Progressive History

Sanders’ Campaign Co-Chair Nina Turner Compares Voting For Biden To Eating ‘Sh*t’

By Ron Dicker Huffington Post (7/28/20) The co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ failed presidential campaign profanely blasted presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Monday, striking a divisive note on behalf of unsatisfied progressive voters. Nina Turner, assessing the choice of Biden against President Donald Trump in the November presidential election, told The Atlantic: “It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing.’ It’s still shit.” The Atlantic article, headlined “Don’t Count Trump Out,” detailed several ways Trump could end up winning on Election Day….

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Unscrewing America: Mike McCabe’s Guide To Much-Needed Hope & Pathways To National Renewal

“We don’t need to worry about greatness. We do need to concentrate on goodness, now more than ever.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (7/27/20) After reading a firsthand account of a university professor shot in the head and a Vietnam veteran sprayed in the face with some kind of debilitating spray by government storm troopers in Portland in the past day or two,  it is a bit of a task to find something positive; something hopeful. Fortunately, Mike McCabe’s latest book “Unscrewing America: Hints And Hopes From The Heartland” is filled with examples of practical hope. McCabe, who…


MLK Identified ‘America’s Triplets’ — Racism, Yes, But What About Our Militarism & Materialism?

We are now a nation of citizen-consumers, held in thrall to the extreme materialism that Dr. King decried. By Andrew Bacevich TomDispatch (6/23/20) In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Americans are finally—or is it once again?—confronting the racism that afflicts this country and extends into just about every corner of our national life. Something fundamental just might be happening. Yet to state the obvious, we’ve been here before. Mass protests in response to racial inequality and discrimination, including police brutality, have been anything but unknown in the United States. Much the same can be said of riots targeting black…


History They Don’t Want You To Know: What We Can Learn From FDR’s ‘New Deal’ During An Earlier Period Of National Collapse

By Adam Waller & Meghna Chakrabarti On Point / WBUR (5/27/20) Lessons from the New Deal. It wasn’t one big package wrapped in political consensus. We look at the real, messy process that pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression. Lizabeth Cohen, professor of American Studies at Harvard University. Author of “Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age.” (@Harvard) Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. (@JackBeattyNPR) From The Reading List: The Atlantic: “The Lessons of the Great Depression” — “Americans are out of work. More than 20 million lost their…


The Democratic Party Cannot Defeat Trump By Returning To Past Failures

We don’t have to choose between the failed paths of the past. By Winnie Wong Morning Consult (5/12/20) The Democratic Party needs to make a decision about how to confront the most corrupt and dangerous president in modern U.S. history. President Donald Trump poses an existential threat to the health and welfare of the people of this country, as his grossly negligent conduct during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has vividly illustrated. During his tenure in the White House, Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for the working people of this country, while giving succor to the most hateful and bigoted elements of society. Trump has repeatedly…


Time For Progressives To Seize The Means Of Production Of House Relief Bills

Asking for only half as many fire trucks as necessary to rush to the scene of a fire does not make you a wise leader. By Hamilton Nolan In These Times (5/13/20) There is no upside to moderation in the face of a disaster. Asking for only half as many fire trucks as necessary to rush to the scene of a fire does not make you a wise leader; it makes you someone who let the house burn down. No matter how many times we are forced to learn this the hard way, the lesson has not sunk in for…


Chris Hedges On Biden vs. Trump, Bernie Sanders, Corporate Media, Assange & The Empty Shell Of The American Left

  “What is the response? It is to recover a new militancy where we recognize that our planet will not be saved and our democracy will not be restored through existing political systems.” acTVism Munich (5/5/20) In this interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author Chris Hedges, we discuss his past work as a foreign correspondent with the New York Times and why he chose to quit. In addition, we compare Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the context of domestic and foreign policy with a focus on Europe. Lastly we explore the importance of economic…


Veteran Labor Organizer Jane F. McAlevey On The Bipartisan War Against Workers

  “Corporations had to manipulate the process to attack the public sector in similarly clever but different ways from when they set out to destroy the private-sector unions. They sought to offshore the most heavily unionized jobs in the 1970s as they increased spending to fight unions workplace by workplace. Today, driven by Silicon Valley, they are weaponizing technology, using AI and robots not only to help rid the country of the remaining unions but—hell—to eliminate the need for workers at all.” ― Jane F. McAlevey, A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy ***** Jane McAlevey: Many Strikes Are…


The One Simple Question Joe Biden’s ‘Sunshine Progressive’ Supporters Simply Can’t Answer

