Economic Activism Opportunities

  • What’s After Capitalism? Create Our Next Economy via @TheNextSystem

    thenextsystem.pngThe clips in today’s show couldn’t be more clear: we are living in the death throws of capitalism. And while technology has been able to let us limp along by solving some of capitalisms more dire problems, while exacerbating others, the issues that are left have no quick fix. So, it’s time…probably past time…to ask the question: What’s next? 

    Luckily, there are people working to answer that question. But they need and want you to be part of finding the solution. 

    The 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 the future. Working with a broad group of researchers, theorists and activists, they seek to launch a national debate on the nature of “the next system.” Using the best research, understanding and strategic thinking, on-the-ground organizing and development experience, their goal is to refine and publicize comprehensive alternative political-economic system models - fundamentally different from anything we’ve seen before - that are capable of delivering superior social, economic and ecological outcomes. 

    Admittedly, it's a big task, but ideas with these goals in mind are already being put forth. 

    In May, the Next System Project released “Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth” - a project from economist, historian and activist Gar Alperovitz. This is an approach and model that offers a trajectory for wide-ranging institutional change towards real democracy over the long haul, guided by a transformative vision beyond both corporate capitalism and traditional state socialism. You can read this model and request a free copy of it for local reading and organizing groups by going to TheNextSystem.org/principles

    But if you don’t have to rely on economists to propose the next system. You can contribute your thoughts and be part of the discussion about what the next system should be with The Next System Teach-In Initiative. In 2016, teach-ins happened in communities and on college campuses across the country, engaging every day people in a discussion around the new economy and the type of world they want to live in. A complete archive of the resources created for these teach-ins is available at TheNextSystem.org/teachins. So, if your'e in a position to do so, you can go and get those resources and organize a meting in your community today. 

    The segment notes include all the links to this information as well as additional resources and, as always, this and every activism segment we produce is archived and organized under the activism tab at Best of the Left dot com. 

    So, if having an economy that works for everyone is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Creating Our Next Economy via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

    The writing is on the wall. The big questions are being asked. Make sure you get a say when it comes to what’s next. 

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Help find the answer to "What's Next?" with The Next System Project

    Read Gar Alperovitz "Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth

    Download resources and organize a Next System Project Teach-In in your community

    Follow @TheNextSystem on Twitter   

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    Is Capitalism Dying? (Forbes, 2013)

    ’Is Capitalism Dying?’ (Marxism, 2013) 

    The Pain You Feel is Capitalism Dying (Joe Brewer, Medium, 2016)

    Beyond the Minimum Wage Debate: Let's Move Toward a System That Works for All (Democracy at Work)

    Prof. Richard Wolff debates Fox's Stuart Varney (Democracy at Work)

     

    Posted August 1, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1123: Preparing for the end of the world, or at least capitalism

  • Spread the Word about The People’s Budget via @USProgressives (Congressional Progressive Caucus)

    3Vcq_emv.jpgIt’s easy to criticize a budget or tax plan entrenched in corruption, cronyism and pandering to corporations and political donors. The op-eds and think pieces practically write themselves. But unless we offer a strikingly better alternative that lifts up all people and proves a peaceful and prosperous world is truly possible, all the criticism in the world will be for naught. 

    What most people don’t realize is that a guide to that alternative path already exists. The Congressional Progressive Caucus puts out a progressive, alternative budget every year called The People’s Budget. This year’s subtitle is “A roadmap for the resistance.” It’s chalk full of well thought out, progressive ideas that actually work, and the details on how we’ll pay for them.

    Here’s just a taste of what it says: It calls or $2 trillion in infrastructure investments to transform energy, water and transportation systems, and $100 billion to increase access to reliable, high-speed internet. It allows states to transition to single-payer health care systems and lowers the cost of prescription drugs. It ends corporate tax breaks for offshoring American jobs and profits. It closes corporate tax loopholes and raises taxes on the wealthiest few and expands the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Care Credit. It invests in development of community oriented policing reforms and increased funding for voter protection and legal assistance programs. It funds public financing of campaigns to curb special interests’ influence. It calls for $1 trillion in effective early learning opportunities and a child-care-for-all program. It invests in women, communities of color and their families. It implements immigration reform and includes a pathway to citizenship. It makes debt free college a reality and invests in computer science opportunities for all students. It supports the minimum wage increase and collective bargaining rights. It ends subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies and closes their tax loopholes, while investing in clean, renewable and efficient energy, and green manufacturing. It eliminates veterans’ homelessness and increases their access to mental health care as well as job training opportunities. And it even invests in our defense system while promoting peace, through increasing funding for diplomacy and strategic humanitarian aid, and increased funding for refugee resettlement programs. 

