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Freedom of Expression: A Hollow Right Without the Power to Create Change

By       Message Sandra Lindberg     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 9/23/13

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Freedom of expression offers us most power when citizens speak with a voice that is as united as the voices of economic interests. There is no equivalent to an MBA for citizen activism. We must teach ourselves how to come together. Our willingness to do so presents the only obstacle to our success.

Attempts to do this are already beginning in several places in our country. In many states, there are People's Action organizations. Illinois People's Action brings activists together to work on environmental, socio-economic and political issues http://www.illinoispeoplesaction.org/. In Washington citizens have formed the Working Family's Party http://www.workingfamiliesparty.org/. In Florida, there is discussion about a party that will be called the New Congress Party http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-New-Congress-Party-a-by-Roger-Copple-Democracy_Education_Happiness_Health-130907-817.html. Chris Williams has written at Climate and Capitalism an article titled, "Strategy and Tactics in the Environmental Movement," http://climateandcapitalism.com/2013/09/21/strategy-tactics-environmental-movement/ partly a response to statements by Naomi Klein about the complicated relationship between environmental activists and labor http://www.salon.com/2013/09/05/naomi_klein_big_green_groups_are_crippling_the_environmental_movement_partner/. And recently, the author Frances Moore Lappe has written "Before You Give Up on Democracy, Read This!" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-moore-lappe/before-you-give-up-on-democracy_b_3915901.html about the need to link ecological and socio-political concerns together. These writers are asking difficult questions about how our country currently disempowers so many of us and how we might look critically at the forces that stand in our way.

It is not un-American to look critically at the country we live in--to do this work is the most patriotic action we can take. To re-imagine how we might govern ourselves, taking into account how economic power is added to the equation, is the stuff of citizenship. Our country is the sum of our people, the living plants and animals within our borders, and the land on which all of us live. If there are economic entities in our country that seem very powerful, we must remember that they were imagined and built by citizens. The entities are only real as long as our laws give them the right to exist. Citizens write laws. We need to redefine our country so that citizens, not economic interests, have voices powerful enough to bring positive change to what is truly our country.

Most importantly, we need to bring our most positive efforts to working together. We cannot afford to stand divided anymore.

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Sandra holds a B.S. in theatre, and an M.A. in theatre criticism from Illinois State University. Her M.F.A. is from the Professional Actor Training Program at the Old Globe Theatre--University of San Diego. She also recently completed a Paralegal (more...)

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