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Subscription September 2018

Ralph Nader - Citizen Action: It's Easier than We Think Parts 1 & 2

Overcoming adversity alone is a tough road to hoe but when you act with others it’s not as difficult. There is nothing like solidarity. There’s unity and strength in numbers. Most movements have very modest beginnings. Take women’s rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a handful of other woman met in Seneca Falls in Upstate New York in 1848 to launch the women’s rights movement. The odds were against them. The naysayers were out in force with their patronizing comments such as: Why bother? Don’t get involved. Get back to the kitchen. Yet those women and the many who followed them were able to achieve much. Struggles continue. Today the #MeToo movement is challenging patriarchy by calling out men for sexual abuse and harassment and insisting on equal pay for equal work. Citizen action is easier then we think. Struggles continue. Today the #MeToo movement is challenging patriarchy by calling out men for sexual abuse and harassment and insisting on equal pay for equal work. Citizen action is easier then we think.

Frances Fox Piven What Movements Do

The ruling class is organized and well-funded. What can be done to confront and defeat concentrations of power? As a veteran activist once said, “Organized people can beat organized money.” There is a rich history of ordinary people getting together and doing extraordinary things. Take the disability rights movement. Who gave that a chance? Oh, we can’t build ramps and put in elevators. It’ll cost too much. Or another example is the civil rights movement. African Americans achieved voting rights after overcoming fierce resistance from entrenched white segregationists. There are contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter which protest against police killings of African-Americans. Teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia organized, went on strike and demanded better pay. And they got it. Movements to be effective embody the immortal words of Muhammad Ali: “Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee.”

Yanis Varoufakis How Capitalism Works

The latest phase of Capitalism, neoliberalism, has left a train wreck in its wake. It’s produced a new Gilded Age. The gap between theoretical Capitalism and its actual workings is jaw dropping. The chasm is a far cry from the courses in economics taught in colleges and universities. We are told the system relies on the market. In fact, it depends heavily on government intervention. When the big capitalists are in trouble states are there to bail them out. Really existing Capitalism works for the few at the expense of the many. Look at the Trump tax cut. Epic levels of inequality are not just in the U.S. but are worldwide. An Oxfam report says, 82% of the wealth generated in 2017 went to the richest 1%, while 3.7 billion people, the poorest half of the world, saw no increase in their wealth.

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