Je Vous Dis, Merde! 11 What A Disaster Community Can Do: A Freedom Budget for All Humanity

A. Philip Randolph
Bayard Rustin
Martin Luther King, Jr.

is now almost blindingly self-evident that the double whammy consisting of

(i) the election of the greedy, ruthless, nativist, bigoted, demagogue billionaire Donald Trump as President of the USA in 2016, together with

(ii) the first few weeks of The Age of Trump-POTUS in 2017,

has been an unmitigated social and political disaster.

But all is not yet lost.

In her brilliant 2010 book, A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit very compellingly describes how ordinary people frequently become active altruists and temporarily create real-world utopias in the aftermath of disasters.

So, as members of a not merely nation-wide but also world-wide disaster community, what can we do?

Sometimes, in order to see clearly into the future, we must look creatively into the past:

In the fall of 1965 A. Philip Randolph, prominent economists, allies from the labor movement and others who had participated in the 1963 March on Washington, began working on what they called A Freedom Budget For All Americans.[1] John Nichols, writing fifty years later in The Nation, listed as its goals “the abolition of poverty, guaranteed full employment, fair prices for farmers, fair wages for workers, housing and healthcare for all, the establishment of progressive tax, and fiscal policies that respected the needs of working families.”[2]

Bayard Rustin, and Martin Luther King, Jr., worked with Randolph on the Freedom Budget document which was advanced in 1966, determined to win the “full and final triumph of the civil rights movement, to be achieved by going beyond civil rights, linking the goal of racial justice with the goal of economic justice for all people in the United States” and doing so “by rallying massive segments of the 99% of the American people in a powerfully democratic and moral crusade.”[3] The proposals of Freedom Budget included a job guarantee for everyone ready and willing to work, a guaranteed income for those unable to work or those who should not be working, and a living wage to lift the working poor out of poverty; such policies provided the cornerstones for King’s Poor People’s Campaign.[4]

(Source: Wikipedia)

A. Philip Randolph’s, Bayard Rustin’s, and Martin Luther King’s truly amazing 1966 Freedom Budget for All Americans sketches a comprehensive social and political program designed to address and effectively solve, within a decade, the unmitigated mid-20th century disasters of poverty, economic oppression, and enduring racism in the USA in the historical wake of the morally scandalous system of slavery and the Jim Crow period, the class-driven depredations of The Gilded Age, the economic deprivations and class-driven suffering of the Depression, and the McCarthy/HUAC-driven anti-communist repressions during the era of the post World War II military-industrial complex and its power elite.

Of course, The Freedom Budget didn’t happen.

After Dr King’s assassination, through the rest of the Vietnam War and over the next 50 years, various kinds of half-hearted, socio-political triage were applied, under the rubrics of “social justice,” “identity politics,” and “multiculturalism,” bringing some important changes for some, but without any fundamental, lasting change for everyone.

And now look where we are.

As Randolph, Rustin, and King fully and presciently recognized, a social and political system in which some have MUCH more than is sufficient while others have NOT ENOUGH, indeed a system in which The New Billionaire Boys Club can own more wealth and hold more power than at least half of the human race, can NEVER be morally acceptable.

Moreover, the social and political disaster we must now address and fix is not merely American but also fully global.

The seven-part platform of The Wake The Fuck Up! Party , aka The WTFU Party, described below, is nothing more and nothing less than an updated version of Randolph’s, Rustin’s, and King’s Freedom Budget, designed to address BOTH the American disaster AND the global disaster.

Correspondingly The WTFU Party’s platform, in effect A Freedom Budget for All Humanity, directly addresses the five specific sub-disasters of

(i) poverty and economic oppression,

(ii) unemployment and shit jobs,

(iii) no or inadequate healthcare,

(iv) culture wars and the global crisis of displaced humanity, and

(v) gun violence, especially including the second “peculiar institution” of gun ownership and use.

Rustin and King were telling us that we collectively created the American disaster we faced in the mid-1960s, therefore, we can collectively fix it.

And I’m completely with them, simply updating and extending their profoundly wise ideas for the American and global disaster of the late 2010s.

So to those who will quickly, loudly, and oh-so-self-confidently say that “this cannot be done!,”

Je vous dis, merde!

***

“Je vous dis, merde!” (literally, “I say to you: shit!” or more loosely, “You’re so full of shit!”) is a morally and politically defiant slogan invented and first published by an early 20th-century Catalan anarchist who used the nom de guerre “Miguel Almereyda.” Almereyda, who was murdered in a French prison in 1917, was also the father of the famous French film director Jean Vigo, who immortalized the same slogan in his breakthrough 1933 film, Zéro de conduite, aka Zero for Conduct.

Here is the seven-part platform of The Wake The Fuck Up! Party , aka The WTFU Party —

1. Universal Respect for Human Dignity (URHD):

· Human dignity is the absolute non-denumerable moral value of every member of humanity, and everyone ought to try wholeheartedly to treat everyone else in a way that is sufficient to meet the demands of respect for human dignity, especially including (i) alleviating or ending human oppression, and (ii) actively engaging in mutual aid and mutual kindness.

2. Universal Basic Income (UBI):

· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

3. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

The rationale behind the three-year gap between (i) being offered an eco-job at 18 and (ii) beginning to receive their UBI at 21, is that every young adult who has finished high school will have the option of pursuing three years of part-time or full-time free higher education without credentialing, i.e., for its own sake, after high school, before making longer-term decisions about what I call job-work and life-work.

***

Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.

(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.

(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.

(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the monthly UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

4. Universal Free Higher Education Without Credentialing (HEWC):

· Everyone would be offered, beyond their high-school education, a free, three-year minimum, optional (but also open-ended beyond those three years, as a further option), part-time or full-time universal public education program in the so-called “liberal arts,” and also in some of the so-called “STEM” fields, including the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences.

· For many or even most people, their HEWC would fall between (i) the end of their high school education at age 18 and the corresponding availability of eco-jobs, and (ii) the beginning of their UBI at age 21.

· But HEWC would be open to anyone with a high school degree, no matter how old they are, provided they are mentally and physically capable of doing the program.

5. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

6. 2-Phase Universal Open Borders (2P-UOB):

· Phase 1: Starting in 2021, there will be universal open borders with Canada and Mexico, and everyone who moves across those borders and then claims residence in the USA, will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the USA, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents to depend on the current availability of (i) adequate funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the USA, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the USA and elsewhere in the world.

· Phase 2: Also starting in 2021, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will collectively form a Global Refugee Consortium (GRC), with three-way open borders to any political refugee, economic refugee, or asylum seeker from anywhere in the world (aka “global refugees”), who will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the three GRC countries, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents, and the precise distribution of new residents among the three members of the GRC, to depend on the current availability of (i) funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the three GRC countries, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the GRC and elsewhere in the world.

7. Universal No-Guns (UNG):

· No one in the USA, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to possess or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is coercion, and coercion is immoral.

· UNG would be implemented by repealing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 2021 and then universally banning the possession or use of guns thereafter.

I’m also assuming that Universal Public Education (UPE) — universal free access for all human persons of any age to good public education up to the end of high school — already exists in most countries, and needs no further justification.

Where UPE does not already exist, it would automatically become a necessary part of the seven-part WTFU Party package, thereby making it a eight-part package.

Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 14 February 2017

The WTFU Party is a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, which is home-based on Patreon here.

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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