Transforming the World: A Scenario
Dedicated to humanity, the environment, and life itself, the Purple Alliance pushes for new national policies that are supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
As part of the Earth Community, the Alliance promotes democracy, respects the rights of individuals, opposes the tyranny of the majority, and pushes political parties to back proposals that have supermajority backing while also pursuing their other principles.
The Alliance affirms the value of compassionate personal identities based on political party, ideology, theology, nation, race, gender, geography, or other factors. At the same time, the Alliance encourages strong identification as a member of the human family.
From this perspective, the Alliance promotes the nonviolent transform-the-world movement, opposes one group disrespecting or dominating another group based on superficial characteristics, and supports the use of force to restrain people who violate the rights of others.
The year the Alliance started, supermajorities of the American people, usually including most Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, believed:
Elected officials lose touch with their constituents, don’t care “what people like me think,” put their own interests first, and fail to give Americans a voice.
The wealthy have too much power.
The amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns should be limited.
Federal government programs should put people to work on urgent infrastructure repairs.
A federal jobs creation law should create more than one million new jobs.
The government should make Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid sound without cutting benefits.
Military strength is not the best way to ensure peace.
Military spending should be reduced.
The government should
stop giving money to foreign countries to buy military weapons from U.S. companies;
reduce the number of people behind bars;
increase funding for the treatment of mental illness and addiction.
Drug addicts and those with mental illness should not be in prison.
Immigrants are not a burden.
Society should not discourage homosexuality.
Global warming is real, carbon dioxide is a pollutant that needs to be reduced, and the U.S. should reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs, and use a carbon tax on fossil fuels for research and development of renewable energy.
Racism, racist acts, hate speech, and sexism are serious problems.
Countries including America should give refuge to people who are escaping from war or persecution.
Undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children should have a pathway to citizenship.
reported having generally warm feelings toward racial groups other than their own;
affirmed fairness and helping those in need;
opposed cheating and harming the vulnerable;
said they believe in God and respect people with different religious beliefs, who they considered to be just as moral and loyal to America as anyone else;
didn’t consider Islam to be more violent than other religions;
believed terrorists falsely use their religion to justify their actions;
felt that most Americans had more in common than what divided them;
were tired of polarized division and wanted people to listen more so they could better see the many sides of an issue and compromise to solve problems.
The Alliance has been building support for measures such as those that have had supermajority support. As a result, Congress has enacted a number of laws based on those principles.
Today, on the first day of January, as it does each month, the Alliance circulates a recommended message to Congress. This month, the message urges support for HR 101, legislation to fund one million new water-conservation jobs in rural and urban areas.
By the end of the week, two percent of all eligible voters, five million Americans, including three million Alliance members, have communicated with their Congressperson about the bill -- with phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, office visits, or by going to a public forum with the Congressperson.
In addition, at least once a month, many Alliance members meet with small Alliance Teams in members’ homes to discuss how to advance the Alliance’s mission and support the monthly action. Team members usually live near one another. Many share a meal and build supportive friendships by socializing informally prior to the meeting. In addition to these gatherings, many teams also engage in a variety of other activities, including picnics, volleyball games, dances, public forums, and traditional debates. Members invite friends to these activities, which attract new members with contagious happiness. So long as they operate in harmony with national policies, each team is free to design its own activities.
Some teams join the international Mutual Support Network and open their meetings with members briefly reporting confidentially on their recent self-development efforts. Members define their own self-development goals and don’t discuss these reports during the meeting, though they may do so informally after the meeting. For many members, this self-development work includes spiritual development. After these meetings, some teams engage in other activities to provide mutual support for self-development, such as anti-bias training.
Many of these support circles send representatives to regional, national and international Mutual Support Network gatherings. At these events, participants report on their experiences and evaluate ideas about how to structure mutual-support activities. Since these circles share the same commitment -- to serve humanity, the environment, and life itself -- and use the same method -- brief intimate reports about self-improvement efforts -- they grow a strong sense of global community rooted in that shared experience.
When they communicate with Congresspersons, Purple Alliance members and supporters thank representatives who already support HR 101. With those Congresspersons not yet on board, Alliance members ask staff for a report on the Congressperson’s thinking and urge support.
