Historian Gar Alperovitz, author of What Then Must We Do: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, advocated that “building up from the bottom up, over time, is actually how you transform systems,” as done during the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of communism in the USSR, and the women’s revolution, as well as the earlier French and American Revolutions. Since the root problem is inequality caused by the global economic system, he makes specific economic suggestions for financial change on the local level where we have power: Actions individuals can take (specific examples are listed in the article cited in the endnote): put your money in a local credit union and encourage your city to do the same; encourage worker owner co-ops (the most common form is the Employee Stock Ownership Plan) to get certified as progressive B Corporations; lobby for participatory budgeting in local governments (first used in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989); lobby for local anchor institutions like hospitals, universities, religious organizations, and pension investment funds to combat unemployment and global warming by divesting from polluting corporations and investing in credit unions using the Cleveland model; organize Community Development Corporations and land trusts that create affordable housing; develop municipal public utilities like the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and electricity co-ops to produce renewable energy, and encourage employers to provide work-sharing rather than lay off workers and provide more leisure time for employees. Alperovitz’s website provides tools for activists to build the next system he calls the Pluralist Commonwealth based on localized cooperative ownership.[i]
Gar Alperovitz and Keane Bhatt, “What Then Can I do? Ten Ways to Democratize the Economy,” September 2013.
Dean Paton, “Poverty is Not Inevitable,” Yes! Magazine, August 21, 2014.