Democracy in Print
The Best of The Progressive Magazine, 1909–2009
Publication Year: 2009
Readers will discover the vision of the magazine’s founder, Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette, and his suffragist wife, Belle Case La Follette. They’ll find historic gems from the likes of Jane Addams, Carl Sandburg, Huey Long, and John Kenneth Galbraith, and profound essays by Theodore Dreiser, Barbara Ehrenreich, Noam Chomsky, Upton Sinclair, Arundhati Roy, James Baldwin, Edwidge Danticat, and Edward Said. The collection is leavened with humor from Kate Clinton, Will Durst, Michael Feldman, and Molly Ivins, and graced by poems from such writers as Mahmoud Darwish, Rita Dove, Martín Espada, Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, and Sandra Cisneros. Fascinating interviews bring readers into conversations with prominent cultural figures, including Chuck D, the Dalai Lama, Allen Ginsberg, Amy Goodman, Harold Pinter, Patti Smith, Susan Sarandon, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
Eminently browsable, this book is for anyone concerned with American democracy, the global community, and the perils of the planet. With contributions by actors and Supreme Court justices, comedians and Nobel Prize-winners, Democracy in Print offers all readers nourishing food for thought.
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication
This was a group e¤ort if ever there was one. Thanks to Elizabeth DiNovella for doing a lot of the heavy lifting, not only in reading decades of the magazine's output but also in narrowing the selections. To Ruth Conniff and Amitabh Pal for tackling a couple of...
Introduction: A History of The Progressive Magazine
Magazines are fragile plants- magazines of dissent especially so. Only a few manage not to die from neglect or mishandling or poor transplanting. The Progressive is one of those exceptional, hardy orchids...
Part 1 Championing Civil Liberties
Free Speech and the Right of Congress to Declare the Objects of the War
Mr. President, I rise to a question of personal privilege. I have no intention of taking the time of the Senate with a review of the events which led to our entrance into the war except in so far as they bear upon the question of personal privilege to which I am addressing myself...
Theodore Dreiser Denounces Campaign Against Communists
Barring Communism in America is bringing about, and will continue so to do, an unprecedented suppression of political views. Even now Congress is receiving reports on a bill to exclude all alien Communists in the United States. The Fish Committee...
What Are We Afraid Of ?
We hear on every side that the American Way of Life is in danger. I think it is. I also think that many of those who talk the loudest about the dangers to the American Way of Life have no idea what it is and consequently no idea what the dangers are that it is in...
Freedom's Most Effective Weapon
Joe McCarthy has struck repeatedly at the letter and the spirit of our Bill of Rights by using methods of intolerance and intimidation in an effort to create a national climate of hysteria, fear, and suppression...
The Manifest Destiny of America
We have staked our security, our ability to survive, on freedom of the mind and the conscience. So spoke Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. So say the great majority of us today. That conception of freedom...
The Last Best Hope
[The continued whittling away of basic American liberties by the U.S. Supreme Court has no more articulate and courageous opponent than Justice Hugo L. Black. Typical of the magnificent if losing battles he has been waging was his dissenting opinion...
It is now some four months since the Village Voice appeared, or exploded, with the House Intelligence Committee report. Since February 23, when I was suspended with full pay by CBS, the question put to me most often by concerned Americans has been:...
When Nice People Burn Books
It happened one splendid Sunday morning in a church. Not Jerry Falwell's Baptist sanctuary in Lynchburg, Virginia, but rather the First Unitarian Church in Baltimore. On October 4, 1981, midway through the 11 a.m. service, pernicious ideas were burned at the altar...
Lesbian Writer Fights Feminist Censors
Joan Nestle writes about lesbian life, and members of Women Against Pornography (WAP) picket her speeches and call for censorship of her work. Some lesbian opponents of pornography want to ban from women's bookstores magazines that feature...
Your Urine, Please
The fascination with urine remains undimmed through the ages. Until the arrival of scientific medicine, physicians subjected it to careful visual scrutiny, expecting the color and clarity to reveal an exact diagnosis. Today, it's the corporate class that seems...
That Country Wouldn't Be America
[Editor's Note: On October 11, the Senate voted ninety-six to one in favor of an antiterrorism bill that severely infringes on our civil liberties. The only senator to vote against it was Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin. What follows is an excerpt from...
The New McCarthyism
Donna Huanca works as a docent at the Art Car Museum, an avant-garde gallery in Houston. Around 10:30 on the morning of November 7, before she opened the museum, two men wearing suits and carrying leather portfolios came to her door...
Treated Like a Criminal: How the INS Stole Three Days of My Life
My name is Behrooz Arshadi. I am forty-eight years old, and I work in marketing for a minority publication in Los Angeles. My wife and I came to this country in 1987. We were running from the situation in Iran, looking for a better life. We have a...
Our Job Is Not to Stand Up and Cheer When the President Breaks the Law
Mr. President, last week the President of the United States gave his State of the Union address, where he spoke of America's leadership in the world, and called on all of us to "lead this world toward freedom." Again and again, he invoked the principle of freedom...
Part 2 Combating Corporate Power
Punish the Real Offenders
The Standard Oil Company is guilty. It is ordered by the United States Supreme Court to dissolve its present organization within six months. So Xagrant has been its violation of the anti-trust law, that its eminent lawyers were not able to prove it even...
