FDR F’d US

While Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was an excellent US President who shaped history, no fundamental changes rivaling the Declaration of Independence, or the Emancipation Proclamation, were achieved. Nothing of great and lasting value was actually created under FDR’s tenure. To quote FDR himself, all he did was “save capitalism,” which, to be cynical, merely drew out the capitalists’ bloodletting of the workers of the US, continued to enrich the plutocracy, and delayed our current situation of being on the brink of extinction until today. No actual justice was created for the working people of the United States, and justice delayed is justice denied.

FDR-December-24-1943.jpg

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt served as Governor of New York in 1930 the deepening Depression highlighted the contrast between Roosevelt’s active role as governor and Herbert Hoover’s passive performance as President (Burns 123). Hoover saw his role in the economy as “cheerleader” rather than a participant (Rauchway 25-26).

New York was a microcosm of the nation and political office there was commonly a step to achieving national office (Burns 107). The state is large and diverse in area and population, and New York City’s array of ethnicities, religions, commerce, art, intellectualism, and finance, demands attention and agility from a politician (Burns 108). Franklin Roosevelt’s time as governor was an appropriate launching pad to a presidential campaign. The political battles in New York showcased and strengthened Roosevelt’s talent for juggling many demands, and, more importantly, his ability to appeal to multiple groups at the same time (Burns 117).

The policies of Roosevelt, or FDR, “as he liked to be called” (Foner 800), concerning labor, infrastructure, agriculture, and social improvements, foreshadowed programs later enacted nationally (Burns 114-117).

Legends grew about FDR’s change in demeanor after his polio attack, (Burns 88,) but that the “evidence is that Roosevelt’s illness did not alter but strengthened already existent or latent tendencies in his personality” (Burns 89). It is difficult to disagree with the assessment that FDR’s “position on the political spectrum remained the same—a little left of center” (Burns 89). During his recovery FDR produced little of concrete value but the scraps of abandoned works are interesting, especially his analysis of history and the “Great Man” theory that showed a “socio-economic interpretation, as against the ‘great man’ theory of history” (Burns 89). In other words, even FDR agreed that another born into his great wealth, with similar good fortune, could have achieved as much as he did. He was no messiah and no great benefactor to the people—though he may have saved his fellow rich brethren from the pitchforks.

FDR was literally baffled by US business owner’s anger, and of him being portrayed as betraying his class, (Burns 235), and as ushering in socialist policies, as business profits had greatly increased under his tenure.(Burns 239). FDR was criticized by his wealthy peers and he bridled at the criticism and said, "But I saved capitalism," which he did. But that's the problem. FDR was a wealthy politician, and when the shit hit the fan, and he had socialists pulling at him on one side and capitalists on the other, he gave money to the corporations which then doled it out to workers, after taking their cut. No reforms from FDR as those on his left demanded. No democratic cooperatives, as those on his left demanded. FDR basically just bailed out the big corporations by pumping money into the corporations, that actually did eventually pour down onto the citizens. But the levers of power were still with the millionaires, who now, after nearly 100 years, have been replaced by billionaires.

Capitalism is not just an academic debate.jpeg

FDR was criticized from both the right and the left. Much of the Congress was more to the left than FDR, and at times the GOP could be to the left of, or to the right of, the “President’s erratic middle-of-the-road course” (Burns 184). The left criticized the President for the money tossed to organized corporate interests, while “labor and consumers” got the short end of the stick (Burns 190). FDR left the corporations intact, rather than reforming them, or nationalizing the railroads, or anything, and the cheap 'safety net' was easily shredded by the still powerful corporations.

Today’s hew and cry to return to New Deal policies are akin to saying the Jewish population would be greatly served by exiting the portals to the gas chambers and returning to languishing in the luxury of the concentration camps.

It is important to note that FDR and his advisors were keenly aware of the psychology unemployment played on the psyche of the citizen, as well as the detrimental effects on the economy (and the incomes of the wealthy).

[Editor/author’s note: Here I get rushed and sloppy and quote at length from Bremer’s work, “Along the ‘American Way’: The New Deal's Work Relief Programs for the Unemployed,” yet this is crucially important and I cannot improve on the original text from 1975.]

Unemployed, a man lost his "self-respect. . . ambition and pride," testified settlement head worker Lillian D. Wald. New Deal administer to Harry L. Hopkins noted, "a workless man has little status at home and less with his friends, "a condition which reinforces his own sense of failure … “

The implementation of work relief programs during the Great Depression exemplified the New Dealers' concern with the psychological impact of their policies and programs. If general economic recovery and the physical well-being of the unemployed had been their overriding concerns, then New Dealers might have appropriately supported massive deficit expenditures for direct relief to give jobless people money to support the economy and themselves. ...

