Newsletter: The Economy of the Future-Economic Democracy

Economic Democracy

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – This Labor Day weekend rather than looking at the history and current struggles of workers, we look to the future and imagine what will work be like in 2025 or 2050. What will the overall economy look like? What is our vision for an economy that works for the people? There are some major trends that indicate we are in the midst of a radical transformation of what work means and how people will have income. There will never be enough jobs in the future so we need a new way to ensure people have money on which to live and to keep the economy going. It is time to figure out how to provide people with a basic income where everyone receives a single basic income to provide for a comfortable living whether they work or not. To create wealth among workers, worker ownership through worker cooperatives or worker self-directed enterprises need to be encouraged. It takes roots to weather a storm, and the storm is here.

Can Gov't Budgets Become Democratic? Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting in Brazil

By Laura Flanders for Grit TV – Can budgets and even the federal reserve be brought under public control? One radical tool for grassroots democracy that is taking hold is Participatory Budgeting. Josh Lerner is co-founder and executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project and is the author of two books, both released last year: Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics, and Everyone Counts: Could Participatory Budgeting Change Democracy? Also on the show: what is the Federal Reserve, and what role could it have? Connie Razza works with the Center for Popular Democracy and their “Fed Up” campaign, working to make the federal reserve work for the 99%.

How Worker Co-Ops Are Moving Beyond Capitalism

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The explosion of worker cooperatives in recent years has social justice organizers talking. Transitioning to a people-powered economy will require the work of many different social movements and worker co-ops have come to the center of the conversation due to their ability to address multiple issues at once. These democratically owned and controlled businesses serve as a laboratory for reinventing our economy and many overlapping social movements are combining forces in the experiment. A new documentary, Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time, shows the potential of a networked worker co-op movement and activists across the country are embracing the film as a way to form new alliances.

Justice Must Flow: Economic Democracy & The Water Commons

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A game you could play with this article would be to substitute the word “air” every time you read “water.” Commodification of water seems silly enough in the abstract. Now in the throes of artificial scarcity, U.S. cities, counties and states are running out of water even as they turn control over managing water supplies to private corporations. At the beginning of February, as chronicled by Victoria Collier, New Jersey authorized the fast-track sale and leasing of water utilities to private corporations “without public notice, comment, or approval.” As I write this, more communities in New Jersey are “studying water privatization, while the city council of Columbia, South Carolina is resisting business interests’ pressure to privatize water there as well.

Revolt: The Path To Ending US Inverted Totalitarianism

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This devolution of the economic system has been accompanied by corporations’ seizure of nearly all forms of political and social power. The corporate elite, through a puppet political class and compliant intellectuals, pundits and press, still employs the language of a capitalist democracy. But what has arisen is a new kind of control, inverted totalitarianism, which Wolin brilliantly dissects in his book “Democracy Incorporated.” Inverted totalitarianism does not replicate past totalitarian structures, such as fascism and communism. It is therefore harder to immediately identify and understand. There is no blustering demagogue. There is no triumphant revolutionary party. There are no ideologically drenched and emotional mass political rallies. The old symbols, the old iconography and the old language of democracy are held up as virtuous.

Socialism And Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises

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A tiny minority of persons (directors and major shareholders) makes all the key economic decisions in capitalist enterprises. The mass of workers who must live with those decisions and their effects are excluded from making them. Capitalist enterprise organization is thus the opposite and enemy of the democratic enterprise organization that socialism affirms. In socialism redefined along these lines, all the workers in an enterprise collectively and democratically make all the key economic decisions: what, how, and where to produce and what to do with the enterprise’s surplus or profits. Such a socialism would advocate social ownership, planning, and the democratization of enterprises, i.e. their transition from capitalist to workers’ self-directed enterprises (WSDEs).

Workers In Maine Buy Out Their Jobs

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On remote Deer Isle, Maine, the movement for a more just and democratic economy won a major victory this summer. More than 60 employees of three retail businesses – Burnt Cove Market, V&S Variety and Pharmacy, and The Galley – banded together to buy the stores and create the largest worker cooperative in Maine and the second largest in New England. Now the workers own and run the businesses together under one banner, known as the Island Employee Cooperative (IEC). This is the first time that multiple businesses of this size and scope have been merged and converted into one worker cooperative – making this a particularly groundbreaking achievement in advancing economic democracy.

Next Phase In The Venezuelan Revolution Announced

Maduor announcing ecosocialist next stage of revolution

In declarations to the country on Tuesday night, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced what he described as “five revolutions”, as part of a need to “improve our service to the people.” Maduro said the revolutions would be a “a new way of functioning” for the government, and emphasized the need for a more “efficient” government. Maduro described five specific next steps for the Bolivarian Revolution. He explained that it was about consolidating the communal model, and creating a “new eco socialist model”. “It´s not about environmentalism, its about ecosocialism, environmentalism isn’t enough,” Maduro stated. The following five revolutions, he said, “should be united, and should define the government policies, giving power to the people, it will be the people who push government policy.”

