The American Prospect: Julian E. Zelizer- When Progressives Were Organized


Source:The American Prospect– “Progressives seeking a model for an effective Congress could learn from the nearly forgotten history of the Democratic Study Group.” From the American Prospect.

“When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1994 for the first time in 40 years, one of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s earliest moves was to end the public funding for the Democratic Study Group (DSG), a caucus of liberal Democrats that had been created in 1959. It was one of Gingrich’s shrewdest maneuvers. As Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, a staunch conservative then and now, wrote in an internal memo, “The demise of the DSG severely damages the power structure of the House Democrats.”

Roberts was right. The DSG is almost forgotten today, but its history suggests lessons for the current generation of Democrats. Since 1994, congressional liberals have failed to replicate a powerful, independent organization like the Democratic Study Group. They have been dependent on a House leadership that is sometimes but not always sympathetic to their goals. The closest thing to a DSG, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has been a pale imitation of its predecessor, a fragile informal coalition that has lacked the same kind of leadership, money, publications, communications strategy, or clout. As liberals prepare for the start of the 114th Congress and hope for stronger Democratic returns in 2016, they would benefit from looking back at the history of the DSG to see just how much a vibrant and robust caucus can offer.”

From The American Prospect

“FDR introduced a record number of pieces of legislation immediately after being elected during Great Depression. FDR signed the Emergency Banking Act and the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited the merger of commercial and investment banks in response to the 1933 bank panic. FDR also created the Civilian Conservation Corps which put 250,000 unemployed to work. FDR also signed into law new regulatory powers to the Federal Trade Commission and created the Security and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street. $3.3 billion dollars was appropriated to the Public Works Administration to stimulate the economy and create the largest government-owned industrial enterprise in American history — the Tennessee Valley Authority which built dams and power stations, controlled floods, and modernized agriculture and home conditions in the poverty-stricken Tennessee Valley. FDR promised to repeal prohibition in his campaign for Pres, and he did, generating new tax revenue to help pay for increase in gov spending. In June 1933 Roosevelt restored $50 million in pension payments, and Congress added another $46 million more. After the 1934 Congressional elections, which gave Roosevelt large majorities in both houses, there was a fresh surge of New Deal legislation. These measures included the Works Progress Administration which set up a national relief agency that employed 2 million people. FDR signed the National Labor Relations Act which established for the first time in American history the rights of workers to organize unions and participate in strikes. At the height of WPA employment in 1938, unemployment was down from 20.6% in 1933 to only 12.5%. Total employment during Roosevelt’s term expanded by an astonishing 18.31 million jobs! By 1944, FDR and the American people were so confident in his policies, he had the audacity to propose a Second Bill of Rights in his State Of The Union Address.”

FDR & the New Deal_ How Left-Wing Economics Saved America

Source:Right-Wing Watch– our Founding Fathers or just actors playing? You be the judge. LOL

From Right-Wing Watch

The Democratic Study Group that Julian Zelizer mentioned, was a coalition of FDR/LBJ Progressive Democrats who gave America the New Deal, Great Society and the civil rights laws of the 1960s. They created public social safety net in America. Safety net being the key here, because it is one thing that makes America very different from let’s say Scandinavia economically.

Americans don’t expect government to take care of them indefinitely, but to help us when we need it. That is why it’s called a safety net and social insurance. You collect your insurance when you need it. But you don’t use it to pay your bills for the rest of your life unless you are disabled or retired. The Progressives of that era understood that and also didn’t want Americans thinking they could just live off of government indefinitely.

Today’s so-called Progressives (Democratic Socialists, in actuality) are much further left than Progressives of the past.. They’ve gone from Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Teddy Kennedy (real Progressives) all the way over to the Dennis Kucinich’s, Ralph Nader’s Bernie Sanders, and yes, Bob Kuttner’s of the world who expect government to take care of people in general. Instead of being there for people when they need economic assistance and empowering people who are down to get up on their own feet.

The reason why the Democratic Study Group had real clout in Congress in the 1950s and 60s is because they were mainstream in America and tended to believe in things that Americans tend to believe when it comes to the economy. Social insurance for people who need it, infrastructure and quality education for all. So everyone could live in freedom and not need government to take care of them.

The Democratic Study Group and the old The New Republic have been replaced by the New-Left (Socialists and Communists) New Republic, The Nation, AlterNet, TruthOut, and yes The American Prospect and other Far-Left social democratic publications and political activist groups. Who represent very few Americans because they tend to be on the fringe in America and need their readers and followers to give them financial contributions just to stay in business. Because they have so little in advertising revenue. I know this from personal experience being on the email list of all of these publications to see how far left the Far-Left is today.

FDR/LBJ Progressives are still around today: Senator Sherrod Brown might be their best and leading spokesperson in Congress today. But unfortunately they’re being shouted down by MSNBC and those publications that I mentioned earlier.

About Derik Schneider

Blogger on everything that interests me and that I'm knowledgeable about.
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