III. D (x/1000wd).
1. (324/250 wds)
Finally, the more nebulous, perhaps, system of free or pro-bono legal financial financial-legal public education, as we reach the mid-point of this phase, must be built up, partly from scratch, to fit the purpose for which the project wishes to build this part of our crucial yet often unseen public domain social infrastructure. These free and freeing activities, from walks to workshops, on financial legal ongoing education, advocate in and of themselves for democracy. Now will be the time to check on the timeline, and also to begin pushing harder on legal avenues, from letters to lawmakers, to lawsuits, if and when necessary, just as used by the NAACP in their coordinated campaigns with the SCLC to end segregation and bring about economic as well as civil justice. This new system is teh last part of phase I, and the first of a set of new systems we will introduce during this project. This one is an integral part of the #PublicDomainInfrastructure movement as education for democracy. By this time, between the middle and the end of our first phase in the project, there should be daily ReTweeting of posts, comments, articles, and workshop schedules on SoLs by volunteers in each state. There should also, by this point, be daily article reposts and discussions on social media, blogs, and in person, between volunteers and the general public, in each community, around how medical debt in particular is related to creating and prolonging the experience of homelessness by two years or more, in some places. Advocacy, especially by law students, should be paid for, in anything from local currencies to student loan forgiveness, to free food, as they give their time to present seminars and workshops in each community, in every state. Finally, lobbying to update all SoLs and remove the practice of requiring accused debtors to defend themselves in court, especially on Time-barred debts (if indeed validated), should become especially intense at this time.
2. (325/250 wds)
At this time, also, measurements should be looked at to determine whether teh milestones for this part of the first phase will be met, and whether this, in conjunction with other parts of Phase I, merits extending the time period for this first phase of the project by up to 5 years. By the end of phase I, which will be decided by each community for themselves, and thus may result in overlapping phases, by location, there should be weekly seminars being given on the soL for that state, in each major city of all 50 states in the union, DC, and territories. By the end of Phase I, each week, there should be at least one report on debt collection activities, and on the outcomes of these activities for those pursued by the collection agencies or creditors, by county, in each of the 50 states, and in the District of Columbia, with comparisons to nearby counties by SES level and court paper filing requirements for that jurisdiction. By the 14th year of this project, weekly library ‘How to Reply’ seminars should be in place, in every branch library, in every city of every state and territory in the USA. These seminars require, it will be reminded, no money nor payment, only willing hands to do the labor. Likewise, weekly seminars disclosing the state of pre-trial diversion or intervention in each jurisdiction, as well as the legality of body attachments, cash or money bail, and any other priorities which the local community may deem to be most important, should be held in easily accessible locations for the public, with handouts to take home and share. Finally, pre trial interventions, body attachment, and cash bail should be either ended, or in the process of being ended, in all states and territories across the country, with strong lobbying of lawmakers, legal proceedings, and other forms of non-violent direct action, if necessary, as agreed upon within each community.
3. (263/250 wds)
At this point, we will have passed the mid-way point of Phase I. The tools and activities which have been developed for other parts of this phase, like public libraries, thus far, can also be applied to this part of Phase I. The 1-minute activities and other tools should now be joined with campaigns to get the attention and agreement of lawmakers, including lawsuits, brought by organizations like the ACLU and the NAACP, if needed, as partners in this work. Weekly criminal justice reform reposts, retweets, articles, workshops and handouts should, by this time, be being presented in every major city, in each state and territory of the US. In like manner, workshops and seminars with free handouts to share on debt law as it has changed, as well as ongoing activities like “Free Walks for Freedom from Debt” and letters to lawmakers regarding, in particular, medical debt as a problem to be solved alongside increasing support for a truly robust public health care system, should be happening in every community, in every major city, and in every state and territory of the US, on at least a weekly basis. Other 1-minute activities, letter writing and delivery campaigns, education, advocacy, and lobbying tools should be developed by committees of volunteers in each community, based on the needs and assets, abilities and unique strengths found within those communities. As these tools are developed, they should be shared, in the context of the problem being solved , the particulars of the solution, and the community for which the solution worked, with other communities, far and near.
4. (387/250 wds)
It should be remembered, first of all, that the very act of giving or attending, or discussing later, a free financial legal seminar or workshop is both practical and symbolic. It is clearly practical in that a set of people are learning a very important set of connected peices of information that we all need in our daily lives, and symbolic in that there is no more powerful symbol of democracy than sharing the rules of how our law works, especially our laws in relation to money, and how it affects the demos, or the people. Ending the scourge of having to pay for pre-trial interventions or diversion, the permitting of body attachments, and the requirement of cash money to make bail, is a crucial act of equity, and also a symbol of hope, and of the earnestness of society to make good on that promise “that all men are created equal.” Or at least, to make a real start on making good on that promise. Any citizen in fear of unjust treatment is bad for both the rule of law, and for our democracy. Therefore, continued walks, use of social media and other tools for education and advocacy, and lobbying of lawmakers for support of free workshops for changes in the criminal justice system tie in with the need for solid library systems, just as they connect to the need for robust public health and transportation systems. Some will ask how we can possibly afford to pay for all of this, which is a fair question, looking at it from where we currently sit, in 2021 CE. But, it should be remembered that not all of this actually needs to be paid for. What it will take is an army of volunteers dedicated to working for peace, democracy, and empathetic education, and willing to do the learning required to then help teach others how to learn, and how to pass that learning on, so as to create a ripple effect down the years and generations. Finding the Willing Workers On Original Formats to create the structures that new tools will fill to help all of us build a better, kinder, safer Democracy, that does not take money, but time, effort, and the faith that it is possible, and worth doing. That, we can certainly pay for.
As we leave chapter 7, and it’s vision for how we might get to the potential of a set of public systems of infrastructure that can help build up our democracy, we look ahead to the concept of adulthood, in the dominant society. Having the space that a good public health care, transport system, library system, and ongoing system of updated legal financial learning can provide gives every citizen the space, at this point, to breath, and to reflect. Reflection is a key skill in the constituents of a republic, and a more robust conception of adulthood can help us learn to think more rationally, and to evolve a habit of reflection, free of the existential fears of not having health care or transportation, and not knowing how to access them. Thus, all members of our society will at have become more able to contribute, and more likely to find the best way that they can contribute. After all, it takes finding the best in ourselves and in others, and nurturing those better angels, in order to become the excellent society that we can be. We shall see a road map for arriving in the place within another 20 years, as we move through chapter 8, coming up next.