'Front-Lines Of Climate Crisis' Calls For New Economy


Under the banner of a campaign called “Our Power,” participants hail from dozens of organizations representing indigenous peoples, people of color, and working-class white communities that collaborate through the Climate Justice Alliance. Three days of conversations and strategizing will conclude Saturdaywith a day of action to highlight local alternatives to fossil fuel dependence. This is the first national gathering of Our Power and, according to organizers, builds from an intense season of mobilization, including a gathering of youth and young adults that took place in Detroit in June, as well as ongoing preparation for the the Peoples Climate March and Summit, to take place in September in New York. Those convened in Richmond are ultimately shooting for a big goal: connecting local, national, and international struggles of the marginalized and dispossessed to chart a “just transition” to a new economy.

US Social Forum Announces 3 Sites For 2015


The world is in crisis. The economic recovery never happened for the large majority of people in the United States. Conflicts in Israel and Gaza and the Ukraine along with huge stand off’s by major global powers heralds a possible World War 3. Not in decades has the need for a People’s Movement for justice, equality, human rights and democracy been more painfully obvious. And the US Social Forum is gearing up in multiple regions of the country to help catalyze the movement that must be built. To connect and give national voice to these diverse emerging struggles, the US Social Forum announces the US Social Forum 3 in June 2015 as a polycentric social forum. It will be held in Philadelphia, PA, Jackson, MS, and San Jose, CA.

Across Latin America: Struggle for Communal Land & Indigenous Autonomy

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“We recognize that we must confront the plundering by transnational companies and the harassment of bad governments through their political parties that offer programs and money that corrupt many leaders and divide our communities,” states the declaration of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) of the Isthmus region, which took place in March 2014. While a furious battle has been unleashed for the recognition of indigenous rights and culture in other communities in Mexico and Latin America, in Oaxaca, new legislation is being debated on this very theme while large-scale projects continue to advance.

Popular Resistance FCC Comments: The Internet Is A Common Carrier


This is not the time for expedience or for working within the confines of what is perceived as politically possible. This rulemaking is about the future of the most important communication tool in history. The Internet already has tremendous economic, social, cultural and political impact and will have an even greater impact in all of those areas in the future. Popular Resistance urges the FCC to reclassify the Internet Under Title II as a Common Carrier so real net neutrality rules can be put in place and we can be assured that the Internet will remain an Open Internet with equal access for all and no discrimination. Only in this way can the full potential of the Internet be realized.

July 4th, The Meaning Of Democracy

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Because economic power translates into political power, the extreme concentration of wealth in the top 1% undermines democracy. Both main parties have colluded over the last four decades to transfer wealth to their super-rich donors, while ensuring that no meaningful reforms take place to our electoral system. The U.S. leads the industrial nations in income inequality because our electoral system is the least democratic. The sacred texts of Jews, Christians, and Muslims all call for a Jubilee every 50 years to redistribute wealth and forgive debts, not just for moral reasons, but to make the economy function again. America needs a Jubilee. The US electoral system of winner-takes-all leads to the domination by two parties, one center-right and the other far-right. The Democrats want to repeal the New Deal and the Republicans want to repeal the Enlightenment.

Popular Resistance Newsletter – Democracy On The Rise


In a recent interview, Gerardo Cerdas of “City of the Excluded,” a Latin American and Caribbean-wide social movement, stated that activists need to expand their vision to a global perspective because around the world, we all face common problems and the solutions cannot be restricted to one or a few countries. We see evidence that global collaboration is growing and that people are taking bolder steps to stop abuses and create new systems. The basis for the new systems is real democracy – meaning a participatory democracy in which people make decisions about all facets of society in a collective and egalitarian process. As Jerome Roos writes in his review of the new book by Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzelini They Can’t Represent Us: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy, today “hundreds of ‘laboratories for democracy’ are emerging around the world, creating space for ordinary citizens to experiment with alternative forms of social organization, democratic decision-making processes and non-hierarchical ways of relating.”

Popular Resistance Newsletter - Celebrating Our First Year

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Tomorrow, June 1st, is the 1st anniversary of Popular Resistance. The goal of Popular Resistance is to help grow a mass movement for social, economic and environmental justice. We do this by covering the wide range of both protest movements and those working to create alternative systems in the US and around the world; connecting issues (or sub-movements) so we become a ‘movement of movements’; and providing tools and information for everyone who seeks to participate in this movement. We are all in this together. We want to thank you for your participation in Popular Resistance. Please help us celebrate by growing the movement – share Popular Resistance with your friends and family. Consider using the articles for discussion groups. Use the tools and information on the “Organize” “Strategize” “Resist” and “Create” pages. And use Popular Resistance to share your work, tools and events by emailing