Borah Tells How Our Wealth Is Divided
Today, 3 percent of the American people own 75 percent of its wealth. Let us be a little more liberal. Let us say that 4 percent own 80 percent of its wealth. I would not take it from them, but I do think there ought to be a political party in this...
The Progressive Platform
1. Public ownership of natural resources and those activities with a public interest- light, heat, power, and transportation. 2. The elimination of war proffits; government monopoly on the manufacture and sale...
Lawless Big Business Must Be Controlled to Save Democracy
Here in America it is the old struggle between the power of money and the power of the democratic instinct. In the last few months this irreconcilable conflict, long growing in our history, has come into the open as never before, has taken on a form and an intensity which makes...
The Profit in Highway Slaughter
[Editor's Note: In all the controversy over General Motors' private investigation of Ralph Nader- the young attorney who is one of the automobile industry's severest critics- little detail has been revealed in the mass media about his specific charges...
Valley of the Shadow of Death
I used to believe everybody's daddy worked for Union Carbide. Mine did- he was a chemical engineer- and so did most of the daddies in our neighborhood. It was a neighborhood of "Carbide housing." Carbide had paid to have some war...
Tobacco Roads: Delivering Death to the Third World
In 1989, the World Health Organization asked a special group of consultants to make the first-ever calculation of how many people now living will be killed by tobacco caused diseases if current smoking patterns persist. They reported in April 1989 that...
They Killed My Son
Friday, October 22, 1993, began like a hundred Fridays before it. It was the last day of my workweek, I was in a job I loved, and I had a great family. I even had a special treat that day: lunch with my wife. But this Friday was the day that ruined my life. At...
Free Market Fraud
Most economists commit what I, in a professionally cautious way, call innocent fraud. It is innocent because most who employ it are without conscious guilt. It is fraud because it is quietly in the service of special interest. Let's begin with capitalism, a word that has gone largely out of fashion...
Wake Me When We're Equal
Excuse me, but this is special, unmerited favor for rich people. At first, Citizens for Tax Justice claimed 43 percent of the total tax cut would go to the richest 1 percent of people in America. This caused various Administration flunkies to have a hissy fit, so...
Part 3 Renouncing Empire
Why is the President massing troops on the Mexican border? What reason has he for making a warlike demonstration which is sounding an alarm in every quarter of the world? What canon of international law can be invoked, to justify rushing a formidable army...
The Armed Ship Bill Meant War
I am opposed to the United States making war upon England for her ruthless violations of our neutral rights just as I am opposed to making war upon Germany because of her relentless violation of our neutral rights. The belligerents upon both sides are desperate...
Defense or Imperialism?
There will never be another time when it will be so easy to induce the nations of the earth to reduce armaments as the present. Our navy today is vastly superior to any except Great Britain's. Our coast defenses are declared on the highest authority to be "the best in the world." Counting the men...
Armed Intervention in Nicaragua
"We denounce the mercenary system of foreign policy under recent administrations in the interests of Wnancial imperialists, oil monopolists and international bankers, which has at times degraded our State Department from its big service as a strong and...
We Have Got to Lick Churchill Too
The worst blow the United Nations has received in this war was dealt them on November 10. It was dealt them not by Adolf Hitler, but by Winston Churchill. If the United Nations recover from the blow that Churchill dealt them on November 10, they will be able to withstand all the forces of all the Hitlers that will ever rise...
Vietnam Whitewash: The Congressional Jury That Convicted Itself
The trip I was about to embark on was one designed to uncover, first hand, the facts about the U.S. involvement in Vietnam- the cold facts, not propaganda. By the time I returned I had learned some of the rawest realities of Vietnam, but, even more...
How It All Began
Where, then, are the roots of it? How did it happen? How in fact could it happen? Did the roots invisibly grow while we still slept, watched the more visible crises mount at Berlin, in the Congo, in the Middle East? It did not, after all, just happen in February 1965...
Behind the Death Squads
Early in the 1960s, during the Kennedy Administration, agents of the U.S. Government in El Salvador set up two official security organizations that killed thousands of peasants and suspected leftists over the next fifteen years. These organizations, guided...
The Secret Behind the Sanctions
Over the last two years, I've discovered documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving beyond a doubt that, contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the country's water supply after...
The Algebra of Infinite Justice
It must be hard for ordinary Americans, so recently bereaved, to look up at the world with their eyes full of tears and encounter what might appear to them to be indifference. It isn't indifference. It's just augury. An absence of surprise. The tired wisdom...
Heckled in Rockford
[Editor's note: This was a commencement speech delivered at Rockford College on May 17 before a hostile crowd. Audience reaction is in brackets.] I want to speak to you today about war and empire. The killing, or at least the worst of it, is over in Iraq. Although blood will continue to spill- theirs and ours- be prepared for this...
The Scourge of Nationalism
Is not nationalism- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from...
The Curse of Columbus
Did Christopher Columbus discover America in 1492? Or was it the Vikings before him? And before the Vikings, what about the people who lived there? Didn't they exist? Official history relates that Vasco Nunez of Balboa was the first man who saw both...
Part 4 Campaigning for Women's Equality
My Baby Girl
It was just a week ago she came. Only seven days ago I saw her writhe and take breath, heard her first plaintive cry to her first morning in the world. And when I walked away from the hospital in early gray daylight with a fresh rain...
If Things Were Reversed
What would be the state of the masculine mind if the voting women should present to them only the following half-dozen objections, which are unhappily so familiar to many of us?...
May the Women of the United States Vote in 1920?
On the first day of May 1919, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by a vote of 304 yeas to 89 nays the joint resolution declaring that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. On June 4...
Women's Wages in Government
I am sorry to say that through the information we receive in our investigations we find that many women, far too many, are not even receiving a living wage. We also find that, in comparison to wages paid to men, women's wages are very far down the...
Women and the Law: Unjust Discrimination
When the 1920 census was taken there were 1,600 women engaged in the practice of law in the United States. This number undoubtedly has been largely increased since then. I became a member of the profession subsequent to 1920. In this Weld, frankness impels...
The 'Patriotic" Prostitute
Germany's Rosie Travel sells sex tours to Thailand. "Anything goes in this exotic country," says the company's brochure. "Especially when it comes to girls. Still, it appears to be a problem for visitors to Thailand to find the right places where they can...
Memoirs of a Normal Childhood
I had a normal childhood. It was filled with violence and abuse. Most of it I don't remember. Some things I will never forget. The first time I was abused by a man I was six years old. His name was Elmer, and he managed the gas station next to our house. One summer day I walked...
Awesome Women in Sports
For the last few days I've been tearing pictures out of magazines- Shape, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated- collecting photographs of women athletes. I found a great shot of Gail Devers, Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters, bounding out of the...
What Shall I Wear?
A good friend sent me a baby-blue bulletproof vest after Michael Griffin killed Dr. David Gunn, so that I would have something to wear to work at the clinic where I do abortions. It came in a bag stamped female, and it fits quite well. I rarely wear it...
An Interview with Katha Pollitt, Columnist for The Nation
q: Do you think that you are one of a few people who believes women and men are the same kind of creature? katha pollitt: No. Lots of people think it. But the other strand of feminism is also quite strong. And it's much more fashionable. And the reason is that it explains the...
An Interview with Gloria Steinem
q: I know you're fond of the term "radical," preferring it, in many ways, to "feminist." Ever since Michael Dukakis refused to own up to the "L" word during the 1988 Presidential debates, terms like "liberal" have come under attack...
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the suffrage of women provided a happy summer hiatus, a pleasant orgy of "you've come-a-long-way-baby" editorials. And so we have. What's depressingly familiar is the reaction to all our advances. Our opponents still...
An Interview with Ani DiFranco, Folksinger
q: One of your songs is called "Hello, Birmingham." It's about Dr. Barnett Slepian, the obstetrician and abortion doctor who was gunned down in Buffalo, New York, in 1998, right? ani difranco: I'm from Buffalo, and I live there now. I was not in the city when...
Part 5 Linking Arms with the Civil Rights Movement
The Color Line
Heretofore, in the streetcars, and, as I understand it, in the government service there has been no official discrimination against the colored people. Since the advent of the new administration, however, there has been unquestionably...
Twin Evils of the Literacy Test: Privilege and Race Discrimination Threaten the High Standard of This Country
We, who are gathered here, know how strong are the arguments against the Literacy Bill. But let us not misconceive the situation. We are celebrating not a victory, but an escape. The danger remains. We have "scotched the snake, not killed it." It will recover...
The mobbing of harmless, helpless Negroes in the capital of this country is the nation's everlasting shame. The responsibility for starting the riots, which ruled Washington for days, rests upon disorderly lawless whites...
Lynching Punishes the Community
Whenever I hear the claim made that we are unfit for self-government in this country, I feel that it is somewhat justified by our supine attitude toward lynching. A community controlled by a mob is not a civilized community, and should be placed under the...
The Plunder Harvest in Indian Affairs
I am glad to say a word to you regarding the plight of the American Indian, the only 100 percent American in the United States. They were to be our wards, we their guardians. A relationship of trust was created not only as to their property but as to...
Sato: A Letter to a Japanese American
Sato, if you are still alive, and wherever you may be, I address this to you. Perhaps I do wrong in writing, for you are a Japanese, and at the moment we must hate the Japanese, just as we must hate the Germans and the Italians and the Vichy French and the...
Revolt Against Jim Crow
It was on March 31, 1948, that Grant Reynolds and I startled the assorted members of the Senate Armed Services Committee by promising to lead a civil disobedience movement against any conscription legislation based on segregation of Negroes...
Intruder in the Dust
Moses Wright has been a Weld hand in the Mississippi Delta for as many of his sixty-four years as he has been able to walk. For the last nine of them, he has cropped shares for G. C. Frederick, a planter near Money, Mississippi. Before his troubles came...
The Burning Truth in the South
An electrifying movement of Negro students has shattered the placid surface of campuses and communities across the South. Though confronted in many places by hoodlums, police guns, tear gas, arrests, and jail sentences, the students tenaciously...
"I Will Keep My Soul"
On May 4 of this year, I left Washington, D.C., with twelve other persons on a risky journey into the South. Seven of us were Negro, and six were white. Riding in two regularly scheduled buses, one Greyhound, the other Trailways, traveling beneath...
A Letter to My Nephew
Dear James: I have begun this letter five times and torn it up five times. I keep seeing your face, which is also the face of your father and my brother. I have known both of you all your lives and have carried your daddy in my arms and on my shoulders, kissed...
"Arab": Did You Flinch?
I thought I was taking a part-time job, but it turned out I was joining a crusade. What's more, everyone knew it but me. You, too, might have known enough to warn me about what I was getting into. To find out, just take this quick test: "Arab." Did you flinch?..
The New Bigotry
Bigotry isn't dead, though it has taken on a more subtle identity. The old shrines of passionate ignorance, the "Colored Only" fountains and washrooms of the South, have been replaced by new monuments to intolerance. The new bigotry isn't easily spotted because it...
The Underclass Myth
In recent years the image of an urban "underclass" has become the central representation of poverty in American society. In less than a decade the underclass has taken hold of the public imagination, and has come to shape policymakers' agendas...
My Father's Party
My father was a Republican. Anybody who knows me may find this hard to believe. You could not find an apple as far away from the tree as the distance between my father and me. We didn't agree on many things, but mostly we disagreed on politics...
Part 6 Joining the Cause of Gay Liberation
I'm Proud to Be a Sissie
I've stopped worrying about whether or not I'm a Real Man. I like to dance, and sometimes when I'm walking along the beach, I'll dance right there. Sometimes I visit my friend Donna, who is "straight," and we play with fingernail polish, painting designs...
An Interview with Randy Shilts, Author of And the Band Played On
q: You were one of the first openly gay reporters on a mainstream publication. In And the Band Played On, you talk about how gay and lesbian reporters are stigmatized; what has been your experience? randy shilts: I have always been out, all my adult life. What was unique about me...
One Good Mother to Another
In the New York Times photo, a young blonde woman sits staring, stunned. She holds up a large picture of her cherubic smiling little boy. At first this looks like a moment with which everyone sympathizes: a mother publicly grieving her child killed in a tragic...
An Interview with Larry Kramer, Playwright and Founder of ACT UP
q: In your play The Destiny of Me, several lines spoken by Ned or, if you will, the Larry Kramer character, really stand out in my mind. The scene takes place in the hospital. Ned, who is there seeking treatment for AIDS, is asked by his nurse about...
An Interview with Urvashi Vaid, Author, Executive Director, and Foundation Leader in the Lesbian and Gay Rights Movement
q: You talk about the gay and lesbian movement as transformative and redemptive. What do you mean by that? urvashi vaid: The redemptive potential of gay and lesbian sexuality is that it broadens and opens up gender rigidity. I don't think everybody should be straight...
An Interview with Harry Hay, Founder of the Mattachine Society, the First Modern Gay-Rights Group
q: What was it like coming out in the twenties and thirties? harry hay: You're talking about coming out to yourself and coming out to one or two other people. But it's not coming out to the people on the street you live...
I Do Weddings
You've all heard my Peggy Lee lip-syncing "Is that all there is?" gay marriage whine. The next sound you'll hear is me jumping on the Same Sex Marriage Express. I am joining the Gay Marriage Industrial Complex!...
Part 7 Defending the Environment
Teddy Roosevelt's Greatest Work
This globe is the capital stock of the race. It has just so much coal and oil and gas. These may be economized or wasted. The same thing is true of phosphates and many other minerals. Our water resources are immense, and we are only just beginning to...
Have You Ever Seen This Bird?
Wisconsin was one of the last halting places of this fine pigeon- Passenger Pigeon- and it is now one of the most likely states in which to look for nestings, if any of the birds still exist...
The National Pollution Scandal
The natural environment of America- the woods and waters and wildlife, the clear air and blue sky, the fertile soil and the scenic landscape- is threatened with destruction. Our growing population and expanding industries, the explosion of scientific...
Earth Day: A Beginning
Other social movements have tramped across the dusty American stage. Many began in search of fundamental change; all failed. Our movement must be different. Until recently, American movements tended to have a vulnerability. Relying heavily...
Fake Food Is the Future
Most people think of food as something that farmers grow for people to eat. Not quite. The final step in manufactured food is being taken, and it is both eaters and farmers who are being stepped on. Synthetic food is here...
The Clamshell Alliance: Getting It Together
On July 9, 1976, the Public Service Company (PSC) of New Hampshire began leveling the town dump of Seabrook to prepare the site for construction of a nuclear power plant. It wasn't the company's first mistake, but it was definitely the biggest...
The early conservation movement in the United States was a child- and no bastard child- of the Establishment. The founders of the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, the Wilderness Society, and the wildlife conservation groups were, as a rule, wealthy...
An Interview with Wendell Berry, Writer, Farmer, Environmentalist
q: We've had so much media hype on the environment recently. Should we take this seriously as an indication that people are coming to some point of awareness of environmental concerns?...
An Interview with Winona LaDuke, Native American Environmentalist, Green Party Vice Presidential Candidate with Ralph Nader
q: In the environmental movement, the word "sustainability" has become almost a cliche. How does your concept of sustainable economics and development differ from mainline understandings?...
Arctic Heat Wave
It's another warm day in Iqaluit, capital of the new semi-sovereign Inuit nation of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. The bizarre weather is the talk of the town. The urgency of global warming is on everyone's lips....
An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams, Writer, Environmentalist
q: How has your sense of place affected your outlook? terry tempest williams: I come from an old Mormon family, six generations. Our ancestors came across the plains with Brigham Young in 1847, when he settled the Salt Lake Valley...
An Interview with Wangari Maathai, Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
q: What is the significance of the Nobel Committee expanding the definition of peace? wangari maathai: The metaphor that I have adopted is the metaphor of the African stool. The usual African stool has three legs, and the three legs represent for me peace, democracy, and sustainable, equitable management of resources...
Part 8 Reforming Criminal Justice
To the Hangmen's Managers and Sympathizers
I am naturally anxious to do all I can against evil, which tortures the best spirits of our time. I think the present effective war against capital punishment does not need forcing; there is no need for an expression of indignation against its immorality, cruelty,...
