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Issues: Economic Democracy and Ecological Socialism

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We will never reverse pending planetary environmental collapse as long as we have a capitalist economy where competition for profits drives the blind, relentless growth that is consuming our environment.

We will never reverse extreme and growing economic inequality as long as workers get a fixed wage and capitalists take the rest of the value that labor creates as profit.

We need systemic change toward an ecological democratic socialism that provides everyone a decent standard of living within the boundaries of environmental sustainability.

We need to move to an ecological democratic socialist economy featuring:

  • Worker Cooperatives where the wealth we create is distributed equitably according to our labor contribution, not capital ownership.

  • Consumer Cooperatives that provide goods and services economically at cost to members, not for cost plus private profits.

  • Democratic Public Enterprises for infrastructure, natural monopolies, and large-scale businesses that operate at cost for public benefit instead of maximizing private profits. Such public utilities will lower the costs of living and doing business and provide the public avenues for private commerce.

  • Democratic Economic Planning for a decent standard of living for all that is ecologically sustainable.

Economic Planning

  • Plan for Ecological Sustainability: Develop plans to produce enough to provide everyone with a decent standard of living within the boundaries of ecological sustainability, starting with planning a rapid transition to 100% clean energy and regenerative agriculture that sequesters carbon in living soil.

  • Democratize Economic Planning

    • Database of Deals: Publish annually a list of state subsidies to specific businesses to make state economic planning more transparent.

    • Elected Planning Boards: Replace state planning decisions by appointed agency heads with a democratic planning system composed of locally elected planning boards that in turn elect a state planning board.

    • Planning and Markets: Planning should focus on the macroeconomic budget, investment, and technology policies for the state's economy, as well as providing public goods and services that ought to be provided free by the public budgets, such as roads, schools, and health care. Markets should determine demand and prices for other goods and services.

Public Banks

  • Create a state-owned bank, with local branches, to finance public projects, private businesses, and consumer loans at lower cost than private banks.

  • Govern the public banks through publicly-elected economic planning boards.

  • Capitalize the public bank with the deposits of state tax revenues, interest on the banks's loans, and deposits by private individuals and businesses as well as private and public pension funds that want to invest in the future of New York.

  • Finance infrastructure projects and businesses in partnership with local community banks and credit unions.

  • Refinance the mortgages of homes facing foreclosure on the affordable basis of principal aligned with current market value, fixed rates, and long terms.

Cooperatives

  • Develop worker cooperatives where the net income ("profit") is distributed equitably according to labor contribution, not capital ownership.

  • Develop consumer cooperatives that where the net income is rebated to members in proportion to their purchases through the co-op

  • Establish an entrepreneurial technical assistance department in the public banking system to provide business planning, technical assistance, and mentoring for the development worker and consumer cooperatives.

  • Partner with labor unions to develop union co-ops where worker or consumer ownership is combined with collective bargaining to protect workers rights.

Public Energy

  • Socialize investor-owned utility companies, large-scale power providers, and fossil fuel distributors under the New York Power Authority, with net metering for home-, farm- and business-based wind and solar power generation.

  • The mission of the democratic public energy system will be to convert to a clean renewable energy system for the least cost as rapidly as possible.

  • The revenues from fossil fuel power and fuel sales during the transition will be reinvested in renewable energy production, energy efficiency, and a just transition of income and benefit support and retraining for workers displaced by the phase out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

  • Restructure the New York Power Authority (NYPA) as a democratically-managed system of local public power utilities and a statewide fuel company that are federated at the state level for statewide planning.

  • Local power utility boards to be elected by the public (2/3) and their workers (1/3).

  • The NYPA state board to be elected by the local utility boards.

Public Broadband

  • Digital Democracy: Establish a public broadband service as a not-for-profit public utility in New York State in order to provide universal access to a high-speed platform at reduced costs with net neutrality.

  • Universal Access: High-speed Internet service - also known as broadband - is basic infrastructure like electricity, water, and transportation infrastructure that should be publicly owned and democratically managed for universal access and digital democracy.

  • Democratic Management: Public Broadband should be structured as a federation of elected local public broadband utility boards that in turn elect the state board.

  • Municipal Broadband: The state's Public Broadband utility should provide financing and technical assistance to help local governments build municipally-owned high-speed fiber-optic networks and free public Wi-Fi networks that provide affordable Internet, TV, and phone service for all with Net Neutrality.

  • Open Spectrum Commons: New York State should urge the FCC to expand the high-quality open spectrum of public airwaves that are available for unlicensed, public use, which will make affordable public Wi-Fi possible, spurring innovation, unleashing the mobile Web, bridging the digital divide, and providing universal, affordable Internet access for all.

  • Net Neutrality: New York State should urge Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to restore Net Neutrality by designating broadband as a common-carrier telecommunications service under the law. This designation is the only way to establish the FCC's right to regulate the Internet and protect Net Neutrality.

  • Stop the AT&T/Time Warner Merger: New York State should join the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to stop the merger between AT&T and Time Warner, the two of the largest telecom companies in the U.S., which would give one company too much market power to raise prices and too much control over what information, news, shows, movies, and sports people can access on TV and the Internet.

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