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The 99 Percent Declaration


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WHEREAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the People, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY the week of July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia to prepare and ratify a PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES on behalf of the Ninety-Nine Percent of the People of the United States to be served upon the United States Congress, United States Supreme Court and President of the United States prior to November 6, 2012.

I. Voter Qualifications and Election of Delegates.

In the Spring of 2012, the People, consisting of all United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect two Delegates, one identifying as male and one identifying as female, by direct democratic vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts, to represent the People at a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have attained the age of 18 years. No candidate for Delegate to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY will be permitted to run on a party line or use any party label while running for or serving as a Delegate. No candidate or Delegate may take private money from any source except for reasonable gifts to fund his or her trip to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Philadelphia. No politician holding elected or appointed office at the time of the Delegate election, including members of Congress, are eligible to run for or sit as a Delegate to the National General Assembly.

The 99% Declaration Working Group and its committees shall organize, coordinate and transparently fund the election of Delegates. The Delegates shall be free from the corrupting influence of corporate money and all funds raised by the 99% Declaration Working Group shall be used for the purpose of funding the election of Delegates and providing a venue for the Delegates to meet in Philadelphia. Should sufficient funds be available, the 99% Working Group will assist in defraying the transportation and accommodation costs of the Delegates.

II. Meeting of the National General Assembly and Drafting of a Petition for a Redress of Grievances.

In addition to ensuring a free and fair election of the Delegates to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, the 99% Declaration Working Group shall be responsible for raising sufficient funds to secure a venue wherein the 876* Delegates may convene, deliberate and ratify a PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES. The ratified PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES will be signed by the Delegates during a ceremony at Independence Hall the afternoon of July 4, 2012 and subsequently presented to all 535 members of Congress, the 9 members of the Supreme Court, the President of the United States and each of the political candidates seeking federal public office in the November 2012 general election.

Because the time to deliberate in Philadelphia will be limited, between the Spring 2012 and July 2012, the newly elected Delegates shall meet electronically, or in person if possible, to confer and write the PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES. The Delegates alone, in consultation with their constituents will be responsible for the content of the final petition. Moreover, the Delegates to the National General Assembly shall implement their own rules, procedures, agenda, code of conduct, internal elections and/or appointments of committee members and officers to efficiently and expeditiously accomplish the People’s mandate to present a PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES to all three branches of the government of the United States of America, and political candidates, before the 2012 general election.

III. Content of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances.

The PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES, ratified by the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, shall be non-partisan and specifically address the critical issues now confronting the People of the United States of America including the corrupting influence of exorbitant political campaign contributions. However, the final petition no matter how long or how short shall be the exclusive work-product of the 876 elected Delegates engaged in direct consultation with the People they represent.  The Delegates shall debate and vote upon a specific set of grievances and solutions to be included in the PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES and, if necessary, adjourn for further consultation with the American People as our founding ancestors did during the meetings of the Continental Congresses over 235 years ago. Upon ratification of the petition, all of the Delegates, regardless of the margin of the vote, shall affix their signatures to the final PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES.

IV. Suggested Content of the Petition for a Redress of Grievances.

In order to facilitate the timely election of the 876 Delegates to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY by July 4, 2012 and submission of the PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES before the 2012 general election, the 99% Declaration Working Group, shall include in this Declaration a suggested list of grievances to be submitted to the Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY no later than May 15, 2012. The final version of the PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES, is to be written and ratified solely by the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, and may or may not include the following 21 grievances and solutions currently suggested by the 99% Declaration Working Group:

1. Elimination of the Corporate State. The merger of the American political system of republican democracy with the economic system of capitalism has resulted in the establishment of a corporate government of, by and for the benefit of domestic and multinational corporations. Therefore, the 99% of the American People demand an immediate ban on all direct and indirect private contributions of anything of value, to all politicians serving in or running for federal office in the United States. This ban shall extend to all individuals, corporations, “political action committees,” “super political action committees,” lobbyists, unions and all other sources of private money or things of value, including but not limited to, direct or indirect gifts and/or promises of employment. Private funding of political campaigns by concentrated sources of wealth such as corporations have completely corrupted our political system. Therefore, all private funding of political campaigns shall be replaced by the fair, equal and TOTAL public financing of all federal political campaigns.

