Crosses of Lafayette Peace Memorial
Our country's long wars and worldwide military presence are immoral and unsustainable. We must dramatically cut our military budget.
The human cost of climate change is too high. We must get off fossil fuels and on to renewable energy.
Falling wages and rising bills are hitting most of us, and the most vulnerable are hit the hardest. We must demand a living wage and a real safety net.
We must demand public financing of elections, open debates, and more representative voting systems.
1. Grassroots Democracy
2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
3. Ecological Wisdom
6. Community-Based Economics
7. Feminism And Gender Equity
8. Respect For Diversity
9. Personal And Global Responsibility
10. Future Focus And Sustainability
Never has our country faced as many challenges and crises as we do now.
Levels of federal revenue are the lowest they have been since 1950 because of tax cuts and breaks for the very rich and for corporations.
Government agencies charged with safeguarding public health and safety are operating with slashed budgets that paralyze their efforts.
Jobs are being permanently relocated outside the country, while social and educational programs are being gutted.
Our food, water, air, and soil are increasingly found to bear toxins and debilitating pollution.
Every single level of government—local, county, state, and federal—is operating in the red, running up crushing amounts of debt.
Many of our allies and former friends around the world are disgusted with our imperialist foreign policy, militarism, and arrogant corporate behavior.
Realizing that our actions will be judged by future generations, how can we draw on the best of our traditions, calling forth a spirit of ingenuity and citizen participation to achieve a free, democratic, just, and responsible society, one that actively responds to the crucial ecological challenges of our time, rather than denying them.
We need to create a bold vision of our country's future!
Think of American democracy as an ongoing, unfolding project that is dynamic and creative in nature. We must be committed to the strengthening of our civil society, including the many mediating institutions at the community level that have always characterized our democracy.
We must seek to heal the alienation and apathy that has been cultivated in the citizenry by the power brokers of the status quo. Righteous anger about the crippling of our democracy is rising in the land. We need constructive alternatives.
In addition, we must seek to repair the plummeting opinion of the United States in the international community resulting from our arrogant, narcissistic foreign policy of recent years. A growing and grave imbalance between the citizens of this country and the interests that extract power from the citizens is an imminent danger to our security and national and global social stability.
Our country should view itself as a member of the community of nations... not above it. The United States could well play a leadership role in that community but only if we become committed to an eco-social vision of peace, national self-determination, and international cooperation.
Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Today, however, our country is among the most extreme examples of industrialized nations that have a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of its citizenry — the working poor, the struggling middle class, and those who increasingly cannot make ends meet.
The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around. All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth. The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire— because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an "externality" in economic thought and because any problems can be addressed later by a technological fix. We are now living through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant perspective.
Green economics is rooted in ecological economics. Our economy should serve us and our planet. Our economy should reflect and respect the diverse, delicate ecosystems of our planet.
Our current economic system is gravely flawed. It is unjust and unsustainable because it is premised on endless economic growth and destruction of nature. Our market economy, by externalizing the environmental and social costs of greenhouse gas emissions, is creating the greatest market failure in history: climate change, and its devastating effects.
Green economic policy places value not just on material wealth, but on the things which truly make life worth living — our health, our relationships, our communities, our environment, and building peace and justice throughout our nation and the world.
We need a complete, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including the role of the administration of George W, Bush, various U.S. based corporations and interests, and other nations and third parties.
Following is my personal viewpoint as a self claimed expert on 9/11 events:
Having studied Science Engineering for 5 years in college, I knew from the first day that it was quite impossible for the towers to collapse absent a sophisticated explosive demolition.
Eventually, the Government was forced to investigate the events. When the 9/11 Commission Report was finally released, I found it to be more a fairy tale than an investigation as it ignored all the serious questions, doubts and known facts about what had really happened. I saw the report as a confession by my government!
Since 2005, I have offered a reward of $100,000.00 for the first person that can prove to my satisfaction that our government didn't plan, manage and cover-up the events of the 9/11 atacks. I have had no takers, but the offer still stands. Over the years more and more evidence has come to light further proving my position.
Our country is being run by traitors at the highest level.
Due to current laws millions of adults that were adopted as children are now being denied access to vital records regarding their births. It should be a basic human right that adults who were adopted as children should have access to vital records regarding their births. We must end the secrecy and create the necessary transparency between adoptees, their mothers and adoptive parents. Full reparations for historical injustices in adoption.
Food is a necessity and a fundamental human right. All people have a right to adequate, safe, nutritional and high quality food; and those who grow it have a right to a fair return for their labor. The United States' industrialized agriculture system is highly destructive of our environment, of our people's health, and of our society's future. Unless it changes radically, we face desertification, ecosystem collapse, mass extinctions, and starvation.
We must have comprehensive, humane, and competent care of all people with HIV/AIDS.
The AIDS epidemic has not had adequate public health management at all government levels.
Drug corporations have a strong profit motive to encourage for medical management of those with HIV by using medication that keeps the virus from being detected in the blood. This means there are guaranteed sales of very expensive drugs. Rather than invest in research for a cure like they have done with Hepatitis C, the drug companies invest in drugs that manage a chronic illness.
The failure to invest in research for a cure is because mainstream society has the belief that contracting HIV is self-inflicted by "sinful" or "illegal" behavior. The largest groups with HIV/AIDS in the USA are men who have sex with men, including gay, bisexual, and trans men, and men of color, particularly of African and Latinx descent. Persons who share needles are the next largest group of persons with HIV/AIDS in the USA.
While HIV drug treatment regimens have saved lives, some people suffer from debilitating side effects where quality of life is poor. There is also the economic side effect due to the high cost of these life-saving medications.
1. Encourage and support positive approaches to punishment that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging.
2. Treat substance abuse as a medical problem, not a criminal problem
3. Release prisoners with diagnosed mental disorders to secure mental health treatment centers
4. Release prisoners who are too old and/or infirm to pose a threat to society to less expensive, community-based facilities.
5. Make reduction of recidivism a primary goal of parole.
6. Increase funding for rape and domestic violence prevention and education programs.
7. Never house juvenile offenders with adults
The culture and nation state of the United States of America is founded on the egregious and forceful dispossession of others. You might even call it an earlier version of fascism – institutional dehumanization for private profit.
