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How will we transform US society in all the ways that are needed?
One absolutely essential element, one we do not have right now, is a broadly-based alliance of mass movements and organizations working together, challenging corporate power, taking action, growing and generating the political energy and will necessary to overcome the tiny minority of dangerous, ultra-rich white men which currently dominates the US and most of the world.
This alliance must function as a welcoming, democratic, movement of movements: for racial and gender justice and equality; for the right to organize and unionize on the job; against militarism and for justice-based peace; for detoxification and protection of our natural environment and a rapid shift from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and nukes to clean, renewable energy sources; for immigrant rights, reproductive rights and an end to mass incarceration; for a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free public higher education and student debt cancellation; and more.
There are many issues that make up the overall program of an alliance, some of which are listed above. There is no lack of issues, and no lack of progressive coalitions and campaigns which, over many years, have put together extensive platforms on them. But as of right now, in 2022, there is no unifying, organized, movement of movements, a broad progressive united front.
We need leaders of the many movements and organizations to recognize that this is an essential, strategic objective, and we need conscious work to take place in 2022 to begin bringing it into being!
Extensive and inclusive platforms are one key to bringing together the movement of movements which can win power. There are many different focuses of organizing and action on a wide range of important issues. Those committed to working for change in their particular area(s) of interest, for whatever personal reasons, are not going to stop doing so because of the potential emergence of a politically powerful alliance, but they will be won to the alliance and increasingly get involved in building it to the extent that they see it helping to win victories on their primary issues.
An overriding, central demand of the alliance movement must be for a redistribution of wealth and power. This is absolutely fundamental. There is no way that all of the various issues of a popular alliance can be adequately addressed absent the serious taxing of the wealth of the greedy rich, as well as a major reduction in militarism and money for war.
It is also absolutely essential that our deepening and serious climate crisis, and related environmental crises, be a top priority of the alliance. Over the last decade, this has become a major issue for many different movements. The process of making this urgently-needed renewable energy revolution, off fossil fuels and onto a jobs-creating, clean energy path, has great potential to move us towards a very different, much more just, peaceful and egalitarian world. The broad support for a Green New Deal shows that this is widely recognized.
An important aspect of a renewable energy revolution that is not always appreciated is that it will organically lead growing numbers of people toward a more deeply-felt appreciation for and connection to our natural environment. This is something very much needed in our increasingly urbanized society. We must develop an ecological consciousness and a will to act on it on a mass scale if we are to have any hope of developing the kind of future new society which sees itself as one with nature, not its exploitative and destructive master.
Indigenous culture and wisdom has been and will continue to be a key aspect of all of this. Central to that culture, going back millennia in what is now the United States as well as in other parts of the world, is an appreciation for and connection to nature. Indigenous people for many years have been playing a leading role in the climate movement throughout the Americas.
This alliance will include those who are political independents as well as progressive Democrats, and maybe some grassroots Republicans, but it must be independent of both the Republicans and the Democratic Party.
As I am writing this we are five months away from a very important national election. Many of the groups that must be part of this alliance are/will be deeply involved in election campaigns to try to prevent the regressive Republicans from taking over the House and/or the Senate. This is important work. After November 8, however, and before the new year, would be a good time for work to begin in earnest toward the building of this absolutely essential, currently missing piece in the fight for a just, democratic and peaceful future.
(Most of the above is taken from the final chapter, “A Winning Strategy for Power, Already Underway,” of the author’s book 21st Century Revolution: Through Higher Love, Racial Justice and Democratic Cooperation.)
Ted Glick is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, President of 350NJ-Rockland and author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.