If you have "no place to go," come here!

The 12-point platform (basic version) [beta 3]

[I'm not sure I can revise this today because I have to digest 63 comments. I'm going to call out the reforms for special attention. --lambert]

[The prospect of being hanged concemtrates the mind wonderfully -- lots of good comments. More like this, please! And if you don't like a plank, propose a new one! --lambert]

[I just made a PDF version of the 12-Point Platform (basic version) and attached it at the end of the post; it fits on one sheet of paper, front and back. I'd be grateful for any improvements to the design, which is as low-key as the text. The typeface is Myriad, which is not only a propos, but AFAIK widely available. I'm thinking one thing that's missing is a logo.... --lambert[

[Readers, please look at this carefully. I'd like to release it as soon as possible (maybe only the basic version?) Shortly, I will produce an advanced version, with the bullet overlays. Then I can start writing the material and collateral to support each of the points. And that's got to be done before the mid-term rotisserie Inside Baseball wankery really gets started! As usual on this project, I've tried to keep the style very low-key. Comments and revisions welcome! --lambert]

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"The 12-Point Platform" is a simple and self-explanatory list of common-sense programs that will benefit every American, no matter their class, gender, race, or age. "The 12 Reforms" are the programs needed to secure the benefits of the Platform. The Single Value ties the Platform and the Reforms together: Government is to be used for "public purpose," and not for privilege (which means "private law").

The 12-Point Platform

1. A Living Wage
2. Medicare for all
3. Tax the Rich
4. Job and Income Guarantee
5. Debt Jubilee
6. Retirement Security
7. Post Office Bank
8. Enforce the Bill of Rights
9. End the Wars
10. Slow Food (Too)
11. Clean Air and Water
12. Carbon Negative Economy

The 12 Reforms

1. Net Neutrality
2. Fairness Doctrine
3. Local Ownership of Media
4. Public Campaign Financing
5. Electoral Integrity
6. Self-Organizing Web-Based Citizen Deliberation
7. MMT Macro-economic Policies
8. Preserve and Expand the Commons
9. More Co-operatives, Fewer Corporations
10. Fiat Justitia. Ruat Caelum
11. Strategic Non-Violence
12. Points and Reforms Are Indivisible

The Single Value

  1. Public Purpose

How to use the Basic Version

1. To define "the left"

Nobody knows what "the left" is. Conveniently for all factions and parties of the political class, "liberal," "progressive," and "the left" all mean more or less the same thing, which means that "liberal," "progressive," and "the left" mean nothing at all. Some factions would throw "Marxist", "Socialist", and "Communist" into the mix. Equally conveniently, "Marxist", "Socialist", and "Communist" have all become mere sounds that trigger engineered reactions, exactly like "liberal," "progressive," and "the left."

Rather than worry about what the left is, the 12-Point Platform defines what the left should do; that is, it's an operational definition. Anybody who supports the 12-Point Platform, the 12 Reforms, and the Single Value is on the left. People who support individual Points or Reforms are allies of the left. (Anybody who supports the Single Value without supporting any of the Points or any of the Reforms isn't on the left; they don't want to do what the left wants to do.)

The 12-Point Platform is reformist. There is no point to abolish capitalism, as communists would like to do. There is no point to abolish the State, as anarchists would like to do. There is no point to replace democracy with aristocracy, as conservatives would like to do.

The 12-Point Platform is not about identify politics. The Platform is designed to set society's baseline for public purpose high enough for all so that each will benefit, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic/national origin, age, etc.

The 12-Point Platform is not partisan. It makes no matter who supports the Points and the Reforms, or who passes and implements them. Again: Those who support the Platform, Reforms, and Single Value are the left; those who support individual Points or Reforms are allies of the left.

2. To enforce compliance

Since the Dean campaign of 2004, much of the left has pursued a strategy of "more and better Democrats." Much of the left has also devoted a lot of attention to tactics: Petitions, polling, messaging, the election cycle, strength in the district, and so on. After a decade, it's time to be honest, look at outcomes, and say that strategy and those tactics have failed.

Looking back over the last decade, it's clear what the problem was: Since "better Democrats" were never defined, there was never any real reason to elect "more" of them. The people doing petitions (MoveOn), polling (Kos), messaging (everybody and their sister), and all the rest of it have had the same effect on political outcomes that fans cheering on their team in a bar have on the action up on the TV: Nothing. No matter how knowledgeable in tactics and statistics the fans are, they are down in the bar, and whatever happens on the screen happens on the screen. The disconnect is total. FDR said:

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

The 12-Point Platform, the 12 Reforms, and the Single Value are FDR's "something." The vague "better Democrats" is replaced by a clean and simple checklist you can use to enforce compliance on your candidates. Either your candidate complies, and supports A Living Wage (#1), or they do not. Either your candidate complies, and supports Medicare for All (#2) or they do not. Vote for the candidate that's most compliant, and don't vote for the non-compliant. The12-Point Platform replaces voting for "the lesser evil" with voting for "the greater good."


The 12-Point Platform, the 12 Reforms, and the Single Value provide a simple checklist to hold those who seek your vote accountable for their promises in the campaign and their actions while in office. When the Platform and the Reforms are completely enacted and implemented, all Americans will greatly benefit, and the world will be a more humane and happier place.

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12-points.pdf35.21 KB
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V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...important to me for the last two decades but especially the last 14 years.
Seven and ten (12 point platform) are relatively new but I can easily agree with them.
This (your work) is probably the best, most thoughtful, platform I have seen in my lifetime.
We've devolved into a bang, bang, talking point, sound-bite, shallowness, that leaves one famished after being told we just feasted.
So, to see this 12 point platform is, well, amazing. Thanks for your hard work.
Now, to get it viral; can I post it on other sites with attribution? When it's officially finished of course.

Submitted by lambert on

... or an improvement is found!

* * *

And there's also the PDF! I think I'm going to make a logo now...

UPDATE No reason for a logo. I just added a twitter account. The @ is as graphic as we need to be..... Of course, as affiinis knows, the twitter account will at some point create governance issues.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...feel the need to mention, much less, define "the left"?
The left is irrelevant, IMO. A sold out, bankrupt, remnant...

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...just put it out there, on its own merits; and it has plenty to stand on.
Can't we get away from the right, left dichotomy; it's no longer relevant or even reality in today's politic, is it? Left/right? I think most of us are looking to something beyond that polemic.

Submitted by lambert on

but if the troops are as bad, we're truly doomed. At least from my experience with the landfill, I don't think the troops are that bad.

It is true that politics are more three-dimensional than two; see here. However, if these ideas are to take root anywhere I'd say on self-identified "the left" is where that would happen. And I don't want to get into vague "generalities" like "The Amercan Dream."

We could try hijack progressive. Or populist. Or radical. I'm agnostic.


NOTE It's fascinating the way that the printed version of anything always bring up these fundamental issues. Printing is still more "real" I guess.

dk's picture
Submitted by dk on


I freely admit that I haven't been following the development of the list and your explanations for the 12 point platform closely, but hope maybe that perspective might be helpful.

I think on the whole the platform looks great, though just by looking at the list (without the context of previous explanations) I must say I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at in points 5 and 10 (meaning, I'm not sure the average person on the street, even one who is relatively politically engaged, would immediately understand). Also, I wonder a bit about point 12. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to have on there (as well as points 5 and 10 for that matter), more that as written it has the danger of coming off as insider shorthand (as opposed to, say, number 11, which is written in a way that everyone would understand).

Of course, these are more drafting than substantive comments, and may or may not be relevant depending on who the intended audience is.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on the average reader. Good catch DK, IMO. Drop the Latin and speak plainly; in English!
I missed that in my reading because I'm used to this discourse; but the average reader is not.
You've got to go for the base, IMO.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

why expect others to? If a point isn't reasonably clear it should either be sharpened up or dropped.

