Some quotes from the hundredth anniversary edition of The Progressive:

The income tax is the fairest and most equitable of the taxes. It is the one tax which approaches us in the hour of prosperity and departs in the hour of adversity. Certainly it will be conceded by all that the great expense of government is in the protection of property and of wealth. There is no possible argument founded in law or in morals why these protected interests should not bear their proportionate burden of government. —William E. Borah, July 17, 1909

Let the wage earner take heart. The eight-hour day will come, and come soon, to all the workers of every state in the nation. —Robert M. La Follette, July 19, 1913

Every nation has its war party. It is not the party of democracy. It is the party of autocracy. It seeks to dominate absolutely. It is commercial, imperialistic, ruthless. It tolerates no opposition. … In times of peace, the war party insists on making preparation for war. As soon as prepared for war, it insists on making war. If there is no sufficient reason for war, the war party will make war on one pretext, then invent another, possibly more effective, pretext after war is on. —Robert M. La Follette, June 1917

The moral conscience of the nation was deeply shocked when it learned from undisputed and admitted evidence that there had been spent in the Illinois and Pennsylvania primaries several millions of dollars in an effort to obtain nominations for candidates for the United States Senate. … The expenditure of such huge sums for seats in the United States Senate cannot be justified unless we desire to turn over that great legislative body to the multimillionaires of the country who are willing to buy legislation the same as though it were merchandise sold for cash to those who are willing and able to pay the price. If this practice is to be condoned then we have placed seats in the highest legislative assembly of the world upon the auction block, and we have, by indirection, defeated every fundamental principle that underlies our government. —George W. Norris, January 1927

Without authority from Congress, American Marines have been landed in Nicaragua. This armed invasion of a friendly republic and the support of the government of General Diáz are justified by the Coolidge Administration under the flimsy pretext of protecting American lives in Nicaragua. … It has undertaken that intervention on behalf of a government whose chief claim for support is its willingness to accept dictation from our State Department and the American business interests which seek to exploit Nicaragua. The inevitable result of this harsh, bullying, and unjustifiable action is to set the nations of South and Central America against us. —Robert La Follette Jr., January 1927

The progress of science in furnishing the Government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire-tapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. —Justice Brandeis, quoted by Robert La Follette Jr., July 1928

We are face to face with another unemployment crisis in this country. More men are out of work than at any time since the depression of 1920. There has been no serious effort by this government to study the causes and possible cures. The United States is today the only important civilized country in the world which has failed to plan for or aid in the relief of unemployment. —Robert La Folette Jr., May 1928

It’s Not as Late as the War Party Thinks … No War with Japan —headlines from the December 6, 1941 issue

President Truman has announced that a single atomic bomb has been dumped on a Japanese city of 340,000, probably wiping it and most of its inhabitants off the blasted acres of the Earth. … The very stuff of God, then, molded into the hands Satan but used—oh, to be sure—in a righteous, a glorious cause, and all people of peace, goodwill, and kindliness should gloat and sing paeans on the edge of that enormous crater where tens of thousands of mangled bodies fester in the stench of death. Gloria in excelsis. —Ernest L. Meyer, August 20, 1945

The Soviet Union’s establishment of a nuclear striking force on the island of Cuba was an act of criminal irresponsibility. Soviet guilt is clear, but the judgment of history will not absolve the United States from blame. … Although we are people born of revolution, we are stridently impatient with other people’s revolution. … We have behaved, on occasion, as though we were omnipotent and could enforce a double-standard on the world, under which we regarded ourselves as free to ring the Soviet Union with military bases which we say are “defensive” and “precautionary” while regarding comparable Soviet moves as “offensive” and “provocative.” —Morris Rubin, November 1962

I went rummaging recently in America’s atomic bomb factory, expecting to find an alien world of tight-lipped, hard-shelled rightwing types. I was wrong on all counts. Instead of Dr. Strangelove, I found Mr. Clean. Rightwing? Not at all. They are the pillars of liberalism in many places where they work—articulate and active in Democratic Party politics, environmental protection, urban redevelopment, equal rights for women and minorities, and yes, even the peace movement. —Samuel H. Day Jr., October 1978

If anyone ever undertook a serious study, I suspect it would show that the most common occupational diseases of clerical workers do not stem from typing posture or photocopying fumes; rather, they would turn out to be the blinding headaches and digestive problems caused by years of swallowing anger, repressing normal human responses, becoming not just efficient workers but pleasant, efficient workers, smiling on schedule, speaking on cue. —Erwin Knoll, May 1979

The struggle to prevent nuclear war is, in an altogether unprecedented way, a struggle for spirit, heart, and mind. The intention to use the Bomb—most Americans would use it, in one circumstance or another—evidences a moral paralysis, a militarization of soul, a submission to violence as necessity, a bankruptcy of ethical option that amounts to slavishness. —Philip Berrigan, May 1981

Our government has declared a military victory in Iraq. As a patriot, I will not celebrate. I will mourn the dead—the American GIs, and also the Iraqi dead, of whom there have been many, many more. Those who died in the war did not die for their country. They died for their government. They died for Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld. And yes, they died for the expansion of the American empire, for the political ambitions of the President. They died to cover up the theft of the nation’s wealth to pay for the machines of death. —Howard Zinn, June 2003

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