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Our Platform

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This People’s Platform was developed, voted on, and adopted by our members in March of 2018. The final People’s Party platform will be developed and passed by members at the national founding convention.

An Economy That Works for Everyone

An Economic Bill of Rights

In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt proposed an Economic Bill of Rights that would guarantee employment, food, clothing, leisure, a living wage, housing, healthcare, social security, education and freedom from monopolies and unfair competition to every American. We had the technology and the resources to achieve it 70 years ago, and we could easily accomplish it today. It’s time to fulfill Roosevelt’s vision and guarantee the necessities of life to all as a human right.

Recognize that the nature of work will forever change as automation extends from agriculture and manufacturing into service jobs and creative tasks. Improving technology allows us to produce an abundance of goods with ever-fewer resources and human labor. Automation and artificial intelligence are advancing so rapidly that studies predict that half of American jobs will be automated in the next 15 years. The resulting social transformation will be so profound that it’s referred to as The Fourth Industrial Revolution. We must ensure that people are provided for in a society where machines replace entire industries and millions of jobs.

Instead of laying off workers, shorten the workweek to four days and progressively reduce working hours as automation improves. Make access to the necessities of life a human right with a universal basic income. Ensure that work and re-training are available for those who seek them with a federal job guarantee.

Employ millions of Americans in public works programs, repairing and modernizing our infrastructure and building a 21st century energy system. Wages broke from increasing productivity in the late 1960’s resulting in massive inequality. Implement a $15 minimum wage and index it to inflation. If the minimum wage had continued to track productivity, it would be about $22 today.

Join the rest of the developed world in ensuring paid maternity, family, sick and vacation leave from work. Guarantee affordable housing and rent control to all. Reverse the consolidation of industries into trusts and monopolies. Ensure that Americans can retire with dignity and respect. Lift the cap on taxable income going into Social Security and extend its solvency by 50 years. Social Security is not a perk, it is an obligation of the government to those who have paid into it their entire lives.

Advocate for a realistic way of looking at how our economy works, as posited by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ economic adviser Stephanie Kelton. The government, which is the source of and controls how dollars are taxed or untaxed, has deceived the public into thinking that we cannot afford the social programs that the vast majority of Americans say they want. Congress’ focus on deficits as a justification for why we can’t have a job guarantee or social programs is fundamentally flawed. Our elected representatives always manage to come up with trillions of dollars for the military budget and corporate welfare.

Money is not a scarce commodity like silver or gold. Spending must precede taxation or there would be no dollars in the economy to tax. In other words, it’s the political will to spend on social programs that is lacking, not the money to afford it. With a keystroke, Congress could authorize the money for universal health care, social security, a jobs program and more because federal taxes don’t fund spending.

“This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights. Among them, the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. We have come to a clearer realization of the fact, however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Strong Unions and Workplace Democracy

The American middle class was strongest when a third of our workforce was unionized in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Wages have stagnated and inequality has risen in proportion to the decline of unionization in America. A thriving labor movement is vital to economic justice. Support the rights of employees to organize into unions, collectively bargain and strike. Repeal all anti-labor laws, including Right to Work laws and the rest of the Taft-Hartley Act.

Shuttered businesses and production facilities often leave workers and surrounding communities in financial ruin. Grant workers the option to collectively purchase factories and plants as an alternative to shutting them down. Reverse the outsourcing of American jobs and renegotiate trade agreements that have proven disastrous to workers worldwide.

Democratize the workplace by encouraging the creation of worker cooperatives. Modern corporations are completely undemocratic. Workers don’t share in the ownership of the company, elect leaders from amongst themselves, or have any say in the company’s direction. Unelected investors and executives hoard the wealth that the workers produce, leaving them just enough to survive and continue generating profits. Our ancestors brought democracy to government and now we must extend it to the workplace, where we spend much of our waking lives. Working people should participate in management of the corporations that they contribute to just like they participate in the management of the country where they live. Worker cooperatives build unions directly into the fabric of the corporation.

Modernizing our Infrastructure

From land to sea, our infrastructure is in a perilous state of disrepair. Enact a green new deal, putting millions of Americans to work in good paying jobs that repair our crumbling roads, bridges, airports, dams, harbors and waterways. Modernize the electrical grid for a renewable energy future.

Repair our aging and leaking drinking water pipes, meters and wastewater treatment plants. Expand bus lines, subway systems, high speed rail and other means of public transportation. Reduce public transit fares to broaden access and take more cars off the road. Create millions of living wage jobs modernizing the infrastructure that powers American life and commerce. Classify the internet as a public utility and bring the country online with universal high-speed community broadband that covers rural communities.

Ensure swift federal disaster relief and recovery to cities, states and territories struck by natural disasters. Citizens of the richest country on earth should not have to languish for months on end without basic necessities like the thousands in Puerto Rico who continue to suffer the loss of electricity following Hurricane Maria.

