The first step toward political action is unity. As representatives of the silenced canaries, we can start by promoting a shared sense of identity. We have many advocates and impressive leaders, but our political movement is too often fragmented. Many different leaders pursue many different goals. This distributed model of advocacy is both a strength and a weakness. We can maintain our entrepreneurial spirit while also establishing a stronger sense of connection and shared identity.
Political power comes with numbers. And although the many potential constituencies coalesce within communities that provide their own strong and passionate cores, the problem we face is broader than any one of these communities. We can build a strong movement only by assembling the broadest possible base of support. There are many victims of the medical industrial complex who share similar concerns and sympathies and they are increasingly recognizing their shared concerns and interests.
In a broadly distributed movement of voluntary advocates, a command and control model of action will never serve. Rather than seeking compliance, we can concentrate our voice by coming together around a set of shared principles. We have seen the appeal of a principle-driven coalition in some of our political activity and can extend this approach to a platform in which we protest the corruption of our institutions while raising the alarm over the harm done to the canaries.
Refining our principles awaits the opportunity to meet, discuss and debate as a group, but defining them will surely involve this set of ideas: Awareness; Precaution; Safety; Choice; Freedom; Justice; Scientific Integrity; Compassion.
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With the right statement of principles we can extend the reach of our efforts by forming a political party. This movement should appeal to a diverse constituency of advocates; it can and must be ecumenical with respect to political beliefs that don’t bear on our principles; by focusing on a limited set of principles, we can seek to influence the platforms of other leaders in political parties and movements; and although we may begin our efforts where our leaders reside, we must embrace a global vision in support for silenced canaries everywhere.
One source of strength in our movement is our broad base of advocates. We can exploit this strength by giving advocates the tools to begin engaging directly in the political and legislative process. Although our opponents have more resources to bring to bear at a national level and in the mainstream media, we can maximize our advantage if we extend our engagement to the broadest possible geographic base, including activities in Washington DC, all 50 states as well as county, city and local political and policy forums.
A broad based movement will help us in creating many occasions for victories including elections. These victories might be achieved through ballot questions, candidate questionnaires, legislative initiatives and even sponsoring candidates for office.
In addition to sponsoring our own agenda through the political process, the movement will also benefit from identifying high profile opponents of our agenda and taking the fight to them. Under the right circumstances, movements define themselves not only by what they stand for, but also whom they stand against.
In the long run, the solution to the problem of institutional corruption in the medical industrial complex will require wholesale shifts in policy, governance and representation in many areas. Part of our movement’s ultimate success will depend on our skill in laying out a detailed agenda for change and influencing the political process to implement those changes. This is a long-term process, one in which success may come slowly at first. Every journey, however, begins with the first step.