Building New Economies: What National People's Action Learned from the 1%

Search form

Building New Economies: What National People's Action Learned from the 1%

Building New Economies: What National People's Action Learned from the 1%
This article originally appeared on Yes! Magazine

National People’s Action members recognize that to reverse the economic and political conditions that are crushing American families, we need a long-term strategy. We believe that if we let the challenging circumstances of now lower our expectations of what’s possible, we’ve already lost. Instead, we have decided to completely reimagine what is possible.

That is why 500 NPA members worked for a year to develop the Long-Term Agenda to the New Economy. Family farmers and public housing residents, employed workers and those seeking work, new immigrants and those whose families have been here for generations worked together identifying the structural reforms necessary to change the balance of power to favor people and democracy over corporate interests. Our members provided direction to the process from start to finish, building an agenda that is truly representative of people.

We started by dissecting the agenda of the corporate elites that produced what we call the 1% economy. The economic and political reality of today is not accidental. Corporate C.E.O.'s, think tanks, and political operatives created the 1% economy. Their strategy was to expand the focus of corporate America from simply amassing profit to aggregating power. They organized individual companies and families into a corporate infrastructure, working to build power to advance their agenda. Over the course of decades, they have gained control of our political process, government, and media and used them to shape an economy that serves their interests at the expense of the American people.

With that in mind, we built our own agenda. Imagine a new economic ethos in America. Imagine it creates an economy in which the prosperity and well-being of all people is accounted for in our national bottom line. One that lifts everybody up, and is defined by a robust commitment to dismantling the structural barriers that lock poor and working-class people, people of color, and women out of economic opportunity. Envision a society where global sustainability is a defining economic priority. Imagine that the best-case scenario isn’t simply hoping to share in the prosperity of corporate elites.

That is the world that the members of National People’s Action are fighting to create.

In creating the agenda, we learned a key lesson. When invited to think 30 and 40 years into the future, people are able to step out of the morass of our current political environment, and our sense of what’s possible becomes much more expansive. We are not only able to think bigger; we crave it. Those of us struggling every day in the 1% economy want and need to think beyond the limits of our current reality.

Still, it wouldn’t be enough to think big if it didn’t pass a credibility test. We found that reimagining what’s possible feels real and credible only when accompanied with a clear analysis of how structural reforms—reforms that take power away from the 1% and move power to everyday people—can lead to larger transformation. When we see how a series of steps create a tipping point and a new balance of power, we can envision how we create the level of change that our communities and the planet require. Considering the level of skepticism and cynicism that our current politics breeds, we can’t overstate the power of hope coupled with credibility.

NPA members are now organizing around this agenda. Across the country, we are building long-term structural reform agendas at the state level and launching national campaigns to advance structural reforms that move us toward our long-term vision. There’s one key ingredient missing for this to work. And that’s you. We hope you’ll join us.

Originally published by Yes!

Article Tabs

The worldwide protest sentiment is not going away anytime soon.

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

A proposed community-owned solar project on an abandoned coal mine in Arizona illustrates how cooperative economics make it possible to stop extracting fossil fuels — without leaving workers behind.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Over 300,000 Internet users contributed to our crowdsourced vision for free expression online in the 21st century. What matters most to the Internet community? Watch this animated video to find out.

A new pamphlet, released today, is an attempt to answer this question – and the case we make is, yes, it not only makes sense to think of planetary control in these terms, but it is essential.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

They meet behind closed doors, at five-star hotels, away from the prying eyes of the public.

Posted 3 days 21 hours ago

Mexico's population is now making itself heard – tired of a tiny elite that treats them like subjects rather than citizens, and tired of the criminal gangs that terrorize them and corrupt the political process.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago

Consumer watchdog groups, payday borrowers and victims of payday theft need to come together to end the practice that creates a never-ending cycle of debt.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

"It's a nuisance smell in the area. It's a smell that's traveled quite far," said Jeff Suggs, emergency management coordinator for La Porte, where the company's accident occurred.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago

Proposed legislation would eliminate erratic scheduling and extend protections to part-time employees.

This was the biggest scandal to ever hit the land recordation system in this country, and those who were responsible should be held accountable.

Instead of loaning students money, the federal government could just pay for the tuition without causing any significant economic problems. There is no fiscal reason why the student debt crisis should exist.

Boeing, Chevron, Citigroup, Ford, Verizon, JPMorgan Chase and General Motors declared more than $74 billion in combined U.S. pre-tax profits in 2013 – and paid their CEOs on average $17.3 million each.

The Nordic nation of 5.6 million has been at the forefront of wind power innovation since the 1890s, when one of its leading scientists, Poul la Cour, began testing turbines.

Sign Up