We, the 99% of the American People, categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons and that money is equivalent to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest people, corporations and entities possessing concentrated wealth would have a meaningful voice in our society. We demand the immediate and complete elimination of all private political contributions through the enactment of new campaign finance laws and amendment of the Constitution if necessary. It has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot or will not regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who indirectly and directly spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions when they attain office. This cycle of legalized bribery ensures the reelection of the same corrupt politicians year after year despite historically low approval ratings.

2. Overturning the “Citizens United” Case. The immediate abrogation, even if it requires a Constitutional Amendment, of the outrageous and anti-democratic Supreme Court holding in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and its progeny.  This heinous decision proclaimed in 2010, equates the direct and indirect payment of money to politicians by political action committees, corporations, wealthy individuals and unions with the exercise of protected free speech. We, the 99% of the American People are outraged and demand that this judicially sanctioned bribery of politicians be reversed and never be deemed protected free speech again.

3. Elimination of All Private Benefits to Public Servants. The 99% of the American People demand the immediate prohibition of private benefits to all federal elected officials, staffers, public employees, officers, public servants, officials or their immediate family members. This prohibition includes an end to the corrupt “revolving door” in and out of our government. Elected and unelected public officials and their immediate families shall be banned from ever being employed by any corporation, lobbying firm, individual or business that the public official specifically regulated while in office.  No public employee, officer, official or their immediate family members shall own or hold any stock or shares in any corporation or other entity that the elected or unelected public official specifically regulated while in office until a full 5 years after their term or employment is completed. There shall be a complete lifetime ban on the acceptance of all gifts, services, money or thing of value, directly or indirectly, by any elected or appointed public official or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or any other entity that the public official was charged tospecifically regulate while he or she was in office.

The term “specifically regulate” shall mean service on or employment with a committee or sub-committee or service within any agency or department of the federal government responsible for the regulation of the person, union, corporation or entity seeking to offer a private benefit. To root out corruption and restore integrity to our political system, all elected politicians and public employees must ONLY collect their salary, generous federal healthcare benefits and pension. To enforce these policies, Congress shall immediately pass new criminal laws banning the aforementioned private benefits to politicians, staffers and other public officials. Any person, including individuals connected directly or indirectly to corporations, lobbyists, or unions convicted of these new criminal laws shall be sentenced to a term of mandatory imprisonment of no less than two years and not more than ten years. Private benefits shall include the use of any insider information as defined by existing laws, by elected and unelected public officials who attempt to profit in financial markets or investments.

4.  Term Limits. Members of the United States House of Representatives shall be limited to serving no more than four two-year terms in their lifetime. Members of the United States Senate shall be limited to serving no more than two six-year terms in their lifetime.  The two-term limit for President shall remain unchanged. Serving as a member of Congress or as the President of the United States is one of the highest honors and privileges our culture can bestow. These positions of power and prominence in our society should be sought to serve one’s country and not provide a lifetime career designed to increase personal wealth and power.

