U.S. History Since 1865: Socialism and Progressive Reform – Part 01


you are watching DHTV from California
State University to Vegas goes okay in this segment we’re going to take a look
at socialism and progressive reform and this is the first part of several parts
that I will be dealing with but one of the things that’s most important about
America is that it has a very rich heritage that comes from the immigrant
experience and it is known as socialist organizing now when we talk about
patriotism now it was most often the right-wing of America that claimed to
express the American spirit the right wing always says that they are the ones
that have the American spirit that they revere its symbols and those who
criticize the government are anti patriotic what I want to help you
understand is that the terms progressive and patriotic and socialism as part of
the American immigrant experience it is part of the American heritage
it’s just that recent since the Reagan administration in the 1980s the
conservative element has taken over the dialogue and labeled anything to its as
its counterparts as this negative experience known as socialism so I want
you to understand that the terms progressive and patriotic socialism are
part of the immigrant experience they are part of the American heritage so
let’s take a look at the Pledge of Allegiance let’s take a look at the man
who wrote it his name is Francis Bellamy now Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of
Allegiance in 1892 now one of the things about Francis Bellamy was that he was a
leading Christian socialist and he’s gonna be fired from his Boston ministry
for his sermons because he depicted Jesus as a socialist
now students you need to recognize that Christianity is socialism Christianity
is a challenge to treat everyone as a human being when redistributing the
collection of wealth that Trinity represents the unified presence of
humanity that Trinity is most often awesome in Christianity of God the
Father God the Son God the Holy Spirit the Trinity is the unified presence of
humanity the sacrament the body of Christ when you take a look at Christian
churches all churches are built around the physical presence of Christ’s
commitment and what is his commitment feed the hungry clothe the naked give
shelter to the homeless give drink to the thirsty house the refugee provide
shelter for the refugee so this is what drove Francis Bellamy to write the
Pledge of Allegiance he appreciated or he had a collective and an egalitarian
vision of America one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all
so get to know it when you pledge allegiance to this country when you
pledge allegiance to the flag and so remind the right wing radio and
television hate mongers about the socialist influence in the Pledge of
Allegiance now let’s go to another person her name is Emma Lazarus and
let’s take a look at the statue of bigotry at U of Liberty’s scuse me give
me your tired your poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free
this poem known as the new Colossus was written by Emma Lazarus
she was a poet of considerable repute in her day she was a well-known figure in
literary circles she was a closeted socialist she didn’t come out as a
socialist but she understood very clearly the principles of socialism and
she avowed to it to its principles and she wrote this welcome to the wretched
of the earth in 1883 as an effort to project an inclusive definition of the
American dream an egalitarian definition of the
American dream let’s go and listen to her palm the new
Colossus not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
with conquering limbs astride from land to land here at our sea-washed sunset
gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch whose flame is the imprisoned
lightning and her name mother of exiles from her beacon hand glows worldwide
welcome her mild eyes command the air bridged Harbor that Twin Cities frame keep ancient lands your storied pomp cry
she with silent lips give me your tired your poor your huddled masses yearning
to breathe free the wretched refuse of your teeming
Shore send these the homeless tempest-tossed to me I left my light
beside the Golden Door Emma Lazarus okay now let’s take a look at another woman
her name is Katherine Lee Bates Katherine Lee Bates was a professor of
English at Wellesley College she was an ardent feminist she was a lesbian
socialists and she’s gonna write one of the most beautiful poems that was very
uh that everyone today in the United States
recites it’s America the Beautiful and up until a few years ago this this song
was sung in baseball games during the seventh-inning stretch to honor those
who died in 9/11 now this song that so many Patriots sings today sing today
reflects this lesbians view that US imperialism undermines the nation core
values of freedom and democracy and liberty and she was inspired to write
this poem after visiting the Shoshoni people’s lands in Colorado and in
Wyoming she visited what eventually will become Yellowstone National Park it was
this beauty that she encountered that inspired her in the poem but she
understood at that time the u.s. imperialism undermines values of freedom
and liberty that she found so much expressed in the beautiful landscape
that she visited she was out there in Wyoming so the song or I mean or the
poems final words and Crown thy good with Brotherhood from sea to shining sea
it’s not about pursuing wealth it is about
social justice so this saw this poem was put to song so the next time you hear
right-wing evangelists anybody a conservative America and you listen to
them as they singing America the Beautiful whisper in their ear they’re
singing a poem from a radical lesbian feminist get to know this let’s go and
let’s appreciate the singing of this song by one of the most impressive
artists ever who provides the best rendition I know of of America the
Beautiful let’s listen to Ray Charles okay so Francis Bellamy Emma Lazarus
Katherine Lee Bates please students understand that the
socialist influence is part of the American heritage don’t be afraid of
this particular word so let’s talk about the socialist tradition let’s talk about
progressive reform and the socialist tradition all right and you can see what
the shirt that I’m wearing you know we’re talking about the land of the free
of course depending on how you’re talking about freedom some restrictions
apply void where prohibited but nonetheless let’s try to define
socialism now first of all I’m gonna go to no I’m Chomsky’s work and try to
appreciate the definition and he helps me out in helping he helps me out in in
providing a very nice concise definition of socialism there’s no clear-cut
blueprints and no cast in concrete constitutional arrangements in socialism
okay there’s no specific body of ideas and theories on socialism socialism is
the process of ideas whereby people arrange design and construct a just
society the central goal of socialism is human kind socialism places at its
center the concept of direct participatory mass democracy this is an
involvement by everyone in the decisions that give direction to the social order
see the aim of socialism is a democratization of life in general not
just the democratization of politics now let me explain this about the
democratization of life in general because in capitalism capitalism is
forced to address the democratization of politics the democratization of politics
means that of course under capitalism the only way that capitalism could
Rhys was through political democracy giving the right to vote to those who
own property so socialism doesn’t just call for political democracy I mean
that’s the right to vote and if you can understand at the turn of the century in
1900’s the only people who had the right to vote were white males the who also
had the right to vote they liberated the slave but slaves were prevented or
freedmen were prevented from voting through the Black Codes so political
democracy you can understand that the socialist tradition is saying well
everybody should have the right to vote voting should be a responsibility
especially if you’re living in a country that has representative government but
socialists move beyond just political democracy and the key is that they ask
for economic democracy likewise and what is economic democracy economic democracy
is the right to a living wage if you are working full time and back then full
time was 60 70 80 hour weeks because there was no such thing as an eight-hour
day back then people work as Malcolm X would say from can’t see in the morning
to can’t see at night so if you are working and you wage still does not pay
for your subsistence in other words your subsistence your food your clothing your
shelter and you are working full-time and Beyond and when you get your
paycheck you still can’t pay the rent you still can’t buy clothes and you
can’t put food on the table socialists are saying hey wait a minute wait a
minute economic democracy the right to a living wage that is the socialist
principle so not only is it political democracy socialists also include
economic democracy that you have a right to a living wage as long as you’re a
human being and then and then dig this what the socialist tradition is all
about can we have social equality social equality because as human beings we all
should be dignified just because you’re rich does that mean that you have
position you have privileges just because you’re rich you can gain the
system so that you can get to school just because you’re rich you don’t have
to wait in line just because you’re rich there’s a line for you and then
everybody else the idea behind the socialist is that as human beings we all
should experience social equality we should all be treated as human do you
understand and recognize why a Francis Bellamy is going to in the pledge of
allegiance as a Christian socialist now has him understanding Christianity it is
a challenge to treat all human beings as equal
especially when redistributing the wealth so recognize one nation
indivisible with liberty and justice for all
so socialism socialism calls for political democracy socialism calls for
economic democracy socialism calls for social equality now back then it was
very very rough if you were a person of color because back then there were the
Black Codes there was anti Chinese immigration
legislation people didn’t know what to do with the Mexican and then of course
native peoples are being removed from the scene so for people of color it was
a struggle so you can imagine depending on who was doing the organizing and
depending on who was the socialist at the time socialism calls for an end to
racial discrimination nation can you imagine what well gosh
darn you better watch it man those socialists they’re asking for everything
aren’t they and then can you imagine depending on who’s doing the organizing
the socialist is asking for the end to gender discrimination that women should
have rights that women shouldn’t be doormats what what are you talking about
that’s the socialist tradition watch it that’s the socialist tradition political
democracy economic democracy social equality an end to racial and gender
discrimination can you imagine that so as you may know from the previous
presentations that I’ve had in this class we are all human beings we are all
human beings socialists take the position that all persons share certain
needs there exists a minimum requirement of food shelter health and so forth
which all people share across the board when we talk about society no decent
society would concentrate wealth in the hands of the few while the needs of the
majority go unmet society has to be organized in such a way that can allow
and encourage human beings to realize their humanity to realize their
humanists so human beings from the socialist view are purposeful beings who
are able if given a chance to make decisions intelligently human beings
have intentions and purposes human beings can become aware of alternatives
and rationally choose amongst them people are potentially self
directed people are potentially self-determining people are capable of
self-expression people are capable of creativity but you have to be given the
