Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline by Jello_Biafra, Illuminatus Primus et al.

Source Material

Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline
A Red Dawn: American Revolution and Rebirth
Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline (Special Edition)

Note: I (Ⓐaron) didn’t write this. I will be contributing to it in the future however.

I’ve cleaned up the occasional grammar mistake or unclear sentence but other than that this is lifted directly from the canonical posts in the source material above. Out-of-character commentary is usually omitted, however.

Fool’s Gold’s discussion thread for this timeline is located here.

Table of Contents

Sections in bold are part of the timeline reboot. Everything afterwards is as originally posted and most likely contains substantial inconsistencies with the retconned material. The timeline before revisions can be read here.

The Central Committee’s Staff
A History of the Workers’ Vanguard in America, 1876-1946, by Sean Hannity (#1)
“WI: McKinley Assassinated in 1901”
The Socialist Labor Party as a national party
Important Events of Interest, 1897
Important Events of Interest, 1898
Important Events of Interest, 1899
Important Events of Interest, 1900
Important Events of Interest, 1901
Important Events of Interest, 1902
Important Events of Interest, 1903
Important Events of Interest, 1904
The 1904 U.S. General Election
Some Notable Events, 1905
Some Notable Events, 1906
Congressional Results, 1906
Some Notable Events, 1907
Some Notable Events, 1908
General election, 1908
Some Notable Events, 1909
Some Notable Events, 1910
Some Notable Events, 1911
Some Notable Events, 1912
General Election, 1912
Amendments to the US Constitution, 1905-1913
The Socialist Tradition in America by Louis Hartz
A History of the Workers’ Vanguard in America, 1876-1946, by Sean Hannity (#2)
The Socialist Labor Party as a national party: Primary Documents, circa 1912
The Internationale
Some Things Never Change
Like the Snows of Yesteryear…
The First World War: Imperial Games by Albert E. Kahn
1914 Congressional Elections
Days in Red: A Memoir by James P. Cannon
Patton’s War Diaries
Some Notable Events, 1915
Salt of the Earth by Henry A. Wallace
The Oppenheimer Diaries by Kai Bird
Some Notable Events, 1916
1916 General Election
“Party Government in Crisis”
Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
1917: The Year of Disasters
1918: Things Fall Apart
1918 Congressional Election Results
Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed
The 1920 U.S. Presidential Election
The 1920 U.S. General Election
President Wood’s Cabinet, 1921-1925
Storming the Gates of Heaven: A History of the Comintern by Albert E. Kahn (#1)
KGB World Factbook Profile on UASR
George Patton: Proletarian Soldier by Oliver Lark
Events of the Wood Presidency, 1921
Events of the Wood Presidency, 1922
Events of the Wood Presidency, 1923
Events of the Wood Presidency, 1924
Events of the Wood Presidency, 1925
The 1924 U.S. Presidential Election
The 1924 U.S. Congressional Election
Storming the Gates of Heaven: A History of the Comintern by Albert E. Kahn (#2)
Events of the Wood/Hoover Presidencies, 1925
Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1926
Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1927
Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1928
Events of the First Hoover Presidency, 1929
The 1928 U.S. Presidential Election
The 1928 U.S. Congressional Election
“Review: Towards a Permanent Republican Majority
Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre
The Opening Salvo: 1930 Senate Elections
’Tis the Final Conflict: The Workers’ (Communist) Party Convention
The 1932 U.S. Presidential Election
The 1932 U.S. Congressional Election
Revolution a-Knockin’ at the Door: The Ensuing Panic
A Spanner in the Works: The U.S. General Strike of 1933
Our Bullets Are for Our Own Generals: The Birth of the Red Army
May Day: The Revolution Consummated
The Formation of the Provisional Government
The Reds Go Marching On: The Ongoing Civil War
A Red Dawn Breaks
The Civil War Ends
The Constitutional Convention
Constitution of the Union of American Socialist Republics
1934 Special Election
The First Cultural Revolution
Politics After the Revolution: An Overview
Policies of the Foster Government during the Cultural Revolution
Journeys in Red America by George Orwell
Battle Scars of a History Professor by Norman Thomas Washington
“Did anyone see Public Enemies?”
A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution by Paul Avrich
“WI: No Catholic Excommunication?”
Fun and Recreation in the Cultural Revolution
1936 Presidential Election
1936 General Election
Architecture in the UASR
Rustlin’ up Some Grub
“WI: Hitler Goes West?”
Events of Interest, 1934
Some slang terms, neologisms and jargon
Hetalia Kink Meme, 2010
Summary of American republics by government type and party control, circa 1934
Politics of the UASR, 5th Edition
“Favorite books, tv shows and movies?”
The Last Man in Europe
Leaders of the 20th Century: In Their Own Words

Events of Interest, 1935
A dramatis personæ of in-universe discussion board commentators
Let Justice Be Done, Though the World Perish by Ward Churchill
A Simple Life
American Freecar Cup Challenge
“WI: A Different Nuclear Age?”
Computer Technology in the USAR
The Trinitarian Church
A basic election primer, circa 2009
“What irks me about WWII fiction”
Weapons of the Second World War
Notable events of 1936
Socialism Past and Present, Vol. 2: The American Experience by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel
Review of The American Experience by William F. Buckley, Jr.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine


For those of you have followed and commented on Reds!, this will at least in part be a retread of what you’ve already read. However, this is the revised, definitive edition of the timeline, so there will be changes; new material and retcons abound. I hope that this will make a more complete alternate history. Unfortunately, this will be distracting me from updates for some time.

However, Illuminatus_Primus and myself are collaborating on this retcon project, with the hope of accomplishing it as quickly and thoroughly as possible, so that we can continue to surge ahead with the rest of the timeline. This will be part of the overall transition of the TL from a one-person show (with heavy reader input) to a collaborative TL. This baby has grown too big for one person to manage at any decent rate.

So, without further adieu, I present the revised Reds! TL.

(Original introduction:)

This timeline will focus on the events and causes leading up to a successful socialist revolution in the United States in the year 1933, and the impacts that such an earth shattering change had on the course of world events. While this timeline will note all of the massive changes that occurred (and also, how much really did not change), it will not begin at the point of divergence. Instead, we will start with a glimpse of the present, in the form of a look at a popular television show at the turn of the 21st century:

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The Central Committee’s Staff

The brainchild of PBS 7’s Aaron Sorkin, The Central Committee’s Staff was a weekly television drama that detailed the lives and work of the men and women in the Central Committee’s senior staff. The senior staff of the Central Committee are responsible for the unglamorous but crucially necessary work that keeps the government of the UASR functioning. Often criticized for having an overly optimistic picture of the inner functions of socialist democracy at the union level, it remained a huge critical and viewer success on public television for eight seasons before drawing to a close.1

Here follows an excerpt from a novelization of the pilot episode:
So begins another day at the Committee’s Office. With all of the activity in the lobby this morning, it is easy to forget that this is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the seat of the All-Union Central Committee for the Union of American Socialist Republics, and not a busy subway terminal. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the early morning activity, a stately man, advanced in age, walks briskly past the security guards at the entrance. He moves quickly through the lobby, weaving past a busy clerical worker as he walks towards the receptionist’s office.

As he passes the receptionist terminal, the attendant says “Nice morning, Comrade McGarry.”

“We’ll take care of that in a hurry, won’t we, Mike?” the man replies with dry sarcasm.

“Yes sir,” the attendant chuckles.

The man continues his brisk pace into the inner workings of the west wing of the old Pennsylvania House. He is Leo McGarry, the Chief of Staff to the Central Committee, and a personal friend of the First Secretary.

He quickly pushes through a set of white double doors, into the inner office. A woman runs past him quickly, pausing only momentarily to exclaim, “Don’t kill the messenger, Leo.”

“Oh, why the Hell not, Bonnie?” he replies as he grabs the morning’s memos. He passes quickly through the press office, making his routine morning acquaintances before calling out for his deputy. “Josh!” he yells.

Josh’s blond assistant responds instead. “Morning, Leo,” she says.

“Hey Donna,” Leo responds. “Is he in yet?”

She pauses from stirring her coffee, looking up at him coyly. “Yeah...”

“Can you get him for me?” he replies, clearly irritated.

She turns around in her seat and yells “Josh!”

“Thanks...” he sighs.

“I heard it’s broken,” she says, abruptly changing the subject.

“You heard wrong,” he replies, barely pausing from reading the memo.

“I heard it’s–”

“It’s a mild sprain,” he interrupts; “he’ll be back later today.” Anticipating her next question, he continues explaining as he walks towards Josh’s office: “He was swerving to avoid a tree and he was unsuccessful.”

Leo walks though Josh’s open door just as Josh finishes his phone conversation. “How many Cubans exactly have crammed themselves into these fishing boats?”

Josh responds as he busily jots down a note, “Well, it’s important to understand, Leo, that by and large, these aren’t exactly fishing boats. You hear ‘fishing boats’, you conjure an image of, well, a boat, first of all. What the Cubans are on would charitably be described as rafts. Okay? They’re making the hop from Havana to Miami in fruit baskets, basically. Let’s just be clear on that. Donna’s desk, if it could float, would look good to them right now.”

“I get it. How many are there?”

“We don’t know.”

“What time exactly did they leave?”

“We don’t know.”

“Do we know when they get here?”


“True or false: If I were to stand on high ground in Key West with a good pair of binoculars, I’d be as informed as I am right now.”

“That’s true...”

“That’s the Foreign Office’s money well spent.”

“Well, having any sort of diplomatic relations with the exile regime occupying Cuba, we might have a better idea.”

“You look like Hell, by the way,” Leo sighs as he begins the walk toward his office.

“Yes, I do. Listen, Leo, did he say anything about it?” Josh asks timidly as he follows Leo.

“Did he say anything?!” Leo cries. “The First Secretary is pissed as hell at you Josh, and so am I.”

“I know,” he protests.

“We’ve gotta work with these people, and how the Hell do you get off strutting your—”

“I know.”

“Al Caldwell is a good man,” Leo scolds.

“Al Caldwell wasn’t there!”

“I’m saying you take everyone on the Christian Left, dump them into one big basket and label them stupid! We need these people.”

“We do not need these people...”

“Josh, if this minority government can’t get at least some votes from the Left Democrats, then we can’t govern. You know we have a whole lot better chance dealing with them than the Socialists or the SEU.”
1. Basically The West Wing, but with red flags, in case you didn’t catch the reference.

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Excerpts from Sean Hannity, A History of the Workers’ Vanguard in America, 1876-1946, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999)

The Socialist Labor Party grew respectably throughout the 1890s. Under the firm but often heavy-handed leadership of the brilliant theoretician Daniel DeLeon, the party and the affiliated Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance increased its influence within the American working class. However, there were notable setbacks in this period. German-language sections of the Socialist Labor Party chafed under DeLeon’s rigid ideological purity, particularly this centered around the Newyorker Volkszeitung.

The real godsend came when the relatively young leftist organization, Social Democracy of America, chaired by Eugene Debs, folded into the Socialist Labor Party in 1898.1 The young organization had formed out of the remnants of the American Railway Union, crushed by the bourgeois state during the Pullman Strike of 1894. Its members, most often relatively new to the politics of Marxian socialism, represented a diverse spectrum of left-wing radicals, from industrial unionists like Debs, to city sewer socialists, to Owenite utopian socialists. After rejecting initial plans for co-operative colonies as unfeasible, the dialogue developed with delegates from Socialist Labor would ultimately prove fruitful.

Debs himself engaged in a lengthy series of correspondence with DeLeon. While the two never found much personal affection for each other, both recognized the importance of an alliance between the two organizations. The potential for a resurgent American Railway Union within the STLA was far too politically important for DeLeon to let slip by. Likewise, Debs immediately recognized the importance of the organization that Socialist Labor had spent the last two decades building, from the myriad working-class newspapers, to the socialist clubs and party locals.

After the whirlwind romance, the short history of Social Democracy of America concluded. On June 14, 1898, the group’s National Convention dissolved itself into the Socialist Labor Party by a overwhelming vote. Dissenting delegates associated with Victor Berger of Wisconsin left the organization, and attempted to form an independent Social Democratic Party of America later that fall. The Social Democratic Party would prove short-lived, outperformed at the ballot box by the Socialist Labor Party throughout its decade-long history. Finally, in 1908, the two organizations made their peace, with both formally endorsing Eugene Debs’ presidential bid that November. Within a few months, the dissident Social Democrats accepted the logic of socialist industrial unionism, and joined Socialist Labor.

...Eugene Debs was unequivocally the rising star within Socialist Labor. His rapid ascent to the national executive of the party confirmed his status as DeLeon’s foil. The two would form an uneasy diumvirate over the party until DeLeon’s passing in 1911. Perhaps the first recognition of the new consensus within the party was the 1899 compromise with the opposition faction, which softened the party’s perhaps overly confrontational attitude towards the then-dominant labor union, the American Federation of Labor.2 These changes reflected Debs’ own power base within the party. As a union man at heart, Debs’ chief early contribution to the Socialist Labor Party was the growing parity of the STLA with the political organizations of the SLP. In time, the STLA would grow to become an equal partner with Socialist Labor, leaving DeLeon’s shadow and growing to become an impressive political force itself. In the 1900 presidential elections, Socialist Labor’s ticket of Eugene Debs and Joseph Maloney won a respectable 165,000 votes, placing the party in 4th place on the national electoral stage.3 While still dwarfed by the dominant parties of the day, Socialist Labor was finally beginning to reach a national audience, allowing it to fulfill its role in developing and organizing class consciousness among American workers.

1. This is the first major divergence in the new revision of this timeline.

2. IOTL, this is the major issue that ultimately caused the split in the Socialist Labor Party. That rift is patched over and the split averted ITTL.

3. Other than the OTL’s Social Democrats and SLP’s vote totals combined, there is no real change in the election outcome.

Excerpt: A selection of posts from the discussion titled “WI: McKinley Assassinated in 1901”, dated May 1, 2009.1
Originally Posted by Red American So I was just reading through The Daily Worker today when I found a very interesting article. Apparently, when a family in Detroit, Michigan SR were digging through their attic looking at old family heirlooms, they stumbled upon the diary of their great-great-grandfather, a son of Polish immigrants named Leon Czolgosz.

Apparently, Leon’s diary had confessed that he had attempted to assassinate the President of the old United States in early September 1901. He made his first attempt on September 5th, but was unable to get close to the old imperialist. He was going to try to catch him on the next day of the exposition, but he was arrested that night by a racist Buffalo cop who had a grudge against Poles and other immigrants.

So what would our world look like today if Leon had managed to assassinate that bourgeois dog?
Originally Posted by SeriousSam Well, that’s interesting. If I remember correctly, McKinley’s VP at the time was a noted progressive... I forget his name though. Anyway, he’s not a very important person in history, so I don’t think you’ll find too much on Wiki about him.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard I think his name was Theodore Roosevelt... *wikis*

Yup, Theodore Roosevelt. Apparently, he was a politician of some progressive sympathies at the time, and McKinley picked him for his deputy because it would help him fight off the influence of the populists and the unions. The corporatist establishment kind of marginalized him afterwards, and he faded into relative obscurity.

If McKinley were assassinated, then Roosevelt would become president, which would definitely give a boost to the progressive movement. While it might lead to short-term gains for the working classes, ultimately it might butterfly away the Red May revolution in ’33. It was the complete defeat of the progressive wings within the Republican and Democratic Parties that ultimately gave the Socialists the long-term support base they needed.
1. This was the POD from the draft version of the TL. While the divergence still occurs, it is no longer the specific POD.

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The Socialist Labor Party as a national party

National Platform
Socialist Labor Party of America
Adopted by the Eleventh National Convention, Chicago, May 1904
And approved by a general vote of the party’s membership.

The Socialist Labor Party of America, in convention assembled, reasserts the inalienable right of man to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We hold that the purpose of government is to secure to every citizen the enjoyment of this right: but taught by experience we hold furthermore that such right is illusory to the majority of the people, to wit, the working class, under the present system of economic inequality that is essentially destructive of their life, their liberty, and their happiness.

We hold that the true theory of politics is that the machinery of government must be controlled by the whole people; but again taught by experience we hold furthermore that the true theory of economics is that the means of production must likewise be owned, operated and controlled by the people in common. Man cannot exercise his right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without the ownership of the land on which to live and the tool with which to work. Deprived of these, his life, his liberty and his fate fall into the hands of the class that owns those essentials for work and production.

We hold that the existing contradiction between the theory of democratic government and the fact of a despotic economic system—the private ownership of the natural and social opportunities—divides the people into two classes, the Capitalist Class and the Working Class; throws society into the convulsions of the Class Struggle; and perverts Government to the exclusive benefit of the Capitalist Class. Thus, labor is robbed of the wealth which it alone produces; is denied the means of self-mastery by wagedom, rent, debt, interest, usury; and, by compulsory idleness in wage and debt slavery, is even deprived of the necessaries of life.

Against such a system the Socialist Labor Party raises the banner of revolt, and demands the unconditional surrender of the Capitalist Class. The time is fast coming when, in the natural course of social evolution, this system, through the destructive action of its failures and crises on the one hand, and the constructive tendencies of its trusts and other capitalist combinations on the other hand, will have worked out its own downfall.

We, therefore, call upon the wage workers, toilers and yeoman of America to organize under the banner of the Socialist Labor Party into a class-conscious body, aware of its rights and determined to conquer them. And we call upon workers everywhere to join in the campaign of socialist industrial unionism in the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance to stand as one against the foes of human labor. And we also call upon all other intelligent citizens to place themselves squarely upon the ground of Working Class interests, and join us in this mighty and noble work of human emancipation, so that we may put summary end to the existing barbarous class conflict by placing the land and all the means of production, transportation and distribution into the hands of the people as a collective body, and substituting the co-operative commonwealth for the present state of planless production, industrial war and social disorder—a commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his faculties, multiplied by all the modern factors of civilization.

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Important Events of Interest, 1897

February 10: The Western Federation of Miners breaks with the American Federation of Labor, following the sobering experience of the Leadville miners’ strike.

March 4: William McKinley is inaugurated President of the United States, succeeding Grover Cleveland.

June 1: American mine workers begin a strike that successfully establishes the United Mine Workers’ Union.

June 15: The original American Railway Union’s final conclave begins in Chicago. The new organization, Social Democracy of America, is openly courted by delegates from the Socialist Labor Party following its quick and decisive repudiation of utopian colonization schemes.1

September 10: The Lattimer Massacre: A sheriff’s posse kills more than 19 unarmed immigrant miners in Pennsylvania.

