Political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY Series, Episode 1, Draft Script
Episode 1: Series Overview.
[Introduction] The forthcoming series introduced here presents a detailed proposal for the constitutional and legislative infrastructure needed for a more just successor system to the present capitalist system. The successor system that we propose is neither one of a “state-less”, anarchist-localist model, nor any variant of the presently-prevalent “Big Government” state-capitalist model. The central focus of this series is the achievement of greater social justice.
[video accompaniment: minimize face-time, using footage of demonstrations, photos of NASA surveillance equipment; photos of prominent plutocrats, photos of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, militarized local police deployments, overcrowded prisons, etc.]
What we will propose, in this series, is a system based upon grass-roots ‘political-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY’, extending the rule of law tradition. Its implementation is to be sought, in a scaling-up fashion, starting on the municipal scale, and extending, ultimately and sequentially, to the county, state, regional, and national scales, and, eventually, to the international scale. All of these scales of implementation are to be achieved by entirely lawful, legislative reform and constitutional amendment means, not by any hyper-costly and failure-prone path of bloody, law-less, violent revolution, which would also potentiate the new dictatorships to which that path tends to lead: “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss”.
We do not claim, in any way, that what we propose, once implemented, would produce a “perfection”, or a “heaven on Earth”. Reality is imperfection. But we do hold that the successor system we propose would produce a majority life far better than what the majority suffers today. It represents, we hold, the next step in the evolution of democracy, in the evolution of human wealth, and in the evolution of collective human happiness.
We are consciously seeking, in designing the legal infrastructure for this successor system, to resuscitate the “checks and balances” and “countervailing powers” founded in the Constitution of the United States. This design is, in particular, targeted to resuscitate the subverted political checks-and-balances of the U.S. Constitution -- subverted by a hyper-concentration of wealth that can buy out, and that, arguably, has bought out, all three branches of political government, and yoked them all to a singular, dictatorial directorate.
The way to the resuscitation of these political checks and balances, we hold, is by adding new, grassroots-democratic, ‘economic checks and balances’.
We are also, thereby, consciously aiming to achieve a synthesis of the, “divided and conquered”, “left versus right” conflict that has lately engulfed, and incapacitated, the people and the politics of the United States, of Western Europe, and beyond.
Our aim is to present a constitutional and social design for a successor system that will appeal to the majorities of these electorates, “right”-leaning and “left”-leaning alike, and that will ultimately prove far more satisfying to their instincts, and to their social desires, than the traditional models that presently paralyze both leanings.
This successor system is designed to be more democratic, more respectful of individual liberty, more in accord with the rule of law, more observant of property rights, and more observant of human rights, than capitalism today is, than it ever was, and than it ever even could be.
For the sake of clarity, we call this successor system-design by the names ‘Generalized Equity’, and ‘Political-Economic Democracy’. We call the social, political, economic, and legal process that implements this successor system by the name ‘The Equitarian Reform-Revolution’.
This “Reform” is a “revolution”, not in the sense of violence in the streets, but in the sense that, if implemented, by the legally-expressed will of the majority, it would change the fundamental socio-economic relationship of the majority of individuals in our society, to their sources of livelihood.
It would change their primary social relation from that of “capital-only equity”. That exclusive form of equity means, for a minority, the ownership, for example, of financial shares in the assets, hence profits, of capitalist enterprises. For the majority, it means a primary social relation of wage-labor, or of salaried labor, in enforced service to that capital-equity, and to its profitability, without any share in that profitability.
It would change that primary social relation to that of ‘generalized equity’. That means a system of all-citizens, universal, inclusive equity properties and rights, by way of instituting three new, additional forms of all-citizens equity.
It also means not outlawing, but including -- and also containing the downsides of -- the old kind of equity, capital equity; equity for capital-owners only.
The social impetus that has led us to this design is part of a growing recognition of the increasing failures of “actually-existing capitalism”. We will, in the course of this series, delve deeply into the many dimensions of those growing failures of “actually existing capitalism”.
These failures include the imposition of ever more severe global recessions and depressions, and the promulgation, by the capitalist ruling class, of a “people are pollution” ideology that puts the majority of humanity in their cross-hairs.
We will also introduce you, perhaps for your first time, to the dynamical “law of motion” of this actually-existing capitalism, the dynamic that unifies these many problematic dimensions as their singular -- albeit difficult to discern -- root cause. We name this law ‘the law of the tendency of the rate of reproduction of capital’. By capital reproduction, we mean the continual production of, and investment of past profits in, new, for example, fixed capital plant and equipment, to replace the old fixed capital, that has been consumed in the process of production, or that has become competitively, technologically obsolete. By the rate of that reproduction, we mean the periodic ratio of that new capital value added to the old capital value, already accumulated and demanding its equitable share of profits.
