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Using the political system as a soapbox

December 18, 2010 4 comments


My name is Neil Kiernan. Some of you may know me as VTV on the forums. I am the host of the internet talk-radio show called “V-RADIO“.
First, let me start by giving a little background about myself and how I came to be a member of the Zeitgeist Movement.

Some time ago, during Ron Paul’s campaign for President, something broke me out of my apathy. It was a politician who actually spoke the truth. The topic in debate was the motivation for the attacks on September 11th. One of his opponents, Rudy Guiliani (who was riding his fame as Mayor of New York City during that tragedy), had made the statement that the attacks were motivated by hatred of the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. No matter what you believe the cause or motivation for these attacks was, anyone who knows anything about the opinion of the United States in the world (particularly in the middle east), knows it has next to nothing to do with our freedoms. And Congressmen Paul of Texas laid it out. It was our foreign policy that is the reason people in these countries dislike the United States. This is a foreign policy that includes bombing and deadly sanctions against those countries.

I remember the day I heard Congressmen Paul talk about this very well. And the reason it was important to me, and is still important, was that I had never in my entire life seen a politician speak the truth, regardless of what consequences it would have for his career. And he did see consequences! The press tried to paint him as a 911 conspiracy theorist. It was not in the best interest of the establishment that the American people actually take an honest look at why people in other countries dislike the United States.

I joined the “Ron Paul Revolution” and the independent media that had started on the internet. I participated by joining an internet radio station called “Ron Paul Radio”; and so began my career of internet journalism. After watching the film “V for Vendetta”, I was inspired by the scene where the character V takes over the television feed. In the bottom right hand corner, he created a little “VTV” icon. That is where my internet persona came from.

I learned a lot during my time involved in that campaign. Eventually, it became clear that Ron Paul was not going to run third party, and was not going to get the Republican nomination. I had befriended Senator Mike Gravel, whom some of you may remember as the fiery old man with glasses who put Hillary Clinton in her place before corporate interests had him removed from the Democratic debates. Senator Gravel and I decided to join the Libertarian party and I decided to help him with his bid for the nomination in that party. I was a delegate to the convention and learned even more about third party politics. In light of my contribution to debates on the party’s platform, I was asked by the Michigan Libertarian Party to run for Congress as a Libertarian in Michigan’s 10th district.

What I learned, of course, is that nobody ever runs for office on a third party ticket expecting to win. However, you do get invited onto mainstream television, radio and newspapers to talk about your ideas, simply for being a candidate. A friend of mine from the Socialist party named Bryan Moore (who ran for president) pointed out that his party never gets anyone elected. But because of their presence on the election scene, the Democratic party has been forced to absorb some of their views or lose votes to them. This is another positive effect that third party politics brings to the table.

In any case, thanks to Ron Paul’s campaign to expose the Federal Reserve, a fellow activist suggested the film Zeitgeist to me, due to Peter Joseph’s exposure of the Federal Reserve scam. Another powerful thing that his campaign accomplished is that now, the issue of the Federal Reserve and the problems it causes has become a mainstream issue. This never would of happened if Ron Paul had not run for President. And most of us would still have no idea what the Federal Reserve is or what it does. My appreciation for the information in the first film lead me to watching the sequel Zeitgeist Addendum when it came out later. In other words, if it were not for my involvement in the political system there would be no VTV, and no V-RADIO. And that brings me to how the political system can be a powerful tool to help us spread awareness of the solutions presented in Jacque Fresco’s proposals for the Resource-Based Economy. It is in third party politics that we will find the kind of people who actually care enough about the world to even be willing to hear our ideas. The “low hanging fruit”, so to speak, is very numerous in organizations like the Green Party, the Libertarian party, etc.. These are the people who care. The Michigan Zeitgeist chapter has several members of the Green Party, and their insight into activism has been a great help to us.

We should reject the political system. In it’s current form, the notion that we will get anything done directly in a system that allows corporations to buy any political position they want is silly. However, many people still believe the solutions are there. As I did, before I watched Zeitgeist Addendum. And I would not have ever even heard of the film if it were not for someone in the third party political activist community bringing it to my attention.

Remember Jacque talking about his childhood during the depression, where there were all these men up on soapboxes (literally up on soapboxes, this is where the term came from) talking about their various solutions to mankind’s troubles?

