Tikkun Magazine

Capitalism, Democracy and Elections

Richard D. Wolff correctly points out in his article Capitalism, Democracy, and Elections some of the limitations of the way people have been using the democratic system. Yet for those of us committed to non-violently replacing capitalism (the global system of class domination, inequality and militarism all rooted in and expanding an ethos of materialism, selfishness, and endless growth without regard to the environmental, social justice, and spiritual consequences) with a new system based on love, generosity, caring for each other and caring for the earth, elections must play an important role along with demonstrations, mass actions (like consumer boycotts and removing investments from some banks and corporations).

We hope that you (yes YOU, no matter how old you are, how busy, or how little financial resources you have) will run for office (in whatever political party you are in) on a platform of seriously restricting the capitalist order through the ESRA—Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which would not only forbid any private or corporate money in elections and only allow public financing, require media to give free and equal time to all major candidates, and require corporations with incomes above $50 million per year to get a new corporate charter once every five years which they could only get by proving a satisfactory history of environmental and social responsibility to a jury of ordinary citizens, and would mandate education at every grade level on environmental survival skills (defined as including not only how to head off further environmental destruction, but also skills in non-violence, and organizing skills to more effectively use elections).

Read it at www.tikkun.org/ESRA, OR, get a petition campaign going to get endorsement of this on the ballot in your state or county or city OR get your elected representatives, your local political party affiliates and social change organizations, religious, professional and civic institutions to publicly endorse it.

We at Tikkun and our interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives will be doing a TRAINING (in Berkeley Jan. 17-20 2014; but we can also do a training nearer to you if you tell us that you’ll recruit the participants) in how to build a non-violent transformative movement that creates a left-wing version of The Tea Party (unlike “Occupy,” we seek to use the electoral arena as ONE OF MANY arenas, we value leadership, majority rule, wisdom of older people and not just younger, and a cultural milieu that is welcoming to those who may not have felt comfortable sleeping out in tents and meetings that last till midnight when they have to go to work the next day and have children and family to attend to and yet want to be involved in shaping a transformative, non-violent, loving and caring movement that can replace global capitalism). Interested? Sign up at www.spiritualprogressives.org/training and we’ll send you more information as it develops.

Rabbi Michael Lerner   editor, Tikkun and chair, The interfaith and secular-humanist welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives RabbiLerner.tikkun@gmail.com