History in the Mix

The Spirit of 1933 (detail)We’ve all been watching and reading the denunciations, from the right and the left, of Wall Street and Obama’s alleged complicity in enriching the rich.  History has become something of a motif in these “debates.”  For instance, conservatives claim that the New Deal had no impact, or made the Depression worse.  (Don’t let facts get in your way, folks.)  And more recently, we have a series of allegedly grassroots anti-tax “Tea Parties” that aim to harken back to the American Revolution.  (Contrary to MSM belief, evidence points to these “tea parties” being a premeditated astro turf project).

On the left there is the implication that Obama is failing to take the kind of bold actions that FDR took in the 1930s.  Here it’s worth recalling that many of Roosevelt’s early actions were largely symbolic, or repackaged extensions of Hoover policies.  The boldest moves toward regulation, especially the National Recovery Act had complex impacts, often empowering employers more than workers.  Many left wingers considered Roosevelt a tool of big business, or worse, an American fascist.  It was the “Second New Deal,” beginning in 1935, that brought us an effective labor law, and the famous public works of the WPA. (And it was the war that ended the Depression).

For your enjoyment, I offer this little ditty from the July 1933 issue of the New Pioneer, the Communist Party’s youth magazine.

The Spirit of ’33

We celebrate July the Fouth
With patriotic glory–
But have we got enough to eat?
Oh, that’s another story!

Yankee Doodle, fight to win
Yankee Doodle dandy
Until a workers’ land we’re in
Yankee Doodle dandy

Our President, old Franklin D.
So busy with his new deal,
Forgetting the forgotten man,
Is helping bankers to steal.

Yankee Doodle, march right on,
Yankee Doodle dandy
Until the long hard fight is won,
Yankee Doodle dandy

Morgan won’t pay income tax,
He hasn’t any money–
Will they put him into jail?
Come on, don’t be funny!

Yankee Doodle, shout on high,
Yankee Doodle dandy
We’re in this fight until we die
Yankee Doodle dandy

The bosses are in quite a mess,
They can’t find a solution–
Workers know the answer, though–
The answer’s Revolution!

Yankee Doodle, let ‘er go,
Yankee Doodle dandy
Here’s your friend and there’s your foe
Yankee Doodle dandy

by Sim Slim.

Here’s hoping Rush Limbaugh will pick this one up!  You can see an image of the page on my Flickr photostream.

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