Also, I'd consider replacing this:

The 12-Point Platform is reformist. There is no point to abolish capitalism, as communists would like to do. There is no point to abolish the State, as anarchists would like to do. There is no point to replace democracy with aristocracy, as conservatives would like to do.

The 12-Point Platform is not about identify politics. The Platform is designed to set society's baseline for public purpose high enough for all so that each will benefit, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic/national origin, age, etc.

The 12-Point Platform is not partisan. It makes no matter who supports the Points and the Reforms, or who passes and implements them. Again: Those who support the Platform, Reforms, and Single Value are the left; those who support individual Points or Reforms are allies of the left.

With something much simpler, maybe along the lines of "The 12-Point Platform is dedicated to reform, not identifying with particular candidates or parties." I think everything else in the quote can be pretty easily inferred from that; no need to elaborate.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

I'm agreeing with danps here. We here have been through the ringer defining what "this (Corrente) thing" is NOT. I look at the concept (if not execution) of the 12-Point Platform as no longer needing to defend against what we are NOT about, or taking a break from that for once. It should define and defend itself on it's own terms.

And "reform"? Isn't that merely code for replacing their assholes with ours? The current set of crap rules and rule breakage, with a new set of crap rules and rule breakage?

Here is the way I imagine it:

The 12-Point Platform is about CREATING A BETTER WORLD. Fuck party affiliation, parochialism, tribalism, political theorizing and all of the rest of the "isms". This is a set of proposals which we think are a start, and will make this country (to start with) a better place, a more human place, a more humane place.

I'm not a speechifier, though.

Submitted by lambert on

We're in classic "I didn't have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one" mode.

* * *

So, why don't you have a go at sharpening them up? The food system really does need to be addressed because it causes such horrible medical and psychological problems, ruins the soil, makes self-sufficiency impossible, etc. It impacts everything -- it's literally about corporate control over your body, including its sense organs -- and can't be solved with a level set of the living wage.

However, I tried the "Good, clean, fair food" program, which is the Slow Food motto, and got a meh response. But if you think about what it takes to get to that point, you get the destruction of Big Ag. The other way to look at this is "Local food sovereignty" but I think that's not systematic enough.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

Maybe 10 could be "Equality under the law." Not new, but still relevant. Put "Fiat Justitia. Ruat Caelum" in the layover?

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Works for me. At least the words "clean," fair" and "good" have direct and commonly-recognized meanings, as opposed to "slow" (regardless of what constructs are being built by the good people in the slow food movement). And (prophylactic) this is not meant as *any* dis to the slow food movement or constructs. Just good, in my view, to have simple, concrete language -- Hemingway style -- at the plank level, as opposed to a lot of rarefied terminology from think-groups who are working on these issues at higher levels of sophistication, abstraction, scale, etc.

Submitted by lambert on

... the partisanship goes away. It was always awkward to fit a coordinate plane into a linear left/right construct anyhow.

Submitted by marym on

Minor point in the “How To” section. In the third paragraph “There’s no point to abolish….etc.” reads at first like “There’s no point to abolishing….” Maybe “The platform has no point that calls for….” or “The platform doesn’t call for….”

Enforcing compliance: Should we (now or later) discuss what this means? Campaign on this issue, co-sponsor bills, filibuster, get yourself on the Sunday talk shows?

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

There's been a lot of interaction on the planks of the platform, and on the whole they're good precise statements of big issues. For some final consideration: Some of the planks virtually announce, "I'm a dirty hippie." For example, most people don't know about the slow food movement and will take "Slow food" as granola-eaters slamming fast food. I don't know if that's an issue to worry about. "Slow food" does have a meaning that "Healthy natural farming" would lose.

"Carbon negative economy" -- does that mean simply more wind, hydro, solar, and nuclear power plants? Given all the things it might include, what's the decision rule on whether a candidate supports it or not?