October 4: At the close of the first national meeting of Social Democracy of America, the organization ratifies a general endorsement of industrial unionism, as the first step towards an eventual union with the Socialist Labor Party.

1. This is the new POD: with a slightly greater turn-out of industrial unionists at the Social Democracy of America’s opening meeting, it adopts policies more in line with the SLP, and soon falls into its orbit.

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Important Events of Interest, 1898

February 15: The U.S.S. Maine suffers a catastrophic explosion in Havana’s harbor, sinking with nearly all hands. Though the cause of the explosion is unknown, the press, particularly those under the ownership of William Randolph Hearst, portray the sinking as a result of nefarious Spanish treachery.

April 22: The United States is at a de facto state of war with Spain, as the U.S. Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports and captures a Spanish merchant ship. A formal declaration will come three days later.

May 1: The Socialist Labor Party organizes small pro-labor, anti-war demonstrations in its strongholds in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. While there are minor clashes with the police, the demonstrations fail to gain much public attention.

June 14: Social Democracy of America votes to dissolve the organization and its meager assets into relevant sections of the Socialist Labor Party and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.

July 7: The United States annexes Hawaii.

August 12: Hostilities end in Cuba between American and Spanish forces.

October 1: Victor Berger and other dissidents from the now-defunct Social Democracy of America hold their first convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they form the Social Democratic Party of America.

November 8: New York state office elections: the Socialist Labor candidate Benjamin Hanford makes the party’s best run yet for the office, winning close to 30,000 votes, approximately 2.5% of the total.

December 10: The Treaty of Paris is signed, formally ending hostilities between Spain and the United States.

December 31: By year’s end, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company controls 84% of the U.S.A.’s oil, and most American pipelines. The age of monopoly capital has begun.

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Important Events of Interest, 1899

January 6: The American Railway Union is reassembled as a member of the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. Eugene Debs returns as national chair during the reorganization period.

February 4: The Phillipine-American War begins following the outbreak of hostilities in Manila.

February 14: The U.S. Congress authorizes the use of voting machines for federal elections, providing endless amounts of fun for future corrupt corporations and conspiracy theorists.

April 17: Following the firing of 17 union employees at the Bunker Hill Mine in Idaho, 250 workers affiliated with the Western Federation of Miners occupy and demolish a mill at the mine. Following a major bribe by the United Mineowners, the National Guard is deployed by the Governor to Coeur d’Alene. After a violent confrontation, over 1,000 miners and their families are herded into makeshift prisons. Many will never be charged, and won’t be released from the concentration camps for many months.

June 1: The Socialist Labor Party’s 10th National Convention begins in New York City, to review the integration of the Social Democrats into the party organization.

June 18: At the close of the SLP’s 10th National Convention, the leadership of Daniel DeLeon and Henry Kuhn concede to ARU president Eugene Debs’ proposal for increased parity between the STLA and the party administration.

June 19: The Newsboys Strike begins in New York. Delegates from the SLP National Convention, inspired by the impressive initiative of the all children Newsboys Union, agree to help the child laborers organize their strike.1

June 24: The use of brutal strikebreaking tactics on the Newsies begins to backfire, as the Newsies begin selling working-class alternate press cleverly disguised as more famous newspapers, which bring full exposés of Hearst and Pulitzer’s brutal tactics.

August 21: The Newsboys Strike ends, with the recognition of the union, and a return to the pre-Spanish-American war bundle price of 50¢. The Newsies will join the STLA by the end of the year.

October 10: Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain, has a chance meeting with young, up-and-coming writer Jack London in San Francisco. Clemens, a newly baptized anti-imperialist, befriends the young Socialist Labor activist, though he remains steadfastly opposed to joining the party.

December 2: The Battle of Tirad Pass: Filipino forces successfully commit to a delaying action against the US military, guarding the retreat of Phillipine President Emilio Aguinaldo before being wiped out.

1. This is included more for my own amusement than anything. The idea of militantly socialist newspaper boys just tickles me.

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Important Events of Interest, 1900

January 3: The US Census estimates the country’s population to be approximately 70 million.

January 8: Following reports of miner revolts and lawlessness, President McKinley places the Alaskan territory under military governance.

March 5: Two US Navy cruisers are sent to Central America to protect U.S. interests following a dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

March 15: The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing the United States currency on the gold standard, ending the era of bimetallism.

May 15: The II Olympiad opens in Paris, France, as part of the Paris World Exhibition.

September 13: Filipino resistance fighters overrun a large American column at the Battle of Pulang Lupa.

November 6: Republican incumbent William McKinley is re-elected President over Democrat William Jennings Bryan. The Socialist Labor Party places a distant 4th, with 165,000 votes, approximately 30,000 shy of the 3rd-place Prohibition Party.

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Important Events of Interest, 1901

March 2: The U.S. Congress passes the Platt Amendment, limiting the autonomy of Cuba as a condition for the withdrawal of American troops.

March 4: United States President William McKinley begins his 2nd term. Theodore Roosevelt is sworn in as Vice President of the United States.

May 17: The U.S. stock market crashes.

June 12: Cuba becomes a U.S. protectorate.

July 5: The Western Federation of Miners adopts a socialist platform, calling for collective, worker control of the means of production, and a program of industrial unionism to further that end.

September 6: Leon Czolgoz is arrested in Buffalo, New York for vagrancy. President McKinley attends the day’s festivities unimpeded.

November 28: The new constitution of the State of Alabama incorporates literary tests for voters in the state.

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Important Events of Interest, 1902

February 18: The US Attorney-General brings a suit against the Northern Securities Company, a railroad trust, under the Sherman Antitrust Act, in order to allay middle class outcry over the very public machinations of the schemers of the trust. In private, the President has expressed his support to the owners of the trust.

May 2: The Coal Strike of 1902. 150,000 miners in the anthracite coal fields of western Pennsylvania from United Mine Workers of America go out on strike, demanding shorter hours, higher pay and increased control over their workplaces.

May 20: The Republic of Cuba begins de jure independence. In reality, the country is an American puppet.

June 2: The Coal Strike deepens as maintenance and clerical workers affiliated with the mines join the strike in solidarity.

July 10: The Rolling Mill Mine disaster in Jonestown, Pennsylvania kills over 100 miners.

August 1: The Coal Strike: The owners appeal to the federal government for aid in defeating the strikers, as the Pennsylvania National Guard is not sufficient to maintain security of the mines and suppress the strike. Coal stockpiles have been exhausted, and by now, the entire coal field has joined in the strike.

August 22: President McKinley becomes the first American president to ride in an automobile today in Hartford, Connecticut.

October 15: President McKinley deploys units of the U.S. Army to suppress the Coal Strike. Over four dozen miners are killed in the resulting battles. The strike ends by early November, with the beaten unionists agreeing to return to work in exchange for modest pay cuts and a chance to keep their jobs.

November 30: The leadership of the United Mineworkers of America, radicalized by what they saw as the blatant betrayal of the people by the government, push for the adoption of a socialist platform at the next union national convention.

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Important Events of Interest, 1903

February 11: The Oxnard Strike of 1903 becomes the first time in U.S. history that a labor union is formed from members of different races.

March 4: Turkey and Germany sign an agreement to build the Constantinople-Baghdad Railway.1

March 11: The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the US the right to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama, is ratified by the US Senate.

May 31: Following Columbia’s rejection of the Panama Canal Treaty, President McKinley orders the dispatch of a cruiser squadron and a contingent of Marines to support the Panamanian independence movement.

June 1: The Butte Copper Strike begins in protest over low wages and the firing of known union leaders from the mine. The strike, jointly coordinated by the Socialist Labor Party local and the Western Federation of Miners, quickly shuts down the city’s crown jewel industry.

October 6: The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the US and Panama, giving the US exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.

October 11: In spite of sporadic violence, the Butte Copper Strike ends with a minor victory for the miners’ union. While they fail to achieve all of their goals, the union wins pay raises and and a reinstatement of fired workers.

November 23: Colorado Governor James Hamilton Peabody dispatches the state militia to the town of Cripple Creek to quash a miners’ strike. The Colorado Labor Wars begin.

1. This event, IOTL, had dramatic consequences for great power relations. Ultimately, if completed, it would give Germany access to developing Turkish oil supplies, and ensure that the threat of a naval blockade on Germany couldn’t force her capitulation. This is one of the many factors that led to the First World War.

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Important Events of Interest, 1904

January 31: The American Federation of Labor faces its first major reversal, the product of campaigns waged by employers for “open shops.” The employer and government pushback starts with a legal injunction against the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

March 14: The Supreme Court delivers its verdict in Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197: The Sherman Antitrust Act is overturned as an unconstitutional overstretch of the federal government’s authority to regulate interstate commerce due to a violation of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment. The 5-4 decision represents a major blow to progressives in both major parties.1

March 30: The US Army Corps of Engineers begins work on the Panama Canal.

April 8: The Entente Cordiale is signed between the UK and France.

May 1: The Socialist Labor Party’s National Convention begins in Chicago. The convention nominates Eugene Debs and William Wesley Cox to run on the party’s presidential ticket.

June 6: The First Industrial Congress of the STLA opens in Chicago, to promote a national industrial union federation. At the Congress, the Western Federation of Miners amalgamates with the United Mine Workers, joining the STLA. With swelling membership, the STLA can, for the first time, stand as a legitimate alternative to the reformist AF of L.

July 1: The III Olympiad opens in St. Louis, Missouri.

August 14: In the final vote before the Congressional Recess, a revised antitrust bill fails 40-44. The bill, tailored to attempt to pass the Supreme Court’s scrutiny following the overturn of the Sherman Antitrust Act, withers under criticism that it will still fail to pass legal muster.

November 8: Republican presidential nominee Charles Fairbanks defeats Bourbon Democrat Alton B. Parker.

1. The case went 5-4 the other way IOTL, validating the break up of the Northern Securities Company. The dissent, written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., and joined by Fuller, White and Peckham, held that the act was unconstitutional.

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The 1904 U.S. Presidential Election

1904 would prove to be a tumultuous year in politics. Nowhere was this more the case than in the Republican Party. Strong voices of “Progressivism” in the party, among them Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and Wisconsin Governor Robert La Follette, had become deeply dissatisfied with the state of American politics. With the overturn of the Sherman Antitrust Act, the lack of will to challenge the courts in the party, and the McKinley government’s overly cavalier attitude in dealing with organized labor, they felt that the federal government and the state administrations controlled by the party had done great damage to the nation, and have aggravated a growing class war.

In spite of the vulgar rhetoric thrown at them by the conservative branch of the Republican Party, the Progressive Republicans were not socialists, or even social democrats for that matter. Almost none of them were opposed to trusts on principle, and many had no love for organized labor. However, they did recognize that a state overtly colluding with the masters of capital on such a grand scale was tearing the nation apart. In their nationalism, they believed that a reconciliation between classes must be achieved; the excesses of capitalism must be restrained, the people must have some democratic voice in their governance.

However, the class collaborationists were unable to convince the rest of the Republican Party of the logic of their position in this campaign. Theodore Roosevelt, though carrying considerable popular support going into the convention, was unable to defeat the retrenched conservatives in the presidential nomination. In a heated series of ballots, the conservative Charles Fairbanks swept aside Roosevelt, clinching the nomination.

As his running mate, the party selected a relative moderate, William Howard Taft. In the aftermath, the Progressive Republicans themselves faced internal conflict over the proper course of action. The “Legalist Progressives,” represented among the professional politicians and civil servants in the law schools and bar associations, argued that the movement as a whole needed to change tack and adapt to the new conditions. The majority of GOP Progressives, their intellectual center had adopted a kind of proto-corporatist philosophy. Now that breaking up trusts was no longer on the table, they argued that the government must take an increased role to manage the excesses of capitalism in a more cooperative manner. The cartels would need to be “guided” by the federal government to produce socially desirable outcomes, regulating prices and quality, with the government serving as the umpire between organized labor and large capitalists. Heavily influenced by political scholar Woodrow Wilson’s treatise Congressional Government, the Legalist Progressives believed some form of constitutional form, likely pro-parliamentary, was necessary to reduce the “politics of personality” for the health of the republic.

In contrast, the “Populist Progressives” had become embittered by what was seen as a betrayal of the principles of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln. Government of the people, by the people, they argued, could not be achieved through rational scientific management of the opposing classes of society. Without some material leveling, a republic itself was fast becoming an impossibility. Embittered and defeated in the post-election era, many of the faction felt they have been driven into the political wilderness.

The Democrats, at their St. Louis national convention, would ultimately thrust New York Appeals Court Judge Alton B. Parker into the limelight. A man with immaculate credentials and an air of seeming incorruptibility, Parker turned the party’s campaign against “the rule of individual caprice” and “the presidential office’s growing abuse of authority.”

The party platform would condemn the excesses of monopolies, high government expenses, and corruption within the executive departments. In spite of some of these paeans to populism, the party’s platform remained essentially Bourbon in nature, favoring the gold standard, free trade and a relatively laissez-faire government attitude. While this put the Democrats at cross-purposes with the growing Legalist Progressives faction of the GOP, some common causes were found in the reduction of corruption and the limitation of presidential authority.

In spite of great enmity between Democrats and Republicans, relations between the two parties were relatively cordial this election. Both Fairbanks and Parker were quite conservative, having very similar philosophies about the role of government in society. Without William Jennings Bryan’s decidedly class war-laced campaign, the 1904 campaign proved to be quite amiable. And, at the very least, both candidates equally denounced the “radical anarchistic crusade” of the growing Socialist Labor Party.

1904 would be American Railway Union chairman Eugene Debs’ second run for president. A brilliant, charismatic orator capable of uniting both AF of L supporters as well as his own STLA union’s constituency, Debs gave “socialist treason” a human face. Supported by SLP stalwart William Wesley Cox as his running mate, Debs would greatly expand both the SLP’s membership rolls as well as its vote share through the course of the campaign.

The 1904 campaign saw the first chink in the AF of L’s armor as well. Defiance of AF of L president Samuel Gompers’ explicit voluntarist philosophy became more common among union locals of AF of L affiliates, particularly among teamsters, brewers and locomotive engineers.

The SLP also expanded into the traditional rural domains of the People’s Party. Shattered by collusion and subsequent betrayal by the Democratic Party, the remnants of the Populists’ organizations largely signed on to support Debs’ call for a broad producers’ alliance between industrial labor and yeoman farmers. However, this alliance was not yet universal, and many Populist groups did not actively endorse Debs’ candidacy or make alliances with industrial labor. However, with the disintegration of much of the Populists’ national organization, those opposed to alignment with the SLP were unable to run a Populist candidate in the election.


Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Charles W. Fairbanks (Republican) 7,415,312 336
Alton B. Barker (Democratic) 4,987,123 140
Eugene V. Debs (Socialist Labor) 705,235 0
Silas Comfort Swallow (Prohibition) 248,482 0

House of Representatives

Majority Leader: Joseph Cannon
Party: Republican Party
Leader’s Seat: Illinois-18th
Last Election: 207 seats
Seats won: 251
Seat change: +44

Minority leader: John Sharp Williams
Party: Democratic Party
Leader’s seat: Mississippi-8th
Last election: 176 seats
Seats won: 135
Seat change: -41

U.S. Senate2

Majority: Republican Party
Last election: 57 seats
Seats won: 58
Seat change: +1

Minority: Democratic Party
Last election: 33 seats
Seats won: 32
Seat change: -1

1. Results unlikely to accurately reflect vote counts, due to widespread voting fraud by dominant regional parties

2. Prior to OTL’s 17th Amendment, the U.S. Senate elections were determined by the state government. In most states, the state legislature elected Senators. A few western states and those with stronger progressive groups had added some form of popular electoral component, though few provided for true direct elections.

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Some Notable Events, 1905

March 4: Charles W. Fairbanks is inaugurated as President of the United States.

March 20: The Grover Shoe Factory disaster: a massive boiler explosion occurs in a factory in Brockton, Massachusetts. The building subsequently collapses, killing 60 workers and injuring numerous others.

April 6: The United States Supreme Court overturns a New York state law regulating the work week in the case Lochner v. New York. The sweeping decision invokes the Fourteenth Amendment’s “Due Process Clause,” and results in the widespread invalidation of many state laws regulating commerce and the work week. The doctrine of “substantive due process” as enumerated by the Court gives another blow to progressives in the GOP.

May 1: STLA deputy chairman William “Big Bill” Haywood announces the creation of two new unions within the STLA: the Yeoman Farmers’ Federation, and the Agricultural Workers’ Organization. As part of the declaration, Big Bill Haywood promotes the concept of the “One Big Union,” in which all members of the producing classes would organize together for a common socialist platform. The new organizations seek to organize cooperate mutual aid and revolutionary enthusiasm among small freeholders and the workers, sharecroppers and hired hands in big plantations respectively.

May 16: The beginning of the Congressional Revolt: Progressive GOP leadership in the House steer the passage of Comprehensive Federal Trade Act. The sweeping legislation, modeled in many ways off of German Chancellor Bismarck’s “practical Christianity” or “Staatssozialismus” programs, would establish a Department of Industrial Coordination, comprehensive safety regulations, as well as some limited collective bargaining standards.

June 1: National Steel, a trust controlling almost 3/4ths of steel production in the United States, begins a major anti-union campaign against the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, withdrawing recognition of the union in all of the organized mills. Though the AAISW and the AF of L attempt to organize a national campaign against this, many of the larger locals go down without a fight in the opening salvo. The Labor Wars begin.

June 4: The Senate narrowly gives assent to the Comprehensive Federal Trade Act. However, the act is quickly and aggressively vetoed by President Fairbanks. In his veto message, Fairbanks scathingly denounces the Congressional leadership who forged the compromise act, accusing them of bowing to “syndicalist-anarchist intimidation” and “waging a bloody, unconstitutional class war by despotically depriving men of their property and liberty.”

June 30: The Labor Wars: The International Mercantile Marine Co. begins its own anti-union campaign, particularly against longshoremen, using the AF of L’s counterreaction as a pretext to destroy affiliated unions.

July 1: Congressional leaders fire back at the President, accusing him of abuse of power, and of undermining the health of the nation by refusing any compromise over the growing inequalities of power in the country. Though attempts to override Fairbanks’ veto fail, it’s clear that the honeymoon between Fairbanks and his party is over quite soon.

July 9: The Labor Wars: Standard Oil joins in the attack on the AF of L. Attempts at organizing at fields and refineries owned by the trust are met with strikebreakers and scabs, resulting in the accidental death of three labor organizers in Texas.

July 20: Governor Robert LaFollete of Wisconsin announces a major legislative deal with Victor Berger’s growing Social Democratic Party. LaFollete’s progressive Republicans and the Milwaukee “Sewer Socialists” agree to cooperate on a progressive agenda very close to the SDP's minimum program.

