Notes for a Gathering

Howard Zinn

I have been asked to imagine this situation: "The progressive third

party movement has captured the White House, 60% of Congress and 30

Governorships. What do we do now?"

First, we have a party, maybe three, with the third party being special.

Then, we have Congress pass, and the President sign, the following


1) Repeal of the 1996 Crime Bill with its extension of capital punishment,

its billions for new prisons.

2) Repeal of the 1996 "Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty

Act" allowing, among other terroristic provisions, deportation of any

immigant ever convicted of a crime.

3) Repeal of the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity

Reconciliation Act of 1996" which ended the federal guarantee of aid to

families with dependent children.

4) Passage of an "equal legal defense" act, guaranteeing federal

subsidies for defendants equal to the amount available to prosecutors.

5) Ban the sale of weaponry by the government or by private corporations to

any other country in the world.

6) Ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns and assault weapons

of all kinds.

7) Ban the manufacture of landmines, cluster bombs, and other anti-personnel


8) Dismantle military bases around the world.

9) Abolish the C.I.A.

10) Reduce the military budget to zero, and allocate a sum of money

sufficient to maintain a force of peace-keepers who would be subject to the call

of the United Nations.

11) Enact a truly progressive income tax, with no tax paid by any family

below a certain minimum income, and very high taxes levied on the richest part

of the population.

12) End the limit on social security payments.

13) With the money gained from abolishing the military budget and enacting a

truly progressive income tax, do the following:


A. Establish a single-payer health plan, making total medical care free to

all, eliminating the use of private insurance companies — essentially giving

the entire population the benefit of the medical system enjoyed today by the

armed forces and the members of Congress.


B. Establish a guaranteed annual income for every family in the nation, thus

eliminating the need for "welfare".


C. Guarantee adequate housing for everyone, using rental subsidies and

interest-free loans.


D. Give money to the states to enable them to double teachers’ salaries and

reconstruct their educational sysems.


E. Allocate funds for cleaning up of rivers, lakes, beaches.


F. Give matching subsidies to the states for the establishment of child-care

programs available to all.


G. Allocate enough money to the United Nations to wipe out the infectious

diseases that now kill ten million children a year.


H. Establish a public works program, including the arts, to guarantee work

for those who cannot find work in the private sector.

Subsidize non-profit, non-commercial television stations.

14) Pass a constitutional amendment to have all elections, local and

national, based on proportional representation.

15) Forbid industrial or financial corporations from owning television

stations, radio stations, or publishing companies.

16) Propose to the United Nations an abolition of the Big Power domination of

the Security Council, with rotating membership and no veto power.

17) Abolish mandatory sentencing, and jail sentences for non-violent crimes.

18) Eliminate immigration restrictions.

That should be enough legislation for the first thirty days. During that

period, there would be opportunity for people around the country to make

suggestions, via town meetings, the internet, and the telephone system, for

further national action.


At the end of the thirty days, declare a work holiday for parties to take

place all over the nation.




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