When needed to help persuade their Congressperson, Alliance Teams get endorsements for HR 101 from community-based organizations and local elected officials. These activities are coordinated with their Alliance District Council, which is elected by Alliance members who live in the same Congressional district.
Some District Councils organize nonviolent civil disobedience with measures such as sit-ins at the offices of elected officials to increase support for HR 101. Other Councils train “birddoggers” who team up and keep pursuing their representative face-to-face until they've gotten an answer.
On the second Saturday at 10 am, Congresspersons, Senators, and the President participate in Community Dialogs. As the result of a campaign previously launched by the Alliance, federal legislation requires all of these officials to participate in these monthly forums (while allowing for the chief of staff to occasionally stand in). Alliance members and others go to the forums to express their support for HR 101.
The Dialogs are carefully structured and moderated to assure that they are orderly and give constituents a fair opportunity to communicate with their representative. The moderator is a neutral, well-respected journalist. District residents who want to speak write their name and address on a card and place it in a bowl. The moderators select speakers randomly by taking cards from the bowl.
The forum begins with a 10-minute report from the official concerning their recent activities and their plans for the future, and concludes with the official giving a 10-minute response to the comments and questions that were presented during the Dialog.
District residents make comments or ask questions on any topic. Each speaker is allotted two minutes. If they ask a question, the official can use the rest of the speaker’s time to answer the question -- or the speaker can interrupt by saying “thank you” and use the rest of their two minutes to comment. If anyone exceeds the time limit the moderator signals to a technician to turn off the mike. Speakers can ask the audience to indicate support on an issue by raising their hand.
Community organizations distribute literature at tables. Participants stay after the Dialog to discuss issues informally. The officials are responsible for recruiting the moderator, securing a location, arranging logistics, publicizing the event, and arranging to have it streamed live on the Internet and cable TV.
Five days before the end of the month the Alliance convenes its National Council to evaluate the success of the campaign. This council “looks like America.” Their evaluation is based on measurable goals that were included in the monthly announcement. This month the goal was to get 150 co-sponsors on the bill by the end of the month. Only 140 have been obtained. After reviewing comments submitted by members online and the results of a straw poll, the council discusses whether it’s realistic to continue the campaign, and whether to accept possible amendments to the bill that would help gain more support without sacrificing key principles.
On a video conference call that is streamed live to the public, the Council decides there’s still a good chance to get the legislation enacted and directs the national office to urge members and supporters to continue building pressure in support of HR 101.
The Council is formed by the Alliance’s national staff, which is supervised by a 21-person board of directors elected by Alliance members nationwide. Without micromanaging, the board adopts Alliance policies, hires the director, and instructs the director to operate in a collaborative manner with top-level staff.
Each year, seven board openings are filled, plus any vacancies that have emerged due to resignations during the year. The national staff selects a nominating committee that recruits candidates who will maximize diversity on the board and likely be able to work together well. Alliance members can present alternative slates of candidates by gathering signatures on a petition signed by 0.1% of all members. Candidate forums are webcast live. Online discussion forums enable members to discuss the candidates before voting.
When the Council selects the focus for the next campaign, it also selects five national corporations whose support could be particularly helpful and directs the national office to seek support from those corporations. If one or more of those corporations have not provided support by the time of their next meeting, the council selects one of those corporations as the target of a boycott. Each month the council evaluates the boycott and its prospects for successfully persuading the corporation to support HR 101. If the boycott is successful or the Council concludes prospects are weak, it selects another target.
If support for the campaign grows substantially but HR 101 is still not enacted into law, the Council calls for a national one-day work moratorium. On that day, rallies and marches are held throughout the country, featuring live music, picnics, games, and fun activities. Speeches are kept to a minimum. Following that moratorium, if the President still has not signed HR 101 by the end of the next month, the Council calls for a two-day work moratorium. If support continues to grow, and prospects for success are good but the bill is still not enacted, next month the Council calls for a three-day moratorium. Thereafter, if the tactic continues to be helpful, while continuing to gather community support and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience directed at officials who remain in opposition, the Council adds another day to the length of the moratorium until the President signs the law. Throughout this process, the Council remains open to negotiated compromises that would help enable passage and still keep the core of the bill intact.