chance so how you given the chance equality of condition equality of
condition is the foundation of socialism and this is what you will learn
in the readings of the second wave of immigrants they were Brandt they are
being brought to this country they have a dream of equality so get to know it
they believed in civil rights for all Europeans because after all this is a
nation that was made for white males so I say Europeans because many had of
their reservations about native peoples a and many had a hesitancy about the
blackness of Africans and of course there’s the Mexican how do you deal with
the Mexican but nonetheless socialism this is the great heritage equality of
condition for all so let’s appreciate the progressive
movement because while the Socialists and the capitalists are balloting
battling it out in the economic landscape of society okay one calling
for revolution the immediate radical changes and the other calling for status
quo privileges stop social change at all costs those stuck in the middle of the
two extremes decide to wake up and call for reform a peaceful gradual change so
is the progressive movement when we read about the progressive movement we will
realize that it came about as a result of the populist crusade it came about as
a result of capital labor conflicts it came about as a result of socialist
organizing socialist ideals it also came about as a result of the assassination
of the President the idea behind progressive reform was the desire to
humanize capitalism not to eliminate capitalism as socialists are inclined to
do so progressives came into being to control monopolies progressives came
into being to end the violence that was associated with workers attempted to
organize for their interests and capitalists attacked them ruthlessly for
organizing progressives feared revolution progressives feared intense
class conflict progressives feared racial equality but the lines a fair
capitalism the lies a fair individualism this philosophy that was being pursued
by capitalists and by conservative America and the Republican Party this
philosophy is great if you’re a member of the wealthy if you are a member of
the elite classes this philosophy of less government is what the Reformers
begin to challenge is what the progressive reform movement is begin to
challenge so who are the progressives well progressives are fairly prosperous
professionals and they’re businessmen now they’re martyred motivated by
personal ambitions but they’re also motivated by moral indignation do not
confuse progressive reformers with socialists see socialists are
automatically progressive but progressives are not socialists so the
most pressing questions for progressives are not humanitarian they are moral they
are political so if you take a look at the progressives the ideas that were
generated by the progressives led to notions of using the government
efficiently using the government scientifically to end corruption to
control big business throw out the crooks and return power to good citizens
get rid of monopolies and bring back the notion of free enterprise so there are a
lot of important progressive heroes there intellectuals there sociologists
historians politicians and perhaps the most important progressive hero is
Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt is of course the national hero of the
progressive movement now you have to understand the Theodore Roosevelt became
president because the president he was a vice president under the president that
was assassinated and Theodore Roosevelt recognized that there was a groundswell
of change occurring in this nation the Theodore Roosevelt presented himself as
one of those from the West even though he is from an elite class in New York he
was from the wealthy but he presented himself as a cowboy as a westerner he
loved to go outdoors and one of the things about Teddy Roosevelt was when he
visited Wyoming and he experienced the Shoshones breathtaking environment he
experienced what Katherine Lee Bates experienced as she moved as she went out
to Wyoming he fell in love with the area that would eventually become
Yellowstone National Park why why would it become that because he vowed that
capitalism would not destroy this heavens gate as he referred to it now in
1902 he will sponsor with a senator Newland the Reclamation’s Act that
eventually will give us the Nash the park system this is why we have
national parks today to prevent capital from destroying pristine areas however
every administration since the election of Ronald Reagan has chiseled away the
foundation of the parks system and under this current administration everything
is being sold off yeah in the winter of 1903 coal miners in the Appalachian area
went on strike this meant that East Coast cities would
not have coal to burn during the winter months which meant that people would
freeze to death so Roosevelt got everyone together and said nope get over
here we’re going to create an arbitration Commission and we’re going
to end this strike and in March 1903 they ended the strike because he’s gonna
tell the American public that this was his square deal the square deal between
capital and labor and what he will attempt to do is he’s going to go to the
rich and he’s going to tell them that’s enough you have enough wealth
you’ve taken the wealth from the market you’ve kept it to yourselves I think
that’s enough we’re going to redistribute your wealth I’m gonna break
you up you strengthen the Interstate Commerce Act with the man’s Elkin Act
under his administration he’s gonna pass the Hepburn Act of 1906 to determine
railroad rates and he’s going to go and break up the monopolies because he told
the rich you need to give service to this nation you’ve taken all this wealth
this country has made you rich now give back very simple now Teddy Roosevelt if
he would find out what this administration is doing right now he
would sit on Donald Trump but right now he’s just turning in his
grave but most important during Roosevelt’s administration was the time
that he was reading a novel in the Oval Office while eating his favorite country
breakfast of sausage bacon ham and eggs this one man named Upton Sinclair was a
