From the Editor

The regular quarterly production of Progressive Democracy hereby returns.   It contains, as usual, a wide variety of articles, long and short, expressing progressive ideas.  Read them all – or sample as you will.  Please comment if you are inclined.

TAIPD, The American Institute for Progressive Democracy, sponsored a major conference on water issues - the papers from that were published in a special edition of this journal that filled its ‘pages’ for the past three months.  The special issue can be accessed by the link on the left hand column as can the complete video record of the conference proceedings.  is being moved to the archives - check it out on the left hand column.  The previous quarterly issue of Progressive Democracy – which had a short run time on the site because of the special issue - can also be accessed by the link.

It is time to return to our usual routine.

I must note with sadness the death of our previous web-master, Roger Humes.  Roger was not only responsible for the technical work involved in getting our material online but, as a poet and poetry editor, he was also responsible for the international poets whose poems were included in the journal.

The poetry will thus vanish from these pages.  We will, however, continue publishing pictures: we will be using photos by Lewis Wickes Hine held in the Library of Congress.

In 2011 TAIPD sponsored a forum on the Citizens United decision (for the proceedings see the archives).  Out of that grew our draft of a constitutional amendment overturning the misguided principles the Supreme Court relied upon in reaching its decision.  Across the country other organizations produced their own versions of such an amendment.  And hundreds of cities and states called for some amendment to the Constitution that would rid our political lives of the flood of money from corporations that the CU decision produced.  The opposition to the decision has coalesced in support of Senator Tom Udall’s version of an amendment (S.J. Res 19) which has a lot of Senatorial support and now looks likely to come up for a vote very soon.

While the Udall amendment does not explicitly accomplish some of the aims of the version produced by TAIPD (and similar versions from elsewhere) – see our draft and a summary of the Udall bill below - , it seems to do enough to preclude corporations from spending vast sums of money to buy elections.

(1) TAIPD: A Constitutional Amendment in response to the Citizens United & other Recent Supreme Court Decisions

1. Corporations, limited liability companies, and other corporate entities are not natural persons, are not citizens and are not imbued with the same inalienable rights as citizens.

2. Only natural persons who are citizens shall have the right to contribute funds or in-kind donations to campaigns of citizens for public office or for the purposes of supporting or opposing such campaigns for public office. All such contributions shall be a matter of public record.

3. Only natural persons who are citizens may form organizations to support or oppose the candidacies of citizens for public office. All contributions of funds or in-kind donations made to such organizations shall be made only by natural persons who are citizens and shall be a matter of public record. All contributions made by or through such organizations to support or oppose the campaigns of citizens for public office shall also be a matter of public record.

4. The sovereign right of citizens to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds or in-kind donations made for the purposes of supporting or opposing the election campaigns of citizens to public office, in conformity with Sections 1, 2 and 3 above.

(2) Udall S.J. Res. 19

The proposed constitutional amendment:
- Restores authority to the American people, through Congress and the states, to regulate and limit the raising and spending of money for federal political campaigns
- Allows states to regulate campaign spending at their level;
- Includes the authority to regulate and limit independent expenditures, like those from Super PACs;
- Would not dictate any specific policies or regulations, but instead would allow Congress to pass campaign finance reform legislation that withstands constitutional challenges;
- Expressly provides that any regulation authorized under the amendment cannot limit the freedom of the press.