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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/23/17

]The People's Plan For Transformation

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Reprinted from popularresistance.org By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese

Today is Earth Day and thousands are marching "for science" across the country and around the world. The demands are to promote evidence-based science and defend public support for scientific research. There are specific concerns about the Trump administration's rejection of climate science while the climate crisis is advancing rapidly, and also its roll back of regulations and programs that protect the health and safety of communities.

Victoria Herrmann of the Arctic Institute describes on The Real News how scientific research is being removed from government websites and necessary government climate programs are losing their funding at the same time polar air and water temperatures are rising at twice the normal rate. Fortunately, climate scientists and activists archived much of this research earlier this year so that it is still available.

The March for Science connects numerous issues. Hundreds of Indigenous scientists urge the inclusion of Indigenous science and the voices of Indigenous communities as we move towards positive solutions to the climate crisis because they have centuries of experience in caring for the Earth. Drug policy advocates are marching to call for greater attention to and investment into research on drugs and evidence-based drug policies rather than criminalization and incarceration. And perhaps the most ambitious protest was led by the Autonomous Space Agency Network, a global collective that held its action in space.

"Storm the Heavens"

In the face of multiple crises and kleptocratic governments that refuse to take appropriate actions, movements are rising in the United States and around the world. This is reminiscent of the uprising in the 1960s and 1970s when social movements were active on a number of fronts of struggle from civil rights to women's rights to war to the environment, poverty and more.

Dahr Jamail recently interviewed members of the Weather Underground about the similarities between then and now and asked what people should do today. Bill Ayers recommended:

"The challenge is to dive in where you are, whatever your issue, location, or talent, and then to reframe every issue, and connect the issues to one another," he said. "War and warming, work and Black lives, human rights and environment. When the upheaval is upon us we must be prepared to find one another, link up, and storm the heavens."

George Lakey of Waging Nonviolence urges activists to be bold and understand that our task is to shift the political culture so that our belief in justice and peace becomes the dominant narrative. This fits in with tasks of the movement as defined by Bill Moyer's Movement Action Map, which he started writing in the 1970s, to develop national consensus on issues and to mobilize around them.

A Plan For Social Transformation

We are in a critical juncture of history and it is important to understand how we got here. The movements of the 60s and 70s, which built on decades of work that came before them, scared the power elites because they were successfully changing the political culture and economic system. The elites responded with a clear plan, outlined in the Powell Memo in 1971, that was put into action and is responsible in large part for the crises and insecurity that we experience today. The memo, "Attack On American Free Enterprise System," was written by Lewis Powell an attorney whom Richard Nixon nominated to the Supreme Court later in 1971.

US Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell - 1976 official portrait
US Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell - 1976 official portrait
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Color negative by Robert S. Oakes, Author: Color negative by Robert S. Oakes)
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Ralph Nader, who was specifically targeted in the memo says:

"Basically, his memorandum laid out a strategy to attack democracy in America. And he basically said to the business community, you've got to hire a lot more lobbyists swarming over Congress, you've got to pour a lot more money into their campaigns, both parties', Republican and Democrat. You've got to get out on the campuses and get right-wing speakers to combat progressive speakers."

Nader credits the Powell Memorandum with leading "to the massive corruption of the Democratic Party."

Journalist Bill Moyers writes about what happened after the Powell Memo was circulated:

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Margaret Flowers, M.D. is a pediatrician from Maryland who is co-director of Popular Resistance and coordinator of Health Over Profit for Everyone Campaign.

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