Dear Members and friends,
The Corresponder will be in your hands soon. It is full of articles that warrant your attention, including a draft platform for The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
The platform is directed toward candidates for public office and calls on them to support its principles before, during, and after Election Day. Also, it is directed toward CofC members, asking them to work for its implementation as a short term program to protect and improve the interests of working people.
It is in draft form because it needs your input—right away, in order to get it into people=s hands by the close of the election season. A deadline of Oct. 1 has been set for additional comments. (Two proposals on the Environment have already been sent in.) We send it to you by email so that you can organize a discussion of it in your local area and get your comments in as soon as possible.
The Corresponder is full of other interesting articles, including the results of the mail referendum on our presidential endorsement, comments from members about the referendum, news stories on the June NCC meeting, the Living Wage victories around the country and local CofC events.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how many extra copies of The Corresponder you would like us to send.
Did you receive the announcement of the CofC trip to Cuba for the Real Millennium? If not, you can print it from our web site: www.cofc.org.
The National Office Staff
[Note: Changes made to the draft by WT and others are in [ ] and highlighted below.]
A Draft Platform for the Committees of Correspondence
for Democracy and Socialism
Despite the celebratory song of prosperity that grows louder each day, the top six percent in our country holds more wealth than the bottom 94 percent; fourteen million children continue to face hunger every day; racism, sexism, and homophobia still scar the national landscape; corporate greed more than ever dominates the nation’s economic, political and cultural life; police brutality and unjust jailing, especially targeted against youth of color, continue to oppress, and feed a growing prison-industrial complex; the danger of ecological disaster continues to grow; vast wealth continues to be squandered on military spending despite the lack of any credible threat.
For these - and more - the CofC believes that the ultimate solution to these problems is a socialist society where wealth is socially owned, distributed fairly, and utilized for the benefit of all; where people of all ages and backgrounds are guaranteed the right to a job, security, health care, education, housing, and access to an enriching culture; where democracy is extended into both the political and economic spheres with the right of participation for everyone in decisions regarding the direction of society; where every form of discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, religion, sexuality, physical ability and age is eliminated.
While socialism is our long-term goal, present-day battles to curb corporate power, to protect and advance the interests of working people, and to defend and deepen democracy, are indispensable to a more transforming social change.
In that spirit, we offer the following platform for a new progressive direction. As we work for its implementation we ask for discussion and support. From elected officials we ask for commitment to the platforms principles and substance, and upon that commitment, we will gauge our support for them.
[Please add your comments and suggestions on the following sections:]
A. Globalization and Corporate Greed at Home and Abroad
B. Labor’s Rights
C. Economic Policy
D. Social Policy
E. The Environment
F. Political Reform
G. Human Rights
H. Foreign Policy
A. Globalization and Corporate Greed at Home and Abroad
1. We support measures to tax capital flight to low wage areas and to level other penalties on corporations that abandon jobs and add to the misery of developing countries.
2. We urge the repeal of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and call for overseas trade that is genuinely reciprocal, mutually beneficial, and contributes to reversing the alarming gap between have and have-not nations.
3. We advocate measures to prevent transnational corporations from intensive exploitation of overseas labor and assure that all overseas investments are based on providing a living wage, the right to organize, and constraints on environmental pollution.
4. Our government must support the cancellation of Third World Debt.
5. We call upon Congress and the Executive to control price gouging in overseas trade, especially pharmaceuticals and take the lead on providing free or inexpensive drugs to fight AIDS and other contagious diseases.
B. Labor’s Rights
1. We call for a LIVING WAGE for all and immediate enactment of a meaningful increase in the minimum wage.
2. We support the goal of a full employment economy based on investment in job training and creation programs.
3. We urge that our government adopt the labor conventions of the ILO which calls for freedom of association and freedom speech for all workers. Until such freedom of association is codified in our labor laws, employers must be required to abide by card-check recognition of unions.
4. We call for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and full restoration of the right to strike, sympathy strikes and secondary boycotts, and the right to refuse work that is being struck. In addition, all existing anti-union legislation should be repealed and a statute enacted to ban the use of “replacement workers.”
5. Workers’ rights on the job must be strengthened against arbitrary firing; discriminatory hiring, promotion, and termination. Part-time and temporary workers must receive all the benefits applied to full-time workers.
6. There must be greater health and safety regulation with the OSHA given more enforcement power with workers participating in the agency regulation, enforcement, and inspection goals. Workers should have access to childcare, paid leave, pension portability, extension of vacation time, and no forced overtime.
7. We need legislation to require union labor and union standards in all federal contracts as well as protection for all workers against corporate raiding of pension plans.
8. We demand an end to wage differentials based on race, ethnicity and gender.
C. Economic Policy
1. We favor tax reform that eliminates all federal taxes on wages of 20,000 dollars or below, closes massive loopholes in corporate taxes, and restores progressivity in tax policy by increasing taxes on those in the highest brackets. We oppose repeal of inheritance taxes and favor reducing the taxable ceiling on social security.
2. We favor an immediate re-regulation of communications, transportation, banking and insurance industries, including repeal of legislation allowing a convergence of banking and insurance companies. Deregulation has resulted in scandalous giveaways with a severe negative impact on the public.
3. We demand an end to discriminatory “redlining” and other banking policies that have denied mortgages and other forms of financial assistance to communities of color.
4. We ask elected officials to speak out against the Federal Reserve’s policy of raising interest rates while seeking to place the burdens of an “anti-inflation” policy on the backs of working people.
D. Social Policy
1. We call for enactment of universal single-payer health
care to replace the present increasingly corrupt, inefficient, profit-driven
system. Such a universal system should fully embrace, extend, and supersede
Medicare and Medicaid. [The current proposals
A patient’s bill of rights, and a program to subsidize
payment for pharmaceuticals, while very worthy of support [are] is only a first step toward a just
national health policy. [A comprehensive health maintenance system should guarantee prenatal care, dental
and eye care for all.] Health is a human right, [and should] not [be] a privilege derived from
2. We favor repeal of the Draconian “Welfare Reform Act.” New legislation must provide stipends [sufficient] for family survival, [along with] extensive job training, childcare while receiving training and a national job bank to provide living wage employment. All cancelled or scaled back programs like legal assistance and school lunches must be restored. We demand the immediate return of the right [of] all immigrants to receive welfare assistance.
3. We oppose privatization of Social Security in any form and oppose the use of the Social Security fund for any purpose other than to provide benefits to its recipients.
4. We favor strong gun control including rigorous checks on would-be purchasers, safety locks, prohibitions on automatic and assault weapons as well as strict controls on police use of lethal weapons, especially automatic weapons, and a federal program to train police in nonviolent methods of crowd control and arrests.
5. We demand legislation to upgrade education on a national basis - to eliminate the class-biased local funding of schools based on property taxes, to target funds for the immediate upgrading of schools in urban communities of color and working class neighborhoods, to establish a national program in preschool and early childhood education, and to establish a respectable standard of wages and training for all teachers. We oppose the trend toward re-segregation of schools and urge the development of programs that stress respect for cultural and social diversity and challenge stereotypes based on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
6. We demand a federally funded national program for childcare for every family, or single parent who, needs it.
7. We demand full support for every woman’s right to choose when, if, and how to have children, including the right to abortion. Family planning clinics, as well as the health care professionals who provide abortion services must have full protection of the law.
8. We support the right of all immigrants from any part of the world to legalize their status and we urge measures to prevent their forcible deportation [including the use of secret courts.]
9. We call for a federal crash program to end homelessness by building low-cost housing, [to be tenant owned and managed,] in every city and town across the country, and imposing a national, enforceable rent control standard.
10. The scientific revolution in human genome mapping coupled with advanced computer science and biotechnology has the potential to redirect life and to exploit human material in many ways. This development has profound ethical, ideological, legal and economic implications for ownership of life, genetic privacy, the content of education, medical practice, even the revival of racist eugenics. Who will manage this new power, and for what end, is one of the most vital questions facing humanity. We call for a national and global commitment to use this powerful new science to advance humanity and reject exploitation and profit. To that end we call for an international effort to deal with these issues.
E. The Environment
1. The United States should immediately sign the proposed international standard on limiting carbon emissions and accept a major role in worldwide efforts to control global warming.
2. We call upon our government to cooperate vigorously with international agencies working to preserve oceans, lakes, and rivers and their sea life.
3. We demand an end to ceding public lands for private development.
4. A major priority in environmental protection should be the immediate cessation of the production and/or dumping of toxic wastes in working class communities and communities of color, ending, once and for all, environmental racism.
5. A ban should be placed upon the use of noxious pesticides, extending vitally needed protection to day laborers, migrant workers and field hands who are involved in manual handling of food products.
