Thursday, 3 November 2011

Free Foreclosure

Foreclosure Victims

Friday, 21 October 2011

It's not what you know, or how well you do it, but who you know that counts in the Verde Valley, AZ

The other day my wife Susan and I asked a local plumber to come to our house and advise us concerning the maintenance of our water conditioner. His name is Charlie. Susan found his name and phone number in the Yellow Pages. She spoke with him by phone and he sounded friendly.

Charlie was very conscientious and sincere. He also knew what he was doing as a plumber. He called a couple of times before coming over, to let us know he was on his way. His price for the visit was quite reasonable. And he gave us excellent advice. 

We were left with the impression that we could do the job of cleaning the water conditioner unit ourselves at minimal cost. Charlie would be available by phone, at no charge, if we needed additional help with the procedure. He would come to our house to assist for a reasonable charge. He answered other questions we had of a plumbing nature. Overall we were very pleased with the service he provided.

When our business with Charlie was concluded, we spoke with him about our previous residency in Southern California. He was from Northern California. Then we spoke about how difficult it is to find work in Northern Arizona, which is where we live. He agreed and told us that it took twelve years for him to find local customers. Before that he was just a laborer working for someone else. I told Susan, “I guess that means we’ll only have to wait 8 ½ years before I get local accounting business”. We’ve been living in Rimrock for 3 ½ years. 

I told Charlie that trying to find work around here is like trying to find work in a desert. He replied that most people he’s known here hire people that they already know or trust. It’s taken twelve years for people in the area to get to know him and recommend him to others. He’s the same way, as it turns out. He said he’d only hire someone that he knows, and that we should leave it at that. 

Based on my own experience, I have to agree with Charlie about the tendency of area residents to hire or recommend professionals based on how well they know the professional. Whether someone trusts you or not has just about everything to do with them hiring you. It doesn’t matter to most people here how good I am at accounting. Many individuals and businesses won’t hire me because they don’t know me. They don’t like to hire strangers to do their accounting work. Being known, as opposed to not being known, can make the difference between being paid $75 per hour and being paid $12 per hour for doing the same work. 

It was pretty much that way even when I worked in more cosmopolitan environments like Long Island, New York City and Southern California. In those places, however, professionals were treated as being less expendable than in Northern Arizona. In New York City you could make a decent living as an accountant working for someone else. In Northern Arizona, you can’t.

I didn’t tell Charlie that the reason we hired him was that we found his listing in the Yellow Pages and liked how he sounded on the phone. We didn’t know him at all before we called him to come to our house. I didn’t think he was ready to hear that. 

The basic flaw in that way of thinking, i.e. only hiring someone you know, I decided, is that it limits your hiring options. You may refuse to hire, or overlook hiring, someone who’s very well qualified to do the work you need done, just because you don’t know them. With all the information that’s available about professionals and people seeking work, including on their website or résumé, it appears to be an act of negligence to leave any stone unturned if you want the best job done.

It’s sensible to hire someone you know or trust. However, the person you know or trust should be hired only after all eligible candidates for the job have been considered or interviewed. It seems to me that a candidate should be given the opportunity to earn your trust.

But then, perhaps people in Northern Arizona don’t care if the work that’s performed for them isn’t of the highest quality. They’re more concerned about knowing or trusting the person they hire. That may be one reason that the economy here is stagnant. Hiring people on a political basis, rather than on the basis of merit, can lead to a less productive workforce. Consequently, the value of professionals in the eyes of prospective clients and employers is diminished. When this is combined with the economic hardship faced by so many people, it becomes easier for those in a position to hire someone to justify paying them less. That leads to less money being recirculated in the local economy.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting Saturday October 29

Our Government has bailed out the banks and Wall Street at our expense.

Yet for 99% of Americans, the Government has done little or nothing. We’re struggling to pay our bills and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure.

If you’re as angry about this as my wife and I are, show the banks and our Government that you won’t tolerate it! I invite you to come to our next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting.

