Friday, February 5, 2016

Flip the Script: Profound and immediate reform

The 28th Amendment: We the people are faced with a government that is gridlocked and incapable of governing. No matter who we elect, no matter how inspirational the ideas, no laws will be passed, no problems will be resolved, nothing will get done. No one believes any longer in the possibility of compromise and good governance. Our political system has deteriorated into a system of legalized bribery and extortion. Lincoln famously observed that Republics do not last, often they break apart under the stress of factionalism. Our Republic is in the process of breaking apart due to factionalism, political dis-function, and economic inequality. We have published a list of common sense reforms and laws to rally around the greatest number of supporters to fix this sad state of affairs. Our mass movement will force the political system to amend the Constitution and permanently and forever change how our government functions.
We are not going to fiddle with the knobs and make adjustments, we are going to flip the script. Profound and immediate reform. Who is going to make it happen, who is powerful enough? Women’s rights organizations, Black Lives Matter, Tea Party, NRA, Gay rights, Occupy Wall Street, these groups and others are going to band together and force these laws into existence, force the hand of the political class to action. Why would all these groups work together?
The Platform consists of a proposed constitutional amendments and over a dozen laws. The 28th Amendment includes the public funding of elections, gun ownership rights, gay rights, and revoking birthright citizenship. With the 28th Amendment the political class will eat out of the public trough and not the corporate trough, and from that seismic change many more reforms will evolve. Gun rights will be permanently guaranteed, gay rights will be enshrined, and immigration reform will take place without delay.
The other elements of the platform are laws centered upon Tea Party inspired tax reform, Black Lives Matter civil rights reforms, Occupy Wall Street reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, a $15/hr. Minimum Wage, a women’s rights and women’s health initiative, internet users bill of rights, fair and just immigration reform, a national energy plan, and a national industrial policy to put America back to work.
These reforms and laws are the basis of public demonstration and civil disobedience against our government. Voting by itself will not fix the problems that confront us. We intend to bring this government to its knees by our refusal to participate or cooperate. We publically reject all violence against persons and property. We declare our movement as peaceful, but do not mistake our intent, we will bring this system to the very brink if necessary in order to reform and preserve our Democratic Republic.
This movement will march in protest, it will engage in work stoppages, in sick outs, and boycotts. It will obstruct the wheels of the machinery including a boycott, a tax revolt, to force our government to conform to our will, our just cause. All of these domestic political reforms are designed in hope of stopping the collapse of faith in our public institutions, and breathing new life into our dying Democracy. We feel that a divide and conquer strategy has been used against all Americans and with that in mind we have crafted reforms that bring together both liberal and conservative voters to enshrine an amendment to the Constitution that forever ends our current system of legalized bribery and extortion that is killing our Democracy. The 28th Amendment will mandate public funding for all federal and state elections, and in doing so will permanently remove money as a negative influence on lawmakers.
The current state of political parties and the legislative process finds a deadlock that ensures little or nothing will get done. The term banana republic comes to mind with their examples of ossification, corruption and dis-function. This cannot be the future our founders had in mind. Our institutions are in a crisis that no one seems to be able to answer. It is time again for the Constitution to evolve.
There is nothing new under the sun. The historian tells us how great nations and empires rise and fall, it is no great mystery. Simplified and condensed, the elite take the opportunity to garner the lions’ share of resources within their society for themselves. The term used is rent seeking behavior. The Ottoman Empire decayed because the administrators of the realm changed the rules to allow their children to inherit their power and wealth. The French kings sold off the rights to tax the citizenry to an aristocracy that made themselves immune from taxation, and slowly bled the populace dry. To put the problem in modern terms, no one can resist the power to print money. Political power confers the right of financial entities to violate the basic tenants of fairness and common sense in order to make vast sums of money in schemes that are eventually bound to fail. The term “Casino Capitalism” is appropriate. Political power purchased with the wealth earned in this manner allows them to ignore the laws and rules we all play by. These institutions become much wealthier; they then use that wealth to purchase more political power that in turn leads to increased wealth. It is a feedback loop that seems to have no end; however everything must end, witness the Ottoman Empire and the French Aristocracy.
“Mankind is born free and everywhere he is in chains.” The rise of transnational corporations, international financial institutions, and other supranational entities dwarf our public institutions in their wealth, political power, and unchecked influence upon our lives. It has been repeatedly stated by many social scientists for over a generation that transnational institutions would increasingly control our lives, and that eventually governments would become no more than a fig leaf for lending legitimacy to their larger designs. In an age of repeated epic financial fraud and collapse, and wars without end, we increasingly realize we are no longer in control of our own destiny. African American and Hispanic working class people have seen all the economic gains of the last generation wiped out in 2008 in the wake of the largest financial fraud in history. Economic social justice has been set back twenty years. The destruction of the working class in America has led to at least half a million deaths by middle aged white Americans, most of these deaths by suicide. This mass die off is without precedent in the entire world and is similar to the demographic catastrophe of HIV. It is clear that this economic violence is just the beginning. The standard American model of a robust middle class has largely given way or is in the process of giving way to a South American model of a few fabulously wealthy families and a population mostly composed of low wage “slaves”. It is clear under these new circumstances that a Republic cannot prevail and that authoritarian government is the default setting for the future. A system of such inequality and basic unfairness can only be sustained by violence, the kind practiced by a police state upon its own people, similar to regimes in the south. This probably includes the widespread use of torture and death squads to intimidate the masses. If the exact form of the South American model is not used here, it can be sure that some approximation of it will come to pass.
Democracy was enshrined on the plains of Marathon in a desperate battle between the independent city states of Greece and the super power empire that marched to deliver their destruction and submission. The shared sacrifice of the wealthy land owners and the poorer citizenry sealed a bargain, and without that social compact of shared sacrifice this is not a system of government that can long endure. The social compact has been broken and it must be renewed.
In summation, these four Amendments are short and to the point. There are no radical revisions. The 28th Amendment will lead to future reforms in the interests of the people and not those of the oligarchy. The other reform proposals are online for all who wish to read them in more detail. Our labor has value, our lives have value. We refuse to be low wage slaves, we demand social and economic justice. We demand that this country and its leaders live out the words and promises of its founding principles. We are coming together to take back control over our lives and our destiny.
Marshall Gregory Thomas

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