Introducing Spiritus Mundi, a Novel by Robert Sheppard
Author’s E-mail: email@example.com
Related Links and Websites: Spiritus Mundi, Novel by Robert Sheppard
For Introduction and Overview of the Novel: https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/
For Updates on the Upcoming Movie Version of the Novel, Spiritus Mundi & Casting of Actors and Actresses for Leading Roles See: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/
For Author’s Blog: https://robertalexandersheppard.wordpress.com/
To Read a Sample Chapter from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundisamplechapters.wordpress.com/
To Read Fantasy, Myth and Magical Realism Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundifantasymythandmagicalrealism.wordpress.com/
To Read Sexual Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: The Varieties of Sexul Experience: https://spiritusmundivarietiesofsexualexperience.wordpress.com/
To Read Spy, Espionage and Counter-terrorism Thriller Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: http://spiritusmundispyespionagecounterterrorism.wordpress.com/
To Read Geopolitical and World War Three Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundigeopoliticalworldwar3.wordpress.com/
To Read Spiritual and Religious Excerpts from Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundionspiritualityandreligion.wordpress.com/
To Read about the Global Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly in Spiritus Mundi: https://spiritusmundiunitednationsparliamentaryassembly.wordpress.com/
To Read Poetry from Spiritus Mundi：https://spiritusmundipoetry.wordpress.com/
For Discussions on World Literature and Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycriticism.wordpress.com/
For Discussions of World History and World Civilization in Spiritus Mundi: https://worldhistoryandcivilizationspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Eva Strong from Spiritus Mundi: https://evasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Andreas Sarkozy from Spiritus Mundi: http://andreasblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Yoriko Oe from Spiritus Mundi: http://yorikosblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
To Read the Blog of Robert Sartorius from Spiritus Mundi: http://sartoriusblogfromspiritusmundi.wordpress.com/
Note: The Occupy Earth Manifesto was originally written as part of the Occupy Wall Street novel Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard, and later became an important working document on the NY General Assembly website. See: http://occupytogether.com/forum/discussion/1293/the-occupy-earth-manifesto-from-the-general-assembly-ows-website-a-program-of-demands-#Item_2 https://spiritusmundinovel.wordpress.com/ It also features as a global component the Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly as an aspect of global democracy and economic democracy, and which should also be a component of the Occupy Movement worldwide. See: http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php These materials may be circulated and used freely for the program of the movement.
THE OCCUPY EARTH MANIFESTO
—Draft Demands, Goals and 17 Point Action Agenda of the Global Counterforce Alliance
We the 99% of the people of America and of the World, in conjunction with the the Counterforce Alliance in pursuit of Economic Democracy and Social Justice, within America, the EU and globally, and in resistance to the abuses and exploitation of the predatory 1% financial and wealth owning elite join together in solidarity to declare and support the following values and goals in response to the World Economic Crisis. While pessimistic about the immediate present, we join in both idealism and optimism mediated through realism with regard to the ultimate future of humanity, convinced in the ultimate strength and creative power of the human spirit against all odds and obstacles, and convinced that the world is blessed with immense opportunities masquerading as insoluable dilemmas. In solidarity we set forth the following Demands, Goals, and Proposed Measures, long and short-term, and call on all of you of the 99% to mobilize all our common energies in their initiation, support and fulfillment, and call on all governments and leaders to assist the People in their implementation:
1. Implement Wealth Tax: We call for the immediate consideration and implementation of a Comprehensive Solidarity Tax on Wealth on all persons, natural and possibly corporate, and on trusts with net worth of $10,000,000 or more at the rate of at least 15% during the economic crisis and at least 3% annually. This would be in addition to and adjusted in complement with the existing Income Tax. The income of the 1% is already outrageously out of proportion to that of the 99%, having grown from 10% to 20% since 1980 due to an inherently corrupted and unfair tax system The wealth of the 1% is even more outrageously maldistributed, with the top 1% holding 38% of the privately held wealth in the USA, and the bottom 90% holding 73% of all debt. Economic democracy calls for a shift of the burden of taxation from income, particularly earned income to taxation of wealth and unearned income. Revenues would be made available to insure the solvency of the Social Security system, reduce the national debt, for fiscal stimulus to create jobs during the World Financial Crisis, for funding education and retraining for all unemployed or underemployed and for mortgage relief, amoung all other public purposes.
