A 16 Year Plan to Remake Political Service in America

The Continental Coalition for Change — CCC

This is a working document and will change and evolve.

The Continental Coalition for Change — CCC is a 16 year vision beginning with an insistence that the people we support for high office perform at least 4 years of real service to the community in the US. This means REAL SERVICE, not high level administrative service (criteria to be determined). No short cuts. The CCC seeks to elevate candidates from a field of community organizers, the social services, educators and voices who are not beholden to economic interests.

What we need is a nationwide summit, a continental coalition summit to hammer out details of a different kind of political party, one whose job it is to REMAKE the criteria for public service in America in such a way as to remove the pervasive effects of economics. Remake it into what?

Presently (and since the beginning) the criteria for inclusion in the political system in the US has been economic empowerment and inherited wealth. Only the wealthy can even consider running for office because of their connections to the economic system, and their ability to afford to do so. This makes democracy, wholly contingent on economics instead of real issues and representation. Economic criteria simply does not represent people who are not economically prominent (meaning most people). It’s time Americans put a stop to this practice because it is simply not in our best interests to place economics in the center of governance. This perspective is already very well represented but not serving most Americans. The firewall between church and state is a model for a “separation between economics and politics”.

We need to slowly vote out of office the representatives centered on economics, the privileged classes are NOT qualified to lead because they simply do not understand what most people in America face on a day to day basis. Their privilege insulates them. (and avarice blinds them)This does not make them bad people, just not qualified to lead on the basis of their affluence. Some other overriding criteria is necessary to refocus the will to lead and redirect the way representation happens in America.

During the first year of this 16 years odyssey a Continental Coalition for Change could be brought together connecting communities who believe that economics should be secondary to wise stewardship in governance. This can include any and all groups that agree to send a team of representatives to the conference. At the conference criteria for political service are set, with a requirement for community service being the keystone requirement. Meaning any candidate for public office put forth and publically amplified by the CCC will as a prerequisite have 4 years of continuous grass roots community service to real people in the United States of America. No short cuts. Other criteria may be set as well, but real service insures that candidates have at least some understanding of the lives of the people they serve. Much emphasis in the word SERVE here. As it is now, public officials expect people to serve them, which is an unfortunate reversal of the principles of representative democracy.

Also during the CCC, volunteers are collected from communities all over the US who support the idea of advancing and increasing education about the political process and participants. This volunteer group is the bedrock of the CCC and not beholden to the candidates. In fact this education group should vette all CCC candidates as carefully as it examines candidates from other parties. This is a new form of citizen involvement that partners with schools, journalism and community and social service organizations all over the country.

After the CCC conference, and during the first 4 years, the CCC elevates the voices of certain leaders within their ranks whose function is to comment, criticize and weigh in on the existing political candidates and races. The CCC will not run for office at this time, rather make public the affiliations and policies of existing officials and work to improve education and full disclosure to the American people about the current collection of politicians prior to CCC entry into races.

Also during the first 4 years, CCC candidates are groomed, and offices and key local and regional races are identified. The idea here is to start from the grass roots, city, town, parish, precinct etc. and prepare to run candidates in the next 4 years. The CCC’s function during the first 4 years is education and organization.

During the second 4 years the CCC candidates run for local and regional offices all over the country while the CCC conference continues to provide information and education about all the candidates and work to educate the American people about who their political leaders are affiliated with. CCC candidates will make full disclosures about their backgrounds and intentions and set the tone for everyone in the local races.

Also during the second 4 years, plans to run for the next level of public offices are laid, candidates are prepared and more public education is provided by CCC volunteers all over the country.

During the third 4 years, CCC candidates seek the next level of offices in counties and state and federal level seats, moving up many of the representatives who have served at the local and regional level. The idea here is that local CCC representatives are foundational for the next level of representatives and when one CCC representative moves to the next level, another takes their place at the local level.

The 4th four years is more of the same plus deep evaluations and institutional self reflection. During this cycle, CCC leaders are savvy and embedded enough in the system to compete for chief executive positions. Presumably they also have support in the lower houses of government for their policies, this being the key ingredient missing in the Green Party’s approach when they run someone for president. Even by some fluke of luck, if a Green were elected president, they would have no support in the House and Senate in the US and therefore have no real ability to affect change.

