Nonpartisan Leader cover 1919

Thomas M. Hanna and Adam Simpson write in In These Times that North Dakota’s triumphant story of a community determined to take control of its own economy holds many valuable lessons for today’s grassroots organizers. They highlight a key takeaway: the value of connecting the moral imperative — a more equitable and just world — to the desired outcome.

“In California and elsewhere in the country, public banking has very quickly moved from a fringe interest to a mainstream political issue. This is testament to both the long-term success of examples like the Bank of North Dakota and to the efforts of a new generation of activists and movement builders who, like their predecessors 100 years ago, understand how critically important control of finance and capital is to the hope of building a more equitable, just and democratic world.

Hanna and Simpson compare the conditions of 1919 to those of today:

“That a public bank is resonating with people across the United States today shouldn’t be surprising. If we look back at the conditions that led a diverse group of farmers, socialists and populists to struggle against the odds to create the BND in the first place—corporate domination, an economy hobbled by debt burdens, gaping inequalities, ineffective reformists, bought politicians —we find they are remarkably similar to those we face today in our new ‘gilded age.’”

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