The American Dream
Monday, October 17, 2011
Are we witnessing the birth of another new political party in the United States? The election of Barack Obama was the spark which fueled the rise of the Tea Party back in 2009, and since that time the Tea Party has become a major league force inside the Republican Party. Now the Occupy Wall Street movement is rapidly becoming more organized and many believe that “The People’s Party” is going to be to the Democrats what the Tea Party is to the Republicans.
Others believe that “The People’s Party” could accomplish what a lot of organizations in the past have tried and failed to do – launch a third political party which could successfully break the stranglehold that the “two party system” has on American politics. It would certainly not be an easy thing to do, but there can be no doubt that Occupy Wall Street is now a major political force in America. The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to 100 cities inside the United States and to nearly 1000 cities around the world. Certainly as the weather gets colder the protests will die down, but there are an increasing number of signs that Occupy Wall Street is becoming very organized and that it plans to be a major political force for years to come.
To get an idea of what is going on around the world right now, just check out this video. The Occupy Wall Street movement has become a lightning rod for the frustrations of millions of young people around the globe. A number of these protests have been going on for weeks, and there are no signs that they will be ending any time soon.
So what do these protesters want and what is next for this movement?
Well, just like the Tea Party in the early days, it really is hard to make generalized sweeping statements about this movement.
But the “official” website of Occupy Wall Street has now endorsed a “plan of action“. The plan calls for Occupy Wall Street to hold a National General Assembly which is to be attended by 870 elected delegates in Philadelphia on July 4, 2012.
This “national convention” would draft a “Petition of Grievances” to present to the newly elected government in November.
If the federal government does not address the demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement adequately, they would then “organize a third independent political party to run candidates in the 2014 mid-term elections”.
The full text of “the plan” is posted below….
1. The Occupy Wall Street movement, through the local General Assemblies, should elect an Executive Committee for each city comprised of 11 People or some other odd number of People that is manageable for meetings. Ideally this committee should represent each city in the U.S. that is being occupied. These Executive Committees will act as the original “Committees of Correspondence” did 235 years ago prior to the first American Revolution.
2. The Executive Committee will then tend to local issues such as obtaining permits, paying for public sanitation and dealing with the media. More importantly, the Executive Committees shall plan and organize the election of the 870 Delegates to a National General Assembly, as set forth in the 99% Declaration between now and July 4, 2012.
3. As stated in the 99% Declaration, each of the 435 congressional districts will form an election committee to prepare ballots and invite United States citizens in those districts to run as delegates to a National General Assembly in Philadelphia beginning on July 4, 2012 and convening until October 2012.
4. Each of the 435 congressional districts will elect one man and one woman to attend the National General Assembly in Philadelphia. The vote will be by direct democratic ballot regardless of voter registration status as long as the voter has reached the age of 18 and is a United States citizen. This is not a sexist provision; the drafting committee believes that women are dramatically under-represented in politics even though they comprise more than 50% of the population.
5. The Executive Committees will act as a central point to solve problems, raise money to pay for the expenses of the election of the National General Assembly and ensure that all 870 Delegates are elected prior to the meeting on July 4th.
6. The Executive Committees will arrange for a venue in Philadelphia to accommodate the Delegates attending the National General Assembly where the Petition of Grievances will be proposed, debated, voted on and approved. The Delegates will form committees, elect a chair from their own ranks to run the meetings of the National General Assembly and break any tie votes.
7. The final 99% Declaration and Petition of Grievances, after being voted upon by the 870 Delegates to the National General Assembly, will be formally presented by the 870 Delegates to all three branches of government and all candidates running for federal public office in November 2012. Thus, the Delegates would meet from July 4, 2012 to sometime in early to late October 2012 so that the Petition of Grievances may be presented prior to the election.
8. The Delegates to the National General Assembly would then vote on a time period, presently suggested as one year, giving the newly elected government in November an opportunity to redress the Petition of Grievances.
9. If the government fails to redress the petition of grievances and drastically change the path this country is on, the Delegates will organize a third independent political party to run candidates in the 2014 mid-term elections.
10. There will NEVER be any call for violence by the Delegates or anyone connected to this movement. Every Delegate will take a pledge to NEVER take any money, job promise, or gifts from any corporation, unions or any other private source. Any money donated or raised by the Executive Committees may only be used for publicizing the vote, paying for expenses of the local General Assemblies which will continue to meet, the National General Assembly, and for travel expenses and accommodation of the Delegates at the National General Assembly. All books and records will be regularly published openly online so that everyone may see how much money is raised and how the money is spent each month.
The 99% Declaration Drafting Committee
So what does Occupy Wall Street actually want to see happen?
What are the goals of the movement?
