The Occupy Earth Manifesto—–The Counterforce——(Spiritus Mundi Manifesto)

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THE OCCUPY EARTH MANIFESTO

—Draft Demands, Goals and 17 Point Action Agenda of the
Global Counterforce Alliance

 (Note: The following Manifesto is taken from the new novel, Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, which treats the Occupy Movement as well as the global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. See: http://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/ and http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php)

We
the 99% of the people of America and of the World, in conjunction with the the
Counterforce Alliance in pursuit of Economic Democracy and Social Justice,
within America, the EU and globally, and in resistance to the abuses and
exploitation of the predatory 1% financial and wealth owning elite join
together in solidarity to declare and support the following values and goals in
response to the World Economic Crisis. While pessimistic about the immediate
present, we join in both idealism and optimism mediated through realism with
regard to the ultimate future of humanity, convinced in the ultimate strength
and creative power of the human spirit against all odds and obstacles, and
convinced that the world is blessed with immense opportunities masquerading as
insoluable problems. In solidarity we set forth the following Demands, Goals, and
Proposed Measures, long and short-term, and call on all of you of the 99% to
mobilize all our common energies in their initiation, support and fulfillment,
and call on all governments and leaders to assist the People in their
implementation:

 

  1. 1.
    Implement Wealth Tax: We call for the immediate
    consideration and implementation of a Comprehensive Solidarity Tax on Wealth on
    all persons, natural and possibly corporate, and on trusts with net worth of
    $10,000,000 or more at the rate of at least 15% during the economic crisis and
    at least 3% annually. This would be in addition to and adjusted in complement
    with the existing Income Tax. The income of the 1% is already outrageously out
    of proportion to that of the 99%, having grown from 10% to 20% since 1980 due
    to an inherently corrupted and unfair tax system The wealth of the 1% is even
    more outrageously maldistributed, with the top 1% holding 38% of the privately
    held wealth in the USA, and the bottom 90% holding 73% of all debt. Economic
    democracy calls for a shift of the burden of taxation from income, particularly
    earned income to taxation of wealth and unearned income. Revenues would be made
    available to insure the solvency of the Social Security system, reduce the
    national debt, for fiscal stimulus to create jobs during the World Financial
    Crisis, for funding education and retraining for all unemployed or
    underemployed and for mortgage relief, amoung all other public purposes.

Models: France has a tried and tested system
of taxation of individual wealth at a progressive scale of rates from 0% to
1.8%, which is called the “Solidarity Tax on Wealth,” which provides a good
working model for implementation in the USA. In 1999 Donald Trump proposed a
one-off Wealth Tax of 14.25% on the net worth of individuals and trusts in
excess of ten million dollars which was calculated to produce 5.7 Trillion
dollars in new reveuues.

 

  1. 2.
    Strict Regulation of Dangerous,
    Predatory and Irresponsible Financial Practices:
    We demand further and stricter
    regulation of the dangerous financial practices such as credit-default swaps,
    derivatives, predatory mortgages, and associated abuses which caused the
    still-unresolved World Financial Crisis. We demand prosecution of the principal
    abusers. When unresolved by regulation, if necessary, weaknesses and abuse in
    the financial sector may be addressed by nationalization in the public
    interest.
  2. 3.
    Implement Financial Transactions Tax: We call for the immediate imposition
    of a transactions tax on all purchases and sales of stocks, bonds, equities, financial
    derivatives, and expecially on speculative and dangerous transactions such as
    credit-default swaps at the heart of the World Financial Crisis. The 1% should
    be required to pay at least 1% for all such financial transactions. John
    Meynard Keynes proposed implementation of such a system following the 1929
    Crash and Depression to curb disastrous speculation.

Models: Britain has had a Stamp Tax on financial transactions since
1694 on the London Stock Exchange and Sweden has a comprehensive 0.5% tax on equity
securities and financial derivatives, with like legislation in Brazil and Peru.

