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FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address, better known as the Second or Economic Bill of Rights

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 20, 2011, 8:36 a.m. EST by agnosticnixie

In 1944, for his state of the union address, president Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a social and economic program which would have expanded on the original bill of rights. Most of it was a radio address, as he had the flu, but part of it was filmed (the footage was found recently). Similar programs are found in modern constitutions, and part of it would inspire the universal bill of rights. Obviously, it didn't pass. FDR would die barely a year later, and this would die with him. Their inspiration can be found in the writings of enlightenment philosophers, already, but also in early socialist thought, up to the current day.

As an example, the language and the rights used could be found in the principles of the old french socialist party, who had formed the government before WW2, and whose principles would end up being part of the preambles of the 4th and 5th republics' constitutions, but also in the, admittedly symbolic, soviet constitution of 1936. These sentiments were repeated in the modern constitutions of Peru, Spain, Finland, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.

The speech

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.”[2] 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 all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

85 Comments

#OCCUPYWALLSTREET update from Adbusters

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 12, 2011, 11:52 a.m. EST by LupeFiascoConcert

http://www.occupywallstreet.org
http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupywallstreet-update.html

Hey you rebels, radicals and utopian dreamers out there,

We are living through a rare crisis and moment of opportunity. Western industrialized nations are now being masticated by the financial monster they themselves created. This is triggering a mood that alternates between angry denial and sudden panic. It looks like something is about to break, opening the space for a necessary transformation and a total rethink of global economic affairs. Events are playing perfectly into our September 17 occupation of Wall Street.

So … can we on the left learn some new tricks? Can we head off to lower Manhattan with a fresh mindset and a powerful new demand?

Strategically speaking, there is a very real danger that if we naively put our cards on the table and rally around the "overthrow of capitalism" or some equally outworn utopian slogan, then our Tahrir moment will quickly fizzle into another inconsequential ultra-lefty spectacle soon forgotten. But if we have the cunning to come up with a deceptively simple Trojan Horse demand … something profound, yet so specific and doable that it is impossible for President Obama to ignore … something that spotlights Wall Street's financial capture of the US political system and confronts it with a pragmatic solution … like the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act … or a 1% tax on financial transactions … or an independent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the corporate corruption of our representatives in Washington … or another equally creative but downright practical demand that will emerge from the people's assemblies held during the occupation … and if we then put our asses on the line, screw up our courage and hang in there day after day, week after week, until a large swath of Americans start rooting for us and President Obama is forced to respond … then we just might have a crack at creating a decisive moment of truth for America, a first concrete step towards achieving the radical changes we all dream about unencumbered by commitments to existing power structures.

So, let's learn the strategic lessons of Tahrir (nonviolence), Syntagma (tenacity), Puerta del Sol (people's assemblies) and lay aside adherence to political parties and worn-out lefty dogmas. On September 17, let's sow the seeds of a new culture of resistance in America that fires up a permanent democratic awakening.

See you on Wall St. Sept 17. Bring Tent.

for the wild, Culture Jammers HQ

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August 9th General Assembly at the Irish Potato Famine Memorial

Posted 2 years ago on Aug. 4, 2011, 9:51 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Thank you everyone who took the time to show up at the general assembly last Tuesday. The next will be held:

Tuesday, August 9 · 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Irish Potato Famine Memorial
Vesey Street and North End Ave
New York, NY
Facebook Event

Please show up and let your voice be heard as we work together to plan the September 17th occupation of Wall Street. For those interested in attending, we recommend reading this quick guide on group dynamics in people’s assemblies. For more information please contact isham@occupywallst.org or join our Google Discussion Group.

Event Flyer

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