The American Left: RIP - Paul Craig Roberts

by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:

Once upon a time the leftwing of the political spectrum was committed to the advancement of the working class and its protection from political and economic abuse by the owners of the means of production. Consequently, the leftwing was politically potent and reached a pinnacle of power when Henry Wallace was selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt as his third term vice president. Despite his wealth from the company he founded, Wallace stood for the farmer and the working class.

The Democratic Party power brokers refused to accept Wallace as the vice president candidate until FDR told them he otherwise would decline the presidential nomination.

Wallace was Roosevelt’s and the Democratic voters’ choice for vice president in Roosevelt’s fourth term. But Wallace’s progressive views had alienated the party bosses, Wall Street bankers, anti-union businesses, and America’s British and French allies with his support for labor unions, women, minorities, and victims of colonialism. When he called for the emancipation of colonial subjects and for working with the Soviet Union in the cause of peace and working class justice, he sealed his fate. Despite a Gallup Poll released during the Democratic national convention in July 1944 showing that Wallace was the favorite with 65% of the vote and Roosevelt’s announcement that if he were a delegate, he would choose Wallace, the party bosses chose Harry Truman who was preferred by only 2% of Democratic voters.

This was a turning point in US politics and world history. If the people had prevailed over the corrupt Democratic party bosses, Wallace instead of Truman would have become the first postwar US president. Most likely, there would have been no Cold War, no Korean War, no Vietnam War, no NATO, and no decades of mutual distrust between the US and Russia that today threatens life on earth.

Moreover, in place of today’s highly skewed income and wealth distribution toward the very rich fraction of one percent, there would be an equitable distribution that would support a strong consumer market instead of declining real incomes and debt expansion that threatens economic growth, business profits, employment, and high equity values.

Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in their best seller, The Untold History of the United States, describe the Clinton-style Democratic Party corruption that was used to block Wallace as the vice presidential candidate:

“Party insiders made sure they had an iron grip on the convention. Yet the rank-and-file Democrats would not go quietly, staging a rebellion on the convention floor. The groundswell of support for Wallace among the delegates and attendees was so great that despite the bosses’ stranglehold over the proceedings and strong-arm tactics, Wallace’s supporters almost carried the day as an uproarious demonstration for Wallace broke out on the convention floor. In the midst of the demonstration, Florida Senator Claude Pepper realized that if he got Wallace’s name into nomination that night, Wallace would sweep the convention. Pepper fought his way through the crowd to get within five feet of the microphone when the nearly hysterical Mayor Kelly, purporting that there was a fire hazard, got the Chairman, Senator Samuel Jackson, to adjourn the proceedings. Had Pepper made it five more feet and nominated Wallace before the bosses forced adjournment against the will of the delegates, Wallace would have become president in 1945 and the course of history would have been dramatically altered.”

The next day Senator Jackson apologized to Senator Pepper: “I had strict instructions from Hannegan not to let the convention nominate the vice president last night. So I had to adjourn the convention in your face.”

Thus was the power of interest groups to prevail over democracy 73 years ago when there was still a press that would on occasion speak for the people. Dave Kranzler and Brett Arends describe the power of the interests and the degeneration of the media today:

“It’s been my view since circa 2003 that [the oligarchs] would hold up the system with printed money and credit creation until every last crumb of middle class wealth was swept off the table and into the pockets of those in position to do the sweeping.

“Obama delivered nothing on his original campaign promises. He was going to “reform” Wall Street.  But the concept of Too Big To Fail was legislated under Obama, and Wall Street indictments/prosecutions fell precipitously from the previous Administration. 

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