Coalitions of Mutual Endeavor
Building critical mass
for critical change
An Open Letter and Proposal to the 99%

Since mainstream journalists and pundits from both ends of the political spectrum can't seem to figure it out, allow me to quickly spell it out. The impetus behind the swiftly growing Occupy Wall Street movement is that corporate and other elite special interests have corrupted the government, media, and economy while looting the people, destroying the environment, and insisting the US remain on the path of exploitation and imperialism through perpetual war to keep a failing system of industrial and economic growth propped up. Anyone who deals with reality realizes this system can do nothing but fail, as it contravenes natural law--it is unsustainable--and is extremely energy intensive on a planet experiencing resource decline.

The lens I apply to this analysis is as a systems scientist, ecologist, and counselor using natural systems principles to facilitate health and well-being. I've also run for public office a couple of times, so I'm familiar with how that part of the system works as well.

I'm philosophically aligned with the October 2011 occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC "Stop the Machine, Create a New World." This occupation was well planned in advance, thus it has a coherent and comprehensive message. I strongly suggest the Occupy organizers in cities around the world adopt this core message, which can be summarized as investing in human needs and environmental protection instead of putting profit and power above people and planet. They have 15 core issues which address that, and you can read all about them at their website. What I'd like to discuss is why I think that core message is foundational to why the 99% is finally making their collective voice heard, and after participating in a few General Assemblies at Occupy Tucson, what they'd like to see happen.

Because corporate greed depends on land theft, destruction of the natural world, and exploitation of people, this is where we must start the conversation. There will be neither an economy nor jobs on a dead planet--one that has been stripped of its resources--let alone peace, justice, equity, and democracy. An inconvenient truth that Derrick Jensen points out is that we can't both consume a planet and live on it, and I don't care how "greenly" we think we're doing it. Each of us getting a bigger piece of the pie is insufficient for justice and equity as well as physically impossible.

Under the business as usual of infinite economic growth on a finite planet subject to the laws of thermodynamics, 200 species go extinct every day--global fisheries and primary forests are disappearing. While it's commonly referred to as "loss of biodiversity," what we're doing is destroying the food chain. No food chain, no food. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Unless you've figured out how to eat your stock options or stockpiles of gold, of course.

Plus, the industrial system run by elite hierarchies that we're slaves to murders tens of thousands of humans every day as well through war, poverty, starvation, and withholding health care. Further, our legal system will not hold them accountable, and is in fact setup to protect this system. Since destroying the land base is suicidal, we need a new system of governance.

Because a living planet is necessary for our future, governance must become based on an Earth jurisprudence. This is the foundation for sustainability. This would be a true revolution, not mere reform to make the system a little less deadly. But it will not be a revolution in the common sense of the word.

I mean, overthrow the US government? As Jensen again correctly points out, our government has already been overthrown by Exxon Mobil, Citibank, Goldman Sachs, and Wal-mart The corporate state is what we must overthrow. And allow me to be presumptuous enough to speak for this movement and ask the police, as members of the disappearing working class whose mortgages are also underwater, to join us. As a protest sign in New York pointed out, they're only one layoff away from joining us anyway.

We must remember the job of the police is to protect the people from sociopaths. So, the question we must ask is Why don't they protect us from the rich sociopaths? From the corporations who have gamed the system such that sociopathic conduct is put on a pedestal and codified in law? Why don't the police protect the Appalachian Mountains from Massey Energy? Why don't the police protect the Ogallala Aquifer from the XL Pipeline? These are crimes against humanity that are occurring with impunity today.

Ok, so here's the bottom line from my perspective, and, I think, the perspective of all living organisms. We must come to understand and accept that true justice is not possible without sustainability, and without justice there will be no peace. Through decades of research and activism, my wife Allison and I have woven together a systemic process that can lead us in the direction of a sustainable future through the organization--Coalitions of Mutual Endeavor--whose website you're currently visiting.

If you're interested in building the critical mass necessary for effective action, in creating a sustainable future--meaning one based on ecological wisdom, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy--then join us! Let's talk.

And then, let's get busy. Instead of being a mere critique of all that's wrong, we can provide the 99% with something they can really sink their teeth into that focuses on what we want and how we intend to get it.

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Lynnette Allen | October 17, 2011 at 06:12 PM EDT

Excellent. I'm sending it out.

Thank you.

2. Paul Christie | October 18, 2011 at 01:47 AM EDT

Awesome perspective could not have said it better myself..

look forward to working with you as we march into a future of justice and sustainability

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