THE 2012 PLATFORM FOR PROGRESSIVES

Drafted to unify the elected officials, candidates, activists, and voters of the 21st Century Progressive movement, and released for public comment, contribution, and consumption on the 100th anniversary of the 1912 Platform of the Progressive Party, August 7, 2012

PREAMBLE

In a time of grave national and global problems, the nation’s sense of justice demands a new platform for American progress.  As progressive voters, activists, and elected officials, we dedicate ourselves to the fulfillment of the duty to maintain the government of the people, by the people and for the People.

We hold with Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln that the People are the masters of their Constitution, to fulfill its purposes and to safeguard it from those who, by perversion of its intent, would convert it into an instrument of injustice.  In accordance with the needs of each generation, the people must use their sovereign power to establish and maintain equal opportunity and social justice, to secure that for which this government was founded and without which no republic can endure.

This country belongs to the people who inhabit it.  Its resources, its business, its institutions and its laws should be utilized, maintained or altered to best advance and promote the general welfare of its People.

It is time to put the public welfare first.

PARTISAN GRIDLOCK

Political parties are supposed exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people.  However, the two dominant parties in Washington sit mired in stagnation, unable to work toward the amelioration of life for all Americans.

The Democratic Party far too often has turned away from its progressive voters who traditionally have worked the hardest to elect Democratic officials.  Many progressives feel marginalized by a political party which takes advantage of their dedicated work and steadfast allegiance.

At this same time, the Republican Party has been co-opted by extreme right wing ideologues operating as an extension of powerful corporate interests.  Rather than working to promote the general welfare of its voters and the American public at large, it has become a tool of corrupt interests which use and manipulate the party to serve their selfish purposes.

So long as the Republican Party pursues the interests of corrupt business and the Democratic Party fails to unveil such treachery, true democratic governance shall elude the American People.  In such a climate, Americans are forced to live under corporate interests which owe no allegiance and which acknowledge no responsibility to the People.  To expose this regime and to dissolve the dangerous alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship today.

A CONTRACT WITH THE PEOPLE

This declaration is our covenant with the People, and we hereby pledge our support as Progressives to the principles set forth herein.

THE RULE OF THE PEOPLE

Progressives, whether as activists, voters, or elected officials, are committed to the principles of government by a self-controlled democracy, expressing its will through representatives of the People.  As such, Progressives pledge themselves to secure positive change in both federal and state law as shall insure the representative character of the government.

In particular, Progressives declare themselves fundamentally opposed to the purchasing of elections by corporate interests, however indirect and veiled such purchases may be.  Because elections are costly in a large and advanced country, and because corporations are too often the entities which fulfill candidates’ needs for funding, progressives are dedicated to making campaigns wholly publicly funded, as this is surely the only way to extract corporate corruption and ensure democratic responsibility in elections.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM

We Progressives, believing that no country can justly claim to be a true democracy while affording corporations and other legal fictions the same rights and privileges as human beings, pledge ourselves to the task of amending the Constitution to ensure that only natural persons are recognized as people for the purposes of elections.  We believe in the principles set forth in the proposed Saving American Democracy Amendment, which stipulates that:

  • Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
  • Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
  • Corporations may not make campaign contributions.
  • Congress and the states have the power to regulate campaign finance.

Progressives believe whatever proposed amendment succeeds in overturning Citizens United and its companion cases must also severely restrain and limit the legal precedent that money is speech entitled to First Amendment protection as established in Buckley v. Valeo.  Furthermore, we assert that the federal government and the states share the right and responsibility to reign in rampant campaign spending.  The federal government must serve as the centerpiece of a national policy which puts the electoral process back into the hands of the American People.  It need not, however, impose any restrictions upon states which desire to further limit the campaign contributions and expenditures of candidates for their state offices and offices in their respective federal delegation.  For the foregoing reasons, we fully endorse the Saving American Democracy Amendment as proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

THE RIGHT TO VOTE

In many states, Republican and conservative operatives have succeeded in moving state legislatures to pass archaic and distressing voter suppression laws.  Organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, have been tactful in moving such legislation across state lines in order to disenfranchise young, poor, and elderly voters in swing states across America.  As Progressives, we see through the propaganda which has been disseminated along with such legislation, and we hereby proclaim that these voter suppression statutes are nothing more than unlawful attempts at rigging our electoral system in favor of the Republican Party.