A myth, or grand lie, was created that we are an exceptional people, effectively pre-empting openly experiencing the important feeling of social shame and, in turn, blocking any accountability or genuine inquiry into our genocidal origins built on stolen land and labor, that murdered millions with impunity.
Thus, we live by fantasy of our superiority, which functionally makes us stupid, as if in a stupor. Applying the legal exclusionary rule to the culture at large, the USA is the “fruit of the poisonous tree”, as with most “civilizations”, founded on forcefully stolen land and labor, thereby lacking any moral or legal validity.
We must supports strong and effectively enforced anti-trust regulation to counteract the concentration of economic power that imposes a severe toll on the economy. These problems need to be addressed.
1. The anti-trust division of the Justice Department has had its scope and powers reduced.
2. An explosion of unregulated mergers and acquisitions, spinoffs, and leveraged buyouts has overwhelmed the federal government's capacity to provide effective oversight.
3. Financial and trading markets have become particularly vulnerable to insider trading.
4. Securities and Exchange Commission regulation of these markets has seriously fallen short.
5. Overall, what we see in unchecked market power is self-serving abuse of the democratic political process, price gouging, loss of productivity and jobs, reduced competitiveness, and of predatory and monopolistic practices.
Freedom of artistic expression is a fundamental right and a key element in empowering communities, and in moving us toward sustainability and respect for diversity.
Artists can create in ways that foster healthy, non-alienating relationships between people and their daily environments, communities, and the Earth. This can include both artists whose themes advocate compassion, nurturance, or cooperation; and artists whose creations unmask the often-obscure connections between various forms of violence, domination, and oppression, or effectively criticize aspects of the very community that supports their artistic activity.
The arts can only perform their social function if they are completely free from outside control.
Our government does not have any moral or legal right, or any justification, to preemptively attack another nation.
The only legitimate use of military force is to repel an actual attack on our nation.
We demand that our government adhere to international law, including the Kellogg-Briand Pact, Nuremberg Charter and United Nations Charter, which prohibit any and all preemptive wars or first strikes with any and all weaponry, nuclear and non-nuclear.
We demand repeal – not amendment -- of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and oppose any other measure purporting to 'authorize' preemptive or illegal military action.
In passing the AUMF, Congress abdicated its exclusive authority under the Constitution to declare war.
It further violated the Constitution and betrayed its responsibility to the American people by delegating to the president – one person – virtually dictatorial power to commit acts of war whenever he or she chooses.
The 'system of checks and balances' has been replaced by Congress just signing the 'checks' to pay for war.
The AUMF has been used to justify U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Numerous studies have shown that the 'War on Terror' has created an ever-increasing number of terrorists, destabilized the Middle East and beyond, and created massive death and destruction.
The AUMF serves to maintain the US in a state of perpetual war.
We need to overhaul the financial industries to end their culture of impunity and to prevent them from committing fraud or malfeasance so severe as to drive our nation into a massive recession or depression.
Since finance, banking, and insurance institutions occupy a privileged position of power at the center of commerce, this special advantage brings with it special social responsibilities. We must ensure that the institutions chartered for these roles take that responsibility seriously and serve the public interest.
We must reform the financial industries to eliminate usury (exorbitantly high interest rates on loans) and ensure that they meet their obligations to taxpayers and local communities.
Humanity must share the planet with all other species. Our continuing destruction of animal habitats threatens an ever-growing number of species with extinction. This not only deprives these species of their existence but will deprive future human generations of the enrichment of having these species on the Earth.
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking, and nature's survival strategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity. All policies concerning human settlement, food, energy, natural resources, water, coastal development, and industrialization should be formulated to prevent further disruption of the non-human ecosystems' ability to maintain themselves.
To stabilize the climate, limiting emissions is not enough; carbon must be removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in the ground. Ecological restoration is a valuable tool to achieve this and it will increase the quality of living for all. When forests, grasslands, and farmlands are restored, they act as carbon sinks and improve the health of the soil.
We need to create a federal program under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for carbon sequestration to fund local public initiatives.
We urge our government to end all stockpiling of chemical and biological weapons and all research, use, and sale of such weapons; and sign the convention that will establish the decrease and inspection of all nations' stockpiles of such weapons, which the U.S. abandoned.
The U.S. must allow foreign teams to visit the U.S. for verification purposes at least annually.
The foundation of any democratic society is the guarantee that each member of society has equal rights. Respect for our constitutionally protected rights is our best defense against discrimination and the abuse of power. There is an intimate connection between our rights as individuals and our responsibilities to our neighbors and the planet. We should strive to secure universal and effective recognition and observance of the principles and spirit expressed in the United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an international standard that all nations must meet.
Important should be our respect for diversity. We must be committed to establishing relationships:
1. That honor diversity.
2. That support the self-definition and self-determination of all people
3. That consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, class oppression, ageism, and ableism.
4. That confronts the many ways that our culture and laws separate us from working together.
We should support affirmative action to remedy discrimination, to protect constitutional rights, and to provide equal opportunity under the law.
We need to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 95% by 2030, over 1990 levels.
Climate change is the gravest environmental, social and economic peril that humanity has ever met. Across the world, it is causing vanishing polar ice, melting glaciers, growing deserts, stronger storms, rising oceans, less biodiversity, deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger, strife and human misery. It is a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.
Greenhouse gases warm the Earth by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Much of that heat is initially absorbed by the ocean, creating roughly a 30-year delay in the impact of that heat at the surface of the planet. Practically speaking, that means that the melting glaciers and expanding deserts of 2009 were the result of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere in the late 1970s, when the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was below 350 parts per million (ppm). To return to a safe level of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere, we must reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases as quickly as possible to levels that existed before 1980, to 350ppm carbon dioxide.
Community involvement is very important because it is personal, value-oriented, and small enough for each member to have an impact. Community involvement is a foundation for public policy.
Social diversity is the wellspring of community life where old and young, rich and poor, and people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to care for each other, and to understand and cooperate.
We should emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand and care about.
We must think globally and act locally.
One's community needs to recognize a diversity of issues. Local control recognizes a variety of approaches to solving problems, ones that tend to be bottom-up not top-down. We should not place in too much faith in paternalistic big government. Instead, face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens.
