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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Implementing A Second Bill of Rights

It takes a movement!

Everyone in the United States is unhappy with what is going on in our country. We are fighting Grifters, Opportunists and Privateers seeking to recreate oligarchy along the lines of what dominated the country during the Gilded Age and Antebellum age. To do that they've relied on denying our individual rights by giving those rights to artificial persons as governing Agencies. To defeat them we need to sweep decent people into office and defeat the grifters, oligarchs and pirates who are trying to subvert the democratic and commonwealth features of our Federated Republic. To accomplish both, we need leadership from below, from inside our Democratic party and also from outside the party. We don't need a violent revolution, we need a Second Bill of Rights. To get that we need an electoral revolution an an engaged electorate. We can take lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, and should support people like the Reverend Dr. Barber, who is following in his footsteps.

breachrepairers.org
Fourteen Steps

What are we Fighting For?

This post is about how to get there. We have a long fight ahead. We've lost so much ground that it is possible we may lose everything we think we have before we can rebuild. That means that, whether we are simply standing our ground or losing ground, we have to use the methods of non-violence to resist authority. We are likely to be branded as rebels, criminals and enemies -- regardless -- so we have to make sure that everything we do is careful and legal. When someone breaks the law it has to entirely as a demonstration of the law's injustice and not as an act of violence or destructiveness. We have to maintain separation from anarchists and violent revolutionaries for two reasons.

One is that their methods can only yield dysfunction and destruction.
The Second is that most of the people who advocate those things are working for our destruction as agent provocateurs or parasiting on our movement for their own diametrically opposite personal and power driven purposes.

This has to be a we movement not an "I" movement. And a "us" versus evil movement, not an "us versus them." The means justify the ends. The ends never justify the means. We are fighting for a "more just representation" of the people. And so our models should be Gandhi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Junior.

We are fighting for our basic rights to be part of the government of our common-wealth. This post is on how to implement these changes. For more on what we are talking about an why read my other three posts:

Four Freedoms and Six Basic Rights
What should be in the Second Bill of Rights
Establishing a Second Bill of Rights

Voting Rights

We have passed a number of amendments establishing a right to vote for pretty much everyone. Despite that the Corrupt Supreme Court Ruled in Bush V. Gore ruled that;

"The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College. U.S. Const., Art. II, §1." [Bush V Gore]

Basically, our constitution leaves it up to the States to decide how the members of the electoral college are selected. They could dump voting entirely and go back to selecting the President by legislative fiat, and the current courts might rule that it is perfectly constitutional. To change this we need direct election of the President and to once again affirm an individual right to vote and have that vote counted for all citizens.

Securing All our Rights

Similarly, Our other rights are also not guaranteed/secured by the Constitution, as illustrated by what Congress is doing to 90% of Americas at the moment with regard to healthcare and other common systems. For that reason I believe we should start with Roosevelt's list of 6 and add Voting Rights and an amendment affirming that natural persons have priority over artificial ones. So we need to discuss and agree that we desperately need a Second Bill of Rights. And then we need three things:

  1. To discuss and develop a Clear list of what should be in the Second Bill of Rights
  2. Make it A movement, within the Democratic Party, to repeal privateering and kleptocracy and pass it.
  3. Then get it passed in Congress, in whole or in part.
  4. To keep fighting until it is all substantially a part of our National Constitution (COTUS acronym).
  5. We have to fight to get the States to Pass it.
  6. We then have to fight to get implementation laws and to protect it from dishonest lawyers and corrupt influences.

This is a program. It will take all of us to implement it. It will take leadership to make it happen. We can push from below.

The Case

The Second Bill of Rights are about requirements of Commonwealth Government and refer to 'positive' rights --> and making them a reality requires effort, collaboration and consensus that they are in fact rights. The opposition doesn't believe most of us have any rights.

The case for passing a Second Bill of Rights was made by F.D. Roosevelt in the 40s. The compelling rationale has only gotten stronger in the intervening years.

