" The goal of man and society should be human independence:
a concern not with image of popularity but with finding a meaning
in life that is personally authentic: a quality of mind not compulsively
driven by a sense of powerlessness, nor one which unthinkingly adopts
status values, nor one which represses all threats to its habits,
but one which has full, spontaneous access to present and past experiences,
one which easily unites the fragmented parts of personal history,
one which openly faces problems which are troubling and unresolved:
one with an intuitive awareness of possibilities, an active sense
of curiosity, an ability and willingness to learn."
- The Port Huron Statement, 1962
On September 10th, America was a nation at rest. The economy,
while showing troubling signs of a slow-down, remained robust after
several years of breathtaking strength. There were wars and rumors
of wars across the globe, but little of that served to threaten or
disquiet the average American. The populace was content to follow
the vagaries of a political scandal surrounding Gary Condit, and the
media was more than happy to oblige. If you were not a California
congressman under suspicion, a shark on the attack, or a clone, your
story did not see much daylight on the news.
On September 10th, politics was badly broken, yet no one
appeared to notice. Ten months earlier the nation witnessed the fundamental
right to vote go careening off the track. At the end of the day, it
does not matter whom you think actually won the contest down in Florida
in November of 2000. The fact that such a mess came about at all,
and the fact that a President had to be chosen by the Judicial
branch of the government instead of by the counting of votes in the
ballot box, was a damaging blow to the bedrock core of our democracy.
More damaging by far was the fact that 100 million Americans refused
to vote at all in that election.
On September 10th, few people in America seemed to care.
For years, we have known with absolute clarity that our voices and
our votes carry ever diminishing weight along the halls of power.
100 million people did not participate in the last Presidential election,
voting in their silence to disdain the widening distance between elected
officials and the people they represent. Power spoke only to the few,
to those who could pay for access with millions of dollars. The average
American knew she was a cipher, a meaningless dot, of no significance
when compared to the moneylenders in the temple. Americans did not
rise up in outrage after the 2000 election because, simply, they knew
that whoever won the contest would be beholden to those same wealthy
interests that robbed the people of their voice. Of course there were
differences between the candidates. But politics in Washington was
still exactly the same, and the rules that barred the gates of influence
against the people would still stand.
On September 10th, these disturbing facts were known to
every single American citizen, and yet few believed they could do
anything about it. Power was out of reach, and disinterested apathy
became a refuge that offered succor in the face of such anxieties.
We had our breads and circuses, many of us had jobs, and the safety
and security of our nation appeared unassailable. Since there was
no way people could change things, there was no sense getting worked
up about it.
And then, from a brilliant blue sky, change and fear were thrust
upon us by murderers.
It has been said often that the attacks of September 11th
changed everything. To a great degree, this is true. 9/11 brought
the continental core of America into contact with the bloodshed and
strife that has afflicted the rest of the world for generations. For
decades, we were swaddled in a protective blanket provided by two
oceans, thousands of nuclear missiles, and an army of surpassing might.
This blanket was stripped away when the Towers fell. 9/11 brought
us into immediate conflict with scores of nation-states across the
planet, heralding the fearsome specter of war without end against
an ever-shifting and faceless enemy. 9/11 caused us to question the
essence of our freedoms, as it was those very freedoms the killers
exploited in order to attack us.
To say that 9/11 changed everything, however, is to speak a lie.
All of the dismal truths that afflicted our society before the attacks
are still here, untouched and unmolested. Power is still held by a
wealthy few who spend their money influencing politicians that are
all too willing to listen to the jingle of coins, instead of the concerns
of the people they are supposed to represent. American policy continues
to be bent around the concerns of this fortunate minority – one need
look only to the economic "stimulus package" foisted by the Bush administration
to purportedly offset the damage 9/11 did to our economy, a package
that manifestly enriched the already-rich with tax give-aways paid
for with our collected revenues, to see this as an unassailable truth.
The news and information services, originally crafted to ensure that
this democracy and the people who own it are informed in their decisions,
instead work to make sure that the people remain passive, uninspired,
frozen in apathy, and distracted by nonsense. We still know almost
nothing about why 9/11 happened in the first place. We are told little
about the laws being put in place in the aftermath, laws that restrict
and destroy much of what made this country unique in the world. We
watch our money evaporate in a free-falling economy, but are bereft
of explanations or information on how this calamity can be repaired.
There is one great change that has taken hold across the land, a
difference that must be harnessed if we the people are to fulfill
our responsibilities to this democracy. All across this great nation,
citizens have been awakened to the awful reality that our actions
as a country, our failure to seek justice, and our failure to demand
a voice along the halls of government, makes us the target of murderers.
