by Aaron Klein
Occupy has set its sights on the U.S. Constitution, with some in the movement calling the nation’s founding document “drastically” outdated.
A Constitutionalist organization called We The People has teamed up with Occupy to found a working group that calls for the First Amendment to be used to redress “grievances” that would require provisions for a new national currency, a right for troops refuse certain military orders and the abolishment of the Federal Reserve.
Occupy has also boasted that recent congressional legislation mirror’s the anti-Wall Street movement’s own literature on a constitutional amendment to limit financing in public elections.
This follows a recent Occupy push for a massive public works program under the banner of “Occupy the Jobs” in which the government would be required to provide jobs at union wages for more than 30 million unemployed and underemployed workers.
The concept bears a striking resemblance to proposals by Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar, who has sought a new Bill of Rights in which the government is constitutionally required to offer each citizen a “useful” job.
Occupy’s goal of a new U.S. Constitution is also similar to a Sunstein-initiated effort – involving other senior White House officials and funded by billionaire George Soros – to push for a new, “progressive” U.S. Constitution by the year 2020.
Working with Occupy, We The People launched a new website, OccupyTheConstitution.com, which calls for “restoring constitutional governancecarried out in decency and good order.”
The movement calls for a new currency that would consist exclusively of silver and gold. The new currency would be gradually introduced to completely replace the paper dollar.
Another section demands a repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and leaves the U.S. without a central bank
Regarding the waging of warfare, the proposed remedy stipulates “the President must never again engage in pre-emptive war” or any war without the full authorization of Congress.
One clause states, “The President shall instruct all military officers and enlisted men and women to honor their Constitutional Oath of Office by refusing to execute any orders that may result in injury or loss of human life, without the Congressional Declaration required by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution.”
Meanwhile, postings on the OccupyWallStreet.org site call the Constitution outdated.
“The world in which the Constitution was created is gone,” the site states in a section entitled “Occupy the Constitution.”
“Almost every aspect of human life has drastically changed since the Constitution was created. Issues were included and approached in the Constitution based on the social needs and beliefs of the time.”
Robert L. Schulz, founder of We The People, told WND in a phone interview such claims within Occupy are meant to sideline the work of his organization and the Occupy working group he founded to probe the Constitution.
Schultz said his efforts are not meant to rewrite the Constitution but rather to “assert the right to petition the government for remedies in violation of the Constitution.”
Lawmakers push Occupy amendment
Meanwhile, activist David DeGraw, who reportedly first drafted many of Occupy’s original demands, noted that several recently proposed legislative bills mirror the anti-Wall Street movement’s demand for a constitutional amendment to limit financing of election campaigns.
DeGraw founded the website AmpedStatus.com, where he first published a laundry list of demands last March that became the main gripes of Occupy. The list originated with DeGraw’s 2010 book, “The Economic Elite vs. The People of the United States.”
DeGraw’s new Occupy initiative is titled “Get Money Out of Politics.” It seeks the constitutional amendment on campaign finance restrictions.
Writing at the Occupy-promoting TruthOut.org website, DeGraw notes there is “huge momentum” building on the concept of an amendment.
In November, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced an amendment called the “Occupy Amendment” that would ban all corporate money in politics.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., three weeks ago proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that allowed campaign spending by corporations.
DeGraw boasted that Sanders legislation “mirrors the Occupied Amendment in the House” proposed by Deutch.
DeGraw also pointed to a recent proposed amendment by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., that gives Congress the power to regulate all money spent on campaigns.
Government guarantee of jobs for millions
This is not Occupy’s first stab at rewriting the nation’s founding documents.
KleinOnline previously reported a partner of Occupy Wall Street launched a massive push for a public works program under the banner of “Occupy the Jobs” in which the government would be required to provide jobs at union wages for more than 30 million unemployed and underemployed workers.
According to the group’s literature, the Occupy the Jobs movement will serve as “an exciting fight-back program for jobs, against racism and for the rights of workers and poor people to unions, food, healthcare and public education.”
The Communist Workers World newspaper reported Occupy the Jobs will “demand a massive public works program big enough to provide jobs at union wages for the more than 30 million unemployed and underemployed workers in the country.”
The movement adopted a proposal to hold protest “actions” on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend of Jan. 14-16. Other Occupy For Jobs activities include a Nov. 17 national “Occupy for Jobs” march and rally in New York City to “shut it down!”
The concept of the government being required to provide jobs to Americans is not foreign to progressive politicians.
Sunstein himself in 2004 penned a book, “The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’S Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever,” in which he advanced the radical notion that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state.
His inspiration came from Roosevelt’s 1944 proposal of a different, new bill of rights.
In his 2004 book, Sunstein laid out what he calls the Second Bill of Rights:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return that will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.
On one page in his book, Sunstein claims he is “not seriously arguing” his bill of rights be “encompassed by anything in the Constitution,” but on the next page he states that “if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself.”
Later in the book, Sunstein argues that “at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America’s constitutive commitments.”
Assault on U.S. constitution
KleinOnline previously reported at least three White House advisers and officials, including Sunstein, have ties to the Constitution rewrite effort, which is funded by Soros.
In April 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School called “The Constitution in 2020,” which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year.
That event was sponsored by Soros’ Open Society Institute as well as by the Center for American Progress, which is led by John Podesta, who served as co-chairman of Obama’s presidential transition team. Podesta’s center is said to be highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.
The Yale event on the Constitution was also sponsored by the American Constitution Society, or ACS, which has been described as a group meant to counter the work of the Federalist Society, which has been at the forefront of the push for a more conservative judiciary since its launch in 1982.
The ACS is the main organization behind the movement to ensure a more “progressive” constitution, having received more that $2.2 million from Soros’ Open Society since 2002.
Attorney General Eric Holder served on the ACS board of directors.
Sunstein has spoken at numerous ACS events. For example, he was a speaker at a Nov. 3, 2003, symposium by the American Constitution Society of the University of Chicago School of Law, where Sunstein was a professor.
But it was the 2005 Yale event led in part by Sunstein that has been described as jumpstarting the movement for a “progressive” constitution.
Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, wrote in a 2009 New York Times Magazine piece about so-called liberal justice: “If this new understanding of legal liberalism can be traced back to a single moment, it was in April 2005, when the American Constitution Society and other progressive groups sponsored a conference at Yale Law School called ‘The Constitution in 2020.’”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott
Note: This article was updated to correct a citation from the website Occupy.org to the correct site in question, OccupyWallStreet.org.