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Two Constitutions, Two Futures

By Raymond Lotta

A disturbing conference is taking place this weekend, the Conference on the Constitutional Convention. Harvard Law School and the liberal group Fix Congress First are joining forces with the Tea Party Patriots to weigh the merits of a constitutional convention, because “democracy in America is stalled.”

Under the rubric of dialogue and debate between the “Left” and Right about amending the U.S. constitution, this conference will further legitimate the reactionary Tea Party movement.

The U.S. is waging unjust imperial wars. The ecosystems of the planet are endangered. The know-how and technology exist to produce enough food for everyone on the planet; meanwhile some one billion go hungry. Capitalism is a horror and a failure.

I put this challenge to progressive people seeking change and attending this conference. Rather than reaching out to the proto-fascists and Tea Party-ers with their anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, and racist-encoded “states rights” agenda, rather than looking to repair a system that has only meant misery and more misery for humanity—why not reach forward to a viable and emancipatory alternative? This is what the Constitution of the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal) From the Revolutionary Communist Party, U.S. is about.

The call for this weekend’s conference speaks of “inertia” in Congress and forces that are “blocking change.” In fact, the system is working quite effectively in funding America’s imperial wars and sanctioning rendition, torture, and domestic spying. There has been no “inertia” when it comes to enforcing a legal-penal system that has put one of nine young black men in prison—based on a racist “war on drugs,” unconstitutional “stop and frisk” laws, and unequal sentencing.

The call for the weekend conference states that “special interests” have “captured government.” This is profoundly wrong.

The U.S. government is a key part of a repressive capitalist state power. It has functioned consistently to serve the expansion and consolidation of a national market and to protect a property rights system based on the control of the means of producing wealth by a small capitalist class that exploits wage laborers.

This state power has functioned consistently to serve the rise and extension of a global empire that rests on exploitation, plunder, and war: from the theft of land from Mexico to the annexation of Puerto Rico and the occupation of the Philippines to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.

These are not “special interests” at work, but a system of capitalism-imperialism. Part of the “genius” of the U.S. Constitution is that it is a charter that appears to treat everyone the same while concealing and reinforcing the profound inequalities, disparities, and class divisions at the heart of the capitalist economic, social and political system.

I challenge any speaker at this conference to debate the following proposition: A constitution that protects the right of any corporation to exploit and lay off workers, while denying the basic right to eat, is economically, socially, and morally bankrupt.

A world of misery is coming apart. Will people remain locked within a framework of exploitation – or join in fighting for and working towards something truly liberating and viable? Because a radically different and better world is now possible, owing to the new synthesis of communism developed over decades by Bob Avakian. The Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is based on this new synthesis and is a concrete plan for a different kind of state power that makes common cause with—not wars against—the oppressed of the world. It would be an economy and society based on what humanity needs and geared to protecting the ecosystems of the planet. This would be a government that mobilizes people to uproot the legacies of the oppression of minority nationalities and women.

Our new society would be a society working to overcome the great division between those who work in the realm of ideas and those who mainly work with their hands and are excluded from enjoying the life of the mind: a society of unprecedented intellectual ferment and critical thinking, with a vibrant culture.

This society would be supported by a system of governance that empowers the great majority to take responsibility for the direction of society, that promotes an ethos of cooperation, that protects and expands the rights of the people in a whole other way than the exploiters’ Bill of Rights, and where dissent flourishes.

This is a vision and plan not only for a better society, but also for one in motion towards a world without oppression and exploitation, toward a future where people could finally live as human beings.

Here we are: two different constitutions, two different worlds, two different futures.

Raymond Lotta is a political economist and writes for Revolution newspaper.

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