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I am NOT a historian; my knowledge of American/world history comes from high school courses in the late '60s and paying attention in life since then.

People look back on FDR and his New Deal, and applaud.  I always thought that FDR did what he did in order to save the collective asses of the wealthy in the US from suffering the same fate as the Czar and his family in Russia prior to Lenin.  

Question: Is a similar "situation" needed in the US before the wealthy who run everything realize that they are in  danger of ... (fill in the blank), and change things before you get a lot of USers feeling like they have nothing to lose?  Or is America so wimpy,cowed, and under-informed that they will simply slip into a state of Dickensian poverty/slavery?  And what about Europe?  Are we seeing the final stages of China ruling the globe with the help of the fascist corporations?  Have the bad guys won, and did they earn their victory so why not?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jul 15th, 2008 at 07:23:46 PM EST
IMHO, you're right on the money. The New Deal wasn't a response to the Crash, but to the looming reality of the Soviet example. DoDo stated this 3 years ago here, in an article about the Russian Revolution:

...the European welfare state, and the US New Deal, came to be because most of the elites agreed to an armistice in the class war - and that not the least because they were scared of a communist revolution at home, scared because of the apparent indestructibility of the Soviet Union.

Thus, it seems to me, to put it drastically: the well-being of many of yours was made only possible with the deaths of millions of Russians (& other subjects of the Empire)

In order for the power elites to concede another New Deal, one has to construct a similarly threatening bogey-man, albeit (one would hope) one somewhat less monstrous.

Note also that the reaction of a large part of the European elites to similar circumstances at the time, was the endorsement of fascism and national socialism. I don't mean to imply anything much by this, but given the circumstances, the fingerprinting and targeting of gypsies in Italy, is not too far from the Brown Stars, now, is it?

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 07:52:07 AM EST
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Eh, forgot: DoDo's article.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 07:53:34 AM EST
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It is now official:

WE ARE IN SERIOUS SHIT!

The day someone starts agreeing with me is a DEFINITE sign of the End Times.  Drinks on Me!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 11:30:43 AM EST
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In a similar vein, the Cuban revolution was responsible for US instigated land reform (albeit timid and limited) in parts of Latin America.  Does anyone remember the prophetic words of Herbert Matthews?:

One might say Fidel Castro was like Pandora.  The box was there and all the troubles were in it - and he opened the box.  Latin America is moving fast, and not necessarily with us or toward us.  The social and economic pressures have revolutionary possibilities.  Our policies to date have not been successful.  They have been too negative, too little, too closely tied to dictators and to small ruling classes who will become victims of the new social pressures if they do not move quickly and make necessary reforms.  Stability and the status quo are dreams of the past.  We have lost the Cuba we knew and dominated, or influenced so greatly.  Our relations with Cuba will never be the same , even when they become friendly again, as they must. (Herbert L. Matthews, The Cuban Story, New York: Braziller, 1961, p. 273)


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 06:33:40 PM EST
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The logic of this argument (which I largely agree with) is that the demise of the Soviet Union and defeat of "Marxism" also meant that the ruling elite could end the Truce in the class war and start taking on the working classes again without fear of revolution.  Hence the Reagan/Thatcher counter-revolution and 30 years of impoverishing the working classes - otherwise known as the Anglo disease.

The French Revolution has a similar effect - emboldening American revolutionaries and encouraging the British imperial elite to make some democratic concessions to the masses - for fear of revolution at home.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 08:06:18 PM EST
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Erm, I think that places a little too much weight behind the New Deal.  America was never, in my opinion, in danger of a communist revolution.  Fascism has always been, and will always be, the greater internal threat, as I think the last eight years have demonstrated, and as was demonstrated even in Roosevelt's time.

Europe was more balanced.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Jul 18th, 2008 at 07:51:46 AM EST
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... explicit that they were acting to save American Capitalism, not to bury it. I am not sure why that is not a straightforward observation ... perhaps that's a side-effect of the constant drum-beat of radical reactionary ideological raving about "creeping socialism", that the reality of the target of the New Deal economic program is obscured.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 08:19:19 PM EST
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