JUNE 8, 2012 7:07AM

Unified Progressive Platform; The New Progressive Alliance

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 basically one party_chomsky

Considering the damage that fear and ignorance have reaped upon the planet for years and upon America in recent elections, Americans must awaken to the fact that our façade of a two-party political system must become extinct, as it clearly can no longer serve needs of the majority of average citizens.   The Unified Progressive Platform is the only current platform that truly addresses the real issues in America’s current reality.  Recent events in Wisconsin and also in several other Republican-dominated states are revelations, so loud and clear as to be undeniable, of the need to undermine the so-called two-party system.  That truth is as simple as the following quote:

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

- George Santayana (1863-1952)

Visit their Web site at the link above for more detailed background and information under each of the following points of their platform agenda from their Web site:


Note: The text colors in this document indicate source material, whether ideas or verbatim statements, as follows:

        New Progressive Alliance members, volunteers, and comments submitted via blog postings during the NPA’s founding

        Green Party

        United Progressives

        Socialist Party USA

        1892 Populist Party

        1912 Progressive Party

1. Peace First

A world of increasing population, diminishing resources, and unstable climate is a world poised for conflict.

We therefore oppose war as an instrument of foreign policy, and support an overarching commitment to nonintervention in foreign lands.

2. Full Employment at a Living Wage

Peace + People + Planet = Economic Sustainability

The costs of supporting our war-based economy, coupled with bailouts of unethical and in many cases lawbreaking for-profit institutions, preclude the possibility of investing in a new economic paradigm that does not profit from death and financial speculation.

3. Saving the Environment

We envision a sustainable society that recognizes our interdependence with the planet and utilizes resources such that future generations will benefit rather than suffer from the practices of past generations.

To this end, we support science-based policies …

4. A Real Social Safety Net

We stand firmly in support of strengthening, expanding, and protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance by any means necessary.

Unemployment and home foreclosures, a lack of financial system protections, failure to collect revenue sufficient to fund government operations (including illegal wars), and failure to provide for America’s future have all but destroyed this country’s social fabric. Through the worst possible fiscal management, our social safety net hangs by a thread.

5. Medicare for All

We support Medicare for All as the single most effective approach to cutting runaway healthcare costs, and providing high-quality health care for all Americans.

Americans spend far too much on health care and get far too little in return. Studies show we spend twice as much as other developed countries but consistently underperform them in quality of care, efficiency, and fairness.

The best solution to our overpriced, under-served situation is the simplest: we need to move to a universal, single-payer system: , Medicare for All.

A bill supporting this change — H.R. 676, The American People’s Universal Health Care Bill — was first introduced in the U.S. House in 2003, and has been reintroduced in each Congress since, including during the healthcare reform debates of 2009, when it was actively refused consideration.

6. Fair Trade

We support reformulation of all international trade relations and commerce practices in order to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment, and domestic industry of this nation, and those of partner and recipient nations.

Trade policy, as currently defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), and the nascent Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), privileges capital and corporations at the expense of people and the planet. Recognizing this, we support trade policy reformulation that enables local industry and agriculture to take precedence over corporate domination.

(I’ve include the entire section under the following sections, #7 and #8, because I believe this particular area is where recent administrations have most egregiously failed and where reform would most immediately lead to overall progress.)

7. Human Rights/Civil Liberties

We are dedicated to protecting, respecting, and expanding the rights and civil liberties of all citizens.

Our country was founded upon a set of principles and ideals that have their most eloquent expression in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Based on these core values, we support equal rights for all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, or other status, including the right of same-sex couples to marry, and the right of all women to make decisions about their reproductive health.

We further support ending criminal prohibitions on the use and sale of marijuana and advocate its immediate legalization, and more broadly, an end to the so-called War on Drugs, an un-winnable war that has distracted us from our far more pressing responsibilities of caring for and expanding the chances of success of all our citizens.

We support the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an international standard that all nations should strive to meet.

With rights come responsibilities. We must remember that life is both individual and social, that freedom must be balanced with equality and justice. The Preamble to our Constitution lists “to promote the general Welfare” as one reason for its establishment. To an increasing degree over the past forty years — and particularly during economic crises — this charge has been ignored by both major political parties, which have instead seen fit to promote the special welfare of the rich and powerful.

We must, as the Progressive Party stated in its 1912 platform, “set the public welfare in the first place,” thereby returning the general welfare clause to its paramount place in government policy making, and making government good again. Our people have been wrongly taught that government is the enemy. Government can and should comprise people working together for their own collective benefit.

Further:

• The USA PATRIOT Act is an Orwellian abomination wrapped in a snide misnomer. It violates key privacy and due process protections and contains vast potential for the abuse of power. It must be repealed.

