Politics, they say, is the art of compromise. Candidates, in order to succeed, have to soften their views. Candidates have to make their views more palatable to the general public and the corporate and political establishment. That’s what they tell us anyway. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. But I think it might be interesting to imagine what the ideal candidate’s platform would look like. Then we can ask ourselves how far from ideal candidates really are.
In the spirit of thought experimentation, here is what I consider the ideal campaign platform:
By far our biggest problem is climate change and mass extinction caused by capitalism. We need to bring capitalism to a screeching, immediate halt. We need to switch to a zero-growth, sustainable economy. We are in the middle of a climate catastrophe and a mass extinction. Climate change may destroy the planet’s ability to sustain substantial human populations in the future. Climate change is primarily driven by capitalism. Capitalism requires growth. We have to eliminate profits and growth. We have to stop capitalism before it kills us all. Capitalism is a disastrous failure. We need to acknowledge it’s failure now, before it’s too late. Capitalism’s time is up and we can’t afford to phase it out gradually over hundreds of years. We have to end capitalism right now.
We have to take immediate, drastic steps to prevent a complete collapse of the planet’s ecosystems. For example: immediately shut down all non-renewable power plants, shut down all industrial enterprises producing emissions, ban automobiles and jet travel, shut down factory farms and ranches and eliminate industrial meat production.
Capitalism is the primary contributor to climate change, so capitalism must cease to exist, immediately. This will entail a lot of drama, of course. That’s why it’s easier for us to keep plugging along on our path to extinction: we want to avoid the drama that would ensue if we actually did what needs to be done. Of course, by avoiding drama now, we are simply opting for a prolonged agony that will ultimately end in planetary breakdown. Either way, we are facing a lot of drama. We might as well choose the drama now that might conceivably enable us to survive as a species in the future.
On the international front, we need to completely eliminate the Military-National-Security-Intelligence-Complex. I’m not suggesting a piecemeal, gradual scaling-down of our global military presence, I’m advocating for its complete and immediate dissolution. No more global military presence at all. Shut down all the bases. Bring all the aircraft carriers and bombers and submarines home and decommission them. Eliminate all nuclear weapons. Every single nuclear weapon has to be eliminated. We have no legitimate use for nuclear weapons. We have no need for military bases across the nation or across the globe. We have no need for drones and drone warfare. There’s no argument whatsoever that could be made for Military Empire. It has to go. Immediately. The whole damn thing. Will this create drama? Yes. So be it.
All corporations have to be shut down immediately. No more Exxon-Mobil. No More Wal-Mart. No more profit-making, growth-fueled enterprises at all. In so far as a corporation is capable of being immediately converted to a zero-growth, sustainable enterprise, then it might be possible to leave some of their structures intact. But there will be no more drilling for oil, no more mining for coal, no more burning of coal, no more clearing of forests, no more automobile manufacture, no more airlines, etc. Every enterprise that is contributing to climate change and mass extinction has to stop immediately. This entails drama, yes, but we have to put up with some drama to avoid a planetary cataclysm.
On the domestic front, not as important as the more pressing needs of the planet but still critical, there are a few things that need to be done to resolve past and current injustices.
We have to give back huge tracts of land to Native peoples and redistribute huge amounts of stolen wealth back to Native communities. Most of the American West should be given back to Native Nations in accordance with past treaties. All of Hawaii will be returned to Native Hawaiians. All of Alaska will be returned to Native Alaskans. The re-distribution of land will be the centerpiece of a huge effort to redress the treatment of Native Americans, Alaskans, and Hawaiians. Once the lands are returned, mining, industrial ranching and agriculture, drilling for oil and gas, etc. will not be allowed on native lands. Profit-driven, growth-oriented enterprises such as casinos will not be permissable. Anything that contributes to climate change and mass extinction will not be allowed to exist anywhere, on any lands, regardless of sovereignty. The climate and the planet take precedence over sovereignty. Therefore, no form of capitalism will be allowed to exist on native lands which have been given back to their original inhabitants. No form of capitalism will be allowed to exist anywhere. Planetary-Protection laws will supersede federal, state, municipal, and tribal laws.
To redress slavery, segregation, and continuous discrimination against African-Americans, there will be a massive redistribution of trillions of dollars of illegitmate wealth into the pockets of African-American families and communities. In addition to an enormous re-distribution of wealth, there will be a complete de-militarization of police forces, a complete elimination of aggressive policing, and an immediate release of millions of prisoners.
The Prison-State complex will have to be entirely eliminated. Those who are in prison for non-violent crimes will be released immediately. Drugs will be completely de-criminalized. All released prisoners will be allowed to vote.
To reiterate: an enormous amount of wealth will be poured into African-American communities in accordance with the development of a zero-growth economy. Consider it reparations for past and current injustice. Instead of spending trillions to bail out the corporations that destroy our economy and are destroying our planet, we will spend trillions to lift up suffering communities and pay back some of what they are owed. Instead of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, we will have AARP: the African-American Relief Program.
All undocumented immigrants will immediately be granted full citizenship. All detention centers holding undocumented immigrants who are awaiting deportation will be immediately shut down and their detainees shall be made citizens immediately. The path to citizenship will be an immediate path. The borders will be opened to all: since the economy will be zero-growth and equitable there will be no harm in immigration, and additional citizens will be needed to build the sustainable economy of the future.
Finally, almost all weapons manufacture and distribution will be eliminated. All handguns and assault rifles will be confiscated and their production will be banned. Rifles and shotguns for hunting purposes will be legal but heavily regulated. The future will be de-weaponized.