July 31: The Women’s Trade Union League votes to quit the AF of L, citing the ineffectiveness of the craft union policies, and the perverse indifference within the AF of L towards women workers and the women’s suffrage movement. The predominantly socialist leadership of the League begin talks with the STLA to join the industrial union federation.

August 24: The American Amalgamated Coal Company forms. The new trust is an offshoot of the National Steel trust, formed as a part of a vertical integration plan by the trust’s leadership. The new trust acquires the Consolidation Coal Company, the Pennsylvania Coal Company, two of the largest coal mining companies in the United States.

September 7: The American Telephone & Telegraph Company joins the Labor Wars, successfully crushing small union strikes within its branches.

September 20: Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain, publishes his political satire, What’s Mine is Mine, skewering the unashamedly servile press coverage of, among other things, the 1902 Anthracite Coal Strike. Even the great humorist is not immune to charges of being a “socialist-anarchist bombthrower.”

October 1: The Labor Wars: the Anaconda Copper Company, in Butte, Montana, begins a union-busting campaign at its flagship copper mines. The United Mineworkers responds by voting for a general strike against the Anaconda Company and its affiliates.

October 8: Congressional GOP leadership enters into a further row with President Fairbanks over corruption within the executive departments. The “Imperial President” widely loses favor with the public over apparently rampant connections to major trusts, especially the much reviled Northern Securities Company.

November 1: One month into the Copper General Strike, their seems to be very little hope for a peaceful resolution. The Governor of Montana, Democrat Joseph K. Toole, is pressured into mobilizing the National Guard to “restore order” in Butte, Anaconda, and the surrounding counties. This move meets wide resistance from Farmer-Labor groups, and ends up pushing the remnants of Montana People's Party organizations into the Socialist Labor Party, which has played a significant role in organizing the strike.

November 12: In one of the last votes of the year, the House of Representatives votes 254-99 to endorse the Congressional Government Amendment. The Amendment, authored by Democratic Minority Whip Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey, will be debated in the Senate next. The Amendment would significantly strip the powers of the presidency and establish a parliamentary governmental structure, with the Cabinet responsible to the House of Representatives.

Some Notable Events, 1906

January 16: The President’s standoff with the legislative branch continues in the new year. Fairbanks’ barbed State of the Union address reveals an executive un-intimidated by the Congress’ threatened rebuke. He appears confident that the Republican Party political machines in the states will side with the executive instead of the Congress in the upcoming Constitutional Amendment battle.

February 10: The HMS Dreadnought is launched, revolutionizing naval warfare. An impending naval arms race between the UK and the German Reich is on the horizon, with the lesser naval powers of France, Italy and the US expected to take part to some degree.

February 14: An attack by the Montana National Guard against strikers in Butte is repulsed by an armed Farmer-Labor “Vigilance Committee.” Before the Montana front of the Labor Wars can further escalate, the Governor begins backing down, as he continues to loose support among the farmer constituencies that helped bring him into office. He urges the Board of Directors for the Anaconda Copper Company to enter the bargaining table with the strikers. Meanwhile, American Railway Union workers refuse to load shipments to and from the Anaconda Company, in solidarity with the UMW.

February 28: Upton Sinclair publishes his landmark novel, The Jungle. Though the socialist tract also spreads considerable concern about the health and safety of the meatpacking industry, the Supreme Court’s case law precedent and the President’s threatened veto stymie attempts to make headway on regulation.

March 1: National leaders of the STLA and the United Mineworkers, including Eugene Debs and “Big Bill” Haywood, travel to Butte to begin a collective bargaining agreement with the Anaconda Company.

March 15: The US Senate votes 60-30 in favor of the Congressional Government Amendment, narrowly meeting the two-thirds constitutional requirement. The Amendment will now head to the states for ratification

March 17: The six-month long Copper General strike reaches an end, with a negotiated settlement. The UMW is tacitly recognized, and a bare-bones collective bargaining agreement is instituted, giving the union a measure of control over dismissal of members from the mines. The mineworkers also win small pay raises and shorter hours.

April 6: The Congress and the President again enter into a row, this time over naval armament spending. The President finds himself reluctant to authorize the necessary spending increases to pay for a navy necessary to project America’s status as an emerging world power.

April 18: The Populist Party’s Emergency National Convention begins. At stake is the future of the organization and its mission of a broad, producing class reform government. The convention of the ailing organization is divided between two hostile camps. The “Left Populists,” consisting of Farmer-Labor and rural worker groups, endorse socialism and industrial unionism, and wish to enter the Socialist Labor Party-led workers’ movement. The “Right Populists” wish to maintain electoral independence and stay steadfastly opposed to collaboration with other groups. At the end of the day, the “Left Populists” carry the day, and begin the process of affiliation with the SLP. “Right Populist” sections leave the organization, and vow to carry on the true Populist spirit in a new organization.

May 1: SLP activist and novelist Jack London begins serializing his novel White Fang in The Outing Magazine.

May 8: National Steel purchases its largest competitor, Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. Renamed the United States Steel Corporation,1 the J.P. Morgan-backed steel trust controls nearly 3/4ths of American steel production. The corporation’s aggressive expansion is paved by innovation, combined with the nullification of American anti-trust statutes.

June 1: With the near total eradication of the Amalgamated Iron Workers’ Union, the STLA forms a Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee, to begin making cautious inroads into forming a steelworkers’ industrial union. Other proposals for industrial oil workers’ and telephone workers are considered as well, but rejected in the interim to concentrate the STLA’s resources on the large steel industry.

June 18: House Speaker Joseph Cannon (R-IL) meets with a delegation of Democratic Party leaders, including several Southern state governors, the Minority Leader John Sharp Williams (D-MS) and Minority Whip Woodrow Wilson (D-NJ), to discuss a compromise agreement on the Congressional Government Amendment. The eventual agreement balances populist issues with trusts, a key Democratic constituency and something looked down upon even by Bourbon Democrat hardliners, as well as Democratic isolationism. In exchange for Southern state support for the amendment, a Cannon-led Congressional government will push for means to regulate and control trusts and improve wages for workers, hoping to shore up dwindling Democratic support among the industrial working class.

July 11: Seven Southern states ratify the Congressional Government Amendment, intensifying the conflict between the President and the Congress. However, hopes of getting the Amendment ratified before the 1906 election seem wildly optimistic.

August 1: President Fairbanks deploys the US Army to Cuba, to contain a Cuban rebellion that the puppet government has been incapable of putting down. The intervention quashes moderate Cuban leaders hopes of slow moves to independence.

August 14: With the mid-term elections looming on the horizon, the GOP heavyweights in the lock horns with one another over the future of the party. While the growing consensus is towards Legalist Progressivism, the balancing the wishes of the electorate with the powerful business constituency in the Republican Party is difficult. While corporate interests can back the governmental reform of the Congressional Government Amendment, other proposals, such as an “anti-trust” amendment to the Constitution are unable to gain traction.

September 1: An electoral fusion alliance is negotiated in Wisconsin, with a number of Progressive Republicans running on Victor Berger’s Social Democratic Party ticket as well.

October 11: The Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee begins the first part of its unionization push, starting in the smaller foundries of the Pennsylvania based Bethlehem Steel Corporation.

November 6: Midterm elections in the United States: The Republican Party gains an increased majority in both the House and the Senate. The Social Democrats and the Socialist Labor Party make their first entry into the US House of Representatives, as well as significant gains in state legislatures across the country.

December 2: After failing to obtain court injunctions or state aid against Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee actions at a number of plants, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation reluctantly recognizes the union. Bethlehem Steel stock prices fall, and orders for steel steadily shift to its monolithic competitor, US Steel.

1. Errata: The previous updates about U.S. Steel were incorrect. I misread my source; U.S. Steel itself wasn’t formed until the merger of National Steel and the Tennessee Iron and Coal Company. My apologies, and consider this a retroactive fix for the previous update.

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Congressional Results, 1906

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 260 +9
Democratic Party 123 -12
Social Democratic Party 2 +2
Socialist Labor Party 1 +1

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 58 0
Democratic Party 30 -2
Social Democratic Party1 2 +2

1. SDP Senators elected on fusion tickets with state Progressive Republican groups in Wisconsin and Washington.

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Some Notable Events, 1907

January 1: Daniel J. Tobin becomes president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

February 11: Progressive Republican-controlled states begin ratifying the Congressional Government Amendment, with Wisconsin leading the charge.

February 28: The American Federation of Labor receives a major blow, as the rail-based craft unions vote to leave the Federation, citing its inability to challenge the declining benefits for union members. The effectiveness of the industrial American Railway Union’s actions lead many members, and the entire Brotherhoods of Locomotive Engineers and Railroad Signalmen, to decide to join the ARU.

March 4: With the opening of the new Congressional term, freshman Congressman Victor Berger (SD-WI) delivers a scathing criticism of President Fairbanks’ failed leadership of the nation, reaching across the aisle to Progressive Republicans to curb the excesses of plutocracy in the US.

March 12: The Autoworkers’ Organizing Committee is founded in Detroit, Michigan, by delegates of the STLA and workers from the Ford Motor Company. Almost immediately, Henry Ford attempts to destroy the fledgling union. The tide begins to turn in the Labor Wars.

March 30: The Agriculture Workers’ Organization reaches a membership of almost 100,000 workers.

April 4: Republican politician and figure of the Progressive movement Theodore Roosevelt delivers a major speech at an organization of Northeastern Republicans. Roosevelt criticizes the failed hardline policies of the GOP center, represented by the current president, charging them with ignoring the growing class war in the country.

April 18: The battleship USS Kansas (BB-21) is commissioned, the first of the American dreadnought-type all-big gun battleships.

June 6: The Lumber Workers’ Industrial Union organizers in the Pacific Northwest and South from a coalition of smaller local unions and craft union locals representing workers in the lumber industry. The Lumber Strike begins almost immediately.

July 8: The ailing AF of L begins a National Conference, with the hopes of finding a solution to its plummeting membership and distressed financial situation. While Gompers puts on a brave front, and his Voluntarist faction carries the day, behind closed doors it is grimmer than many had feared. The AF of L strike fund is nearly depleted, and a number of affiliates are on the verge of total bankruptcy.

August 1: The Aeronautical Division is established within the US Army Signal Corps.

August 14: The Seventh Congress of the Second International begins in Stuttgart, Germany. The Congress opens with the welcoming of a large slate of delegates from the fast growing Socialist Labor Party of America.

August 31: Count Alexander Izvolsky and Sir Arthur Nicolson sign the St. Petersburg Convention, which results in the establishment of the Triple Entente.

September 6: The Anaconda Copper Company, joined by a group of investors led by John D. Rockefeller, purchase a majority stake in the United Copper Company. The new cartel, which will become the US Copper Corporation, will soon control almost three-fourths of the American copper market.

November 16: The Oklahoma and Indian Territories are combined, entering the union as the 46th State.

December 6: Monongah Mining Disaster: A coal mine explosion kills 362 workers in Monongah, West Virginia.

December 11: The Great White Fleet departs from Hampton Roads, Virginia, as a display of growing American military might.

December 19: An explosion in a coal mine in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania kills 239. The second major coal mining disaster in a month, the central committee of the United Mineworkers vote to begin broad strike in the coal mining industry to protest the lack of safety precautions. This time the unionists enter the battle from a position of strength, with major public sympathy on their side.

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Some Notable Events, 1908

January 1: The first ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Day, beginning a long tradition.

January 6: The Amalgamated Coal Company reaches an agreement with the United Mineworkers, beginning a serious investigation by a joint company-union task force on mine safety, and agreeing to the Mineworkers’ wage increase demands. This successful coup ensures that Amalgamated Coal will be the only sure supply of coal this winter.

January 12: The American Railway Union and the Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee begin sympathy actions to support the United Mineworkers. ARU organized locomotives and railyards refuse to deliver coal from mines owned by companies still under strike, and Steelworkers strike at factories that buy coal from said mines.

February 1: The Lumber Strike ends, a major success for the Lumber Workers. Sustained by graft, lumber camp occupation, and generous donations from other working-class organizations, the Lumber Workers gain total recognition by much of the industry.

February 12: Following rumors that the West Virginia Governor will deploy the National Guard to end the strike, coal miners arm themselves and begin an occupation of many of the rural coal pits. This escalation leads to the federal mobilization of the National Guard, and of the US Army by the president, to suppress the strike.

February 15: Speaker of the House Joseph Cannon openly defies the President’s command authority of the military, invoking the Posse Comitatus Act. A Congressional Joint-Resolution, condemning the President’s violation of the Act (which prohibits the use of the military or National Guard under federal control for law enforcement within the borders of the US except when authorized by the Congress or the Constitution), and subtly threatening impeachment should he continue, passes both houses of Congress by a 2/3rds majority, gaining the support of nearly the entire Democratic Caucus as well as sufficient factions of the Republican Party.

March 1: Following the President’s retreat, and the refusal of state governors to intervene on behalf of mine-owners, shares of affected companies, and notably, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, plummet at the New York Stock Exchange.

March 15: Negotiations begin to end the largest strike in American history. Congressional leaders agree to mediate the negotiations between STLA leaders and the coal industry.

April 1: US Steel begins a hostile takeover of the ailing Bethlehem Steel Corporation, cornering the plummeting stock of the corporation. If the deal is allowed to be completed, US Steel will hold a near total monopoly on the US Steel industry. Public outcry against the move is strong but impotent.

April 5: The Coal Strike ends, following a successful settlement. The massively press coverage of the strike make the United Mineworkers and the STLA’s victory a virtual propaganda coup. The Labor Wars effectively end.

April 27: The IV Olympiad begins in London, England.

May 26: At Masjid-al-Salaman in Southwestern Persia, the first major oil discovery in the Middle East is made. The rights are quickly acquired by the United Kingdom, following a cryptic telegram delivered to the Home Office: “See Psalm 104, Verse 15, Line 3”1

June 16: The Republican National Convention begins in Chicago, Illinois. Following a series of ballots, the Legalist Progressive aligned delegates succeed in their coup, nominating William Howard Taft for President.

June 30: The Tunguska Event occurs in Siberia.

July 1: The Socialist Labor Party National Convention begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Party ratifies a new platform, and endorses a large slate of representatives, some running on fusion tickets. The new platform specifies a minimum and maximum programme for the first time.

July 3: The Young Turk Revolution begins in the Ottoman Empire.

July 18: As the election draws near, delegates of the SDP and the SLP meet to finalize an electoral cooperation agreement. Congressional candidates for both parties will not run against each other, with hopes of maximizing the left vote, and paving a road to reconciliation between the two groups.

August 12: The United Teamsters of America form a successful “dual-union”, effectively breaking the International Brotherhood of Teamsters craft-union policies, and IBT president Daniel J. Tobin’s stranglehold on the organization.

September 16: William C. Durant founds the predecessor to the General Motors Corporation.

September 25: The first Ford Model T is produced.

October 6: The Bosnia Crisis begins as the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexes Bosnia-Herznegovina.

October 15: The International Union of Brewery Workmen of America votes to leave the AF of L and join the STLA.

November 3: The 1908 US General Election. William Howard Taft is elected President of the United States, but the Republican Party faces a major defeat in Congressional elections as well as control of State Legislatures.

December 2: Child Emperor Pu-Yi ascends to the Chinese throne at the age of two.

1. Yeah, this little literary flourish is sadly not my own. Thank whichever British subject who decided to code the telegram IOTL. For reference, the Psalm excerpt reads “That he may bring out of the Earth, oil, and with it to make a cheerful countenance”

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General election, 1908

U.S. President
Candidate Party Popular Vote Percentage Electoral Count
William H. Taft Republican Party 6,032,171 42.59% 321
Alton B. Parker Democratic Party 4,987,123 35.21% 140
Eugene Debs Socialist Labor Party 1,632,400 11.52% 0
William Jennings Bryan Populist Democratic 1,512,011 10.68% 0

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change1
Republican Party 206 -54
Democratic Party 165 +37
Socialist Labor Party2 20 +17

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 50 -8
Democratic Party 40 +10
Socialist Labor Party 2 0

1. Change total is positive, due to the admission of Oklahoma as a State.
2. Socialist Labor Party and Social Democratic Party joint candidates

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Some Notable Events, 1909

January 1: Drilling begins on the Lakeview Gusher

January 5: Columbia recognizes the “independence” of Panama.

February 4: The long string of AF of L defections and takeovers continue, with the syndicalist takeover of the mostly immigrant Journeyman International Barbers’ Union. The new Revolutionary Barbers’ International federates with the STLA.

February 22: The Great White Fleet returns to Hampton Roads, Virginia.

March 4: William Howard Taft succeeds Charles Fairbanks as President of the United States.

March 31: Serbia accepts Austro-Hungarian control of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

April 1: The Bricklayers’, Masons’ and Plasterers’ International Union adopts an industrial unionist platform, beginning a power struggle in the AF of L between Gompers’ Voluntarists and the still AF of L-loyalist Bricklayers.

April 19: The Anglo-Persian Oil Company is founded.

May 6: The US Senate ratifies a treaty allowing co-recognition of corporations between the US and the Russian Empire.

May 14: Following the completion of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, the parent company is acquired by the Northern Securities Company, granting the new Enterprise Railroad Corporation a near monopoly on transcontinental travel in the north of the country.

June 16: President William Howard Taft recomends to Congress to vote to propose an amendment to the US Constitution to permit the federal government to levy an income tax upon persons and corporations, as well as clarify the meaning of the commerce clause.

July 13: STLA union workers, affiliated with the ARU, begin a walkout at the Pressed Steel Car Company in Pennsylvania. Nearly three quarters of the six thousand employees of the company, which mass-produces rail cars via assembly line methods, join the strike action. An attack by Pinkertons as well as the Pennsylvania State Police is unable to bring an early resolution to the strike.

July 18: With 36 states ratifying the Congressional Government Amendment, the Sixteenth Amendment becomes the supreme law of the land. Democratic Party Majority Leader Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey successfully forms a coalition government with Republican Progressives and the Social Democrats.1

July 30: President Taft welcomes the new First Secretary Woodrow Wilson to the White House, where the two hammer out a political agreement. The first “cohabitation” government appears to be a success, as talks are cordial, and a fair division of powers is achieved. The President will cede initiative in domestic affairs to the Cabinet, while the Cabinet assures the President’s initiative in foreign and judicial affairs.

August 2: The US Army Signal Corps purchases its first airplane.

