I predict the Naked Power Grab by the Republican party in Wisconsin will go down in history as the second "shot heard 'round the world" which began the second American Revolution. Except, if the Progressive Movement in America really wants to win this Revolution, it will not launch a revolution at all. It will launch a Transformation. The Transformation of America (and, ultimately, the world).
I insist that Progressives follow my reasoning, below, because -- in today's world -- the Freedom Fighters (i.e. us non-super rich, non-social Darwinist folks) are way outgunned in a traditional sense. In other words, there is no way Progressives can win a traditional, head-to-head confrontation with the Right.
Only asymmetrical warfare by Americans interested in Real Progress (i.e. progress that is Inclusive... even including the wealthy) will win this war.
And in my opinion, this warfare will have to be on the order of what Gandhi did. In other words, nothing violent that would give the rich and powerful cause to say they were justified -- as a worst case scenario might merit -- declaring Martial Law.
Rather than attempting to "storm the castles with torches," I foresee initially something on the order of massive numbers of people disengaging from (taking power away from) the system. No more buying anything made by corporations that support the behavior seen in Wisconsin might be a good beginning. Maybe a work stoppage nation-wide to begin giving ordinary people a sense of being connected... of having personal power because of those connections.
But this People Power must be channeled into doing more than what organizational development experts refer to as Stopping Bad Stuff. Ultimately, this power must be channeled into Starting Good, New Stuff.
This is pure systems thinking. You want to eliminate what doesn't work. But that doesn't get you to a new place. It gets you to a "less bad" place, but not a really new place.
Therefore, for this Revolution to play out successfully... for it to get America (and the world) to a truly Better Place... it cannot to be a Revolution at all. It must bring a truly new America into being. It must be a Transformation, not a Revolution.
Historically, people as diverse as Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, inventor/philosopher Buckminster Fuller and legendary management theorist and systems thinking pioneer W. Edwards Deming have publicly stated that a Transformation in American (and global) society is needed... a Transformation to a new world view based on the principles of abundance, not scarcity. This is the $64 Trillion question. Can America's Progressives learn that shifting from scarcity to abundance thinking is the name of the game here?
The war the Right is waging is based on the Darwinian/Malthusian based fear that there isn't enough in the world for everyone. As a result, the Right is organized around the aim of making sure that only those who are just like them "make it". And the rest of us be damned.
That scarcity-based world view has been scientifically demonstrated to be obsolete, but it's very rare that the public hears about this. The sustainability sciences have proved that it's possible to feed, clothe, house, and educate every man woman and child on Earth, but those in the know have yet to pull off the necessary marketing effort to make this historic breakthrough the Front Page News it deserves to be. (More on that in a future post.)
One key aspect of this science is tapping the free and unlimited supply of energy coming from the Sun. Plants already do this. Humanity can too.
It is this Transformation -- from scarcity to abundance thinking (with the resulting design, development, and implementation of a society based on that fundamental principle of abundance) that the Progressive movement in America should work towards.
Forget about the talk by many on the Left of a "limited resources" planet Earth. That view is because those people -- when thinking about our energy needs -- are, literally, only looking down... at the Earth. If they only looked up, they would see the Sun in all its free energy glory! (Sorry Jeffry Sachs. Your world view is actually obsolete. I highly recommend you study Bucky Fuller and Dr. Deming's work.)
This is the path that can lead Progressives to success over the forces on the Right. While the Right is fighting old, obsolete battles based on fear and division, Progressives will be building a hopeful, optimistic, and very appealing better world that will both create "heaven on Earth" and will take away the fear-based power the Right is currently using to drive its movement.
Eliminate fear, my fellow Progressives. That's what the people in Egypt did. And when they were no longer fearful of the power structure in their country, they were able to dismantle it and begin to build a much better country... one that will work for everyone in Egypt, not just the wealthy.
We American Progressives can do the same, except that America's position in the world will mean our work will eventually help fulfill an even greater human dream... of a WORLD (not just a country) that works for everyone!
Here's to winning the war by refusing to play on the Right's battlefield or using their rules!
Here's to winning the Revolution but not "revolting" but by "transforming" (building something better) instead!
A post-script from the world of business:
Business leaders such as Steve Jobs know this transformation principle very well. You put your competitors away not be fighting them head-to-head but by inventing something so new and exciting that you Win Through Innovation. The book Blue Ocean Strategy was a huge, global best seller in business circles, because it presented this approach as well: winning without fighting... by leaving your competitors in the dust by offering people something better that no competitor was offering.
I will be attending The Economist's conference on Innovation later this month in Berkeley. The conference program says "The summit will attract executives who believe in the power of innovation to transform our businesses, our lives and our planet."
I will be engaging people there on the challenge of transforming all of society... what Bucky Fuller and Dr. Deming advocated. And I have a public education plan I will discuss that could move this process into the civic conversation in a big way. It's based on the little known 1955 partnership between Walt Disney and Wernher von Braun which taught the American people that space travel was now scientifically possible.
Update from The Economist's Innovation Conference:
Through a process that required that I "campaign" for support from the other conference attendees, I got to lead a session on using innovation to create Global Peace and Prosperity. This was a real breakthrough in my experience of how people will respond positively when presented with this option as one of their "what to think about" choices!