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PAUL GLOVER ESSAYS: community control of food, fuel, housing, health care, planning, education, finance.

A Short History of the
Democratic Party
by Paul Glover, November 2013

    Many of my friends are devoted to the Democratic Party.  They believe it's the only defense against  Republican rampage   As one friend says, "the Democratic Party is the party that makes good things happen."

    They're proud that FDR enacted Social Security and bank controls when the nation demanded relief .  Republicans could also boast, of national parks, trust busting, ending slavery, lowering  thevoting age to 18, starting EPA.

    But today, there is no home on the national ballot for whose who defend civil liberties and oppose export of jobs, bank corruption, corporate control, war and militarism, racist incarceration, union busting, environmental destruction, adulteration of food, pollution of water and air.  By real standards of decency the Democratic Party is perhaps merely 25% less terrifying than the Republican Party. 

    The Democratic Party was founded 1828 to compromise with slavery (Jackson, VanBuren, Polk, Pierce, Buchanan).  It was pro-slavery even during the Civil War (McClellan), then championed Jim Crow laws after Reconstruction (its platform declined to repudiate the KKK in 1924).

    Abandoning its early opposition to big banks, it soon became the party of robber barons and urban bosses-- from Boss Tweed to Mayor Daley.  This culminated with the Federal Reserve Act, which shifted issuance of money from the public to banks (Wilson).  Its FHA required racist lending by banks (FDR).

    The Democratic Party's president led America into World War One, perhaps the stupidest war in human history (Wilson).

    During World War Two its president herded Japanese-Americans into camps (FDR).  Its president (HST) dropped the first atomic bombs.

    Its president led the nation deep into Vietnam (LBJ), killing two million there and 50,000 here.

    Its president deregulated banks and other sectors (Carter), prompting monopolies and bank failures.

    Its president and DNC continued Republican union-busting and lost millions of jobs overseas via NAFTA (Clinton).

    Its president vastly expanded the death penalty, endorsed the disastrous "three strikes" penalty, and reduced welfare to single mothers (Clinton).

    Its presidents have approved bombing of dozens of sovereign nations, from Mexico to Afghanistan, including nine nations since WW2. Its president's embargo of Iraq killed 500,000 children (Clinton).  His Secretary of State said this was "worth it."  

     Its current president wages aggressive war on nations that have not attacked us, a crime for which Nazis were executed.

    He abets AIPAC's apartheid policy. Former Democratic House Speaker Pelosi said in 2009, "When it comes to Israel, Republicans and Democrats speak with one voice."

    Its current president's Cabinet picks were endorsed by O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Kissinger and Glenn Beck.  Its current president appointed Monsanto executives to lead USDA and FDA. 

    Its current president has asserted executive power to nullify habeas corpus, the most sacred of our protections from tyranny.  He has expanded the Patriot Act, the most anti-American legislation to date. Its current president permits executions of Americans without trial, with drones.  He permits militarization of local police forces.

    He stiff-arms advocates of universal health coverage in order to protect insurance companies.

    There is now absolutely no reason to believe the campaign promises of a Democratic candidate for president or governor.

    The Party's failure to restore voting rights to ex-felons-- a working class base of millions-- cost it the 2000 and 2004 elections.

    Back in Philadelphia, the Democratic Party has dominated politics for eighty years.  During the past 50 years City Council has presided over a declining bankrupt city.  These incompetent job destroyers watched 400,000 high-paying industrial jobs rush abroad, to be replaced with un-insured service work. Today,  Center City is a happy-hour carnival surrounded by 80,000 hungry children, by 350,000 unemployed, 90,000 working poor, 250,000 uninsured, feeble health clinics, shuttered  schools, libraries and hospitals; 40,000 vacant lots, 700 abandoned factories and warehouses; smouldering fire departments, derailed transit, the nation's highest urban poverty rate, overflowing prisons, accelerating evictions, and rivers clogged with sewage.

If this decline were beyond Council's control we would not fault them.  But since all these problems have complete local solutions, we may conclude that these Democrats are not competent.

    Council's only trick is trickle-down.   Like all Councils preceding, this Council serves principally whomever offers the most money, for taxes and bribes ("donations").  While thousands suffer, politicos push condos, conventions and casinos.  Council especially resists effective but less profitable technologies that reduce dependence on centralized agencies.  When real solutions contradict Council's "prerogative" they are blocked. 

    Thanks to Council's lack of vision, bureaucrats expect old rules to continue.  Absentee landowners ignore taxes.  Banks squat on foreclosed properties.  Universities expect to raise tuitions.  Insurers expect to monopolize health care. Most laws protect the rich from the poor, not the , poor from the rich. 

    Such corporate Democrats fail the Middle Class, small businesses, and the traditionally poor.

    Social progress has always originated outside elite power centers, with insurgent voices and parties.  These are the "impractical" dreamers.  Obama himself has admitted standing on the shoulders of civil rights rebels.
    Yet the Party presumes to deserve authority in this town.  Somehow they expect us to believe that their priorities are practical.  But their laws are a cage for Philadelphia to die in.

    Therefore a Philly revolution has begun that's deeper than Ben Franklin's.  The Green Party demands a city as beautiful as our children, as sustainable as a forest, and as generous as a family dinner.  It plans to employ all Philadelphians to prepare this city to thrive with less fuel.  It aims to lower the costs of living by reducing dependence on costly housing, heating, cooling, mobility and imported food.  Greens enable the public to create safety nets that release us from treadmills.  To do this, Greens shift control of land, law and money to those most urgently needing it. 

    The next economy celebrates neither bloodthirsty capitalism nor bleeding heart socialism.  It thrives through "mutual enterprise."  This promotes businesses and organizations that are dedicated to community and nature.

    Green city councils will stimulate land reform, land trust law.  Eminent domain, progressive street reclamation, solar cohousing, public banking and credit unions, grassroots health co-ops and clinics, superinsulation and PIF, community currency, food co-ops, green job creation.

    Green progress, orchards and greenhouses gradually replace vacant lots.  Passive solar buildings gradually replace leaky homes.  Health co-ops replace corporate insurers.  Transit gradually replaces cars.  Skills of neighborhood management dominate curriculums, and banks dedicated to the above whose boards are elected.  Equitable development. 

    Because City Hall has not enough dollars to hire hundreds of thousands more of us to rebuild this city, workers will be paid partly with regional labor credits backed by skills and tools, by tax credits, land credits, tuition credits, home purchase credits,, food from regional farms, medical care, child care, transit, recreation and entertainment.  An ever-expanding regional credit and barter network will meet our needs.

    All such bold notions are proven practical elsewhere.  They replace proven failure with adventure.  The deeper the pit, the mightier leap to get out.

Glover is author of Green Jobs Philly, founder of 18 organizations and campaigns, former professor of urban studies at Temple University.

He is the Green Party candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania.

[email protected] 215 805-8330

Books by Paul Glover: Click title for more information.
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