The fact that the phrase sounds antique should warn us of the scale of our folly. We have lost, given away, pawned the power we once claimed. We have ceased to be who we once were. Or at least who we claimed and hoped to be – The People. Now who are we? The Consumer? The Unemployed. The Unwanted? “We, the Unwanted” does not have the same ring about it does it? And yet that is what we are fast becoming. It is time to chose. Sit in front of your television or computer screen and let it sooth you, until one day you too find you have have become one of the unheard, unlamented, Unwanted. Or reach out to others and grasp hold.
It is surely time that we re-assert what the phrase “We, The People” once meant. It is symbolic I know. But symbols are powerful. And the powerful fear them.
For too long now we have been supine, docile and cowed. There have been sputterings of resolve when a million people took to the streets to oppose the War in Iraq. But the rulers of the day ignored us and ‘the people’ simply went home vaguely disquieted, perhaps a little hurt at being ignored but mainly just confused as to what to do next – if anything.
For decades now we have let others have the initiative, let others define what was acceptable and legitimate. When it was never their position to do so. This must stop.
Once, a certain people declared, “No taxation without representation.” It was and still is a simple idea. You may not tax me unless you represent my interests. Only those with my interests in mind may ask me for taxes. Today that definitiion of democracy has withered and been quietly replaced by another similar sounding but actually radically different version – I would say perversion – of democracy. Today we are taxed by people who represent every interest but ours. They are still representatives but not of our interests. Democracy has now become a kind of opera – more and more lavish in direct proportion to its separation from ordinary people and their lives. Every four or five years we get to chose between two teams who represent some interest which is not ours. They may represent the interests of bankers, or global corporations, or militarists and the industrial complex which gets rich from their adventures, or some other grouping within the machinery of the State, or the intersts of a powerful global 1% – whatever interest they serve it is never yours and mine. For those who will clamour and say the Democrats or Labour or La Gauche represent the interests of the labour unions, WAKE UP! It’s been decades since that was even partially true. Labour under Blair and Brown was Thatcherism by another name and ignored a million people who said very clearly and en masse, that the Bush/Blair war was unjust, illegal and unwanted. The Democrats under Obama followed the same financial and economic ideology as Bush, even chosing the same people to run things, and was as warlike and arrogant as well. Change? Tell it to a moron. He might believe you.
Democracy is broken. No one represents us. We are allowed only to chose between different teams of The Entitled who, once chosen, ignore us completely. The whole idea of a mandate has mutated. Once that idea meant that a government could do what it had said it would do when it was trying to win our votes. Beyond those things, it had to consider ‘The People’. Today all parties consider that being elected means to be handed absolute power to do whatever they feel like doing, whatever they can ram through the tattered remains of accountability and oversight.
Elected dictatorship in installments is what we have today. And when each installment, no matter the different names and colours of the teams, is almost indistinguishable from the last, what is representative democracy if not a street parade of oversized cartoon characters and their pantomimed arguments. Are we not entertained?
If we do not speak up soon we will find when we finally do, nothing is heard but grunting and bleating. We are, to borrow a phrase from the brilliant Roberto Callaso, already walking through a vast slaughter house. And those who run it have no good intent.
It is past time when we must revivify what We the People means. We must stop reacting like frightened animals and take the initiative.We cannot allow those who presume to rule over us to continue to tell us what ‘must’ be done and to over-rule all debate by insisting ‘there is no alternative.’ We must state what We the People will accept and what we won’t, what we regard as legitimate and what is not. It is for us to decide these things not them. It may seem like just words and on one level of course it is. But it was only words when it was said the first time. What those words did the first time and can do again, is to stop our rulers’ proclamations always being against a blank and passive background. Simply by declaring what We will and won’t tolerate or accept we force their proclamations to appear as what they are – aggressive, partisan and debateable.
You might say that it will still be just words and that blood would still have to be spilt upon the ground before their point had force. Which may be true. But still, simply by re-stating that there IS a “We the People” we take a stand, and are heard.
So here is my suggestion, for what it might be worth – What matters is that we state what WE will and won’t accept, what WE do and do not recognize as legitimate. What matters is how many of us sign. It does not matter that we may not all agree or that we may have differing lists. What matters is that they are not so different, that we can all stand together, and all take back what is ours – the power to DECIDE for ourselves what powers we lend and what powers we do NOT.
We the People:
Will not accept taxation for the purpose of paying off, even temporarily, private banking or other financial debts.
We will not accept the rulings of international arbitration panels on which our interests are not represented and which are convened on the basis of Bilateral Investment Treaties about which we were not consulted.
We will do not recognize the right of bond holders of ANY standing to be given seniority over the tax payers and people of a nation. We will NOT bail them out.
We reserve the sovereign right to decide in the event of another finacial crisis, who does not get paid, whose wealth is anulled. It is not for the unelected market and its experts to tell us.
We, the people do not accept the right or authority of private or unnaccountable State organizations to collect, hold or use private data gathered by any means that the law and courts have not specifically and publically granted.
We do not accept the legitimacy of any private law enforcement body.
We do not accept that there is any justification for secret or unaccountable bodies to hold any power over us. We simply do not recognize they have any legitimacy.
We will not tolerate military actions taken in secret without any parliamenary and public accountabilbity and permission.
We reserve the absolute right to hold to public and legal account any leader who takes actions which disregard the above. No elected official is above the law and no leader has the power to aquit those the courts have proceeded against.
No organization is above or outside the law.
We the People do not accept that any organization is too big to prosecute or too big to fail. Any organization that becomes so or remains so depsite this clear instruction, and then fails, forfeits its entire worth to the public purse at a post bankruptcy price.
I offer this as a start only. Others will no doubt be better informed and able to formulate a far clearer, better and sharper declaration.
If they do, I would like to sign it and offer it to as many others as technology will permit me to reach, for them to consider signing. The internet gives us this chance, to put up a document that any number of ordinary people can chose to sign. People might wish to have a seperate version for each Nation. Or, in a global world, perhaps we need to remain together as the global 99%. What matters is that enough of us sign so we can really say with a single voice – WE THE PEOPLE serve you notice that we are back!