Notes for a Gathering
By Howard Zinn • ZCommunications • December 16, 2000
I have been asked to imagine this situation: “The progressive third party movement has captured the White House, 60% of Congress and 30 Governorships. What do we do now?”
First, we have a party, maybe three, with the third party being special.
Then, we have Congress pass, and the President sign, the following legislation:
1) Repeal of the 1996 Crime Bill with its extension of capital punishment, its billions for new prisons.
2) Repeal of the 1996 “Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act” allowing, among other terroristic provisions, deportation of any immigant ever convicted of a crime.
3) Repeal of the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996” which ended the federal guarantee of aid to families with dependent children.
4) Passage of an “equal legal defense” act, guaranteeing federal subsidies for defendants equal to the amount available to prosecutors.
5) Ban the sale of weaponry by the government or by private corporations to any other country in the world.
6) Ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns and assault weapons of all kinds.
7) Ban the manufacture of landmines, cluster bombs, and other anti-personnel weapons.
8) Dismantle military bases around the world.
9) Abolish the C.I.A.
10) Reduce the military budget to zero, and allocate a sum of money sufficient to maintain a force of peace-keepers who would be subject to the call of the United Nations.
11) Enact a truly progressive income tax, with no tax paid by any family below a certain minimum income, and very high taxes levied on the richest part of the population.
12) End the limit on social security payments.
13) With the money gained from abolishing the military budget and enacting a truly progressive income tax, do the following:
A. Establish a single-payer health plan, making total medical care free to all, eliminating the use of private insurance companies — essentially giving the entire population the benefit of the medical system enjoyed today by the armed forces and the members of Congress.
B. Establish a guaranteed annual income for every family in the nation, thus eliminating the need for “welfare”.
C. Guarantee adequate housing for everyone, using rental subsidies and interest-free loans.
D. Give money to the states to enable them to double teachers’ salaries and reconstruct their educational sysems.
E. Allocate funds for cleaning up of rivers, lakes, beaches.
F. Give matching subsidies to the states for the establishment of child-care programs available to all.
G. Allocate enough money to the United Nations to wipe out the infectious diseases that now kill ten million children a year.
H. Establish a public works program, including the arts, to guarantee work for those who cannot find work in the private sector.
Subsidize non-profit, non-commercial television stations.
14) Pass a constitutional amendment to have all elections, local and national, based on proportional representation.
15) Forbid industrial or financial corporations from owning television stations, radio stations, or publishing companies.
16) Propose to the United Nations an abolition of the Big Power domination of the Security Council, with rotating membership and no veto power.
17) Abolish mandatory sentencing, and jail sentences for non-violent crimes.
18) Eliminate immigration restrictions.
That should be enough legislation for the first thirty days. During that period, there would be opportunity for people around the country to make suggestions, via town meetings, the internet, and the telephone system, for further national action.
At the end of the thirty days, declare a work holiday for parties to take place all over the nation.
Published by ZCommunications • December 16, 2000