From: Par Kettis, Chair of the Committee on Platform

The draft amended MDP Platform 2012 that the Committee on Platform has adopted,  recommends that the MDP Convention 2012 adopt  Franklin D Roosevelt’s  “Economic Bill of Rights” as a Vision Statement for our Party.  The principles and values of the “Economic Bill of Rights” are as central to the Democratic Party today as they were when FDR included them in his 1944 State of the Union address. We note with pride that Maine’s own Frances Perkins is widely recognized as the person most responsible for FDR’s economic views, she may even have been the author of this very document.

To download this document in PDF, click HERE

Francis Perkins - United States Secretary of Labor under FDR.

Francis Perkins - United States Secretary of Labor under FDR.

Recommended amendments
MAINE DEMOCRATIC PARTY 2012
PARTY PLATFORM

Preamble

Since the time of Jefferson and Jackson, the Democratic Party has led the struggle to strengthen democracy in our government. Democracy is the belief that the best repository of wisdom is an informed and educated electorate and that this electorate has a right to control the political agenda and debate those issues that are of importance to them.

In keeping with this philosophy, Maine Democrats believe in serving the people in Maine by promoting strong sustainable communities, fairness and opportunity for all, and investment in Maine’s future. Economic opportunity and security, universal access to quality education and healthcare, good government, fair taxes, safety and national security, human rights, environmental protection, and international cooperation are the policies and principles for which we have long fought and will continue to fight.

We adopt this platform as an expression of what Democrats in Maine support and as a guideline for elected officials in their political work.

Economic Security, Economic Opportunity, and Economic Justice

We support a democratic government that,

upholds the right of all people to participate fairly in our economy and earn equitable rewards for their contributions.
counters the trend of economic inequality through effective regulation, progressive taxation, and responsible spending.
keeps markets free from predatory practices.

Economic Security in Maine means:

Decent jobs with livable wages—a minimum wage high enough to raise a worker out of poverty—for all who can work.
Affordable, warm houses and access to transportation.
A strong, public Social Security program, unemployment compensation, rigorous regulation of all pensions, and protection of workers’ pension funds.
Public services provided without profit motive.
Protection from the repercussions of natural disaster.

Economic Opportunity in Maine means:

Thriving Maine-owned and operated businesses in all economic sectors including, but not limited to, tourism, arts,  working waterfronts, well-managed woodlands, agriculture, fisheries,  manufacturing, technology, and local banks, credit unions, and other cooperatives.
Fair workplaces with all workers guaranteed the opportunity to organize unions, bargain collectively, and strike without replacement or reprisal. We oppose so-called “Right to Work” laws.

Economic Justice in Maine means:

Workplaces free from health and safety hazards, discrimination, and harassment; respect for employees’ family obligations, health, and other needs; and effective monitoring and enforcement of laws protecting workers.
Strong consumer protection in finance as well as products, in an economy free from discrimination.
Support for those suffering hardship, with strong measures to fight root causes of poverty and homelessness.
Supports elimination of the income cap on Social Security taxes.

Health Care

We support a democratic government that:
Affirms quality health care as a fundamental human right and therefore promotes a universal, single-payer, non-profit health care system for Maine and the nation, with a primary mission of maintaining and improving health and wellness rather than profitability. We support and commend the progress represented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Protects women’s access to reproductive choice.
Provides access to quality health care, including vision and dental care, especially  in underserved areas.
Provides health care and community support for people with disabilities to live independently and work productively.
Ensures a safe, secure, nutritious food supply, including comprehensive truth-in-labeling requirements.
Promotes safe, nonviolent, and economically stable households.
Supports individual choice in managing the end of one’s life.

Education:

We support a democratic government that:

Provides safe, effective, and appropriate public education for all, from early childhood programs through affordable colleges and trade schools.
Invests in public education including equitable funding for all communities and school districts.
Supports college and postgraduate education through funding research and targeted forgiveness of student debt.
Access to the education Maine citizens need to be productive members of the economy.

Ethical Government and Democracy

We support a democratic government that:

Promotes the general welfare by: delivering promised social services, making needed public investments, being transparent and accountable, and promoting effective use of available resources.
Maintains the integrity of the U.S. and Maine Constitutions by strengthening separation of powers and requiring executive, legislative, and judicial accountability.
Call upon the United States Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission and to restore constitutional rights and fair elections to the people.
Opposes contracting the jobs of public employees to private entities or profit-making agencies.
Understands that representative democracy depends on a well informed electorate, and promotes the free exchange of ideas and information  without control or censorship.
Promotes democratic accountability through: campaign finance reform, including publicly funded elections (Maine Clean Elections Act) at all levels; a fair assignment of legislative districts; increasing the allowable number of terms for state legislators; and electoral reforms such as preference voting, proportional representation, voter-verified paper ballots, non-partisan election commissions, Election Day National Holiday, elimination of excessive personal identification for voting, and counting of every vote including valid provisional votes.
Supports fair compensation for state legislators and provides tools and resources they need to perform their work.
Promotes reforms to reduce the influence of professional lobbyists and increase the public’s ability to influence laws and rules. Opposes the appointment of professional lobbyists as heads of state agencies.
Places a priority on negotiation, mediation, arbitration, reconciliation, and restitution;  and enables prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of conflict.
Limits land taking by eminent domain to government entities, exclusively for projects directly benefiting the public and not for private gain.
Supports government regulation to protect citizens and consumers

Freedom, Safety, and National Security
We support a democratic government that:

Cherishes our Constitutional and individual liberties and respects international law.
Protects the full enjoyment of the Constitution, especially its guarantees of free speech, free exercise of religion, separation of church and state, and freedom from all forms of discrimination.
Endorses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including rights to food, water, shelter, health, and education.
Neither conducts, aids nor condones torture.
Guarantees the right to privacy and rejects spying on citizens without warrants.
Upholds habeas corpus for all persons, rejects secret or indefinite detention, and provides detainees access to counsel and loved ones.

Civil Rights

We support a democratic government that:

Promotes full participation of all persons in all of society’s activities.
Promotes and enforces laws, including Affirmative Action and hate crimes laws, that protect civil rights; prohibits racial, ethnic and religious profiling; guarantees equal access to education, employment, and housing; and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, gender, age, physical and mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, or sexual orientation.
Respects the dignity of all immigrants, ensures their human rights, and offers a path to legal residence for long-term and otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
Extends to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their partners all the same legal and social rights heterosexual couples receive, including civil marriage, and opposes legislation to deny these rights to any family.
Implements a transparent, equitable voting system where every vote counts, including write-ins, and enforces laws against intimidating voters or restricting voter rights.
Protects employees against unfair and arbitrary dismissal by (at a minimum) creating a right to administrative due process.
Fairly and uniformly protects injured workers and enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, bringing into full compliance all public accommodations, including federal facilities.

Environmental Protection

We support a democratic government that:

Recognizes our moral obligation to actively protect earth’s environment for the fruitful use of future generations.

Confronts the causes of human-induced climate change through: reducing reliance on fossil fuels; supporting the development and utilization of renewable energy sources; lowering energy use through conservation, efficiency, and building standards; and decreasing transportation costs by supporting local producers.

Applies the precautionary principle—it is the responsibility of those developing, manufacturing or selling products and technologies, and of agencies approving them, to prove their safety to the environment and all life. It is not the responsibility of consumers and affected citizens to disprove the safety of products and technologies.

Conserves our working landscape and natural heritage through responsible stewardship.

Promotes protection of open space and responsible land and marine use; makes comprehensive environmental and socioeconomic impact reports an integral part of decision-making for proposed projects that would affect Maine’s communities and environment; and supports local control of development.

Conserves and protects land, water, forest, wetland, vernal pools, airspace, agricultural and marine resources; expands public lands to preserve biodiversity, vital habitats, scenery, recreation, hunting, and fishing.

Ensures access to clean, safe, public drinking and swimming waters, and protects surface waters and aquifers against economic exploitation.

Leads the region in fighting airborne pollution; defines, limits, and monitors out-of-state waste; eliminates harmful waste and prohibits improper chemical disposal; enforces the state’s “Solid Waste Hierarchy”; and promotes redemption and recycling.

Global Peace, Security, and Justice

We support a democratic government that:

Safeguards national security through peaceful solutions to international challenges; supports international law; works closely with allies; strengthens the United Nations; opposes subversion of democratically elected governments; acts to prevent genocide; and joins the International Criminal Court.

Reduces our international military footprint while maintaining a strong, effective defense force, equipped and organized to handle legitimate foreign threats and complemented by a reliable intelligence service; never launches undeclared or pre-emptive wars; minimizes use of private contractors; prevents civilian casualties; and works to reduce the world arms trade and eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

Strengthens the role of the Department of State; expands citizen cultural and educational exchanges with all nations; and supports NGOs and universities in the developing world.

Prioritizes multilateral efforts to end the threat of terrorism.

Strives for a comprehensive approach to sustainable peace and stability in the greater Middle East through renewed emphasis on diplomacy, economic and social development, and reduction of military presence, notably:

In Iraq, by continuing to reduce our security presence, while fostering an international stabilization program to support the Iraqi people.
In Afghanistan, by refining strategic objectives to focus on eliminating the threat of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its allies, achieving rapid and responsible military disengagement within one year; and supporting a legitimate government and functioning economy.
In Iran, by redoubling nonviolent multilateral efforts to prevent development of nuclear weapons.
In Israel and Palestine, by active involvement in an international peace process to allow Israelis and Palestinians to coexist with mutually recognized borders.

Throughout the world, by supporting democratic reform and human rights and avoiding support for non-democratic regimes.

Increases support for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, international development, and the elimination of poverty, while decreasing funds for military assistance across the board.

Leads in shaping a global economy that supports a fairer distribution of growth and development among all peoples; respects indigenous leadership, trades and resources; and protects the environment, labor rights (including right to a fair wage),  public health, and the public good.

Strengthens international financial mechanisms and regulation of international transactions.

Ensures that current and future trade agreements support and strengthen domestic jobs, businesses, and farms; eliminates all forms of government assistance for corporations that outsource jobs and businesses; and reforms existing trade agreements to include enforceable protections for workers’ and consumers’ rights and a sustainable environment.

Acts deliberately to reduce the U.S. trade deficit.

We, as Democrats of Maine, support these principles and pledge to work cooperatively with local governments, other states and nations, and all other parties for a better future for all Maine’s people.

A Vision for the Domestic Policy of the
Maine Democratic Party in 2012

Why We Need An Economic Bill of Rights*

On January 11, 1944, in the midst of World War II, President Roosevelt spoke forcefully and eloquently about the greater meaning and higher purpose of American security in a post-war America. The principles and ideas conveyed by FDR’s words matter as much now as they did over sixty years ago.

“The Economic Bill of Rights”

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.

“Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education. All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well- being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

Roosevelt’s words are as true today as they were in 1944, and continue to describe the vision of the Maine Democratic Party’s domestic policy.

*Excerpt from President Roosevelt’s January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the Union

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