Culture ShiftHow photography shapes our view of Native Americans, films to watch, books to read, and how to save the beesscroll down arrow

People at the United Tribes Technical College Powwow are photographed in 2016. The crowd raised their right hands in support of Native Americans everywhere.Wet plate ambrotype by Shane Balkowitsch

Immortal Impressions Using an early photographic process, one photographer hopes to draw a line connecting what happened to the Dakota people in Mankato, Minnesota, 155 years ago and what is happening today to the Dakota/Lakota standing up to a $3.7 billion crude oil pipeline.

Photo by Shane Balkowitsch

“Death by Oil,” an ambrotype featuring Ojibwe flutist Darren Thompson, pays tribute to the 38 Dakota men hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, and the complicated relationship tribes have with oil today.Wet plate ambrotype by Shane Balkowitsch

Photographer Shane Balkowitsch’s warehouse is large and dark, except for a few windows filtering the natural light. His studio, in the industrial building where he also runs a medical supplies business near the Bismarck, North Dakota, airport, is lit by lamps that beckon like a bright jewel box. Workers shift merchandise around his photo lab and racks of period clothing as we enter. In his office, Balkowitsch, 47, shows us the glass plate images he creates through an antique technique called ambrotype photography. Image-makers in the 19th century used the wet plate method to capture a ghostly negative on glass. Balkowitsch uses the same tools today.

Jacqueline Keeler

Jacqueline Keeler is Diné/Ihanktonwan Dakota and editor of The Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears.

 

“I don’t consider myself a photographer,” he says, “I consider myself an image-maker. I never took the classes, I read from historic manuals. I’m completely self-taught.”

Balkowitsch used this antique process to document Standing Rock Sioux tribal members and other Native “water protectors” fighting the Dakota Access pipeline. By building on a relationship of trust, he captured these modern Dakota/Lakota warriors in portraits that echo those taken of their ancestors and honor the historic battle for their homelands in the 19th century that continues to this day. He hopes that by sharing these images, he can inspire understanding and healing between Native Americans and all Americans.

He offers to demonstrate the ambrotype process by taking a photo of my 13-year old son, Joneya Matoska (White Bear Born at Dawn). Taking a photo with an iPhone takes about one-sixtieth of a second, Balkowitsch says. But with ambrotype photography, which requires the subject to hold a pose for as long as 30 seconds, you are taking a short movie of someone’s life.

He places my son’s neck in a metal brace to hold his head still. He assures him that even Abraham Lincoln had to sit with a neck brace like this for his portraits. Then Balkowitsch mixes a silver colloidal solution on a counter in a dark corner of his studio. He returns to load the camera with a light-sensitive glass plate coated in the wet silver. Under the black fabric that drapes the viewfinder, he invites me to see my son’s image upside down.

“That’s what it looks like on your retina, too. Our brains turn the image back the right way,” he says.

YES! Photo by Jacqueline Keeler
YES! Photo by Jacqueline Keeler

Left, an image of the author’s son appears on a glass plate developing on the photography studio floor. Balkowitsch says ambrotypes like this one will last for generations to come. Right, Balkowitsch works in the dark of his lab.YES! Photos by Jacqueline Keeler

As my son holds the pose, I think of the antique photos of our family. One shows Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake) at my great-great-grandparent’s farmhouse on the Yankton Sioux Reservation where he was held as a prisoner at Fort Randall from 1881 to 1883. According to our family stories, Sitting Bull persuaded the Army to allow him to stay with his niece, my great-great-grandmother, during his house arrest. In the photo, Sitting Bull and his wives are seated in front of the house, tipis just off camera. Based on the date, the image was probably taken using a similar technique.

Balkowitsch pulls the plate out of the camera and slips it into a tub of chemicals at my feet. As the image develops, my son’s face appears—darker, more enigmatic than in real life, and his eyes burn like fire, revealing his soul.

“This image of your son will last 1,000 years,” Balkowitsch tells me.

The iconic first portraits of Chief Sitting Bull were ambrotypes, taken by photographer Orlando Scott Goff in Bismarck. Inspired by the local historical connection, Balkowitsch asked Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, Ernie LaPointe, to sit for a session. Balkowitsch has since done a series of 60 Northern Plains Native Americans, including Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II and Dale “Happy” American Horse Jr., who locked himself to Dakota Access pipeline machinery in the August 2016 standoff against the pipeline. Balkowitsch was also the first photographer allowed to take a photo of the protest camp at Standing Rock. He said he was greatly honored that the camp leaders trusted him with this.

Recently, the Library of Congress acquired Balkowitsch’s stark glass negative of Darren Thompson, an Ojibwe flutist and journalist covering the DAPL protests at Standing Rock. In the ambrotype, titled “Death by Oil,” Thompson wears a noose around his neck, and black oil drips down his shoulder. As I hold the negative of the powerful image in the studio, I am struck by the fragility of the glass in my hands.

“Death by Oil” is initially shocking, but the noose and its intimations of death give way to the eagle feather in his hair, a note of grace.

“When I was putting that rope around Darren’s neck, it wasn’t easy,” Balkowitsch said. “He had tears in his eyes during the shoot.”

“I had to sit there for an hour,” Thompson said. “I felt I was involved enough that I could articulate the meaning from his [Balkowitsch’s] standpoint and all the people we know mutually and how they feel about the Dakota Access pipeline. I think it’s a pretty powerful statement and powerful experience imagining how the Dakota 38 felt.”

During the winter of 1862 in Mankato, Minnesota, the U.S. government hanged 38 Dakota men, the largest mass execution in American history. The men—memorialized as the Dakota 38—were convicted of taking part in the Dakota Sioux Uprising, which was prompted by the theft of treaty supplies and the subsequent starvation. After the hanging, Dakota people were driven from the state of Minnesota and $200 bounties placed on their scalps by the U.S. government.

When he learned about the hangings, Balkowitsch was forced to confront the profound amnesia that Americans have of atrocities their government has done to Native people. And for those who survived, painful memories like this one, personally reviewed and ordered by President Lincoln less than a week before the Emancipation Proclamation declaring an end to slavery took effect, can be a difficult history to pass on to the next generation.

Thompson, who grew up in Wisconsin, was “confused, upset, and enraged” when he learned about the Dakota 38 in college.

“I consider myself a history buff, and every first-grader learns about Lincoln, but no one teaches about the Dakota 38 and what Lincoln did,” said Balkowitsch.

To memorialize the execution, Dakotan riders participate in the annual Dakota 38 + 2 horseback ride to Mankato, a yearly 330-mile ride from their reservation in South Dakota to the site of the hangings. The riders and their horses annually brave freezing temperatures to arrive at Mankato the day after Christmas.

“After I heard about [the] Dakota 38,” Balkowitsch said, “I knew these images [of the hangings] would haunt me until I got them on glass.”

In 1863, the Dakota were driven from their homelands, and bounties were offered for any “Redskin” who returned. This year, with help from social media video, peaceful Dakota/Lakota demonstrators and their allies could be seen defending their sacred sites and water to the rallying cry “Mni Wiconi” (Water is Life) and peacefully facing off against heavily militarized police who spray demonstrators with water cannons in subfreezing temperatures, pummel them with rubber bullets and concussion grenades, and bathe them in pepper spray. This all happened with the support of the government of North Dakota.

“I saw a local woman’s Facebook post saying, I feel sorry for the police officers because they have to sit in the same car with those stinking Indians when they arrest them,’” Balkowitsch told me. “And it was that mentality that allowed the [execution of the] Dakota 38. [Native people] are still here and [Americans] still doing the same things … It scares you to the bone.”

At Balkowitsch’s studio, I stare at the glass plate developing on the floor and think about my son, young and beautiful, staring at the world for generations to come. I think of all of the things that will be remembered and forgotten in those 1,000 years. And I share the hope of Balkowitsch and Thompson that by creating, viewing, and understanding these images and memories, that our two peoples, the Dakota/Lakota and the Americans, can find a peace that is just and good, and one that will give us all a better life. Certainly, one that is better than the one we have endured for 150-plus years.

Jacqueline Keeler

Jacqueline Keeler is Diné/Ihanktonwan Dakota and editor of The Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears.

Books + Film + Music

The Urgency of Bottom-Up Economics

YES! Illustration By Jennifer Luxton

YES! Illustration By Jennifer Luxton

Resistance to the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants, climate change policy, and economic fairness has been fierce. But alongside these efforts—from flooding representatives’ phone lines to packing town hall meetings to marching in protest—it’s also important to begin the work of building alternatives to the systems that underlie the exploitation of people and planet.

Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Chuck is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org. His new book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016).

In the face of renewed calls for trickle-down economic policy—such as proposed tax cuts for the rich and transnational corporations—we urgently need a clearly articulated theory and practice of sustainable economics that work for local communities. Enter a blessing of a book, Anthony Flaccavento’s Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change.

Bottom Up is a comprehensive primer on the transition to a new economy—the place-based movement to rewire the economy for equity and ecological sustainability. It is rich in stories and detail for the curious or discouraged and those seeking a strategy to move toward a sustainable and equitable future. Flaccavento excels as a storyteller, reporting on successful “bottom-up” ventures and experiments in building new systems around food, energy, health services, worker ownership, community finance, and place-based arts and culture.

Flaccavento’s perspective is grounded in his work as a farmer, entrepreneur, and candidate for Congress, with decades of experience building a regional food system and relocalized economy in southern Virginia. While he lifts up inspiring examples of urban local economy projects, he also deeply understands the challenges facing rural communities that have been bypassed by the lopsided economic gains of the past four decades. In regions like southern Virginia, where the median income is below $30,000 a year and the poverty rate is over 25 percent in some communities, new economy solutions have the potential to transcend political differences by creating and fixing infrastructure, generating jobs, increasing food security, and reducing energy costs.

YES! Illustration By Jennifer Luxton

YES! Illustration By Jennifer Luxton

One challenge in the Trump era is how to leverage place-based movements to impact national policy. I have witnessed local economy activities in New England that appear to operate in a parallel universe, one delinked from national debates over health care, taxation, energy, and farm policy. What would it take to leverage the millions of people who have become engaged in new economy enterprises to be a political force that reshapes the rules governing our national economy? What would a “bottom-up” policy program look like at the state and federal levels?

Flaccavento urges us to move beyond what he calls a “false choice” between local and national issues to recognize “that almost every positive change we make in our own communities is ultimately either undermined or supported by broader economic and political choices.” We cannot coast on a “small is beautiful” community garden project or worker-owned café—not while federal policies push down wages, shift billions to the military, and subsidize corporations that destroy Main Street commerce.

The tools for change that Flaccavento offers in Bottom Up resonate with the social change frameworks of deep-ecology thinker Joanna Macy and Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change

Building a Healthy Economy from the Bottom Up: Harnessing Real-World Experience for Transformative Change

Anthony Flaccavento, University Press of Kentucky, 2016

Step One: Stop Threats to People and the Earth

Macy writes that to achieve social change, we must first engage in “holding actions” to stop the destruction of the Earth and its beings. In the current context, this includes defending immigrants, protecting civil liberties, and blocking policies that will worsen economic injustices. Activities range from political advocacy and community education to public witness protests and blockadia direct action campaigns against new fossil fuel infrastructure. Similarly, in the context of the movement for Indian independence, Gandhi used what’s been called an “obstructive program” of nonviolent direct action to achieve social change.

Flaccavento too believes an important step toward social change is obstruction of harmful systems, policies, and organizations. For example, Flaccavento tells a story about the town of Bristol, Virginia, which awarded a $5,000 local entrepreneurship prize to celebrate a local business while 5 miles away the county provided $50 million in government subsidies to construct a big box store for a national chain. As he points out, the big box store will harm the local economy, yet it received a subsidy 10,000 times larger than any local business. So when a Walmart was proposed in Flaccavento’s hometown of Abingdon, Virginia, he threw himself into a coalition working to obstruct the store’s construction.

Step Two: Build Local, Alternative Systems and State and Federal Policies That Support Them

The second part of Macy’s framework for change is to build structural alternatives to the dominant systems that harm—alternatives largely rooted in local communities. This is what Gandhi called the “constructive program,” building the new society in the shell of the existing.

These local alternatives should serve as a foundation for broader policy change. Like Gandhi, Flaccavento is skeptical of centralized solutions but knows that if we walk away from national politics, the vacuum will be filled by absentee corporate power. To create change, he says, we need a public policy program that removes barriers and speeds the transition. For example, Flaccavento proposes business regulations that are “scale appropriate” and reduce the regulatory burdens on start-up, local, and home-based businesses. Instead of subsidizing absentee-owned national conglomerates, local government should direct procurement and subsidies to locally rooted enterprises.

