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People Power Expressed in Elections

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Organic Transitions page.

Sometimes it feels like elections are an exercise in futility. We live in a mirage democracy in which major party candidates are vetted by the corporate machine before they get on the ballot and third party candidates who represent the values of the movement are undercut by actions in which the major parties collude against them.

History instructs that in this environment, it is important to build the movement and use what tools are available to shift power to the people. San Francisco-based lawyer-activist Randy Shaw writes in his new edition of The Activist's Handbook "that neither politicians nor political parties are the prime movers for progressive change."

The elections this week provide many lessons for the movement. Third party candidates built their bases and honed the skills of their campaign teams so they can try again next time. The greatest successes and lessons from failures were in the area of direct democracy through voter initiatives.

Voter Initiatives Solve Critical Problems

We may be at the beginning of the end of poverty wages for workers.  Two votes showed progress in the minimum wage battle in Washington State and in New Jersey. South Dakota, Alaska and Idaho will likely be voting on raising the minimum wage in upcoming elections.  
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