Progressive History

If Workers Take Advantage Of The Moment They Can Turn Things Around To Benefit Labor

Workers are the 99%. We have the votes. This time we need to use them together. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (9/2/19) Working people in America are waking up to the fact that they need unions. The most progressive aspects of the workplace have all come from banding together and standing together for worker rights, and as the erosion of those hard-won gains has accelerated, interest in rebuilding the union movement is finally reviving. Besides stagnant wages and dissolving benefits, the most obvious loss is the 40-hour week. Mandatory overtime, and conversely, the less than 35-hour week that avoids…

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To Rescue Democracy Now We Need To Revive The Reforms Of Wisconsin’s Progressive Era

Statue of progressive hero Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette in the Wisconsin State Capitol. By Ganesh Sitaraman The Guardian (8/30/19) In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville offered a prescient warning for “the friends of democracy”. In a chapter called “How Aristocracy Could Issue from Industry” he observed that industrial capitalism would create economic inequality between owners and wage-workers and divide them culturally, morally, and socially. With the rise of industrial capital, Tocqueville feared there would be no genuine relationships between these two emergent classes. “If ever a permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy are introduced anew into the world, one…


Corporate Dems Have Been In The Driver’s Seat For 30 Years. No More.

“I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas.” — Sen. Bernie Sander, second democratic presidential debate. By Btanko Marcetic In These Times (7/31/19) For the past three decades, the Democratic Party has been living with a debilitating trauma that’s left it a shell of what it once was. But if Tuesday night’s debate is any indication, the Democrats may finally be moving into the home stretch of a long, painful recovery. Rather than sticking to the longtime script of Democrats pandering to the center, the two highest polling candidates on the stage—Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—articulated a clear-eyed left-wing vision of…


There’s One Bipartisan Heresy That Really Sets Bernie Apart From All Other Dem Contenders To Unseat Trump

By Greg Grandin The Nation (7/16/19) Let’s be clear: Bernie Sanders’s heresy, what sets him apart from every Democrat running to unseat Donald Trump, is not simply that he calls himself a socialist in a country long proudly identified as capitalist. Those two labels, socialist and capitalist, are open to too many interpretations and represent too many historical examples (everything from Norway to the United States, Stalin’s Soviet Union to Hitler’s Nazi Germany) to pin down. Rather, a more precise way to define the historic nature of Sanders’s campaign would be to focus on his promotion of social or economic rights and how…



Looking For Some Hope & Inspiration? Check Out Netflix Film ‘Knock Down The House’

By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (5/16/19) I just finished watching the movie “Knock Down The House” on the 2018 House races of several courageous progressive women, including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. The movie is on Netflix. It is a great and inspiring movie with wonderful insights on mounting races against corrupt, entitled, entrenched incumbents. While AOC is the main focus of the movie the other women and their supporters are just as inspiring. I strongly encourage you to watch and study what these brave women did. I guarantee you will have tears of joy and inspiration in the last…


Wall Street LOVES Socialism … For Bankers – But Not For Ordinary Americans

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon decries socialism. Unless of course it’s the banks wanting government bailouts! By Robert Reich The Guardian (4/8/19) In his annual letter to shareholders, distributed last week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon took aim at socialism, warning it would be “a disaster for our country,” because it produces “stagnation, corruption and often worse.” Dimon should know. He was at the helm when JPMorgan received a $25bn socialist-like bailout in 2008, after it and other Wall Street banks almost tanked because of their reckless loans. Dimon subsequently agreed to pay the government $13bn to settle charges that the bank overstated the quality of mortgages…


History They Don’t Want You To Know! From Dumping Henry Wallace To Blocking Bernie: How The Democratic Party Often Betrayed The Working Class

  Wallace was one of the most popular public figures in America during the 1930s. The Real News Network (3/20/19) (A replay of a TRNN interview from June 2016) Peter Kuznick, co-author of The Untold History of the United States, spoke to Paul Jay about the significance of the vice presidency of Henry Wallace, who served in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the context of the Bernie Sanders campaign. “[The historian] Arthur Schlesinger talked about him being the greatest secretary of agriculture in American history,” said Peter Kuznick. “He turned the agricultural economy around. In 1932, the farm…


Eugene V. Debs And The Enduring History & Essential Role Of American Socialism

Socialism has been carried into the twenty-first century by way of Sanders, a Debs disciple, and by way of the utter failure of the two-party system. By Jill Lepore The New Yorker (2/17/19) Eugene Victor Debs left school at the age of fourteen, to scrape paint and grease off the cars of the Vandalia Railroad, in Indiana, for fifty cents a day. He got a raise when he was promoted to fireman, which meant working in the locomotive next to the engineer, shovelling coal into a firebox—as much as two tons an hour, sixteen hours a day, six days a…


Corporate Democrats Are Also Terrified Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And That’s A Very Good Thing.