Models: France has a tried and tested system of taxation of individual wealth at a progressive scale of rates from 0% to 1.8%, which is called the “Solidarity Tax on Wealth,” which provides a good working model for implementation in the USA. In 1999 Donald Trump proposed a one-off Wealth Tax of 14.25% on the net worth of individuals and trusts in excess of ten million dollars which was calculated to produce 5.7 Trillion dollars in new reveuues.
2. Strict Regulation of Dangerous, Predatory and Irresponsible Financial Practices: We demand further and stricter regulation of dangerous financial practices such as credit-default swaps, derivatives, predatory mortgages, and associated abuses which caused the still-unresolved World Financial Crisis. We demand prosecution of the principal abusers. When unresolved by regulation, if necessary, weaknesses and abuse in the financial sector may be addressed by nationalization in the public interest.
3. Implement Financial Transactions Tax: We call for the immediate imposition of a transactions tax on all purchases and sales of stocks, bonds, equities, financial derivatives, and expecially on speculative and dangerous transactions such as credit-default swaps at the heart of the World Financial Crisis. The 1% should be required to pay at least 1% for all such financial transactions. John Meynard Keynes proposed implementation of such a system following the 1929 Crash and Depression to curb disastrous speculation.
Models: Britain has had a Stamp Tax on financial transactions since 1694 on the London Stock Exchange and Sweden has a comprehensive 0.5% tax on equity securities and financial derivatives, with like legislation in Brazil and Peru.
4. Implement Tobin Tax or Tax on Foreign Exchange Transactions: Nobel Prize Laureate James Tobin proposed a tax on all spot conversions of one currency into another as a means of dampening speculation and “hot money,” In the post-Globalization era this has also been seen as a means of extending the fiscal tax base catchment area into the extra-national realm of the internationalized economy to generate resources for management of the abusive externalities of an irresponsible run-away global financial economy. The Tobin Tax of 0.5% to 1% should be levied on all conversions of one currency to another with the proceeds divided three ways: one-third to the nation of each currency and one-third to the United Nations and World Bank for purposes of global governance, international Keynsian fiscal stimulus and attainment of the Millennium 2000 goals. The division of the proceeds could also be divided on the basis of relative unemployment rates of the two nations or GDP per head. At present only international banks derive income from foreign exchange conversion, a privatized tax going to capital owners.
5. Radical Reform of Campaign and Political Contibutions System and Restoration of Economic Democracy: The present corrupted system of political financial contributions by financial interests has become toxic and deadly. It is not an exaggeration to say that present laws have substantially lost legitimacy as they are not the result of the will of the people but of legalized corruption financed by the 1%, calling into question the duty of the 99% to obey or respect them. All laws and public decisions are essentially corrupted by the illegitimate political power of the 1% to maldistribute social resources to the disadvantage of the 99%, especially its lower third. To democratically re-legitimize the governmental system it is necessary to enact immediate campain contribution reform or move to a fully publically financed system in which private political contributions are made illegal or restricted. We need to move from the “One Buck One Vote” system of the present back to a “One Person One Vote” democratic system. Economic Democracy is only sustainable after the financial corruption of the political system has been thoroughly cleansed.
6. Implement Excise and Luxury Taxes on Luxury Goods and Property for Duration of Financial Crisis: During the time of Gloal Economic Crisis and mass unemployment, just as in times of war and national emergency, the 1% wealth owners should be required to make sacrafices proportionate to their means for the common good. All luxury items, especially Veblenesque goods designed to confer social status, including luxury cars and homes, luxury fashion goods and luxury services more than 100% in excess of the mean for common goods and unrelated to real needs should be heavily taxed for the benefit of the common good and to stimulate consumption by those in need. Even in the “Monopoly” game those who live on “Park Place,” “Get Out of Jail Free” and “Advance to Go” must take their turn at paying Luxury Tax.
