Newsletter – The People’s Plan For Transformation

| Newsletter

Today is Earth Day and thousands are marching “for science” across the country and around the world. The demands are to promote evidence-based science and defend public support for scientific research. There are specific concerns about the Trump administration’s rejection of climate science while the climate crisis is advancing rapidly, and also its roll back of regulations and programs that protect the health and safety of communities.

Victoria Herrmann of the Arctic Institute describes on The Real News how scientific research is being removed from government websites and necessary government climate programs are losing their funding at the same time polar air and water temperatures are rising at twice the normal rate. Fortunately, climate scientists and activists archived much of this research earlier this year so that it is still available.

1asanThe March for Science connects numerous issues. Hundreds of Indigenous scientists urge the inclusion of Indigenous science and the voices of Indigenous communities as we move towards positive solutions to the climate crisis because they have centuries of experience in caring for the Earth. Drug policy advocates are marching to call for greater attention to and investment into research on drugs and evidence-based drug policies rather than criminalization and incarceration. And perhaps the most ambitious protest was led by the Autonomous Space Agency Network, a global collective that held its action in space.

“Storm the Heavens”

In the face of multiple crises and kleptocratic governments that refuse to take appropriate actions, movements are rising in the United States and around the world. This is reminiscent of the uprising in the 1960s and 1970s when social movements were active on a number of fronts of struggle from civil rights to women’s rights to war to the environment, poverty and more.

Dahr Jamail recently interviewed members of the Weather Underground about the similarities between then and now and  asked what people should do today. Bill Ayers recommended:

“The challenge is to dive in where you are, whatever your issue, location, or talent, and then to reframe every issue, and connect the issues to one another,” he said. “War and warming, work and Black lives, human rights and environment. When the upheaval is upon us we must be prepared to find one another, link up, and storm the heavens.”

George Lakey of Waging Nonviolence urges activists to be bold and understand that our task is to shift the political culture so that our belief in justice and peace becomes the dominant narrative. This fits in with tasks of the movement as defined by Bill Moyer’s Movement Action Map, which he started writing in the 1970s, to develop national consensus on issues and to mobilize around them.

A Plan For Social Transformation

We are in a critical juncture of history and it is important to understand how we got here. The movements of the 60s and 70s, which built on decades of work that came before them, scared the power elites because they were successfully changing the political culture and economic system. The elites responded with a clear plan, outlined in the Powell Memo in 1971, that was put into action and is responsible in large part for the crises and insecurity that we experience today. The memo, “Attack On American Free Enterprise System,” was written by Lewis Powell an attorney whom Richard Nixon nominated to the Supreme Court later in 1971.

Lewis Powell, Jr. and President Richard Nixon, 1971 by Henry Burroughs for AP.

Lewis Powell, Jr. and President Richard Nixon, 1971 by Henry Burroughs for AP.

Ralph Nader, who was specifically targeted in the memo says:

“Basically, his memorandum laid out a strategy to attack democracy in America. And he basically said to the business community, you’ve got to hire a lot more lobbyists swarming over Congress, you’ve got to pour a lot more money into their campaigns, both parties’, Republican and Democrat. You’ve got to get out on the campuses and get right-wing speakers to combat progressive speakers.”

Nader credits the Powell Memorandum with leading “to the massive corruption of the Democratic Party.”

Journalist Bill Moyers writes about what happened after the Powell Memo was circulated: 

“Within two years the board of the Chamber of Commerce had formed a task force of forty business executives—from US Steel, GE, GM, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Amway, and ABC and CBS (two media companies, we should note). Their assignment was to coordinate the crusade, put Powell’s recommendations into effect and push the corporate agenda. Powell had set in motion a revolt of the rich.”

He describes how in 1971 there were only 175 corporations that had registered lobbyists in the capital; by 1982 nearly 2,500 did. Corporate PACs increased from fewer than 300 in 1976 to more than 1,200 by the mid-’80s.

The corporate attack included creating think tanks to distribute propaganda, bringing in lobbyists to develop public policy, taking over the judicial system, creating economic insecurity and preventing universities from being centers of free and radical thought. The Koch brothers have played a large roll in supporting the plan, and continue to work to suppress dissent at universities today.

