August 5, 2015 4 Comments
There actually are people who want to have all the power and wealth in their own hands, and so it is in their interest to make the rest of us believe we have no power, no choice. Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister in the 1980s, had the perfect phrase for it, “TINA — There Is No Alternative.” That is what they would love us to believe.
In fact, we have a lot more power than we think, and if we used the power we have — individually and collectively — we would be better off than we are now, and so would our kids and neighbors, communities and world.
Two huge alternative-smashing movements have pushed us along the path toward believing TINA. Each one intimidated millions of people into backing away from alternatives, and supporting the powers-that-be, but millions of people have started to recognize that, yes, Margaret, there are alternatives.
One of the movements was McCarthyism in the 1950s. McCarthyism made great headway toward killing off powerful organized groups — socialists, communists, and unions — that pressured FDR (President Franklin Roosevelt) to implement the far-reaching programs of the New Deal. As a result of McCarthyism, people backed away from identifying with those groups and started to believe that there is no alternative to the capitalist system they saw around them. They backed away to preserve doing the things they loved to do whether it was writing, making films, earning a living, doing civic work, helping their fellow beings on the earth.
Another huge alternative-smashing movement has been happening more recently, during the lifetimes of anyone over 20. That movement can be called Anti-Naderism, the idea that voters should not vote for candidates that “can’t win” or else they will help the candidate they don’t like. After the 2000 presidential election, the Democratic Party leadership rationalized that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader caused Bush to take the presidency rather than Gore (note that I did not say “win” the presidency). This movement pushed the idea that there is no alternative to the two huge (Titanic) political parties. These parties are corporate-funded, and therefore easily controlled by corporations and the 1% that own them.
As a result of Anti-Naderism, people feel they have no choice but to align with the Democratic Party, if that’s the rhetoric they like, or the Republican Party, if that’s the rhetoric they like. Meanwhile, those who want all the power and wealth in their own hands can easily make sure the Titanic Parties are on their side, not ours. There is evidence that instead of backing away from alternatives, people are moving forward.
We can break from the constraints of McCarthyism and Anti-Naderism. We have power to step out, learn the truth, tell the truth, not go along with the program that helps the 1%. We can gather together in cooperatives, communities, unions, and independent political parties. We have the power to vote for candidates, like Nader in 2000 and candidates in Richmond, California in 2014, who do not take corporate or developer money, and whose values and positions we want.