By Staff of The Next System Project - Our system is failing. Profound anger at a rigged system has led many voters to reach for something different – even if it means turning in a dangerous new direction. The voters have rejected a stale elite consensus, but we are now confronting a still greater threat. What remains of Madisonian checks and balances has delivered us over to a demagogue at the head of some of the most sinister forces in American political life.
By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams - You might want to head over to Seeds of a Good Anthropocene, a website developed by a team of international researchers to spotlight global initiatives or "seeds" from the grassroots that help pave the path towards a more just, sustainable world. Think the permaculture system developed from Australian researchers and designers Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, or The Leap Manifesto, a call to care "for the Earth and one another," or the Ngäbe-Buglé Struggle to Protect Environmental Resources in Panama.
By C.J. Polychroniou for Truthout - In this exclusive interview for Truthout, two scholars, Noam Chomsky, one of the world's leading public intellectuals, and Graciela Chichilnisky, a renowned economist and climate change authority who wrote and designed the carbon market of the Kyoto Protocol, concur on a few key points. First of all, global warming and climate change constitute the greatest challenge facing humanity, and may pose an even greater threat to our species than that of nuclear weapons.
By Stephen Hinton for Local Futures - I recently took up the challenge to talk about inner transition in the garden of an eco-village project in Värmland County, Sweden. A lot of sun, beautiful place, no flip-chart or power points. Here is a short account of what I talked about. To me, getting to the heart of inner transition is about understanding our own dual nature: if we feel threatened we are likely to get in a mode of fleeing the scene, aggressively fighting for what we want or just freezing. But absent the feeling of threat we are calm, relaxed, loving and often generous.
By Noam Chomsky for Tom Dispatch - In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced its famous Doomsday Clock to three minutes before midnight, a threat level that had not been reached for 30 years. The Bulletin’s statement explaining this advance toward catastrophe invoked the two major threats to survival: nuclear weapons and “unchecked climate change.” The call condemned world leaders, who “have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,”
By Salar Mohandesi for ROAR Magazine - One of the most significant political stories of the year is the meteoric rise of a little-known, 74-year-old, self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” senator from the small state of Vermont. Although he may win many of the remaining contests, it seems extremely unlikely that Bernie Sanders will clinch the Democratic nomination. Nevertheless, his bid for the presidency has dramatically, perhaps irreversibly, changed the political landscape in this country.
By John W. Whitehead for The Rutherford Institute - Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people. They will find themselves overtaxed and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and on guard against domestic acts of terrorism, blowback against military occupations in foreign lands. And they will find government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice.
You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud.
Today, corporate profits are at an all-time high and employee wages are at their lowest ever as a percent of GDP.i Worker cooperatives embody the hope that we can reverse the downward spiral in wage stagnation, wealth distribution, and concentration of ownership to build an economy that truly serves people and communities. But what will it really take to create a more cooperative economy? My new white paper Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, published by The Democracy Collaborative, describes the many benefits of worker cooperatives for their members, for business and for society; explores barriers and success factors in worker co-op development; and proposes strategies for increasing the scale and impact of worker co-ops in the United States. This article, adapted from the paper, summarizes three high-level strategies for scaling up the worker cooperative sector and illustrates the need for capacity building through a story of two cooperatives.
Maude Barlow received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University in Toronto yesterday morning. Here are her speaking notes for the Convocation ceremony. Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, President Mamdouh Shoukri, the Senate of York University, and all the graduation students, It is a great honour to share this convocation with you today. I am moved by your grace, energy and hope on this lovely June day. In the few minutes I have to share with you I would like to urge you all, no matter what your education specialty, what vocation you choose, or where you live, to give some of your precious life energy to the great environmental challenges that face us today. Every generation faces a unique political reality and set of concerns it needs to tackle together and yours is the multiple threats to the earth itself from over-exploitation, pollution and the growth imperative. From the diminishing life in the oceans, and the destruction of old growth forests, to the clear limits of a fossil fuel economy, our Mother Earth is suffering, as are countless millions around the world.
I would like to begin by quoting from comments made yesterday by Angela Knight, a former Conservative MP in Britain. As a reaction to the recent elections here in Brussels, Ms. Knight said, “We have an opportunity in the energy industry to get fact based, logic based, properly costed and sensible EU policy-making and to encourage a move away from an emotion driven and expensive agenda.” That statement appears in yesterday’s The Guardian, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. "There are two critical issues: climate change, which is killing our life-support system, and chemical pollution, which is killing us." Indeed, that’s exactly what I have come to European Commission to ask for: for the European Union—and for my own union, the United States—a fully cost-accounted energy policy based on facts, logic and science rather than emotion. But here’s the notable difference: Angela Knight and I are arguing for opposite courses of action. Ms. Knight is a lobbyist for Energy UK. Her group seeks to mute the EU’s commitments to green energy, stall ongoing efforts to counter climate change and maintain dependency on fossil fuels.