Economic Democracy

If ye love wealth better than liberty... May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.
~ Samuel Adams
Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most - that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.
~ Eugene V. Debs The United States is home to a vibrant movement for economic democracy. Read our materials on cooperatives, participatory budgeting, and solidarity economies.

PROGRESSIVE STATES NETWORK: Trade and the States

July 29, 2009
A Stateside Dispatch Report

As we have written in the past, states have increasingly taken action to stop global trade deals from undermining state authority and state regulations that protect consumers, workers and the environment.

In recent weeks, the debate has heated up over the need to institutionalize the voice of states and protect state authority within trade negotiations. Just last week the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) passed a resolution asking the White House to commit its trade office to avoiding preemption of state authority. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade also recently held a hearing on the issue of strengthening state voices within the trade negotiation process.

CEPR: Dropping the Ax: Illegal Firings During Union Election Campaigns

March 9, 2009

This report, by John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, updates an earlier report from January of 2007, which found a steep rise in illegal firings of pro-union workers in the 2000s relative to the last half of the 1990s. It updates the index of the probability that a pro-union worker will be fired in the course of a union election campaign, using published data from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). It also takes into consideration the increase in card-check organizing campaigns that began in the mid-1990s and adjusts the index for this factor.

Rebuilding America's Communities: A Comprehensive Community Wealth Building Federal Policy Proposal

April 27, 2010

From the report's introduction:

Fostering community wealth in today’s economy requires going beyond a traditional federal government “service delivery” mode of operation to develop programs that connect capital with low-income communities. Largely unnoticed in the media, over the past few decades, there has been a steady build-up of new forms of community-supportive economic enterprises.

Forty years ago, there were fewer than 200 employee-owned companies in the United States. The community development finance industry did not yet exist. Likewise, few community development corporations (CDCs) and no significant community land trusts existed. State public pension funds did not employ economically targeted investments.

Additional Information: 

community-wealth.org, a project of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland.

GOP: arrest Federal officials who try to implement new healthcare law in WI

November 13, 2012
Patrick Marley

 

Madison - As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he must contend with nine members of his own party who will serve in the Legislature for the next two years who say they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law.

FAIR: Media Get Bored With Occupy—and Inequality

May 3, 2012
John Knefel
news photo

Occupy Wall Street is rightly credited with helping to shift the economic debate in America from a fixation on deficits to issues of income inequality, corporate greed and the centralization of wealth among the richest 1 percent. The movement has chalked up other victories as well, from altering New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tax plan (New York Times, 12/5/11) to re-energizing activists and unions, but bringing some discussion of class into the mainstream dialogue has been one of its crowning achievements.

May 1st 2012: No Work, No School, No Banking!

April 30, 2012
The Nation
news photo

Occupy Wall Street hopes to capture headlines once again next week with the May 1 “General Strike”, long advertised by the group as an event that will prove to the public and media that OWS is currently experiencing a resurgence. Whether workers, students or banking customers, OWS is calling on all Americans to stop offering their labor and money to corporations for one day and join their local Occupy chapter for a day of resistance.

The plan initially drew the ire of some labor leaders who quickly declared their members would not participate in the so-called strike.

NATION OF CHANGE: Five Tax Fallacies Invented by the 1%

April 30, 2012
Paul Buchheit
news photo

We hear these claims often, even though they're entirely false. An analysis of the facts should make that clear.

(1) The Rich Pay Almost All the Taxes

That's simply not true. The percentage of total taxes paid by the very rich (the top 1%) is approximately the same as the percentage paid by middle class Americans (the 4th quintile, average income $68,700). Here are the details:

HIGHTOWER: The Truth About the U.S. Postal Service

March 28, 2012
Jim Hightower
news photo

What does 50 cents buy these days? Not a cuppa joe, a pack of gum or a newspaper. But you can get a steal of deal for a 50-cent piece: a first-class stamp. Plus a nickel in change.