New Dealers' conception of work relief derived from values inherent in a capitalistic ethos and incorporated many of the practices of private employment. Therefore, despite the New Dealers' emphasis on psychological concerns, the history of work relief serves as a case study for their acceptance of capitalism and their proclivity to innovate within the confines of the capitalistic order. In the case of work relief, the New Dealers' desire to preserve the morale of the unemployed eventually collided with their assumption that they must maintain the capitalistic system, on which work relief depended for many of its distinguishing features. If work programs had precisely duplicated conditions of employment in private industry and fully satisfied the psychological needs of the unemployed then the government would have entered into direct competition with private employers, possibly forcing more severe economic contractions and perhaps undermining the nation's private enterprise system. In addition, the unemployed might have become permanently dependent upon government for work. New Dealers responded to their dilemma by keeping work relief employment less attractive than private employment, thereby protecting private employers against public competition and assuring clear incentives to direct the unemployed back into private industry. ...

When the New Deal reversed course and abandoned CWA, demonstrations were organized to protest Roosevelt's decision, letters poured into the White House and Congress, congressional hearings were called …

In addition to being bound by traditional relief procedures, FERA and WPA conformed to an unwritten conservative rule that prohibited government interference with an ongoing capitalistic economy. "Policy from the first was not to compete with private business," Hopkins explained. New Dealers banned construction projects that might take business away from private contractors as well as projects that would involve the government in the production, distribution, or sale of goods and services normally provided by private employers. Projects were restricted to work that "would not otherwise be done," and job assignments had to exclude such fields as manufacturing, merchandising, and marketing. ...

Clearly, FERA and WPA provided work, but was it "real" work as was it free of the stigma of charity? The political left attacked New Deal work programs as hypocritical reforms intended to save capitalism rather than the unemployed, while the right charged them with destroying American traditions of self-reliant individualism.


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Works Cited

Bremer, William W. “Along the ‘American Way’: The New Deal's Work Relief Programs for the Unemployed.” The Journal of American History, vol. 62, no. 3, 1975, pp. 636–652. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2936218.

Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956. Kindle file.

Doyle, William. Inside the Oval Office: The White House Tapes from FDR to Clinton. New York: Kodansha International, 1999. Print.

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. 4th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2014. Print.
Persico, Joseph E. Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage. New York: Random House, 2001. Print.

Rauchway, Eric. The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

Afterward edit:

My point in cobbling together this “essay” was to highlight that FDR was basically the neo-liberal of his day, much like HRC today. He resisted the pull from the leftist reformers of the day. The benefits that accrued to the workers of the day, which many are thankful for today, are much like praising the bank bailouts of 2008 because they themselves eventually profited in their 401k’s.

The benefits of FDR’s, and Obama’s bailouts, were consciously designed to primarily benefit the capitalists, and the trickle-down benefits to the non-wealthy was inadvertent and cosmetic, and could be termed as similar to ‘economic collateral damage’ in reverse. Like concave, or convex, or whatever. Wink When they saved the Rockefellers and the Carnegies back in the day, or the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates more recently, a few Joe Blows, and Joe Shikspaks, also benefited somewhat—and that’s a questionable premise for glorifying FDR, or Obama. FDR consciously kept wages below the going rate so as to entice the citizenry to return to creating profits for their masters. This seems similar to Andrew Yang’s positions: you can barely survive, or you can return to creating a profit for your masters, but there will be no reforms of the capitalistic system!

While I would support Sanders, I fear he will be too middle-of-the road, resisting actual reform, and ideals will collide with the assumption that he must maintain the capitalistic system.

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GreyWolf's picture

"A work is never completed, merely abandoned."

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My father told me stories about cutting clothes lines and stealing clothes because they had nothing to wear. He talked about bath tub gin joints, the mob, and a sister that was killed by her boyfriend, a member of the Purple Gang. He would recall how much he enjoyed the CCCC, the cold baths in rivers, and planting tons of trees in northern Michigan.

I don't think they gave a damn whether FDR was a socialist or saved capitalism. All they cared about was the food, money and opportunity he brought into their lives and the lives of other people. As an early boomer, I rode the cusp of the success his policies brought. The rest is just words.

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24 users have voted.

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

was for FDR.
The school I attended was built by one of his work programs.
The poor, without clothing, shelter, or food, didn't give a flying damn about the world of economics, and would not have understood "capitalism" or "socialism".
They survived. Their lives were literally saved by FDR.
I understand it decades later, but my grandparents and parents would not have been able to parse it. They were living it.
We can sit back, decades later, and can parse it.
He was the man that instituted programs that saved my family's lives.
Thanks, FDR. They made it.
As for the rest of your policies, you and yours seriously fucked me.

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Azazello's picture

How 'bout Social Security ?

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@Azazello it seems to me from what I have read that Social Security was designed to be tweaked until it became non-existent.
A Great Depression stop gap, a program Obama Himself offered up as negotiable.
It is the biggest fund in the country, and the banksters want it, and they will get it.
And likely by design.

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Azazello's picture

@on the cusp
Bummer.
I'm due to get my first check next month.
Yes, Wall St. wants to get their mitts on it but surely you're not suggesting that it was designed that way back in 1935. Are you ?

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@Azazello It is socked away into a savings account and serves as my building retirement fund for the next 10 years.
I am not suggesting anything, other than it is just not protected, and it never was. It can be privatized.
I have not read enough about SS's inception to classify it as some way to keep the poor from rebellion. And it does save the lives of poor people.
I am just positing that it was a program that legally lent itself to privatizing.
I happily link FDR to Social Security.
I just think it may not be the blessing we think it is.

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Azazello's picture

@on the cusp
for a long time.
To me, the idea that the FDR Democrats passed these programs so that they could be privatized 80 years later is insane.
FDR was not a neoliberal.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@Azazello What, Social Security is supposed to be like the self-destructing assignment tapes in Mission Impossible? For those holding such a view, please provide some clarification of where in the acts establishing S.S. that it had sunset features in it.

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@on the cusp

Old people were the poorest Demographic until SS.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

@dkmich Medicare programs, millions of older Americans would starve and die in the streets.

The poster cites no source at all for his revisionistic theory that SS was intended to be temporary. It surely hasn't worked out that way.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Azazello

"Yes, Wall St. wants to get their mitts on it but surely you're not suggesting that it was designed that way back in 1935. Are you ?"

Yes, it was all designed to be whittled away due to budgetary constraints later ... and not to threaten the capitalist ethos.

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@GreyWolf Not carved in stone, loosey goosey, on the table, attacked fairly successfully for decades.
Stop gap measure during the Great Depression, then the post-war boom, not a priority.
I have been an FDR democrat for most of my life, until now.
I guess it took a long time for the economic truth to be outed.

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@on the cusp
"Not carved in stone"?

In what metaphorical stone might it have been carved? Other than by Constitutional amendment, it is impossible for one Congress to put perpetual constraints on future Congresses.

Any and all rights, privileges, entitlements, whatever -- these things can never be locked down in perpetuity against the predations of competing interests. There will always be a struggle to protect what has been won. ("A Republic -- if you can keep it.") The only things that prevented the Great Recession from beggaring the Great Depression in its disastrous effects on the general populace, were the few firm remnants of the New Deal that the agents of plutocracy had not yet undermined, and in particular Social Security and unemployment insurance. (And whatever the long list of misfeasances and nonfeasances we can assign to President Obama, his extension of UI benefits was an important brake on the tailspin into widespread poverty.) UI did exactly what its architects had envisioned it doing -- kept money flowing through the hands of the working class, so that they didn't all end up homeless and dining on soup lines. Social Security, although not designed for the purpose, functioned in that role anyway.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

@UntimelyRippd you do understand.

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@on the cusp
and not by FDR ...

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Azazello's picture

@GreyWolf
Do you have some sort of reference for that?
Not that it matters, really.
Social Security has endured for a long time.
It's a popular program, like Medicare.
It can be saved and protected from privatization,
if enough people demand it.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Azazello

"Policy from the first was not to compete with private business,"

It is very thorough and well researched and repeatedly discusses, with quotes from members of his cabinet, that it all was to re-invigorate business while tossing a psychological bone to the masses so they didn't despair and would keep on working in the machine

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Azazello's picture

@GreyWolf
I went to the Bremer link you posted above and got a journal article.
Can you link me to the text of that article ?

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@Azazello @Azazello it can be saved if enough people demand it, as long as people and voting matters. Voting doesn't matter.
It(SS) can be tweaked. Legally. It can be negotiated to oblivion. Legally.
We should not have to demand it be protected and preserved.
We, the people, are at the mercy of our elected representatives who, statistically, favor donors over us.
I expect, in my life time, that Social Security disappears.

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Azazello's picture

@on the cusp
"Social Security will go bankrupt, it won't be there for you, so why care ?"
Old people vote, the ones who appreciate what little Soc. Sec. provides.
The propaganda message is aimed at the younger ones, the "millennials" or whatever.
They've been doing it for awhile now.

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@Azazello going bankrupt. At all.
I believe it is the ultimate prize for the oligarchs.
I can't believe you took anything I said in my comments to call me a neolib/neoconservative or anything whatsoever neo.
I am none of the above, my friend.

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Azazello's picture

@on the cusp
But they have been putting it out there that Soc.Sec. is going bust.
That's all I meant.

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TheOtherMaven's picture

@Azazello

and they're still making the noise while not actually doing anything. Color me skeptical.

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There is no justice. There can be no peace.

gulfgal98's picture

@on the cusp is the Social Security Trust Fund. It holds more debt (nearly $2.8 Trillion) than either China ($1.18 T) or Japan ($1.03 T), our two largest foreign creditors. It is a big pot of money sitting out there and the vultures of Wall Street would like nothing more than to get their greedy paws on it.

In my opinion, there are two simple things that could be done to strengthen the Social Security trust Fund for the future. First would be to raise the cap on earnings taxed for the Fund and second, to raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage. Both of those two acts would increase the amount of taxes being paid into the Fund immediately.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

ovals49's picture

@gulfgal98

If the pool were to grow significantly, wouldn’t be even more irresistible to Wall Street profiteers? As the OP pointed out, the benefits of the WPA were designed to be something less desirable than work in the private sector. The benefit accruing to the needy was designed to be minimal, just enough to forestall a Socialist or (Gasp) a Communist revolution at the polls or on the street. Protecting Capitalism and the plutocratic puppet masters was the point. Allowing social benefits to expand, and the pool of program assets to grow, would be an income leveling force and a step towards a more socialistic economy.