5.  A Fair Tax Code. A complete reformation and simplification of the United States Tax Code to require ALL individuals and corporations to pay a fair share of a progressive, graduated income tax by eliminating loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and unfair deductions, subsidies and ending all other methods of evading income taxes. The current system of taxation unjustly favors the wealthiest Americans and corporations, many of who pay fewer taxes to the United States Treasury than citizens who earn much less and pay a much higher percentage of their incomes in taxes. Any corporation or entity that does business in the United States and generates income from that business in the United States shall be fully taxed on that incomeregardless of corporate domicile or they will be barred from earning their profits in the United States. This will allow honest companies and individuals who pay their fair share in income taxes to take over those markets in the United States economy formerly held by income tax cheats. Businesses and individuals that pay taxes in other countries will no longer be permitted to use that excuse to justify their failure to pay federal income tax in the United States if they obtain benefits from doing business in the United States. Corporations that create jobs in the United States will be rewarded by the tax code and corporations that remove jobs from the United States will be penalized by the tax code. The substitution of lower capital gains tax rates for graduated income tax rates shall be eliminated. This $4 billion a year “hedge fund loophole” which permits certain individuals engaged in financial transactions to evade graduated income tax rates by treating their income as long-term capital gains which are taxed at a much lower rate (approximately 15%) than income tax.

6. Health Care for All. Medicare for all or adoption of a universal single-payer healthcare system. The broken Medicaid program will be eliminated as redundant. Affordable health care for all shall be a human right.

7. Protection of the Planet. Human greed, exponentially magnified by corporations partnered with corrupt governments, is destroying the only habitable planet known to humanity. Multinational corporations have purchased so much influence in Congress (and other governments in the world) that they can secure the passage or blockage of regulations to maximize profits and minimize conservation of the environment. The evidence of climate change due to human activity can no longer be denied by rational people and species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Humans have caused the extinction of hundreds, if not thousands of species through over-harvesting, pollution, habitat destruction, introduction of new predators and food competitors, over-hunting, and other influences. Unsustainable human population growth is an essential cause of the extinction crisis. New comprehensive laws and regulations must be immediately enacted to give the Environmental Protection Agency, and other environmental protection regulators around the world, expanded powers and resources to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment, and to criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally or recklessly damage the environment. No “corporate veil” should protect any employee, officer or director of a corporation that is directly or indirectly engaged in the intentional or reckless decimation of the planet for profit. The amount of profit a corporation can make must be balanced by conflict-free regulators with the inevitable damage that human activity inflicts on the environment. The 99% of the American People demand the immediate implementation of programs and tax incentives to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy {those government subsidies should be eliminated immediately} to safe, non-toxic, reusable or carbon neutral sources of energy. Immediate adoption of higher greenhouse gas emission standards so that something of the atmosphere will be left for our children and grandchildren. The rights to clean air, water, and conservation of the planet for future generations shall no longer be infringed by greed-driven corporations and selfish individuals who care for nothing except money.

8. Debt Reduction. Adoption of a plan to reduce the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020. Reduction of the $15 trillion national debt to be achieved by BOTH fair progressive taxation and cuts in spending that benefit corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit, inefficient health care, pharmaceutical exploitation, over-prescribing medications for profit, monopolization of the media by a small group of corporations, the prison and military industrial complexes, criminal banking, securities and financial schemes, the oil and gas industry, and all other corrupt monopolies, entities and individuals that have used the federal budget as a private income stream for decades.  Corporate bribery of politicians can no longer be deemed a cost of doing business paid for a lucrative “return on investment.”  This abhorrent and brazen “pay to play” racket run by Congress, corporations and the top income earners, puts greed ahead of People, resulted in a $15 trillion national debt and an unprecedented downgrade of our sovereign credit rating.

9. Jobs for All Americans. Passage of a comprehensive jobs and job-training act like the American Jobs Act to employ our citizens in jobs that are available with specialized re-training through partnerships between companies seeking employees and community colleges and other educational institutions. The American People must be put to work now by repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure and building other needed public works projects that must not be outsourced with cheap foreign labor and building materials. In conjunction with a new jobs act, re-institution of the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and similar emergency governmental agencies tasked with creating new projects to provide jobs for the families of the 151 million People living in poverty and low income homes. Astonishingly, one in four children live in poverty in the United States while 8.6% of American adults are unemployed and 16.2% are underemployed and many others have simply given up looking for work. Special tax incentives to companies who partner with educational institutions to re-train workers in skills necessary for 21st century technologies, green energy, and new sources of American manufacturing to reduce reliance on imported goods. A democracy simply cannot survive with more than half of its population struggling to acquire basic needs such as food, shelter, education and health care while a tiny fraction of the population controls media, the political process and live in great wealth.

