Under President Kennedy’s leadership, the United States initiated programs that promoted health, education and the opportunity for economic equality. Now celebrating 50 years, The Alliance for Progress was one such initiative. He worked toward a solidarity among nations to fight against autocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy or any other form of governmental control that did not recognize justice and an equitable quality of life for the people as national priorities. Nations agreed that the people’s ability to find work is an essential freedom and governments should correct conditions that are not conducive to the sustainment of employment opportunities and acceptable working conditions for all. Warning against “an imperialism of force and fear”, his outreach was for a compassion among nations, each exhibiting a common commitment to prosperity, “the handmaiden of freedom.”*
That was then. Today, with unemployment at a critical level, our government, the media and most representatives have even ignored the fact that a law – not an initiative, a law that mandated a government jobs program and promoted “proper attention to national priorities”, The Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978, was allowed to expire in 2000. It was a way to ensure that a president’s hands were not tied by partisanship when the people needed a jobs program. Today, Rep. John Conyers’ bill (HR 870), “The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act” – is proposed to mandate job training and other programs designed to curtail our extreme unemployment, “but the bill has no chance as long as Republicans control the House.”
President Obama should stand up for Americans and call for bi-partisan cooperation on passing this bill immediately – and hope for the best.
In this article, The Democratic Stratigest recaps some efforts that recognize the people’s need to work by referencing Jeanne Mirer’s and Marjorie Cohn’s recent post on past mandates and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ standard for employment.
I might add, for what it’s worth, that the U.S. has signed and ratified the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS) to which we pay millions of dollars in membership. Articles 34 and 45 are particularly pertinent.
The Super Committee and the new free trade agreements will cause more job losses in addition to the already increasing unemployment numbers we see escalating American poverty. As the article suggests, we need to protest inactivity! “It was FDR who said “make me do it,” and MLK showed us the way, not only with one demonstration, but with a sustained commitment to mass protest. Now let’s make them do it.”
*President Kennedy was killed the day after the last clip in this video, and the Alliance for Progress became the vessel for many atrocities committed, as such, in his name. However, and in all reasonableness, he and others who were truly infected with the fear of communism, reacted without diplomacy – with horrible and violent consequences for the people more than a few times, as opposed to the “compassion among nations” designed to redefine the people as national priorities. … war is the health of the state.