The Wall Street protests are a good start in the right direction, but more assertive action needs to be taken against a system that’s rife with corruption, greed and unfairness. A well thought-out plan for lasting reform is needed. 99% of Americans should prosper, not just 1%! This will be the focus of our next meeting.

When times are tough, we need to stick together.

The next meeting of the Economic Solidarity Workshop will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Beaver Creek Adult Center, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ. Admission is $1. For more information call Gary at (928) 592-0190. E-mail address:


Mahatma Gandhi, a pioneer of civil disobedience

My U of Va blog posting in response to "Guns don't cause crime, criminals do"

On July 20, 2011, a Mr. Cox posted this comment on the University of Virginia Magazine blog, concerning a Virginia law that prevents the U of Va from disallowing the use of concealed weapons on campus:

 "Ms. Allman, Mr. Rock & Mr. Lucas, you forget it is not guns that cause crime, but rather criminals. Obtaining a concealed carry permit with a criminal history is nearly impossible. If you do not understand the correlation between firearms restrictions and violent crime, it is your own common sense that is lacking. Feel free to contact me for statistics."

Here’s my reply to Mr. Cox’s posting, dated October 12, 2011:

Whether guns cause crime or not, what matters is the fact that guns are used to commit violent crimes. A murder committed with a gun cannot occur if there's no gun. If a knife, rope or hammer is used instead, there will still be a murder. But it won't happen as easily.

Violence begets violence. I believe that non-violent persuasion is a far more effective means of settling disputes than by the use of force. To that end, I'm in favor of educating schoolchildren about the value of seeking peaceful means of settling disputes, rather than by using knives or guns. Mahatma Gandhi proved that in India.

Many people carry handguns in their homes for protection against violent criminals and maniacs. If they want to keep a gun around for protection, they should be allowed to. However, they should be properly trained in how to use it, and make sure that no untrained or unregistered family member has access to it.

A college campus is no place for guns. A law that permits people to carry them around on college campuses makes it more likely that murders will continue to take place on them. Prohibiting gun use on campuses will give the students more peace of mind. They need to concentrate on their studies. They don't need to be fearful for their safety. An armed security guard should be sufficient to prevent most unauthorized entry. Beyond that, if a student feels the need to have a gun for self-protection, they may be allowed to, but their use should be strictly regulated.

The blog postings were in response to an article titled
July 19, 2011

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My conclusions in regards to the Sedona Wall Street protest October 13

The protest that I took part in Thursday, October 13 had, I'm sure, a positive impact. Still, what's needed is more assertive, even disruptive action. Even if those in power pay attention to the protests, they still don't have enough of an incentive to act in our best interests. The protesters represent no real threat to them. If we're going to organize protests, we should organize them in front of or around banks, radio stations and gas stations. We should make it difficult for people to simply go about their business without being aware of our presence. We should even stage an occupation in Sedona like the one organized by Occupy Wall Street in NY. Think of how much more attention we'd get just by calling our local effort "Occupy Sedona". And we should alert the media before any protest or occupation is to take place.

The non-violent protests, or satyagraha, organized by Mahatma Gandhi were designed to evoke sympathy for the Indian protesters and their cause against the British occupiers. The method made use of non-cooperation or civil disobedience. No one yet has proved to me why this method won't work in this country against the plutocrats and greed-mongers. 

I've met individuals who insist on arming themselves against a repressive government and roving criminals, ecologists and advocates of sustainability who strive to take peaceful actions and educate others. I've met diehard capitalists, wealth seekers and spiritual individuals wishing to solve political problems through meditation. And I've met people who are simply concerned for their survival. Each group believes its way is the best way to protect our rights, our freedoms and way of life, and bring about more fairness if not accountability. Yet with all groups going in different directions, we still don't have unity as a people. We may as well be a rabble. If only we'd seek to unite and practice solidarity, we see that an approach like satyagraha could work very well as a unifying and effective force in obtaining the desired reforms. 

