Conservative ideology is based on protecting rich people from having to pay for the benefits they reap from government: peace at home, stable markets, infrastructure, an educated work force, research, potable water, clean air, public health, etc. Conservatives wasted trillions on corrupt, disastrous wars and are happy to pay subsidies to corporate farmers and Big Oil, but they’re eager to cut food stamps for poor people, crush unions, blame teachers, dismantle public transit, deny science, and restrict the vote. The Norquist No-Tax-Pledge prohibits income taxes but allows regressive sales taxes.
|For Immediate Release:
Drawing on the revolutionary spirit of Independence Day, DemocracyMovement organizers arecalling for a week of creative, artful rebellion against the corrupting influence of money in politics. In the week of July 4th to July 12th activists around the country will stage rebellious actions to showcase a movement ready to overthrow corporate rule and reclaim the promise of government of, by, and for We the People.
“We are fighting for the very self-evident, endowed by creator, unalienable rights celebrated on this anniversary of the Declaration of Independence,” said Bill Moyer, Executive Director of the Backbone Campaign. “Those long ago affirmed rights and principles are incompatible with the corrosive ideas of corporate personhood and the subsequent rights being claimed for corporations, investors, and capital itself. The result isthat we are reducing everything and everybody else to commodities,including our planet, our democracy, and life itself. The RollingRebellion is calling for nothing less than a non-violent, second American Revolution against oligarchic power and the corporations that that oligarchy hide behind,” concluded Moyer.
Four years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United brought down the barriers to corporations buying American elections, a strong and broad based movement has emerged to challenge oligarchic rule. And as the influence of big money and corporate power grows, with April’s McCutcheon V. FEC ruling continuing to dismantle limits on campaign spending, the creativity, resolve and ranks of the Democracy Movement are growing as well.
The “Rolling Rebellion For Real Democracy” plans to use creative tactics like street theater,puppetry and light projection to showcase the breadth and diversity of this movement. From New Hampshire to Seattle activists are planning events to showcase the national movement and advance local campaigns.
“Our movement is diverse, but we all agree that a crisis of Democracy is atthe root of our problems and it’s time to solve it,” said Kevin Zeese,an organizer with Popular Resistance. “Inspired by America’s pre-revolutionary roots we recognize both the need to protest rule of the wealthy and to create real democratic alternatives from the ground up,” added Margaret Flowers, also with Popular Resistance.
In Denver, Colorado activists armed with prop torches and pitchforks will converge on the State Capitol to drive out “Corporate Persons” in a display of popular revolt.
Activists in Lexington Kentucky will march from the Estate of Henry Clay to the Estate of Mary Todd, giving public readings of the Declaration of Independence and Amendments to the U.S.Constitution, and holding a teach-in about efforts to Amend the constitution to declare that Corporations do not have the same rights as people.
Seattle, Washington activists will stage a street performance and procession featuring giant puppets of a “Corporoctopus” and Lady Liberty. Organized by WAmend, Washington’s Move to Amend Chapter, the event will kick off the next phase of the campaign to pass a ballot initiative directing the Washington Congressional Delegation to work towards a constitutional amendment declaring that Corporations do no thave the same rights as people.
We’re all aware that U.S. healthcare outcomes are still lagging way behind those of other countries, even though we’re spending twice as much.
Several states are now grappling with making healthcare a human right – a public good, not-for-profit.
Here in WA State, a coalition of organizations has come together determined to get this done. A federal waiver allowing states to become healthcare innovators will be available in 2017.
Please join us for our Physicians for a National Health Program, Western Washington Chapter, annual public meeting. Hear Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant talk about organizing for social justice in the age of austerity. Another speaker will emphasize the clear advantages of single payer healthcare in Canada and internationally. We’ll also hear about how the campaign for healthcare as a human right in Maine and other states can inform our actions here. There will be plenty of time for Q&A.
Summer and Akua and I have been working so hard on the policy side of our campaign, but we’ve been making great progress and in fact are happy to announce the following campaign deliverables that we will finish by the end of the summer:
1) We will create a carbon tax swap calculator that will allow Washington residents to enter a bit of information (zip code, household size, household income, etc.) and get an estimate of how much they will pay in carbon taxes, how much they will save in sales taxes, etc. The calculator tool will also include a Sankey diagram to provide an overview of our carbon tax swap policy.
2) We will complete an in-depth exploration of policy and legal alternatives, including actual ballot language from the Secretary of State’s office (as for example in the ballot language we got last month).
Stay tuned for more on all of this—and deliverables from other facets of the campaign—and if you’re keen on helping us work on either or both of these policy/legal fronts please let me know. (In particular: We are looking for an Olympia-based lawyer who is willing to file paperwork for us as needed in the months ahead. Nothing right now, and no actual involvement in litigation or anything—although we can talk about that too!—but for starters we would like to have a physical presence in Olympia in case we need to file things in person. If that’s you please holler!)
