« La liberté dans une démocratie n'est pas assurée si le peuple tolère que la puissance privée grandisse au point qu'elle devienne plus forte que l'état démocratique lui-même. Ce qui, fondamentalement est le fascisme, » avertissait le président Roosevelt en avril 1938. En une génération, l'héritage du New Deal a été défait aux USA par la vague libérale. Pourtant, le message de l'homme qui voulait instituer une « charte des droits économiques » (que nous reproduisons ici), reste plus que jamais d'actualité.
The Only Fitting Tribute
by Frances Moore Lappé, The Nation, 21 mars 2008
I feel a bit silly. For decades I called myself a child of the '60s, only to realize on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal that I'm really its child. Coming to maturity as its beneficiary, I had a debt-free college education and, thanks to New Deal advances that doubled the real family income of the poor and middle class, my husband and I were able to live for a time on his salary alone.
It was thus, very practically, the New Deal that freed me to explore the “big questions.” Food, the basis of life, seemed like a smart place to start, so I asked, Why hunger in a world of plenty ?
Soon it began to dawn on me : as long as food is merely a commodity in societies that don't protect people's right to participate in the market, and as long as farming is left vulnerable to consolidated power off the farm, many will go hungry, farmers among them-no matter how big the harvests.
I might have gotten there quicker if I'd studied Roosevelt's insight that, to serve life, markets need help from accountable, democratic government. Against those who saw “economic laws” as “sacred,” he argued that “economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.” So in 1944 (my birth year), Roosevelt called on Americans to implement what was already “accepted”-”a second Bill of Rights” centered on economic opportunity and security. It would, in effect, put values boundaries around the market. His goal wasn't a legal document, observes University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, but the generation of a “set of public commitments by and for the citizenry, very much like the Declaration of Independence.”
The first two economic rights assured a “useful” job that paid enough to provide “adequate food and clothing.” The third guaranteed farmers a high enough return for their crops to provide their families with a “decent living.” To begin, he asked Congress to pass a “cost of food law,” putting a price floor under farmers and a price ceiling on the cost of food necessities for all.
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