At the Green Party of California meeting on Saturday, December 5th I took an opportunity during lunch on Saturday to share some thoughts I've been chewing on about why I'm a sticker activist. On Sunday it was clear that a lot of people had enjoyed my words, so I thought I'd share them with you as well. My talk was spontaneous, so I don't have any notes to work from. As far as I know nobody recorded it either. What follows is the spirit of what I said, not the word for word transcript.

Hello everybody! Some time ago I heard a conversation with George Sorros on the radio. He was explaining that back before the Euro a lot of issues would go into the value of a currency. Such things as tendencies of the people, resources of the Country, whether the leader were a thief or an altruist and many other factors all boiled down to what the country's money was worth. Currency exchange had something of a "betting" quality to it. Now that Europe has one currency instead of more than a dozen, they have to figure out how to allocate it so that risky speculation in Spain can't bring down Germany with their spendthrift attitude or whatever it is. I listened to that and I thought "maybe I'm also a speculator."

I'm not the kind of speculator that makes large numerical bets based on quantitative formulas and risk arbitrage. That kind of thing is for quants with large bank accounts that don't care about strangers. I'm a grass roots activist that believes in the power of good ideas to move us forward together. My main criticism of Wall St. style financial analysis is that it leaves people out of the equation to too large an extent. A dollar means different things to different people. My work is based on the idea that it's okay to use less energy than I do. As this female voice on the radio put it, "If you don't spend money on cars, gas, and insurance, you have a lot more to spend on other more entertaining things." I'm speculating that we can build up that kind of activism into a healthy organic movement where the win/win starts with being a good citizen.

I started with this long ago, when I learned firsthand that incumbents that were owned by the status quo didn't want to bother showing up to debates with people like me. They would rather spend a million dollars on advertising during the last two weeks of a race using focus-tested messages that were sure to win. How could I expect someone beholden to the oil, car, defense, and pharmaceutical industries to care about us? I just felt that being a good citizen ought to be worth something.

At Occupy Mountain View's vigil last week there was a woman with a sign that read "I couldn't afford a lobbyist so I bought this sign." To me that is so symbolic of the solution. Putting resources into a public education campaign about decentralized solutions makes more sense than hoping for a centralized solution to come from incumbents that can't even listen to hundreds of thousands of people in the streets yelling "NO WAR". It's also much more democratic than anything else I can think of as a green activist.

I found the key to understanding this kind of stuff when I met an old Libertarian during my Orange County days. He told of helping fight against the San Onofre nuclear power plant. He'd made stickers to put on light switches that read "VOTE ON NUCLEAR POWER" across the top with a "YES" by the ON position and a "NO" by the OFF position. He'd found them such a perfect image for democracy that he'd moved on to buttons about the speed of light, "186,000 miles per second. It's the law!" He dithered about whether that was a law that must be broken until he realized something else about memes he couldn't quite explain to me. His words were the inspiration behind my much more recent slogan, "STOP VOTING FOR OIL COMPANIES AT THE GAS PUMP!" I feel so connected to those vegetarians asking people to "stop voting for meat at the fork!" There are so many fun angles for person centered grass roots democracy.

Is it speculation to believe in retail democracy? If it is, then I'm a speculator. It's not the kind of speculation I expect will make me rich. Every time I table for the Green Party and somebody else gives us a buck for a button with a good idea on it, I feel like they have invested in a better future. It's speculative that we can add that up to enough to save our planet from climate chaos, but what other choice is there? I'm listening for your ideas.

Thank you for reading this, page visitor #1171 .