Time for a U.S. Revolution: Fifteen Reasons

It is time for a revolution.  Government does not work for regular people.  It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful.  But it does not work for people.
 
The 1776 Declaration of Independence stated that when a long train of abuses by those in power evidence a design to reduce the rights of people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the peoples right, in fact, their duty to engage in a revolution.
 
Martin Luther King, Jr. said forty-three years ago next month that it was time for a radical revolution of values in the United States.  He preached “a true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.”  It is clearer than ever that now is the time for radical change.
 
Look at what our current system has brought us and ask if it is time for a revolution?
 
Over 2.8 million people lost their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8000 each day – higher numbers than the last two years when millions of others also lost their homes.
 
At the same time, the government bailed out Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the auto industry, and enacted the troubled asset (TARP) program with $1.7 trillion of our money.
 
Wall Street then awarded itself over $20 billion in bonuses in 2009 alone, an average bonus on top of pay of $123,000.
 
At the same time, over 17 million people are jobless right now.  Millions more are working part-time when they want and need to be working full-time. 
 
Yet the current system allows one single U.S. Senator to stop unemployment and Medicare benefits being paid to millions.   
 
There are now 35 registered lobbyists in Washington DC for every single member of the Senate and House of Representatives, at last count 13,739 in 2009.  There are eight lobbyists for every member of Congress working on the health care fiasco alone.
 
At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations now have a constitutional right to interfere with elections by pouring money into races.   
 
The Department of Justice gave a get out of jail free card to its own lawyers who authorized illegal torture. 
 
At the same time another department of government, the Pentagon, is prosecuting Navy SEALS for punching an Iraqi suspect.  
 
The US is not only involved in senseless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S. now maintains 700 military bases world-wide and another 6000 in the US and our territories.  Young men and women join the military to protect the U.S. and to get college tuition and healthcare coverage and killed and maimed in elective wars and being the world’s police. Wonder whose assets they are protecting and serving?
 
In fact, the U.S. spends $700 billion directly on military per year, half the military spending of the entire world – much more than Europe, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, and Venezuela – combined.
 
The government and private companies have dramatically increased surveillance of people through cameras on public streets and private places, airport searches, phone intercepts, access to personal computers, and compilation of records from credit card purchases, computer views of sites, and travel. 
 
The number of people in jails and prisons in the U.S. has risen sevenfold since 1970 to over 2.3 million.  The US puts a higher percentage of our people in jail than any other country in the world. 
 
The tea party people are mad at the Republicans, who they accuse of selling them out to big businesses.
 
Democrats are working their way past depression to anger because their party, despite majorities in the House and Senate, has not made significant advances for immigrants, or women, or unions, or African Americans, or environmentalists, or gays and lesbians, or civil libertarians, or people dedicated to health care, or human rights, or jobs or housing or economic justice.  Democrats also think their party is selling out to big business.
 
Forty three years ago next month, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in Riverside Church in New York City that “a time comes when silence is betrayal.”  He went on to condemn the Vietnam War and the system which created it and the other injustices clearly apparent.  “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values.  We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing oriented” society to a “person oriented” society.  When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
 
It is time.

Bill Quigley is a professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans and Associate Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. He can be reached at: quigley77@gmail.com. Read other articles by Bill.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on March 8th, 2010 at 9:52am #

    However, we were for the last 15k yrs always and in all lands [until very recently] doormats.
    And thruout history and everywhere the doormats [ab. 98% of pop] never espied that they were a possession. They thought one cld posses an ass but not a person.
    And just recently, the 98% of US pop voted to be guided by their masters. One hopeful sign is that we can now say that and what we say is published. So, talk is the first step in the right direction.
    Now we need also to organize. This wld drive mortal fear into our masters. Hopefully, it wld force them at least to lessen their grip on power or abandon it completely or face gloomy consequence: us hunting and haunting them instead of the other way around. So, let us continue to educate and organize. tnx

  2. Danny Ray said on March 8th, 2010 at 10:36am #

    I think Ron Paul has entered the room.

  3. bozh said on March 8th, 2010 at 10:57am #

    Danny,
    What’s up? Are u saying that ron paul is saying what i am saying? I don’t know much ab RP! tnx

  4. Danny Ray said on March 8th, 2010 at 1:30pm #

    Actually Bozh, I meant the article, it reads like a Ron Paul campaign ad

  5. lichen said on March 8th, 2010 at 3:21pm #

    No, wrong paul is not like you bozh; his campaign calls for mass privitizations, cut in social spending, the end of zoning laws, no more unemployment, food banks, libraries, public schools, social security, or any other civilized social benefits which will complete the transfer of wealth upwards; the masses will live in complete poverty, slave to giant multinational corporations, while a few rich will leave behind gated communities.

    Anyway, no; I don’t agree there needs to be a revolution right now. Beleiving that you can suddenly have millions of people erupt into a revolution, let alone a good one (as opposed to a right wing military dictatorship, as many ‘teabaggers’ would be akin to) is extremely immature. First you need a huge movement to methodically move forward, put forth social justice ideals and refuse to compromise on them. Further, nonviolence works best; not a mob of skinheads.

  6. Danny Ray said on March 8th, 2010 at 3:42pm #

    welcome back Lichen, I have missed your post!!!

  7. Don Hawkins said on March 9th, 2010 at 1:43am #

    Lichen good one and the truth the knowledge is there worst enemy. I watched the EPA director yesderday at the press club and it’s still la la la la. Yes some good ideas a new way of thinking not yet and the time is now yesterday would have been better.

  8. Don Hawkins said on March 9th, 2010 at 2:19am #

    “Climate change is abstract, it’s distant — it’s Bangladesh in 50 years. 50 years is it well let’s see how this summer and then winter play out.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0308/Global-warming-doubts-could-hamper-climate-legislation

    Remember what we are seeing is what some of the best minds we have said could play out the old easy way out just do nothing well a little illusion here and some over there and some right there and all done on the backdrop of call call now did you get that reverse home loan yet it’s god’s work we are the champions of the world, please.
    La La La La