(& Political vs. Economic Democracy)
By Pal Simon
To those who say we should have a revolution, either violent or peaceful, let me remind them that the American Indians tried both those options during a time when all we had were shot-guns, ponies, and a few canons. Also, politicians are even slicker these days than they were back then. It should be obvious to any thinking person that an all-of-a-sudden revolution and real change this way is not possible.
The most hopeful process we have available at this time is going to be difficult enough, and quite slow, to be sure. Will Congress give us "change," that we need? Not likely. As *Professor Wolff reminds us, Franklin D. Roosevelt could only get the New Deal and Social Security through because of the internal threats of Unionism, Socialism and Communism, so popular back in the 30s and 40s. We have no such threats now. Also it appears Congress already has power, (if it had the will), to throw out Citizens United as well as other rulings the Supreme Court has passed according to James Marc Leas, (a patent attorney in Vermont), in article for Truthout. He says the constitution clearly states that "The Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. (US Constitution, Article III, Section 2.)
Most of us feel the need to "get the money out" of politics. This is clear by the great support now for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. Such a change would be a first necessity for any change of the power structure of our nation and perhaps our world. But it would only be the beginning of the major and smaller changes we need. The many issues are indicated by the thousands of articles, essays, studies, and videos from respected experts, and brought to attention by hundreds of organizations and our alternative media and webs, not to mention our own personal suffering and the Occupy Movement. Almost every citizen has been victimized in some way by the trespasses of what we once believed was our Political Democracy.
Most of us agree the problem is "money in politics" and we call for public funding. This is certainly the first essential, which would be part of the Constitutional Amendment, which I advocate here, with the help of lobbies for a 28th Amendment by Wolf-PAC. (See below.)
Next, and of greatest importance after that is screening candidates, making them "qualify" before they run. This is probably the first step in assuring we don't get candidates who have no better credentials than the ability and money to dupe the voting public. Standards should require not only proven ethical values, but academic and professional accomplishments in fields needed for the job they run for. Experience is also of major consideration. We are all tired of ignorant, greedy politicians being our only choices at the polling booth. Requiring qualifications may also help eliminate discrimination based on religion, sex, race, and -- worst of all, financial influence.
There is also the possibility that we should also require special qualifications standards for voters. I personally don't want the kind of democracy that requires one vote per each and any and all persons. Democracy that grants significant voting power to masses of uneducated, easily manipulated, uncritical thinkers must necessarily lead to bad voting. These voters are too much exploited by major media and propaganda. It is also one reason our educational systems are failing to get proper funding or demand for higher standards. Corporations like to train their own people in their own "universities" so that their employees are usually brainwashed before they get a good salary, or any salary at all. We certainly need to eliminate Business Schools that call themselves "Colleges" and such descriptions, as good foundations for our political leaders. Back in the 60s as a young student at Louisiana State University, I used to get mail from various conservative think tanks asking me to report to them on any professors that seemed to be giving pro-socialist lectures in my classes!
believe an intelligent, well-educated electorate with good judgment should at
least select our candidates. At least they should determine if a candidate is
qualified or not, even if we can't totally eliminate the one-person, one vote
option. This is an example of the popular will, the poor judgment to believe
each and every person should be qualified to vote.The founders knew how ridiculous this was, which is why they created representative government!
Just as we would never want a ship captain who has no qualifications to guide us by the stars, we would not want to dictate his decisions and methods by popular vote either. We need only bind him to basic duties with limited "powers" in an open government under our watchful eyes in accordance with our constitution. The ship of state requires not only highly, highly skilled professionals to steer it in the right direction, but also a well-informed electorate .
No, I am not advocating the over-throw of our Democracy. I recommend we might not need too much "Political" Democracy. Not if we have "Economic" Democracy! Not if we truly and jointly control the purse strings as we should, and the product of our labors . .
What we need is Economic Democracy.
best way for Democracy to work is within the economy, not at the political
level. Let the worker from trade school or business school leave political
decisions to the experts in that area. He can get with a group of small trade
persons and own a stake in a business. If he has the security of knowing
reasonable people with good credentials are running his government in such a
manner that gives him the freedom to work for himself, to own his business, to
take his share of the profits, to have
absolutely as much freedom as is possible without destroying the rest of the
world, he can be happy! If all jobs were done by the owners of the company, who
all had part in the business decision-making and profit sharing, then we would
have Economic Democracy. The best proponent of this idea is Economist
Richard D. Wolff.
Dr Wolff is a proponent of some wonderful alternatives to the failures of capitalism, socialism and communism. We should all listen to this Economist with the most respectful attention, and follow his lead in such advocacy.
But first of all we need to get money out of politics. SEE A PLAN: To restore true democracy in the United States by pressuring our S tate Representatives to pass a much needed 28th Amendment to our Constitution which would end corporate person-hood and publicly finance all elections in our country. There are only 2 ways to amend the Constitution. (1) Go through our federal government (2) Go through our State Legislators via an Article V. Convention of the States. See joy of Wolff-PAC here after some real successes!
Professor of Economics Emeritus, University
of Massachusetts, Amherst, Wolff is currently a Visiting Professor in the
Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University in New
York. Wolff is the author of many books, including Democracy at Work: A Cure
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