Boost America’s high-tech innovation with investments in basic research and STEM education. Reignite the country’s passion for space exploration with an ambitious manned mission to Mars. Empower NASA and academia to pursue an understanding of the origins of life, our universe and space, the final frontier.

A Fair Tax Code and Modernizing Small Business

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the top marginal tax rate was above 90 percent and Franklin Roosevelt proposed a maximum income. While we won’t go that high, we will restore higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, requiring them to pay their fair share of the costs involved in the public infrastructure and services that power their companies. Increase the inheritance tax and introduce a wealth tax for multi-millionaires. Raise the capital gains tax which allows billionaires to pay a lower tax rate than nurses and truck drivers.

Small businesses employ half of American workers. Level the playing field for small business owners. They can’t afford corporate lobbyists who bribe politicians or lawyers into setting up offshore tax havens. Close tax loopholes that allow multi-billion dollar corporations to pay effective tax rates of zero. End corporate welfare as we know it. Ban corporate inversions and the use of offshore tax havens that cost our country more than $150 billion in annual tax revenue. Ban the practice of no-bid government contracts.

Rein-in Wall Street and Create Public Banks

The massive too-big-to-fail banks are much larger and more consolidated than when we bailed them out after causing the Great Recession. They are threatening to crash the global economy and wipe out millions of jobs again. Revive Glass-Steagall and break up the big banks. End too-big-to-jail and hold accountable financial executives who defraud the public. Pass a financial transactions tax and regulate the sale of derivatives. Reduce and cap credit card interest rates. Reign in corporate power by breaking up monopolies, enforcing antitrust laws and reversing the consolidation of businesses.

Ban corporate stock buybacks that are used to manipulate the stock market and taxable income, to reduce investment in R&D, and to inflate CEO compensation. Eliminate conflicts of interest and increase transparency at the Federal Reserve, ensuring that it operates as a public bank for the people of the US. Enforce stricter oversight of banks, revoking the banking licenses for those that repeatedly engage in criminal, fraudulent, discriminatory and negligent activity at the public’s expense. Immediately revoke the licenses of banks found to be financing terrorism and drug cartels that presently get off with minor fines. Prohibit banks from writing off fines from criminal activity as tax deductions.

Expand public banking and postal banking. Public banks like the Bank of North Dakota are driven by service to their community rather than the profits of distant, giant multinational corporations’ shareholders. They can make affordable loans to small businesses, farmers, students and government agencies. They save taxpayers’ money on infrastructure projects, eliminate hundreds of millions in banking fees, and keep profits in the local community — funds that can be returned to the people in the form of better schools, affordable housing, and lower taxes. Charter public banks in each state, with regional and city banks, and support a national postal bank, similar to those in many developed nations.

Fair Trade

Reverse trade policies in agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and PNTR with China that have outsourced millions of jobs and created a global race to the bottom in wages.

Ensure that future treaties do not put our government under the jurisdiction of corporate tribunals known as investor state dispute settlement. ISDS provisions in NAFTA and other treaties have given corporations the power to sue our government, right down to municipalities, for millions of dollars in “projected loss of profits due to regulation.” This occurs even in the case of regulations to protect public health and safety or to ensure truth in advertising. ISDS surrenders our national sovereignty to multinational corporations and a supra-national corporate judiciary. Remove it from existing trade deals and ban attempts at corporate governance in all international agreements.

America’s chief export should not be poverty. We should not be taking good paying jobs from Americans and sending them to sweatshops in the developing world. It’s time to embrace fair trade and domestic policies that incentive companies to keep good paying jobs in America.

Defend and Uphold Democracy

Abolish Corruption and Restore Democracy

Corruption is legal and rampant in America. Our political system is awash in corporate and billionaire money. We no longer have elections, we have auctions. Politicians say what their voters want to hear and do what their donors want to see. The problem is not a lack of honest politicians. It is a system that structurally incentivizes and rewards corruption. Politicians will serve donors and special interests as long as that is the way to win.

Money in politics is the issue that is most hampering progress today. Donations from the pharmaceutical industry keep drug prices high. Donations from the insurance industry block the adoption of Medicare for all. Donations from the prison industry keep harsh drug laws in place. Donations from the military industry keep us in a perpetual state of war. Donations from the fast food lobby keep wages at starvation levels. Donations from the oil lobby prevent us from taking on climate change. Money in politics is the bottleneck that is preventing the dam from breaking on the many progressive policies that the public desperately needs.

The issue has grown so severe that a 2015 study conducted by Princeton found that the preferences of the American public have a “near-zero, statistically insignificant” impact on public policy. Whereas the preferences of economic elites virtually dictate public policy. As a result, the study concluded that the U.S. no longer meets the definition of a democracy and has become an oligarchy.

