Press Releases

Town Hall to Tackle Climate Crisis in Wisconsin

Online event sponsored by chapters in Northeast region

Neenah, WI — With the prospect of a new federal approach to addressing climate change, three northeast region chapters of Our Wisconsin Revolution are hosting a Climate Action Town Hall featuring seven speakers on various aspects of the climate crisis and its solutions. 

The town hall will take place Saturday, November 21, at 7 p.m. over Zoom and will steam live on our Facebook page. Registration is at

Speakers include:

  • David Barnhill, former director of environmental studies at UW-Oshkosh and founder of Northwoods Climate Action on climate change in Wisconsin
  • Sara Wescott of the Menominee nation on climate action in indigenous communities
  • Sarah Lloyd, president of Columbia County Farmers Union and OWR co-chair, on climate change and agriculture
  • Christina Sedall of Sunrise Appleton on youth climate activism
  • Dan Dieterich of Citizens’ Climate Lobby on carbon fee and dividend
  • Cathy Cowan Becker, OWR northeast regional organizer, on what a Green New Deal could look like
  • Fadhel Kaboub, president of Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity and an expert on Modern Monetary Theory on how to pay for a Green New Deal

The Climate Action Town Hall will be introduced by Mike McCabe, executive director of Our Wisconsin Revolution, and moderated by David Williams, leader of OWR’s Fox Valley Chapter who works in the weatherization assistance program for the community action agency Advocap.

The town hall is sponsored by the Fox Valley, Green Bay, and Northwoods chapters of Our Wisconsin Revolution, but presentations will be relevant to the entire state. 

WHAT: Climate Action Town Hall, with seven speakers on the climate crisis and its solutions

WHEN: Saturday, November 21, at 7 p.m. 

WHERE: On Zoom and livestreamed to the Our Wisconsin Revolution Facebook page. Registration is at

WHO: Fox Valley, Green Bay, and Northwoods chapters of Our Wisconsin Revolution

About Our Wisconsin Revolution

Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent social justice organization working to make both our economy and our government a true democracy — of, by and for the people. We work in four issue areas: restoring a real democracy, creating an economy that works for all of us, ensuring quality public goods and services, and enacting fair taxes. Our formation was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ run for president in 2016 and is part of a national movement supporting a new generation of progressive leaders and empowering millions to fight for transforming our political and economic systems to be responsive to the needs of working families. 

Press Releases

Movie Night

Our Wisconsin Revolution director Mike McCabe will be the special guest speaker before the October 8 screening of the documentary film “Slay the Dragon” at Delta Beer Lab in Madison.

The movie focuses on how partisan gerrymandering of congressional and state legislative districts undermines democracy and how citizens across the country are fighting to protect their votes.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Press Releases

OWR Opposes DNC Platform, Which Leaves out Medicare For All

At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, Our Wisconsin Revolution leadership and staff who are delegates for Bernie Sanders to the 2020 Democratic National Convention will join almost 800 delegates from around the country in voting no on the DNC platform. This unison no vote is a rejection of the Democratic Party platform that does not include support for a single-payer, Medicare for All policy.

“I am voting no because the Platform Committee is not listening to the American people. This platform is a slap in the face to the vast majority of Democrats and to the American People,” said Sarah Lloyd, OWR co-chair and delegate for Bernie Sanders.

According to a recent Harris X/Hill poll, 69 percent of the general public supports Medicare For All, with a 88 percent rate of support among Democrats. The Platform Committee also voted down expanding Medicare eligibility to age 55, a proposition supported by many presidential candidates in the primary this past year.

A platform without language for Medicare for All is grossly inhumane in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has already killed more than 160,000 American citizens. Support for Medicare for All has been boosted by the obvious truth, made clear by COVID-19, that tying health insurance to employment is not sustainable, equitable, efficient or safe from a public health standpoint. The massive number of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and economic shutdown shows that it is dangerous for people to be dependent on health care directly tied to their employers.