We cannot coast on a “small is beautiful” community garden project or worker-owned café—not while federal policies push down wages, shift billions to the military and subsidize corporations that destroy Main Street commerce.

A key ingredient in Flaccavento’s program to strengthen local alternatives is to build community-based politics of engagement to overcome the power of corporate lobbyists. I was attracted to Flaccavento’s vision of a movement of “food citizens,” which would engage the 5 million to 10 million people who shop at farmers markets or are members of one of the 4,000 CSAs. Imagine using this people power to change the national farm bill, which allocates most subsidies to the biggest 10 percent of agribusiness. These food citizens, along with community banking activists and local business owners, could be a powerful constituency for transformation—and a countervailing force to what Flaccavento calls WTF (Wealth Trumps Fairness) politics.

Step Three: Nurture a Shift in Social Consciousness

The third step in Macy’s framework for change is to nurture a shift in social consciousness—one that centers on community economics and interconnectedness.

For Flaccavento, creating space for meaningful public debate is critical to shifting social consciousness. He quotes Mimi Pickering, one of the founders of Appalshop, a cultural change resource center in Kentucky: “In order for people to turn away from the politics of denial that have overtaken the electorate … there needs to be a visible counter narrative about what else is possible here.”

Flaccavento lifts up the importance of place-based public forums as a way to build community knowledge, capacity, and shared storytelling. In my urban neighborhood of Boston, the Jamaica Plain Forum has been a key ingredient in getting people together to engage in important community conversations around speakers, films, and workshops. There is power in building institutions such as local radio stations, community media, storytelling venues, and theater groups that enable a community to lift up its own stories. These face-to-face “open spaces” are building blocks for authentic democracy—and their decline has impoverished our public life.

Alone, locally focused action will not overcome the systemic forces that are fueling the concentration of wealth and power and supercharging racial and economic disparities, climate change, and mass incarceration. Our best chance is a mass movement that works to stop threats to people and planet while building local alternatives at the same time. A place-based new economy will grow grassroots people power to fuel broad change while offering a new story of how we must live together.

Chuck Collins

Chuck Collins wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Chuck is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, where he co-edits Inequality.org. His new book is Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (Chelsea Green, 2016).

Books + Film + Music

How Mass Incarceration Changes All of Us

In Brett Story’s documentary The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, the camera journeys across the country, pausing in ordinary places where prisons affect our lives in ways so subtle they almost seem invisible. In the film’s opening, we hear voices brimming with love, strained from loss, fragile with regret—sending messages to loved ones.

Patrice Gaines

Patrice Gaines is a past Soros Justice Media Fellow and an abolitionist who believes we must create a society that does not depend on prisons to reduce crime. She is also author of the memoir Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Color, a Journey From Prison to Power.

“God loves you, and you know your Grandma does.”

“All is well with the girls.”

“Went fishing yesterday morning. Caught a couple of catfish …”

As I watch, I am transported back to the summer of 1971, when I spent time in jail, charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of a needle and syringe. At the age of 21, I was really a drug user, not a supplier. Yet I still wound up a felon.

I am transported back in time because while in that jail cell in Charlotte, North Carolina, I missed the kind of ordinariness these people speak of. Braiding my daughter’s hair. Opening the refrigerator and choosing what to eat. The phone calls with my mother.

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Directed by Brett Story, 2016, 94 min.

The tender messages that open the film also remind us that a multitude of people are impacted when one human being is incarcerated.

Instead of sledgehammering its message, this film makes your heart bleed drip by drip as the story slowly unfolds.

On the screen, orange flames soar, accompanied by the voice of a woman, the member of an all-female firefighting crew, who eventually says, “The only way you know I’m a prison firefighter is if I tell you.” She says some people, amazed to find they all are women, try to talk to them. But the women are not allowed to respond. And I am reminded of all the ways people who are incarcerated are rendered voiceless, of how long it took me to overcome the shame that choked my own voice.

Another landscape comes into focus, and everything appears ordinary. But one of the pillars of incarceration is the disruption of ordinariness. And to maintain this separation, there are countless rules, always changing.