In order to block the implementation of these newly passed voter suppression laws, and in order to preserve America’s fragile democracy, we call upon the Department of Justice to continue in its legal suits against offending states.  We commend the Department for the action which it has already taken, and we urge it to continue its quest until the implementation of voter suppression laws has been blocked in all states.

THE SUPREME COURT

We Progressives demand accountability and ethical behavior on the part of the justices of the Supreme Court.  Though not accountable to American voters through democratically held elections, the justices of the Supreme Court are responsible to the American public for their enormously powerful role in sculpting the nation’s law, policy, and culture.

First, we hold that no one in the United States is above the law, including those who have a role in shaping it.  Elected officials, from mayor to the President, are all obliged to live within the law.  The unelected Supreme Court Justices are no exception, and must honestly pay taxes, fulfill civic obligations, and refrain from criminal activity, the same as any other citizen.

Second, we hold that in addition to the Justices’ obligations as American citizens, they are bound by a duty of ethical conduct stemming from their tenure on the nations’ highest court.  Such duty unquestionably bars Justices from accepting bribes, engaging in partisan and other political activity, and from consorting with interested parties who would attempt to sway the justices in any way.  We abhor the recent alarming and potentially corrupt behavior engaged in by certain members of the Court, and demand that such Justices be investigated in a dispassionate and non-partisan fashion.

SOCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL JUSTICE

The past several decades have seen an alarming erosion of the industrial justice fought so hard for by progressives in the early 20th Century.  While child labor remains illegal, the minimum wage still fails as a “living wage” in every corner of the country.  Eight-hour days and five-day weeks are now unavailable to millions who struggle with two or more jobs to compensate for their sub-standard wages.  Insurmountable medical bills, inflated housing costs, and the expenses of food and fuel mean that millions of Americans face hunger and homelessness, even though they have worked their whole lives.  This is inexcusable and cannot be further tolerated.

Progressives therefore believe in a Living Wage as a right as citizenship.  Not only would a fair Living Wage empower individual American families to face the increased cost of living, bit it would increase the purchasing power of the United States as a whole, and thereby spur economic growth.  We assert that failing to establish a true Living Wage is tantamount to permitting an entire class of Americans to slip into poverty, an act of negligence which would be detrimental to the advancement of the entire nation.

Progressives realize, however, that a Living Wage cannot and will not fix every social and industrial injustice in this era.  Without further legislative action, a Living Wage can be lost because of an employee’s poor health or because of an unethical firing on behalf of an employer.  With that in mind, Progressives pledge themselves to further reforms in the areas of healthcare, vacation, and family and sick leave, so as to further protect working and middle class families from the vagaries, sicknesses, and injuries which could leave them destitute in today’s economy.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

The development and protection of rural areas is important to all citizens of this country, regardless of whether they themselves are rural or urban dwellers.

At present, many rural areas lie in utter depression as the agriculture and industries which once were the centerpiece of their local and regional economies have long since left.  Still other rural areas are menaced every day by unbridled suburban sprawl destroying family farms, forests, historical sites, and natural resources.

We pledge ourselves to the development of state and federal rural development policies centered on the protection of land and water and the growth of truly local economies.  We also realize that effective rural development and protection is intimately tied to cohesive and strategic urban planning.  Because of this, we pledge ourselves to transit-oriented development, greater mass transit, and the containment of sprawl for our cities.  By considering the needs of urban areas in drafting rural development policies and considering the needs of rural areas when engaging in the practice of urban planning, the inhabitants of the great cities and the rural areas alike will reap the benefits.

HEALTHCARE

After generations under a healthcare scheme which places private sector profits above human health, we pledge ourselves to complete and comprehensive healthcare reform.  The many layers of private sector actors in the current healthcare scheme, from insurance companies to pharmaceutical companies and for-profit healthcare centers, have proven themselves ineffective at providing care to all Americans.  They have also proven decisively that the delivery of healthcare to the public is done least efficiently when it is controlled by many interested, for-profit entities, rather than by one public entity whose sole purpose is to provide for the public good.

In order to deliver comprehensive care to all Americans and to provide our country with a true healthcare system, we pledge to work toward the development of national single-payer healthcare.  We realize that the implementation of a single payer system cannot transpire immediately; however, we are united as Progressives in our drive to move our nation’s healthcare system in an evolutionary fashion toward the ultimate goal of single-payer care for all.

