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The Next Moment in Our Evolution

Posted by Pete Healey on November 13, 2012 at 8:10 PM

     We are still committed to the principle of proportional elections and have spent considerable time over the last five years of our existence in holding our tongues on partisan issues in favor of respect and tolerance for all views and ideologies. We're now done with that and while we'll do our best to continue our attitude of respect and tolerance for all points of view while expressing our own in a programmatic way.

 

                                                                  'GREEN 47' MANIFESTO

WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE WANT

Political renewal in the U.S. is nearly impossible now, that's clear. The two major parties have successfully marginalized all independent poltical activity from the right and left, and the lap dog mass media complies without question or interference. The Occupy movement was hardly a force in the most recent campaign since most of its organizing has disappeared and the Democrats have co-opted some of its rhetoric. What was missing from the Occupy movement was the reality that the 99% can be divided into two distinct groups, the ' working class ' as the 47% and the ' middle class ' as the other 52%. Of course these are rough approximations but with Mitt Romney's now infamous remarks about the 47% and his characterization of them as the lowest class in the society this is a good place to draw a line, to make the point. The 1% has its liberals (Democrats) and its conservatives (Republicans) and the next 52% seem comfortable with and well-adjusted to those two choices. The 47% however are a different matter. Most of them just won't play along, or participate. In this election as in the last, several million of these 47%-ers waited in long lines at the polls and provided the margin of victory for a President who never once spoke to them, and against a challenger who only slandered them.

None of the existing major or minor parties to the left or the right, make a priority out of appealling to the 47%. What follows is a short-term agenda that works " from the bottom up " to raise the stakes on both liberals and conservatives, and on the upper 53% as a whole. It's our hope that the latest election results show conclusively that the existing electoral system and its two unhealthy party structures are not part of the solution, and that the way out begins with a strategy that engages some of the 60 or 70 million 47%-ers who don't vote. Here are several proposals that appeal directly to those who are most affected by ' The Crisis ' that is now well into its fifth year:

- Establish a public jobs program to help clean up and rebuild the East Coast, bringing hundeds of thousands of jobs to the unemployed on the East Coast, providing relief and reconstruction aid to the people of the region.

- Demand that the federal government strike a " Grand Bargain " over marijuana with those states that have already approved measures to legalize it and bring policy proposals for national legislation to stop the arrrest and incarceration of non-violent drug offenders, and especially marijuana users.

- Enact a three year suspension of interest payments on student loans for all of those with outstanding balances. This measure would give relief to young people struggling to make ends meet and the banks would be returning the favor that this government provided just four years ago in the form of multi-billion dollar bailouts.

- Raise the federal minimum wage by $1 per hour each year for the next three years.

- The Affordable Healthcare Act leaves many without insurance or access to health care(estimates put the number at 25-30 million), and of course the greatest number of those not covered are 47%-ers. States must be required to close the loopholes and fill the gaps so that insurance coverage is universal, as they begin to construct their so-called ' health care exchanges ' to implement this federal legislation.

- The financial collapse in the housing industry was caused in large part by a government policy to foster home ownership without any regulation or oversight of the mortgage industry which took advantage of and deceived 47%-ers, and even some middle class people who may now have become 47%-ers! Debt forgiveness should be the watchword for the government in these cases just as it has been the watchword for the financial institutions!

- To help pay for these measures we need only to look to the Defense Department which has become a a profit center for the 1%, a public jobs program for the 52%, and a killing field for the 47%. It's time to make major cuts in a military that spends more than the rest of the world's military budgets combined (and yes the President was deceiving us in his last debate when he claimed that the defense budget was larger than the next ten nations combined. He knows better!). Our nation will not be at greater risk if we have a military presence in only 50 of the world's other nations as opposed to the more than 100 in which we now operate.

- No deal struck between the Democrats and Republicans should include any short or long-term ' fixes ' or lowered allocations to Medicare or Social Security that would reduce or limit benefits for current or future retirees.

- Electoral reforms of a fundamental nature will be required in the medium and long run to open up our system to new actors. We recognize that the 47% will have several differing political expressions and ideologies. 47%-ers are Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Libertarians, Communists, Constitutionalists, Greens, and Anarchists, and political space must be made for all of them in order to reinvigorate and renew our currently unhealthy system. We must look to the proportional election systems that now dominate the world's democracies and to which the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa have universally turned in the last twenty-five years. Ours is no longer a ' model of democracy ' for any other nation. It is an oddity and a 19th century relic that doesn't fit into a 21st century reality.

- Finally, we are ' green ' because in this new period it is vital to always remember the awful mess we've made in our drive for more, more, and more of everything. It's necessary for us to look every day at ways to ' Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle '. We will need to add a fourth ' R ' to this green mantra , to ' Repair ' the damage we've done. We also ask the upper 53% to accept less while making a little more available to the 47%, to really prove that ' we are all in this together '.

WHO WE ARE NOT

We are not the 99%. We have come to this conclusion after a year of agitation on the basis of the 99% and 1% formula that the middle class, the 52%, has turned the conversation primarily toward their needs and toward solutions for their difficulties. Witness the Democrats' campaign slogans ' From the middle out ' and ' Put the middle class first ', and issues specifically addressing the needs and desires of the 47% are not high on any of their lists.

 

We are not ' progressives '. This words' meaning changes with each person who uses it so much that we think that ' progressive ' may be the new ' opportunist '.

 

We are not in agreement with the existing ' Green Party ' . The Green Party of the U.S. is mainly a party of the 53%, populated mostly by the professional middle class, and exemplified by the medical doctor who was their presidential candidate this year and by the attorney who managed her campaign. This is a party that is more Social Democratic than anything else, again exemplified by their campaign platform calling for a ' Green New Deal '.

 

We can no longer be content to just play junior partners for each of the parties of the 53%, and we think it's foolish to veer back and forth between one corrupt institution and the other, as if on a seesaw.

 

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