It’s Our Economy is dedicated to changing the dynamic of the current economy designed for the wealthiest to an economy built on principles of equity, cooperation, and sustainability. An economy that puts people and the planet before profits would reduce the wealth divide while giving people more control over their economic lives. We believe that a more just, modern, and restorative economy would involve the people in economic decision-making in both their communities and the nation more broadly.
This basic idea is economic democracy.
Economic democracy is premised on the idea that people should not cede power to mega-corporations, big finance, or a “professional” political class. The people have the shared knowledge to help build an economy that works to strengthen communities and build wealth for all, not just a few. We recognize the internal contradictions of big finance capitalism and we have seen the failures of state-based socialism and are seeking to create a new type of economy that is democratized, empowers people to gain control over their economic lives and encourages cooperative solutions that create wealth for ourselves and our communities.
Economic policy should not be shrouded in secrecy and should not exclude public participation. Building economic democracy means developing institutions that are transparent and accountable, that empower local communities to determine what policies are in their own best interest, workers to manage the enterprises where they work, and public participation in developing economic policy.
Economic democracy also emphasizes the commonwealth. The commons includes not only roads, land, water and resources but also the knowledge and technology developed, often with public dollars, which has been built up over generations. Economic democracy means building the commons so people can equitably share wealth created throughout the country’s history.
Economic democracy stands in contrast with neoliberal economics. Neoliberalism privatizes public goods and seeks to commodify everything possible to create profit-centers while cutting public services in the name of austerity. In contrast a democratized economy is one that serves the people; recognizes the importance of public goods and services; seeks to enrich the many, not the few; and builds an equitable distribution of wealth and resources.
Economic democracy seeks to incorporate human rights values in economic policy. These include:
- Universality: Human rights must be afforded to everyone, without exception.
- Equity: Every person is entitled to the same access to services and public goods.
- Accountability: Mechanisms must exist to enforce the protection of human rights.
- Transparency: Government institutions must be open and provide the public with information on their decision-making processes.
- Participation: People need to be empowered to participate in the decision-making process.
Now, more than ever, we need an inclusive democracy that respects our rights and builds wealth in our communities.
The economic collapse of 2008, coming as it did after three decades of stagnant wages and record household debt demonstrated that the economy does not work for most Americans. Jobs disappeared, hours were reduced, and salaries for working Americans shrank. As the cost of essentials like healthcare, food, and energy rose steadily, trillions of dollars went to bail out the economic elites who were most at fault for the financial collapse. To top it all off, as austerity budgets took hold across the United States, the social safety net was shredded.
This long term decline of the American economy creates an urgent need to rethink its direction. Our current exploitative economy that takes resources and cheap labor at home and abroad, while deepening debt from the international level all the way down to the individual, is only working for the wealthy elite. At home, crony capitalism has created economic winners not because they are providing the best product or best service in the most efficient way, but because concentrated corporate power has corrupted of the American political system.
We’re not going to break the corporate stranglehold on politics by circulating a petition or sponsoring new legislation. We can only do that by becoming active participants in democracy. Ideas for a “new economy” and how to build a “solidarity economy” are cropping up everywhere. This highlights how we have arrived at a turning point.
Join us in being a part of a broad-based international movement.
Rejuvenating democracy and building an inclusive economy is going to take dedication and organization. With events like our Economic Democracy Conferences, you will have the opportunity to connect with and learn from like-minded activists working to rebuild our economy from the bottom up all across the country. It’s Our Economy provides tools and resources, shares the latest news on the problems facing our current system and highlights fresh insights on how to address them.
It is time to shift decades of misguided economic policies toward a democratized framework that gives all Americans a stake in the economy and renews prosperity by creating fair, sustainable, and environmentally sound development.
It’s Our Economy is a project of Popular Resistance. Popular Resistance focuses on the growing movement for social and economic justice. Popular Resistance advocates a strategy of pursuing two parallel tracks: Stop the Machine, i.e. protest injustice; and Create a New World, i.e. positive actions to build new institutions. It’s Our Economy focuses on the second track: building the democratized economy we need.
Who We Are
Kevin Zeese, co-director of Its Our Economy, is an attorney who has been a political activist since graduating from George Washington Law School in 1980. He works on peace, economic justice, criminal law reform and reviving American democracy. His twitter is @KBZeese.
He advocates for democratizing the economy as co-director of It’s Our Economy and works to oppose to war and shrink the military budget through Come Home America. Zeese co-hosts, Clearing the FOG radio which airs on We Act Radio, 1480 AM. Zeese serves on the steering committees of the Bradley Manning Support Network which advocates for alleged whistle-blower, Bradley Manning, and October2011.org which organized thee Occupation of Washingon, DC on Freedom Plaza and seeks to end corporatism and militarism.
