April 24, 2011

Refighting 1936

A campaign speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 is eerie to hear today. He addresses almost every single one of the right-wing dangers we face today. Read it and hear it here:

Some choice quotes (emphasis added):

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred."

"Only desperate men with their backs to the wall would descend so far below the level of decent citizenship as to foster the current pay-envelope campaign against America's working people. Only reckless men, heedless of consequences, would risk the disruption of the hope for a new peace between worker and employer by returning to the tactics of the labor spy.
     Here is an amazing paradox! The very employers and politicians and publishers who talk most loudly of class antagonism and the destruction of the American system now undermine that system by this attempt to coerce the votes of the wage earners of this country. It is the 1936 version of the old threat to close down the factory or the office if a particular candidate does not win. It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.
      Every message in a pay envelope, even if it is the truth, is a command to vote according to the will of the employer. But this propaganda is worse- it is deceit."

Read the whole speech. You will see that we are now refighting the same battles we thought had been won 75 years ago, against the same big-money forces. Who will call them out in 2012? Can the American people see clearly enough to reject them in 2012 as we did in 1936?