Why We Need a National Strategy to Retake Our Democracy & Our Future & Why There is Hope

Today, examine how we landed in a political environment so resistant to justice, so incapable of implementing our priorities, and what it has cost us. We then trace a path to a more just nation where essential workers matter more than Wall St. profit.

Retake Conversation, On KSFR 101.1 FM: Roxanne Barber and Paul Gibson Outline the 2021 Retake Legislative Strategy and the 15 Transformational Bills We Plan to Support. Roxanne and I bantered about how Retake developed its 2021 legislative strategy and the list of bills we will be supporting, as well as talking about the change in the Senate that should make bills passage far easier in that chamber. I sure look ornery. YouTube picks the pictures.

Roundhouse 2021 Advocacy Begins Tuesday:
Join Us In Conversation with Democratic Party Leadership

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6:30 – 8 pm. Election Debrief and 2021 Legislative Agenda Review with Senate Floor Leader Peter Wirth and Speaker of the House Brian Egolf. We will discuss how the primaries and the general election have altered the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate and the impact that a Covid-limited session might have upon our chances for getting transformational legislation passed in 2021. We will ask Egolf and Wirth their views on the prospects for bills like the Health Security Act, Public Banking, the Green Amendment and more. We will have 60 minutes of questions gleaned from conversations with allies and then open things up to all on the zoom. This Zoom room is filling up very quickly and you MUST register.

Click to register for this Zoominar.

Retake Legislative Strategy: What You Need to Know

Even through this is Thanksgiving weekend, we’ve been working to form and expand teams in Senate District’s held by Democrat Senators. We have 17 of 27 teams now functioning with coordinators and members. We are working to expand those teams in anticipation of using December to convene Zoom conversations with all Democrat Senators and their constituents. Even if you do not want to be a District Coordinator, you can be part of a team and share your views with your Senator and you can help by asking people you know who might be interested in having conversation with their legislator.

We will be staging a Zoom conversation a week from today to assess our progress, discuss our strategy, and initiate dialog with our Senators. Below are important links to our strategy, the bills we support and to register for the Zoom organizing meeting.

Write us at RetakeResponse @gmail.com and let us know if you are interested in being a member of a district team or being a coordinator. We especially need coordinators for Senators Mimi Stewart, Joseph Certantes, Michael Padilla, George Muñoz and Pete Campos.

What to Do? Nationally, We Have the Numbers,
Polls Support Our Policies, But We Don’t Have the Power
to Implement What Makes Sense

The election is now safely behind us. Trump has acknowledged that if the Electoral College votes to elect Biden, he will leave the White House. No coup is in the offing, largely due to the lack of any evidence of voter impropriety and almost no willingness on the part of judicial or legislative bodies across the country to buckle to Trump’s imperious will. It is truly over, except for the damage he can do in the next 50 days, much of which can be reversed.

But we are left with a system that is significantly undemocratic and makes it much more difficult to advance progressive legislation, despite the nationwide popularity of much of those policies. Today, we offer you a road map of how we got in this pickle, how bad it is, how undemocratic our democracy has become, and how we may be able to restore our democracy.

Ironically, it was the GOP who prattled on about voter fraud, when they have been engaged in a range of voter suppression, voter gerrymandering and the manipulation of a slavery-based voting system that ensures a far more conservative Senate than reflective of national values and priorities. The Daily Kos published a piece this weekend that illustrated just how out of whack our Senate is.

“The 47 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate, in their most recent respective elections dating back to 2012, collectively earned 78.4 million votes on their way to victory. Republicans, by contrast, won just 54.8 million votes—even though there are 53 of them.”

From Daily Kos: “We’re the popular party: Senate Democrats won over 23 million more votes than Republicans

How is this possible? Well, California with its 40 million residents, the vast majority of whom are Democrats gets two Senators. Nebraska (1.9M), West Virginia (1.8M), Idaho (1.8M), Montana (1.1M), South Dakota (875,000), North Dakota (750,000), Alaska (730,000) and Wyoming (575,000) collectively garner 16 GOP Senate seats with a collective population of less than 10 million.

And so, while the American voters preferred Democrat Senate candidates 60%-40% over the last four national elections, the GOP holds 53-47 margin in the Senate. Retake wrote, “13 Red States with 34 million voters gets 26 Senators, California with 40 Million Voters Gets 2” a more in-depth piece on the historic context in which this kind of undemocratic democracy evolved.

Certainly, adding Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. as our 51st and 52nd states would help, but what is really necessary is a national movement to democratize our democracy, or put another way, to Retake Our Democracy. And for that to succeed, we must understand how we got in this situation and implement the same kind of long-game strategy employed by the GOP and the rich dating back to the mid 1970s. And so below, we offer links to a series of posts from Retake that outline that path and then point to one that could lead to more just, democratic nation.

We’ve Become Darwinian in Our Policies, at Least for Most of Us. In the end, we have been sold on a political survival of the fittest society for the 95% and a welfare-based corporatism for the 5%. Those of us who “succeed” usually do so against all odds and with the deck stacked against us, while the corporatocracy is largely subidized by us. In an August 2019 Retake post “If Generosity & Kindness Guided Policy, Our Tax System Would be Progressive and Our Taxes would Serve Our Communities, Not Corporations” we laid out how the wealthy have created not just a political framework, but a nationally embraced set of values that largely ensures their dominance.

