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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/31/16

A Brief and Cheery History of an American Future

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The Future is Now
The Future is Now
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What follows is an exercise in utopian imagination. I take a statist approach with a focus on the federal level. One could just as well fantasize at the state, local or neighborhood level. And one could just as easily focus primarily on non-state action as did Edward Bellamy in Looking Backward.

Instead, I look forward from the present. I'll share a brief annotated timeline of the exciting changes that we and millions like us could make over the next thirty or so years. The changes are consistent with this year's Left Forum theme of Rage, Rebellion, Revolution. This is what might happen should we Organize Our Power.

Why is it possible to imagine such change at this moment? Because wide swaths of the American public have simply had it with the decline in living standards, the disappearance of quality jobs, and with cynicism and hopelessness about the future. There is overwhelming public disgust with and anger against neoliberalism, corporate capitalism, the system, the 1%, the establishment--whatever you call it. People are ready, nay eager to make peace with the planet, and realize the clock is ticking. Most Americans are sick of racism, sexism, homophobia, and endless wars--and those that are not, those still susceptible to the siren calls of bigotry and militarism might ultimately be brought along as their fears subside, ignorance shrinks, and prospects improve.

There is at present a sense of both crisis and opportunity that reaches even a reasonable share of the alienated, apathetic, and turned off. Divisions that may prove lethal have appeared among elites. There's growing militancy and boldness among working people.

How might such radical change come to be? The millions of Sanders enthusiasts join with the millions of us active in diverse progressive social movements to bowl over the rich and powerful and institute a deep, lasting and long overdue transformation of the country.

Annotated Timeline of the Future

Note: the order of events is somewhat arbitrary but could all come to pass


One or another of the wacky rightwing conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton turns out to be true and she's forced from the race. Bernie wins the nomination and names Jill Stein his VP candidate. They cruise to an easy victory over Donald Trump who returns to reality TV as host of "The Biggest Loser."


The Restoration of Voting Rights Act passes: its features include automatic voter registration at 18, early voting, mail in voting, extended voting, election day as national holiday, automatic restoration of voting rights to ex-felons, an end of voter ID requirements, and other overdue reforms. Voter suppression can no longer keep progressives from the polls.

The Genuine Democracy Act passes: it institutes public funding for elections at all levels and places strict limits on corporate lobbying. Money is no longer the mother's milk of American politics. The Act also mandates independent redistricting boards for each state and territory bringing gerrymandering to an end.

These two commonsense reforms set the stage for further electoral success of rapidly growing left Green forces. Various right wing marginal parties spring up here and there but never again pose an electoral threat.

Mass surveillance by NSA and other agencies is brought to a close (or so we think).


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Steve Breyman teaches peace, environmental and media studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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