Gar Alperovitz:

Systems are defined by who controls the wealth. In history. Feudalism, agrarianism, state socialism. Now we live in corporate capitalism. Who lost the money? 1% owns about half of the business and investment capital. The top 400 people — people — own more wealth than the bottom 185 million Americans. That is historically medieval. That’s how wealth was concentrated in the medieval era.

Can we build a democratic system from the bottom up that is also inherently green?

It won’t reform in the classic way. And probably there won’t be a revolution. That gives time for people to build from the bottom up. If it collapsed tomorrow the right would take over. The left wouldn’t be able to do anything.

Mondragon model. Worker-owned co-ops, linked with a nonprofit and revolving fund, to build a community. That model, very green, not little dinky co-ops. Greenhouse, largest in US in community building structure. That’s happening. You can do that. And force the politicians… Change the ownership of wealth and green the economy. Part of the New Green Deal going forward.

10 million people now in worker-owned companies. 130 million in co-ops. 45000 nghd owned corporations. Alaska redistributes its oil wealth. Bank of North Dakota, state-owned bank. 20 states considering single payer. As the pain deepens and we have time to build and we work to build more people see we have to come up with a new answer. Those kinds of experiments — politics and projects — are the only way to build a popular base.

This is the pre-history of the next great revolution. We did nationalize 2 big auto companies, and the banks (but we gave them back) so when the crises come, local communities democratic structures are critical, are also needed for the larger scale. We are laying the foundations in an unusual period of history, the most important because we’re running out of options.

I’m no utopian. They don’t have all the power, and they can’t solve it. We are in the position to lay down the foundation for the next great transformation to a sustainable, democratizing, ownership-altering system.

I think there is hope.

America Beyond Capitalism


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