Our proposed program for pursuing our goals follows.
What makes a citizen is participation in the decisions that affect one’s life. Citizens need knowledge, skills, and organization to be politically empowered. One of the tasks of Social Advance is provide ideas and information of use to us in becoming a full citizens. We produce an online weekly video, Oregon News & Views, and other videos. In addition, we plan to organize, train and help people develop the skills necessary to be effective citizens.
Empowering citizens also entails reducing the power of big business and big government. The power of big government can be reduced by changing the nature of the economy to reduce the need for regulation and excessive military spending (see the following section on Emergent Economics). It can also be reduced by shifting to universal benefit programs that require less administration, such as a universal health insurance or a universal basic income.
An economy based on social responsibility rather than profits for the few is already emerging and needs support to supplant the entrenched political power of big business corporations. Government subsidies should shift to small businesses, public benefit corporations, non-profit organizations, and worker and consumer cooperatives.
Socially responsible business operations and socially responsible investing should be promoted. Changing how businesses are run within reduces the need for regulation from without. Larger businesses should be required to include worker and community representatives on their boards of directors. Governments should end all subsidies for fossil fuel industries and instead foster a “green” economy. In addition to protecting our environment, this would allow us to end our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our military presence in the Middle East and around the world.
An archaic electoral system and restrictive ballot access laws prop up a two-party system which makes it easier for big donors and corporate lobbyists to control the government. Preference voting, multi-member districts, public financing of campaigns and ending the official status of political parties are ways to change election dynamics and open up a system now beholden to special interests.
In the meantime trans-partisan organizations such as Social Advance, which include members of any and no party affiliation, can selectively endorse candidates for public office and develop resources for election campaigns such as voter databases.
People in power have long used the tactic of dividing people to protect themselves from accountability to the larger public. Government agents and all citizens must be held to a standard of respect and just treatment for all people without regard to irrelevant distinctions such as physical attributes, gender, cultural background, and social class.
When people feel that their rights and human dignity are being respected and protected, there is no need to control them by violence and coercion. This is true in both the domestic and international spheres. By developing a culture of mutual respect and justice for all, both within our organization and outside of it, we remove justifications for governmental and other use of violence.