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From July 4 sparklers to sparks of social change

Kelle Louaillier

Photo Credit: Amanda Bowman, Flickr, Creative Commons.

I don’t know about you, but this Fourth of July holiday has me asking more questions than ever about the present and future of the United States. This year, those questions feel more pressing than ever. 

What does this day -- intended as a celebration of democracy, our republic, and the founding ideals of the United States -- mean when the Trump administration is expanding and entrenching corporate power in ways that are antithetical to our democracy? How do we most effectively transform our society to end economic injustice and inequity, systemic racism and oppression to truly become a country of justice and liberty for all? And how can we rapidly grow the corporate accountability movement to build a world where everyone -- in the U.S. and around the world -- can thrive? 

I have a feeling you may be asking these same questions. 

So, as you or your neighbors light up sparklers this evening, here are a few articles recommended by Corporate Accountability International staff that might spark further thoughts and conversation as we grapple with these vital questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

  • “Protest and Persist: Why Giving up Hope is not an Option,” by Rebecca Solnit. Solnit’s writing is luminous and inspires me to do this work every day. In this article -- one of my favorites -- she reminds us that taking action now can have an impact years and even decades into the future, in ways we never could have foreseen.
  • "Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning and Connection for the America We Want," by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen. This Fourth of July weekend, Executive Director Patti Lynn is reading an advanced copy of this Beacon Press book. It will be available in September as an inspiration for activists and organizers building hope and transforming power in the Trump era. We are excited to partner closely with Frances, our long-time ally and author of "Diet for a Small Planet," and Adam to spread optimism and organizing this fall toward realizing democracy and challenging corporate power.
  • “Neoliberalism -- The Ideology at the Root of all our Problems,” by George Monbiot. Michél Legendre, our Action League Organizer, recommends this lucid description of the invisible force that has shaped virtually every aspect of our lives today. For people challenging neoliberalism’s ugly manifestation -- unchecked corporate power -- this article is a must read.
  • “People Were Resisting Before Trump,” a conversation with Michelle Alexander, Naomi Klein and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. Three brilliant thinkers and writers talk with one another about the foundational social justice movements that paved the way for and undergird the current resistance to the Trump administration. Our Corporate Research and Financial Analyst Joby Gelbspan pulls forward Naomi Klein’s comments on corporate power as spot-on in this joyful, thought-provoking read.
  • “Justice Doesn’t Trickle Down: How Racialized and Gendered Rules are Holding Women Back,”a report from the Roosevelt Institute and Ms. Foundation authored by Andrea Flynn. Our Membership Organizer Julia Gabbert recommends it as a way to think about why political action around economic inequality is not enough on its own. To achieve social justice, we also need to transform the racism and sexism that are built into our institutions.

How about you? What are you reading on the topic of corporate power and social change in the United States and beyond? What inspires you? What has sparked new ways of thinking for you?

Here are a few recommendations from our members:

  • Nisi B. recommends "No is Not Enough" by Naomi Klein
  • Chuck L. recommends "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer
  • Stephen M. recommends "The Unwinding" by George Packer
  • Natalie R. recommends "Project Animal Farm" by Sonia Faruqi
  • Jean N. recommends "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein

Kelle Louaillier is the President of Corporate Accountability International.

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