Thursday, November 30, 2017

Vision for a Congress of the People

The first five months of the Trump administration have confirmed our worst assumptions about the 2016 elections. In this brief period, the Trump administration has unleashed an all-out assault on the rights of working people, oppressed nationalities, women, the LGBTQ communities, the undocumented, and those who struggle for peaceful solutions to the world’s problems.

Trump’s actions in this short period have foretold how he intends to “make America great again.” He has appointed an Attorney General who has made it clear that he intends to restrict voting rights and strip victims of police violence of legal recourse. He has appointed a Secretary of Education who is an avowed opponent of public education. He has appointed a Secretary of Health and Human Services who is determined to strip millions of U.S. citizens of access to decent health care, including reproductive rights. This list goes on.
Clearly the people of the U.S. are facing the most critical, all-sided attack on their democratic rights in a generation. Discussions will continue over what led to the Trump election. What is clear from the discussions so far is that the issues of racism, sexism, and the weaknesses of the Democratic Party are all major problems that need to be addressed by the Left.
What is also clear is that recent events have confirmed Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Demonstrations of over two million (worldwide) occurred on the day after Trump’s inauguration. In nearly every major city in the U.S., people took to the streets to demonstrate their opposition to Trumps agenda – taking on the moniker of “The Resistance.” This spontaneous reaction to Trump’s agenda is promising, but without organization it will be limited.
In 1955 in South Africa, a call was made for a Congress of the People to strengthen the struggle against apartheid and lay out a vision for a democratic future. The Congress met in Kliptown and the result was the Freedom Charter.
We believe it is time initiate a process for a Congress of the People in the United States. We envision this as a gathering of “The Resistance,” taking as its starting point the Democracy Charter, a document developed by longtime civil rights leader Jack O’Dell, which lays out a broad programmatic outline for a substantive democracy.
The Democracy Charter
I.        A national commitment to end homelessness during this next decade;
II.     A national commitment to an economy of full employment, at socially useful jobs, and a livable wage as public policy;
III.   The right to an environment free of bigotry, violence, and intolerance as an expression of our nation’s irreversible commitment to human rights, including full recognition of reproductive rights and the rights of gays and lesbians;
IV.  The doors of learning open to all, from early childhood education through college, as a public trust;
V.     A new foreign and military policy as an expression of our nation’s character;
VI.  Universal health insurance coverage (Single-Payer Model);
VII.            A Social Security system with firm and undiminished integrity;
VIII.         A farm economy restructured to rest on family and cooperative enterprise;
IX.   A prison system accountable to the public for fulfilling its charge as a center for rehabilitation;
X.     Restoration, preservation, and protection of the quality of our natural environment as a vital social inheritance for future generations to use and enjoy;
XI.   Expanded public ownership and management of resources strategic to the health of our nation’s economy;
XII.            The right to know that every vote will be counted – a guarantee that is an inseparable part of the right to vote;
XIII.          The airwaves maintained as national public property.
Issued by the Democracy Charter Committee: Jim Campbell, Tim Johnson, Mildred Williamson, Mark Solomon, Anne Mitchell, Pat Fry, Karl Kramer, Janet Tucker, Erica Carter, Meta Van Sickle
For more information contact the Committees of Correspondence Education Fund, Inc.

2576 Broadway, #201, NY, NY 10025    646.578.3609   edfund@coced.org

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