cj#992> more dialog re: radical mass movement

1999-10-07

Richard Moore

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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 12:59:16 EDT
Subject: Re: cj#991> dialog re: radical mass movement
To: •••@••.•••

Dear cj,

I enjoyed reading the dialog on a mass social-democratic movement.  Many of
the issues you have raised are ones which resonate deeply with me.

I contributed several articles to activ-l listersv
arguing that the failure of Left Parties is that they are insufferably
inattentive to the populist issues raised by the Religious Right, Pat
(Buchanan & Robertson), and many survivalist formations.

I don't know anyone in the workingclass who would argue against national
health insurance, full employment, and an automatic cola on every job in
the USA.

I would differ with the Left on their obsession with abortion, animal
rights, gun control, and some "fringe" environmental issues like "save the
whale" or "save the snail darter."  And it's not that I think that these
issues are unimportant or "false" issues, it's that they are alienating to
the working class, and quite often, divide the socialists from the class
which purportedly we would lead.

Our biggest challenge in the immediate future is to take the wind out from
the Jesse Venturas and the other pseudo populists who don't challenge the
authority of the capitalists.  We don't have to do more than raise
transitional issues which will can be partially satisfied under capitalism,
but which will still be fought fang and claw by them.

I'll end my discourse here.

Hugh

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Dear Hugh,

Thanks very much for your contribution.  I think you hit the nail on the
head when you say:
 >it's not that I think that these issues are unimportant or "false"
 > issues, it's that they are alienating to the working class, and
 > quite often, divide the socialists from the class which purportedly we
 > would lead.

We are divided into camps, each talking among themselves.  The left talks
about 'right wing extremists' and the right talks about 'mushy minded
liberals' but we don't talk to each other - across the divide.  How can we
get such dialog started?

rkm


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Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 12:12:17 -0700 (PDT)
To: •••@••.•••
From: John Lowry <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#991> dialog re: radical mass movement

At 10:58 AM 10/4/99 +0000, you wrote:
>... ... I'm talking about a _majority movement, where most of
>the people involved have regular jobs.  The instrument of our "economic
>base", as I see it, is the government itself - under the control of our
>enlightened slate of candidates, our own high-powered talent pool.  This is
>what I mean by a 'frontal assault.  I don't imagine socialists would have
>much disagreement with this scenario, but there are many people who could
>support the scenario who could not be recruted under a socialist banner.


Perhaps those "regular jobs" are not worth the trouble.  Perhaps the shared
understanding is that we have created abundance, and jobs based on the
economic presumption of scarcity will no longer satisfy, no matter how
enlightened the government.

So, the "frontal assault" seems to require a comprehensive and
comprehensible scheme to change our fundamental economic principles.  We no
longer need to maximize output.  Today, economic viability requires
application of the on-sight intelligence of every worker, to optimise the
use of resources, and to achieve equitable distribution of wealth.

To get there, I propose a platform of: A tax on excess wealth sufficient to
remove the personal profit motive from vast ownership; a federal charter for
large corporations that provids full stakeholder standing in their
governance; an expansion of our notion of basic education to include some
public service, every day, throughout youth; a guaranteed annual wage; and
national medical insurance.

With this as the starting point, intelligent people of goodwill will gather
round a movement to refashion and recreate this world, so it has a viable
future.  Isn't the theory of democracy, which our species has pursued for
millinea, that high intelligence, good judgment, and goodwill are widespread
in the population, and that the best decisions are derived from the broadest
possible participation?

We know how to live.  The problem is not that we are unintelligent.  The
problem is that humans act out of habit a lot more than we act out of
conscious decision-making.  Changing habits is the hardest thing we can do,
as they often serve us well, and we are creatures of that conditioning.  The
economic premise of this world has only recently changed, from scarcity to
abundance.  Our ingenuity, creativity, and hard work overcame the basic
condition of this material world.  With consciousness, we can now enjoy
material abundance and move on to the more important issues of culture, etc.

in alliance

jl

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Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 07:47:04 -0500
From: Chris Granner <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Of mass movements & "semi-democracy"

hi-

Reading your exchange with David Langille about mass movements & radical
reform, it occurred to me to wonder about a constitutional amendment.
I'd call it the "Rights of the Living" or "Burden of Corporations"
amendment, something embodying the following (I'm obviously no lawyer):

"A citizen shall have the right to sue a limited liability corporation
for damages if the citizen believes his or her right to health or
comfort has been abridged by an action of said corporation.  In such
cases, the burden shall be on the corporation to prove that its action
DOES NOT abridge the plaintiff's right.  The corporation shall be
responsible for reasonable legal fees of the plaintiff whether or not
such burden is proved."

I phrased it most carefully: any citizen should be able to go up to the
offices of ANY corporation and say "hey, you're <fill in complaint here:
dumping stuff in a river, paving over a habitat, trashing a local food
coop>" and that corporation would be highly incentivized to find a way
to provide its service without doing whatever it was to incense a member
of the sovereign people...You will say, what about all the nut cases who
will bring suit against a corporation just because they don't like the
color they painted their building?  I would say, let a jury decide; if
it's a frivolous complaint, the cost to the corporation will be trivial.
The intent of this amendment, among other things, is to dignify the
citizen's voice in a dialog with the corporation; in a world where this
amendment gets a 2/3 majority, the number of citizens feeling
trivialized or marginalized would be much lower than presently obtains.

Of course, the main purpose of the amendment is to constitutionally
repudiate such supreme court decisions as Union Pacific vs Santa Clara
County, which found corporations to be "natural persons" and thus
protected by due process clauses elsewhere in the constitution.  Perhaps
there's another procedural way to repudiate that position?

Great list!  Keep up the good work.

-cg
(Chris Granner, citizen
 Evanston, Illinois)

"Let the bosses  ...   take the losses ..." -Sal Martirano



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