And to round out this email:
* Events: I’ll be doing a bit of comedy and talking carbon taxes at the Thurston County Progressive Network annual picnic and candidate forum on July 13.
* Past events: Last week Alex Lenferna, Vivian Weber, and I attended Governor Inslee’s Climate Taskforce meeting. The good news is that, as promised, there was a presentation on the BC carbon tax as well as on the CA cap-and-trade system. (Good summaries of both of these policies can be found via posts #1 and #4 on this Sightline carbon pricing blog series). The bad news is that the governor’s office has a clear preference for cap-and-trade. Here are comments from Alex Lenferna: “The governor’s office says they lean towards cap and trade because it offers certainty [of emissions limits], flexibility and linkage. While cap and trade can arguably deliver better on certainty, it’s not clear to me that it can deliver better on the other two. On the flexibility front it is clear that a carbon tax would deliver much better, as it puts a price on carbon and allows the market to decide how it wants to react, whereas a cap and trade the government has a much more active role in deciding who gets permits and how reductions must be made – often involving handing out free pollution permits to polluting industries, which grandfathers in dirty industries. With regards to linkage, while Washington could link up to California through a cap and trade, a tax on carbon also provide linkage to BC, and perhaps it makes more sense to link up to our neighbors. Plus linking up with a price on carbon is much easier than linking up to California’s rather complex system.”
* Readings: I recommend “B.C. put a price on carbon. What happened next will surprise you” and “Climate campaign can’t be deaf to economic worries, Obama warns”. And if you really want to get into the weeds on the Obama EPA power plant rule, the Georgetown Climate Center has lots of info on section 111(d) and more
As always, comments welcome on the blog!
One hundred fifty one years ago today the pivotal battle of the Civil War was fought, as Union soldiers succeeded in holding off Confederate charges on Little Round Top at Gettysburg. If the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment had been overrun by southern troops, the Confederacy may very likely have prevailed in the Civil War, embedding slavery even deeper into the fabric of our country.
I have been thinking about Gettysburg a lot over the past week. Just eight days ago, my 95-year-old father died, after a great and productive life. His great grandfather, Ira Meserve, was a union soldier wounded at Gettysburg, shot through both knees and not discovered until a couple of days later when the dead were being picked up off the field of battle. Ira survived, and our family still has the bullet that brought him down. Ira was one of 46,000 casualties of Gettysburg, including almost 8,000 dead.
President Abraham Lincoln declared, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”
And yet, when my father was born, the new birth of freedom for black Americans had been turned back by Jim Crow laws, lynchings, withholding of the franchise, and just plain mean discrimination, fear-mongering, and white-on-black violence.
Fast forward to 1964. Fifty years ago Freedom Summer was launched in Mississippi to attempt to register black citizens to vote. This threat of equality was met by terrorism from the white power elite. Four civil rights workers and three Mississippi blacks were killed, 80 Freedom Summer workers were beaten, 1,062 people were arrested, 67 churches, homes and businesses were bombed or burned.
Freedom Summer was part of the civil rights movement that led us to a new nation, in which racial equality was possible, indeed, the law. But underneath the cover of equality and the seemingly racial blindness of the law, a different reality has emerged. Another layer of disenfranchisement, discrimination, and outright kidnapping of democracy has taken place.
Ronald Reagan signaled the start of this new reality when he launched his campaign for the presidency at a county fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi, near where civil rights workers were murdered in 1964. Reagan promised to “restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them.” Welcome back, Jim Crow.
But Reagan was more sophisticated than this. He launched the War on Drugs in 1982, when the country was suffering through a recession and needed a scapegoat. Reagan targeted urban areas with large black populations. He increased the budgets of federal law enforcement by over tenfold, while slashing the budgets of agencies focused on drug treatment and prevention by 80 percent. With a series of Supreme Court decisions, we all lost significant constitutional rights regarding search and seizure, witness coercion, and legal representation. With a focus on drugs, but not drugs more habitually used by whites, the United States ramped up its policing. State and federal prisons now hold over 2.2 million people. Another 4 million are on probation. Almost another million are on parole. Altogether, over two and a half percent of the total population of our country are ostracized into a second-class caste, stripped of rights and responsibilities, and unable to vote. That includes almost one out of every 12 blacks.
The Civil War was a battle cry for freedom, not incarceration. And yet, we live in a country in which we deny six million Americans the right to vote. In Washington state, 30,000 people are incarcerated, 90,000 are on probation, and 8,000 are on parole. Of these, 53,000 are denied the franchise.
We like to think that we rehabilitate criminals, but we don’t. We punish them, we force them into a lower caste, and deny them the right to vote. As we celebrate our independence, we can draw a line from the Civil War and Gettysburg, to the Civil Rights Movement, and on into our own future. We can create a nation that indeed shall have a new birth of freedom, so we can realize a government of the people, by the people, for the people … including all of the people of our great country. It is our arc of history to make.