Corporate Dem AOC Freak Out! ***** Grassroots progressives are a direct challenge to the mutual-protection racket among corporate Dems. By Norman Soloman HuffPost (1/14/19) In the last few days, both Politico and the New York Times have reported that freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [AOC] has ruffled the feathers of fellow congressional Democrats. Chief among the reasons for the tension? Ocasio-Cortez’s apparent support for progressive primary challenges against centrist Democrats. It’s one of the most significant ideas the young New York congresswoman has brought with her to Washington. That’s because turning the Democratic Party into a truly progressive force will require turning…


Share Our Nation’s Collective Wealth With All Citizens? Hell, Yeah! Let’s Start Now – Here’s How

  By Sam Pizzigati OurFuture.org (10/2/18) By In the United States, back during the Great Depression, three simple words animated a grassroots upsurge that would help make this nation the world’s first mass middle-class society: Share the wealth! And the nation did. By the end of the 1960s, the top one percent’s share of America’s national income had dropped by more than half. The bottom 90 percent share, meanwhile, had jumped from half the nation’s total income to over two-thirds. Redistribution — via the tax code — drove this dramatic egalitarian shift, as high incomes faced high tax rates throughout the middle decades of…


How Privatization Divides & Weakens Us, While Public Institutions Make Us A Better People

For the 1%. By Paul Buchheit Nation of Change (9/25/17) Most people looking to make big money are eager to disparage public systems as inefficient, wasteful, inferior. Many of those people are in a position to starve the public systems of funding, thereby making them less functional, and making the private options look more appealing. But privatization is not the solution, it is the problem. Properly supported public systems serve more people in a more efficient and less costly way. We might begin by looking at FEMA, the underfunded disaster relief program much maligned for its response to Hurricane Katrina in…


Dunk Shot: How Progressives Can Simply & Properly Frame The Issue Of Paying Taxes

“Taxation is paying your dues, paying your membership fee in America. If you join a country club or a community center, you pay fees. Why? You did not build the swimming pool. You have to maintain it. You did not build the basketball court. Someone has to clean it. You may not use the squash court, but you still have to pay your dues. Otherwise it won’t be maintained and will fall apart. “People who avoid taxes, like corporations what move to Bermuda, are not paying their dues to their country. It is patriotic to be a taxpayer. It is…


The American Tradition Of Citizens Standing Up To The Bullying Of Workers

“The fruits of toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes – tramps and millionaires.” – From the People’s Party platform first convention in Omaha, Nebraska in 1892. The party won almost 9% of the presidential vote that year. They elected over 1,500 candidates, including three governors, five senators and ten congressmen. In 1884 they doubled their vote, electing seven congressmen…


Grandson Of Former VP Henry A. Wallace On Standing Rock’s Fossil-Free Future & Looming Threat Of American Fascism

“Trump is that merger of government and corporate power.” Democracy Now! (7/4/17) As we continue to look at how the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is embracing renewable energy, we turn now to Scott Wallace and Ellen Dorsey of the Wallace Global Fund. The fund recently awarded the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe the inaugural Henry A. Wallace Award and a $1 million investment in renewable energy projects led by the tribe. The award is named after Scott Wallace’s grandfather Henry A. Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945. In 1944, Wallace published an iconic…


The Most Important Interview You Can Watch This Month: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder On How The U.S. Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

“Twentyith century authoritarians have learned the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next. Which means that we have to have an active relationship with both to history, so you can see how failure arises and learn from people who try to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our institutions; that institutions are only as good as the people who attempt to serve them ” – Timothy Snyder Democracy Now! (5/30/17) Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder…


Why Progressives Need A Long-term Strategy Built On Values

  By Steve Atcheson Common Dreams (5/6/17) Ever since Trump got elected, there’s been a lot of talk about resistance. As the country marked Trump’s first 100 days, it reached a crescendo. Then Republicans in the House passed Trump care—one of the cruelest Bills in recent memory. The reason they can screw so many people with relative impunity, is that they’ve invested decades in creating a mega-narrative that insulates them from consequences. Certainly, we must resist Trump’s destructive agenda in every way we can. But if progressives are to recapture the hearts and minds of America it will take far…


Accuser In Infamous Emmett Till Case Admits: I Made It Up

The Young Turks (1/27/17) The woman who accused a 14-year-old African American boy of whistling at her in the 1960s has recanted. The boy was brutally murdered after her accusation. John Iadarola, Michael Shure, and Jimmy Dore, the hosts of The Young Turks, tell you about this injustice. Tell us what you think in the comment section below. https://www.tytnetwork.com/go “The white woman at the center of the Emmett Till case has recanted her testimony related to the lynching of the 14-year-old black boy, according to a new book. “Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Carolyn…