August 8: With Gompers’ demands left unheeded, the AF of L votes to expel the Bricklayers from the Federation. Stung by this bitter betrayal, the Bricklayers naturally drift into the STLA.

August 14: First Secretary Wilson’s coalition government obtains its first legislative victory, steering the passage of the Mann-Elkins Act, expanding the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission to include communications, and also strengthening regulation of railroads, mines and the steel industry.

September 12: Emiliano Zapata begins his revolutionary career, when the city leaders of San Miguel Anenecuilco select him to recover lands owned by the village.

September 18: The Pressed Steel Car Strike ends, with the strikers winning company recognition of the Industrial Assemblers’ Union, as well as significant wage increases.

September 20: The Union of South Africa is created, following legislation in the British parliament.

October 4: The Industrial Assemblers’ Union begins its first national congress. The congress is attended by representatives of the Autoworkers’ Union, the Boot and Shoeworkers’ Union, the Boilmakers and Iron Shipbuilders’ Union, the Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers’ Union, the Iron, Tin and Steel Workers’, and the International Association of Machinists. Attending unions are immediately suspended from the AF of L.

November 11: The US Navy founds a navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

December 17: King Albert I of Belgium succeeds his uncle, Leopold II, to the throne.

1. The Taft-Wilson Administration:
President: William Howard Taft (R-OH)
Vice President: James S. Sherman (R-NY)
First Secretary: Woodrow Wilson (D-NJ)
Secretary of State: Phillander C. Cox (R-PA)
Secretary of War: Newton D. Baker (D-OH)
Secretary of the Treasury: William G. McAdoo (D-CA)
Secretary of Commerce & Labor: Champ Clark (D-MO)
Attorney-General: Alexander M. Palmer (D-PA)
Secretary of the Navy: Theodore Roosevelt (SD-NY)
Secretary of the Interior: John Sharp Williams (D-MS)
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Some Notable Events, 1910

January 17: By voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approves a bill calling for statehood for the territories of Arizona and New Mexico.

February 4: The Boy Scouts of America youth organization is incorporated.

February 7: France joins the naval arms race, with the passage of a bill calling for the construction of 28 battleships and 94 submarines over a 10 year period.

March 8: A battle begins for control of the Carpenters’ Union. One of the key organizations of the AF of L, its large membership constitutes the majority of current deflated AF of L membership. Gompers’ allies squash proposals to build a political program, or open the union up to racial minorities. “Outside agitators” linked with the STLA begin agitating for the union to quit the AF of L and join the STLA.

April 18: The White-Slavery Act, also known as the Mann Act, passes with strong majorities in the House and Senate.

May 11: The US Congress authorizes the creation of the United States Bureau of Mines.

June 1: The American Civil Service Act of 1910 is steered through the House by First Secretary Wilson. The popular bill, aimed at improving efficiency and fighting corruption in the Executive Departments, greatly expands the existing Civil Service system to large numbers of positions within the government. The Act also establishes a temporary commission to weed out corrupt federal employees within the government.

July 8: Social Democratic/Socialist Labor members of Wilson’s reform coalition meet with the First Secretary today to discuss collective bargaining and safety standards. With the passage of the Commerce Amendment a near foregone conclusion at this point, Wilson confidently assures progress on mediating between capital and labor.

August 22: The Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty is signed.

August 28: The Eighth International Congress of the Second International begins in the socialist-governed city of Copenhagen, to considerable fanfare. With over a thousand delegates from thirty-three countries, the Congress strengthens previous commitments against war, and entertains the American delegations draft proposals for a socialist trade union international, modeled off the American Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance.

October 7: The Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution is ratified.

October 18: First Secretary Wilson introduces three bills on the floor of the House of Representatives. The first would establish a small progressive income tax to generate revenue for the federal government. The second would establish a new federal department, the Department of Industrial Coordination, to serve as the Cabinet’s oversight over the regulatory arms of government and to manage the increasingly tense conflict between labor and capital. The third would establish a central bank to regulate the American money supply and bring stability to the country’s chaotic financial institutions.

November 8: Midterm Senate elections begin. By the time the arcane process is done, the Democrats pick up five Senate seats, and the Socialist Labor Party picks up one, bringing the totals in the Senate to 45 Democrats, 44 Republicans, and 3 Socialist Laborites.

November 20: The Mexican Revolution of 1910 begins, as Francisco I. Madero declares the elections of 1910 are null and void, calling for an armed revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.

December 12: President Taft signs First Secretary Wilson’s “Progressive Slate” into law, following the lightning passage of the three bills. As per the previous agreement with the First Secretary, Taft submits his new Cabinet appointments to the House of Representatives: James R. Mann (R-IL) as Secretary for Industrial Coordination, and Victor Berger (SD-WI) for Secretary of Labor.

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Some Notable Events, 1911

January 31: At a special congress of the Social Democratic Party, the party votes to formally weld the party apparatus to that of the larger Socialist Labor Party. The merger is expected to be confirmed by an early Summer special conference of the SLP.

March 4: Congress returns from recess to face a growing crisis of confidence among the American people over the role of big business in society. The events of the year will not do much to help that confidence.

March 8: The first installment of Frederick Taylor’s monograph, The Principles of Scientific Management, appears in The American Magazine. The three month run gives a tremendous boost to the growing proto-corporatist movement among American Progressives.

March 29: The M1911 .45 caliber pistol is adopted by the United States Army.

May 1: The publicly owned central bank of the United States, the Bank of the Republic, begins formal operation today, with the appointment of economist Irving Fisher as Chairman of the Bank of the Republic.

May 15: Standard Oil achieves monopoly status in the oil industry, with greater than 99 percent control of the American domestic oil market. This news is met with great apprehension throughout much of the country. Two massive monopolies are now entrenched in the US market, and have been hostile to both organized labor as well as progressive government attempts to regulate them.

May 31: The RMS Titanic is launched. As the White Star Line’s new flagship, she promises to be the most luxurious ocean liner in the world.

June 14: A national seamen’s strike begins in Britain.

June 20: The National Executive of the SLP authorizes the mass enrollment of the Social Democratic Party into the SLP. The move is unpopular with Daniel DeLeon, but Eugene Debs remains hopeful that the reformist wing can be won over to a revolutionary position.

July 1: The creation of a special committee to investigate the Monopoly Capital situation is announced by First Secretary Wilson. A joint creature of the Cabinet and the Commerce Committee, the commitee’s chairman, James Mann, makes broad sweeping subpoenas to begin its task.

August 8: Public 62-6 sets the number of representatives in the House of Representatives at 435.

August 21: SLP National Secretary Daniel DeLeon passes away of a sudden stroke in the early hours of the morning. The powerful leader and brilliant Marxist theoretician will be sorely missed in the SLP. His funeral is attended by the First Secretary and the Speaker of the House. Future historians will remember DeLeon’s funeral as the last of the halcyon days of broad progressive reform.

September 8: Infighting begins in Wilson’s coalition government over the preliminary reports of Mann’s special committee. While the findings of capital concentration and its potentially dangerous effects on the health of the Republic, the preliminary report’s cautiously pro-capital policy recommendations draw fire from the left-wing members of the coalition.

October 10: The Wuchang Uprising starts the Xinhai Revolution.

October 18: Revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen overthrow China’s Qing Dynasty, founding a provisional government that would become the Republic of China.

November 14: Just before the end year recess, a preliminary policy agreement is reached by the Wilson Cabinet. A new antitrust law, narrowly tailored under the new Seventeenth Amendment and the Court’s interpretation of the takings clause from the case of Northern Securities Co. v. US, the new act would chiefly prevent vertical integration and collusions between trusts from different industries. The bill is chiefly aimed at separating the various parts of the J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller empires.

December 8: The Carpenters’ Union votes to quit the AF of L and join the STLA, basically signally the death knell of the American Federation of Labor as a viable union federation.

December 31: Sun Yat-sen becomes the first President of the Republic of China

Some Notable Events, 1912

January 5: The Russial Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two separate organizations along the Bolshevik/Menshevik divide.

January 18: Forty thousand workers walk out of textile mills in Lawrence, Massachussetts, beginning the Bread and Roses strike.

February 14: The now-bankrupt American Federation of Labor capitulates to the industrial unionist STLA. The AF of L President Samuel Gompers accepts STLA President Big Bill Haywood’s offer for a “general Congress of American labor” to handle the organizational task for merging the two union federations.

March 14: The Bread and Roses strike ends, with the combined forces of the craft-union United Textile Workers and the mostly woman, immigrant Revolutionary Textile Workers winning a forty hour work week, better pay, and a collective bargaining agreement.

April 17: The RMS Titanic arrives in New York harbor, having bested the White Star Line’s previous Atlantic crossing record. The White Star Line flagship’s smashing success is a major coup for the International Mercantile Marine Company, the transnational cartel that holds a near-monopoly on trans-Atlantic shipping.

May 1: The streets of Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York are paralyzed by May Day demonstrations organized by the Socialist Labor Party. The march this year is unique, making women’s suffrage a center issue alongside traditional labor issues.

May 5: The V Olympiad begins in Stockholm, Sweden. It is the first of the Olympic Games to have participants from all five continents.

May 16: Gompers and Haywood’s “general Congress of American labor” meets in Chicago. The Congress, attended by representatives of every major trade union in America, would lead to the merger of the AF of L and the STLA into a new trade union federation, the International Workers’ Solidarity Union. The new union would serve as a prototype for the international union federation endorsed by American delegates to the Second International.

June 6: The Socialist Labor Party National Convention begins in Toledo, Ohio. The motley convention, representing a broad spectrum from Western miner syndicalists and prarie socialist yeoman farmers, to dissident intellectual progressives from the Republican Party, ratifies what would later be known as the Toledo Programme, endorsing industrial unionism, revolutionary socialism, and fierce anti-imperialism.

June 18: The Republican Party renominates William Howard Taft for the presidency, almost completely unopposed.

June 25: The Democratic Party nominates William Jennings Bryan for President, healing the potential split between his Populist Democratic insurgents and the rest of the party apparatus.

July 3: The Socialist Labor Party and the International Workers’ Solidarity Union ratify a joint-constitution, welding the two organizations together while preserving union independence from the party.

August 6: Following pay-cuts dictated by the US Steel Corporation’s central management, the Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee votes to organize a walkout, to both win union recognition and push back the declining wages among steelworkers.

August 21: Membership in the Steelworkers’ Organizing Committee grows substantially, as the strike spreads like wildfire. The largest corporation in America is nearly paralyzed by striking workers. The only thing preventing a direct armed confrontation between the strikers and US Steel’s allies in state governments and private mercenary organizations is the direct intervention by Wilson's coalition government to prevent such a catastrophe.

October 7: The Eighteenth Amendment, guaranteeing the right to vote for women, and supporting the principal of electoral fusion and free association, is ratified, though not quickly enough to come into full effect for the general election less than a month away.

November 5: William Howard Taft is narrowly re-elected President, while the Republican Party makes considerable gains in the House of Representatives. Negotiations soon begin between House Speaker Cannon and the incumbent First Secretary Wilson over whether the current cross-party coalition government will persist.

November 7: US Steel settles with the steelworkers, recognizing the organization and rolling back the paycuts. However, the union was unable to win pay increases or shorter hours.

November 24: An extraordinary congress of the Second International is convened in Basel to address the rapidly escalating tensions between Austrians and Serbs and the growing fear that a general European war was on the horizon. The congress reiterates the International’s “war on war”, and called on all member parties to resist national war movements in their countries.

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General Election, 1912

The defection of large sectors of the Republican Party to support Woodrow Wilson’s trans-party reform coalition following the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment would prove to be a wake-up call for the party establishment. In spite of infighting in the coalition, Wilson governed effectively, and enjoyed broad support amongst the electorate, regardless of party affiliation. Neither could the stalwarts of the party ignore the growing class-war issue.

With the 1912 Republican Convention, these divisions were healed. The conservative, pro-business faction moved to the center to placate dissident Republicans. For the first time, the growing concentration of capital and the formation of large monopoly trusts in steel, oil, transatlantic trade, transcontinental railroad, and even sugar were addressed in a sober manner.

To the chagrin of the Populist Progressives, the Republicans would not go any further than mediating the class war and regulating away its excesses through the application of a corporatist economic doctrine. The tacit endorsement of Legalist Progressivism by the Convention’s Platform Committee was made explicit by Taft’s renomination acceptance speech. Thus, in the 1912 election, two ostensibly “Progressive” political parties would battle for control of the national political economy. Unfortunately for Wilson’s Democrats, the existence of a growing mass-based socialist party undermined the very point of Democratic Progressivism in electoral politics. The decline of the Northern working-class vote for the Democratic Party would prove fatal to the party’s prospects as a national political party. Only thanks to the socialists sapping away large portions of formerly Republican voting electorates was the party able to mount an effective national campaign in 1912.

For the Socialist Labor Party, 1912 seemed like the entrance into the big leagues. The growth of the party showed no signs of stopping or even slowing, and it seemed it would soon take power, perhaps by the end of the decade. So long as the party kept growing, the unresolved issues of reform vs. revolution could be put off for a later date. But even with the total capture of the formerly Democratic-aligned northern working-class vote and a significant further influx of Republican defectors, it was simply not likely that the party could crack the powerful Republican ideological dominance in many of the Northern states.

Regardless, the 1912 election is a particularly interesting one for historians, due to how close the electoral count ultimately was. The shift of a few thousand votes in just one of the several Midwest industrial states, such as Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio, would have given the state’s entire elector slate to the Democrats and put William Jennings Bryan in the White House. In spite of almost a twenty-percent lead over Bryan, Taft was very nearly defeated in the election.

U.S. President
Candidate Party Popular Vote Percentage Electoral Count
William H. Taft Republican Party 6,801,565 48.45% 277
Alton B. Parker Democratic Party 4,122,721 29.37% 254
Eugene V. Debs Socialist Labor Party 3,115,015 22.19% 0

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 235 +29
Democratic Party 160 -5
Socialist Labor Party 40 +20

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 49 +5
Democratic Party 44 -1
Socialist Labor Party 3 0

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Amendments to the US Constitution, 1905-1913

Sixteenth Amendment (Ratified July 18th, 1909)

§ One: The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States; and in the Cabinet of the United States, consisting of the various Secretaries in charge of the executive departments, the First Secretary, and such other officers of the House of Representatives as determined by law.
The First Secretary and Secretaries of the Cabinet shall be elected by the House of Representatives without debate on the proposal of the President. The person who receives the majority vote of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the President.
Members of the Cabinet may serve concurrently as members of the House of Representatives.

§ Two: The House of Representatives may express its lack of confidence in the Cabinet only by electing successors by majority vote of the members and requesting the President to dismiss the Cabinet. The President must comply with this request and appoint the successors.
If a motion of the First Secretary for a vote of confidence is not supported by a majority of members of the House of Representatives, the President may dissolve the House of Representatives, and order new elections to occur within twenty one days of dissolution.

§ Three: Save the following provisions, the House of Representatives shall be elected for four years. Its term shall end when a new House convenes. New elections shall be held no sooner than forty-six months and no later than forty-eight months after the electoral term begins. If the House be dissolved, new elections shall be held within sixty days.
The House of Representatives shall convene no later than thirty days following election.

Seventeenth Amendment (Ratified October 7th, 1910)

§ One: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

§ Two: The Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce within the United States; specifically with respect to the fair standards of safe labor, the regulation of the operations of trusts, corporations, cartels, trade unions and other such commercial combinations.

§ Three: The Congress shall have the power to establish a national bank.

Eighteenth Amendment (Ratified October 7th, 1912)

§ One: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

§ Two: The right of citizens to form associations within and between political parties shall not be infringed. Neither the United States, nor any State, shall prohibit electoral fusion as a matter of free association in all elections.

§ Three: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

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Excerpt from The Socialist Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political Thought Through Both Revolutions, by Louis Hartz (Harcourt: Brace Publishers, 1955)1

...The socialist tradition’s triumph among the American proletariat was not, as it might appear, the Red May Revolution of 1933. Such a victory, bold and obvious as it is, would be entirely impossible without a far more subtle but ultimately more earth-shattering development. That small but vital turning point can be found with the eclipse of Samuel Gompers and the AF of L, and the rise of “Big Bill” Haywood and Solidarity.

1912 would prove to be a year of revolutionary importance in the American socialist movement. February would bring Gompers’ capitulation, and the final abandonment of class-collaborationist “craft-union” strategies in American organized labor. The commitment to revolutionary industrial unionism among the American proletariat would serve to provide the organizational bedrock upon which the class could be mobilized to seize political power. For now, that was still largely confined within the norms of Fabian Socialism, but important deviations from the traditional Bernstein-Kautskyian line of the Second International were also embraced by the Socialist Labor Party.

As the chief intellectual theorist of the early Socialist Labor Party, Daniel DeLeon built the fundamental theoretical doctrine that would serve to distinguish the American movement from the parallel movements across Europe. For all of their zeal and scholarship, the European “Marxist” intellectuals of that era were almost without exception a sort of liberal reformer dressed in workers’ clothing. The leaders of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) led the international workers’ movement due to their mass organization and, on paper, powerful influence withing the German Reich. However, the liberal whiggery of Erfurt-era SPD confined the influence of the German working class to the narrow avenues provided by the bourgeois state. The left-wing dissidents of the SPD such as Luxemburg notwithstanding, the whole of the party was as bourgeois to the core as any of the other German parties.

The German reformists conceived of the class struggle within the narrow confines of the bourgeois halls of government. In doing so, they neglected the very clear understanding that Marx and Engels had cultivated in their works for over three decades: the economic base of society is prior to and more fundamental than its superstructure.

The class struggle is a battle fought within the economic base of society between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. As such, it is also fought in all of the manifestations of the superstructure, of which the tiny parliament is but one of the many institutions of state, and the state in turn only one of many components of the social superstructure. These “Marxists” handily neglected the primary mode of the class-struggle, and the trade unions that had formed as a direct consequence of the class struggle. The trade union wasn’t just denied revolutionary potential; it was totally disregarded and placed as a secondary institution to the party’s parliamentary designs on power.

Even while the Socialist Labor Party made gestures to bourgeois respectability during the period immediately prior to the First World War, the party never abandoned its revolutionary orientation. The political struggle of the working class was properly understood to be broader than just elections. Elections would only be one aspect of the emerging vanguard’s function within the proletariat. In many ways, the experience of the Socialist Labor Party would serve as a prototype to Lenin’s writings on the nature of the revolutionary vanguard following the October Revolution.

As the vanguard party, the SLP would serve as the “university of the working class,” educating the the proletariat in the theory of revolution, and providing the organization tools to teach the working class a means of resisting capital. In doing so, it would coordinate the totality of politics, and its intersection with social life. The vanguard party’s apparatus would provide an authentically proletarian alternative to the organized corruption of the city machines, offering the means of subsistence, and most importantly, dignity and self-respect as a worker. As a rule of American politics, wherever the machiens retreated or were dissolved, the vanguard party quickly advanced to fill the vacuum. The Republican campaigns against the corrupt Democratic Party machines prior to the 1912 General Election, and which only barely ensured victory for the Republicans, would leave a fallow field for working class organization to grow in.

...The SLP’s and the Solidarity union’s policy with regards to small freeholders and rural farm workers was another important revolutionary deviation with the whiggish orthodoxy of the European Lasalleans. The unique absence of feudal legacies, especially serfdom and religious absolutism, in American history created a vital difference in American class dynamics. Unlike in Europe, the rural farmer was not a peasant. The whole of the rural areas of America were not populated with a vast reactionary mass; instead, the rural worker and the freeholder were members of and natural allies of the urban proletariat respectively.

The 1912 General Election demonstrated this abundantly to the ruling classes, as vast sections of the rural Midwest and Western states turned out to support the Socialist Labor Party. Almost half of the Socialist caucus in the House of Representatives would come from predominantly rural western states, and these states had large slates of Socialists in their own state legislatures.

1. IOTL, Louis Hartz was a political scientist, and his book, The Liberal Tradition, argued a form of American exceptionalism that, in his opinion, made socialist values antithetical to the American political tradition. ITTL, he has come to the exact opposite conclusion.

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Excerpts from Sean Hannity, A History of the Workers’ Vanguard in America, 1876-1946, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999)

The period from the mid 1890s to the start of the First World War is often described by historians of the left as the Rise of Monopoly Capital. This pithy phrase, while apt, unfortunately cannot capture the full terror of this era. Never before in history had the economic power of society been constituted and consolidated into so few hands. These robber barons, men like John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Charles Schwab and Henry Morrison Flagler, often massed fortunes literally one million times greater than the wealth of the average worker.

Through entirely legal machinations, the cartels of this era centralized ever greater sections of capital into united combines called “trusts”. As they expanded, they plowed their lesser competitors under by the score.

The reasons for this expansion of capital have been well understood by modern political economy. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall in a capitalist society, first elucidated by Marx in Vol. 3 of Capital, is the inexorable historical force that drives the concentration of capital. As he noted, within the capitalist epoch “it is thereby proved a logical necessity that in its development the general average rate of surplus-value must express itself in a falling general rate of profit.” As the value of past labor, capital, increases exponentially with accumulation, the volume of current labor shrinks in proportion. Thus:
“ follows that the portion of living labour, unpaid and congealed in surplus-value, must also be continually on the decrease compared to the amount of value represented by the invested total capital. Since the ratio of the mass of surplus-value to the value of the invested total capital forms the rate of profit, this rate must constantly fall.”
As the rate of profit fell, the very nature of capitalist market competition drove consolidation. It was no longer enough to be content with dozens of competitors in a given commodity market. But the size of the market for goods simply could not expand fast enough to keep in pace with the falling rate of profit. Without consolidation, each passing year would bring ever diminishing returns to capital, and thus stagnation. The successful firms, chiefed by the most ruthless and unscrupulous, acted first. They destroyed their competitors by whatever means they could, and absorbed their empires into their own. They colluded with one another to form cartels to maintain profits for themselves and their shareholders. And through the consolidation of power in the monopoly trust, they came to dominate political power within the state.

It was simply no longer the case that the state was “the executive committee to manage the common affairs of the bourgeoisie.” The state became the executive committee of the national bourgeoisie. The final logic of moribund capitalism was the corporatist state, in its liberal and fascist forms.

As part of the centralization drive, the trusts turned themselves to the seemingly largest champion of labor, and brought the full force of their might upon it. They crushed the American Federation of Labor, in spite of the pathetic class-collaborationist organization’s sycophantic attitude towards capital. True to the inexorable dialectic of history, every action taken to preserve capital only dug its grave deeper. Through their machinations, the trusts worked harder than any activist to build the Socialist Labor Party and the Solidarity industrial union. Only too late would they realize that they had created their personal undertaker and reaper.

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The Socialist Labor Party as a national party: Primary Documents, circa 1912

National Platform
Socialist Labor Party of America
Adopted by the Thirteenth National Convention, Toledo, June 1912
And approved by a general vote of the party’s membership.


The Socialist Labor Party of the United States of America in National Convention assembled in Toledo on June 7th, 1912, re-affirming its previous platform pronouncements, and in accord with the International Socialist Movement, declares:

Social conditions, as illustrated by the events that crowded into the last four years, have ripened so fast that each and all the principles, hitherto proclaimed by the Socialist Labor Party, and all and each the methods that the Socialist Labor Party has hitherto advocated, stand to-day most conspicuously demonstrated.

The Capitalist Social System has wrought its own destruction. Its leading exponents, the present incumbent in the Presidential Chair, and his counterpart in the First Secretariat, however seemingly at war with each other on principles, cannot conceal the identity of their political views. The oligarchy proclaimed by the tenets of the one, the monarchy proclaimed by the tenets of the other, jointly proclaim the conviction of the foremost men in the Ruling Class that the Republic of Capital is at the end of its tether. True to the economic laws from which Socialism proceeds, dominant wealth has to such an extent concentrated into the hands of a select few, the Plutocracy, that the lower layers of the Capitalist Class feel driven to the ragged edge, while the large majority of the people, the Working Class, are being submerged.

True to the sociologic laws, by the light of which Socialism reads its forecasts, the Plutocracy is breaking through its republic-democratic shell and is stretching out its hands towards Absolutism in government; the property-holding layers below it are turning at bay; the proletariat is awakening to its consciousness of class, and thereby to the perception of its historic mission. In the midst of this hurly, all the colors of the rainbow are being projected upon the social mists from the prevalent confusion of thought. From the lower layers of the Capitalist Class the bolder, yet foolhardy, portion bluntly demands that “the Trust be contained.”

Even if the Trust could, it should not be contained; even if it should it cannot. The law of social progress pushes towards a system of production that shall crown the efforts of man, without arduous toil, with an abundance of the necessaries for material existence, to the end of allowing leisure for mental and spiritual expansion. The Trust is a mechanical contrivance wherewith to solve the problem. To smash the contrivance were to re- introduce the days of small-fry competition, and set back the hands of the dial of Time. The mere thought is foolhardy. He who undertakes the feat might as well brace himself against the cascade of Niagara. The cascade of Social Evolution would whelm him.

The less bold among the smaller property-holding element proposes to “curb” the Trust with a variety of schemes. The very forces of social evolution that propel the development of the Trust stamp the “curbing” schemes, whether political or economic, as childish. They are attempts to hold back a runaway horse by the tail. The laws by which the attempt has been tried strew the path of the runaway. They are splintered to pieces with its kicks, and serve only to furnish a livelihood for the Corporation and the Anti- Corporation lawyer.

From still lower layers of the same property-holding class, social layers that have sniffed the breath of Socialism and imagine themselves Socialists, comes the iridescent theory of capturing the Trust for the people by the ballot only. The “capture of the Trust for the people” implies the Social Revolution. To imply the Social Revolution with the ballot only, without the means to enforce the ballot’s fiat, in case of Reaction’s attempt to override it, is to fire blank cartridges at a foe. It is worse. It is to threaten his existence without the means to carry out the threat. Threats of revolution, without provisions to carry them out result in one of two things only—either the leaders are bought out, or the revolutionary class, to which the leaders appeal and which they succeed in drawing after themselves, are led like cattle to the shambles. The Commune disaster of France stands a monumental warning against the blunder.

An equally iridescent hue of the rainbow is projected from a still lower layer, a layer that lies almost wholly within the submerged class—the theory of capturing the Trust for the Working Class with the fist only. The capture of the Trust for the people implies something else, besides revolution. It implies revolution carried on by the masses. For reasons parallel to those that decree the day of small-fry competition gone by, mass-revolutionary conspiracy is, to-day, an impossibility. The Trust-holding Plutocracy may successfully put through a conspiracy of physical force. The smallness of its numbers makes a successful conspiracy possible on its part. The hugeness of the numbers requisite for a revolution against the Trust-holding Plutocracy excludes Conspiracy from the arsenal of the Revolution. The idea of capturing the Trust with physical force only is a wild chimera.

Only two programs—the program of the Plutocracy and the program of the Socialist Labor Party—grasp the situation. The Political State, another name for the Class State, is worn out in this, the leading capitalist Nation of the world, most prominently. The Industrial or Socialist State is
throbbing for birth. The Political State, being a Class State, is government separate and apart from the productive energies of the people; it is government mainly for holding the ruled class in subjection. The Industrial or Socialist State, being the denial of the Class State, is government that is part and parcel of the productive energies of the people. As their functions are different, so are the structures of the two States

The structure of the Political State contemplates territorial “representation” only; the structure of the Industrial State contemplates representation of industries, of useful occupations only. The economic or industrial evolution has reached that point where the Political State no longer can maintain itself under the forms of democracy. While the Plutocracy has relatively shrunk, the enemies it has raised against itself have become too numerous to be dallied with. What is still worse, obedient to the law of its own existence the Political State has been forced not merely to multiply enemies against itself; it has been forced to recruit and group the bulk of these enemies, the revolutionary bulk, at that.

The Working Class of the land, the historically revolutionary element, is grouped by the leading occupations, agricultural as well as industrial, in such manner that the “autonomous craft union,” one time the palladium of the workers, has become a harmless scare-crow upon which the capitalist birds roost at ease, while the Industrial Unions cast ahead of them the constituencies of the government of the future, and, jointly, point to the Industrial State. It should be of no surprise to anyone that the harmless scare-crow has been cast aside by the class-conscious Working Class.

Nor yet is this all. Not only has the Political State raised its own enemies; not only has itself multiplied them; not only has itself recruited and drilled them; not only has itself grouped them into shape and form to succeed it; it is, furthermore, driven by its inherent necessities, prodding on the Revolutionary Class by digging ever more fiercely into its flanks the harpoon of exploitation.

With the purchasing power of wages sinking to ever lower depths; with certainty of work hanging on ever slenderer threads; with an ever more gigantically swelling army of the unemployed; with the needs of profits pressing the Plutocracy harder and harder recklessly to squander the workers’ limbs and life; what with all this and the parallel process of merging the workers of all industries into one interdependent solid mass, the final break-up is rendered inevitable, and at hand. No wild schemes and no rainbow-chasing will stead in the approaching emergency. The Plutocracy knows this—and so does the Socialist Labor Party—and logical is the program of each.

The program of the Plutocracy is feudalic Autocracy, translated into Capitalism. Where a Social Revolution is pending, and, for whatever reason, is not enforced, REACTION is the alternative.

The program of the Socialist Labor Party is REVOLUTION—the Industrial or Socialist Republic, the Social Order where the Political State is overthrown; where the Congress of the land consists of the representatives of the useful occupations of the land; where, accordingly, a government is an essential factor in production; where the blessings to man that the Trust is instinct with are freed from the trammels of the private ownership that now turn the potential blessings into a curse; where, accordingly, abundance can be the patrimony of all who work; and the shackles of wage slavery are no more. In keeping with the goals of the different programs are the means of their execution. The means in contemplation by REACTION is the bayonet. To this end REACTION is seeking, by means of the police spy and other agencies, to lash the proletariat into acts of violence that may give a color to the resort to the bayonet.

By its manoeuvres, it is egging the Working Class on to deeds of fury. The capitalist press echoes the policy, while the pure and simple political Socialist party press, generally, is snared into the trap. On the contrary, the means firmly adhered to by the Socialist Labor Party is the constitutional method of political action, backed by the industrially and class-consciously organized proletariat, to the exclusion of Anarchy, and all that thereby hangs. At such a critical period in the Nation’s existence the Socialist Labor Party calls upon the Working Class of America, more deliberately serious than ever before, to rally at the polls under the Party’s banner. And the Party also calls upon all intelligent citizens to place themselves squarely upon the ground of Working Class interests, and join us in this mighty and noble work of human emancipation, so that we may put summary end to the existing barbarous class conflict by placing the land and all the means of production, transportation and distribution into the hands of the people as a collective body, and substituting for the present state of planless production, industrial war and social disorder, the Socialist or Industrial Commonwealth—a commonwealth in which every worker shall have the free exercise and full benefit of his faculties, multiplied by all the modern factories.

The Toledo Programme

Ratified June 15th, in National Convention assembled.

The Socialist Labor Party declares that the capitalist system has outgrown its historical function, and has become utterly incapable of meeting the problems now confronting society. We denounce this outgrown system as incompetent and corrupt and the source of unspeakable misery and suffering to the whole working class.

Under this system the industrial equipment of the nation has passed into the absolute control of a plutocracy which exacts an annual tribute of hundreds of millions of dollars from the producers. Unafraid of any organized resistance, it stretches out its greedy hands over the still undeveloped re- sources of the nation-the land, the mines, the forests and the water powers of every State of the Union.

In spite of the multiplication of labor-saving machines and improved methods in industry which cheapen the cost of production, the share of the producers grows ever less, and the prices of all the necessities of life steadily increase. The boasted prosperity of this nation is for the owning class alone. To the rest it means only greater hardship and misery. The high cost of living is felt in every home. Millions of wage-workers have seen the purchasing power of their wages decrease until life has become a desperate battle for mere existence.

Multitudes of unemployed walk the streets of our cities or trudge from State to State awaiting the will of the masters to move the wheels of industry. The farmers in every state are plundered by the increasing prices exacted for tools and machinery and by extortionate rents, freight rates and storage charges.

Capitalist concentration is mercilessly crushing the class of small business men and driving its members into the ranks of propertyless wage-workers. The overwhelming majority of the people of America are being forced under a yoke of bondage by this soulless industrial despotism.

It is this capitalist system that is responsible for the increasing burden of armaments, the poverty, slums, child labor, most of the insanity, crime and prostitution, and much of the disease that afflicts mankind.

Under this system the working class is exposed to poisonous conditions, to frightful, and needless perils to life and limb, is walled around with court decisions, injunctions and unjust laws, and is preyed upon incessantly for the benefit of the controlling oligarchy of wealth. Under it also, the children of the working class are doomed to ignorance, drudging toil and darkened lives.

In the face of these evils, so manifest that all thoughtful observers are appalled at them, the legislative representatives of the Republican and Dernocratic parties remain the faithful servants of the oppressors.

The Minimum Programme

As measures calculated to strengthen the working class in its fight for the realization of its ultimate aim, the co-operative commonwealth, and to increase its power against capitalist oppression, we advocate and pledge ourselves and our elected officers to the following program:

Collective Ownership
1.) The collective ownership and democratic management of railroads, wire and wireless telegraphs and telephones, express service, steamboat lines, and all other social means of transportation and communication and of all large scale industries.
2.) The immediate acquirement by the municipalities, the states or the federal government of all grain elevators, stock yards, storage warehouses, and other distributing agencies, in order to reduce the present extortionate cost of living.
3.) The extension of the public domain to include mines, quarries, oil wells, forests and water power.
4.) The further conservation and development of natural resources for the use and benefit of all the people: . . .
5.) The collective ownership of land wherever practicable, and in cases where such ownership is impractical, the appropriation by taxation of the annual rental value of all the land held for speculation and exploitation.
6.) The collective ownership and democratic management of the banking and currency system, administered through the Bank of the Republic.

The immediate government relief of the unemployed by the extension of all useful public works. All persons employed on such works to be engaged directly by the government under a work day of not more than eight hours and at not less than the prevailing union wages. The government also to establish employment bureaus; to lend money to states and municipalities without interest for the purpose of carrying on public works, and to take such other measures within its power as will lessen the widespread misery of the workers caused by the misrule of the capitalist class.

Industrial Demands
The conservation of human resources, particularly of the lives and well-being of the workers and their families:
1. By shortening the work day in keeping with the increased productiveness of machinery.
2. By securing for every worker a rest period of not less than a day and a half in each week.
3. By securing a more effective inspection of workshops, factories and mines.

Political Demands
1. The absolute freedom of press, speech and assemblage.
2. The adoption of a graduated income tax and the extension of in- heritance taxes, graduated in proportion to the value of the estate and to nearness of kin-the proceeds of these taxes to be employed in the socialization of industry.
3. The abolition of the monopoly ownership of patents and the substitution of collective ownership, with direct reward to inventors by premiums or royalties.
4. Unrestricted and equal suffrage for men and women.
5. The adoption of the initiative, referendum and recall and of proportional representation, nationally as well as locally.
6. The abolition of the Senate and of the veto power of the President.
7. The election of the President and Vice-President by direct vote of the people.
8. The abolition of the power usurped by the Supreme Court of the United States to pass upon the constitutionality of the legislation enacted by Congress. National laws to be repealed only by act of Congress or by a referendum vote of the whole people.
9. Abolition of the present restrictions upon the amendment of the constitution, so that instrument may be made amendable by a majority of the voters in a majority of the States.
10. The granting of the right of suffrage in the District of Columbia with representation in Congress and a democratic form of municipal government for purely local affairs.
11. The extension of democratic government to all United States territory.
12. The enactment of further measures for the conservation of health. The creation of an independent bureau of health, with such restrictions as will secure full liberty to all schools of practice.
13. The enactment of further measures for general education and particularly for vocational education in useful pursuits. The Bureau of Education to be made a department.
14. Abolition of all federal districts courts and the United States circuit court of appeals. State courts to have jurisdiction in all cases arising between citizens of several states and foreign corporations. The election of all judges for short terms.
15. The immediate curbing of the power of the courts to issue injunctions.
16. The free administration of the law.
17. The calling of a convention for the revision of the constitution of the US.

Such measures of relief as we may be able to force from capitalism are but a preparation of the workers to seize the whole powers of government, in order that they may thereby lay hold of the whole system of socialized industry and thus come to their rightful inheritance.

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The Internationale

On August 1st, 1912, Solidarity and the Socialist Labor Party of America adopted an official lyrical translation of the French socialist anthem “L’Internationale”. In time, the Internationale would come to be not only the anthem of working-class struggles across the nation, but would eventually be enshrined in the 1934 Basic Law of the Union of American Socialist Republics as “the national anthem of the American workers, in solidarity with the workers of the world”.

The adopted lyrics represent a compromise between different traditions and nationalities within the American working class. Immigrants from European countries, especially Ireland or Scotland, were much more familiar with the British English version of the anthem, translated anonymously near the end of the 19th Century. However, native born Anglo-Americans tended to favor Charles H. Kerr’s translation made famous by the Wobblies’ Little Red Songbook. Naturally, the eventual compromise needed to strike a balance between the many ethnic groups within the American working class.