7. Progressive Income Tax Reform: Comprehensive reform of the existing Income Tax system must be undertaken to make it more progressive and reduce tax on the lower brackets and surcharging the upper brackets while protecting the middle-class and providing incentives for true entrepreneurship and job creation. Tax rates on the upper brackets should at least be reinstated to their pre-1980 levels. Faux deficits artificially created by lowering upper-bracket taxes and engaging in irresponsible and wasteful wars, followed by predatory demands for budget spending reductions, the favorite tactic of predatory capital, should be eliminated. Negative Income Tax, conditional on participation in retraining, education or public service work should provide a Social Safety Net for all persons. Unearned income from financial speculation or passive capital gains unrelated to innovation and growth in the real economy should be heavily taxed for the common good. The true creative capacity of the “free enterprise” system should be rewarded, nurtured and protected, whereas the unearned income from the parasitical and exploitative abuse of the real economy by the predatory financial economy should be severely restrained and taxed. Wherever possible the tax base should be shifted from income tax to wealth tax, and from payroll tax to progressive income tax and on to wealth tax. Regressive taxes, such as sales tax on necessities, payroll tax and others should be replaced or supplemented by progressive taxes on wealth and income.
8. Inheritance, Estate and Trust Tax Reform: Inheritance, Estate and Trust Taxes should be radically increased for all estates above 10 million dollars as part of a wealth taxation program for the common good. Even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet do not leave their billions to their own children above a fair amount, and inherited wealth is the archetypal form of arbitrary, unfair and unearned maldistribution of wealth. Along with Gates and Buffet we believe the spoiled children of the wealthy elite should become entrepreneurial if they want to enjoy wealth, rather than taking a free ride on the gravy train. Evasions of Inheritance and Estate tax by abuse of trusts should also be eliminated and subject to recapture, unless true transfer beyond the control of the wealth holder occurs and the trust is monitored to make sure that decisions are in the interest of the beneficiaries and the public instead of a masked manipulation for the benefit of the wealth holder.
9. Rebalancing Economic Globalization with a Global Green New Deal and Further Evolution of International Institutions and Global Governance Commensurate to the Newly Globalized World Economy: . Much of the World Economic Crisis is the result of dangerously imbalanced Globalization in which limited nation-state economic institutions have not evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy, creating dangerous and unsustainable global economic imbalances. Emergence from the Great Depression of the 1930’s required not just government action but also the empowerment of labor unions, civil society, Social Security and the Social Safety Net, Keynsian economic management, and the Social Contract and other checks and balances to the predatory and irresponsible power of financial capital. Globalization has eroded this balance of power, weaking the power of the nation-state, labor unions and civil society and thrusting us back to 1929 era stone-age predatory capitalism. If it is impossible to go back to the pre-Globalized world order with its national checks and balances against predatory capital, then it is necessary to move forward to a new globalized system of checks and balances on qn internationalized basis of global governance. The Global Green New Deal seeks to evolve new internationalized institutions of global governance that can be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, recasting the Social Contract and Social Safety Net in a new manner commensurate with the realities of a globalized economy. It is not anti-Globalization per se, but seeks a rebalanced Globalization with new and effective checks and balances against irresponsible and predatory international financial capital, through extension of global democracy, global governance and economic democracy.
