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If There Is No Economic Democracy, There Is No Democracy.
Member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote these beautiful words today:
“I do not believe in late-stage capitalism or that prioritizing the extreme pursuit of profit at any and all human/environmental costs will save us. I believe in cooperative economics and cooperative democracy, aka democratic socialism.”
It inspired me to write this and share it with you:
I believe we do not have a Democracy unless there is Economic Democracy.
The economy we operate in, and the wealth it creates, must be controlled by the citizenry. A democracy cannot just be about its politics, the politicians we elect and how we choose to govern ourselves. All of those things are critical to our democracy and we have yet to get it right. Most obviously, the person who the majority elect as president is, as in 2000 and 2016, occasionally not seated in the Oval Office. Gerrymandering and voter suppression run rampant. Big Money buys politicians. When California (population: 39 million) and Wyoming (population: 579,000) have an equal number of seats in the U.S. Senate, then we are not a democracy. One person, one vote does not exist. All of this must be fixed.
But the one thing that will always keep us from being a nation that is run of, by and for the people is the fact that we have no economic democracy. Just because they let us vote every two or four years does not make this a complete and true democracy. As long as we allow a tiny percentage of the population to control the money, Wall Street and Corporate America, this isn’t a democracy. We, the people, have little or no say other than we have the freedom to switch from Heinz to Hunt’s ketchup. Until, that is, Heinz eventually buys out Hunt’s, then we will have no choice at all.
We must insist that our economy is governed by us and our elected officials. Our economy, from the banks and the boardrooms to the workplaces and our homes, must benefit all of the people.
Where everyone gets a seat at the table and a slice of the pie.
Where the few do not hoard the wealth and become rich at the expense of the many.
Where there is no such thing as a billionaire or a trillionaire.
Where the wealth is shared by all.
Where the workplace has democracy as part of its beating heart.
Where no one goes hungry.
Where everyone has their own home.
Where the vulnerable feel safe and secure.
Where children and the elderly and the descendants of the enslaved and the victims of American genocide are placed at the front of the line.
Where the prisons are emptied of the suffering and the poor who are then returned to a society where they are supported and loved.
Where incarceration is primarily for the wealthy and powerful who cause harm to the citizens of this Democracy and to the life of this planet.
I believe in a Democracy where the #1 guarantee is a brilliant education that eliminates ignorance which is the foundation of all hate and fear and violence. An education that teaches all citizens to become critical thinkers, voracious readers, lifelong learners and encourages them to express their creativity through their own storytelling, their writing, and their art — in whatever form that might take.
There is no democracy unless free health care is considered a basic human right; that all who fall ill have access to the best healing, and that prevention is considered the highest priority.
I believe in a Democracy free of greed and where everyone can work and be paid a thriving wage.
A true democracy where a strong safety net is established to catch anyone who falters.
Where we understand that the constant demand for corporate and consumer “growth” and overconsumption is the drug that will kill us because we failed to live by the adage and the imperative that less is more.
And the democracy we seek will never survive until we all finally admit that the Earth is now in its sixth mass extinction event and that every living being must join hands with each other immediately and halt this insanity.
We must acknowledge that love and kindness and a helping hand is our way out and our light forward, the motivating force in the pursuit of happiness for all.
In other words, smash capitalism. And bake a yummy pie for yourself and share it with your neighbor.
Photos by: Mint Images and Westend61 / Getty Images
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