Anyone can make policy.
We want to live in a world where everyone can directly participate in decisions that shape their economic wellbeing: where everyone has the option to work in a worker-owned business, to live in democratically-controlled housing, to be a member of solar cooperatives, food cooperatives, and cooperative banks.
To create such a world, we must not only reshape policy to prioritize democratic economies; we must also change the very means by which policy is made. More than ever, when massive corporations wield incredible power to craft policy for their own benefit, we urgently need to put everyday people back into the driver’s seat of policymaking. But how?
Transformative Policymakers is a project to catalyze a movement in which people wield policy advocacy as a tool to create economic democracy.
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Oakland City Council passes our Worker Cooperative Resolution.
Beginning in 2009, as a group of volunteers and students with practically no experience in legislative advocacy, we learned a powerful lesson: ANYONE can do this.
When we take the initiative to visit legislators and express our genuine needs and hopes, our human voices can carry above the din of partisan politics and hot-button issues. When an immigrant entrepreneur tells her story of the empowerment and stability she has cultivated through her home-based food business, legislators across the political spectrum can hear something real and compelling. Thus, when our center advocated legalizing home-based food businesses in California, we got bipartisan support, in spite of roadblocks created by corporate food retailers. The Law Center has since written and passed laws and regulations to support worker cooperatives, housing cooperatives, energy cooperatives, urban agriculture, home-based food business, seed libraries, and other practices that put economic power in the hands of communities.
It turns out that great power lies in NOT being a professional lobbyist, NOT being a lawyer, and NOT being a “usual suspect” at the capitol building. The two youngest members of our staff, neither of whom are lawyers, have had the greatest impact in our state capitol and city hall. Putting everyday people into policymaking is not only possible -- it’s powerful, and it’s the only true chance we have to reorient US politics and economics to the thriving of real people and communities.
Decentralizing policy advocacy is critical to realizing our vision of EVERY person having equitable means and power to influence the production, quality, and supply of jobs, food, energy, water, and housing in their own communities.
Help us change the world. Be a transformative policymaker.