Live Share Grow believes that change starts with each one of us. Being a part of this movement means taking action in our own lives. In addition to challenging unjust systems and working for social and economic systems change, Live Share Grow asks each participant to engage with five constructive actions. These are practices that withdraw our participation from old systems of injustice, and instead, place our cooperation and consent into projects and practices that build community wealth, sustainability, equality and justice.
Live Share Grow encourages five fingers of constructive action:
- localism/local food
- giving and sharing
- moving your money
- participation in change
- renewable energy and sustainability
There are, of course, hundreds more ways to take constructive action to build a local, community-supported economic system that builds equality and prosperity at the same time. We celebrate them all while encouraging everyone to dig deep into these five constructive actions as a starting point. Participating in these constructive actions can make a sizable difference in our world . . . so let’s look a little closer at each one.
Constructive Action: Localism & Local Food
We’re going to start digging into making change in our own lives and communities. There are hundreds of ways to make positive shifts toward a more respectful, equitable, and sustainable way of life.
Let’s begin with localism and local food. Localism (quite different from parochialism, by the way) is the celebration and participation in one’s local, geographic community, which may be a few city blocks, a neighborhood, a town, or a region. Gandhi used the phrase svadeshi to describe local community self-reliance, which encouraged India’s Self-Rule Movement to support their community businesses (instead of British imports) as a form of resistance and liberation from British Rule.
In our case, localism is a way to begin to address injustice, ecological destruction, and the wanton practices of transnational corporations by paying attention to how we interact with the world, and specifically, by investing and participating in our local community’s effort to produce, create, grow, and supply the goods and services needed by our local community.
Localism takes thousands of forms from childcare to entertainment to banking to tools to Internet service to energy production. For Live Share Grow, we’re going to focus on local food . . . and we encourage you to engage with all forms of localism!
Live Share Grow emphasizes supporting local food because it’s accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status, geographic location, or background. From urban farming to rural small farms to community gardens and backyard plots to farmers’ markets and local food sections to mom-and-pop groceries to neighborhood bakeries and delicatessens, the ways we grow, produce, buy and consume food can either be the source of liberation or a source of oppression. It’s up to all of us to shift our habits around what we consume.
No one said it would be easy . . . but we can guarantee that it will be interesting. We recommend starting small, and continuing to make shifts and changes. For example, we know that its tough to feed a family on Whole (Paycheck) Foods prices . . . so, perhaps one way to Live Share Grow in this circumstance is to pick up a sack of potatoes being sold by your neighbor on the roadside, or perhaps to choose one or two items that you’ll buy in bulk from the nearby, locally-owned natural food store. Be gentle on yourself and your capacity, and keep growing the scope of change as you’re able.
Remember, constructive action in the area of local food also includes (if you’re able) investing in small businesses, local farms, establishing seed libraries and community gardens, volunteering with Food Not Bombs or other groups addressing hunger and food insecurity, and much, much more. If you’re already engaged in some of this, hooray! Find your frontier of change and push the envelope even further.
Next, let’s look at giving and sharing.
Constructive Action: Giving and Sharing
Let’s explore the ideas of giving and sharing. Once upon a time in human history, giving, sharing, bartering, trading, cooperating, and commoning supplied the bulk of our communities’ needs. Over the past hundreds of years, industrialization and capitalism shifted people onto the dollar economy, whereby money became our primary source of exchange.
But we’re now living in a time of scarcity, poverty, and austerity – because the money is concentrated in the hands of the few! While we’re working to invite the 1% to Live Share Grow, and bring the money back into vibrant community, we also have an opportunity to redesign how we meet our needs.
Live Share Grow asks movement supporters to find ways to give and share the resources in your life. Time, skills, knowledge, tools, books, creativity, mentoring, services, seeds, listening, cooking . . . we have so much to offer our community! Our business-as-usual economy has taught us to monetize these treasures, and then charge our friends, neighbors, and community for our services. Is that really how we want to live? For tens of thousands of years, humanity evolved in creative, collaborative, cooperative communities that lived, shared, and grew together. Live Share Grow invites us all to consider what we can give and share (instead of hoard and charge for) to our community.
Celebrating the acts of giving and sharing liberates us from the tyranny of the dollar economy by supply the resources our community needs through alternative ways. This is true no matter where you fall in the spectrum of wealth and poverty. If you’re a landlord, consider lowering your rents. If you own a second home, imagine what might happen if you gave that home to someone in need!.
