Whoever has any authority over you, no matter how small, will attempt to use it.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
World War III started in the eighties. Not a shot was fired, so no one noticed. A Pocracy (that’s short for Powerocracy and suggests the gap between its words and actions) silently declared war on people and the planet. After three decades, the Pocracy–a borderless, international assortment of individuals, businesses, governments, and institutions that act independently yet increasingly control our lives–is winning.
Only a worldwide movement of tech-enabled citizens, collaborating to save their rights, their communities, their country, and the environment, can save us. If the resistance to the Pocracy doesn’t make itself felt by the end of the decade, it may be too late.
The War is the inevitable consequence of the quest for order, efficiency, growth, control, power, and money. Technology became the engine that enabled business, government at all levels, religion, nonprofits, the media, the military, and individual influencers to become the Pocracy.
Speaking Truth to Power
The Pocracy’s members first gained support by providing solutions to problems. But power corrupts. That’s the human condition. Now members are concerned more with their own agendas than what is best for the human family and the planet. Because of their power, willingness to collaborate–even with competitors–the Pocracy has become the biggest problem humanity faces. The cumulative effects of the War are growing rapidly, and these tragedies will continue to worsen, unless those who care act.
Because power corrupts at all levels of organizations from local to international, the real enemy we face is power–the power of position, money, time, size, secrecy, belief, ignorance, prejudice, family, the tribe, tradition, the media, marketing, consumerism, inertia, and short-term thinking. The unimpeded growth of the Pocracy makes it increasingly difficult to prevent its members from controlling humanity instead of serving it.
One sign of the problem: patriotism becomes treason. As Edward Snowden said in December, “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are only ones who don’t realize it.”
Members of the Pocracy have their own onerous, complex set of growing challenges. They can’t provide a vision of our problems, let alone solutions. Only a bottom-up movement can convince the Pocracy and their employees that serving the common good is in their long-range interest.
Peace is the Way
Force can’t bring about the changes we need. The movement needs to embrace the principles and practices of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela, and be further empowered by creativity, innovation, technology, and scalability. Because means affect ends, we need to balance passion for our ends with compassion while striving for them.
The millions of people who work for the Pocracy are our friends, colleagues and members of our family. They are potential allies who have gone or been led astray. Most believe they are doing the right thing. But our shared nature and fate bind us far more tightly than what separates us.
The Pocracy needs to make the short- and long-term effects of their actions on people, their communities, and the planet transparent more important than growth or profit. Its members need to be accountable to a local or international court of law, based on an enforceable International Bill of Rights (www.internationalbillofrights.org). The court’s judgments need to be swift enough and the cost of transgressions certain and great enough to prevent them. But courts need to make ensuring justice more important than following the letter of the law.
Decision-making needs to be an open, collective, expeditious process. But when change is rapid, disruptive, and unpredictable, decisions need to be monitored and revised as needed. This requires the perpetual scrutiny of media not dependent on advertising or the beliefs of their ownership.
Making Change Possible
Change will come from a mobilized grass roots.
–Barack Obama, Dreams from my Father
The movement needs to overcome the Pocracy’s resistance to change and its effects members’ power or profit. The world needs the benefits the Pocracy provides, and businesses deserve to make a fair profit. The challenge is to focus members’ efforts on what will serve them, us, and the world in a sustainable way.
People who can exercise the power of the ballot need to:
- Find and elect representatives with no interest in wielding power who are more concerned about their constituencies than themselves
- Elect officials for as short a period of time as possible
- Make finding and preparing their successors a continuing process
Writers and other independent media people have to communicate unbiased, compelling visions of problems and solutions. They are essential voices of change that give their audiences the facts, vision, guidance, and inspiration they need to work together. The goal of the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference (www.sfwritingforchange.org) is to empower writers to become change agents.
Mobile devices, the organizing tool for the movement, will enable it to maximize its worldwide potential for communication, creativity, community, and collaboration. The movement will only prevail if it is eternally vigilant and makes monitoring and renewing itself an integral, continuing part of how it functions.
How the Movement Will Succeed
The movement needs to generate momentum from the bottom up. The challenges it will face are to enable the world to:
- Abandon individual and collective beliefs that don’t serve the good of humanity. As New York Times columnist Mark Bittman said of food: “If it’s good for us, it’s good for the planet.”
- Agree on the magnitude and threat of the problems
- Enlist the support of the Pocracy and its workers
- Harness the world’s wisdom, knowledge, creativity, innovation, and skills to find solutions
- Give individuals and organizations enough power to be effective, but not enough to be corrupted
- Carry them out while–as a United Nations report on climate change noted–“managing the unavoidable and avoiding the unmanageable”
- Celebrate victories to help sustain the movement’s hope, spirit and momentum
The United States is the logical place to start the movement. Americans can be catalysts for the coming of age of the human family by beginning the collaboration needed to preserve freedom and Gaia’s global village. Winning World War III gives us the opportunity to create a new American dream for a new century with solutions that work for everyone on the planet.
Why the Movement Will Succeed
Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.
Faced with overwhelming but less daunting odds, the Founding Fathers would, for the same reasons they led the Revolution, relish the prospect of the struggle. Benjamin Franklin warned: “For surely if we do not hang together, we will most assuredly hang separately.” We must find a way to reconcile our differences and care for one another and the planet, or we will suffer a catastrophic future.
If we survive our follies, this century will prove Napoleon’s belief that, “Humanity is only limited by its imagination.” If we can think of something, achieving it is inevitable. If the people and resources to build the movement emerge, it will succeed. Now is the time to figure out how to help.
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The 6th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference / Changing the World One Book at a Time
The 11th San Francisco Writers Conference & Open Classes
A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community
Keynoters: Chitra Divakaruni, Barry Eisler, and Mark Coker
Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents / Helping Writers Launch Careers Since 1972