EDUCATION

At this grave moment in our country’s history, there can be no doubt that education is in ruins.  To this day, education in this country still does not have a cohesive, national structure, and still does not exist as a system with freedom and equality of access for all.

To date, leaving education policy almost solely in the hands of individual municipalities and local districts has left our country with a massive and every-widening achievement gap between the children of wealthy families and the children of all other hard-working American families.  Children raised in the wealthiest areas of the Northeast perform at levels which rival those of the children of our global economic competitors, while children raised in the poorest areas of the South are doomed to live their lives with an education comparable to one received in many developing countries.  This has made America less and less of a meritocracy, and leaves the nation’s youth with a destiny determined not by the work of the student, but by the birthplace of the student.  It also leaves our country in a precarious position, with large swaths of its future population insufficiently educated to work productively in the economy of the future.

In order to ensure continued American prosperity and innovation, Progressives hereby advocate the development of a true national system of education.  While keeping the ultimate administration of education within the domain of the states and their municipal entities, the federal government must develop an education system which not only sets national minimum standards for schools to achieve, but which also initiates drastic measures to equalize the discrepancies in funding between schools in wealthy neighborhoods and schools in poorer neighborhoods nationwide.  The Federal Government has already help fund higher education for those lucky enough to gain acceptance to college.  It is time that students of all ages and levels now gain at least the same level of respect and the same vote of confidence from their country.

NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY

Global environmental and economic forces have thrust energy to the forefront of public debate.  Our country, however, has not united around a comprehensive, national energy policy.  For a country so rich in ingenuity, size, and resources, this is unacceptable.  In order for our economy to progress in a responsible and environmentally sound fashion, we must cultivate modern fuel solutions by developing a bipartite policy with transportation needs on one side and power generation and industrial needs on the other.

It is certain that if we do not use our nation’s vastness and geographical diversity to its fullest, we will not be able to meet our economy’s energy demands in an environmentally sound manner.  In that light, Progressives assert that any truly comprehensive energy policy must not replicate our current petroleum-dependent system of consumption by insisting upon a single fuel source or single system of energy distribution.  We realize that we must combine all possible alternative fuels, whether it be biodiesel, hydrogen, and electricity for vehicles, or solar, wind, and hydro for electricity.  We must do this in order to achieve true energy independence, environmental soundness, and national security.

At present, the greatest threats to developing a safe and sound national energy policy are the corrupt interested parties which benefit from the pollution of our country and the endangerment of its population’s health.  It is no secret that massive corporations which use archaic technology to provide energy to consumers are heavily subsidized by the federal government.  Not one of these coal and petroleum corporations, however, can produce a justification for such subsidies, for they are not part of a fledgling industry, nor are they providers of national security.  As Progressives, we stand for the immediate termination of all subsidies to coal, petroleum, and natural gas corporations and demand the federal government subsidize solar, wind, geothermal, and other environmentally friendly energy sources in their place.  To do so will foster nascent American industries, move the nation toward energy independence, improve the health of the planet, and allow America to step back from its excessive entanglement in Mid East affairs.

CONSERVATION

The protection of the natural resources of this country must be shared by the federal government, state governments, and private citizens alike.  These precious sources belong not only to us, but to future generations of Americans.  Because of this, we encourage and endorse the purchase of lands and resources by federal, state, and local governments for the purpose of keeping them preserved in trust for the American public.  We also support keeping lands already publicly owned under public control for the good of all.  Further, we oppose attempts by private companies to develop lands which do not belong to them, but which belong to the American People.

Natural resources which are discovered outside of protected lands and which can be developed responsibly may be so developed, but only with the consent and for the benefit of the public.  For a corporation to claim ownership of the rights to shared resources such as the air and water of a given area is an exercise in absurdity, and cannot be condoned by elected officials or the courts.  Whenever a corporation pollutes the air, it owes a debt to those who breathe it.  Whenever a corporation utilizes a county’s water supply, it owes payment and a guarantee of the safety of that water to the residents of that county.  Whenever a corporation derives profits from an underground resource, it must return a share of its profits to the citizenry which inhabits the region from which the resource has been extracted.  To argue otherwise is to claim that private entities possess rights above and beyond those of American citizens and have interests in natural resources superior to those of human beings.  This is folly, and it condemned unanimously by Progressives.

NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Recent decades have seen the erosion of our nation’s vital infrastructure through the deterioration of roads, highways, and bridges.  Compounding this grave national problem is a lack of investment in proposed new elements for our infrastructure which would expand commerce, ease highway congestion, and help preserve our environment.  These proposed elements, such as high speed rail, increased mass transit, and transit-oriented development are essential if the United States is to remain economically competitive and viable in the 21st Century.

Today’s rampant unemployment, soaring debt, and pervasive air of decline can be greatly alleviated if Congress takes drastic and immediate action to put unemployed citizens back to work building and rebuilding America.  There is simply no reason that American businesses and public workers should be without employment while their country’s bridges crumble and their nation’s 21st Century transit systems remain to be built.

Progressives, united in the belief that economic growth must be balanced with environmental protection, assert that massive public investment in new, clean infrastructure projects is the fastest and most effective way to achieve both goals.  We hold that such investment puts Americans back to work, opens new avenues for commerce, and moves the public away from older modes of transportation and toward newer, cleaner means of travel.

NATURAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT

We firmly believe that the management of disaster areas and the preventative measures to be taken to avoid disasters fall squarely on the shoulders of the federal government.  No portion of American territory or segment of the American population need ever leave its chance at recovery after a disaster to the vagaries and whims of the private sector.  Securing American territory and citizens before, during, and after a natural disaster is a national security obligation which must be fulfilled by the federal government and assisted by state governments to the greatest extent possible.

FREE TRADE VERSUS FAIR TRADE

For far too long, our federal government has pursued a policy of so-called free trade, much to the detriment of working people in the United States and abroad.  These free trade agreements, though stimulating trade by eliminating monetary barriers, have opened the vast and rich American market to substandard imports from countries which exploit cheap labor and which impose no safety standards upon exported products.  It is time that such policies end and, and in their place, a new policy favoring fair trade be enacted.

Progressives believe in trading with other nations to the extent these nations afford their working citizens living wages and basic human rights.  We realize that to purchase products from those who would employ forced labor or keep their workers in inhumane conditions is to engage in such abuses vicariously.  We also realize that trading with such parties also floods the American market with products whose prices undercut competing American products.  This is not because of economic competition; it is because the American worker must be paid a higher wage in order to live in America.

In order to foster the growth of industry in developing countries, stem unemployment in the U.S., and penalize those guilty of human rights abuses, Progressives advocate a new trade policy.  This policy would lower trade barriers to countries with clean records of human rights and institute trade barriers for countries which abuse human rights.  Though this policy could potentially limit the flow of many cheap good to which many Americans are accustomed, it would undoubtedly lower American unemployment, all while encouraging development across the globe and opening trade with other nations that protect the rights of workers.

PROTECTION OF THE INHERITANCE TAX

We believe in a graduated inheritance tax as a means of perpetuating an equitable society with a strong and vibrant middle class.  Recent years have seen the startling emergence of tactics which betray the American public and manipulate the issue of a necessary inheritance tax.  We realize that these are nothing more than attempts to move increasing amounts of wealth toward a few elite members of American society with the passage of each generation.  Such a trans-generational accumulation of wealth serves only to establish a permanent upper class or aristocracy, an inherently un-American and unjust venture.  With equal opportunity and the American Dream at stake, we oppose any attempt to repeal existent inheritance tax stipulations and demand enforcement of the law.

A JUST INCOME TAX

As progressives, we believe in a system of taxation which would no longer permit the wealthiest of citizens to pay a trivial amount in taxes, while middle class and working families are crushed by a burden which truly has an impact on their standard of living.  The present system, which is based upon wages as the common unit to be taxed, allows for the wealthiest of citizens to be taxed only on a portion of their income, while working and middle class families, who live solely on their earned wages, see their entire annual income subject to taxation.  This system is regressive and is outright unjust.

In order to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, Progressives demand that passive income – income which is not earned but which often makes up the majority of the income of the wealthy – be taxed at a rate at least equal to the rate of taxation for wages.  This will ensure that desperately needed income earned by working and middle class families is no longer disproportionately taxed.  It will also ensure that free money, reaped by the wealthy from the gains of their investments, no longer flows to them with only a trivial tax levied therefrom.  Capital gains taxes must not be allowed to continue at a lower rate than the taxes placed on the earned wages of working and middle class families.

