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

carbon emissions, mercury emissions, EPA, Clean Air Act

The Supreme Court invalidated a key Obama administration environmental regulation aimed at limiting emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants mainly from coal-fired power plants.

U.K. fracking, anti-fracking movement, Cuadrilla, shale gas drilling

It's a major blow to what would have been the U.K.’s biggest round of fracking so far.

A yes vote would mean depression almost without end – by contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands.

Fight for $15, $15 minimum wage, bank bailouts, corporate subsidies,

Municipal leaders should be commended for acknowledging the current wage is too low – but phasing in a higher wage over many years is unacceptable in an economy where costs of living are rising and wages are falling.

Greek debt crisis, Greek anti-austerity movement, Alexis Tsipras, Troika, Syriza party, Greek referendum, Euro crisis

Greeks will find their savings blocked and their banks closed for a week following a fateful weekend that has shaken Europe’s single currency.

payday lending, predatory loans, predatory payday lenders, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

America has 30,000 post offices – mostly in lower-income zip codes where bank branches are vanishing and payday lenders spread like toadstools after rain – making a public option for basic financial services a no-brainer.

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago
Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, Fast Track Authority, Trade Promotion Authority

In a win for multinational corporations and the 1 percent, the Senate advanced Fast Track.

Posted 6 days 4 hours ago

#BlackLivesMatter and Shamell Bell is breaking it down. But first up, white privilege has something to say to white privilege.

Posted 6 days 4 hours ago
Move Your Money, Wells Fargo crimes, illegal foreclosure, subprime mortgage lending, predatory loans

The only way the big banks will feel something similar to the loss and harm they caused is if you Move Your Money from those institutions to second tier banks, community banks and credit unions – so join the campaign now.

Posted 4 days 21 min ago
Ada Colau, 15M Movement, indignados, Platform of People Affected by Mortgages, Barcelona En Comú, Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, Ahora Madrid

I traveled to Barcelona and Madrid last month to witness the historic elections firsthand, and to learn from Spain’s independent social movements – and what I saw was a whole new way of doing politics.

Posted 6 days 4 hours ago

#BlackLivesMatter and Shamell Bell is breaking it down. But first up, white privilege has something to say to white privilege.

Move Your Money, Wells Fargo crimes, illegal foreclosure, subprime mortgage lending, predatory loans

The only way the big banks will feel something similar to the loss and harm they caused is if you Move Your Money from those institutions to second tier banks, community banks and credit unions – so join the campaign now.

payday lending, predatory loans, predatory payday lenders, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

America has 30,000 post offices – mostly in lower-income zip codes where bank branches are vanishing and payday lenders spread like toadstools after rain – making a public option for basic financial services a no-brainer.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, Fast Track Authority, Trade Promotion Authority

In a win for multinational corporations and the 1 percent, the Senate advanced Fast Track.

carbon emissions, carbon cuts, Urgenda, ClientEarth, Klimaat Zaak

A court in The Hague ordered Holland to slash emissions by at least 25% within five years to face the threat posed by climate change – a historic ruling that's expected to cause ripples around the world.

Sign Up