Fifth of July—It occurs to us that, belatedly, there is no better time than now to state the big ideas of what we mean by (New) Progressivism. To date we have talked about our book, the 2012 election, Republican myths, why the future points somewhat Left. But here we need to be clearer on what is for us the meaning of basic reforms that we see the country as moving toward, slowly and fitfully at first—maybe—but inevitably.
To be sure, reforms always involve compromise; there will be disagreements within the Democratic Party and certainly with the Republican Party about how or whether to implement these. So consider this a kind of Progressive template or even Manifesto! Special Note and credit, citation: this draft draws on the statement of principles of the VERMONT PROGRESSIVE PARTY… Some of the ordering of their points has been changed and we have added a few things. We are sure they will not mind our admiration for the way they lay out basic ideas! And there are advantages to using an actual organization’s points. The entire Vermont statement is given below our points. Where we have quoted from VERMONT’s Statement, we Italicize.
- POVERTY, economic opportunity– The present distribution of wealth is increasingly skewed toward the richest 10% and much of that in the richest 1%. This represents a really Increasing distance between “rich, middle, and poor”* and is not economically healthy or sane. Society’s wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few, and a wealthy minority should not control the conditions under which we live…
2. Healthcare~ No American should have to want for proper nutrition, access to healthcare, educational opportunity on as near a par to “the best” as feasible… Basic needs, including housing, food, health care, education and energy should be affordable to all and not the means for private profit. Directing more resources toward the care and development of children is essential to a health and prosperous society. Our society’s deeply rooted racism and white privilege, whether overt, subtle or institutional, need to be abolished wherever they exist. We cannot stress this last point enough!
3. ENERGY/CLIMATE CHANGE– We need to create an economy that is sustainable and reverses the destruction of our global environment. Present measures to slow down global warming are inadequate, although some effort is being made; it is far too little and too late. We cannot now fix the “too late,” but we must change the too little, especially in the area of carbon emissions: over land, sea, and in the air—the latter by commercial air (airline) pollution must be addressed. All this is in the interest of our children and theirs, and generations to come. We must go beyond concern for our children and grandchildren. We are responsible for curbing what we might be doing to the detriment of our Great grandchildren and generations to come
- EDUCATION- American children are all entitled to well funded education to protect this country’s future quality of life. If this means shifting the use of national resources from, say, national defense, so be it. If this means increased taxation and federal equalization of resources available to poor school districts to compensate for the local tax base of richer ones, so be it. If any other path is taken as the country comes to its senses, then Inequality of opportunity and rigidity of class lines will be insured. We stress that Progressive education reform is about Opportunity, not “one size fits all” or broad social leveling.
- INFRASTRUCTURE- The infrastructure, road repair, public transportation of many areas of the US leaves a lot to be desired. The opportunities for employment, and not necessarily a “Public Works Administration,” but economic stimulus and improvement of the above, existed but was largely lost during the near train-wreck economic crisis of 2008-2013. If the current and near future political climate is unfavorable for public works programs to improve infrastructure, then some form of federal subsidy may be what it takes.
- DISCRIMINATION- This category will be developed further but our position is that the progressive agenda will favor improving equality in certain areas for racial minorities, women, the working poor, people of all sexual orientations. In sum, creative ways to guarantee legal and social respect for all and reduction of discrimination, relentlessly, where possible. Note that all of these points are not necessarily or projected reality, but that political forces will gradually move Toward that reality. Or to put it differently: the era of Reagan-Bush and its vision of America: is Over.
Vermont Progressive Party Statement of Presumples
Statement of Principles- The purpose of the Progressive Party is to promote economic, social and environmental justice and sustainability through electoral and other democratic political activities, and to become the majority political party, while protecting minority and individual rights and opportunities.
Our country, state and localities can reach their highest social and economic aspirations through truly representative democracy. All people have a right to equal participation in society. Democracy requires empowering people not only in government, but also in the workplace, schools and in the overall economy.
Society’s wealth should not be concentrated in the hands of a few, and a wealthy minority should not control the conditions under which we live.
Collective organizing is essential for people of low and moderate income to attain economic justice.
Everyone is entitled to decent work at a living wage in a safe working environment.
We need to create an economy that is sustainable and reverses the destruction of our global environment.
The burden of taxes should be shared based on ability to pay. Basic needs, including housing, food, health care, education and energy should be affordable to all and not the means for private profit. Directing more resources toward the care and development of children is essential to a health and prosperous society.
Our society’s deeply rooted racism and white privilege, whether overt, subtle or institutional, need to be abolished wherever they exist.
The prevalence of sexism, both overt and subtle, limits and damages us all. More than merely encouraging women to fully participate, we must affirmatively assure their inclusion in all aspects of economic and civil society.
Seniors and people with disabilities should be able to participate fully in society without economic deprivation or social isolation.
All people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to participate fully in society without interference. We must affirmatively ensure their inclusion in all aspects of society.
Our society’s deeply rooted discrimination against low-income people, whether overt, subtle or institutional, needs to be abolished wherever it exists.
Consistent with the rights and equality of others, religious and cultural minority groups deserve respect and freedom from governmental interference. Community members should be fully integrated into decision-making about the economic destinies of their communities. Those who operate a small business or farm, or are self-employed, must be protected from the overreaching power of mega-corporations.
Human labor is the key to creation of wealth. We challenge the assumed right to derive vast wealth from ownership or position. No nation should exploit the labor or resources of another nation or people. Human survival requires the elimination of nuclear weapons and the redirection of military spending to human needs. – See more at: http://www.progressiveparty.org/issues/principles#sthash.Y0DDywYK.dpuf