This manifesto is circulating among the attendees at a recent progressive funders conference on Transforming Money: Catalyzing Wealth. As Candidia might say, "touching, deeply touching."
Come out! Come out!
Move your money
Share it with those who need it
Challenge tax policies
Reduce mindless consumption
Pay living wages
Hold corporations accountable
Find security in community and Spirit
Let go in a massive way, we have got to move!
Support complementary currencies
Love your fellow beings, don’t pass them by!
Liberate yourselves from suspicion
Liberate yourselves from guilt
Liberate yourselves from fear
Join with others in creating our world of love!
Let's say we took on Candidia, CEO of Wealth Bondage, straight up. How can we drive progressivism down her throat? How do we resist from within Wealth Bondage, when, as the saying goes, "There is no 'outside' of Wealth Bondage"? That is, there is no outside of the Free Market run amok?
- Work with qualified advisors to create a strategic plan for your life, wisdom, and wealth.
- Align your resources with your values and politics for your lifetime and through your legacy.
- Realize that money for the left is one tiny piece of the program, whereas for some on the right it is God-Incarnate.
- We need to move more than money. We need to move the stupefied populace, and those in despair.
For The Stupefied Populace
- Spectacle, satire, acting up and acting out - all in good taste, of course, in the spirit of Martial, Rabelais, Swift and Twain.
- Organizing around issues important to the local and state communities.
- Alternative publications, blogs, podcasts, and open space meetings
For Those Change Agents in Despair
Too many cultural creatives are in the Dumpster. I know many brighter than I, better educated than I, and more courageous, who are bankrupt, out of work, marginal in their employment, without health benefits, whose teeth are literally rotting in their mouths for lack of dental care. I know a PR person who has been the "voice," of Fortune 100 Companies who, having been downsized, has to ask for donations to pay for her child's health care. I know musicians who have pawned their guitar to pay a hospital bill, and bloggers who shut down their blogs because the boss takes umbrage at their subversive candor. I know bloggers who were top management consultants and executive coaches, who now live on a few dollars a day, husbanding their resources to live a life of free thought. I know former organizers who shut down their blogs, having gotten threatening anonymous phone calls. I know union organizers who will not blog under their own name for fear of reprisal. I know newspaper writers with Ivy degrees, and experience reporting for the New York Times, who blog about the corruption of the media, and whose eloquent voices go unheard for lack of a more public platform. I know open source programmers who are in despair their gifts are bought and sold on company time to create proprietary closed systems. I know a progressive media critic who lives in a single wide trailer, about to be repossessed, who may soon be homeless. I know a PhD in literature who left the tenure track to do some good in the world by becoming a physician, leaving him deeply in debt. I know a Princeton grad who has devoted his life to open space meetings and to organizing indigenous peoples in Canada, for next to no money. I know think tank intellectuals who write me emails saying, "Of course we are puppets on a string, but what ya gonna do, the baby needs new shoes." I know financial professionals who make nickles and dimes because they put philanthropy first, give away free advice, and care more about the cause than about their own advancement. I know a Democractic organizer in Dallas whose house was egged and whose preacher told the congregation, "Democrats cannot be good Christians."
Social Change: The View from A Dumpster
To build a movement we need to come out of the closed spaces, the safe places, including the Dumpsters and the IONs Conference Center, and talk to one another about making common cause. Democracy needs so much, starting with a grassroots conversation that only those with a little money can really convene. Not much money. Blogs, podcasts, open space meetings around the country, print media, samizdat, theater, rock concerts, alternative films, so many things we can do with mostly volunteer labor and personal passion.
Candidia would laugh herself sick at the progressive manifesto, the children of the world against her armed minions, her monopolies, her stacked Supreme Court, her servile politicians of both parties, her 24/7 psyops, her lobbyists, her perjured journalists, her think tank thinkers and pundits, her legal team, political action committees, cool hunters and marketing mavens. She wears Old Glory on her black leather jumpsuit, but grassroots ferment scares her, because she cannot control it, nor the ultimate, now unforeseen, outcome. America was born in revolution against an arrogant aristocracy. Some of us are too stupid to know the difference or too beaten down to say so, but America was a free country, not just a free-booters market, and it will be a free country again with political liberty not just a commercial license to steal. We are not, or cannot remain, an ownership society, like Capone's Chicago, or New York City under Tammany Hall, where lives and patrimony are bought and sold, and citizens live in fear of dissenting from a party line grown corrupt, authoritarian, and bellicose. We are a free country inhabited by citizens who will make their presence felt through something more than consumption and production.
I will sign the progressive manifesto and forward a copy to Candidia, marked "FYI." I am sure her response will be, "O Please No! Not a progressive Manifesto, Not that! I am shaking in my boots!" All the while her shoulders will be shaking with laughter. "I would love to pay living wages, Sweetie," she will say, "but this is the Free Market. I can't afford high wages. It would make Wealth Bondage uncompetitive. I would like to be good, I really would. But I can't. It's the Free Market. My hands are tied." And so on down the list. She would like to be accountable to ordinary people, she really would, but she can't be. She must answer to shareholders. She would do more for society, she really would, but she can't, her hands are tied.
Transforming Money, Catalyzing Wealth, and Beating Candidia Down
If we want to "Transform Money," it will take the same kind of energy that broke the trusts under Teddy Roosevelt, during the first progressive reaction, during the first Gilded Age. Now as then, as against Boss Tweed, Carnegie, Gould, and the Chicago stockyards, it has to start with muckracking, with outrage, with organizing, and the nerve to speak up where others (who may not wish us well) can hear, or overhear. The Manifesto sounds as if it were written in a safe place by those like Dick Minim, who would prefer to be left alone, who don't want any trouble, and who are easily cowed. They are writing for themselves to pass the document in a small circle of respectful friends. Still, if from these cloistered donor circles the money moves, even a little, and those in the Dumpsters get engaged, poor Candidia may soon be shining her own boots, saying, "Ah me, back in the day, I was the goddess of the Free Market, and led the Leader of the Free World on a diamond studded leash and made him sit up and beg like a dog. You should have heard him bark, like a bell he was, such resonant tones! What times we had riding to hounds! How the losers would cheer us. Then, bit by bit the little people woke up, began to talk to one another, and started agitating for their precious democracy. Look at me now, a broken old bawd, gone in the teeth, spurned by even my fellow bums in the Dumpster. Catalyze wealth, Sweetie. C'mon, Sailor, buy me a beer."