Hell, even Bernie can’t answer the question. By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (4/30/20) No doubt, Facebook is one of the oddest gathering spots to be found in modern American culture. While some of the postings popping into your day can be entertaining, amusingly distracting, sometimes informative and frequently obtuse, the political flow of Facebook postings rises and falls with the tides and gurglings of the political moment with varying degrees of sanity and inanity. Occasionally, there can be informative and even constructive political dialog on the various ‘progressive’ Facebook pages I follow on a regular basis. Too often,…


Martin Luther King On Dithering White Liberal Centrists

“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree…



“There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. “

  “Men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. … There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. … In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.” — John Steinbeck, The Grapes Of Wrath (1939) ***** Wisconsin Dairy Industry Calls For Help As Farmers Forced To Dump Milk Amid COVID-19…


Declaration Of Independence: Progressives Can’t Divide A Party We Don’t Belong To

As an Independent, I’m far more interested in policy than party. Whoever presents the most Progressive candidate will get my vote. Simple stuff. By Kathy Copeland Padden The Ghion Journal (9/23/19) l don’t think I know a single Progressive and/or Independent who isn’t accused on a daily basis of “splitting the party” or “being divisive” by centrist Democrats. The self-centered assumption that anyone who’s not a member of the GOP owes the other half of the oligarchy allegiance is beyond mind-boggling. I’ve been an Independent since 1983. I’m not dividing any party, as I don’t belong to any party. That’s the whole point of being an Independent….


Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump’s “Trickle-Down” Economic Plans Are Not Enough To Meet Dire Challenge Of Coronavirus Crisis

Democracy Now! (3/19/20) The coronavirus relief package signed by President Trump Wednesday provides unemployment benefits and free coronavirus testing to millions of Americans suddenly out of a job, but guarantees paid sick leave to less than 20% of American workers. Earlier this month, Trump signed into law an $8 billion coronavirus response package and has laid out the first details of a third, $1 trillion economic package and invoked the Korean War-era Defense Production Act to allow the government to direct industrial production. For more on those bailouts and who benefits, we speak with Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia…


Toilet Paper Teaches You All You Need To Know About Economics & The Political Parties

    Capitalism: You have a case of toilet paper. You loan one roll to someone in exchange for regularly receiving more rolls from them. Vulture Capitalism: You buy up the world’s supply of toilet paper, and sell off the individual pieces at a steep markup. Free-market Capitalism: You have a roll of toilet paper, which you are free to use as you wish… or you could sell it, if you want to eat. You have total freedom of choice in the matter. Late Stage Capitalism: You have one roll of toilet paper. Some people have none. I have warehouses…


A Radical Message Of What REAL Resistance In This Nation Will Take If We Are To Survive

“It is our job to make people in power feel fear. That’s our job. … You know why they are so scared? Because they know even better than we do how corrupt and fixed the system is. … They understand how hated they are and that makes them weak.“ This talk by Chris Hedges has been posted in the Commoner Call before, and is well worth the time, but it is being re-posted now specifically for Hedges’ call to resist. After the bumbling debacle of the Iowa caucus and the corrupting influence of oligarch Michael Bloomberg’s millions in the primary process,…


Robert Reich: Why Democrats Share The Blame For Trump’s Reign Of Error

I was part of a Democratic administration that failed to fix a rigged system – I know our current president is a symptom of our disunion, not its only cause. By Robert Reich The Guardian (2/2/20) An impeached president who is up for re-election will this week deliver a State of the Union address to the most divided union in living memory. But why are we so divided? We’re not fighting a hugely unpopular war on the scale of Vietnam. We’re not in a deep economic crisis like the Great Depression. Yes, we disagree about guns, gays, abortion and immigration,…


The ‘Audacity Of Nope’ — Actually, Barack, We Do Need To Tear Down The System

By John Atcheson Common Dreams (11/21/19) There are two ways to practice politics: you can either follow polls or shape them.  For four decades now, Democrats have been poll followers, and Republicans have been poll shapers. Recently, President Obama urged the Democrats to continue being poll followers, saying, “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”  The evidence suggests he’s wrong about that, but even if he isn’t, Democrats need to change the mind of the average American, not be led by it. Here’s why. “The system” was designed by and for corporate America and…


Thom Hartmann & Chris Hedges Talk About The Collapse Of American Liberalism

  [Editor’s Note: This interview is was done nine years ago but is a timely as today’s news. In fact, it helps to explain how we wound up with much of today’s news! — Mark L. Taylor] The Big Picture / RT (12/20/10) In this week’s conversations with Great Minds Thom Hartmann talks with Chris Hedges, journalist and author of “The Death of the Liberal Class”. Chris Hedges says, “The lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, which looks set to make sweeping gains in the midterm elections, is the direct result of a collapse of liberalism. It is the product…


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…


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…