So I will begin this with a necessary mea culpa that is totally worthwhile for me to make.
From the outset, I was wildly skeptical of the Bernie Sanders candidacy for several inter-connected reasons. Bruce Dixon, Green Party of Georgia chairman and contributor to the internet radio magazine Black Agenda Report, described Bernie as a ‘sheep dog’, saying that the Sanders candidacy was a Democratic Party plan to keep a restless progressive caucus, thoroughly dissatisfied with the mainstream party, from daring to make the jump into the Green base. Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch, an online muckraking news outlet I contribute to regularly, coined the name ‘Sandernistas’ for you guys. I don’t want to make any judgements on anyone but myself right now because that is only fair.
But I will say that, having attended a meeting today with Berniecrats in Warwick, you guys proved us wrong and bravo for that! St. Clair said it best:
First things first. I want to apologize to the Sandernistas for any impolite things I may have written about you in the past 10 months. I especially want to apologize to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you, after Bernie wiped out your votes and muted your voices, after he turned you over to the DNC’s thuggish floor managers and security guards, after he sat passively as your brave chants of “No More Drones” were drowned out by the fascist war-cry of “USA! USA!!” I want to apologize for doubting your resolve. I want to apologize without qualification. You didn’t cry when Bernie betrayed you. Not for long. You marched right back into the Wells Fargo Center intent on spoiling the party. You didn’t sour on your ideals. You refused to be domesticated. You pissed on their carpet. You shouted down their war criminals. You made this squalid affair fun for a few precious hours. And that ain’t bad. Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is cracking a smile (though perhaps not at the spectacle of Meryl Streep ripping off his wardrobe during her bewildering performance, an act so incoherent it made one long for the Absurdist theater of Clint Eastwood and his empty chair routine.)
Now, to quote a certain rodent, “Everybody neat and pretty? Then on with the show!”
This is intended to be an introduction for you folks to the world of independent progressive-left politics (obviously some of you are already aware of this stuff and this is not meant as an insult if you are). To use an analogy, you have just taken the red pill to exit the Matrix. Now it is time for a few surprises.
There’s a whole world of alternative media that we want to share with you. We have radio shows, television news programs, documentaries, books, magazines, and so much more that is truly and seriously progressive. Some of the basic principles we hold to without any exception are:
- Anti-racism and its macro-sized twin anti-imperialism, aka anti-war
- Opposition to trans/homo/biphobia
- Abolishing the military-police-prison-industrial complex
- Refusing to yield to the bipartisan economic consensus surrounding neoclassical economics
My website here, Rhode Island Media Cooperative, is intended to be a news and media aggregator for Ocean State progressives who want to be independent of the two party system on the national level and who feel like criticizing the Democratic Party is not just healthy but necessary to rebuild our country. You can find here a bunch of different perspectives that are totally different from the lamestream media that hold true to the principles mentioned above. And if you have any requests or suggestions for things you want added or, alternatively, would like to contribute stuff yourself, feel free to hit me up and ask. Now there are certainly some things that might shock or bewilder, particularly when we get into a conversation about American foreign policy, but these things can be overcome.
The ultimate goal of this webpage and organization is pretty simple but bold: What says that we can’t have what Bernie was talking about? Citizens United and the entire history of the post-World War II state of Rhode Island shows you can buy a government. Why don’t we just make it happen right now on a voluntary basis and cut the middleman, the state, out of the picture?
The first two issues that we take on are healthcare and retirement. If you can grow a big enough pool of people, you can go through the healthcare exchange to an insurance company and buy a small group plan that has a lot of good benefits. Then you compliment this with a health savings account (HSA) to cover co-pays, deductibles, and other costs. If we get enough people in the pool who are not getting healthcare through work or are part of the 1099 ‘gig’ economy, we can absolutely have Scandinavian-styled healthcare.
The second is retirement. So in my case I have a degree in Film Studies. If I get five of my friends who are in my same situation, we could have a working film production company. But then the major problem is the money for production. But what if the five of us all set up an individual retirement accounts (IRAs) with an agreed upon funding agency, be it a local credit union or the Cooperative Fund of New England? We could hypothetically in a year’s time go to that funding agency and co-sign on a loan to fund creating our studio! There would be none of the nightmares that come with the typical production of media artworks and it would not be borrowed directly from that retirement account. This is all voluntary and the rewards are great while the risks are minimal.
Cooperatives historically have arisen from times of economic downturn and high unemployment. The story of Mondragon in Spain is a great example, there you had wine vintners literally pool their resources, their wine, into one barrel and sell it through cooperation. We have thousands of people without any sort of job security who would be perfect for this sort of thing. We can create a social democracy through this that will not be impacted by who is elected to office! Let’s have our cake and eat it too!
If you are interested, feel free to contact me for more information.