Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did you see Michelle?

Dear Barack,

Thank you for alerting me to Michelle's wonderful speech. I just sent her this message:

Michelle,

As a 78-year-old Korean War vet, revolutionary centrist and political independent, I found your talk both eloquent and inspiring.

Yes, we need hope and a new vision on how to heal the wounds of history and deliver Peace, Prosperity and Freedom for all. But that dream depends on whether our leaders are guided by universal principles of justice.

More specifically, Buckminster Fuller wisely said: "We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.... [Our challenge is to] make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation and without ecological damage or the disadvantage of anyone."

To meet Bucky's challenge we posted today on the website of the Center for Economic and Social Justice our most definitive paper on an agenda that you should share with Barack:

http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/paradigmpapers/jtw-greengrowth-abs.htm

My wife (she a veteran of the WWII internment camps for Japanese Americans) and I will vote for the candidate who comes closest to matching the reforms called for in our Just Third Way paper, including our project in East St. Louis, our bottom-up approach to financing universal health care and our Abraham Federation for resolving conflicts in the Muslim world.

I was told by Ed Brown, a delegate to your party's Denver convention that Ralph Paige, also a delegate from Georgia, last week personally handed an earlier version of this paper to Barack. Ralph heads the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and Ed Brown was former head of the Atlanta-based Voter Education Project. Ed and I worked together in the 1960s on civil rights and poverty situations.

You'll see from the linked abstract of our paper (from which you can click on the full 36-page paper) that our ideas are outside-the-box because our policies are aimed at lifting the exclusionary barriers to economic empowerment of every man, woman and child, barriers to which both political parties ignore or are blind to.

Just as access to the vote was a key to political empowerment, equal personal access to future capital ownership opportunities is the key to economic empowerment. Blindness or silence in the face of artificial legal and institutional barriers to the power and profits from ownership largely explains why grassroots Americans are so economically vulnerable and disenfranchied politically, while a tiny elite commands policy-making in America and the world.

Power does tend to corrupt and without new leaders with a clear vision of how to change the economic system, corruption will be perpetuated and the wealth and power gaps in the world will continue to widen.

We don't need a new New Deal or a new Fair Deal. They did not work. We need a Just Deal that will lift all Americans from dependency on government, to a system beyond the greed of Wall Street capitalism and beyond the inefficiencies of socialism. We need a Just Third Way that will return economic power to the people and make government more dependent on economically independent citizens.

Do Barack a favor and find the time to read our paper. It will help him overcome the resistance to some of the specifics in his current agenda from those (including myself who spent 5 years in the military and 5 in civil service) who have good reason to fear Big Government, Big Labor and Big Money on Wall Street. You and he will see that our Just Third Way agenda offers a truly populist vision for the technological and renewable energy frontier of the 21st century. It will achieve for economically disenfranchised voters today what Lincoln's Homestead Act of 1862 (despite its injustices to Native Americans) did for propertyless immigrants after the Civil War.

On a personal note in light of your position in the U of C hospital system, my daughter and first son were born at the U of C's Lying-In Hospital in 1958 and 1959 when I was studying law and economics at the U of C.

In Peace, Prosperity and Freedom, only through Justice,
Norm Kurland

Barack,

In 1966 or 1967 I engaged in a street corner debate with Saul Alinsky, whose Industrial Areas Foundation you once worked for. It was late at night outside the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, with my three youngsters sleeping in the rear of my station wagon. While I was a great admirer of his "Rules for Radicals" and skills as a "people power" tactician, I'm afraid Alinsky never embraced the strategic vision of the Just Third Way. And, as the 1964 author of the "maximum feasible participation of the poor" guidelines for the Community Action Programs of Johnson's War on Poverty, I came to understand the underlying political opposition to the Federal anti-poverty strategies was not the rich but the average middle-class taxpayer. Fortunately, as a Federal official helping to fund some of the most highly participatory CAPs on the West Coast in the face of the emerging taxpayer revolt, I stumbled across someone else's vision for achieving a market-based version of economic democracy. This radical "Just Third Way" vision (see http://www.cesj.org/thirdway/paradigmpapers/jtw-greengrowth-abs.htm) exposed the strategic weakness of the "Jobs and Welfare" mantra of the leaders of the so-called U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity and explains the failure in all strategies to date for eradicating poverty.

And, frankly, your campaign policy advisers would benefit from seriously studying this strategy. In fact, I challenge them to debate the political feasibility of the reforms spelled out in our paper or in the detailed version in our book Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen that can be downloaded from www.cesj.org.


All Power to the People,
Norm Kurland

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