In my last post I mentioned that I encountered a certain timidity among the protesters. This is more or less to be expected, since Americans aren't used to taking collective political action in public. 

The timidity I encountered may also help to explain why Americans are reluctant to practice satyagraha as a political approach.  Americans have been used to being obedient towards those in authority: most Americans I know haven't wanted to confront strangers or upset those who are subjugating them. This includes everyone from postal clerks to bank tellers. In a country where so many people are financially insecure, a desire to please is very much the standard mode of behavior. This insecurity may be a cause of political correctness. And political correctness is a mild symptom of the so-called "dumbing down" of Americans. Civil disobedience requires an attitude of non-cooperation towards one's oppressors. It's an act of substantial courage. It's very much in conflict with the obedience practiced by most Americans.

My participation in a "tame" Wall Street protest

I participated in a Wall Street protest at a busy intersection in Sedona, Arizona last Thursday October 13. This is an account of that event.

I, and twenty to thirty other protesters, held up signs in opposition to the brazen economic injustice practiced by Wall Street and the banks. The idea was to attract attention to our cause and encourage others to get involved. 

I still don't know who organized the protest. I signed up to join it in response to an e-mail invitation from an "Ahmad F.", a member. I asked a fellow protester who he was, and she said she didn't know. Another protester told me that the Arizona Democratic Party told him when and where the protest would take place. Incidentally, the protest was announced as "Make Wall Street Pay - Jobs not Cuts Thursday in Sedona".

(Note: since posting this account, I learned who "Ahmad F." is. I called the AZ Democratic Party and they gave me the phone number of a Democratic Party member in Sedona named Angela. I called her cell phone and left a message. Ahmad F. called back the next day. He said he's with and it was he who organized the protest. A National Day of Action is planned for November 5, for which a planning meeting will be held next week. He invited me to the meeting. October 21.)

The protest was pretty tame by my standards. I've been involved in similar protests in Southern California. Cars honked at us and people waived or shouted encouragement. Hardly anybody driving or passing by came over to join us. Nearly all drivers and passersby simply drove by or went about their business. Most of the protesters didn't know each other. There was little sense of real solidarity, such as what Labor union strikers practice.
I heard one of the protesters brag about the people that shouted cusses at him or that made inappropriate gestures to him. He said it was on account of the sign he was carrying - it said something like "99% of Americans are fed up".

I heard that some have criticized the protests as being aimless. I did notice a certain timidity among the protesters. A couple of people asked if we had a permit to conduct the protest there. 

Another protester told me that the conservative states should secede from the Union, so that the rest of us who are more progressive have more influence over the Federal Government.

A couple of people representing local causes, i.e. local ownership of Hwy. 89A, and the Fire Dept. Board, came up to us to ask us to sign their petitions.

The protest was still fairly proactive considering that it took place in Sedona. The same protest effort will take place again at the Hwy. 89A and Coffee Pot Rd. location every Wednesday at 3 pm.

How we can capitalize on the momentum gained from the Wall Street occupation

The Wall Street occupations have gained a lot of attention. Yet I've been hearing that the protesters have no clear plan of action other than drawing attention to the immense gulf between the few who are filthy rich and the many who are poor or middle class in the U.S..

I've heard too that the protesters should consider lobbying for legislative action or forming a political party. The actor Alec Baldwin visited Zuccoti Park in New York City, the site of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). He suggested that "OWS needs to coalesce around some legislative policy" Alec Baldwin and OWS.

There's a problem with a legislative policy as I see it. First, it requires that the protesters agree upon a strategy of reform. There are many opinions on what should be done. Alec Baldwin himself acknowledged this when he asked "But what can each entity agree on?" The corruption is so widespread and deep-rooted that it's hard to determine what the best approach is. Besides, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to petition the Government for a redress of their grievances. This right extends to Corporate lobbyists.

