By The Progressive on June 16, 2005

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The Progressive is a monthly magazine of investigative reporting, political commentary, cultural coverage, activism, interviews, poetry, and humor. It steadfastly stands against militarism, the concentration of power in corporate hands, and the disenfranchisement of the citizenry. It champions peace, social and economic justice, civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, a preserved environment, and a reinvigorated democracy. Its bedrock values are nonviolence and freedom of speech.

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Some of America’s leading poets—Adrienne Rich, Martín Espada, C.K. Williams, and Rita Dove—publish original work in The Progressive. The magazine also publishes a monthly interview with an activist, artist, writer, scholar, or political figure. Here are some of the people we’ve interviewed in the last decade: Howard Dean, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Janeane Garofalo, Danny Glover, Amy Goodman, Mikhail Gorbachev, Seymour Hersh, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Barack Obama, Michael Pollan, Robert Redford, Martin Sheen, Joseph Stiglitz, Helen Thomas, Alice Walker, and Elizabeth Warren.

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In 2009, The Progressive celebrated its centennial by publishing its anthology, Democracy in Print: The Best of The Progressive magazine, 1909-2009 (Univ. of Wisconsin Press). And the April 2009 issue of The Progressive was a special commemorative one. Devoting a single page to each year of The Progressive, this issue served up kernels of wisdom from the archives. It’s a walk through 100 years of U.S. history and progressive history. And it includes quotations from Jane Addams, James Baldwin, Louis Brandeis, Theodore Dreiser, Sen. Russ Feingold, Molly Ivins, June Jordan, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Sinclair Lewis, Milton Mayer, Arundhati Roy, Bertrand Russell, Edward Said, Cindy Sheehan, Upton Sinclair, Gore Vidal, Paul Wellstone, and Howard Zinn.

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I love your Web site. Ruth Conniff's comments on The Ed Show were 110% right on! In 2007, I moved from lifelong Democrat to Independent solely because of Athens OH's mayoral race that featured Republican Ed Baum, who would have made a far better mayor than the Democrat 'thing' we got now. Nevertheless, I'll vote for Ed Fitzgerald for Ohio's governor. I sorely wish Sen. Elizabeth Warren could be president with Sen. Bernie Sanders as VP. I also prefer public financing of campaigns, and a four-month campaign period from July - October. This two-year swamp of political campaigning drives me crazy! THANK YOU for The Progressive Magazine. At age 83, count me as a continuing subscriber.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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