 

  1. 4.
    Implement Tobin Tax or Tax on Foreign
    Exchange Transactions:
    Nobel Prize Laureate James Tobin proposed a tax on all spot conversions
    of one currency into another as a means of dampening speculation and “hot
    money,” In the post-Globalization era this has also been seen as a means of
    extending the fiscal tax base catchment area into the extra-national realm of
    the internationalized economy to generate resources for management of the
    abusive externalities of an irresponsible run-away global financial economy.
    The Tobin Tax should be divided in tho 0.5% to 1% levied on all conversions of
    one currency to another with the proceeds divided three ways: one-third to the
    nation of each currency and one-third to the United Nations and World Bank for
    purposes of global governance, international Keynsian fiscal stimulus and
    attainment of the Millennium 2000 goals. The division of the proceeds could
    also be divided on the basis of relative unemployment rates of the two nations
    or GDP per head. At present only international banks derive income from foreign
    exchange conversion, a privatized tax going to capital owners.
  2. 5.
    Radical Reform of Campaign and
    Political Contibutions System and Restoration of Economic Democracy:
    The present corrupted system of
    political financial contributions by financial interests has become toxic and
    deadly. It is not an exaggeration to say that present laws have substantially
    lost legitimacy as they are not the result of the will of the people but of
    legalized corruption financed by the 1%, calling into question the duty of the
    99% to obey or respect them. All laws and public decisions are essentially
    corrupted by the illegitimate political power of the 1% to maldistribute social
    resources to the disadvantage of the 99%, especially its lower third. To
    democratically re-legitimize the governmental system it is necessary to enact
    immediate campain contribution reform or move to a fully publically financed
    system in which private political contributions are made illegal or restricted.
    We need to move from the “One Buck One Vote” system of the present back to a “One
    Person One Vote” democratic system. Economic Democracy is only sustainable
    after the financial corruption of the political system has been thoroughly
    cleansed.
  3. 6.
    Implement Excise and Luxury Taxes on
    Luxury Goods and Property for Duration of Financial Crisis:
    During the time of Gloal Economic
    Crisis and mass unemployment, just as in times of war and national emergency,
    the 1% wealth owners should be required to make sacrafices proportionate to
    their means for the common good. All luxury items, especially Veblenesque goods
    designed to confer social status, including luxury cars and homes, luxury
    fashion goods and luxury services more than 100% in excess of the mean for
    common goods and unrelated to real needs should be heavily taxes for the
    benefit of the common good and to stimulate consumption by those in need. Even
    in the “Monopoly” game those who live on “Park Place,” “Get Out of Jail Free”
    and “Advance to Go” must take their turn at paying Luxury Tax.
  4. 7.
    Progressive Income Tax Reform: Comprehensive reform of the existing
    Income Tax system must be undertaken to make it more progressive and reduce tax
    on the lower brackets and surcharging the upper brackets while protecting the
    middle-class and providing incentives for true entrepreneurship and job
    creation. Tax rates on the upper brackets should at least be reinstated to
    their pre-1980 levels. Faux deficits artificially created by lowering
    upper-bracket taxes and engaging in irresponsible and wasteful wars, followed
    by predatory demands for budget spending reductions, the favorite tactic of
    predatory capital, should be eliminated. Negative Income Tax, conditional on
    participation in retraining, education or public service work should provide a
    Social Safety Net for all persons. Unearned income from financial speculation
    or passive capital gains unrelated to innovation and growth in the real economy
    should be heavily taxed for the common good. The true creative capacity of the “free
    enterprise” system should be rewarded, nurtured and protected, whereas the
    unearned income from the parasitical and exploitative abuse of the real economy
    by the predatory financial economy should be severely restrained and taxed.
    Wherever possible the tax base should be shifted from income tax to wealth tax,
    and from payroll tax to progressive income tax and on to wealth tax. Regressive
    taxes, such as sales tax on necessities, payroll tax and others should be
    replaced or supplemented by progressive taxes on wealth and income.
  5. 8.
    Inheritance, Estate and Trust Tax
    Reform:

    Inheritance, Estate and Trust Taxes should be radically increased for all
    estates above 10 million dollars as part of a wealth taxation program for the
    common good. Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do not leave their billions to
    their own children above a fair amount, and inherited wealth is the archetypal
    form of arbitrary, unfair and unearned maldistribution of wealth. Along with
    Gates and Buffet we believe the spoiled children of the wealthy elite should
    become entrepreneurial if they want to enjoy wealth, rather than taking a free
    ride on the gravy train. Evasions of Inheritance and Estate tax by abuse of
    trusts should also be eliminated and subject to recapture, unless true transfer
    beyond the control of the wealth holder occurs and the trust is monitored to
    make sure that decisions are in the interest of the beneficiaries and the
    public instead of a masked manipulation for the benefit of the wealth
    holder. 
  6. 9.
    Rebalancing Economic Globalization
    with a Global Green New Deal and Further Evolution of International
    Institutions and Global Governance Commensurate to the Newly Globalized World
    Economy:
    . Much
    of the World Economic Crisis is the result of dangerously imbalanced
    Globalization in which limited nation-state economic institutions have not
    evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy, creating dangerous and
    unsustainable global economic imbalances. Emergence from the Great Depression
    of the 1930’s required not just government action but also the empowerment of
    labor unions, civil society, Social Security and the Social Safety Net,
    Keynsian economic management, and the Social Contract and other checks and
    balances to the predatory and irresponsible power of financial capital.
    Globalization has eroded this balance of power, weaking the power of the
    nation-state, labor unions and civil society and thrusting us back to 1929 era
    stone-age predatory capitalism.  If it is
    impossible to go back to the pre-Globalized world order with its national
    checks and balances against predatory capital, then it is necessary to move
    forward to a new globalized system of checks and balances on qn
    internationalized basis of global governance. The Global Green New Deal seeks
    to evolve new internationalized institutions of global governance that can be
    socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, recasting the Social
    Contract and Social Safety Net in a new manner commensurate with the realities
    of a globalized economy. It is not anti-Globalization per se, but seeks a
    rebalanced Globalization with new and effective checks and balances against
    irresponsible and predatory international financial capital, through extension
    of global democracy, global governance and economic democracy.  
  7. 10.  Globalization of Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining
    Initiative:
    We
    demand immediate amendment of Labor Law requiring multinationals to undertake
    globalized collective bargaining in good faith with unions representing all
    their international subsidiaries and affiliates and manufacturing
    sub-contractors. A key cause of the financial crisis in the stagnation of wage
    rates in the US and the EU, caused in principal part by the breaking of unions
    and de-unionization of the economy since WWII, of which imbalanced
    globalization is a key cause. Union Density rates have fallen to below 9% in
    the private sector in the US, rates of union membership not seen since 1929.
    Union power to collectively bargain on behalf of workers in the globalized
    sectors and services sectors is a necessary check and balance on predatory
    capital. Income maldistribution cannot be corrected only by governmental action
    but other forces such as labor unions and civil society and consumer and
    environmental activism must serve as additional checks and balances to
    irresponsible and predatory financial capital. The World Financial Crisis began
    with the Subprime Mortgage crisis, but this was caused primarily not by people
    buying homes beyond reasonable means, but rather than by the failure of per
    capita earned income to increase for over thirty years. The housing crisis is
    really a household income crisis, and recovery in the US, the EU and beyond
    cannot occur until substantial sustainable increases in worker compensation and
    household income occur. Unions must be restored as a necessary non-governmental
    check and balance against the abuses of predatory capital. To do so Collective
    Bargaining and enterprise unionization must be Globaized. Multinationals as a
    condition of their goods being traded internationally must allow Global Unions
    in which all the workers of all of their international subsidiaries belong to a
    single union or alliance of unions and enterprises must have a legal duty to
    bargain in good faith globally with the united representatives of the unions of
    all their subsidiaries. Collective bargaining must be globalized to raise
    compensation both in the developed nations and in the developing and emerging
    economies. Only this will provide sustainable circulation of purchasing power
    to support sustainable economic recovery.