Nevertheless, a citizen's lobby made up of thousands of people in the "99%" category should be at least as effective in advocating for our interests as the corporate lobbyists are in advocating for their employers' and clients' interests. A citizen's lobby requires active involvement by U.S. citizens is something we're not used to seeing in this country. The Wall Street occupations offer hope that the "slumbering giant", otherwise known as the American masses, is finally beginning to awaken from its political stupor.

But if we're going to become more assertive politically, why should we settle for lobbying Congress in the near-clandestine manner of corporate lobbyists? Why shouldn't we confront our Government directly, by organizing strikes? Why shouldn't we confront the corporate greed-mongers directly, by organizing boycotts? These measures would be the most effective because they'd be the most convincing demonstration of "people power". They'd take full advantage of our strength in numbers. They'd convincingly demonstrate our spiritual force, which would more than rival the military force used by the U.S. as a way to resolve conflicts. Anything less has the potential of devolving into political gamesmanship, which would be contrary to our interests as this country's true owners.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Economic Solidarity Workshop July 30 in Lake Montezuma

Date and time: Saturday July 30, 10 am to 12:30 pm

Where: The Beaver Creek Adult Center library, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ

Cost: $1. Light refreshments will be provided, but contributions of food and drink and or a few dollars are welcome.

Agenda for the meeting: Introductions, discussing strategy for local action, forming committees and assigning responsibilities. We'll also discuss how we're being shortchanged by our county governments concerning infrastructure improvements in our own communities, like road improvements.

RSVP by Monday July 25.

What are you doing to make this a better country to live in? What are you doing to hold the government accountable to you as a citizen of the United States, and make the government more responsive to your needs?
Do you want to do something about this but you feel you don’t have the time, energy or money? The Economic Solidarity Workshop gives you the opportunity to get involved at a level you’re comfortable with, and still make a difference. Our mission is to achieve economic and political fairness for you and many others. We plan to accomplish that mission by organizing grassroots community action. When we work together towards a common goal we can tip the seesaw in our direction, and away from the ultra-wealthy, the politically powerful and those who are corrupt.

Join us and take responsibility as a citizen. Democracy isn't a spectator sport. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Our predicament and what to do about it

Here's a video that's a must-see. I received it from two days ago, and again yesterday from my advertising consultant and compatriot Robert Schmierer. In the video former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains the economy in 135 seconds. He hits the nail right on the head.

The Truth about the Economy in two minutes

It doesn't stop amazing me how, with all of our technology and know-how, we're so politically docile and isolated from those around us. Poor people in other countries like Egypt and Tunisia have demonstrated on the streets to protest economic injustice there. Here in the United States, people have material comforts to a greater degree than elsewhere. Yet the average American limits his or her political participation to voting every 2 or 4 years. And fewer Americans have voted in past years due to disgust with the political process. Are we apathetic because of some genetic defect, or have the powers that be found a way to control us like puppets? I heard on the radio years ago that the U.S. is the most propagandized country in the world. Could that be how we're being manipulated, or is it because of our dependence on money that's harder and harder to come by these days?

How did we become the most powerful country in the world? Perhaps it's because a few very powerful people want to protect their immense wealth by means of military force. Who'd think of stealing their assets when they're so heavily defended?

Anyway, here's information about the next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting.

Date and time: Saturday June 25, 10 am to 12:30 pm

Where: The Beaver Creek Adult Center library, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ

Cost: $1. Light refreshments will be provided, but contributions of food and drink and or a few dollars are welcome.

Agenda for the meeting: Introductions, discussing strategy for local action, forming committees and assigning responsibilities. We'll also discuss the "Decoupling" policy approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), and what we can do about it.

RSVP by Monday June 20. 

