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I just read an interesting blog at http://firedoglake.com/2011/02/13/british-uprising-ukcut. by masaccio.
In it he talks about using social networks to bring attention to the fact that Vodafone owed 7B$ but refused to pay during drastic cuts in gov’t programs. From there it went to the blogs and people showed up at Vodafone stores.
If something like that could be done here it would inform citizens of the fact that:

Corps. are not paying their fair share while needed social programs.
Tax avoidance helps increase the wealth gap.
Getting rid of tax havens is a good way to increase revenue without harming ordinary citizens.
This tax revolt could easily spin of a sub-group that challenges the waste in military spending, something already in the sights of the tea-party. Maybe a temporary joining of progressives and tea-party on this single issue. May be others in the future.
This would dilute the fiction that all taxes are bad.
It should cause the neo-cons to explain why they are exceptional when it comes to sacrifice during these hard times.

Please read the blog for more possibilities.

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Definitely healthy food & transit for all! Ethical business is good, but broad-based community ownership is better.

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    Agreed… community ownership is a foundational concept that we are seeking to spread with this handbook (paid for by the crowd, owned by the crowd via Creative Commons). It is also at the core of all the modes of collaborative consumption ranging from community-supported agriculture to Zip Car and CouchSurfer.com.

    Open source is just starting to really sink into the economic institutions of production and distribution. It is a huge paradigm shift that has only just begun.

I think a stronger shared topic would be around the attributes of a sustainable economy: how we are changing the nature of the basic economic transactions of self-provisioning, sharing, trading, buying/selling, and investing. Framing a positive vision of resiliency, security, and fairness in the economy might help people open to the risk of making change.

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The issue of issues is climate change caused by global warming. It is at the top of the pyramid. All other progressive aspirations will fall into place after we address its solution. How?
Job sharing can reduce unemployment and greenhouse gasses.
Where is the American peoples business plan?
Somebody stole the American dream and it wasn’t the government.
How come increased productivity doesn’t give people more time off?
These are just a few ideas that need to be implemented.
Lincoln used a crisis to change America.

Our crisis is joblessness. How do we use it to stop climate change? I have more ideas on this subject.

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Transparency for Accountability
In my opinion, this is the key initiative. It’s both a “multifaceted” and a “domino” type initiative.
If we could EASILY see exactly where a politicians campaign funds come from (I know we can now but it’s a pain in the ass and determining who’s behind which PAC is a trip into murky conspiracy theory crap), politicians would be a little more careful in how they vote on an issue. All legislation should have an English translation made available to the public (translated from legal-speak to English). Smoke filled, back room bargaining needs to go where the dinosaurs went. Politicians’ motivations need to be laid bare for all to see. This might seem to be a difficult task but at one time getting a hold of U.S. State Dept. diplomatic cables seemed difficult too. We can legislate transparency. If some guy votes in a tax loop-hole for some company or industry after that guy got 60k from them for his campaign I want to know about it. I don’t want to have to dig through 10 websites and 6 boxes of federal documents to get this information. This data should be readily accessible to the average Joe, made available by an independent, non-partisan source. I say again, this can be legislated. Any legislation of this sort would have to be accompanied by an expanded ethical conduct code. (one with teeth)You will behave ethically if work in the government. (I think ethical misconduct, as a betrayal of the public trust, should carry the same penalties as rape or murder but that may be a little unrealistic). An ethical politician should recuse him or herself from any vote that would have any reasonable positive or negative effect on any past or future private sector employer. You shouldn’t be able to get a job as the guy who decides whether or not Monsanto gets to screw people if you used to work for Monsanto. Or, if I’m the guy that tells the state dept to apply diplomatic pressure in France to get them to lift their ban on Monsanto corn, I shouldn’t be able to get a job with Monsanto after leaving the government. Government should be public domain. We should be able to see EVERYTHING.
Would this be complex? Hell yes.
Is it even possible? I don’t know.
However, with true transparency, we get clean elections, healthy food, ethical business practices (at least where they intersect with government), environmentally sound policies etc.
Oh, and any media sources must disclose who it is that pulls the content levers.
Transparency for Accountability.

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Here’s thought – how about we show the American people the crowd-funding they are already doing! Taxes are really an old form of crowd-funding if they are collected in a democracy. We crowd-fund all kinds of good works but the frame that predominates is that taxes are bad. A site could be set up showing all the amazing things that get done by and for people through our taxes. A great addition would be to have people be able to virtually allocate the taxes they pay to the initiatives they want to see funded. It would get across a much needed reframing of taxes as our contributions to creating benefits to our society as well as provide feedback on what our society actually wants supported. When I read rhetoric from all political leanings there are things, actions, values that most people agree on but it all gets divisive with all the name calling and deciding which party we’re in. To be truly progressive – we need to make progress – past the divisions. Viewing what we as a people actually want to contribute to (through our taxes) across a broad spectrum of political leanings could really make that self-evident. A site like that could go a long way to revealing our shared values and goals. It could perhaps even better inform our politicians about what the people want and help people to feel better represented. Politicians and the people could also see how much funding is received from the people for the actual benefit of our society compared to the funding they receive from the corporations and PACs which only goes to benefit their campaign coffers. Anyone interested in exploring this can contact me through facebook @ Karlie Cole.

