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View Diary: Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Austerity, Triple Dip Recessions and Economic Crisis (79 comments)

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  •  Gem--very true, the last time we faced an econ... (5+ / 0-)

    crisis this big or this long lasting, populists discussed abandonment of the market, return to the gov coining money (end of federal reserve banking), printed local currency, socialism, worker-ownership and more. FDR was in some ways forced into concessions with the middle class to avoid the radical direction the US was heading at the time. Had he not given those concessions, the far left and the right would have had a showdown. Our world might have been very different indeed by now.

    •  The last time there was a crisis this bad (4+ / 0-)

      there was a strong vibrant left ... that is what is really absent now. Years of a capital-labour accord, wages increasing with productivity, destruction of industry and manufacturing and a weak trade union movement and the consolidation of neoliberalism and no political representation of the majority means that we actually have no weight to throw.

      FDR was not forced into concessions with the middle class as that was a small group at the time; he was forced to make concessions to the working class which was politically organised both as a class and in trade unions.

      If he did not give those concesssions, yes, we would be living in a far different world than the one we are living in ... there was a strong left wing movement, people were radicalised. He gave those concessions to save the system not out of the goodness of his heart.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:45:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The working class at that time consisted of... (3+ / 0-)

        small farmers, immigrants, people of color. Not people with a lot of power. People living very hand to mouth.  I don't think there was a strong union movement already in place in the 20's--I think that was an outgrowth of the events of the 30's and 40's (FDR's presidency.) Even media was not nearly what it is now.

        What was different was an independent mindset. Now we are almost all employees with no community backing to speak of.

        We also have what can only be called brainwashing starting with an educational system that says, "Obey!" at very early age and continuing with TV's repetitive messages over and over until they are assimilated. "You need to buy (fill in the blank) to be beautiful and whole." "Be afraid. Only the powerful can protect you." "You have no power."  

        That is all nonsense of course. We do have power. Frightening amounts of it. What we lack is the courage to use it.

        •  The AFL was founded in the 19th century (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Geminijen, JayRaye, annieli

          representing crafts unions (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/...) and in 1935, the Congress of industrial organization (CIO) was founded. Then add in the IWW founded in 1905 (and its peak was in the 1920s) see http://en.wikipedia.org/....  Then we can also add in the Socialist Party and then the Communist Party. Do not underestimate the power of the unions at the time and the left (those that ran in elections actually did have support).

          There was no effective middle class, that comes after the post-war period (WWII). Workers at the time include miners, iron production, steel production, agricultural producers, shipbuilders, longshoremen and dock-workers, metal workers of various types, textile workers. These existed before the great depression and were strenghtened after. Heck, there were even autoworkers ... fordism was introduced as a term in 1934 by Gramsci (http://en.wikipedia.org/...) ... mass production existed before WWII. Sorry, you need to check your dates.

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:15:42 PM PST

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          •  But, expat, you left out one important point. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat, annieli

            Yes, the AFL was mostly made up of craft unions, but within the AFL was also the might United Mine Workers, which was an industrial union, a very large industrial union. At times the UMW had as many as 500,000 members (I'm talking about pre-1920) and made up more than 1/3 of the total union members of the AFL  about 1.5 mil, altho numbers did fluctuate widely from 1890-1920.

            It is no accident that the mighty UMW built the CIO in the 30s, and lead the way organizing steel and auto. And even during the 20s the UMW was knocked down but was never knocked out.

            To say there was no real working class prior to the 30s simply isn't true. The labor struggles from 1900-1912 forced the Senate Commission on Industrial Relations which led to many of the reforms of Progressive Era.

            The Trade Unionist who got their training during those terrible struggles built the CIO.

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

            by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:21:28 PM PST

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            •  I did not forget, it was in the link (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye

              on the AFL which described the formation of the UMW and the CIO which was founded by the leader of the UMW; both were organising before the great depression, the model T came before the great depression. Shall we forget the uprising of the 20,000 and the formation of the trade union league, ACTWU, ILGWU ... unions and the left were incredibly active. longshoremen, etc ... the IWW and the Lawrence Strike, our history is during this period. There were unions in the 19th century, the knights of labour and the AFL both existed then. There was a developed working class, not small workers. I cannot agree with you more. I am thinking that maybe another history lesson is needed and so glad that you are putting up the piece next sunday ... I actually blinked! If mass production existed (and it did) there was a working class just like there was in the UK at the time.

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:35:08 PM PST

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              •  I am heart and soul with the great (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NY brit expat

                United Mine Workers of America. I love them above all other unions.