The “soapbox”, in that sense, has been replaced by the internet, the radio, and the television. There are people who are not satisfied with things the way they are, who are looking for people on these soapboxes to give them suggestions as to a better direction. We can get on that soapbox in the form of caucuses within the political system who’s sole purpose is to offer a non-political solution.

And that is why I formed the Resource-Based Economy Caucus. I went to Jacque and Roxanne and asked their permission to form this caucus. I showed them the platform and they approved it.

What is a caucus? A caucus is a group within a political party who support certain views and sometimes have an agenda for the party in question. An example would be the Republican Liberty caucus. That caucus is basically a Libertarian caucus within the Republican party. It’s purpose is to spread Libertarian ideals in the Republican party and support candidates in that party who hold similar ideals.

This is the platform of the Resource-Based Economy Caucus:

The Resource-Based economy caucus is a caucus that seeks to bring about awareness of the advantages of implementing a Resource-Based economy. And to work towards that implementation. The definition of a Resource-Based economy, as defined by Jacque Fresco of the Venus Project, is as follows:

“A Resource-Based Economy is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.

Modern society has access to highly advanced technology and can make available food, clothing, housing and medical care; update our educational system; and develop a limitless supply of renewable, non-contaminating energy. By supplying an efficiently designed economy, everyone can enjoy a very high standard of living with all of the amenities of a high technological society.

We must emphasize that this approach to global governance has nothing whatsoever in common with the present aims of an elite to form a world government with themselves and large corporations at the helm, and the vast majority of the world’s population subservient to them. Our vision of globalization empowers each and every person on the planet to be the best they can be, not to live in abject subjugation to a corporate governing body.

Our proposals would not only add to the well being of people, but they would also provide the necessary information that would enable them to participate in any area of their competence. The measure of success would be based on the fulfillment of one’s individual pursuits rather than the acquisition of wealth, property and power.

At present, we have enough material resources to provide a very high standard of living for all of Earth’s inhabitants. Only when population exceeds the carrying capacity of the land do many problems such as greed, crime and violence emerge. By overcoming scarcity, most of the crimes and even the prisons of today’s society would no longer be necessary.

A resource-based economy would make it possible to use technology to overcome scarce resources by applying renewable sources of energy, computerizing and automating manufacturing and inventory, designing safe energy-efficient cities and advanced transportation systems, providing universal health care and more relevant education, and most of all by generating a new incentive system based on human and environmental concern.

Many people believe that there is too much technology in the world today, and that technology is the major cause of our environmental pollution. This is not the case! It is the abuse and misuse of technology that should be our major concern. In a more humane civilization, instead of machines displacing people they would shorten the workday, increase the availability of goods and services, and lengthen vacation time. If we utilize new technology to raise the standard of living for all people, then the infusion of machine technology would no longer be a threat.

A resource-based world economy would also involve all-out efforts to develop new, clean, and renewable sources of energy: geothermal; controlled fusion; solar; photovoltaic; wind, wave, and tidal power; and even fuel from the oceans. We would eventually be able to have energy in unlimited quantity that could propel civilization for thousands of years. A resource-based economy must also be committed to the redesign of our cities, transportation systems, and industrial plants, allowing them to be energy efficient, clean, and conveniently serve the needs of all people.

What else would a resource-based economy mean? Technology, when intelligently and efficiently applied, conserves energy, reduces waste, and provides more leisure time. With automated inventory on a global scale, we can maintain a balance between production and distribution. Only nutritious and healthy food would be available and planned obsolescence would be unnecessary and non-existent in a resource-based economy.

As we outgrow the need for professions based on the monetary system (lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, marketing and advertising personnel, salespersons, stockbrokers, etc.), a considerable amount of waste will be eliminated. Considerable amounts of energy would also be saved by eliminating the duplication of competitive products such as tools, eating utensils, pots, pans and vacuum cleaners. Choice is good. But instead of hundreds of different manufacturing plants and all the paperwork and personnel required to turn out similar products, only a few of the highest quality would be needed to serve the entire population. Our only shortage is the lack of creative thought and intelligence in ourselves and our elected leaders to solve these problems. The most valuable, untapped resource today is human ingenuity.

With the elimination of debt, the fear of losing one’s job will no longer be a threat. This assurance, combined with education on how to relate to one another in a much more meaningful way, could considerably reduce both mental and physical stress and leave us free to explore and develop our abilities.

