"The U.S. Constitution may not be perfect,
but it’s a lot better than what we’ve got now."
When a corporate coup occurs and We the People lose control of our government, two things have to happen at once. We must abruptly belittle corporations' power and radically enlarge our own. This section introduces the most promising means to the latter end. Most of the following ideas have not only been time-tested in such "radical" societies as Switzerland, Denmark or suburban Philadelphia, they all have active local movements pushing them forward today. If you are constitutionally more comfortable rebuilding sovereign power from the ground up (rather than yanking the usurping bastards on top down), choose a tool and lend a hand.
Tools for Real National Democracy
The Secret Swiss Proving Ground
Tools for Reinventing Local Democracy
Tools for True Workplace Democracy
Reclaiming Human Rights in the Workplace
Reclaiming the Workplace Itself
Resource Links to the Future
RETURNING GOVERNMENT TO THE PEOPLE
(excerpted from the Democracy Foundation web site.)
Reasserting First Principles,
Reviving Sovereign Power:
The National Initiative For Democracy
The National Initiative For Democracy is a proposed amendment to the US Constitution and an accompanying federal statute, which will bring the People into government as lawmakers at the national level and in every state and local government jurisdiction in the United States. Beginning in 2002, the People will have an opportunity to enact this Initiative in a national election conducted by the nonprofit corporation, Philadelphia II.
Under the National Initiative, the People's lawmaking power will parallel, not replace, the powers of our elected legislators. There will be two sources of law: the People and their elected representatives.
The National Initiative includes:
The National Initiative has been developed and refined over the past decade by former Senator Mike Gravel (D. Alaska, 1969 - 1981) and his colleagues. The Democracy Foundation and Philadelphia II, two nonprofit corporations led by Senator Gravel, are now working to bring about the enactment of the National Initiative.
- The Democracy Amendment to the US Constitution, which asserts the People's sovereign authority and legislative power to create and alter governments, constitutions and laws, independent of existing governments.
- The Democracy Act, which establishes legislative procedures by which the People can enact laws using ballot initiatives, and creates the Electoral Trust, an independent government agency to administer those procedures on behalf of the People. (It also explicitly bars any non-human "persons" -- i.e., PACs or corporate bodies -- from participating in this process in ANY way.)
In 2002, The Democracy Foundation will launch a public information campaign to educate people about democracy and their sovereign legislative authority derived from First Principles. Philadelphia II will then conduct a nationwide election for the enactment of the National Initiative.
The Strongest, Safest, Most
Radical Democracy on Earth
DIRECTPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY - Swiss-tested for over a century, now ready for international release.
No one bothers to assassinate Swiss politicians, they simply don't have any power. Switzerland has been running her revolutionary little experiment in Direct Democracy since 1860, and has arguably crafted the most secure, prosperous, and eco-friendly society on the planet. Let us meditate on her lore..
Reimagining Local Communities,
Reinventing Consensual Rule:
Center for Consensual Democracy
Consensual Democracy is a proven way to revive, renew and sustain your local community — a grassroots approach that empowers local citizens to build their own virtual government and the communities they truly desire.
Consensual Dem is a practical approach with a 50-year track record that mobilizes the shared visions, values and goals of the immediate community. All a town needs to get started is a group of thirty people willing to dream and work together...
Reclaiming Human Rights in the Workplace,
Renouncing Servitude to Corporate Rule:
Peter Kellman's liberating New Labor Law
Not only do corporations illicitly claim the Constitional rights of human persons, they aggressively refuse those same rights to their own employees. Today US workers enjoy about the same freedoms in their workplace as indentured serfs in a fascist land. Peter Kellman and the Labor Party have a rather more American idea. They demand a law that would finally eliminate slavery in all its forms. In effect, their law would restore three vital freedoms, presented below in abbreviated form:
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Up to now, courts have privileged employer property rights over the workers' free speech rights. If workers are to enjoy effective freedom of speech and expression, this must change in at least three ways:
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
- Workers must enjoy freedom of speech on as well as off the employer's property… When an employer has the power to effectively determine who will -- and who will not -- speak to "its" workers, the employer is acting as a master and it is putting the workers in the position of dependent slaves.
- Workers must be free from employer as well as government censorship except where job performance is at stake… When an employer censors a worker's speech for reasons unrelated to job performance, it is acting as a master and putting the worker in the position of a slave.
- The people -- including workers -- must be free to express themselves by withholding patronage and requesting others to withhold patronage… When workers are prohibited from effectively communicating truthful information about employers, then they are treated more like slaves than like citizens.
Under the NLRA, the government decides what groups of workers may assemble together for collective action and bargaining. If workers are to enjoy effective freedom of association, this must change in at least two ways:
FREEDOM OF LABOR
- Any size group of workers can form an association, including a union, and present and resolve grievances and make agreements with the employer… When an individual worker is forced to face the collective power of a corporate employer without the support of his or her union, she is placed in the position of a helpless slave dealing with a powerful master.
- Workers, not the government or the employer, must determine the scope of their own associations for purposes of collective action and bargaining… When workers cannot determine who they will associate with for mutual aid and protection, they are denied a basic right of citizenship.
Under current law, the workers' freedom of labor is subordinated to employer property rights. For workers to enjoy effective freedom of labor, this must change in at least four ways:
- The right to strike must include the right not to lose one's job permanently to a strikebreaker... When an employer has the power to punish workers for exercising their fundamental rights, the employer is acting as a master and the employee is a slave whose rights mean nothing.
- The freedom of labor must include the right to refuse to contribute personal labor to enterprises that assist unfair employers by, for example, supplying them with parts, distributing their products, or financing their operations…. When a "neutral" employer can compel a worker to contribute his or her personal labor to assist another employer in violating the human rights of its employees, the employer is placed in the position of a master and the worker in that of a slave with no control over his or her personal labor.
- The freedom of labor must include the right to bargain with and to strike and boycott against the company that actually controls terms and conditions of employment… When employers can use corporate formalities to render workers' rights meaningless, the employer is acting like a master and the employee is reduced to slavery.
- The freedom of labor must include the right to withhold personal labor in solidarity with workers in other countries…. When corporations are permitted to organize multinationally, while workers are limited to local protests because of artificial corporate boundaries, then corporations become arrogant masters while workers are reduced to dependent slavery.
Reclaiming the Workplace itself,
Transferring Ownership to Stakeholders:
Visionary author of Democratising The
Wealth of Nations, Shann Turnbull has pioneered a practical, painless, even profitable way to transfer ownership of all our modern corporations into employee and stakeholder hands. His 20-year plan is the ultimate prescription for a truly prosperous and democratic society, and deserves immediate debate in every forum in the land.
Resources for a Countercoup Revolution,
Links for Rebuilding a Convivial World
- Innovations in Democracy -- "Toward wiser democracies that work for all" A truly inspiring compilation of all the best ideas around...
- The Chaordic Alliance -- Founded by Visa co-founder Dee Hock, who combined elements of uncontrolled creative chaos and orderly common purposes and principles to help communities and organizations self-organize. Among their projects is an ambitious worldwide network to help a new civilization self-organize, called Terra Civitas.