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

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