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A People's Constitutional Convention


From previously written material that needs repeating-

The idea of a People's Constitutional Convention is not new. Over the years, many individuals and organizations have advocated such an event for a variety of causes. The original Constitutional Convention convened on and off in various locations, from May 25th, 1787 to September 17th, 1787 when the Constitution was signed and sent to the states for ratification.

But regardless of the participation or intention of the fifty-five aristocrats in the formation of that document, the document in question, the American Constitution, still belongs to the people. This has forever been written as being fact in our original founding document, that being the Declaration of Independence. Take a moment to re-read the opening of that document at http://www.wtpnet.org/documents/decl_of_ind_passed.html

Regardless of what the courts or Congress have said about the Rights of the People, or the extent of the people's authority over government, this document is clear.

It clearly indicates

"that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness: that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it's foundation on such principles, & organizing it's powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness."

And further on it reads

"it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government, & to provide new guards for their future security."

Not much ambiguity here.

Now obviously, just telling the government to shape up, of course accomplishes nothing. We can say we have these Rights over and over until we are blue in the face, and quite possibly in prison, or dead.

But if you have a grass roots movement united on a single front, that front being the People's Constitutional Convention, you might just end up with a majority of the population speaking loudly and clearly enough, that compliance on the part of the government becomes mandatory by default.

Here's how it might work:

First thing is to organize at the local level on the idea of a People's Constitutional Convention, with proposed Constitutional Amendments. Once this catches on across the country, then move to the next step.

Delegates are elected at the local level to attend regional Conventions. These Delegates will poll their constituencies to get an accurate report on what the people want strengthened in the Constitution and what they want changed about government. This report will be the message of the Delegate at the regional Convention. The job of the regional Convention is to debate and vote, so as to combine all the Delegates polls into one coherent Amendment package.

These Delegates then go to the State Conventions, repeating the process. The Amendment package that has thus been debated and voted upon, then moves on to the National Convention.

The final Amendment package coming out of the National Convention is a directive to Congress, to the Executive, and to the courts. According to the Declaration of Independence, this people's directive will supersede all existing law. All that's left after the Congress does their job, by implementing the Amendment package, is for the states to ratify the Amendments. Once ratified by the states, the newly amended People's Constitution becomes the law of the land.

Now, if we don't really have this Right, this Original Authority, then we the people have been lied to. Everything taught to us about our country and the founding fathers is a lie. Everything taught to our children in schools about our government is a lie. The Declaration of Independence is just a piece of paper.

I don't think so.

I suspect that the government, given the political choice, would capitulate in favor of the people, rather than risk an all-out revolution. After all, we are talking about America here, aren't we?

Here's more on the issue that is excerpted from an article I previously wrote, and that addressed several concerns.

All the peace and social justice activists that I have talked to want the same things. They want what most people want, that is, equal rights and justice for all people everywhere, affordable education and health care, opportunity and quality of life, and a clean and healthy planet to live on.

Regardless of the particular issue, there are common threads interwoven into most, if not all, of the issues. These threads include, but are not limited to, government corruption, excessive corporate power, and an unfair class-driven election process that keeps high level political office out of the reach of the average working class individual. There are other fundamental issues as well, but these particular three go a long way toward fostering the crisis that we the people currently face in this country.

Think about it.

Nearly every issue that we are fighting in our many different causes can be traced back to a common thread, a fundamental flaw in our society. It seems logical that any long-term solution should address these flaws. Otherwise it's like trying to get rid of a noxious weed by picking off its leaves. The problem is going to come back. So how do we get at the root?

Well you start by taking stock in the tools you have available. Our most powerful tool that we collectively share is the fact that we the people are popular sovereigns. This is the authority that we the people declared in the Declaration of Independence. If you can get the majority of people in this country to realize the truth, then you have your sovereignty 'muscle'. Then you flex that popular sovereignty muscle by calling a Constitutional Convention and amending the Constitution.

Most left-leaning progressives tend to shudder whenever you mention the Constitution as something that we should all embrace as activists working for change. I've heard it all, from "the Constitution is no longer relevant", and "that authority no longer exists", and "Constitutionalism is the refuge of right wing extremists and gun nuts", to "the Constitution was written by rich white men".