During primary season, the Alliance presses candidates to endorse the Alliance and support its campaigns. Each season, the Alliance mobilizes to defeat five vulnerable Congresspersons who stand out as being particularly unsupportive. Success in these campaign’s helps to gain support from Congress in the futur
With each victory, the Alliance builds momentum and opens the door to fundamental reforms previously considered unrealistic -- reforms that advocates have been developing and promoting while the Alliance has built its base with incremental improvements. Grassroots attention is beginning to focus on new structures -- ways to organize society to make it more fair, democratic, respectful of individuals, life-affirming, and less damaging to the environment.
The move to compel large U.S, corporations to obtain a federal charter is gaining support. This charter would require corporations to consider the interests of all relevant stakeholders — including customers, employees, and the communities in which they operates -- and would enable employees to elect representatives to the board of directors.
Support grows for the belief that as a society, as a national community, one way or the other, the American people must assure everyone the means to makes ends meet with a decent non-poverty income. We must see to it that all workers can find a living-wage job opportunity, disabled and retired workers are not forced to live in poverty, everyone has ready access to quality health care including substance abuse services, and no child grows up in poverty.
The private sector -- businesses and charities -- help meet those goals with jobs and services, and the public sector -- local, state, and federal governments -- guarantees that we honor this moral obligation. By increasing taxes on the super-rich, eliminating wasteful military spending, and sending funds to local governments for public service jobs to meet human and environmental needs, the federal government assures everyone the means to a comfortable life.
With economic security, people no longer feel pressure to climb social ladders to protect their future. They’re more free to engage in enjoyable, meaningful, creative, and rewarding activities, including personal and spiritual development. Evermore people realize that a good life is good enough. There’s no need to keep ahead of the Jones or be King of the Hill. Many Americans still pursue higher incomes, but are no longer driven to do so by insecurity. Others are satisfied with what they have.
The Purple Alliance in the United States and the international Mutual Support Network are two elements of the global transform-the-world movement. This movement affirms self-interest, national interest, and the interests of all humanity. There’s no irreconcilable conflict between those interests. The more others thrive, in the long run, the more everyone thrives.
Regardless, we’re morally obligated to care for others as well as care for ourselves. Selfishness and self-centeredness are wrong. Obscene wealth and oppressive power-over-others undermine personal satisfaction. Partnerships are more rewarding than domination and submission.
However, our social system, the System, was based on people climbing ladders and dominating and looking down on those below. Most of us reinforced that system in many ways. We often dominated when we could and submitted when we could not -- and then envied or resented those with more wealthy or power. The System was us.
The System’s top-level administrators were particularly responsible. They inflicted great harm on people and the environment. Their greed and lust for power were deadly. They didn’t appreciate compassionate community. Many of them were addicted to the “mobility escalator” and sought to gain more wealth and power-over-others. Money became a way to “keep score.” Power was used to seduce and exploit for personal gain. Some “gave back” with donations to help victims, but few tried to prevent the victimization by supporting changes in policies and structures that would have reduced their own wealth and power.
Most elites failed to see long-run “win-win” solutions and insisted on monopolizing wealth and power. They resisted popular movements to reduce inequalities and expand democracy, freedom, and economic fairness. With their short-sighted selfishness, they sowed the seeds of great catastrophes. So we, the American people, empowered ourselves and held those elites accountable for their crimes.
But we did not demonize or scapegoat them. They were not the primary problem. The primary problem was the self-perpetuating System. Elites were also victims. Affirming the 99% for the 100%, we are addressing root problems, restructuring the System, and developing partnerships and democratic hierarchies throughout society in every country. Some elites have joined this effort.
Movements in each county are developing strong democratic nation-states that prevent damage inflicted by selfish global financial and corporate forces, and are learning to cooperate with each other for the sake of shared interests. We sign and enforce trade treaties that allow countries to protect domestic businesses that counter global warming. We’re growing national cultures that affirm a commitment to serve humanity, the environment, and life itself. We encourage people to cultivate humility, engage in honest self-evaluation, and support one another in efforts to become more caring and effective. With evolutionary revolution, one step at a time, we’re transforming the world into a compassionate community.
The first draft of this essay was posted here.