How To Get There

by: DaveJ

Fri Jul 17, 2009 at 08:30

Yesterday I wrote about headlines that we hope to see 5, 10 and 20 years in the future.  Today let's talk about how to do more than hope.  How do we get there?

The headline I offered was May 2020, Annual Citizen Dividend Raised to $20,000.  The opening paragraph of such a story would be something like,

"The annual citizen dividend has been increased to $20,000.  This is the dividend paid to all citizens as their share of the fees collected from businesses that put pollutants into the atmosphere up to their allowed cap, for oil and other extracted resources, and other recovery of externalized costs.  A similar amount is added to the National Income Trust to increase future payouts.  In similar news, because of increasing productivity the maximum workweek has been reduced to 15 hours and the minimum wage has reached $50 per hour."

Nice dream, no?  But how could we ever get there?  What would need to happen before we could see a headline like this in 2020.  What policies would have to be enacted?  And, equally important, what would the public need to understand and accept before those policies could be enacted?  What opposition would be encountered during the effort to get those policies enacted, and how could we counter that opposition?  What are some ideas for strategies to follow to make this happen?  AND, just as important, what needs to happen before those things can happen?

This post is only a brainstorming session to get us used to looking at the steps that move us toward a long-term goal - just a thought experiment.  And of course there are plenty of people here who are much further along in strategic thinking than this 101 discussion.  So what follows is only a rudimentary sketch of what might be done if we were doing this for real, hoping to lead to a discussion in the comments.  Please add ideas for steps and strategies in the comments.

The elements of the idea break down to:
1) Annual dividend paid by fees collected from businesses for use of resources including polluting.
2) A National Income Trust that grows and pays this dividend into the future.
3) Productivity gains reduce the workweek and raise the minimum wage.

So thinking about the years leading up to 2020, what policies need to be in place, what things would people need to understand, and what about opposition, in sequence leading up to 2020?  

Well, Alaska already has something very much like this, paid by companies that extract the state's oil and other resources.  And they pay into a trust so that when the oil is gone the trust continues.  

So a step toward a similar national plan might be a campaign to educate the public about the success of Alaska's Permanent Fund.  And a step toward that might be to get people thinking about who owns and should benefit from the oil under the ground.  A step toward that might be getting information to the public about oil company profits and the taxes they pay compared to individuals and other companies.  Just for example.

DaveJ :: How To Get There
To get people to accept tying workweek reductions and minimum wages to increasing productivity, they would need to feel that they "own" some part of the economic output of the country.  What are the steps to that?  The opposition would be those who are currently pocketing the gains from productivity increases while leaving the replaced employees to fend for themselves.  To change that we need to change policies that let people get laid off and receive none of the benefits when machines and computers do more of the work. What are the steps toward that?

So for the comments, let's look at those questions (policies that must be in place, public understanding that has to be there, what will be opposition and how to counter it) for the year 2017, if we wanted this to happen in 2020.

Then, for those things to happen in 2017, what has to happen by 2014?  

And, finally, for those things to happen by 2014 what do we need to be working on today?

I am not suggesting that we follow these specific steps to reach this specific goal.  I am trying to talk about how we might think about long-term strategies to reach long-term goals.  People with a background in this please weigh in.

Look back at the headlines presented yesterday.  What needs to be ready in 2017 for these things to happen in 2020?  And what needs to be ready in 2012 for THOSE things to happen in 2017?

This involves building a progressive infrastructure of movement-oriented organizations working together to do research, develop strategies, organize activists, reach the public, develop policies, and mostly create demand for progressive policies and candidates.

Or, instead, maybe we can just wait for the right candidate to come along and let her do everything.  And at the last minute we can all get scared and put up hundreds of millions of dollars to go into TV ads.

In the comments: let's discuss how to think about 2020 in terms of steps leading to to the goals.  What policies need to be ready?  What policies need to be ready before those can be implemented? How do you get those enacted first?  Etc, stepping backwards year by year.  Then the same for public attitudes.  What does the public need to know before they will ask for those policies, and how do you get them to know those things?  And before they will understand those things, what will they need to know, etc.?  And the steps to neutralize potential opposition?  Let's talk about the process, not my specific headline.

Also, does anyone have examples of big ideas that were hatched 12-20 years ago and the strategic steps they went through to get them enacted?

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How To Get There | 3 comments
Is it too late to add another headline or three? (0.00 / 0)
I apologize for not getting to this yesterday and hope it's not out of line to offer these here.  If not I've got three related ones.  All the documentation comes from a series of four half hour radio documentaries produced mostly by Canadian labor unions called The Ravaging of Africa by Asad Ismi and Kristen Schwaartz.

