preachers, professionals, officials, politicians and other charlatans -- to debate amongst themselves and do our thinking for us. The debate form has an ancient pedigree going back at least as far as ancient Greece, where aristocratic "lovers of boys" argued with each other in Symposia ("drinking together") as they drank heavily and debauched children from the neighborhood. In their modern form, debates often vomit up the most obtuse conclusions imaginable.
Several years ago, a typically modern debate-as-path-to-idiocy trotted out into the public arena in the form of radio broadcast. The medium was a show called Intelligence Squared U.S., and the debate topic was "Global Warming Is Not a Crisis." Before the debate commenced "30 percent of the audience agreed with the motion, while 57 percent were against and 13 percent undecided." In other words, the majority of the audience presumably understood that climate change is cause for deep concern.
Then the debaters began the business of destroying their audience's minds. How? While the bought-off academic, the dull meteorologist and the fantasy film producer quipped in smooth, chirpy non sequiturs, the pompous, I-am-smarter-than-thou "experts" managed only to confuse and piss-off an audience growing less and less sympathetic to their "trust-us-we-know-what-we're-talking-about-and-you're-just-too-dumb-to-understand" posturing. At the debate's conclusion, "46 percent agreed with the motion, roughly 42 percent were opposed and about 12 percent were undecided."
This kind of absurd outcome is understandable from aristocratic narcissists and drunken pedophiles, but is such stupidity acceptable from our body politic? In contrast, thinking together requires that we stuff the cork back into the bottle, unleash the squirming, debauched child from our lascivious grasp, zip up our trousers and direct sober, serious attention onto the problem at hand. What if the audience had dismissed the emotionally challenged "experts," and the morally corrupted buffoons there to debate them, and investigated climate change for themselves? Perhaps they might have reached a more intelligent understanding on their own.
Civic Wikis and the Community
Organized Power organizes around the fundamental understanding that the predominant social structures that currently govern society are largely outdated. Many of them are rapidly transitioning from functional to dysfunctional forces. Topping the list of functional-to-dysfunctional social institutions are:
Personal and Economic Security
Personal and economic security generally tops the list of concerns for most people in any given community. Any disruption in the ability to maintain adequate personal and economic security has immediate and often dire consequences. Organized Power puts primary organizing focus on strengthening the ability of ordinary people to adequately provide for themselves, and for communities to transition towards healthier and more community-centric social and economic modes of operation.
Among ordinary working people, organized workers (those belonging to independent labor unions) are generally best positioned to maintain a certain measure of control over their personal economies. Dr. Martin Luther King remains the primary thought leader and spiritual guiding light in recognizing ordinary working people as having the greatest potential to lead social transformation. Like King, Organized Power views working people as embodying the greatest potential for driving social change.
Organized Power recognizes that strong, community-based networks are key to successfully migrating away from the rapidly deteriorating social structures that currently prevail. Healthy and participatory community-based information flows are key to transitioning towards the creation of healthier, more holistic communities. The increasing failure of legacy institutions to respond to the primary interests of ordinary people places greater responsibility on people within individual communities to create new institutional frameworks.
Similar to feudal societies, industrial social organization is characterized by hierarchical “pyramids” with control concentrated in the hands of a tiny, highly organized group at the top of the pyramid. These few at the top exercise authority over a fragmented, confused and highly disorganized base. Individuals inhabiting the middle of the pyramid are generally better organized and more privileged than those at its base. They serve as a buffer between the highly organized elite and the divided and conquered base.
In Europe and North America, the industrial model of social organization has steadily declined for decades. In the United States, the decline arguably accelerated with the first of the “oil shocks” of the 1970s. Recent developments in resource depletion, environmental degradation and financial collapse strongly indicate that the economic models and institutions charged with maintaining order in these areas are in crisis. They apparently have lost the ability to function coherently and effectively.
As old-order industrial institutions continue their decline, new arrangements will rise to replace them. Most of the incumbent institutional frameworks -- government, business, financial, religious and so on -- appear as if they are morphing into social arrangements that bear a strong resemblance to those that dominated pre-industrial feudalism. While it’s difficult to ascribe the precise motivations harbored by any of these legacy institutions, at least two characteristics clearly stand out: movements towards even greater and more rigid hierarchy, and extreme resource consolidation.
Knowledge Sharing vs Knowledge Domination
It’s essential to keep potential pitfalls top of mind while attempting to build any body of knowledge. Each precious nugget of human knowledge drowns in a vast ocean of human ignorance. Polluting this “ignorance ocean” are massive quantities of toxic noise -- misinformation, disinformation, lies, propaganda and the like. These toxic pollutants often coalesce into quickly moving currents that disturb, degrade and ultimately destroy all fragmentary bits of knowledge they sweep up. In this sense, every bit of so-called knowledge -- however legitimate -- is subject to finding itself corrupted into just another murmur of toxic noise or ripple of ignorance.
