It is time to begin a real conversation -- locally, nationally and at all levels -- about what a genuine alternative beyond corporate capitalism and state socialism would look like, and how we would build it. Not too long ago, it was easy to dismiss any talk about "changing the system" as frivolous or impractical, a luxury or a distraction. What we are seeing today is that increasing numbers of people understand that this task has become absolutely necessary. What's become frivolous and distracting is continuing to assume that business as usual is still an option.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up