The Fear of Socialism, Again."
As joblessness and deep hunger creeps across America, politicians have pulled out the fear card, socialism, to ensure that voters stay in their place. Astonishingly, for almost a century this ploy has worked. It almost worked when president Herbert C. Hoover ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal—which Hoover decried as socialism and a threat to the American way. Roosevelt won in a landslide, for the country was still in the grips of the Great Depression and numb with hunger.
Across the country today, we see food lines stretching for miles: American hunger. The 1932 elections brought with it social security, and market forces have opposed it ever since. Even though it didn't cover farmworkers, predominantly blacks and Mexicans, it kept the wolf from millions of Americans' doors. Although much time has passed, fear is raised again, the fear: socialism. It still tends to have a foreign ring to it, but it's about as American as hunger itself.
From in Prison Nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.