I wrote a post, “Just Write About It,” about 24 hours ago.
I tend to have insomnia, so I’m always exhausted, and after a few drinks I can manage to fall asleep in front of the TV around midnight. But I wake by three or four in the morning and watch late night re-runs, and eventually get bored and hit the computer.
And here I am again.
I wrote a post about 24 hours ago, and I had stopped by later and commented, but now it is five AM again and there are more comments, thoughtful comments … and somebody asked “why.” Well, I thought that was a bit humorous, and I answered in my own mind, “Because I was angry,” and then I had to re-read my own post, which I realized was sloppy, and confusing, and I re-read the comments, and realized that it would be polite to respond.
Because I’m angry.
“The injustice of it is almost perfect! The wrong people going hungry, the wrong people being loved, the wrong people dying! Was I really wrong to believe that there’s a–a kind of–burning virility of mind and spirit that looks for something as powerful as itself? The heaviest, strongest creatures in this world seem to be the loneliest.” (John Osborne, Look Back in Anger)
At this point I must beg your forgiveness, my dear reader, as I was actually being quite sarcastic in my previous title, “Let’s Just Write About It.” I guess it would have been more honest to say: Fuck just writing about it!! “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
I refuse to just write about it anymore. And, as if to highlight my point, Gar Alperovitz had published, at about the same time as my article, “The Rise of the New Economy Movement.” And, referencing one of those thoughtful comments from yesterday, (“You’re not as much fun anymore because you’re entering the zone of “taking things too seriously”,…which is another problem in itself, found at places like FDL, OWS, etc., and fortunately is incurable.”) I am am probably being too serious.
But everybody just writing about shit is what is making me angry.
I used to hang out at a website called Newsvine, and you could create “groups” there, and I created one called ‘activism,’ which I imagined users could utilize to communicate regarding activism. But, at Newsvine, people just post articles and then fawn over it or bicker in the comments. So I left.
Now I’m here at FDL occasionally, and articles like “The Rise of the New Economy Movement” encourage me, yet frustrate and anger me.
Because I’ve often been by Alternet, where that article was originally published, and by The Democracy Collaborative, and by http://www.garalperovitz.com/ where Gar is pitching his latest book, “America Beyond Capitalism,” which I imagine would include material from his very good December, 2011, article, and I’ve been by a million other websites … Which is frustrating as hell if you are actually trying to accomplish anything.
I’ve read articles, and been by websites, and more websites, where people study this and research that. And I’ve been by articles like “Restoration Calls” at the National Journal, and by neweconomicsinstitute.org (which has a listing of more writings) and rsfsocialfinance.org and bcorporation.net and …
Well, you get the idea, there are writings and writings and writings and writings out the wazoo. And there are even signs that people are out there, on their own, trying to get things done. There are groups, and legislatures and all of these isolated efforts living and dying on their own …
One comment on Gars’ Alternet article at Alternet said:
“1st thing we should do, is to start an E.S.O.P.[Employee Stock Ownership Plan] Movement in this country!”
I contacted that poster, and said:
I’m working on establishing new ESOPs, new businesses, but there seems to be no means currently available to start an ESOP other than to convert a three year old existing business … which is frustrating.
Mostly, beyond my current personal quagmire, there needs to be a support group “to start an E.S.O.P. Movement in this country!”
Beyond esopassociation.org or esopcentre.com or fed.org or employeeownershipfoundation.org or …
All those places study, and support, and lobby, and …
But none are actually trying to create, except menke.com and other law firms, who will help current owners sell their existing business to an ESOP.
So, I see a huge gap.
Locally, there is clarawhitemission.org, which trains homeless to be cooks and then gets them jobs. And there is also www.Jaxlegalaid.org which is trying to get ex-cons jobs.
To me, JOBS is a four letter word. What, should they just get jobs and create more profits for the stockholders of Outback Steakhouse or Wal-mart?
Unacceptable! I’d like to see those individuals channeled into business ownership … or else everything is just perpetuating the same cycle.
So I’m thinking, “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging!” I want these people to stop digging. I must show them another path out, I will hack at the vines and create a path.
Fuck jobs! Employee-ownership is desperately needed. Starting right now. But this is barely being done. There needs to be a website to help actually help organize efforts, where people could work together, give advice, harness the wisdom of crowds. The studies are already out there, normal capitalism siphons all wealth to the owners, to the top. while ESOPs spread ownership and are demonstrably more efficient, more democratic, have higher worker retention rates, keep capital in the community, the workers exhibit higher concern for their community and workplace, etc, etc, etc, etc
Well, that’s a nice little dream, actual support. But I I think I’m on my own. Today, in a few hours I am going to speak to a dean I know here at my law school.
I’m going to at least try to enlist his support. I’m trying to mash together everything I’ve mentioned above, plus crowd-funding concepts, and non-profit fundraising, and venture capitalist financing and … and about a billion other things. I’ll keep you informed about my efforts, and if you’d like to help, or have advice, feel free to share. Bear in mind, I’ve been at this for years, and I might have, I probably have, already been to that website, read that study, or that book, or contacted that association, or that institute, or …
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
There must be a way to use investor’s capital, and pay back that capital with an acceptable return on that capital to the investors, and create brand new, from scratch, ESOPs, that will create ownership for the workers.
I will find a way, or die trying.
PS: Something I love that seems fitting: