I’m Victoria Alexander. I’m running for Congress from New York’s 19th district as a Libertarian. I am also seeking support from Greens, disenchanted Democrats and Republicans, voters who all have approximately the same goals but different ideas about how to achieve them. My goal, which unites us all, is to try to decentralize the power that has been concentrated in the hands of the few. When power becomes concentrated in government, politicians can act as though they are above the law and cease to answer to voters. When power becomes concentrated in a few large corporations, business leaders can behave as if they are above the law and cease to be responsive to their own customers. When these two power centers merge, we no longer have democracy or freedom. That’s where we find ourselves today.
Direct Democracy: We need a people’s veto and cooperatively-run public agencies and programs. If elected, I will give my constituents the opportunity to vote on each bill before it goes to the floor using a secure online blockchain system. more >
I support H. R. 2240: One Subject at a Time Act, which limits the length and scope of bills and will make it possible for all voters (as well as representatives) to read and understand the bills before they go up for a vote. If voter participation on a bill surpasses a super majority threshold and the outcome contradicts my position, I will either change my vote or abstain from voting. This will mean that no lobbyists will be able to buy my vote because the people will have veto power. Ultimately, I would like to see far fewer laws being decided at the Federal level. I want to work toward moving the power of decision-making to the people affected by the decisions. For instance, decisions about health and medicine should be made locally by health professionals (researchers, doctors, nurses, etc), their patients and the wider community they serve.
I would like to see all Federal alphabet agencies converted to cooperatively-run agencies, involving all stakeholders, with no more top-down control of industry. I also support democracy in the workplace with cooperative corporations, for which I would like to see a reduction in taxes and a reduction in labor regulations. I support publicly-owned utility cooperatives and Internet platform co-ops. In fact, I see public communication as essential to freedom and democracy and I believe public Internet access should be protected under the Constitution as the modern U.S. Postal Service, with full protection of free speech and privacy. In general, I see government providing the funds for building infrastructure and I see the people who use the infrastructure running it. We have too much top-down control. I do not advocate a Direct Democracy system in which a national majority of voters decide on Federal laws controlling everyone. That would be a tyranny of the majority. I advocate local decision-making.
End the Wars:. Our national security depends upon domestic self-sufficiency and ending our aggression abroad. We simply cannot afford the terrible loss of human life, damage to the environment, economic expense and refugee crises that U.S. involvement in foreign affairs causes. I advocate slashing the military and intelligence budgets to a figure adequate for maintaining a strong defense only. more >
Funding wars and making surplus offensive weaponry creates enemies and makes us less safe, not more safe. To decrease our vulnerability to attack, we should also strive toward energy independence and decentralize and localize our communication, energy, and food production systems. We need to build a strong production economy at home. I support the Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Force H. R. H.R. 1274.
Stop Creating Debt-Based Currency. End the Federal Reserve and end 90% of income tax. Allowing the Federal Reserve to create U.S. dollars has allowed the top 1% to control most of the money and wield the political power that goes with this. The U.S. Treasury should have the sole power to create US dollars, and only for public infrastructure projects — roads, mass transit, hospitals, energy grids, schools, and fiber broadband. New dollars created for this purpose would be backed by the value of the infrastructure assets that will return user fees. more >
We must phase out fractional-reserve banking and debt-based currency by gradually raising the reserve amount to 100%. Banks should only be able to loan money that is deposited in regulated savings accounts. All newly created dollars would enter the economy at the middle income level, not at the top. Using direct Treasury funds for infrastructure (together with cutting the war budget), would entirely eliminate the need for the bottom 90% of Americans to pay income tax as well as reduce the need for states to collect property taxes to build and maintain public infrastructure. The role of the Treasury would not be to try to manage the economy, nor to set interest rates, nor to loan money, nor to borrow money. Its role would only be funding the creation of public assets. Any inflation caused by the influx of new Treasury dollars into the economy could be offset by raising the user fees and taxing the top 1 -10% of income. Using Treasury dollars to fund infrastructure, instead of taxing, would not give Congress more power since Congress already decides budgets. I support the Federal legislation to abolish the Federal Reserve and a reconsideration (without the public dividend) of the National Emergency Employment Defense Act H.R. 2990.
Affordable Healthcare and Full Coverage for Catastrophic Illness. A civilized society does not allow people to die or suffer unnecessarily because they are poor. Because any public benefit must be available to all, I advocate for providing direct Treasury funding to build and maintain state health centers that will offer quality service at low cost and free care after the patient pays a sliding-scale deductible that would be about equal to what people pay in yearly premiums now. more >
With such a system, those who take care of their health would not be expected to subsidize those who do not take care of their health. And no one would suffer economic hardships as a consequences of illnesses that are beyond his/her control. No citizen would be forced to buy insurance or pay a Federal or state tax for this health care program. Businesses would not be required to provide health insurance for employees. All government employees and elected representatives would be covered through this plan. Individual states should have the option of levying consumption taxes to further support catastrophic health care and the option of including charity-run health centers in their programs. The public health care system would operate alongside a private health care system, and citizens would have a choice to use one or the other. Private health insurance companies could still operate and people could choose to buy insurance rather than pay out of pocket for routine care.
Criminal Justice Reform. Require community service to support welfare programs, not punishment. We need to decriminalize drugs (drug use is a health problem) and end the imprisonment of all non-violent offenders. Focusing on restorative justice rather than on retribution is a more effective way of addressing crime. more >
We can require all convicted criminals to perform community service to support and rebuild poor communities and to provide resources to welfare programs, for example, growing food, establishing community gardens, building affordable housing and renovating and repairing derelict houses, apartments and storefronts to offer to the working poor on an affordable rent-to-own basis. No inmates should work for private corporations, the Department of Defense or any local government agency, as they do now. Instead they should be performing work that will most likely end the conditions that led to their crimes.The criminal justice system would become the mechanism for maintaining welfare programs thereby reducing the amount of tax revenue that is currently put toward these programs. Racial bias and economic discrimination in our current criminal justice system is a leading contributor to poverty, crime and drug abuse. If we fix the criminal justice system, we can also fix many economic and social problems in the process.
Defund the Police?
Environmental Protections. End government supported pollution. While many Democrat environmentalists may be lobbying representatives to try to get them to spend billions of dollars fighting pollution, Libertarian environmentalists want government to stop spending billions of dollars creating pollution. more >
Electoral Reform: We need to secure the integrity of U.S. elections by using paper ballots, non-proprietary software or blockchain-protected ballot-counting machines and Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV). To reduce the unfair advantage that some candidates have in elections, information about all candidates on the ballot should be mailed to all registered voters and all public debates should be open to all candidates on the ballot. more >
The most significant electoral reform would be to implement RCV in all 50 states. With RCV, you get to rank candidates in order of preference, and if your first choice doesn’t win, your vote goes to your second choice and etc until a candidate wins 51% of the vote. I support the New York state effort to pass RCV, and at the Federal level, I support HR 4464 the Ranked Choice Voting Act. Since 2018, I have been advocating for RCV locally and I helped launch a statewide movement Ranked Choice NY.
No Sanctions & Fair Trade: A low tariff on all imports should be used as a source of Federal revenue, not as a means to manipulate markets or to provide protection for weak U.S. industries. Current trade agreements allow government to subsidize and promote, for example, corn production in the U.S. to the detriment of other kinds of crop production. more >
Such agreements not only distort U.S. industry but can also adversely affect the local economies of trading partners and force migration of cheap labor to the U.S., which, in turn, further harms the U.S. labor market. A low tariff on all imports would tend to encourage domestic production of goods and keep wealth circulating domestically. It is the circulation of wealth, not so much the amount of wealth in existence, that results in more products and more improvements at home.
Federally-Funded Scholarships at State Schools. Any Federal support for higher education should be used solely for public benefit not private benefit. I support Federally-funded scholarships at highly competitive state colleges and universities to train public sector workers in healthcare, law, civil engineering, education, and social services. more >
In exchange for a free college education, graduates should be required to work for a state institution for some number of years. Such a scholarship program would also help states provide quality public programs at lower costs. Funding should come directly from the US Treasury (See Stop Creating Debt-Based Currency above), but Congress should have no influence on the curriculum. Research and administrative decisions should be made cooperatively by faculty, students and administration. I do not support the idea that the purpose of higher education is to help graduates earn more money. The purpose of education is education, irrespective of whether it provides an economic benefit to the individual. Government does not need to provide job-training for the corporate or private sector, which needs to step up and solve its own labor problems by offering employees tuition support, paid internships or entry level positions.
Separation of Business & State. Better Non-Profits. We need to balance power throughout society. Much of our political discourse is about whether the government or the free market should control the basic structures of society. We need both, but we need a clear separation of business and state to help prevent power from concentrating. more >
Federal, state, and local governments should primarily be concerned with enforcing the law and operating as a construction and maintenance department for public infrastructure, building, equipping and maintaining transportation systems, communication systems, and energy grids, as well as public hospitals and schools. I do not see a role for government in running those systems or institutions. Instead, the people who use and manage the systems should have local democratic control of them and run them like non-profit cooperative corporations. I am against the privatization of public infrastructure and public services, as this is a form of crony capitalism. We also need a viable non-profit sector to provide those services, mainly having to do with our intellectual life and access to information, that neither the state nor the free market is suited to provide. For example programs in education, culture, scientific research and journalism are best supported by non-profits, not government or business. I support a 100% tax deduction to charities and non-profits, but I also think that many non-profits, e.g. political think tanks, sports organizations and religious organizations or charities that have inequitable administrative pay, should have their non-profit status revoked.
Questions? Want to volunteer? Contact Victoria. Or post your comments below.
NY19 is currently served by Representative Antonio Delgado (D) and includes Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
Since 2003, Dr. Victoria Alexander has lived in Dutchess County with her husband and son. She is a farmer, a novelist, director of an arts foundation and a researcher in complex systems science, which informs her understanding of free markets and decentralized government. She recently served as a Fulbright Scholar in St Petersburg, Russia. As part of the U. S. State Department, the Fulbright Program has the mission of using intellectual exchange as a path toward peace.
Questions? Want to volunteer? Contact Victoria. Or post your comments below.
NY19 is currently served by Representative Antonio Delgado (D) and includes Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties and parts of Broome, Dutchess, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
13 Comments Add yours
Presently, there’s a lengthy list of candidates running in opposition to John Faso for NY19. Naturally, they position themselves to the left of him, although, in a couple of cases, I’m not so sure.
Some speak for progressive change, although with a sameness that gives pause. Save one, they do not address the issue of foreign policy/militarism/imperialism/hegemony, hereafter using the single word militarism as a shortcut.
It’s natural to think that Republicans will not criticize US militarism, but Democrats are with them every step of the way. When Dennis Kucinich ran in the Democratic primary for president, he criticized it. Democrats rewarded him with about 3% of the vote.
Perhaps the most qualified individual (in the sense of promoting the general welfare) ever to run for president, Ralph Nader, was an anti-militarist. This was his problem. Being for the general instead of the private welfare. He couldn’t crack the 3% barrier.
Even Bernie Sanders, running as a Democrat, couldn’t talk strongly about US militarism. He did whisper about it. Not that he hasn’t advanced a left cause, but you can’t be a socialist and an imperialist because scientific socialism is an international movement.
