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!

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Geofeedia, mapping protesters, surveillance programs, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, social media spying, Baltimore protests, Freddie Gray,

For years, the social media giants have provided data to Geofeedia, a company marketing surveillance tools to police, creating real-time maps of activity in protest areas that were later used to identify and arrest protestors.

Jimmy Fallon and President Obama slow jam the news, discussing Obama's legacy, accomplishments and thoughts on the 2016 election.

climate change, Election 2016, creative activism, presidential debates, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, mainstream media, corporate media, climate justice, climate destruction, fracking, oil pipelines, climate direct action, activism, civil disobedience

This week, climate change might not be a thing on the presidential stage, but it's definitely a thing outside our sick mirage democracy.

fracking, fracking health risks

In the nine states examined in a new report, 1,947 child care facilities, 1,376 schools, 236 nursing care providers and 103 hospitals are located within a one-mile radius of fracked wells across the U.S.

fossil fuel resistance, fossil fuel economy, Shell, Dakota Access Pipeline, DAPL protests, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Washington Environmental Council, oil trains, oil train transport, oil by rail, environmental resistance, Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP,

Until 2016, the oil industry had been able to play trains and pipelines off each other – now, both are under relentless attack by indigenous people, public interest groups, environmental activists and a growing public consciousness.

Posted 4 days 6 hours ago
fracking, hydraulic fracturing, Lancashire fracking, Cuadrilla, Nanas Against Fracking

“We’ve exhausted every democratic process available to us – the petitions, the planning objections, the lobbying of MPs, the public meetings," said Tina Rothery, who predicts a new wave of direct actions will follow.

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago
Nuit Debout, horizontal democracy, horizontalism, direct democracy, Nuit-Deboutistes, Occupy Wall Street, 15-M, global social movements, economic justice movements, movement of the squares

Nuit Debout is apartisan, but not apolitical.

Posted 1 day 3 hours ago
climate protests, climate activism, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, climate arrests,

We're in an emergency, and no one in power is treating it as such. What has a chance of waking politicians of their torpor and spurring them – spurring all of us – to act with the clarity and determination the situation requires?

Posted 6 days 22 hours ago
Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo crimes, banker crimes, foreclosure fraud, mortgage fraud, John Stumpf, Citizen Homeowner, HAMP, Jamie Dimon

“We value your time. Please hold. Together we’ll go far.” How ironic. We never imagined they’d actually go this far.

Posted 2 days 21 hours ago
Deia Schlosberg, journalist detainments, TransCanada, 1st Amendment violations, Climate Direct Action, Josh Fox, conspiracy charges, North Dakota protests, Dakota Access Pipeline

Deia Schlosberg, the producer of an upcoming climate change documentary, has been slapped with three felony conspiracy charges for filming in North Dakota.

income inequality, economic inequality, Baseline Scenario, Bernie Sanders, populist movements, Trans-Pacific Partnership, CEO pay, CEO compensation, Fight for $15, public pensions

Fierce battles over trade, labor rights and executive compensation will determine whether we can really narrow the gap.

fracking, fracking health risks

In the nine states examined in a new report, 1,947 child care facilities, 1,376 schools, 236 nursing care providers and 103 hospitals are located within a one-mile radius of fracked wells across the U.S.

money in politics, South Dakota ballot measure, Measure 22, Represent.Us, Americans for Prosperity, Everytown for Gun Safety, buying votes,

Initiative to revamp campaign finance, ethics oversight in state becomes fault line for national debate.