I also get told by some that what I propose is unrealistic, that I should just select a smaller issue, and join the ranks of those "picking away at the problem"; or that what I propose is dangerous, not only to ourselves, but to the Constitution as well. Some say it will "put the Constitution up for grabs" because the Convention Delegations would be filled with existing legislators who would dominate the process.

I understand what people are saying regarding some of the potential risks, however, I disagree with them on many of the variables.

For instance, I believe that in a normal political environment, Article V of the Constitution does indeed govern the process of Conventions. However, in a political environment that has created a legitimate threat to the future integrity of the rule of Constitutional law, such as exists in this country right now, then I believe the provisions in the Declaration of Independence are quite clear:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness: that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, & to institute new government, laying it’s foundation on such principles, & organizing it’s powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety & happiness.”

The people’s election of new delegates, not existing legislators, is our right under the authority inferred in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, as well as being enumerated in the signing statement by George Washington and William Jackson that appears just after the signature portion of the Constitution. It reads the following:

“Resolved,
That the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification; and that each Convention assenting to and ratifying the same, should give notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.”

…be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each state by the People thereof…

The requirement of being “under the recommendation of it’s Legislature” goes out the window when you have a legitimate Constitutional crisis. The authority that is inherent to the people under the Declaration of Independence is absolute over the government, when We the People need it to be, in order to preserve and defend the Constitution.

It is not just my opinion. Numerous law professors from such venerable institutions as Yale and Harvard, as well as past Supreme Courts, have written in Court decisions and opinion papers that our rights are absolute and are not subject to alteration by the government, technically that is. The online library at WTPNet.org has many of these documents available for download. The web address is http://www.wtpnet.org/library.html

These same documents also assert that we the people are popular sovereigns over our government. We the people have all the rights, the government exists on privilege. The people’s rights are inherent and natural rights, and therefore absolute and not subject to alteration. The government is only granted the privilege of acting on our behalf. We the people have only delegated our authority, we have not given it away.

The Constitution of the State of California, the state in which I reside, backs up this statement from the Declaration with it’s provision in Article II, Section 1:

“All political power is inherent in the people.
Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it, when the public good may require.”

One of the biggest misconceptions in our country, is that the Constitution is the authority that governs we the people. Not true. The Constitution is a framework for the operation of government, nothing more. We the people created the Constitution in order to keep our newly created government from recreating King George. Our authority as popular sovereigns is declared to King George and the rest of the world in the Declaration of Independence, our true founding document, and that which ultimately governs the actions of we the people.

The Congress, courts, and political pundits can say all they want about that only being "original authority", however the mere fact that the Declaration of Independence sits under glass at the National Archives attests to it’s venerated place in our national persona. It is this very fact that makes it so that it does not matter who wrote it, or for what reason.

I say it again. It doesn't matter why it exists. What matters, is that it does exist. All we have to do is have the courage to pick it up.

If a united movement of the people in this country framed its campaign as one in which we are defending not just the Constitution, but the very essence of what it means to be American, I know it would ignite a firestorm of support. We would be declaring our sovereignty and independence to the new King George.

For all intents and purposes, George W. Bush has already smashed the glass at the National Archives and is holding our future in one hand, and a blazing torch in the other. If you read through the full Declaration of Independence, George W. Bush has already mirrored, if not exceeded, the egregious complaints contained therein.

Do we wait until after he really burns the document in an attempt at rewriting history?

Do we wait until after he has declared martial law? I think not.

As far as the risks involved, try to look at it this way.

If we don’t act, our government completes the transition to military fascism. Very bad. In that case, we have failed our children.

Even if that does not occur, say the politicians finally pull their head out as well as pulling the troops out, we are still left with a country that is ruled by corporate power, has a government full of corruption, and whose fastest growing industry is the prison system.

Just a different type of very bad.

Again I say we will have failed our children because right now we have in this country the one thing that has not been present in the history of struggle in the US. And that is, overwhelming public dissatisfaction with the status quo, coupled with the realization among activists from all walks, that tactics previously successful are no longer so.

We the people are on the brink of absolute despotism. The political climate has never been more ripe then it is now, desperately crying for fundamental change in a new direction. A People's Constitutional Convention can bring us that change in a manner that guides revolutionist energy on a positive path.