His recent election integrity work has included challenging the activities of the national Chamber of Commerce through StopTheChamber.org, as well as the activities of Karl Rove’s Americans Crossroads as part of AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org and seeking to overturn the Citizen’s United decision, including filing complaints against Justice Clarence Thomas, as part of ProtectOurElections.org. Zeese has also led the effort to prosecute Rupert Murdoch of NewsCorp for hacking into private phones and bribing officials.
He has been active in independent and third party political campaigns including for state legislative offices in Maryland, governor of California and U.S. president, where he served as press secretary and spokesperson for Ralph Nader in 2004. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006 and was the only person ever nominated by the Green Party, Libertarian Party and Populist Party.
MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D.:
Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy, is a Maryland pediatrician. After graduation from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1990 and completion of pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Flowers worked first as a hospitalist and then in private practice. She left practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for a single payer health care system at both the state and national levels.
Flowers served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program during the 2009-2010 national health reform process. She organized briefings, lobby days and testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in June, 2009 and before the National Commission for Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in June, 2010. She was co-founder of the Mobilization for Health Care Reform. She is currently a spokesperson for PNHP and is an advisor to the board. She has appeared in local, national and international media. Flowers serves on the coordinating committee of the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign-Maryland.
Flowers views the struggle for health care as part of a broader social, economic and environmental justice movement. She joined Zeese in March, 2011 as co-director of ItsOurEconomy.us in order to educate, organize and mobilize around social and economic justice issues and democratization of the economy to reduce the wealth divide. She is an organizer of PopularResistance.org which grew from the Occupation of Washingon, DC on Freedom Plaza (October2011) and continues to report on and help organize events around the country. She co-hosts,Clearing the FOG radio which airs on We Act Radio, 1480 AM and is published regularly in TruthOut, Alternet and AlJazeera English. Her twitter is @MFlowers8.
Tarak Kauff is a longtime antiwar and social justice activist. From the Vietnam War to today’s occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, he has consistently opposed U.S. wars and invasions for nearly 50 years.
He served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper from 1959 to 1962 and is a member of Veterans For Peace. He plays a leading role in VFP’s Direct Action Group, most recently organizing veteran-led civil resistance to war at the White House on December 16, 2010, and March 19, 2011. He also led two actions at the National Archives in which a small group of vets spent several days displaying giant banners drawing attention to violations of the U.S. Constitution, which they are sworn to protect.
Tarak is a strong supporter of self-determination for the Palestinian people. He is a member of the Hudson Valley’s Middle East Crisis Response and took part in the 2009-10 Gaza Freedom March in Cairo.
Currently, he is working with the October 2011 Movement to oppose U.S. wars abroad and budget cuts at home. He is building bridges between Veteran’s groups and Environmental groups to oppose the war on Mother Earth. He believes that creating and nurturing a culture of resistance is our only hope for stopping the machine and saving the planet and all the living beings on it from destruction by the profit-driven system of corporate control now in power.
Ellen Davidson is an activist reporter and photographer. She began her work in journalism on the staff of the New York Guardian radical newsweekly at the age of 19 after being active in the anti-apartheid divestment and Latin/Central America support movements in college. She spent 11 years at the paper, working on all aspects of activist publishing.
In the 1990s, she worked as a computer programmer for various progressive organizations and publications, including CovertAction Information Bulletin, Lies of Our Times, the American Committee on Africa, the Palestine Aid Society, the Latin America Video Archives, and the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA).
Since 2002, she has worked with the New York City Independent Media Center, and is on the board of The Indypendent, its award-winning newspaper.
As a U.S. Jew, she feels a special responsibility to work for the rights of Palestinians. She has traveled to the West Bank several times, rebuilding houses demolished by the Israeli military and reporting through her writing and photography on the oppression of Palestinians both in the occupied territories and inside Israel. She participated in the 2009-10 Gaza Freedom March, and is on the board of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions-USA.
She is a member of the board of Ecosocialist Horizons and of the executive committee of the October 2011 Movement, individuals and groups demanding real peace with social, economic, and environmental justice and an end to all U.S. wars.
Prior to joining It’s Our Economy as National Coordinator, Chris has worked in nonprofit communications for organizations involved in domestic policy and international relations. Chris currently serves on the leadership council for Healthcare is a Human Right! – Maryland, a grassroots movement for a single-payer system that would ensure all Marylanders can get the healthcare they need. He has an M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs from American University where he wrote his master’s thesis on the anti-democratic effects of economic global governance networks. Since then he has blogged on topics as varied as social justice, economics, philosophy, and the arts. Chris also has a B.A. in political science and Chinese from the University of Maryland, College Park.