10. Globalization of Labor Unions and Collective Bargaining Initiative: We demand immediate amendment of Labor Law requiring multinationals to undertake globalized collective bargaining in good faith with unions representing all their international subsidiaries and affiliates and manufacturing sub-contractors. A key cause of the financial crisis in the stagnation of wage rates in the US and the EU, caused in principal part by the breaking of unions and de-unionization of the economy since WWII, of which imbalanced globalization is a key cause. Union Density rates have fallen to below 9% in the private sector in the US, rates of union membership not seen since 1929. Union power to collectively bargain on behalf of workers in the globalized sectors and services sectors is a necessary check and balance on predatory capital. Income maldistribution cannot be corrected only by governmental action but other forces such as labor unions and civil society and consumer and environmental activism must serve as additional checks and balances to irresponsible and predatory financial capital. The World Financial Crisis began with the Subprime Mortgage crisis, but this was caused primarily not by people buying homes beyond reasonable means, but rather than by the failure of per capita earned income to increase for over thirty years. The housing crisis is really a household income crisis, and recovery in the US, the EU and beyond cannot occur until substantial sustainable increases in worker compensation and household income occur. Unions must be restored as a necessary non-governmental check and balance against the abuses of predatory capital. To do so Collective Bargaining and enterprise unionization must be Globaized. Multinationals as a condition of their goods being traded internationally must allow Global Unions in which all the workers of all of their international subsidiaries belong to a single union or alliance of unions and enterprises must have a legal duty to bargain in good faith globally with the united representatives of the unions of all their subsidiaries. Collective bargaining must be globalized to raise compensation both in the developed nations and in the developing and emerging economies. Only this will provide sustainable circulation of purchasing power to support sustainable economic recovery. Such a requirement should be made a mandatory condition of the WTO rules and supervised by a beefed up ILO. Multinationals with programs of union-busting or bad faith failure to engage in Globalized Collective bargaining should have their products banned from international trade. Unions must immediately undertake to organize all the workers of all the global subsidiaries of their companies and sectors in all nations in which they operate into a single collective bargaining unit, moving beyond the nation-based union model of the past. Raising the wages of workers in emerging economies through global collective bargaining is critical in boosting their purchasing power for American and EU goods and services
11. Conversion of Financial Capital into Human Capital—-Globalization No Worker Left Behind Initiative—the 25 Million Futures Initiative: In education we have embraced the “No Child Left Behind” concept. In economic globalization we must embrace the “No Worker Left Behind” concept in response to Globalization and it economic restructuring. The financial resources generated by the Wealth Tax and the above tax initiatives should be utilized to provide a CONDITIONAL GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME through a negative income tax or other means. 25 Million persons should be given subsidized living allowances and educational and retraining allowances continuing during their participation in retraining and rehabilitation, further education or public service and environmental work. The concept of any able person being “unemployed” should be decisively and permanently eliminated. If any person is not traditionally employed in the private or public sectors that person and his or her family should be given a guaranteed minimum income, conditional on their daily participation in further education, retraining or continuing daily public interest and environmental employment. All able persons shall be either employed full-time in work or full-time in education, retraining or preparation for work and guaranteed a survival income via the Social Safety Net as a condition of the Social Contract. The above taxes should provide for the radical expansion of the human resources and educational infrastructure to permanently absorb the displaced worker population, with the goal of returning them to the labor marketplace with greater productivity skills on economic recovery.
12. Implementation of Labor and Environmental Protection Requirements at the WTO: We damand the incorporation of Global Collective Bargaining and Environmental Standards, certified by ISO type inspection and verification as a mandatory condition of the WTO and trade of goods in the international marketplace.
13. Partial Shift of Social Security Funding from Regressive and Demographically Unsustainable Payroll Taxes to Financial and Wealth Based Taxes: The partial unsustainability of the Social Security system results from its outmoded tax base. Reliance on payroll taxes, while having some advantage in insuring the contractual inviolability of the system, is unnecessarily regressive and demographically unsustainable. There is no reason why only workers and employers pay for retirement benefits of those who have sustained the economy over their lifetimes while the financial sector pays nothing. The financial sector has grown at near-cancerous rates and makes no contribution to Social Security while the ever lessening number of active workers are called on to shoulder the burden of supporting the old and infirm. The Wealth Tax and revitalized Progressive Income Tax should partially replace and reduce the payroll tax system to reflect the demographic changes and growth of the financial sector as a percentage of GDP from the initiation of the Social Security system in the 1930’s.
14. Implementation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly within the United Nations: The Occupy Wall Street movement should immediately march on the United Nations in New York and demand the adoption by the General Assembly of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, which is a proposal for the creation of a European Parliament-style international consultative assembly as a permanent organ of the United Nations alongside the Security Council and General Assembly. Article 22 of the UN charter allows the General Assembly to do so by a majority vote not subject to great power veto. Economic Democracy in the era of a globalized economy requires the extension of democratic processes to the system of global governance and the progressive evolution of international institutions such as the United Nations commensurate with the problems of the newly globalized economy and the globalization of all aspects of human life and of the environment. Eliminating the democratic deficit in our global international institutions will also help to address the maldistribution of wealth and income nationally and internationally. Modernly, almost all problems have become globalized and are beyond the power of single nation-states to solve on behalf of their peoples, from the World Economic Crisis, to Global Warming, terrorism, drugs and epidemics. The institutions of global governance must evolve commensurately, and as they evolve democratic checks and balances must evolve along with them. See: http://en.unpacampaign.org/index.php for more details.
