End Poverty Now—Jobs and Living Incomes for All
- A guaranteed right to a living wage job.
- A living-wage minimum wage of $10 per hour.
- A guaranteed minimum income above the poverty line.
- A shorter work week with no loss in pay.
- No cutbacks in welfare, nutrition, health care, or Social Security.
Free Health Care for All—A single-payer National Health Program to provide free medical and dental care for all, federally financed and controlled by democratically-elected local boards.
Affordable Housing for All—Expand public housing and capital grants to non-profit housing developers to ensure that all people can obtain decent housing at no more than 30% of their income.
- Equal allotments of public campaign financing and broadcast media time for all candidates who agree not to use private money.
- Election of legislative bodies by proportional representation (each party gets seats in proportion to its total vote).
- Election of single seats by majority preference voting (voters rank candidates in order of preference).
Grassroots Democracy—Ground political representation in a foundation of participatory, direct democracy: a Citizens Assembly in every neighborhood, open to all of its residents, acting as a grassroots legislative body, with its own budget for local administration, and the power (in concert with other Citizens Assemblies who share a representative) to monitor, instruct, and recall representatives elected to municipal, state, and federal office.
A Domestic Marshall Plan-A program of massive federal investment in our cities and rural areas for infrastructure reconstruction and economic development.
An Ecological Transition Plan
- Shift policy from pollution control, which hasn't worked, to pollution prevention-not producing toxics in the first place.
- A Superfund for Workers to guarantee new jobs at comparable income for all workers displaced by the ecological transition.
- Phase out toxic technologies while phasing in ecological technologies. Use federal investments, purchasing, mandates, and incentives to:
- Shut down nuclear power plants.
- Phase out fossil fuels and phase in solar-based renewables.
- Shut down waste incinerators, phase out landfills, and phase in full recycling.
- Phase out most chlorinated and other synthetic petrochemicals and phase in natural, biodegradable substitutes.
- Phase out synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and phase in organic agriculture.
- Reduce combustion-engine/auto-based transport and expand pedestrian, bicycle, and zero-pollution auto and rail transport.
Environmental Defense and Environmental Justice
- Full funding for anti-pollution enforcement and toxic sites clean-up.
- Preserve ecosystems and biodiversity by strengthening the Endangered Species Act and expanding areas designated as wildlife refuges and wilderness areas.
- Ban old-growth logging, clear cutting and strip mining.
- End taxpayer-subsidized exploitation of public lands by private timber, mining, and cattle grazing interests.
- Ban patents on life forms.
- Moratorium on the release of genetically-engineered life forms.
- Stop targeting toxic industries and dumps at communities of color.
- Reform farm price supports to cover the costs of production plus a living income for family farmers and farmworker cooperatives.
- Subsidize farmers' transition to organic agriculture while natural systems of soil fertility and pest control are being restored.
- Break up corporate agribusiness. Create family farms and farm-worker cooperatives through a homesteading program and land reform based on acreage limitations and residency requirements.
Human Rights and Equality for All
- Strengthen civil rights, anti-discrimination, and affirmative action laws and programs to end institutionalized racism and sexism.
- Honor all treaty obligations with Native Americans and Chicanos.
- A national commission on reparations for African Americans.
- Defend the rights of immigrants to housing, education, health care, jobs, and civil, legal, and political rights.
- Ban permanent striker replacements.
- Reform labor laws to enable workers to organize unions without reprisals from employers.
- Extend the First Amendment rights of free speech, association, and assembly into the workplace.
- Extend workers' rights under federal labor laws to all public employees and farmworkers.
- Defend women's right to abortion and financial access to abortion.
- Strengthen laws on domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Pass comparable worth legislation to enable women and minorities to receive equal pay for work of equal value.
Children and Youth Rights
- Free, quality child care for all, federally-financed and community-controlled through democratically-elected local boards.
- Free, quality public education for every child, from preschool through graduate school.
- Equalize per-pupil funding of public schools.
- Multicultural and multilingual education at all levels.
Gay and Lesbian Rights—Outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in housing, employment, benefits, child custody, and legal recognition of same-sex marriages.
- Abolish the death penalty.
- Establish a humane criminal sanction system based on prevention, restitution, rehabilitation, and reconciliation rather than vengeance, forced labor, and profits for the "prison-industrial complex."
- Strengthen laws and enforcement against corporate crime.
- No compromise on civil liberties and due process for "national security," "anti-terrorism," or "the war on drugs."
- Treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal problem.
- More jobs and justice, not more cops and jails.
- No U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of other countries.
- An immediate 50% cut in military spending.
- Close all overseas military bases.
- Dismantle all atomic, biological, and chemical weapons.
- Abolish the CIA.
- A Peace Conversion Program to guarantee new jobs at comparable income for all workers and soldiers displaced by demilitarization.
End Corporate Welfare—Eliminate subsidies and tax breaks that benefit America's wealthiest corporations and households at the expense of working people.
Progressive Tax and Budget Policies
- Oppose the Balanced Budget Amendment and all budget deals that lock priorities in years before the conditions in which they operate.
- Separate operating and investment outlays in federal budgeting.
- Balance federal operating budgets while paying for progressive priorities by deep cuts in military spending, an end to corporate welfare, and higher taxes on the unearned income and wealth of the super-rich (instead of borrowing from and paying interest to them).
- Set a maximum income of ten times the minimum wage and structure it into a more progressive income tax.
Candidate's Covenant with the National Slate of Independent Progressive Candidates for the 1996 Election Cycle
By signing on to the National Slate of Independent Progressives, I:
1. affirm that I am an independent candidate or a candidate of an independent progressive party or parties for local, state, or national office;
2. affirm that, if I am cross endorsed by an establishment party (Democrat, Republican, Reform), my primary organizational commitment and accountability is to an independent progressive party;
3. affirm my agreement with the basic principles, though not necessarily every detail, of the Common Platform of national demands of the National Slate of Independent Progressive Candidates;
4. agree to allow my name, party affiliation, and office I am seeking be included on lists of the Slate that will be circulated to the media and general public;
5. affirm the Slate's stated purpose of being a unity-building step toward a united independent progressive national party or alliance of parties of the people;
6. agree to report the election results in my race (number of votes for all candidates in my race) to the clearinghouse of the National Slate of Independent Progressive Candidates in Brooklyn so the combined efforts of the Slate can be reported to the public;
7. understand that as a member of the National Slate I retain my own party' identity on the ballot and affirm that my own electoral platform does not contradict the basic principles of the National Slate's Common Platform;
8. agree to circulate the Common Platform along with my own platform and campaign literature when and where it is appropriate;
9. agree to circulate the People's Pledge for the creation of a national independent progressive party or alliance of parties when and where it is appropriate;
10. agree to participate when and where it is appropriate in the National Slate's Days of Action as part of my election campaign;
11. understand that the National Slate Task Force will allow me to receive addresses of signers of the People's Pledge in my election district;
12. understand that my address will be available to other candidates on the Slate and that I may contact other candidates on the Slate;
13. understand that I will receive periodic updates on the National Slate of Independent Progressive Candidates.
May 21, 1996
The 1990's have not been encouraging for progressives. The growing polarization of our society around obscene wealth and expanding poverty continues whether Republicans or Democrats are in office. A deeply entrenched militarism continues to thrive aft er the Cold War is over. Both establishment parties are joined in a full-scale retreat on the social justice and environmental fronts.
But there are some encouraging developments in the 1990's as well. One of the most significant has been the growing number of independent progressive candidacies and the successes they have had. Millions of Americans are fed up with the Democrats and Republicans and looking for alternatives, and independent progressives are beginning to provide them.
Usually these independent candidacies generate enough support to shape the issues of the campaign and sometimes enough votes to win. But most of these candidacies are for local office and do not have national visibility. Over one-hundred of these candidates have won election to local office in the last few years, more independent progressives in office than at any time since the Farmer-Labor parties of the early 1930's. But how many of the millions of Americans open to progressive alternatives even know about these successes?
The basic purpose of the National Slate of Independent Progressive Candidates is to link the local campaigns of the various progressive parties into a publicly visible national movement. While retaining their own party affiliation and ballot line and their own platform, candidates who sign on to the National Slate affirm a Common Platform and express their solidarity with the broader movement for an independent progressive alternative. We hope the National Slate will encompass a multi-party list of Green, New, Labor, Socialist, New Tomorrow, Progressive, Peace and Freedom, and other independent candidates from across the country.
The National Slate is for local, state, and federal candidates who run any time during 1996. We also ask parties and other organizations to show their solidarity with the National Slate by endorsing the Common Platform.
The National Slate is a unity-building step for the independent progressive political movement. It builds upon what is already happening: the many independent progressive political initiatives and the growing number of independent candidacies.
Another way the National Slate seeks to build solidarity among independent progressives is by supporting six Days of Action during the campaign which will link independent electoral campaigns to grassroots movements and magnify the impact of our local actions through national visibility.
Candidates who sign on to the National Slate will have access to the addresses of other candidates on the National Slate as well as the addresses of people in their electoral district who sign the People's Pledge. The People's Pledge Campaign seeks to collect the names of one million people who support the creation of a united independent progressive party or alliance of parties.
Both the National Slate and the People's Pledge are projects of the Independent Progressive Politics Network, a national network of parties and organizations which grew out of the National Independent Politics Summits held in Pittsburgh in August 1995 and Atlanta in April 1996. A National Slate Task Force was formed in Pittsburgh, met over the phone several times, and met again in Atlanta.
The Common Platform was developed by the Task Force with the comments and advice of over one-hundred activists. Our aim was to include national demands that are broadly supported in the independent progressive political movement while keeping the platform succinct and popular in style.
We welcome your comments on the Common Platform and all aspects of the National Slate project. Your participation in developing this project further is encouraged. We plan to form National Slates in 1997 and beyond to help our movement develop toward a united independent progressive party or alliance of parties.
Enclosed you will find copies of the Common Platform, the People's Pledge, the Candidate's Covenant (the sign-up for the National Slate), an Organizational Endorsement form, and a calendar for the Days of Action supported by the National Slate.
Each of our independent election campaigns and the various party-building initiatives are vitally important and necessary. But it is also essential that we find ways to work together. The differences within our various party-building initiatives are often as great as the differences between them. The weaknesses in each initiative are a strength in one of the other initiatives. We need each other. Practical solidarity in the independent progressive movement is in all of our interests. The National Slate is a practical, do-able, unity-building step. We urge you to join us in this effort.
Coordinator, National Slate Task Force
National Independent Politics Data Center, P.O. Box 170610, Brooklyn NY 11217; Phone: (718) 624-7807; Fax: (718)643-8265; E-mail: email@example.com