Today we feature commentary on our need for a path from our capitalist and colonial systems with commentary from Resilience, Red Nation, and YES! Magazine, plus a reprisal of a Retake post from 2017: “Can We De-Capitalize and De-Colonize Our Minds & Invent a New Path.”
We Need a New Path &
New Language to Describe It
We have been writing about our need to find a new path and are forming Rethink Our Democracy as an organization to help envision what that new path could look like in NM. We have also written about how we need to invent new terminology and language to describe this shift. Frankly, we were concerned that in too many populations if you begin the conversation by saying we need to replace capitalism and colonization we will lose a good many folks who have a ways to go before accepting or even considering replacing capitalism and who may not appreciate the extent to which our way of life is embedded in and dependent upon colonization and imperialism. And many folks don’t really want to think about it. Most of us see ourselves as decent, caring people and many of those decent people do not want to confront how their 4 wheel drive Subaru, laptop, and widescreen TV are only possible because of our economic system’s reliance on extraction of natural resources or exploitation of poor people, mostly from the southern hemisphere.
So we need to find language that makes it possible for people to begin to confront these realities and care about doing something about them because the more we ‘rethink’ the more we realize that fundamentally, capitalism, colonialism and imperialism are the root of much of what we find wrong with our world. Capitalism and colonization must end. Both of them.
We need to invent systems that are more in harmony with the natural world and much closer to the ways that indigenous people had lived before settlers colonized them. We need to invent economic systems that are not extractive and exploitive and band aids and tepid reform will not get us where we need to go. But we need your help with the language we use to describe that. Is there a way to make the same points without explicitly addressing the need to “eliminate capitalism and colonization” and work our way to that necessity and that language after educating people about what those systems require of us.
Any ideas would be appreciated by offering comments below. And if you want to be involved in this thinking, please consider joining our May 12 6pm Rethink Huddle. Click here to register for this important conversation. Please note that we had published a link for this conversation last week, but failed to require registration. The link allows you to register. Thanks.
Look for another post this week featuring the insights from The Democracy Collaborative on how government must vastly expand their scope and scale to reverse neoliberal privatization and create a greatly expanded public sector. TDC has published a ten-page primer on the need for such an expansion and how it can be achieved. Stay tuned!
Today, we offer you two pieces on colonization and capitalism and three videos on the Red Deal, which charts a path out of imperialism and capitalism. All three of these videos are so very powerful and full of insight. So, please read on, then watch on!
What We Are Reading
Published in November 2017, this Retake Our Democracy post is based upon a tremendous YES! Magazine that outlined the principles of a democratized economy and a democratized workplace. Moving beyond rhetoric or policy descriptions, YES! offered profiles of communities that had implemented models that provided a glimpse of a different approach, a departure from capitalism and colonization. I highly recommend this unusually brief post, as it demonstrates that Retake had been moving closer and closer to the vision for Rethink Our Democracy even four years ago. To whet your appetite, one quote cited in that 2017 Retake post.
“Solidarity economics is more than just cooperatives. It is a social justice movement. It is shifting our consciousness not only to uncover root causes, but also to expand our vision of what is possible, and to inspire dreams of the world as it could be. It is building power, not just to resist and reform the injustices and unsustainabilities produced by current systems, but ultimately to control democratically and govern political and economic resources to sustain people and the planet. And it is creating economic alternatives and prototypes for producing, exchanging, consuming, and investing in ways that are more just, sustainable, and democratic.”From Retake Our Democracy: Can We De-Capitalize and De-Colonize Our Minds & Invent a New Path? Nov 21, 2017
Check it out. Click here.
Red Nation: “The Red Deal”
I just finished Nick Estes’ book, Our History is the Future and I eagerly await delivery of The Red Nation’s book The Red Deal that is winding its way through the USPS maze. It outlines the indigenous vision for a decolonized and decapitalized future. If it is half as inspiring as Estes’ book, it will be well worth the wait. In the meantime, I found a Resilience article that offers a preview of “The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save the Earth,” by Red Nation. The short piece offers excerpts from the full book. The first quote below points to the need to fundamentally change our capitalist constrained relation to each other and our non-human
“The Green New Deal has the potential to connect every social justice struggle — free housing, free health care, free education, green jobs — to climate change. Likewise, the Red Deal places anticapitalism and decolonization as central to each social justice struggle, as well as climate change. The necessity of such a program is grounded in both the history and future of this land, and it entails the radical transformation of all social relations between humans and the Earth.”Resilience: “The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save the Earth,” by Red Nation
The Resilience excerpt below also outlines a perspective that Retake/Rethink is moving toward, albeit we have stated it differently. Our shift has been to begin to be more proactive and rather than reacting to what the powers that be offer or the legislature introduces, we want to begin bringing our ideas to the powers that be and the legislature and do so with enough power behind us that our initiatives can not be ignored. Red Nation offers the same perspective on reform, albeit more forcefully. And their philosophy, as expressed in the second paragraph, very much mirrors exactly the kind of policy research that Rethink is proposing to conduct.
“States protect capital and its caretakers: the ruling class. They do not protect the people. Reformists who appeal to the state for change compromise our future by aligning with the interests of the ruling class. We refuse to compromise. But we do believe in reform — just a different kind, a non-reformist reform that doesn’t limit the possibility of what the status quo offers, but which fundamentally challenges the existing structure of power by prioritizing, organizing and elevating the needs and demands of the masses.”
“Our philosophy of reform is thus to reallocate social wealth back to those who actually produce it: workers, the poor, Indigenous peoples, women, migrants, caretakers of the land, and the land itself. The restoration of social wealth means the empowerment of those who have been dispossessed.”Resilience: “The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save the Earth,” by Red Nation
The Red Deal‘s point that “States protect capital and its caretakers,” is well taken. I was listening to a report on KSFR yesterday but wasn’t able to catch the names of those speaking, but one speaker noted that the average wealth of our elected members of the US House and Senate is over $7 million. They are the caretakers and they are the government and to expect those same folks to address the need to “reform” the system is naive. They may tinker, they make modest proposals, but they will make gestures for reform, but they will not transform. For that we need a movement that demands the level of change that is required.
Naomi Klein, in her This Changes Everything very clearly lays out how climate change will force us to change and transform those systems, not reform them because a looming deadline will force us to confront the implications of privatization, capitalism, and empire. If you have not read that book, it is well worth a call to your local book store to pick it up. Stay tuned; we have much to Rethink.
Click here to read the Resilience piece. At the bottom of this post is a link to purchase The Red Deal from Red Nation. I’ll be reporting on this soon, as I am expecting it in mailbox any day now.
What We Are Watching
We offer three videos from The Red Nation and their newly published Red Deal. The first is the Democracy Now! 12 minute piece on the Red Deal in dialog with Red Nation leaders. Democracy Now offered a 32 minute Part II conversation with Red Nation leadership. That is our second video. Finally, we offer a link to the flat out amazing 90 minute panel discussion that aired on Facebook last Friday where five Red Nation leaders outlined the Red Deal, how it differs from and goes beyond the Green New Deal and the reasons why our survival depends upon our adoption of something very like The Red Deal. These video are very worth your time.
Click here to watch the full 90 minute webinar from Red Nation. It begins at 1 Minute 30 Seconds.
In solidarity, hope and gratitude,
Paul & Roxanne