Well, a document was recently released that was entitled “The 99 Percent Declaration“. This document puts forth the tentative demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The demands include getting all corporate money out of elections, forcing the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes, Medicare for all American citizens, giving the EPA the power to totally shut down corporations, caps on carbon emissions, reduction of the national debt, student loan debt relief, passage of the Dream Act and reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act. In essence, what they want are all of the things that the far left thought that Barack Obama would do for them but that he never actually did.
The following is the text of “The 99 Percent Declaration”….
WHEREAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROVIDES:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.
I. Election of Delegates:
The People, consisting of all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect Two Delegates, one male and one female, by direct vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts to represent the People at the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Philadelphia convening on July 4, 2012. The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18. Executive Committees, elected by local General Assemblies from all over the United States, shall organize, coordinate and fund this national election by direct democratic voting. The Executive Committees shall operate similarly to the original Committees of Correspondence during the first American Revolution.
II. Meeting of the National General Assembly and Deliberation:
At the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, the 870 Delegates shall set forth, consider and vote upon a PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to be submitted to all members of Congress, The Supreme Court and President and each of the political candidates running in the nationwide Congressional and Presidential election in November 2012.
III. Proposed Petition for the Redress of Grievances:
This PETITION OF GRIEVANCES shall be non-partisan and address the critical issues now confronting the People of the United States and will be deliberated and voted upon by the 870 Delegates in consultation with the 99%.
The final version of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES voted upon by the Delegates of the National General Assembly MAY or MAY NOT include the following issues:
1. Implementing an immediate ban on all private contributions of money and gifts, to all politicians in federal office, from Individuals, Corporations, Political Action Committees, Super Political Action Committees, Lobbyists, Unions and all other private sources of money to be replaced by the fair and equal public financing of all federal political campaigns. We REJECT the concept that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest would have a voice. These actions must be taken because it has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions and ensure their reelection year after year.
2. The immediate reversal of the outrageous and anti-democratic holding in the “Citizens United” case by the Supreme Court, which equates the payment of money by corporations to politicians with free speech.
3. Prohibiting all public officials and their immediate family members, whether elected or appointed from EVER being employed by any corporation they regulate while in office or holding any stock or shares in any corporation they regulate while in office until a full 5 years after their term is completed.
4. A complete lifetime ban on accepting all gifts, services, money, directly or indirectly, to any elected or appointed officials or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or other entity that the public official was charged to regulate while in office.
5. A complete reformation of the United States Tax Code to require ALL citizens to pay a fair share of a progressive, graduated income tax by eliminating loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies (e.g. oil, gas and farm) and ending all other methods of evading taxes. The current system of taxation favors the wealthiest Americans, many of who pay fewer taxes to the United States Treasury than citizens who earn much less and pay a much higher percentage of income in taxes to the United States Treasury.
6. Medicare for all American citizens adjusted by a means test (i.e. citizens who can afford it will opt-out of Medicare and pay their own health insurance or opt-in and pay a means tested Medicare premium). The Medicaid program, fraught with corruption and fraud, will be eliminated except for the purpose of providing emergency room care to indigent non-citizens who will not be covered by Medicare-for-all.
7. New comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency the power to shut down corporations, businesses or another entity that intentionally damages the environment and/or criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally damage the environment. Immediate adoption of the most recent international protocols to cap carbon emissions and new goals to transition away from fossil fuels to reusable or carbon neutral sources of power as soon as possible.
8. Adoption of an immediate plan to reduce the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020. Reduction of the national debt to be achieved by BOTH a cut in spending to corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit, the “healthcare” industry, the pharmaceutical industry and all other sectors that use the federal budget as their income stream AND a truly progressive income tax code that does not allow the wealthy and corporations to evade taxes through excessive deductions, subsidies and loopholes.
9. Passage of a comprehensive job and job-training bill to employ our citizens in jobs that are available with specialized training and by putting People to work tomorrow by repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure. Establishment of an online international job exchange to match employers with skilled workers or employers willing to train workers in 21st century skills.
10. Student loan debt relief. Our young People and students are more than $830 billion in debt from education loans alone. Payment and interest on these debts should be deferred for periods of unemployment and the principal reduced using a corporate tax surcharge and by extending the age to collect social security from 65 to 70.
11. Immediate passage of the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration and border security reform including offering visas, lawful permanent resident status and citizenship to the world’s brightest People to come and work in our industries and schools.
12. Recalling all military personnel at all non-essential bases and refocusing national defense goals to address threats posed by the geopolitics of the 21st century, terrorism and limiting the large scale deployment of military forces to instances where Congressional approval has been granted to counter the Military Industrial Complex’s goal of perpetual war for profit.
13. Mandating new educational goals to train the American public to perform jobs in a 21st Century economy, particularly in the areas of technology and green energy, taking into consideration the redundancy caused by technology and the inexpensive cost of labor in China, India and other countries and paying our teachers a salary that is competitive with the private sector.