For a generation, our leaders have moved across the globe with heavy
hands and an eye for profit. Often, they did these things for the
betterment of the moneylenders who paid for the privilege of influence,
and not for the betterment of the people.
Our involvement in the chaotic and violent politics of the Middle
East stands as a prime example. We have propped up murderous regimes
in nations such as Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to ensure the free
flow of petroleum. In doing so, we have created an army of enemies
whose anger is augmented by the economic disparities created by our
involvement there. The attacks of 9/11 came as a direct result of
this. Rather than seek ways to remove ourselves from this bloody equation,
we dive ever deeper into the quagmire because those who control the
agenda of our government profit wildly by our addiction to oil. As
the global supply of this resource dwindles, the violence surrounding
it will escalate, until the day comes when 9/11 is remembered as a
small, inconsequential attack because events will have come that dwarf
it in significance.
This is the writing on the wall for all to see, and 9/11 made it
all the more evident. The American people have come to realize these
dangerous facts vividly, increasing our anxiety and fear. Yet because
we believe we have no voice, there seems to be little we can do. We
are strapped to the wagon as it rolls towards the precipice; we know
it, we fear it, but we cannot see a way to undo the ropes that have
lashed us to an inevitable doom.
This Manifesto has been created as a means to crystallize the problems
that face our democratic society, and has been created to bring about
a broad movement towards participatory democracy. We seek to inform
Americans about the challenges we face, and we seek to inspire Americans
to become more involved in the means to effect real change. This may
sound revolutionary, but it is in fact a return to the basic premise
upon which the country was founded. This nation was built with four
separate parts, all of which must work in concert to achieve the dreams
that birthed it:
- The Executive Branch
- The Legislative Branch
- The Judicial Branch
- The People
The Executive and Legislative branches were created to enact laws
and protect the interests of the people. The Judicial branch stands
as final arbiter, and is created through nominations by the other
two. Each of these three branches are utterly worthless, and indeed
profoundly dangerous, without the active involvement of the People.
We are the fourth branch of government, the owners of the democracy,
and we have been terribly remiss in our duties. All of the problems
that afflict us and sap our strength stem from the fact that this
fourth branch of democratic government has been absent from the equation.
There are reasons and reasons again for this dereliction of duty,
too many to list here. This state of affairs must be reversed, and
we seek to undertake the formulation of that change.
This Manifesto does not protest against anything per se; there
exists such a galaxy of problems that focusing on some or all of them
would yield a divided effort whose strength would become depleted
and too-thinly spread. This Manifesto has been created as a means
to protest for something: The dynamic and active reinvestment
of the People in the ways and means of government in America. There
is no other avenue for change that has a hope of being effective.
Having stated this, it is clear that there are several glaring issues
to be addressed. The following pages will describe these issues in
detail. In short, we seek with this Manifesto to draw active citizen
participation to stand against:
1. The ruination of our Constitutional protections. Congress, wallowing
in fear after 9/11, passed the USA PATRIOT Anti-Terror Act at the
behest of George W. Bush and his Attorney General, John Ashcroft.
This Act has delivered unprecedented powers of surveillance and harassment
into the hands of the Federal government. John Ashcroft is not a man
to be trusted with these powers, nor is any government as powerful
as ours. We stand against this Act, and seek to inform the citizenry
of exactly what is at stake here.
2. The ruination of our economic system. American disinterest in
the ways and means of governmental fiscal and economic policy have
led us to our current sorry state as much as corporate criminals like
Ken Lay have. We stand against these 21st century robber
barons who fester like a cancer within our economic system, and seek
to inform the populace of all they have let happen, and all they can
do to correct the situation.
3. The specter of eternal war. We unequivocally and absolutely denounce
and despise those who perpetrated the monstrous acts of September
11th. They have removed themselves from the human community
by their deeds. Justice must be done. But justice cannot and must
not involve the militarization of the world. To date, the actions
by our government to address 9/11 have done little but ensure that
another such attack will take place. We seek to inform the citizenry
of the war that is being waged in their name, and the consequences
of that war. We seek the active involvement of the people to demand
answers regarding why 9/11 happened, and to fully involve the people
in guiding our government through this deadly time.
We seek simple, direct action. We seek a change of attitude among
the citizens who stand today on the firing line with crosshairs targeted
on their backs. We believe that this American Experiment will die
soon of neglect if that fourth and most vital branch of government
does not return to its constitutionally-mandated duties. The founding
documents say 'We The People' for a reason.
At bottom, we seek with this to create something that has been missing
for decades – a unifying idea. We hope with this to create a broad
spectrum of individuals and groups who are against many things
that are wrong within our society, but who will join this concept
of being for participatory democracy, because in that dynamic
social participation lies the cure for so much of what so many are