    Such a requirement should be made a mandatory condition of the WTO rules
    and supervised by a beefed up ILO. Multinationals with programs of
    union-busting or bad faith failure to engage in Globalized Collective bargaining
    should have their products banned from international trade. Unions must immediately
    undertake to organize all the workers of all the global subsidiaries of their
    companies and sectors in all nations in which they operate into a single
    collective bargaining unit, moving beyond the nation-based union model of the
    past. Raising the wages of workers in emerging economies through global
    collective bargaining is critical in boosting their purchasing power for American
    and EU goods and services
  8. 11.  Conversion of Financial Capital into Human Capital—-Globalization
    No Worker Left Behind Initiative—the 25 Million Futures Initiative:
    In education we have embraced the “No
    Child Left Behind” concept. In economic globalization we must embrace the “No
    Worker Left Behind” concept in response to Globalization and it economic
    restructuring. The financial resources generated by the Wealth Tax and the
    above tax initiatives should be utilized to provide a CONDITIONAL GUARANTEED MINIMUM
    INCOME        through a negative income
    tax or other means. 25 Million persons should be given subsidized living
    allowances and educational and retraining allowances continuing during their
    participation in retraining and rehabilitation, further education or public
    service and environmental work. The concept of any able person being “unemployed”
    should be decisively and permanently eliminated. If any person is not
    traditionally employed in the private or public sectors that person and his or
    her family should be given a guaranteed minimum income, conditional on their
    daily participation in further education, retraining or continuing daily public
    interest and environmental employment. All able persons shall be either
    employed full-time in work or full-time in education, retraining or preparation
    for work and guaranteed a survival income via the Social Safety Net as a
    condition of the Social Contract. The above taxes should provide for the
    radical expansion of the human resources and educational infrastructure to
    permanently absorb the displaced worker population, with the goal of returning
    them to the labor marketplace with greater productivity skills on economic
    recovery.
  9. 12.  Implementation of Labor and Environmental Protection
    Requirements at the WTO:
    We damand the incorporation of Global Collective Bargaining
    and Environmental Standards, certified by ISO type inspection and verification
    as a mandatory condition of the WTO and trade of goods in the international
    marketplace.
  10. 13.  Partial Shift of Social Security Funding from Regressive and
    Demographically Unsustainable Payroll Taxes to Financial and Wealth Based Taxes:
    The partial unsustainability of the
    Social Security system results from its outmoded tax base. Reliance on payroll
    taxes, while having some advantage in insuring the contractual inviolability of
    the system, is unnecessarily regressive and demographically unsustainable.
    There is no reason why only workers and employers pay for retirement benefits
    of those who have sustained the economy over their lifetimes while the
    financial sector pays nothing. The financial sector has grown at near-cancerous
    rates and makes no contribution to Social Security while the ever lessening
    number of active workers are called on to shoulder the burden of supporting the
    old and infirm. The Wealth Tax and revitalized Progressive Income Tax should
    partially replace and reduce the payroll tax system to reflect the demographic
    changes and growth of the financial sector as a percentage of GDP from the
    initiation of the Social Security system in the 1930’s.
  11. 14.  Implementation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly
    within the United Nations:
    The Occupy Wall Street movement should immediately march on
    the United Nations in New York and demand the adoption by the General Assembly
    of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, which is a proposal for the
    creation of a European Parliament-style international consultative assembly as
    a permanent organ of the United Nations alongside the Security Council and
    General Assembly. Article 22 of the UN charter allows the General Assembly to
    do so by a majority vote not subject to great power veto. Economic Democracy in
    the era of a globalized economy requires the extension of democratic processes
    to the system of global governance and the progressive evolution of international
    institutions such as the United Nations commensurate with the problems of the
    newly globalized economy and the globalization of all aspects of human life and
    of the environment. Eliminating the democratic deficit in our global international
    institutions will also help to address the maldistribution of wealth and income
    nationally and internationally.  Modernly,
    almost all problems have become globalized and are beyond the power of single
    nation-states to solve on behalf of their peoples, from the World Economic