• We must close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; try individuals accused of terrorizing the United States on our own soil; stop playing extra-jurisdictional and semantic games (e.g., using black sites and calling POWs “enemy combatants”); and end the U.S. government’s terrorizing of its citizens to justify imperialism.

• The right to a writ of habeas corpus must be restored immediately, and criminal investigations into all post-9/11 acts perpetrated in the name of “security” must be launched. These include warrantless wiretapping, torture, rendition, assassination, indefinite detention, obstruction of justice, and the twisting of legal advice by executive branch and DoD lawyers to justify such acts.

8. Election Reform

We support full public financing of elections in order to remove undue influence from political campaigns. Further, we recognize and are committed to ending the myriad opportunities for fraud which now exist in our electoral system.

Our democracy is at peril. In a system where money equals speech, the rich can afford to drown out the rest. They own mainstream media outlets, fund the Commission on Presidential Debates, bankroll think tanks and policy institutes, fund academic research, finance artificial grassroots (“astroturf”) organizations — in short, the wealthy have built a propaganda empire that manufactures consent for all things contrary to the public interest.

In addition, they underwrite influence factories like the American Legislative Exchange Council, institutionalizing and streamlining the quid pro quo process and matching corporate contributors with legislators-for-hire in a highly structured arrangement that leaves voters entirely out of the loop. The recent Citizens United ruling was the final blow to American democracy, which is now for sale to the highest bidder.

Therefore:

• In line with public financing, all qualifying candidates must have free and equal access to radio, television, and press coverage, and be included in any and all public debate forums.

• We support uniform ballot-access laws that make it easier for all political parties to include their candidates on the ballot.

• We support the adoption at local, state, and federal levels of ranked choice voting, as a mechanism to ensure that elections result in an intelligent exchange of varied perspectives.

• We endorse the use of auditable, hand-counted paper ballots in all local, state, and federal elections.

• We support the abolition of the Electoral College, such that the President of the United States would be elected solely through a direct popular vote.

• We support efforts to ensure that the membership of the United States House of Representatives is substantially increased in order to adhere to the original intent for that body to provide this country's citizens with representation at a ratio that will allow citizens and representatives to know and communicate with one another.

• Corporate law must be rewritten to overturn Citizens United. In the absence of comprehensive campaign finance reform, legislation such as the DISCLOSE Act would impose transparency on the current system. A constitutional amendment would establish that money is not speech and that corporations are not persons.

9. Corporate Accountability/Reform

National and multinational corporations have become too powerful. We must reduce the economic and political clout of corporations, improve corporate citizenship, increase executive responsibility, and require corporations to serve society and democracy while safeguarding the environment.

Improved tax and regulation compliance, enhanced shareholder democracy and governance, and the abolition of corporate personhood will help us reach these goals.

We must also:

• Change corporate charters to reflect a “triple bottom line” orientation that measures social and ecological performance in addition to financial performance.

10. Infrastructure Investment/Ownership

We support the establishment of a publicly funded infrastructure bank to capitalize large-scale physical projects and direct funding toward associated research and development.

Forty years of defunding the public sector has saddled America with an outdated and crumbling infrastructure. In all that time, the private sector has not stepped forward to remedy this steadily worsening reality.


As I said, there is more information under the above points at their Web site; I have provided an overview of the Unified Progressive Platform.  All the above points represent America’s overriding issues of importance and it is clear that both the Democrat and Republican Parties are not prepared, or even willing, to deal realistically with any of these issues.  They are, I guess, if you consider perpetuation of these problems as dealing with them realistically.  The point, of course, is that we need to change approaches to ALL of these issues and that won’t happen if we merely continue with the same failed modus operandi.

The vast majority of voters in the upcoming elections will, once again, vote their fears and/or ignorance rather than principles.  There are those who vote because they are ignorant of how ignorant they are – the voters who are collecting unemployment, food stamps, disability, social security or some combination thereof, and think they should vote Republican despite the fact that the Republicans are most firmly poised to eliminate as many or as much of those social safety nets as they can possibly manage and despite the fact that conservative policy is what creates the need for those programs in the first place and Republicans never stop trying to chip away at those programs.

On the other side of the aisle we have the Democrats who, either cannot or choose not to, stand firmly against those Republicans because both parties have contributed to the creation of a system that is singularly merged with corporate-America and both parties are therefore dependent on corporate capital to compete with each other.  Either way, neither party represents the interests of average citizens and, instead, subjugates them to the corporate oligarchy.

Those who are truly ignorant will vote their ignorance; those who know better will vote their fears.  Among them are those who recognize the truth that there are viable alternatives to the two major parties.  All that is required is for people to inform themselves about those alternatives, overcome their fear that is the undoing of this nation, and vote differently.  Call me an idealist, if you must; that puts me in very good company.  America was founded by liberal/progressive idealists.  Why do so many persist in arguing that abandonment of that idealism is its only salvation?  Undermining this two-party strangling choke-hold that is destroying everything good about America is the only chance we have of saving any of the good.

