Saturday, October 18, 2008

How People Can Improve the Economy

Latest news in New York Times this week is that wages are going to go down and that "Banks Are Likely to Hold Tight to Bailout Money" of $200 billion that Secretary of Treasury gave them. The newspapers says that the banks will not lend the money out as Paulson and the administration hoped.

So let's see what people did in the 1st years of the Great Depression when Secretary of the Treasury Mellon was yelling liquidate the banks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate the workers and unemployment climbed to 25% by 1932

People organized Unemployment Councils from 1930-32 that demanded unemployment (there was none at the time) and food from the local governments. In the hunger marchers which culminated on International Unemployment day on March 6, 1930, the marchers in many cities demanded unemployment relief, and they wanted to "work for wages." The Communist Party and its allied organizations were the main organizers of the Unemployment Councils which stopped evictions and asked city governments for relief--food and small change.

By 1931 hunger marchers in 12 state capitals demanded relief and unemployment insurance. A national hunger march on December 7, 1931, was timed to coincide with the opening of Congress. The December 7 march demanded unemployment insurance and a social insurance system to cover maternity care, illness, accidents, and old age. Local demonstrations and conferences select 1,670 delegates who converged on Washington from four separate columns. The marchers were never allowed to speak to Congress or the president, but their mass meetings brought these issues to be discussed nationally.

In the March 7, 1932, at Ford Hunger March Three thousand marched from Detroit to the Ford employment office in the suburb of Dearborn, a company town where Ford's main complex was located. Most were auto workers and their families. Police gassed the marchers when they were entering Dearborn. Then some marchers threw stones. When the marchers arrive at Ford, the police fired at them, killing five. The cops blamed the Communists and had a witch hunt with raids against left-wing organization, but the Ford hunger marchers held a huge funeral march of 30,0000--the unemployment movement in the Detroit area then grew even stronger.

Also World War I veterans organized the bonus march across the country of 43,000 veterans and their families asking for a bonus they said they had been promised for their war service in spring of 1932. The Bonus marchers arrived in Washington D.C. on June 17, 1932 where they had an encampment. Hoover got hysterical and asked General McArthur to clear out the bonus marchers, so he had has troops shoot at them, killing two.

By 1933 radical farmers were protesting throughout the Midwest. In February 1933, thousands of farmers marched on the new capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska, demanding a moratorium on all farm foreclosures. The Legislature halted foreclosure sales for two years, but the legislators allowed district judges to decide how long a foreclosure could be postponed or to order the proceedings to go forward anyway. In the first test case ended the judge said the sale to go forward. Farmers and their newspapers demanded higher farm prices, cancellation on payment of feed and seed loans, a moratorium on mortgages and reduced taxes.

The marchers' demands then were adopted by FDR and the Democratic Party and by the 2nd half of the 1930s passed as legislation: unemployment insurance; state relief in food and small amounts of money; disability insurance; social security for the elderly; the W.P.A. and C.C.C. programs that hired the unemployed for jobs; the T.V.A. program to help impoverished farmers in the Tennessee Valley; agricultural subsidies to help farmers. At the end of World War II in 1944 Congress finally responded to the demands of the veterans in the Bonus March by enacting the G.I.Bill of Rights legislation giving education benefits so World War II veterans could get a free college education and low-interest G.I. home mortgages.

So the 99% of the U.S. people who have been against Paulson's idiotic bailouts and Bush's inept economic policies should like the protesters in the 1930-1931 publicly through marches, demonstrations, conferences articulate a set of demands; 1) extend unemployment insurance; 2) have FANNIE MAE and Freddie Mac give new low-interest mortgages to stop forecloses; 3.) allow judges in bankruptcy courts to lower the amount owed in mortgages; 4.) have a government-sponsored green energy program hiring unemployed modeled after the W.P.A. and C.C.C. 5.) have a government program to rebuild roads, bridges etc. hiring unemployed; 6.) single payer national health insurance.

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