In modern American society, people recognize that giant impersonal systems have too much power, and often they oppress us. These include big business corporations that cheat us out of our money, destroy our environment, outsource our jobs to low-wage countries, buy the politicians who make the political decisions, and own the media that control how we perceive the world and what we learn and think about political issues.
The big impersonal systems also include governmental systems that make wars despite public opinion and protect big business interests in defiance of the public interest.
All of the problems we face seem so huge, but we seem so powerless. People have tried to promote peace, social justice, the environment, and progressive issues. But for decades – even now – big business corporations, presidents and Congresses have pushed us backward.
As a result, many Americans feel frustration, powerlessness, despair, and depression. People who want change have become demoralized and immobilized. Why bother?
However, when we look around our local community in Olympia, Washington, we find that many people have been successfully organizing grassroots non-profit organizations that meet our political, social, economic, cultural and environmental needs. We don’t need to submit to big nasty systems. We can empower ourselves to meet our needs and enjoy democracy.
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s May 2010 TV interview focuses on some great local examples of how people are empowering ourselves at the very grassroots level to meet our needs in practical democratic ways.
In 2010, the TULIP Credit Union had operated successfully for five years. Some of the other local solutions were 15-25 years old, such as the Procession of the Species (which has been copied in communities around the world), the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) of Thurston County, Thurston Community Television (TCTV), and the monthly newspaper Works in Progress. The Olympia Food Co-Op was more than 30 years old then. All of these have continued working successfully and thriving!
It turns out we really can empower ourselves and organize from the grassroots up to meet our various needs directly. We don’t need giant corporations, governments or other big, formal systems to impose their will upon us. We can create our own solutions!
The Olympia FOR’s May 2010 TV program features four guests who work hard with local grassroots non-profit organizations that meet people’s needs in profoundly democratic ways:
Deb Vinsel from Thurston Community Television
Mark Stojak from the TULIP Co-Op Credit Union, which serves low-income people
Mike Coday from Works in Progress
Adrienne Stuart from the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County