Please note: portions of the meeting will be recorded on video to be posted on this Blog. Please don't attend the meeting if you have no wish to appear in the video.
As explained in the PowerPoint presentation I sent to friends and acquaintances, one of the Workshop's objectives for holding the Powers that Be accountable is to take grassroots action. You may not live close enough to Lake Montezuma, AZ to be able to attend meetings. Don't worry, however, that you won't be able to participate in this movement. We can arrange to meet remotely via Skype video, audio or text chat, for example. And I can help you establish a local chapter of the Economic Solidarity Workshop, so that you can organize meetings where you live. Just imagine the impact we'll have when people all over Arizona and the Southwest are working together towards one common goal: to hold those in power accountable to the middle class. Imagine how much better our lives will be when the corruption is exposed and the greed-mongers are forced to show more compassion! And all because we make it happen! How many new cars and trips to Italy would that be worth to you?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Economic solidarity workshop June 25 in Lake Montezuma

Event: next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting

Date and time: Saturday June 25, 10 am to 12:30 pm

Where: The Beaver Creek Adult Center library, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ

Cost: $1. Light refreshments will be provided, but contributions of food and drink and or a few dollars are welcome.

Agenda for the meeting: Introductions, discussing strategy for local action, forming committees and assigning responsibilities. We'll also discuss the "Decoupling" policy approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), and what we can do about it.

RSVP by Saturday June 18.

The power of the Many is greater than the power of the Money.

If you're like a great many people, you're afraid for your family's future. You're afraid that the world is crumbling apart. You're worried that there's nothing you can do about it.

There is something you can do about it. You can act with courage, conviction and honor. And you can attend the next meeting of the Economic Solidarity Workshop June 25 at 10 am at the Beaver Creek Adult Center in Lake Montezuma.

Our mission is to help you and other individuals become more economically secure and more politically powerful by helping to organize effective community action. People are acting in isolation from each other, and although people you meet may not show it, what they're feeling is paralysis, fear and a sense of despair.
And blaming our political leaders for our problems isn't the answer. We, the U.S. citizens, need to be the ones to make the necessary changes. We can be so much more effective when we cooperate with each other and put aside our petty differences for the good of all. We need to combine forces.

All it takes is a relatively small group of people to ignite the spark that'll lead to a movement to take back our country. You can make it happen.

Gary Krupa
Rimrock, AZ

Telephone            (928) 592-0190      
Cell phone           (805) 320-8503      



Relevant links (in order of viewing importance):

The Tiny Dot

A graphic depiction of our predicament. 

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

The ultra-wealthy want things to remain the way they are. And they're the ones who control this country.
American Corruption


Please note: portions of the meeting will be recorded on video to be posted on this Blog. Please don't attend the meeting if you have no wish to appear in the video.

We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.

Benjamin Franklin

People in the U.S. are like islands in a vast ocean at a time of global warming. The gulf between one person and another appears to be getting bigger.

-- Gary Krupa and Pamela Chionis


Friday, 6 May 2011

Economic solidarity workshop May 28 in Lake Montezuma

Event: next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting

Date and time: Saturday May 28, 10 am to 12:30 pm

Where: The Beaver Creek Adult Center library, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ

Cost: $1. Light refreshments will be provided, but contributions of food and drink and or a few dollars are welcome.

Agenda for the meeting: An update on the "Decoupling" policy approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). Decoupling would allow utilities who have received permission from the ACC to charge their customers the same rate even if they use less electricity or gas. 

RSVP by May 23.

Contact for more information: 

Gary Krupa 
Rimrock, AZ

Telephone (928) 592-0190 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (928) 592-0190      end_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighend_of_the_skype_highlighting
Cell phone (805) 320-8503 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (805) 320-8503      end_of_the_skype_highlighting


Like so many citizens nowadays, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to pay your bills and keep your home. You probably realize that it didn’t used to be this way. Most of us could count on having a decent-paying job until retirement or for at least several years. That security gave us the opportunity to own a home, send our kids to college, afford medical care, save for retirement, and take regular vacations.