Ultimately, Progressives must work toward a system of taxation which determines the size of one’s tax burden based not upon wages or salary, but upon wealth.  As long as a scheme of income taxation is based upon levying taxes from one’s wages, the taxes will always unduly disfavor those whose sole source of income is an earned wage.  At the same time, those whose income is derived only in part from a salary, but whose primary source of revenue is capital gains, are allowed to bring great additional wealth into their homes while only paying true income taxes on the small portion of their annual income which qualifies as a wage or salary.

In order to move past this regressive and archaic system, progressives must work to develop an income tax which not only taxes all forms of income, but which also calculates one’s effective tax rate based upon the amount which one can comfortably and reasonably pay.  This means that Progressives can no longer content themselves with a system which requires a billionaire to pay millions of dollars in taxes, which in no way effects the billionaire’s lifestyle, while a teacher is forced to pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, which harms the comfort and well being of her family.  It is time that all Americans pay their fair share for the upkeep and progress of America, and it is time that fairness be calculated in relation to one’s wealth and comfort, not as a percentage of one’s earned annual wages.

PEACE AND NATIONAL DEFENSE

Progressives deplore the unabated growth of the military industrial complex and its enormous waste of resources even in time of peace.  Every day we are horrified by the eagerness with which many interested members of our society approach warfare, and by the great reallocation of funds away from health and education for the benefit of defense contractors and arms manufacturers.

We pledge ourselves to starving this proverbial beast by advocating budgetary and other legislative measures which correctly prioritize our nation’s expenditures.  We also pledge ourselves to employing judicial and other peaceful means of settling international differences.  Finally, we favor an international agreement for the limitation and ultimate abolition of nuclear weapons.

IMMIGRATION

With the ultimate goals of fairness and understanding, we pledge our support for widespread immigration reform.  Realizing that the present system is both ineffective and unduly harsh to young immigrants and immigrant families, we support such reforms as the DREAM Act, which would allow for a path to citizenship and for a chance at an education for the American-raised children of migrants who arrived in this country without papers.

We denounce the fatal policy of indifference and neglect which has left our enormous immigrant population to fall prey to chance or intolerance.  Without qualification or exception, we also recognize immigration to be exclusively within the domain of the federal government.  The Constitution provides for exclusive federal power in matters of immigration, and we hereby voice our support for law of this land.  We therefore declare that no individual state has any power or business in the determination of United States immigration policy, and that any state which attempts to impede upon this area of federal jurisdiction is in violation of the Constitution.

THE PRISON SYSTEM

With the largest prison population is the Western world, the United States must take swift action to reduce its high rate of incarceration and diminish its law-enforcement costs.  For comparable offenses in other Western nations, prison terms in America are considerably longer, and US courts more likely to impose jail time for minor offenses.  Such a system of mass incarceration provides dubious social benefits while imposing significant costs upon the American People, both financial and social.

Most alarming is the fact that private prisons, which have a pecuniary interest in the incarceration of American citizens, have been delegated the duty of prison management by states and localities.  This has been done to the astounding detriment of the public good.  Indeed, those states which have taken part in prison privatization now find themselves with the highest rates of incarceration.  This practice of prison privatization must cease immediately to ensure that the financial incentives to incarcerate American citizens are eliminated.  Democratically responsible government, which does not seek the imprisonment of the citizen, must resume control of the prisons, while private companies, for whom imprisonment equals profits, must be quickly and efficiently excised from the system.

STUDENT DEBT

For the good of the economy and for the advancement of American entrepreneurship, we declare that swift action must be taken on the federal level to alleviate the crippling burden of student debt weighing down so many Americans.  For over a generation, young people in this country have been encouraged, coaxed, and even coerced into incurring great sums of debt in the name of advancing their education.  They have been told that the education they will receive in exchange for the debt they incur will be invaluable, and will so greatly increase their lifelong earnings that it will inevitably and overwhelmingly offset their debt.

In reality, the amount of debt young Americans have had to incur in order to attend a college or university in this country has now reached a point where it is simply not offset by their post-graduation earnings.  Young people leaving institutions of higher learning bear too much debt, regardless of the professions they have chosen to pursue.  Many see their personal finances in ruin, leaving them almost incapable of building their own businesses.  Still others cannot pursue work in the public interest, as the salary which they would receive would not allow them to live comfortably while repaying their student loans.

