As the old axiom states, “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” Judging from a press released recently issued out of New Orleans, the “let’s start over with a new Constitution” bed just got a lot more crowded.
A few weeks ago the Revolutionary Communist Party USA (RCPUSA) announced that they had completed a draft proposal for a new national charter. In truth, the document’s aim is to be the guiding legal code for a multi-national territory and is appropriately styled the “Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.”
In order for the new constitution to take effect, the “present capitalist-imperialist system” in the United States would have to undergo a little historical liposuction. First, the part of the union that was once a part of Mexico would be returned to that country. The RCPUSA wants no vestigial reminders of America’s imperialist history.
Furthermore, to more fully rid the new nation-state of the encumbrances of America’s shameful past, according to Article II, Section 3 of the proposed constitution:
In light of the egregious crimes, oppression and injustice perpetrated by the former ruling class and government of the United States of America against various minority nationalities, to give expression to the voluntary union and growing unity of the various peoples within the New Socialist Republic in North America, and to give the most powerful effect to the principles and objectives set forth in this Constitution, discrimination against minority nationalities, in every sphere of society, including segregation in housing, education and other areas, shall be outlawed and prohibited, and concrete measures and steps shall be adopted and carried out, by the government at the central and other levels, to overcome the effects of discrimination and segregation, and the whole legacy of oppression, to which these peoples have been subjected.
The bottom line is that any of these minorities against which the previous iteration of the United States of America has discriminated will be given the right to establish an autonomous region within the former “imperialist territory” of the United States.
The constitution offered by the RCPUSA is structured in a manner similar to the Constitution currently supposedly in force in the United States. There are articles (six to be precise) and a preamble that declares certain core principles of equality and good government.
The first article of the RCPUSA’s constitution sets forth the basic governmental structure with a legislative, an executive, and a judicial branch. The powers of these three departments are set forth in sections 1, 2, and 3 of Article I of the document (very similar to the structure of Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the Constitution of 1787). While paying lip service to the principle of free elections, the document's introduction makes it clear that the government described therein would be like almost every other government ever devised: a dictatorship. Only this time, the dictator would be the Proletariat.
The RCPUSA is a Maoist communist party founded in 1975. Its roots are found in the accommodating soil of 1960s West Coast collectivist movement, primarily the Students for a Democratic Society and its many branches and offshoots. Since its conception the organization has spawned many offspring that have not fallen far from the tree. The group and its affiliates enthusiastically supported the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 following the pronouncement of the verdict in the Rodney King trials. Such social upheavals, the RCPUSA claims, are key to overthrowing the current oppressive regime.
Indisputably, nearly every plank upon which the RCPUSA’s platform is built is as Gary Odom (the national field director with the Constitution Party of the United States) described them: “outlandish” and “hysterical.” The principles of good government propounded in the introduction to the proposed constitution demonstrates a profound dearth of understanding of the most basic and timeless tenets of the fatal and suicidal tendencies of democracies and mobocracies of the brand that would be fostered under the RCPUSA's founding charter.
That said, there are a few of those planks that true constitutionalists have used in the construction of their own scaffolding. First, there is the unqualified rejection of all wars of imperialist or internationalist aim. Any war so prosecuted is explicitly proscribed by the RCPUSA’s constitution.
Of course, if one were to give heed to the actual text of our own constitution, such a prohibition is implicit in the fact that the power to wage undeclared wars of the sort being carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan is not given to any branch of the national government and thus they are unlawful. Furthermore, nowhere in our constitution is an executive authorized to mobilize the armed forces of the Unites States.
Finally, there is no present threat to our social stability or to the stability of our constitutional republic in the program or proposals of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA. The political experiment they espouse has been tried and has failed.
There is a clear and present danger, however, in the continuing disregard to the specifically enumerated limited powers of the Constitution by those that we, the people, duly elected to represent us in the halls of the national government. Our sacred and unalienable duty is to identify and elect those candidates who commit to bind themselves with the fetters of republicanism as forged in Philadelphia in 1787. If and when we are betrayed by those in whom we have placed our trust, then we must resume the search for wise and good men and women when again called upon to vote.
In the meantime, we must remember that if any measures are promulgated by the national legislature in violation of the limited powers granted to it in the Constitution, then such measures are not lawful, not the law, and need not be heeded by the people or the states.