I’ve been cooperating with John Mulkins, the original founder of the website http://peoplescongress.org.
I fully support him and those with whom he has been working. I’ve written a draft of a mission and vision statement for the People’s Congress.
The writing in this draft arises from years of study of electoral systems, and ongoing dialogue with and/or study of the work of several brilliant progressive constitutional scholars, including Dan Lazare, Sanford Levinson, Larry Sabato, John Dinan, Christian Fritz and Steven Hill.
I’ve also been in dialogue with other leaders, scholars and activists including Seth Ackerman, Laura Bonham, Joe Brewer, Noam Chomsky, Jeffrey Clements, David Cobb, Charles Derber, Martin Henn, Jim Herrmann, David Korten, Karen Lindvig, John Schuster, Rick Staggenborg, Paul Street, and several others interested in constitutional, electoral, system change.
The draft I’ve written is below. I welcome comments about it, either here, or directly to me privately at email@example.com
The People’s Congress
We ordain and establish the People’s Congress to represent ourselves, as Americans, as one people, to enable us to alter our government to these ends:
– To exercise the self-evident sovereignty of the American people over our government and our Constitution
– To secure life and liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness; our general welfare, domestic tranquility and the common defense
– To alter our national government’s structure and dynamics to make a more perfect union so the public policies of our national government come to match the public opinion of our citizens
– To bring about the rule of law in fairly enforcing domestic, electoral and foreign policies
– And to enable the democratic majority of the American people to end the tyranny of the illegitimate rule of wealthy plutocrats and despotic corporations
We will fulfill our mission in several phases. These include but are not limited to:
– Constituting the People’s Congress with a group of founders, representatives, and members, acting as an interim assembly and people’s organization
– Designing its Bylaws to form itself as a legitimate Amendment 1 Deliberative Assembly of the American people
– Constituting the People’s Congress with representatives of the American people in one of two ways: by election, through free, fair and proportional national elections, or through the jury process by choosing members randomly from each congressional district and other unrepresented groups of Americans.
– Deliberating about the problems and grievances, undemocratic features and missing democratic features and processes of both our current national government and within our second and current Constitution.
– Imagining that we will draw from the innovations in our own state constitutions, as well as those of successful democratic nations. We will consider a range of innovations for improving our government, including the following:
- Instituting dynamic processes for popular control of our government including Initiative, petition and referendum for amending the Constitution; recalling officials; overturning laws; and passing laws
- Creating proportional representation in the House and Senate; eliminating disproportional representation in the Senate
- Looking at the responsibilities of the House, Senate, Supreme Court and the Presidency to make sure that the system implements the policy preferences of the democratic majority of the American people. The branches of our government need to serve the trunk of the tree of government—the people
- Exploring the need for two legislatures and the possibility of merging the House and Senate into one legislature, and other structural changes.
- Revising how legislatures are comprised towards creating a proportional, multi-party electoral system where Congress is a mirror of and microcosm of the American people.
- Incorporating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and other documents which embody human rights and responsibilities
- Analyze the merits of special seats in Congress such as seats for women, minorities, professors, youth, and more.
- Exploring the merits of Senate filibusters, presidential vetoes, and the Electoral College for presidential elections.
- Creating a new process for electing our president to assure that our presidential candidates campaign to all Americans, and to guarantee that any future president is elected by a majority of those voting.
- Improving our voting processes and standardizing them across America.
- Reexamining the rights, responsibilities and non-democratic functioning of corporations, and eliminating the corrupting influence they have had on our national and local governments.
- Designing and implementing public financing of elections.
- Interpreting private and corporate money in campaigns as preventing one-person-one-vote through bribery and control by the rich and corporations, rather than as political speech
- And more . . .
– Designing constitutional amendments to solve the above-mentioned problems, eliminate the grievances, fix any undemocratic features, and add democratic features and processes, structures and dynamics in our national democratic republic.
– Proposing this group of amendments as a Second Bill of Rights, or a set of Democracy Amendments, to the American people for ratification in a national referendum.
– Presiding over the transition to our altered and improved government and Constitution, if the amendments pass by majority vote in our national referendum.
We envision, through the People’s Congress, that We the American People will end the totalitarian tyranny of the corporate regime, remove its plutocrats from their illegitimate role as puppet-masters of political power, and retire the corrupt officials they have bribed. We will create a modern, democratic national government that is fully accountable to the American people; and thus usher forth a new era of democracy and prosperity for the democratic republic of America.
Draft authored by Kelly Gerling on October 8, 2011.
In cooperation with: