July 20, 1935 - Article - Stumbling Into Socialism, by David Lawrence

Thirty years ago, as I first listened to the soap-box orators on the street corners of my home town, socialism seemed a kind of heresy; it was in disrepute.

Ask the American Socialists what they think of the New Deal, and they will tell you, as Joseph Shaplen did in his recent book on American socialism, that the New Deal "is all derived from Socialist conceptions."

Ask an English Socialist, H.N. Brailsford, what he thinks of the New Deal or socialism in the United States, and he says:

"In America, the average man has not yet the faintest idea of what socialism means. It is, therefore, conceivable that the logic of facts may drive him to into it before he can shrink back in terror. He has begun to experiment, and when once Americans start moving as a mass, they are apt to go at a hot and headlong pace. If ever they do it, they will stumble into socialism unconsciously. It will be the consequence of their actions and not the conclusion of their reasoning. And when it is realized, they will believe it is an American invention patented in 1933." (pg. 5)

To realize how Mr. Roosevelt has already revolutionized his own party, one needs only to compare the New Deal acts and proposals with the Socialist Party platforms of the last 15 years and see how unconsciously we have stumbled into socialism.

Let us look at the Socialist platform of 1932 and see under its main topics what the Socialists demanded and what the New Deal has fulfilled:

1932 Socialist Party Platform Demands

New Deal Fulfillments

Relief.

A Federal appropriation of five billions for immediate relief. A Federal appropriation of five billions for public works. Legislation for acquisition of land, buildings and equipment to put the unemployed to work producing food, fuel and clothing, and for erection of houses, and so on.

Relief.

About nine billions appropriated or spent by Public Works Administration, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, new work-relief program. Housing, public works and reforestastion, and so on, extensively launched. Billion-dollar tenant-farm bill now on Senate calendar to set up homestead farms for those needing them.

Social Security Program.

Free public employment agencies. Compulsory system of unemployment compensation, with benefits based on contributions by the Government and by employers. Old-age pensions for men and women of sixty years and over.

Social Security Program.

Fulfillment of a considerable part of this program anticipated in the social-security bill, including a system of old-age pensions and unemployment insurance to be financed by taxes on payrolls.

Labor Policies.

Demand a six-hour day and five-day week. Abolition of child labor. Minimum wage legislation. Outlaw "yellow-dog" contracts in labor relations. Enforce collective bargaining.

Labor Policies.

Black-Connery thirty-hour-week bill opposed by administration, but shorter week included in various codes under NRA, which also included minimum wages and child-labor restrictions. Wagner bill fulfills collective bargaining enforcement.

Social Ownership.

Demand public ownership and democratic control of mines, forests, oil and power resources, public utilities, transportation, communication and basic industries.

Social Ownership.

Tennessee Valley Authority authorized and operating. Also legislation to control coal industry, to destroy holding companies in utility field, and pending bills for Government ownership of railways. Public control of communications and transportation now in effect in extended form.

Banking.

Demand socialization of credit and currency system, and establishment of unified banking, with complete acquisition of the Federal Reserve Banks.

Banking.

Banking bill passed by House; Government purchase of stock of banks through RFC. Also recommendation by the President and Secretary of Treasury that Government buy all stock in Federal Reserve Banks.

Taxation.

Demand increased inheritance and income taxes.

Taxation.

Secretary Morgenthau threatens increased inheritance taxes to finance bonus bill.

Agriculture.

Shift of taxes from farm realty to incomes, inheritance and excess profits. Increased Federal and state subsidies to road building and educational and social service for rural communities; creation of Federal Marketing agency; socialization of grain elevators, Federal land banks, and so on.

Agriculture.

The shift that has been accomplished through processing taxes is in effect an indirect tax on incomes of all consumers. These projects realized in part under Agricultural Adjustment Administration and under Public Works Administration and the relief program.

Constitutional Change.

Abolition of power of the Supreme Court to pass upon constitutionality of congressional legislation. A constitutional amendment for social-security legislation and socialization.

 

Constitutional Change.

Secretary Wallace advocates a form of judicial review by popular referendum. Social security being largely attempted thus far under New Deal by legislation without constitutional amendment.

 

International Relations.

Recognition of Soviet Russia. Independence for the Phillippines. Entrance into World Court.

International Relations.

Russia recognized. Phillippines independence in process of accomplishment. Demanded by Executive, but defeated by Senate. (pg. 7)

Comments: Before I did this research, I didn't know that social security had its roots in the 1932 Socialist Party platform. Did you? Note that FDR and his brain trust went beyond the 1932 Socialist Party platform when it came to social security. The Socialists actually would have amended the Constitution to legalize the massive expansion of Federal power over the states and the people. An overwhelming majority of the people back then allowed FDR and his associates to simply force the legislation and then destroy the independence of the judiciary.

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