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As part of my involvement in social justice and anti-corruption activism, I'm joining forces with other activists in order to identify best practices and solutions to address the terrible consequences caused by the endemic corruption that has engulfed the country as the result of influence peddling by corporatist cartels on our government institutions.

As part of this process, we are setting up a number of think tanks designed to elicit ideas from the public at large as well as progressive activists, writers, philosophers, teachers, and other professionals.

The emphasis on everything we will be doing is on identifying the quickest way to turn ideas into action (being this an activist group).  With that in in mind, below is a outline describing the objective of the different think tanks.  I invite readers to contribute their ideas and comments.


Because both major political parties are corrupt, there is a need for a strong non-partisan progressive movement that focuses on stamping out influence-peddling corruption (money and politics) from our government institutions.  I have suggested that such group of activists should have a ten-member leadership committee that rotates yearly, with new leaders being selected by the members of the group, democratically.

Among many initiatives and projects, one of the main focuses of the rotating leadership committee would be to carefully study exactly how corporatist cartels influence our political system; to shine the light on the widespread (and extremely damaging) revolving-door corruption, one politician at a time and one corporate paymaster at a time, and then come up with strategies to stamp out the corruption.

By the group and the leadership committee remaining totally independent from any political party, it would be freer to take on the corruption in a objective way.

Please share your impressions, suggestions, and ideas about this proposal here, or at the PROGRESSIVE LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE THINK TANK I set up.


During the last few decades there has been a war on workers, which is the result of the collusion between corporatist cartels and politicians on the take (large campaign contributions, juicy jobs when they leave office, special favors, etc.). Because of this, income inequality is at an all-time high, and middle class economic insecurity has been spreading fast.  

There are a number of organizations working on innovative ideas, like "virtual unions" and labor organizing.  Do you have ideas about spreading unionization far and wide?  

About the idea of employee-owned companies.  What do you think would be the main obstacles to spreading this idea around the country?  About people joining together to establish employee-owned companies in all kinds of industries?  This is already being done by some organizations... What do you think about it?  LABOR THINK TANK.


Housing and food are part of our basic needs.  As more and more people fall through the cracks of an increasingly dysfunctional economic system, housing and access to food become an increasingly urgent issue for many.

Again, there are a number of organizations coming up with new ideas and initiatives related to sustainable housing and local (organic) food production.  What are your ideas about these subjects?  Have you come across information about innovative ideas?  


I believe that because of the level of corruption in our government institutions, it is necessary to organize targeted rallies and protests around the country, as a tactic to shine a light on the corruption and petition the government for redress of grievances.

I understand that some people don't favor this tactic.  Whether your favor protest rallies as pressure tactics or not, what do you think are the best tactics/activities for putting pressure on corrupt government institutions to clean up their act: Cronyism, influence-peddling by moneyed interests, and revolving-door corruption. [ACTIVISM THINK TANK]


Let me acknowledge (again) that I understand that the idea of trying to organize a national network of activists that could eventually become very cohesive, and develop coordinated strategies is an very big undertaking.  Some say that's almost impossible to do.  I don't agree it's impossible, but I accept is extremely hard.

In order to test this concept, I'm trying to organize a group of people from around the country and ask them to engage in very simple tasks so we can start with small steps and find out if the group could eventually become more cohesive and strategic.

My particular area of interest is in identifying instances of influence-peddling corruption around the country, where business interests entice politicians to act in their favor in exchange for campaign contributions, special favors, actual instances of bribery, or high-paying jobs after they leave office.  I happen to think that this issue is at the core of the socioeconomic dysfunction affecting the country.

Each blue dot on the map below represents a member of a growing nation-wide network of social justice and anti-corruption activists committed to finding the best way forward.  Join us in the effort!

So as part of this effort, I'm trying to encourage members of the group to keep track of this type of corruption at the local level, and then share the information to see if we can identify patterns around the country.  Are organizations like ALEC sources of the corruption?  How exactly are they doing it?

And finally, once we identify the sources of corruption, and the patterns, how can that help us come up with effective strategies to stamp out the corruption one city and state at a time?

Again, I know this is a big undertaking, but I think is one worth trying.  Please share your ideas and insights here, or at the [ACTIVIST NETWORK THINK TANK].