“I am voting no because amid a new civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, this pandemic has also magnified the severe health-care disparities we have in this country, with Black and Brown Americans dying at rates two to three times higher than white Americans, paralleling their similar rates of not having health insurance,” said Charlie Ryan, OWR co-chair and Sanders delegate. “If the Democratic Party wants to take a stand in support of BLM, then they should have voted resoundingly in support of guaranteeing health care to our minority communities that suffer the most from lack of health care.”

“We know that people who do not have health insurance avoid medical care due to the fear of medical debt. This threatens our very ability as a country to contain COVID-19 and so undermines our public health,” said Rich McGowan, a medical doctor in Madison and OWR board member. “The times we are living through are exceptional in the scope of the problems facing us. They demand bold leadership. Unfortunately this latest vote by the Platform Committee has failed to deliver what the public supports.”

Our Wisconsin Revolution condemns the DNC’s 2020 Platform Committee vote and supports efforts of DNC delegates, 700 and counting, who would overturn that vote. This includes both Sanders and Biden delegates, including OWR Board members Michael Beardsley, Charlie Ryan, Sarah Lloyd, and Justice Peche, and staff member Cathy Cowan Becker.

Our Wisconsin Revolution’s mission is to create a new kind of politics in our state. “The OWR board and our general membership believe that health care is a right. The United States needs to make the necessary reforms to make that right a reality as soon as possible through a publicly funded Medicare for All system,” said McGowan. “Help us free our democracy from corporate control and put the power back in the hands of the people.”

Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent, statewide, membership-driven, democratic-populist organization that aims to take Wisconsin government back from corporate elites and make it of, by, and for the people. For more information please see a recording of Our Wisconsin Revolution’s recent Health Care Forum and list of endorsed candidates.

Photo credit: Elvert Barnes

Press Releases

OWR Urges PSC to Extend Utility Cutoff Moratorium

Wisconsin’s policy of preventing utility companies from cutting off service to customers during the winter months was extended until July 25 due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the virus still spreading and the number of infections and deaths on the rise, Our Wisconsin Revolution today asked the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to extend the moratorium on service cutoffs until next spring.

July 16, 2020

Public Service Commission
Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson
Ellen Nowak, Commissioner
Tyler Huebner, Commissioner
Hill Farms State Office Building
North Tower, 6th Floor
4822 Madison Yards Way
Madison, WI 53705

Dear Chairperson Valcq, Commissioner Nowak and Commissioner Huebner:

With the pandemic persisting and indeed worsening, we urge you to act immediately to extend the utility shutoff moratorium that is due to end July 25. We ask that the moratorium be extended until April 2021.

When the first moratorium extension was put in place, it may have been expected that coronavirus infections would have significantly declined by now or that COVID-19 would no longer be a serious public health threat in the summer months. The reality now is that the virus continues to spread, the number of infections is rising not falling, and with the economy still significantly impacted by the pandemic there continues to be a large number of economically vulnerable people who remain at great risk. Allowing the moratorium to end on July 25 and permitting utilities to cut off customers will create added health risks, and racial minorities and economically distressed communities will be disproportionately harmed.

While the state’s Safer at Home order produced some positive initial results in minimizing spread of the virus, COVID has rebounded and continues to be a major threat to both public health and Wisconsin’s economy. Large numbers of people in Wisconsin have seen their economic status damaged, putting them in the agonizing position of having to choose between paying for food, housing, health care or utilities. Disconnecting utilities at any time is a hardship, doing so during a pandemic is downright cruel and dangerous.

We understand that utility moratoriums are normally only put in place during the winter. There is nothing normal about we are going through as a state and nation. The pandemic is not letting up, and power is not only needed for heating but also for cooling. The combination of summer heat waves and COVID puts vulnerable populations at considerable risk and could prove deadly. COVID has laid bare to an even greater extent than before the racial, social and economic disparities and injustices that exist in our society. There is absolutely no doubt that the cruel, dangerous and potentially deadly result of allowing power to be cut off starting on July 25 will fall hardest on the poorest in our society and will have an especially harsh impact on black and brown people.

Power is needed for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer, but also for cooking, refrigeration, internet connections and phone service. Without these and with the pandemic still raging, people will be at risk and in harm’s way. The utility shutoff moratorium lasting until July 25 was based on the assumption that the COVID crisis would run its course by this time. It clearly has not. We ask you to use your authority to extend the moratorium until the pandemic is under control and loss of utility service does not pose such a grave threat to so many people.


Mike McCabe
Executive Director
Our Wisconsin Revolution

Press Releases

Online Tool Engages Public in Qualifying Candidates for the Ballot

April 30, 2020

With social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders preventing candidates from approaching voters in person and a June 1 deadline looming for candidates to submit signatures on nomination papers to gain a place on the ballot for this fall’s elections, the grassroots social action group Our Wisconsin Revolution is launching a website allowing the public to easily find candidates’ nomination forms and sign for them without leaving home.

The online system, developed in conjunction with the AI-driven political consulting firm AlephAPI, responds to the dilemma posed by the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s decision to require candidates to comply with traditional nomination requirements despite COVID-19 restrictions. The number of signatures by eligible voters on nomination forms needed to qualify for the ballot is unchanged and the commission is not allowing digital forms or electronic signatures.

“If the task of gathering nomination signatures is left entirely to those seeking to run, and they have to gather those signatures without approaching voters, there will inevitably be a significant number of candidates who fall short of the number of signatures required to be included on the ballot and voters will have fewer choices in key elections,” Our Wisconsin Revolution executive director Mike McCabe said. “That’s why we’re providing this way for the public to get involved as never before in helping candidates get on the ballot. We all need to pitch in to make sure democracy survives COVID-19.”

Voters can go to the website, enter their street address and zip code, and the system automatically generates pre-filled nomination papers for candidates in their area. The papers can then be printed, signed and mailed to the address on each candidate’s nomination form. Visitors to the site can download the nomination papers for candidates they support directly from the site, or they can choose to have the forms emailed to them.

“The aim here is to make it easy for eligible voters in a household to follow the state’s inflexible rules and sign nomination forms for candidates in their area while still practicing social distancing and honoring Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order,” McCabe said, adding that each eligible voter in a household can sign for only one candidate for each office. For the nominations to be valid, each nomination petition also needs to be signed by a circulator certifying it. The person signing as the circulator also can be one of the signers of the petition. The forms generated by the online system are in a format approved by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Our Wisconsin Revolution will be encouraging voters throughout the state to print, sign and mail back nomination papers for candidates they support and also share the link to the website with neighbors, friends and contacts in their communities and throughout the state to maximize public participation in the nomination process.

“AlephAPI is excited to partner with Our Wisconsin Revolution to offer Wisconsinites a one-stop solution for signing nomination papers safely at home. Founded in 2018, AlephAPI’s mission is to strengthen our democracy by empowering people in our political process and increasing electoral participation,” AlephAPI’s Bob Harlow and Terrance Warthen said.

The deadline for candidates to submit nomination signatures to the Wisconsin Elections Commission is June 1, making it important for voters to get their signed and certified forms mailed back to the candidates as far in advance of that date as possible. Wisconsin’s fall general election is November 3. The primary election is August 11.

Press Releases

Summit Aims to Mobilize People to Counter Big Money

Voices that are too often unheard or ignored and critical problems that are going unsolved will be center stage at the Wisconsin Organize to Win Summit on Saturday, February 29.

People from across the state have signed up to attend the gathering at the Madison Labor Temple, 1602 S. Park Street, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Among the featured speakers will be teen climate activists Stephanie Salgado and Max Prestigiacomo, ex-inmate and criminal justice reform advocate Carl Fields, immigration lawyer Shabnam Lotfi, and steelworker and union activist Randy Bryce. Congressman Mark Pocan will give welcoming remarks and Our Wisconsin Revolution director Mike McCabe will emcee the event. Other speakers will tell personal stories of struggling to gain access to medical care, dealing with economic insecurity and financial instability, and challenging the political system by running for local or state office.

Stephanie Salgado
Max Prestigiacomo
Carl Fields
Shabnam Lotfi
Randy Bryce

“Our state and our country have gotten to a dangerous place, seemingly numb to intensifying inequality, fiddling while our planet burns, passively watching democracy slip from our grasp. The last thing we should do is sit home alone,” McCabe said. “That’s why we decided to create this opportunity for people to come together to network, to strategize and to organize. Huge sums of money are flooding into Wisconsin to influence our elections. Mobilizing people in our state is the best way to answer all the outside money.”

Press Releases

Lawmakers Respond to Rural Bleeding with Cosmetics

February 12, 2020

With Wisconsin losing more than two family farms a day, state lawmakers convened in a special session are considering largely symbolic measures that fail to address the driving forces behind the farm crisis and are responding to hemorrhaging rural communities by offering to hand out what amounts to cosmetics gift sets.

“The agenda the governor put forward for the special session was puny. The agenda legislative leaders are now settling on is puny. The ideas are all well and good. But they don’t get anywhere close to the root of what’s gone haywire in the farm economy and what’s killing rural communities,” said Our Wisconsin Revolution executive director Mike McCabe, who got his start in life milking cows and working the land with his family, first in Rock County and later in Clark County.

“Family farmers are being driven out of business by get-big-or-get-out policies fueling massive-scale industrialization of agriculture. Why not an immediate moratorium on new factory feedlots? Why not put Wisconsin on record in favor of a new national supply management system allowing family farmers to keep their heads above water? Why not use the state budget surplus to bring high-speed Internet to the many places that currently can’t get it? Why not think as big as the farm crisis itself?” McCabe said.

He added that most rural residents do not farm but rather live and work in small towns. The legislature’s special session should address the health of the rural communities that farmers are a part of and depend on.

Our Wisconsin Revolution put forward eight ways to stabilize the farm economy, strengthen rural communities, and make the state a leader nationally in promoting countermeasures to rural decline:

  • A moratorium on new Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), the gigantic agricultural factories that are putting family farms out of business, and stricter oversight of manure disposal preventing CAFOs from contaminating drinking water in rural communities and shifting the cost of pollution control and abatement to the public.

  • Parity pricing and supply management to assure farmers of a living wage for their labor, keep farms profitable and allow smaller-scale, family-run farms to compete with corporate agricultural factories. Parity pricing was a staple of U.S. agricultural policy dating back to the 1930s until it was jettisoned in the 1970s and 1980s. Family farmers have been pushed to the brink by close to 50 years of policies incentivizing industrialized agriculture, encouraging overproduction and destabilizing commodity prices. And they’ve been dealt an additional lethal blow by disastrous federal trade policies that have triggered retaliatory tariffs on U.S. farm products.

  • Universal high-speed Internet and cell phone service. Meaningfully addressing the rural-urban divide requires dealing with the digital divide. According to the Federal Communications Commission, more than a quarter of people living in rural areas lack access to even minimum speed broadband, compared to less than 2% without it in urban areas. Rural electrification in the 1930s and 1940s brought electrical power to even the most remote rural areas of the country and revolutionized the rural economy and rural life. A comparable effort is needed to bring the 21st Century equivalent of electricity—high-speed Internet and mobile voice—to every small town and farm. It’s not possible to fully participate in the 21st Century economy or modern society without these tools. Dead zones so commonly found in rural areas contribute significantly to rising economic and social inequality. Reliable Internet and cell phone signals are basic necessities in this day and age and way too many people can’t get them.

  • No more rural school closings. Schools are the heart of a rural community. Cut out the heart and the community dies. A moratorium on local school closings needs to be established and enforced. Rural school rescue aid should be made part of the school financing system.

  • Keep the local post offices open. Post offices are invaluable community assets, particularly in rural areas where the digital divide looms large. Post office closings in small towns increase rural isolation and economic disparities. Vibrant rural communities depend on the U.S. Postal Service remaining true to its statutory mission of binding the nation together and its universal service obligation guaranteeing service to every American residence and business at a standard affordable price, with no area of the country discriminated against, no matter how costly or difficult to reach.

