… therefore, most of us are not now, nor have we ever been free.
If Republicans, or any other flavor of politician, really supported small business, and truly believed that we are the backbone of our society, I would expect them to actively support democracy at work by sponsoring bills that would create an environment conducive to building these types of durable, sustainable enterprises.
Hmmm, I guess that means they don’t really believe all that small business backbone of society bullshit after all.
Richard Wolff joins Bill to discuss the disaster left behind in capitalism’s wake, and the fight for economic justice, including a fair minimum wage.
”We are free, truly free, when we don’t need to rent our arms to anybody in order to be able to lift a piece of bread to our mouths; and this liberty can be obtained in only one manner: resolutely and fearlessly taking the land, machinery, and means of transportation so that they become the property of all.”
Ricardo Flores Magon (1873-1922) Mexican anarchist, writer, revolutionary
I don’t agree with everything the speaker in this video says, but there is an awful lot of truth in his words.
For instance, I disagree with the statement that parents want the government to steal from their neighbors to pay for their children’s school. Everyone, including the childless, benefits from a robust public education, just as we all benefit from tax funded social safety nets such as Social Security and Unemployment Insurance.
It’s true that many people abuse their neighbors across town and around the world through the lecherous politicians they vote for year after year, and these injustices ought to be abolished immediately, but to say that we need no government at all is a myopic, selfish, sociopathic point of view. Government is necessary to facilitate those activities we cannot accomplish individually, on either the personal or the community level. Above all, it is the duty of government to uphold and protect the rights of the least powerful among us against those with the most, the minority against the whims of a majority.
I have often described myself as an anarchist sympathizer, and that’s precisely what I am. I sympathize with the anarchist position, but as I’ve stated elsewhere, pure ideology of any kind, whether anarchist, socialist, fascist, capitalist, or religious, must be tempered by a fully realized democracy that includes all points of view in all decisions and discussions.
What is real democracy? In my opinion, real democracy in a modern society like the one we live in today would include a reasonable, consistent set of ballot access laws across the board, guaranteed inclusion of all parties and candidates in debate forums, and the strict exclusion of all private money from all campaigns. We don’t yet have that form of democracy here in the United States, and it may not be possible to achieve given our current state of affairs, but it is a goal we must reach for all the same.
It is my sincere and well-considered belief that in such an environment, where diverse ideas are encouraged and respected, our leaders, and in many cases we the people, could reach the most productive compromises and respect the rights of all people without encouraging or allowing the tyranny we suffer today.
Again, there is much truth in the speech given above, but the abolition of all government and laws would be as intolerable as anything we suffer today, at least until our species takes the next big step forward in our evolution.
The following quote comes from the mind of San Miguel, Colorado county commissioner Art Goodtimes.
“Without question, the Dems and Repubs ought to be ashamed that the Commission on Presidential Debates prevented Green presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala from even entering Hofstra University for the second national presidential debate back in October, let alone participating. Stein and Honkala were arrested and handcuffed to a metal chair in a police warehouse in Long Island for eight hours, while Obama and Romney debated … It’s clear that a lot of foreign nations think our “free speech” laws are a joke, when the two major political parties are afraid to hold an open debate with all legitimate candidates and even have opponents arrested and handcuffed to keep them from speaking to a national audience … If you’re one of those that think our system of government is the best and most democratic in the world, think again … Gore wins the popular vote, and loses the presidency. The Supremes allow big money to pour unlimited funds into political campaigns. Stein tries to run as a Green, and is handcuffed to prevent her from debating with Dems and Repubs … Until America gets electoral reform, our version of democracy is truly a flawed system.”
More and more people are waking up to this reality every day, and it remains up to those of us who have been aware for some time, as well as those who are joining us, to continue beating the drum and preaching the message that must be heard. As Jesse Jackson used to say, keep hope alive, because some days it’s all we’ve got.
We need a nationally recognized set of ballot access rules to replace the 50 state patchwork we have now. Any such legislation should require mandatory inclusion in all debate forums for any race. Ballot retention should also not be tied to performance in only executive level races as it is now (at least here in North Carolina).
It also wouldn’t hurt to include a stipulation that once ballot access is earned in X% of the states, access is automatically guaranteed by law in the rest. I’m thinking something on the order of 20% -25%, but I’m biased against the existing duopoly. I mean, if you want a benevolent dictator to tell you how to fix this screwed up ship of state I’m sure you could do worse than me, but I’m not actually looking for a new career.