Arise, ye workers, from your slumbers
Arise, ye prisoners of want
For reason in revolt now thunders
And at last ends the age of cant.
Away with all your superstitions
Servile masses, arise, arise
We’ll change henceforth the old tradition
And spurn the dust to win the prize.
’Tis the final conflict
Let each stand in his place
The Internationale
Shall be the human race.
’Tis the final conflict
Let each stand in his place
The Internationale
Shall be the human race.
Behold them seated in their glory
The kings of mine and rail and soil!
What have you read in all their story,
But how they plundered toil?
The fruits of the workers’ toil are buried
In strongholds of the idle few
In fighting for their restitution
The people only claim their due.
No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we’ll make war
The soldiers too will take strike action
They’ll break ranks and fight no more
And if those cannibals keep trying
To sacrifice us to their pride
They soon shall hear the bullets flying
We’ll shoot the generals on our own side.
No savior from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer
Our own right hand the chains must shiver
Chains of hatred, greed and fear
E’er the thieves will out with their booty
And give to all a happier lot.
Each at the forge must do their duty
And we’ll strike while the iron is hot.
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Note: Retconned material ends here.

Some Things Never Change

It is a sweltering September day on the Kent State University campus, as hungover and exhausted college students gratefully retreat into the air-conditioned confines of Norman Thomas Hall. Noon is far too early to be discussing modern history, they collectively mumble; but it’s better than being outside, and the comfy chairs in the lecture hall will make napping easy.

For the professor, today is another great day in the academy, only slightly spoiled by ungrateful students. Dr. Demetriades quickly hangs up his fedora on the coat rack before scrawling on the white board in bold “WORLD WAR I”. There’s a murmur of groans from the lecture hall; World War I was so last century. The professor turns to the class and jokes, “I’m sure I can confidently assume that you’ve all read Chapter 14 of Zinn’s People’s History and the first three chapters of Hobshawn’s Age of Extremes that I assigned on Friday..."1

It’s a tough crowd for the professor-cum-comedian. He points out at random to one of the students, and asks “Can you tell me at least one of the principal causes of World War I?”

The spiky haired youth scoffs, “Shit no. This stuff is boring, reading about ‘historical matrimony’ and stuff.”

“Historical materialism,” the professor corrects him. “It may be boring to you, but these events aren’t just dusty pages in a book—they actually happened, and they continue to affect where we are today.”

The youth shrugs, clearly not caring.

“Okay then, what would you rather be learning about, then?”

“I dunno, something exciting, like when General Patton2 led the Bonus Army to take Washington-Debs, D.C. during the Revolution. Something like that, you’know.”

The professor resists the urge to correct the young man about how Patton was only a Lieutenant Colonel at the time, and that the ‘Bonus Army’ and the many volunteers, militiamen and deserters that marched with them had restyled themselves as the Red Army months before, and that Washington-Debs, D.C. was still called Washington at the time. Instead, he points out the fact that should be so obvious: “But without his experiences in the trenches of the First World War, Patton would have just been any other career military officer. He’d have been with MacArthur shooting the strikers in Pennsylvania, not defending them. We’re reading his war diaries later this week—it’s all right on the syllabus.

“We study history because it tells us about how we got where we are today. This is why I can say that the German Reich’s decision to build a railroad from Berlin to Baghdad is just as important to American history as the Second Revolution was. The millions of American soldiers who died in the mud of Northern France from 1914 to 1918 radicalized American workers at home and vindicated the Socialists’ opposition to the war. That is why I’m asking you, humbly, to please pay attention in my class. College education may be free in this country, unlike in the Anglo-French Union, but that doesn’t mean you should waste this opportunity.”

The professor stepped off his soapbox, and turned to the whiteboard, and busily sketched down some important bullet points.

1. Captain Zinn’s A People’s History of America, the counterpart in this timeline to his real A People’s History of the United States, and Eric Hobshawn’s The Age of Extremes: The Short 20th Century. Very good books, by the way.

2. Yes, that George Patton.

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Like the Snows of Yesteryear…

President Taft’s 1914 State of the Union address talked of “peace and prosperity in our time”, and promised that his administration’s policies would be directed towards promoting those ends for the nation. As the thunderous applause in the halls of Congress died down, the grim execution of this promise lay but a few months away.

On 28 June, a group of Serbian nationalists carried out an ill-planned and ill-conceived assassination in the streets of Sarajevo. Their target, Austro-Hungarian heir apparent Franz Ferdinand, was fatally shot that afternoon by the young Serb Gavrileau Princips. Austria’s rapid mobilization to punish independent Serbia soon triggered a Russian mobilization. France soon followed, calling up reserves in preparation for a general European war.

Germany, the growing titan of central Europe, mobilized in response to the threats against her ally Austria. Diplomatic efforts to halt the plunge towards war soon became mere token formalities given the nature of the revanchist regime in France, and as ultimatums were left unheeded a general state of war across the whole of Europe followed.

Germany soon invaded the Low Countries as part of the later infamous Schlieffen Plan. Their aim was to move mass columns of troops across France’s undefended Belgian border to outflank French static defenses, followed by a deep salient penetration to capture Paris and end the war in the west. The violation of Belgian neutrality provoked Britain to declare war on Germany. The Schlieffen Plan would also export this European war across the Atlantic, to Canada and even the United States, which hitherto had always committed itself to general neutrality to European affairs.

According to the 1912 Toronto Treaty, passed in a closed session of the U.S. Senate under President Fairbanks1, the United States would stand in solidarity with the UK if ever the neutrality of a British ally was violated resulting in a state of invasion or occupation. While the clauses of this treaty allowed the U.S. to remain neutral in most possible European conflagrations, the language of the treaty clearly applied to the Belgian question. President Taft, in a speech to a joint session of Congress, argued that the terms of the treaty made the U.S. at a de facto state of war with the German Reich.

A resolution formalizing the state of war was soon passed by a razor-thin margin, with the Socialist/Progressive Party standing in firm opposition along with a few dissident members of the Democratic Party and the last remainder of the progressive wing of the Republican Party. While the U.S. was now officially at war, the President, alongside leaders of both parties, agreed to leave the question of the American level of participation in the war up to the new Congress after the November election–a necessary compromise to ensure the passage of the resolution.

The Schlieffen Plan required that the French military be committed elsewhere to ensure its resolution. In a rare coincidence, French war planners obliged their German counterparts with General War Plan XVII. Under the mobilization scheme of the plan, the French military would concentrate on the narrow frontier between Germany and France and begin an assault into Alsace-Lorraine, under German occupation since 1871.

By the end of the year, neither France nor Germany succeeded in accomplishing their primary objectives. The Schlieffen Plan, for all of its precision, was logistically impossible. In spite of the efforts of the best logisticians the world had to offer, there simply were not enough roads and rail to move troops and supplies fast enough to exploit the breach. Both sides had fundamentally underestimated the ferocity of modern warfare. When the lines stabilized in the Winter of 1914-5, both the French and the Germans had completely exhausted prewar ammunition stockpiles, especially for the increasingly vital artillery.

In spite of noted successes in the Lorraine campaign, French troops were by and large stuck back in the massive frontier fortifications. On the left flank of the growing trench line, the Germany military was camped uncomfortably close to Paris, and large portions of French industry were now in German hands.2

The days of wars decided by brilliant leaders and decisive battles were as dead as the one million soldiers killed in the Frontier battles. In spite of the stigma of incompetence given to WWI generals, both the Allies and the Central Powers displayed a level of professionalism in stark contrast to the experience of previous wars. It could even be argued that on the whole, both sides did the best they could with the resources they had.

1. Prior to the Cold War, many American treaties were passed in closed Senate sessions. Any records kept of the debate is classified and not a part of the normal Congressional record. While the result of any such vote is a matter of public record, there is no roll call vote, so it is impossible to determine who supported and opposed the measure.

2. Basically, exactly like reality, except that the U.S. is officially part of the Allies in late 1914. The deployment of troops will not come until 1915.

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Excerpt from The First World War: Imperial Games, by Albert E. Kahn, Progress Publishers, Cambridge, Mass, 1948.1
...unlike their European comrades in the Second International, the American socialists alone remained resolute in opposition to the imperial war brewing in Europe. However, their paltry influence in the halls of the bourgeois state were not enough, even with the help of defectors from the Democrats joining them in opposition. However, in spite of the enormous momentum towards plunging headlong into an age drowned in blood, the Socialist Party was able to maintain unity on this critical issue. Progressives like LaFollete Sr. stuck with the party and voted en bloc.

...A general agreement had been reached to leave the issue of mobilization until after the November Congressional elections. In spite of the bourgeois literature on the subject during the ’20s and ’30s, the American populace faced the thought of fighting and dying for their country with great fear. The general sense of foreboding was very clear at the polls in November. Voter turnout averaged 8.1% higher than would be expected in an off-year election of that era. Clearly the American state was facing a similar “excess of democracy” that President Wood decried in the mid-1920s. That excess would soon be remedied by the Espionage Acts.

...Eugene Debs remarked that “regardless of which faction of the capitalist party triumphs in the election, major American involvement in the European war is inevitable. J.P. Morgan and the other Robber Barons have already loaned huge sums to the British and French governments, and they will want it repaid in full.” Had Grandfather Debs known the full scale of the loan scheme, I’m sure he would have had a stroke. In 1919 dollars, J.P. Morgan & Co. alone lent over one billion dollars to the Allies during the war. Other financial trusts lent comparable amounts. The First World War was big business before the first American soldier set foot in France.

...The midterm election left the Democrats with a weakened grip over the House of Representatives. By this campaign, northern Democrats had abandoned attempts to exploit class conflict to gain votes. While they retained the incumbents’ advantage in many districts, the eclipse of the Democratic Party had begun. Forced to play second fiddle on the national stage, the party increasingly devoted itself to Southern sectionalism and the cultural conservatism that benefited the Southern landed gentry. Its brief flirtations with populism and liberalism were largely over with by the 1914 election. Democratic campaign literature largely focused upon national strength and cultural conservation, portraying the Republicans as dangerously individualistic, tearing apart American culture. In practice, they began behaving in much the same way as the Old Right in Europe, the monarchism replaced with a curious brand of Roman-style republicanism.

...1914, on the eve of the greatest bloodletting yet seen in history, was also the climax of the old American Left.2 Made up disproportionately of immigrant workers and, with the exception of Oklahoma, tied strongly to industrial cities in the east, the old Left would soon be in its twilight. While the First World War put the old Left to the sword across the world, at least in America the trials of war provided the necessary conditions for the birth of a new Left in the ’20s and ’30s, a Left unaffected by the split riven within European social democracy.
1. In reality, Albert E. Kahn was a journalist aligned to the Stalinist CPUSA until the deStalinization crisis in 1956. In this timeline, the extent of his journalism career is the opinion editorials that are syndicated in many American papers from the 40s to the 60s. By profession, he is a social historian.

2. In this timeline, “Old Left” is primarily used to describe workers’ movements before WWI, and those parties after WWI that were unaffiliated with the Comintern. “New Left”, by contrast, refers to parties and movements affiliated with the Comintern. Old Leftists accuse New Leftists of being authoritarian and often ambivalent to democracy (often true) while New Leftists accuse Old Leftists of being baby sitters to the problems of the national bourgeoisie and ineffective reformists (again, often true).

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1914 Congressional Election

U.S. House of Representatives
Party Elected Change
Democratic Party 200 -74
Republican Party 177 +36
Progressive/Socialist Party 57 +39
Independent 1 -1

U.S. Senate1
Party Elected Change
Democratic Party 46 -5
Republican Party 46 +3
Progressive/Socialist Party 4 +2

1. U.S. Senators are still selected primarily by state legislatures, though a few western states have adopted elections for their Senators.

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Excerpt from Days in Red: A Memoir, by James P. Cannon, Haymarket Books, Chicago, Illi., 1969.
...The vote on [President] Taft’s mobilization bill was scheduled for the second day of new Congressional term. Fresh from his party’s election victory, he expected [House Speaker] Champ Clark to comply with his bill with no debate and at all due haste. Of course, we had other plans. Solidarity’s Central Committee voted unanimously to call for a nationwide general strike of all of the affiliates the week before the opening of the new Congress. I can still remember being on the picket lines in front of the steel mills that day.

...The working class unity was amazing. For the first time that I could recall, black and white, native and foreigner agreed to put aside all differences, if only for this one moment in time. Even though the horrors of the First World War had yet to be revealed to anyone so far from the fronts, the great fear of another major war, begun for seemingly no reason other than to ensure that bankers would get a return on their loans, quickly turned into anger and, for the moment, a galvanized resolve to oppose the war.

...We got exactly what we wanted; we gave them pause for debate. However, the general strike turned out to be a sword that cut both ways. Until now, the political classes had been apathetic about the rise of industrial unionism and the Socialist Party. It was all too easy to give ground and let the radicals recruit another worker than to deal with them in any concerted fashion either through terror or appeasement. Our united front had unwittingly unleashed the largest domestic terror and propaganda war by any State extant in the world at the time.
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Excerpts from Patton’s War Diaries, 1915-1919, by Martin Bluemenson, Ed. Washington State University Press, 1972.
August 3, 1914

Was ecstatic today to learn that we [America] would go to war against Kaiser Billy soon. It would be a great tragedy to miss out on the great War of this generation. And to be doing it for such a noble cause1 should be the dream of every Christian soldier to fight and die for. It will be some time before we actually can ship out, and I do feel anxious about leaving my young wife so soon, but I have talked to her about it and she feels filled with pride that her husband has such devotion to duty. An acquaintance at the officer’s club informed me that such a sentiment is unlikely to last, and since he is many years my senior I am inclined to trust him on the matter. But her heart is in the right place.

I read this morning that the damned Socialist leader Debs had pledged to do everything in his power to stop the war. Such a prominent firebrand of a leader speaking such things on the eve of war ought to be put up against a wall. But I am told that only the savage nations permit such practices, and I will leave the matter at that...

December 2, 1914

...Also informed of possible promotion today. The President had earned his mandate in the election, and I am told that a major expansion of the Army is now under way. Still, would have rather learned that promotion had come because of merit rather than a sudden urgent need for more First Lieutenants.

April 5, 1915

Currently aboard ship headed for France. The A.E.F.2, I am told, will be deploying on the line somewhere, though for obvious reasons I still do not know where. One of the more cynical lieutenants remarked that the whole A.E.F. was nothing more than a propaganda ploy. Suspect him of being a Socialist subversive, though I am wondering if he is how he made it through West Point. He carries the air of the professional, educated soldier, though I wonder if it is indeed just cynicism on his part.

June 4, 1915

Haven’t written for several days. Still trying to make sense of it all. Our first action began on the 28th of May. We just arrived on the line to reinforce French push at Artois. We began the campaign with much enthusiasm; the news had told us the French were nearing a breakthrough and we were eager to push through the breach...On the front, the sound of the shelling was everywhere. I had never imagined warfare quite like this. My battalion would lead the charge. We went over the wall that morning, running through the fog over the broken earth. We covered no-man’s-land quickly, and encountered minimal resistance from the Huns. We neutralized their remaining machine gunners with minimal causalities and took their first trench with little difficulty. No sooner had we prepared to advance further than we came under bombardment. First thought the Frogs had fouled up the operation. But we were soon under massive attack from the Germans. No sooner had the bombardment lifted we saw waves of gray-uniformed German soldiers charging at us. We fought them off as long as possible, but they had the advantage of numbers and terrain. We were forced to retreat, abandoning all the ground we had gained, leaving behind many of our brothers....The Germans pressed us until the 1st on the line before the skirmishes stopped. Only just now beginning to make sense of it. We went over the wall with 1,120 men, exactly, as the Mstr. Sgt. informed me. By the time fighting died down, we had just over five hundred battle ready men. At least two hundred were killed in the initial engagement, and the remaining wounded, missing and dead accumulating over the next four days.

June 30, 1915

In the battalion infirmary today. The doctors tell me that I suffered “mild exposure” to “chlorine gas” during the fighting. I suppose that means they think I should feel more gracious about my fortune. Ashamed to say that I too retreated from the yellow gas clouds. A week ago, I had no knowledge of any such horrifying weapon. It came on the winds, and wafted into our trenches, and rather than stay and suffocate we all ran. Retreat could have turned into a route, but the winds reversed just in time, and we rallied to a secondary trench. Still, had to be carried off the lines on a stretcher, in spite of my insistence that I could still walk. Breathing has been more difficult than I’ve ever known, like being perpetually at a run. My lungs still burn some. I suppose it’s Christ’s Providence that it wasn’t worse. The man in the bed next to me suffocated in the night. Still feel shame over retreating without orders. But men can be fought with bullets and steel, this gas cannot.

August 9th, 1915

The horrors of this war do not cease. We marched through a ruined French village today, finally leaving the line. What I saw I’ll never forget. The little French girl, in torn rags, crushed under the collapsed house, sinking in the mud; must have been killed by artillery bombardment. I can’t stop thinking about my little daughters, young Beatrice, and Ruth, whom I have not even been able to see, or to hold yet. What if my daughters, or my wife, or any of my family were killed, an innocent “casualty of war"? I left for France with so much resolve, but my experiences here have given me doubts about our purpose...

...Met a young lieutenant today, a one David Dwight Eisenhower. In our spare time we took to talking of things we missed back home. He tells me to call him by his boyhood nickname, Ike. I suppose it’s easier than picking him out of the many Davids in the world. He’s five years my junior, and unmarried, but he’s bright and a welcome confidant. Apparently he shares my growing doubts about the war, doubts which we wisely keep to ourselves lest it affect the men’s morale. Still, I am sure that our cause is just, even if the outcomes have been unsavory so far. Our road is not an easy one, and we must push onward.
1. Patton refers here to the violation of Belgian neutrality by the German military. Allied propaganda heavily played up alleged German atrocities in Belgium, many of them completely fabricated.

2. American Expeditionary Force; a division sized unit deployed to the front ahead of the main American army, still being conscripted and trained at the time, in order to bolster sagging Allied morale.

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Some Notable Events, 1915

January 12: The heavy cruiser USS Montana is sunk by a German U-Boat off the Azores. Of her complement of 859 men, less than a quarter are rescued. The Taft Administration uses the sinking of the ship on training exercise heavily in the coming month’s “public diplomacy” campaigns.

January 28: As one of the last acts of the “lame duck” Congress before the new term, Congress passes the “Naval Armaments Act” with a strong Democratic/Republican bipartisan majority. The Act authorizes the construction of three additional New Mexico-class battleships (Tennessee, California and Colorado), along with funds to design and lay six ships of a superior class of battleship. An order for six battle cruisers of similar make is amended into the bill by allies of the Taft Administration.

