Tuesday, May 15, 2018
During the Great Depression massive organizing efforts and protest movements were necessary to reform the two-party system and nothing less is required today. New Deal history shows that the current pathetic debate is a waste of time. Only organized movements powerful enough to upset the existing order will produce meaningful change. Strikes for better conditions and union recognition were massive in 1934. There were 1,856 strikes waged by 1,470,000 workers. Six million workers formed unions during that decade. Working class protests were so large that the New Deal recognized worker's rights to pacify labor relations. Mass movements, revolutionary third parties, labor upheaval, agrarian unrest, powerful populists, discontented veterans, and Democratic congressmen more radical than FDR pushed the New Deal into law. Movements and protests large enough to effect change are not happening in a country whose population has tripled. Nothing less is required today.
Corporate power wins because it still controls our minds. They've convinced millions that our prosperity is a result of a generous Capitalism. That history is a lie. Prosperity was not realized until mass movements fought back against Capitalism. Inequality crushes millions. Most Americans cannot cover a minor emergency. We have the greatest childhood poverty in the industrialized world and life-spans are decreasing. The corporate power has a monopoly over the political system and democracy is but a dim memory. Incarceration rates are without precedent and the Bill of Rights is in shambles. We have existential problems never dreamed of in the Great Depression: endless war, the threat of nuclear war and impending environmental catastrophe.
Setting aside for the moment the long-standing debates about the racial, class and political limitations of the New Deal, we can still learn about how the deep conservatism of a major party was partially overcome, by the forces of reform and revolution pushing from the bottom up.
The thirties grassroots rebellion reached into the halls of Congress. In the mid-term election of 1934 the Democrats won a super-majority, but much more important at least 35 Democrats stood to FDR's left. All progressives grew at the same time! What happened to the lesser of two evils? That argument did not exist and only exists now to control weak minds.
Huey Long is best known for his "Share the Wealth" program. As Governor of Louisiana and then US Senator he used the resources of the state to build hospitals, schools and roads. An estimated 20 Million listened to his radio broadcasts and he received 60,000 pieces of mail a week as a US Senator. That is actual history.
Admin's note: Participants in this discussion must follow the site's moderation policy. Profanity will be filtered. Abusive conduct is not allowed.