Last Friday (April 19th) I went to bed a little earlier than I usually do. I was planning on attending the RootStrikers Conference to Restore The Republic at San Francisco State University on Saturday, and wanted to get up early in order to have enough time to have breakfast and drive about 20 miles or so to the conference, which started at 9:30 A.M.
I'm very glad I went. In my search for "the real thing" when it comes to social justice and anti-corruption activism, I've attended many meetings, and protest rallies (including Occupy marches and gatherings), but I always end up a little disappointed in that I never seem to be able to find groups that share my understanding of the problems we are facing (at a root level), and the appropriate response to deal with those problems.
The Problem: We have lost the Republic to a moneyed elite that has been able to take over the levers of power, and has totally corrupted our government institutions, which now acts against the interests of the citizenry. Therein lies the root cause of the ongoing systematic weakening of our constitutional protections, the dismantling of the social safety net and a functional and effective regulatory framework, and the imposition of policies specifically designed to undermine workers' protections, and economic security. At the root level, the difference between the two main political parties is negligent, which in essence resembles a one-party corporatist system.
The Solution: The first step towards finding a path to resolve this problem is for citizens to come to a very clear understanding of the actual state of affairs (see "The Problem" above). Once this realization has been conceptualized and accepted, the next step is for citizens to form a cohesive resistance movement capable of acting in concert with a highly strategic approach, setting short-, mid-, and long-term goals, until the plutocracy is totally dismantled and the Republic is restored.As a point of clarification, this understanding doesn't have to get in the way of people being able to fully participate in partisan politics, in campaigning, in supporting the best candidates (more and better Democrats?). One can do both. But one needs to understand that, since the political system is basically on the take, participating in the political process is not enough if we are going to be able to take down the plutocracy and Restore the Republic, and democracy.
Finally, after years of searching for people who would just come out and say this very simple truth, I found them last Saturday at the RootStrikers conference! I'm eternally grateful to Mr. Lawrence Lessig for being the driving force behind RootStrikers. I heard him say it: we lost the Republic to a tiny moneyed elite. I also heard Cenk Uygur say it, and David Cobb (Move to Amend), and Hon. Buddy Roemer, and other distinguished speakers at the conference. I was ecstatic!
And I came out of that conference totally re-energized, more committed than ever to continue in my quest to spread this simple truth to as many people as possible: the system is corrupt, and we need to unite into a cohesive and strategic (peaceful) resistance movement.
One thing that I really find very encouraging is that once I connect with people face to face, and talk, and exchange ideas, it reinforces my belief that, number one, people do know that there is something seriously wrong with our system, and, number two, many of them want to do something about it, but are not sure what.
Many people who are active in different causes sometimes get frustrated because no matter how much effort they put into their cause, no matter how right they are, no matter how much public support there is, the system doesn't seem to be responsive.
I argue that the reason for that lies in the meaning of the favorite quote used by RootStrikers:
"THERE ARE A THOUSAND HACKING AT THE BRANCHES OF EVIL TO ONE WHO IS STRIKING AT THE ROOT."And so, I will continue reaching out to people to invite them to join the nationwide activist network I'm building (see map). As people join, I will encourage them to start meeting regularly (as time allows) to discuss "root" issues: 1. The democracy-killing effects of money and politics; 2. Finding ways to side-step the corrupt economic system based on rampant consumerism, in favor of sustainability; 3. Lend support to political candidates who reject corporate (or special interests) funding; 4. Develop think tanks focused on public banking, and food and housing collectives; 5. Defunding and defeating the plutocracy; 6. The development of a counter-propaganda strategy to counter the damaging effects of the corporate-owned U.S. mainstream media; 7. Street-level activism; 8. Labor issues, including unionization, collectives, and employee-owned/employee-run businesses.
- Henry David Thoreau wrote
What I envision is the formation of groups all over the country that get together on a regular basis to exchange ideas and formulate strategies, and then find ways to connect those groups into a nationwide network that will eventually be able to coordinate strategy at a national level.
Each blue dot on the map below represents a member of a growing nationwide network of social justice and anti-corruption activists committed to finding the best way forward. Join us in the effort!
RootStrikers: Our government is corrupt. Not corrupt in any criminal sense. But corrupt in a perfectly legal sense: special interests bend the levers of power to benefit them at the expense of the rest of us. Both parties are part of the problem. Both have become dependent upon the campaign funding of the tiniest slice of the American people — not to mention the funding of corporations and other non-citizens. That dependency is this corruption.
REPEACE: Repeace is an online social movement that wants to cut the ties between private interests and government with a very simple method. Repeace wants to make accountability a profitable currency, at times where institutionalized corruption has become endemic.
unPAC: I will join the fight to restore our political system so it represents all Americans, not just a handful of mega-donors. It will take millions of people to defeat billions of dollars.
Wolf PAC: We must reverse Citizens United, Restore our Democracy, and Save the Republic. Join the Fight for Free and Fair Elections in America!
The Reform Project: The Reform Project is a nonpartisan, anti-corruption organization fighting both the unfair use of money in our political system and the undemocratic developments occurring in our Republic. We will bring about reform through the use of technology and by the power of the people.
United Republic: United Republic is a nonpartisan organization challenging the undue influence of well-financed special interests over American politics and government