Pushing Back on Efforts to Deny it

When Franklin was talking most folks pretty much figured that we could implement the Second Bill of Rights without Spelling out the list. The Four Freedoms were so obvious they seemed a tautology. However, in the 60s, the Right Wing tried to hijack and rebrand the Four Freedoms with their own version!

These revanchist Neo-Confederates, Libertarians and the corporations and economic royalists who pay them, have tried to make the opposing case --> that ordinary citizens have no rights except those enumerated by Reagan's Four Freedoms, which were an effort to suborn and subvert FDR's vision:

Reagan's Subversion of the Four Freedoms

Ironically the Right Wing turned FDR's first mandate; "that everyone shall have the right to a decent job" into laws outlawing Unions and worker rights. So called "Right to [not] Work" (or work for less) laws have been passed with the nominal sense of giving workers the "right to work" without the "discrimination" of a Union contract. Simply passing a constitutional amendment that "Every natural person has the right to a Job" would be a meaningless amendment. Similarly an adequate wage and decent living are difficult to legislate without objective definitions of what that legislation means.

It has to be codified or we get lists like Reagans:

  • The freedom to work [but not to get paid].
  • The freedom to enjoy the fruits of one's labor [and the labor of others].
  • The freedom to own and control one's property [including people through contracts].
  • The freedom to participate in a free market [Right to Shop in Monopoly markets if one can afford to].

These seem nonsense, but the Right Wing has used these kind of arguments to deny that people have any rights to health care, free speech, or a share in the economy, unless they are white wealthy property owners!

For more on this see: Reagan

Clear Unequivocal Arguments

FDR's Second Bill of Rights are not spelled out in legal language. Any statement of rights that is to go into the constitution must be so clear and unequivocal that even someone who disagrees with them will be forced to uphold them or be in violation of their oath of office. I personally like the approach Henry George took in placing definitions into his texts [See Progress & Poverty Bk 1, Ch 2], so that folks would not be able to play with them. They did so anyway.

Vague or deliberately parsed language is regularly used by grifters to inject holes into laws and constitutions, while being written, or later, that they can drive gold out of Fort knox through. The Founders did not believe in Universal Suffrage, not only women and slaves, but people who didn't know property too. We've had to fight for our rights. And our officers have a tendency to avoid keeping their promises if they can get away with it. Further these definitions have to be built into the amendments. The advantage of doing this is that it provides direction both to reformers and to the wealthy on how they can both preserve their wealth and avoid oppressing others.

Pursuing This Stubbornly

I've heard people talking about lawsuits. But lawsuits are useless if we don't control the courts and half of that involves writing these rights down.

>...reminds us that we can only achieve our goals if we make them part of a plan that we pursue. We need to make this new Second Bill of rights part of the Democratic plank and something that all of us can agree on. So we should start with the legal means to implement FDR's list. Obviously FDR's list was behind Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and the ACA. But equally obviously we never got them enshrined in overarching law. A law can be repealed. It is harder to repeal something in the constitution.

This is an unfinished fight. and will remain so until these rights are codified. Roosevelt Said it!

From Roosevelt's speech;

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;The right of every family to a decent home;The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment."

Lets work on this!

Related Posts

Four Freedoms and Six Basic Rights
What should be in the Second Bill of Rights
Establishing a Second Bill of Rights
Wonky and/or provisional thoughts:
https://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/reagans-subversion-of-four-freedoms.html
https://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-progressive-agenda-gets-snooze.html
https://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/11/second-bill-of-rights-versus-third-way.html
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/reagans-subversion-of-four-freedoms.html
Bush V Gore: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-949.ZPC.html

Sources, Definitions and Further Readings

Progress and Poverty Book I, Chapter 2 The Meaning of the Terms
http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP3.html#Book%20I,%20Chapter%202
http://origin.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/primary-sources/fdrs-second-bill-of-rights
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/1/7/1617937/-The-Second-Bill-of-Rights
https://www.thenation.com/article/seventy-years-let-us-renew-fdrs-struggle-economic-bill-rights/
http://billmoyers.com/2014/03/07/remembering-franklin-delano-roosevelt-and-the-second-bill-of-rights/

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