On the issue of risk to the existing document, people are correct. In that case it becomes logical to keep the Convention tightly focused on the Amendment package, and to actively educate on why the document should remain as intact as possible.

But we have to be willing to take risk, including to the Constitution, when it comes to the fixing of obvious errors in judgment associated with the original. It’s like living in an historical building that has fallen victim to its own structural shortcomings, and not wanting to repair the damage out of concern for having to use modern materials in it’s reconstruction.

Considering our current situation with how much the Constitution has already been trashed, as well as the fascistic direction that we are currently heading, we the people have very little to lose and everything to gain from reestablishing our popular sovereignty over our government.

New Orleans resident and long-time activist Curtis Muhammed said recently that he has not seen a true movement in this country, since the true movement of the civil rights struggle. I would agree with him, and add that we the people need to be willing to take more risks, the same risks the pro democracy movements in Burma anf Tibet are willing to take. We have to be willing to risk our comfortable lifestyles and stop playing it safe, myself included.

I know I have given you a lot to consider, so I will end this on a good thought. To steal an overused cliché from Hollywood, which is nonetheless true, “All men die, but not all men truly live!”

Peace and Solidarity,
Paul Fisher
We the People Network

In California where I live, some state politicians are starting to call for a Constitutional Convention in order to alter the basic way the state government operates, for the stated reason of preventing future budget deadlocks. We the People need to act to protect and strengthen our Constitution, before we lose the ability to do so!

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Most people won't read the previous post just because they think it is too long. Granted. I know I tend to rant, so here's the "Readers Digest" version.

Our Constitution is under serious attack, some would even say nearly destroyed. We should realize from the last 7-8 years that what politicians say they are going to do, is often not the case after they win their elections. So even if Obama wins, which is not guaranteed due to likely election fraud, we are still going to have a country that struggles under the yoke of "business as usual". Big business will still rule, the police state will still be upon us, and we the people will soon run out of places to be free.

My point is, if we the people want real, meaningful, long-term change for every person in this country, then we the people need to stop trusting politicians to do what needs to be done. The fact is, the number of politicians at the federal level that can be counted on to genuinely act on behalf of the people, can be counted using no more than two hands.

Given these circumstances, it seems prudent to think outside the norm for solutions that we may not have considered. A People's Constitutional Convention can bring new strength and vitality to our ailing Constitution. This is the process that created our Constitution in the first place.

Article V of the Constitution provides for the amendment process, and a statement after the signature line indicates even further.

"Resolved,
THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification; and that each Convention assenting to and ratifying the same, should give notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled."

Now most people would stop there and say "So what. The Congress controls the process, end of story" These people have forgotten the most fundamental piece of the People's history. We the people are not governed or constrained by the Constitution. Only the government is. That's why we the people wrote it. To control and define our new government. The big piece that people are forgetting is that we the people's authority and rights are spelled out in this country's founding document, the Declaration of Independence. This is as far as we need look for the people's authority to act in an emergency to preserve and defend the Constitution. If you still doubt this, then read the words of Chief Justice Marshall in the Supreme Court decision of Marbury v. Madison (1803). The think about the possibilities. And act on those possibilities.

Paul Fisher
We the People Network
http://www.wtpnet.org/
mail@wtpnet.org
But please don't roll over like sheeple, because we are the We in We the People!
Support the People's Constitutional Convention!
Sign the Peoples Warrant to Arrest Bush et al.

There's a terrible misunderstand happening with these terms: Constitutional Convention=trouble for America!
BUT, The Continental Congress="historic Continental Congress 2009 event to be held later this year, delegates selected by the People from each of the fifty states will convene to discuss the Government’s ongoing violations of the Constitution and strategies the People can employ to peacefully curtail the abuses. Although these violations have been widely debated for years, it is the Government’s patent refusal to respond to any and all First Amendment Petitions for Redress that now compel the People to educate our Nation and begin to organize to restore Constitutional Order and secure Liberty".

http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/UPDATE/Update2008-12-20.htm

AND ALSO (Chuck Baldwin Article)
http://thirdpartywatch.com/2009/01/14/chuck-baldwin-speaks-out-against-n...

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