"Do you believe in capital punishment?" asked a United Press reporter over the telephone a few days ago. The occasion for the "interview" was that seven men were to meet death in the electric chair at Sing Sing and that two prisoners were condemned...
Death Punishment Does Not Deter Crime
I am convinced that the old doctrine of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth cannot be sustained as the basis of punishment. Our present social organization, with the advance of science and the study of crime and its causes, will lead any thoughtful...
Requiem for the Champ
Mike Tyson comes from Brooklyn. And so do I. He grew up about a twenty-minute bus ride from my house. I always thought his neighborhood looked like a war zone. It reminded me of Berlin immediately after World War II. I had never seen Berlin except...
An Interview with Sister Helen Prejean, Criminal Justice Activist and Author of Dead Man Walking
q: Do you think Americans have rejected the eye-for-an-eye image of God? helen prejean: I think there's a spiritual search going on in this country, but I'm concerned about the rightwing, fundamentalist stuff which offers such easy solutions. And you have this simplistic thing, too, of patriotism and religion...
Abu Ghraib, USA
When I first saw the photo, taken at the Abu Ghraib prison, of a hooded and robed figure strung with electrical wiring, I thought of the Sacramento, California, city jail. When I heard that dogs had been used to intimidate and bite at least one detainee...
Part 9 Freeing the Media
People Demand a Free Press
It is vital to democracy that the voter should be able to form an intelligent opinion upon the issues of the day. The press assumes to enlighten the people upon all public questions. It pretends to publish the facts on current events day by day, upon which the voter may rely in...
"Freedom of the Press" Bares Suppressed Facts Concerning Journalism
There is a growing suspicion that the press is no longer what it claims to be, the "Tribune of the People," the "Voice of the Public," the "Upholder of Truth," the "Defender of Public Liberty," as thousands of newspaper mastheads daily proclaim it...
The Media Monopolies
All media with routine access to mass markets are already controlled by too few people. If we are serious about preserving maximum practical access to the marketplace of ideas and information, we ought to be deeply concerned...
The Bounds of Thinkable Thought
In May 1983, a remarkable incident occurred in Moscow. A courageous newscaster, Vladimir Danchev, denounced the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in five successive radio broadcasts. This aroused great admiration in the West. The New York Times commented accurately that this...
"Here's a story that just could save your life," warns the baritone voice on the TV. "Experts will show you how you can protect yourself from being abducted. Details at 11:00." The next night, another story that could save your life: how to stand in an elevator so that if anyone attacks you, you can protect yourself...
Oligopoly: The Big Media Game Has Fewer and Fewer Players
When Viacom announced its offer to gobble up CBS for $37 billion in September, it capped off a decade of unprecedented deal-making and concentration in the media industries. The new Viacom would be one of only nine massive conglomerates- all of...
An Interview with Helen Thomas, White House Correspondent
q: The White House press corps was pretty tame after 9/11, but now they are starting to challenge the President. What happened? helen thomas: I think they are coming out of their coma. They finally are realizing they've been had. They finally realized that we went into a war based on false...
An Interview with Amy Goodman, Founder and Host of Democracy Now!
q: Talking to people who are the target of U.S. foreign policy is a hallmark of your show. How did that happen? amy goodman: We have a special responsibility as American journalists. We live in the most powerful country on Earth. Yet there is probably a level of ignorance...
Part 10 Standing Up for Labor
The Strike of the Shirtwaist Girls
How did she happen to be on strike in wintertime in a big, careless city? New York is a great center for the shirtwaist industry, and over forty thousand people, mostly women, are employed in its factories at this work alone. The trade is...
Why Wisconsin Gave a Record-Breaking Vote to La Follette
The greatest problem now before the American people is the demand for social justice and industrial democracy. Our working men enjoy political liberty, but, in the main, are subject to industrial despotism, and social injustice which, under the trusts...
The Eight-Hour Day Will Come
The wisdom of legislation providing for an eight-hour day, not only for women but for men as well, is no longer a debatable question. All practical experience shows that shorter hours means better health and higher effciency of employees, the quality of...
Anti-Trust Law and Labor: An Appeal to Congress and the Public
The law of the land assures to workers the right to organize. All who have any knowledge of the world of industry concede that without organization the wage-workers are helpless victims of the industrial forces that are seeking their own self-interest. Practical men...
The War of Organized Capital Against the People
The labor organizations of the country are to be smashed. The decree has been entered. The orders have been issued. The drive is on. The railroad corporations, the street car companies, and other public utilities; the big industrial corporations, the coal, copper,...
Human Wreckage: A Plea for Federal Relief
With city relief breaking down, with private charity totally unable to meet the needs of the unemployment, we are now face to face with an unprecedented unemployment crisis. With relief provision totally inadequate for even the winter months, we must look...
A Letter to Henry Ford
My Dear Mr. Ford: This letter will reach you just as you are entering a bitter struggle with your employees, who are seeking to attain the status of citizens of industry, hitherto denied them. As one who has devoted his life to studying...
The Work Ethic: It Works Best for Those Who Work Least
The last few months have been greatly enriched, in a manner of speaking, by a discussion of the work ethic. The American economy is to be reinvigorated; this requires that Americans everywhere recover their lost appetite for work. Some of the new burst...