"Debt Jubilee" is important, because the banksters have promised themselves more than exists with their inflated debt issuance. However, one person's debt is another person's savings. Large fortunes ought to be done away with, either through taxes or through forgiveness of certain kinds of debt. But wiping out savings prior to making other reforms would devastate the people who have some savings for college, home down payment, retirement, whatever. Again, what's the decision rule on a candidate's position on this plank?

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

FWIW, on "slow food," my first (and only) (*) association was very expensive restaurants in uber-klepto-bubble Willamsburg Bklyn. I'm wondering if this might not be an "overlay bullet point" to one of the other planks.

Nihil O.'s points on the "carbon negative" plank are compelling to me as well. I have no idea what that means - if the planks are the "root" expression of the new policy program, I think they should be free from ambiguity - after all, we're building a blueprint for fairly allocating and ensuring very basic, non-meta, "things" (food, housing, medical care, dignity, jobs, income).

(*) Here acknowledging my ignorance and/or narrow, provincial, awareness of "slow food."

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

is the first association I made, along with "huh?"

Clarity is important. The more unclear things are, the more others will get to define your platform for you. That said, I don't have a better suggestion than Rainbow Girl's, which admittedly uses the over-used word "fair". Still, I think that's a good description.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

We've spent much, much less time on the reforms. I don't think they're at the same level of polish as the planks. We haven't, for example, even had a good hashing session on whether we should go for "Net neutrality" or "Public telecom infrastructure" (local governments all over the country have tried to set up public broadband, but the major telecom companies and ALEC got to state legislatures to pass bills prohibiting them from doing so. I'd rather enable public broadband).

The more general issue is what we expect the candidates to do about the reforms. On the "More co-operatives, fewer corporations" the goal is to get the legislature to research the issue, as I understand it. Is that the same goal for "Self-Organizing Web-Based Citizen Deliberation" and "Strategic non-violence"? These do not seem to address potential legislative action, which is probably the major thing I look for in a candidate. I suspect that virtually any candidate will agree, "Yeah, you ought to be non-violent."

If the citizen deliberation is self-organizing, what's its fine self doing these days? OK, that's snarky, but it and the MMT are both raising techniques as the answer to policy. Maybe it's just me, but it comes across to me like "all our kids will be fabulously educated once we have computers in all the schools."

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

instead of "net neutrality."

Just my preference for, again, unadorned wording with immediately concrete reference.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I strongly believe that every citizen's Right to Decent Housing is foundational for a humane society where the fair allocation of resources is paramount.

In this sense I agree with and adhere to FDR's Second Bill of Rights, where "The right of every family to a decent home" stands as an independent "item," equal in prominence to - among others, "the right to adequate medial care," "to a useful remunerative job," to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation," and so forth.

Here is an excerpt of Franklin Roosevelt's 11th State of the Union Address, January 11, 1944, (worth reading in full) where he introduces the Second Bill of Rights, a list of the "self evident" economic truths without which democracy or freedom are merely concepts:

"We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. 'Necessitous men are not free men.' People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a Second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race or creed. Among these are:

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world. (...) "

I believe, as did FDR, that the right of every citizen to a decent home must be declared an essential pillar of any reform (or revolution), the same as a job, decent wage, food and health care.

Hence, I propose that The Right to a Decent Home be incorporated into the 12-Plank Platform and that it be given its own plank, so critical is its importance.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

It's possible we may need to qualify along the lines of: "Original Medicare for All," lest a slimy "Progressive" politician (triple redundancy, I know) jump on "Medicare for All" as a way of continuing to gut Medicare through the tapeworm of "cost-sharing" reforms.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

This small edit to the current Plank # 2 has the additional virtue of including reference to the incipient solution (law/policy) -- and "HR 676" is catchy and a good nickname.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Not sure I understand why zeroing in on the policy and the specific legislation that's trying to implement that policy shouldn't be in the root plank ... shouldn't a goal of the 12 planks be to hit the heart of the matter with as much concrete resonance as possible? I think so, at least. Among other reasons, that, as with headlines and first sentences in articles, that's where you need to hook people's attention ... sort of like burying the lead.

