With many Americans, and indeed folks around the world, disgusted and outraged by the corruption and arrogance of the current U.S. chiefs and their warfare state, many are turning again to a new third political party. The Democrats have gone along with war and indeed initiated their own hostilities during the 1990s - Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, with continuing conflict in Iraq, Colombia, and troops worldwide galore, so voters are wary of both parties.
This new party is called Unity08. Its founders believe that the two major political parties in the US represent special interests more than they do the interests of the majority of Americans. Unity08 has already organized groups in over 100 college campuses. One of their issues is the "disappearance of the American Dream." Unity08 will offer a platform and candidates for president and vice president in the elections of 2008. They do not plan to have any other candidates.
Unity08 is a centrist party that seeks to better represent the median voters, those in the middle of the political spectrum. They aim to draw candidates from the two establishment parties or independents "who presents a Unity Team from both parties." The candidates will be selected from an Internet-based convention. The objective is to fix the current parties rather than establish a permanent new party. One can get involved by joining their email list and signing their "Declaration of Independence from Politics without Purpose."
The current web site does not yet have any specific policies for their platform. The party seeks to focus on what the founders regard as crucial issues: education, energy independence, deficit spending, global terrorism, health care, nuclear proliferation. This provides a good opportunity for you to present particular policies in their blog and shoutbox.
To be truly free from the domination of the moneyed and doctrinal special interests, Unity08 has to go beyond seeking to influence the chiefs of the establishment to pay more attention to the public good. There is a reason why biased interests get privileges and subsidies. They provide votes and money to candidates because they get thick benefits. The costs are thinly spread out, leaving taxpayers and voters with little incentive to resist.
Unity08 will therefore fail unless they understand why the greedy interests rule. The structure of our mass democracy compels candidates to seek funds from the subsidy seekers. Good intentions cannot overturn this structural compulsion.
Only a radical decentralization of voting will change the incentives from appeasing the greedy to righteously serving the people. The leaders of Unity08 need to study why democracy needs reforming. Meanwhile, on the crucial issues such as deficit spending, the Unity08 platform needs to confront the whole tax issue. They need input from those who recognize that the ultimate tax reform is public revenue from land rent. The elimination of punitive taxes and restrictions would extirpate poverty and enable people pay for crucial energy, medical care, and education.
On foreign policy and terrorism, they should adopt the platform of the Libertarian Party: "The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration."
Unity08 should not tie itself too much to the two establishment parties. They should be wary to catering too much to the median voter who holds status-quo median ideas which are not working. To truly reform politics, they need to go to the roots of social problems, which means getting radical.
Nevertheless, Unity08 is a promising development, a sign of dissatisfaction with the two major parties. If the party can focus on a fundamental restructuring of democracy, on the roots of social and economic problems, and on restoring the original non-interventionist foreign policy, then it could truly have a great effect in and beyond 2008. The election of 2008 presents an opportunity to liber-8 America. Let's adopt this as a motto: Liber-8 in 2008!
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FRED E. FOLDVARY, Ph.D., is an economist and has been writing weekly editorials for Progress.org since 1997. Foldvary's commentaries are well respected for their currency, sound logic, wit, and consistent devotion to human freedom. He received his B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He has taught economics at Virginia Tech, John F. Kennedy University, Santa Clara University, and currently teaches at San Jose State University.
Foldvary is the author of The Soul of Liberty, Public Goods and Private Communities, and Dictionary of Free Market Economics. He edited and contributed to Beyond Neoclassical Economics and, with Dan Klein, The Half-Life of Policy Rationales. Foldvary's areas of research include public finance, governance, ethical philosophy, and land economics.
Foldvary is notably known for going on record in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology in 1997 to predict the exact timing of the 2008 economic depression—eleven years before the event occurred. He was able to do so due to his extensive knowledge of the real-estate cycle.