10. Student Loan Debt Refinancing. Our students and former students are more than $1 trillion in debt from education loans. These young people have far fewer employment prospects due to the financial collapse directly caused by the unbridled and unregulated greed of Wall Street. Ensuring a higher education, particularly in the fields of science, engineering, technology, green energy and mathematics, is no longer a luxury for the few and must now be viewed as a national security issue. Banks receive virtually interest free loans from the Federal Reserve Bank and then charge upwards of 6% interest to our students for profit. Because education is the only way to secure our future success as a nation, interest on student debts must be immediately reduced to 2% or less and repayments deferred for periods of unemployment. Subject to the provisions of grievance five, the tax code will be amended so that employers will receive a student loan repayment tax deduction for paying off the loans of their employees. Outright federal grants should be provided to those students who pursue and obtain degrees in the sciences, green energy, mathematics, technology and engineering.  Moreover, to reduce the principal on all outstanding student loans, a financial transaction surcharge, similar to those fees charged by banks on consumers, will be introduced to banks and securities firms. The current economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, resulted in the $1.5 trillion dollar bail out of Wall Street, secret Federal Reserve loans, and unknown losses of trillions of dollars to the economy. Work study programs should be expanded to increase access to higher education; universities and colleges that do not reduce tuition to affordable levels shall lose federal funding; and non-citizens who obtain their education in the United States should be provided an accelerated path to citizenship so the investments made in these students remain in the United States.

11. Ending Perpetual War for Profit. Recalling all military personnel at all non-essential bases including but not limited to the Cold War era deployments in Europe, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Cuba and refocusing national defense goals to address threats posed by the geopolitics of the 21st century. A new treaty to reduce the number of nuclear weapons so complete nuclear disarmament may be achieved by 2020 or sooner.  Congress shall pass new legislation to reinvigorate the War Powers Resolution to limit the deployment of military forces to those instances where Congressional approval has been granted. New laws must be enacted to counter the Military Industrial Complex’s mission of perpetual war for profit. The United States has engaged in war after war only to later to discover that the pretexts relied upon to enter these wars were false or exaggerated. The goal of war in a corporate controlled state is to generate profit for the Military Industrial Complex and other industries and individuals who benefit directly and indirectly when humans kill one another. The annual savings created by updating our military posture and ending perpetual war for profit will be applied to the jobs and social programs outlined herein.

12. Emergency Reform of Public Education.  The public education system in the United States is a resounding failure. New educational goals to train the American people to perform jobs in a 21st century economy, particularly in the areas of technology, infrastructure repair, language/communication, water, land and resource conservation, technologies to provide food and housing to the world’s homeless, prevention and treatment of diseases like malaria, diarrheal diseases, HIV/AIDS, lower respiratory infections/tuberculosis, and green energy must be mandated as a curriculum for national security. These targeted reforms must be accomplished by taking into consideration the redundancy caused by technology and the inexpensive cost of labor in China, India and other developing countries. No expense should be spared to recruit scientists and other professionals from all over the world to teach our students to be competitive in a rapidly changing global economy. Bonuses must be granted for merit performance and enticing the very best people to teach our children and replacing those teachers who are ineffective in the classroom. Our teachers work tirelessly and they are the key component to an American renaissance.  Teachers must be paid a competitive salary commensurate with salaries in the private sector because without highly-skilled teachers, there will never again be a highly-skilled workforce in the United States.

