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Organizing and unleashing two-fisted democracy power at a treadmill pace

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After retiring as an organizational psychologist and being very knowledgeable about corporate wrongdoing on the one hand and government wrongdoing on the other but much less about the connection between these two hands I spent 10 years researching for and then writing The Devil's Marriage: Break up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch.

I learned from my research that America's corpocracy is the collusion of all three branches of our government with corporate interests, and the latter decidedly have the upper hand. America's corpocracy is powerful, organized, and affects every sphere of our lives individually and collectively as a nation (especially the economic and international spheres) and typically in harmful ways. The toll from "Economic Katrina" that washed out Main Street but left Wall Street high and dry is but one example. Overall, the corpocracy is directly responsible for America's worst socioeconomic conditions among advanced nations; for being the most warring nation for self-serving purposes; and for beginning to resemble a police state because of the perceived threat of terrorist blowback.

The corpocracy's opposition, on the other hand, is weak and disunited. I found that of roughly 150 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) presumably opposed to the corpocracy some had been compromised (e.g. funded by corporate foundations), most were operating independently of any of the others, and all were pursuing initiatives that only confronted small pieces of the corpocracy, not its entirety. I also found no unity among numerous grassroots protest groups or within the public at large. Although the vast majority of Americans when polled believe government is too big and that corporations have too much influence over government that opinion has yet to galvanize public pressure for reforms.

Such discouraging findings led me to suggest the idea of unleashing "two-fisted democracy power" (figuratively speaking). One fist would be a virtual network of united NGOs to plan for and carry out a comprehensive reform strategy. I suggested a name for this network, the U.S. Chamber of Democracy; and I made it clear no NGO in the network should have to sacrifice its identity or important projects. Moreover, by being a virtual network rather than a formalized and bureaucratic supra NGO I reasoned that the USCD could allow a more collegial and informal collaboration among the various NGOs in creating and carrying out a strategic plan of the many political, legislative, judicial, and economic reforms that would be required to end the corpocracy and rebuild America for the sake of the general welfare.

The other fist would be a coalition of 25 some segments of the populace that comprise either active grass root movements (e.g., the Occupy movement); could be energized into an active movement or protest group (e.g., the jobless); or might be counted on as allies. The purpose of this coalition, which I have dubbed The Democracy Coalition, would be to provide political clout for the USCD's initiatives.

Beyond the Book and Onto the Treadmill

Two-fisted democracy power looks promising at least to me on paper. What does it look like beyond the book to other people? A book by an author unknown to most Americans is unlikely to get much public attention. That is why I have for over a year been giving a few talk show interviews, writing many commentaries to major newspapers around the country, writing articles like this one, and launching in August 2011 the website, . This site has become my primary vehicle for a) describing and explaining two-fisted democracy power and the need for it, b) soliciting signatures on a petition to NGOs to unite into a network (this campaign actually started in April 2011 via my first and now companion website, ), c) soliciting support for The Democracy Coalition, and d) soliciting signatures on a newly created petition to our nation's leaders to stop catering to corporate interests and start honoring the Constitution.

Late in 2011 I began sending a proposal to the growing number of NGOs on my list. So far I have contacted about one-fourth of them. I decided to do this rather than wait for a buildup of signatures on the petition to them, thereby allowing I figured more signatures to accumulate while simultaneously showing contacted NGOs how many signatures have already been collected. I gave the NGOs contacted plenty of latitude in replying to me by providing them with eight options. They included giving unconditional support; giving conditional support to the proposal if others agreed first or if funding were available; giving partial support such as to The Democracy Coalition only; requesting time to decide; and rejecting the entire proposal. No option was given for a discourteous non-reply.

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When I look at the results of my efforts so far I feel like I have been on a treadmill, all activity with little of consequence. There are only 300 some signatures on the petition to the NGOs and weeks sometimes go by without seeing any new ones. There are only seven signatures on the petition to our nation's leaders; that is light years away from the millions of signatures needed to jolt those who head up our three branches of government. There is only a handful of bloggers adding their sites to The Democracy Coalition. Most of the NGOs I contacted have not shown me the courtesy of a reply even after several follow ups from me.

I will illustrate what I am up against with profiles of two of the contacted NGOs, one that declined my proposal, the other having not responded even after half a dozen follow ups from me. I will also give my assessment of the two NGOs' achievements.

The profiles are drawn from the two NGOs' websites and most recent annual reports. My assessments are subjective, using a homemade "scale" for indicating achievement of four successive levels of outcomes; immediate, proximate, penultimate, and ultimate. Immediate outcomes denote enabling accomplishments such as capacity building as well as small wins on pieces of small or narrow issues. Wins on slightly bigger issues denote proximal outcomes. A penultimate outcome means achieving one of several major strategic objectives such as overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's fraudulent ruling on corporate personhood. As for the fourth level, there is only one ultimate outcome, that of ending the entire corpocracy by eliminating all of its political, legislative, judicial, and economic features. In neither of the first two levels are any of these features eliminated.

My assessment is as superficial as it is subjective. The reason why is simple. For anyone who is aware of America's growing ruination and its causes, the assessment ought to be self evident. Neither one NGO singly nor the whole lot of NGOs has achieved the last two levels of outcomes. The corpocracy remains omnipresent, omnipotent and as destructive as ever. It should also be self evident that in order just to exist an NGO has had to achieve some immediate outcomes. So I only had to scan the two NGO's websites and annual reports looking for any signs of proximate outcomes.

Profile of an NGO that Declined My Proposal: The Center for Constitutional Rights

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After three e-mail attempts the Center for Constitutional Rights, , finally wrote thanking me for the proposal, but then said "While very interesting, we will not be able to participate."

The Center, a non-profit legal and educational organization was founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South. The Center is "dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

The focal issues the Center concentrates on are "illegal detentions and Guantanamo;" "surveillance and attacks on dissent;" "criminal justice and mass incarceration;" "corporate human rights abuse;" "government abuse of power;" "racial, gender and economic justice;" and "international law and accountability."

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Retired organizational psychologist.

Author of The Devil's Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch; America's Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying; and Corporate Reckoning Ahead.

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