The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition...Socialism

By John Nichols

A brief, sharp, irreverent rejoinder to right-wing red-baiting

throughout the chilly warfare it grew to become a grimy note within the usa, yet “socialism” runs like a purple thread in the course of the nation’s background, a vital part of its political realization because the founding of the republic. during this unapologetic corrective to today’s collective amnesia, John Nichols demands the proud go back of socialism in American lifestyles. He remembers the reforms lauded by means of Founding Father Tom Paine; the presence of Karl Marx’s journalism in American letters; the left leanings of founders of the Republican occasion; the socialist politics of Helen Keller; the revolutionary legacy of figures like Chaplin and Einstein. Now in an up to date edition, The “S” Word makes a case for socialist rules as an essential a part of American historical past. a brand new ultimate bankruptcy considers the new symptoms of a leftward sea swap in American politics within the face of accelerating and old degrees of inequality.

at the present time, corporations—like different wealthy “individuals”—pay fewer taxes than they did within the Nineteen Fifties, whereas our infrastructure crumbles and the seas upward thrust. The “S” Word addresses a kingdom which can now not manage to pay for to place capital sooner than humans.

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Who within the Nineteen Thirties had turn into a well-liked civil rights and hard work legal professional, may claim: “I am proud to be an American, proud to be a Negro, and proud to be a Communist! and there's no contradiction among the 3. i'm proud to be an American simply because i've got an abiding self assurance within the artistic ability of the yank humans to set our state correct in all respects and retain it so, and to maneuver it to raised degrees of happiness and peace. ” Davis’s carrier at the urban council of the nation’s greatest urban used to be by means of a jail sentence, as he and different contributors of the CP’s nationwide management have been convicted of violating a latest version on John Adams’s anti-democratic Alien and Sedition Acts, the Alien Registration Act, which made it unlawful for a person within the usa to “organize any society, staff, or meeting of individuals who educate, recommend, or inspire the overthrow of [the] govt by means of strength or violence. ” whereas Davis’s election and repair at the urban council appeared to make sure that he had opted for a non-violent and admirably civic method, the purpose of the law—which have been driven via Congress by way of a virulently anti-labor southern segregationist, Virginia Democrat Howard Smith—was by no means to guard the U.S. from international “threats. ” Smith desired to weaken the get to the bottom of of the hard work circulate to press for radical reforms, particularly for desegregation within the south. To a considerable measure, Smith and his successors (Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy, between others) accomplished their aim. strain at the such a lot militant unions—from the govt and from the CIO’s more and more wary leadership—heightened exponentially after former vice chairman Henry Wallace campaigned for the presidency in 1948, with backing from left-led unions and major Communists, on a platform that castigated the Democrats and Republicans as “old events” keen to “impose a common coverage of Jim Crow and implement it with each weapon of terror. they do not want to outlaw its so much bestial expression—the crime of lynching. they do not want to abolish the ballot tax, and yr after yr they deny the correct to vote to Negroes and hundreds of thousands of white humans within the South. ” Wallace and his running-mate, Idaho Senator Glen Taylor, didn't come with reference to beating the outdated events. yet they shook loads of strong humans up, by means of campaigning at built-in rallies within the deep south and announcing the unconventional view that “it is the 1st responsibility of simply executive to safe for all of the humans, despite race, creed, colour, intercourse, nationwide historical past, political trust, or station in lifestyles, the inalienable rights proclaimed within the announcement of Independence and assured through the invoice of Rights. ” within the past due Nineteen Forties, congressional committees urgent for complete implementation of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act (which between different issues required union officers to signal affidavits that they weren't Communist occasion participants) started maintaining hearings the place union leaders have been grilled approximately their political views, whereas whilst prosecutors and immigration officers all started getting ready felony suggestions to head after radical alternate unionists and civil rights activists.

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