We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities through non-military community service. Alternative community service to the military should be encouraged.
We should advocate the formation of a Civilian Conservation Corps, with national leadership and state and local affiliates, to spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills will challenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.
We should fully support the Peace Corp program. There should be NO government intelligence involvement as in the past which casts a cloud of suspicion within the host nation population and acts to endangers participants. The Peace Corp should promote International friendship and cooperation.
Encourage conservation and a significant decrease in our energy consumption, institute national energy efficiency standards.
With five percent of the world's population, U.S residents consume twenty-six percent of the world's energy. U.S. consumption of electricity is almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. These are not sustainable levels.
1. The U.S. must retrofit its building stock for energy efficiency.
2. Energy efficiency standards similar to those in California must be adopted nationally.
3. There are many different ways to increase energy efficiency.
4. Cogeneration and use of waste heat to generate electricity should be encouraged
5. A carbon tax.
We should support strong consumer protections against fraud, dangerous products, usury, corporate greed and rip-offs.
We should understand that prevention and justice are at the heart of consumer protection. Millions of lives will be saved or lost depending on the strength of our consumer protection laws.
We must stop corporations and others from defrauding consumers or endangering them with defective products or negligence.
We must stand with consumers, who have been injured or defrauded by corporations and others, and support their efforts to redress the wrongs done to them.
We should stand with whistleblowers, who are often the public's best protection against corporate crime, fraud and waste.
In America today, corporate greed and corruption is destroying the social and economic fabric of our society, where a small group of ultra-wealthy CEOs are making the decisions that increasingly determine our economic, environmental and political future.
Let us put an end to the corporate greed ruining our country once and for all.
1. Fundamentally shift the wealth of the economy back into the hands of the workers who create it.
2. Give workers an ownership stake in the companies they work for.
3. Break up corrupt corporate mergers and monopolies,
4. Review all recent mergers.
5. Institute new merger guidelines.
6. Make corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
7. Close corporate tax loopholes.
1. Develop publicly-owned, open source voting equipment and deploy it across the nation.
2. Establish guarantees that every citizen's vote counts, and that all U.S. voting systems—including electronic ones—are verifiable, transparent and accurate.
3. Establish a National Elections Commission with the mandate to establish minimum national election standards and uniformity.
4. Establish independent and transparent non-partisan redistricting processes to stop partisan gerrymandering and protect minority rights and representation.
5. Strengthen "sunshine laws" to provide citizens with all necessary information and access to their political system.
6. Ensure that all important federal, state and local government documents are on the Internet, especially texts of bills, searchable databases of voting records, draft committee and conference reports, and court decisions.
7. Reinvigorate the independent investigative agencies, such as the General Accounting Office and the inspectors general.
8. Enact tough new federal anti-bribery and gratuity laws to stop corporations and the wealthy from purchasing government action, and vigorously enforce of anti-corruption laws by the Justice Department.
9. Expand revolving-door lobbying "cooling off" periods for members of Congress and their top staff to at least two years.
10. Allow any member of Congress to require a floor vote on any congressional earmark, to stop wasteful spending.
We should recognize the need for the inspiration and education that the peaceful exploration of Space provides. We need for space-based systems to monitor environmental conditions on Earth; the many advances in space technology that benefit all people on Earth. The inspiration provided to children by Space exploration can prompt them to pursue math, science, and other important courses of study.
The peaceful exploration of Space has been usurped by the militarization of Space. The last four U.S.—backed military conflicts have used space-based technology to disrupt the computer and communication systems of sovereign states.
The funds required for continuing peaceful Space exploration have been used, instead, for the design, implementation and deployment of wasteful and dangerous Space hardware, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
We need to support the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level.
Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.
The physically and mentally challenged are people who are differently abled from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their communities.
We need to stop the assault on our civil liberties that intensified after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
During the last several decades, there has been an erosion of freedom in the United States. This has come from many sources and takes many forms, including:
1. The war on drugs.
2. Widespread imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders.
3. The increased use of personal identification.
4. Surveillance of employees at work.
5. The growing use of private security forces by corporations.
6. Restrictions on the speech of protesters and students.
7. Random traffic stops of persons of color.
8. The commonplace use of roadblocks.
Since 9/11, this erosion has turned into a collapse of our freedoms, as then President Bush authorized torture, illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial, and widespread government surveillance.
Since the U.S. started drone attacks in Afghanistan in 2001, U.S. weaponized drones have, as of January 1, 2017, reportedly killed at least 7,511 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, according to statistics supplied to Knowdrones.com by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ).
This is a gross underestimate of U.S. drone killings because the BIJ only began counting drone deaths in Afghanistan in 2015. There are also no comprehensive tallies of drone killings in Iraq, Syria or Libya, nations where the U.S. has been conducting extensive drone attack operations. U.S. drones have also attacked in the Philippines.
- All of these killings violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international human rights treaty that the U.S. ratified in 1992, as well as the international laws of war. This is because none of those killed were tried in a court of law or determined to be “combatants” by a neutral tribunal, and all killings were based upon gross violations of the privacy of those living in sovereign nations.
The human community is an element of the Earth community, not the other way around.
All human endeavors are situated within the dynamics of the biosphere. If we wish to have sustainable institutions and enterprises, they must fit well with the processes of the Earth.
The ideology of industrialism, in both capitalist and communist countries, insists that modern society lives on top of nature and should rightly use and despoil the rest of the natural world as we desire— because any loss of the ecosystems is merely an "externality" in economic thought and because any problems can be addressed later by a technological fix.
We are now living through the painful consequences of that arrogant, ignorant perspective.
Many of our children suffer from accumulations of mercury and other toxins in their neurological systems, environmentally related cancer is on the rise, and our air and water are increasingly polluted. Meanwhile, our ecosystems are being compromised by the spreading presence of genetically engineered organisms.
The passage of the 1996 Welfare Act by Congress and its signing by the President confronts us with hard choices. Democrats and Republicans seem to be saying the country cannot afford to care for children and poor mothers.
In ending over fifty years of federal policy guaranteeing cash assistance for poor children, Congress has set in motion a radical experiment that will have a profound impact on the lives of the weakest members of our society.
