Article 5 Constitutional Convention
Straight talk about a deep trap.
Predator elitists, in all their sundry, anti-Constitutional stripes, are decades ahead of democracy advocates in both organization and in any topic that concerns the defense and advancement of corruption. In any remedy or solution to the corruption machines, we must be careful to see our strategy and tactics from the predator elitists' point of view, as well as from our own.
Some democracy advocates are showing considerable activity recently, advocating a 2nd NCC (national constitutional convention). We need to warn them off the effort. Hamilton and his 1787 Federalist predators saw us coming.
Article 5, as it came into the Constitution, was a sop to Randolph, Mason, and Gerry -- great democrats of the 1st NCC. In the convention's final days, they were refusing to sign the Constitution because the majority of delegates would not allow the document to be debated by state legislatures and the people and then sent into a second convention to be amended as needed.
Article 5 was one of several sophistic tricks attempted by the majority of delegates to persuade the three democrats to sign on. The predators knew that ratification of their corruption-maximizing Constitution was not a sure thing. They had exceeded their instructions to merely correct errors in the "inviolable" USA constitution, the Articles of Confederation. Their exaggerated criticisms of the Articles had been transparently false for many years. They'd watched as several elected delegates refused to even show up, because of convictions that Hamilton and his predators did not represent the nation. They'd watched as several more delegates bolted from the convention as soon as intentions to scrap the Articles were clear. The bad press had been steadily increasing. The Federalist predators had cobbled together an unconstitutional ratification procedure -- a straightforward violation of the Articles -- that depended on their getting strong support from the wider elite community. And here, three pillars of that wider elite community -- men who had worked tirelessly throughout the convention -- were saying "NO".
On 17 September, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington became two of the sophists who tried mightily to swing the three democrats back into the elitists' camp. Taken against the severe, systemic problems of the Constitution -- problems that handed us the criminal Bush-Cheney Usurpation and left us powerless to end its catalog of felonies and treasons -- the Franklin and Washington speeches that day are two of the best displays of how the 1780s American elites lived the unexamined life of bigoted elitism.
Washington especially, with his remark that the "... smallness of the proportion of Representatives had been considered by many members of the Convention an insufficient security for the rights & interests of the people", strikes a level of insincerity and hypocrisy that is intolerable. Not only does he mock the very reasonable Randolph-Mason-Gerry proposal, but he mocks the patriots who fought the War for the extraordinary rights promised in the Declaration of Independence, as well as the nation's demand that the national constitution include a bill of rights. At convention's end, there was no bill of rights. The Federalist predators would not willingly limit their profits and power with the rabble's rights.
In evaluating Article 5, we should notice the fact that Edmond Randolf, George Mason, and Elbridge Gerry were not persuaded that it could bring about the deep reform that they saw as necessary. None of the three signed the Constitution.
Desperate as they were, Hamilton and his Federalists did not give away the store. Article 5 gives Congress an ace in the hole: the choice of ratifying any amendment in either the state legislatures or the special ratifying conventions. Recent generations of predator elitists have been actively working toward superrich ownership of the state legislatures. "Soft money", with no limit and no accounting, floods perqs and the reelection campaigns at the state level. Ownership of the state legislatures by the superrich is obvious. Hamilton's Article 5 is a trap.
Yes, a 2nd NCC (national constitutional convention) can be called by the states, going around the national government. And, yes, the sovereign people are the state in those 18 states in which the people have the constitutional amendment initiative (CAI) already established in the state constitutions.
That is, in the 34 states required to call an Article 5 convention, the people hold the ultimate legal power in 18. Good start.
And, yes, state-level statute law calling the convention could be crafted so that state delegation credentials, delegate recall, and non-binding referendums in the states to instruct the delegates could probably prevent the predator elites from taking over the convention's proposal-drafting powers.
However, the state legislatures are owned by the superrich. Congress -- also owned by the superrich -- can say constitutionally that the convention's proposals will be ratified by the state legislatures, not by the special ratifying conventions that are optional in Article 5.
From there, the possibilities are endless for the convention's proposed provisions to be fast-tracked through, where they are desired by money-power, and delayed, altered, and/or rejected, where they are offensive to money-power.
Those treatments have been routinely and unconstitutionally applied to citizen-proposed law (I&R petitions) in the 23 active I&R states for over 100 years. The civil society is still roundly ignorant of state government's unconstitutionalities, felonies, and treasons with citizen-proposed law. There's simply no reason for the predator elitists to change their winning game for a constitutional convention. See especially the essay, 2nd Look--State Govt Unconstitutionalites Against Citizen-Proposed Law".