Now we struggle just to put food on the table and have a roof over our heads. Luxuries like new cars we bought and vacations we took to Europe are just bittersweet memories. You probably spend more time staying home and watching television than you used to. 

The unemployment rate in Arizona is over 9%*, the 14th highest rate in the country. The rate of foreclosures in Arizona has gone up about 44% in the last four years. ** The American Dream has all but evaporated for most Americans.

What is our government doing about our predicament? It appears that it’s not doing much of anything. And although you and many others may blame the Government, and perhaps even Barack Obama for the state our country is in, the real culprits are the Banks, the Federal Reserve Bank, the corporate lobbyists, the corporate-owned media and other wealthy and powerful interests who have BOUGHT or manipulated our government for their own selfish purposes. Read this article in Vanity Fair about the enormous economic and political imbalance in the U.S.: Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%.

These powerful entities believe that it’s in their best interests that we stay as relatively poor and downtrodden as we are. These entities didn't create the “Bottom Line” mentality in the United States, but they've increased its hold on our culture. They’ve seen to it that only those with economic means can advance socially and politically. They have no concern about us except to the extent our contributing to the economic machinery benefits them.

But how can it be this way if these entities make up 1% or less of our population? Shouldn’t we be able to overpower them with our sheer numbers alone, the way an ant colony would overwhelm an insect? Here’s a link to a video that graphically depicts our predicament. The video is called The Tiny Dot.

If you’re like many other members of the shrinking middle class, or steadily growing working poor class, you feel helpless to do anything about the predicament. You don’t have the money or the desire to take on the Government, the corporations, the Illuminati or Shadow Government and whoever else has taken over control of our country. “We the People” used to be in control. Not anymore. So no matter how corrupt and insensitive to our needs our Government has become, you’ve decided it’s not worth taking the time and making the effort to challenge the “Powers that Be”. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life fighting windmills like Don Quixote did. You’d rather spend your time with your family, your friends, your hobbies, advancing in your career, following a spiritual path and making the best of the time you have left on Earth. You’d rather not think about how unfair our system is and about the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. So you accept politics as usual. You're afraid of your Government, instead of the other way around. You're content to limit your participation in the political process to voting on Election Day, as marginal a solution as that is, because of the convenience of it and because there is safety in numbers.

You can’t be blamed for feeling that way. You do what you can, and other people do what they can. The problem is that most people feel that way, and that’s why we have the isolationist culture that we have. So many people think only about their own needs or those of their family and friends. We have no concern about the needs of people we don’t know, or of people in our communities we don’t often interact with.

If we’re to break the vicious cycle of greed on the part of the wealthy and powerful, and desperation on the part of working class Americans, we have to act as members of a community. We have to recognize our interdependence. You have to treat everyone with importance, not just those who are your family members or friends. If you're not concerned about someone, they won’t be concerned about you. And then it’s every person or every family or every entourage for themselves. Of course that doesn’t make for a cohesive social fabric that empowers the average person. It makes for an atmosphere of competition, resentment and overall lack of cooperation. We can’t ever hope to be on equal standing with the rich and powerful if we think only of our own needs.

It's especially important that we care about our neighbors because of the very stressful economic situation many of us find ourselves in. When we look after each other in times of need, the chances of our emerging intact and in good spirits improve. Otherwise we may become another unfortunate statistic if we lose our job or our home. During the great depression in the 1930's, people were more charitable towards each other than they are today. I'm sure it made it easier for many people in those days to cope with their financial difficulties.

Again, like so many Americans, you’re probably thinking that our system doesn’t work that way, and that the answers to our current predicament are free enterprise, self-reliance and our ability to achieve financial success. To do otherwise would be like dropping out of the race. Wouldn’t it be great if all of us could have financial freedom? Unfortunately, not all of us can or will be financially successful. Many of us don't care if we aren't financially successful. One person’s products or services may be needed more than someone else’s, and there are a good many people who would rather devote themselves to charitable and spiritual causes than to financial gain. For these and other reasons, for many people there cannot be economic freedom or equality. 

