It’s been almost four years since my last blog. There were a number of reasons for this: The Occupy movement left me feeling disenfranchised, disheartened and disgusted with people’s inability to work together. I ended up coming down with a very bad case of protest fatigue. So I chose to take a big step back and focus on my music and simply watch the world’s events unfold, hoping that the day might come again that I might be involved in another movement to dismantle capitalism and create the sustainable, free, equal and peaceful civilization that so many of us yearn for.
And then along comes Bernie Sanders.
Of course he’s been there all along railing against plutocracy and speaking truth to power. But now after eight years of political gridlock and virtual inaction concerning climate change, it appears that there are A LOT of people who have had enough. Sen. Sanders is giving voice to those frustrations and his message is resonating with the millennials and the silent generation (the parents of the boomers, not to mention the boomers themselves that have held onto the their hippy tendencies) much more than I actually thought it could.
When I heard that Sen. Sanders had decided to run for president running as a democrat, I was thoroughly disappointed. The democrats have done nothing but go along with the corporate herd and have done absolutely nothing to curb the power of money in politics. At first I thought Sen. Sanders choosing to run with them was a gravely miscalculated error. But I soon changed my mind because the two party system that we find ourselves constrained by is more powerful than any one candidate. So as I reflected on his choice I found some peace with it. He’s already being marginalized by the media running as a democrat so imagine how much he would get ignored if he tried to run as an independent or a Green or Socialist. So far he is running a very nimble campaign and his crowds are dwarfing every other candidate’s.
So it’s safe to say that I’m pleasantly surprised that there appears to be the possibility of a legitimate political revolution in the comings years. Of course, that is completely and totally up to We, The People and how much work we want to do to see some meaningful change. The word “revolution” gets tossed around so frequently these days that I’m often concerned that it is at risk of losing its meaning. Everything from tech companies to tennis shoes make the claim that their new product will be revolutionary. Good for them, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the political revolution which is more accurately described as a non-violent moral evolution. I’ll go into more specifics about what I mean by this in later blogs. For now, I’ll attempt to describe the potential revolution that Sen. Sanders is talking about and how such a revolution is crucially necessary this coming election season.
It is a waste of time to articulate all the reasons that this revolution is needed. One must only open their eyes to the ongoing environmental destruction and political corruption that allows it to continue. It’s also emotionally exhausting to dwell on those issues so I prefer to look ahead and suggest alternatives. Sen. Sanders speaks powerfully about these grievances and I agree with him one hundred percent.
First things first: We, The People need to elect Sen. Sanders to our highest national office. However, there will be no shortage of obstacles to making happen. The prevailing opinion of the Democratic National Committee is that Hillary Clinton should be the democrat’s nominee. At this writing Bernie is trailing Hillary by anywhere from seven to thirty five points according to different Iowa polls. Hillary’s lead has shrunk from fifty points and Bernie’s numbers are only going up as his name recognition improves. Polls are one thing but the issues are where Bernie’s true strength is. Unfortunately Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (chair of the DNC and former Clinton campaign manager) has arranged for only six debates for the democratic contenders. Compare this with the twenty six debates that were held in 2007-08 race. The logic here is that Hillary Clinton simply needs to keep her mouth shut to become the democrat’s nominee since she is already considered the front-runner by many of the powers-that-be. So for Bernie to have a fighting shot he needs to have every opportunity possible to confront Hillary on the issues. Rest assured their positions on the issues couldn’t be more different and it’s my opinion that Bernie finds the moral high ground on nearly all of them.
Thankfully Bernie has a whole lot of activists supporting him. There is already pressure being applied to the DNC to persuade them to schedule more debates. You can help keep the pressure on by calling their office and demanding an openly democratic primary process that includes at least 15 robust debates on the issues: 202-863-8000 (leave as many messages as you want!). Failure to get Sen. Sanders the exposure he deserves will be a major setback but not defeat by any stretch of the imagination. In addition to calling the DNC you can also take the #BernieOrBust pledge: https://citizensagainstplutocracy.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/bernie-or-bust-pledge-is-the-miracle-senator-sanders-needs-to-secure-party-nomination/
Participating in this pledge means that you’ll hold the DNC accountable if Hillary is nominated and you would promise to write in Bernie Sanders name on the ballot. We all know that nothing in politics happens without the right amount of pressure.
