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In 1997 dozens of progressive organizations have joined forces with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to launch a dialogue aimed at building the progressive voice in American politics. This effort, called The Progressive Challenge, works to encourage programs that build economic security for all, reverse entrenched discrimination, achieve a sustainable use of both human and environmental resources, and build a society that values and embraces all its members. A centerpiece of this effort has been the drafting of the following 8-point Fairness Agenda for America.

Table of Contents

The Fairness Agenda for America

The Fairness Agenda is based on seven principles:
  • Dignified Work
  • Environmental Justice
  • Economic Redistribution
  • Democratic Participation
  • Community Empowerment
  • Global Non-Violence
  • Social Justice
1. Enact a Fairness Budget for America
America's abundant resources must be used to build a decent society. We propose cutting military spending and corporate giveaways and reinstating progressive taxation, while reducing revenues to invest in human resources, such as schools and health clinics, and in infrastructure, such as mass transit.
2. Ensure Jobs, Living Wages, Benefits & Worker Rights for All
Our nation depends on a vigorous, creative, and innovative workforce that is assured basic rights. We propose government job creation in areas of high unemployment, laws requiring profitable companies to compensate workers and communities affected by job cuts, elimination of tax breaks for companies that provide excessive executive compensation, and stronger protections against labor rights violations and all forms of discrimination.
3. Fight for Equality for All
Despite recent progress, widespread discrimination, wage gaps by sex and race, and de facto segregation still exist. Two means of addressing these problems include sufficient funding for agencies that administer anti-discrimination laws and reinforcing affirmative action, while exploring the integration of class-based criteria into such programs.
4. Promote a Just and Sustainable Global Economy
Free trade agreements and World Bank/IMF structural adjustment programs (SAPs) have increased inequalities at home and abroad. We propose an international dialogue to develop a an alternative trade and development initiative that encompasses the protection of worker and women's rights, enviromental standards, and food security, and tackles the immigration and the need to reduce inequalities.
5. Support Demilitarization, Human Rights & a New Internationalism
We propose: cutting the defense budget; negotiating with Russia to eliminate nuclear weapons; shifting R&D priorities toward pressing domestic needs; stopping NATO expansion; ending subsidies for arms exporters; banning covert operations; shifting from unilateral military, aid, and peacekeeping missions abroad to multilateral responses; and promoting real human rights abroad, which include economic, social, and cultural rights.
6. Guarantee Sustainable Communities & Environmental Justice
The Federal government has given states and localities more responsibilities without more power or money. We propose: distribution of more no-strings Federal funds, especially to poor communities; revisions in trade agreements to allow communities to enact strong environmental and labor laws; and retargetting Federal insurance, subsidies, and loans for community development. On environmental justice, we propose: promoting the right to a clean environment and replacing subsidies for polluters with subsidies for ecologically sound products and services.
7. Provide Adequate Social Investment
We propose: preserving social security and protecting it from privatization; remaking economic security structures to address the needs of the poor; expanding Medicare eligibility to people of all ages and income; creating a bill of rights to protect health care consumers; increasing funds for low-income housing assistance; and providing adequate funds for quality public education.
8. Get Private Money out of Politics
Public outrage is increasing over the abuse of loopholes, systematic influence peddling, and political favors granted to special interests. We support initiatives to limit campaign spending, prohibit private campaign contributions to candidates, eliminate the need for fundraising, provide a financially level playing field, and tighten loopholes.

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Last Update: December 1, 1997