A New U.S. Constitution?

On Sunday October 25th, 2020, the Chilean people voted to rewrite the nation’s constitution. The plebiscite was a landslide victory for change: 78.24% voted for, and 21.76% against. A special convention will be formed with newly elected members, and the rewrite will be submitted to the people in 2022.

Why did Chile vote to rewrite their constitution? According to the New York Times, Chile is being wrecked by crises in both income inequality and a decaying public service system. And these have been the base reasons for unrest in the South American country since October 2019. Chile has many natural resources, but they are being exploited by billionaire capitalists from both within and without, as always happens in a free-market economy.

Chile has been a very stable nation compared to its neighbors for decades. Why? Mainly due to the overthrow of a duly elected Marxist president in 1970.

Socialist Salvador Allende was the first radical-Leftist to be elected president of a Latin American liberal democracy in 1970. And for the usual reasons, fascist military leaders, with much help from the United States government, conducted a coup d’etat that overthrew him. He was then replaced by Gen. Augusto Pinochet and he was a brutal, brutal dictator. The fascist leader committed various human rights abuses during his tenure, including forced disappearances, murder, and torture of political opponents. A government commission report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, Pinochet’s government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973.[112] He reigned for 17 years.

In 1980, ten years before his removal from power, a constitution was written and approved by fair election in Chile by a special government commission. The Chilean people will have been living under that same constitution from 1980 to 2022. It is one of the last relics of a very dark chapter in Latin American history.

With the victory by the people, current Chilean Pres. Pinera stated, from the NYT,

“This plebiscite is not the end; it is the beginning of a path we should all undertake together,” President Sebastián Piñera said in an address from the presidential palace.

“Until now, the Constitution has divided us,” he added. “As of today, we should all cooperate to make the new Constitution become one home for all of us.”

Chile, night of 10/25/2020 after election victory for the people’s rewrite of the constitution.

Why do I choose this event for this week’s post? First and foremost, it is wonderful for the Chilean people for they now have a chance to enact some much needed far-Leftist reforms benefitting their entire nation, not just the rich and powerful. Second, it made me contemplate how the American people and our current governmental system is so tied to the U.S. Constitution, and maybe it’s time for a change.

The Constitution of the United States was enacted in 1789, over 225 years ago. And who wrote it? The most bourgeois, of the bourgeois of the 18th century New World. There is no way to express how “elite” these men were with their money, extensive educations, and even with the human beings many owned. Yet they are still consider near gods ruling over the pantheon of American history. The “Founding-Framers (Fathers)” are worshipped by the masses due to centuries of 1% rule.

When you look at who these men were, who do you think they wrote the Constitution for? For themselves and others of their status.

This is painfully obvious when one looks at it the right way. The United States is not built on freedom and equality for all. It is born out of the oppression by a select few who made up all the rules at the conception of the country. They wrote the Constitution so only the white, landowning, males of this nation could vote. It is so obvious. And despite how many amendments have been added to the document, it is still just advances upper-class rule. Those in power twist and contort words and clauses to justify their rule over us men and women below. The rich calling themselves liberal, or progressive, still look to this aged document to justify their superiority over us.

My question is why do we still have our lives in lockstep with the most elitist men in U.S. history? It is written for upper-class rule, not for the benefit of the people. Yet the people look to it as near scripture due to a massive system of coercion. Everything is evaluated beside the Constitution of the United States. So maybe we should break free.

The American people are in no way prepared for far-left ideologies at the moment. So instead of speaking about violent revolutions and “dictatorships of the proletariat,” we should right now frame change into a mere rewrite of the U.S. Constitution. To this day everyone still has a bitter taste in their mouth regarding Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism due to Cold War propaganda. But if we can reframe the progression to a far-Left government through the rewriting of our founding document, it may work sooner. We won’t have to metaphorically burn down everything like the Bolsheviks did. And this is not reformism or liberalism. This nation, for decades, if not centuries, will not be satisfied without a Constitutional democratic government. So let’s just change the Constitution. We can write it as we want with lines concerning the abolition of capitalism and true equality among all peoples.

In conclusion, American society, just like any other, is not bound to the Constitution of the United States through some divine order. Just like Chile, we can rewrite a new binding document. Another social contract. This country worships the Constitution and we look to it to answer every question. So let us think about just abolishing the current Constitution in order to construct and implement one that is written for the many, not they few. The one we have now was written by and for the 1%; not the 99%. Let’s just consider this strategy and maybe we will find a more palatable way into American’s hearts.

