FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Direct Democracy

On April 4, 1967, exactly a year before he was assassinated, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King summed up what many feel provoked the September 11 attacks: “the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet -my own government.”

But we should not feel guilty! The government’s militarism does not represent the people! From Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”, pages 545 and 558: “By 1975, public opinion polls showed that ’65 percent of Americans oppose military aid abroad because they feel it allows dictatorships to maintain control over their population.'” But Congress has given military aid to the Afghans since 1980 and as recently as May of this year sent the Taliban $43 million to “fight drugs.”

The 1975 polls quantify what President Eisenhower stated: “The people want peace; indeed, I believe they want peace so badly that the governments will just have to step aside and let them have it.” The government’s military policies are in the control of the weapons manufacturers, the biggest business on earth according to the UN Research Institute. They can buy the most congressmen, who then vote to keep them number one. Eisenhower warned, in his farewell address to the nation: “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

The week following the 9/11 events the stock market suffered its worst decline since 1940, but if you owned stock in weapons manufacturers you’d have made a killing: the seven top gaining stocks (by percentage and by points) that week were all military (details on request).

There is a serious and comprehensive proposal to rectify this and other failures of the government to represent us. It was developed by one of the key people who brought peace in Vietnam. U.S. Senator Mike Gravel in 1971 single-handedly filibustered the Senate until they agreed to end the draft after 2 more years. At great personal and professional risk, he officially released the Pentagon Papers which exposed the lies and duplicity bulwarking our Vietnam policy. He was the first to oppose nuclear power. His organization Philadelphia II is preparing an amendment to the Constitution to permit We the People to propose and vote for the laws we want, in parallel to existing legislative bodies. Then we can vote to change the government’s wicked military policies which arm our enemies and make us all the target of the oxymoronic “holy war.”

This is not going to be “instant democracy” or even the “fast-track” which the President wants from Congress for trade issues. Our proposal includes extensive hearings, deliberations by randomly-selected “citizen juries” and public information. Claims by Washington Post uber-pundit David Broder that the initiative process in 24 US States is in the pockets of big money are largely false. The only academic studies of this show quite the opposite. See http://Vote.org/gerber. Most problems with initiatives are caused by the limitations imposed by the legislatures, which our proposal addresses.

We’re not going to beg Congress for this amendment making them share power with us! (Gravel and others tried that in 1977, to no avail.) We’re going to put the Democracy Amendment in the Constitution the way We the People originally ratified the Constitution -ourselves. This is called First Principles, known to few besides constitutional lawyers. We are convening a symposium to address this and other matters on February 16-18 in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. All details are on our web site at http://ni4d.org.

There are many other reasons for us sharing law-making power with politicians. This way we learn responsibility instead of being treated like children –abused children. It gives us an incentive to educate ourselves. It gives politicians some competition and incentive to do better. 100 years of state initiatives show an excellent track record of legislation; much was later adopted by Congress (see http://Vote.org). The 9/11 attacks give us a new reason: If the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania had hit the US Capitol as the hijackers apparently planned, the US would now be without a legislative branch of government. The “Legislature of the People” we propose would be everywhere, impossible to target.

Don’t hate the government, become the government!

Evan Ravitz is an advisor to Philadelphia II and spearheaded Boulder’s 1993 Voting by Phone ballot initiative. You can reach him at evan@vote.org

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail