The following is a signed post by Howard M. Greenebaum, an author and newspaper columnist from Oakland, California, and a member of the Emergency Labor Network Steering Committee.
Do We Want a Government of Killing, or a Government of Caring?
(This can be the question that can convince many voters to elect a Labor Party over Democrats or Republicans!)
We must give the voters a solid reason for voting for a Labor Party. Most people do not know that our current government has over 1,000 military bases around the world, over 70,000 Special Military Forces raising havoc secretly, CIA operatives training thugs to kill and torture people and to try and sabotage democratically run elections, by electing corrupt candidates who will do anything that our corporations want to keep wages down, and avoid all safety regulations in foreign nations around the world.
We must educate the voters that we are only 5% of the world’s population, fighting wars around the world for the other 95%. We need to teach the voters that we are waging wars because our defense industry is making huge profits during these wars, and that the defense industry is bribing candidates and elected officials to wage wars. Stealing oil and other natural resources is another motivation, rather than paying for these items, as the rest of the world does.
We must choose a simple and brief list of pledges that we require all Labor Party candidates to sign that they will support these signed pledges, or our Labor Party will call for a recall election and force them out of office for violation of their pledges. We need to publicize the pledges that our candidates signed, so for the first time, American candidates are going to do what the public wants instead of what the rich donors want. This is so important so the voters see why they should vote for Labor Party candidates.
I will suggest here a list of pledges to be considered for our LP candidates to sign and support:
- Write legislation that produces a federal recall law so the voters can vote out any elected official who is not representing the interests of the voters, and remove any Labor Party official who has violated his/her pledges. ( This Recall bill can remove Republican and Democrat officials too, giving the voters great power.)
- Stop our government from waging wars. Close the 1,000 military bases. Cut defense spending. Close the NSA and the CIA. Stop the bombs from drones. Destroy all of our nuclear weapons, and other weapons of mass destruction. Let’s become a peace loving member of the world, and stop trying to dominate other nations. If we do these things, and show respect for all nations, we will no longer be the target of terrorists. No more spying on others. No more meddling in other nations’ elections. No more CIA kidnapping and torture of human beings.
- Use the defense money to give all students free education up and through graduate schools so any student can become a doctor, lawyer, etc. Cancel the student debts, so all former students can live without fear.
- Use the defense money to expand funding to the public schools, so we can lower the student per teacher ratio to a level of any private school so all children can have a free and equal quality education.
- Stop the national testing, stop the closing of public schools, and stop the privatization of our public schools.
- Remove all the tax loopholes, exemptions, subsidies from our tax laws so rich individuals and rich corporations pay their fair share of taxes every year! Ban hiding profits and taxable income in overseas tax havens. Make all tax dodgers pay back taxes on all of their hidden trillions of dollars. Raise taxes on billionaires. Does anyone really need one thousand million dollars? One billion dollars equals one thousand million dollars! Stop the hoarding.
- Ban all political contributions. Do not allow rich people to use their money to win elections. Legislate that all elections are funded by our tax dollars only. Limit the tax money spent in elections. Limit the time for campaigning for elections. Do not allow any candidate to spend any money other than the tax money given to each candidate. Do not allow any group or organization to spend any money for or against any candidate. Pass legislation that describes any outside money spent on our elections as “conspiracy” and label this crime as a felony requiring jail time.
- Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, with no exemptions. Raise it immediately. No delays. No increments. Let’s put food on the table for every family! Every business, small or large, must pay this wage. This minimum wage will increase each year according to an index. (The Australian Labour Party got their people a minimum wage of $ 16.36 per hour with increases every year. The Australian dollar varies between over and under the US dollar.) Australian companies advertise around the world for workers, so the propaganda about a livable minimum wage being a “job killer” is baloney. The more money in the pocket of everyone, the more money spent, and the higher sales will grow an economy. That is the math. Today’s race to the bottom is good for only the top 2%, and will destroy every nation that pushes Austerity policies. The less money people have, the less jobs, and the more poverty.
- Outlaw outsourcing of our jobs. We lost 5 million jobs with NAFTA, and that trade deal included only 3 nations. The TPP ( Trans Pacific Partnership) trade deal gives the same incentives to outsource jobs as NAFTA , but this trade deal include 12 nations. This math means we will lose over 20 million jobs! Our Democrat President, Barack Obama, kept the negotiations of this horrible trade deal SECRET. He is pushing for a Fast Track maneuver that will prevent Congress from making any changes in TPP. Democrats are supporting this deal along with Republicans. This proves that we need a Labor Party to protect our jobs.
- Construct a giant clean energy program, including a giant conservation program that will stop the waste of our water. Fund this program so we can abandon use of dirty fuels that are causing Climate Change. Legislate a law that will require all industries to register a list of the executives responsible for their handling of their waste. Establish a cap on all emissions and legislate penalties of incarceration for any executive who is responsible for polluting our air, water, and soil. We need to lock up any executive is found responsible for poisoning our air, water, and soil. Create monitors that a government agency can detect pollution and act quickly to protect our air, water, and land. Polluting our air, water, and soil is equal to poisoning and our laws can best stop pollution by jailing those responsible. Fines on corporations do not work. The executives simply transfer the fines to the shareholders and to the consumers. Make everybody an environmentalist. Pass laws that punish individuals who distort our scientific findings for their own personal gain. Dirty fuel company executives know they are responsible for Climate Change. Make them pay for their crimes of lies and irresponsible behaviour. Our children’s lives are at stake. Seniors’ lives are at stake. All of our lives are at stake. Climate Change is the gravest threat to mankind. I have been quoted many times for the statement, “We will never get a clean environment with a dirty government.” It still is true. We must kick all the lobbyists out of the halls of our city, county , state, and federal governments. Stamping out bribery must be one of the major jobs of a new American Labor Party. The other parties have legalized bribery. In fact, a former US Congressman, Cecil Heftel, titled his book “End Legalized Bribery” in 1988. I self published a book on the same subject in 1980 entitled, “Free Elections ???”
Obviously, the leaders of the new American Labor Party can write their own pledges to be signed by our LP candidates, but without signed pledges and a federal recall law, our candidates can go the same way as Republicans and Democrats have gone. Money is a great temptation. We must give the voters candidates they can trust, and publicize this important difference between our candidates and the others.
Every step we make toward forming a Labor party must take into consideration the voters, and how to win them over.
Our new Labor Party must be all inclusive to win elections. Labor unions are an important element of our new party, but we must make sure we are a party of the people, all of the people. We must protect unions, but not allow unions to dominate a labor party. Some labor union leaders are not in favor of creating a labor party. Their reasons are based on fear of abandoning the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, the Democratic party has already abandoned the unions, and all of the working Americans, starting when Bill Clinton pushed through the job killing NAFTA, when Democrats chose to favor the corporations by not raising the federal minimum wage for over 5 years, and Obama chose to keep the TPP negotiations SECRET!
We must grant equal leadership roles to unions, student leaders, senior citizen leaders, environmentalists, antiwar activists, women’s rights advocates, etc. We need to welcome all of these segments of our populations in order to win control of our government. Seniors want to be assured that we will not only protect their Medicare and Social Security but expand these programs, as pensions are at risk from corporations. We need to increase the benefits of Social Security so no senior goes hungry. Women’s rights are at risk from the ruthless Republicans, and the timid Democrats. Women’s needs of dignity and respect in many areas are still at risk with a male dominated world. We need to assure women that their needs and safety and dignity are high on our list of goals. Students and young people are the most at risk with the highest rates of unemployment, less and less access to college because of affordability, and the corporations’ race to the bottom of wages.
We can win the majority of seats in our government if we invite all people into our labor party and treat all segments with respect and equality. The name of labor is important because there are already successful labor parties in the world. Second, most Americans are workers, not executives of corporations. They are all under pressure from corporations to outsource their jobs, cut hours to under 30 so they can drop health benefits, eliminate pensions, etc. A whole lot of people need a labor party. We must never forget that. Over 100 million people vote. Our population is over 310 million. Union membership has now declined to only 12+ million. How many of these 12 million are registered voters? How many vote Republican? We cannot depend on only unions to win elections. They do not have the votes. We need them, but we must not get discouraged if at first their leaders are not enthusiastic. Our efforts must be directed to every segment of our population. Once our efforts begin to show success, there will be a snowball effect, and more and more of the local unions will join us and their national leader will follow or lose their jobs as more and more people join in to build a very strong labor party.
We should start now to build a Labor party. We need a website that volunteers can send personal info, such as age, educ., member of any org, skills they have, time available,etc. Website should have the title, “Labor Party Sign Up.” We need funding to have office and staff to capture names of volunteers and rapid response to volunteers. We need staff to gather names of citizens’ organizations and begin campaign to recruit different org to join Labor party and publicize to their members and invite their members to join in the creation of the labor party.
We need committees formed to do different tasks. We need a Media committee, a candidate recruitment committee, etc. We need to reach out to volunteers in each state and encourage them to form committees in each state with similar tasks. We need each state’s labor building committee to research their state’s requirements on how to go about getting the labor party on the ballot in 2016, and also before so we can launch LP candidates into school board elections. The school board elections could form a foundation for future campaigns for higher offices and by giving support to teachers, students, and parents, and fighting for their goals to stop national testing, stop closings of public schools, demanding more funding for public schools ,and opposing privatization of schools. We will be gaining friends from communities for our labor party.
I wrote to Mark Brenner, the Director of Labor Notes, and asked him if he would be interested in expanding his office to start working to build a labor party. We need to find people with other large and good organizations to expand their offices and work to coordinate all of the organizations in their field, such as all environmental organizations, all antiwar organizations all women’s rights organizations, all gay organizations, all seniors’ organizations, Moveon.org, etc etc.
There are a lot of people out there who are hungering for a third party. It is our job to help them join up in a giant umbrella of liberal groups: unions, seniors, students, women, etc.
If we think big, we can win big. If we wait for somebody else to do it, the wait will be too long to be effective. Time is not on our side. We must win in 2016. Now is the time. We need to get a lot of people acting now to succeed.
—Howard M. Greenebaum, author and newspaper columnist
You are invited to visit my web site http://www.boldthoughts.org.