APC

An idea whose time may have come… Think on it and maybe act.

The twin party tyranny of Republican and Democratic Party (a.k.a. our party duopoly) is keeping the American people from having any say in their own affairs. At the same time, third parties have huge obstacles to overcome in the form of immense hurdles the duopoly erects as well as voter doubt concerning third party chances of winning big elections.

I tend to think that what we could use is an American People’s Coalition (APC) in which all the non-establishment, pro-people, anti-corruption candidates campaign together, edifying each other and offering for election a whole cabinet and a large chunk of Congress rather than just one presidential candidate and one political party, and where on the other end of things we, the ordinary Americans”, meet in bars, restaurants, parks, town halls, or community centers (in addition to online networking), educate each other on the pressing issues and visionary solutions to them, rev up our own discourse, agree on the priorities we all share regardless of traditional party lines and other divisions, and take over local party chapters and municipalities (the base of the political power pyramid) from which then can sprout our own candidates for higher offices with or without any central organization. The big money in politics, being spent on TV ads and mass media propaganda, we may be able to overcome, when we form such a movement, by simply knowing our characters personally or through word-by-mouth, and by volunteering to spread the word about them in our social circles and neighborhoods through talk, with yard signs, online, etc.

So, instead of rallying around a single candidate like Bernie Sanders in this presidential election year of 2016, when millions of us finally did rally, we could rally around the idea of cleaning house together under the banner and unifying title of the American People’s Coalition which – unlike a single person – could not be so easily murdered, intimidated, or outmaneuvered through election theft; acts which decapitate a movement which depends on a single leading figure or a very small group of leaders. Since the majority of the American people are being defrauded and denied lives worth living, we need AND CAN FORM a strong movement against the corruption in our politics and economy, not so easily decapitated and scattered, the way it happened with Bernie Sanders presidential nomination campaign.

We could hammer out a platform of widely approved and popular priorities, represent them with the three-word title of the American People’s Coalition, and all existing and emerging candidates for offices high and low could either run on this platform or not while we flood the meetings of the base of the political power pyramid and install our own candidates from among our midst there.

Contact me if you wish to talk about this or chime in on the associated Facebook Group. Otherwise just spread the idea. Power to the People!

Appendix

A. Here is a starting platform/list for discussion:

  1. Fix Our Democracy
  2. A Just Economy
  3. Universal Health Coverage and a strong Social Safety Net
  4. Improved Healthcare Services
  5. Fair Justice System
  6. No More Military Empire
  7. Transition to Clean & Green Energy
  8. National and State Programs for better Senior Living
  9. Public Education Reform

B. Here is an expanded list for discussion:

  1. Fix Our Democracy
    1. Prevent Political Corruption (switch to public campaign financing, etc.)
    2. Prevent Election Rigging (eliminate machine voting, etc.)
    3. Improve The Electoral System (e.g. ranked choice voting)
    4. Free the Press from its corporate shackles.
  2. A Just Economy
    1. Minimum Wage (prevents starving wages)
    2. Maximum Wage (prevents excesses of inequality): Say, nobody in a company can make more than ten times what anybody else in the company makes (wages,bonuses, etc. all added up, all prorated for full-time employment)
    3. Customs penalties instead of tax benefits for companies who send jobs overseas.
    4. A company rating system (perhaps with tax or subsidy benefits)
  3. Universal Social Safety Net
    1. Universal Healthcare (Medicare for all)
    2. Universal Retirement (improved Social Security), etc.
  4. Improved Healthcare Services
  5. Fair Justice System
  6. No More Military Empire
  7. Transition to Clean & Green Energy
  8. National and State Programs for better Senior Living
  9. Public Education Reform
    1. Tuition-free public education, K-University
    2. State tax (rather than local property tax) funded public schools.
    3. Public schools educating for life and democracy rather than meaningless tests and conformity.

C. Here is long sample for how a platform developed from discussion might look like (since this one did not result from discussion it may be too controversial for wide acceptance)

