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Forum Post: Occupy should push for Voters deciding Federal Referendums

Posted 1 year ago on Sept. 14, 2013, 4:24 p.m. EST by NotRockefellerTheOtherFella (38)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

If there is one idea above all the public in America would Overwhelmingly support it is Public Voting on Federal Referendums. Occupy should push hard for this. Direct Democracy would interfere with today's Political hierarchy and empower the population.

A huge majority of the population is disgusted with politics. Especially after Syria, people are rallying together with some common themes. 'Let's fix America, instead of attacking other countries", "The people are powerless", "Our govt ignores the will of it's people", "Our govt does nothing to help us", "We need to make changes", etc. The vast majority of people would support their intervention. Forcing things to happen in our "Do nothing govt".
Imagine if the public voted for Annual Federal Referendums. Brought forth by populous petitions signed by five million voters(or,#?).

  • For instance the "2014 U.S. Federal Referendums"

  • Term limits for politicians(no more career politicians).

  • Public funding for Federal Elections.(funded by a tax on Wall st transactions) Campaigning limited to Six months only.

  • Regulations/Restrictions on private ownership of Press/MSM news entities.

  • Those seeking to become Public Servants must do so to serve their people. They cannot be affiliated or influenced by Political parties, Think tanks, coalitions, councils, commissions or foreign entities, etc.

  • Balanced budget amendment

  • It is illegal for the govt to surveil any citizen without due process by a transparent judical process.

  • Far greater oversight, regulation, transparency and record keeping of lobbying activies.

10 Comments

10 Comments


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[-] 1 points by Earthian (3) from Seattle, WA 1 year ago

There has never been a national referendum in the United States, not even to elect our president. The Electoral College system insures that the two corporate bought-and-paid-for parties control who becomes president, not the American people. This idea of national referendums is a very good, very powerful process, one that could bring about a democracy in America. I measure that goal by a process that would create national policies that came to match national public opinion in a dynamic of self-correcting processes through elections and constitutional amendments. At the state level and in many actually democratic nations across the Earth, national referendums have achieved reasonably good, effective democracies. See the work in Electoral System Design at idea.int. National referendums can pass laws and amendments proposed by initiative-and-petition, or convention; can recall officials; and can reject laws. Thanks for writing this excellent post NotRockerfellerTheOtherFella. Bravo!

To this list above I'd add a democracy bill of rights that would include a referendum-based process for proposing and passing constitutional amendments; a multi-party system (like MMP or STV) for creating a legislature that becomes a mirror of and microcosm of the people; and many more . . .

[-] 0 points by NotRockefellerTheOtherFella (38) 1 year ago

Earthian, you obviously have given great thought and have extensive knowledge about National referendums. I compliment your idea for a "democracy bill of rights".

To me National referendums seem like the only timely way to intervene in the intractable usurpation of our present Govt. The Federal govt has become far too powerful for state referendums to be enough anymore. Most of our future's demise is dependent on federal policies(Spending/Deficit burden, Industrial to service based shift, MIC, Neoliberalism, Perpetual wars. Crony capitalism, Sovereignty, Constitution law, etc)

With increasing speed and determination, our corporate owned govt is acting to diminish the rights and freedoms of the people. I think we have far less time than people think to peaceably, or otherwise, enact change. The pace of political change has hastened. We no longer have the luxury for slow change. We need some degree of direct democracy that can transform our corrupt system before too much damage is done.

[-] 0 points by Earthian (3) from Seattle, WA 1 year ago

I agree with all you say. I think it is prudent to begin to write key amendments; to look at how states and other nations design and amend their constitutions and governmental designs, and to organize our own strategies for change at the national level. That way, when we reach the tipping point where environmental and economic chaos looms or dictatorship becomes the likely path, a well-thought-out democratic revolution becomes preferable to either chaos or dictatorship. It is best to be ready when the moment arrives. We need lots of people willing to read the books and articles about problems in the national government and the kinds of changes in our Constitution that can fix those problems. We need lots of people to engage in discussions about how to improve our nation; the nature of sovereignty; and the procedures of sovereignty.

I like these writers:

Seth Ackerman—Burn the Constitution (artidle online) Daniel Lazare—Frozen Republic; The Velvet Coup; and http://daniellazare.com Steven Hill—10 Steps to Improve American Democracy, http://steven-hill.com/ Larry Sabato—A More Perfect Constitution Akhil Reed Amar—For the People (argues for amending outside of Article 5) Sanford Levinson—Our Undemocratic Constitution and Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance Justice Stevens—Review of Levinson's book Framed in the New York Review of Books. Jerry Fresia—Toward An American Revolution

I hope these references are helpful. I find them well-informed and inspiring.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5853) 1 year ago

"If there is one idea above all the public in America would Overwhelmingly support it is Public Voting on Federal Referendums."

There are 24 ballot initiative states in which legislatures granted their state's voters the right to vote on state issues. The people of these states had never agitated for such a right and the people of the other 26 states have likewise never agitated for such a right. If people wanted to, they could effect major change in half the country through state initiatives on one hand and affidavits for political candidates through trans-partisan cooperative voting on the other. http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/ The People have never shown an interest in engaging in either of these opportunities just as no activist organization has ever shown an interest in pursuing the prospect of the People engaging in either of these opportunities. Establishing state banks in half the country and public municipal banks throughout the country would go a long way in depriving Wall Street of its power while benefiting everyone else and it would only involve the engagement of the initiative process already available to the People. Establishing a national credit union and mutual insurance company along with either cooperative or public hospitals would also go along way in depriving Wall Street of its power while benefiting everyone else who desires an adequate health care system not subject to political whims. http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-cooperative-union/ Even cooperative and public city universities could be established throughout the country to deprive Wall Street investors of their financial control over higher education.

But as can be plainly seen, the People are not interested in engaging in such matters nor has any activist group shown any interest in actually pursuing such matters. If we only look to the example of public television, we can already see the degree of the public's lack of financial support for their own interests that is automatically filled by the Koch brothers and other corporations pursuing their own agendas through public media.

On no level does the American public demonstrate an actual interest in public control just as no activist group has ever shown an actual interest in getting the American public nationally interested in pursuing important issues that can be established through the means of public control already available.

[-] 1 points by Earthian (3) from Seattle, WA 1 year ago

To understand the history of how state-level innovations in direct democracy came about, one can read a book about it. It is by John Dinan. It is called "The American State Constitutional Tradition." It documents that American states have conducted 233 state constitutional conventions; passed 12000 constitutional amendments; and rewritten over 150 state constitutions. That is why over half our states exercise many processes of direct democracy. Through state level constitutional conventions, the American people have often exercised their interest in making government at the state level better. We the people have a long history of doing this, directly. We could, if we woke up to this inherent right, do the same at the national level, creating a peaceful, non-violent, political revolution in direct democracy in America. I've written a lot about this. So have several other writers I know.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5853) 1 year ago

So, what do you think of my proposal for a FreeDA political party?

http://occupywallst.org/forum/bank-of-america-trying-to-kill-off-credit-unions/#comment-1003504

[-] 1 points by Earthian (3) from Seattle, WA 1 year ago

Third parties and voters in our two-party system need to find a way to escape the paradox in which they find themselves. ideological purity and political impotence versus pragmatic lesser-evil voting and ideological betrayal.

A good review of such a way out is here:

http://www.zcommunications.org/third-parties-by-jerry-fresia.html

We need an informed, thoughtful critique of the American constitutional system as it is, and solutions as amendments.

I prefer amendments that are tested in the real world, either as features of our state constitutions, or as features of existing national governments. There is a real wealth of knowledge in both domains.

For example, we need an amending process at the national level that defines procedures for initiative-and-petition-and-referendum, and election/selection-convention-referendum.

Montana's amending article may be a good model, as well as those of other states (Oregon) and other nations (Switzerland, New Zealand).

That said, a party designed to critique and improve the national system, thoughtfully developed, with real expertise, is an idea I'd support. Amendment-writing is a skill that requires some knowledge of how courts interpret amendments; the flaws in the existing system; corrections for those flaws based on proven processes; and what the public actually wants.

I like Sanford Levinson's proposal for a publicly funded convention, such as electoral design conventions conducted recently in Ontario and British Columbia, Canada. See his book "Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance."

Having a constitutional amendment defining initiative-petition-referendum as well as convention-referendum at the national level is the one amendment that matters the most to unlock the iron cage of Article Five's amending process for governmental entities. We need an amending process that involves the voting age citizens to exercise our will directly, as the fifth item on your list suggests.

More on sovereignty and thinking our way out of our Constitutional dictatorship of the corporate plutocrats can be found here here:

http://daniellazare.com

and

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/oct/11/should-we-have-new-constitutional-convention/?pagination=false

Plus I've written extensively on this.

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

There are many here among us that say don't vote at all.

I expect the calls to eschew voting to increase as "voting season" approaches.

Thankfully, they are merely shills, for what, I don't know.

OWS is not anti voting, quite the opposite.

http://www.occupy.com/article/got-election-protection-agenda-americas-voting-future