We should not trust a national Article 5 constitutional convention, no matter who calls it. In this political culture of lying, where bribery money is SCOTUS-sanctified free speech, it will be a simple matter for the superrich to find sufficient sycophants among the convention's elected delegates. With the fawning parasites of the superrich crafting the convention's proposed provisions, and the superrich-owned state legislators voting ratification of the convention's proposals, citizen rights will be further limited and opportunities for predator greed greatly expanded.
I've shifted from advocating a 2nd NCC (national constitutional convention) based on Article 5 to advocating standalone constitutional amendments campaigned individually.
We can count on our amendments being willingly done by the politicians in Congress after they've gained THE FEAR from the continually escallating, smash-mouth politics of the "Unity America" citizen action plan -- or anything similar. You can find that action plan outlined in "Open Letter To Susan" on DD Revival. Adding a nationally organized jury nullification program to fend off the corrupt state and federal judges will make "Unity America" even stronger.
The amendments should include (1) citizen lawmaking, fully independent of govt interference, with direct-vote referendum ratification dependent on a double majorities approval, (2) direct-vote, nonpartisan election of president, vice president, and attorney general, with the Department of Justice as an independent agency and all three officers subject to the people's recall, (3) all judges of the federal bench fired, pending direct-vote, nonpartisan election by all voting citizens in the individual Court's jurisdiction, with all federal judges being subject to the national electorate's recall, and (4) Congress reduced to a nonpartisan unicameral based on the still-successful 1934 Nebraska model, with three senators per state to protect small- from large-population states.
Note that approving "double majorities" are approval by a simple majority of all those voting nationally, plus a simple majority of states in which simple majorities voted for approval. This is how the Swiss give their national citizen lawmaking a legitimacy beyond question.
The only down-side to any effective citizen action plan to combat the Bush-Cheney Usurpation and fascist-corporatism-controlled political parties is getting Americans sufficiently organized to do anything. Americans have been divided against themselves and expertly driven into self-indulgent cocoons by predator elitists in and out of govt for decades. We are now a do-nothing civil society, primarily out of servility, indifference, anti-Constitutional religious dogma, and simple fear for our jobs, economic perqs, and children's education.
Do-nothing politics means giving away one's political responsibility to anybody, so that nothing more need be done. It has been a major factor in American elitist politics from the beginning.
We go right on practicing our do-nothing politics, despite our national government having been hijacked by a three-branch fascist despotism that has perpetrated a whole catalog of anti-Constitutional crimes, as well as another catalog of felony conspiracies against citizen rights, in violation of 18 USC 241. We go right on with our do-nothing politics despite the example of corruption and tyranny fighting in the Reform Era, circa 1898 to1918 -- the greatest democracy movement of history.
Activating and organizing Americans to take back our Constitution and citizen rights will require organizing innovations that have not been invented yet.
Saul Alinkski's old Industrial Areas Foundation, 1940s and on, may be our only coherent set of organizing clues. Never do anything for anyone that they can do themselves -- never. Understand the world as it is. Fix on the world as you want to have.
Or, perhaps zero preparedness for the coming Yellowstone supereruption, and the consequent deaths of tens of millions of Americans -- because the fascist despotism wants you to shop till you drop -- will do the trick. Perhaps then Americans will come out of their sub-surface cocoons to take back their constitutional republic.
If the 3-branch despotism gets the "Real ID" police state and the "North American Union" in place first, the post-Yellowstone impulse to organize might very well be too late. But, what the hell, ignorance and do-nothing politics are a lot of fun. Well -- until you and your family are broken on the wheel so that the superrich can have your money too.
Grow up or die.
For the Edmond Randolph motion to forward the first draft of the Constituton to the state legislatures, with supporting speeches by George Mason and Elbridge Gerry -- along with the follow-on attempts by other delegates to persuade Randolph, Mason, and Gerry to sign the Constitution anyway, see the James Madison Journal, 15 September 1787 and 17 September 1787, on the Constitution Society's Liberty Library of Constitutional Classics, document 91-1, "Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, James Madison".
For An annotated Article 5 of the Constitution see the Cornel Law site, "Legal Information Institute".
Modified Wed 30 May 2007, at 10:10am.
© 2007 by Stephen Neitzke