Progressive Party Platform of 1948
Three years after the end of the second world war, the drums are beating for a third. Civil liberties are being destroyed.
Millions cry out for relief from unbearably high prices. The American way of life is in danger.
The root cause of this crisis is Big Business control of our economy and government.
With toil and enterprise the American people have created from their rich resources the world's greatest productive machine. This machine no longer belongs to the people. Its ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few and its product used for their enrichment.
Never before have so few owned so much at the expense of so many.
Ten years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned: "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state. That, in its essence, is fascism."
Today that private power has constituted itself an invisible government which pulls the strings of its puppet Republican and Democratic parties. Two sets of candidates compete for votes under the outworn emblems of the old parties. But both represent a single program—a program of monopoly profits through war preparations, lower living standards, and suppression of dissent.
For generations the common man of America has resisted this concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a few. The greatest of America's political leaders have led the people into battle against the money power, the railroads, the trusts, the economic royalists.
We of the Progressive Party are the present-day descendants of these people's movements and fighting leaders. We are the political heirs of Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln—of Frederick Douglass, Altgeld and Debs—of "Fighting Bob" La Follette, George Norris, and Franklin Roosevelt.
Throughout our history new parties have arisen when the old parties have betrayed the people. As Jefferson headed a new party to defeat the reactionaries of his day, and as Lincoln led a new party to victory over the slave owners, so today the people, inspired and led by Henry Wallace, have created a new party to secure peace, freedom, and abundance.
With the firm conviction that the principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution of the United States set forth, all fundamental freedoms for all people and secure the safety and well being of our country, the Progressive Party pledges itself to safeguard these principles to the American people.
Betrayal by the Old Parties
The American people want peace. But the old parties, obedient to the dictates of monopoly and the military, prepare for war in the name of peace.
They refuse to negotiate a settlement of differences with the Soviet Union.
They reject the United Nations as an instrument for promoting world peace and reconstruction.
They use the Marshall Plan to rebuild Nazi Germany as a war base and to subjugate the economies of other European countries to American Big Business.
They finance and arm corrupt, fascist governments in China, Greece, Turkey, and elsewhere, through the Truman doctrine, wasting billions in American resources and squandering America's heritage as the enemy of despotism.
They encircle the globe with military bases which other peoples cannot but view as threats to their freedom and security.
They protect the war-making industrial and financial barons of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, and restore them to power.
They stockpile atomic bombs.
They pass legislation to admit displaced persons, discriminating against Catholics, Jews, and other victims of Hitler.
They impose a peacetime draft and move toward universal military training.
They fill policy-making positions in government with generals and Wall Street bankers.
Peace cannot be won—but profits can—by spending ever increasing billions of the people's money in war preparations.
Yet these are the policies of the two old parties—policies profaning the name of peace.
The American people cherish freedom.
But the old parties, acting for the forces of special privilege, conspire to destroy traditional American freedoms.
They deny the Negro people the rights of citizenship. They impose a universal policy of Jim Crow and enforce it with every weapon of terror. They refuse to outlaw' its most bestial expression—the crime of lynching.
They refuse to abolish the poll tax, and year after year they deny the right to vote to Negroes and millions of white people in the South.
They aim to reduce nationality groups to a position of social, economic, and political inferiority.
They connive to bar the Progressive Party from the ballot.
They move to outlaw the Communist Party as a decisive step in their assault on the democratic rights of labor, of national, racial, and political minorities, and of all those who oppose their drive to war. In this they repeat the history of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Franco Spain.
They support the House Committee on Un-American Activities in its vilification and persecution of citizens in total disregard of the Bill of Rights.
They build the Federal Bureau of Investigation into a political police with secret dossiers on millions of Americans.
They seek to regiment the thinking of the American people and to suppress political dissent.
They strive to enact such measures as the Mundt-Nixon Bill which are as destructive of democracy as were the alien and sedition laws against which Jefferson fought.
They concoct a spurious "loyalty" program to create an atmosphere of fear and hysteria in government and industry.
They shackle American labor with the Taft-Hartley Act at the express command of Big Business, while encouraging exorbitant profits through uncontrolled inflation.
They restore the labor injunction as a weapon for breaking strikes and smashing unions.
This is the record of the two old parties—a record profaning the American ideal of freedom.
The American people want abundance. But the old parties refuse to enact effective price and rent controls, making the people victims of a disastrous inflation which dissipates the savings of millions of families and depresses their living standards.
They ignore the housing problem, although more than half the nation's families, including millions of veterans, are homeless or living in rural and urban slums.
They refuse social security protection to millions and allow only meager benefits to the rest.
They block national health legislation even though millions of men, women, and children are without adequate medical care.
They foster the concentration of private economic power.
They replace progressive government officials, the supporters of Franklin Roosevelt, with spokesmen of Big Business.
They pass tax legislation for the greedy, giving only insignificant reductions to the needy.
These are the acts of the old parties—acts profaning the American dream of abundance.
No glittering party platforms or election promises of the Democratic and Republican parties can hide their betrayal of the needs of the American people.
Nor can they act otherwise. For both parties, as the record of the 80th Congress makes clear, are the champions of Big Business.
The Republican platform admits it.
The Democratic platform attempts to conceal it.
But the very composition of the Democratic leadership exposes the demagogy of its platform. It is a party of machine politicians and Southern Bourbons who veto in Congress the liberal planks "won" in convention.
Such platforms, conceived in hypocrisy and lack of principle deserve nothing but contempt.
Principles of the Progressive Party
The Progressive Party is born in the deep conviction that the national wealth and natural resources of our country belong to the people who inhabit it and must be employed in their behalf; that freedom and opportunity must be secured equally to all; that the brotherhood of man can be achieved and the scourge of war ended.
The Progressive Party holds that basic to the organization of world peace is a return to the purpose of Franklin Roosevelt to seek areas of international agreement rather than disagreement. It was his conviction that within the framework of the United Nations different social and economic systems can and must live together. If peace is to be achieved capitalist United States and Communist Russia must establish good relations and work together.
The Progressive Party holds that it is the first duty of a just government to secure for all the people, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national background, political belief, or station in life, the inalienable rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The government must actively protect these rights against the encroachments of public and private agencies.
The Progressive Party holds that a just government must use its powers to promote an abundant life for its people. This is the basic idea of Franklin Roosevelt's Economic Bill of Rights. Heretofore every attempt to give effect to this principle has failed because Big Business dominates the key sectors of the economy. Antitrust laws and government regulation cannot break this domination. There fore the people, through their democratically elected representatives, must take control of the main levers of the economic system. Public ownership of these levers will enable the people to plan the use of their productive resources so as to develop the limitless potential of modern technology and to create a true American-Commonwealth free from poverty and insecurity.
The Progressive Party believes that only through peaceful under standing can the world make progress toward reconstruction and higher standards of living; that peace is the essential condition for safeguarding and extending our traditional freedoms; that only by preserving liberty and by planning an abundant life for all can we eliminate the sources of world conflict. Peace, freedom, and abundance—the goals of the Progressive Party—are indivisible.
Only the Progressive Party can destroy the power of private monopoly and restore the government to the American people. For ours is a party uncorrupted by privilege, committed to no special interests, free from machine control, and open to all Americans of all races, colors, and creeds.
The Progressive Party is a party of action. We seek through the democratic process and through day-by-day activity to lead the American people toward the fulfillment of these principles.
We ask support for the following program:
Henry Wallace in his open letter suggested, and Premier Stalin in his reply accepted, a basis for sincere peace discussions. The exchange showed that specific areas of agreement can be found if the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system are mutually respected.
The Progressive Party therefore demands negotiation and discussion with the Soviet Union to find areas of agreement to win the peace.
The Progressive Party believes that enduring peace among the peoples of the world community is possible only through world law. Continued anarchy among nations in the atomic age threatens our civilization and humanity itself with annihilation. The only ultimate alternative to war is the abandonment of the principle of the coercion of sovereignties by sovereignties and the adoption of the principle of the just enforcement upon individuals of world federal law, enacted by a world federal legislature with limited but adequate powers to safeguard the common defense and the general welfare of all mankind.
Such a structure of peace through government can be evolved by making of the United Nations an effective agency of cooperation among nations. This can be done by restoring the unity of the Great Powers as they work together for common purposes. Since the death of Franklin Roosevelt, this principle has been betrayed to a degree which not only paralyzes the United Nations but threatens the world with another war in which there can be no victors and few survivors.
Beyond an effective United Nations lies the further possibility of genuine world government. Responsibility for ending the tragic prospect of war is a joint responsibility of the Soviet Union and the United States. We hope for more political liberty and economic democracy throughout the world. We believe that war between East and West will mean fascism and death for all. We insist that peace is the prerequisite of survival.
We believe with Henry Wallace that "there is no misunderstanding or difficulty between the USA and USSR which can be settled by force or fear and there is no difference which cannot be settled by peaceful, hopeful negotiation. There is no American principle or public interest, and there is no Russian principle or public interest, which would have to be sacrificed to end the cold war and open up the Century of Peace which the Century of the Common Man demands."
We denounce anti-Soviet hysteria as a mask for monopoly, militarism, and reaction. We demand that a new leadership of the peace-seeking people of our nation—which has vastly greater responsibility for peace than Russia because it has vastly greater power for war—undertake in good faith and carry to an honorable conclusion, without appeasement or saber rattling on either side, a determined effort to settle current controversies and enable men and women everywhere to look forward with confidence to the common task of building a creative and lasting peace for all the world.
End the Drive to War
The Progressive Party calls for the repeal of the peacetime draft and the rejection of universal military training.
We call for the immediate cessation of the piling up of armament expenditures beyond reasonable peacetime requirements for national defense.
We demand the repudiation of the Truman doctrine and an end to military and economic intervention in support of reactionary and Fascist regimes in China, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and Latin America. We demand that the United States completely sever diplomatic and economic relations with Franco Spain.
We call for the abandonment of military bases designed to encircle and intimidate other nations.
We demand the repeal of the provisions of the National Security Act which are mobilizing the nation for war, preparing a labor draft, and organizing a monopoly-militarist dictatorship.
These measures will express the American people's determination to avoid provocation and aggression. They will be our contribution to the reduction of mistrust and the creation of a general atmosphere in which peace can be established.
The Progressive Party will work to realize Franklin Roosevelt's ideal of the United Nations as a world family of nations, by defending its charter and seeking to prevent its transformation into the diplomatic or military instrument of any one power or group of powers.
We call for the establishment of a United Nations Reconstruction and Development Fund to promote international recovery by providing assistance to the needy nations of Europe, Africa, and Asia, without political conditions and with priorities to those peoples that suffered most from Axis aggression.
We call for the repudiation of the Marshall Plan.
We urge the full use of the Economic and Social Council and other agencies of the United Nations to wipe out disease and starvation, to promote the development of culture and science, and to develop the peaceful application of atomic energy.
We demand that the United States delegation to the United Nations stop protecting Fascist Spain and press for effective economic and diplomatic sanctions against Franco's dictatorship.
The Progressive Party will work through the United Nations for a world disarmament agreement to outlaw the atomic bomb, bacteriological warfare, and all other instruments of mass destruction; to destroy existing stock piles of atomic bombs and to establish United Nations controls, including inspection, over the production of atomic energy; and to reduce conventional armaments drastically in accordance with resolutions already passed by the United Nations General Assembly.
Germany and Japan
The Progressive Party calls for cooperation with our wartime allies to conclude peace treaties promptly with a unified Germany and with Japan. The essentials for a German settlement are denazification and democratization, punishment of war criminals, land reform, decartelization, nationalization of heavy industry, Big- Four control of the Ruhr, reparations to the victims of Nazi aggression, and definitive recognition of the Oder-Neisse line as the western boundary of Poland. On this basis, we advocate the speedy conclusion of a peace treaty and a simultaneous withdrawal of all occupation troops.
Similar principles should govern a settlement with Japan.
State of Israel
The Progressive Party demands the immediate de jure recognition of the State of Israel.
We call for admission of Israel to the United Nations.
We call for a presidential proclamation lifting the arms embargo in favor of the State of Israel.
We pledge our support for and call upon the Government of the United States to safeguard the sovereignty, autonomy, political independence, and territorial integrity of the State of Israel in accordance with the boundaries laid down by the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of November 29, 1947.
We support the prompt extension to Israel of generous financial assistance without political conditions.
We oppose any attempt to interfere with Israel in its sovereign right to control its own immigration policy.
We call upon the United States Government to provide immediate shipping and other facilities for the transportation of Jewish dis placed persons in Europe who desire to emigrate to Israel.
We support, within the framework of the United Nations, the internationalization of Jerusalem and the protection of the Holy Places.
We appeal to the Arab workers, farmers, and small merchants to accept the United Nations decision for a Jewish and Arab state as being in their best interest. We urge them not to permit themselves to be used as tools in a war against Israel on behalf of British and American monopolies, for the latter are the enemies of both Arabs and Jews.
The Far East
The Progressive Party supports the struggle of the peoples of Asia to achieve independence and to move from feudalism into the modern era. We condemn the bipartisan policy of military and economic intervention to crush these people's movements. World peace and prosperity cannot be attained unless the people of China. Indonesia, Indo-China, Malaya and other Asian lands win their struggle for independence and take their place as equals in the family of nations.
We call for the immediate withdrawal of American troops and abandonment of bases in China.
We demand cessation of financial and military aid to the Chiang Kai-shek dictatorship.
We follow the policy of Franklin Roosevelt in encouraging the creation of a democratic coalition government in China. We urge support for and the granting of large scale economic assistance to such a government.
We support the efforts of the people of Korea to establish national unity and the kind of government they desire. We demand an early joint withdrawal of occupation troops.
Colonial and Dependent Peoples
We believe that people everywhere in the world have the right to self-determination. The people of Puerto Rico have the right to independence. The people of the United States have an obligation toward the people of Puerto Rico to see that they are started on the road toward economic security and prosperity.
We demand the repeal of the Bell Trade Act relating to the Philippines and the abrogation of other unequal trade treaties with economically weaker peoples.
We urge action by the people of the United States and cooperation with other countries in the United Nations to abolish the colonial system in all its forms and to realize the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas.
We support the aspirations for unified homelands, of traditionally oppressed and dispersed people such as the Irish and Armenians.
The Progressive Party urges a return to, and the strengthening of, Franklin Roosevelt's good-neighbor policy in our relations with republics to the South.
We demand the abandonment of the inter-American military program.
We call for economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The Progressive Party calls for the repeal of the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic Displaced Persons Act of 1948 which permits the entry into the United States of Fascists and collaborators. We call for the enactment of legislation to open our doors in the true American tradition to the victims of Fascist persecution.
The Progressive Party condemns segregation and discrimination in all its forms and in all places.
We demand full equality for the Negro people, the Jewish people, Spanish-speaking Americans, Italian Americans, Japanese Americans, and all other nationality groups.
We call for a presidential proclamation ending segregation and all forms of discrimination in the armed services and federal employment.
We demand federal anti-lynch, anti-discrimination, and fair employment-practices legislation, and legislation abolishing segregation in interstate travel.
We call for immediate passage of anti-poll tax legislation, enactment of a universal suffrage law to permit all citizens to vote in federal elections, and the full use of federal enforcement powers to assure free exercise of the right of franchise.
We call for a civil rights act for the District of Columbia to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination in the nation's capital.
We demand the ending of segregation and discrimination in the Panama Canal Zone and all territories, possessions, and trusteeships.
We demand that Indians, the earliest Americans, be given full citizenship rights without loss of reservation rights and be permitted to administer their own affairs.
We will develop special programs to raise the low standards of health, housing, and educational facilities for Negroes, Indians, and nationality groups, and will deny federal funds to any state or local authority which withholds opportunities or benefits for reasons of race, creed, color, sex, or national origin.
We will initiate a federal program of education, in cooperation with state, local, and private agencies to combat racial and religious prejudice.
We support the enactment of legislation making it a federal crime to disseminate anti-Semitic, anti-Negro, and all racist propaganda by mail, radio, motion picture, or other means of communication.
We call for a constitutional amendment which will effectively prohibit every form of discrimination against women—economic, educational, legal, and political.
We pledge to respect the freedom of conscience of sincere conscientious objectors to war. We demand amnesty for conscientious objectors imprisoned in World War II.
The Right of Political Association and Expression
The Progressive Party will fight for the constitutional rights of Communists and all other political groups to express their views as the first line in the defense of the liberties of a democratic people.
We oppose the use of violence or intimidation, under cover of law or otherwise, by any individual or group, including the violence and intimidation now being committed by those who are attempting to suppress political dissent.
We pledge an all-out fight against the Mundt-Nixon Bill and all similar legislation designed to impose thought control, restrict freedom of opinion, and establish a police state in America.
We demand the abolition of the House Un-American Activities Committee and similar state committees, and we mean to right the wrongs which these committees have perpetrated upon thousands of loyal Americans working for the realization of democratic ideals.
We pledge to eliminate the current "Loyalty" purge program and to reestablish standards for government service that respect the rights of federal employes to freedom of association and opinion and to engage in political activity.
We demand the full right of teachers and students to participate freely and fully in the social, civic, and political life of the nation and of the local community.
We demand that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agencies desist from investigating, or interfering with, the political beliefs and lawful activities of Americans.
We demand an end to the present practices of congressional committees—such as the House Labor Committee—in persecuting trade unionists and political leaders at the behest of Big Business.
We demand an end to the present campaign of deportation against foreign-born trade unionists and political leaders, and will actively protect the civil rights of naturalized citizens and the foreign-born.
The Progressive Party recognizes the varied contributions of all nationality groups to American cultural, economic, and social life, and considers them a source of strength for the democratic development of our country.
We advocate the right of the foreign-born to obtain citizenship without discrimination.
We advocate the repeal of discriminatory immigration laws based upon race, national origin, religion, or political belief.
We recognize the just claims of the Japanese Americans for indemnity for the losses suffered during their wartime internment, which was an outrageous violation of our fundamental concepts of justice.
We support legislation facilitating naturalization of Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, and other national groups now discriminated against by law.
We support legislation facilitating naturalization of merchant seamen with a record of war service.
Democracy in the Armed Forces
The Progressive Party demands abolition of Jim Crow in the armed forces.
We demand abolition of social inequalities between officers and enlisted personnel.
We call for basic revision in the procedure of military justice, including the more adequate participation of enlisted men in courts- martial.
We urge that admission to West Point and Annapolis be based on the candidates' qualifications, determined by open competitive examinations, and that an increasing percentage of young men admitted be drawn from the ranks.
The Progressive Party proposes a constitutional amendment providing for the direct election of the President and Vice President by popular vote.
We call for home rule and the granting of full suffrage to the disfranchised citizens of the District of Columbia.
We favor the immediate admission of Hawaii and Alaska as the 49th and 50th states of the Union.
We urge that all general and primary election days be declared holidays to enable all citizens to vote.
Separation of Church and State
The Progressive Party intends to maintain the traditional American separation of church and state and protect the freedom of secular education.
High Cost of Living
The living standards of the American people are under bipartisan attack through uncontrolled inflation. The only effective method of combating inflation is to take the profits out of inflation.
The Progressive Party calls for legislation which will impose controls that will reduce and keep down the prices of food, shelter, clothing, other essentials of life, and basic materials. Such controls should squeeze out excessive profits, provide for the payment of subsidies to farmers wherever necessary to maintain fair agricultural prices, and allocate materials and goods in short supply.
We call for removal by the President of the Housing Expediter who is administering rent control in the interests of the real estate lobby.
We call for strengthening rent control, providing protection against evictions, and eliminating the present "hardship" regulations which are a bonanza for the large realty interests.
The Progressive Party believes in the principle of democratic economic planning and rejects the boom-and-bust philosophy of the old parties.
We mean to establish a Council of Economic Planning to develop plans for assuring high production, full employment, and a rising standard of living.
We mean to develop, on the TVA pattern, regional planning authorities in the major river-valleys the country over to achieve cheap power, rural electrification, soil conservation, flood control, and reforestation, and to accelerate the growth of undeveloped areas, particularly in the South and West.
We mean to promote, through public ownership and long-range planning, the peaceful use of atomic energy to realize its great potential as a source of power and as a tool in science, medicine, and technology.
Only through the planned development of all our resources will the full benefit of the nation's wealth and productivity be secured for the people.
Breaking the Grip of Monopoly
Monopoly's grip on the economy must be broken if democracy is to survive and economic planning become possible. Experience has shown that antitrust laws and government regulation are not by themselves sufficient to halt the growth of monopoly. The only solution is public ownership of key areas of the economy.
The Progressive Party will initiate such measures of public ownership as may be necessary to put into the hands of the people's representatives the levers of control essential to the operation of an economy of abundance. As a first step, the largest banks, the railroads, the merchant marine, the electric power and gas industry, and industries primarily dependent on government funds or government purchases such as the aircraft, the synthetic rubber and synthetic oil industries must be placed under public ownership.
We mean to strengthen and vigorously enforce the antitrust laws to curb monopoly in the rest of the economy.
We call for the immediate abolition of discriminatory freight rates, which help to keep the South and West in bondage to Wall Street.
Tideland oil resources belong to the people, and we fight the efforts of the oil companies to steal them. We support federal control of such resources.
We demand the repeal of the Bulwlnkel law which exempts railroads from antitrust prosecution.
We call for the repeal of the Miller-Tydings legislation which eliminated retail competition in branded goods, excluding these from the coverage of the antitrust laws.
The Progressive Party recognizes that from the earliest period of its history the organized labor movement has taken leadership in the struggle for democratic and humanitarian objectives. Organized labor remains the mainspring of America's democratic striving, and the just needs of labor are of special concern to the Progressive Party.
We hold that every American who works for a living has an inalienable right to an income sufficient to provide him and his family with a high standard of living. Unless the rights of labor to organize, to bargain collectively, and to strike are secure, a rising standard of living cannot be realized.
We demand the immediate repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act and the reinstatement of the principles of the Wagner and Norris- LaGuardia Acts. These last measures are essential to restore labor's equality in collective bargaining and to prevent business from using government to establish a dictatorship over labor by injunction.
We will demand the right for employes in publicly-owned industries to organize, to bargain collectively, and to strike.
We call for the establishment of collective bargaining machinery for federal employes.
We support the legitimate demands of all wage and salary earners, including federal employes, for wage and salary increases and improved working conditions. We demand the enactment of a minimum wage of $ 1 an hour, extension of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover all workers, enforcement of equal pay for equal work regardless of age or sex, and the elimination of any regional wage differential.
We oppose governmental strikebreaking through seizure of struck industries under the pretext of federal operation, while profits continue to go to private employers.
We urge the enactment and stringent enforcement of federal and state laws establishing adequate safety and health standards for miners, longshoremen, railroad workers, merchant seamen, and all other workers in hazardous industries.
We pledge drastic amendment of the Railway Labor Act to make certain that the railroad workers enjoy genuine collective bargaining and the right to strike. We call for amendment of the Railroad Retirement Act to grant railroad workers pensions of $100 minimum after 30 years' service or when they become 60 years old.
We call for federal legislation to improve railroad working conditions by establishing a 4 0-hour, 5-day week for nonoperating
and terminal employes, a six-hour day for roadmen, and train limit and full crew provisions.
We actively support measures to repair and improve the living standards of the 12 million white collar and professional employes, who have suffered particularly under the inflation.
We call for an end to the second-class citizenship of our nation's two and a half million agricultural wage workers, and the thousands of food-processing workers who are excluded from the protection of social and labor legislation. We stand for legislation to protect the right of agricultural workers to bargain collectively. We call for extension of social security and fair labor standards coverage to all agricultural and food-processing workers.
We demand an immediate end to the arbitrary security orders issued by the Department of National Defense which blacklist employes in private industries under government contracts.
The Progressive Party recognizes that the welfare of farmers is closely tied to the living standards of consumers. We reject the "eat- less" policy of the old parties and proclaim our intention to develop within the framework of an economy of planned abundance, a long- range program of full agricultural production, combined with necessary safeguards for the security of farmers and for the conservation of our natural resources.
We stand for the family-type farm as the basic unit of American agriculture. The Farmer's Home Administration, (formerly, Farm Security Administration) must be expanded to provide ample low cost credit to assist tenants, sharecroppers, and returned veterans to become farm-owners. Marginal farmers must be assisted to become efficient producers. Where farming is incapable of yielding an adequate family income, supplementary employment on needed conservation and public works projects must be provided.
We propose as a major goal of federal farm programs that all farm families be enabled to earn an income of not less than $3,000 a year. We repudiate the program of Big Business which would eliminate as many as two-thirds of the nation's farmers.
We call for a 5-year program of price-supports for all major crops at not less than 90 percent of parity—parity to be calculated according to an up-to-date formula. Dairy products and certain specialties should be supported at higher rates than 90 percent.
We demand that all essential crops be insured against hazards which are beyond the control of the individual farmer.
We support the principle of direct payments to farmers for soil conservation practices, crop adjustment, and rodent control.
We favor the principle of compensating payments and production subsidies when needed to encourage a high level of consumption without jeopardizing farm income. We also call for assistance to low-income consumers through such programs as the food stamp plan and the school hot-lunch program.
We favor international commodity agreements and a World Food Board under the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to stabilize world markets and to move farm surpluses to deficient areas.
We call for a long-range national land policy designed to discourage the growth of corporation farms and absentee ownership. This policy is especially important in the South to promote the proper development of its resources and to provide land for the landless. Priority in the purchase of land made available by river valley projects must be given to tenants, sharecroppers, and small farmers.
We regard it as of utmost importance that programs of conservation, production, marketing, and price-support be administered by democratically-elected farmer committeemen, as in the Triple-A program.
We stand for the principle of a graduated land tax and for the 160-acre limitation in the use of public Irrigation.
We support farmer and consumer cooperatives as a highly important answer to the problem of monopoly control over markets and supplies. We oppose the tax drive being staged by Big Business against cooperatives.
We favor immediate flood control projects and universal electrification of all farms. REA lines and generating facilities should be rapidly expanded, and river-valley projects for power and irrigation should be undertaken as promptly as possible.
The Progressive Party believes that independent businessmen can survive only in an economy free from monopoly domination, where workers and farmers receive incomes sufficient to permit them to purchase the goods they need.
We propose to encourage and safeguard independent business by providing adequate working capital and development loans at low interest rates, granting tax relief, and giving independent and small business a fair share of government contracts. We propose to make available to independent business, through an expanded government research program, the know-how essential to efficient operation.
The Progressive Party charges that private enterprise, under monopoly control, has failed to house the American people. It is the responsibility of democratic government to guarantee the right of every family to a decent home at a price it can afford to pay.
We demand a federal emergency housing program to build within the next two years four million low-rent and low-cost dwellings for homeless and doubled-up families, with priority to veterans.
We recognize that to accomplish this objective it will be necessary to curb nonessential construction, to allocate scarce materials, and to reduce the cost of land, money, and building materials.
We pledge an attack on the chronic housing shortage and the slums through a long-range program to build 25 million new homes during the next 10 years. This program will include public subsidized housing for low-income families.
We pledge that as a part of our general program of economic planning the building industry will be reorganized and rationalized, capacity to produce presently scarce materials will be expanded, and year-round employment will be guaranteed to workers in the building trades.
Government—federal, state and local—has the responsibility to insure that communities are well-planned, with homes conveniently located near places of employment and with adequate provision for health, education, recreation, and culture.
We pledge the abolition of discrimination and segregation in housing.
Security and Health
The Progressive Party demands the extension of social security protection to every man, woman, and child in the United States.
We recognize the service which the Townsend Plan has performed in bringing to national attention the tragic plight of the senior citizens of America, and we condemn the bipartisan conspiracy in Congress over the past 10 years against providing adequate old age pensions.
We pledge our active support for a national old age pension of $100 a month to all persons at 60 years of age, based on right and not on a pauperizing need basis.
We call for a federal program of adequate disability and sickness benefits and increased unemployment benefits, protecting all workers and their standards of living.
We call for maternity benefits for working mothers for 13 weeks, including the period before and after childbirth, and the granting of children's allowances to families with children under 18.
We favor adequate public assistance for all persons in need, with federal grants-in-aid proportionate to the needs and financial ability of the states, pending the enactment of a comprehensive federal social security program.
We support the right of every American to good health through a national system of health insurance, giving freedom of choice to patient and practitioner, and providing adequate medical and dental care for all.
We favor the expenditure of federal funds in support of an effective program for public health and preventive medicine and a program of dental care.
We favor the expenditure of federal funds for the promotion of medical and dental education and research.
We look forward to the eventual transfer of the entire cost of the security and health program to the government as an essential public service.
The Progressive Party proposes to secure the rights of women and children and to guarantee the security of the American family as a happy and democratic unit and as the mainstay of our nation.
We propose to raise women to first-class citizens by removing all restrictions—social, economic, and political—without jeopardizing the existing protective legislation vital to women as mothers or future mothers.
We propose to extend fair labor standards for women, to guarantee them healthful working conditions, equal job security with men, and their jobs back after the birth of children.
We propose to guarantee medical care for mother and child prior to, during and after birth, through a national system of health insurance.
We propose a program of federal assistance for the establishment of day care centers for all children.
The Progressive Party believes young people are the nation's most valuable asset; their full potentialities can be realized only by implementing our complete program for peace, freedom, and abundance. We challenge the failure of the old parties to meet the special problems of youth,
We call for the right to vote at 18.
We call for the enforcement and extension of child labor laws.
We call for federal and state expenditures for recreational facilities, particularly in needy rural communities.
The Progressive Party recognizes the veterans' special sacrifices and contributions in the nation's most critical period.
We demand priority for veterans in obtaining homes.
We call for a federal bonus to veterans based on length of service.
We demand the expansion of the Veterans Administration program and increased G.I. benefits and allowances and the elimination of discrimination.
We demand that the coverage of the GI Bill of Rights and other servicemen's benefits be extended to war widows and to merchant seamen with war service.
We call for the prompt refund of the overcharges collected from veterans by National Service Life Insurance.
We demand that the government enforce the right of Negro veterans in the South to file terminal leave applications and to collect their benefits.
We call for increased benefits for disabled veterans and a program to guarantee them jobs at decent wages.
The Progressive Party demands the overhaul of the tax structure according to the democratic principle of ability to pay. We propose to employ taxation as a flexible instrument to promote full employment and economic stability.
We propose to exempt from personal income taxes all families and individuals whose income falls below the minimum required for a decent standard of living. We propose that income from capital gains be taxed at the same graduated rate as ordinary income.
We propose to enact effective excess profits and undistributed profits taxation.
We propose to curb tax-dodging by closing existing loopholes.
We propose to work towards the progressive elimination of federal excise taxes on the basic necessities of life.
We oppose all state and local sales taxes.
We propose to close existing loopholes in estate and gift taxes and establish an integrated system of estate and gift taxation.
The Progressive Party proposes to guarantee, free from segregation and discrimination, the inalienable right to a good education to every man, woman, and child in America. Essential to good education are the recognized principles of academic freedom—in particular, the principle of free inquiry into and discussion of controversial issues by teachers and students.
We call for the establishment of an integrated federal grant-in-aid program to build new schools, libraries, raise teachers' and librarians' salaries, improve primary and secondary schools, and assist municipalities and states to establish free colleges.
We call for a system of federal scholarships, fellowships, and cost-of-living grants, free from limitations or quotas based on race, creed, color, sex, or national origin, in order to enable all those with necessary qualifications but without adequate means of support to obtain higher education in institutions of their own choice.
We call for a national program of adult education in cooperation with state and local authorities.
We oppose segregation in education and support legal action on behalf of Negro students and other minorities aimed at securing their admission to state-supported graduate and professional schools which now exclude them by law.
We call for a Department of Education with a Secretary of Cabinet rank.
The Progressive Party recognizes culture as a potentially powerful force in the moral and spiritual life of a people and, through the people, in the growth of democracy and the preservation of peace, and realizes that the culture of a democracy must, like its government, be of, by, and for the people.
We pledge ourselves to establish a department of government that shall be known as the Department of Culture, whose function shall be the promotion of all the arts as an expression of the spirit of the American people, and toward the enrichment of the people's lives, to make the arts available to all.
Promotion of Science
The Progressive Party calls for the enactment of legislation to promote science, including human and social sciences, so that scientific knowledge may be enlarged and used for the benefit of all people.
We condemn the militarization of science and the imposition of military control over scientific expression and communication.
We support measures for public control of patents and licensing provisions to insure that new inventions will be used for the benefit of the people.
A Real Choice in 1948
The Progressive Party has taken root as the party of the common man. It has arisen in response to, and draws growing strength from, the demand of millions of men and women for the simple democratic right to vote for candidates and a program which satisfy their needs. It gives voters a real choice.
Purposeful and deeply meant, the program of the Progressive Party carries forward the policies of Franklin Roosevelt and the aspirations of Wendell Willkie and holds forth the promise of a reborn democracy ready to play its part in one world. The American people want such a program. They will support it.
Under the leadership of Henry A. Wallace and Glen H. Taylor, a great new people's movement is on the march. Under the guidance of Divine Providence, the Progressive Party, with strong and active faith, moves forward to peace, freedom and abundance.
APP Note: The American Presidency Project used the first day of the national nominating convention as the "date" of this platform.
Source: The Wisconsin Blue Book 1950 (Madison: The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library 1950) pp. 566-570.
Minor/Third Party Platforms, Progressive Party Platform of 1948 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367053