Posted 1 year ago on Jan. 21, 2012, 4:14 p.m. EST by francismjenkins
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
• Prohibit members of congress, their staffs, and agency employees, from meeting privately with lobbyists. Require members of congress to hold regularly scheduled public meetings in their home districts, allowing states to promulgate regulations governing the framework of these events (with mandated media access).
• Eliminate federal preemption of state tort (and other relevant) actions, by caveat of a federal regulatory scheme (this would decentralize regulatory power, and give ordinary people the ability to sue powerful companies when their pensions are destroyed, when they come down with cancer or a respiratory condition because of pollution, file a derivative action when managers of a company they own stock in goes on a political bent with company funds, etc.).
This would in turn allow us to push for more participatory democracy. If states had the authority to promulgate regulations governing the structure of public meetings with members of congress, it could be done in a way that at least moves us a few inches closer to participatory democracy. Obviously once states are given this power, we would have to fight at the state level to shape these laws in the ways I'm suggesting (or in other ways that better promote participatory democracy). Nonetheless, states and cities are closer to home, easier for average people to influence.
For example, each county, city, town, or village, could be allowed to appoint delegates to attend these meetings. The delegates could be chosen at the local level, through voting. We could have groups at the local level set the agenda (through consensus) that the delegates are obligated to represent at these public meetings (and of course the delegates would be subject to recall if they misrepresent the consensus view).
I think we may still need an amendment of some sort to address the problem of super-PACs (since it's unlikely any restrictions on super-PACs would withstand a Constitutional challenge). While the Sanders Amendment needs to be modified (its language isn't powerful enough to accomplish these goals), at least it started a conversation about the need to do this.
Admittedly, this is a hybrid model, which combines some aspects of anarchist thinking with our current representative--in name only--model (and it's probably not the "ideal"). Nonetheless, it seems like a move in the right direction. I could be completely wrong. Maybe my underlying theoretical reasoning is seriously flawed (maybe the "all or nothing" approach is better, for reasons I'm failing to understand). If so, please don't be shy about critiquing it.
In Solidarity, Frank