14. Subject to the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and exploited exemptions and deductions stated above, offering tax incentives to businesses to reconstruct the manufacturing capacity of the United States and reinstitution of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps and other emergency governmental agencies required to create new public works projects to provide jobs to the 46 million People living in poverty, the 9.1% unemployed and 10% underemployed.
15. Implementing immediate legislation to encourage China and our other trading partners to end currency manipulation or impose a consumption tax on goods that those countries export to the United States calculated by comparing the fair market value of the currency to the manipulated valuation.
16. Immediate reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act and increased regulation of Wall Street and the financial industry by the SEC, FINRA and the other financial regulators, and the commencement of a Justice Department criminal investigations into the Securities and Banking industries practices that led to the collapse of markets, $700 billion bail-out, and financial firm failures in 2007-2008.
17. Adoption of President Clinton’s plan to end the mortgage crisis and instead of the Federal Reserve continuing to lower interest rates for loans to banks who are refusing to loan to small businesses and consumers, the Federal Reserve shall buy all underwater or foreclosed mortgages and refinance the these debt at 1% or less to be managed by the newly established Consumer Protection Agency and (foreclosure task force described below) because 1% or less is the interest rate the Federal Reserve loans to the banks directly who hoard the cash rather than loan it to the People and small businesses.
18. An immediate one year freeze on all foreclosures to be reviewed by an independent foreclosure task force appointed by Congress and the Executive Branch to determine, on a case by case basis, whether foreclosure proceedings should continue based on the circumstances of each homeowner.
19. Subject to the above ban on money and gifts in politics, additional campaign finance reform requiring free air time and public campaign finances to all candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to participate in the primaries and/or electoral process, shortening the campaign season and allow voting on weekends and holidays. Voting must be accessible to all citizens for democracy to work.
20. An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and a substantial increase in the amount of funding needed for veteran job placement and the treatment of the physical and emotional injuries sustained by veterans in these wars. Our veterans are committing suicide at an unprecedented rate and we must help now.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVLED that IF the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES approved by the 870 Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in consultation with the PEOPLE, are not acted upon and implemented to the satisfaction of the Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY after presentment of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to the government, said Delegates shall begin to organize a THIRD, COMPLETELY NON-PARTISAN INDEPENDENT POLITICAL PARTY to run candidates for every seat in the mid-term election of 2014.
★THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT★
It would be a mistake to underestimate this movement. They have raised nearly $300,000 already, and they are getting millions of dollars worth of free publicity every day. A recent survey conducted by Time Magazine discovered that 54 percent of all Americans have a favorable impression of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
That same poll found that 81 percent of the American people believe that this country is headed in the wrong direction. Millions of Americans are searching for something, and right now Occupy Wall Street is giving them a banner to rally around.
Oddly, the American Nazi Party and Communist Party USA have both endorsedthe Occupy Wall Street protests. It appears that these protests have stuck a chord with a lot of diverse groups.
But what is going to happen once winter sets in? Will all of these young people still sleep outside when temperatures dip below zero?
Well, according to the Economic Policy Journal, the organizers have a plan to “move south” for the winter….
The idea is to move Occupation Boston to NYC, as it gets colder. Then move Occupation Wall Street to Washington DC and then down to Florida. At some point, the Occupation would head across the south to California and then head back to the northeast in the Spring.
It will be very interesting to see what happens with this movement.
As the economy continues to crumble, a lot of very angry Americans are going to be looking for some answers.
Yes, wealth and power have become incredibly concentrated in this country. The big banks and the big corporations have accumulated way too much power and way too much money.
But instead of moving from “corporatism” back to a much more pure form of “capitalism” which would give individuals and small businesses more of a chance to compete against the giants, most of the folks associated with Occupy Wall Street just want the government to take lots of money away from the big guys and to give it to them.
That is part of what is wrong with America today. People don’t want to work for what they want. They just want the government to hand it to them.
Yes, the gap between the wealthy and the poor has absolutely exploded in the United States over the last 30 years. Just check out this chart.
Of course that is a major problem.
But the answer is not to go from one collectivist system (“corporatism”) to another collectivist system.
Rather, the answer is to go back to a much more pure capitalist system. This is what our founders intended. In such a system, the power of the federal government and the power of large corporations would be greatly limited.
Sadly, the American people have become very comfortable with very large concentrations of money and power. They don’t understand that very large concentrations of money and power, whether they be found in government or in the corporate world, are great threats to our freedoms and our liberties.
Unless something dramatic happens, America is going to continue to fall apart and protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street are going to continue to grow.
As the overall economic pie shrinks, Americans are going to fight bitterly over the remaining scraps. This is going to become a very angry nation, and we are going to see some very frightening economic riots in the future.
So do any of you believe that there is hope that we can restore America to what it once was?
Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….
This article was posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 at 4:51 am