To reclaim democracy, we must seal off all avenues of undue influence that the oligarchs have over our politics. Ban super PACs, independent expenditures and dark money, shutting down unlimited and untransparent outside spending. Close the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, whereby corporations reward politicians for doing their bidding with cushy jobs and high salaries once they leave office. Prevent corporate executives from holding elected office or being appointed to regulatory positions, where they presently oversee the industries they just departed and collect big bonuses for regulating favorably. Bar politicians from taking lobbyist money and gifts while in office or on the campaign trail. Our mission must be to abolish corporate money and influence from our politics once and for all. It is the principle upon which all others hinge.

We must pass anti-corruption laws by referendum where possible and fight for a constitutional amendment that declares that corporations are not people and money is not speech. We must ban bundling and switch to the full public funding of our elections. We must reverse the Citizens United decision that flooded politics with big money.

Most importantly, we must build a major new people’s party that stands with 93 percent of Americans in soundly rejecting money in politics. The establishment parties are so intertwined with corporate dollars that the money and parties are no longer distinguishable from one another; big money pervades the organizations down to their DNA. They are inherently highly-centralized, undemocratic and unaccountable to the public. They are corrupt by design and impervious to internal democracy at a fundamental structural level. The establishment parties lack the internal democratic mechanisms and channels that are necessary to come to power within it. In other words, just like Congress at large, the will of the base is irrelevant to the management and direction of the organizations. The organizations are not democratic enough to be taken over. They are controlled through unofficial channels to the donor class. Which is why our first imperative is the formation of an internally democratic and genuinely progressive people’s party.

We must also fight for a national initiative power that gives Americans the power to bypass Congress and put laws on the books directly. Through this kind of direct democracy, the people could vote on broad policy strokes like free public college over high tuition, and single-payer health care over employer-based insurance. Politicians would cease to be decision-makers and become glorified administrators of the public’s preferences, as they should be.

Secure and Transparent Election

Recent elections have proven that our voting system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. Americans have lost confidence in an electoral system rife with Jim Crow voter suppression schemes, un-auditable voting machines, voter purges, closed primaries and awash with billions in big money.

Switch from first-past-the-post to ranked choice voting, and from single-member districts to multi-member districts. Enact automatic voter registration and open primaries. Make election day a national holiday and allow early voting by mail. Do away with the archaic electoral college, which distorts the weight of people’s votes. Abolish gerrymandering and use independent commissions to draw districts to favor competitiveness.

Lower ballot access requirements for independent candidates and parties and equalize the requirements for all parties. Switch from our patchwork of state and local election and ballot access rules to national standards that promote access, fairness and competitiveness.

Restore integrity and trust in our democracy by switching to hand-counted paper ballots with routine post-election audits. Mandate the retention of paper ballots and scanned ballot images. Require that all election hardware and software be open source and secure. Hold election officials and processes accountable.

Ensure that all precincts are equipped with ample polling stations to handle capacity without long lines. End voter ID provisions, often used to suppress the vote in communities of color. Halt voter roll purges and interstate cross-check programs, which exist to combat the statistically non-existent issue of voter fraud and end up disenfranchising thousands of honest voters. Implement a systematic exit polling system to monitor the vote according to U.N. guidelines.

After decades of bipartisan establishment politics, many working people have concluded that Democrat or Republican, nothing ever changes and their votes don’t matter. Create incentives to vote for poor and working people to help restore confidence and broaden democratic participation, such as a $20 tax rebate for voting, which will have much greater significance to the poor than it will to the rich.

Abolish legalized corruption by getting corporate, billionaire and dark money out of our politics and switching to the public financing of elections. Ban lobbyists from making contributions to parties, politicians, their staff, and their families. Lobbyists should only be allowed to persuade politicians on the merits of their arguments, not the size of their bribes. Prohibit politicians from fundraising during working hours. Strengthen the definition of a lobbyist and eliminate other lobbyist loopholes. Strengthen enforcement at the Federal Elections Commission. Enact congressional term limits.

Presidential debates are presently hosted by a private corporation owned by the Democrats and Republicans. The establishment parties work together to block independent and third party candidates from the debate stage and prevent Americans from learning about political alternatives. Return the management of presidential debates to a nonpartisan independent commission and invite all candidates that get on enough state ballots to be able to win the presidency. Restore the fairness doctrine and equal time rule in media coverage of politics. Elections should be contests of ideas, not dollars.

Defend Civil Liberties

Americans are the most surveilled people in human history. Studies have shown that mass surveillance suppresses our freedom of speech and freedom of thought, undermining the fabric of a free society. By preemptively subjecting everyone to surveillance without a warrant, these programs presume guilt instead of innocence, reversing the foundation of our legal system.