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In summary, The People’s Budget invests in our country to ensure its people prosper now and for generations to come. Is it perfect? No. But this is the path we want to take. Improvements can and will be made on the way. Head over to CPCBudget.org (or the official CPC website) to read the full budget and share it far and wide. Because of its extreme lack of media coverage, we highly encourage you to write a letter to the editor of local and national media outlets asking them to cover The People’s Budget in depth. If you can, write an article about it yourself. At the very least, share it on social media and talk about it with your family and friends - because if no one knows there is another way forward, we’re stalled before we can even begin.

    So, if showing America there is an alternative to Trumpism and heartless Conservatism is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about The People’s Budget via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

      

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Check out The People's Budget at cpcbudget.org and spread the word. 

    Visit the Progressive Caucus website and follow @USProgressives on Twitter for updates.

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    The Democrats are getting ready to govern again (The Week)

    This new budget points the way forward for Democrats (The Washington Post)

    The People’s Budget, Not Trump’s Budget, Will Help Working Americans (Common Dreams)

    The People’s Budget, not Trump’s budget, will help working Americans (Economic Policy Institute)

    The People's Budget: Progressive Proposal Aims to Un-Rig Failed Economic System (Common Dreams, 2015)

     

    Posted May 12, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left edition #1103: Freedom isn't free, it's paid for with your taxes

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW0_R0g3V64

  • Get Community Activism Skills with Citizen Muscle Boot Camp via @storyofstuff

    Screen_Shot_2016-12-20_at_8.46.04_PM.pngEpisode #1066: "The economics of the greater good" is about getting a new perspective on multiple levels: the personal, one step up to your immediate surroundings like where you work, and all the way up to the societal and political level. But it’s important to always remember that these levels are all connected. As the student and feminist movement of the 1960’s taught us, the personal IS political.

    We do hope that you’ll take some of the ideas expressed in this episode and apply them to improve your own life on a personal level. But you can take it further than that. Depending on what you can and are willing to contribute, there are many things you can do, but one of the best things is to take action in your own community. Grassroots movements are the backbone of national change and we need an army of skilled changemakers to build those movements more than ever. 

    That sounds a bit daunting, right? So instead of giving you a single action to take today, we found to tool to help you become a citizen activist.

    Whether you’re new to activism, or just looking for a refresher course, we strongly encourage you to sign up for Citizen Muscle Boot Camp from The Story of Stuff Project. This free, online video course is designed to get you “flexing your Citizen Muscles” and building the skills you need to make change on the issues you care about in your communities. 

    Call it your new years resolution, call it the first step in your renewed determination in response to the election, call it whatever you want - but if you need a helping hand getting started then check out the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp. 

    The boot camp is hosted by Annie Leonard, founder of The Story of Stuff Project and current Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and provides hands-on, interactive online exercises, and some additional tips and exercises to practice as you go about your day. All you need to participate is an internet connection and the willingness to spend about an hour or two a week for four weeks learning how to make the world a better place. 

    Head over to bootcamp.storyofstuff.org to register and start your training today. The sooner we can get started on making change in our own communities, the better we all will be. 

    If having effective skills and tools to create change on the personal, communal and societal levels is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about the Citizen Muscle Boot Camp via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

    Get trained. Stand up. Fight back. There is no time to lose.

    TAKE ACTION 

    Register for the free, online Citizen Muscle Boot Camp

    INSPIRE YOURSELF

    After the Election: We Keep Pushing Forward (Story of Stuff Project Blog)

    She Was Just One Person…Until She Joined Up with Her Neighbors to Take on Nestlé (Story of Stuff Project Blog)

    All Hands on Deck! How We'll Move Forward in 2017 (Story of Stuff Project Blog)

     

    Posted December 20, 2016, written by BOTL Communications Director Amanda Hoffman

     

    Hear this segment in the context of the latest Best of the Left Edition #1066: The economics of the greater good

     

  • #BoycottWendys Until They Join the Fair Food Program via @CIW

    CuaWb1XWAAEUpHd.jpgIf concern for your health isn't usually enough to keep you away from Wendy's then maybe their labor rights abuses are. Right now, there is a farmworker union-led national boycott of the fast food giant and these activists need your support. 

