Written by Rohaan Solare on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 19:19 - 41 Comments
A Citizens Assembly: From Occupy Movement to a Permanent Political Force
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try
and change the problematic model.
You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.”
I am not sure how much more Fuller had to say about the matter or what he was referring to specifically when he said or wrote that statement. But in this article I will apply it in relation our plight with a thoroughly corrupt political system.
The Occupy Movement is still a minority movement, despite its growing popularity. Though it seems to be composed of people who are thinking and dreaming big. Occupy participants are brimming with hope in action and they have placed that hope not in some man or woman, but in themselves as a collective with a just and common cause.
They seem determined to change not only their own broken institutions, but they are also looking to band with Occupy Movements from other countries in the hope of creating a better world for all concerned.
But how do we go about changing our monolithic and seemingly all powerful institutions? They have mountains of money, they make the laws to suit their aims and they command military-police forces. We are learning that we, the 99 percent, are still much bigger and even more powerful than the Establishment.
But to achieve our goals we need more than greater numbers and raw power—-we need organization. Every complex agency has an organizational system that enables it to accomplish its goals. The Occupy Movement will need to evolve from rag tag protest movement to a permanent political force in order to achieve its goals. The Occupy Movement could very well be the seedling of the exo-establishment structure (Citizens Assembly) we need to replace our pathetic government. Let us please come together to make it so. Any bright future for all concerned will depend on it. Make no mistake about it our generation will decide either the legacy or the tragedy of humankind.
“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers
of the society but the people themselves;
and if we think them not enlightened enough to
exercise their control with a wholesome discretion,
the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.”
– Thomas Jefferson
principle author of the Declaration of Independence and
3rd President of the United States.
Jefferson was addressing the founding members of the United States when he made that statement. In their time only the wealthiest members of society where educated and they alone filled the ranks of the new congress. “We the People” may have been a platitude for the voting masses of his day. We don’t know how sincere his statement was when he said “if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.”
If that principle had been acted upon then we would not find ourselves in the current predicament. For government as we know it can only exist by misinforming the people about its activities and the issues of the day.
The people who founded the United States of America had an ideal. They provided us with a blueprint for balanced governance and they recognized it to be the people’s right to disband and/or reform their government when those in power have failed to do their duty.
…that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and institute new government,…
There is no question that the US government has become destructive not only to the founding principles set forth by the US constitution, but has now become the world’s greatest menace. We have no other alternative, but to alter or abolish our government and institute a new one.
The Occupy Movement has coalesced into a vigorous and promising widespread social movement that seems to be gathering more support every day and that is very heartening indeed.
However, we need more than a movement of protestors and both labels must evolve into something permanent and respectable. I have argued the case for the creation of a Citizens Assembly that operates outside the current political system.
The current political system is far too entrenched in its rotten ways to think that we can simply vote better politicians into office. My complete case for the creation of a Citizens Assembly as the only way out our collective nightmare is presented in A Movement to Unite All Good Will Movements: The Occupy Movement Anticipated. Our collective problems can only be addressed collectively.
FROM GENERAL ASSEMBLIES TO A CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY
We need a political system that is not dominated by huge sums of money nor subject to rampant corruption. A system that accounts for the needs of the many in conjunction with the needs of the planet’s ecological balance. The General Assemblies found at the heart of each Occupy encampment resemble the idea of Citizens Assembly.
The key democratic tenets of consensus and direct democracy are indeed found at the heart of the General Assemblies guiding principles and that is in line with the kinds of practices needed to insure a genuine democratic process. So we have a vigorous movement with the right set of guiding principles—now what? The question is how does the Occupy Movement become effective in its goals to create the kinds of changes we need to successfully address the issues of the day and near future?
A CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY: FROM POLITICAL MOVEMENT TO A PERMANENT POLITICAL FORCE
Let’s look to the American Revolution for clues to the elements of a successful revolution and of how to organize a permanent political body.
The first ingredient is dissatisfaction to the point of open rebellion against the current system of governance. The Occupy Movement has signaled that open rebellion is fast becoming the norm. The American Revolutionaries then drafted a constitution.
The Occupy Movement must now draft it own constitution using the crowd sourced method that Iceland recently used to create theirs. Once we have a popularly ratified constitution in place we can then create a list of the changes we want the U.S. Government to enact.
The people can then vote on what the priorities should be. We can’t throw the whole kitchen sink at them at once and expect them to act. We start with priority number one and do what it takes to get priority one addressed and so on down the list.
ENFORCING THE PEOPLE’S WILL
The governments of yesteryear established their authority by virtue of sheer force. We, however, in order to form a still more perfect union will use non-violent means to achieve our goals and establish the people’s will as the authority of the land.
Since we will not be holding guns to anybodies head, what then will we do to enforce the People’s will or do you think that Govcorp will simply roll over and obey our demands because they have seen the light?
Govcorp is bound and determined to keep their power and way of life fully intact. Our only option is civil disobedience on scale big enough to compel change. Occupying a public space is more of a nuisance to Govcorp than anything else.
The occupy aspect of the Occupy Movement is good for obtaining media coverage, movement catalyzation and as a demonstration of social solidarity, but we need action in the form of government, economic and monetary law reforms.
In order to oblige Governments to enact our demands we must be able to bring the machine to a standstill and to hit them where it hurts. General strikes and mass boycotts are tried and tested methods for obliging change. Gandhi kicked the British Empire out of India using non violence, civil disobedience and non-cooperation tactics, and without the use of twitter to boot. How much better armed are we to purge the gunk out of our system?