Submitted by marym on

It’s a fair point (though I may disagree with applying it in the case of healthcare at this point) about not wanting to be tied to a specific bill. However, using the term Medicare seems to be a tie to current Medicare (not comprehensive coverage, high cost-shifting, privatization). It's a troublesome point that comes up in comments on the subject, so something that may need to be clarified elsewhere.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

So why not be bold and use $20.00 /hr as the embedded concrete dollar amount for the plank? A parenthetical after the number could solve the "it will change" issue, too, for example: "... $20.00 (for starters) ...."

Submitted by lambert on

Check out the previous discussions. There is an "Advanced" version to come, with an "overlay" of bullet points with implementation details like (for example) $21.00 or even "index the living wage to productivity. This, at least, has nothing to do with boldness but with building the platform for the long haul.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I was hoping to hear something (anything) from Lambert or other Correntians regarding the inclusion of a stand-alone Right to Decent Housing in the 12-Plank document, and eventually a correlative ban on speculation in land in the "elaborative" more-detailed version(s) .

But total silence. Does Right to Decent Housing trip some invisible taboo wire?

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on certainly important. It most definitely "should" be a right; but the response "out there" has been to criminalize the homeless.
I have no idea why you haven't gotten a response.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Yes, key point on the commons. Housing is on land (so is food, so is a place to work, but I digress). The appropriation of the commons in land by kleptocracy is one of the most fundamental ways in which we all are robbed of (1) what is ours (land, and its fair allocation) and (2) any opportunity to find stability, dignity and a sense of place -- whether we "own" (now commonly through servitudes including mortgages and skyrocketing local taxes) or rent (thereby being at the whim of vulture monopolists who are causing diasporas right and left, with attendant loss of dignity, sense of place and stability, etc.)

Land is one of the commons that we have to reappropriate in order to allocate it fairly and speculation and monetization of property by kleptocrats who see land as simply a source of rents must be abolished (see, Henry George, who I think deserves a robust revival in the midst of these discussions).

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...on a home here. When it's paid off, it really is paid off. Or any other taxes for that matter (on the home and property).
For non-Thais, the downside is that a foreigner cannot own land. A condo (which a foreigner can buy) cannot be on the ground floor.
To the point; there needs to be a provision whereby seniors cannot lose their homes for property tax delinquency whether or not the home is owned free and clear.

Submitted by lambert on

1) The 12-Point Platform isn't about rights. Along with identity politics, rights-based discourse has been pounded for 40 years, with results that we see.

2) I think a living wage covers it. Part of being above to live is having the stuff at the base of Maslow's hierarchy covered. Not just housing but e.g. transport.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I think we are seeing gestalt effects on what a reader (or potentially broader audience) might catch is or is not included in some of the planks as currently written.

If wage stands alone, however, I believe housing should equally stand alone and not be relegated to the status of "included in" or "covered by" a more abstract umbrella term, e.g., "commons."

And it doesn't have to be phrased as a "right." Just as there is a plank for "living wage" there could be a plank for "decent housing" without invoking rights

That's it from me.

Submitted by lambert on

What the living wage does is do what wages ought to do, which is allow the working class to reproduce its labor power. And a lot goes into that, including housing, transport, training, etc.-- everything at the base of Maslow's hierarchy. Why not include those things?

#8 on the commons was not meant to speak to housing. In fact, it speaks directly to this: "Land is one of the commons that we have to reappropriate in order to allocate it fairly"

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Sorry, L, not understanding "why not include those things?" Why not include what? I wasn't proposing excluding anything, so I'm lost here.

Submitted by lambert on

... the inclusion of lots of other things if housing is included.

Adding, and all those things, including housing, get provided for if the living wage is set at the right level. So why include them?

