Dear rabble readers,
Every time I see an appeal for funding from one progressive organization or another I instinctively reference the fact that when it comes to our commitment to building the kind of society we want we are deadbeats compared to those on the hard Christian right who want to take us back to the dark ages.
I am referring to their practice of tithing, where they contribute 10 per cent of their income to the cause. Sure it’s true that many lefties sacrifice huge amounts of their time.
But money? No so much.
I have even mused about setting up a “five per cent club” whereby those who join pledge five per cent of their income to progressive organizations (so you’d cough up $3,000 if you made $60,000). That would get us half way, anyway.
Maybe later. For now I am just writing to you to encourage you to cough up a couple of hundred bucks to help cure one aspect of our chronically ill democracy: the lack of information and analysis that we all need to make sense of the rapidly changing and complex world we wake up to every morning.
No, I don’t want you to send it to Paul Godfrey of Postmedia to keep his right-wing propaganda network on life support. I want you to send it to rabble.ca which for nearly 15 years has been providing a critical antidote to the neo-liberal bullshit that is thrown at us almost every waking hour of the day.
Can you imagine how isolated you would feel if it weren’t for rabble? I have often thought that one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of today’s savage capitalism is its capacity to isolate people from each other. The evidence for this is revealed in every election.
Despite surveys that show almost three-quarters of Canadians do, in fact, share our progressive vision of the future, their collective power is never garnered to create real change. Citizens in a consumerist society dominated by right-wing ideas think they are alone in their convictions. After all, if they aren’t alone, if they aren’t the only ones thinking this way, then why isn’t the world better?
rabble lets us speak to each other about the vision we share and in a language that nurtures and reinforces that vision. It justifies our righteous anger — at child poverty, income inequality, war, environmental degradation and all the rest — that is the right response to what we see around us. Without it (and a handful of other sources), we would truly be alone, circling the protective wagons around an ever smaller “community” — til we are left with what Godfrey, Conrad Black and their ilk want: possessive individualism and fear of the future, looking out just for ourselves.
In a rational society — try to imagine that for a moment — we would treat the information we need to live democratically just like personal health: we would provide for it collectively. The notion that we would leave this critically important provisioning to the meanest, greediest, most ruthless amongst us is monstrously irrational.
But for now, there it is. That is the world we wake up to. But here we are not powerless; not without resources. rabble could do so much more (note: by working for a pittance, rabble staff already contribute the money they would be making working for a mainstream employer). rabble is a key component of reinventing democracy and reclaiming the commons — with huge potential.
To help realize that potential write out your normal check. Tear it up. Write another one for three times the amount. You’ll never miss it. But rabble will.
Murray Dobbin, guest senior contributing editor, rabble.ca