PERMANENCE AND LONG TERM GOALS
Given the critical state of certain societies and eco-systems we need certain measures in place sooner than later. General strikes and boycotts will serve us in the short term, but our long term goals should be to supplant the two party system with a direct democracy system via internet voting. The interim between now and our long term objectives will involve that we fill the ranks of government with sane and honorable people or real public servants who have been screened for socio-psychopathic tendencies.
Governments fulfill many valid social services that will need to continue operating, but to do the work of internal house cleaning we need a third political party- a People’s Party. A political party that will eventually extinguish the wastefulness of partisan politics. A house divided will not stand and that is one reason the current system has failed us. Both parties are essentially two sides of the same coin employing more or less the same tactics.
The main difference is that one party is more openly vulgar than the other. The two party system can be compared to a big time wrestling match in which the outcome has already been decided. Both parties know what is possible and who is going to win. Their prime time charade is designed to give us good show, and to make it look as if a real struggle were going on.
EXISTING ORGANIZATIONAL MODELS
There are two well organized non-governmental bodies that could and should be of help. They are the World Social Forum and the World Assembly. In particular the World Assembly may have useful methods already designed and in place to help expedite the needed organizational elements. The World Social Forum has the right idea, but it must be transformed into a political force to be of any use. Talks and round tables are great, but we need action now. There are US sponsored wars in at least 6 countries with rumors of war with Iran and Syria. The beast is wounded and it needs warfare to continue sustaining itself.
EMERGENT CULTURES SHORT TERM PRIORITY ACTION LIST
- End the Wars
- Eliminate DARPA
- Stop the Drug Wars
- Nationalize the Federal Reserve or abolish it to allow the US Government to print and issue its own interest free money.
- No More Bailouts
- Begin redirecting War Complex monies toward needed social services such as;
- Job creation-training,
- Health Insurance-Services
- Public infrastructure
- Environmental Restoration-Conservation
- Repeal Citizens United Ruling
- Reinact Glass-Steagall Act and other legislation to begin curbing Wall Street corruption.
- End subsidies to corporations.
- Halt high risk fossil fuel extraction.
- Further empower and restore the EPA’s true purpose.
- Offer no interest loans to the critical industries we truly need, such as alternative energy and green technologies
- Debt forgiveness for all students, other hardship sectors of society and the socially relevant economy.
- All candidates for public office/service must pass a test that screens for socio-psychopathic tendencies.
- Reduce interest rates to 0 on the most socially relevant sectors of the economy, except those part of the Petro-Chemical-Banking-Media-Military-Security-Government Complex.
- Eliminate corporate tax loop holes.
- Decrimiminalize drugs with proven medical application, Marijuana, LSD, Psylocibin and MDMA
- Eliminate the Patriot Act
- Halt all Domestic Surveillance-Security Complex Projects
- Adopt an evidence based policy for all programs and projects.
- A gender balance provision so that governing agencies are equally composed of both genders.
The entirety of this proposal is in line with the swords to plowshares meme and my arguments in support of what I have presented here are found in A Movement to Unite All Good Will Movements.
There are many more things we need to redress, modify, include and exclude, but I believe that my proposed deals with the most important issues of the day and near future.
OUTREACH: ATTRACTING MORE MEMBERS TO THE MOVEMENT
In order to keep attracting more members of the mainstream the movement it will need to become a respectable, organized and sound organization that is worthy of leadership. Our grievances are just and we have all the evidence needed to condemn all governments into oblivion, but we must appear as more than have-nots and disgruntled unemployed workers asking for handouts.
The core people of the Occupy Movement represent societies most progressive and pro-active elements. They are informed about the issues of the day and they don’t buy the Government’s narrative. They have many things in common and so finding consensus amongst themselves has not been a difficult task. The challenge will be to convince others that foundation of a better world lies with a Citizens Assembly.
There is a job for everybody and outreach is something anybody can and should do. We need as much popular support as we can gather. In other words please adopt a proactive approach to outreach since it’s one of the easiest and most important aspects to the movement’s continuing success.
The Occupy Movement is the sprout of a much larger movement (Planetary Culture) to stop the rape, pillage and injustice that characterizes present day Western styled representative democracy, aka the Current World System or CWS. We must acknowledge that radical change, massive collaboration and civil disobedience are the only means we have to alter the horrific policies of the CWS and avert looming disasters.
We have something to build on and I encourage all of you to support and share with others what is happening and why. Events will continue to intensify as the CWS goes into its death throes. The CWS is on life support as it stands and it will need to take even more drastic measures to continue on life support.
Life support for the CWS means death, destruction and suffering for the rest of us. The measures it plans to take will bring greater awareness from the mainstream, but Govcorp will frame the narrative to suggest it has “the solutions” and nothing could be further from the truth.
We have but two choices, one is to go about our business as usual thus helping to maintain the status quo that has brought cataclysmic death, destruction and suffering upon the planet and humanity in countless ways.
The alternative is to become part of the growing Occupy Movement to help create and support new econo-political models capable of addressing the horrendous situations created by the Current World System.
If you agree with the basic premise of my proposal, I then ask that you pass this on to others. It would be especially helpful if you would submit the proposal to the various general assemblies.
I thank you all in advance for your participation.
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