Here are some great quotes by Mahatma Gandhi, for inspiration:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

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Comment Preferences

  •  Initial thought (4+ / 0-)

    It's not "corruption", it's the system working exactly the way its owners intend it to work, freed from externalities like regulation, unions, and the hopes and expectations of those required to do the shit-work.

    OK, now I'll go back and read the main body of the post.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:26:34 AM PDT

  •  My dear Ray, I just finished this book: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    That's the whole book,
    in pdf format, for free, for anyone to read.

     The cheap oil age created an artificial bubble of plenitude for
    a period not much longer than a human lifetime, a hundred years.
    Within that comfortable bubble the idea took hold that only grouches,
    spoilsports, and godless maniacs considered population hypergrowth a
    problem, and that to even raise the issue was indecent. So, I hazard to
    assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world reserves arc toward
    depletion, we will indeed suddenly be left with an enormous surplus
    population —with apologies to both Charles Dickens and Jonathan
    Swift—that the ecology of the earth will not support.  
    I need to write a diary about this,
    but the big point the author makes,
    is that we are running out of oil and natural gas,
    and with no natural gas for making fertilizer,
    and no diesel fuel for the irrigation pumps,
    and no diesel fuel for the tractors to plant and harvest the crops,
    and no diesel fuel to transport the crops to the feedlots or processing plants,
    and no diesel fuel to transport the meat and other foods to the grocery stores,
    and no gasoline for customers to drive to the grocery stores,
    folks will starve and die.

    I have some ideas to prevent this tragedy,
    and  need to write a diary about this, soon.

    •  Hey bigjac (0+ / 0-)

      it would be a little to read if in regularly constructed paragraphs. The irregular lines are distracting. :)

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

      by Words In Action on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:17:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a useful tool (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    that ues interlocking directorates to map the existing networks of corporate power:

    They Rule

    Using it isn't immediately intuitive, but once you get the hang of it, it very much is, so it's worth playing around with a bit until you get it.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 03:59:53 AM PDT

  •  Here's an idea, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, Ray Pensador

    study the legal treatise at to get a technical understanding of the crisis. Under Powell's money-is- speech strategy, elections are controlled by plutocrats. A single issue voters (SIV) movement would remove incumbents in 2014 who won't exercise  Art. 1 Sec. 4 power over elections, and except the Court from ruling on this political question. Organized voters, managed online, would vote against any incumbent who won't pass popularly developed omnibus legislation that ends private money in politics and its media corruption. Read Rob Hager's recent article at Truthout on SIV, and another at counterpunch on the pending McCutcheon case. The point of the civil rights movement was to get civil rights. Now national preservation relies on election integrity laws that will abolish plutocratic money in politics and discipline the Court for its breach of separation of powers.  

  •  I'm interested in collaborating on the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    Housing front. As you know, I've done some diaries on this subject.

    Affordable, Sustainable Housing I: As Direct Action

    Affordable, Sustainable Housing II: Materials & Methods

    And I just posted this one:

    Affordable, Sustainable Housing III: In Communities

    I've been a bit distracted by these writing projects, but I am going to catch up on developments with your efforts. Let's light a fire under it.

    One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

    by Words In Action on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:04:44 AM PDT

  •  Rallies and protests are essential (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    not only in applying pressure but in raising awareness. We still have a surprising number of people who are un- or under-informed.

    Each of the activists in your networks should reach out to existing activist organizations in their area to promote interest in coordinating flash mobs and other public events.

    For example, in my area, I would be approaching Peaceful Uprising, which was instrumental in organizing Bill McKibben's Do the Math Tour event in Salt Lake City, OFA contacts, DFA (Democracy for America Contacts), PFLAG, Democratic Party contacts, SLC Occupy contacts, etc. KRCL community radio contacts.

    The Bennion Center at the University of Utah also has a very strong Community Service program with access to lots of involved students. And then there's the Utah Nonprofits Association, through which I can also reach people.

    It might take a bit the first time around, but I don't think it would be too much trouble to get at least 15-20 people out to a first event. After we do one, more should get easier and bigger.

    And there are other actions that can be take as well...

    One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

    by Words In Action on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:15:42 AM PDT

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