We have a special responsibility to the health and wellbeing of the young. Yet we see the federal safety net being removed and replaced with limited and potentially harsh state welfare programs.
Our community priorities must first protect the young and helpless.
Local decision-making is important, but we realize, as we learned during the civil rights era, that strict federal standards must guide state actions in providing basic protections.
As the richest nation in history, we should not condemn millions of children to a life of poverty, while corporate welfare is increased to historic highs.
We should support equal access to high-quality education, and sharp increases in financial aid for college students.
A great challenge facing the people of the United States is to educate ourselves to build a just, sustainable, humane and democratic future, and to become responsible and effective citizens of the local and global communities we share.
We should believe every child deserves a public education that fosters critical and holistic thought, and provides the breadth and depth of learning necessary to become an active citizen and a constructive member of our society. Our public school system, as it presently operates, helps us reach that goal.
Today, America’s public school system faces a different set of challenges. For the first time in this country’s history, students of color represent the majority of the PK-12 public education student body. Additionally, now more than half of all school children are classified as “low income.” Even more critical is the fact that now nearly 35 percent of all public school students have some specific learning disability and are receiving special education services.
We should be strongly opposed to the dissolution of public schools and the privatization of education.
The best educational experience is guaranteed by the democratic empowerment of organized students, their parents and communities along with organized teachers. We should challenge students with great works of literature, economics, philosophy, history, music, and the arts as regular academic subjects.
We must stop disinvestment in education and instead put it at the top of our social and economic agenda. Effective schools have sufficient resources. Too many of our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and starved of key materials.
We should believe in education, not indoctrination. We do not think that schools should turn our children into servile students, employees, consumers or citizens. We believe it is very important to teach our children how to ask good questions.
1. Enact proportional representation voting systems for legislative seats on municipal, county, state and federal levels.
2. Enact Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) for chief executive offices like mayor, governor and president and other single-seat elections.
3. Provide full public financing of federal, state and local elections, including free and equal radio and television time on the public airwaves for all ballot-qualified candidates and parties.
4. Prohibit corporations from spending to influence elections.
5. Eliminate all ballot access laws and rules that discriminate against smaller parties and independents.
6. Abolish the Electoral College and provide for the direct national election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting.
7. Create a new publicly-funded People's Commission on Presidential Debates.
8. Enact statehood for the District of Columbia.
9. Restore full citizenship rights to felons upon completion of their sentence.
10. Support strong enforcement of the Federal Voting Rights Act and, where applicable, state voting rights acts like the California Voting Rights Act.
The United States has a high-energy-consumption economy based mainly on fossil energy.
The extraction, refining, and combustion of fossil fuels have proved extremely harmful to the environment, and supplies are rapidly being depleted.
Over the past century, the infrastructure of our civilization has become utterly dependent on plentiful oil, coal, and natural gas: vast land, air, and sea transportation networks; increasing dependence on imported goods; industrialized food production dependent on fertilizer and biocides; and sprawling, car-dependent neighborhoods and workplaces. Our electric grid depends on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its energy.
Dirty and dangerous energy sources have generated an unparalleled assault on the environment and human rights.
In the U.S., low income communities and communities of color bear the greatest burden of health impacts due to exposure to emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants.
Native American communities have been devastated by uranium mining.
The people of Appalachia watch helplessly as their ancient mountains are destroyed for coal-fired electricity.
Regional and global peaks in supply are driving up costs and threatening wars and social chaos.
We must advocate the phase-out of nuclear and coal power plants. All processes associated with nuclear power are dangerous, from the mining of uranium to the transportation and disposal of the radioactive waste.
Coal is the largest contributor to climate change with estimates as high as 80%.
Let's call for the cessation of development of fuels produced with polluting, energy-intensive processes or from unsustainable or toxic feed stocks, such as genetically-engineered crops, coal and waste streams contaminated with persistent toxics.
We must oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our nation's outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains, and under the Great Lakes.
Due to serious negative impacts on food, soil, and water, we should oppose industrial-scale biofuels production and biomass burning for electric power generation.
Need the enactment of bans on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil
We need to support a holistic approach to justice, recognizing that environmental justice, social justice and economic justice depend on and support each other.
No one — including people of color and the poor — should be poisoned nor subjected to harmful levels of toxic chemicals and that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the pollution from industrial, governmental and commercial sources or policies.
Across the United States, the poor and people of color do suffer disproportionately from environmental hazards in the workplace, at home, and in their communities. Inadequate environmental laws, lax enforcement, and weak penalties for environmental violations undermine environmental integrity, public health and civil rights.
Environmental justice is the crossroads of environmental activism and the civil rights movement. It is founded on two fundamental beliefs: that all people have the right to live, work, learn, and play in safe and healthful environments; and that people have the right to influence decisions that affect environmental quality in their communities.
The government must ensure the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. To accomplish this, we unconditionally need implementation of the principle of environmental justice in our practices, policies and laws across the nation.
Cruelty to animals is repugnant and criminal. The mark of a humane and civilized society lies in how we treat the least protected among us. To extend rights to other sentient, living beings is our responsibility and a mark of our place among all of creation. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals.
We reject the belief that our species is the center of creation, and that other life forms exist only for our use and enjoyment. Our species does not have the right to exploit and inflict violence on other creatures simply because we have the desire and power to do so. Our ethic upholds not only the value of biological diversity and the integrity and continuity of species, but also the value of individual lives and the interest of individual animals.
Last year alone, Americans paid $113 billion in interest on credit cards. That’s 50 percent more than just five years ago. With a total of more than $1 trillion in outstanding revolving credit card debt and an average balance of more than $6,000, millions of Americans are feeling the squeeze of higher interest rates and excessive fees.
Meanwhile, the banks that needed taxpayer bailouts after tanking the global economy during the financial crisis are reaping the profits. Banks made a record $236.7 billion in profits last year, boosted by nearly $30 billion in giveaways from the Trump tax cuts.
The median APR on a credit card stands at a record 21.36 percent. Department stores and retail companies charge consumers upwards of 27 percent on their store-branded credit card offerings. For some stores, credit card fees make up more than one-third of their total revenue. And for those who don’t have access to traditional lines of credit, unscrupulous lenders are waiting to take advantage.