Reassert the human right to privacy and the Fourth Amendment. Repeal the Patriot Act and abolish mass surveillance. Affirm the right to free speech and free assembly. Strengthen protections and rewards for government and corporate whistleblowers, and increase penalties for those who conceal government crimes and negligence. Abolish government torture, indefinite detention and extrajudicial assassination. Defend habeas corpus. Protect the Freedom of Information Act and mandate a higher government response rate. Without transparency there is no accountability.

A democracy is only as strong as its freedom of information. People need access to free and uncensored information in order to make informed democratic choices. Access to the internet is no longer a luxury; it is essential to 21st century democracy, commerce, education, telemedicine and public safety. Protect net neutrality, classify the internet as a public utility and bring the country online with high-speed community broadband. Expand public parks, libraries and community spaces.

Far more Americans are killed by guns than terrorism, which is used to justify multi-trillion dollar invasions of other countries. We must protect our families’, friends’ and citizens’ rights to life. Ban assault rifles, armor piercing rounds, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines. Initiate a federal buy-back program for these weapons, which has seen success in countries like Australia. Institute universal background checks. Prevent the accumulation of private arsenals and close the gun show loophole, which allows the private sale of firearms circumventing background checks. Require waiting periods to get firearms and allow hospitals to collect statistics on gun violence. Other developed countries have much stronger gun laws that save lives. We must also strive to understand why our society drives so many people to terrible isolation and violence.

Respect Human Rights, Health and  Human Potential

Medicare for All

Access to clean air, clean water, nutritious food and health care is a human right. Everyone deserves an opportunity to grow and live in a safe and healthy physical and psychological environment.

We spend more on health care than the citizens of any other developed country. American drug companies discriminate against their own citizens, charging us up to 10 times more than what they charge Canadians and the people of other developed countries. Every year, thousands of people die in hospital beds a few feet away from the medicine that would have saved their lives because they could not satisfy the pharmaceutical industry’s greed. We must place human life above profit and put an end to this with Medicare for all, a single payer system that covers prenatal, mental, vision, dental, preventive care, prescription drugs and all other medical needs.

But health is about more than access to medicine and doctors. We need to also promote healthier food by eliminating food deserts, often found in poor communities, and ensuring universal access to fresh and nutritious food. More than half of Americans rely on underground water sources which are being polluted by toxins in fertilizers and pesticides as well as chemicals used in fracking and factory farms. Flint, Michigan is an example of the devastation of lead contamination. Infant mortality has increased dramatically and thousands of children are experiencing serious developmental problems. Enforce the Clean Water Act and strengthen laws meant to safeguard our drinking water.

End the criminalization of mental illness that puts more mentally ill people in prisons than treatment facilities.

Medicare for All

Access to clean air, clean water, nutritious food and health care is a human right. Everyone deserves an opportunity to grow and live in a safe and healthy physical and psychological environment.

We spend more on health care than the citizens of any other developed country. American drug companies discriminate against their own citizens, charging us up to 10 times more than what they charge Canadians and the people of other developed countries. Every year, thousands of people die in hospital beds a few feet away from the medicine that would have saved their lives because they could not satisfy the pharmaceutical industry’s greed. We must place human life above profit and put an end to this with Medicare for all, a single payer system that covers prenatal, mental, vision, dental, preventive care, prescription drugs and all other medical needs.

But health is about more than access to medicine and doctors. We need to also promote healthier food by eliminating food deserts, often found in poor communities, and ensuring universal access to fresh and nutritious food. More than half of Americans rely on underground water sources which are being polluted by toxins in fertilizers and pesticides as well as chemicals used in fracking and factory farms. Flint, Michigan is an example of the devastation of lead contamination. Infant mortality has increased dramatically and thousands of children are experiencing serious developmental problems. Enforce the Clean Water Act and strengthen laws meant to safeguard our drinking water.

End the criminalization of mental illness that puts more mentally ill people in prisons than treatment facilities.

Free Public College and Quality Education

Learning and training unlock a person’s ingenuity and talent. They grant the satisfaction of being able to care for oneself and loved ones while contributing to society. Make public education free from pre-kindergarten through college. Move away from standardized testing. Teach critical thinking, creativity, inquisitiveness, skepticism, cooperation, and participatory learning over memorization and obedience. In a world where information can be accessed instantly on the web, analyzing information is more important than memorizing it.

Keep student-to-teacher ratios low. Reverse the privatization of schools and support high-quality free online supplemental learning. Encourage mentoring and support special education services. Raise teacher pay, protect teachers’ unions and make sure they have the resources needed to educate without having to spend their own money on school supplies. Ensure quality curriculums and textbooks that accurately portray science and our nation’s history. Teach safe sex in order to keep sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies low.

