It is time to declare independence again, this time not from a king, but from ruling Forces of Greed (FOG). This column is a blueprint for a citizen revolution.
We have more individual wealth than any other nation, with the most billionaires and the most millionaires. At the same time we have the most hunger and homelessness among major industrialized nations, the most without health care among industrialized nations, and the most people in prison by any measure.
It takes a massive prison system to make American capitalism work as it does on behalf of the ruling FOG.
And as the rich get richer, average wages have fallen, since 1973, for those who work for a living. Although our corrupt Congress keeps increasing its own pay to keep up with inflation, the working poor have lost about a third of their buying power since 1968 as the minimum wage has fallen far short of both inflation and a living wage.
Those who inherit from the robber barons suck up wealth from those who work and sweat, with the upper one fourth of one percent owning more than half of all the true wealth (although the government hides this fact by not showing them in statistics), and they are never required to work in their lifetimes, replacing the British royalty who so distressed our American colonial ancestors that they rebelled.
The disparity of wealth is approaching that of the Third World, and getting worse each year.
Our elections are a joke, financed by transnational corporations that don’t give a damn about our people or our nation. And it doesn’t cost them a cent, since the ruling defense cheats, polluters and banksters control the mass media, and force the major candidates to give it all back for the TV ads. Yes, the servile gangster politicians who run our government are so sycophantic that they sell us out for nothing, in the end.
Democrats and Republicans take money from the same criminals, the ruling FOG who run the nation, using its military might to dominate the globe on behalf of their euphemistic “free trade,” which sends good jobs after slave labor, child labor and prison labor in a race to the bottom for the international working class.
Those awakened enough to realize that voting for Republicans or Democrats is a waste of time, are, unfortunately in separate camps, so as things stand we lack unity for an effective revolution.
On one side are the leftists– generally the Green Party, socialists, and much of organized labor. Although they carry the dreams of most Americans, they are not allowed access to the mass media, so remain invisible to the masses. They can’t convince mainstream liberals to vote with them out of fear of Democratic Party “lesser evil” losses.
On the other side are the conservatives– libertarians, some of the more aware Tea Party group, and the like. Although they get mass media coverage, they can’t convince their fellow conservatives to vote with them out of fear of Republican losses.
So how do we unite groups for an effective revolution? The solution is to provide hope for both groups, as this column will demonstrate.
Thomas Jefferson defined the solution pretty well in his statement “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” In fact, Jefferson encouraged “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.”
But with such a totalitarian government representing a plutocratic oligarchy which finances our elections for control, how would a revolution be possible without violence?
With a common goal, those in favor of nudging our government toward democracy would gather on the Washington mall and occupy it. Imagine a sea of people camped out and staying there until the government responded, under the banner of “Democracy Movement.”
The Founding Fathers gave us the instrument to make this happen, the First Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the right of the people to peaceably assemble. It does not say a permit is required for this from those against whom the protest takes place.
If mass arrests were made, thousands more would move in to take the place of those locked away, as holding the Washington mall for the people would be paramount to success, as it was recently in Egypt.
But the Egyptian plan was not long range as this one is. Victory is more than winning one election, only to be overthrown by oligarchs.
Would our leaders call out police and military to shoot those involved in a Democracy Movement? How would that look on television, in those parts of the world where such things are televised (in my experience, US corporate media don’t cover most of the Washington demonstrations in which I’ve been involved, but Japanese and European TV cameras are everywhere, and this would get out). Participants would also be filming.
The demands would be simple. We the People would call for a string of amendments to the Constitution. These might include:
A. At least five candidates would be required to appear on the ballot for each national office, one of which would be “none of the above.” In case transnational corporations rented four of the candidates, a citizen would still have the “none of the above” option. If “none of the above” won, a new election would take place with previous candidates eliminated by the voters, probably at great cost in campaign bribery to the ruling FOG. If no candidate had fifty percent, there would be a runoff of the top two.
B. The public airwaves would be claimed back by the public. Each network would be required to give one hour of free uninterrupted TV time for each of the candidates in prime time once each week for the four weeks leading up to the election. Campaigns would no longer be for the profit of media companies, as no campaign ads could be purchased under the new amendment.