1. We need social policies to focus on protecting families.
2. We need a universal, federally funded childcare program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed.
3. We need family assistance such as the earned income tax credit.
4. We need to support working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children.
5. We need a living family wage that is vital to the social health of communities.
6. We need to protect and expand social security which is essential to the well-being of our seniors, and the maintenance of the system's integrity is an essential part of a healthy community.
7. We need to support the leading-edge work of non-profit public interest groups and those individuals breaking out of "careerism" to pursue non-traditional careers in public service.
Strictly enforce our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest. It is intolerable that law enforcement agencies intimidate lawful protesters with brutality, surveillance, repression and retaliation. Support students' constitutional rights to free speech.
We should support U.S. constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion, separation of church and state.
1. There shall be no religious test for public office.
2. Eliminate federal, state, and local laws that discriminate against particular religious beliefs or non-belief.
3. End faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that may not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
At the start of a new century, we stand poised between:
1. The geopolitical conflict of East versus West.
2. A future marked by the aftermath of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001
3. The dangers of global terrorism.
4. The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan followed by the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq.
5. The escalation of conflict in the Middle East.
6. The continued research and development of nuclear weapons.
7. The stockpiling of bio-chemical weapons.
In the area of trade, third- and fourth-world economies and their resources are being ravaged and our own economy and job security undermined by global corporatization. Global Corporatization concentrates greater power in the hands of fewer interests who are unaccountable to the vast majority of the world's people.
With continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy and of advancing the cause of peace. We now face a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its national security.
We must support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reducing militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.
We need to urge our government to do the following:
1. Re-formulate all international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations.
2. While the IMF and World Bank still exist in their current forms, re-structure the rules of performance of the IMF/WB to end the debts of recipient nations, prohibit the use of IMF/WB loans to impose structural adjustment programs that emphasize debt service and export-led development at the expense of social needs.
3. Re-write the rules for investment of corporate capital in projects operated under the IMF/WB to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the nations receiving the investment and their right to public ownership and control of their own resources.
4. Mandate and protect labor's right to organize, create unions and negotiate with management in all countries receiving U.S. investment.
5. Legislate and enable oversight by an independent agency or a labor union to verify that foreign workers' rights are protected.
6. At home, secure the rights of our states to establish stricter standards for health, safety, and for the environment than those of our national government, and to protect themselves against substandard, imported goods.
7. Secure the right of states and municipalities to refuse to invest in foreign businesses that do not abide by their standards for imported goods, fair trade, and environmental protection.
8. Prohibit U.S. corporations from avoiding or evading payment of their taxes by banking abroad or locating their charters offshore.
9. Restrict the unfettered flow of capital and currency trade, and levy the Tobin tax of .05% on cross border currency transactions.
10. Support the funding and expansion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their missions to educate and train people of less developed nations in initiating local business and economic development, and in providing health care and family planning.
11. Under the agency of the United Nations, we demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
12. We must reject the U.S. government's economic blockade of Cuba.
13. We must also oppose U.S. economic sanctions against other countries because they have a different economic system, refuse to bow to U.S. demands outside of Internation Law violations, or won't allow unfettered access of their nation's resources and people by Multi-National Corporations.
We must make a strong and urgent call for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and ratified by 173 countries. It is also known as the Women's Convention, the Women's Bill of Rights, and an International Bill of Rights for Women. The United States is one of a very few countries and the only industrialized nation that has not ratified it.
The illegal international trafficking in humans, primarily women, has reached staggering numbers and consequences around the world. We need to support the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2000 as an important tool to facilitate international cooperation. The U.S. and 80 other countries signed the Protocol in December 2000 and by doing so have made a commitment to criminalize trafficking and to protect its many victims. Now we need effective collaborative relationships between sending and receiving countries, including the U.S. We also must call for studies analyzing and connecting the role of globalization in trafficking.
Under the agency of the United Nations, we should demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
We should support single-payer universal health care and preventive care for all. Health care is a right, not a privilege.
Our current health care system lets tens of thousands of people die each year by excluding them from adequate care, while its exorbitant costs are crippling our economy. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system.
Under a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health care system, the administrative waste of private insurance corporations would be redirected to patient care. If the United States were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer plan, as in Canada and many European countries, the savings in administrative costs would be more than enough to offset the cost of additional care.
Expenses for businesses currently providing coverage would be reduced, while state and local governments would pay less because they would receive reimbursement for services provided to the previously uninsured, and because public programs would cease to be the "dumping ground" for high-risk patients and those rejected by health maintenance organizations (HMOs) when they become disabled and unemployed.
In addition, people would gain the peace of mind in knowing that they have health care they need. No longer would people have to worry about the prospect of financial ruin if they become seriously ill, are laid off their jobs, or are injured in an accident.
Enact a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health plan.
A publicly funded health care insurance program, administered at the state and local levels, with comprehensive lifetime benefits, including dental, vision, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, medication coverage, and hospice and long-term care.
We need comprehensive, humane, and competent care of all people with HIV/AIDS.
The AIDS epidemic has not had adequate public health management at all government levels. Drug corporations have a strong profit motive to encourage medical management of those with HIV by using medication that keeps the virus from being detected in the blood. This means there are guaranteed sales of very expensive drugs.
Rather than invest in research for a cure like they have done with Hepatitis C, the drug companies invest in drugs that manage a chronic illness.
We need to overturn Citizen United. It shouldn't have been necessary! But due to a corporate controlled Supreme Court, let's propose the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
The rights established by this Constitution and the laws of the United States of America are exclusively the rights of living, breathing humans, citizens of this country or residing therein. No corporation or other type of association or organization can have the status of a "legal person" and thus cannot derive rights from such status.
These organizations have no permanent, constitutionally protected rights, though they may have such powers or immunities as are explicitly granted to them by legislative actions at either the federal or the state level. These powers or immunities may be modified or removed by later action of the same legislative bodies. In no case can these powers or immunities override the constitutionally protected rights of human beings.
We should have great respect for Native American cultures, especially their deference for community and the Earth.
We must recognize both the sovereignty of Native American tribal governments and the Federal Government's trust obligation to Native American people. Native American nations are just that — nations — and should be treated in like fashion, with the special circumstance that they are located within the United States.