  1. Fix Our Democracy
    1. Prevent Political Corruption
      1. Install public campaign financing.
      2. Outlaw private campaign funding.
      3. Outlaw the revolving door between elected office and lobbying contracts.
      4. Outlaw (if still necessary) any other kinds of political bribes such as insider trading, lavishly paid speaking engagements, and slush funds.
      5. Install tight oversight and punish transgressions severely.
      6. Effective oversight over government contractors (and those who give them the contracts) to prevent gravy trains and sweetheart deals.
    2. Prevent Election Rigging
      1. If still necessary, define election fraud as treason.
      2. If still necessary, attach top incarceration penalties to election fraud, with no parole.
      3. Eliminate machine voting. Return to hand-counted ballot counting with full public transparency, incl. citizen inspectors and publicly running displays of the most current state of the count in every counting location. No counting behind closed doors or inside closed boxes. Possibly eliminate mail-in voting as well, except in cases where there is no other possibility, and then under very tight surveillance to avoid fictitious ballots. These are not necessarily the final word on optimal specs.
      4. Run reliable exit polls in all states. Admit international election inspectors.
      5. To eliminate gerrymandering and insignificance of many states in national elections, eliminate the electoral college. How many people voted for a party or candidate should count, not where they voted.
      6. Remove those who have a vested interest from control of the election process. Use professional, non-elected public servants instead of politicians to manage elections. They have more of a stake in doing their work correctly and little to no stake in the outcome.
    3. Improve The Electoral System
      1. Replace the current plurality voting with either ranked choice voting or score voting to eliminate “wasted votes”. (if your first choice candidate doesn’t win, your second choice is applied, so that the candidate desired by most voters wins even when their are “spoiler” candidates)
    4. Free the Press from its corporate shackles.
      1. Break up the Media Conglomerates (the 5 to 6 corporations that control almost all our information sources). Make such giant media corporations illegal again.
      2. Build up independent media. For example, create a People’s Syndicate to support a People’s Coalition by assisting citizen journalists with spreading news, analyses, ideas, and enabling participatory communication.
  2. A Just Economy
    1. Minimum Wage (prevents starving wages)
    2. Maximum Wage (prevents excesses of inequality): Say, nobody in a company can make more than ten times what anybody else in the company makes (wages,bonuses, etc. all added up, all prorated for full-time employment)
    3. Government run Social Safety Net (see Universal Social Safety Net below). (Thus everybody is covered AND businesses are relieved from the burden of delivery. Health insurance, pension, etc. are too much of a burden for business, especially small businesses which are thus disadvantaged in their competition with big businesses even as they create more jobs than big businesses do. This would help both workers and many employers, as well as the economy as a whole.)
    4. Collect social security payments from machines which replace human labor (well, from the machine owning businesses per such machine and from corporate net-profits otherwise) to help finance a growing social security net (even a guaranteed universal basic income perhaps) as machines replace more and more human labor. Thus we all can benefit from technological advancement in production and services, rather than having all capital shift to the super rich, the rest of us sinking into squalor, and our economy tanking as a result.
    5. A citizen’s dividend (a.k.a. universal basic income) giving us all a fair share of our national prosperity instead of letting it all go to a few rich “owners.” (see the previous point for financing possibilities)
    6. Customs penalties instead of tax benefits for companies who send jobs overseas.
    7. Laws that support rather than sabotage labor unions.
    8. Speculative suggestion: Offer government financing (coupled with governing board membership etc.) to startup businesses, but at the cost of private company ownership of such “public corporations”.
    9. Speculative suggestion: Implement a company rating system for evaluating companies on what they do well and what they do badly. “Public Corporations” as proposed in the previous list item would automatically subject to this. Private companies could adopt it voluntarily. It might be tied to tax or subsidy benefits.
    10. Speculative suggestion: Eliminate inheritance of privately companies. Anything bigger than a family business should be turned over to the workers when the original owner dies. His or her children didn’t build the company, usually. If they did help build it, the company staff now owning the company will probably be happy to keep them on, and they will own a part of it, as well, if they were part of the workforce.
    11. Speculative suggestion: Company shares for all workers, handled as national shares we can take with us from company to company and which (A) generate a residual income like currently mostly only rich folks receive, and (B) make us all co-owners of our workplaces with the power to have a voice in important decisions.
  3. Universal Social Safety Net
    1. Universal Healthcare (Medicare for all)
    2. Universal Retirement (social security retirement for all instead of pensions for some; and equal payout as opposed to adjusted to prior earnings (those who are lucky enough to earn much better than others can arrange for private IRAs etc.))
    3. Universal Accident, Liability, etc. insurance (within reason and not counteracting personal responsibility)
    4. Guaranteed Basic Income (as the economy transitions to more machine and less human labor, this may become both possible and necessary)
  4. Improved Healthcare Services
    1. Universal Healthcare (Medicare for all)
    2. Publicly run small clinics throughout the country (also in rural areas) where doctors work for salaries and don’t need to trouble themselves with running a small business and fighting health insurances.
    3. Affordable & Available Medication: regulating (but in turn also supporting) the pharmaceutical industry to prevent bloated drug prices (health racketeering) on one end but also make possible the development of small market drugs and vaccines which have high public health value but are often too risky and too low profit for companies to develop in a purely profit driven system (here basically government must become the customer subsidizing the R&D, offering prizes, guaranteeing a minimal purchase volume (e.g. of vaccines for storage in case of emergency) or such)
  5. Fair Justice System
    1. Ombudsmen who help citizens deal with overreaching government agencies.
    2. Public lawyers who are lawyers able to get public funding to represent people who can’t pay a lawyer when these citizens need legal advice or help litigating for their rights and have a just case to make. (so not just public defendants for the accused)
  6. No More Military Empire
  7. Transition to Clean & Green Energy
  8. National and State Programs for better Senior Living
    1. Dignified and (as far as possible) enjoyable senior living is not only a matter of money. It is also a matter of community, surroundings, accessibility to vital resources, friends, and families. Especially in a society top-heavy with elder members, this requires careful planning for optimization. Rather than prison- or hospital-like care homes, inadequate home care and homelessness, let’s maybe think along lines like retirement villages (if money suffices) or senior dormitories (if money is really tight), home-visiting doctors and other care givers, etc. — all in all, a flexible, financially and organizationally well managed palette of offerings in league with senior citizen organizations which have a say in making sure our elderly aren’t treated as mere products or objects by the institutions supposed to be serving them (respectively us since we are all headed this way).
  9. Public Education Reform
    1. Tuition-free public education, not just K-12 but also at the vocational school, college, and graduate school level. (in higher education, overly popular programs may have to apply selective admission qualifications)
    2. State tax (rather than local property tax) funded public schools. (prevents underfunded “ghetto schools”)
    3. A shift to schooling which fosters democratic habits, critical thinking, individuality, diversity, decent-minded responsible adults, and an informed citizenry rather than conformity, unquestioning obedience, and mindless memorization for meaningless tests, nor the school-to-prison pipeline for those who don’t conform.

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D. Links to initiatives with the goal of restoring/creating a healthy democracy in the U.S.:

 

E. Links to information sources:

  1. http://ballotpedia.org/
  2. https://www.opensecrets.org

 

F. Other possibly useful links:

 

G. Discussion Group on Facebook:

The People’s Platform (USA)

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