Sen. Sanders is actually trying to rise above politics as usual and so he has decided to run his campaign without a super-pac. He’s raising money from small individual donors and the last I checked he was at something like $12 million donated by 400,000 small donors. This gets at the issue of Citizens United and the threat it is to democracy. This Supreme Court ruling, along with the other horrendous ruling of corporate personhood has allowed the political campaign process to become completely meaningless unless you are a member of the billionaire class who can put millions of dollars behind your politician of choice. If voters weren’t already feeling disenfranchised by the political process then it was Citizens United that has put them over the edge.
Meanwhile the corporate banks and fossil fuel lobbyists have the Republicans bought and paid for. Unfortunately they also have Hillary Clinton in their pocket. Sen. Sanders is refusing to take their money.
Thankfully, this system of “legalized bribery” has been sufficiently exposed and there appears to be a significant amount of will to fight it. If this political revolution is the real deal then the Supreme Court justices should either evolve and overturn Citizens United or they should be rebuffed and resign so that the people can have a Supreme Court that makes decisions in the best interest of the people not the corporations.
As good as a fair and equal electoral process will be, it is only scratching the surface of what a real political revolution would entail. It should go without saying that a democracy must be participatory. However, America has a long history of denying a variety of groups the right to vote. This is unfortunately still the case with many black and brown Americans. One of the most important steps we can all take in the months leading up to the primaries is making sure voters are registered and unhindered at the polls. It’s my hope that the Black Lives Matter movement will make this one of their main priorities. The robustness and enthusiasm of their voices must be heard and lifted up.
Between the primary debates, Citizens United, and voter enfranchisement there are three powerful tools to begin taking back our democracy from the corporate plutocracy. These three issues are limited to the political realm and therefore can only get us so far.
A real revolution will entail vast noncooperation and boycotts to hold these corporate overlords accountable and to foment meaningful change. We can start with the boycotting of the following corporations as they are the worst offenders concerning tax dodging. In fact these ten corporations have not only been avoiding paying their taxes, they have actually been the recipients of massive corporate welfare thanks to our current “pay to play” system:
- General Electric
- Bank Of America
- Fed Ex
I’ll provide more specific strategies as to how to most effectively raise awareness and simultaneously resist the behavior of corporate culture in later blogs.
Make no mistake about it, all of this is a lot to chew. And it will take massive coordination to successfully transform these corporate cultures. It is not like we’re trying to topple a lone dictator, but instead demanding real change from household brand names that individuals might still be quite attracted and attached to. The American people have been successfully conditioned to trust and support these corporations and implicitly this perverse system which has allowed them to flourish. But, thankfully, the dissatisfaction with the status quo is becoming more vocal and passionate about transformation. If the appropriate amount of non-violent pressure is applied at the right time then I believe that we can bring about a profound evolution of business and cultural practices.
While a non-violent revolution will take innumerable hours of work on the street, I believe it will be even more important to hold and maintain a revolutionary headspace. psychically, emotionally, and spiritually we all need to be meditating and praying for the consciousness of humanity to transcend its baser instincts. A strong spiritual presence amongst the most active participants will serve to bolster morale, spark creative thinking, and negate the plutocracy’s psychic hold on the minds and hearts of the people. Of course, for as much as we are able to create and hold a strong spiritual place for the people to embrace; the flip side of that coin is that we must be actively welcoming the plutocrats back into the fold. They have isolated themselves with their wealth for so long now that I’m concerned that they have lost all semblance of what “equality” is supposed to mean. At the same time so many of us are outraged at the plutocrats behavior: Corruption, scams, entitled thinking, environmental abuses…the list goes on. However, a non-violent revolution must allow for forgiveness of the plutocrats in tandem with a transformation of their worldview.