If the thought of eliminating money still troubles you, consider this: If a group of people with gold, diamonds and money were stranded on an island that had no resources such as food, clean air and water, their wealth would be irrelevant to their survival. It is only when resources are scarce that money can be used to control their distribution. One could not, for example, sell the air we breathe or water abundantly flowing down from a mountain stream. Although air and water are valuable, in abundance they cannot be sold.

Money is only important in a society when certain resources for survival must be rationed and the people accept money as an exchange medium for those scarce resources. Money is a social convention; an agreement, if you will. It is neither a natural resource nor does it represent one. It is not necessary for survival unless we have been conditioned to accept it as such.”
Key points of the caucus:

  1. We intend to offer alternatives to the current outdated solutions that are simply not working.
  2. We will work to expose the dangers of a profit motivated monetary system, and spread awareness of the various ways this system is corrupted.
  3. We will work to spread awareness of the technology that could liberate mankind from the monetary system and the profit motive.
  4. We will offer dialogue as to the flaws of Socialism, Communism, and Capitalism and why none of these solutions will solve the problems of mankind. And offer the research of the Venus Project as data of an alternative to any of these outdated failed systems.
  5. We do not advocate the use of force or coercion, but seek to demonstrate our ideas to bring understanding of why we feel this is the best direction for mankind.

A lot of that platform will look familiar to you. That is because almost all of it is taken directly from Jacque Fresco’s writings, with his permission.

The first party I took this caucus to is the Boston Tea Party. This is not the tea party you have seen on the news with people like Sarah Palin involved. This party was started quite a while ago by former members of the Libertarian party who disliked the neo-conservative direction some of the membership of the Libertarian party was taking. The platform is incredibly simple:

“The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.”

I proposed the Resource Based Economy as an alternate means to achieve the stated platform. As you can imagine, this was rather controversial. But it got us attention. And resistance. There were a few reasons I chose this party to start off with.

  1. It costs nothing to join, and is easy to join on the internet. Go to Bostontea.us and click “join” on the right side of the silver bar at the top of their website. After you sign up, your in. It’s that simple.
  2. Although their membership was mostly mainstream Free-Market Libertarian, nothing in their platform says anything about the Free-Market. It simply states that the party wishes to reduce the size and scope of government. As such, our caucus is completely in line with their ideals.
  3. I was already a member of the national committee from my time as a Libertarian. I was asked to join after the 2008 Libertarian national convention.

At the recent convention, which took place on the internet where all of the activity in this party takes place, we ran three candidates for the national committee of the party. Members of the national committee of a political party vote on issues such as changes to the platform, the bylaws, resolutions in support of or in condemnation of acts by politicians or corporations, or endorsement of political candidates. The three candidates were Mathew Wagner (the administrator for the Ohio Chapter of the Zeitgeist movement), Rion Ametu (another member) and myself.

The resistance to our caucus took the form of attempts at voter fraud. A member named Jim Davidson made more then one account to vote against me and a couple of Zeitgeist Movement members. He was caught and his votes invalidated. Then came a controversial move on the part of the party’s chairman at the time, Douglass Gaking. He decided to invoke an unwritten rule that membership to the party should be closed off during conventions. He invalidated the votes we had from new members who joined from the Zeitgeist Movement. This lead to all three of our candidates losing. However, before this was done, we had far more votes then any other candidate. It was very obvious we would have won by a landslide.

Because of these actions, the majority of the membership of the Boston Tea Party’s national committee is made up of mainstream Libertarians. And to ensure that no one from our caucus gains a seat, they are simply refusing to have an election for the seat that was left available at the end of the convention. Thankfully, one of the party’s founders, Thomas Knapp, has started a petition to overturn this decision. He already has the five members he needs to support this petition and the matter will be put to a vote of the actual membership.

If you would like to help with this, all it requires is that you go to BostonTea.us and join the party. You must be a U.S. Citizen to join and with a few mouse clicks, we can turn that situation around.

That being said, it is my intention to continue to use the political system as a soapbox. And for those of you inside and outside of the United States, I suggest you do the same. When doing this, try and find political parties that have a logical progression within their platform that could be compatible with the Resource-Based Economy solution. Incarnations of the Green Party can be found in many countries. Some of the Socialist parties would also be open to our message. Consider running for local offices, solely with the intention of spreading awareness of the Resource-Based Economy solution. We know politics is not the solution. But it is a solution to getting a real solution into the minds of the people of the world.

Neil Kiernan

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