Ellen Brown recently wrote an article in which she laid out the options for essential changes in the American economic system that will be necessary to survive the coming economic collapse. She sees this as inevitable given the pernicious effects of a shadow banking system that is using wealth sucked up by bankers to create a massive pool of debt that cannot be repaid when the Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses. Many of the proposals she lays out would repair some aspects of the broken system, while others would be transformative, creating a system that could be stable indefinitely.
We cannot accomplish any of the goals Brown sets out in her article without electing a Congress that will put the needs of the People over the desires of corporations and the rich. That is why it is so important for Americans to join the growing movement to make a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance and abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue. While this would not end the corruption of the US government by banks and other special interests, in electing a Congress that will pass such an amendment, we will put in place men and women who will clearly be willing to deal with the other sources of corruption.
The Populist movement starting in the late 1800s provides useful lessons, as enumerated in Lawrence Goodwyn's seminal work The Populist Moment, outlined here. I believe that despite its limitations, it culminated in the New Deal because the ideas it introduced into American political thinking remained at the time of the Great Depression. The changes in the system of regulation of finance in response to the economic collapse were largely responsible for the United States entering the to the greatest era of prosperity in its history. The key to the success was creating a new political consciousness that challenged the political orthodoxy that maintained a system that economically enslaved the vast bulk of Americans.
Most people regard the Populist movement as having failed because the revolution in political thought was insufficient to elect a Congress that would take on the banksters. There are two reasons I think we can overcome this at this point in history.
First, in America at that time people were used to poverty. Until they felt personally empowered and had specific political goals, they were unprepared to take collective action that would translate to political power. The goal of the Populist movement was to create a way for the working man to get credit and cash without depending on private banks who controlled the money supply. We are facing the same issues today. The difference is that Americans are not only seeing no progress in their economic well-being but for the first time since the New Deal, they are experiencing a decline in their standard of living.
Our other advantage is that we have an electronic system of mass communication that the Populists lacked. This will make the essential task of educating the public about what needs to be done to end much the corruption much simpler. The key here is for the leading voices in the modern progressive movement to focus American's attention on the centrality of the issue of corruption and educate them about how to end it. At the same time, they must point out that since the power of the banksters is responsible for both the corruption of government and the destruction of the economy, we must institute the elements of Brown's plan. The key reforms are to establish a national bank and take away the ability of private banks to control the money supply. While her other suggestions would put a patch on the broken economic system we have now, these would fundamentally transform the economy.
It may seem that the cause of waking up Americans is insurmountable, but we are on the edge of a great economic crash that will force us to remake our economic system. If we are prepared with a plan to elect a Congress that will do this and alternative media that will promote the idea, we can create a sea change in American politics, economics and society of a magnitude never seen before. That is our only hope for ending the economic slavery that Americans have known for most of their history and most of the world has endured throughout the history of the world.