February 4: An emergency joint meeting of the National Executive Committees of the Socialist Party and the Solidarity Union convenes in Chicago. All nationally elected officials of the Party as well as top union organizers and delegates from all the union and Party locals are present. The leadership of the joint committee presents a motion to the membership to stick with the Party’s electoral platform and continue opposition to Taft’s war. By the end of the week, the debate is still raging over whether the resolution permits acts of “industrial sabotage” such as strikes. The final resolution passed by a narrow margin supports syndicalist tactics, with the proviso that all acts of sabotage be peaceful and avoid damage to property.

February 28: Bill Haywood publicly announces the beginning of a campaign of anti-war strikes by Solidarity-affiliated industrial unions. Members of the United Mine Workers, the Longshoreman’s Union, the American Railway Union, and the newly formed United Steelworkers are the first unions to answer the call. Within a week, much of the industrial production and transportation throughout the important hubs of the nation has ground to a halt. Eugene Debs and other leaders begin long speaking tours to mobilize opposition to the war.

March 4: In response to labor unrest, President Taft calls out the National Guard to restore order. The ARU strike is suppressed first, on the legal pretext that the strike has interfered with the transportation of the U.S. Mail. The leadership of the ARU is arrested on felony charges related to the obstruction of the mail service. Two new laws are introduced into Congress, which will later become the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act, respectively.

March 5: President Taft outlines his administration’s agenda for the coming year to Congress. Two new cabinet level positions will be created: the Department of Public Diplomacy and the Department of Industrial Coordination. The former will be charged with what could only reasonably be described as propaganda work; the latter will serve as a means of managing the top-heavy trusts and cartels that have been the subject of frequent attacks from Socialists. While the administration’s critics within the Democratic Party charge the president with threatening the institutions of the American Republic with these new expansions of executive power, they soon withdraw their criticism. The President’s plan is seen as a necessary evil required to fight both the war abroad and the enemy of insurrection at home. A national conscription bill is also included within the agenda, as well as provisions to equip and support an expanded Army of two million men.

March 16: The general strike begins to peter out, as the propaganda war waged by the Taft Administration and its allies in the press and industry turn public opinion against the strikers. The ARU votes overwhelmingly to end the strike, which has proven futile in the face of concerted armed opposition from the national government. Within a week, the Steelworkers and Miners leave their picket lines as well.

March 20: Eager to move his agenda forward, President Taft concedes to a power-sharing agreement with leaders of the Democratic Party. A National Unity Coalition is formed within Congress, and Taft agrees to reshuffle his cabinet secretaries to include Democrats. The compromise also puts the kibosh on the Department of Public Diplomacy. Instead, a special office to fulfill the role is to be created within the Department of Justice, under direct supervision from a Congressional oversight committee.

April 3: The President’s mobilization bill, dubbed the “American Preparedness Act”, passes over a filibuster attempt by Robert LaFollete, Sr., in the Senate. While parliamentary tricks to extend the length of the legislative day indefinitely, and thus force LaFollette and supporters to run afoul of rules limiting the number of times a Senator can take the floor in a legislative day, are sufficient to end the filibuster, opposition is significant enough to provoke an amendment to the Senate’s rules on debate, introducing the cloture rule.

April 4: As the government mobilizes for war, Representative Upton Sinclair (S-NJ) is voted “Opposition Leader” by the Socialist and Progressive Caucus in the House. In later years, as coalition governments become the rule in a Congress divided three ways against itself, the position becomes solidified within the House rules. On that same day, 20,000 volunteers of the American Expeditionary Force depart for France.

April 20: Conscription campaigns begin in the US.

May 1: Several abortive strikes are attempted by Solidarity-affiliated unions to commemorate International Labor Day. The so-called “Espionage Act” is quickly signed into law, and a number of leaders of these strikes among the Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union and the Teamsters are soon the first victims of repression under the Act.

May 20: The U.S. Atlantic fleet is deployed to Scapa Flow, to join the British Grand Fleet under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. Anglo-American naval cooperation, with the U.S. as the junior partner, becomes key to British naval strategy.

June 1: U.S. Marines invade Haiti under the pretext of restoring order to the Republic. The Republic of Haiti enters protectorate status, along with Cuba, Puerto Rico and Panama.

June 8: The Office of Public Diplomacy begins the largest domestic propaganda campaign since the outbreak of the Civil War over fifty years before. The campaign seeks to break the power of unions and the Socialist Party to disrupt the war mobilization, as well as to mobilize public opinion towards the punishing of the German Reich. German atrocities in neutral Belgium become a heavy feature in the campaign.

July 20: In spite of Green Corn rebellions in Oklahoma and labor unrest in the cities and mines, conscription remains on schedule. The Taft Administration projects that half a million soldiers will be armed and deployed in France by the end of the year, with another million arriving by summer of the next year. The American Expeditionary Force is expanded to 3 divisions with the arrival of the 2nd Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division. Three more divisions will arrive at the front by late August.

August 1: Eugene Debs narrowly escapes prosecution under the Espionage Act for a labor organizing speech he made in his native Indiana. The speech, carefully crafted to avoid prosecution, nearly runs him afoul of the new law. However, a sympathetic judge dismisses the case. Stirrings of discontent begin over the Espionage Act, which had previously escaped attention.

September 22: Six divisions in the AEF join the French Army in the Second Battle of Champagne. The German Army, sensing the coming offensive, prepares additional defensive positions at Champagne. The battle soon turns into a bloody quagmire. Three days of intense artillery bombardment prove insufficient to break the German defenders, and under pressure of German counterattack, the offensive begins to lose momentum as causalities mount. Simultaneous British offensives at Loos fair little better.

October 5: The American 1st Infantry threatens a final breakthrough at Champagne. However, the offensive loses tempo in the mud, and the the French commander-in-chief Joffre soon orders a halt to the offensive. Captain George Patton earns his second Purple Heart in the offensive.

October 30: German counteroffensives begin at Champagne. The beleaguered forces of the AEF and the French Army are forced to give back all the ground taken in the battle before the lines stabilize on the 5th of November. After similar defeat at Loos, British Field Marshall John French is forced to relinquish his command of the British Expeditionary Force to General Douglas Haig.

November 18: German unrestricted submarine warfare begins, in a dual effort to weaken Anglo-French strategic positions as well as demoralize the thousands of American troops that cross the Atlantic daily.

December 2: A secret memo is distributed throughout ranking officers of the AEF, seeking cooperation from qualified American officers with a British military project. A number of young officers soon transfer out of the AEF into a new “Special Logistics Task Force”. This task force would form the nucleus of the American Tank Corps in the coming years.

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Excerpt from Salt of the Earth, by Henry A. Wallace, Pathfinder Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1963
The war, I think, changed everything. I am candidly certain that had not over one million young American boys bled the soil of France red, then life as we know it today would be radically different. I’m sure it is the peculiar navel-gazing of old men and historians to ask what would have happened if some important event were to have been undone, but I cannot help to succumb to the temptation. One thing I do know for sure is that my own part in the war changed my life forever. The deaths of my comrades in the trenches of France and the militarization of society at home are an irrevocable part of me, and without them, I do believe I would have remained a simple farmer, happy with the smell of good tilled earth.1 I’m sure I would have been happier for it.

...During the 1916 Red Scare, President Taft and all of the kings of mine, rail and factory declared that the Army deployed in France was becoming a “boot camp for communist, socialist and anarchist subversion”. I do not know much of other regiments, but that was certainly true of mine. My fellow enlisted men were my teachers in the great school of Socialism, and much of what I am today I learned there. When the “dangerous subversives” and “bomb-throwers” are the only men decrying the insanity of attacking machine guns with the chests of men, of sending men to dark and bloodied battlefields for the purpose of conquest and plunder, of killing our brothers so that the Imperialist scramble can continue unhindered; then we all come to find that perhaps we who went along with the bloodshed were the insane ones, not those who denounced it.

...The events of today give me trouble. When I see Foreign Secretary James Burnham’s dangerous game of cat and mouse with Nikita Khrushchev over which direction the Comintern will sway; or when watching the nervous tension in the news broadcasters and official government spokesman as they tried to calmly explain to us that the missile deployments in Ireland2 have brought us two minutes away from midnight, I sense that we are in an age that is every bit as pivotal as the First World War.
1. This, my friends, is called irony. In this timeline, Wallace is a political leader, somewhat parallel to reality.

2. Wallace refers here to what would later be called The Irish Missile Crisis, a gambit by First Secretary Nixon to counter attempts by the Anglo-French Union to prevent some, shall we say, interesting political developments in a certain British Commonwealth country.

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Excerpt from The Oppenheimer Diaries, by Kai Bird, Ed. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2007.1
June 25, 1941: Today’s front page of The Daily Worker confirmed my suspicions. America is engaged in a worldwide conflict for the second time in my life, this time ostensibly on the side of righteousness. In thinking of this issue, I can’t help but think about how horrible the coming days may be. The war in my youth ended before I was of fighting age, but even at home we felt the effects. Even in the relatively affluent district of New York that I was raised in, we still felt the effects of wartime scarcity and rationing.

The wage and price controls enforced by InCor2 and the rationing were making life miserable. It wasn’t uncommon to see the local bootblacks hauled off by the police, with the pretext of violating wartime rationing. Everything was scarce. I remember one of my more important chores was to go and stand in the breadlines every afternoon just to make sure that we got our bread. If I dallied even a little, there was a chance that there wouldn’t be any left. I fear that the rationing of my youth will come back in full force to support the global fight against fascism.
1. While the work is fictional, the editor is an actual Oppenheimer biographer.

2. Slang term for the Department of Industrial Coordination. If it sounds Orwellian, that’s because Orwell derived a lot of Newspeak from a certain abbreviation trend within left-wing circles.

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Some Notable Events, 1916

January 29: German zeppelins bomb Paris, the first ever strategic use of air power. This exercise of air power greatly impresses American Secretary of War Leonard Wood, who witnesses the bombing from the balcony of his Paris hotel while on a conference visit with the French General Staff.

February 14: In a series of police crackdowns eventually known as the Valentine’s Raids, U.S. Marshalls, in cooperation with state police in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, arrest the many prominent leaders of the Progressive Socialist Party as well as other left-wing activists. Among the notables arrested are anarchist orator Emma Goldman, PSP Chair Eugene Debs, Albert Wagenknecht, “Big Bill” Haywood, and Louis C. Fraina.

February 20: A major German offensive begins at the French fortress-city of Verdun. Within four days, the French defenders retreat to their second line of defense. The French Second Army moves forward to reinforce the defense, still heavily outmatched by the German army, and must hold the line until further American and French reinforcements can be mustered.

March 3: The one millionth American soldier arrives in France. In spite of heavy casualties at the front, U.S. Field Marshal John Pershing assures the press corps that the American Expeditionary Force is well on its way to fielding two million men in France by fall.

March 20: By Act of Congress, the United States Air Force is officially established as a separate branch of the military. The new Air Force combines elements from the Naval Air Service and the Army Flying Corps, with the former taking precedence. The Act specifies a predominantly naval rank structure, to the chagrin of Army elements in the fledgling Air Force.1

May 1: May Day strikes break out across the United States, Canada, the UK and France. Many are quickly resolved through police action, but it is evident that war weariness is quickly besetting the Entente.

May 16: Battle of Verdun - the French army begins its ultimately unsuccessful counteroffensive to retake the fortress of Douaumont.

May 20: U.S. Marines invade and occupy the Dominican Republic. A new constitution is soon imposed, transforming the Republic into another protectorate of the United States.

June 1: Battle of Jutland - The German High Seas Fleet faces the British Grand Fleet and the American Atlantic Fleet in the only major fleet engagement of the First World War. Tactically, the battle results in a minor victory for Germany, but ultimately the High Seas Fleet remains penned in port by the Kaiser to avoid catastrophe.2

July 1: A joint Franco-American offensive begins at the Somme. The Allied artillery barrages prove insufficient to crack German defenses, and the initial assault soon becomes bogged down. By late July, the British Army under Haig is fully committed on the northern flank of the Somme to support their allies.

August 6: The first dedicated combat squadron of the United States Air Force joins the AEF in France, attached with the more experienced British Royal Flying Service. By November, a further ten combat squadrons are raised and deployed in France.

September 7: The tank makes its debut at the Somme. The initial results in the British sectors are underwhelming, but the hope of breaking the deadlock of trench warfare remains. An American Tank Corps is soon founded, with a handful of British Mark I tanks on loan while more can be built under license.

November 7: United States General Election: Democrat Woodrow Wilson ekes out a narrow electoral victory over incumbent Robert Taft. However, the Republican Party regains control of the Congress, creating a potential political crisis in the middle of a major war. Wilson, a long-time advocate of parliamentarism, uses the opportunity to advocate the development of fundamental reforms in American presidential governance. He proposes an amendment to the Constitution to formalize the ad-hoc power sharing agreement pioneered by Democratic Speaker Champ Clark and former President Taft.3

November 20: The Battle of the Somme ends with Field Marshal Pershing’s decision to call off further offensive actions. The battle is inconclusive, and the German army soon retreats from the line of battle anyway to well prepared fortifications behind the line. Over one million men on both sides are dead, wounded or captured by the end.

December 1: Major fighting ends at Verdun with no clear victor.

1. Rank structure as follows: Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Commander, Commander, Rear Ardian, Vice Ardian*, Ardian*, Air Marshall* (* denotes ranks planned, but never commissioned during the duration of the First World War)

2. Major capital ship losses at Jutland. Britain: armored cruisers Black Prince, Warrior, Defence, and Minotaur; battlecruisers Invincible, Indefatigable, Lion, and Valiant; battleships Hercules and Neptune. United States: battleships Michigan and Utah. Germany: cruisers Frauenlob, Elbing, Rostock, and Wiesbaden; battlecruisers Seydlitz and Moltke; battleships Thüringen, Nassau, Kronprinzand Pommern.

Precise Results of the 1916 General Election

Presidential Results

Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Woodrow Wilson (D) 6,000,125 277
William H. Taft (R) 7,121,896 254
Alan L. Benson (S) 2,706,894 0

Congressional Results

U.S. House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 199 +22
Democratic Party 161 -39
Progressive Socialist Party 75 +18
Independent 0 -1

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 48 +2
Democratic Party 44 -2
Progressive Socialist Party 4 +0

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Excerpt from “Party Government in Crisis” by E.E. Schattschneider, in American Political Science Review, Vol. 32, No. 1, February 1938.
Predictably, the rise of the Progressive Socialist Party as a third force in American party politics created dramatic consequences for party-government in the Congress. The work of previous theorists of the party in government demonstrated the effects of certain facets of the revolution in party politics more than adequately. Notably, the work of Fenwick et al. have theorized the enormous upheavals that the existence of three parties in Congress (particularly the House) have caused in the American constitutional system. Demonstrably, the existence of a sharply defined separation of powers within the government was a system that reflected the strongly non-partisan preferences of Founders such as Washington and Madison, and has adapted poorly to a regime of two powerful political organizations competing for control of the apparatus of government.

...Presidential government, while hindered by the existence of political organizations independent of the formal positions and councils of government, nonetheless could still function even with the consequences of divided party authority and potential divided government. As Representative Clark noted, while the government could still function being pulled in two separate directions, the addition of a third independent force made such functions impossible.

...However, the resulting crisis in party government between 1912 and 1918 could not be explained solely in terms of constitutional factors of separation of powers. As we must understand, in seeming paradox, party government does not just form within the councils and halls of government. The party is larger than its members within the government, and as will be demonstrated with reference to the specific cases of the 1917 New York City Mayoral election, the characteristics of the party and the form its membership takes can have drastic consequences upon the performance of the party in government.

...1917 saw the first eclipse of the Tammany Hall machine in New York politics. As was demonstrated, the Progressive Socialists’ ties to both organized labor and a large pool of enrolled members to the party eroded traditional dominance of the political machine’s system of organized legal corruption. The Socialists and the unions provided the same services to their members that the machines did; they offered opportunities for gainful employment, helped cover rent shortfalls for party workers, offered legal services to members and medical care to injured workers. But more importantly, the party’s membership rolls enabled it to mobilize its electorate in much the same way as the Tammany Hall machine. However, it did so without resort to the totality of legal corruption of the machine, and the egalitarian drives of its leaders created effective political organizations more of the vein of a fraternal order than of a cloistered, highly stratified secret society. Morris Hilquit’s move into the mayor’s mansion on January 1st, 1918, was the first blow in the final death knell of machine politics in the former United States.
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Excerpt: Proposed text of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
§ One: The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States; and in the Cabinet of the United States, consisting of the various Secretaries in charge of the executive departments and the First Secretary.
The First Secretary and Secretaries of the Cabinet shall be elected by the House of Representatives without debate on the proposal of the President. The person who receives the majority vote of the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the President.
Members of the Cabinet may serve concurrently as members of the House of Representatives.

§ Two: The House of Representatives may express its lack of confidence in the Cabinet only by electing successors by majority vote of the members and requesting the President to dismiss the Cabinet. The President must comply with this request and appoint the successors.
If a motion of the First Secretary for a vote of confidence is not supported by a majority of members of the House of Representatives, the President may dissolve the House of Representatives, and order new elections to occur within twenty one days of dissolution.

§ Three: Save the following provisions, the House of Representatives shall be elected for four years. Its term shall end when a new House convenes. New elections shall be held no sooner than forty-six months and no later than forty-eight months after the electoral term begins. If the House be dissolved, new elections shall be held within sixty days.
The House of Representatives shall convene no later than thirty days following election.
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1917: The Year of Disasters

January 22: In one of his last public speeches as president, William H. Taft publically congratulates President-Elect Wilson. He goes on record stating that though he and Wilson are from different parties, Wilson shares in his vision of a just international order, and believes that he will continue to fight the war in Europe with the same resolve as he would have. He calls upon leaders within the Republican Party to endorse Wilson’s proposed constitutional reforms, and delivers scathing denunciations to the “defeatists, traitors and anarchists” in the Progressive Socialist Party.

March 4: Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated as President of the United States. By the end of the day, Wilson is in conference with House Speaker James Mann (R-IL) to reorganize the Cabinet power sharing agreement.1

March 5: The February Revolution2: Beset by army mutinees, and a general strike by the Petrograd soviet, Czar Nicholas II of the Russian Empire formally abdicates the throne to Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, who wisely declines the throne. A provisional government is soon formed under Georgy Lvov, representing a liberal-social democratic alliance.