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Following that logic, then, the "Living Wage" plank subsumes health care, housing, food, and anything else that is bought/obtained with money. I'm cool with that, but really have a problem with putting housing in a sub-derivative category when other things that are paid for with money aren't. Again, this may be a subjective/gestalt issue.

I also don't understand your first sentence. I think I'm now way over my head in terms of the level of theory and complexity that you are working at, so I'll bow out for now so I can observe and learn and perhaps rejoin at a later point!

Thank you, though, for making Corrente available for the lay folks (including me!) to express themselves!

Submitted by lambert on

For example, you can't buy single payer. And you can't easily buy good clear fair food. You can't buy a carbon-negative economy. Or a Post Office Bank. All require wholesale systemic changes.

But you can buy housing. You write a check for it. So, that comes under the Living Wage (or possibly the Guaranteed Income) points.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I agree with Lambert's comment below that the platform should be about actions not rights. So what legislative actions would you want?

When FDR declared housing to be a right, he followed it up with a major program of public housing. I haven't kept up with the views of housing advocates very well, but my sense is that they don't like public housing. They certainly haven't objected to the dismemberment of public housing under such programs as HUD's HOPE grants, which I cynically believe came about because the location of the housing has become too desirable to allow poor people to live there! If you're not going to have public housing, what do you advocate for? More Section 8? Housing/downpayment assistance to the poor? I generally prefer policies that push adequate incomes rather than policies that provide individual subsidies to mitigate low incomes.

And of course the other issue is what we, through our government, should promote in housing. My comment above on a carbon negative economy asks what's involved there, because, among other things, to get to a carbon negative economy we need to change our housing patterns, especially to reduce the need for every household to have multiple cars. Current housing patterns are promoted by current housing policies.

The other issue is the promotion of home ownership. Even the comments which follow here seem to be taking home ownership as the goal. I think strengthening renters' rights is probably preferable in many cases. Home ownership has a serious downside, as home owners' main goal becomes the protection and increase of the property's value. This creates economic segregation and all the ills that trail along. Home ownership reduces mobility.

But I've seen little from low-income housing advocates except a belief that low-income households should follow the same course that government has promoted for higher-income households: ownership of an individual detached house, even when it means subsidizing a family to live far from services.

Right now I'd say just focus on raising incomes.

Submitted by lambert on

But all systems need reconfiguration if we and our progeny are to have decent lives.

* * *

On carbon negative economy and housing, very good point. That's why the big, more abtract points are further out in time, closer to the end than the "stop the bleeding" points 1 - 3.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Well, you're demanding a level of detail in the implementation of Decent Housing that isn't in place for several of the other planks, so I'm not sure why that is.

I don't know what the specific policies are that we would put into place. I do not believe that using what housing advocates (whatever that "group" is, as it is not monolithic and many of which partake of the "identity politics" "rights - I've got mine" tribes) like or don't like or what the Fed Gov has done here -- which, parenthetically, like a lot of the "Anti Poverty" legislation simply created ghetto spaces for specific interest groups.

I'd like to focus more on the outcome first For example: (1) Nobody has to pay more than 10% of whatever wage they have on housing (and it can't be a shithole or a Bloomberg microapartment or a HUD ghetto) be it rent or your own home. (2) Some form of rent control (and retroactively applied, too) would -- based on my 35 years of having lived in NYC -- re-create a stable strata of nice housing (integrated into the fabric of whatever the city is). Slumlords would be criminals. Lending at interest to "help" buy homes would be illegal. The ammassing of property that is fit for residential use by one individual or one vulture fund or one whatever, would be illegal and subject to the highest jail sentences short of murder 1. You see where I'm going with this. Even assuming that these programs are looking to preserve the money-based economy where health care, housing, food, utilities, etc. is paid for by individuals out of their pockets, the supply/demand curves would suddenly become humane because not rigged/controlled by speculators.