This is why both Puppet Masters and Puppets work so tirelessly to limit the scope of social benefits to us Worker Bees.

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“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Albert Einstein

“And an uncomfortable truth is always superior to a comfortable fantasy.” Caitlin Johnstone

GreyWolf's picture

@ovals49 Very perceptive and thought out, you point out the possible greater implications of simple actions which, while perhaps well-meaning, might be turned the other way by other actors. I want you on our team Wink

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gulfgal98's picture

@ovals49 optional for a majority of workers today. I have a pension plan, but most workers today are forced to pay into Social Security because there is no other option.

I understand that it is a delicate balance between having the right amount in the Trust Fund and having too much. However, the big argument today for privatizing Social Security is that there is not enough money in the Trust fund to continue paying out to those eligible. My suggested changes are far less painful than raising the retirement age or turning Social Security into a welfare program.

This whole nonsense of raising the retirement age ignores the fact that many of those paying into Social Security are blue collar workers who physically may be unable to work that long.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

GreyWolf's picture

@on the cusp

"It can be saved and protected from privatization,
if enough people demand it."

But it shouldn't have to be "saved" -- it should be carved in stone.

FDR did not make any fundamental change, he resisted the left (who were much further left than any Democratic Socialists of today). We are such a right-wing country today, people disbelieve our own history. We once had a true left in the US, a hundred years ago. today's "bold left" is very milquetoast in comparison.

(That's why I'm considered frothing rabid left Wink )

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@GreyWolf since 1968.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@GreyWolf

(Social Security)

Yes, it was all designed to be whittled away due to budgetary constraints later ... and not to threaten the capitalist ethos.

No disrespect intended to you, GreyWolf, but do you have any direct, non-circumstantial evidence that Social Security was deliberately sunsetted at its inception?

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@GreyWolf
playing 11th dimensional chess and getting away with it for all 4 terms he was elected President of the US.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Alligator Ed's picture

The statements in this essay are likely partially correct. But the short-sightedness of the author is astounding. What a melange of puristic socialist idealism! Where is the interpretation of FDR in historical context?

FDR brought us out of the Great depression, even if he helped engineer its starting point with Japan--though not with Germany. Ford and other rich Fascist sympathizers aiding Hitler did the European thing to heat things or keep the fires burning (before actual hostilities began in the open).

FDR, with the aid of General Smedley Butler, quietly put down a would be coup by rich industrialists. Is there nothing to be appreciated in that?

FDR, with his Germany First approach to WW2 enabled our two front victory. Does the author realize how difficult it is to conduct a full-fledged two front war? Look what happened to Germans as an example, even taking into account the Hitlerian mistakes which cost Germany. Although it might be argued that we (the Allies) won the war, it is just as likely that Hitler lost a war he could have won. But credit is owed FDR for saving our country--not just protecting our country for capitalism.

So FDR maneuvered us out of the Great Depression, suppressed a coup, saved the free world (with Allied help) and the author gives no mention of these things.

This essay is akin to a complaint by the owner of a burning house whose dwelling was saved but the family dog wasn't.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Alligator Ed i was just pointing out that he was fairly middle of the road and resisted reforms to capitalism lobbied for by the left at the time ... and holding up New Deal type temporary programs as aspirations are only considered worthy aspirations because we as a country are so right-wing we cannot even fathom fundamental change -- Wink

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Alligator Ed's picture

@GreyWolf I want you to know that your comments about FDR's not advancing pro socialist programs are not disputed by me. It was the larger issues which concerned me most.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@GreyWolf

...that defanged capitalists. That resulted in the rise of a huge Millde Class in America and the building of a modern infrastructure across the nation, the Interstate Highway System. So the story goes.

It took the capitalists 50 years to sabotage and deregulate the economy again. That black line on the chart represents income inequality. When the line is near the top, the wealth of the nation in is the hands of the very wealthy.

FDR's tax rates have a precise negative correlation with income inequality. The higher the taxes, the more secure and prosperous the American people are.

::

When those regulations were put into place (the green line) the huge income of the financiers on Wall Street (red line) dropped closer to the wages of the rest of the people. When deregulation began again with Reagan, the wealth gap opened up again.

We've been here before. We just can't remember it. So we make the same mistakes again. It's is the Capitalist Crash Cycle which began with the First Industrial Revolution. We're moving into the fourth. Capitalism is very very new. The Constitution is too primitive to offers protections to the nation. That's the way the Overlords like it.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
GreyWolf's picture

@Pluto's Republic and i kinda feel that your comment is actually proving my point - that he didn't fundamentally change anything, "It [only] took the capitalists 50 years to sabotage and deregulate the economy again."

economic hummanity was out of control, and FDR painted new lines that fixed things for a while. but it only took 50 years for the lines to fade and chaos to return, maybe even more vicious than before. he didn't rip up the pavement and alter the landscape, everything was just 'lines on the track', that predictably wore out given the relentless fight against economic equality by the wealthy, and now we are careening even closer to the edge. he saved millions, but doomed billions, and now people just want to repaint the lines, and we are too timid to rip up the track and re-route it further away from the cliffs

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@Alligator Ed @Alligator Ed

hopeless idealist until I read this. For four terms he kept up his “charade” to trick us all, and the benefits from his policies only lasted 50 years.

