Why We Need a New Year's Revolution Against the Corporatocracy
This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.
As a longtime writer and activist campaigning for decades on food and farming issues, most recently Prop 37, the California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered foods, I am reminded daily of the allure, indeed the addictive pleasure, of single-issue organizing. Despite the constant frustration of being the underdog in a David versus Goliath battle, it's great to have an avocation, not to mention a paying job, fighting Monsanto and its minions.
It's immensely gratifying to thoroughly understand, backward and forward, an issue like genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or organic agriculture.
It's stimulating to read and share dozens of articles and emails every day in my area of expertise, to stay in touch with other foodies working in the “buy local,” “buy organic” movement across the continent. It's ego boosting to see my name, or my organization's name in print, and to see thousands of "shares" and "likes" on Facebook.
Let me tell you. There's nothing better than hanging out with the activist fish in our little pond. Nothing more satisfying than fighting the good fight, even if the bad guys always seem to win.
Or is there?
What about our collective new normal? What about the weird weather, melting polar icecaps, killer droughts and floods, raging forest fires, permanent recession, deteriorating public health, senseless violence, and those never-ending wars for oil and natural resources?
Why is it that the massive, world-changing majorities for social change, the proverbial 99%, and the campaigners like myself who are supposed to be leading the charge, are still working in relative isolation from one another? Why aren’t we talking about radical change and climate-friendly food, farming, buildings, energy, transportation, jobs, education, foreign policy, mass media, and elected officials in the same breath?
Why aren’t we united, indeed up in arms against the maniacs in the Corporatocracy and their political hirelings who are gambling not only with our hard-earned money and taxes, but also with our future?
Can we connect the dots between our primary passions and the burning issues? Can we bring together the full spectrum of the activist rainbow into a single, powerful, laser-focused movement before it’s too late? Can we reach critical mass in public consciousness and grassroots mobilization before the tipping point in greenhouse gas pollution and runaway global warming (565 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide, 450 ppm of CO2) knocks us down forever?
While we've been dutifully carrying on this year in our daily lives, in our separate domains, doing the right thing—taking care of our children and grandchildren; trying to save the whales, farm animals, and the bees; organizing the unorganized; promoting natural health; opposing the wars overseas; electing, or trying to elect, decent candidates; supporting green commerce; fighting GMOs; safeguarding organic standards—we have nonetheless been steadily losing ground.
Despite our best, often heroic efforts the New World Order of post-2012 is shaping up to be very difficult, indeed downright scary. How is it possible that tens of thousands of non-profit organizations and millions of health, environmental and justice-minded citizens have been stymied by the deadly "business-as-usual" practices of a ruthless Corporatocracy hell-bent on disaster?
It’s time for a New Year’s Revolution.
Reviewing the balance sheet of the economy and public policy where I work every day, I see that progressive change is advancing. But the pace of transformation is too little, too late. While we may pat ourselves on the back because the multi-billion dollar U.S. market share for sustainable, relatively climate-friendly organic foods and fair-trade products has moved toward the magic 5% threshold, energy-intensive industrial farming, agricultural-related deforestation and factory farms are pumping out billions of tons of greenhouse gases and laying waste to the climate and the environment.