The federal government is obligated to deal in good faith with Native Americans.
1. Clean up the insurance industry. Eliminate special-interest protections, collusion, over-pricing and industry-wide practices that too often injure the interests of the insured when they are most vulnerable. Prohibit bad-faith insurance practices, such as avoidance of obligations and price fixing.
2. Enact single-payer universal health insurance. Until single-payer is established, we support laws that act to make insurance policies transportable from job to job.
3. Support and encourage the insurance industry's efforts for "loss prevention," that is, to reduce the incidence of death, injuries, disease and other calamities.
4. Support initiatives in secondary insurance markets that expand credit for economic development in inner cities, affordable housing and home ownership among the poor, sustainable agriculture and rural development maintaining family farms.
5. Prohibit companies from being the beneficiary of insurance on their own employees.
We need to reduce American militarism. We need our government to follow our Constitution and International Laws when it comes to Foreign Policy.
1. As one of the initiators and primary authors of the United Nations Charter, the United States is obligated to conform to the stipulations of the U.S. Constitution, which identifies all such agreements as treaties that hold the authority of U.S. law. The U.S. government is pledged to abide by its principles and guidelines in the conduct of foreign relations and affairs.
2. We must recognize our government's obligation to take disputes with other nations or foreign bodies to the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly forum for negotiation and resolution.
3. The U.S. must recognize the sovereignty of nation-states and their right of self-determination.
4. It is important torecognize and support the right of the U.N. to intervene in a nation-state engaged in genocidal acts or in its persistent violation and denial of the human rights.
5. The U.S. is obligated to render military assistance or service under U.N. command to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions.
6. The U.S. must recognize and abide by the authority of the U.N. General Assembly to act in a crisis situation by passing a resolution under the Uniting for Peace Procedure when the U.N. Security Council is stalemated by vetoes.
7. The veto power enjoyed by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council needs to be seriously reconsidered as it has been constantly abused against overwhelming decisions by the General Assembly.
8. We must urge our government to sign the International Criminal Court agreement and respect the authority of that institution.
The American people should support the "joint comprehensive plan of action" (Iran Nuclear Deal) signed in July, 2015 by Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany), and the European Union, which confirms Iran's status as a zone free of nuclear weapons.
According to the United States National Intelligence Estimate, Iran halted an alleged active nuclear weapons program in the Fall of 2003.
The Iran Nuclear Deal provides that in return for Iran upholding its agreements to rid itself of nuclear material, current economic sanctions by the US, European Union and UN Security Council will be lifted. There should have been a swift elimination of these economic sanctions on Iran and the normalization of relations between Iran and the United States. This never happened.
We need to strongly oppose the current U.S. administration withdrawal from the Iran deal and increased sanctions and various covert and overt interferance attempts to destabilize the government and society in Iran.
In keeping with UN resolutions call for a nuclear-free Middle East, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, has consistently called for a nuclear-free zone in the entire Middle East and was in full compliance with the Iran Nuclear Deal.
However, we need to understand that Israel is currently the only nuclear power in the Middle East with at least 200 nuclear warheads. Isreal has refused to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and sign on to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. We should demand an end to this blaring double standard if we truly want a peaceful nuclear free Middle East.
Today, we say to the prison-industrial-complex that we are going to bring about real criminal justice reform. We are going to end the international embarrassment of having more people in jail than any other country on earth. Instead of spending $80 billion a year on jails and incarceration, we are going to invest in jobs and education for our young people.
1. No more private prisons and detention centers. No more profiteering from locking people up.
2. No more "war on drugs."
3. No more keeping people in jail because they're too poor to afford cash bail.
4. Move away from an overly-punitive approach to public safety.
5. Rehabilitate people who have made mistakes.
6. Reverse the historical legacy of institutional racism in this country as mass incarceration disproportionately falls on the shoulders of black and brown people in America.
7. Focus on how to safeguard our communities to prevent the conditions that lead to arrests.
Since illegal annexation in 1898, the federal and state governments have cheated and neglected the native Hawaiian people.
In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the "Apology Bill" (U.S. Public Law 103-150). This admission of crime states in part, "the native Hawaiians have never lost their inherent sovereignty nor their national home base."
We should demand justice for Kanaka Maoli.
The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group in the world that is without an independent state. As a result, Kurdish people have historically suffered persecution and injustice.
The Kurdish people have been besieged to the point of a current humanitarian crisis in towns such as Kobani, Syria.
We should express solidarity for and affirms the right to self-determination, self-defense, communal autonomy, freedom from persecution, and the release of political prisoners for the Kurdish population.
Independent, critical media are essential to an informed and healthy democracy.
Citizens must have ready access to news and information to make responsible informed choices as voters and to carry out their other duties of citizenship.
Our media laws and rules now promote the formation of huge media conglomerates while discouraging competing voices.
With the U.S. media overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, investigative journalism is in an alarming decline.
Since governments too often have an interest in controlling the flow of information, we must constantly guard against official censorship.
In our society however, large corporations are a far more common source of censorship than governments. The most frequent form of censorship is self-censorship: journalists deciding not to pursue certain stories that they know will be unpopular with the advertisers.
Thus we need to fortify the media's crucial watchdog function and to help create a more diverse and lively exchange of ideas in America.
1. Return ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public.
2. Enact tough new anti-trust laws for the media.
3. End commercial broadcasters' free licensed use of the public airwaves.
4. Reinstate and strengthen the Fairness Doctrine.
5. Establish substantial public interest obligations for broadcasters and hold them accountable.
6. Support Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access Television.
7. Expand the role of community radio.
8. Promote greater opportunity for women and minority ownership of media outlets.
9. Continuing the evolving potential of the Internet to build communities, educate, inform, and promote free speech and artistic expression.
10. Ensure free and equal airtime for all ballot-qualified political candidates.
11. Provide public funding for independent nonprofit broadcasters.
12. Prohibit commercial advertising targeted to children less than 12 years old.
13. Oppose censorship in the arts, media, press and on the Internet.
14. Reform the Federal Communications Commission.
15. Repeal the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
16. Reduce mailing costs for non-profit and independent magazines and journals.
17. Promote policies to expand investigative reporting on federal, state and local issues.
Our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through an impact on U.S. policy in the region.
