Our 10 Point Plan to Build Progressive Infrastructure

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

The last year has certainly been interesting. We’ve lived through Donald Trump’s passive signaling at Neo-Nazi’s, his support of child predators, the maybe-existence of video tapes, and his actually not-so-secret hush money contracts. Democracy hasn’t faced this much awkwardness since the days of Rome.

One of the most inspiring documents of the last year was George Lakey’s “10-point Plan to Make Gains in Justice and Equality” which provides an outline on what we can be doing to help make an America where we are all free and equal.

Lackey’s note is a great start. It tells us “how” to do things, but not necessarily what or where. So this is an attempt to keep going, and to identify the key areas that we need to be acting in.

Ultimately, one major blind spot where progressives are facing serious issues is tied to infrastructure — the facilities and systems that keep our country going. These are the underlying agreements, laws, industries, agencies, nonprofits, and corporations that influence and make decisions about how America works. It’s about our transportation, our food, our energy, and who is in control of these mechanisms.

Even more, it has everything to do with the values we infuse in our infrastructures. If our infrastructure blind spot is about who is in control of infrastructure, then it’s about what those people believe and what they consider to be normal. Make no mistake, the core of this struggle is about the core values of America.

So let’s get to the list. The following is a list of key areas of infrastructure that Progressives need to be working in. It’s also a descriptor of the kind of work that we need to do.

PROGRESSIVES WORK to create opportunities in:

1. EDUCATION

  • Preserving and Protecting the Arts
  • Creating Art spaces
  • Creating opportunities for K-12 & college learning

2. SCIENCE

  • Preserving research for future generations
  • Promoting a science-driven culture
  • Combating anti-science rhetoric
  • Promoting the influence of science & research

3. ARTS & HUMANITIES

  • Preserving and Protecting the Arts
  • Creating Art spaces deeply tied to their communities
  • Creating opportunities for K-12 & college learning

4. MEDIA & JOURNALISM

  • Improving Journalism
  • Creating spaces where independent journalism can thrive
  • Creating venues that are mission-driven, not money-driven
  • Creating vibrant public spaces that advocate free speech for all

5. COMMUNITIES

  • Promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Open and welcome laws for immigration
  • Strong Sanctuary Cities
  • Building better local news and media channels
  • Creating thriving public spaces
  • Promoting healthy civic life
  • Fostering good police/citizen relationships
  • Protecting open access internet and net neutrality
  • Changing the conversation around LBGTQ communities

6. POLITICS

  • Lobbying for sustainability
  • Advocating for progressive values
  • Building a strong progressive voting bloc

7. DIRECT ACTION

  • Resistance (Defense)
  • Detourning opposition and opposing the Alt-right (Offense)
  • Recruiting membership
  • Media and communications related to direct action

8. CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT

  • Creating infrastructure
  • Developing a strong progressive entrepreneur network
  • Developing routes for funding progressive innovators
  • Building a progressive job network program

9. TECHNOLOGY

  • Creating technology innovation platforms
  • Identifying technologies that help vs. technologies that harm

10. STRONG ONLINE COMMUNITIES

  • Strong community guidelines
  • Solving power conflicts
  • Dealing with sockpuppets and bad actors
  • Debating & communicating with outcome-producing standards
  • Creating successful online campaigns

It must be said that equal rights for women, minorities, diverse & protected communities is paramount throughout every sector. This includes, but is not limited to members of any race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, colour, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, size, family status, religion, mental, physical, and technical ability or other protected category.

When we say we are seeking to “create opportunities” we are providing a good baseline to establish goals. If you find yourself talking about whether a goal is good or not, judge it by the opportunities it creates. By creating opportunities in each of these sectors, we ensure a robust chance to change the culture, values, and infrastructure in that sector.

Did we get them all? Did we forget anything? Did we exclude any ideas or groups that are important? I’m just one author, but this is where I need other people to come in and speak up. Consider this an evolving document, a work in progress, and something we are inviting everyone to participate in creating.

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