“How-To-Do-It”: Knowledge As Humanity’s Central Prosthesis
In his essay, “The Animal in the Dark Tower,” Ran Prieur (Superweed, Civilization Will Eat Itself) asserts that drawing a “line in our heads” separating Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans) into pre- and post-civilized states is the wrong place to make that conceptual demarcation. Instead Prieur suggests that we draw that imaginary line between humans and all other living beings “not in the sense that we are more ‘highly’ evolved, but that we have evolved to some strange place off to the side, isolated and dangerous.”
The path that takes us to this “strange place” that Prieur characterizes as “isolated and dangerous” is “our reliance on culturally-transmitted technique: knowledge of how-to-do-it that is no longer dependent on nature, on having a place in the web of life, but on nurture, on abstract mental models learned from other humans.” This reliance on “knowledge of how-to-do-it” is, of course, the central thesis of Rogue Primate, the pathbreaking treatise on human domestication by Canadian naturalist John Livingston, whose protégée, fellow naturalist and former student Louise Fabiani calls “one of Canada’s greatest thinkers.” This fragile membrane -- the countless ideologies, dogmas, concepts and thought forms mediating all human perception -- is what Livingston calls our “prosthetic being.”
- Major Corporate-Owned Media -- Anti-Democratic & Propagandistic
- New Report Shows Big-Money Politics and Broadcast Media Are Undermining Democracy: 'Citizens Inundated' documents how the media profits from elections, even as news coverage shrinks
- Entertainment Television -- A Veritable Death Ray For Civic Life
- Guided By Voices
- Scientists use a range of terms to describe the subject - stuck-song syndrome, sticky music, and cognitive itch, or most commonly "earworm."
- Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? That’s an earworm… and we’re collecting them!
Robust Grassroots Networks
Community organizing is a process where people who live in proximity to each other come together into an organization that acts in their shared self-interest. Unlike those who promote more-consensual "community building," community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless. A core goal of community organizing is to generate durable power for an organization representing the community, allowing it to influence key decision-makers on a range of issues over time. In the ideal, for example, this can get community organizing groups a place at the table before important decisions are made. Community organizers work with and develop new local leaders, facilitating coalitions and assisting in the development of campaigns.
- The central role of the IAF organizations is to build the competence and confidence of ordinary citizens and taxpayers so that they can reorganize the relationships of power and politics in their communities, in order to reshape the physical and cultural face of their neighborhoods.
- Ernie Cortés does not teach at a university or edit a political journal. Yet he is aptly described as a public intellectual, a thinker who cherishes ideas for their ability to advance the common good.
- “Political power, as Ernie Cortes likes to say, comes from either "organized money" or "organized people." In the electoral arena, the money is organized, the people are not.”
- In an America where the rich and fortunate have free rein to do as they please, can the ideal of liberty and justice for all be anything but an empty slogan? Many Americans are doubtful, and have withdrawn into apathy and cynicism. But thousands of others are not ready to give up on democracy just yet. Working outside the notice of the national media, ordinary citizens across the nation are meeting in living rooms, church basements, synagogues, and schools to identify shared concerns, select and cultivate leaders, and take action. Their goal is to hold big government and big business accountable. In this important new book, Jeffrey Stout bears witness to the successes and failures of progressive grassroots organizing, and the daunting forces now arrayed against it. Stout tells vivid stories of people fighting entrenched economic and political interests around the country. From parents and teachers striving to overcome gang violence in South Central Los Angeles, to a Latino priest north of the Rio Grande who brings his parish into a citizens' organization, to the New Orleans residents who get out the vote by taking a jazz band through streets devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Stout describes how these ordinary people conceive of citizenship, how they acquire and exercise power, and how religious ideas and institutions contribute to their successes. The most important book on organizing and grassroots democracy in a generation, Blessed Are the Organized is a passionate and hopeful account of how our endangered democratic principles can be put into action.
- Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals is the last book written by community organizer Saul D. Alinsky shortly before his death in 1972. Published in 1971, it was Alinsky's attempt to impart his theory and methods of organizing to the current generation of young activists, largely drawing upon his own experiences.
- Subject: Organizing -- Shelterforce: The journal of affordable housing and community building. | (National Housing Institute)
- Comprehensive set of organizing discussions, topics, resources.
- Peoples’ Assembly Organizing Committee
- Occupy Portland Labor Outreach Committee
- Represent The People
- Make Revolution Not War
- City Wiki
- While the power of the Internet to help organize people is indisputable, in some ways it has made it too easy for people to express themselves. We can now claim to be part of a protest movement by simply Tweeting a link or liking a Facebook page. It requires virtually zero commitment, and anything that requires low or no effort is going to attract transient followers. Notice we’re back to the problem of transience. Transient followers have no skin in the game.