In the film, we visit a warehouse in the Bronx where a man operates a business serving people who want to send packages to loved ones in prison. He once searched for hours to find things to send his brother, who is incarcerated. He later found out that about 15 percent of the items were tossed in the trash because they didn’t adhere to institutional rules. So today, he sells nail clippers no longer than 2 inches, white boxer shorts without elastic, and audio tapes specially made with clear cases and no screws.

Today, as a volunteer with the women at a jail in Charlotte—located where the one I was incarcerated in once stood—I know the frustration of abiding by ever-changing rules. After two years, I showed up one day to find I could no longer use a locker. “The lockers are for the lawyers now,” I was told. Another Monday, I was told my regular supply bag is inappropriate. “It has to be a clear bag,” the officer said. The next month: The bag has to be a certain size, and mine is too big.

And I am reminded of all the ways people who are incarcerated are rendered voiceless, of how long it took me to overcome the shame that choked my own voice.

Which brings me to what strikes me most about Story’s film. In a discreet way, he exposes the insanity of mass incarceration and how it changes all of us.

We see what mass incarceration has done to us when we hear an Eastern Kentucky man pin the economic survival of his town on the promise that a prison will be built, something he calls a “recession-proof” business. This landscape is a metaphor for the dulling of our senses—and of creativity and reasoning when we would depend on locking up people to save ourselves.

The film also shows us how racism sustains the ravenous penal system. In St. Louis County, Missouri, a Black man explains how traffic tickets are doled out to Black people in municipalities along a freeway near the city of Ferguson. The camera pans slowly over a long line of mostly Black people waiting to pay traffic tickets at a courthouse. A Black woman has been given a $175 ticket for not securing a lid on her garbage can. I cry when her voice cracks as she recounts how she asked a jail official, “How long do you hold someone for a trash can lid?” and they say, “Fifteen days.”

And this is when The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is most frightening: when it shows us that we have lived with mass incarceration for so long that we do not see that it is making even those who are supposed to be free less human—and less humane.

Doug Pibel

Doug Pibel is a freelance editor and former YES! managing editor who lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Books + Film + Music

Books Inspiring Us

You’re More Powerful Than You Think

Eric Liu, 2017, PublicAffairs, 222 pages

Defining power—and inspiring readers to redefine who has it—is the goal of Eric Liu’s new book. Subtitled A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen, the accessible, timely book proves to be just that. Liu invites readers to ask themselves, “Who runs this place?” and then, “How could it be different?” Filled with real-life people and events, past and present—including several references to the Trump administration—You’re More Powerful Than You Think offers nine strategies for changing the construct of power. Liu should know: He was President Bill Clinton’s policy adviser and founded Citizen University.

The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men

Robert Jensen, 2017, Spinifex Press, 200 pages

Robert Jensen, a University of Texas journalism professor who teaches media law, ethics, and politics, builds on his previous book, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity, with this extensive critique of the ways that traditional concepts of sex and gender infiltrate and undercut society. Through chapters on rape culture, prostitution, and transgenderism, Jensen outlines how masculinity “traps us in an endless struggle for control, domination, and conquest,” and makes a case for radical feminism as both a means of resistance and a path forward. It is not enough to rebel within a patriarchal system, Jensen points out: We must upend the system.

Yes! But How?

DIY Ways to Live SustainablyHow to Help Native Bees at Home

By now we’ve all heard that domesticated honeybee populations continue to decline, endangering our food systems. Although farmers have come to rely on imported species of domesticated honeybees, hardier wild bees do some of the work, too. There are 4,000 native bee species in North America. They support natural ecosystems by keeping a healthy diversity among pollinators. But even they are facing threats. Here’s how to be a backyard beekeeper for wild bees.

Regions Most At Risk for Native Bee Loss
YES! Illustration by Lori Panico

Regions with lowest native bee populations plus highest need for crop pollination.

Including native plants in your garden and yard will help provide habitat and sustenance for bees year round. By researching which native plants are most helpful to bees, you can plan a garden that is beneficial to their seasonal needs.

