by Robert Maynard
In a recent post entitled ‘Putting “which people” first‘, I referenced a manifesto put forward by the Occupy Wall Street movement. That article has prompted some readers to request that I provide the original source. I initially found the manifesto in question on the OWS Burlington Facebook page, which got it from the national OWS FaceBook page. I am finding now that when I go there I am being directed elsewhere. To fully satisfy the request of some readers to view the original in its entirety, I have included a copy of it below (Formatting added):
Radical remaking of our political system: A constitutional convention is convened with an open registration of delegates representing many groups across society. All sitting politicians are relieved of office, the system that put them there was not legitimate anyway so they were not duly elected by the population. Trained, professional civil servants form interim directorships of agencies under a short term contract. The value added to the running of these agencies by the old politicians may have been minimal in many cases. All current sitting politicians would not be offered entitlements beyond those benefits available to ordinary citizens. Sitting and past politicians are subject to a ten year prohibition of involvement in politics which can be forgiven through citizen sponsored campaigns of sufficient size. No politician convicted of criminal offenses while in office or having access to wealth is permitted involvement in politics at any time. Entitlements for past politicians are reviewed and may be subject to cuts. Entitlements for retired government workers are honored unless they became wealthy through the “revolving door” with industry in which case they will fail a means test and no longer qualify for the entitlement. The duopoly parties (Democrats and Republicans) are dissolved and new parties will be put together at the convention. These parties will represent the true groupings of national citizen interests. This is the common method of inclusion and diversity used in the democratic countries and now being witnessed in the Arab Spring.
Lobbying becomes an illegal activity and no private money is permitted in politics. Campaigns may only be funded by direct, small citizen donations and from a public fund. Over 60 days a new constitution is drafted and adopted that builds on the foundation of the old but modernizes it. This process is supported by the delegates physically present but also through extensive citizen input through the Internet and social networks.
The new constitution wraps in amendments of the old one but provides for Jefferson’s constitutional conventions every 20-30 years to permit its evolution. The amendment system is no longer necessary. The declaration of the right of the citizen for an open, transparent and supportive government is ensconced in the newly expanded constitution and bill of rights, (or implementing FDR’s second bill of rights). Elections are called and operated as they are in the democratic countries: unpredictable general election dates but within a set period of years, or through a vote of no confidence by the people, or at the governing parties’ option with 30 days of campaigning. A new election would be held using well funded, non-profit and independently operated secure facilities of online voting supporting a multi party system employing direct democracy (no electoral college etc). The elections would be overseen by an independent electoral commission which would include international observers and experts. This commission would have the power to nullify and re-call any election, including presidential elections. As in the democracies, the new government would be formed through coalitions of parties if one party did not carry greater than 50% of the vote. Appointees to major posts and those seeking election including state governors, justices, cabinet members and the president and vice president would be subject to normal psychological screening, which even airline pilots are currently subject to. Failing such a screening would disqualify the individual from their appointment or from running. This will prevent imbalanced individuals from creating damage to the nation or public.
Reassuming control of the messages we say to ourselves: All media outlets whose licenses would have been suspended under the previous laws abandoned in the 1980s which prohibited lying on the air are suspended with the return of these regulations. These outlets could apply for new licenses. Commercial media content and advertising deemed a threat to public health (mental and physical) by independent and corroborated scientific research would be suspended and standards used in other countries would be applied. Media conglomerates that have formed monopolies, which would have been deemed illegal under old laws, are pursued and broken up. Percentage ownership in media outlets by one entity is enforced. New alternative independent community media are given equal access to airwaves. The role of public broadcasting is expanded.