A commitments to ecological wisdom, social justice, grass-roots democracy, and non-violence should compel us to oppose U.S. government support for "friendly" regimes in the region when those regimes violate human rights, international law, and existing treaties.
We should demand congressional intelligence committees to conduct comprehensive public hearings on the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction by all states in the region.
U.S. policy should support the removal and/or destruction of all such weapons wherever they are found there.
The U.S. is the largest arms seller and dealer in the world. We urge our government to prohibit all arms sales to foreign nations and likewise prohibit grants to impoverished and undemocratic nations unless the money is targeted on domestic, non-military needs. In addition, grants to other nations may not be used to release their own funds for military purposes.
The U.S. must not be a conduit for defense contractors to market their products abroad and must shift our export market from arms to peaceful technology, industrial and agricultural products, and education.
Our defense budget has increased out of all proportion to any military threat to the United States, and to our domestic social, economic and environmental needs. The United States government must reduce our defense budget to half of its current size. The 2012 defense budget exceeded $700 billion, and that does not take into account military expenditures not placed under the defense budget.
The U.S. has over 700 foreign military bases. Our government must phase out all bases not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution to keep peace and bring home our troops stationed abroad, except for the military assigned to protect a U.S. embassy. Many of these bases are small and can be closed immediately. Further reductions in U.S. foreign military bases at a rate of closure of 1/4 to 1/5 of their numbers every year.
The U.S. outpaces all other nations in military expenditures. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined.
There needs to be a freeze on large military weapons procurements until other serious domestic and climate change issues have been addressed. Climate Security is a National Security threat.
The crisis in our financial system makes it imperative that we restructure our monetary system.
The present system of privatized control has resulted in the misdirection of our resources to speculation, toxic loans, and phony financial instruments that create huge profits for the few but no real wealth or jobs.
It is both possible and necessary for our government to take back its special money creation privilege and spend this money into circulation through a carefully controlled policy of directing funds, through community banks and interest-free loans, to local and state government entities to be used for infrastructure, health, education, and the arts This would add millions of good jobs, enrich our communities, and go a long way toward ending the current deep recession.
The National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades – and thus eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.
Thus, it was in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to supposedly “support democratic institutions throughout the world through private, non-governmental efforts.” In actuality, virtually every penny of its funding comes from the federal government, as is clearly indicated in the financial statement in each issue of its annual report.
The NED has been actively involved in the destabilization and overthrow of governments, even democratically elected ones, since 1984 to the present. If a foreign government defies the U.S. demands on it, the NED has been repeatedly used to force compliance through manipulation of the local population.
Our government should establish a policy to abolish nuclear weapons. It should set the conditions and schedule for fulfilling that goal by taking the following steps:
1. Declare a no-first-strike policy.
2. Declare a no-pre-emptive strike policy.
3. Declare that the U.S. will never threaten or use a nuclear weapon, regardless of size, on a non-nuclear nation.
4.Sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Our pledge to end testing will open the way for non-nuclear states to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has been held up by our refusal to sign the CTBT. Honor the conditions set in the NPT for nuclear nations.
5. Reverse our withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and honor its stipulations.
6. End the research, testing and stockpiling of all nuclear weapons of any size.
7. Dismantle all nuclear warheads from their missiles.
We should support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.
1. We should reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other.
2. We should recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe.
3. We should reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel.
4. We should reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.
5. We should also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel.
6. We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace.
7. We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel.
8. We must recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel's compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights.
9. We should understand that despite abundant condemnation of Israel's policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Terrorities (OPT), while Israeli crimes continue with impunity.
10. We should now recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and "facts on the ground" that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
11. Given this reality, we should now support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital.
12. We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves.
13. As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we must call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.
We need to crack down on political corruption and strengthen the voice of the people at all levels of government.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to influence the governmental decisions that affect them. But the defining characteristics of modern politics in the United States are:
1. a corrupt campaign finance system that enables corporate and wealthy elites to purchase political outcomes
2. an abundance of anti-democratic electoral, ballot access and debate rules designed to minimize participation and choice.
To achieve genuine citizen participation, citizens must share in the power of governing. We must seek to bring vibrant grassroots democracy to every part of the United States.
In 1898, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States and has been held by the U.S. in the form of a colony ever since.
In response to international pressure, in 1952, the U.S. established the "Free Associated State" status for Puerto Rico but continued to claim that Puerto Rico belongs to, yet is not a part of, the United States.
The root of the crisis is the colonial status of Puerto Rico as echoed in the UN Decolonization committee resolution on Puerto Rico adopted on June 22, 2015. The resolution states that the condition of political subordination prevents Puerto Rico from making sovereign decisions to attend to its serious economic and social problems including unemployment, marginalization and poverty (Olga Sanabria Davila, Crisis and Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 10/26/15).
We should support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence in conformity with United Nations Resolution 1514(XV) of 1960. We should call for the release of all Puerto Rican political prisoners, such as Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been held in U.S. prisons since 1981.
We need to call for the appropriate environmental clean-up and sustainable development of Vieques, the island that was used as a firing range by the U.S. military.
We should oppose the recruitment of the youth of Puerto Rico into the U.S. armed forces and their deployment to U.S. wars abroad by denouncing the recruitment attempts at educational institutions.
The United States Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion.
We must affirm the right of each individual to the exercise of conscience and religion, while maintaining the constitutionally mandated separation of government and religion. The federal, state, and local governments must remain neutral regarding religion.
Move decisively to an energy system based on solar, wind, geo-thermal, marine, and other cleaner renewable energy sources.
The development of Earth-gentle, sustainable energy sources must be a cornerstone of any plan to reduce reliance on conventional fossil fuels.
We should advocate clean renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, marine-based, and other cleaner renewable sources as the long-term solution.
The development of the United States has been marked by conflict over questions of race. Our nation was formed only after Native Americans were displaced. The institution of slavery had as its underpinnings the belief in white supremacy, which we must condemn. In slavery's aftermath, people of color have borne the brunt of violence and discrimination. We must unequivocally condemn these evils, which continue to be a social problem of paramount significance.
