This is the best of times and the worst of times. The medical and food infrastructures for much of the world have improved to produce a greater life span than ever before. The education infrastructure for much of the world has greatly increased the quality of life and economic advance for hundreds of millions of people. The merging of computers and telephony has enabled poorer nations to leap over the need for a wired communications infrastructure to communicate reliably. The internet and social media have enabled the world to become a village of ideas and collaboration with the possibility of a democratic civilization.
All of the above are positive consequences of the industrial revolution. However, all coins have two sides. The negative consequences now make the situation for life on Earth fragile. Climate change now affects us all, with the harshest effects predictably visiting upon the poorest people and nations.
The merging of computers and robots threaten to render much human labor unnecessary to industrial production, creating crippling unemployment. After millennia, we still haven’t created a process for distributing goods and services in a way that sustains life for all.
Inequality is of such proportion that the economy is literally medieval in its concentration of wealth. Outrageous inequality in economies of plenty are killing the very engine of jobs and prosperity: the middle class. The robust diamond-shaped economy with its huge middle class, few rich, and few poor, has been replaced by the death shape of the hour-glass economy (many rich, many poor, few middle class) every bit as toxic and deadly to the weak as the black widow’s hour-glass bite.
Our feeble attempt at creating a democratic civilization is throttled by the plutocratic use of money as a weapon, via billionaires and megalithic corporations, to silence the diverse voices of citizens online and in the public forum.
We fear for our children’s future and the prospects for all human beings.
Again we face the perennial query, “What is to be done?”
First we need to engage, now, one with another and another and another, to reclaim our public voice and public power as equal citizens. Each and every one of us is essential to saving life on Earth for ourselves, our children, and our posterity.
What is to be done as we gather together, and how shall we gather together? Corporations, theoretically chartered for the public good, use their charters to maximize profit regardless of the consequences to their employees, the community, the nation, or the Earth.
Traditional nonprofit organizations often lose their sense of mission as they struggle to keep their doors open. They compromise their virtue in the pursuit of meager funds from corporate benefactors whose aim is to reduce public advocates to “paper tigers.”
Religious institutions are in a death slide as their thinking adherents flee dogmatic beliefs that appear superstitious in the modern age. This leaves the religious institutions beholden to the meager offerings of the adherents with a vested interest in social control and the status quo. The only hope for religious institutions is to abandon dogma and embrace the community: Feed the hungry; House the houseless; Visit the prisoner; Protect and provide for the widows and orphans; Respect diversity; and Work for reconciliation.
In absence of benevolent chartered businesses, nonprofits, and religious institutions that exist to serve the people, the alternative organizing model is a system of long-term affinity groups joining together as neighborhood, municipal, and regional councils. Such councils will provide training and organizing to create democracy and civilization where they live and to build a larger movement to transform their society into one where human beings can survive and thrive.
Elements of the transformation may include:
– Public financing of elections
– Worker ownership of economic enterprises
– Public banking and finance
– Free flow of public communication and internet neutrality
– Universal free healthcare
– Universal free education and training
All this is possible, because we have choice. Let’s choose to engage with each other with our hearts and heads and work together, because we are better together. Indeed, we need each and every one of us, casting none aside. TOGETHER every ONE of us makes a difference. WE are the ONE we’ve been waiting for.
Yes, it is the best of times in the midst of the worst of times. Let us join together!