 

boston-massacre

  The Boston Massacre


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Comments

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I hope more people will become aware of this and recognize that we can forge new possibilities if we recognize our fears and don't vote them.
Your vision of the problems is as accurate as any I've ever seen - perhaps more so.

I'm not sure that the "solutions" you offer are quite as good. I cannot convince myself that putting yet another politrickial party in office will really do much good. I suggest that the whole concept of electing career politrickians, of any stripe, will lead to a continuance of corruption in government. I am also very unhappy with the "pyramid of power" an electoral method engenders.

The management of our social system needs to be in the hands of the citizens directly, not through the medium of elected "representatives" who always seem to end up representing anybody and everybody BUT the electorate.
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Rick, this is fabulous! Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I'll now do what I can to spread the word even farther.
Ah, Sky,

Good to see you after our last miscommunication. I can't say I disagree with what you've said. I've thought the same for years -- the need for "representatives" is questionable at best. And as you point out, there is no guarantee of what will happen regardless of who we send. For now, though, this new alliance will offer something different if it can grow enough to become a genuine factor in regular elections.

And just to reiterate ...I will never delete comments from my blogs; never have, never will.
Karen,

I'm glad you found it useful. Based on your own posts, which I've been reading, I figured you'd be, at least, interested in this. What amazes me is the number of people who are not interested, as well as the number who seemingly have a knee-jerk negative response, as if they simply WANT things like this to fail. I just scratch my head and wonder what they are thinking. How do they expect to bring about change by refusal to change?
This makes sense and I had no idea there was a United Progressive Platform. I don't care what others tell me, I'm not voting for the two parties who consistently act against me. I may be a little bit off but that doesn't make me suicidal or a masochist. I want a better planet, a better country and a better life for myself and my children.

If I want something better I have to vote for something better. That's what seems smart to me. Thanks for the post and the link.
Oops, Unified. Oh well, I got the link.
Bleue,

You didn’t know about it because it is “new”, as it says. Most of these factions have been around for a while but with no apparent cohesion. This year, Rocky Anderson joined forces with the newly formed Justice Party and now he and Jill Stein from the Green Party have joined forces with all these other factions to unify enough backing to potentially become a meaningful force. This is something to watch if for no other reason than it has tremendous potential. It will be interesting to see how much of that potential they can harness into useful action.

Obama and the Dems had a great opportunity at the end of the Bush/Cheney regime and they pissed it away, they betrayed their supporters. Hopefully, this new alliance has learned from the Dems’ mistakes and can direct their opportunity into something of long-term relevance. I think we may be at a point of perhaps the greatest opportunity a third party has ever had to become significant and generate real change instead of the empty rhetoric of change that Obama sold to Americans in 2008.
It's intriguing how so many people show so little interest in this. I think it says a lot about why we are where we are.
It's a good list of issues. Until/unless it gains some hope of actually winning, I worry it could split the Obama vote, which for me is a showstopper. Your (and Noam's) characterization of the two existing parties as essentially the same doesn't capture my view of the present situation.

I see two electable parties which have really substantial differences that will make a life-and-death difference for many people, myself included, just to take one example. Insurance companies employ people whose job it is to think up ways to exclude me (for having had cancer) and many others from (affordable) coverage. Obama and the Democrats have put into place changes that will change that in at least some ways that are really material; the Republicans have openly promised to dismantle it on day one. To refer to these two parties as if they are the same is to lose all credibility and undermine the rest of your case. My eyes glaze over because it calls into question all judgment you might have on matters of legitimate substance that follow.

The NPA agenda looks really extremly reasonable, just unachievable. What is lacking is not to convince me that this is a good agenda. It's to convince me that there is not an intermediate state in which the GOP takes control and then further manipulates voting so that no one can ever vote for anything but them again. They are already well underway on such plans, yet another really material difference between them and the Democrats.

I do not believe you can get from here to there in a straight line by merely getting more support. I think the voting system must be repaired first. I think health care must be locked into place. I think GOP austerity plans must be voted out. I think that veritably requires getting behind Obama at this point. I think there is a substantial chance that a spoiler candidate of this kind could bleed off just enough votes to make a President Mitt a possibility.

If someone fields a serious NPA candidate for Senator or Rep who shows a material chance of winning, that's a conceivable way to enter the dialog, since they could still caucus with the Dems in order not to be a spoiler that throws power to the GOP. Bernie Sanders gets a lot of play for ideas that differ from those of other candidates.