Victoria Alexander puts the issue right up front. For those that haven’t, I suggest reading her essay, Mother’s Day and the Anti-War Movement, from her personal website. It’s brilliant, says something about war and women but much more. It speaks of a society in need or rearrangement. That has to be stood on its head.
Why is militarism such an important subject? A clue to the answer is that it so seldom comes up. Not in Washington. Not in the corporate press, corporate network and cable tv, NPR, Wall St., Madison Ave., and when it does come up in the think tanks and research institutions that shape public policy, it is to advance and refine it, not to eliminate it.
It could be argued that militarism is society’s single greatest weakness. How could this be when it is so widely accepted and so seldom questioned? Simple. Some few make choices for the many that, in time, may come to see them as their own. Because we live in relative freedom, it’s called suasion (Merriam-Webster: persuasion as opposed to force or compulsion). There is a better word to describe what actually takes place when powerful elites keep people under control. Propaganda. Our government and its sycophants don’t use this term for what they do. It’s reserved for others.
Let’s look at propaganda and militarism. Our government sends young men and women to fight offensive wars of choice — we haven’t fought any defensive ones — for the benefit of a ruling class. This is extremely cynical. How do they get away with it?
It’s no longer pin medals on those who fight, jail those who refuse, because of the elimination of the draft, a very canny thing on their part. It still works on “exploitation in/exploitation out”. Take these two slogans: “Support our Troops”, and “Honor our Veterans”. Between these is a real hell whereby hidden agendas for war morph into glorification and end with honoring amputees. There is no “national interest” served in taking the lives of people of weaker nations. There is no national interest at all. Only the interests of the few that stand to gain. The rest lose, and lose big.
We have been fighting non-existent enemies, from the communist menace to the nebulous war on terrorism, the scare tactic of which is to move public opinion away from peaceful co-existence and toward more military buildup.
Some people get it. Martin Luther King got it and every 365 days Washington co-opts his goodwill, pretending he and Washington are arm in arm. We’re even further away then when King saw it. It’s time someone with real power got it.
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Thank you for the thoughtful first comment. I hope that your comment sets the tone for all future discussions on this page. Here is a link to my Mother’s Day article you mentioned. https://victorianalexander.com/2018/05/12/mothers-day-and-the-anti-war-movement/#more-34495
Where do you stand on the Safe Act and 2A in NYS?
I’m running for Federal office, so I wouldn’t be voting on NY State laws. But I will say, from what I know about the Safe Act, it appears to make law-abiding citizens into criminals by fiat. But even worse, it probably doesn’t make people safer, despite the name. I do think there is a problem with violence in this country. Government should lead by example. End the wars. Demilitarize the police. For starters.
I am a registered Libertarian. I live in the 19 Congressional District. After I read your positions on various issues, I thought I would comment on some of your proposals.
I do not agree with your protectionist position. I am a supporter of free trade. Protective tariffs and import quotas result in trade wars. We see that today with the trade policies espoused by our president. Imposing tariffs, quotas, and sanctions result in reciprocity. Major trading partners are answering our threats by imposing sanctions on U.S. imports. Currently, there is a trade imbalance. The U.S. is a net importer of goods and services. If our trading partners respond with restrictions of their own, our exports will be reduced, and trade revenues will fall. What should be done is to abolish all direct and indirect subsidies to U.S. exporters. Government intervention will artificially suppress the actual cost of exports. Government agencies such as the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, provides credit and subsidies to U.S. companies, thereby artificially lowering the price of U.S. exports. This allows the U.S. to sell its products to foreign buyers at below market prices and stifle competition. Protectionism only results in choking efficient markets.
As far as controlling the high cost of healthcare the answer is not more government but higher efficiency. The answer is to reform the way healthcare is presently dispensed. This means allowing trained professional healthcare providers,(nurses, nurse practitioners, and others) to perform routine procedures such as physicals, minor surgery, treating colds and infections, dispensing medications, giving vaccinations and writing prescriptions. This would free doctors to perform more important and complicated procedures. Maternity costs could be substantially reduced if certified professionals, not just doctors were allowed to deliver babies.
