A big theme in my upcoming book, The Uprising, is our culture’s inability to see anything other than elections – and specifically federal elections – as a major instrument of social change or democracy. This myopic view expresses itself in all different ways – the media coverage of presidential campaigns, the blogosphere’s narrow focus on Democratic Party prospects in election cycles, to name just two. But as I write in my newspaper column this week, there are many other arenas of democratic expression – some far more important for social change than any election.
Continue reading The Power of Shareholder Democracy
On another and related front, Sirota is examining shareholder ‘uprising’ too:
After all, through pension funds and 401(k) plans, ordinary Americans collectively own a lot of stock, and consequently a big chunk of shareholder resolution votes. These votes often go unexercised, but the more attention shareholder resolutions receive, the more citizens will “become educated about various corporation policies” because they will realize “they can do something about them,” as famed shareholder activist Saul Alinsky once said. That is what truly scares Corporate America — and what could bring the most “real change” of all.
A Different Kind of Democracy
Don’t stop. David Sirota does this for a living:
The reason why a free trade deal is thousands of pages long is not because it’s a free trade deal. If all you wanted to do was lower tariffs, it would be one page long, and it would say “no tariffs.”
The rest of the thousands and thousands of pages are protections for corporate profits.
These are really huge issues. I would actually submit to you that they’re among the biggest issues that we face, mainly because all of the domestic laws on economic issues are affected by them. We can raise the minimum wage all we want in our country. But if we have a trade policy that encourages companies to outsource jobs to countries where they only pay a worker a dollar a day, no amount of minimum wage laws in this country is really going to cure that situation and stop that race to the bottom from happening.
“Every major change in this country has happened because of a popular uprising… non-partisan… organized around issues.”
There are very few people who are willing to take on these forces that are kind of hidden in the background because of the media filters. Much of the focus turns to non-issues, like the idea of patriotism, as we saw in that infamous ABC debate in Philadelphia where George Stephanopoulos asked Obama if he thought his Reverend was as patriotic as he was, as if any of that had to do with anything regarding the future of the United States. But the buzzword of patriotism, the hot button of the lapel pins, the flag, — all of this sense of nationalism is fed to the masses, while the corporations are really becoming the new global United Nations, except that it’s united corporations.
Would you agree that, really, part of the what’s happened is this disdain among the ruling elite, the Washington, D.C. insiders, and their view that the United Nations is passé, because really we’ve replaced the United Nations with a rule by corporatocracy?
Finally, here’s a summary of Sirota’s path and motives. Though posted in 2006, it’s clear David Sirota is smart and sincere:
Sirota’s Progressive States Network focuses like a laser on replicating good municipal and state legislation around the country, creating a nation-wide system of good government. Forget “trickle down” strategies. For Sirota and his network, America’s political playing field is going to be leveled by the American grassroots.