Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
Let’s build a radically new Social Democracy in these United States in the years and decades ahead, modeled on the twelve Social Democracies of Europe: Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Luxenborg, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Spain. We might practice tax resistance arguing, that tax payment to a government, that is not a Social […]

Let’s Build a Social Democracy

by JOADY GUTHRIE

Let’s build a radically new Social Democracy in these United States in the years and decades ahead, modeled on the twelve Social Democracies of Europe: Germany, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Luxenborg, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy and Spain.

We might practice tax resistance arguing, that tax payment to a government, that is not a Social Democracy, is legal, because only a Social Democracy affords representation to the ordinary taxpayer-voter or citizen. Then we need a definition of Social Democracy. I have supplied a simple definition or description in the six paragraphs that follow.

Social Democracy for the United States Defined:

Its simplest possible definition: These United States will be a Social Democracy when its political parties are financed by private contributions and funded by tax dollars in equal measure. Neither people or groups of wealth or less wealth are to hold any undue influence over the parties. The tax dollars are awarded based on a parties performance in each election. Therefore, the tax dollars are awarded after each election.

A party must receive over five percent of the total votes to be eligible for any tax award. The purpose of these tax dollars is to help pay for the parties operating costs including the costs of advertising during elections. The amount of the tax dollar award is equal to half the parties operating and advertising costs. The other half of parties operating and advertising cost is permitted and expected to come from private contributions.

To be on the ballot a parties must agree to accept its due tax award after each election. In accepting that reward parties are obligated to help keep down their operating, and especially advertising costs. In a return obligation to the parties the government is obligated to provide a government owned and operated television and radio network to the parties for the purposes of debates.

Private television and radio networks are permitted and expected to present interviews with the candidates, giving them equal interview time and equal exposer: if one candidate1s interview is aired at a prime viewing time, then the other candidate1s interviews are to be aired at prime viewing time as well. Private media may organize its own debates, but are obligated to invite all the candidates on the ballot.

All candidates must belong to registered and licensed political parties. To be eligible for registration and licensing a party must be first, democratic, meaning not advocating overthrow. Second, the party must be democratically organized. The party must hold its own democratic partywide or primary elections. The party must provide its members and candidates with sufficient forums, debates and interviews for it members to make informed decisions about the candidates and for the candidates to be heard.

The parties may use the private and government television and radio networks in this endeavor. The membership at large must elect the party1s candidate for each general election by majority rule, the candidate with the most votes must be declared the winner.

JOADY GUTHRIE, the son of Woody Guthrie, lives in California. He can be reached at: jguthrie@lmi.ne

? JOADY GUTHRIE 2002