Each day, six days a week, letter carriers traverse 4 million miles toting an average of 563 million pieces of mail, reaching the very doorsteps of our individual homes and workplaces in every single community in America. From the gated enclaves and penthouses of the uber-wealthy to the inner-city ghettos and rural colonias of America's poorest families, the U.S. Postal Service literally delivers. All for 45 cents. The USPS is an unmatched bargain, a civic treasure, a genuine public good that links all people and communities into one nation.

So, naturally, it must be destroyed.

COMMON DREAMS: Local Businesses Hit by 'Cash Mobs'

March 23, 2012
Common Dreams staff
news photo

Move over, flash mobs. "Cash mobs" are coming.

Longfellow Books co-owner Stuart Gersen enjoying his store being "cash mobbed." The idea behind cash mobs is to get a group of people to flood a local business and spend a suggested set amount in order to give the local business an economic boost.

The first cash mobs were organized back in 2011 in Buffalo, NY and Cleveland, but now they seem to be spreading nationally and internationally, with tomorrow set for International Cash Mob Day.

Hostile Takeover: Turning MI Cities Over to "Managers" Who Can Sell Off City Hall, Break Union Contracts, Privatize Services—and Even Fire Elected Officials

February 15, 2012
Paul Abowd

 

When the city of Pontiac, Michigan, shut down its fire department last Christmas Eve, city councilman Kermit Williams learned about it in the morning paper. "Nobody reports to me anymore," Williams says. "It just gets reported in the press." This was just the latest in a series of radical changes in the city, where elected officials such as Williams have been replaced by a single person with unprecedented control over the city's operation and budget.

Using participatory budgeting to fight forced austerity

December 29, 2011
Giulio Caperchi

A Crisis of Legitimacy

Following the 2009 financial crisis, the ensuing bailouts and the passing of austerity measures, American and European voters increasingly feel alienated by their political representatives. The Tea Party in the US rails against politicians they believe to be incompetent, far removed and corrupt. Similarly, the Occupy and Indignados movements see their elected representatives as catering to the corporate elite, lobbyists and the so-called 1%. A recent Gallup poll (12-2011) reports that the approval rating for the US congress is at an all time low: only 11% of Americans think it is doing a good job while a whopping 86% believe they are performing abysmally[1]. 

CAP TIMES: Austerity in Wisconsin killing jobs

December 21, 2011
Mike Ivey

A liberal-leaning Milwaukee think tank is out with a new report blaming state budget program cuts and public worker paycheck reductions for exacerbating Wisconsin's job struggles.

The report from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future says the reduction in take-home pay for tens of thousands of public employees is now hurting the private sector, as are the drastic state budget cuts for K-12 education.

AP: Occupy protests fuel anti-foreclosure movement

December 6, 2011
Manuel Valdes

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Occupy Wall Street protests are moving into the neighborhood. Finding it increasingly difficult to camp in public spaces, Occupy protesters across the country are reclaiming foreclosed homes and boarded-up properties, signaling a tactical shift for the movement against wealth inequality.

Groups in more than 25 cities held protests Tuesday on behalf of homeowners facing evictions.

AMY GOODMAN: Invest in your community- bank at your local credit union

November 24, 2011
Amy Goodman

Less than a month after Occupy Wall Street began, a group was gathered in New York’s historical Washington Square Park, in the heart of Greenwich Village. This was a moment of critical growth for the movement, with increasing participation from the thousands of students attending the cluster of colleges and universities there. A decision was made to march on local branches of the too-big-to-fail banks, so participants could close their accounts, and others could hold “teach-ins” to discuss the problems created by these unaccountable institutions.

Arundhati Roy addresses People's University in Washington Square, NYC

November 18, 2011
Arundhati Roy

This is the text of a speech given by Arundhati Roy at the People's University in Washington Square, NYC on November 16th, 2011 (video link below).

Tuesday morning, the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We're not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody.

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