An Examination of Systems Transformation & a New Normal
There is a critical need for America to re-evaluate what it has assumed to be “normal” life. Our systems have failed us for years, creating gross wealth inequality, unsustainable levels of growth, widespread health inequality, and desecration of the earth. COVID has caused many to question how we organize and exploit our resources and our people. But we must go beyond opposing injustice, we must advocate for justice, and to do so we must fully understand our options and consider what is possible.
Retake has launched a Transformation Study Group (TSG) to review research on a number of far-reaching policy initiatives that collectively could define a “new normal” and a radical departure from our current economic and political systems.
Our premise is that we don’t want the old normal. Instead, we must invent a new one that serves the needs of the community and planet rather than shareholders and wealthy execs.
Some general principles to guide our Study Group are public control of major services and resources; local energy, food production & decision-making; more cooperative models of organizing labor; and the end of privatization.
If you would like to be part of this Transformation Study Group, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a bit about yourself and your interests.
Below is a very partial and preliminary list of resources, but beginning July 1, the 20 members of the TSG have begun organizing resources for all 21 of our initial topic areas (list at the end of the TSG Framework). This page will incorporate new research as those inventories are completed.
General Resources on Transformation
From Truthout: “Chomsky and Pollin: To Heal From COVID-19, We Must Imagine a Different World”
From The Correspondent.com: “The neoliberal era is ending: What Comes Next?”
From The New York Times: “Bernie Sanders: The Foundations of American Society Are Failing Us: The unequal impact of the pandemic and economic collapse are forcing us to rethink the assumptions of our system”
From The New York Times: “The America We Need”
From Resilience: “Could Covid be a portal to a viable society and economy”
Local Control, Local Food, & Strengthened Local Communities
Decisions about the things that define a quality of life––our water, our land, our food, our air––must incorporate strong elements of local control, local sustainability, and a stronger sense of shared commitment to community.
From Resilience: “A Search for a New Community”
From Resilience: “Transition Towns, Relocalisation, Covid 19 and the Fracking Industry”
From Resilience: “What the transition movement can teach us about how to bounce forward”
From Community-Wealth.org: “Overview: Community Land Trusts”
An Economy Organized Around Nature & People
We are not cogs in a wheel to be organized by corporations driven by profit, we are humans with aspirations that are worthy of respect, dignity, and quality of life, as we define it.
From The Independent: “Case for universal basic income ‘strengthened immeasurably’ by coronavirus pandemic, says Nicola Sturgeon”
From Resilience: “Thomas Paine’s 1797 Call for a Basic Income: a new paper tells the full story”
From The Next Systems Project: “After the pandemic, a ten-point plan for the collective provision of basic needs”
How We Work: Cooperation Replaces Competition
Related to the category immediately above, the way we work should be organized around the needs of the workers and those who consume the products of their work, not around the profit of absent corporate CEOs.
From Democracy Collaborative: “Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale”
From Next City: “Formerly Incarcerated Women Form Worker Owned Cooperative”
The Birth of a Vibrant, Democratic Public Sector & The End of Privatization, Neoliberalism, and Capitalization
The overarching premise is that as long as our most important services and resources are “owned” by the private sector, their values and priorities will define and constrict our options and our lives. There are myriad industries, products, and services where exploring public ownership can be considered. The list that follows is a starting point. Bottom line, neoliberalism has failed to serve the needs of the many and we need to develop a robust public sector organized around our needs and the needs of a sustainable earth.
Transportation, infrastructure, financing, communications––all could come under the control of local communities. The three articles below describe the rationale for public ownership, after which we provide resources for municipalizing specific industries and services.
From Transnational Institute: “The Future is Public”
From Next System Project: “The Future is Public: Towards Democratic Ownership of Public Services”
From Next System Project: “Reclaiming Public Services: How Cities and Citizens are Turning Back Privatisation”
Public Telecommunications & Internet
From Next System Project: “Democratic Digital Infrastructure”
From In These Times: “We Should Own the Internet”
Public Ownership of Transportation
From Open Democracy: “When We Own It: A model for public ownership of transit in the 21st century”
From Jacobin: ”Nationalize the Airlines”
Public Ownership of Natural Resources, Including Fossil Fuels and New Green Energy Systems
In NM, we have experienced what happens when the private sector mines our minerals and drills our fossil fuels. As we transition to a sustainable, renewable energy system, we need public ownership to ensure our priorities govern those systems.
From: The Price of Oil: “The Case for Public Ownership of the Fossil Fuel Industry”
From The Next Systems Project: “Don’t bail out Big Oil; buy it up and shut it down”
From Food & Water Watch: “The State of Public Water in America”
Public Financing and Banking
From BankingOnColorado.org: “What are public banks and how do they benefit us.”
From Northeast-Midwest Institute: “White Paper: Public Banking in the Northeast and Midwest States”
From Fast Company: “Public Banking Can Finance the Green New Deal”
From Next City: “A community development credit union that grows every time there is a disaster”
Public Pharmaceutical Production
From Jacobin: “Socialize Big Pharma”
A Greener, More Sustainable Life
From Resilience: “Soaring Beyond the Green New Deal”
From Truthout: “This Appalachian Community Launched Its Own Green Stimulus”
From Yes!: “From Emergency to Emergence”
From Resilience: “From what is to what if, a green stimulus and the importance of envisioning the impossible”
Sustainable Food Production
From Resilience: “A Food Revolution Begins with a Seed”
From Resilience: “Building resilience into our food system”