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

One exciting driver behind the surge in rooftop solar systems has been the plummeting costs – along with the innovative ways people are getting solarized.

The California bill signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown this week allows government to disrupt communications under certain guidelines – but includes an “emergency” exception that requires no independent approval.

Representing consumers, content producers, and social justice and democracy reform advocates, this dozens-strong alliance called on the Federal Communications Commission to reject the mega media merger.

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Black bloggers and activists are aggressively using Twitter to hold corporate media – and the police – accountable.

With a shift in media underway, there's an opportunity for alternative online news sources to turn youth apathy into engagement and cynicism into a demand for social and political change.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

Charlie Hardy, the 75-year-old former Catholic priest now running for Senate, wants to halt NSA spying on ordinary citizens and overturn Citizens United with a Constitutional amendment.

Posted 2 days 16 hours ago

Thousands of climate activists from across Europe are expected to join local protesters on the German-Polish border for a mass demonstration against a huge coal mining project.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

A lot has changed since we last published this report during the Occupy movement in 2011. With major protests in the news again, we decided it's time to update our cell phone guide for protestors.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

A group of watchdogs at Maplight has introduced an interactive tool to track not only the level and location of political donations, but how the money impacts specific pieces of legislation.

Posted 3 days 11 hours ago
Illustration by Mr. Fish

Corporate power, no matter who is running the ward after January 2013, is poised to carry out U.S. history’s most savage assault against the poor and the working class, not to mention the Earth’s ecosystem.

Why We Need Unions

As current labor strikes across the country demonstrate, Americans are increasingly unwilling to take economic inequality in stride, and want justice.

In June, a peaceful, highly innovative and organized community sprang to life in a matter of days to preserve Istanbul's Gezi Park.

Work is at the very core of human creative activity – which is why it's so important for us to occupy our work and contribute to the quiet revolution that is now occurring all around us.

Hey, Fossil Fuel Industry: Money Can’t Buy You Love

The fossil fuel industry spent more than $150 million on ads to elect polluter-friendly candidates. But on Tuesday, Americans overwhelmingly voted for those who support clean energy, clean air and strong public health safeguards.

Sign Up