Anyway, if such legislation by some huge miracle such legislation ever actually made it to the President’s desk and got signed into law, it would be met with immediate challenges on Constitutional grounds (bleat, bleat, states’ rights, states’ rights, wah wah wah!) because unlike any other time, when their power is threatened those who stand to lose it will always suddenly develop an unshakable love for our Constitution as written.
Folks, we need a Constitutional Convention in the worst sort of way if we are to ever fix the myriad of problems we face today. There is supposed to be a way for the states to call for one (see Article V of the Constitution), but over the life of this nation there have been something like 400 applications made and Congress has steadfastly ignored them all.
With all fifty state legislatures controlled by the same two, sold-out, corporate owned political parties I don’t hold much hope in that happening without massive pressure from the bottom. That pressure would best be manifested as huge numbers of the American people (think big enough to make the Occupy movement look tiny; think of the massive protests we see in pictures from Europe all the time) gathered in the streets of every medium to large city in the country, if only for a single day. Several days would be even better.
If we don’t start getting new blood and new ideas elected to our state and federal legislatures the eventual outcome will be either a bloody civil war that makes the last one look like a Sunday afternoon football game, or a tyrannical dictatorship the likes of which most of us cannot imagine. The rules are in place already, all that is needed is the order from El Presidente and the drones will fly and those of us brave enough to call him on it will begin disappearing faster than you can say Salvador Allende.
It’s finally here, election day 2012, and not a moment too soon if you ask me.
I voted about ten days ago; held my nose and voted for the blue team since the green team wasn’t allowed on my my state’s ballot, despite qualifying for a spot in 85% of the nation and enough states to conceivably win the electoral college. It’s a truly sad commentary on the state of this nation.
In the last two weeks I’ve probably written over 4,ooo words, trying to come up with a solution, a few proposals, or at least a starting point from which those of us still aware enough to care could begin pushing our country into the 21st century, but I can’t do it. You may never see most of those words.
Every idea I come up with would require either new amendments to or near complete re-writing of our constitution, our most sacred of holy writs, and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. For instance, I believe we should have a national system of third-party ballot access rules, but to do that the federal government would have to usurp those precious state’s rights so many people cling to like a toddler’s security blanket.
Guess what folks; it ain’t 1789 anymore, nor is it 1865. When our constitution was written, this nation was a confederacy of thirteen nations, each pursuing its own agenda. Things were getting out of hand after a few years and so the rich white dude class – the 1% of the day – decided to get together and draft a new government, just like Thom Jefferson had advised should happen periodically, and so the Constitution was written.
Things went well for a couple of days, but not much more, and then the working class – mostly farmers back then – started realizing they were getting the short end of things and began rebelling against policies codified by the federal government, and being brutally beaten back by the likes of Geo. Washington and Al Hamilton.
By the 1860′s things were really getting ugly, so we fought a war among ourselves, ostensibly over the issue of slavery, but in truth it was a war over whose vision of the future would win out, and the industrialists and bankers won. State’s rights were eroded in the process, and have continued to be ever since.
Here’s the thing though; I think the erosion of state’s rights was a good thing. If we’re going to be one nation, especially one nation as big as we are, then we ought to have one set of rules across the board for most things, and ballot access would seem to me to be a fundamental idea that ought to be consistent across the country, but today it’s not.
There is a reason for that, and the reason is that keeping things the way they are preserves the current power structure, and the current power structure is and always has been rigged to favor the wealthy over the poor; the investor/shareholder class over the working class.
We need to fix a lot of things in this country, and we are running out of time to do it. The two-party fraud most Americans think of as a democracy has ignored major environmental issued for decades, and we are now beginning to see the effects of their abdication of duty. The two-party duopoly continues to support and fund wars of aggression, based on lies and deceit, for the enrichment of a few powerful oligarchs. Labor has been stripped of nearly all the rights so hard fought and won only a century ago.
Ladies and gentlemen, our house is on fire and we can’t even bring ourselves to vote on whether or not to call the fire department or a bucket brigade. If we don’t get off our lazy, cynical, fat bloated asses and start demanding real, lasting, fundamental changes of our government NOW, our children and grandchildren will not have a world, much less a country, fit to live in