    It turns out Wendy’s is not one of 14 corporate retailers in what is called the “Fair Food Program.” According to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (or CIW) leading the boycott, the Fair Food Program (which they created) is a “unique partnership” between farmworkers, farmers and companies like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Walmart that exists to root out abuse and sexual harassment in agricultural fields from coast to coast. 

    But not only has Wendy’s not joined, they…well, they are kind of being dicks about it. 

    First, they started getting their tomatoes from Mexico to circumvent Fair Foods and avoid scrutiny from US regulators. That means they are now supporting farms where workers confront wage theft, sexual harassment, poor living conditions, child labor and even slavery without any protections.

    Then, adding insult to injury, Wendy’s recently published a “Code of Conduct” for suppliers that leaves out the two major components of the Fair Food Program: worker participation and verifiable enforcement mechanisms for standards. So, it basically amounts to just a bunch of empty, vague promises. 

    You can support this boycott by, you guessed it, not eating at Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program…and by visiting allianceforfairfood.org to learn more and sign the Wendy’s Boycott pledge. And of course, you can spread the word via social media using the hashtag #BoycottWendys.

    While you’re at it, consider making worker’s rights and protections part of your theory of change by getting involved in the long term with organizations like Alliance for Fair Food, Farmworker Justice, Fight for 15, Jobs with Justice, Good Jobs Nation and other organizations fighting for worker justice for all.

    So if supporting the efforts of labor unions and all agricultural workers is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about boycotting Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program via social media so that others in your network can take action too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    DON'T EAT AT WENDY'S!

    Learn more about the reasons for the boycott at allianceforfairfood.org

    Sign the pledge to boycott Wendy's 

    Attend a "Behind the Braids: Wendy's Boycott Tour" event near you 

    Spread the word on social media via #BoycottWendys

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    There is a Nationwide Boycott of Wendy's Underway (via The Nation)

    Students Declare Nationwide Boycott of Wendy's Over Farmworker Concerns (via The American Prospect)

    Dear Wendy's: I'm boycotting you, but I'm not the one you should be worried about (via Common Dreams)

     

    Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman.

     

    Hear the activism segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1050: "Unions or not, we are still all in this together"

  • Join a Local Democracy @ Work Action Group via @Democracyatwrk

    If you don’t know much about the implementation or inner workings of worker-owned co-ops, it’s not your fault. You can blame our one-track mind economists and capitalist obsessed society for that. But if we are going to demand an alternative solution to capitalism, we need to learn more about the other options and spread the word with those in your community. 

    That is why Democracy At Work, an advocacy organization founded by Richard Wolf - economist and host of the podcast Economic Update - encourages people across the country to start and get involved in Democracy at Work Action Groups in their community.

    Democracy At Work Action Groups are built on the belief that everyday community leaders can influence policy, politics and culture through action and advocacy on the local and national level. To find an Action Group in your area, visit democracyatwork.info/groups to view the map of existing Action Groups across the country. If you don’t see one near you and would like to start one, you can send an email to Democracy At Work’s group organizer at betsy@democracyatwork.com.

    Make fighting for a new economic system part of your theory of change by getting involved with organizations like Democracy At Work, The Next System Project and by reading the publication Truth Out.

    Leading up to the election, we want to give you the resources, knowledge and inspiration to get involved and stay involved beyond November. Because no matter who wins the Presidency, as progressives, we always need to be prepared to fight for what is right…That’s what keeps bending that arc of the moral universe toward justice. 

    So, if creating a new economic system that works for everyone is important to you, then be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about joining Democracy At Work Action Groups via social media so that others in your network can get involved too.

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Find or start a Democracy At Work Action Group in your area at http://www.democracyatwork.info/groups

    Follow Democracy At Work on Twitter at @Democracyatwrk 

    EDUCATE YOURSELF 

    Economic Update Podcast

    The Next System Project 

    Truth Out  

    Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

     

    Hear the clip in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1039: "What worker coops can do for us"