A Real Democracy Policy Agenda

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It is time to actualize the dream of one-person one-vote democracy through reforms that reserve political rights for real living, breathing people and limit the influence of big money. These are some key elements of a real democracy policy agenda: 

  • Institute public funding of elections and place strict limits on campaign expenditures.
  • Break up the Wall Street-dominated two party duopoly of Republican and Democratic parties by introducing proportional representation and instant run-off voting to create electoral opportunity for third parties.
  • Limit political participation to real people. At a minimum, end the practice of allowing corporation tax deductions for lobbying and advertising expenses. Corporations should ultimately be prohibited from engaging in any effort to influence legislation or the outcome of an election, much the same as the current restriction on tax-exempt nonprofits.
  • Strengthen and enforce anti-trust measures that break up concentrations of corporate power.
  • Impose a progressive tax on corporate profits and assets that creates an incentive for voluntary action to break up monopolistic concentrations of corporate power.
  • Eliminate limited liability and the legal fiction that corporations are entitled to the same human rights protections as natural persons.
  • End market-distorting subsidies and enforce the foundational market principle of cost internalization through regulations, service fees, and enforceable liability claims against individual and institutional investors for harms caused by the private-benefit corporations they own.
  • Issue new charters only to public-benefit corporations or shared-benefit corporations, preferably organized as cooperatives or as worker- or community-owned corporations, with a commitment written into their charters to balance private and public interests. Establish a mechanism by which private-benefit corporations can apply to recharter themselves as public-benefit or shared-benefit corporations with a clearly defined public purpose. They would also have the option, if they prefer, to convert to a non-corporate business form such as a partnership that does not confer special powers and exemptions. To provide an incentive for conversion, set a date at which the charters of any private-benefit corporations that fail to convert will be revoked.  
  • Renegotiate or abrogate trade agreement provisions that grant global corporations special rights or exemptions, such as the right to sue governments in international tribunals. Establish the right of every jurisdiction to determine the terms, if any, on which it will allow access to its economy by foreign corporations.