Art+Politics+History+Culture

The Ownership Revolution

“There is a new movement that doesn’t know it’s a movement,” said Todd Johnson, according to Marjorie Kelly in her book, Owning Our Future. In the current post-recession era we are seeing a collective consciousness of unprecedented growth and creativity that hasn’t been seen since the industrial age. The artisan culture has entered every sector of the economy with independent businesses flourishing and being supported by the masses on a grand scale. We have advanced capitalism and communism to thank for that, since these systems have helped cripple our economies, thus people are beginning to look for a replacement. In many parts of the world people are creating an alternative economy, such as the cooperative economy, which focuses on serving the community rather than maximizing profit. Some of these businesses include: employee-owned firms, community land trusts, community banks, credit unions, art residencies, housing communes, foundation-owned companies, and alternative energy guilds. Perhaps there are many more, and there should be since it is currently looked at as an invisible economy that is beginning to take the world by storm. Globally, people are making sweeping changes to the way they take ownership because they are fed up with the corporate government model, because of this radical is becoming the new norm.

The recession has taught us not to trust the stock market, megabanks, and every sector of the government. We have been plagued with water shortages, unemployment, stagnant wages, and exorbitant debt. We have lost our homes, our jobs, our retirement pensions, our 401k’s, our salary increases, our health care coverage, and most of all we have lost our faith. We keep thinking the federal government is going to make some profound change and save us from post-apocalyptic doom, but they’re not. The government banksters are one and the same, like the double-headed dragon of the two-party system, even though empirical evidence continuously suggests that people are looking for an alternative. In a world where global warming is no longer a distant concern, we must learn to  change our cultural values to reflect a more sustainable future for progress and development. Progress always comes from dark and bleak times, when people are full of anxiety and anguish, like today. Last year the United Nations declared 2012 as ‘The International Year of Cooperatives,’ to build a better world and empower people, therefore it is time for us to embrace that initiative and be part of the revolution.

Marjorie Kelly maintained that, “It is about changing the mindset from social indifference to social benefit.” We can no longer afford to be passive observers on the sidelines. We should not be living in a society of the spectator where others make the sacrifices and we benefit. We must contribute and be active in the radical changes that are going on around us. It is normal to feel powerless and isolated, but the problem is when you don’t do anything about it. If you want your life to change, you have to make those changes, they will not miraculously come out of a metaphysical landscape. If your money is in a big box bank, take it out and start an account with a local credit union. If you are considering starting a small business, consider a ‘benefit corporation’ or a cooperative. If you have a small corporation, change it to a cooperative to have a more democratic governance within your organization. If you are looking for a place to live, try a community land trust or a housing commune. The occupy movement taught us to occupy space, and as all of civilization has taught us, if we don’t occupy or own a means of production, capital will continue to be concentrated in the forms of monopoly and oligarchy. People, planet, profit!

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