Staggering student loan debt is robbing younger generations of the ability to purchase homes and cars or start families and businesses, accelerating the decline of the middle class. College is free in many European and Latin American countries. It was free in the U.S. decades ago and should be again at public colleges and universities. An educated public has more professional opportunities and makes our country a hub for innovation and scientific advancement. An educated electorate is also the cornerstone of democracy. Abolish the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt that is shackling a generation of young people.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Undocumented immigrants risk their lives to come to America. They often work hard and dangerous jobs with long hours and low pay, especially in the agricultural, construction and restaurant industries. It’s time to reverse the criminalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America and create a swift pathway to citizenship. Pass the Dream Act and naturalize all undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Expand DACA and DAPA. Ensure that Medicare for all extends to undocumented immigrants and allow them to purchase health insurance through the ACA in the meantime. Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and detention centers.

Protect refugees who come to America and their right to return from trips abroad. Refugee crises in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas can be traced back to wars and organized crime stemming from U.S. foreign policy. Stop the wars in the Middle East and North Africa that have destabilized countries such as Syria and Libya, destroying their infrastructure and forcing millions to leave their homes in desperation. End the drug war which exports cartel violence and corruption to Latin American countries, forcing many to flee to the U.S.

Respecting Disability Rights

Disability rights are civil rights. People with disabilities deserve to live full lives, to work and participate in society free of systemic discrimination. End subminimum wage for workers with disabilities while guaranteeing jobs and living wages in the community for all. Pass the Disability Integration Act, to provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services as an alternative to institutionalization, ensuring access to long term services and support. Guarantee housing for all.

Improve and enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act. End the widespread incarceration of people with mental disabilities and enforce the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision to provide people with mental disabilities community-based support. Reject the privatization of disability and aging services and guarantee health care as a human right with Medicare for all.

Protect the Environment and Defend Biodiversity

Clean Energy and Environment Protection

The U.S. is one of the greatest contributors to the climate crisis yet lags behind the industrialized world in fighting to reverse it. Lead the international community in clean energy innovation and combating climate change. Pass a comprehensive Green New Deal to turn the tide and create millions of good-paying jobs. Decentralize our energy system with renewable technologies like rooftop solar, wind and geothermal to satisfy energy needs on the local and building level. Promote energy-efficient building codes, net metering and ambitious renewable portfolio standards.

Make all new energy capacity clean and renewable, ending coal, oil, gas and nuclear developments. Replace fossil fuel subsidies with investments in renewable energy and use a carbon tax to incentivize the adoption of green energy. Join other developed countries in accelerating the transition from internal combustion to electric vehicles. Ban domestic oil drilling and fracking, which releases more
greenhouse gases than coal due to its methane content. Reduce deforestation and desertification.

Expand and improve public transportation and high-speed rail to make commuting faster and cheaper, take cars off the road and reduce vehicle pollution. Raise clean air and clean water standards to save thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in annual medical costs. Preserve public lands and prevent resource exploitation in national parks such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Animal Welfare

We share the planet with a wondrous variety of other animals, insects, plants and microorganisms. Through hundreds of thousands of years, a great variety of life forms have adapted to sharing the planet. As children, we grow up with images and tales of animals, which teach us compassion, loyalty, prowess, community and many other important values. At some point in our development, our money-driven society pressures us to see animals as possessions to be traded and exploited, and we lose our emotional connection not only to other animals but to the natural world as well.

There are many factors contributing to the cruel treatment and extinction of species such as overfishing, displacement of wild habitat for agriculture and farm animals, cultural habits and beliefs about unsubstantiated medicinal benefits, and “trophy” hunting. We have the responsibility to safeguard animal welfare. Even if we leave aside philosophical reasons about the value of all life forms and animal sentience, our own species benefits immensely from the diversity of life on the planet.

We now know that farm animals feel a wide range of emotions: pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear and pain. They are far more aware and intelligent than we imagined. Yet factory farms condemn animals to a life of agonizing pain in order to squeeze more profit out of them. Animals spend their whole lives in cages so small they cannot turn around and often are not able or allowed to sleep. The animals try so hard to escape that they give themselves physical deformities. End the barbaric practice of factory farming and switch to free range animal farming.

As a movement striving for a just and sustainable society, we uphold animal welfare. Encourage children to appreciate the interrelationship of life and the compassionate treatment of all living things. When people learn to empathize with other species from a young age, it becomes much easier for them to empathize with each other.

Sustainable Agriculture

Food production is entirely reliant on the health of the natural environment. The federal government has a key role to play in working with the states to promote the sustainable production of food, to mitigate and adapt to climate change and to reduce food waste. Keeping control of farm and ranch land in the hands of family-run proprietorships leads to fair and competitive agricultural markets which in turn support healthy socioeconomic conditions in rural communities.