13. End Outsourcing and Currency Manipulation. Subject to the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and exploited exemptions and deductions as stated in grievance five, tax incentives will be permitted to entice businesses to hire our citizens rather than outsource jobs. Conversely, an “outsourcing tax” should be introduced to discourage businesses from sending jobs overseas and companies that continue to outsource will be barred from earning income in U.S. markets. Tax incentives should also be offered to U.S. companies that invest in reconstructing the manufacturing capacity of the United States and hiring our citizens to produce and innovate. This country must again competitively manufacture everyday products in the United States rather than importing them from countries like China and India.  To do business in the United States and gain access to the world’s largest and most lucrative market, corporations must make slightly less profit by hiring American workers and paying them a living wage rather than maximizing every penny of profit to the detriment of our society. Congress must implement legislation (see e.g. H.R. 639) to encourage China (which undervalues its currency, the Renminbi, by an estimated 40%) and our other trading partners to end currency manipulation and reduce the massive trade deficit. China’s access to U.S. markets should be replaced with U.S. companies until they are in compliance with trade and currency agreements.

14. Banking and Securities Reform. Immediate reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act and vigorous enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in all industries. Increased regulation of Wall Street firms by the SEC, FINRA, CFTC, the Justice Department and the other financial regulators including the recently established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We further demand an immediate investigation by the Justice Department into the potential criminal practices of the Securities and Banking industry that directly led to the collapse of markets, mortgage-backed securities fraud, foreclosure crisis, bank bail-out and firm failures in 2007-2008. Uniform regulations will be enacted to specifically limit what banks may charge consumers for ATM fees and/or the use of debit cards and other so-called miscellaneous fees.

15. Foreclosure Moratorium, Mortgage Refinancing and Principle Write Downs. Adoption of an immediate plan to end the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. The Federal Reserve Bank shall not be permitted to make virtually interest-free loans to banks that hoard cash or invest it by trading on their own accounts in their own securities divisions.  These cash-hoarding banks that refuse to loan to small businesses, consumers or write or refinance mortgages to credit-worthy people have selfishly extended the worst recession in American history.  To end these practices, apart from reenacting Glass-Steagal, the federal government shall buy all “under-water” mortgages and debts in foreclosure and refinance these mortgages at an interest rate of 1% or less because that is the approximate “discount interest rate” (presently 0-.25%) the Federal Reserve charges the banks. Moreover, because the American taxpayers rescued these lending institutions after they greedily made risky loans, bundled these bad loans and then sold them off, the originators of these bad loans will be required to partner with the federal government to pay the cost of “principle write downs” on all foreclosed or underwater mortgages. These re-financed debts will be managed by the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the current Freddie/Fannie trustees and an independent non-partisan foreclosure task force appointed and overseen by Congress and the Executive Branch. This task force will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether foreclosure proceedings should continue based on the circumstances of each homeowner, the assistance refinancing and principle write downs would offer and the conduct of the financial institution when originating the loan. New direct loan mortgage programs will be offered to all homeowners by the federal government {who now own millions of these bad loans} at the discount window rate because the banking industry has proven itself an unworthy steward of the American dream of home ownership.

16. Review and Reform of the Federal Reserve Banking System. The immediate formation of a non-partisan commission, overseen by Congress, to audit and investigate the short-term and long-term economic risks and benefits in eliminating the Federal Reserve Bank and transferring all its functions to the United States Treasury Department and a truly independent, non-partisan, publicly owned central bank. It is widely believed that the housing bubble and collapse of financial markets in 2007- 2008, and trillion dollar bail-out was partially caused by the mismanagement, incompetence, and acquiescence of the Federal Reserve Bank.