C. National political campaigns would be publicly financed. Those candidates not wishing to accept public funding would be held to strict limits, as anything above these limits would be considered bribes with serious penalties including prison time. All donors would be disclosed. Bundling would be illegal, including political action committees.
D. Corporations would be held to the same campaign contribution limit as individuals. If corporations are indeed people as ridiculously upheld by the Supreme Court, they should be able to donate no more than would any other person. The amount of an individual contribution would be not greater than 5% of the annual minimum wage. Violations would result in fines and imprisonment.
E. Annual Congressional pay will not be greater than 5 times the annual minimum wage.
F. At least four candidates would be required to appear in debates for the Presidential election. The national Democratic and Republican parties would be removed from heading the debate commission, and replaced by the more democratic League of Women Voters, who used to run it far more fairly.
G. The number of Members of the House of Representatives will be restored to the intent of the Founders at one for each 30,000 population, with at least one to each state.
The reason for four candidates is clear. To break the Republican and Democratic stranglehold on the elections (each financed by the same transnational corporations, to sell out the public interest), conservative Libertarians would be more willing to confront the Republicans if liberals were willing to confront the Democrats with parties such as the Greens.
The reason to change the Representatives from a fixed 435 back to the original intent is to expand democracy. Citizens have far less representation today than ever in the past, with Members of Congress beholden to special interests. Most citizens never see their Member of Congress. After this democracy amendment, the House would be expanded from 435 to 10,630 (based on a population of 318.9 million), making it more difficult for transnational corporations to buy the elections, or at least much more costly, and with four candidates in each race, hopefully prohibitively costly. There is a much better chance that someone who actually represents the public interest had a chance to win.
In the modern world there is no need for Members of Congress to serve in Washington. The new Members would stay in their districts and vote by computer. Immediately after, to ensure accuracy, Congressional staffers would verify the vote by telephone, and a paper copy of the vote would be mailed to the Member of Congress to double verify it. Members would visit Washington at the start of each term for the swearing in ceremony, then go home to represent citizens.
Tying Congressional pay and campaign donations to the minimum wage would give an incentive to the wealthy and those in power to increase the minimum wage, hopefully to become a living wage. Using the current annual minimum wage of $15,080, campaign donations would be limited to $754, and Congressional pay would be at $75,400.
The more money Members of Congress get, the more corrupt people are drawn to the Congress. Principled people will work for lower pay, and this formula would result in Congressmembers getting significantly more than average workers.
There is little doubt that the ruling FOG would object to this, and that every effort would be made to stop citizens from such a peaceful rebellion. Even in victory, the FOG would do all they could to find loopholes, so any Constitutional changes would have to be very carefully written, employing Constitutional experts knowing far more than this humble writer about such things.
But some of the current recommended changes allowed in the mainstream press would only make things worse, and those involved in this Democracy Movement must be aware of this. For example, the movement for term limits would make things worse. With term limits, conservatives would lose Rand Paul, and the liberals would lose Bernie Sanders. That is why the ruling Forces of Greed push term limits as much as they do in the mass media. When unknown candidates run, it favors those with the money, who will befog the masses with deceptive 24/7 TV ads.
The Democracy Movement has a better chance of working than anything else at this time. The time has come for the American people to put their foot down. As Thomas Paine remarked, “The Sun never shined on a cause of greater worth.”
And as Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.”
The Democracy Movement would have to begin by organizing groups to write a Constitutional amendment, followed by a massive effort to explain the plan to as many as possible. This would probably take some time. When it is believed that a significant number of people support the plan, the next phase, the occupation of the Washington Mall would then be planned.
One Idea might be that of brigades of protesters, one of which would occupy the Mall, while others waited for a phone call that the police were arresting people and taking them away, at which time a second brigade would move in. A third, fourth, fifth and more would await the next call. This is an event that would make the history books.
Imagine the difficulty for the ruling Forces of Greed to attack a coalition called the “Democracy Movement” on television. With the nation falling apart, we need to dream bigger dreams.
Jack Balkwill has written for publications as varied as the little-read English Honor Society’s Rectangle to the millions of readers USA Today.