The far-reaching tentacles of corporate capture are currently front and center as the world experiences a rapid expansion of intersecting crises impacting how we live. Corporations have a profound influence on our economy, politics, culture, and even our sense of self. Understanding the scope of that influence—and developing strategies to build more democratic institutions for a liberated world—is more critical than ever.

Organized workers are front and center in the movement to escape corporate capture. “If there is a chicken-or-the-egg question as it regards working class politics in the year 2024 and beyond, some of the boldest labor leaders in the United States have a very unified response: organized workers come first and then—and only then—can the progressive vision of a healthier democracy and more equal nation that meets the material needs of all its people finally come to pass,” writes Jon Queally of Common Dreams, in the June 15, 2024, article “‘There Has to Be a Fight’: How Workers Can Start Winning the Class War in 2024 and Beyond.”

And nowhere is this more consequential right now than in the US South. As Erica Smiley notes in these pages, “[I]nvesting in broad-reaching organizing efforts in the US South that emphasize the leadership and economic equality of Black workers against multinational corporations might just launch the nation’s most significant effort in the movement to build democracy.” Smiley continues, “Organizing [such] efforts in the region…would not only lead to victories that would support the people of the South—it would also strike a blow against corporate control and authoritarian rule. This is why we must organize the South: to set the country back on a path toward building a multiracial democracy. To finally win the Civil War.”

As the country prepares for a pivotal election, movement leaders recommend not paralysis and pessimism but rather action and vision: “We have an extraordinary opportunity to unite our movement, fight for a multiracial democracy, and win transformational political and economic change,” write Sara Myklebust, Bahar Tolou, and Stephen Lerner, within. “Imagine that in 2028, millions of people from community, labor, and racial justice groups join together in marches, demonstrations, and mass strikes demanding pensions and control of workers’ capital to ensure our current and future financial security while transforming our communities. As a result, we will not only hope this is possible but also start to taste, feel, experience a world in which our money is used to build affordable housing, fix our schools, and heal our environment instead of lining the pockets of Wall Street financiers and billionaires. Such a world is within our reach—if we dare to fight for it.”

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