Encourage local food production and sustainable farming practices. Eliminate food deserts and ensure the universal availability of nutritious food to everyone. Ban the use of carcinogenic food colorings, additives and hormones. Eliminate agricultural subsidies that amount to corporate welfare for big agribusiness.

Promote vertical farming, which eliminates the need for fertilizers, pesticides and the expensive and polluting transportation of food to cities. Vertical farming also frees up agricultural lands, eliminates toxic runoff and water contamination, and protects pollinators.

Promote new farmers and farming opportunities, high-level farm conservation and investment in clean energy and renewable products. Encourage equitable access to healthy, preferably organic food, protect the bee population by cutting down on pesticides, develop strategies to address climate change and its effect on farming, and provide for improved care and welfare of animals. Encourage crop rotation and other practices that avoid the desertification of arable lands.

Stand for Equality and Justice 

Restorative Justice

The U.S. has the highest prison population of any country in the world, including the largest percentage of women in prison. About one in three Black men will go to prison in their lifetimes. Poor and black people spend more time detained than other groups while white-collar criminals who defraud millions of people as financial executives are above the law. Race, gender, poverty, and a lack of opportunity should never be a factor in charges or sentencing.

Incarceration has devastating effects on individuals and families. It should not be a business. Abolish private prisons, which incentivize inhumane conditions and high recidivism. Shut down the school to prison pipeline, which targets people of color. Replace punitive incarceration with a restorative justice system that focuses on rehabilitating people which studies show is the most effective criminal justice system in the world. Ban the practice of using arrest and incarceration quotas. Abolish the death penalty and restore felons’ rights, including the right to vote. Ban the felony checkbox on employment forms and help pave a path to jobs upon release
from prison.

Demilitarize police by banning and reversing the transfer of military weapons to domestic police forces. Promote community policing and employ special prosecutors for all police killings. Reallocate funds from ballooning police budgets back to ailing schools and social services. Legalize marijuana and end the drug war, which targets communities of color. End what amounts to slave labor at prisons, where inmates are forced to work for pennies an hour producing goods for large corporations. End mandatory minimum sentencing. Review all forced mandatory sentencing cases and release prisoners convicted of nonviolent minor drug charges.

Racial Justice

Much of the wealth in this country was accumulated on the backs of slaves and continues to be built on the backs of people of color. Policies that were put in place to uplift the poor, such as federal housing policies during the depression, often excluded people of color and handicapped the ability of Black people to climb out of dire poverty and pass on assets to the next generation. A history of racist policies has resulted in massive racial inequality. A recent study found that Black families with children have just one cent in wealth for every dollar held by non-Hispanic white families with children.

Black people are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. Black people and Latinos comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though Black people and Latinos make up about one-quarter of the total U.S. population. We must end the private for-profit prison industry, which incarcerates young non-violent Black men at a disproportionate rate.

Put an end to discriminatory laws and the purging of minority-community names from voting rolls by restoring the Voting Rights Act. Demilitarize our police forces and create new laws for the allowable use of force. Eliminate mandatory minimums which result in sentencing disparities between Black, Latino and White people. Take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs. Protect the health of neighborhoods of color by establishing and enforcing strict environmental laws. Ensure access to universal childcare, Head Start programs and higher education through free public college tuition. Enact universal economic programs like Medicare for all and a universal basic income that lift the most marginalized and disadvantaged communities the most, instead of means-tested programs that often leave people of color behind.

Equal Rights for Women

Despite the tremendous progress made in the struggle for gender equality, women continue to face violence, discrimination and institutional barriers to equal participation in society in all venues: home, college and work. Women make 79 cents for every dollar earned by men. Black women earn only 64 cents and Latinas only 54 cents for each dollar earned by white men.

More than twice as many elderly women live in poverty than men. Without Social Security, nearly half of all elderly women would be living in poverty. Expand Social Security benefits and increase cost-of-living-adjustments to keep up with rising medical and prescription drug costs. Over 65 percent of women work more than 40 hours a week and the U.S. is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. Require employers to provide twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave.

Require employers to provide paid vacation and sick leave so that women can stay home to take care of a sick child.

Women make up two-thirds of all minimum wage workers. Many more work in service and agriculture jobs exempted from the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and cannot collect overtime pay. Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour to help close the gender wage gap. Raise the tipped minimum wage from $2.13 an hour to $15 an hour. Support the Paycheck Fairness Act to end wage discrimination based on gender. Require overtime pay across the board and work against practices to circumvent overtime pay, such as averaging hours over longer pay periods.

Women have a fundamental right to control their own bodies. Fund non-governmental organizations and initiatives that assist with women’s health and family planning. Protect women’s access to contraception and the availability of a safe and legal abortion. End the practice of female genital mutilation, underage forced marriage and the abuse of sex workers. We are against any enforcement that does not take into account the dire circumstances under which many women make survival choices.