But really the issue is about candidates, not ideas. That's what people elect. They have to come from somewhere, acquire trust, etc. And like it or not, saying that socialists and greens are in there is interesting historically but they'll make no progress gaining the kinds of numbers they need until they make it 100% clear that you don't have to endorse these parties to endorse the unified agenda. And by 100% clear, I don't mean by saying some sentence somewhere, I mean by eliminating all trace of something that can be lifted and quoted in a negative ad. An uphill battle for sure. And don't bother trying to convince me on this one; this is not me needing convincing. This is me telling you others will, and they still will no matter how much you try—even effectively—to convince me.

In closing, let me say something in response to your remark about how lack of interest shows why we are where we are. Actually, I think the public is collectively pretty savvy about the limits of consensus building in an environment that is really toxic to new ideas, and that will remain so even as you try to replace that with something else up to the moment you succeed. That is, a less toxic environment will be brought into existence only by dragging it through the toxic one we have now. I don't think people are disinterested so much as realistic and waiting for someone to say not how cool this would be but to demonstrate in clear terms how it's even got a chance of being achievable.
I'll go a step further and underscore that OWS was a huge missed opportunity in this regard. People expected it to start back in the spring, but I don't see it, and I bet the Plutocracy is ready for them if they do. But in their zeal to be egalitarian and not to endorse a party, for the sake of inclusion, they yielded a serious amount of clout. They could have been a party, but they wanted to reject the notion that this is how parties are made, or even that they had to go through the existing process. But it would take something of that mass scale to stand up and say “We are the NPA” for the NPA to suddenly have credibility. To do the same thing in little pieces could work, but is much harder, and seriously less likely. I guess what I'm saying is that OWS tried to be all things to all people, and should instead have recognized that it could not be. It should have picked “good enough” and focused immediately on tangible goals. Ironically, it lost momentum the same way that Obama did, by not wanting to prematurely spend capital, not understanding that “mandate” is highly ephemeral and cannot be banked.
Thank You for publishing this superb article, Rick. The phrase "publish or die" should be changed to "end the lesser of two evils two-party system or die."

Regardless of which of the two parties one chooses, they DO NOT represent the will of the people.

Afghanistan is a prime example. In this compendium of polls, ALL show disapproval for the war in Afghanistan. The fox poll, of all polls shows a SEVENTY-EIGHT percent disapproval rating.

http://www.pollingreport.com/afghan.htm

GREAT post -deserves to be an EP

-R-
Good post, Rick, and your final paragraph sums it all up perfectly:

"Those who are truly ignorant will vote their ignorance; those who know better will vote their fears. Among them are those who recognize the truth that there are viable alternatives to the two major parties. All that is required is for people to inform themselves about those alternatives, overcome their fear that is the undoing of this nation, and vote differently. Call me an idealist, if you must; that puts me in very good company. America was founded by liberal/progressive idealists. Why do so many persist in arguing that abandonment of that idealism is its only salvation? Undermining this two-party strangling choke-hold that is destroying everything good about America is the only chance we have of saving any of the good."

That's where we're at. Our current two-party system, wherein the two parties are mirror images of each other, gives an illusion of choice, but both of our corrupt parties are nothing but whores to corporotacracy. Until our electorate grasps that fact we're doomed to a race to the bottom that will only end with abject serfdom or violent revolution.
Rick,
The problem with this platform is that, outside of the Politically Involved people, nobody pays attention to platforms. They used to mean something back in the day, but now nobody really pays attention to Dem or GOP platforms. If you managed to get Joe Sixpack to read it without his eyes glazing over, he might find a point or two of agreement, but wouldn't endorse the whole enchilada because it's too complicated or it has things that sort of smell like things he wouldn't get behind.

The Libertarian Party has a platform, as does the Green Party and the Etc, Etc Parties. Aside from the difficulty of getting attention in a market where few pay attention to the product - politics-, the main reason they can't get traction is because they attempt to provide answers-as-positions across an overly broad spectrum of issues. Buy one, buy it all, like a religion, not a market of ideas.

There's that old saying about how you lead a horse to the barn one handful of hay at a time, but if you begin by dropping a bale on his head it just confuses or pisses him off. My advice, for what it's worth (not much when directed at the politically interested), is to pick the one issue that appeals to the most people and throw the rest out. The issues of civil liberties and world peace are important, but can't be addressed effectively when people's minds are focused on economic distress.

If the idea is to have the Green Progressive Socialists please themselves with their fealty to what they see as Right and Good, then the platform serves a purpose. If the idea is to have an effective political movement, trim down the menu, lose the Progressive/Socialist/Green labels (because they invite preconceived notions), and figure out a position that can be summarized on a bumper sticker.

That doesn't ensure effectiveness, but it's the place to start. Beyond that, it's still a crap shoot.