The Second Step to Reforming America

Summary:  The most frequent request by readers is for solutions. How can we reform America? This is another in a series of posts attempting an answer. Today we consider what kind of organization might accomplish so great a goal, and what tactics it should use.

It will take special people to reform America.

The problem: how to reawaken the American spirit, to convince our fellow Americans to again accept the burden and responsibility of self-government?I believe this love of freedom lies  latent in us, smouldering today. Our task is to build this into a flame, creating organizations capable of reforming America’s political structure.  Events during the past decade suggest that this requires starting from scratch, rather than working from within current organizations.

The post describing the first step on this path said that it will take many years, but starts with the first organization built upon recognition of the problem and dedicated to a solution.  The first one can be small. They will grow if the time is right. Today we discuss the principles for construction of such groups.

The goal will be to gain support from the broad middle of the political spectrum, overcoming the power and wealth of the 1% by weight of numbers. The history of reform movements in America shows some of the dangers to be met.

  1. Observation by every technical means and to be extensively infiltrated. There will be no secrets. Embrace that and operate with extreme transparency. Let them spy and listen.
  2. To be discredited by false flag operations by the government to discredit them. Preemptively defend against them by adopting strict, heavily publicized policy of non-violence to people and property. Martin Luther King’s rules must give every action.
  3. To be smeared by exaggerations and lies from a wide spectrum of establishment voices. Political gurus, style-makers, comedians. The only defense is to capture the moral high ground, so that these attacks appear ludicrous, or even socially unacceptable. Follow Dr Kings advice: avoid personalizing the issue, stay out of the mud, stay on message.
  4. To be attacked economically, so that members pay a personal price for involvement. Overcoming this vulnerability might be the most difficult challenge, probably requiring a high level of internal cohesion. Traditional political movements use young people (cheap to fund, with little to lose) supported by a small core of the 1% and their servants. Building an alternative to this will require ingenuity and sacrifice; the early labor movement offers some models to follow.

To succeed we’ll need to hit difficult targets.

To accomplish such a great task against long odds will require a highly diverse and efficient organization.  That will be difficult to build with Americans, immersed as we are from birth in myth, and bombarded by propaganda to befuddle and divide us. The antidote — perhaps the only one available to us — is to borrow a tactic from the North Vietnamese Army’s playbook: grab reality by the belt and hold on tightly.

We will need clear vision and thought fueled by verified facts. These are among the few tools available to counter the greater resources of the 1%. In practice that means internal debate carried through to conclusions irregardless of people’s feelings, burning through our differences to find a common ground on which to build.

None of this will be easy. Even with these things success will require many years. Or longer. But the current political system is breaking up, the issues crossing party lines (e.g., opposition to banks and wars in both parties).

Summary: the bywords of these organizations should be to pursue broad centralist goals by transparent and non-violent means, building a highly effective group that prizes fact-based clear-thinking, working to earn the public’s esteem.

This is the essence of asymmetrical conflict against the 1%. While no detail of this is new, the combination seems likely to produce something as unique in political history as were the Committees of Correspondence that created the American Revolution. It’s different from both the laissez faire libertarian (or anarchist) groups of the Tea Party Movement and the free-form street parties of the Occupy Movement. Perhaps succeeding as neither has or could.

Next: developing leaders for a reform movement.

Background note

This subject has echoed through the FM website since its inception in 2007.  Most of the posts about America have focused on our history, diagnosis of our problems, and forecasts. Some posts proposed reforms, but tentatively — and time has proven these ideas to be futile or even wrong. So in this series we try again, moving on to still more speculative solutions.

Key to bright future

Post your thoughts on this — and your ideas — in the comments.

Other posts in this series

  1. The project to reform America: a matter for science or a matter of will?, 16 March 2010
  2. Can we reignite the spirit of America?, 14 September 2010
  3. The sure route to reforming America, 16 November 2010
  4. We are alone in the defense of the Republic, 5 July 2012
  5. A third try: The First Step to reforming America, 28 May 2013
  6. The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy,
    27 June 2013
  7. Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 July 2013

Doing this will not be a requirement for membership in the reform movement

We need strong people, but this might be setting the bar too high.

This piece is cross-posted from Fabius Maximus with permission.