It is important to understand that we arrived in this situation by, what Moyers described as “careful long-range planning and implementation…consistency of action over an indefinite period of years…” By understanding this was a plan, we should understand that we need to design a way out of it. This includes seeing through the propaganda and exposing the truth; not allowing ourselves to be divided into issue-based silos or taken off track by the agenda of plutocratic political parties; and organizing not just to resist, but more importantly to demand the changes we require in our communities and on the planet.

Current Mobilizations

There are key issues right now around which we can organize and mobilize. Of course the climate crisis is a top issue. In addition to the People’s Climate Marches being planned around the country on April 29, Beyond Extreme Energy is holding a convergence in Washington, DC and planning next steps to stop the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from rubber stamping more fossil fuel projects.

Immigrant and worker rights will be highlighted in the May Day marches and strikes planned on May 1. Click here to learn more about the organizers’ plans and next steps to build toward a national week of strikes and actions.

1gfMobilizations for National Improved Medicare for All are growing. Although the Democrats would prefer to direct activist energies to saving the Affordable Care Act, which has provided enormous profits to private health insurers and pharmaceutical corporations while tens of millions of people continue to go without access to necessary care, the public is clearly demanding Medicare for All. Visit to learn more and join our campaign for a national universal publicly-financed healthcare system. This Monday, economist Gerald Friedman will discuss how to finance a single payer healthcare system on the national call. Register here.

The student loan debt crisis is reaching a tipping point. There are currently 4.2 million people in default on their student loans, almost a 20% increase in one year. Alan Collinge of Student Loan Justice explains why current efforts by Democrats to provide free tuition are “doomed to fail.” Collinge was a recent guest on Clearing the FOG where he described how bad the crisis is and called for a student debt jubilee as our top demand.

1nn1Net neutrality is at risk again under the new head of the Federal Communications Commission. Popular Resistance is a member of the coalition that worked to win net neutrality in 2015. That coalition has reactivated because the Internet is essential for information, communication, daily tasks of life and creative collaboration. We must protect the Internet from becoming discriminatory. Click here to get involved.

Other critical struggles include protecting the right to clean water, ending war, preventing trade agreements that threaten people and the planet, stopping police violence, protecting privacy and more. Click here to read the People’s Agenda. This is the time to get involved in whatever way you are able.

Creating a People’s Plan for Transformation

Popular Resistance is one of the conveners of The People’s Congress of Resistance, a grassroots effort to build resistance and collaboration in our communities to solve the crises at hand and create a better world. One of the purposes of the conference will be to plan the future of the resistance movement and determine how we can work together more effectively.

It’s time for the people to create a plan for the transformation we need. It won’t happen unless we do.


  • DHFabian

    No, I still can’t sign the People’s Agenda, because it’s a Some-People’s Agenda. Reality is a stubborn thing. In reality, not everyone can work (health, etc.) and there aren’t jobs for all. America is some 20 years into a hell of a war on the poor. An agenda that lacks the courage to straight-out address our poverty crisis isn’t going to change the broader conditions.

