Early on in the Petunia/Bella 2010 campaign I bombarded Ken Silverstein, Washington Babylon‘s CEO and Editor-in-Chief, with some thoughts on what might work now to fix the extreme brokenness of the US political system and also how democracy has become an US trademarked variation, distributed along with aid and coups both corporate and military, abroad and away for the last 70 years or so.
Ken asked me to dash out my thoughts, so here goes!
US politics has devolved to an amalgam of social networking (eg, country club) or a dower, gleeless political distribution system partial to whatever group has made the necessary fixes to push it though (eg, two party system). Neither is designed to resolve the issues of the 47%, 75%, or 99%, but serve the distraction spectacle and marketing schemes of the 1% as they move effortlessly from thieving the wealth of other states and nations of people to an almost laser focus on acquiring what marginal comparative wealth is held by their fellow citizens.
How many years can flawed politics endure without riots in the streets and bombs in the sky? Let’s not wait and find out. Let’s elect a cartoon skunk instead.
One way we are instructed to experience US Democracy™ is the singularity of political issue. Tax rate. Mental Health. Social Security. Housing. Environment. As if these issues aren’t all related!
Until The People are able to wrap their minds around the interconnectedness of their grievances, they will be used to maintain an increasingly degenerative status quo. For example, the lack of taxes paid by billionaires and corporations, the fractions paid by millionaires, the roughly 20% of total income lost to taxes by workers making $35-100K does not add up to universal healthcare.
Let’s assume housing is healthcare (preventing loss of immunity sleeping in the elements, exposed to street & police violence, made mentally ill from the stress & deprivation). Further let’s suggest a basic income for everyone under a certain income/wealth cap, a sort of universal Social Security that assures one can pay rent and buy decent food (meaning a stipend above $1.40/meal, which is how EBT breaks down).
Then the rich must be taxed. Corporations must be taxed. Religious organizations must be taxed — because when government does the work of providing for citizens and residents, there is no need to rely on charity and the constitutional right to freedom of religion means that there is no need for special protection for any religious organization.
Singular, partisan issues serve only to buttress ruling class (1%) politics. In the pretense of serving special public interests each individual law is crafted to ultimately betray. It’s not always swift, but the wealth class has time to apply worthless snake oil and wait.
Consider how HARP forced so many folks who hadn’t already completely lost their homes to sell at a loss. Somehow those homes ended up in bulk purchases, often by neighborhood, in real estate deals where folks can now lease former homes for a wildly exaggerated rent but will never own another home of their own. That further segregates wealth and poverty, defines school districts, political precincts, coverage of police, fire, and medical services, education opportunities, and even access to fresh food.
Once a process like this is begun, where the masses are deprived of all ownership, of advocacy and political power/the means to change, how many generations will it take to rebuild a “middle class”? And should we be focused on rebuilding a middle class or a fulfilling, single tier society where basic needs are met by the government and the rest is up to individuals, subject to collective good?
Is the corporate-financed government promoting distracting wars so that the folks who will ultimately fight and die in them can first battle these manqué issues at home? What were the Charlottesville “marches” but this? “Proud boys,” “identarians,” “white nationalists,” a compote of poor, under-educated, folks lacking basic rights like healthcare and basic opportunities like a secure job and home ownership, in a spectacle of battle with anti-fascists, black bloc, and a dozen liberal-left spectrum political organizations.
What do YOU need, Citizen? Is it what the black bloc resisters need? What the constituencies of professional nazi organizers need? How will you make some congregation with these folks without blurring your issues?
My grand takeaways are that our joy as our needs change, hence our revolutions must be small and constant, which will ultimately become daily life. We need an alternative to spending hours on web shopping sites, reality TV and online false intimacy chatter rooms. Rather, allow regular check-ins with ourselves, our families, communities where we interact honestly, both to proactively address needs and build relationships where we not both work and enjoy life.
What are first steps?
Folks need more stakeholding than fighting “the opposition”, fighting with cops, fighting deep state. Through community and communalism come the language to express how individual and group needs need not be punitive but inclusive to all.
Suggestion: FLOWER POWER, the Petunia/Bella SuperPAC.
SuperPAC rules allow very broad spectrum legal use of monies -because they are a driver of elitist corruption. For this reason, The People should appropriate this system toward serving their collective goals.
SuperPACs are “independent expenditure-only committees” able to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals and spend unlimited sums in advocacy and/anti political candidates.
Does Petunia/Bella advocate for Universal Healthcare? Then let’s raise SuperPAC monies & establish a localised working micro-version of such a scheme where folks buy-in from $1-1000/year for basic, non-emergency healthcare. The end goal is not to become fundraisers, charitable institutions, nor privately run such programmes. Rather to illustrate how basic are such endeavours and ask why the US Government can spend trillions bombing folks from whom it faces no particular threat -nor I wager can most congresspeople locate on a map- but not care and support basic human rights and dignity of its own citizens and residents.
In other locations create similar neighbourhood purchases and restorations for housing. Food banks, basic income schemes, community workshops designed to intellectually empower -Howard & Roslyn Zinn Lecture Series anyone?
It means nothing to elect one “good” candidate. That person will be alone. The focus should be making government obligated to the service of The People. The above are a few of my talking points and ideas. They need collaboration, expansion, and tweeking. They must evolve as governments no longer do. An end result must be that to take a role in government has an expiration date. Single term limits mean more participation, create extinction systems for pork barrelling and profiteering.
Perhaps The People prefer the endless dichotomy of increasingly fascist administrations and increasingly chaotic (NOT anarchistic, nor even democratic) resistance. If you don’t, join this proactive and truly alternative campaign.
I’m With Petunia! 💮