    Crisis, to Global Warming, terrorism, drugs and epidemics. The institutions of
    global governance must evolve commensurately, and as they evolve democratic
    checks and balances must evolve along with them. See: http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php for more details.
  12. 15.  Globalization of Corporate Tax and Outsourcing Reajustment
    Tax:
    Run-away
    irresponsible capital takes all the resources of domestic enterprise and
    discards the workers, replacing them with cheaper foreign labor and operating
    through international subsidiaries and affiliates and expropriating existing
    workers and stakeholders of their stakeholder equity. To better balance the
    advantages and burdens of globalization and to preserve the earnings of the
    global entity within the catchment area of national taxation the Corporate Tax
    should be levied on global earnings of all subsidiariares and affiliates. Payments
    for Outsourcing and import substitution should be subject to a Restructuring
    Tax sufficient to support the retraining of displaced workers and in transition
    to new employment, and to deal with the uncompensated externalities of such
    practices, though such taxes should not be abused to the degree to amount to absolute
    or unjustifiable protectionism.
  13. 16.  Shift of Keynsian Fiscal Stimulus and Public Debt from
    Sovereign National Debt to Internationalized Systems such as Eurobonds in the
    EU, G20 Initiatives and World Bank Instruments such as SDR WorldBonds:
    The principal reason for Sovereign
    Debt crises around the world is the necessity of fiscal deficits financed by
    borrowing as a means of stimulating growth of any economy in recession
    associated with John Maynard Keynes. However, we live in a globalized economy
    and where EU nations or the US or other nations borrow and run deficits much of
    the growth stimulated is in other export-oriented nations rather than in the
    catchment basin of the national tax systems used to finance this Keynsian debt.
    This is the root of the EU Sovereign Debt Crisis and much of the US fiscal
    deficit. When no domestic growth results, the stimulating nation is left with
    the complete debt but the GDP growth is unsustainably outside its tax revenue
    catchment area. Thus, much of the World Economic Crisis is the result of
    dangerously imbalanced Globalization in which limited nation-state economic
    institutions have not evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy.
  14. 17.  Further Evolution of the “Occupy”Movement: To date the “Occupy” program has
    attained immense success in conscious building and mobilizing human resources
    around the world to fight economic injustice and exploitation of the 99% by the
    1% and fostering communication regarding the plight of the victims of the World
    Economic Crisis. As time goes on, however, the movement must evolve and mature,
    transitioning from consciousness raising to an action program, or interest and
    support will likely evaporate or be wasted. This evolution should result from
    open and democratic deliberation and debate, inclusive of both on-site
    activists and Internet-based contributors. To evolve beyond the “Primal Scream”
    of injustice cited by Al Gore towards solutions to the systemic problems
    requires first a process of analysis and possible solution design, then
    consciousness raising and support-building in aid of the proposals, followed by
    political struggle within the democratic processes and resistance to
    illegitimate suppression by either governments or opponents. To these ends the “Occupy”
    sites should evolve from protest encampments to staging areas for political
    organization, and then to mobilization centers for mass action. Analysis needs
    to be made, values and goals agreed upon, demands made as a tool for mobilizing
    support, and then concerted and sustained pressuring and lobbying of
    governments needs to be undertaken and completed, using bottom-up support as a
    vital base of action. It is not to be expected that existing power-holders will
    voluntarily adopt these proposals, and many of them will be met either with overt
    or covert hostility, or with ridicule, incomprehension or resistance.
    Therefore, consciousness raising and conceptual development must continue
    apace, and most likely within the democratic nations the electoral process must
    be entered into, endorsing candidates in sympathy, opposing opponents and
    rallying support until the composition of the legislatures and governemts has
    changed to support these concepts. Strategies of political action will have to
    be worked out, including all options such as endorsement and support or
    opposition of existing political leaders, entering candidates in primaries of
    existing parties based around these principles, or formation of new political
    parties. Preference must always be given to peaceful, rational and democratic processes
    of change where appropriate. In case of illegitimate, violent, unlawful and
    unjustifiable government repression, the right of the people to resist by other
    means is enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration
    of the Universal Rights of Man.