In order to preserve a generation and to spur a new period in economic growth, student loan forgiveness programs must be implemented.  Special attention must be paid to cases in which former students attempt to start a new business which would employ fellow citizens or found a non-profit organization which would engage in charitable work.  Further attention must be paid to the expansion of loan forgiveness programs on the federal, state, and local levels for professionals who forgo a career of perks and luxuries in order to toil in underserved communities.  Until such time, American entrepreneurship will not see its renaissance and public service and welfare will continue to suffer.

HOUSING

We pledge ourselves to a more just and equitable system of lending for American homebuyers.  The recent collapse of the housing market has revealed a depraved culture of predatory lending and of malicious repacking and reselling of debt.

The federal government must implement a policy combining stronger oversight of lenders and more just and realistic goals of homeownership.  While not everyone is ready for homeownership, this does not justify the work of an industry which preys upon such individuals and families.  Federal policy must reflect a sense of protection not only for unwary potential borrowers, but for the entire American economy which was so recently put in jeopardy by the unethical behavior of lenders.

UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE

We pledge ourselves to the survival of the Post Office, especially the rural offices and sorting centers presently under direct attack.  The United States Postal Service remains to this day the only means of conveyance for vital goods for many parts of rural America, and it is depended upon every day by disabled and senior citizens for their essential supplies.  The present attack upon the postal service is but a thinly veiled attempt at the wholesale privatization of delivery services in this country and is indicative of the rampant power of interested private corporations over elected officials in Washington.  We see this baseless attack for what it truly is, and will stand in solidarity with the United States Postal Service to ensure its survival.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND FREEDOM OF THE INTERNET

Under the inviolate right to self expression secured by the First Amendment, we Progressives demand the right to a free and open internet.  We believe that the internet is the most free and democratic medium ever conceived, and because of its great power to exchange ideas and connect diverse people and viewpoints, must be kept open and devoid of corporate and governmental restrictions on content and opinion.  We demand the extension of the principles set forth by the Founding Fathers, who believed in the unbridled exchange of ideas and political debate, to the internet.  As the modern day global town square, the internet must open and accessible to all people and all ideas if our democracy is to endure in a digital age.

While we still maintain the need for copyright protection for the producers of intellectual property, Progressives urge a review and rewriting of the Copyright Act of 1974, which has absolutely and utterly failed at keeping pace with the advance of modern information technology.  We urge Congress to adopt a new, revised Copyright Act, which will take into account the numerous complexities of the internet age, and which will carefully balance the interests of copyright holders against the public policy of an open and innovative society in the modern era.  We ask that such a new law not be based solely upon the technologies and principles made available to the drafters of previous copyright law, but would be drafted with present-day and future technologies and social norms in mind.

REGULATION OF WALL STREET & CORPORATIONS

Every year, the people of the United States are swindled out of billions of dollars through corporate welfare, regressive corporate taxation, and scurrilous business practices.  There are no worse offenders in this arena than the financial institutions of Wall Street, whose recklessness and corruption have plunged this great country into the deepest recession in a lifetime.  We therefore demand strong federal regulation of all financial institutions operating within the United States.  Their political power and relative economic strength now pose a legitimate threat to American prosperity and democracy.

In order to ensure greater economic stability and to protect citizens from reckless behavior on behalf of financial institutions, we pledge ourselves to the enactment of a new Glass-Steagall Act for the 21st Century.  This act would separate speculative investments, which were in large part responsible for this recession, from the legitimate financial activities of commercial banking institutions.  Commercial and investment banking would once again be separate, with pensions, mortgages, and infrastructure protected from the chaos inherent to speculation and greed.

Corporations must also be subject to regulation by the people, as is stipulated in the Saving American Democracy Amendment.  Not only does this proposed amendment protect America from the evils of corporate personhood and unbridled campaign contributions, but it also ensures that as future problems arise from the behaviors of corporate entities, the American people shall have a clear Constitutional right to increase regulations upon these entities as they see fit.

Finally, Progressives wholeheartedly endorse the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  The American public has long needed the protection of this entity, and though it has taken a generation to come into existence, it is welcomed by Progressives.  At this time, however, we are presented with the new challenge of obstructionism by the Republican Party and the corporate interests which it serves.  As Progressives, we must unite to ensure that the Bureau is adequately funded and endowed with proper authority to protect the American people from corporate greed and Wall Street financial interests.

CONCLUSION

On these principles and on the recognized desirability of uniting the Progressive forces of the Nation into an active network which shall unequivocally represent the Progressive spirit and policy, we appeal for the support of all American citizens, without regard to political affiliations.