  • Establish new satellite college campuses in rural areas. No new university campuses have been established in Wisconsin since 1968. Since 1994, eight new prisons have been built and a ninth built by a private company was purchased by the state on speculation. Two new youth prisons are on the way. Siting small satellite campuses in underserved rural areas not only would be a boon to local economies and expand access to higher education to rural populations, it also would make good on the Wisconsin Idea that the boundaries of the university system should be the boundaries of the state. Telling people living in remote parts of the state to avail themselves of online courses or distance learning is insensitive bordering on cruel considering the lack of access to reliable high-speed Internet in rural areas.

  • Make it possible to maintain decent roads. Bad roads and a good economy are incompatible. State transportation policy has for years favored new construction and highway expansion—especially in urban and suburban areas—over basic upkeep to the point where some small towns and rural areas have been left with no choice but to tear up paved roads and go back to gravel because they can’t afford to keep filling their potholes. Putting a stop to this trend can be done by reorienting transportation spending to prioritize maintenance of existing roads.

  • Restore local democracy and home rule. Well over 100 state laws have been made in Wisconsin since 2011 taking away decision-making authority from local communities. State preemption laws limit or prohibit local decisions on everything from school budgets and shoreline development to building codes and property inspections. Elected representatives chosen by the people in local communities have had their hands tied with respect to the bidding process for local road projects, siting of animal feedlots and approval of mining projects or the construction of oil and gas pipelines. Communities are not allowed to set their own workplace standards for wages, benefits and working conditions and cannot have a minimum wage higher than the state’s. They can’t establish their own sick leave policies. They can’t join with other communities to set up regional transit authorities. Communities should be given way more latitude to decide what’s best for them.

“Family farmers are in crisis. Small towns are struggling and slowly dying. A way of life is threatened with extinction. This touches all of us, no matter where you live,” McCabe said. “One of the most powerful forces splitting America—the rural-urban divide—needs to be tackled and there is no better place to get serious about the effort than the state known as America’s Dairyland.”

News Press Releases

McCabe Named OWR’s Director

Our Wisconsin Revolution has selected longtime government watchdog and democracy reform advocate Mike McCabe to be the group’s executive director. Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent, statewide, membership-driven organization aiming to make Wisconsin’s government of, by and for the people.

“Mike McCabe brings decades of activism and thousands of supporters to this work, and we’re delighted he’s assuming the role of OWR’s first-ever executive director. We’re confident his leadership will take us to a whole new level of effectiveness,” Our Wisconsin Revolution co-chairs Sarah Lloyd and Joel Rogers said.

McCabe ran a spirited underdog campaign for governor in 2018 fueled by small donations and the efforts of more than 3,000 volunteers. He started the grassroots citizen group Blue Jean Nation in 2015. For 15 years before that he led the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, an independent watchdog group that exposes corruption, tracks the money in state elections, and works for reforms making people matter more than money in politics. In that role, McCabe blew the whistle on wrongdoing by elected officials and earned a reputation as one of the nation’s best political money trackers. He was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists and Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council as the “Citizen Openness Advocate of the Year” for 2012, and the University of Wisconsin’s School of Journalism honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

“The kind of politics needed to solve our society’s biggest problems does not exist. It needs to be created,” McCabe said. “We are going through an economic revolution driven by the twin forces of globalization and automation. We are going through a social revolution where the country’s historically dominant group is on its way to becoming a political minority. We are going through an ecological revolution that threatens life on this planet. Our government is paralyzed and is not constructively responding to these emergencies. If we are going to get a handle on any of these challenges, we had better revolutionize our politics.”

McCabe brings a farming background and a lifetime of experience in politics, journalism, nonprofit leadership and public sector management to his new role. Born in Wisconsin and raised on his family’s dairy farm, he has lived across the rural-urban divide, having spent nearly half of his life out in the country and the rest in the state’s second-largest city and state capital. Years of environmental activism and advocacy for sustainable agriculture practices earned McCabe recognition as Environmental Advocate of the Year by the Clean Water Action Council in 2004 and Friend of the Family Farmer by the Wisconsin Farmers Union in 2015.

While leading Blue Jean Nation, McCabe did an award-winning radio commentary series called “Democracy Checkup” that aired on several community radio stations including Madison’s WORT-FM and was among the winners in the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s 2016 Awards for Excellence for best editorial commentary in large market radio programming.  McCabe appeared in the documentary films Citizen Koch (2013) and Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes (2014). He authored Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics, named one of the best books of 2014 by The Progressive magazine.