Your proposal to establish a Public Bank is not a solution to the Federal Reserve. All central banking should be eliminated. We must adopt full reserve banking and have interest rates set by the market, not by a central bank. Establishing a gold standard would avoid the so-called “expansion” of the money supply. A gold standard would prevent inflation by limiting the supply of money and debt that the government could produce. There is more than enough gold in the government reserves to reestablish a gold standard. Currently, the U.S. Treasury undervalues its gold supply. The “official” price for an ounce of gold set by the government is $ 44.44 per ounce. The current market value of an ounce of gold exceeds $ 1200. This means that actual market value of U.S. gold reserves exceeds $331 trillion! The current U.S. money supply,(M1), is only (?) $ 3.5 trillion. Clearly, a gold standard could be adopted. The Fed and central banking could be eliminated, sound money would return.
I am pleased to see that you address the issue of high tuition costs. However, I feel that your recommendations do not go far enough. Tuition could be handled by the consumer through the expansion of vouchers, tax-deductible education savings accounts,(like IRAs). As well as tax credit scholarships.
The focus of your campaign should be on freedom, choice and less concentration of power in the hands of the government.
Thank you for your comments. Let me respond by noting how we agree.
Regarding Free Trade. We agree that quotas and sanctions are not good for our economy. We agree that central planning is counter-productive to a healthy economy. We agree we should abolish all direct and indirect subsidies to U.S. exporters. I see tariffs, not as an economy management tool, but as a Federal sales tax, as a way of collecting revenue. One of the Federal government’s few legitimate roles is to maintain a border between the US and other countries. Charging tariffs to let goods come in helps pay for the service of maintaining borders. I would be much more inclined to fight for free trade within the US and would work toward making it possible for state sales taxes to be abolished for most products and services. (With a Public Bank, this might be possible). The function of adding a (reasonable) tariff to imported goods is not to protect domestic producers so much, but simply to collect revenue for the bureaucratic operations of the US gov. (This was the original function of tariffs in the beginning of US history.) To want a central body managing export-import and trade balances runs counter to theory that markets that are self-organizing and self-balancing are more robust and equitable. A tariff doesn’t prevent US citizens from buying Russian vodka, Cuban cigars or Canadian pharmaceuticals. If our trading partners want to impose tariffs on our Monsanto corn, let them. That’s their right. Reciprocity is reasonable feedback mechanism that helps balance trade without undue interference. If this means our corn growers lose some foreign markets, maybe they should consider growing something that we need in the United States, such as hemp for biofuel. A healthy domestic economy is one that is more self-sufficient and depends upon as little foreign trade as possible. As you note, we have become a consumer economy (due largely to our manipulative “free” trade agreements), which puts us in a vulnerable position. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to imagine that, if the power centers of the world shift, the US could be hit with sanctions for our human rights violations–e.g., our role in the ongoing genocide in Yemen or our high per capita incarceration rate–and the supply of imported products we depend on too much could be cut off. Then we would experience some of the hardships that have toughened up the Russians and the Iranians. We might do well to prepare for the worst by focusing on building up a strong domestic production economy.