6. We demand a national program for cheap, clean, energy efficient mass transportation A large portion of federal highway funds, which have been used to promote private automobiles, should be diverted for mass transit.
7. A major aim in the battle against global warning should be to stop industrial and military polluters, with the involvement of labor unions in efforts to convert ecologically hazardous facilities to clean, environmentally safe ones.
8. We call for rapid phasing out and total elimination of nuclear plants.
F. Political Reform
1. We demand a total ban on all corporate “soft money” contributions to election campaigns.
2. We favor reduction of the limit on individual campaign contributions from $1000 to $100.
3. We support a federally mandated program to provide equal access to the airwaves and print media to all “minor party” candidacies. The bar for inclusion in presidential debates should be lowered to 5% in the polls, and control of the debates must be taken out of private corporate hands and assigned to a nonpartisan federal agency.
4. We demand a federal study to explore structural changes in the electoral system including proportional representation, aimed at ending the unfair, undemocratic present winner-take-all system.
G. Human Rights
1. We demand federal action to institutionalize and strengthen affirmative action in employment and education.
2. We call for an immediate end to the prison industrial complex and the substitution of meaningful educational and job-training programs in all federal, state, and local prisons.
3. We call for repeal the death penalty at all levels of authority.
4. We demand an overhaul of drug laws, which discriminate against communities of color, including the repeal of minimum sentencing requirements and three-strike rules. Especially egregious are stiff penalties for women who have neither sold nor used drugs but who have been given stiff sentences transporting drugs for husbands or male friends. The distinction between severe sentences for crack cocaine and light sentences for powered cocaine is unjust and racist. We call for the decriminalization of drug use and a real “war on drugs” though the commitment of major resources to treatment and cure.
5. Federal civil rights statutes which invoke intervention in cases of police brutality must be more vigorously pursued. Federal laws should become immediately operative when local grand juries and police departments refuse to prosecute police killings. Racial profiling by police should be outlawed by federal statute, with penalties levied against police agencies and individual officers who engage in this racist practice.
6. We demand a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the release of Leonard Peltier and all other victims of political repression, as well as automatic review of all cases involving police misconduct. We call upon elected officials to back these demands.
7. We urge and support efforts to end discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in parenting and other areas that have experienced discrimination based upon sexuality. We call for programs in public schools to confront homophobia and contributing to stopping violence against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people.
8. [In addition to the prison and criminal law reforms above, we call for a review of all sentences and a return to a national policy of rehabilitation and probation to be led by community based parole boards whose functions are open to the public. We call for these reforms to be based on those programs in the US and abroad that have proven themselves most effective in providing incentives for prisoners to function as contributing citizens.]
H. Foreign Policy
1. For the next military spending authorization, we call for an immediate 50% cut in the military budget including complete cancellation of National Missile Defense, starting with the shield pointed at North Korea, cancellation of the extravagant, wasteful F-22 supersonic bomber, and other programs that are designed to line Pentagon and Military-Industrial Complex pockets.
2. We demand that the incoming Administration immediately resume SALT 2 negotiations to effect deep reductions in US and Russian nuclear arsenals with the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons in this decade.
3. We demand that the United States become a signatory to the treaty banning land mines.
4. We call for Congress to take the initiative in formulating a non-interventionist military policy that stresses security based on nuclear disarmament, deep cuts in conventional forces, and greater reliance on inclusive agencies like the United Nations to mediate disputes and provide humanitarian assistance where needed.
5. We demand the immediate repeal of legislation authorizing 1.8 billion dollars for the Colombian military. Further, we call for condemnation of human rights abuses by that military and support for negotiations among all parties to end the armed conflict in Colombia.
6. We call for the immediate cessation of the blockade and sanctions against Cuba and Iraq, and the restoration of normal diplomatic and trade relations with those countries.
7. We call upon our elected officials to support a peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict based upon UN resolutions that embrace the right of return of all refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian State with its capital in Jerusalem.
8. We call for a new beginning in the United States’ relations with the rest of the world - ending its role as global policeman, basing security on disarmament, peaceful and mutually beneficial economic relations, cancellation of Third World debt, massive UN-controlled programs to combat hunger and disease, and a return to the sacred principles of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states. And of course, with deep cuts in military spending, funds can be released to meet the pressing needs of millions of citizens for jobs, health care, education, and housing.
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CofC Platform.doc [This document in MS Word format for downloading.]