There are many benefits to our working together as members of a community rather than as self-absorbed individuals and groups. We can help each other in times of need. We can more easily form networks with others who can help us advance our careers or who will purchase our products and services. We can increase our opportunities to make friends. We can work together to improve our neighborhoods. We can increase our economic, social and political influence. And we can find solace in knowing that others are in the same boat that we’re in.

This is why I organized the Economic Solidarity Workshop. The idea developed from my desire to start a grass-roots movement that would empower the working class and the poor. The Economic Solidarity Workshop is a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen our sense of community. I recognize that to force the Government and Big Business to take our interests as citizens seriously, including the implementation of economic and social reforms we want, we must take organized action together by peaceful means. One person working alone can’t make much of a difference, but many people working together can. This is also a good networking opportunity.

You may think there’s no need for an another “grass roots” organization when there are already so many organizations devoted to social causes and political reforms, like and PDA. You’re too busy to get involved in their activities and you already receive too much e-mail from them, you may be thinking. What distinguishes this organization from other progressive organizations is that this one is more organic in nature and requires more interpersonal involvement on the part of those who join. We can build a movement gradually based on chapters in each town, city and state. The key ingredients are commitment and organization. The current progressive structure in the U.S. tends to prevent people from making real progress because each organization has its own specific agenda based on the preferences of its members. Yet their goals are admirable and their methods often effective. The members, for example, vote on a certain platform according to their political priorities. This may give the organization a certain amount of influence in effecting reform. However, it doesn’t solve the central problem of strengthening the middle class and economically disadvantaged. Our impact has been weakened due to the fragmentation of political efforts by well-meaning groups.

What is needed for the desired reform to occur is for us to disrupt the economy by means of citizen actions, e.g. strikes and boycotts. You may be staunchly opposed to participating in a strike because you have no desire to lose your job or social status. However, if many people, and not just a few, participate in a strike, it can work. Besides, job security and social status are fleeting concepts nowadays. If Gandhi could obtain independence for India with millions of impoverished Indians as his followers, why can't we Americans make the Federal and State governments more accountable to us? We also need to form coalitions with other reformist groups. These actions would increase our influence dramatically. Few if any other organizations have had the courage or patience to lead their members in these directions. They limit their approach to organizing more gentle activities like marches, signing petitions and registering voters. Have these efforts worked to increase economic equality and restore democracy in this country? You can be the judge of whether they have or not.

Your participation is needed to make this movement happen. I can organize the initial effort, but only with a substantial number of people functioning as a single entity would the Government take us seriously. You make think it’s an uphill battle, but then so were many other causes like women’s suffrage, racial equality and the alternative energy movement. Barack Obama’s election was the product of many years of suffering and hard work on the part of many people. What matters is that the effort was worth it in the end. Those who participate in this movement will be richly rewarded for their efforts. I welcome you to join this cause. I recommend that you read what others have said about the substantial erosion of democracy in this country.

Americans tend to have relatively short attention spans when it comes to politics and their own communities. We're a nation of people that seek "instant gratification". A movement that will bring about lasting benefits for all Americans cannot achieve all its goals in a short time. However, positive results will occur sooner than you may think.

Other links of interest:

Here’s a link to an article about how our “individualism” has cost us the right to have paid vacations: Why We Don't Vacation Like the French.

Here’s an online comparison by NPR of health care systems in various affluent Western countries: Compare International Medical Bills.

The Koch Brothers, part I (Why they financed the Tea Party)
The Koch Brothers, part II (The real "Big Brothers")

What the Mayan Elders are Saying About 2012 by Carlos Barrios. 
"Right now each person and group is going his or her own way. The elder of the mountains said there is hope if the people of the light can come together and unite in some way. We live in a world of polarity -- day and night, man and woman, positive and negative. Light and darkness need each other. They are a balance."

* Source: Wikipedia February 2011 ** Source: Realty Trac