15. Globalization of Corporate Tax and Outsourcing Reajustment Tax: Run-away irresponsible capital takes all the resources of domestic enterprise and discards the workers, replacing them with cheaper foreign labor and operating through international subsidiaries and affiliates and expropriating existing workers and stakeholders of their stakeholder equity. To better balance the advantages and burdens of globalization and to preserve the earnings of the global entity within the catchment area of national taxation the Corporate Tax should be levied on global earnings of all subsidiariares and affiliates. Payments for Outsourcing and import substitution should be subject to a Restructuring Tax sufficient to support the retraining of displaced workers and in transition to new employment, and to deal with the uncompensated externalities of such practices, though such taxes should not be abused to the degree to amount to absolute or unjustifiable protectionism.
16. Shift of Keynsian Fiscal Stimulus and Public Debt from Sovereign National Debt to Internationalized Systems such as Eurobonds in the EU, G20 Initiatives and World Bank Instruments such as SDR WorldBonds: The principal reason for Sovereign Debt crises around the world is the necessity of fiscal deficits financed by borrowing as a means of stimulating growth of any economy in recession associated with John Maynard Keynes. However, we live in a globalized economy and where EU nations or the US or other nations borrow and run deficits much of the growth stimulated is in other export-oriented nations rather than in the catchment basin of the national tax systems used to finance this Keynsian debt. This is the root of the EU Sovereign Debt Crisis and much of the US fiscal deficit. When no domestic growth results, the stimulating nation is left with the complete debt but the GDP growth is unsustainably outside its tax revenue catchment area. Thus, much of the World Economic Crisis is the result of dangerously imbalanced Globalization in which limited nation-state economic institutions have not evolved to meet the realities of a globalized economy.
17. Further Evolution of the “Occupy”Movement: To date the “Occupy” program has attained immense success in conscious building and mobilizing human resources around the world to fight economic injustice and exploitation of the 99% by the 1% and fostering communication regarding the plight of the victims of the World Economic Crisis. As time goes on, however, the movement must evolve and mature, transitioning from consciousness raising to an action program, or interest and support will likely evaporate or be wasted. This evolution should result from open and democratic deliberation and debate, inclusive of both on-site activists and Internet-based contributors. To evolve beyond the “Primal Scream” of injustice cited by Al Gore towards solutions to the systemic problems requires first a process of analysis and possible solution design, then consciousness raising and support-building in aid of the proposals, followed by political struggle within the democratic processes and resistance to illegitimate suppression by either governments or opponents. To these ends the “Occupy” sites should evolve from protest encampments to staging areas for political organization, and then to mobilization centers for mass action. Analysis needs to be made, values and goals agreed upon, demands made as a tool for mobilizing support, and then concerted and sustained pressuring and lobbying of governments needs to be undertaken and completed, using bottom-up support as a vital base of action. It is not to be expected that existing power-holders will voluntarily adopt these proposals, and many of them will be met either with overt or covert hostility, or with ridicule, incomprehension or resistance. Therefore, consciousness raising and conceptual development must continue apace, and most likely within the democratic nations the electoral process must be entered into, endorsing candidates in sympathy, opposing opponents and rallying support until the composition of the legislatures and governemts has changed to support these concepts. Strategies of political action will have to be worked out, including all options such as endorsement and support or opposition of existing political leaders, entering candidates in primaries of existing parties based around these principles, or formation of new political parties. Preference must always be given to peaceful, rational and democratic processes of change where appropriate. In case of illegitimate, violent, unlawful and unjustifiable government repression, the right of the people to resist by other means is enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Universal Rights of Man.
Copyright Robert Sheppard 2011 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org