We agree the US needs to end fractional reserve banking. (I believe we should gradually raise the percentage that banks need in deposits to make loans until it is 100%.) We also agree that the amount of US dollars that the US Treasury creates should be limited. That limit could be based the amount of gold in reserve or it could be pinned to another commodity and/or also limited to the population. We probably also agree that no new US dollars should be created to be spent on warfare or welfare. However much these expenses may be needed, they would have to be funded by other means because to create new dollars for these purposes would devalue the dollar and create inflation (welfare/warfare aren’t tangible public assets that can be used to bring in revenue). If the Federal Reserve is phased out, the amount of money in circulation will shrink as loans are paid back. New dollars (the amount of which is limited) could be created and transformed into infrastructure assets that will return user fees. Thus these new dollars would be backed by the value of the infrastructure. This is effectively backing the dollar, not with a commodity, but with a tangible asset. We also agree that a National Public Bank should not create debt, should not loan to private individuals or private industry and should not attempt to manage the economy or set interest rates. (Individual state Public Banks could keep government deposits and could make loans to towns at 0% interest.) I see a Public Bank primarily as a way to fund public infrastructure without levying taxes or paying interest. In this respect, I see the Federal government’s role as public building construction and maintenance. (The gov would build/buy state hospitals, but not run them. The gov would build and maintain state schools grounds, but not run the programs. Medical and educational services should be managed by the people directly involved in those services.)
Regarding health care, as a Libertarian, you ought to agree that the government should not dictate how medical care is administered. Those decisions should be made by the professionals together with their clients. I believe a government should provide the facilities and equipment only, not the health policies. I advocate a system of state owned, non-profit facilities (built by Public Bank funds) operating alongside but separate from private facilities. The public would be free to choose to use state facilities whose fees would reflect the basic actual material and staff costs of the services. In addition the Federal government would be smart to act as insurer, providing for free catastrophic care for all citizens, after paying a sliding scale deductible, but without paying premiums, fees or a taxes.
I do not support tax-deductions for education or voucher programs which funnel tax money to private educational providers for private benefit. This does not benefit the public at large, and thus it is inherently unfair to tax-payers in general. This is a form of government subsidy of a private industry. As a Libertarian you might agree with me that the government should be much less involved in education. Public education should not be funded by property taxes; property taxes put the essential social safety net of basic home ownership at risk. Read my opinions on education here: https://directdemocracyus.org/2016/07/03/public-education/. I’m way ahead of you in my Libertarian desire to get rid of most taxes, not just offer tax deductions for certain things.
I know my platforms seems to differ from the standard Libertarian platform, but I hope you can agree that decentralization of concentrated powers is the prevailing theme in all of the above. Thanks for bringing up all these issues. Your questions are the ones that will inevitably come up with Libertarians and I hope that by answering your concerns here, I have satisfied many others who would ask the same things. I won’t comment further on this particular comment, instead I want to open the issue up to discussion to others with similar interests.
With respect and mutual concern,
” I won’t comment further on this particular comment, instead I want to open the issue up to discussion to others with similar interests”
That’s too bad. I always enjoy a lively, sophisticated, exchange of views.
If you are planning to be in Hudson,(or Claverack), please let me know. I would most like to meet you.
P.S. If you would like additional help with your campaign let me know. I am always available to assist a compatriot.
Well, here I go breaking a campaign promise not to comment further. Thanks, David. I like a lively discussion too. I’ve gotten a lot of help from fellow Libertarians putting this platform together. It’s been a learning experience for us all. If you want to organize a meeting of three or more and I’ll come to speak to your group, in Hudson or Claverack. Could be at a diner or library or public park. I spoke at the Claverack Library last year on the subject of propaganda and met a lot of nice people in town. In the meantime, you can download a petition and help us collect signatures. We need to get 3,500 by July 24. Here’s the link to download the PDF, plus instructions. https://directdemocracyus.org/sign-ballot-petition-gather-signatures/
Sign me up!
Great to have Anonymous on my team.
9 months ago billionaire child rapist Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell. The cause of his death was referred to for investigation by the Inspector General, Michael Horowitz. Three months later, a bipartisan group of US Senators requested a result of the investigation. This was OVER SIX MONTHS AGO! If elected to Congress, would you use your position of authority to join on to this request and form a new request for a result of the investigation?
Epstein didn’t kill himself. I doubt that anyone will be able to bring justice this case, but I want to work with you and all other Americans to dismantle the system that produces monsters like this. We start with the Federal Reserve which has the power to create US dollars. Whoever creates the money has the power.