July 12 ó To the Editor:
British historian Lord Acton warned over 100 years ago that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This should teach us two very important things. One, we must ensure that our elected officialsí power is meaningfully checked by an informed and mobilized citizenry. Two, we must be unequivocally sure that no one in our government even approaches absolute power.
While thereís no doubt in my mind that the people will be far better represented by Democrats, and we all must vote in November, itís time for a paradigm shift. A representative government is based on a very slim hope: the hope that once elected, politicians will put the interests of the people above their own need for money to stay in office, a seat on powerful committees, and the support of ever more influential people.
What the people require is an emancipatory democracy: one that includes networks for relationship building between nongovernmental organizations. This enables citizens an equal opportunity to play a meaningful role in shaping the sort of society in which we all live.
We need social structures and laws that empower the people to hold representatives to account when they seek private gain over the expressed wishes of their constituents.
All of this is what a well-organized Resistance movement can do. Successful nonviolent citizen action struggles throughout history do not just seek to unseat corrupt leaders and replace them with people they hope have integrity. Rather, through their nationally organized strategic planning, they also engage in institution building where they create improved decision-making systems at the cultural and government levels.
Itís time to stop relying on a handful of people to fight for the interests of the masses. We the people must reclaim our power by learning to be our own successful advocates.