This series will also introduce you to the concept of an ‘ascendence phase’ of the capitalist system, followed by its ‘descendence phase’. The former, ‘ascendence phase’, is already behind us in history past. The latter, ‘descendence phase’ is the phase that surrounds and permeates and dominates our lives today. During the ‘ascendence phase’, now passed, the tendency of that rate of reproduction of capital was to rise. From the beginning of the ‘descendence phase’, which now engulfs us, the tendency of that rate of capital reproduction is to fall.
In response, the owners of concentrated capital, threatened, due to that waning rate of reproduction of their capital, with the non-reproduction of their power, and, due to that loss of power, threatened also with the loss of all of the “perks” of their rule, thereby, of course, institute -- largely in a stealth mode -- extreme measures, in an attempt to reverse that fall, unfortunately in ways which threaten the livelihoods, and the very lives, of the majority class.
A key aspect of this ‘descendence phase’, and of its specific “law of motion”, is the growing tendency of ‘descendence phase’ capitalism to drive toward state-capitalist, police-state, state-terrorist and totalitarian, genocidal, permanent-war, “national security” dictatorship.
George Orwell perceived this tendency with unsurpassed clarity. He warned us about it in his famous novel, 1984. President Eisenhower, himself a former General of the U.S. Army, also perceived this threat. He warned the people of the U.S., in his Presidential Farewell Address, of the danger to democracy inherent in the emerging “military-industrial complex”, his name for it.
Some symptoms of this tendency to totalitarianism include a declining investment in public education, and a “dumbing down” of what education remains, an increase in punitive social control, such as escalating rates of incarceration, and in police militarization and armed forces imperial militarism, an increase in internet censorship of all forms of free expression, an increase in the seemingly permanent military invasion of other nations, and an increase in the electronic surveillance of all citizens’ communications and financial transactions, without even the slightest pretence of probable cause justification.
In the transition from feudalism and monarchy to capitalism, in the fight against the brutal feudal “ancien régime”, and in the early history of capitalism -- during capitalism’s ‘ascendence phase’ -- many capitalists fought heroically for greater individual liberty.
They fought for the expansion of suffrage, and, ultimately, for universal adult suffrage, for freedom of speech, for freedom of the press, for the right of the people to bear arms as a potential check against abuses of power by their government, for freedom of religion and prohibition of the establishment of any religion by the state, for the rule of law, as opposed to arbitrary rule by “aristocratic” kings and cults of personality, for human rights such as the right of the assembly of citizens to petition their government for redress of grievances, for trial by juries of peers, for the right to privacy, and for the right to the protection of liberty and property by due process of law.
But with the turn into the ‘descendence phase’, the most powerful faction of the ultra-wealthy capitalist ruling class seems to have turned against all of this, and appears to be driving toward dictatorship. We will, in this series, trace back to the root cause of this turn, finding it in the “law of motion” already mentioned.
This tendency to totalitarianism is rooted partly in a corollary of that “law of motion” -- in its subsumed law of capitalist competition. Competition leads, not primarily to the reproduction of competition, but to the negation of competition -- to oligopoly and monopoly. Extreme capital wealth ownership concentrates increasingly, and into ever fewer hands.
And those ever fewer hands may act to undermine the political checks and balances, that, alone, when they function as intended, help mightily to protect democracy from degenerating into tyranny.
But with sufficient concentration of gargantuan capital monetary wealth, the ever fewer owners of that wealth can “buy out” all three political branches of government, in a “hostile takeover”, overriding the intended ‘inter-mutually’ restraining and “countervailing” powers of those three political branches of political government.
The houses of legislature become houses for the rubber-stamp approval of the agendas of the owners of that hyper-concentrated capital wealth.
The also-compromised executive branch becomes an agency promoting the interests of those ever fewer, and ever more dominant, capital owners, against the interests of the majority.
The judiciary branch becomes an enforcer of the interests of that same capital-controlling hyper-minority.
The “free” press, the media in general, also owned and controlled mainly by that oligarchy, become agents of the propaganda, and of the “divide-and-conquer” ideologies, engineered by that plutocratic “1%-of-the-1%”. These ideologies are designed to psychologically impair and to disempower the majority class. Race, religion, and any other discernible differences within the majority population become means for these media to “balkanize” the population into ever smaller divisions, with mutual hatreds cultivated by those media among them all.
This hyper-concentration of capital equity wealth ownership, and this growth of oligopoly and monopoly, contains the potential for the subversion of the political checks and balances that preserve liberty.
