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  Calling someone "this generation's Hoover" is about the biggest insult you can give a President. Even Republicans run away from Hoover's legacy. (Personally I think George Bush was a worse president, but that's a subject for a different diary.)
   80 years later Herbert Hoover is still the standard for the "do-nothing" president in the face of economic collapse.

   Like most easy comparisons, these examples lack details. That's because the names are there for the purpose of accusation, rather than enlightenment.
 However, if you dig down into the individual economic policies of Hoover, Bush, and Obama, the story gets much more interesting.

The Presidents

  Both Hoover and Obama came from similar backgrounds:

 Both Hoover and Obama were products of broken homes;

both were widely traveled;

both had modest political resumes and "went deep into enemy territory" for support when they were elected, winning states that hadn't voted for their parties in many years;

Hoover was seen as the "great progressive of his day," Mead writes;

and Hoover's ticket — with a Native American running mate — was the "most diverse" in the nation's history until 2008.

Hoover "was a strong supporter of disarmament ... began the withdrawal of U.S. forces his predecessors had committed ... sought to avoid confrontational U.S. statements and to downplay possible grounds for conflict" and his "strong humanitarian instincts ... made him reluctant to use force but also left him concerned about the well being of people in other countries."

  On that last item, Obama actually falls short of Hoover's progressive instincts.
   Obama is trying to keep troops in Iraq. He increased troops in Afghanistan, and he increased bombings in countries such as Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
   In contrast, Hoover ended America's 21-year occupation of Nicaragua.

  On a humanitarian level Obama simply can't compete with Hoover.

 Caught in the siege of the Western delegations in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, only Hoover and his fearless wife, Lou, cared enough to sneak food and water to the Chinese Christians besieged elsewhere in the city. He first came to national attention after the start of World War I, when he led the effort to feed the 7 million people of occupied Belgium and France. He worked for free, donated part of his own fortune to the cause, and risked his life repeatedly crossing the U-boat–infested waters of the North Atlantic. His postwar relief efforts rescued millions more throughout Europe and especially in the Soviet Union; it’s unlikely that any other individual in human history saved so many people from death by starvation and want. Questioned about feeding populations under Bolshevik control, he banged a table and insisted, “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!” In 1920, many people in both major parties wanted to run him for president, but he opted for the Republican cabinet. As secretary of commerce under Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he was a dynamic figure, tirelessly promoting new technologies, work-safety rules, and voluntary industry standards; he supervised relief to Mississippi and Louisiana during the terrible 1927 floods and advocated cooperation between labor and management.
 While Hoover personally risked his life shipping food to starving Russians under a murderous regime, the Obama Administration cut off food shipments to starving Somalians because of the risk that some of it might feed insurgents there.

Hoover the progressive

 Until the summer of 1931 there was realistic hope that the Depression would end soon. Laissez-faire economic policies dominated all political circles, even in the Democratic Party.
  There had been no federal actions to the severe economic downturns in 1873, 1893, and 1920, and still the economy had bounced back in a couple years. Outside of socialists and communists, there was no serious proposals for direct federal aid to the unemployed.

 The failure of Creditanstalt in May of 1931 changed all that.
  Within a few months the Austrian government was broke. This led to a run on German credit, and finally a crash in British Sterling, which led to Britain leaving the gold standard. By September of 1931 the economic crisis had jumped from Wall Street to Europe and now back to Wall Street. America was rocked by the first severe banking crisis of the Great Depression that wasn't centered in farming states.
 In 1931, 2,294 banks in the U.S. failed.

  It is sadly ironic that several years into this financial crisis, Obama is facing a potential banking crisis originating from the heart of Europe again.

 And so in October 1931, Hoover set out to rescue Wall Street. How was he going to do that? By using the Federal Reserve Banks to swap out illiquid mortgage-backed securities with sound Treasuries.
  Does that sound familiar? It should, because the Federal Reserve has been doing that non-stop since the spring of 2008. President Bush was just following Hoover's Plan.

  On January 15, 1932, Hoover signed into law the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. This was a continuation of the Wall Street bailout. In addition to bailing out banks, mortgage companies, and insurance companies, it also bailed out railroads. It did this through a combination of loans and buying equity in banks. The RFC continued to exist until the 1950's.
   Much like the 2008-2010 bailouts, Hoover's bailouts approached fixing the economy from the top-down, taking care of the wealthy and powerful first.

 the RFC was derided by populist critics as "bank relief" and "a millionaire’s dole"—criticisms echoed today by all those who see George W. Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and Obama’s own Public-Private Investment Program as outrageous giveaways...Critics raised the same criticisms they would raise about Obama’s bailout plans seventy-eight years later. If the banks get a bailout, why not everyone else? Were bailouts only for the rich?
  Although Hoover had declared that the agency was "not created for the aid of big industries or big banks," a record of its operations revealed that most of its money had indeed gone to a very few of the country’s biggest financial institutions...
  The recipients of some $642 million of the RFC’s loans—nearly half its total expenditures—were not revealed at all. Hoover, like Obama, had insisted on secrecy to keep the proceedings from being "politicized," but, inevitably, this fear of politicization in the end only led to more politics....
   The RFC’s deliberations were understood—with good reason—not as effective management but as insider dealing: common financial practice through the 1920s, but politically and morally insupportable at a time when millions of Americans were losing their jobs, their homes, and their savings, and when some were literally dying of starvation.
 Just like the RFC, the 2008-2010 Wall Street bailout was plagued with corrupt, insider dealing, ethics violations, and obvious conflicts of interest. Like during the RFC, Wall Street is hoarding the bailout money, thus failing to help out the economy.
  More than any other item, the failure of the RFC has been echoed into our present economic crisis. The 2008-2010 Wall Street bailout was nothing more than the RFC written large.

  A month later, Hoover signed into law the first Glass-Steagall reform law (this is different from the famous one in 1934).  Like the financial reform bill under Obama's watch, this was no real effort at reforming Wall Street.
  This law was aimed at expanding credit. To accomplish this, rules regarding what the Federal Reserve could accept for rediscount purposes, such as commercial paper, was expanded.
  Expanding the range of acceptable assets is exactly what the Federal Reserve began doing in 2009 with its quantitative easing program. By no small coincidence, the Bank of Japan followed this route in 1999. Every time in history this method has been tried to expand credit it has failed, yet governments keep doing it.

    Finally, on July 21, 1932, with the Great Depression now three years old and the wealthy taken care of, Hoover enacted the first piece of legislation that helped working America, Emergency Relief and Construction Act. The money was to be dedicated to state and local public works projects, as well as state-level relief projects, much like Obama's 2009 stimulus bill.
  While a noble idea, Hoover didn't take it far enough (Obama made the same mistake 80 years later). The money was only allocated to states if the state could prove that its own resources were insufficient for legitimate relief needs. By March 1933, the money was exhausted.

 By the time Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated, the federal government was financing over 60 percent of all relief nationally. In the end, the $300 million in relief loans to the states was never repaid, and the federal government had permanently entered the field of public assistance.
 Also in July 1932, Hoover signed into law the Federal Home Loan Bank Act. This was to be Hoover's most lasting legacy.
  Like Obama in 2009, Hoover felt compelled to address the foreclosure crisis sweeping America. The idea was to reduce foreclosures while encouraging home ownership and home construction by increasing the supply of money available to registered institutions in the form of home loans. Unfortunately, Hoover's efforts were overwhelmed by the size of the problem.
 Much to President Hoover's great disappointment, however, the credit program was a complete failure. While 41,000 homeowners applied for FHLB loans in the first two years after its enactment, the government agency administering the program approved just three applications.
 80 years later, Obama's own efforts at curbing the foreclosure crisis would fail. His efforts at boosting the housing market would also fail.

"We didn't admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started."
  - Rexford Guy Tugwell

  As the economy contracted, government spending expanded, and to pay for it, Hoover went after the rich.

 Between 1930 and 1931, government spending increased from 16.4% to 21.5%. To pay for it, in 1932, Hoover raised taxes. Most Americans saw their tax rates double, with the top rate rising from 24% to 63%.
 Conservatives were having a heart attack at the mere thought of a 3% tax hike on the rich when Bush's tax cuts expired. Can you imagine what they would do if Obama wanted to hike the tax rate on the rich by 2.5 fold while doubling the estate tax?!?
  I'll tell you what their reaction would be. It would be something like this:
 During the 1932 elections, Franklin Delano Roosevelt blasted the Republican incumbent for spending and taxing too much, increasing national debt, raising tariffs and blocking trade, as well as placing millions on the dole of the government. [8] He attacked Herbert Hoover for "reckless and extravagant" spending, of thinking "that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible," and of leading "the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history." Roosevelt's running mate, John Nance Garner, accused the Republican of "leading the country down the path of socialism."
  Let's also not forget that the famous Pecora Commission was started under Hoover. Like the congressional effort under Obama to investigate Wall Street, it was meant to be nothing more than a whitewash. It was only after Pecora was hired in 1933 that its mission changed.

 Before accusing me of making a right-wing argument, consider that Paul Krugman has used the term Barak Herbert Hoover Obama, and its hard to consider Krugman a shill of the right-wing.
   It's time to face up to the facts - Hoover had a more progressive record than Obama does. Hoover dramatically expanded the governments efforts to help the poor and unemployed. Obama, at best, is engaged in a fighting retreat of our social safety net.

A little perspective

  Before declaring a "guilty" verdict of Obama, consider one important thing: Hoover was being pressured by a very active and organized leftist movement in America.
  In Obama's America, there is no real leftist movement. There is no grassroots pressure for him to fight for what is right. So if you are a liberal or leftist and want to denounce Obama, you have to denounce the entire progressive movement in America at the same time. It has done nothing to hold Obama accountable.

Originally posted to gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 06:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Anti-Capitalist Chat and Progressive Policy Zone.

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Comment Preferences

  •  More parallel. (9+ / 0-)

    It was arguably Coolidge's pro-business policies in the mid-1920s that set the stage for the Crash.  Hoover inherited a mess that exploded on his watch.  Bush almost made it through his second term before the repercussions of his mismanagement of the economy were felt.  Almost.  And if he had, you can bet the Great Recession would have been blamed most on his successor, just as happened eight decades earlier.

  •  wow (8+ / 0-)

    good stuff, so even Hoover would be a big improvement from what we have now.  That's saying something.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:00:19 AM PDT

    •  Yep (14+ / 0-)

      Hoover was a principled man who honestly cared about people. He just got overwhelmed by circumstances. He sort of reminds me of Carter in that way.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:04:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was going to mention Carter (5+ / 0-)

        funny you said that.

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:14:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with most of your diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        however the issue of US aid to Somalia is complicated, and is largely a limitation created by the anti-terrorism laws passed after 9/11.

        US law prohibits distribution of goods or benefits to terrorist organizations, which includes Al-Shabab.  However, Al-Shabab is in control of southern Somalia, and levies taxes and checkpoint bribes on aid shipments.  NGOs who would normally transport the aid shipments, are very concerned about doing so, because they could be prosecuted under the US law, for simply following the laws in effect in Somalia.  

        I believe that the Treasury department issued a statement, early in the Obama administration, reassuring the NGOs that they would not prosecute these organizations for following the Somali laws, but many of the NGOs are still reluctant to deliver aid.  They do not feel that the statement is sufficient to prevent prosecution.  

        USAID and the NGOs are working to alleviate the confusion, and to ensure that the aid will reach those who need it in a timely manner.  While the aid has been delayed, I am not aware of any cases where there was not sufficient aid available.  Most of the concerns I have heard are regarding potential future shortages.  

        I haven't been involved in several months, but I do know that the USAID issue is not nearly as simplistic as the diary suggests.

        •  I think you missed the larger point (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilK, Deward Hastings, Johnny Q

          If Hoover was president, and those laws were a hindrance, he would have them changed (or at least be clear that they weren't enforced).
             Obama has made the choice of not making famine an important issue.

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:33:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You missed the point (0+ / 0-)

            The Obama administration in 2009 issued a statement to the NGOs stating that they would not prosecute them for paying the bribes or levies.  The NGOs are not satisfied, because they are concerned that if a new administration takes over, they can still be prosecuted for support of terrorists.  (this is no small charge)  So the current administration is stating that they will not enforce the laws, but they cannot bind any future administration to the same agreement.

            As for changing the laws, that is what Congreess does, so possibly we should be comparing the congress under Hoover to our present day congress.  That is where the problem comes in.  The GOP actively campaigns on ending foreign aid.  Combine that with the fact that money would be transferred to a terrorist organization and there is no chance in hell that they will allow these laws to be changed.  

            As for Obama not making famine an important issue, that isn't even close to being true.  I know a lot about this particular issue.  I have even worked on relief efforts in Sudan.  Your claim is not true.

            •  And now you are skipping facts (0+ / 0-)

              You are talking a lot about NGOs but the fact of the matter is that the Obama Administration cut off food aid.
                 Maybe the NGOs did to, but the Obama Administration made a choice, and you seem to be skipping around that fact.

              "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

              by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 05:07:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You seem incapable of understanding (0+ / 0-)

                 Even the article that you linked did not say that that food aid was cut off.  You are making things up to fit your agenda, or you are not able to understand simple facts.  

                1.  No aid was cut off.  It was delayed while an agreement was made with the NGOs responsible for distribution.

                2.  The administration has waived enforcement of the law.  Short of forcing Congress to pass a law against their will there is nothing more they can do.

                3.  The problem isn't a law made by this administration, but one implemented by Bush after 9/11.

                4.  The article that you linked stated that the delays had not impacted the ability to provide food, and that it was expected that shipments would resume shortly.  

                I don't care what side of the issues you are on.  I do care that factual information is presented accurately, or at least honestly.  I have no patience for those who are not honest in their arguments.  

            •  Obama could offer amnesty to all NGOs for (0+ / 0-)

              paying the bribes/levies and make it clear that he will do so again before he leaves office.  That would prevent a future administration from enforcing those laws (as long as they didn't continue delivering aid after the new administration came in).

              •  He has done that. They are negotiating with the (0+ / 0-)

                NGOs to work out an arrangement that will protect the NGOs from liability under the anti-terrorism laws.  The NGOs are looking for more than a letter and/or promise that they are going to do this.  This is a major law, and the consequences for breaking it are severe.   The President says that he will not enforce the law in this case, and he has even put it in writing, but even so, there is still substantial liability for the NGOs.  A promise to offer amnesty in the future really doesn't protect anything at all.  

                They are trying to work this out expediently, and they are aware of the time limitations.  The shipments are delayed, but it has not yet affected the availability of food for the refugees.  They can expeditite things once an agreement is reached.  

                This is so frustrating to me, because I am a first responder and have worked on many international relief efforts.  These things happen all the time, when working in foreign countries.  It is messy work, with extraordinary consequences.  I hate to see someone oversimplify and misrepresent the situation just because they need one more item for their "Obama is not a good president" diaries.  Especially when it is clear that they know nothing about internation relief aid.

      •  Good thing he wasn't president when Hilter (0+ / 0-)

        came to power. It would have been a different world and we probably wouldn't be in it.

        When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

        by Unbozo on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 08:12:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's Not All That Much of a Movement. (12+ / 0-)

    We can't compare the people of the two times idealogically because in the 30's there had never existed on earth a large middle class with comfort and opportunity. Today we are in the midst of years of gradual winding down of the big middle class and so we have essentially all the population accustomed to thinking of government and the private economy as naturally, inherently supporting the robust democratic economy that is a complete anomaly in our history.

    At the same time, policy-wise the people have been led on a course of decline since the Beatles, which means that some 80% of the total population is too young to have lived under policies that ran the country healthily. So those policies are too ancient and bizarre to have credibility. They have both political parties vigorously opposed to them.

    It's going to take years for a sizeable left to arise. This country is just about impenetrable to factual reality, so we can't plan or expect any kind of "waking up" beyond people's disgust with their own lot and their worsening prospects.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:02:15 AM PDT

  •  You did not mention the Smoot Hawley tariff of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1930 which raised tariffs on thousands of goods middle class Americans bought and which made the depression worse. Obama not only did not repeat this mistake, but lowered taxes on middle and lower income people.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:03:07 AM PDT

    •  Smoot Hawley (13+ / 0-)

      It's good you brought it up, but its also a loaded subject that I would be careful to address.

         For starters, Smoot Hawley never had nearly the impact that the financial media has fed us. In fact, global trade was already collapsing long before Smoot Hawley, and continued to do after, for reasons that had nothing to do with tariffs.
          When the world leaders met in London in 1934 to talk about what was killing trade, do you think they complained about Smoot Hawley? No. They complained about legacy debts from WWI. It was those debts that were killing trade. Michael Hudson describes this in detail in his writing.

        Also, free trade is NOT a progressive item. It's an item pushed by transnational corporations at works at the expense of the middle class.

        It's for these reasons that I don't want to bring it up here.

      "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

      by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:11:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Taxes on low income increased (7+ / 0-)

      with the 2% reduction in pay roll tax. The deduction for the earned income tax credit was greater.

      Low Income tax payers face increase in 2011 withholding

      “progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun ~ Yves Smith The Stars Hollow Gazette

      by TheMomCat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:15:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The tax cut from the Recovery act was from (0+ / 0-)

        Obama also. When that ended, he instituted the payroll tax cut. The fact that the payroll tax cut was slightly less for some than the tax cut under the Recovery Act does not mean that Obama increased taxes on lower income people.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:35:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which of course (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat, Johnny Q

          doesn't change the fact that Obama has taken the conservative approach to this economic calamity, rather than the progressive path that Hoover did.