- Beyond Accumulation and Technical Progress: Negative Externalities as an Engine of Economic Growth
- A Neoliberal Nexus:Economy, Security and the Biopolitics of Citizenship on the Border
- How We've Made Ourselves Into Abstractions
- For many of us the first pinprick in our bubble of imagined well-being was the fraud in Florida elections and the subsequent decision by a Republican friendly Supreme Court that cancelled the recount and named Bush president in 2000. This made some doubt the very legitimacy of our democracy. The bubble of our complacency was further rent by the terrorist attack on 9/11, and the subsequent erosion of our leadership in the world. Rather than being a wake-up call shaking us up from a dangerous sleep, our masters used the occasion to solidify our chains through the enslaving emotions of fear and blind patriotism. We found ourselves in a contrived war based on lies that started to suck our country of its life-blood. The masters of our nation further empowered themselves with myths that justified acts against our core values and moral leadership, but the majority went along and reelected them. The accumulated mismanagement of our nation came to a head, as the threat of global warming became a clear and present danger, as hurricanes and natural disasters ripped at our aging infrastructure. The tsunami of our collapsing economy finally struck with a vengeance this September, and the subsequent bailout has failed to substantially save our sinking ship.
- From Article: If we all treat one another with the best principles of human relationships, it is analogous to complying with Nature’s biophysical principles by taking responsibility for our own behavior. What we must "re-learn":
- Life’s experiences are personal and intimate.
- Sharing life’s experiences by working together and taking care of one another along the way is the price of sustainability.
- Cooperation and coordination, when coupled with sharing and caring, precludes the perceived need to compete, except in play—and perhaps in story telling.
- The art of living lies in how we practice relationship—beginning with ourselves—because practicing relationship is all we humans ever do in life.
- (Plus 14 more "must relearn" suggestions.)
Who Rules America?
- Fresh Start For the Left: What Activists Would Do If They Took the Social Sciences Seriously
- The Four Networks Theory of Power: A Theoretical Home for Power Structure Research
- The theoretical starting point for power structure research is a seemingly mundane one, but that's what makes it very useful: power is rooted in organizations.
- ↑ Social Justice - Ernesto Cortes Jr. - "We organize people not just around issues, but around their values."
- ↑ Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation - “Power”
- ↑ MASS EXTINCTION UNDERWAY: The World Wide Web's Most Comprehensive Source of Information on the Current Mass Extinction
- ↑ Beyond Accumulation and Technical Progress: Negative Externalities as an Engine of Economic Growth
- ↑ By the Numbers: Life and Death at Foxconn
- ↑ Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New Deal
- ↑ History of Poor People's Campaign
- ↑ Poor People's Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled
- ↑ Poor People’s Campaign
- ↑ Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign
- ↑ The Poor People’s Campaign 43 years later through the lens of Occupy Wall Street
- ↑ King Versus the Tea Party: From the Poor People's Campaign to Occupy
- ↑ Almost 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck w/poll
- ↑ CareerBuilder: Three-fourths of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
- ↑ What Percentage of Americans Live Paycheck-to-Paycheck?
- ↑ The Top 100 Statistics About The Collapse Of The Economy That Every American Voter Should Know
- ↑ Two Paychecks Away from Homelessness
- ↑ One Third of Americans One Paycheck Away From Homelessness
- ↑ King Versus the Tea Party: From the Poor People's Campaign to Occupy
- ↑ Boehner Peddles Republican Job Creators Myth
- ↑ Model Legislation for Subsidy Reforms
Good Jobs First has drafted model subsidy reform legislation with language requiring reporting and disclosure of subsidy information; the creation of quality jobs and a cap on the total subsidy amount; and recapture of subsidies in cases where companies are found noncompliant.
- ↑ Is There a Way Out of the Crisis in the World?
- ↑ What Is Wiki
- ↑ Search Query: krishnamurti thinking together
- ↑ 'Global Warming Is Not a Crisis'
- ↑ Fidel Castro attacks 'idiocy and ignorance' of US Republican race: Retired Cuban leader says Republican primaries are 'the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been'
- ↑ Community Building around Encyclopaedic Knowledge
- ↑ King, Martin Luther, Jr. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos Or Community? Boston: Beacon Press, 1967, 2010. Print
- ↑ zine index
- ↑ The Animal in the Dark Tower
- ↑ The greatest environmentalist you've never heard of | 2007/04/08, Louise Fabiani | The Star (Delayed obituary.)
- ↑ Livingston, John A. Rogue Primate: An Exploration of Human Domestication. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1994. Print (page 13)
- ↑ BetterTogether: Civic Engagement In America
- ↑ Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New Deal, October 31, 1936
- ↑ Organizing For Social Change: Midwest Academy: Manual For Activists
- ↑ Who Will Tell The People?: The Betrayal Of American Democracy