This is why Bernie gave his speech about Democratic Socialism contrasting it the best he could with the legacies of MLK and FDR, two heroes of the people from different times who changed history. Maybe then, it might be thought, enough stupid Americans might catch on.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

The Aspie Corner's picture

@Alligator Ed

So FDR maneuvered us out of the Great Depression, suppressed a coup, saved the free world (with Allied help) and the author gives no mention of these things.

This essay is akin to a complaint by the owner of a burning house whose dwelling was saved but the family dog wasn't.

It's a well known fact that his class, the capitalists, were backing the fascists worldwide during World War II, and being the weak ass 'leader' he was, did nothing to stop it. All because the capitalists wanted the Soviet Union and China's Communist Rebellion gone by any means necessary.

Truman went on to continue that legacy with Korea and every president since has done the same with any country the capitalists consider a threat to their profits and their rule.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

Guerrilla Liberalism won't liberate the US or the world from the iron fist of capital.

GreyWolf's picture

@The Aspie Corner

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gulfgal98's picture

@The Aspie Corner

It's a well known fact that his class, the capitalists, were backing the fascists worldwide during World War II...

The fact that the United States government and its leadership did nothing to stop the massive support given to the Nazis and other Fascist regimes by multitudes of American industrialists is mind boggling. It was treasonous and yet every one of those industrialists walked unscathed.

Some of the primary and more famous Americans and companies that were involved with the fascist regimes of Europe are: William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy (JFK's father), Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon (head of Alcoa, banker, and Secretary of Treasury), DuPont, General Motors, Standard Oil (now Exxon), Ford, ITT, Allen Dulles (later head of the CIA), Prescott Bush, National City Bank, and General Electric.

There were more businesses that supported Hitler and the Nazis that are not listed in the above paragraph. They included IBM, CocaCola, Dow Chemical, Alcoa, and Chase Manhatten Bank. I am very sure that neither of these lists are all inclusive, but they demonstrate just how dirty global capitalism is and was, even 80+ years ago.

But today, Julian Assange is being persecuted worldwide for espionage simply for telling the truth. And the same forces behind his persecution and the efforts to try and convict him under the Espionage Act have basically not changed.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

mimi's picture

and beyond my paygrade to value or categorize or criticize.

I just stumbled over this sentence:

When they saved the Rockefellers and the Carnegies back in the day, or the Warren Buffets and Bill Gates more recently, a few Joe Blows, and Joe Shikspaks, also benefited somewhat—and that’s a questionable premise for glorifying FDR, or Obama.

How come that Joe Shikspack is mentioned here? He benefitted from what? Has one of the billionaire wives' charitable donations (to calm their guilt trips over the billions their husbands made) - (donations I hate, as if they would know best what the average working and non working Joe needs in life - think of madame Besoz or Melinda Gates etc.) - given to Joe Shikspack's little site of C99P?

May be my head has shrunk and I don't get it or get it all wrong.

I guess you mean another Joe Shikspak, considering your spelling, right?

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Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

GreyWolf's picture

@mimi I don't know more about joe than admiring his efforts here, though i guess i should have been less offensive and perhaps could have been more gender diverse there and maybe said susie shikspak

(but that was kinda my point here, to be somewhat jarring, impolite, and to go against the grain ... like i love prof wolff, but often feel that he needs to take the gloves off and be more confrontational ... )

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mimi's picture

@GreyWolf
one of those reactions of mine, as I sometimes wonder over very minor things. I didn't consider it as offensive or gender insensitive at all. Just confused not knowing what you meant to express.

And wordplays are just a thing everybody loves. So, no biggy, I hope at least. Peace.

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Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

mimi's picture

@GreyWolf
very much essays that include so many source material links. Just a pity that I would need several weeks to read all that you link or sourced to.
It reads like a scienctific paper ... and I like that. Thank you. Smile

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Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

GreyWolf's picture

@mimi you must read "Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox" by James MacGregor Burns

It is thick and fat and somewhat intimidating, but it reads quickly like a novel, and it makes you wonder what will happen next, despite you knowing it is history. In other words, very well written. And the amount of research and interviews Burns obviously did will tickle and please your soul. Highly recommended.

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wendy davis's picture

@GreyWolf

Joe Six-Pack ha long stood for 'the working man'. remember the self-identified joe six-pack who'd confronted obomba back in the day? there' even video! ; )

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gulfgal98's picture

@mimi is simply a term for a common man, and every day good guy, usually of the working class.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

mimi's picture

@gulfgal98
you are a goodgal. Smile

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Ich schreibe was mir paßt - in memory of Steve Biko

wendy davis's picture

@gulfgal98

i spoke before scrolling down. not sure it necessarily conveys 'good guy', but...maybe.

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gulfgal98's picture

@wendy davis is considered a good guy until he proves otherwise, IMO.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

wendy davis's picture

as well as sources. this from bremer stood out to me:

"In addition to being bound by traditional relief procedures, FERA and WPA conformed to an unwritten conservative rule that prohibited government interference with an ongoing capitalistic economy. "Policy from the first was not to compete with private business," Hopkins explained. New Dealers banned construction projects that might take business away from private contractors as well as projects that would involve the government in the production, distribution, or sale of goods and services normally provided by private employers. Projects were restricted to work that "would not otherwise be done," and job assignments had to exclude such fields as manufacturing, merchandising, and marketing."

i did look up the WPA on wiki for a reminder, and yes, a lot of projects were done by unskilled labor, but i was a fan of the awesome (often leftie) artists who'd painted murals in the old post offices, which of course after making the PO save money pay employees some 70 years ahead, many were closed by necessity, and DiFi's hubbie sold them all for profit. NotCronyCapitalism.

Rec'd. ; )

p.s. to those of you who are about to file for SS, *if* any of you were self-employed (job creators) i hope that you've saved all your SE form over the years, decades. we didn't, and both got robbed by SS, with no proof left to make claims.

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GreyWolf's picture

@wendy davis The piece from Bremer is rather dry, but was a true hidden gem.

He did a ton of research, (probably knowing that he would catch flak and be highly scrutinized.)

That line "Policy from the first was not to compete with private business," Hopkins explained, struck me because I felt like I knew Hopkins (from reading Burns' book) and knew how direct and forthwith he was. That the Bremer article lays it out so clearly that they bent over backward to not disrupt business enterprise was a lot more clear than in Burns' book, which actually got into the personalities more than the policies.

The astounding thing to me was that they consciously committed to keeping government program wages below private industry wages to force people back into the private sector so that the robber barons could again make a killing--that FDR and Hopkins, et. al., were consciously and deliberately supporting and recreating business profitability--that they didn't create co-ops or employee-owned businesses, or anything that would compete with capitalist business, or anything else the left was demanding, yet the right still screamed socialists at FDR--all while FDR was spoon-feeding them the path back to profitability! No wonder FDR was outraged. (And after reading Burns, me realizing that FDR didn't care about the people, only about the wealthy.) And people mention he was popular & re-elected four times--meaning he had the political capital to actually push through reforms to corporate structures, but was only worried about pleasing his rich friends, who were completely ungrateful.

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wendy davis's picture

@GreyWolf

chance to give his "I welcome their hatred" speech, a well. good politician, i reckon. i was trying to remember some of the revisionist history about FDR and the holocaust, close to his refusing to believe the many cables about hitler's final solution.

all i could kick up in a two minute bingle was this: FDR and the Holocaust, By Our Readers and Laurence Zuckerman, September 24, 2013, the nation.com

"In early 1943, at the height of the Holocaust, a prominent journalist denounced President Franklin Roosevelt’s response to the Nazi genocide in harsh terms: “You and I and the President and the Congress and the State Department are accessories to the crime and share Hitler’s guilt,” she wrote. “If we had behaved like humane and generous people instead of complacent, cowardly ones, the two million Jews lying today in the earth of Poland and Hitler’s other crowded graveyards would be alive and safe…. We had it in our power to rescue this doomed people and we did not lift a hand to do it—or perhaps it would be fairer to say that we lifted just one cautious hand, encased in a tight-fitting glove of quotas and visas and affidavits, and a thick layer of prejudice.”

and of course it becomes more nuanced, but speaks to his harsh fear-based jewish immigration policies, and so on.

Laurence Zuckerman suggests that Roosevelt’s critics are judging him harshly with the advantage of hindsight. He writes that “when he did learn about the murder of millions of Jews, he had no understanding of ‘the Holocaust,’ which came later and is now so embedded in our consciousness that it is hard to imagine what it was like to live without such knowledge.”

But this does not accurately reflect public awareness at the time. One needs only to read Freda Kirchwey: “Jews in Europe are being killed because they are Jews. Hitler has promised their total liquidation. The ways…these slaughters are conducted have been reported. The numbers have been verified…. You and I and the President and the Congress and the State Department are accessories to the crime and share Hitler’s guilt.”

but sure, a lot of folks benefited from his fear of a worker's revolution and labor strikes. in fact, iirc, most unions halted their fo the duration of WWII.

anyway, thanks for the diary; illuminating as to some of the (ahem) other revisionist history i'd read.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis it was about them.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

for both the common man and the capitalist class, as well as Artists. i'm trying to remember more about obomba's post melt-down stimulus package, but didn't most of "shovel ready projects" go to huge corporate highway paving projects? the only locals hired were, yanno, highway flag gurls and flag boys.

say, didn't you have a new essay up recently that seems to have disappeared into the ether? i was hoping to read it when i had time, although i'm not terribly interested in the duopoly electoral process.

