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Overcoming Corporate Rule: A Success Story

This week Maui resident, Paul Deslauriers, joins us to update us on how he and his merry band of activists were able to transform their local county government from “corporate rule” to “rule by the people” and how this template for change can be used nationwide. Plus, we parody the corporate sponsorship of baseball games.

Paul Deslauriers is a grassroots organizer, who has consulted over two hundred organizations involving mergers, restructuring, work process flows, teamwork, management coaching, and asset management. The work involved diverse groups such as the Alaskan Inuit, Icelandic communities. In 2002 Mr. Deslauriers became a full-time activist, coordinating nearly three hundred grassroots groups focused on government system change. He has written a number of guidebooks on organizing including Seven Steps to Reclaim Democracy: An Empowering Guide For Systemic Change and Reclaim Paradise: RESET for the Common Good.


First of all, realize that we have an entry to the system, and that is through counties and cities and towns. And that is where we have a voice. That’s where mainstream media doesn’t have the level of control because we have this local network of communication. And that’s what we did here in Maui County. Our organization became an information hub of progressive issues and values and candidates.

Paul Deslauriers, author of Reclaim Paradise: RESET for the Common Good

[Mainstream media] keeps on focusing on the problems… And it becomes overwhelming where if that’s all the message you hear, it gets very depressing. But [the strategy we used in Maui] is a different message. And this is a different approach. Where we can actually do something proactive to really make a positive change. And I think that once people start to realize that, it dissipates that fear, that anxiety that so many throughout our entire planet are feeling right now.

Paul Deslauriers, author of Reclaim Paradise: RESET for the Common Good


One thing about [Reclaim Paradise] is you really go deep into human motivation. I mean, you have all kinds of ways of motivating people and not taking credit for everything, and being extremely aggregate in terms of bringing more and more people in… You’re really into this. And I say this because we’re trying to motivate members of our Congress Club to begin interacting in very specific ways– on major ignored redirections in our country– with their Senators and Representatives. And it hasn’t been easy. And I know they’re going to want to get copies of this book.

Ralph Nader 

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 403 Transcript (Right click to download)

1 Comment

  1. Don Harris says:

    “This isn’t about trying to persuade your elected representatives to do the right thing….this is about replacing them.”

    “You want to go to the primary place of change.”

    Those are good points.

    But your guest is wrong to say that we can’t create systemic change on a state or federal level.

    Not only can we chew gum and walk at the same time, we have to. Your guest even pointed this out when asked about minimum wage that is controlled by the state.

    We can and should work on the primary place of change on the federal level in 2022 while your guest works form the county level and then we can meet on the state level.

    On the federal level in 2022 we can give the current elected representatives a choice to do the right thing while at the same time setting up an infrastructure to replace them if they do not do the right thing.

    We can focus on the primary place of change by demanding that candidates in 2022 run small donor campaigns (no more than 200 dollars per campaign from any one donor- 200 primary, 200 general) in order to earn our votes testing your theory that politicians want our votes more than big money to run their campaigns.

    It seems to me that this could be part of the focus of the Congress Club that could be more effective than writing letters to the Congresspersons that work for the big money interests asking them to do the right thing. It could even make the letters to those Congresspersons more effective.

    Isn’t making a demand of candidates and enforcing that demand with our votes how democracy is supposed to work?

    If so, please explain why this application of the basic principles of democracy will not work or get behind it and help make it happen.

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