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2011

The Counterforce TM

Contact: Professor Robert Sheppard

Professor of International Law

rsheppard99_2000@yahoo.com

 

 

 

2 Responses to “The Occupy Earth Manifesto—–The Counterforce——(Spiritus Mundi Manifesto)”

  1. Matthew

    These look like many good ideas, but they don’t address the underlying, most fundamental issue in my mind. My point of view is that our biggest problem is that the people lack a voice in our government. We need to get back to the vision of the Declaration of Independence: one adult human body, one vote. All are equal regardless of any conditions including wealth. We need to extend that vision so these votes are about a whole lot more than just a handful of politicians. We need substantial influence on policy issues.

    We need a long term goal to move to either a direct democracy or a dramatically different system of representation. Why should we continue with a monolithic (one person representing us in a given body), geographic (representation based on residence rather than values, beliefs, and policy positions) system of representation? If we’re going to reform the system let’s break with all prior assumptions and think deeply about what kind of system can really allow all voices to be heard.

    Elected leaders can make whatever campaign promises they want without fear of any repercussions if they do not act on them. They can change their mind in any way they wish after the election. Furthermore, we rarely agree with them on all issues. Why shouldn’t our voices be heard on *every* issue? If we must have representation it must be issue based, it must proportionally reflect the opinions of society (not be first past the post / winner take all), and it must involve binding campaign promises of some kind. Any other form of representation is a sham.

    My instinct is that we need to elect one representative per issue or policy area and the body for each must have proportional representation as an outcome of the election, and finally there must be some kind of binding mechanism for campaign promises.

    Rather than one congress, we could have multiple legislative bodies each with jurisdiction over particular policy areas. This solves many problem, not the least of which that if my representative is not in a leadership position on a relevant committee right now I am not really represented at all in that policy area.

    Currently I am currently required to prioritize issues when selecting a candidate as I am certain to never agree with any candidate on all issues. Under my proposed system I can also choose to be represented by somebody who I not only agree with, but is also well informed on each policy area. Nobody can be well informed about all policy areas. The current system guarantees my representative is relatively ignorant about many policy decisions.

    Think big! We’re only going to get one chance at this, if we get one at all.

  2. nick egnatz

    I agree that implementing these programs will be beneficial for society. Matthew’s comment brought up the undemocratic nature of our government. This is also true. Our system was never in any way democratic. We can’t make it so by voting or lobbying. The only rational solution is to stand for a new system based on an ideology different than the present ideology that private property is superior to humans.

    I believe that we must first define our ideology and make that our demand. Then and only then, when we agree on ideology for the movement, can we get specific about how exactly to do it.
    This is the ideology that we have agreed to in our South Shore People’s Movement Assembly in Northwest Indiana. The following principles are interdependent. To successfully achieve one, we must achieve all.

    1. Bottom Up Participatory Democracy, Instead of Top Down Corporate Democracy
    2. Racial Justice, Social Justice, Economic Justice for All
    3. End U.S. Imperialism and Wars
    4. Create an Environmentally Sustainable World