Several years ago, a guest on one of my TV programs said that only 5% of democracy is about voting, while 95% of democracy is about organizing grassroots movements. I agree.
People who have official power (politicians, big businesses, etc.) want ordinary people to feel powerless and get out of the way, so they themselves can make all of the important decisions.
Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
If ordinary people actually did recognize our power — and our huge potential to organize strategically from the grassroots up — we could solve many of the big, horrible problems.
Several times every year I conduct FREE online workshops to help ordinary people learn how to organize strategically savvy nonviolent grassroots movements for whatever issues they care about. (The skills are transferable across all issues.) If you might be interested in a future opportunity, contact me at (360) 491-9093 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are more insights:
The big political systems are dysfunctional and have caused many people to feel powerless. Both big parties are corrupted by Big Money. Neither big party really serves the general public. Congress keeps failing to pass laws that gigantic majorities support (e.g., strong laws to reduce gun violence, get “Big Money” out of election campaigns, etc.). Even when we have a Democrat (Biden) as President, he keeps refusing to take important actions for which he has Executive power. The courts used to be our last safeguard, but now the Republican-dominated courts are rapidly taking away our rights.
Only a small number of people understand the power of nonviolent grassroots movements to solve problems, so very few people are active in these movements, but they have great potential – and more potential than merely voting. Indeed, powerful grassroots movements can inspire voter turnout.
Since the 1970s the right wing (Big Business, the “religious right,” racists, etc.) have been organizing in a number of ways and gaining power. The Democratic Party keeps failing to offer bold remedies – or to promote a bold platform that would inspire people to vote. Merely imploring people to vote is not enough when people feel they have nothing to vote for – and that the system is rigged against them anyway. (A campaign strategy that says “the other party is even worse” is not enough.)
We CAN make progress!!! The U.S.’s enemies of progress promote cynicism into trying to make us give up. WE MUST KEEP ORGANIZING POSITIVELY!
Robert Reich’s video is short (a little over 3 minutes), but its message is big. Let’s recognize that the rich, powerful enemies of democracy and human rights want us to become cynical and give up. We must continue organizing nonviolently to build powerful, savvy grassroots movements for the important issues. See this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxze5ZmZEvY&t=70s I invite you to share this with your friends.
THIS IS ENCOURAGING!
So many problems exist – and so many systems are broken – that it’s easy for people to feel hopeless, powerless and cynical. But that prevents us from taking positive actions to solve the problems. Among the signs I hold at our weekly peace vigils, one affirms, “We can solve the problems.,” and another invites people to “Choose a bold, humane future.”
Many years ago the Quaker economist and peace activist Kenneth Boulding observed, “Anything that exists is possible.” We can emulate and build upon the good things that already exist – and push further to envision and build a world of peace, social justice, and environmental sustainability.
See relevant parts of my blog, www.parallaxperspectives.org, including the categories of “Nonviolence” and “Organizing.”
Some people have used a method called “power mapping.”
See this: https://littlesis.org/toolkit