Opinion: People Have Power Too

NOTE: This letter by LSP member Betsy Allister originally appeared in the March 27, 2012, edition of the Northfield News.

To the editor:
On Tuesday evening my partner Andrew and I attended a Land Stewardship Project meeting in Lonsdale to talk with other farmers about the excesses of corporate power and the impact it has on the lives of rural Minnesotans.

As young farmers, we went to the meeting concerned about our struggle to afford our high-deductible health insurance, which does nothing to improve the quality of our health. We were amazed to find more than 75 farmers and neighbors with similar concerns, ranging from health insurance to the high price of land. One couple gave up their hard-earned retirement savings to help their son when his home went into foreclosure. Another couple remembers when there were 13 family dairies on their road; today, there are none.

I came away wondering why people, not corporations, are the ones feeling the effects of this recession. How is it fair that Wells Fargo got bailed out in 2009, didn’t pay taxes from 2008-2010, but continues to foreclose on people’s homes? How is it fair that insurance companies increase their profits every year while doing less to protect our health? I sat next to a couple who has farmed for more than 50 years, and they said it well: We have watched as the money in this country has moved into the hands of the few, and as money moves so does power.

People have power, too. Corporations have dominated our economy and our democracy for too long, and it’s time that we come together to remind our elected officials that they work for us, not the corporations.

It’s time we asked ourselves where our own power lies: Only by organizing together can we reclaim control over our economy, our democracy and our lives.

— Betsy Allister

© Copyright 2012, Northfield News, Northfield, MN.