We advocate for free quality childcare and preschool programs, the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and an increase in Women Infants and Children (WIC) funding, which provides nutrition assistance to pregnant mothers, women and infants and is being undermined by the establishment parties. The U.S. should be a world leader in women’s rights.

LGBTQIA Equality

The majority of Americans support laws and policies that reduce discrimination against those who identify as LGBTQIA. People across the country have come to understand the injustice and damage done to the social fabric of our nation by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, identification and expression.

However, it is still legal in most states to fire employees, deny housing or refuse service in a restaurant or other business simply because the patrons are gay or transgender. Though we still have a long way to go, the U.S. ended segregation by race decades ago. We must now abolish segregation by sexual orientation.

We defend against the rollback of achieved rights, including spousal benefits, and back the strengthening of laws against hate propaganda and hate crimes. We support public education and legal action to ensure that the Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality decision is enforced and not eroded by measures designed to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples and their children.

Honor Indigenous Rights

We recognize and oppose the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous people including the U.S. government’s blatant pattern of contempt and disregard for the rights of the First Nations and their sovereignty. We hold the U.S. government fully accountable for the targeted destruction and violence towards Native life and land. We support Native rights to challenge and reject the domination of colonial nation-states.

The U.S. government has failed to uphold and honor federal treaties with First Nations. We recognize the sovereignty of Native tribal governments and call upon the U.S. government to deal in good faith and honor treaty obligations.

We uphold the rights of Indigenous people to defend and protect their lives, natural resources, sacred sites and culture. We seek to follow and learn from the example of Native people who are consistently at the front lines of resistance for protecting water, air and land, even though it is everyone’s responsibility to so do.

We support the rights of Native people to defend their freedom and their lives. Native people face higher rates of shootings and murder by police and incarceration than any other racial group. We recognize the systemic failures and structural forces in American society which perpetuate this grim reality and seek to eradicate them.

Create a Peaceful Global Community Benefiting from Technology

A Collaborative and Peaceful Global Community

U.S. defense spending is larger than the next seven largest defense budgets combined, most of which are allied countries. It’s time to realize the peace dividends that were promised at the end of the Cold War.

The Nuremberg Tribunals established aggression as the highest international crime. End wars of aggression, preemptive wars and regime change. Close Guantanamo and return it to Cuba. Prosecute officials who committed torture in violation of the Geneva Convention. Return habeas corpus and due process.

Whistleblowers have revealed that the overwhelming proportion of U.S. drone victims are civilians. Targets have included hospitals, weddings and first responders. Massacring innocent friends, neighbors, parents and children while destroying homes and communities is not only barbaric, but insurgents use the carnage of these attacks for recruitment. Stop invading sovereign airspace with drones. Ban the use of automated military weapons including automated drones. Halt the arms race on autonomous weapons by negotiating an international treaty banning their development and use as we did with chemical and laser weapons.

History books celebrate the dismantling of European colonialism after WWII. It’s time to scale back the sprawling empire of hundreds of U.S. military bases and black sites abroad. Deploy those funds to defend the American people against the lethal and merciless enemies that have invaded our shores: poverty, hunger and ill health.

Climate change is already creating resource conflicts and refugee crises, which is why the Pentagon has identified it as a threat multiplier. Lead the international community in addressing climate change.

Support a two-state solution that recognizes Palestine’s right to exist with self-determination and governance. Cut off military aid to countries that violate human rights and international law. Stop propping up unelected regimes abroad and meddling in foreign elections.

The U.S. is spending a trillion dollars upgrading our nuclear weapons over the next decade. This year the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists placed us at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest humanity has been to self-annihilation since the Doomsday Clock was created. The U.S. already has 7,000 warheads, enough to wipe out humanity many times over and far more than enough to deter attacks. The trillion dollars spent building nuclear weapons could be used to make universal pre-K and public college free across America.

A series of audits have found that the Defense Department can’t account for several trillion dollars in taxpayer money. There is also no elected oversight over parts of the black budget. End the complete lack of transparency and accountability at the Defense Department. Restore congressional authority over the Defense programs and the budget. Account for the trillions in missing funds.

While the Constitutional authority to declare war legally rests with Congress, the executive branch has effectively seized that power. Enforce the War Powers Act and restore that authority to Congress. Require Congress to vote on a formal declaration of war before funding can be allocated. Repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which the executive branch has treated as a blank check for endless war. Ban the use of overly-broad, ill-defined and indefinite AUMFs that place no constraints on the executive branch’s ability to wage war.