Shorter. The debate about the specifics of implementation seems to be relevant to the next "overlay" or the one after that. I don't see it as relevant at the Plank level -- just as several of the other planks don't necessariy signal "this is how I'm going to be achieved by Congress or local gov."

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Or you could have one prong of a housing policy that's a 21st century version of "40 acres and a mule." But again, until land is not privately earned by speculators and rentiers (and I'm not talking about persons who own one house and rent out part of it) no government directed policy can be successful for the same reason that any gov program that fits itself around the rent-seeking "needs" of Magic Market/FIRE (e.g. ObamaCare) will fail. Same, for example, with our broadband frequency. We have these useless tinkering around edges (if that) from FCC et al, when the real issue is that we've given OUR public commons wavelenghts/frequencies to a small group of rent-seeking vampires so they can charge us back TOLLS to use what is OURS. And where the solution is obviously, WE take back GOVERNMENT ownership of all the bandwiths and we license out in fair parcels with strict price controls (i.e, limits on "profits") and a ban on any entity licensed to operate the sacred trust of a bandwidth forbidden from being publicly traded or run by a bunch of CEO's with ridiculous salaries. (This bleeds into the US Post Office vision as providing (1) broadband, (2) banking/savings, (3) [fill in the blanks.]

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I'm sorry, I keep repeating myself, but I'm simple-minded. As I understand it, this is a project to create a checklist by which to judge whether to support candidates for elective office. To me, that means that it has to envision specific legislative actions that a candidate must commit to. I'd love to design a different economic system, but as I understand it, this project has a very valuable use that would be lost if there aren't specific actions we can ask the candidates for.

Everybody can jump in to claim belief in desirable outcomes. Everybody from the Koch brothers to the Little Sisters of Mercy, trailing between them Paul Ryan, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and every other variety of political actor wants a good healthcare system. But "A good healthcare system" would be an inadequate plank. I can use this plank, because I'm a reluctant supporter of a single payer system as the best we can get -- I keep pointing out how much better an NHS would be. But, as they say, baby steps.

Similarly, the platform didn't go with "Reform finance." It went with "A post office bank."

Current government programs exist to give food stamps to the poor to buy food. That's partially why a plank addressing provision of food to individual families doesn't appear necessary. The platform issue with food has to do with what agricultural subsidies are awarded, how use of toxic chemicals is regulated, how patents on living organisms are granted and enforced, humane requirements on factory farms. Those are issues that individual spending can't address, where legislative action is needed.

The desired outcome is always the motivation behind an effort like this. I generally argue for the vision rather than the specific legislation where I think the public is at a disadvantage once the staffers and lobbyists who spend every working day for years developing means and argument for gutting policy. However, I have some trouble when there's no idea of the outlines of some legislative program that might be tried to move towards the outcome.

Submitted by lambert on

If I understand you, we don't have the horsepower to write a legislative platform; this is a small blog that barely supports itself and still manages to punch about its weight.

* * *

I don't see a reason why a checklist can't be an effective tool, absent a legislative platform. Otherwise, we're faced with a chicken or egg problem. In any case, we have legislators to do that. Or, alternatively, Reform #6 online.

And I think compliance tactics can be adjusted as we go along. I guess what I'm saying is that the platform enables decision rules. I don't see that anything more is required right now.

UPDATE This is reason to rely, insofar as possible, on existing efforts like PNHP or Slow Food. They, being funded at orders of magnitude more than we are, will be more likely to have legislation in the form that you are, if I understand you, demanding.

But I don't see crafting mock legislation as a requirement. We'll never get anywhere if we do that.

Submitted by lambert on

... if people would propose concrete alternatives to it.

Right now, we extract and consume more and more carbon, though fracking, tar sands, and I seem to remember, ordinary drilling. That's nuts, health and the horrible political economy of petrostates aside, because that's going to cook the planet. It's like we're following Dick Cheney's (still secret!) energy plan straight over the edge of the cliff.

"Carbon-negative economy" means to me that we consume and extract less carbon, rather than more. (I forget who proposed the point originally, but they are almost certainly more knowledgeable than I am, so do chime in.)