McCabe started his career as a newspaper reporter and as a legislative aide in the State Assembly before running a statewide civic education program for the nonprofit Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance for four years. In addition to making hundreds of classroom presentations, McCabe produced videotapes on government and tax policy for classroom use and did teacher training. He co-authored a textbook on Wisconsin government and co-authored a curriculum guide on state and local government for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction while serving on a state social studies curriculum committee. He then served a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in the West African country of Mali and later worked for six years as the Madison Metropolitan School District’s public communications coordinator and legislative liaison.

Press Releases

Our Wisconsin Revolution Moves the Needle in the Mid-terms



Contact: Grace Wagner,
November, 9th 2018

In Tuesday’s mid-term election, Our Wisconsin Revolution, a non-profit statewide political organization, endorsed 32 progressive candidates throughout Wisconsin. The group’s five state-wide endorsed candidates won their races – Tammy Baldwin(U.S. Senate), Tony Evers(Governor), Mandela Barnes(Lieutenant Governor), Josh Kaul(Attorney General), Sarah Godlewski(State Treasurer), and one endorsed Assembly candidate won her race – Robyn Vining(Representative for State Assembly District 14).

Our Wisconsin Revolution mobilized its membership and ran a robust texting program, held weekly postcarding get-togethers, knocked doors and made calls for their candidates altogether reaching over 200,000 voters throughout the state of Wisconsin.

“We endorsed candidates up and down the ticket all across the state. Of course, we hoped that all our candidates would get through, we can be proud of the work we put in,” said Grace Wagner, Statewide Organizer for Our Wisconsin Revolution. “We aided thirty-two people-powered candidates in a transformative mid-term election. Win or lose, our endorsed candidates outperformed the 2014 and 2016 candidates that ran in their districts anywhere from 1 to 22 percentage points. The voters we brought out to vote in these races surely helped candidates up the ticket as well. Overall, we supported over 20 first time candidates, four of those running in historically uncontested districts. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but from what I can see we are certainly moving the needle.”


Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent, statewide, membership-driven, democratic-populist organization that aims to take Wisconsin’s democracy back from corporate elites and make it of, by and for the people.

Press Releases

National Organization, Our Revolution, Endorses Five Progressive Wisconsin Candidates



Contact: Grace Wagner,

October 22, 2018

Our Revolution, the national grassroots organization that was founded on the values of Bernie Sanders 2016 Presidential bid, announces their endorsement of five progressive candidates running for office in the state of Wisconsin.

  • Sara Godlewski, Wisconsin State Treasurer
  • Lori Hawkins, State Senate, District 21
  • Brittany Keyes, State Assembly, District 31
  • Mark Martello, State Assembly, District 35
  • Ken Holdorf, State Assembly, District 89

The announcement from the national organization, Our Revolution, complements the endorsement of 30 plus candidates by Our Wisconsin Revolution, the State Organizing Committee. The national endorsement of these five candidates will activate Our Revolution supporters for all over the country phone-banking, texting and email on their behalf.  

“Many organizations concentrate on the top-of-the-ticket races of Governor and U.S. Senate. Our Revolution and Our Wisconsin Revolution are encouraging our members to get engaged in activities that support the “down-ticket” races and statewide races that don’t get as much attention. It is important that we have representatives in all positions that will work to take control back from corporate elites and make it of, by, and for the people,” said Sarah Lloyd, Our Wisconsin Revolution Co-Chair. “We are excited to lift the recognition of these five Wisconsin candidates up to the national level.”

Our Wisconsin Revolution is one of the few organizations that are focusing on State Assembly and Senate candidates. In the time between now and election day, Our Wisconsin Revolution and Our Revolution will be ramping up robust voter contact efforts to help get out the vote for local Wisconsin candidates.

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Our Wisconsin Revolution is an independent, statewide, membership-driven, democratic-populist organization that aims to take Wisconsin’s democracy back from corporate elites and make it of, by and for the people.