Occupy Roadmaps

Dennis Trainer Jr. (of AcronymTV.com) recently appeared on Abby Martin’s “Breaking the Set“.

Mr Trainer spoke about the anniversary of the Occupy Movement and was suggesting the Movement now focus its efforts on the issue of climate change. I think he was mistaken.

One of the most telling, and accurate, arguments levelled against the wonderful Occupy Movement was that it had no direction: it was clear about what it was against, but not clear what it was for. The Movement was obviously against economic injustice. Although this fact was hugely and solidly supported by millions all around the world, there was no common plan for what to do about it. Therefore, inevitably, the Movement collapsed – helped on its way by those state enforcers in the pocket of big business: magistrates and the police, a complicit media, and bought and paid-for politicians. Everyone knows that climate change is a major issue, but concentrating solely on that is not going to cure economic injustice.

Economic justice, pretty much like any other kind of justice, has never existed. There has only ever been dictatorship by some form of ruling elite, which alone has always determined what justice is – economic or otherwise. Ruling dictatorships come and go, last for various lengths of time, dominate differently sized empires and then, as they inevitably consume themselves with their own rottenness, the main parasites shift location, just like many other parasites who consume their hosts before moving on.

This is not to say that economic justice is impossible to achieve; it simply states the historical fact; but it also suggests the change that needs to be made before thousands of years of history can be overturned, and real, permanent justice can finally emerge.

With very rare exceptions – which prove the rule – governments wholly controlled by powerful elites are always corrupt and evil. On the other hand, governments wholly controlled by the people have almost never even been tried in modern history. Although there’s evidence of so-called “primitive” societies that organised themselves in this way, there are few examples of modern governments directly controlled by the people – Switzerland being perhaps the biggest and best-known example. Therefore it’s impossible to say that government by direct democracy doesn’t work; in fact, given the obvious success of Switzerland, what little evidence there is suggests it works pretty well. The desperate condition of our planet, which is self-evidently a direct consequence of centuries of rotten governance by elites, demands that something radically different must be tried. So it seems to me that the first imperative is to create a new type of government where elites are removed altogether from their traditional positions of absolute power and where the people, properly informed, can directly control their own governments.

The way governments are organised is (or should be) determined by their constitutions. Most countries have written constitutions, which makes it easy to see how they should be working. Britain has long distinguished itself by not having a written constitution – a situation which has obviously always suited its ruling plutocrats (otherwise they would certainly have written one by now). The beauty of the British non-constitution is that it allows the ruling oligarchs to do almost anything they like – because there’s nothing to say they can’t.

However, unfortunately the mere existence of written constitutions is no guarantee of good government. As I say, almost every government has one, but the planet is still plagued by evil administrations. The main reason for this is that it’s very difficult for ordinary citizens to use their own constitutions to hold their governments to account. One of the best examples of this is the case of Richardson v. the United States, a case where, in the 1970s, an ordinary US citizen tried to compel his government to abide by its own constitution and make public how it was spending taxpayers’ money – especially concerning how its new “intelligence” services were being funded. After winning a couple of battles along the way Richardson finally lost the war after six long years when a narrow Supreme Court decision ruled five to four against him, concluding he had “no standing” to bring the case, and therefore that the government could carry on behaving unconstitutionally for as long as the US Congress kept on looking the other way, as it was clearly doing then, and as it clearly continues to do today.

So if, as I suggested earlier, we accept that the first imperative is to create a new type of government – beginning with writing a new constitution – where elites are removed altogether from positions of absolute power and where the people, properly informed, can directly control their own governments; if we accept that as the first imperative, Richardson v the United States teaches us that the second imperative must surely be to ensure that the people can easily use their new constitution to hold their new government to account.

Once we have a new constitution which gives ordinary citizens, properly informed, the means to directly control the decisions of their own government, together with the means to hold their government to account should it stray from the straight and narrow, we will surely be starting to head in the right direction.

Now it’s very important to understand that the precise details of many of the other components of any such new constitution are not especially important; but should, in my view, conform as near as possible to existing international law, for reasons I’ll explain later. The principles of the clauses are more important to get right and express as accurately as possible than the precise wording of the clause, and if the wording of a clause appears to conflict with its principle, it should be the principle that resolves the issue.

A good example of this point is the infamous Second Amendment of the US Constitution, regarding the “right to bear arms”. There is no stated purpose for the amendment. There is a suggestion that the wording of “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” relates to the maintenance of “a well-regulated militia”, but that’s all there is, a suggestion of the purpose. So the amendment is actually used by the powerful American arms industry as its authority and justification for trying to ensure every US citizen keeps and bears as many arms as possible without any commitment whatsoever to being part of any well-regulated militia. More deaths of US citizens have occurred as the result of the vague drafting of the Second Amendment than through all the numerous wars the US has taken part in.

Man has never created anything new that was perfect from the moment of its creation. The first motor car that was made, for example, was not a Ferrari 458, or a Tesla Roadster. So there’s no reason to assume that a perfect constitution could be crafted at the first attempt. It could and should be intended to mature and improve with age. It should not be intended to create some immortal tablet of stone that can never be altered, but to craft instead something that will never be finished, something that could always be moulded and re-shaped by the people, properly informed, according to how their needs and wishes change over time. The most important component, which should be in place from the start and which should never be significantly changed, is that the people, properly informed, are always in direct control of all political decision-making.

People without frontiers

Another significant concept to grasp is that people are more important than countries – that the constitution should be drafted with the ordinary citizen uppermost in mind, not some piece of land whose borders are never constant. Borders, the things which define countries, are the creation of the super-rich and are primarily intended to mark out the limits of what they see as the personal property of the super-rich. If it were otherwise, if borders did not serve the interests of the super-rich, they would certainly not exist. Borders are of very little use to ordinary people, and as far as ordinary people are concerned should not be policed as ruthlessly as they are.

Our planet is continually being chopped up and re-divided by the super-rich into various areas of elitist control according to which groups of grasping plutocrats have gouged their way to power. This has always been the main purpose of war – deciding which group of ruthless plunderers has the right to claim ownership of parts of the planet. The rights of the indigenous people who live in those parts of the planet are deemed completely irrelevant – let alone the animals and plants that also live there.

Borders are to ordinary people what prison walls are to prisoners, or cages are to wild animals. This is a very important concept to grasp because once it becomes clear that there’s no significant difference between people wherever in the world they happen to be living it’s easier to see that justice is something to which every human has an equal claim no matter where their home is. Whilst it’s perfectly reasonable to have geographical boundaries which groups of people might determine for themselves for ease of their own administration and management, provision must be made for people to easily cross those boundaries if they want to. The significance of this point is that a new constitution should primarily be focused on the individual, not a country. A legal declaration of individual human rights, and duties, wherever human beings exist, should assume greater importance than laws of ownership which gift huge chunks of the planet to tiny handfuls of immensely powerful individuals.

The powerful nations have long used the excuse of protecting their “national security” – supposedly in the best interests of ordinary people – to justify their outrageous attacks on weaker countries. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the west observe our great trusted leaders waging their wars on distant defenceless nations on the pretext that it somehow protects our “national interest”. It is, of course, a lie, and always has been. The only interests that war has ever served has been the interests of the super-rich.

The existence of borders helps to make the criminality of our trusted leaders more acceptable. Using their mighty armies to murder defenceless innocents is somehow more acceptable to the public consciousness if those innocents can somehow be distinguished as different to us; “foreigners” living in some designated area called a “country” which has been defined by our trusted leaders as an enemy of our “national security” which means, in the twisted logic of our trusted leaders, that these defenceless innocents are our mortal enemies and it’s perfectly reasonable to murder them and steal their property. If the 99% learned to see the people of distant lands as no different to ourselves, it would be more difficult to ignore their suffering.

There’s an old saying that has some truth in it: take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. A similar point can be made about this argument: if we take care of the individual human being, nations will inevitably take care of themselves – so much so that nations will no longer be relevant, and the borders that define them will become no more significant than the administrative boundaries that define urban suburbs, or town limits, or county lines.

We’re conditioned to believe that groups are more important than individuals, that community is more important than any one person in the community, that the nation is more important than the individual citizen. That’s partly true, but, like so many things in society the reality of how the principle is practised in the real world is the diametric opposite to the ideological principle. Nothing better illustrates this fact than the existence of “leaders”, who are automatically assumed to be more important than any of the individuals they lead. If those leaders are chosen by the people they lead, and if their leadership is no more than an administrative conduit for the collective wishes of the people, then such leaders can indeed be very useful. But such people are very rare. Most leaders are dictators who persuade themselves that they always know what’s best for those they lead, and must therefore be in sole control of decision-making. And, which is possibly more damaging, those they lead are conditioned to think that too.

Society is more important than the individual ONLY when no individual in that society is more or less important than any other – which is not the situation now, and never has been. Hence the need for focussing on the constitutional rights of the individual.

This is not an original concept.

Although the United Nations has been rendered largely ineffective through the actions of a renegade empire, it is in theory the world’s government; and one of its most important component parts is something called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The underlying principal of the UDHR is exactly the same as the point I’ve been making: that by providing for the freedom and physical and economic security of the individual, security of the whole will automatically follow.

So once the constitutional rights of the individual, any individual, anywhere, are truly protected; and once those rights are common and identical to all individuals, then, and only then could it be argued that such a society of individuals might be more important than any one person within it.

Economic security

Providing for the physical security of the individual – without sacrificing their freedom – is arguably the first duty of any government. The second duty of government, which is closely related to the first, is to provide economic security for the individual too.

There are any number of possible economic models which would provide for greater economic security and justice than has ever yet been seen here in the UK, or in the US. Socialism is probably the best and most well-known model that has come along so far. It could have worked perfectly well if the powerful elites who rule the planet had left it alone; and in a world free of elitist rule it could still work perfectly well if it were tried again. My own preferred economic model is something I call EnMo Economics, which separates out the different roles in the economy of state and private sector: the state ensures that everyone has Enough in the way of essential goods and services, and the private sector is free to provide More – the non-essential goods and services that people don’t really need, but like to have.

But in this section I’ll focus mainly on the important political conditions that would need to exist before any significant economic reform could happen. Socialism was not a failed idea; it wasn’t even defeated by a better economic model; it was an idea that was crushed by a defective but very powerful and ruthless political model. Therefore the need for significant political reform is an essential prerequisite to achieving just economic reform.

In other words, provision of economic security begins with first providing real physical security through a good political system – which means we must have significant constitutional reform; because with a few rare exceptions such as in Switzerland, real democracy doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. This then is the focal point which every individual human being on the planet should claim as their natural right, and insist their governments provide. When the Occupy Movement needed direction this should have been their rallying cry: a demand for constitutional reform; a demand for every human being on the planet to have a constitutional right to the protections of the UDHR; and for every human being on the planet, properly informed, to be able to make the political decisions that affect their community. Once those conditions are in place, economic reform will inevitably follow. Which is also to say that without those conditions economic reform will never happen.

There are two key components for a significantly improved political model. Firstly, there must be a much-improved system of providing good information, and, secondly, there must be a much-improved system for the citizen to vote. Given the huge leap forward in modern communications both of these components could now easily be provided.

Good Information

At first glance this may seem an easy and obvious thing to do; but it isn’t quite as easy and obvious as it looks – especially from the starting point of where we are right now; because the first major problem to be overcome is the centuries of brainwashing that says that a tiny handful of great leaders are absolutely essential to the welfare of billions of non-leaders; that ordinary non-leaders are not capable of thinking for themselves or organising themselves in any sensible way. Whilst some of the 99% are actually very well-informed, largely through their own truth-seeking efforts, their number is relatively tiny. We have a massive brainwashed population of people who sincerely believe that kings and queens, emperors and presidents, admirals and generals, popes and caliphs, CEOs and scientists… always selflessly serve the people and must always be followed with blind, unquestioning trust and obedience. That illusion is a massive obstacle to overcome; for it means, in effect, re-learning history.

The trust and obedience we give to all these great leaders begins with how we learn history. We’re conditioned to marvel at the history of our own great kings and queens, emperors and presidents… etc., which prepares us to automatically trust and worship the current crop of kings and queens…etc. Because our societies are organised in hierarchies, with vast family trees of leaders, the basic conditioning of blind trust in leaders is firmly rooted throughout the entire structure.

However, if we learn our history as it should be learnt, from the perspective of the lowliest members of society rather than the richest and most powerful, an entirely different picture emerges. Instead of seeing kings and queens, emperors and presidents…etc as towering models of kindness, wisdom and humanity we see instead their real natures: ignorant tools of ruthless monsters, or grasping, self-serving, ruthless monsters in their own right. And once we learn this hard fact about the highest leaders in the land, it’s relatively easy to see how the truth of it applies to almost every other leader too, with the degree of their corruption and evil varying in direct proportion to the amount of power they wield. Of course, there are exceptions – which obviously prove the rule.

This re-learning of history, from the perspective of the lowliest member of society, is key to the quest for obtaining good information, for it disciplines us to look into the background of any issue rather than accept at face value the superficial appearance of something we know little about, and it makes us examine issues from the perspective of the little person rather than some pampered patrician.

Next in order of priority is learning how to reason properly. This is not simply a question of examining hard facts for and against any particular issue – although that’s obviously very important – it’s also about examining issues through the lens of humanity: the rightness and wrongness of those hard facts. This is not usually a difficult thing to do, and a simple device has been used to do it all over the world for thousands of years. Known to many as the Golden Rule it simply states that we should treat all living things as we would have others treat us in the same circumstances.

Equipped with a re-learnt history, and the ability to reason correctly, we have the basic tools to become properly informed about any particular issue. Ordinary people who are so informed would be far more reliable as political decision-makers than “all the crowned ruffians who ever lived”, to quote Tom Paine.

As I write these words, shortly after the Scots’ failed attempt to break free from the evil of English rule, the words “constitutional reform” are everywhere. They will not be everywhere for long. Other distractions will quickly replace them, and the 99% will soon be back to being horrified by some sex scandal or marvelling at the trivialities of incomprehensible football managers. But just a little closer to the surface now, not very far out of sight, lurks the massive answer to thousands of years of oppression and exploitation, just waiting for a new, resurgent Occupy Movement to emerge somewhere and claim it as their obvious cause and direction: Constitutional Reform.

The Bigger Picture

It would be relatively easy for the UK to transform itself from being a global pariah to being a model of humanity and hope were it not for one important detail: other powerful nations – such as the US.

No powerful nation that’s ever existed has committed itself to doing what’s right for the 99%, let alone the planet and all other living things in general. No powerful nation has ever done anything other than plunder as much as possible before leaving behind a ghastly trail of death, destruction and misery. No powerful nation is going to sit on the sidelines and meekly allow some other nation to put into place a constitution that effectively consigns powerful nations to the dustbin of history – which is, of course, where they belong – as happened with the murdered socialist experiment.

So this is an issue of significant importance. People must be left in peace to develop their own models of government. The administrative infrastructure for this already exists in the shape of the emasculated United Nations and its wonderful Charter and Declaration of Human Rights. So it would not be a difficult thing to do. All that’s needed is a commitment to abide by existing international laws – which is something none of the powerful nations have ever done, and some have been more blatant in their disregard for international law than others – such as the US.

A Roadmap

So if we try to put together a map to take us from where we are to where we need to be, it would surely look something like this:

  1. Achieve constitutional reform of our system of government in a way that would be consistent with international law.
  2. Achieve economic reform such that the super-rich no longer control the global economy in general, and the global monetary system in particular.
  3. Insist that all governments conform to existing international law, which would allow for 1 and 2 to happen.

Mr Trainer is right to point out as he did that climate change is a serious concern, but he’s mistaken to think that the Occupy Movement should focus all of its efforts on it. The only thing that will properly tackle the issues of climate change, together with economic injustice, Permanent War and the many other man-made problems from which our planet is suffering, is widespread constitutional reform.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.