YES! Illustration by Lori Panico
Miner Bees

ACTIVE SEASON

June–July

SELECT PLANT FOOD

Mariposa Lily

STATUS

Rare, Uncertain

NESTING

Underground

YES! Illustration by Lori Panico
Western Bumble Bee

ACTIVE SEASON

April-September

SELECT PLANT FOOD

Rubber Rabbit Brush

STATUS

Rare, In decline

NESTING

Cavities

YES! Illustration by Lori Panico
Sonoran Bumble Bee

ACTIVE SEASON

June, September-October

SELECT PLANT FOOD

Goldeneye

STATUS

Uncommon

NESTING

Cavities

YES! Illustration by Lori Panico
Eastern Carpenter Bee

ACTIVE SEASON

April-October

SELECT PLANT FOOD

Lupine

STATUS

Secure

NESTING

Wood

YES! Illustration by Lori Panico
Bicolored Sweat Bee

ACTIVE SEASON

April-October

SELECT PLANT FOOD

Sunflower

STATUS

Secure

NESTING

Underground

Create sites for nesting

Seventy percent of native bee species nest in the ground. Clear patches of bare ground or create small sand pits for bees to nest in. Other species of bees nest in the beetle-bored cavities of dead wood. Leave pieces of dry wood in sunny places and drill small holes if there are no existing cavities.

Avoid pesticides

Most insecticides and some fungicides and herbicides are harmful or lethal to bees. Be careful when purchasing seeds and bulbs. Many are grown with systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids, which will remain in the pollen of the plant and harms all bees.

Commentary

New Ways to Spread the Genius of Grassroots Change

More than 20 years after co-founding YES!, I am launching a new project. If we are to get through this presidency without terrible damage to our country, ending it and its policies as quickly as possible, we will need a new direction from the Democratic Party.

Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder of YES! Magazine. She writes a bi-weekly column. Find her on Twitter: @sarahvangelder.

The four months I spent on the road, mainly in “red states” collecting stories for The Revolution Where You Live (Berrett Koehler, 2017), convinced me that the Democratic Party is out of touch with the pain many Americans experience. I visited small towns hollowed out by joblessness and big-box stores and urban neighborhoods where unemployment has been in double digits for generations. African American families have been especially hit hard—the wealth gap between White and Black families, which was already large, doubled with the 2008 recession.

For years, the Democratic Party chose to overlook these tough realities: Wages are low and stagnant. Jobs are outsourced. Drug prices and insurance premiums rise, and students take on a lifetime of debt just to have a shot at a decent job. Wall Street banks get bailed out when risky bets fail, and millions of ordinary Americans are punished with job losses and foreclosures for a financial crisis they didn’t cause. Meanwhile, virtually all the wealth generated by a recovering economy goes to the top 1 percent. The severe inequality that results from these lopsided policies fuels frustration and the nihilism that led to the election of Donald Trump.

The Democratic Party has fallen short by not taking on the structural causes of this crisis: an economy that favors big corporations and global capitalism. The party also has failed to step up to the climate crisis, which requires a radically different sort of economic recovery, and to the crisis of racial exclusion.

So what to do now?

If the Democratic Party is to retake government, it will need to do more than be the party that isn’t as bad as Trump. It will need to find the courage to stand up for ordinary people, which means standing up to Wall Street and global corporations.

The party should support a revived locally rooted economy—one that supports and trains homegrown entrepreneurs and invests in local business. The party needs to close the wealth gap among races and bring everyone up, not support more ways for the 1 percent to continue to accumulate virtually all the benefits of economic growth. It needs fresh, new, pragmatic approaches, like a guaranteed minimum income, single-payer health care, and a massive investment in renewables and efficient transportation, which will create jobs while reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Standing up to the fossil fuel industry is a tough ask, but a majority of Americans support investing in renewables.

The form of isolationism advocated by Trump is misguided. But he’s tapped into a very real frustration with un-ending wars and the taxpayer-funded military-industrial complex. If the Democratic Party is to be relevant, it will need to be the party that can make peace.

Can Democrats stand up to Wall Street and global corporations? They will need to if they wish to be relevant. And polls show there is a lot of support; a majority of people under 50 do not support capitalism.

The Democratic Party has a lot going for it. Trump has historically low approval ratings, and the election has woken up many Americans. On Jan. 21, millions participated in women’s marches in more than 300 U.S. towns and cities, from Moose Pass, Alaska, to Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C. People are ready for real answers. If the Democratic Party can put women and men of all races and religions first, not global corporations, it might be able to earn the trust and enthusiasm of the American people in time to win big in the 2018 midterm elections.

Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder of YES! Magazine. She writes a bi-weekly column. Find her on Twitter: @sarahvangelder.