  • I agree my friend. What about those that go to bed hungry every night or don’t have a place to go to bed and certainly have no interest in protesting? They live below the radar of our protest society. They are invisible by design, the forgotten, the discarded, the imprisoned, the deported, the homeless, the jobless. They haunt the abandoned places in our cities. They live in ghettos surrounded by walls, so we don’t have to see them. They hide in the forests, mountains and deserts to avoid us. The most valuable asset we have as human beings is one another. They come as thieves in the night to take what they need because they must when somene lays claim to ownership of all that is needed to survive. Every life needlessly lost diminishes us all. The delicate fabric of love that connects us to one another has been torn asunder by a civilization dominated by money, dehumanized by commodification, privatized by ownership. Forget the rich, the wealthy, the power brokers. Let them care for themselves. They are good at it or at least they think so. We need to take care of one another, to drop all impediments to meeting everyone’s most basic needs, private property, personal profit, money. Most of all, we need to love one another. The forgotten are incapable of speaking for themselves, but we can speak for them. We demand this and that in endless battles against the depredations of greed, fighting I suppose so that we will not be forgotten also, when instead we should all be demanding the full and complete implementation of #Article25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! This is the intersectional issue of issues. Forget the environment. It will save itself when we are all dead and gone, if we fail to care for one another. Forget jobs and growing the economy. Forget raising the minimum wage. Wages cannot help the jobless when automation can provide better. Forget who owns what, who cares if it is the capitalists or the workers, when robots can do it so much better anyway? But why do anything, if it is not for one another? I decided decades ago that if the insane competition of the dog eat dog monetary market world on which I was raised was all there was to life then I would rather not be alive. I learned well how to live that life. I am pretty good at it, even trying to succeed while doing as little harm as possible to those around me, though it is pretty much impossible to avoid all violence because so much of the violence is simply structural in monetary economics. But what is the value of a smile, an embrace, of making love, of caring for another when they are unable to care for themselves, of unconditional love, of sharing a life on a planet shared by all life by some design far greater than any economic designs of simple money minded human beings? What have we forgotten that we forget one another? Who will be forgotten next? Me? You? Stick that in your protest pipe and smoke it!

  • Andrew Glickman

    Please folks! Do check/out my pertinent Profiles! On G+!, FB, & on Linked/In! My Environmentalist Friends!, & feel free to
    e/mail me at:


  • James53

    My thoughts exactly. God bless the both of you.

  • mwildfire

    I think you’re missing the point. You say “forget the environment, it will save itself after we’re gone” but the damage could be so severe that it takes millions of years for biodiversity to recover. These are the last years in which climate change that is, not severe–that’s already inevitable–but catastrophic–can be averted.
    The essence of this post is that we need to bring all the issues and their proponents together, to plan a fight to correct all that’s wrong, rather than endlessly putting out fires or fighting separate battles with long odds. But you two seem to be saying, No, we need to drop all other concerns and just prioritize fighting for the poorest and most marginalized.

  • Aquifer

    So, do you not support any of the items on the Agenda – are you opposed to any of them?

    Where there is a human right to food, water, shelter, education and healthcare – how do the poor not benefit?

  • Aquifer

    Many are speaking for them – have you checked out Cheri Honkala’s Poor Peoples’ Campaign, e.g.
    You say the heck with protest – are you not here protesting?

  • Aquifer

    ” …not allowing ourselves to be divided into issue-based silos …”
    Precisely – but I think the Left, over the years, has been the most guilty of promoting those silos … and It will be tough for many to breach them, many have built their identities around them …. first we must see the necessity of breaching them ….. we need to tell a new story about ourselves as humans…. we humans need stories as much as we need air – so it is fundamentally important that our story be a good one, an honest one – one that, while not “whitewashing” the past, tells us we have the capacity, as well as the need, to be better…. As long as we allow some PTB, including those who set parameters as to what is PC at any given time, to write our story for us, we will be indentured servants …

    Perhaps more than a People’s Congress of Resistance, we need a People’s Congress of Transformation –

    There is an old song that says “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with mister in-between” The sentiment it expresses has been too often interpreted as “ignoring or denying our past” which is quite rightly to be considered a no-no, but what it actually requires is learning from the past, recognizing those negatives so we can eliminate them as best we can and focusing on uncovering, accentuating, building on, and affirming those tendencies, nay need, in each of us to be a positive force on this planet – not just as individuals, but as a “polity” – that includes everyone – where all lives, without distinction, matter …

  • kevinzeese

    We evidently had left out a key paragraph: Economic Security for All that deals with a guaranteed basic income and expanding Social Security. Thanks for catching it:
    Economic Security for All – People should have basic economic security throughout their lives. To end poverty and homelessness and insure economic security throughout life we urge a guaranteed national income for all sufficient to meet basic needs. The United States can end poverty for tens of millions by putting in place a basic income which has been supported by economists onthe left, right, libertarian, conservative and radical. This will be a supplemental income for many and the only income for others. In retirement we advocate doubling the Social Security payment and paying for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax and creating a progressive tax for all forms of income including investment income.

