(Previous page: The Problem)
The following items are proposed for the adoption of a policy platform at our initial membership meeting:
Universal affordable health care and guaranteed incomes
As automation continues to decimate the kinds of stable, high-wage jobs with benefits that people used to be able to rely on, we need a new way to guarantee people are able to meet their needs as a matter of human rights. The earth belongs to us all, and so we all have a right to the basic necessities of life.
The best way to accomplish this is with universal affordable health care and a guaranteed basic income for each adult. Affordable health care should be available in the U.S. to all residents, as it is in many other countries around the world. Replacing contingent forms of income support, such as unemployment insurance, disability payments, and aid for the poor, with a guaranteed basic income requires less government bureaucracy and frees recipients from the "poverty trap" of losing benefits when they accept even temporary, low-paying jobs.
By meeting people's basic needs for food, housing, and health care, they will be able to participate in today's forms of part-time, temporary, and self-employed work, as well as in the often lower-paid work of caring for others, with a greater sense of financial security. This will also help those who need it to pursue further education and gain working experience so as to give more back to society and move into higher paid employment.
Socially responsible economic institutions
Governments should shift from subsidies for large, for-profit corporations and instead nurture small businesses, public benefit corporations, non-profit organizations, and worker and consumer cooperatives.
Small, locally-based businesses are often more conscious of their community, the environment and workers than large corporations; they also create more new jobs. Public benefit corporations are required by their charters to consider the well-being of workers and the environment along with profits. Worker and consumer cooperatives exist to benefit their members, not investors.
The promotion of socially responsible investing and, where needed, government regulation, will help move our economic institutions in a more socially responsible direction. Larger businesses should be required to include worker and community representatives on their boards of directors.
Ending fossil fuel dependency
Through conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources, we now have the means to meet our energy needs without depending on fossil fuels. Governments should end all subsidies for fossil fuel industries and instead foster a shift to a "green" economy.
A green economy is necessary to mitigate ongoing climate change and protect our air, water and land from further damage caused by fossil fuel industries. It would also allow us to reduce our military presence in the Middle East and remove a large part of justification of Islamic terrorists for targeting the U.S.
Opening up the electoral system
An archaic electoral system and restrictive ballot access laws prop up a two-party system which makes it easier for big donors and corporate lobbyists to control the government. Pressing needs will not be addressed until we alter our electoral methods to open political discussions to new voices and remove barriers to independent and alternative party candidates.
Preference voting, multi-member districts, and public financing of campaigns are ways to change election dynamics and open up a system now beholden to special interests.
Reducing big government
By removing the bureaucracy handling contingent social welfare benefits, reducing the need for government regulation by making business more socially conscious, and downsizing our military presence abroad, the role of the national government will shrink.
We also need to end mass citizen surveillance and demilitarize our police in order to protect citizens against invasions of privacy and abuse by those entrusted with power.
Developing a culture of justice and mutual respect
People in power have long used the tactic of dividing people to protect themselves from accountability to the larger public. Government agents and all citizens must be held to a standard of respect and just treatment for all people without regard to irrelevant distinctions such as physical attributes, gender, cultural background, and social class.
When people feel that their rights and human dignity are being respected and protected, there is no need to control them by violence and coercion. This is true in both the domestic and international spheres. By developing a culture of mutual respect and justice for all we remove justifications for governmental and other use of violence.
Next page: The Plan