Mimetic laws are put into place for a trial period. They will establish liability for clearly demonstrated psychological trauma perpetrated by media, religions, cults or other individuals given access to public venues or airwaves. It would become a prosecutable offense for a religious group or individual to repeatedly and clearly traumatize a child or to radicalize a member or group to violence or other acts. Strict separation of Church and State would be re-asserted in the constitution and in education policies. End of War
Mongering and State Sponsored Terrorism: Virtually all US troops would be called home, leaving forces in place solely where humanitarian assistance is requested specifically by the local authorities and citizens. The new charter of the US military would be community and national infrastructure projects, border protection, disaster and humanitarian relief, and peace keeping as invited by the international community. The US military budget would be subject to a rapid “build down” to at most 20% of previous levels. With the savings, veterans would be able to receive good benefits, training and direct entrepreneurial grants going way beyond the GI bill of WWII to ensure that they become prosperous citizens of the new society.
The “black ops” (government and private) organization would be subject to severe cut backs, public review and members of organizations who have committed Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) or state sponsored terrorism for previous US regimes would be offered forgiveness if they came before a South African style Truth and Reconciliation Commission to admit their crimes. Individuals who did not come before the US TRC would be subject to prosecution for CAH in the US and have no protection offered if prosecuted abroad. Senior officers or officials who created policies or ordered others to commit crimes would be prosecuted first and most severely. Those ordered to commit crimes would be offered the most protection under the TRC.
As a result of a full remaking of foreign policy, those nations and regimes that use US aid to engage in terrorism of their own populations, or those of neighboring countries would have an immediate termination of all support. This would of course include termination of support for both Israeli and the Palestinian Authority. Countries or agencies could, after a one year review, re-apply for support under new guidelines. Proven non-military, non-religious global assistance programs such as the Peace Corps would be expanded.
Prosecution for economic crimes and a return to healthy markets: The US TRC would also be open to the hearing of Economic Crimes Against Humanity (ECAH) by rich elites and others. Forfeiture of gains as well as full disclosure of crimes would prevent prison terms that these individuals would normally be subject to under current US laws and the laws of other countries. Funds donated by supportive wealthy individuals (ie Warren Buffett) plus forfeiture funds from the TRC would be placed into a fund to prosecute other criminal elites and to support public institutions to enforce reinstated laws that previously protected the public interest. Criminal elites and their assets would be pursued on US soil and internationally, regardless of citizenship. Laws regulating banks and securities companies established during the 1930s would be re-instated.
New laws regulating the power of securities and currency trading organizations would be developed and the employing of automated trading software would be prohibited. Liability for executives and directors of corporations for economic crimes which include large payouts not supported by beneficial performance would be clearly established. Executive compensation would be tied to an established multiple of collective individual worker’s benefits and company profits. Deviation from these norms would expose executives to scrutiny and liability.
National priority of a healthy civil society: The US is a society in a state of trauma, both mental and physical. Objective studies of this trauma would be carried out to determine its nature and extent. Policies and programs would be developed to restore a sense of health to society. National priorities are set which place the health, well being, education of ordinary people first. Similar to countries like Canada, Denmark and others the priority is on the health of families and communities. Government institutions which work for the public good are strengthened. Those that do not will be identified by the public and voted out of existence using the modernized voting systems.
The quality of care of children through adulthood is considered the national priority. Food and nutrition are priorities and heavy regulations are placed on the fast food industry. Fats, and food additives such as high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners are regulated as controlled substances. Persons in a state of ill health would be able to qualify for community funded health and well-being programs.
Control of firearms would be instituted for the public good to reduce gunshot fatalities and injuries. Weapons would be repurchased by the government and destroyed during an amnesty period, followed by prosecution for owning handguns or other unregistered firearms similar to laws in Canada. The “war on drugs” would be ended and harm reduction, treatment and education funded as a priority. Non-addictive sacramental substances used for personal and spiritual growth would be protected under freedom of religion laws if taken under guidance of qualified teachers using community developed practices. A goal of the reduction of the size of the prison population by one half to two thirds would be set and a review of all cases undertaken. Nonviolent offenders would be released into well funded community re-integration programs.