Ellen Brown recently wrote an article in which she laid out the options for essential changes in the American economic system that will be necessary to survive the coming economic collapse. She sees this as inevitable given the pernicious effects of a shadow banking system that is using wealth sucked up by bankers to create a massive pool of debt that cannot be repaid when the Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses. Many of the proposals she lays out would repair some aspects of the broken system, while others would be transformative, creating a system that could be stable indefinitely.
We cannot accomplish any of the goals Brown sets out in her article without electing a Congress that will put the needs of the People over the desires of corporations and the rich. That is why it is so important for Americans to join the growing movement to make a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance and abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue. While this would not end the corruption of the US government by banks and other special interests, in electing a Congress that will pass such an amendment, we will put in place men and women who will clearly be willing to deal with the other sources of corruption.
The Populist movement starting in the late 1800s provides useful lessons, as enumerated in Lawrence Goodwyn’s seminal work The Populist Moment, outlined here. I believe that despite its limitations, it culminated in the New Deal because the ideas it introduced into American political thinking remained at the time of the Great Depression. The changes in the system of regulation of finance in response to the economic collapse were largely responsible for the United States entering the to the greatest era of prosperity in its history. The key to the success was creating a new political consciousness that challenged the political orthodoxy that maintained a system that economically enslaved the vast bulk of Americans.
Most people regard the Populist movement as having failed because the revolution in political thought was insufficient to elect a Congress that would take on the banksters. There are two reasons I think we can overcome this at this point in history.