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Big Al's picture

@wendy davis the US"

"The fact that left-wing parties did not make significant inroads during the Great Depression dramatically demonstrated not only the power of America’s coalitional two-party system to dissuade a national third party but also the deeply antistatist, individualistic character of its electorate."

https://www.hoover.org/research/how-fdr-saved-capitalism

Interesting article points to how the two party system works to prevent an independent movement against the duopoly. Can't verify everything in it, just ran across it. But it's amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The new essay I'm working on although probably not. Why beat a dead horse.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

link later, and thank you. boy, this essay has taken quite a drubbing. maybe i'd imagine a new essay you'd written, but then in my dream life i've been blogging repeatedly from some unidentifiable erewhon nation, trying to analyze what might be closest to The Truth.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al

Franklin Roosevelt succeeded in undercutting the growth of left-wing political movements in the mid-1930s by adopting much of the rhetoric of the left and co-opting many of its leaders.

Sure sounds like ole Frank became more progressive sounding then he was just so he could head off a third party threat.

Interesting article...

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg
cheated on his marriage so in most conceivable ways of rational thought FDR was not our first Obama.

Seems a plethora of misdirection and unfounded hypothesis on c99 this week--and that's being gracious. Makes me sad to know we've failed in modern history and education this much.

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snoopydawg's picture

@smiley7

Who said anything about Obama cheating on his wife? Not sure how you got to that from my comment?

? ?

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg
Eleanor Roosevelt pushed FDR with leverage of which i referenced; common knowledge. Or in other words, we owe so much to Eleanor during those four administrations to cut so shallowly in demonstrative allusions portraying Franklin without underlying knowledge--which is widely accepted--is an attempt to propagandize, rewrite history or get attention on social media, but it ain't 'gonna' stand the test of time.

Not directed at you as you had a question mark writing "Roosevelt was our first Obama?"

In agreement, no he was not.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Big Al

.

If the Great Depression, with all its attendant effects, shifted national attitudes to the left, why was it that no strong radical movement committed itself to a third party during these years? A key part of the explanation was that President Roosevelt succeeded in including left-wing protest in his New Deal coalition. He used two basic tactics. First, he responded to the various outgroups by incorporating in his own rhetoric many of their demands. Second, he absorbed the leaders of these groups into his following. These reflected conscious efforts to undercut left-wing radicals and thus to preserve capitalism.

(Yes, FDR was an adept politician, just wish he had been on our side. Wink )

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@GreyWolf FDR was just thinking in political terms, crafting a solid base of support. If preserving capitalism was one of the side effects, so be it. Roosevelt was political, not ideological in outlook.

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FDR didn't do anything to help people during his struggle to recover from polio? He lived. There was a good chance that he wouldn't. And he recovered the use of his upper body to an extent his doctors found amazing. He spent his days in endless, painful physical therapy.

He was persuaded to get back into politics earlier than he wanted to help NY and the Democratic Party. He believed he could have taught himself to walk in 2 more years. He desperately wanted to. But he gave up the effort.

Roosevelt was a pragmatist. He tried all sorts of things and did his best to keep the ones that worked. Often he had to compromise (gasp). For the greater portion of his prewar years he was tremendously constrained by a Republican supreme court. He used a huge amount of political capital in his unsuccessful effort to expand the court. He never got all of his popularity back and was more limited in what he could achieve in domestic policy from then on.

In 1938 he created the March of Dimes to assist polio victims who lacked his resources.

You have no conception of what the work provided by the WPA and the CCC meant for the people employed. A portion of young people's salaries in the CCC was sent home to families. The best part was at every meal they were fed mounds of food.

I don't know where you get the idea that congress was filled with people to the left of Roosevelt. He had to deal with the Democratic southern coalition as well as Republicans. In a vote shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor, with Roosevelt doing everything he could, the vote to extend the draft passed the house by a single vote. The US was rooting for the allies, but profoundly isolationist.

There are many accounts of the effort Roosevelt put into securing social security from destruction. He rejected means testing and made it a flat, rather than progressive, tax on earned income so people would consider it something they'd paid for and resist attacks on it. "It's not welfare. I paid for it." is still the critical piece of armor yet to be breached.

If he was doing so much to help millionaires why did the income gap between the rich and everyone else decline for fifty years? Why did the wealthy come to despise him? He came to "welcome their hatred."

The attack on the New Deal was concerted from day one. A major success was when he was forced to drop Henry Wallace from the ticket and accept a political hack named Harry Truman. But Roosevelt built well. It took fifty years and the unique narrative shaping power of television to reshape Americans' view of the world. Maybe it's not too late to fight back.

Name a president in the 20th century who did more for working Americans than FDR. Evaluate Roosevelt in the real world and against the political reality he faced rather than some abstract ideal.

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smiley7's picture

@FuturePassed

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@FuturePassed

A portion of young people's salaries in the CCC was sent home to families. The best part was at every meal they were fed mounds of food.

This was not optional. Men supporting families were explicitly given preference in these jobs programs, and the money they were paid was, as far as the government was concerned, explicitly purposed to support those families. The money was withheld from the paychecks and directly delivered to the families. In an economy that's remotely functional, we would consider such measures very heavy-handed (though, if you've ever read Angela's Ashes, you might consider it less so). In its context, it seems pretty reasonable.