  • I have been protesting since 1969. It has changed me, but failed to change the world around me. So many relationships with family and friends broken. I continue to this day, trying to share what I now understand for all the difference or lack of a difference it makes. The more I understand, the less I know. I think perhaps the simple acts of kindness given without expectation of any kind, have more impact in the long run. All of us are so very broken. Can we love one another anyway?

  • I am suggesting, that perhaps all of our efforts will be in vane, unless we first learn to care for one another. Not caring enough is what has gotten us to where humanity is in danger of committing ecological suicide. If all of us really cared, none of us would ever knowingly do anything to endanger another, let alone everyone. It is the forgotten ones that are the wrench in the cogs of a sustainable abundance, the dead bodies in the closet of humanity that keep us from loving enough to care what happens next. Every action or lack of action has consequences. Every time we turn our back on another, every time we look the other way for whatever reason, we perpetuate violence. We cannot change the past. Only what we do now can change any future outcomes. The technological capacity of humans is part of what makes us uniquely human and uniquely powerful. Look at DT with his thumb on the nuclear trigger, the technological butterfly effect of a single human being. When love fails, we sabotage ourselves. Every person who is disconnected is our common failure. We are intimately interdependent but we have forgotten how to recognize, express and honor that interdependence. We are of course, also intimately interdependent with all life on our home planet, but we have forgotten that also. We have a type of civilization wide Alzheimer’s disease, the forgotten and those who forget, that we call monetary economics. It will end us if we don’t remember how to love one another. I think if we heal our broken relationships with one another, healing our relationships with Mother Earth will be easy and come naturally.

  • Aquifer

    Thank you so much for including that link to that statement of indigenous scientists!

    I started picking out quotes to reproduce here but found that there too many good ones – better just to read the whole article! A few

    ” … there are multiple ways of knowing that play an essential role in advancing knowledge for the health of all life.”

    I wish I had a nickel for every time i have argued this point on line, only to be met with disdain or scorn, usually by self proclaimed lefties who avow that the only definer of “truth” is science, and by that they mean Western science/mathematics whereby if it doesn’t come out of a test tube or a mathematical formula, is not statistically confirmed by multiple double blind controlled studies – well, hey, it cannot be counted as “true” … Among the multiple ironies of this position is that modern physics is using mathematics to describe the possibility of doing what shaman claimed they could/can do – another irony is that at the same time we worship this model, we do not demand that those who hide under a pretense of it, e.g. drug companies, do not actually adhere to it …
    Western science is based on breaking a system down into its component parts and dealing with them apart from the others – a reductionist approach, making it perpetually vulnerable to the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness that applies to all models … The opposite of the holistic approach taken by indigenous knowledge and exploration ….

    “Indigenous science provides a wealth of knowledge and a powerful alternative paradigm by which we understand the natural world and our relation to it ….”

    And it is THAT paradigm that needs to predominate – Western science needs to take a back seat to it – be incorporated where it advances its holistic aims and discarded when it is counter to them ….

  • DHFabian

    Yes, I support other items on the agenda. However, we’ve spent so many years trying (unsuccessfully) to bring attention to how serious our poverty crisis is. What the poor have heard through the years is, “Stand up for this cause now, and we’ll get around to yours eventually…” And the years keep passing.

    I’m keenly aware that many have virtually no knowledge of US poverty. Calling for jobs is good, but no one can survive on calls for eventual jobs. They need food and shelter now — not eventually. The fact that so many have died prematurely should have made this a priority, but at best, it has been handled as an incidental item, and only in the vague terms.

    During these years, some people have been trying to get public support for restoring the basic human rights of food/water, shelter, and medical care. There has been some mention of the basic income guarantee — something that, if ever possible, would take many years to campaign for, and implement. Until then, people need aid.

  • Aquifer

    Until you and enough others decide to use the electoral process to put folks in office who will enact this stuff – that aid will have to come from those who are already trying to supply it –

  • Aquifer

    Have you checked out the program i suggested ….

