It is well past time that we rouse ourselves to action.
The evidence is overwhelming, and it continues to accumulate every day -- large corporations are at the heart of all the major trends that will increasingly, profoundly and negatively affect our lives.
There is an explosion of books, video documentaries, websites and online forums from which you can gain insight into the disasters being perpetrated by Big Business, disasters in which we are all complicit through our continued inaction.
It is, of course, necessary that we become informed and stay current, but we need to do more than just agree amongst ourselves. The echo chamber on the progressive side is safe and warm, but it is dwarfed by its massive and well-funded counterpart on the right -- in the face of so insurmountable a force, it is not surprising that any initial action will be halting and tentative. It may be trite to say that nothing was ever accomplished without a first step, but it doesn't make it any less true. And the consequences of simply wringing our hands on the sidelines are too terrible to contemplate.
A Simple Start. So this post is about doing something -- dare I say, anything -- as the first step in what must necessarily become a longer-term effort. We must move outside our comfort zone and take action.
And as I contemplated that thought earlier today, I came across a four-part interview by TheRealNewsNetwork of Jeff Madrick, author of a new book "Age of Greed", on the thirty-year trend by Wall Street toward financial speculation and away from its traditional role of financing the manufacturing sector. And at the end of the series, Paul Jay asked Madrick, "so what can we do?", referring to those of us -- the great unwashed -- removed from the money and power that perpetuates the system. And it was satisfying to hear Madrick's response; "start organizing...get involved". It was the obvious answer, worthy of Howard Zinn -- one that he had himself given countless times. It does start with that first step.
So if you have roused yourself from your lethargy, if you have begun to educate yourself on the issues of water, energy, food and climate, and their exploitation by Big Business, you may be ready to take that first bold step to action -- and not a moment too soon. Since we like the comfort of choice when making an important decision, here follows a partial list from which you can make a selection, and to which you can add your own contribution. Of course, each is worthy of greater comment and discussion than space permits, just as each will be most affective when part of a larger bundle of actions. But this is, after all, just a start:
- Join a food cooperative;
- Join a credit union;
- Make specific ecological decisions about how you live;
- Make informed choices about the consumer goods you purchase;
- Hold your member of Parliament or Congress, and/or a powerful corporation, accountable on the issues;
- Join an activist organization, and then actively participate;
- Take the issues to your circle of friends and associates, interact with those who share your concerns, and with those who don't;
- Put the laptop down; change will not come by raging from your couch.
You may have already begun to act, or you may feel this list is far too simplistic. Fair enough. But there are countless others who remain uninformed, and many who are aware but have not yet taken even these basic steps. And, by the way, this is the easy part! None of these or similar measures remotely begin to address the systemic issues that underly the unfettered power that multi-national corporations now enjoy. These simple measures are the "training wheels" that allow us to build sustainable habits as we gain experience and community in our activism -- to consistently employ these actions in our daily lives is just the first stage in a longer and deeper commitment.