People are out in the streets all over the world. We’re fed up with the status quo, so we chuck our tribal spears–democracy in its most primordial form.
Where the Tea Party angst was co-opted and diverted toward traditional electoral politics–in the form of supporting Republican candidates–the Occupy Wall Street movement is playing the long game, and wisely so.
“We do not support an election campaign for 2012. At all. We have removed election material for Obama, Paul, Warren, Paul, Cain, Paul, Perry, Paul, the green party, Paul, Nader, Paul, and did I mention Paul? The spamming by the Ron Lawl 2012 fan club was getting out of hand. We will continue to remove such material and any call for the Paul 2012 campaign will, at this point, be considered spamming. End of. We’re tired of hearing about it. Main street debates are also largely off topic.” ~ OccupyWallSt.org
Now the problem with bottom-up, non-hierarchical, decentralized, grassroots democracy, is that pretty much, anything goes. So this quasi-top-down dictate from one OWS website, distancing itself from the 2012 election, could be brushed away in a moment if found to be no longer convenient nor useful. Course this “anything goes” aspect could also be considered a virtue and saving grace–certainly a flexible form and model that best replicates the characteristics of the only examples of true sustainability we have, which are natural ecosystems. Fleet of foot and adaptable.
The pier-to-pier, or “peer-to-peer” democracy we see on the internet is a living and evolving example of experimental adaptability mirroring Mother Nature’s capacity to contend with shifting environmental and biological conditions, ergo, maintaining balance within a system.
We would like to see what we see possible within the information universe to be made real in our real universe.
In many ways, this is a simple translation, like having a thought and then acting on it. This is why 2009’s “Twitter Revolution” happened in Iran and why people are out in the streets in Cairo, Wall Street, elsewhere. People see the connections, possibilities, and “own” them within their virtual world, and are now demanding those hopeful possibilities in our real world.
There’s a movement going on–people are waking up.
Of course there are all sorts of geopolitical idiosyncrasies within each unfolding narrative–I definitely understand the mammoth distinction between being peppered sprayed at U.C. Davis versus the tragic loss of life, the martyrs for democracy in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc. One is an outrage–the other, an abomination.
But people who refuse, or are incapable, to see the connections between the Tea Party, Occupy Movements, protests in Europe and Middle East, just don’t “get it”. But we do.
Take the ‘R’ out of Revolution and Evolve!
I tried to unpack what a sustainable socio-economic system (SSES) would look like back in 2004 for my Global Peace Solution television broadcast for the Middle East and Iranian Diaspora.
“A sustainable socio-economic system is a system that doesn’t prey upon weakness or promote consumer vulnerability, and shifts corporate focus away from profiting off “maximized” exploitation, and begins to prioritize the maintenance of an evolving economic adaptability: a sustainable system serving the long term interests of it participants and the world we live in.”
I also referred to this as governance made of life and for all life–if you will, an addendum to “by, for, and of the people”. We are seeing these kinds of evolutionary ideas expressed within the global movement, within OWS, the seeds are being planted and are bearing fruit right now–making history and transforming our world.
One idea that I think is perfectly tailored for the moment, is the Article V Convention method of altering or abolishing government that no longer works for the people. Certainly, the unholy tryst twist Washington and Wall Street is one of the first log jams that needs to be untangled “Gordian knot” stylie. In this case, an Article V Convention is akin to Alexander the Great’s sword.
It’s a remedy embedded in the simple direct language of the constitution–and the solution has the people staging an intervention, allowing for significant change to occur outside of Washington and removed from traditional electoral corruption; a strategy precisely in tune and consonant with the OWS worldview. A new way, that opens a new front.
Many dismiss the notion of a convention because they don’t understand it, or they think it will be just as corrupt as what we currently suffer in Washington and Wall Street.
But the fact remains: what we have now is corrupt, and that’s why we need to open new arenas through which our case for transformation can be heard. The old “change we can believe in” thing (i.e. electoral politics) is not working for the people any more–and many veterans within our sacred social change movement will readily concede that the mainstream political parties is where movements go to die, co-opted and compromised into irrelevance.
The Founders actually did envision the current state of the nation. They could foresee an intractable situation befalling the Republic in which undue influence and corruption would become so entrenched into our political institutions, that elections–or any actions taken by the Federal Government–would be incapable of addressing America’s biggest problems. Sound familiar?
What the designers of our constitution foresaw was the distinct possibility that the same kind of centralized tyrannical power they had just opposed and defeated (the British Crown and Parliament) could potentially materialize over time in the new nation. They unanimously agreed to incorporate a switch that could be flipped in the future to convene a group of citizen delegates charged with addressing what was broken.
That switch is called an “Article V Convention”, and contrary to popular myth, it is not a self-destruct button. An Article V Convention allows citizen delegates to produce a roster of ideas for each state to consider to approve as a US Constitutional Amendment. There are sufficient protections built-in to prevent any kooky, radically partisan, or extreme ideas from surviving the two-step nomination and ratification process. If you believe in the brilliance of the Founders, you cannot presume to think that they would have been so idiotic as to put a poison pill right in the heart of the constitution.
The convention clause was seen by the Framers as a necessary check-and-balance, and has the potential to reboot the Federal laptop that’s been locked-up and frozen for years. While banging on the keys may seem like it’s working (elections), if you really want to get something done, Article V is the reset switch.
Things are happening, people are waking up to the fact that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party should dust off an old-but-never-used constitutional remedy, an Article V Convention. If you’re in search of truly transpartisan solutions, and are not satisfied with electoral politics, check out this time-capsule gift from the Founders: the amendatory convention enshrined in Article V, an idea whose time has come–and whose design was scrupulously intended for present circumstance.