portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

government | political theory

WHO IS SOVERIGN​?

-- People taking back their sovereignty.
We have seen the impact over the past 233 years of the abuse of sovereignty which was loaned by the People to our governments. We deposited it on the door steps of the state and national capitals, and allowed our disleaders to pick it up, play with it and do with it as they wished. Their wish was and is self-empowerment and wealth at the expense of the People and the devastation of our Earth. We have paid, and will continue to pay, a serious price for our lack of foresight. We did not and do not now "consider the impact of our and the disleaders' decisions on the seventh generation".
WHO IS SOVERIGN​?
-- People taking back their sovereignty.
By Jim Miller


A precept of the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) mandates that chiefs consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation yet to come.
The Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development
 http://www.7genfund.org/


We have seen the impact over the past 233 years of the abuse of sovereignty which was loaned by the People to our governments. We deposited it on the door steps of the state and national capitals, and allowed our disleaders to pick it up, play with it and do with it as they wished. Their wish was and is self-empowerment and wealth at the expense of the People and the devastation of our Earth. We have paid, and will continue to pay, a serious price for our lack of foresight. We did not and do not now "consider the impact of our and the disleaders' decisions on the seventh generation".

"The math is pretty simple. If you keep borrowing and borrowing, sooner or later you have to pay up. The sharks are out there taking bigger and bigger bites of your wallet and, if you have any, your savings."
Swimming with the Sharks: The U.S. Economy;  http://www.alternativeradio.org/programs/PHIK003.shtml

It is time to right the wrong and take back to the People the sovereignty which we have mistakenly lent to those who have come to "own" our governments. We cannot, and should not, attempt to take back sovereignty by force and violence. Screaming mobs have no head, no leadership and no real purpose other than mental catharsis. We need a carefully wrought plan, which by stealth, shifts the balance of power from the capital steps to our door steps.

How much proof does one need? I'll simply ask each reader to spend a minute or two in deep introspection and recall all of the things h/s knows about at which various governments have failed. If that does not do it, read deeply about Peak Oil [  http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/15/news/economy/500dollaroil_okeefe.fortune/index.htm?cnn=yes ]; Climate Change [ Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth;  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060524-global-warming.html ]; GHG [  http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/15/news/economy/500dollaroil_okeefe.fortune/index.htm?cnn=yes ]; Climate Change [ Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth;  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060524-global-warming.html ]; GHG [  link to images.google.com ] ; land, water and air pollution; rampant consumerism which creates huge landfills; declining quality of life except for the powerful and rich; and the erosion of the moral fiber of our people.

It makes no sense to instantly and totally abandon the governmental functions which we have entrusted to the high and mighty, well-paid functionaries of our governments. We need to gather our forces of intellect, resources, and will, and create what amounts of a "shadow government". Over time, the shadow government will be created and operated in smaller "cell's" or work groups dispersed widely throughout our country. We need not follow the "socialism/dictator" model. We need to follow the "worker co-operative" model, or as I term it, "Bottom-up Capitalism" (not "bottoms-up" capitalism - our current system). [ Read Sin Patron, www.lavaca.org ] The Worker Cooperative is a self-governing body of folks bent on a mission. A good example of leadership for local community action is The Seventh Generation Fund.

The Seventh Generation Fund is an Indigenous non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining the uniqueness of Native peoples throughout the Americas.
We offer an integrated program of advocacy, small grants, training and technical assistance, media experience and fiscal management, lending our support and extensive expertise to Indigenous grassroots communities. Our organization derives its name from a precept of the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) which mandates that chiefs consider the impact of their decisions on the seventh generation yet to come. Learn about us, the programs and services we provide, our grant making guidelines and giving philosophies, upcoming events, on line publications and so much more!

 http://www.7genfund.org/

The central or key issue we face is sustainability over the next seven generations. We can't solve the problem until we know what the problem is and the roots of the problem. Certainty, greed, lust for power, slackness, and selfishness are the psychological underpinnings of our loss of the People's sovereignty. Our mega-monster consumerism is symptomatic of these "emotional" faults. Lust for "stuff", driven by the Media is paid for by the mega-corps ("Top-down Capitalism"). We've been dumbed down by TV and movies, we been fattened by fast-fat foods, and we have become insular from our neighbors, thanks to our vehicles and grid, "Dumbbell" layout of our cities and counties.  http://masallp.wetpaint.com/page/DUMBBELL+PLANNING+VERSUS+INTEGRATED+COMMUNITY+PLANNING

The western world lives on a bubble of oil, which is running out. No suitable energy source(s) of the magnitude served by fossil fuel has yet been deployed. As a wise Bedouin elder stated: "My father rode a camel, I drive a car, my son flies a plane. My grandson will ride a camel."

