Time for US revolution – fifteen reasonsFeatured — By Bill Quigley on March 8, 2010 at 09:08
It is time for a revolution. Government does not work for regular people. It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful. But it does not work for people.
The 1776 Declaration of Independence stated that when a long train of abuses by those in power evidence a design to reduce the rights of people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the peoples right, in fact their duty to engage in a revolution.
Martin Luther King, Jr., said forty three years ago next month that it was time for a radical revolution of values in the United States. He preached “a true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.” It is clearer than ever that now is the time for radical change.
Look at what our current system has brought us and ask if it is time for a revolution?
Over 2.8 million people lost their homes in 2009 to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8000 each day – higher numbers than the last two years when millions of others also lost their homes.
At the same time, the government bailed out Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the auto industry and enacted the troubled asset (TARP) program with $1.7 trillion of our money.
Wall Street then awarded itself over $20 billion in bonuses in 2009 alone, an average bonus on top of pay of $123,000.
At the same time, over 17 million people are jobless right now. Millions more are working part-time when they want and need to be working full-time.
Yet the current system allows one single U.S. Senator to stop unemployment and Medicare benefits being paid to millions.
There are now 35 registered lobbyists in Washington DC for every single member of the Senate and House of Representatives, at last count 13,739 in 2009. There are eight lobbyists for every member of Congress working on the health care fiasco alone.
At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations now have a constitutional right to interfere with elections by pouring money into races.
The Department of Justice gave a get out of jail free card to its own lawyers who authorized illegal torture.
At the same time another department of government, the Pentagon, is prosecuting Navy SEALS for punching an Iraqi suspect.
The US is not only involved in senseless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S. now maintains 700 military bases world-wide and another 6000 in the US and our territories. Young men and women join the military to protect the U.S. and to get college tuition and healthcare coverage and killed and maimed in elective wars and being the world’s police. Wonder whose assets they are protecting and serving?
In fact, the U.S. spends $700 billion directly on military per year, half the military spending of the entire world – much more than Europe, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, and Venezuela – combined.
The government and private companies have dramatically increased surveillance of people through cameras on public streets and private places, airport searches, phone intercepts, access to personal computers, and compilation of records from credit card purchases, computer views of sites, and travel.
The number of people in jails and prisons in the U.S. has risen sevenfold since 1970 to over 2.3 million. The US puts a higher percentage of our people in jail than any other country in the world.
The tea party people are mad at the Republicans, who they accuse of selling them out to big businesses.
Democrats are working their way past depression to anger because their party, despite majorities in the House and Senate, has not made significant advances for immigrants, or women, or unions, or African Americans, or environmentalists, or gays and lesbians, or civil libertarians, or people dedicated to health care, or human rights, or jobs or housing or economic justice. Democrats also think their party is selling out to big business.
Forty three years ago next month, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in Riverside Church in New York City that “a time comes when silence is betrayal.” He went on to condemn the Vietnam War and the system which created it and the other injustices clearly apparent. “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing oriented” society to a “person oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
It is time.
Author: Bill Quigley (26 Articles)
Bill Quigley currently on the ground in Haiti recording a diary for Race-Talk. He is the Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, a national legal and educational organization dedicated to advancing and defending the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bill joined CCR on sabbatical from his position as law professor and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer since 1977. He has served as counsel with a wide range of public interest organizations on issues including Katrina social justice issues, public housing, voting rights, death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, educational reform, constitutional rights and civil disobedience. Bill has litigated numerous cases with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Advancement Project, and with the ACLU of Louisiana, for which he served as General Counsel for over 15 years. Bill received the 2006 Camille Gravel Civil Pro Bono Award from the Federal Bar Association New Orleans Chapter. Bill received the 2006 Stanford Law School National Public Service Award and the 2006 National Lawyers Guild Ernie Goodman award. He has also been an active volunteer lawyer with School of the Americas Watch and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Bill is the author of Ending Poverty As We Know It: Guaranteeing A Right to A Job At A Living Wage (2003) and Storms Still Raging: Katrina, New Orleans and Social Justice (2008). In 2003, he was named the Pope Paul VI National Teacher of Peace by Pax Christi USA and is the recipient of the 2004 SALT Teaching Award presented by the Society of American Law Teachers.
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