However, they do not fully explain, in our view, why the strongest faction of the ultra-wealthy seems to have opted to use that potential to actualize dictatorship.
While it is true, in our view, that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, we think that this concentrated power of the uppermost capitalists is not sufficient to explain what has happened, and what is happening now. We detect something more desperate in the über-ruling-class reaction to their potential for near-absolute power. We will address, in this series, the root cause of that desperate anti-democratic agenda as well. To do so, we will have to unearth much of the hidden history of the late 19th century, and of the 20th century.
The three “Pillars” of the successor system that this series will present -- each of which is to be both a newly-recognized, fundamental, constitutional, human right, and also a new kind of, constitutionally-protected, universal, all-citizens property right, are named by us (1) ‘Citizens Externality Equity’, (2) ‘Citizens Birthright Equity’, and (3) ‘Citizens Stewardship Equity’.
These new constitutional rights, and their enabling institutions, are designed to advance both the liberty and the prosperity of the vast majority of the population, and to provide risk management to the individuals and families making up that majority, against the “market failures” and the other mortal hazards to which contemporary capitalism increasingly exposes us, but against which it offers us no effective remedies.
SOME EXPECTED QUESTIONS, AND OUR RESPONSES.
We have stated, and responded to, key ‘FAQs’ we anticipate listeners and viewers will want answered. We encourage you to send your actual questions, if not covered by these FAQs, incivilities excluded.
Expected Question: How would this new system impact individuals?
Response: An individual citizen of the majority class would no longer be just “capital-fodder”, valued only for work that makes profit for capitalists, and otherwise discarded. Each individual would be a valued part of the community, with material proof of that valuing in the form of a ‘Citizen Birthright Equity Social Trust Fund’, plus a right to pursue a ‘Stewardship Equity’ alternative to a wage or salary relationship to that citizen’s livelihood, and a voting right to limit the imposition of externalities upon that citizen by capitalist or Stewardship enterprises.
Expected Question: How would this new system impact business?
Response: Citizens would have an option to pursue ‘collective self-employment’, and ‘collective entrepreneurship’, via ‘Stewardship Equity’, as well as to pursue traditional capitalist wage work and salaried work relationships with remaining capitalist firms. The economic “checks and balances” of market competition would be conserved and, in fact, expanded. Competition among capitalist firms would be supplemented by competition among ‘Stewardship Cooperatives’, as well as by competition between ‘Stewardship Cooperatives’ versus remaining capitalist firms.
Expected Question: What would be the status of private property within this successor system?
Response: Private property rights would be retained, not outlawed. They would also be supplemented, by new kinds of property rights. These would include ‘collective property rights’, such as ‘Externality Equity’ voting rights. These would also include new ‘personal property rights’, such as the right to a ‘Birthright Equity Social Trust Fund’. These would include ‘social property rights’, such as the right to the stewardship and usufruct of the means of production of a Socialized Producers’ Cooperative per the ‘Stewardship Equity’ property right. And these would include the ‘individual property right’ of a Steward of a ‘Stewardship Cooperative’ to that Steward’s individual membership in the undergirding ‘Stewardship Collective’ of that cooperative.
Expected Question: What is the extent of government reform that would have to occur to institute this new system?
Response: For the United States, the reforms would extend to several constitutional amendments, plus the institution of an “intermediate” level of law in the form of an enabling law ‘constitutional annex’. The latter would be less difficult to amend than the Constitution, but more difficult to amend than a Congressional statute. We will make our drafts of these proposed enactments available to our readers and viewers in the course of this series.
Expected Question: What level of consensus would people have to achieve to make this new system happen?
Response: For the United States, the majority class would have to be convinced -- despite all of the plutocracy’s media opposition, and their engineering of “divide-and-conquer” ideologies -- that “actually existing capitalism” is failing, and that what we call ‘revolutionary reform’ is necessary, in the form of the constitutional amendments and enabling legislations that constitute ‘The Equitarian Reform’.
Expected Question: What organizations stand in the way of implementing this new system?
Response: All of the organizations that are the organs of the increasingly democracy-subverting, plutocratic, dictatorial rule of the minority class of dominant capitalists. These include some organizations that are secret, and some that are public, including the major mass media organizations, the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York Council on Foreign Relations, the Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the “Democrat” Party, the traditional “Republican” Party, etc. They also include large swaths of the “standing bureaucracy”, that survives any national election, in the Federal Executive branch, and that typically represent the growing proto-police-state infrastructure of “our” government -- the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, various “Black Ops” organizations, and the industries and lobbies which prosper off of the burgeoning “National Security State” and “Military-Industrial Complex”, as well as Pentagon-equipped, hyper-militarized local police forces.