Unless you like riding camels, we must individually and collectively take back our sovereignty, establish worker cooperatives, intentional communities and become "neighborly" again. When was the last time you help with a barn-raising? How about helping your neighbor build h/h straw bale house?  http://strawbalebuilders.wetpaint.com/

Over time, we can eliminate some of the current functions of government. We can take care of ourselves and our neighbors - the Good Samaritan approach. "Government" should not be our ever-present, pseudo-parent.

Here are some practical solutions which we can individually and collectively implement:

1.Form Community Supported Agricultural consumer buying clubs and cut deals with local farmers for fresh, wholesome foods - organic preferred.
2.Create worker co-operatives around existing and soon-to-be-formed small business enterprises, where "All workers are owners, and all owners are workers."
3.Stop buying ANYTHING made in China or by any global corporation. Pinch off their cash flow and watch them wither.
4.Start talking to your neighbors and help them when you can.
5.Get active in local politics - all politics are local.
6.Form intentional communities and start practicing permaculture. "Live where you work and work where you live." Change the land use and zoning laws to support rather than interdict intentional communities.
7.Change the laws so we have a kinder, more gentler social and economic justice.
8.Stop looking at TV and avoid the movie theaters. Instead, attend a local community group or volunteer some time in a community program or NPO.

These considerations lead to "Bottom-up Capitalism" and to these results and actions:

The bottom-up capitalists arrange for a different result, using a different system.
1. Feeder system. The system which feeds new workers into worker cooperatives does not depend on or even take cognizance of the large fungible pool of wage slaves. The connection points usually starts with friendships, a newspaper ad or a jobs available on the website for the worker led enterprise. Once a member, always a member (usually).
2. Seniority. There is none since all worker members are paid the same and all get the same rights and benefits. Seniority is secured by job security, not perks and privileges.
3. Security. All workers have security. They are the owners of the company. A person who persistently fails to do their job, show up consistently late for work or is highly disruptive is subject to intense peer pressure and peer review. It will take at least a 80% vote of the membership to fire a member.
4. OJT. All workers get on the job training from more skilled workers. "Horizontal education" is not only the common practice but is the preferred and most effective means of knowledge transfer. 1
5. Organization. One would think that a worker-centric method of organizing production would instantly appeal to most workers and that they would immediately gravitate to that type of enterprise organization and management. Not so. Employees, like employers, are rooted in the wage-slave system and know no other. They cling to what they know and what their co-workers know (in a sense, employers are co-workers). 2 Shifting focus is one of long association with newer systems which are in place, working and supported by an established group. That is why sustainable agroecology has had slow growth. 3
6. Management. The Prussian military system of management has been the model used from the beginning of the industrial revulsion. The machine had its own rules and needs only a dumb hand to feed the materials and throw the power switch. These "dumb hands" needed smarter bosses, in fact, needed a platoon of smart bosses hanging by the "chain of command" Controlling the delivery of dumb hands was/is accomplished by the threat of firing, demotion, layoff or cut in hours, wages and benefits. If you don't believe me, go to any of the industrial fast food restaurants and observe how these automated machines have invaded the workplace. Some fat food industrial kitchens do not have persons to flip the meat patties.
7. Economic justice in the workplace. The worker cooperative and its larger sibling, the consumer-worker self-managed, intentional community, share common goals and use common methods of organization and management. Much of the transfer of knowledge is by popular education, which translates into social/economic/political action. We are faced with the daunting task of overcoming not only worker and consumer apathy, but also highly organized and financed oligopoly organizations. 4
8. Sustainable communities. We build new communities and re-build older communities, into sustainable communities. Simply forming committees and producing good-sounding public relations news releases is not enough. We need to change the archaic zoning and land use limitation on intentional communities, [ Identifying Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing,  http://www.huduser.org/rbc/search/rbcdetails.asp?DocId=1443 ] allow cluster housing, [ Cluster Development;  http://www.huduser.org/rbc/search/rbcdetails.asp?DocId=1443 ] allow cluster housing, [ Cluster Development;  link to masallp.wetpaint.com ], and holistic living, all of which improves the quality of life in the new and reformulated communities. We need more mini-cities and fewer mega-cities.
9. Sustainable food and fuel supply. The U.S. Air Force's current motto is, "No Fuel, no Force". This is patently true for all of "civilization". We need to get our current energy from current crops, driven by the Sun's rays. See:  http://algaloildiesel.wetpaint.com . The curtain on our current level of consuption of fossil fuel is closing. See Richard Heinberg's, The Party's Over - Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies. Also my article, The Terrifying Future Ahead;  http://masallp.wetpaint.com/page/Terrifying+future+ahead%3F
10. Caring. The Trump Card (not Donald's), is caring. We need a society which deeply cares about the Earth (Seventh Generation), each other, and our moral values. Our new moto: It's not all about me; it's all about us. We need to know the problems and shake ourselves out of the Denial Game and realize how serious and certain is the shortly-to-come Peak Oil melt down of our economy and our "standard of extravagance". Read widely and talk to your neighbors, join the community of your choice and make a positive difference. In other words, get off your butt.