Also, we ended up with some really great "stuff" -- public goods that are still giving.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Big Al's picture

One thing people should keep in mind regarding the ruling class. They keep a pulse on the people and do just enough to keep them at bay relative to the situation and circumstances. The New Deal was one of those times.
The current dem party bullshit about no regime changes and medicare for all is another.
What would happen if our government never did anything at all for the serfs?

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

But it wasn't because he didn't try to do more.

So much so that even he tried to add more Supreme Court Justices to outvote the reactionaries on the bench who were stymieing the more radical elements of FDR's agenda.

So yeah, he didn't do everything you might have wanted, but it wasn't for lack of trying or for any other alternative intention you think FDR might have had.

As as far as the programs allegedly intended to be temporary, anyone who follows politics for any length of time knows that temporary measures are typically couched that way so that they pass. Rarely are temporary measures ever repealed (see tax cuts, AUMF, etc.)

Besides, there is no way SS could have been a temporary program, as it relies on younger people to pay in to receive benefits later. A temporary retirement program where people pay in without any expectation of eventual payback makes no sense.

FDR knew that, which is why he said, "no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program."

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Peace Sells

Big Al's picture

today, FDR can be thanked for that. The proposed Green New Deal is trying to do the same thing.

"Roosevelt's "New Deal" coalition was launched in this context. While popularly perceived as an alliance of Blacks, labor, urban dwellers and other "popular" constituencies, behind it all was a fundamental recasting of the alignment of business forces in American politics. The New Deal coalition, wrote political scientists Joel Rogers and Thomas Ferguson, involved not:
the millions of farmers, Blacks and poor that have preoccupied liberal commentators, nor even the masses of employed or striking workers who pressured the government from below...but something else--a new power bloc of capital-intensive industries, investment banks and internationally-oriented commercial banks."

https://socialistworker.org/2008/11/14/who-made-the-new-deal

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snoopydawg's picture

@Big Al

This sure sums up what corporations are getting. I read an article about how the tea party of old was more because the British were trying to give their East Indis (?) more breaks that hurt American companies from getting breaks and that is where we are today. Companies like Amazon, oil, gas, etc. are getting subsidies that end up hurting themom and pop companies. It's pretty much unconstitutional or close to it, but here we are. Of course I could be totally wrong about what I read, but I think that was the gist of it.

The 1932 Democratic Party platform affirmed the call for a balanced budget and huge cuts in federal spending, and it included a call for the states to follow suit. In words that would be familiar from today's free-market ideologues, it also called for "the removal of government from all fields of private enterprise, except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest."

Democrats are on board with having a balanced budget and that is why Nancy keeps saying that congress needs to pay as you go on funding that helps main stream Americans, but never for wars or any of the things that helps corporations. Remember that Obama tried putting social security on the table as did Bill Clinton. And during the recovery of the Great Recession he gave the banks $29 trillion whilst we got screwed... next time I see someone saying that he was the best president since FDR I'm going to post both articles that you posted here..

The unions have almost been destroyed by both parties and now lots of the union leaders work hand in hand against their workers. The teacher's union leader Randi .... goes against what the teachers want most of the time.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

Big Al's picture

@snoopydawg grandchildren unless we ‘overthrow corporate power’.

https://www.rt.com/news/461956-chris-hedges-overthrow-corporate-power/

What shouldn't be a surprise, the real story behind the New Deal turns out to be quite different from the one we've been told.

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wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

clipped from selfa's historical narrative is illuminating, isn't it? thanks, big al. it's a keeper. i'll add a couple others:

Despite some capitalists' complaints that the New Deal represented a step toward "socialism," Roosevelt and the New Dealers had no such intention. In fact, Roosevelt wrote in one letter about "the failure of those who have property to realize that I am the best friend the profit system ever had." In campaign speeches when he ran for reelection in 1936, he proclaimed himself the "savior" of "the system of private profit and free enterprise."

soooo reminiscent of obomba's speech to Wall Street: "I'm all that's standing between you and the pitchforks!" w/ that shit-eating comprador grin on his face.

By 1933, pressure began to mount among unionists for the creation of labor's own political party to end the unions' collaboration with both Democrats and Republicans. Calls for a labor party reflected a newly confident working class and its desire to fight on its own.

well, that lasted for about fifteen minutes, funds cut, threats thrown. but still the sell-out unions back Ds, and so often sell out their own membership, most especially the afl-cio, both w/ promising members what a great deal ObomaDontCare insurance was, blocking worker strikes on the west coast, and on and on.

but the workers of the world are still getting forked over, and as far as i can tell, they will as long as Capital Rules.

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GreyWolf's picture

@Big Al

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wendy davis's picture

you've said you reckon you'll vote for bernie sanders? me, i'm hopin' howie hawkins, an actual socialist, win the Green Party nomination in august. i do regret that he's running on the Green Party green new deal, but you might want to check out his Perspectives and Policies page, see if any of it resonates with you. his Endless War section really misses the mark to me (the nuclear armed capitalist nations he's not included), as does 'electric cars' in the GND.

but his Key Economic Sectors to Socialize is a breath of fresh air. yes, i know, every prez election is the Most Important One, but i'll not waste my vote on a D. ; )

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