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“Are you fired up and ready to take action?” I was a few months ago when I first tripped over CPW’s rhetoric. Now I’m beginning to wonder if that’s not all it is. To get it off the dime CPW ought to develop three departments. Video/Media, Inter-organizational Liaison, and Fund Raising. Full time peopes’ focus must be on each of these areas, full time; if you this venture is seriously in the game. To recruit talent at the right level, six figure salaries need to be in the budget for those three department heads. The aim must be at that level.

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…”preference voting”,(i.e.,IRV) and De-personing of Corporations Constitutional Amendment are biggies.

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…new sustainable clean energy infrastructure (sun, wind, tidal, geothermal; hydrogen fuel cell, bio-desil and (not grain)ethanol will get us off the Arab oil tit and out of those wars. Those cultures will then become supplicant, of necessity, to the “developed” societies and get integrated organically into world civil society.

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Growth is no longer the option -DEVELOPMENT must be the new economic watch word. We might be able to start thinking GROWTH again when we can target waste cargoes to the sun and other hot stars and offset the mass with asteroid mined ores & lay off some population in off earth built environments. (but advancing education, esp. female, in all cultures will pretty well stabilize population.)

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Big ideas! Time for results.

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The only way to create a “discussion” that does not turn a “Tower Of Babble” is to structure a pyrimidine system of cells (Think “Battle of Algiers”). I would say the basic cellular unit ought to be no more than twelve individuals, with one individual elected to represent to the next ascending level. Shoot for a top level of decision makers at around 100 individuals. It might be a cool innovation that each cell be scattered over a wide geographic area, or be totally arbitrary in make up.

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Are you fired up and ready to take action? The name of the game is empowered interactivity and the wisdom resides in the crowd, so we’re going to need a way to work together. And we need to come up with projects that have a strategic impact. In the words of George Lakoff:

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“The most powerful form of thinking is strategic. It is not just a matter of thinking ahead. It is a matter of changing the landscape of thought and action. It is a matter of setting many things in motion by setting one thing in motion. It is a matter of reconfiguring the future by doing one thing in the present.”

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This is how he introduced the concept of strategic initiatives in the book Thinking Points. We need to create strategic initiatives that leverage impacts in two ways:

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  1. Multifaceted initiatives where a targeted policy change has far-reaching effects across many areas, advancing a range of goals through one change; and
  2. Domino initiatives where a first step is taken toward a broader goal that makes the next steps easier or inevitable.
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He then went on to suggest four initiatives that could be game changers: clean elections, healthy food, ethical business, and transit-for-all.

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  • Clean elections would change the fundamentals of power in our politics.
  • Healthy food would drive a cascade of economic and social changes through our communities.
  • Ethical business would would create new incentive structures that change social behavior at all levels of society.
  • And reliable transit-for-all would give the majority of Americans a daily reminder of the shared benefits that an effective government can provide, while also breaking of us of our insular car culture.
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With each example it is clear that a targeted agenda can lead to sweeping changes if its objectives are achieved. It is through this kind of high-level thinking that we can coordinate our efforts across issue silos, focus on the kind of world we want to create, and advocate for a progressive vision of America.

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We can create and carry out strategic initiatives together through the discussion forums for this handbook (see link below). Pooling our collective knowledge will allow us to harvest the best of our ideas and mobilize our resources for driving targeted efforts that advance the movement toward its larger goals. This is something our institutions have lost sight of too frequently in recent years. And it is something that self-organizing crowds are particularly well suited to accomplish.31

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Because this document began with crowdsourcing, we think that the first strategic initiatives that come out of it should further leverage the power of this idea. Let’s harness the power of mobile phones and the internet to organize powerless people into a collective force capable of overwhelming existing power structures. This is starting to happen all over the world, and it can happen in the U.S. as well.

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A critical starting place is to rethink the financial structure of the progressive movement. The limits of elite funding are clear: begging for money from wealthy individuals or institutions is not a sustainable strategy for any change movement. While we appreciate the generosity of the movement’s donors, we’ve been badly hurt by their blind spot where the issue of progressive branding, framing, and narrative are concerned.

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We have learned that we cannot count on donors to make long-range strategic investments in the movement’s future. And fortunately, we have also learned that we may not have to. So we begin with a call for the micro-financing of the progressive movement. Let’s use the same crowdfunding power that brought this handbook to life to channel our diffuse resources into the pressure points that leverage systemic change.

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Let’s Get to Work!

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Join us for a discussion of this initiative at the link below and help hone and clarify the other strategic initiatives that will become the backbone of the emerging Progressive Majority. Collaborate with us as we envision the future of politics in the United States and around the world.

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We need everyone to be part of the solution and there is a lot of work to do. The first step toward bold and transformational change is to join the conversation. The second step follows from what we say to one another when we start talking. And then all of the subsequent steps become possible when we launch strategic initiatives.

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Help us make America a beacon of progress in the world once again.

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Join us now.

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(Oh, and help us spread the word. Pass this handbook along to your friends)