17. Ending the Electoral College and Enactment of Uniform Federal Election Rules in All of the States. The 99% demand the abolishment of the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote in presidential elections to avoid situations where the Electoral College elects a candidate who does not receive a majority of the popular vote. As mentioned in suggested grievance one, Congress shall immediately enact uniform electoral reforms requiring total equal public campaign financing to all candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to get on the ballot and participate in the primaries and/or general election. All funds used for the election of federal politicians will be drawn from a public trust specifically created for this purpose and managed by the Federal Elections Commission and the United States Treasury. Thus, a person who receives sufficient signatures to get on the ballot for the House of Representatives would receive “x” public dollars, Senate, “y” public dollars and President, “z”public dollars.  All funds for candidates to be drawn from this political campaign trust will be funded by the taxpayers. However, individuals, unions, corporations or other groups or entities that wish to contribute to the political campaign trust may do so without knowledge of where the funds will ultimately be applied. All private funds contributed to the political campaign trust will be kept confidential and commingled with taxpayer monies used to pay for the entire federal electoral process. Politicians will no longer be permitted to ask for campaign contributions of any kind. Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission will require all licensees to provide free equal commercial air time to all candidates on the ballot. Failure to comply with these new rules and regulations to provide free and equal air time to candidates on the ballot will result in cancellation of the broadcast license. To reduce voter fraud and voter discrimination, Congress will utilize the Commerce Clause and other constitutional authority, to implement nationwide uniform election rules applied to all voting districts.  The FEC will be directly responsible to ensure equal access to the polls, removing unfair hurdles to independent candidates and third parties so they may appear on the ballot.  ”Gerrymandering”, which freezes out third parties and ensures electoral outcomes will be ended through the use of non-partisan public commissions to fairly and impartiality redraw voting district lines. Voting will take place on weekends and holidays to increase voter access to the polls and minimize voter disenfranchisement. The FEC shall issue free voter registration cards to all citizens who are eligible to vote so that they cannot be turned away at a polling station because they do not have a driver’s license or other form of identification. The civil rights division of the Justice Department shall aggressively review all complaints of the exclusion of voters with non-violent criminal records, tactics used by certain states and municipalities to limit and obstruct voter access to the polls by requiring “tests” to vote. The federal government shall invest in a uniform, secure, and verifiable voting system to be used in every voting district in the United States. Additional provisions shall be made for those citizens who cannot attend polling sites due to disability, illness or absence from the country.

18. Ending the War in Afghanistan and Care of Veterans. An immediate withdrawal of all combat troops from Afghanistan and a substantial increase in the amount of funding and tax incentives to businesses that hire for veterans. New funding for job training and job placement services particularly in the areas of technology, infrastructure rebuilding and green energy. The enactment of new comprehensive programs dedicated to the treatment of the emotional and physical injuries sustained by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our veterans, who have sacrificed everything for this country, are committing suicide at an alarming and unprecedented rate of one person every 80 minutes. The 99% of the American People demand assistance to our veterans now.

19. No Censorship of the Internet. The theft of intellectual property and online piracy should be prohibited.  However, in 1983, approximately 50 corporations controlled all news media outlets in the United States. Today, ownership of the news media and virtually all content has been concentrated in the hands of about six powerful corporations which are often parents or subsidiaries of corporations that sell their products through the mainstream media. This limitation and control of traditional media outlets highlights the critical importance of an uncensored Internet accessible to all of humanity. The Internet and its related technologies foster free speech, innovation, and foster a global human consciousness. We believe that the Internet and its related technologies are the joint property and work-product of humanity, and as such, it must not be censored without the consent of the people who utilize and contribute to its vitality. We therefore demand the immediate withdrawal or repeal on passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act or “SOPA” (H.R. 3261) and the Protect IP Act  or “PIPA” (S. 968). While the theft of online intellectual property must be prevented, these bills, if enacted into law, will grant the government and internet service providers broad new powers to curtail speech on the Internet, block domain names, track internet protocol (“IP”) addresses, dramatically increase the cost of using content on the internet, and ultimately chill innovation and creativity of web entrepreneurs in favor of a few media corporations that already own or control most media content. The Internet is the last outlet of free speech available to the 99%.