          "The people have only as much liberty as they have the intelligence to want & the courage to take." - Emma Goldman

          by gjohnsit on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:35:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you're payimg more tax (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gjohnsit, Tyree

          that by definition is a tax increase no matter how you try to spin it.

          “progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun ~ Yves Smith The Stars Hollow Gazette

          by TheMomCat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 09:37:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's still less than when Obama took office. (0+ / 0-)

            When the Bush tax cuts expire, will you be spouting the RW line that Obama had the biggest tax hike in history?

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 11:22:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where did I say (0+ / 0-)

              "that Obama had the biggest tax hike in history"?

              Please don't put words in my mouth to defend this administration's two year extension of the Bush tax cuts to gain what turned out to be a tax increase for those who could least afford it and a measly extension of unemployment benefits that did nothing for the 99ers.

              Nothing right wing there, so you can save the OFA talking points. Don't make yourself too dizzy.

              “progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun ~ Yves Smith The Stars Hollow Gazette

              by TheMomCat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 11:47:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you read what I said, I asked if that is what (0+ / 0-)

                you would say, not that you said  it. but that is the same logic you are using.

                Obama got a tax cut in the Recovery Act- the one you
                Link to in your comment. It expired. So he got the payroll tax cut. You say therefore that he increased taxes because the first tax cut which expired was more than the second tax cut. By that logic, I expect that you be saying that he raises taxes when the Bush tax cut expires. Of course, you are unhappy apparently that he extended the Bush tax cut but you do know that if he had not, everyone  - those who could least afford it as well as the wealthy- would have seen their taxes go up, don't you?

                So don't get too dizzy yourself, complaining that he raised taxes while bemoaning that he did not let the Bush taxes expire which of course would have raised them more- even though taxes on working people are lower now than when he took office, not higher.

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 12:32:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There you go again (0+ / 0-)

                  Where was the negotiations for the extension of the tax cuts for those in the lower tax brackets as was promised during the campaign? Keep spinning. He just caved to Republicans and what did they do? They took more hostages with the debt ceiling.

                  Now those tax cuts may well be made permanent. Or haven't you noticed that the Republicans are already talking about taking more hostages?

                  Since like all good Obama supporters you won't be able to let this go, the forum is all yours. Have fun, don't make yourself too sick

                  BTW, my taxes will only go up only if they raise the capital gains tax. I made all that before the Bush tax cuts. Thank you, Bill Clinton

                  “progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun ~ Yves Smith The Stars Hollow Gazette

                  by TheMomCat on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:43:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We have one thing in common then. (0+ / 0-)

                    Like you, my taxes will only rise if cap gains and dividends are taxed like ordinary income. That's why I have been supporting that here and by calling and emailing my Congressman and Senators frequently stating that tax treatment of those types of income should change. And why I have defended many of the Simpson Bowles and Gang of 6 proposals- because they have proposed that capital gains and dividends be treated as ordinary income.

                    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                    by sewaneepat on Tue Aug 23, 2011 at 05:28:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  BaraCk Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright

    don't forget the "C".

    thanks for the diary.

    Here I am! I'm up here! Where are you? - the Red-eyed Vireo

    by mightymouse on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:09:40 AM PDT

  •  they thought it would self-correct (6+ / 0-)

    Obama's team gave that impression too.

    Here I am! I'm up here! Where are you? - the Red-eyed Vireo

    by mightymouse on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 07:14:18 AM PDT

  •  Republished to Progressive Policy Zone. nt (5+ / 0-)

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 08:40:59 AM PDT

  •  excellent piece gjohnsit (0+ / 0-)

    well done, would like to republish to anti-capitalist chat if that is ok with you?

    one cannot underestimate the importance of a strong left in ensuring politicians act responsibly, they are the threat that keeps them honest and here pushed Hoover towards a more progressive stance and the New Deal would not have been passed if not for the fear of communists, socialists and anarchists. It was not passed out of the goodness of the hearts of the ruling classes, they were forced into it due to fears that the system would be brought down by opponents of the system.

    I am not talking about Liberals nor progressives as they will not scare those in economic and political power enough, I am talking working class organisations like unions, working class groupings like parties and mass organisations and grass-roots organisation and most specifically an hard left which has support that will scare them to shift to the left.

    "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 Mon Aug 22, 2011 at 04:01:07 PM PDT

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