My name is M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. I am a Counselor and Dispute Resolution Specialist (ADR Arbitration, Mediation & Facilitation). I am also a writer for Salem-News.com
I have been asked by several deeply concerned individuals to commit 2 years of my time in order to resurrect the Progressive Party originally formed in 1912. The United States has not had a genuine progressive party in nearly 70 years. The original Progressive Party came about as the result of a split in the Republican Party. In recent history, the closest we have come to something similar is a group of Democrats calling themselves "progressive".
The original Progressive Party championed many ideals such as a National Health Service, Worker's Compensation and Social Insurance. For the time, these were truly progressive concepts. Over the years, we have come to take those programs that were established for granted. In the past year, we have seen the continued effort at establishing a National Health Service turned on its head with a disturbing construct passed into law. This bastardization of a legitimate social right came to us as a result of Democrats refusing to listen to the American people and, instead, rolling over to their corporate backers. The Republicans were simply determined to say "No" to any attempt at providing Americans with universal and affordable health care. Today, as has been the case for many years, the GOP attacks and seeks to undermine those other social programs such as Social Security and Worker's Compensation.
In fact, the GOP and many Democrats have undermined most of the safeguards and programs designed to serve and protect the American worker in favor of their corporate backers. The result has been our most recent financial/economic debacle which has caused the loss of millions of jobs, foreclosure of millions of homes, destruction of hard earned retirement savings and an increase in poverty, homelessness and hunger.
While blame can be placed on the Republicans for the creation of several illegal wars, it is both the GOP and Democrats who contribute to their continuation and expansion. These illegal wars have brought devastation to millions of innocent individuals and have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. The only benefactors of these illegal wars are the corporations, who have abandoned American workers and families, and the politicians supported by them.
In another section of this site, I will explore history a bit further. For now, it suffices to state that we, as a nation, are currently in a situation very similar to that which made progressive thinking and ideals so necessary. Historically, both the Democrats and Republicans have been little more than errand boys for the greedy corporations and American workers and families have been lied to and used to their own detriment. The politicians will tell you their work averted a major depression and that the economy is on the upswing. America... this is just one more big lie. It does not take rocket science to see who is and is not benefitting from the "hard" work of the politicians from both parties. If we, as Americans, do not rise fully to this deceit and fraud, the worst is yet to come.
When this group of concerned individuals approached me for my time and effort, my first response was "America does not need another party... What it does need is a consensus recognition of progressive ideals, recognition of the rugged individualism that once set America apart from many other nations, and a means to offer realistic support to those rugged individuals willing to fight their way through the current mess of politics to genuinely take on the existing parties and resist their corporate influences in an effort to truly represent the wants and needs of the American people."
The history of political parties in America is one of co-option and corruption. They might offer desirable ideas and ideals in their inception, however, they are very quickly corrupted by the "game" of politics as it has been played for generations. Too, people are easily swayed by talented professionals capable of rallying them around buzz words like "patriotism", "socialism", "communism", "death taxes", "free market", etc. Not knowing what many of these terms truly represent, people respond to the fear implied by their carefully crafted usage and rally to contradictory platforms and the parties promoting them. The most recent example of this is the "Tea Party" which, if examined, is a group of seriously confused individuals doing the leg work for corporations desiring only to further their own greedy designs at the expense of the American worker.
Fringe parties have arisen throughout history and while many fail within a few years, some continue to exist with little or no influence on the government. Under a parliamentary system, they might have greater effect. We do not have that form of government in the US.
Historically, many fringe candidates have been individuals either representing a fringe party or simply themselves and, sadly, have been individuals living on the fringe of reality.
There are, however, many up and coming individuals who are choosing to run for office as "Independents". Some are progressive and some are not. They are simply individuals who are not willing to align themselves with the "values" of the established parties. Labeling oneself "Independent" does not insure against corruption. It is also quite difficult to get support as an Independent. The reason for this is the absence of a mechanism which is set up for the specific purpose of lending support to independents.
What I proposed to my friends is a Council of Independents who represent Progressive ideals and who establish themselves as a mechanism for realistic support for these independent candidates.
There are literally hundreds of "Progressive" organizations across America representing a wide variety of services and programs and promoting significant "Progressive" legislation. The concept for creation of the Independent American Progressives Council (IAPC) is to gather representation from all willing progressive organizations into a Council for the purpose of establishing a core set of ideals of which all future "Progressive" candidates for political office will be committed. This "core" will be the basis for a commitment of support from the Council. It will not prevent candidates from offering legislation outside the "core".
Further, the willing IAPC member organizations will commit to raising capital, through fund-raising at grassroots level, for the IAPC general fund. The general fund will go both to supporting the elected workers of the IAPC and support of approved candidates. Candidates will not run for office as IAPC candidates. As Independent candidates, they may apply for IAPC grants.
This is a simple concept for channeling grassroots funding to candidates in all 50 states. It is unrealistic to think that such an effort will generate sufficient funds to fully support the many candidates it is hoped will come forward as Progressives. What is realistic, is that IAPC will generate greater interest in progressive thinkers as candidates, interest in individuals coming forward as progressive candidates, and greater grassroots effort at promoting progressive candidates.
With sufficient funding, IAPC will be able to generate media awareness of Progressive ideals in all 50 states, assist candidates in generating media attention for their campaigns and media support for legislation as Progressive candidates assume office. Over time, it is possible that IAPC might create its own publication and other "brand" media outlets. As the Council comes to fruition, it will act as a think tank and develop a concrete approach as to how it will operate.
My commitment to formation of the Council will be to initially solicit funds and begin the process of invitation to form the actual Council. A cursory estimate of funds needed to both support my time commitment and work and create the initial operating capital for the Council is $2 million in the first year. At the 20% mark, an attorney will be hired and a Board of Directors established. I will be assuming all tax liabilities until the Board is elected. Once accomplished, my position will become one of representation to the media and facilitation for the Board. At the end of 2 years, the Board, at its discretion, may offer a contract for continuation in this capacity or terminate my commitment.
Please go to the next page for information regarding volunteering in your state, contributions and fund raising.