The community of people of African ancestry whose family members were held in chattel slavery in what is now the United States of America have legitimate claims to reparations including monetary compensation for centuries of human rights violations, including the Transatlantic slave trade now recognized by the United Nations as a "crime against humanity."
We need to recognize that reparations are a debt (not charity) that is owed by our own and other nations and by the corporate institutions chartered under our laws to a collective of people.
The leadership on the question of what our nation owes to this process of right ought to come from the African American community, whose right to self-determination and autonomy to chart the path to healing we fully recognize.
We also must understand that until significant steps are taken to reverse the ongoing abuses; to end the criminalization of the Black and Brown communities.
We should support full legal and political equality for all persons regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity, characteristics, and expression.
We should affirm the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, or gender identity.
We must recognize the full civil rights of sexual and gender minorities. The existing civil rights act prohibits discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability. We must work to add sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the existing civil rights act.
Close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
We must call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine and erode our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government.
1. Revoke the 2011 re-authorization of the Patriot Act, including "John Doe" roving wiretaps and the "library records" provision.
2. Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
3. End the abuse of National Security Letters, which the FBI uses to force Internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to reveal sensitive information about their patrons.
4. End illegal government spying, including the use of warrantless wiretaps. Three federal judges have ruled that President Bush's National Security Agency warrantless wiretaps violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which contains criminal sanctions. Ensure that anyone who violated the FISA is held accountable for crimes committed.
5. Strictly enforce our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition.
6. Support strict Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
7. Recognize that the privacy protections of the 4th amendment extend to the Internet.
8. End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities. Ensure those guilty of ordering or executing torture are held accountable for violations U.S. and international law.
Support for men and women in the armed forces must go far beyond the rhetoric used to discredit the peace movement in the U.S. today.
We need to understand that the ill-advised and illegal actions of the U.S. administration have unnecessarily put our troops in harm's way.
We should further understand that the dangerous burden of fighting the unnecessary war in Iraq, and the wars that may follow, due to the administration's overly narrow and militaristic response to terrorism is disproportionately borne by families of lesser means.
Those who are required to carry out militaristic policies, often with great hardship to themselves, their families, and even the risk of their lives, deserve our respect and our commitment to adequate compensation and benefits.
Our first priority in foreign policy considerations is to creating a future without war. We must be committed to the idea that future generations will not face the separations and sacrifices of war.
An unjust society is an unsustainable society. When communities are stressed by poverty, violence and despair, our ability to meet the challenges of the post industrial age are critically impaired.
A holistic, future-focused perspective on how we distribute resources in this country would consider the effects of such distribution not just on our present needs, but on the seventh generation to come.
It is time for a radical shift in our attitude toward support for families, children, the poor and the disabled. Such support must not be given grudgingly; it is the right of those presently in need and an investment in our future. We must take an uncompromising position that the care and nurture of children, elders and the disabled are essential to a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable society.
We should recognize that the work of their caregivers is of social and economic value, and reward it accordingly. Ensuring that children and their caregivers have access to an adequate, secure standard of living should form the cornerstone of our economic priorities. Only then can we hope to build our future on a foundation of healthy, educated children who are raised in an atmosphere of love and security.
Women earn only 77% of men's wages for equal work, despite outnumbering men in the workforce and despite the U.S. 1963 Equal Pay Act. Thus we should support intensified effort to see this unfair gap closed, including support for the Paycheck Fairness Act and similar legislation along with greater effort at enforcement.
Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in the United States, which explains why 22% of the children in our country live below the poverty line. Welfare reform has forced mothers to abandon their children while they travel to work at minimum wage jobs. With the extreme pay inequity, single mothers cannot afford child care, nurture their children, and move out of poverty.
We need real reforms to end poverty and return dignity and opportunity to all mothers. We call for implementing innovative programs that work with the particular and special needs of motherhood.
Mothers should not be forced to have outside employment to receive adequate welfare. Children are a nation's most valuable treasure and we must see that they are well nutured.
We also support other programs such as a universal basic income that will provide for those who nurture the next generation — work that is of incalculable importance to our society.
Women's rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman's right as a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.
Women's right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available.
The "morning-after" pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription. The government should sponsor public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception.
Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions regardless of age or marital status.
We should endorse women's right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion in accordance with the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling. This right cannot be limited to women's age or marital status.
Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S. Any state government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level.
Public health agencies operating abroad should be allowed to offer family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that ask for those services.
We should oppose our government's habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions.
We should encourage women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is the inalienable right and duty of every woman to learn about her body and to be aware of the phases of her menstrual cycle. It is the duty for every man to be aware of the functions and health of his and his partner's bodies. This information is necessary for self-determination, to make informed decisions, and to prevent unintended consequences. Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls.
Since the beginning of what we call civilization, when men's dominance over women was firmly established. Until the present day, our history has been marred with oppression of and brutality to women.
We need to end this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt. This cannot occur unless women's voices are heard. Democracy cannot work without equality for women, which means equal participation and representation.
It took an extraordinary and ongoing fight over 72 years for women to win the right to vote.
However, the Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923, has still not been ratified after nearly 100 years.. Equality should be a given, so we must work toward that end.
We should be committed to increasing participation of women in politics, government and leadership. Hopefully, they will help change laws, make decisions, and create policy solutions that affect and will improve women's lives. We should support, and call on others to support those efforts.
1. We support the equal application of the Constitution of the United States of America to all citizens, and therefore call for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
2. We call for equal representation of women in Congress.
3. The U.S. must ratify the CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.
4. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints.
5. It is important for the inclusion of an equal number of women and men in peace talks and negotiations.
Language is often used as a weapon by those with power, and women have traditionally borne the brunt of inflicted injuries. Freedom of speech is vital to democracy. However, this freedom should not be used to perpetuate oppression and abuse.
Violence against women is increasing nationwide. We must address the root cause of all violence even as we specifically address violence to women. We must support stronger legislation, programs and enforcement. We need new dialog and re-thinking that can lead to better language, ideas and solutions.
All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential. Young people are one of the least protected classes of human beings, yet they represent our future. We must ensure they have an upbringing that allows them to take their place as functioning, productive, and self-actualized members of their community.