Giving and sharing also helps us remember the meaning of true wealth. As the saying goes, “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.” Wealth comes in a thousand forms – skills, wisdom, love, time, humor, compassion, understanding, culture, stories, experience, tools and resources, space, capacity and more. Community wealth (in contrast to personal, concentrated wealth) is rich in all forms of true wealth, and knows how to honor, respect, and celebrate them.
Live Share Grow sees giving and sharing as a powerful way of changing the current economic system of injustice, which trains our culture to charge money for everything. Giving and sharing breaks us free of this, and brings us into a way of life that is more aligned with our common humanity. Here’s a few of the creative ways that communities around the world are giving and sharing.
Constructive Action: Moving Your Money
Live Share Grow: A Movement for the 100% encourages actions that start to shift our money into practices that affirm and support true wealth, vibrant and resilient communities, sustainability, equality and justice. One key action we all can do is to move our money to a local credit union.
Local credit unions are generally more responsive to the community, and less extractive in their practices. Many have special loan programs to low-income families, or green infrastructure loans at low rates. Credit Unions are often managed by democratic practices, making them more accessible to grassroots change than corporate banks.
Live Share Grow asks everyone to move your money to your local credit union, or at least open an account there. There are many other banking practices that can support community wealth, including public banking, alternatives to payday loans, and certain bank policies such as low overdraft charges.
There are other ways to “move your money”, too. If you own stock or shares in companies, consider divesting from businesses that cause harm to people or the environment and reinvesting in businesses that build community resilience and sustainability. If you have have a retirement package that is invested in unjust practices, that’s another area where you could move your money. And, if you’re a member of the 1% and you have a foundation, fund, trust, or other form of wealth holdings, consider how you might move that concentrated pool of resources into action in ways that build greater equality, sustainability, justice, and community resilience.
Constructive Action: Participate In Change
Participation in making change is an important dimension of Live Share Grow: A Movement for the 100%. It enlivens the other types of constructive action Live Share Grow encourages people to engage in.
Participation matters for communities, democracy, and movements for change. How we show up in our world affects the outcomes of everything! We believe that by fully engaging as citizens, we can have profound effects on our community. Showing up at local civic governance meetings, community gatherings, improvement project planning sessions, and the strategy sessions of nonviolent campaigns and movements for social change is a part of being an empowered and engaged human being in the modern world.
Take a peek at your calendar and see if there’s one meeting or action you can attend this week as a way of getting engaged in real democracy and local community self-governance. Across the country, people like you are choosing to spend a few hours per week this way, working to change your community for the better.
One of the ways the current system of economic injustice rose through history was by disempowering citizens, denying them of social and political rights. Power and money was placed in the hands of a very small part of the populace, while most people were denied access to the decision-making table. At the founding of the United States, for example, only 6% of the populace was allowed to vote or run for public office. Everyone else was denied access to the process. The history of the United States is a long story of movement after movement to expand the decision-making circle . . . and we’re nowhere close to being finished!
Our workplaces, stores, schools, businesses, charitable and philanthropic institutions, most banks, and many social clubs are inherently un-democratic. Decisions that affect our lives are being made by small groups of people in board meetings, behind closed doors. Democracy, it is said, is not a spectator sport . . . and if we want economic equality, it will come by active participation in all levels of our society.
This is why Live Share Grow views participation in making change to be a key component of the constructive action necessary for real and lasting change.
Constructive Action: Moving Energy
In addition to the other forms of constructive action that Live Share Grow: A Movement for the 100% advocates, we invite all of our supporters and participants to question and explore the ways in which we use energy, including how we move ourselves and resources around.
We know, due to the climate crisis, that the era of fossil fuels must come to an end, and rapidly. Many communities are striving to stop fossil fuel pipelines, export terminals, and refineries. Still others are working to build renewable energy grids of solar, wind, hydro-electric and geothermal sources. Live Share Grow encourages you to examine where your energy comes from, and take steps to change to renewable sources.
For some people, this means helping with an existing renewable transition project. Other public utilities may offer a renewable option to their customers. Some of us will have to join or start groups to pressure our utility to take powerful strides toward renewable energy. We may need to organize nonviolent direct action campaigns.
We also need to shift our energy uses, moving from personal cars to public transit, walking, biking, carpooling, etc. Conservation is as important as moving to renewables. Study your energy uses and make the shift.
Every dollar you pay for fossil fuels leaves your community and most of it ends up in the pockets of the wealthy. If you are part of the investor class, own a retirement fund, or sit on the board of an organization with investments, divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewables. You can’t Live Share Grow on a dead planet . . . so let’s make this transition now.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” He was speaking about racial justice, equality, and civil rights, but his words are true for us in our efforts to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable economy and world.
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