Update: we now have two “State Captains” (Kentucky and Maryland) for the #50StateReSOLUTION campaign. 2 down, 48 more to go. Find out more about this worthy effort by reading the full write up below the podcast video.
There are three things you can count on in this world. The sun always sets in the west, our government will keep taxing us to death and politicians will come around every election cycle promising change. Out of those three, the last statement is the most constant. It never fails, after we have had enough of the status quo pillaging us, the status quo pushes another round of establishment candidate on the stage who promise to deliver a new day as they are steadily getting paid by the very system they swear they will change.
I speak on these things from experience. I once fell hook, line and sinker for Mr. Hope and Change as I traveled to 16 states in 2008 volunteering my services for free and breaking my back to get the first black president elected. Never did I think that the change I could believe would be the pennies and nickles clanging in my pockets. Cognitive dissonance woke me up to the fraudulence of our politics; the only time I speak on politicians going forward is to speak against their deception.
However, being against is not a solution within itself. Sure my articles are getting more and more circulation and what I write is capturing the attention of a broad dissection of people, but I thirst for something more. I don’t want to be a talking head and a pundit using injustice to further my own interest. What I want more than anything is to be a part of a movement that focuses on building up our communities and empowering the bottom 99% of humanity. Too many of us are being used as sacrificial lambs to feed the greed of the debased—I no longer call them the elites—I want to amplify the voices of the unheard.
It is with this idea in mind—the hope of empowering the poor, working and middle class—that I have been brainstorming for the past couple of weeks on ways the Ghion Journal can be used to foster unity and promote the ideals of reinvestment in our communities as we guard against the excesses of the ruling class. The idea hit me last night while I was poring over some of the notes I took in 2008 when I traveled state to state assisting and studying the Obama for America campaign.
What I took away from my days as a community organizer was the vital importance of people feeling like they are included in the process. One of the reasons that Obama was able to demolish the Clinton campaign—beside the fact that Wall Street gave him hundreds of millions of dollars in “contributions”—was because Barack’s campaign was an open architecture. Meaning that it was flatter in structure; whereas Hillary’s campaign was driven by top-down management, Obama’s was more bottom-up in feel.
This was a crucial distinction that gave Obama a key advantage with respect to volunteer and voter enthusiasm. When I was in Manchester, New Hampshire during the week of the Democratic primary in 2008, I decided at one point to visit Hillary’s field office to compare and contrast the two organizations. The differences between the Obama campaign and Clinton’s could not be any starker; whereas Obama’s office was lively and full of vigor, Hillary’s was cold and scientific. Volunteers who walked into her office were ordered more than they were thanked, a polar opposite of the way Obama’s field offices made everyone feel like they were valued contributors.
Even though I am now a fierce critic of Obama’s administration and his handling of foreign, domestic and economic policies, I am revisiting my days of being one of his most dedicated volunteers for a vital purpose. I am writing this communique to implement an open architecture of our own for the Ghion Journal. I truly want this publication to be a community driven media; one that is open to all and welcomes everybody without regard to color, creed or characteristics. Though I will continue to criticize our politics and the injustices that are committed in the name of capital gluttony, I want to focus more and more energy on finding solutions.
Though the tagline of the Ghion Journal is “fight injustice with knowledge”, going forward our overriding motto shall be “turn words into action”. This motto can’t be accomplished with just a few writers, we need the involvement and the participation of our readers. I am asking you to be a part of a solution and to become a stakeholder in furthering the Ghion Journal effort. We are overdosing on sensationalism and outrage; the empty calories that we are being fed by the political and punditry class are meant to foment anger and keep us mired in hopelessness.
This morning, I saw an article about a church in Pennsylvania where the congregation were lined up holding their AR-15s and wearing bullets as if Jesus was crowned with a round of slugs. I was outraged by this most ridiculous story; I wanted to write an article titled “Trust in Guns” to highlight the absurdity of zealots who bastardize the teachings of Christ to further their warped egos. But then I realized that I would be falling for the trap—this is what politico-media complex want us to do. A people continually impassioned with rage don't have time to focus on solutions; they are too busy being distracted by scandal to stand up for themselves. They are inciting us to prevent us from seeing the true source of injustice. Click To Tweet
In all honesty, the blame lies with us for falling for the shenanigans of corporate media and the political class. We keep expecting people who are thriving through the lie of the status quo to speak truth to the powerful. Why would they? They are getting paid handsomely through the current paradigm, why do we expect people who are living life high on the hog to want a new day of justice for the rest of us? Imagine if you are at a casino and you are hitting black jack hand after hand while everyone else is busting and losing their shirts. Would you ask for a new dealer in order to make the winnings more equitable? No you would not. In that same light, neither do the uber rich and the famous we keep expecting to be our saviors even as they are sticking shivs in our collective backs.
It is time for us to stop paying attention to the carnival barkers in mainstream media and the shysters in the District of Caligula. Their intention is not to help us; they have a profit motive to further injustice—there is not a healer to be found among them. We all keep demanding change, well my fellow Americans and brothers and sisters throughout the world, change will only come from us. So I’m asking you today to join the Ghion Journal in being a part of a “50 State ReSOLUTION”—a campaign for us and by us. This effort will not be funded by corporations nor will our movement be based on a cult of personalities, ours will be driven by us.
The same way the Obama campaign empowered state and local organizers to drive home their message, I’m going to return to their model to power the “50 State ReSOLUTION” campaign. The political class and the media establishment are always pushing fake “grassroots” campaigns and getting us to bite on lies when all along these movements are funded by the status quo to further a hidden corporate agenda. We might not have the money and the star power of the debased, but we have the power of the people that can exceed the clout of the status quo if we only put aside our differences and unite under the umbrella of togetherness.
To give this campaign structure and to amplify our message, I’m putting out an open call for “State Captains”. Ideally, we want to identify 50 captains—one for each state—who will then be included in weekly emails and brainstorming sessions. We will discuss ways we can better organize a movement that transcends race, class, gender and ideology in standing for our collective interests. The aristocracy and corporate plutocracy are always foisting demagogues upon us to keep us divided through separable grievances, our aim is to silence these charlatans by spreading a message of oneness that trumps their message of animus. We don’t need a revolution, violence will never birth peace, we need a solution driven through collective effort.
If you are interested in joining this truly grassroots campaign, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject header “50 State ReSOLUTION”. Tell us a little about you, your background and why you want to be a part of this effort. Please include which state you live in so that we can put together a roster of state captains as quickly as we can. If you live outside of the United States, please include your country as we are considering forming an international umbrella for this effort as well. Our aim is to have a working group of state organizers within short order and then start virtual plenary sessions that focuses on planning events and hosting local meet ups with the aim of starting conversations on ways to reduce the divides.
The time has come for us to turn down the heat and focus on solutions. If hatred and anger could deliver justice, we would have had peace on earth a long time ago. That is the aim and purpose of the “The Legacy of Adwa” event we will be hosting on March 21st in Silver Spring, MD (see below). There is a way to speak against the iniquities of this world and to demand fairness, but we must do so not through anger and divisiveness but through unity and solidarity. The “50 State ReSOLUTION” is an attempt to do just that and in the process turn the Ghion Journal into a community driven and people powered press. Join us in our efforts, let us be the change we have been waiting for. #50StateReSOLUTION
The change we all have been waiting for will come from us or it won’t come at all::
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DMV Event: How Overcome Can Overcome Oppression
If you plan on attending the event above, please hold off on watching the video below as this will be the feature video that will be used to launch a community discussion.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.