THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

“A Decent Place to Live”

In the United States, people are witnessing cities and states carving out spaces separate from the federal government.  Some cities reaffirm their commitment as sanctuaries and develop policies to direct local officials to defuse irrational and unjust conflicts, but that’s just the beginning.

Orestes Brownson: the American Republic

Cities and states must become incubators for innovation.  Local governments must develop novel approaches to re-imagine and rebuild the American Republic from the ground up. This means that cities must find innovative ways to include rather than exclude the voices of the people who are affected by their policies.

Cities and states must develop new ways to rebuild healthy and just communities.  These efforts must include new approaches to providing affordable housing, placing critical mental and health care needs in the neighborhoods where they are needed, and committing resources to infrastructure connecting communities that continue to experience the effects of hyper-segregation.

There is also a need to help communities continue their work in the oversight of law enforcement and police departments.  The narrative of fear and misdirection must change.  We can no longer take refuge behind the claim that crime is out of control.  That only justifies an authoritarian and selective approach to law enforcement even though overall crime rates are down across the country.  We must resist re-instituting “stop and frisk” policies not seen since the War on Drugs.

And the good apples in a bad system.


We see Executive Orders suggesting communities are to blame for the dire state of police community relations.  We see calls for reduced regulations and diminished oversight of law enforcement agencies. The challenge to the young generation has never been so clear.  Today’s youth must organize and work for inclusion, equity, and justice.

We must be prepared to affect legislation, engage in legal battles, and think strategically about gaining support of government at the local, state, and national level.  Having won the battle for voting rights and free access to public transport, we must also work to win the “Narrative War.”  This is because “the Narrative” is a never-ending struggle, a tremendous effort directed to communities that need a “narrative shift” and a different perspective on social and economic as well as political problems.  Until we do that, we are not going to make progress.

William Cobbett


One of the most effective ways to do this is by expanding the Narrative to the realm of economics — and that means talking about expanded capital ownership.  To paraphrase what William Cobbett said two hundred years ago, if you don’t own capital and have the full rights of ownership, you can call yourself what you will, but you are a slave.  Plus, there are many people today who are deaf to arguments about right and wrong and even legal and illegal who will listen attentively when you talk dollars and cents — and racism is expensive.

Walking out into the landscape of America is about understanding ways in which America has invested in creating what we see today.  Ironically, many people simply accept the physical landscape as though it is inevitable, and something created by a series of decisions and investments.  Rewinding that Narrative of equality and investments is key to understanding how to repair the system, not just throw other people’s money at the problem.


For example, following World War II public policy was to make a massive investment in creating the white middle class.  This was done through the GI Bill, the interstate highways that created “suburbia” and other measures creating an environment not generally open to black people because did not create black or integrated suburbs. Black people could not buy homes in any neighborhood, and the FHA, once they started to insure mortgages in the 1930s, created Redlining and would not allow integrated neighborhoods, etc. And these were government programs paid for with taxes collected from all citizens.

We have the power through expanded capital ownership to make the society we want to make. Let’s take a different tack today to create a society in which we limit disparities and inequalities, and in which people have access to capital ownership and homes. We can do it, the same way our ancestors did in the 50s and 60s. We must persuade the community to understand that it’s not just about feelings, but about participation in the investments that follow our direction and the choices we make.

We need to create and construct a new American identity, one based on the full participation of every person in the whole of the common good.