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

A few days after thousands marched on downtown Detroit last weekend, the city suspended mass water shutoffs for 15 days – leaving more than 15,000 households already disconnected.

Some 30,000 cooperatives now operate within the U.S., employing over 2 million people and paying out an estimated $75 billion annually in wages.

Stingrays and other cell surveillance tools have been used in the U.S. for years without the knowledge of the public or even defense attorneys and judges.

From the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to the Trade In Services Agreement, massive trade deals are being advanced in coordination with a militarized police state.

With 400,000 members and 85,000 retirees, SEIU 1199 is among the biggest unions to sign up so far for the People's Climate March in New York in September.

This summer, the CIA's private Amazon Web Services cloud—shielded from the public behind a wall of national security—becomes operational.

Posted 4 days 21 hours ago

The Premier of the Province, Kathleen Wynn, is being given another chance to respond to growing calls from the Indigenous community to protect their Territorial Rights.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

Extensive research and reports commissioned by the fracking industry are treated as seminal, informative works within the U.K. government – but to date, no one outside industry vouches for its safety.

Posted 4 days 21 hours ago

It seems the people of the world are factually correct when they label the United States the greatest threat to peace in the world.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

From the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to the Trade In Services Agreement, massive trade deals are being advanced in coordination with a militarized police state.

Posted 2 days 23 hours ago
The Chicago Teachers Strike and the Privatization of a Generation

Those of us concerned with the future of the labor movement need to seriously begin looking at the changes this particular strike embodied—not only for schools, but for the economy itself.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published a new interactive database to search information about the ownership of tens of thousands of offshore entities in tax havens.

7 Ways to End the Deficit - Without Throwing Grandma Under the Bus

This fall, the U.S. Congress is going to wage a pitched, dragged-out battle over cutting roughly $120 billion a year to solve the so-called deficit crisis. Vital things like teachers’ jobs and Medicare could well get cut.

Landmark UN analysis concludes that a global roll-out of clean energy would shave only a tiny fraction off economic growth while diverting hundred of billions of dollars away from fossil fuels.

This al-Jazeera documentary exposes Charles and David Koch, radical libertarians who use their money to oppose government and virtually all regulation as interference with the free market.

Sign Up