Countering the Right: Ridiculous Ted Cruz Op-ed on Campaign Finance and Free Speech

Ted Cruz is one of those psychotically far right-wingers that just spews so much absurdity from his lips that it’s hard to keep up sometimes.

The Senator and apparent presidential hopeful published an op-ed in the WSJ yesterday attacking Sen. Tom Udall’s proposed amendment to the Constitution regarding the potential (not actual) regulation of money in campaigns.  To say that he took some liberties in describing the amendment and what it does or could do is an understatement.

First off, he certainly had a lot to say…with the exception of a glaring omission: any mention or addressing of the idea that money in politics and campaigns can corrupt in any way.  Or the idea that Americans actually want campaign finance to be restricted according to polls.  He points out the amendment has little chance of passing and it takes three-fourths of state legislatures to pass while omitting the reality that 79% of the public want limits on campaign donations and expenditures, according to a Gallup poll last yearA CBS News poll from last month found similar results.  Also in the Gallup poll, 50% would support government financed campaigns, yet another of Cruz’s omissions.

It should also be noted that the entire op-ed is simply a scare tactic of what could happen resulting from the amendment, not what the amendment is actually asking for or what, in reality, will happen.  It’s reminiscent of the far right’s scare tactics of what could happen if African-Americans get the right to vote, if the LGBT community is given equal rights, or if the Affordable Care Act becomes law, all of which proved their predictions were pretty much dead wrong.

Let’s address some of his contentions directly:

For centuries the Supreme Court has rightly concluded that free speech includes writing and distributing pamphlets, putting up billboards, displaying yard signs, launching a website, and running radio and television ads. Every one of those activities requires money…If you can prohibit spending money, you can prohibit virtually any form of effective speech.

He is contending that money equals speech and, on the surface, this seems reasonable.  The problem, of course, is this ignores the truth in America that he who has the most money has the loudest speech, which is clearly not what was intended by the First Amendment.  Its intention was to give equality of speech and making sure that even the lowliest of voices could still be heard, a complete impossibility in today’s world where money, not speech, is king.  In fact, you could really change his last sentence there to, “If you don’t prohibit spending money, you can prohibit virtually any form of effective speech.”  (His word “effective” should be particularly noted.)

As for the idea that the Supreme Court got it wrong in Citizens United because corporations have no First Amendment rights, that too is demonstrably false. The New York Times is a corporation. The television network NBC is a corporation. Book publisher Simon & Schuster is a corporation. Paramount Pictures is a corporation. Nobody would reasonably argue that Congress could restrict what they say—or what money they spend distributing their views, books or movies—merely because they are not individual persons. (Emphasis added)

It’s brilliant on Cruz’s part to use press and media in this description as it skews the reader’s view into thinking the government would be looking over their shoulders and telling them what to say.  He wouldn’t dare use corporations like Enron, BP, or Halliburton in that sentence since it would give people a different perspective.  The reality of the amendment is that it would not restrict what the press can say but how much a person or corporation can spend during a campaign saying it, something the public clearly wants according to the polls.  In other words, it would be an attempt to balance equality of speech.

Then Cruz produces a list of things that could be deemed constitutional if the amendment were adopted, some of which are just completely ridiculous.  He actually contends that the government “could criminalize pastors making efforts to get their parishioners to vote”, as if anyone would ever support any law that criminalized people for asking others to remember to vote.

What has to be remembered is that these laws would have to be made by Congress (ideally with the popular support of the public) and signed by the president in order for any of his absurd predictions to come true.  And if you look at his list of what ifs, you might notice that not one actually includes a scenario involving a restriction on an actual corporation, which is something the public clearly wants.

Campaign finance reform is something the public clearly wants.  Ted Cruz’s views are something the public clearly doesn’t.

Krauthammer Wrong On Constitution

Gleen_Greenwald-140As usual, another good op-ed by Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian. Greenwald argues against a Krauthammer piece in The Post where Krauthammer argues that the American Constitution does not apply to American citizens when they leave the country. But Greenwald cites a 1957 Supreme Court ruling that says that this is not true. He further states that Krauthammer and his neo-con cohorts are just trying to rebuke the points made by Sen. Rand Paul during his one-man filibuster a few days ago.