20. Reinstitution of Civil Rights Including the Repeal of the NDAA. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, legislation has been enacted to curtail the privacy and civil rights of American citizens. Foremost among these laws is the Patriot Act of 2001 and more recently, portions of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) wherein the government may or may not require the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens suspected of planning or assisting “belligerent” acts against the United States.  Under the current NDAA, civilian citizens of the United States may be indefinitely held, without review or oversight, in military detention and tried before a military tribunal without access to family, friends or an attorney. This terrifying law could easily be abused in a time of crisis to make people “disappear.”  President Obama’s shameful decision to sign this law effectively repeals the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, The Bail Reform Act, suspends the Writ of Habeas Corpus and violates at least the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Patriot Act has allowed for the increased surveillance of American citizens and CIA access to confidential credit reports, school records, communication records, Internet activity, and other personal information, without consent or notification. We call upon the United States government to repeal those portions of the Patriot Act that limit the civil rights of American citizens and repeal the aforementioned sections of the National Defense Authorization Act.

21. Curtailing the Private Prison Industrial Complex. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (“BJS”), in 2010, the number of adults under supervision of correctional authorities in the United States was 7.1 million at year-end. This is more than any other country including India, Russia and China. Of these adults, 2,266,800 were in jails or prisons; also more than any other country. The same source reports that between 1980 and 2009, the adult arrest rate for drug possession or use {excluding illegal sales} grew 138%. Hence, of these 2.26 million people in our prisons and jails, approximately 27% are in custody for non-sale drug offenses and about 16% of all inmates suffer from mental health disorders.  The incarceration of these millions of people for non-violent offenses is part of a booming private monopoly . The vast majority of arrests of young people under age 21 are for non-violent drug offenses, often resulting in prolonged incarceration where youth are housed in the adult jail population pending hearings and trials in over-burdened courts. It is clear that the mass warehousing of people who suffer from the disease of addiction and mental or emotional disorders is immoral and counter-productive except for the privatized prison industry, government agencies and contractors that either profit or justify their annual budgets from incarcerating non-violent drug offenders. The so-called “War on Drugs” is a war on young people, minorities and the poor who cannot acquire adequate legal representation because the criminal justice system is overwhelmed  and understaffed. The elderly also disappear into these modern dungeons; the BJS reports the number of sentenced federal and state prisoners who are age 65 or older grew 94 times faster than the total sentenced prisoner population between 2007 and 2010. Non-violent drug offenders who do not engage in drug sales, and those with mental health issues must be treated rather than imprisoned and adjudicated through specialized drug and mental health courts. The cost of drug or mental health treatment can be as low as $1,100 per year while the cost of incarceration can be as high as $70,000 per year. Drug and mental health courts offer multiple alternatives to incarceration, support, treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment for profit. Private prison corporations play on public fears and rely on campaign contributions to politicians as a quid pro quo to authorize the building of jails and prisons at taxpayer expense.

V. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that IF the July 4, 2012 PETITION FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES, ratified by the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, is not redressed and acted upon by the government within a reasonable time and to the satisfaction of the Delegates, said Delegates shall reconvene to organize and fund grassroots campaigns in the 435 voting districts for candidates to fill every available Congressional seat in the mid-term election of 2014 and again in 2016 and again in 2018 until all vestiges of the present corporate state are eradicated, the grievances of the National General Assembly redressed and democracy restored. Only candidates who publicly pledgeto redress all of the grievances and solutions contained in the July 4th petition before the 2012 general election will be supported. 

*FN. In addition to the 870 delegates elected from the 435 Congressional districts, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, The Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands shall each elect one delegate, irrespective of gender, to represent them at the National General Assembly. This will increase the total number of delegates to 876.

Copyright 2012 by “The 99 Percent Working Group, Ltd.” First drafted and published on October 7, 2011 and announced to the NYCGA on October 15, 2011.

 

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The Ninety-Nine Percent Declaration
Post Office Box 190
Red Hook, New York 12571
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