It is one thing to talk about all of today's overwhelming problems and injustices, it's another thing to fight the powers who are causing these problems, but what is really needed are viable alternatives. One of the most common criticisms of the Progressive Movement in the US is that we are really good at pointing out all of the problems, but don't have many solutions. This criticism may be accurate to some extent.
To be fair, all we are really calling for are ideas like real democracy (as opposed to Black Box Voting), corporate accountability (as opposed to looting and polluting), legal rights (as opposed to the "just trust us" policy of the Bush Administration), and healthcare for all. But to achieve these ends, we call for the oppressors themselves to somehow change. It is time to take control of the wheel instead of just shouting directions from the backseat.
One success story is the independent media. Progressives have always known that commercial, mainstream media distorts news. Commercial media is accountable not to the audience, but to the real customers...corporations who buy ads. The problem has only seemed to grow worse as our media has been consolidated and is owned by just a handful of multinationals.
But then along came the Internet. We could have used this new medium simply to write letters to the editor asking the corporate media to change, but we took things even further by actually creating our own alternative media that is accountable only to the audience. Today, many thinking Americans get their news and information from weblogs, independent on-line news sites and radio, and discussion forums. Underground news travels so fast that the mainstream media is often forced to react to us in order to maintain a shred of credibility. Of course they still attempt to spin stories in a pro-corporate way...but we are forcing them to at least respond. We have taken matters into our own hands.
Now let us consider the other problems we rail against. Executive compensation is going through the roof while jobs are being eliminated. Is there a way we can we use technology to create jobs for ourselves? Ebay is one success story. Many people earn a living selling stuff on Ebay. How can we create an Ebay to get paid fairly for all of our skills…not just our crafts? The right technologies already exist and most of them are free (open source), we just need to organize and tie everything together. Imagine a platform that allows everyone to connect with all the right people and rewards us fairly for working together or serving one another. Rather than complaining about the economy, let’s create a new economy…one that promotes Green values rather destruction…one that promotes helping one another and not just competing with one another…one that allows us to grow rather than stagnate…one in which we are paid fairly and not exploited.
We want more people to join our movement. Yet we tell them everything they are doing wrong and fail to provide a clear alternative. Its time we rise to the challenge we set forth.