"We need to remove the Economic Gun pointed at our
heads. This is the gun that says, "cooperate with the system, live
within it, or you will die, starve, or live in miserable poverty." We
must, in short, be able to meet the key material human needs outside
the system. The primary ones are food and energy, shelter, health
care, health insurance, and currencies of exchange; and there are also
media/communication, appropriate levels of necessary transportation;
child-care, elder-care, education, and retirement
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can,
Boldness has a genius, power, and magic in it "
Note #1: This page is under construction. It is mostly however a launching point with links to resources and where possible, to projects you may want to support and lend your energy to.
Note #2: The focus here is deliberately on citizen run a) health insurance and b) retirement income and income security. This is because first, a great deal more resources already exist about other aspects (renewable energy, permaculture, etc) and secondly because we do not have expertise in them. So a few quick links on those topics at the end will have to do; it is by no means an indication that they are not as important.
At the most basic level there are community- or worker-owned businesses/enterprises. But why not facilitate income security for anyone? Do we really want to make "invest in US bonds or in the stock market" the only option for people who have some money? Similarly, should we leave people with skills on their own, so they either join a community/business or else are entirely on their own? Why not facilitate a network of support, a sort of pan-skill, pan-profession, pan-trade community/citizen run meta-guild?
Another goal on the list, is citizen run retirement income an alternative to Social Security and to Wall Street pensions. But such a project is also a microcosm of "general income security", so once a project is successfully in place for citizen's retirement income/retirement security, we will also have a model for income security for those of us not yet retired.
Another copy is at the projects listing in EconomicDemocracy.org's Projects Overview under project G-1, linking to here for the direct link to the essay.
Update: In summer 2004, I visited Ithaca for a week, and on the last day I met with Paul Glover, founder of Ithaca Hours (local currency that is one of the prime models in the US) and the Ithaca Health Fund (ithacahealth.org) in person at his residence. We finalized agreement on combining ideas in my essay with his own WISE (Whole Ithaca Stock Exchange idea. My proposal looks at the retirement side of the coin, while WISE looks at the community investment side of the same coin. Glover, one of the most talented community activists I know of in this country, is willing to spend a good part of a year launching what I've tentatively called WISE Equity Community Annuity Notes (WE*CAN) if $20,000 in investments are received. We have $2,200 committed and need to raise another $17,800. Note: Under this proposal, the original investors like us have no advantages: every one has the same vote, one vote, everyone earns the same return on each $1 invested (An outline of WISE is at http://www.ithacanews.org/wise.html).
The Canadian and British single-payer national health plans began with examples set by local health funds, which raised public demand for universal coverage as a human right. We seek, however, universal coverage which is owned directly by citizens, rather than by politicians. What government can give it to you (Great Society of '60s), government can take it away (Reagan Revolution to date). -IthacaHealth.org
Health insurance outside of the corporate sphere; citizen run via local/regional networks, rather than wait for government given health insurance (this is not a contrary tactic; in fact, creating such citizens insurance may be the only way to pressure our corporate-influenced government to actually create national health insurance which, we might otherwise never, as decades of struggle suggest.
The Ithaca Health Fund is open to anyone anywhere in the US and anywhere in the world. See especially Unique and Growing as a good first place to start -- a nice over view of the Ithaca Health Fund.
Creating democratic mass-media..is absolutely critical. How could roughly half the U.S. voting public vote in 2004 for the most criminal (towards others) and insane (bad for Americans, too) regime in memory? When you are brainwashed (it's hard to think of a softer term here) or given a radically distorted picture of the world, and you are convinced that 1+1=15 then one can see why it happened. It's not that Americans knowingly support the horrible, but rather that unless we have a really democratic and free media, no matter what Bush does -- he can even kill a baby live on TV with his bare hands -- the American people (or half or them or many) will believe he did it to save us from evil (or some other insane "1+1=37").
See EconomicDemocracy.org's Projects Overview under "The Revolution Will Be Webcast (project B) but readers are strongly encouraged to first read the synopsis. The projects overview page links to other key strategic vision essays like "On Funding" (Project F). As the reader can surmise, the Projects Overview page represents most of the last 5+ years worth of analysis activist strategy pieces by EconomicDemocracy.org