socialist and this socialist is going to write a very important book called the
jungle it was a story about Lithuanian immigrants surviving in Chicago and
working in the stockyards and the slaughterhouses of the meatpacking
industry now in this book Sinclair’s depiction of despicable working
conditions and of rats and human parts ultimately finding their way into canned
and packed meat stirred an alarm in Roosevelt C during the spanish-american
war Roosevelt witnessed the death of his
soldiers their deaths was not because of the war their deaths was because they
ain’t it they ate tainted food the canned food given to soldiers led to the
number one cause of death in this war dysentery blood on the saddle blood on
the ground blood all around CE because dysentery that’s your pieces of your
call to start falling out so maybe that’s why Roosevelt’s soldiers were
called the Rough Riders but it is said that after reading part of the novel
were rats and pieces of human fingers and arms find their way into the canned
ham the story is is that Roosevelt is gonna toss his country breakfast of ham
bacon and sausage and that day he’s going to go and approach Congress and
he’s gonna have the Meat Inspection Act passed
which eventually turns into the Pure Food and Drug Act which is why we
eventually will have inspections of food products the Food and Drug
Administration now here is a perfect example of a socialist influencing a
progressive to reform the system so pay attention to that throughout the rest of
the course socialist organizing influences progressive reform a
progressive president responded to a socialist critique of society let’s take
a look at a video addressing or a documentary addressing obtunded Clair’s
the jungle and this will end the first part of socialism and progressive reform the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s
had a dramatic effect on economic and social life around the globe the
economies of industrializing nations shifted from agriculture to
manufacturing from rural to urban thanks to innovations in technology energy
production and manufacturing factories churned out large quantities of new
products at lower prices almost overnight cities swelled to support new
industries soon people were flocking to the growing cities looking for work and
a better life but factory life did not live up to its promise the workers had
few rights wages were low hours were long working conditions were often
unsafe and unemployment or worse was always just an accident away these harsh
working conditions were common at the turn of the 20th century
in 1906 upton sinclair published the jungle a novel about the american
meatpacking industry at the time that the jungle was written the plants were
horrible places to work they were full of violence they weren’t clean and
frequently diseased and dead animals were slaughtered and made into food
Sinclair’s novel follows the story of a young Lithuanian jurgis rudkus who
arrives in America seeking freedom and opportunity he finds work in a
prosperous and as he learns to his dismay filthy Chicago meatpacking plant
think about an individual coming from a rural agricultural kind of society
whether you think about Jurgis coming from Lithuania or a black migrant coming
from the deep south Mississippi coming into a large industrial city working in
a mass production industry like meatpacking sinclair was writing on the
crust of a giant wave of social and economic change that took place in the
course of the late 19th century before writing the jungle sinclair spent seven
weeks around chicago’s meatpacking plants he studied details about the work
itself the home lives of workers and the structure of the business upton sinclair
went into the plants and he saw dead animals being slaughtered
he saw filth all over the plant he saw products going into sausage that
shouldn’t have been there but more importantly he came out of the plant
radicalized by what happened to the workers how they got chewed up the same
way the food did Sinclair used the horrors he witnessed
as the basis for Jurgis fictionalized story as Jurgis discovers work in the
plant involves back-breaking labor in unsafe conditions when a worker becomes
ill or gets injured he’s cast aside and hundreds of jobless men fight to replace
him workers in the pickling room have their
fingers eaten by acid cooks live in danger of falling into open vats of
boiling meat it was live or die sink or swim
so the deadened conditions in the slaughtering house and that death that
permeated also permeated the battle between the owners and the workers they
created this traditional naturalistic deterministic story which human beings
just like the animals that have pulled up the chute in the packing plants and
they are pulled up with the sense of optimism at the beginning this idea of
going to America it’s becoming successful leaving behind the problems
of Europe and then they go down just like the animals and their process too when the jungle was published there was
a public outcry Americans were outraged and they urged the United States
Congress to pass the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 more federal laws followed that
prevented Packers from adding fillers and impurities to meat and the United
States Department of Agriculture inspectors were put in every meat plant
in the country but this wasn’t the reaction that Sinclair was looking for
he wanted to help the workers I aimed at the public’s heart he wrote and by
accident I hit it in the stomach it took decades to improve the working
conditions Sinclair criticised in the jungle the changes came from inside the
factories themselves from members of labor unions making demands of the
factory owners the jungles pro worker viewpoint may have been lost on the
public at the time but it’s powerful message is clear today it was a
microcosm a look at the 20th century as it was unfolding in all the different
battle lines between the rich and the poor the haves and the have-nots and in
that sense it’s an enduring classic you




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