I like "Carbon-negative" because there's a metric; we know when we've achieved something (unlike rights-based discoure). I'm not sure we can propose anything more concrete, however. The political process has to be left to work some things out. This is necessarily more abstract and long term, which is why it's #12.

But climate change must be addressed in some way; this to me (again, because of the metric) is a good way to do it.

mtngun's picture
Submitted by mtngun on

I'm very much on board with platforms #1 - #9. Thank you especially for including the Bill of Rights, and the job-or-INCOME-guarantee.

I had to google "slow food." Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to tell people what to eat. I didn't even tell my kid what to eat, let alone make it part of my political agenda. Way too much "nanny state" for me.

Got a link that explains how we can support 330 million people with a carbon negative economy? Or how it is politically feasible to do it quickly enough to reverse global warming? It's not going to happen. Global warming is inevitable.

I'm not on board with much of the 12 reforms. Where's Swiss-style Direct Democracy? I see that as key -- get direct democracy, and then you may have a chance of passing some of your reforms. Without direct democracy, you have to pray that another FDR will come along.

Much of the industrialized world already has public campaign financing, etc., and it doesn't seem to make much difference. Power corrupts. You have to take away the power and give it to the people, hence Swiss-style Direct Democracy is the key, not campaign finance reform.

I advocate the Swiss system because it is simple, proven, and does not depend on new technology.

As I commented earlier, MMT is not a progressive platform, MMT is a 1% platform that throws a few crumbs to the 99%.

If you have to use Latin, you're doomed.

"Public Purpose" can mean anything and therefore is meaningless, though I recognize that it is an attempt to steer the conversation away from the Ayn Rand "me me me" philosophy. Without direct democracy, who determines public purpose? Even with direct democracy, what about minority rights ? (see Bill of Rights).

Ayn's philosophy was a reaction to the totalitarian philosophy of state over individual. In reality we humans are a mix of individual motivations and social motivations. I sympathize with anarchists and libertarians but recognize that some degree of authority and organization are necessary in an industrialized society. Point being, I view the proper role of government as a balancing act between individual rights and the greater good. I don't know how to condense that into a simple phrase for your 12 point platform, though.

In general, I would point out that the more things you add to your platform, the more things there are for people to disagree with. There is a lot to be said for focusing on the bare essentials.

Note that I was originally attracted to Corrente by the 12 word platform. I admire a man with a plan, even if the plan is not perfect.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Some suggestions:
5. Change "Electoral Integrity" to "Vote by Paper Ballots, hand-counted."
9. Change "More Cooperatives, Fewer Corporations" to "Workplace Democracy." This advocates not only for the cooperative structure, but changes in work laws at the corporations that remain. "Democracy in the Workplace" is marginally clearer but longer.

6. Web-based deliberation and 11. Strategic non-violence seem to me more about the organizing individuals than public reforms that need public action. The major plank that I think is missing is a call to end Incarceration Nation. Lambert sees it as included under "End the Wars," but given the injustice and brutality of our prison system, I wish it were stronger. I've thought a lot about how to reword "Strategic non-violence" to address the state violence that has metastasized over the last 20 to 30 years in the U.S., but haven't come up with anything.

I'd ditch MMT as a reform. I don't believe that if we could only convince the powers that be of MMT, they'd suddenly see things our way. They are perfectly willing to print all the money in the world to bail out banksters and blow helpless foreign civilians into a rose mist, regardless of their professed economic theory. In a political document, it's just a convenient distraction from what we want to do together as a nation.

It's probably too late to throw in a new reform, but I'd go for "Shorten the primary season." The primaries need government to run the electoral process, so government can set the schedule. I'd like to see a month or less separate the first primary from the final election; that would give plenty of time for a run-off and the printing of final ballots. The endless campaign is a means of keeping everyone focused on the horse-race, the personalities, everything but the issues.

Vicus delendus est.