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Ten Planks of the Populist Party of America

August 1, 2009

Ten Planks of the Populist Party of America
Regarding the United States Federal Government

“I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.”
– H.L. Mencken

  • Liberty. Your liberty is our goal; governmental form is simply a method to protect it.
  • Non-Aggression. We oppose the initiation of force, or the threat of such force, to solve problems either domestically or abroad.  We hold that a peaceful society is both more free and more prosperous.
  • Right of Action. Property rights encompass a person’s right of ownership over their own body, as well as specific physical objects and spaces.  Ownership means the exclusive control of this property as well as the right of free contract and transfer which form a part of such rights of ownership.  We hold that a society based on clearly-defined and strongly-defended property rights in these three areas will be a society where liberty flourishes.
  • Equality under the law. We hold that each person has the fundamental right to be politically equal with all other people.
  • Free Entry. We oppose the maintenance or creation of monopolies, which are defined as a grant of special privilege that reserves a certain function, or area of production, to one particular individual, corporation, or group.  In a monopoly situation, entry into the field is prohibited to others by the use of force or by its explicit or implicit threat.  Once an institution obtains such supreme force, it is probably utopian to expect its powers to be limited in any way over time, and therefore, the power to create such force must be limited.
  • Limited, Decentralized government. We hold that a government with clearly limited powers and clearly defined functions is more conducive to liberty than any other form.  Anything other than this would make government tend towards arbitrary, and arbitrary governments are most prone to despotism.  When government is local, the most important issues will be decided by you, your family and your neighbors – in your community only.  You’ll always have the ability to vote with your feet, and move to areas not affected by laws you don’t agree with.  For example, if Stalin had ruled only Moscow, Napoleon only Paris, and Mao had only ruled Beijing, the effects of their devastating rule would have had a much greater chance of being contained.  This is a simple concept; that evil people find it much harder to violate the rights of people outside their sphere of jurisdiction.
  • Citizen Sovereignty. We hold that people have the fundamental right to be their own sovereign masters, including the democratic and direct election of all of their public servant representatives.  We support nationwide double-majorities to enact Constitutionally-approved federal laws, citizen-initiated legislation, and the recall of public servants in the employ of the people. We hold that the people have the fundamental right to remove any appointed or elected government employee, for cause and under due process, without interference from government.
  • Accountability and Responsibility. We advocate a society where people are held responsible for the direct outcome of their actions.  A person should never be prosecuted for what they think, for what they own, for what they eat, for what they smoke, for what they drink, or for what they put in their body in any way. People should only be prosecuted for the harm they do to others.  We hold that people in government must be held to the same standards of accountability as every other person outside of government.  We support a Constitutional Amendment which will create sanctions and/or criminal liability on politicians who violate the Constitution while in office.
  • Free Union of States. We advocate a federal union of states that is a free association between the states and the federal government.  Any party, for cause and under due process, may withdraw from this association at any time.  We hold that such a free union would act as an additional check on overextensions of power in both state and federal governments.
  • The Constitution. We consider the United States Constitution to be written under the principle of “positive grant.” Under this axiom, the federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which are specifically given to it by the Constitution, and nothing more.  Any requests for power outside this scope must be accompanied by an amendment to the Constitution, authorizing this additional power.  From nearly the creation of the Republic, the federal government has increasingly ignored this principle to the point where it no longer exists today.  Governments that don’t follow their own rules are illegitimate, and as stated so clearly in the Declaration of Independence, when such a government arises, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”   Thus, while we continue to advocate adherence to the current Constitution as a tool to call attention to the many criminalities of the federal government, and until such time that a better one can be formed, we recognize that it has not succeeded in securing liberty in this country.  As 19th Century philosopher Lysander Spooner pointed out, “Whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”
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