It’s obvious to anyone paying attention at this point that this current government doesn’t give a damn about anyone who isn’t buying influence in Washington. That’s why they’ll vote unanimously for giving the military hundreds of billions of dollars to maintain an imperial presence around the world, but they won’t pay for $85 billion to provide assistance to low-income families trying to heat their homes or keep early childhood education centers open. And when things have gotten this bad, revolution is a moral obligation, not a radical idea. The Declaration of Independence proves that.
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” — Declaration of Independence, 1776
The New Hampshire state constitution‘s “Right to Revolution” clause says it a little more plainly.
“Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” — New Hampshire Constitution, 1784
This Congress is an illegitimate one by default, seeing as our founding documents clearly state that governments only derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Since Congress has had the lowest recorded approval ratings in history since 2011, it’s safe to say we no longer consent to this current government, and have the right to alter or abolish it.
However, our past attempts to merely alter this government through the vote have been ignored and undermined, thanks to unfair gerrymandering that keeps the unpopular members of Congress in power, like Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. These same redistricting schemes are also used to drive popular members of Congress with wide support out of power, like Dennis Kucinich in Ohio.
Aside from the vote, our attempts to alter this government through protest have also been rendered obsolete. Occupy Wall Street proved that there is a country full of people willing to protest not just on a designated day of action, but 24 hours a day, for months at a time, in any weather. And the nonviolent movement that used publicly-owned parks and first amendment rights to free speech and free assembly to get its message across was ignored by our elected officials, ridiculed by the media and violently crushed by police. When unarmed, seated college students can be viciously attacked without provocation and then accused by their attackers of violent behavior, protest alone will no longer accomplish our goals.
So when attempts to alter this government are brushed aside, the only logical option left to redress our grievances is to abolish the old order and create a new government that is once again representative of ordinary people rather than those who can purchase the most influence. They’ll be able to stop 10,000 of us, and they may even be able to stop 100,000 of us. But they can’t stop 2,000,000 of us. All they’ll be able to do is watch.
This Congress, which gets paid a hefty $174,000 starting salary with full health care and retirement benefits and only works 126 days a year, will go on a month-long, taxpayer-funded vacation on Aug. 3. So when they leave town, we should arrive at least 2,000,000 strong on the national mall. And when we arrive, we march forward to the U.S. Capitol and refuse to stop for anything until we’re inside the House and Senate chambers. From there, we’ll break off into people’s assemblies, and hold a new constitutional convention. We’ll livestream the proceedings and crowdsource our new constitution by hearing from the people on social media. We’ll decide as one people what our new government will look like, and do it nonviolently. If Iceland did it, we can too.