Time to add some new planks to the 12-word platform?
Here's the current version, devised and crafted* with a lot of care:
1. Medicare for All
2. End the Wars
3. Tax the Rich
4. A Jobs Guarantee
I could vote for anybody who supported this platform, but so far nobody has! Who knew? So maybe we need to propagate the platform more, and a candidate -- or an emergent party, or a whole new parallel alpolical structure -- will pick it up. Why add new planks?
5. I think climate is a big missing piece, but I'm not sure how to even think about that from a policy perspective. What I do know is that program advocacy -- like "stop Keystone XL" or "carbon tax" -- isn't nearly enough. We need -- and in two or three words -- a perspective that's, er, global. The Climate of Man, by Elizabeth Colbert, is an impressive starting point. It's also 60 pages long. However, it's a hopeful piece in that it does take a reasonable approach to what has to be done.
6. There's nothing on the surveillance state, the restoration of Constitutional government, or the rule of law (and not secret law), or anything like that. The deterioration of the State has been marked since 2010, and we have to address it. "Secure in our effects" might be a starting point, except most people probably don't know what "effects" means. However the plank ends up being worded, I think it should have a constitutional flavor.
7. ... I don't know how to formulate this at all; it grew out of a conversation with commenter Jane Doe at NC on the Trayvon Martin case. Her point -- and please, I don't want to relitigate that case on this thread -- was that the jury in essence bought into the idea that Martin was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" ("walking while black," you might say) and that this justified Zimmerman's actions. There are some nice things about this perspective.
First, it gives a very concrete, non-game-able litmus test for privilege in public space. I mean, as a white guy, there really isn't a wrong place at a wrong time for me. (Yes, as a WASP who can still pass for professional, I get class privilege too, but I think most of those privileges operate in private space, like I can walk into the Harvard Club and the assumption will be that there's somebody there I'm going to meet.) However, for black people, and non-whites (even honorary whites) there are plenty of wrong places and wrong times. And -- this is the beauty part for me, strategically -- this is true of women as well. ("She shouldn't have been there.")
And so "equal privilege in public space" (horrible phrasing, and if we can't phrase it, it doesn't become part of the platform) could become reasonably easy to operationalize, and also unifying, unlike identity politics, which are neither, and moreover are very easy for the powers that be to use to distract and divide. I do think it's important to introduce terrain into these ideas; that's what Occupy was all about, after all. I'm groping toward "equality" rather than "safey" or "security" because those concepts are so easily militarized. ("Yes, of course we can have equal access to public spaces, except for evil-doers of course (who happen to be _____ ).")
8. A Post-Office Bank. Obvious, no?
Finally, I'm not so sure about Jobs Guarantee. I think it's a fine policy, and the benefits are clear, but it hasn't gotten traction, and I'm thinking upping the ante with a guaranteed annual income or GDP sharing might work, too.
Some comments on how the 12-Word platform hangs together and why it works (though not as well as we could hope for). Readers who helped devise the existing platform please chime in.
A plank should be:
Brief. The X-word format forces us to state planks concisely. No excess!
Clear. Everybody knows what "Medicare for All" means, for example.
Provide concrete material benefits. I learned this from Anglachel (now silent). The concrete material benefits of "Medicare for All" are immediately apparent to most people, and can be expanded on, as in people are more free to leave their jobs, move around the country, start their own businesses, etc. Ditto "Jobs Guarantee."
Evocative. By this I mean that a plank can be deeper than it appears at first glance. For example, "End the Wars" means not just our imperial wars, but the so-called "War on Drugs" and in general calls for a demilitarization of our political economy, so it's also about abolishing mass incarceration.
Systemic. Think big and for the long haul. For example, a 2010 suggestion was for legalizing gay marriage. This is good and important, now and then, but markedly more on the road to success than it was in 2010. So, not "long haul." And not really thinking big in the way that "End the wars" does, eh?
So with that I throw this post open for discussion.
NOTE * A big hat tip to danps for inventing the concept. Here's the original post at Corrente -- in 2010! -- from which the current 12-word platform evolved.
NOTE I know that taxes do not fund spending, and so I don't suppport them to [cough] "Fix the debt" or anything like that. However, I think taxing the rich is important to:
- Prevent the development of an aristocracy of inherited weath
- Prevent the rich from buying up the government with their loose cash
- Increase happiness by decreasing the Gini co-efficient