Bernie needs to differentiate himself from Warren, here’s my idea: Economic Democracy
I’d like to start this post by saying the inspiration for this came from the Next System Project and Democracy Collaborative (although the ideas are not new). In another life, I would have been an economist and gone on to do the work they are doing. And thanks to my partner, for helping me with developing this.
Also, I am developing this idea, feel free to critique.
Warren has come out with a detailed plan for M4All and is talking about Billionaires. We know that she won’t follow though if she wins, but the media is giving her all the cred and that steals Bernie’s thunder. We are looking at the possibility of a brokered convention. Bernie needs to win outright and to do that he needs to differentiate himself from the false progressives, my idea: Economic Democracy.
What is economic democracy, well, it’s gotten different definitions. Here I am talking about everyday people owning and controlling companies, banks, etc. instead of billionaires, stockholders, and CEOs.
In addition, to differentiating himself from false progressives, I think it is also a good sell to older people who think Stalin every time they hear the world “socialism.” While I Don’t agree, people have been conditioned to freak out about Socialism and Big Government. Medicare For All and Green New Deal feed into that “Big Government” fear.
What if Bernie emphasizes the “Democratic” in “Democratic Socialism.” Talking about democracy in the workplace, user-owned cooperatives, worker-owned cooperatives, etc. Talking about putting the means of production and the profits with the people in transparent, democratic structures. And point out how the internet can be used to facilitate distributed ownership and management. It might help with the older and more conservative crowd.
So, the sell is “Economic Democracy”. Or maybe a People powered economy. But to sell this to the public we need short discussions and phrases. Here are some examples of Economic Democracy that Bernie could present that would be popular.
Idea #1 – User Owned Social Media Company
What is the users owned Facebook (I know there was a movement to democratize Twitter at one time). We could sell our own data. We would all get a cut of the profits. We could have a democratic, transparent ownership and management structure. Open source code. No more Zuckerbergs controlling content or news. This concept could be applied to other internet based companies.
1. You own Facebook
2. Everyone shares on the profits on Facebook
3. Democratic control of Content
4. A people powered social media platform
Idea #2 – Community Owned Banks
What is cities and states had their own banks. North Dakota does. What if these banks had a transparent, democratic management structure. What if instead of based on profits, these bank gave loans based on contributing to the public good: social and environmental causes. Bernie could discuss examples of people/groups that can’t get funding because they are not profitable, and then discuss how a people owned bank could (and provide examples).
1. A bank for the people
2. A bank for the betterment of the entire community not the wealthy
Historically, there were/are community banks in segregated/ethnic areas that supported community businesses.
Other ideas: Food Co-ops (food co-ops aren’t new), Energy Co-ops, Worker Co-ops, and this list goes on.
Anyway, I just wanted to put this idea out there and see if anyone else thinks this is a good idea besides me. Maybe this idea too complex in our media world, but I think if framed the right way it could give Bernie a boost….Maybe someone from the Bernie campaign will read it. I’m going to tweet about it @mixedbagrag if anyone wants to follow.