As We Dethrone The Corporate State And Rule Of The Rich, We Must Also Rebuild


Image by SUXSIEQ via Flickr

The Essays of The Man From the North by Rivera Sun
Writer, Dandelion Salad
January 18, 2018

The United States is a laboratory for democracy – a centuries-long experiment in what does and does not work for people making decisions together. Moments of abject failure and soaring success punctuate long periods of disruption, shut-downs, and the regular ransacking of our laboratory. Our experimental efforts have often been thwarted by undemocratic interests. The equipment has been smashed or corrupted. The results ripped to shreds. The data distorted. The facilities destroyed. The funding cut off. Every aspect of our experiment in democracy has been tampered with by those who fear the will of the people.

Our research has been pilloried by moneyed interests, leading to misconceptions about democracy. People mock what they do not understand. They equate democracy with mere majoritarian electoral politics, or the dismal status quo of politics in the United States. Democracy is a far vaster, extraordinary field of experimentation, vibrant ideas, unusual practices, and effective tools for shared decision-making and collective self-governance. The practice of democracy engages listening, respect, justice, equality, dialogue, caring, compassion, creativity, shared decision-making, collective strategizing, and conflict resolution. It appears as participatory budgeting, collective public policy crafting, civic dialogues, community discussion practices, ranked choice voting, direct democracy, citizen initiatives, cooperative structures and much more.

If we wish to cast off the shackles of tyranny, the chains of autocratic control, the burden of massive monopolies, the constraints of totalitarianism, and the rule of corporate or oligarchic interests, then we must learn the language of democracy as an ever-evolving poetry of politics. Democracy is more than a noun, it should be a verb, an active practice of shared governance. And, as we resist the injustice of a corporate-controlled state, we must broaden our very definition of democracy.

The old practices of politics allowed this collusion of corporations, rich people, and state power to abuse people and planet. Our democracy must rise in newer, more robust forms reaching into every sector of our governance, whether it be political, social, economic, or otherwise. Democracy is a way of life, not simply voting on candidates every few years.

We must push our experiments in democracy beyond the known parameters. Looking to the past will not offer us answers for the complexity of today. The Founding Fathers could only see as far as the horizon-lines of their prejudices. They could not imagine the world we live in now, one in which people of color, women, and minorities of every persuasion demand a system of governance that is inclusive, responsive, and responsible to and for the well-being and equality of every citizen, the natural world, and our fellow humanity around the globe.

Even in the history of the United States, our notion of politics has been broadened time and time again. Mass movements for greater equality and inclusion began almost as soon as the ink dried upon the Constitution. The United States has always been a work in progress. We must look around at what our fellow humans are doing in places where they have outstripped our inquiries into democracy. We must also look to the unknown, the imagined, the experimental. We must study the possibilities and implement them as experimental practices to build upon.

The United States is a laboratory of practice. As we dethrone the corporate state and rule of the rich, we must also rebuild this laboratory, pick up the wreckage, set up new tests, repair equipment, celebrate discoveries, and fund further investigations. Such inquiry must be a bastion of our efforts to discover the true meaning of democracy; of governance of, by, and for the people, all of them, together.

Author/Actress Rivera Sun syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and has just launched the sequel, The Roots of Resistance, and is the cohost of Love (and Revolution) Radio. Website:

The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection and the sequel, The Roots of Resistance. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today”, when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution. This article is one of a series written by The Man From the North, which are not included in the novel, but can be read here.

From the archives:

Rivera Sun’s The Roots of Resistance, reviewed by Guadamour

There Is No Democracy In The US Empire!

Paul Street: We Live In An Abject Authoritarian Plutocracy

How Big Corporations Game Our Democracy Into Their Plutocracy by Ralph Nader

Detecting What Unravels Our Society by Ralph Nader

Chris Hedges: We Need To Dismantle the Power of the Corporate Oligarchy

From Pseudo-Democracy to Real Participation by Graham Peebles

Sheldon Wolin: Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist? Parts 1-8, interviewed by Chris Hedges

15 thoughts on “As We Dethrone The Corporate State And Rule Of The Rich, We Must Also Rebuild

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  9. Vandana Shiva once coined a telling metaphor: “monocultures of the mind…”

    I really liked that ~ because it typifies bland, unimaginative linear thinking. Nature does not conform to that straight-jacket obsession; so why should any healthy society? Some histories are like that though; tedious and limiting. Of course we can learn from history, but whose and in what way exactly?

    Predicting the past is the historian’s gambit, but why not strive to remember what could be, to reconfigure a future closer to our heart’s desire? Every oak was once an acorn, but an acorn will develop in different ways, depending on its conditions of growth. So what we do today, and how we inter-act, has very real and potent influences in any historic future; just as our ancestral past had epigenetic consequences & outcomes in the real experience of this future present.

    I agree with Rivera; it’s all a colossal experiment; so we should be keeping careful note; a fulsome record of this heuristic exercise in creative possibility. In a very real sense that is what great Art is, and does. Think of ‘Guernica’ for example. Arguably the most powerful work Picasso ever produced.~ but have we learned anything from it?

    Democracy is in great danger of becoming a sacred icon that is merely a fetish, painted dead wood. A simulacrum of an ideal. The ‘demos’ is just a word, but it is more than a word if it represents a living reality. The mass of humanity is utterly incomprehensible, we can barely cope with 150 souls on a personal level, Robin Dunbar’s celebrated number.

    So networks are important, networks that really know themselves and operate at full potential. Scale that up and you begin to glimpse a burgeoning ‘organon’ ~ a coherent cosmopolitan organism; take it further and we may see a glimmer of an indigenous civilization in the making.

    After all, the sky is pulsing with star-life; and we are still mere Children.

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  11. As we refuse to give our hard won $$ to corporations, financial institutions, etc. that use and abuse the people then we will take back our democracy. We can control this by going back to cash and that anyone we pay gets the full amount and zero goes to those predatory financial institutions. We can and should learn to grow more food, grow more trees and grow more connections!

  12. Respectfully, I disagree with the notion that we shouldn’t look to the past. Of course we should look to our past and use the various lessons to move forward. Also, horizontal democracy must be mentioned and included in this discussion. The new democracy will be a gradual turning, it is happening now, as people move toward local ownership models, worker cooperatives, collectives, direct democracy, horizontal democracy, community land trusts, and support for the commons and the commoner. As more people become active, the festering will lead to new models of governance and participation, perhaps very real democracy.

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