    Simple individual acts of kindness will not stop the wars, or put folks back in their homes, or provide medical care – we need those individual acts, no doubt – they are necessary but not sufficient ….

  • Aquifer

    I suggest it is those “dead bodies in the closet of humanity” that remind us what happens when we don’t care enough …

  • DHFabian

    Yes, you express some complex points very well here. What made such a difference “back in the day” (1960s, 1970s) was that even msm decided to shine a spotlight on US poverty. I did come across some mention of the current Poor People’s Campaign in liberal media over the last few years. I doubt that many middle class people know anything about Rev. William Barber. And thank you for pointing our rural poverty. The majority of US poor live outside of the cities. The consequences of the lack of adequate food and shelter are pretty much the same, regardless of location, race, etc.

  • DHFabian

    Same here (going back to 1969/’70). I was fortunate in that I didn’t lose family or friends because of it. My parents and grandparents were solid FDR/New Deal Democrats, my father was a very involved union worker throughout his working years, my older brother an avid democratic socialist, etc.

    “The more I understand, the less I know.” And the more I know, the less I understand. What I do know for certain, however, is that in a nation that seemingly has endless wealth for war and handouts to the reach, there is no justification for the refusal to use a fraction of that money for human needs — both basic humanitarian aid, and to directly invest in job creation and job skills training.

  • DHFabian

    What seems to have disappeared in recent decades is an understanding of the fact that the country is capable of achieving more than one thing at the same time. In this era, there’s a tendency of media (therefore the public) focusing on one issue to the exclusion of another. The issue of our poverty crisis can’t wait any longer. It has been brushed aside for “more urgent issues” for decades, and is costing lives right now.

    As popular as environmental issues have been since the 1970s, there’s a stumbling block in the US: Our dependency on, and excessive use of, privately owned motor vehicles. Europe has made a good measure of progress, but in the US, it’s common for people to think that (due to modern technology) the fact that our cars burn tanker-ships full of fuel every day has no impact on the environment. Our oil dependency keeps the US engaged in serial wars.

  • DHFabian

    Many critically important issues have been neglected since the 1980s, and the proverbial chickens are coming home to roost. The issue that actually keeps me awake at night: Those on one side of our political divide seem determined to incite war with China while those on the other side seem determined to incite war with Russia. Potential results: a third world war by world’s primary nuclear powers. This would end all life on Earth.

  • kevinzeese

    Did you see #16 added to the agenda. It deals with economic security, ending poverty and homelessness and retirement security.

  • Doña Susy

    If it’s not too late, I would like to see the congress entitled, “People’s Congress of Transformation”. To achieve transformation, it is understood that we will be resisting the current paradigm, but I suggest that a positive rhetoric may actually enable us to better shift our focus away from that which we are resisting toward that which we want to build…It may help us to step outside this evil paradigm that is dragging us down and empower & energize us to begin creating the alternative we need.

    P.S. I appreciate the economic security addendum to the People’s Agenda!

  • DHFabian, I tend to agree, except what sways me to sign is agenda item #16:Economic Security for All – People should have basic economic security throughout their lives. To end poverty and homelessness and insure economic security throughout life, we urge a guaranteed national income for all, sufficient to meet basic needs. The United States can end poverty for tens of millions by putting in place a basic income which has been supported by economists on the left, right, including libertarians, conservatives and radicals. This will be a supplemental income for many and the only income for others. In retirement we advocate doubling the Social Security payment and paying for it by removing the cap on the Social Security tax and creating a progressive tax for all forms of income including investment income.

