Mitigating Oligarchy

Originally posted on turn21.org

Mitigating Oligarchy

Most global citizens are not revolutionaries, so how can we take power from the wealthy without spilling blood in the streets. 

In today’s geo-political corporate capitalist world there’s little separation between wealth, power and governance. Global companies exert power and influence well beyond their market share writing legislation to be rubber stamped by politicians they helped place in office. Together they pillage resources from the commons and push the externalities of their profits on land, sea and air. Still these companies and their cronies are the economic engine that bring so many jobs to our communities. What can we do to mitigate the influence of ruling class?

Get involved in government!

First is to learn about your government and politics. You’ll want to know the key officials and how they came to power. Attend local council meetings. Stay informed on legislation and policy, and once you understand an issue, then it’s time to get involved. When you hear about a policy you don’t like reach out to the officials making that policy. Let them know you’re paying attention. When you see something you like – get behind it. You can share what you find with friends and family that might not yet understand the issues. If you’re lucky to find an issue you feel strongly about you can volunteer your time in support. Vote and encourage others to vote.

Make your strongest actions locally!

Think globally, act locally, is a common refrain and a reminder that our local efforts can have the biggest impact. At the local level citizens can meet their government officials face to face and influence policy. Community groups can form and tackle issues that government is unwilling or slow to act on. Just like retail corporations looking for the hottest trends in consumer spending, savvy politicians are tracking the marketplace of ideas. Successful city policies become state initiatives. Be vocal about policies you support.

Vote with your dollar every day!

Where and how you spend your money matters. Supporting locally owned companies keeps more of the money in your community. Use a local bank. Buy locally made products. When local products aren’t available, shop wisely as each dollar you spend is virtual “vote” for the company that made it. Another option is to buy less stuff. These are all market signals that influence future business decisions. 10 years ago organic food was a fringe category, now it’s the fastest growing segment of the food industry. This change in our food system was driven by consumer demand. Invest in the future with conscious spending.

Today is the 21st! It’s our day to take action toward a better future. Share a bit of what you think makes a better future with your community. 

“More striking still, it appeared that, if the process of concentration goes on at the same rate, at the end of another century we shall have all American industry controlled by a dozen corporations and run by perhaps a hundred men. Put plainly, we are steering a steady course toward economic oligarchy, if we are not there already.”
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt