I'm a Nobody, and you can be, too.
Somebody has been screwing up. We Americans are in the midst of some serious problems - endless wars, an endless cycle of economic depressions, recessions and panics and the failure to address climate change (except in giving lip service) which has the potential to make the planet uninhabitable by humans, just to mention a few of the screwups of the Somebodies.
You might ask, how did these Somebodies manage to get into a position to screw up so badly and why are they still in place?
Well, not surprisingly, the answer is complex, but, looking back we can see that when the American constitution was written, its creators favored a certain kind of Somebodies. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were aristocrats - securities and land speculators, merchant shippers, slave-holding plantation owners and an assortment of the rich and well-born - the 1% of their time, and they wanted to keep their sort on top.
From Woody Holton's, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution:
In Federalist #60, which appeared on February 23, 1788, Alexander Hamilton predicted that critics of national legislation would rarely be able to form "a concert of views, in any partial scheme of elections." One reason Gouverneur Morris was willing to allow voters to choose the president directly was that, though even "little combinations" could dominate elections "within a narrow sphere," voters would not be able to coalesce in "so great an extent of country" as the United States.
The best-known champion of the large polity was of course, Madison. The "Father of the Constitution" told his convention colleagues that by uniting Americans under one political roof, the new national charter would "divide the community into so great a number of interests & parties that ... they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit" of any particular goal. The manner in which Madison expressed his thesis in Federalist #63 was strange but telling; he declared that the Constitution would protect citizens from "the danger of combining." His October 24, 1787, letter to Jeferson was even bolder. "Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny," Madison wrote, "is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."
"Divide et impera" - an explosive phrase. Throughout the 1780s Americans who tried to organize campaigns in favor of relief legislation had discovered again and again just how hard it was to "act unaformly" over an extensive territory. Madison had made the same discovery, and it became one of his principal motives for shifting power for the state to the national level. Seldom would a majority of United States citizens share the same grievance. Even when they did, they would rarely be able "to discover their own strength," much less "act in unison with each other." It was the same strategy that Thomas Jefferson had urged Congress to employ against the United States's Indian neighbors - with the significant difference that Madison wanted to divide white Americans for their own good.
Would the new national government be equally impervious to every sort of grassroots pressure? Several Constitutional Convention delegates were sure that it would not, since some clusters of like-minded Americans would outdo others at achieving the unity that ensured influence. "The schemes of the Rich will be favored by the extent of the Country," Gouvernor Morris told his fellow delegates, Ordinary "people in such distant parts can not communicate & act in concert," placing them at a disadvantage compared with "those who have more Knowledge & intercourse" with each other.
The strategy of creating a large electorate for federal office has held up well in making certain that one would have to be a Somebody, possessing a certain celebrity or an ability to purchase the attentions of media outlets in order to obtain "name recognition," has held up well for the 1%. The advantage conferred by having the preponderance of the essential ingredient for electoral success at one's beck and call puts the Somebodies in the driver's seat.
While times have changed since the founding aristocrats set up the system (more people are enfranchised now and the people have developed greater means to organize) the 1% has managed to maintain control of the system.
How then to wrest control from the Somebodies?
"We stand today at a crossroads:
One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness.
The other leads to total extinction.
Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice."
-- Woody Allen
My fellow Nobodies, we are up against it. In attempting to contest with the 1% for control of our "democracy," the 1% holds all of the systemic advantages. Along with controlling the government, the 1% and their corporations control the major media and use it to drive the public dialogue.
So what is left for we Nobodies with which to fight the power? Heh, we have a sense of humor, reserves of kindness and decency, a bunch of smart, creative people, lots of friends and lots of us can bake cupcakes or make a good macaroni salad...
Well ok then, we can win this thing, let's go!
Nobody will get money out of politics
While it is true that Nobody is already working for us in Washington and Nobody will get money out of politics, it would probably work a lot better if a whole bunch of Nobodies got together and worked on it - heck it'd even be sort of democratic.
This is where you come in. If, like me, you're a nobody, then I have a modest proposal. How about... (drum roll)
The Party of Nobodies!
So how do we get money out of politics like Nobody has done before? That's Nobody's business!
The secret to Nobodies success is to make money irrelevant to the process by winning elections without money.
It's so simple that Nobody has figured out how to do it.
The Party of Nobodies will eschew all donations of money to candidates. All candidates of the Party of Nobodies will run as write-in candidates. All Nobodies will ridicule the corrupt, venal, bipartisan politicians that take legal (and sometimes illegal) graft and revolving-door sinecures as, "The Coalition of the Bribed."
Just because lawmakers have defined bribery as a legal activity doesn't change the fact that it's bribery - and those folks should be called out on the carpet. Repeatedly.
Instead of giving money to candidates, Party of Nobody members and volunteers can make yard signs, post campaign videos on the internet, create flash mob actions, have parties with potluck or brown bag dinners, forward campaign materials from Party of Nobodies websites to your friends and family (especially the folks who keep sending you stuff about politicians from the Coalition of the Bribed)... you get the idea... be creative!
Nobodies have a platform
Which is currently in progress. Please add suggestions in the comments.
Nobodies will give all Americans a basic income
There is no good reason that every American should not have decent food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and educational opportunities. These things exist in abundance, the only reason that everybody doesn't have enough is because Somebody has been hogging things that they don't need.
Nobodies will create a means of distributing these things and a basic income to cover the essentials of life to all Americans.
Work that provides necessities will be automated to the largest degree practical and the production will be turned into public utilities. A jobs program will be created to provide other public needs that cannot be automated. Anyone who wants a job will be able to have one.
Land reform will provide those who enjoy farming with small farms, support will be provided for these farmers. Support will also be provided for the development of small, local, employee-owned businesses in a variety of necessary trades (eg. construction, plumbing, electrical, etc.).
Nobodies will prepare for a future with fewer jobs.
Americans have become considerably more productive over the last several decades, but Somebody has been hogging all the benefits of the growth. Further, the recent bankster-induced recession has caused a huge reduction of jobs available and as the economy has been replacing them, middle class wage jobs are being replaced with low-wage jobs.
The 1% wants to continue this destruction of decent-paying jobs by promoting globalization and awful "free trade" agreements.
What's worse than competing with a workforce that will labor for a fraction of what it costs to maintain a worker's family? How about competing with robots and software that work for nothing.
Nobodies see the opportunity here to liberate Americans from the need to perform drudgery in order to claim an often inadequate living standard, while Somebody absconds with the financialized value of their labor.
Nobodies also see the enormous available repurposable resources along with potential to liberate Americans from great burdens imposed by imperial military adventures demanded by the 1% to promote their business interests.
Nobodies will end US participation in wars of choice.
Nobodies will explain to the public that the "American Interests" that the Somebodies have for years been calling upon us to protect at the cost of blood and treasure are hugely profitable corporations, many of which can't even be bothered to pay their fair share of taxes.
Nobodies will cut the military budget.
American Military spending is out of control and the Somebodies in Washington are arguing about how much more to spend. Now, even the Pentagon can't stop the Somebodies from spending money on unneccessary war toys.
The Nobodies will shrink the military budget and the military mission. Nobodies will say that America is no longer the "indispensable nation", the world's policeman. Nobody knows how many military bases the US has on other countries land and Nobodies will close or mothball and bring home the troops from those bases that are not involved in a war declared by Congress. Nobodies will help America find the right size to be in the world, a part of the community of nations.
Nobody will restore America's honor by investigating and trying those who ordered torture and other war crimes.
Those who have committed war crimes by ordering or operating a program of torture, launching wars of choice or campaigns of assassination and terror will be referred for trial to the International Criminal Court, the government will fully cooperate in providing evidence. Those who have followed the unlawful orders will be allowed to testify in full before a truth commission and will be granted immunity for the crimes that they testify to. Destruction of evidence or giving false testimony will be punished severely.
Nobodies will close Guantanamo and all American black sites.
Disappearances and so-called "extraordinary renditions" will be ended, all disappeared individuals will be reappeared. Once Guantanamo has been closed, it will be returned to its rightful owner, the Cuban people.
Nobodies will recover America's history by aggressively declassifying documents that need not remain secret
Nobodies will reduce secrecy and appoint classification oversight boards made up of civilians from outside of the agencies that classify documents
There can be no real democracy if the people are unaware of what the government does in their names.
Nobodies will end the blanket surveillance of Americans and people around the world by the NSA.
Nobodies believe in the 4th Amendment protections that are due every American. Nobodies will close facilities that are used for bulk surveillance and repurpose them if possible. Nobodies will reverse executive orders that authorize warrantless spying.
Nobodies will put the NSA under civilian leadership and create rotating oversight panels composed of civilians who have no connection to the NSA, other government intelligence agencies or contractors.
Nobodies will end the war on drugs
Nobodies will decriminalize the personal use of all drugs. Nobodies will increase the availability of medical services for those who wish assistance with their drug behaviors.
Nobodies will stop the militarization of police and stop the police murders of people of color
Nobodies will end the federal programs that provide military weapons, vehicles, supplies and training to peace officers and arrange the return of all military equipment loaned or given to police forces. Nobodies will promote citizen oversight of police departments by people representative of the communities that peace officers serve in.
Nobodies will do way better than 40 acres and a mule
Many people built the nation we live in. Some who contributed greatly were not only uncompensated but were treated horribly. The Nobodies will promote awareness of their contributions and, in cooperation with the descendents of those who were so shamefully used, create a program of restitution and restoration.
Nobody will work to restore the rights and well-being of Native Americans
The treatment of the people who were native to this continent at the founding of the US is a national disgrace. The ongoing treatment of many of their descendants continues to confer shame upon our nation. In cooperation with the Native American community the Nobodies will create a program of restitution and restoration.
Nobodies will mandate equal pay for equal work and other measures to promote equality for all.
Nobodies will pursue a national dialogue on equality issues and gender from which policy will be created.
Nobodies will restore America's leadership role among the nations of the world.
The Nobodies have a dream - that the governments of the world's nations will compete on the basis of how much that they do to make the lives of their citizens the best that can be as well as the contribution that a nation makes to the health and well-being of less prosperous nations and people(s) in need. Nobodies will study and implement concepts such as Gross National Happiness. Nobodies dream that one day the world's statisticians will be consumed in a frenzy of activity trying to adequately express the great satisfaction and happiness of the people of the world.
Nobodies will see to it that America excels in measures of Gross National Happiness and cooperate with the community of nations to spread happiness broadly.
Nobodies will address climate change.
In the past, the Obama administration has undermined climate summits, using NSA spying to scupper agreements and successive failures after that have led to considerably diminished expectations for future international agreements:
The United Nations says it is already clear that promises for emissions curbs at a Paris summit in December 2015 will be too weak to get on track for a U.N. goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times.
Nobodies know that the stakes are too high to allow this sort of failure to continue.
Nobodies will engage the best scientists on earth to describe the means by which a significant decline in conditions can be avoided and will engage the public in determining which options to pursue beyond the obvious measures which Nobodies will, of course, get right to work on.
Nobodies will embark on an emergency program to convert America to renewable energy sources and leave fossils to rest in peace.
Nobodies will stop all fossil fuel subsidies:
In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually yet these don’t even include costs borne by taxpayers related to the climate, local environmental, and health impacts of the fossil fuel industry. As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates U.S. fossil fuel subsidies at $37.5 billion annually, including $21 billion in production and exploration subsidies.
Fossil fuel subsidies will be redirected to research and development of alternative renewable energy sources and the deployment of wind and solar energy collection devices to power all government buildings and facilities. If needed, a portion of the funds liberated by the reduction in military spending will be diverted to this program as well.
Nobodies will create a program called "Empowering the American People," which will heavily subsidize the development of regional and local small, employee-owned solar device production, installation and maintenance of consumer solar collection devices for individual American homes and apartment complexes. Individual installations will be favored over large, industrial scale facilities, because nobody believes that power is best dispersed as broadly as possible.
Nobodies will improve the management of public lands and resources
Nobodies will end all fossil fuel collection on public lands. Nobodies will re-evaluate the methods by which fees are assessed for commercial uses of public lands and resources to more appropriately reflect the value that the public provides commercial interests with.
Nobodies will distinguish the difference between corporations and people and right-size corporate rights
Corporations are not persons. Corporate personhood is a concept that has outlived its usefulness. The creation of "superpersons" driven by the sole command to maximize profits has wrought environmental destruction and both economic and political inequality in America.
Nobodies will see to it that corporations are made to serve the public interest and be limited in scope and purpose.
Nobodies will end so-called "free trade" agreements that disadvantage workers and the environment
Those "free trade" agreements that cannot be rewritten to bring all worker compensation, working conditions and rights up to a high international standard will be sent to the dustbin of history. Those agreements that cannot be rewritten to provide the sort of standards of environmental protection that are consistent with a clean and healthy environment and the mitigation of climate change will similarly be disposed of.
Nobodies will put the banksters in jail
Nobodies will aggressively regulate the banking industry
Nobodies will end the tradition of bankers creating money
The government will create its own money and the Fed will be repurposed to act as a bank regulator and broker between the government and banks that wish to distribute government-created money
Nobody will end media consolidation
Rules will be rewritten to disallow the holding of multiple television and radio outlets or the ownership of both broadcast and print media. All broadcast licenses will require the airing of open public debates at election time as well as a greater amount of public service programming.
Nobodies will rework public education
Education at all levels will be available free to all Americans as they desire it. Government funding will be redirected from building more prisons and police programs to hiring more teachers, teacher's aides and guidance counselors. Adult education will be made available in public schools, community colleges and online for free.
Nobodies will expand Medicare to cover all Americans
What did I forget?