Massive Protest and Organizing Created the New Deal
The kind of electoral victories we need will take far more than standard electioneering and Facebook debates. Let’s look at what it took to create the New Deal so we can see just how challenging the task ahead is. During the Great Depression massive organizing efforts and protest movements were necessary just to reform the two-party system. New Deal history strongly suggests that the current dementer v. demexit debate is largely a waste of time until we organize movements powerful enough to upset the existing order.
In our memory Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the standard bearer of the New Deal but it did not start that way. FDR was a reluctant reformer pushed into progressive action because millions of people were willing to experiment with radical solutions.
Mass movements, third parties and revolutionary parties, labor upheaval, agrarian unrest, powerful populists, discontented veterans, and Democratic congressmen more radical than FDR pushed the New Deal into being. Setting aside for the moment the long-standing debates about the racial, class and political limitations of the New Deal — we can still learn about how the deep conservatism of a major party was partially overcome, for a time, by the forces of reform and revolution pushing from the bottom up.
Workers, Farmers and Veterans
Widespread labor upheavals changed the political climate. The mass production…