Jim Miller
 jimmiller5417@yahoo.com
September 21, 2008

[==========================================]

END NOTES

1.
Movimiento Campesinos a Campesinos: Linking Sustainable Agriculture and Social Change
Posted April 10th, 2006 by admin
    Download in PDF
 http://www.foodfirst.org/backgrounders/campesino
"Ten years ago I wrote a Development Report for Food First about the Movimiento Campesino
a Campesino (Holt-Gimenez 1996). At that time little was known about "MCAC" and many development professionals had high hopes that the farmer-to-farmer methods for developing sustainable agriculture would help transform Mesoamerican agriculture. A decade later, we are still hopeful, but it has become clear that in the face of powerful global agribusiness interests, the sustainable transformation of agriculture will require more than farmer-led techniques and methodologies."
2.
In transition to justice, harmony, productivity, and right living:

"It's understandable, isn't it, that workers who come of age in an autocratic, authoritarian, paternalistic environment become reflections of it. It took some time for Camarão to adjust to the innovating, democratic, participative atmosphere at Semco."

MAVERICK, The Success Story Behind the Worlds Most Unusual Workplace, Richardo Semler, Warner Books, 1993, p. 180; ISBN 0-446-51696-1

3.

Movimiento Campesino a Campesino: Linking Sustainable Agriculture and Social Change
 http://www.foodfirst.org/backgrounders/campesino

 "The transition to sustainable agriculture ultimately depends on a combination of efforts between farmers and economic and social institutions; the markets, banks, government ministries, agricultural
research institutions, farmers' organizations, churches, and nongovernmental/nonprofit organizations (NGOs). Each of these institutions—including the market—has its own strengths and weaknesses; and each responds to the political agendas of the actors who are able to use it. Scaling up the successes of any experience in sustainable agriculture, including MCAC, is therefore not simply farmers teaching other farmers to farm sustainability, but a political project that engages the power of these institutions to permit, facilitate, and support sustainable farming." 

4.
The Sara LEE Sweatshops
 link to www.tokyoprogressive.org

"That is the case of the plant where Leonor Castillo worked, one of two Hanes T-shirt factories that Sara Lee opened in the early 1990s in Monclova, an old industrial city in Mexico's northern desert, and the adjacent town of Frontera, about 150 miles southwest of Laredo. It was regarded as another of Sara Lee's astute, strategic moves, streamlining its corporate structure by closing down plants in the U.S. and moving production, a step ahead of its competitors, slightly into the interior of Mexico where wages were even lower than in the older maquila zones right on the border.
****
"Sure enough, ten years later in Monclova none of those social or economic indicators has improved, some have deteriorated, and there are constant rumors that Sara Lee will soon pick up and move to some more congenial place where wages are even lower and workers less assertive."