It's 2020, like you said.  And the headlines, if they still have headlines might read....

1.  Fourth Consecutive Year of Zero US Military Aid to Africa.  
Africa is the poorest and most war-torn region on the planet largely, but not entirely, due to our policy of offering military aid to more than 50 of the 54 nations on that continent.  For some time now, the cheapest prices for AK-47s anyplace on planet earth are in Africa.
Here also is a snatch from the audio of "Militarizing Africa", part one of the Ravaging of Africa by Asad Ismi and Kristen Schwartz.

"Following the end of the Cold War, the Clinton Administration undertook "a wave of new military training programs in Africa." From 1991 to 1995, the U.S. gave military assistance to 50 countries in Africa out of a total of 53; during 1991-98, U.S. arms sales and military training to Africa totalled more than $227 million. The U.S. has four different military training programs for Africa: International Military Education Training (IMET), Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET), African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) and the African Center for SecurityStudies (ACSS). Under IMET, the U.S. gave $7.9 million in outright grants to Sub-Saharan Africa in 1998, increasing it to $8.1 million in 1998 and $8.5 million in 2000. In contrast, South Asiagot only $5.7 million, $5.6 million, and $5.8 million, respectively. In 2000, the U.S. gave $8.1 million under ACRI to 39 African countries and U.S. Special Forces have trained 34 out of 53 African national militaries under JCET."

This is from part one of The Ravaging of Africa: Militarizing Africa.

AFRICOM, with its trademark integration of military and civilain functionaries --- the commander is an army general, the deputy a state dept diplomat -- is the complete militarization of US Africa policy.  Should be a headline about the 2nd anniversary of the close of AFRICOM too.

2.  Asia, Africa, Latin America Celebrate 3rd Anniversary of the Death of World Bank and the IMF.  These bodies dictate to the governments of less developed countries that they must privatize whatever public sectors exist and curtail expenditures on education, public health and the like in favor of repaying Western banks at payday loan interest.  Getting the World Bank and IMF off these people's necks would free them to educate and feed their people and develop.
A great primer in how this works is part 2 of The Ravaging of Africa: Economic War.

3.  As Fiscal Regs Tighten Worldwide, Last "Offshore" Banks Due To Shut Down  
Obama and the rest like to moralize about "African corruptio," but the fact is that finance capital maintains a global network of black hole banks that enable corporations to extract and launder vast sums of money from illegal logging in the Amazon and Indonesia to diamonds, oil and cocoa from West Africa, to titanium, timber and coltan from the Congo.  The fact that Nigerian brigadiers, Ferdinand Marcos, the Shah of Iran, Mobutu and others use the same means to stash their stolen assets abroad is just a by-product.  If you want to end African corruption, you have to start by stopping the hypocrisy and tightening the regs and closing the worldwide offshore banking industry from the Jersey Isles to the Cayman Islands to SE Asia and many houses in London and NY for that matter.  
For some well documented discussion of this listen to part 3 of The Ravaging of Africa: Corporate Plunder.

"If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other people, then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding..."
Zora Neale Hurston

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What steps over what timeline do you think would help get these headlines into reality?


Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson

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Not exactly low hanging fruit... (0.00 / 0)
The first amounts to the US empire folding its tent in Africa, where it expects to get a quarter of its imported oil and all its coltan, titanium, and lots of other goodies in the near future.

The second, killing the World Bank and the IMF means that the loan shark's enforcer has to go away, and the debt written off.

And the third is the closing of all international hidey holes for trillions in dirty money that the global economy as it is depends upon along with the pipelines leading into and out of them.

Ending the militarization of our Africa policy, writing off structural adjustment, international loan sharking and making all international financial transfers transparent are all enormous jobs.

Guess it would start with public ed campaigns that contradict the bogus pro-interventionist narrative of the Save Darfur industrial complex, to make sure they know where their chocolate and coltan and titanium and such come from.  We'd need to bring into existence a real movement against militarism and empire too.  We'd have to discredit the banks and their narrative and their creatures here and abroad.

OK, OK, I don't exactly see the clear road from here to there, I admit that.  But we are about nothing if we will not challenge ourselves to do stuff more farsighted than the next two election cycles.  I know where to start, though.

"If you want that good feeling that comes from doing things for other people, then you have to pay for it in abuse and misunderstanding..."
Zora Neale Hurston

[ Parent ]
How To Get There | 3 comments

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