Friday, June 11, 2010

A Must read from Bookroom Room on Socialism and the American Attitudes to it

by Bookworm
Before the 1970s (give or take a decade) the vast majority of Americans viewed socialism as a profoundly anti-American phenomenon. Red scares started in the immediate wake of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and America’s dislike for socialism, especially under the guise of communism, continued unabated through the first two thirds of the Vietnam War.
The temperature of the fear rose and fell, with some years witnessing a passive dislike for the red menace and other years erupting in active worries about America’s continued well-being as world socialism came a’knockin’ (thing HUAC). Whether the fear was hot or cold, though, that deep suspicion always ran strong and true through the American bedrock. Simply put, Americans were pretty darn sure that communism/socialism was a bad thing.
What’s so interesting, looking back on America’s decades-long hate affair with socialism, is that during all those years Americans hadn’t actually seen socialism in action. Sure, they knew it sparked revolutions in Russia and China, but those were tightly closed societies, so the full horrors visited on those countries’ citizens were invisible to most Americans.
This woman always has a long, well reasoned article on things I believe but can in no way articulate.  Read this, it's good.


  1. It's okay to be a conservative, I'm a Jeffersonian myself, but it's not okay to support those who distort history, which is what this article does.

    During the Early years of the progressive era (1880's/90's-end of WW1) socialism was the party of common people and unions, Eugene Debs ran against TR, Taft, and Wilson and received over 2 million votes. Not to mention millions of other Americans were members of unions which were ostensibly left leaning. Many millions of americans supported socialist aims to some extent. Think about it, were in not for labor unions such as the IWW, AFL-CIO, Knights of Labor and the Socialists child labor would not have been ended as quickly, nor would we have a reasonable 40 hour work week. Also, we wouldn't be going to our jobs in a clean, safe working environment. Woman's suffrage was also moved along by leaps and bounds by socialist activists. American history has been largely positively impacted by the socialists. Unless you hate free public education, and want to see senior criticizes slaving away at their daily grinds too.

    In fact socialism was so popular that politicians adapted by adopting many of their platforms. Mayor La Guardia as a congressman in the 19-teens rose to fame because of this. FDR's new deal was practically lifted from legislation La Guardia was pressing twenty years before the depression.

    Also the federal reserve system came about in 1913. One of the major planks of the communist manifesto...hmmm seems like Americans were pretty in LOVE with socialism if you ask me. She is kinda right about major media distortions but mostly wrong there were plenty of employed American journalists that were telling the truth about what was going on in Russia during the Bol-Rev, Jack Reed for one. He wrote a pretty damn famous book about it called 10 days that shook the world.

    Anyway socialism isn't as evil as many conservatives think it is, and most only look at the economic side of the philosophy but forgo the equal rights side of it. Either that or they point to Stalin, who wasn't a socialist. That's why he has his own ism. Or Mao who was just a land reforming dictatorial murderer.

    Anyway, if you care about political philosophy at all you should research it for yourself along with American history or you're doomed to believing propaganda that everyone tells you about America, its history, socialism, and its history.

  2. Anonymous,
    I believe when engaging in political argument it is best and more honest to use your own name. Nevertheless, I am allowing this as it does have some history.

    I studied all this when a child. I am 73 so I lived through some it. I do remember when the communist changed their names to Progressives so it surprises me to now see the liberals of our day claim that name. To me it reads communist.

    I know how much the unions helped when they were needed. I also know the harm they caused when they became too powerful and the railroads as we knew them ceased to be. They took down the auto companies; many manufacturing jobs moved overseas in part thanks to the unions.

    Remember the word "featherbedding?" It is still being used by many unions today. They just don't call it by that name.

    And believe me the first sentence of Bookworm's post is true. I was there.