Another added benefit of the 4th cycle is that it is timed for youngsters to come of age in time to pick up the torch and remake the CCC in contemporary terms. Citizens who are school age at the beginning of the 16 year cycle will be well into adulthood by the time the CCC matures and there will be a whole generation of people involved to continue.

The People doth Protest…

A pernicious form of economics is lauded in America, it is enforced by armed men with state-of-the-art battle gear who are well trained to respond to orders from people working to preserve a system that has its roots in slavery, environmental destruction and conflict across the planet. Are people frustrated enough to do something? They might be, but what can regular people do to fight the ill effects of late stage capitalism?

What indeed.

I was involved in a debate not long about about protesting. A friend had just been arrested somewhere in the vicinity of the undercover CHP cops who have been accused of acting as “agent provocateurs” during protests in the east bay.

My quite unpopular question was: is protesting going to achieve anything except getting the leaders of the movement injured and alienating the regular people who might otherwise support the movement?

Lately, protests have been regularly degenerating into warfare with the police, often because there is a small group of black masked risk takers co-opting what might be peaceful demonstration. Since most protestors are not well enough educated, organized or disciplined, they do not have the wherewithal to control the extremists in their midst, so that small minority of people tends to be the voice that gets heard in the media, rendering protest as a political tool irrelevant by way of criminalization.

For “the movement” to succeed, its leadership needs to take the long view and train people with that in mind. Yes train. Often black masked risk takers are referred to as professional protestors, when in fact they are simply angry and mischievous people who are brave enough to go over the line and meet police violence with other kinds of violence. Hotheads should not be in charge of the message of the movement. Wise and peaceful people should be the dominant voices. (but who pray tell are these people? We don’t know because the message is dominated by hotheads.)

Violence does not make sense on a few fronts. Firstly, you cannot beat anger with anger. The enforcers of the system are much better schooled at anger, belligerence and scientific social control than even the most informed student protestor. Young men and women with honorable intentions are no match for trained paramilitary. You simply can’t beat an angry man at being angry, he’s just too good at it, so some other means are called for. But what are those means?

Secondly people who stoop to violence of any kind run the risk of becoming just like the people they oppose. Live by the sword, die by the sword is something that has been proven over and over again in human history. Why is it that we aren’t heeding that message?

Way back when in the 1950s and 60s, in a time of Howard Zin, before the consolidation of capital and the birth of the 1%, protest WAS a good option. I think we should examine whether protesting in the street is the best way to go about subverting a very complex and embedded system. The police are just people acting as soldiers for bankster thugs. It makes sense to influence the people who give police directions, and if this is at all possible, it is not likely to be violent protest that achieves this goal.

It is the policy and operating principles of the police that need revision. We need to change their bosses and modify their mandate. It’s time for people to wake up and realize that the problem is not the police, but the system that uses them as enforcers against the people.

If you want to change things, first we need to examine all the assumptions about our economic and political system and move in a mass way to correct our course. Maybe the new form of protest is in the marketplace? Capitalism, an economic system has viciously turned on Democracy, a political system and is holding the people captive through brutal oppression.

The core principles of Capitalism and Democracy are antithetical to each other.  Democracy is about representation, giving people a voice in how their lives are shaped by governance. Democracy is about fairness and brings people together to make wise decisions for the common weal.

Capitalism is about competition, it pits each one of us against each other for selfish reasons. Capitalism always plays out with winners and losers, it always ends up with the most aggressive and predatory people in charge.

Its time we stopped conflating Democracy and Capitalism. Its time that we the people return economics back to proportions that makes sense in a representative Democracy. At this time, and perhaps for a long time, economics has occupied too great a position in our attentions. We must first admit and understand this to make change happen.

We the people need to change the way we exchange economic empowerment in our societies and we need to step up our commitment to representative Democracy by systematically favoring leadership that is committed to realigning economics in proportion relative to what is essential to have happy and healthy lives for the largest amount of people possible, not just the top predators.

Protest was once a good way of influencing politics. But if it is now economics that needs influenced, is protest in the street the best means of doing so?