We’ve Allowed Money and the Interest of the Wealthy to Control the Process. In an April 24, 2018 (my birthday), “Money & Politics: It Is Way Worse Than You Think. We Are In Serious Trouble,” we trace how the media, the Congress, the judicial branch, the cabinet, money in politics, ALEC and other forces coalesce to constrain what is possible, to control what is considered possible, to define what is viewed as “extremist” and to sustain corporate control.

This short video illustrates clearly how little our views matter to the powers that be and whose views do matter.

And This is the Result; This Is What We’ve Grown to Accept as NORMAL. In a June 2019 Retake post, “In Search of a New Normal that Is Actually Normal: Today is NOT Normal & It Hasn’t been Normal for 40 Years” we outlined just how far we have devolved in our retreat from a commitment to equity, balance, justice, an equitable distribution of our wealth. The piece above, outlined the structures that are in place to secure corporate control, but this piece outlines the kinds of policies and values we have grown to accept as normal and how much those values have changed over the past 40 years. I feel this is one of the more compelling pieces, Retake has published.

This is How We’ve Landed Where We Are. In an August 2020 post, “How We Went Wrong & How We Get it Right,” Retake outlined the history of the Democratic Party’s flight from its FDR values and the resultant erosion of working class support for the Democrats and a reason for hope that we can actually turn this around. It is this flight that made Trump 2016 possible and could make Trump 2024 inevitable, unless we begin to address the needs of working people across this country and worry less about Wall St.

This Outlines How This Has Been a Bi-Partisan Effort for Decades. And lest you believe, simply retilting the Senate scales and restoring Democratic hold on the presidency and both legislative chambers, will unleash a torrent of progressive legislation, in “How Capitalism Owns Both the Democrat and GOP Parties”, Retake described how the wealthy, Wall St. and the rest of the corporate cabal has subtly purchased both parties, leaving us with a GOP dominated by Tea Party thinking and a Democratic Party that has veered seriously to the middle, espousing corporate friendly neoliberal policy for decades.

And This Outlines the Scope of the Wealth Theft We’ve Endured. To understand what this flight from democratic values has cost us, in an August 2020 Retake post, “The Looting of America, Not the Looting You See on TV, the Looting of Our Collective Wealth” we traced the extent of the wealth grab that has occurred over the last 4-5 decades, largely due to the forces described above. It is staggering to see the degree to which the 1% has mined the wealth of the rest of us, all in service to profit, growth and efficiency.

We close with two pieces that offer hope and direction as to how we can begin to the overcome the forces described above and what a new agenda for working America might look like.

First, in a September 11, 2020 Retake piece, “Are We Living in a “Plastic Moment” When Transformation is Possible? A Most Hopeful Post” which was based upon a very uplifting Atlantic article. It outlines how we may well have hit bottom, that Covid has exposed the craven ruthlessness of our systems and policies and point to the dire need for a renewed commitment to a real social contract. It outlines the critical importance of Biden aggressively constructing a series of policies that explicitly support our essential workers, our working class, middle America and, importantly, those voters who have supported Trump. This is a good way to end the tour, an upbeat, hopeful piece that points us to a path leading to justice, but before we close, a glimpse of what a worker justice platform might look like.

Lastly, while Biden is unlikely to push for all that is described here, the piece above outlines a good start. But our long term vision must be bolder, it must strongly prioritize the needs and aspirations of our essential workers, our communities of color, and our working poor. And so, in “Bailing Out Workers Not Corporations: Five Point Plan for Community (NOT Corporate) Wealth Building.” we outline what supporting working people should look like.

But the forces that oppose justice are strong and those forces have tightly constrained our imaginations and vision, they have manipulated our use of language; they have constructed a public media that rarely entertains progressive thinking; they have devised a political system that is unresponsive to our aspirations. To create a nation organized around worker priorities, will require more than what is outlined above. And so on Tuesday, we will outline a long haul, very grassroots strategy to revese these forces and to Retake Our Democracy. Stay tuned.

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

Categories: Social & Racial Justice & Immigration Reform

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3 replies

  1. Thanks for putting Decrim Abortion bill first on your list. Yes, this year especially, we have a real chance to repeal this old and dangerous law. Re the Green Amendment bill, this proposed amendment to the state constitution would be even stronger if it established that all water ways in the state are state property, not private lands. Some wealth land owners along the Chama and Pecos rivers who cleaned up the banks along their property have declared and fought for the right to call these riverbanks theirs. A very dangerous precedence. For more information, see the article Who Owns the Rivers? https://www.onthecommons.org/who-owns-river
    Federal Law, and SCOTUS decision establishes States’ own the water ways within their boundaries. However, some of the wealthiest land owners are buying up huge tracts of land in some states, including New Mexico — and these owners and their association of Private Land Owners, are working to establish ownership of water ways within their private land boundaries. We can not let this happen.

  2. Roxanne & Paul, I just listened to Saturday’s radio show. In regards to the community solar bill. Kit Carson electric co-op recently signed a Power Purchase agreement for 21kWh of solar and 30megawatt hours of battery storage at 4 cents kWh. The contract is for 12 years, after which they can purchase the facility, estimated cost, one, yes one cents a kWh. Since it’s a PPA, there’s no up front money by KCE. For more info, contact Bob Bresnahan who’s on the KCE board and also with Taos renewables. Ward

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