An Interview with Dolores Huerta, Cofounder, United Farm Workers
q: How did it feel when you won that first labor contract? dolores huerta: Great! It showed that our goal was absolutely possible. q: Cesar [Chavez] adopted nonviolence as a union strategy. How deep is this commitment these days?...
Part 11 Parading Poetry
Part 12 Waging Peace
Take the Profit Out of War
It is repugnant to every moral sense that governments should even indirectly be drawn into making and prosecuting a war through the machinations of those who make money by it. Yet the vast capital privately invested in plants for naval construction, and...
The Right of the Citizen to Oppose War and the Right of Congress to Shape the War Policy
In these days, whenever an American citizen presumes to question the justification, either in law or morals, of our participation in the European war, he is at once denounced by the war party and the war press as disloyal to the country....
Gandhi Opposes Bloodshed
Condemnation of bloodshed and violence to attain freedom of other national aims was voiced by Mahatma Gandhi, India's famed Nationalist leader, in a radio speech broadcast throughout the world from London, where the "holy man of India" is visiting...
Who Is It That Wants War?
In every civilized country all persons capable of apprehending plain facts are agreed that the next great war will, in all likelihood, bring the end of civilization. This is in no sense a party question; it has nothing to do with economics or theology or any of the...
We Can Have Peace, If We Want It
This article is begun the day before the San Francisco Charter is to be officially launched as the bearer of the world's sure hope of lasting peace. It is not that. I shall favor its ratification because I am convinced that practically and psychologically we...
At a few minutes past noon on May 4, I will once again observe an anniversary- an anniversary that marks not only the most tragic event of my life but also one of the most disgraceful episodes in American history. This May 4 will be the eighteenth...
Not a Just War, Just a War
Last fall, when the U.S. government was assembling more than a half million U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia for what was sure to be a bloody war against Iraq, I participated in a panel discussion of the Persian Gulf crisis at a small church-affiliated liberal arts...
Dying for the Government
Our government has declared a military victory in Iraq. As a patriot, I will not celebrate. I will mourn the dead- the American GIs, and also the Iraqi dead, of whom there have been many, many more. I will mourn the Iraqi children, not just those who are dead, but those who have...
An Interview with Cindy Sheehan, "The Peace Mom"
q: You've said, "We get up every morning, and every morning we see this enormous mountain in front of us. We can't go through it, we can't go under it, so we have to go over it." cindy sheehan: Just waking up and getting out of bed after you've buried a child...
Part 13 Opposing Nuclear Weapons
Plunderers in Paradise
It's always bound to happen like that. You are relaxing in a chair on the lawn, weary after a session of chopping down underbrush with a weed-cutter none too sharp. You reflect, gratefully, that never before have the flower and vegetable beds behind the...
The Doomsday Strategy
The nuclear menace is not apparent to the naked eye: America's policymakers cloak its self-propelling nature- and their intent- in defensive rhetoric. The United States, they argue, has no choice: It is under intensive and long-term siege by a gruesome...
Radiation: Unsafe at Any Level
Radiation, the particles and waves emitted by unstable elements, has saved the lives of thousands of people when used to diagnose and treat disease. But little more than thirty years after its discovery in the late 1890s, scientists began to find that radiation...
Born Secret: The Story Behind the H-Bomb Article We're Not Allowed to Print
On Monday, March 26, 1979, a federal judge did what no federal judge had ever done before in the 203-year history of the American republic: He issued a preliminary injunction, at the request of the government of the United States, barring a...
The H-Bomb Secret: To Know How Is to Ask Why
What you are about to learn is a secret- a secret that the United States and four other nations, the makers of hydrogen weapons, have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect. The secret is in the coupling mechanism...
Why We Seized the Hammer
One question nagged at us: How does one survive sanely, nonviolently, faithfully in a society mobilized against such survival? To put it another way, given corporate capitalism's appetite for war, given the Bomb as diplomatic bargaining chip, what is the...
An Interview with Sam Day, Peace Activist
q: You just got out of prison. What were you in for? sam day: I was in for six months for crossing the line at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, the headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command, which controls the...
Part 14 Weaving a Safety Net
The Reaction of Moral Instruction upon Social Reform
We are failing to meet the requirements of our industrial life with courage and success simply because we do not realize that unless we establish some of that humane legislation, which has its roots in a consideration for human life, our industrialism...
How Shall We Pay for Industrial Accidents?
What is the human eye worth? Or an arm? Or a leg? These questions are not to be lightly answered. If one were asked to place a money valuation on any part of his body, or on life itself, he would be likely to answer that they are all priceless possessions and...
Why We Need an Income Tax
The income tax is the fairest and most equitable of the taxes. It is the one tax which approaches us in the hour of prosperity and departs in the hour of adversity. The farmer, though he may have lost his entire crop, must meet the taxes levied upon his property...
The Need for Health Insurance
At present the United States has the unenviable distinction of being the only great industrial nation without universal health insurance. For a generation, the enlightened nations of Europe have one after another discussed the idea and followed...
Wagner Urges Unemployment Relief Action
During the winter of every depression I have heard the fair-weather prophets make the smug prediction that the spring would bring relief. Unfortunately when the spring arrived the winter was never far behind, and again the unemployed were treated to...
The Long Plan for Recovery
With the one law which I propose to submit, I think most of our difficulties will be brought to an almost immediate end. To carry out President Roosevelt's plan as announced in his inaugural address for redistribution and to prevent unjust...
The Taxing Power Is Only Effective Way to Redistribute Wealth and Break Down Vast Fortunes
No one who has lived through the last five and a half years of the depression and observed the economic consequences of the hectic so-called boom years prior to 1929 can deny the future welfare of this nation is inextricably dovetailed with the problem...
Look at America
Look at America: We occupy 6 percent of the world's area. We have about 7 percent of the world's population. Under normal conditions we have consumed about one-half of the world's coffee, half of its tin, half of its rubber, a fifth of its sugar, two-thirds...
A New Economic Bill of Rights
Most of us have been sold a bill of goods on what ails the United States. We've been told that reforms for the sake of human needs are impractical, if not impossible. The deficits in the federal budget and foreign trade are supposed to be twin evils that have...
Cutting the Lifeline: The Real Welfare Fraud
All across the country, the poor are getting one message: America has no tolerance for the needy; if the poor are going to survive, they had better clean up their act and get to work. This past year, under the federal...
To Your Health
Well, maybe it wasn't a health care crisis after all; maybe we were just a bit under the weather. The way things were going, I wasn't even surprised when the watered down version of the health plan- stay warm and drink plenty of fluids- was blocked by the...
In Zora Neale Hurston's visionary 1937 novel, Janie Crawford and her boyfriend Tea Cake, an African American day laborer, refuse to evacuate their small unsteady house before a deadly hurricane batters the Florida Everglades...
President Bush, Meet Lorraine
Here's the news that rocked my little world this month: We got a message that a family friend, let's call her Lorraine, was in an ICU, barely able to breathe on her own. In the last few weeks, there'd been some mumblings about "not feeling a hundred...
Part 15 Upholding Human Rights
Human Rights Higher Than Property Rights
While not merely acknowledging, but insisting upon, the fact that there must be a basis of material well-being for the individual as for the nation, let us with equal emphasis insist that this material well-being represents nothing but the foundation, and...
Still Those Who Prize Freedom
Everybody, save his supporters in this country, seems to admit readily enough that Franco is a Fascist. In several authorized interviews, the general himself has made no bones about it. The earlier pretense of fighting for "liberty" has been dropped, and the...
This column is written by one who experienced the intolerance, the hatred, and the persecution of the World War. This writer was burned in effigy on the university campus. I have always fought the ugly institution of war, and we have loathed war as a means...
Let Me In on the Kill
I see by the papers that you are going to hang the Nazi war criminals unless, after communing with the God of Love, you decide that hanging is too good for them. I have a stake in this matter. I have been personally offended by these Enemies...
On Justice for the Palestinians
I have not spoken in a synagogue for a long time. I was welcome in synagogues when I spoke about Jewish refugees, but the plight of Arab refugees is not a popular subject in synagogues. From the beginning of Zionism we have hated to admit that the Arabs were there...
A Palestinian Versailles
Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to look at the agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization with the common sense it requires. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and more...
An Interview with Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
q: There is a movement in the United States and Europe to pressure corporations to stop doing business in Burma. How do these investments-such as those from Unocal and its partner, Total Oil of France-affect the prospects for democracy for Burma?...
An Interview with Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
q: Can you speak a little about the concept of ubuntu, which is the goal of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. tutu: The Act says that the thing you're striving after should be ubuntu rather than...
Where We Went Wrong: A Palestinian's Soul Search
Why and when did the drive for revenge overtake our pursuit of human rights and the struggle for human dignity and liberty, thereby making us fall in the trap of the reactive mode as deliberately set up by the occupation?...
An Interview with Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
q: You're the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you feel it to be a burden to be representing Muslim women? shirin ebadi: I have to begin by saying that the prize does not belong to me alone. This prize truly belongs to all of those who have worked for the cause of human...
An Interview with the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
q: What are the sources of terrorism, and what is its solution? the dalai lama: Such acts are not possible unless you have very strong hatred and very strong willpower and determination. That tremendous hatred comes from...
Part 16 Democratizing Democracy
Restrict Use of Money in Campaigns
The qualifications of two men being equal, the power of one with a large amount of money to spend should be no greater, in securing votes, than the one without money. The amount of money the one has to spend does not add one iota to his qualifications...
Initiative, Referendum, and Recall
The initiative and referendum will place in the hands of the people the power to protect themselves against the mistakes or indifference of their representatives in the legislature. Then it will always be possible for the people to demand a direct vote and...
Election of National Delegates and the Nomination of President by Direct Vote
To Wisconsin belongs the honor of enacting the first primary law for the election of delegates to a national convention by direct vote of the people. The Wisconsin delegates to the Republican National Convention of 1908 were elected under the law. They...
The Great Issue
The great issue before the American people today is the control of their own government. In the midst of political struggle, it is not easy to see the historical relation of the present progressive movement. But it represents a conflict as old as the history of...
Elect President by Direct Vote
In order to be elected President of the United States it is necessary to be nominated by some political party. There is no other practical way of electing a President so long as our antiquated Electoral College system remains a part of the Constitution. The...
The Power and Duty of the Senate: Expenditure of Huge Sums for Seats in Congress Cannot Be Justified; "Pay As You Enter" Policy Denounced
The moral conscience of the nation was deeply shocked when it learned from undisputed and admitted evidence that there had been spent in the Illinois and Pennsylvania primaries several millions of dollars in an effort to obtain nominations for...
What Democracy Means
Our fathers understood democracy as something applying to government; they never dreamed that it might someday have application to industry. But in the century and a half which has passed since our American revolution, new inventions have...
The Erosion of Liberty
The constitutional system of checks and balances in government envisioned by the Founding Fathers of our country no longer exists in fact. This is one of two central lessons to be drawn from the Pentagon Papers, which provide us with a vast body of facts...
Wall Street's Mascots
Remember the old saying about how to get the mule's attention? First you hit it upside the head with a heavy plank, then you gently say, "Hey, mule." The American people have just been hit upside the head with a plank: $7 trillion of what people...
Part 17 Providing a Platform for Writers, Musicians, and Performers
An Interview with Pete Seeger, Folksinger
q: How do you define folk music? pete seeger: The term was invented about 130 years ago in Europe, and it meant "the music of peasant classes, ancient and anonymous." By that standard, of course, America has no folk music. But around the turn of the century, people in this...
An Interview with Frank Zappa, Musician
q: You have said that "art is dying in this country." What do you mean? frank zappa: Much of the creative work I find interesting and amusing has no basis in economic reality. Most decisions about what gets produced and distributed...
An Interview with Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Poet
q: What role did you and your fellow artists play in bringing about the changes that are under way in the Soviet Union? yevgeny yevtushenko: Who are these people who lead our country? They are people who were listeners of our poetry readings in the late 1950s and early 1960s...
An Interview with Alice Walker, Novelist
q: Do you think some of the attacks on you are really jealousy of your worldly attainments? You'e got the prizes, the money, the fame- many of these gentlemen critics would like that stuff, too...
An Interview with Susan Sarandon, Actress
q: You are probably the most politically active of all the working movie stars these days. susan sarandon: Well, I don't think you have a choice, really. If you believe in something, it's just hard to keep your mouth shut. But why shouldn't I have the...
An Interview with Allen Ginsberg, Poet
q: In Cosmopolitan Greetings, you have a phrase, "radioactive anticommunism." What do you mean by that? allen ginsberg: Well, the bomb was built up beyond the Japanese war as a bulwark against communism...
An Interview with Patti Smith, Musician
q: As an artist, did you feel you had to pick up a guitar and form a band to get your message across? patti smith: I've always loved the format of rock 'n' roll. I remember, as a child, watching rock 'n' roll develop. I grew up with it. I was certainly comforted by it...
An Interview with Harold Pinter, Playwright
q: Early on, you didn't talk about some of your plays, like The Birthday Party, The Dumb Waiter, or The Hothouse, as political. But more recently you've started to talk about them that way. Why? harold pinter: Well, they were political. I was aware that they were political, too...
An Interview with George Carlin, Comedian
q: How cynical or pessimistic are you about politics in general? george carlin: I'm certainly a skeptic. But to me the cynics are the ones in the boardrooms with the reports from the focus groups. And the belief that there's a...
An Interview with Janeane Garofalo, Actress
q: Why are you speaking out against this war in Iraq? janeane garofalo: I'm so public about this because I've been asked to do so and because I painfully felt that the antiwar movement was being ignored. If I thought the antiwar movement was getting proper coverage in the mainstream media, I...
An Interview with Kurt Vonnegut, Novelist
q: What's your take on George Bush? kurt vonnegut: We have a President who knows absolutely no history, and he is surrounded by men who pay no attention to history. They imagine that they are great politicians inventing something new. In fact, it's really quite old stuff: tyranny....
Crack Kills, Pot Giggles
Straight off, I got to tell you, I don't smoke pot. Used to. Used to deal it. Bad Midwestern weed. Indiana gold. $95 a pound. We'd roll skinny little toothpick joints and smoke all day long. Right around 8:00 at night, we'd start to wonder, "Hey, am I actually getting...
An Interview with Tom Morello, Musician
q: When did you first learn guitar? tom morello: I started kind of late, when I was seventeen. I got the Sex Pistols record, and had the punk rock epiphany of "I can do this, too." Prior to that, I was a big fan of heavy metal music, which involved extravagance. You had to have huge...
An Interview with Chuck D, Hip-Hop Artist
q: Do you think that hip-hop can escape the corporate grip? chuck d: I always remain optimistic. There are three levels of music production: the majors, indies, and what I call "inties," music distributed via the Internet. The...
Part 18 Envisioning a Better World
The Basis of the Struggle
Here is the basis of the struggle in America: There are those, high in power and strong in intellect, many of them, who do not believe that the evils we suffer come from social maladjustments. They think the poor man, or the criminal, or the ignorant, or the weak...
Toward a Manifest New Destiny
I have worked here, inside this country, and I have kept my eyes open, everlastingly. What I see today does not support a media-concocted controversy where my life or the lives of African Americans, Native Americans, Chicano Americans, Latin Americans,...
A Flash of the Possible
In the year 1919, when the city of Seattle was brought to a halt by a general strike- beginning with 35,000 shipyard workers demanding a wage increase-the mayor reflected on its significance: "True there were no flashing guns, no bombs...
History Is a Dance of Life
Whenever I'm speaking in schools, I always say to the students, "The future will not belong to those who are content with the present. The future will not belong to cynics and people who sit on the sidelines. The future will belong to people who have passion...
Fifty-three years ago, on my sixteenth birthday, I went to work for the daily newspaper in the small East Texas town where I grew up. I soon had a stroke of luck. Some of the old-timers were on vacation or out sick and I got assigned to cover what came to...
Page Count: 365
Publication Year: 2009
OCLC Number: 435660173
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Democracy in Print