Today, Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
Today, I'm announcing our #ConsumerRevolution and #PoliticalRevolution 2017-2020 platforms.
If Hillary Clinton placed her hand on a Bible today, promising to protect the U.S. Constitution, we would be organizing a massive movement to change her positions on many issues, including war, Big Ag and GMOs.
If Bernie Sanders took the oath of office today, we would be celebrating his authenticity, and his solid track record (not just lip-service) of support for at least 90 percent of the issues we care about. Then we’d get to work on the other 10 percent—with hope and enthusiasm.
But today, we witnessed the swearing in of a president who has signaled loud and clear his intent to maximize the profits of giant corporations—like Exxon Mobil, BP, and Monsanto and Bayer (whose merger he's set to approve)—on a scale never before seen in our lifetimes. Public and environmental health be damned.
Trump has appointed a slate of millionaire and billionaire corporate cronies to key, powerful positions, with orders to immediately set to work rolling back any regulations or policies that even hint at cutting into corporate profits. We will have an EPA Administrator, an Energy Secretary and a head of the CIA who largely reject the international scientific consensus that human behavior is a contributing factor to global warming.
We will have billionaire bankers running the U.S. Treasury Department and the American economy.
And yesterday we learned, not surprisingly, that the new USDA Secretary of Agriculture will be former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. Another millionaire climate-denier, Perdue is a cheerleader for the worst of the worst agribusiness corporations. Based on his history, Perdue will have no interest in protecting the interests of rural farmers, farm workers or consumers from the routine poisoning of our food, water and air by factory farms, pesticides and GMOs.
We have our work cut out for us in the coming months and years. As Frances Fox Piven, a professor of political science and sociology, recently wrote, we’ll need to keep signing petitions, but that won't be enough. We’ll need to, as she said, “throw sand in the gears of everything” just to protect the most basic of human rights.
With that in mind, we have developed two platforms that will guide our work, beginning immediately.
#Consumer Revolution 2017-2020
Overarching goal: Force corporations that sell consumer products, including food, clothing, drugs and personal care products, to respond to consumer demand for truthfully labeled products that have a positive impact on human health and are produced using regenerative processes and practices that not only prevent harm to human health and the environment but also measurably improve soils and combat global warming.
(1) Move toward making organic, 100% grass-fed, and regenerative food and farming the norm, not just the 5-percent alternative in the marketplace, by doubling sales of organic to $80 billion by 2020, and by increasing sales of U.S. grass-fed meat and dairy, and organic and pastured poultry and pork by at least 400 percent by 2020.
(2) Achieve a 50-percent reduction in sales of GMO food and animal feed by 2020, with the aim of driving GMO animal feed off the market.
(3) Force major food brands and companies that fraudulently label their products as “natural,” “organic” or “GMO-free” to remove misleading labels and/or transition their products and production methods to organic and/or regenerative practices.
(4) Increase market share for clothing made from organic cotton, wool and other natural fibers through a high-profile “Care What You Wear” campaign that encourages consumers to boycott GMO cotton and synthetic fibers.
Overarching goal: Reform the current political process to create a democracy that works for all people, not just wealthy corporations and the 1%, by uniting the food, climate, economic and social justice, natural health and peace movements in a coordinated effort to support candidates, elected public officials and policies, at the local, state and federal levels, that support our common goals.
(1) Support the candidates and elected officials endorsed by the post-Bernie Sanders movements, including “Brand New Congress” and “Our Revolution.”
(2) Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support OCA’s #ConsumerRevolution platform
(3) Lobby candidates and elected public officials to support the “Our Revolution” platform, with the addition of:
• on climate: a focus on regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration as a global warming solution, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy
• on healthcare: a focus on "Medicare for all" that includes coverage for preventive, natural and alternative healthcare solutions
• on food: a focus on food policy that supports consumer health and consumer right to know, and acknowledges the role food production plays in environmental and climate policy
• on living wage: a focus on raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour so that lower-income Americans can afford organic food
(4) Organize local grassroots meet-ups and coalitions to run candidates, for local and state offices, who support our issues.
(5) Oppose any candidates or policies that promote racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism and all forms of discrimination, whenever and wherever they arise.
(6) Oppose any laws or illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters.
(7) Support the decriminalization of drug use, including the legalization of marijuana, and oppose the war on drugs.
(8) Combat climate change by promoting candidates and policies that advance regenerative food, farming and land use, in addition to fossil fuel emissions reduction and renewable energy, as solutions for achieving zero emissions, for reversing global warming by sequestering excess CO2 and greenhouse gases in soil and forests, and for addressing our public health, water and environmental crises.
Why do we need a revolution?
Our democracy is broken. Under the Trump Administration, we could witness the final collapse.
The handful of corporations that control our food, farming, energy and pharmaceutical industries have corrupted the marketplace to the point that it generates enormous profits for CEOs and shareholders at the expense of workers, consumer choice, human health and the environment.
Our political process no longer works for a majority of people in this country, much less for the future of the common good. The failure of this process can be traced to the disproportionate influence of corporations and the uber-wealthy (1%) on policymaking, either through direct lobbying or by using generous campaign contributions to buy the loyalty of incumbent and/or future politicians.
These systemic failures originated and are perpetuated from the top down. They will be corrected only by a bottom-up grassroots rejection of the status quo, by a critical mass of citizens who hold a new, more hopeful vision for a healthier, safer, more equitable future.
What can you do?
Today, I call on you personally to get involved in our consumer and political revolutions. OCA and our allies will be organizing as never before at the local and state levels, pulling together the energy and talents of people young and old, from environmental, social justice, peace—every movement that shares our vision.
We’ll need people who live in and understand the needs of rural communities. We’ll need city dwellers. We’ll need lawyers and accountants. Farmers and factory workers. Moms and Dads.
We will have to work together, for each other. Because it's clear that our elected officials will not be working for us.
It’s time to get out from behind our laptops and cell phones, to break out of our silos, to break the pattern of single-issue organizing.
Please follow our communications as we roll out critical new consumer and political campaigns. Please share our messages far and wide. Please attend the community meetings and house parties we will soon be organizing.
And if you can, please support our critical work with a donation today—or better yet, become a monthly donor. Thank you!
P.S. We are raising money for the Organic Consumers Fund (OCF), our 501(c)(4) lobbying arm. Contributions to OCF are not tax deductible. But OCF funding is critically needed for our political work. You can donate online, by mail or by phone—details here. Thank you!