Public Comment

New: Building Power

By Harry Brill
Tuesday January 21, 2014 - 09:24:00 PM

There are still many who believe that we lack the money to fund and improve our vital social and economic programs. But consider the following -- Social Security benefits can be substantially increased by raising the taxable limit of $117,000. Why should executives who earn, say $500,000, pay no more social security taxes than someone who earns substantially less. How about supporting a viable and expanding food stamp program for the growing number of poor Americans by at least in part reducing if not abolishing the tax deduction for executives who dine their clients and others in expensive restaurants. And generally speaking, how about assuring that the rich pay at least the same rate of income tax as the average worker? In fact, it is commonly known that some corporations that earn billions of dollars pay no taxes at all. What a major difference these changes would make to appreciably improve our quality of life. 

The problem is not, as the ruling circle insists, an economic problem. It is a political problem caused by the collective greed of the one percent. In short, the extraordinary economic inequality in our society reflects the extraordinary political inequality in our society. How, then, can the 99% prevail over the 1%? We certainly outnumber them. 

We are constantly waging political battles. But to stand a chance of winning the war we must always ask the question "How in the course of the many struggles we wage, are we building power?" To do so it is not enough to achieve our specific end. The particular means we adopt are crucial. Most important, are we operating democratically. Democratic participation is not only a virtue onto itself. Democratic participation also builds leadership, encourages activists to develop their skills and self-confidence, and also brings more people out in the streets.. And in the process of building a democratic movement, the vocabulary changes from "I" to "We. Our source of power is building a united front. Only then will Congress really listen to us. Lobbying and internet activism is not enough. 

Please keep in mind the very wise words of Mahatma Gandhi "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".