Tag: Constitutional Convention

Reclaiming Our Democracy (Part 2 of 2): Nullification

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.”
— Thomas Jefferson

What is Government?

Why do we submit to the law?

We can’t run very fast. We have no sharp teeth or claws. Long ago it became obvious that it was in humanity’s self interest to ban together for our mutual security. We each give up a small amount of personal freedom, for the greater good of the whole. That is the basis of the social contract.

As citizens, our responsibility is to uphold the laws of government. The government, in turn, also has obligations. The bare minimum of those obligations are to protect the majority of people from enemies both foreign and domestic. What enemies do we wish to protect ourselves from? At the very least hunger, disease, invasion by hostile forces (external security), and threats to our self-governance (internal security).

So how are we doing in that respect? Lousy.

We all but wiped out hunger in the US shortly after the Kennedy administration (ended 1963), but the government intentionally reintroduced it in the Reagan administration to drive down worker wages. What is left of our health care system is sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Foreign NGO’s have been invited by the Supreme Court to financially manipulate campaigns and thus our government. Internal threats to self-governance are too numerous to recount here, and in any case the Supreme Court has abandoned all pretense that this was a democracy and officially ruled the US a plutocracy.

We are in essence living in a failed state. Just because I am writing about the US, don’t think your country is doing any better. Most of the Western world is in the same boat.

Other articles have detailed the complex road we took to get here. That is not the purpose of this series. This series discusses how we get out.

Specifically, how to tell our government “No!”

Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Reclaiming Our Democracy (Part I of II): Miliary Democracy

“Duck House”:

I sit on the floor of the Duck House with thirty others, brainstorming for the January action. Neither men nor women dominate the group. We are young, and surprisingly old. Counter-culture and conservatively clad. We question whether it is nobler to seek permits or just show up unannounced. We speak of banners, flyers and street theater-anything to educate the public about our goal.

Even when I still lived in Arizona, I had heard of this place. Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County (DUHC) or “Duck” was on the forefront of the war against corporate power. In 1998, they helped pass a ballot initiative establishing the Democracy and Corporations standing committee in Arcata’s city council here in California.

The Committee’s primary functions are: to research and present to the Council options for controlling the growth of “pattern restaurants” in the community; to cooperate with other communities working on socially responsible investing and procurement policies; to make recommendations to the Council, and/or with the Council’s approval, provide educational opportunities to promote “fair trade”; to inform citizens of corporations with negative social and environmental impact; and to provide advice on ways to foster sustained locally-owned businesses, publicly or locally owned services and worker-owned cooperatives and collectives.–City of Arcata

The committee was hailed by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Jim Hightower. Ralph Nader commented, “I look forward to Arcata being a luminous star in the rising crescendo of democracy in our country.”

Embolden by this success, they passed Measure T in 2004. It forbid nonlocal corporations from contributing to local political campaigns. Two corporations immediately challenged the initiative as unconstitutional. Before the case could be decided by the courts, Humboldt’s Board of Supervisors succumbed to corporate pressure and declared this popularly elected law nullified.

DUHC learned from this experience. They won’t be going it alone, this time. They are but one small seed of democracy, but they are amassing with others to change the political landscape in America. They have joined Move to Amend in a miliary campaign, and this time their aim is not a city ordinance in some far off town on the edge of America, but changing the highest law in the land.

Dystopia 23: Birthday

At some point in the educational process most people are taught  in reverent tones about the Constitution, that is, what it contains and  what one should think and how one should feel about it. In Washington,  millions of awed tourists parade past this holy document preserved  within argon gas. But the vast majority of Americans are never invited  to critically examine the content of the Constitution, to ask what its  basic assumptions are and to question the legitimacy of those  assumptions…

…We have seen technical  discussions within the popular mass media about how the Constitution,  the physical document, is preserved. We-or, at any rate, I-have never  seen in the mass media a penetrating debate concerning the possible  creation of a new, better constitution.

In the hands of only the elite, the Constitution  and the government based upon it are merely tools for self-service. Only  a constitution in the hearts, minds, and hands of all of us can be  considered to be a document that truly lives for us all…The  Constitution’s very roots and foundation, its legitimacy, and its  quality and utility should always be subject to expert and popular  questions. We should not merely eternally reinterpret the current  Constitution but actively seek ways to transcend it and move another  evolutionary step as a society toward greater humanity and happiness.Roger Rothenberger Beyond Plutocracy

Utopia 22: Jeff Revisited

Your honor, I ask no mercy, I plead for  no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never more  fully comprehended than now the great struggle between the powers of  greed on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of freedom. I  can see the dawn of a better day of humanity. The people are awakening.  In due course of time they will come into their own.

When  the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary  watch, he turns his eyes toward the Southern Cross, burning  luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches the  Southern Cross begins to bend, and the whirling worlds change their  places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of  Time upon the dial of the universe; and though no bell may beat the glad  tidings, the look-out knows that the midnight is passing – that relief  and rest are close at hand.

Let the people take  heart and hope everywhere, for the cross is bending, midnight is  passing, and joy cometh with the morning.–Eugene V. Debs

Kucinch: The Constitutional Convention Initiative and more! w/poll

With Joe Biden given qualified tenative support, we see that Dennis’ leadership on the impeachment issue may be bearing some fruit.  Now Dennis has announced another major initiative, which is called The Constitutional Convention Initiative!

Liveblog of the Kucinich Town Hall on a Constitutional Convention at 9 PM Eastern!

We’ll be live blogging the Town Hall meeting at 9 PM EST (6 Pacific).

Kucinich: New Constitutional Convention Initiative Town Hall Meeting w/poll

In an e-mail to his campaign list, the Kucinich campaign offere us a Town Hall meeting on a Constitutional Convention: