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New Hampshire Labor News - November 2019

It’s not every day that one of my long-held theories is validated by a major figure in analytic philosophy. Hence, I felt quite honored when I heard Noam Chomsky (a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, social critic, historian and political activist) do just that during a recent interview where he was discussing U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ frontrunner status in the race to become the Democratic nominee for President. 

Professor Chomsky stated, “Well, Bernie Sanders is an extremely interesting phenomenon. He’s a decent, honest person. That’s pretty unusual in the political system. Maybe there are two of them in the world, you know. But he’s considered radical and extremist, which is a pretty interesting characterization because he is basically a mainstream New Deal Democrat. His positions would not have surprised President Eisenhower, who said that whoever does not accept New Deal programs doesn’t belong in the American political system. That’s now considered very radical.” 

To gain a little more perspective on Chomsky’s pronouncement, I urge you to research the seven major planks of the Republican Platform under President Dwight D. Eisenhower –a beloved two-term President – in 1956. Actually, please allow me to assist:

  1. Provide federal assistance to low-income communities;
  2. Protect Social Security;
  3. Provide asylum for refugees;
  4. Extend minimum wage;
  5. Improve unemployment benefit system so it covers more people;
  6. Strengthen labor laws so workers can more easily join a union;
  7. Assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.

Eisenhower’s policies were, of course, a follow up to the New Deal, a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms and regulations established by FDR, an extremely popular Democratic Socialist who was awarded four terms in office. 

The modern-day Republican Party platform is a radical departure – serving only themselves and their Oligarch campaign contributors – from what it was under Eisenhower.

Meanwhile, Bernie’s Progressive platform for all working-class Americans, which calls for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free State Education and a massive national infrastructure initiative which would create tens of millions of jobs, provides a logical continuation of FDR and Eisenhower’s New Deal policies.