If the design of corporate capitalism is unable to sustain values of equality, genuine democracy, liberty, and ecological sustainability as a matter of inherent systemic architecture, what systemic ‘design’ might ultimately achieve and sustain these values? and
How specifically might it be possible to move forward, especially in difficult political times, to lay foundations for a transformation in the direction of a serious new systemic answer?
But before we ask Gar Alperovitz what answers he has explored to these questions, we take a moment to remember the passing earlier this month of Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockman, the Nicaraguan Maryknoll priest, and practitioner of Liberation Theology, who was his country’s foreign minister under the Sandanista government during the 1980s. In 2008, he was elected to head the United Nations General Assembly, just before Israel’s Operation Cast Lead began, which resulted in the deaths of over a thousand in Gaza, more than a third of whom were children. In his defense of Palestine throughout those weeks of war, and in his later commitment to forcing the UN to take environmental justice seriously, he aimed to transform the General Assembly into a potent force for global justice. His wisdom and perseverance in the pursuit of justice from a place of love, serve as a beacon in a world too often bent on mindless destruction. To honor him, we share this poignant song written by Nicaraguan song writer, Luis Mejia Godoy, based on a poem by Nicaraguan revolutionary, Tomás Borge, co-founder of the SNLF, The Sandinista National Liberation Front, who had been brutally tortured during the Somosa regime. It’s called,My Personal Revenge, here performed by Jackson Browne.
Professor Gar Alperovitz has had a distinguished career as an historian, political economist, activist, writer and government official. He is a professor emeritus of political economy at the University of MD, as well as a former fellow of Kings College, Cambridge University; Harvard’s Institute of Politics; the Institute for Policy Studies; and the Brookings Institution.
He is the author of books on the atomic bomb and atomic diplomacy, THE DECISION TO USE THE ATOMIC BOMB: AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF AN AMERICAN MYTH;as well as WHAT THEN MUST WE DO: STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT THE NEXT AMERICAN REVOLUTION; and AMERICA BEYOND CAPITALISM: RECLAIMING OUR WEALTH, OUR LIBERTY, AND OUR DEMOCRACY. Gar Alperovitz is the president of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives and is a co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative, a research institution developing practical, policy-focused, and systematic paths towards ecologically sustainable, community-oriented change, and the democratization of wealth. He is also the co-chair of the Next System Project, a project of the Democracy Collaborative.
I began by asking him about the Next System Project and their document, PRINCIPLES OF A PLURALIST COMMONWEALTH, and to explain what is meant by a pluralist commonwealth and what are the structural principles of what it requires?