Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Redoing the Constitution on Principles of Dignity and Justice

Dignity and Justice

Recently, our friends on the right have taken direct aim at provision of the Constitution that they don’t like, mostly amendments like the 14th, but opening the notion that the Constitution itself is outdated and should probably be “revisited.”

This has meant that many of those on the so-called Left, by default, must defend the Constitutional status quo, even though, many, like me, believe that the Constitution is an anachronism, faulty, and has long been an impediment to progress.

So what will happen -- regardless of whether there are any substantive revisions to the Constitution -- is that discussion of revision will take place from the right, primarily on the premise of 1) strengthening the executive, 2) curtailing or eliminating individual rights, 3) institutionalizing economic rule by the wealthy.

We might see a revision of the concept of “Law” to provide a Constitutional foundation for the long time practice of one Law for the rich, another -- and much harsher -- Law for everyone else. We might see a reversion to “States’ Rights” by which the several states may override Federal Law.

Whatever the case, our friends on the Right are not shy at all about re-doing the Constitution (or substituting the Confederate Constitution) to suit themselves.

Those on the Left bleat pathetically that “Things Are Fine As They Are. Leave the Constitution alone!!!”

But they’re not fine.

They haven’t been for a long time, if they ever were. And rather than a defensive posture, why not take an aggressive stance and demand changes to the Constitution that actually serve the interests of the People rather than letting the Rabid Right prattle about changes that would only serve the Oligarchy?

Peoples Dignity and Justice should be the principles on which a New Constitution is formulated, and we should not be the least bit shy about it and what’s needed.

We can start with the premise that the way things are isn’t working, and they aren’t working because of institutional rot on the one hand and Constitutional imperfection on the other. The way things are -- basically a very corrupted Imperial-Security State run by and for the profit of a very few individuals and interests -- is a direct product of the nature of the Constitution adopted in 1789.

So how would I change it?

  • First, abolish the Senate.

  • Second, abolish lifetime judicial appointments.

  • Third, expand the House of Representatives, by at least double, triple would be better.

  • Fourth, abolish the states.

  • Fifth, develop and implement autonomous regions in place of states.

  • Sixth, develop and implement economic as well as political rights.

  • Seventh, restrict and limit war-making powers ; institutionalize a defensive military subject to civilian control.

  • Eighth, restrict and limit the national executive authority .
  • Ninth, abolish all courts, departments, agencies and bureaus of the current Federal government and replace them only as necessary and as authorized by the representatives of the People.

  • That’s a start.

    Just a start.

    If these Constitutional revisions (actually, re-writing the whole thing) were considered on the basis of common human rights, dignity and justice, we'd see a transformed American experiment in self-determination and self-government.

    The time has come...

    (Note, I'm traveling at least until next week. Posting here may therefore be limited.)


    1. Looking forward to more of that start when you have time, Che Pasa...


    2. P.S.

      I posted excerpts of this post at UT and told them that I thought it was a "to be continued" entry...


    3. Che,

      I agree that the Constitution as written has faults.

      The problem, as I see it, is that the bad guys and their ideas, have more votes than you, or I, do and in any convention to change things, should be understood to have the ability to make things worse from your point of view.

      I do not see how it would be possible to make any of the changes you suggest. If 'single payer' cannot even be considered, then it would be impossible for these ideas to be seriously considered, too.

      It's my understanding that the confederacy is what they wanted, on the whole, a slave state, which, it seems, is what we have in the world, at the moment. And so, changing things will not be a matter of just starting up some petition.

    4. Well, Steven,

      Petitions aren't going to do it. None of the standard practices will accomplish anything except around the margins. And that rarely.

      An Article V Constitutional Convention may come regardless. There have been calls for it on the right and the left. And they are getting louder.

      For the time being, the rightists are content with "opening the discussion" -- and this leaves the "left" pathetically sputtering about preserving the status quo. So the parameters are already set:

      The right is the innovative, creative, forward-movement party; the left is the stick-in-the-mud, reactionary, resistant-to-change, status quo party.


      More than that, by "opening the discussion" the rightists are changing the Constitution to their liking as we speak.

      It's quite remarkable to witness.

      All I'm trying to do at this point is point out that one doesn't have to be either reactive or protect the status quo. One can actually push in the opposite direction rather than try (and largely fail) to stay in place.

      It's going to take time and a catalyst to move the discussion where it needs to be, though.