The Role of Democracy Networks, Green Jobs and an Alternative Financial SystemI. Democracy Networks
: The concentration of power in large corporations and banks has placed seriousconstraints on democracy. Many large companies have outsourced work overseas and failed to organizework at home. The megabanks, backed by bond rating agencies and governments, have created austerity programs, and have received bailouts when many are jobless or homeless. Yet, we have democraticresponsibility for the economy (taking the form of bailouts) without democratic influence on how these bailout funds are invested. The result: disinvestment and austerity for the majority—while a massive public investment helps the private corporate minority. We need to organize globally and locally tocounteract the non-democratic power of these mega-institutions. A Global Teach-In, bringing together diverse constituencies in real time, is an excellent way to do this. The Arab Spring, the Occupy WallStreet movement, the UK Uncut and the Spanish Indignants’ movement show how alliances amongdiverse political forces can strengthen the hand of various communities facing common problems. Wemust defend the right to collective bargaining, housing and meaningful employment as well as the provision of public services answerable to democratically elected governments. Cooperative economics,family and worker-owned firms, and locally anchored businesses are key ways to achieve these goals.
II. Green Jobs:
We are facing a “triple crisis” defined by:
(inequality, deindustrialization,mass unemployment, or the privatization and “de-democratization” of public goods), the
(pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and depletion of species) crisis and reliance on
unsustainable energy supplies
(diminished stocks of cheap oil, use of oil in hard to get or insecure areas,and substitution of land used to grow food to supply alternative fuels). The solution requires a “Green New Deal” that expands investments, manufacturing and infrastructure related to alternative energy andmass transportation. This will lower our reliance on non-sustainable and costly energy systems while promoting a wealth-creating system. The creation of wealth is a way to transcend the politics of scarcityand austerity. The budget deficits of some countries have led or will lead them to cut back military budgets. Such cutbacks represent an opportunity to advance the conversion or diversification of defensefirms into green industries. The advance of green jobs depends on regulations which penalize carbonemissions and research and production networks promoting firms’ capacities. For a green job to be agood job, labor rights must be extended and jobs must be more locally anchored. Locally anchored jobsare more sustainable (reducing transit costs in production) and provide economic security.
III. An Alternative Financial System:
The tax breaks received by the super rich and the bailoutsreceived by large banks have not prevented austerity and economic decline. They have strengthened their ability to continue to manipulate governments and lowered accountability. We need a new way toorganize our banking capacities and financial system. The people have the immediate power to influencedirection of financial investment, limiting the financial volatility that is the basis for a high frequencytrading system expropriating the majority’s savings every nanosecond. Five key sources of capital cansupport locally-anchored and/or green growth alternatives: (a) “
Move Your Money”
: This U.S.-initiatedmovement takes funds out of large banks and moves the money to smaller banks and “credit unions.”Cooperative banks and low-interest charging banks are also important alternatives. (b)
: Unions, universities, hospitals, religious and other organizations can reinvest their large payroll and pension fund accounts that have supported megabanks, various stock portfolios and bonds.(c)
New Budget Priorities
: Security challenges include climate change and economic insecurity. So wemust redirect military budgets towards green investments (mass transit investments help security byhelping move populations from flood zones, earth quake regions and other areas under attack). (d)
Greenand Local Procurement
: Cities and communities that federate or cooperate can create “consumer” or “purchasing” cooperatives, leveraging their buying power to advance a “triple bottom line”, i.e. not just profits, but local employment and sustainability. (e)
More Equitable Tax Policies
: When the rich andcorporations don’t pay their fare share of taxes the result is often reduced welfare state services and afailure to invest in needed public goods.