Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Monday, 30 August 2010 08:14

Progessive Fest

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The Progressive Movement began in cities with settlement workers and reformers who were interested in helping those facing harsh conditions at home and at work as a result of the industrialization of our economic system. The reformers spoke out about the need for laws regulating tenement housing and child labor, and for better working conditions for women. We can also identify the seeds of the progressive movement in the history of the Jewish prophets over 2,400 years ago. We are in good company. Malachi, 450 to 400 B.C.E., wrote “ I will come to you in judgment, those who break promises, those who exploit workers, widows, and orphans, those who refuse to help the immigrant.”

The seeds of the progressive movement can be found in the struggle to make the lives of working people better. Below are listed some of the accomplishments of the progressive movement:

Major Progressive Programs

1.Education - Progressive education: John Dewey led movement that focused on personal growth and learning through experience, not mastery of a body of knowledge

2. Law--judges' opinions needed to be based on factual information, not just oral arguments and precedents

3. Women's rights

4. Child labor laws--most states passed minimum working age laws and prohibited children from working more than 10 hours per day, but enforcement was difficult to achieve.

5. Workers' Rights --the people who brought you a minimum wage and the promise of prevailing local wages, 8-hour workday in a safe environment, unemployment benefits, and workers compensation when things go wrong.

6. The Federal Home Loan Program, Water Quality Act, and Rural Electrification Act, which brought ownership of a home with utilities within reach of most of us.

7. Awarded veterans G. I. student benefits, home loans, and health care they so richly deserve.

8. Created plans, such as Head Start, Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Guaranteed Student Loan Program to help us raise and educate our children.

9.Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Securities and Exchange Act help us enjoy a secure old age.

10. brought many of us our very right to vote in the Women’s Suffrage Amendment and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

11. 8-Hour Workday

12. Civil Rights Act of 1964

13. Water Quality Act

14. Clean Air Act

15. Women's Suffrage Amendment

16. Workers Compensation Act

17. Unemployment Compensation Act

18. Rural Electrification Act

19. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

20. Federal Home Loan Program

21. Securities & Exchange Act

22. Guaranteed Student Loan Program • Family and Medical Leave Act

23. School Lunch Program

The importance of the Progressive Fest is doubly import in today's political climate. Not only are we celebrating our presence, but we are also saying, “We the people will not be oppressed by the monied class that has attacked the progressive achievements over the last 100 years.” Over the past 50 years there has been intentionality to dismantle our progress. The primary weapon in this war is the IMF. For some examples read the article, “IMF dictates shock and austerity program to Romania”, or the book, “Confessions of Economic Hitman ,” by Perkins, or watch the documentary about Jamaica, “Life and Debt,” or remember the recent comment by President George Bush when asked what is your greatest disappointment of your administration he responded, “I did not get Social Security privatized.” This was after the economic meltdown. Given all that happened during his eight years, it was not, I wish we would have stopped 911, I wish we would have read the signs better, or the repealing of the Glass Steagel Act, or the repealing of the Public Utilities Company Holding Act, or the defeat of the public option for health care, the new perspective on economic recovery that is now disconnected to the work force, and on and on. So we progressives could despair that our values and our psyches are under siege. Alone we will become depressed angry and overwhelmed. In connecting in community, we gain strength purpose, education, direction and an energized focus.

The only way for the progressive community to defend our accomplishments and gain more advances is to form a strong and cohesive community. The progressive fest sponsored by the Space Coast Progressive Alliance is a cornerstone of that effort for our community. We progressives cannot stand on the side lines and expect the power of the past to win the day. You and I must join in the fray, arm and arm. See you at the Fest.

Rev. Gregory Wilson

Last modified on Tuesday, 31 August 2010 08:54
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