                Thanks for giving them this extra plug.

                We owe them so much.

                WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

                by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:46:24 PM PST

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                •  I love them also ... I have to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye

                  admit that Matewan is one of my favourite movies. It amazes me that I have soft-spots for some unions over others; without the UMW I do not know where we would be today!

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:54:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the working class that organized in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, JayRaye

          response to the depression was the industrial semi-skilled workers - that was the CIO. Often they were in fact one generation from the farm, immigrants and some people of color, but predominantly white and male and factory workers.

          •  The CIO organizing drive was led by the veterans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat

            of the labor struggles of 1900-1920, particularly from the UMW, which also supplied most of the money for organizing auto and steel.

            WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

            by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:24:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  and the CIO was the more radical union (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye

              group, it had communist led unions in it. The organisation of black workers in the brotherhood of sleeping car porters is in 1925 and it caused one hell of a fight in the AFL (http://en.wikipedia.org/...). There was incredibly strong union activity in the teens, 20s and 30s. The welfare state in the UK was started in response to general strikes and it was promised to be delivered in full after WWII ended. Without the strikes, without the agitation there would have been no social welfare state in the UK or in the US.

              I will talk to Le Gauchiste who is a specialist on Lochner vs New York which was in response to bakers unions demanding better wages and working conditions. The decision was not overturned until the Roosevelt period and ask him to write on it.

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:47:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes that would be great. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NY brit expat

                And at some point down the road, I would like to write about William Z Foster. I have a few of his books: his autobio, (also a bio), the one on the steel strike of 1919, and the his HX of the CP in the USA, which is about the CP's role in the struggles of the day, a great read.

                Most of my labor hx library is 1880-1920. But I do have one box of books that covers 1920-1940. And buying more all the time.

                WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

                by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:00:48 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  WZ Foster!! oh my! (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JayRaye

                  close to crying now! I have a feeling that you and I have similar shelving problems in that we do not have too many books (as there are never too many books) but we have run out of shelf space! Would love to see your library, drool! Yes, I am a real weirdo, when I go to someone's house, I actually check their libraries to see what they are into ... I was floored when visiting a relative and I couldn't find a book in the house, I had no idea what to say beyond what a clean and large house you have here! :D

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:35:09 PM PST

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      •  FDR was forced into concessions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat, JayRaye

        by politicians like Huey Long, who caused him to adopt more populist positions to ensure his political survival. From Wikipedia:

        Long created the Share Our Wealth program in 1934 with the motto "Every Man a King", proposing new wealth redistribution measures in the form of a net asset tax on corporations and individuals to curb the poverty and homelessness endemic nationwide during the Great Depression. To stimulate the economy, Long advocated federal spending on public works, schools and colleges, and old age pensions. He was an ardent critic of the Federal Reserve System's policies.
        and
        In 1929, Long called a special session of both houses of the legislature to enact a new five-cent per barrel "occupational license tax" on production of refined oil, to help fund his social programs. The bill met with fierce opposition from the state's oil interests. Opponents in the legislature, led by freshman Cecil Morgan of Shreveport, moved to impeach Long on charges ranging from blasphemy to corruption, bribery, and misuse of state funds. Long tried to cut the session short, but after an infamous brawl that spilled across the State Legislature on what was known as "Bloody Monday", the Legislature voted to remain in session and proceed with the impeachment.
        Things really haven't changed in terms of what the establishment wants versus what we need. The difference is that there is no political figure in either state or national politics that threatens the status quo. On the other hand, Long was assassinated in 1935, and his reputation suffered both at the time and posthumously in literary treatments by respected liberal authors from Sinclair Lewis to Robert Penn Warren, who went full Godwin on him. Maybe politicians since are a little less likely to rock the boat.

        "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

        by northsylvania on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 02:59:23 PM PST

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      •  This is so true, expat! nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat

        WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

        by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:07:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great diary! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat

          WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Jan: USW Local Mourns Fallen Brother

          by JayRaye on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:39:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  thank you! so glad to see you! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye

            looking forward to your piece next week; I realised I forgot to post the schedule and then it was too late. It seems that we need to be reminded of our history again! :) and I also love your stuff! :)

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 05:02:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I know, I blinked when I saw that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye

          if not for the strength of the unions, if not for the threat of the socialists, communists and anarchists there would never have been a welfare state. Our weakness today enables them to destroy what people forced them to concede.

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 04:48:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree - though I don't know if it would be a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, TPau, JayRaye

      better or worse world depending on if we won or lost -- and that is always the rub.  The stakes are very high.

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