War should not be a business. It should only be waged defensively and as a last resort, after all diplomatic options have been exhausted. Pursue diplomatic solutions with North Korea and Iran and halt efforts to destabilize Venezuela. De-escalate tensions and proxy-wars with Russia and resume bilateral nuclear stockpile reductions. Join the global community in working towards a nuclear-free world.

The estimated cost of ending world hunger is $30 billion per year, about 4 percent of the annual American defense budget. The estimated cost of ending extreme poverty is $175 billion per year, about 24 percent of the annual defense budget. Providing for people’s basic needs relieves deprivation, suffering and conflict. It is the most effective weapon in our arsenal. Restore international goodwill, confidence and moral authority in the U.S. by ending world hunger and extreme poverty.

Strengthen and enforce the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Promise and Peril of Accelerating Technology

Modern technology is advancing exponentially and raising questions of tremendous consequence. What was once science fiction is becoming science fact. In the next few decades: Machine labor will replace human labor on a massive scale. Genetic engineering will allow us to create genetically-augmented children. Transportation will be driverless. Radical life extension technologies may give us the ability to end human aging. Blockchain will enable direct democracy. Interplanetary travel and mining will become possible. Computers will melt into our surroundings and become ubiquitous, as the internet of things matures. We will create fully-immersive virtual worlds that feel as real as our own. Neural interfaces will allow us to browse the internet and communicate with our minds. We will be able to digitally backup our consciousness and accelerate our mental processing. Machine intelligence will exceed human intelligence.

Wealthy people will gain access to these technologies first and exploit them in an effort to entrench their advantages. In order to avoid a dystopian future, it will grow increasingly important that technological progress be guided democratically, distributed equitably, and developed in the long-term public interest — rather than being guided by a few wealthy individuals for short-term private profit.

In the coming decades, the economies of scale that shaped the 20th century will give way to the distributed production of goods and energy on the household level with 3D printing. Additive manufacturing and open source design will make production much more resource-efficient and drive the marginal costs of creating each unit down to near-zero. Technology will dramatically increase our potential for global abundance, but the peril will skyrocket alongside the promise.

Nuclear weapons will be joined by a host of new existentially threatening technologies. With each passing year, bio weapons, nano weapons, artificial intelligence and other technologies with the power to wipe out humanity will grow more powerful and proliferate into more hands, just as nuclear weapons have. The risks they pose will compound.

Our economic and political systems will act as threat-multipliers. If we remain in a conflict-driven society characterized by soaring inequality, mass deprivation, and sectarian intolerance, the risk of a catastrophe will be extreme. We can only tempt fate for so long before she obliges our darkest impulse. Applying our potential to create an abundant and harmonious world is not just a moral imperative, it is now a matter of survival for our species.

For millions of years, humanity’s existence has been defined by scarcity, pitting people and nations against one another for limited resources. But today, we have the technology to easily satisfy every human need on the planet.

Our generation can achieve a stirring milestone that will be sung about for millennia to come. We can abolish the scarcity of human needs forever, ushering in an age of abundance for all. We can lift millions from suffering and survival to active contributors to science and the arts, allowing each person to reach his or her potential in a renaissance of creation and harmony.

Paradise or oblivion.

Take Care of Veterans

When members of the U.S. armed forces serving in Vietnam came back with PTSD, they were told that because a Section 8 discharge was “less than honorable”, they did not qualify for any healthcare benefits. As a result, these veterans were twice victimized by the system. It’s a national disgrace that veterans are often denied or given long wait periods to access benefits. It’s a travesty that many are homeless and sleeping on sidewalks, park benches and in gutters, or getting deported. Our government and society sends the message that service men and women are to be used and discarded.

Studies have shown that it is cheaper for cities and states to house the homeless than pay for the costs associated with their homelessness. Reduce veteran homelessness to zero with decent housing and jobs.

Thousands of young men and women die from physical and mental conditions that are a direct result of their participation in military campaigns. More than a million American military personnel have been injured in the ongoing wars in the Middle East. Ensure that all returning service members are fully aware of all benefits to which they are entitled. Give assistance to find out where and how to make use of them. The decision to engage in military conflicts should take into account all costs, including not only the active military and the hardware of war, but also the lasting human costs. The best way to support the troops is to keep them out of regime change and resource wars.

The military must remove the chain of command for investigating and prosecuting claims of rape and sexual harassment. It must also change the status of veterans who were discharged due solely to their sexual orientation from involuntary to voluntary.

Pass federal legislation mandating that no undocumented veteran can be deported after serving our country. Require that the Dept. of Veterans Affairs provide comprehensive healthcare and mental healthcare to all veterans and their families, including those with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Provide assistance to all service people exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins including contaminated soils. Reduce backlog claims at the Veterans Administration. Ensure that all leases and use of VA facilities solely benefit veterans and their families. Establish a complete range of medical, housing, right of work return, free college tuition and post-service employment assistance.