Saturday, October 01, 2005

History Repeats

Franklin D. Roosevelt Speech
Democratic National Convention (June 27, 1936)


I want to remind everyone once again of this truely historic speech FDR presented to the Democratic Convention in 1936.  I have provided exerpts below.  At this point in history the royalists he refers to are now running the government and have taken over.  In this way the situation is far worse today than it was then.  Unless there are big changes in who is governing our country things are going to get very bad.  At the time this speech was delivered, the people did not know that there had been an attempted coup against Roosevelt by these very royalists and that the German war machine was being built up and financed by these very royalists, and at this time fascist, Hitler supporting organizations were being financed by these royalists all over America.  A battle was raging behind the scenes, that you have to dig into to find out about, that is for the most part not mentioned in the standard US history books.  The sons and grand children of these very royalists or robber barrons among others are working hard and succeeding at taking America back to once was called the Gilded age of the 1890's, the Mckinnley era.  If you look, you will find that Karl Rove has said this in so many words.  If you download and listen to the Roosevelt speech I think you will agree it is one of the most moving and important speeches in American history.

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Senator Robinson, Members of the Democratic Convention, my friends:

.....

But I cannot, with candor, tell you that all is well with the world.  Clouds of suspicion, tides of ill-will and intolerance gather darkly in many places.  In our own land we enjoy indeed a fullness of life greater than that of most Nations.  But the rush of modern civilization itself has raised for us new difficulties, new problems which must be solved if we are to preserve to the United States the political and economic freedom for which Washington and Jefferson planned and fought.

....

That very word freedom, in itself and of necessity, suggests freedom from some restraining power.  In 1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy-from the eighteenth century royalists who held special privileges from the crown.  It was to perpetuate their privilege that they governed without the consent of the governed; that they denied the right of free assembly and free speech; that they restricted the worship of God; that they put the average man's property and the average man's life in pawn to the mercenaries of dynastic power; that they regimented the people.

....

Since that struggle, however, man's inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people...  The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution-all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties.  New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things.  Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital-all undreamed of by the fathers-the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit.  They were no more free than the worker or the farmer.  Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself.  They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction.  In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property.  And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor-these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship.  The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age-other people's money-these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right.  The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

Throughout the Nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly.  Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine.  The field open for free business was more and more restricted.  Private enterprise, indeed, became too private.  It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

An old English judge once said:  "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity to make a living-a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality.  A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor-other people's lives.  For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government.  The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was.  The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it.  Under that mandate it is being ended.

The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the Government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody's business.  They granted that the Government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the Government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.

Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair.  If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.

These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America.  What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.  Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.  In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution.  In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for.  Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.

....

The brave and clear platform adopted by this Convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that Government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.

....

But the resolute enemy within our gates is ever ready to beat down our words unless in greater courage we will fight for them.

....

There is a mysterious cycle in human events.  To some generations much is given.  Of other generations much is expected.  This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

In this world of ours in other lands, there are some people, who, in times past, have lived and fought for freedom, and seem to have grown too weary to carry on the fight.  They have sold their heritage of freedom for the illusion of a living.  They have yielded their democracy.

I believe in my heart that only our success can stir their ancient hope.  They begin to know that here in America we are waging a great and successful war.  It is not alone a war against want and destitution and economic demoralization. It is more than that; it is a war for the survival of democracy.  We are fighting to save a great and precious form of government for ourselves and for the world.

I accept the commission you have tendered me.  I join with you.  I am enlisted for the duration of the war.

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