  • Remember “Duck and Cover”? This was one of the lessons I was taught in 2nd grade. Having lived my entire life under the threat of nuclear annihilation, I have reach my own reconciliation. We tend to think of ourselves, as individuals and as a society as permanent. Maybe as self aware beings this is true or maybe not. But the form of expression is in a constant state of change. When I was three, I couldn’t see myself in the bathroom mirror. I can remember that it seemed to me like I would never be big enough to see myself. In some ways, the I in every sentence I write is the same as the I that gazed out of that short body. Though the body is now tall enough to see in the mirror, I still can’t see the I that seeks to know itself. In another way, the I is an illusion isolation from all life. The body is an expression that changes constantly. We can say the body began as a single cell, sort of. Did the I have a beginning also? I can’t recall. But that is not terribly significant. I often can’t remember why I find myself in the kitchen.
    We fear the end of all life on Earth through nuclear annihilation. It is extremely unlikely that we are capable of ending all life. With modern technology, we are certainly capable of dramatically impacting the path that life follows of Earth, especially human life. What will I be after a nuclear holocaust? I have no clue. Will I be a dinosaur or a chicken or perhaps a microbial amoeba? I am no longer so attached to being any particular expression of what ever I am today that we call human.
    For many years now, this body has had type 1 diabetes. Technology has provided half an artificial pancreas of sorts. It delivers the insulin that the biological body has ceased to provide because of some poorly understood type of auto immune reaction, but it does not yet provide the glucagon that is also an important component of the complex biological system of a human body. So thanks to technology, that three year old short biological system has become a six foot tall, hybrid bionic system with a new lens in one eye to replace one that had clouded over. Attachment to any particular expression of form is hilarious to me now, and not nearly as painful as living day to day in this bionic body. Humanity is a transient form of life on a tiny blue dot lost in an ocean of space we call Earth. I am not overly concerned about what we may of may not do. The learning curve is steep, but whatever it is that we are an expression of is not going to stop whatever it is doing anytime soon regardless of how badly we behave. I figure the I will have a new updated expression to explore, maybe not even on Earth.
    That it not to say that I don’t care how badly we behave. If anything, I seem to care too much, which is why I bother to try and help ease the suffering of being human these days, mostly because of how poorly we treat one another.

  • I have looked into the PPEHRC this morning. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I supported as many Green Party candidates as I could during the last election cycle. I collected signatures to get the Green Party on the ballot in NC and I wrote in Dr Stein when I voted. DHFabian also mentioned William Barber’s efforts. He is based here in North Carolina but his campaign has also gone National. The efforts for deep economic human rights reforms are just getting started. They were partly sidetracked when Dr. King was assassinated back in the ’60s. When the structural violence of this economic system fails to achieve the desired results, physical violence has always been the fall back position. From the TZM perspective, the deeper problem is the broad lack of understanding that leads so many people to inadvertently support the structural violence of monetary economics. When we as individuals are broken how can we expect society to be anything but broken. Jobs tied to money will never save us from this systemic violence. Piece meal efforts at feeding, clothing, housing and educating the poor while trapped in moneythink though efforts in that direction are absolutely necessary, are also ultimately doomed. A civilization that requires charity to survive is a civilization on life support. If we can do no better, we are doomed to fall victims to our own global extinction event. I agree with you Aquifer, acts of kindness alone are not sufficient in the context of a system designed to promote conflict at the most basic level of human relationships. It is foolish to expect not to get wet if you try to piss into a hurricane but sometimes absolutely necessary anyway. That is why I work so hard to raise awareness of the deep underlying structural issues that must first be understood and addressed across global society if we are to ever hope to achieve any degree of future sustainability and peace. We have agreed on a system to kill one another then complain through protest when people get hurt. How stupid is that?

  • Aquifer

    There is no justification … that is fairly clear – what is not clear to me is why we keep putting corp party folks in office who keep doing it …..

  • Aquifer

    I have protested in a number of ways over the last quarter of a century – marches, petitions, e-mails, phone calls, even a lawsuit ….. And what i have realized, and in fact, have seen, is that we can march ’til our soles (and souls) wear out, phone ’til our ears fall off and petition our fingers to the bone, but if we don’t remove the corp duopoly from office AND, more to the point, replace them with honest, principled ind. non-corp party folks, it can all, or significantly, be undone with the next election – this last election was a rather clear illustration …

    I agree with individual introspection and reflection – but too often it is presented as the only “viable” alternative by folks who not only have given up on the electoral process but denigrate its potential for producing anything of value …. but, as others have noted, it is ballots or bullets, and coming from the healthcare field, I much prefer the former …

  • Aquifer

    And why do you suppose that is – those polluting industries are subsidized by those we keep putting in office …