The coming constitutional convention train-wreck redux
I want to expand on what I have previously written about the coming constitutional convention train-wreck. Briefly, The Young Turks have created an organization to get money out of politics by means of a constitutional convention, Wolf PAC. The Koch brothers are also working to call a constitutional convention. In my judgement, if such a constitutional convention were called today the result would be the complete destruction of liberty, and indeed ALEC is organizing it for precisely that purpose.
So it should not surprise us to learn that the notorious conservative plutocrat Buddy Roemer has given $4 million seed money to The Young Turks. Now I like The Young Turks, I watch them and I encourage others to do so. But this is a clear indication of which way the wind is blowing. Maybe Roemer’s only concern is getting money out of politics. Or maybe, just maybe, he wants a constitutional convention for other reasons and considers this a clever move to bring it about.
So how did we get here? Our constitution is an 18th century document designed by men to protect themselves both from absolute monarchy and the mob, because they feared both. So while it created a strong executive, there are significant checks on Presidential power. While it empowers the people through the electoral process, it protects us from the mob by means of the Bill of Rights and due process of law. It has served us remarkably well. But it is hopeless to protect us against the tyranny of finance capitalism. Even the wisest of our forbears could scarcely have conceived of titanic (and I use the word advisedly) powers such as Wall Street or the surveillance economy of Silicon Valley.
When I was growing up my father told me that there would never be another Great Depression because of the protections that Roosevelt put in place. But plutocrats have spent the last seventy years chipping away at those protections. They have not completely dismantled the New Deal, but they have stripped enough of it away to have brought about the Crash of 2008 and its devastating aftermath. Now they are using their enormous wealth to destroy what is left of our democracy (to say nothing of planet earth).
Let us be clear as to who are are talking about. We are not talking about millionaires who fly first class. We are talking about billionaires who maintain their own fleet of private aircraft. We are talking about the malefactors of vast wealth.
It is not enough to make policy changes, if it were the New Deal would still be intact and even improved upon. Instead it is hanging on by a thread.
So what would constitutional protections against finance capitalism look like? You would have to know more about economics, Wall Street, and constitutional law than I do to know how to devise such protections, but clearly that is what is needed.
But first we need to mobilize for such a revolution, for that is what I am talking about. We need to do several things all at the same time. We need political multi-tasking. First we need to organize every sector of civil society, not just electorally, but all of our institutions. That means we need to talk to our friends, family, and neighbors, even our acquaintances at the dog park, about what is happening in our country and what needs to be done. We need to think big, because the plutocrats have a giant head start on us.
We need to delay, as long as possible, any such constitutional convention, until we are confident that leftists will control such a convention. We need to have a program when we walk into that convention.
We need to study the revolutions of Eastern Europe in 1989, the Costa Rican revolution in 1948, and all revolutions that gave citizens a better way of life.
Most crucially we need to recognize the gravity of our crisis, which is the greatest since the Civil War. We need to understand that the plutocrats are attacking our entire planet and we need to defend ourselves in such a way that leaves us off better than before. The means determines the ends.