March 22: The Wilson Administration formally recognizes the Russian Provisional Government, declaring the United States to be a stalwart ally of the new Russian Republic.

April 2: An Allied combined offensive begins under the direction of French Generalissimo Nivelle. A preliminary attack by the British First, Third and Fifth Armies begins at Arras, while French and American forces mass to assault Chemin de Dames ridge. The two columns hope to break through within 48 hours, link up, and sweep unopposed into Germany.

April 9: The first good news for the Allied armies since the start of the War; to the pleasant surprise of the British and French general staff, Nivelle’s offensive manages a preliminary breakthrough in the German lines at both Arras and Chemin de Dames. The American Tank Corps proves decisive at Chemin de Dames. Elsewhere, the German military desperately attempts to prevent defeat from turning into disaster.

April 18: German counteroffensives begin on the Franco-American and British salients. The German goal is to prevent the encirclement of much of their Western front forces via a British-French link up at Hirson, near the Belgian border.

May 1: The British offensive grinds to a halt near the town of Valienciennes. General Haig’s attempts to use the Cavalry corps to exploit the breakthrough have been thwarted by Ludendorff’s own cavalry. With supplies unable to move quickly in the moonscape of shell craters and trenches, the artillery cannot maintain support of the infantry, which subsequently bogs down in the mud. Elsewhere, the French and American armies continue pressing forward at Champagne.

May 18: President Wilson’s amendment for governmental reform is approved with strong majorities by both Houses of Congress. The amendment is now sent to the state governments for ratification.

May 27: Nivelle ends offensive actions in the Champagne corridor, bringing his planned offensive to an end. The operation is a significant, though limited success. The lines stabilize approximately twenty miles from the Belgian border. The German army avoids complete disaster, and manages to evacuate and escape encirclement.

June 6: A proviso is attached to the proposed 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, delaying the operability of certain provisions of the reforms. In its amended form, the 17th Amendment’s sections pertaining to House of Representatives elections will not come into effect until the 1920 general election.

July 16: Disaster strikes for the Russians on the Eastern Front. Mutinies on the Austrian front vividly demonstrate the rot within the Russian polity, which has remained uncured by the February Revolution. The Provisional Government continues to refuse negotiated settlement, while anti-war factions of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party and the Social Democratic Labor Party continue to gain ground in the soviets.

July 20: S-R Party leader Alexander Kerensky replaces Lvov as the Premier of the Russian Provisional Government. The new cabinet heavily favors the S-R Party and the Constitutional Democrats.

August 2: In an attempt to maintain the initiative after Arras, British General Haig begins a third offensive at Ypres. However, the resulting Battle of Passchendaele is a significant disaster for the British Army. Little ground is gained, in spite of the support of tanks and mass artillery assaults. German morale appears to be holding, in spite of defeats. The town of Passchendaele is taken by early November only with staggering loss of life.

October 1: The State of Montana ratifies the 17th Amendment. With 3/4ths of the States in approval, the ratification of the amendment is complete.

November 7: Workers of Petrograd, under the leadership of Bolshevik Vladimir Lenin, begin a coup d’état against the Russian Provisional Government. Within the week, the largely bloodless coup succeeds, leaving the system of worker’s councils (soviets) the primary authority in Russia. The various ministries of the Russian Provisional Government are brought under the authority of the Central Executive Committee of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets.

November 20: The Battle of Valenciennes: the British Army masses tanks in an attempt to break the German lines and thrust into Belgium. The advance reaches almost thirty kilometers on the first day, but subsequent German counterattacks, and the innate mechanical weaknesses of British tanks make further assaults impossible.

November 28: In yet another disaster for the Allies, the new revolutionary government in Russia offers a peace deal to Germany.

1. President Wilson’s cabinet (* denotes office added on October 2nd)
First Secretary*: James Mann (R-IL)
Secretary of State: Robert Lansing (D-NY)
Secretary of Treasury: Joseoph Fordney (R-MI)
Secretary of War: Leonard Wood (R-MA)
Attorney General: Thomas W. Gregory (D-TX)
Postmaster General: Albert S. Burelson (D-TX)
Secretary of the Navy: Theodore Roosevelt (R-NY)
Secretary of the Interior: Knute Nelson (R-MN)
Secretary of Agriculture: Gilbert N. Haugen (R-IA)
Secretary of Commerce: Joshua W. Alexander (D-MO)
Secretary of Industrial Coordination: William S. Vare (R-PA)

2. Dating confusion: Russia still operated under the Julian calendar, and thus dates were 13 days behind the Gregorian Calendar date used in the rest of Europe. Thus, the February Revolution actually happened in March, and the October Revolution actually happened in November.

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1918: Things Fall Apart

January 1: In New York City, two separate inaugurations for the office of Mayor are held: one for the winner of the popular vote, Progressive Socialist Morris Hilquit, and another for the Tammany Hall backed candidate John Hylan. The government of the State of New York declares that the mayoral election was a fraud, and suspends the City of New York’s charter, effectively declaring Hylan the winner. By days end, Hilquit finds himself arrested by the city police. The confederation of Socialist Party locals for New York City agrees unanimously to endorse a general strike in protest to the power grab.

January 4: The barricades are up all over New York City as the police desperately try to restore order to the city paralyzed by a general strike. Students, family members and even the elderly are out in force in the streets in support of the strikers. Worker’s councils are organized in the wards of New York City, and factory committees spring up in occupied workplaces, declaring the expropriation of the expropriators. In Albany, the Governor, hesitant over the blowback from the last iron-fisted measures deployed to contain “unsavory” developments in NYC, hesitates upon deploying the New York National Guard to suppress the strikers.

January 9: By morning, the NYC Police have totally lost control over Manhattan Island to the strikers. The boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens remain in marginally more control, but the Bronx as well is on the verge of total rebellion. That evening, a congress of delegates from the worker’s councils and factory committees declares the formation of the Manhattan Commune. They unanimously elect Mayor-elect Hilquit to preside over the Commune, to which he somewhat reluctantly agrees.

January 11: President Wilson intervenes directly in the Hylan-Hilquit affair. The New York National Guard is placed under federal control. An ultimatum is issued, demanding that the strikers disperse, and allow the “legitimately elected” government to return. The Progressive Socialist Party, and the Solidarity trade union both immediately condemn the President’s actions as dictatorial. The central committee narrowly votes to endorse a nationwide general strike in opposition to suppression of the Commune, hoping to bring President Wilson and the New York state to the bargaining table.

January 15: Armed strikers begin fighting pitched battles against National Guard units in both the Bronx and Brooklyn. By day’s end, several dozen are killed or wounded, but deployed National Guard units simply lack the manpower to make significant gains. Meanwhile, the nationwide general strike comes into full force. Following the leads of their New York comrades, worker’s delegations in the cities of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Seattle and St. Louis declare their own communes.

January 19: President Wilson, conscious of how quickly similar events degenerated in Russia, agrees to meet with prominent members of the Socialist Caucus and leaders of the trade union congresses to reach a compromise deal. Matters pertaining to the war or its conduct are strictly off the table.

January 25: A preliminary truce is reached. Strikers in New York agree to permit the flow of troops and war material to and from New York to the fronts in France. In return, Wilson agrees to certify Hilquit as Mayor of New York. Still unresolved is the emerging dual power conflict between the city government and the communes formed in the Burroughs of New York.

February 14: A final compromise is reached, and the general strike ends. No reference is made by either party to the war in the compromise. However, the communes and the dual power arrangements in the various cities are to be legitimated in the various city charters. In New York, the communes become the primary jurisdiction in each of the Burroughs, taking over various powers from the city government. In return, the factory occupations end unresolved, but the factory committees and worker’s councils are allowed to remain. In Chicago, the commune will officially supplant the city government, provided that the commune renders full cooperation with the laws of the State of Illinois. In St. Louis and Seattle, the jurisdictional problems remain unresolved, and an uneasy dual power relationship develops. The mayor whose election started the six week long ordeal, previously one of the strongest moderate leaders in the Progressive Socialist Party, finds himself drawn into the radical camp.

March 1: Bolshevik Russia signs the Treaty of Brest-Livotsk with the German Reich and Austria-Hungary, formally ending Russian involvement in the war.

March 21: British, French and American forces begin a new round of offenses in the Somme area, in what would later be known as the Second Battle of the Somme. Due to the constant flow of reinforcements and material from the Eastern Front, Allied gains are slow and torturous.

April 8: British and American troops begin the first offensives of the Battle of the Oise. German counterattacks force the Allies to abandon initial gains by May.

May 1: German offensives begin at the Allied flanks at the Somme and the Aisne. In spite of Allied tank superiority, the German army is able to threaten breakthroughs in key sectors of the front.

May 21: The Allies begin a strategic withdrawal from their under-prepared forward lines back to the lines from the start of the previous year in the front from the Somme to the Aisne.

May 29: The German offensive comes to a halt. All major operational objectives remain unmet, the units exhausted, and resources stretched to their breaking point. For the General Staff, it has become clear that eventual defeat is inevitable, even without the strain of fighting a two front war.

July 4: Allied armies have nearly recovered all of the lost territory from the Somme-Aisne offensives by this date. Massed tanks at Le Coteau, Vervins and Hethel breach the Hindenburg line for the first time. The American Tank Corps at Vervins is most successful. The 301st Tank Battalion, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George S. Patton, successfully advances almost forty kilometers in two days. The breach is successfully exploited by American infantry, forcing German army to retreat to reserve positions along the center of the front.

August 8: By this date, German forces have almost completely retreated to the Belgian border. German General Eric von Ludendorf fears that a final collapse of the army in the field is imminent. Nevertheless, the German army holds on, and Allied assaults begin to stall under the weight of logistical strain and flagging morale. For the first time since the beginning of the war, the artillery guns fall silent, unable to be sustained across the shelled, scorched and broken earth leading to the front.

September 11: Kaiser Wilhelm forms a liberal government under Chancellor Max von Baden in order to sue for peace.

October 1: Mutinies in the German Army and Navy herald the beginning of the German Revolution. Fearing disaster on the scale of Bolshevik Russia, the Kaiser abdicates and chooses a life in exile. The German Reich, now a de facto republic under the leadership of the SPD, sues for peace.

November 3: As the German situation continues to deteriorate, an armistice agreement between the Allies and the German Reich is finally reached. The cease-fire with Germany brings a final end to conflict in Western Europe, though the many conflicts spawned by the Great War, principally the Russian Civil War, continue to rage on. Overtures towards a formal peace treaty soon begin.

November 5: With the war on its way to resolution, the last mid-term Congressional election is held in the United States. President Wilson’s national unity coalition is retained, with a substantially reduced majority, as tensions built up from years of war, scarcity and repression get their outlet at the polls. Several state legislatures and governorships are captured by the Progressive Socialist Party, and a substantial number of states are left with no workable majority in their legislatures.1

November 20: The German Communist Party (KPD) is officially founded by dissidents from the majority Social Democratic Party (SPD), signaling the growing rift in the international socialist movement.

1. Congressional Election 1918

U.S. House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 179 -20
Progressive Socialist Party 150 +75
Democratic Party 100 -61
Independent 6 +6

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 45 -3
Democratic Party 37 -7
Progressive Socialist Party 14 +10

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Ten Days That Shook the World

On February 1st, 1919, a book was published that would forever catapult its author into celebrity (or infamy, depending upon whom you ask). That book was Ten Days That Shook the World, and its author was a young American radical journalist named John Reed. Reed, who had witnessed Red October first hand, helped to galvanize the resolve of an American left broken by state repression and threatening to fracture from internal dissension.

Copies of the book were distributed by Socialist Party and union locals all throughout the United States, and its first printing sold out immensely quickly. In a delicious bit of irony, a book about advancing the cause of socialism and revolution would become one of the more profitable books of the year for publishers.

Reed, previously an unknown in the Socialist Party, would find himself elected to the National Executive Committee. The NEC would soon vote to send delegates to the founding congress of the Communist International.

For leaders at home, a more pressing matter was at hand. The Progressive Socialist Party itself was an unwieldy organization. The war had radicalized many of its more moderate elements, but the leadership’s hard left stance threatened to cause a mutiny among moderate members of the party, especially former Progressives. Morris Hilquit’s timely defection to the left, and Congressman Berger’s assassination at the hands of the Wisconsin state police had certainly helped stave off disaster, but there was still much work left to be done. Facing a choice between work in the Comintern, or healing the divisions at home, Reed ultimately chose to use his considerable celebrity even among non-socialists to fight for socialist unity among his own ranks.

In June of 1919, John Reed, along with his lover Louise Bryant, comrade and respected editor Max Eastman, Opposition Leader Upton Sinclair, and young party activist William Zebulon Foster, began a long speaking tour of the country leading up to the September emergency national convention. Their aim was to convince socialists and workers across the country, fresh from their relative victory at the polls, to not become complacent, and stick with the revolutionary enthusiasm necessary to sustain the PSP as a mass-based revolutionary organization, to avoid succumbing to reformism the same way that many of their international brothers had leading up to the First World War.

At the convention two major issues would be up for debate. First and foremost would be the party’s central platform. The leadership was eager to supplant the German Social Democrats as the tip of the spear of the proletarian vanguard, and sought to adapt the party organization to follow a more Bolshevik model. Second, the leadership wanted the National Convention to vote to formally join the Comintern. A new international, they were convinced, was the only proper forum for cooperation among the Left.

It was during this campaign by Reed as well as dozens of other party activists that New Yorker and new found radical Morris Hilquit coined the terminology of New Left and Old Left. As he addressed a crowd after his safe release from prison and returned to public service, he told the crowd “Our sons, and our grandsons...and their grandsons too, will remember the formation of the Manhattan Commune, and speak of it in the same sentence as the illustrious Paris Commune that gave us our anthem, and our spirited resolve for a new world. And for that brave new world we must fight to build, a new Left, unfettered by the chains of our past, must be the tip of the bayonet in our charge. Our old Left will no longer do; we must remake ourselves before we remake the world.”

This snippet, repeated over and over again by The New York Times and other publications, was but one of the many pieces of ammunition that were fired in this age of mutual militancy. For a time, it seemed like the inevitable final confrontation between the opposed camps of labor and capital would be at hand in America as well. So this situation would remain. For the next 14 years, the conflict would remain unresolved and undiminished.

Nevertheless, the Progressive Socialist Party achieved what almost none of its international brothers could. The National Convention voted strongly to align with the new Comintern, and to accept the hard left’s analysis that little would be achieved through parliamentary reformism. The party platform still maintained that socialism could be won at the ballot box, at least in part, but fully accepted the general strike and the worker’s council as alternative weapons. The platform made it clear that the party would accept nothing but the full enactment of its maximal program; there would be no negotiation for half-measures with either the Republicans or the Democrats. But most importantly, this would be achieved without a disastrous split in the party’s ranks. The moderates agreed to stick with the party, and bide their time for now.

The split was patched over, but only time would tell if it would endure long enough. Reed, no less than anyone else, knew full well that he sat on a ticking time bomb.

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America’s entrance into the First World War spurred a series of immense demographic changes. America’s conscript army was raised primarily from city dwellers, predominantly recent immigrants. With several million young hands removed from the factories to be sent to France, the manpower shortages in America’s cities spurred the beginning of a great exodus of young men from the farmlands of the West and Midwest back to the very cities their fathers and grandfathers had fled from.

In part, this exodus was made possible by relatively good harvests in the period from 1912 to 1918, and the increasing mechanization on some farms. Young men, used to the self-managed rhythms of farm labor, unaccustomed to collective solidarity and generally firm believers in the virtues of hard labor, threatened to break the urban labor movement in the early years of the War.

The arrival of a tide of rural workers to the industrial cities was absolutely crucial to breaking the February-March general strikes organized by Solidarity in opposition to the declaration of war and subsequent mobilization. These young natives, often intensely xenophobic, were the perfect scabs.

But the backlash that would result was inevitable. By the Fall of 1919, recent migrants from the rural areas of the United States were more highly represented in the labor movement than immigrants. The very reason that made them the best scabs available in 1915 was also the very reason why they would make the quickest converts to communism.

The régime of industrial management was entirely alien to them. Having been raised with the expectation of self-regulated labor, which they would benefit from the fruit of, industrial capitalism became quickly intolerable. Working under a sadistic foreman for long days for very little gain, a slave to the tempo of the machines and the pattern of the clock, these young men (and women too, though in smaller numbers), found their way into the labor movement, heading to the hard left with greater propensity and frequency than other groups.

This trend would continue well into the 1920s, as their younger brothers joined them in the nation’s great industrial cities during what would later be called “The Roaring 20s”.

The War would also see women’s penetration in the labor force dramatically increase. Hoping to capture this new constituency of independent working women, President Wilson had pushed for and eventually received the passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote in all state and federal elections. Ratified in May of 1920, it would come into effect simultaneously with the 17th Amendment, dramatically reshaping both the nation’s political structure and electorate in one stroke.

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The 1920 U.S. Presidential Election

Against all better judgment, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson would seek re-election this year. He faced a strong challenge at the Democratic Convention from John W. Davis, who would marshal the conservative base against Wilson’s reform minded agenda. Although unsuccessful this time, Wilson would be the last progressive-minded candidate to win the presidential nomination from the Democratic Party until the Great Depression.

For the Republicans, the fight at the convention was less intense. With the knowledge that Republicans would likely maintain control of the House, there was far less to be won by securing the presidential nod. In spite of strong opposition from Senator Warren G. Harding, ultimately Wilson’s Secretary of War and Army Lieutenant General Leonard Wood secured the nomination. Calvin Coolidge, a small-government conservative, was chosen as the Vice Presidential nominee. In the campaign, Wood fought to distance himself from Wilson’s administration, and pointed to his exemplary service as Secretary of War as proof that he was qualified to lead a nation.

The Progressive Socialist Party’s convention would nominate Eugene Debs, just released from prison, for the fifth and final time. The party, freshly allied with the forces of international communist revolution, expected to see a hit at the polls, but Debs’ seeming incorruptibility and vice-presidential nominee John Reed’s youthful enthusiasm managed to contain major damage.


Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Leonard Wood (R) 12,234,123 339
Woodrow Wilson (D) 7,336,100 127
Eugene V. Debs (S) 8,913,154 65

1920 electoral vote map

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The 1920 U.S. General Election

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Majority Government
Republican Party 214 +35
Independent 4 -2
Progressive Socialist Party 132 -18
Democratic Party 85 -15

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 52 +7
Democratic Party 31 -6
Progressive Socialist Party 13 -1

With the caucusing of four independents from Southern states, the Republican Party manages to form a majority government, sweeping aside the legacy of the wartime national unity governments. Thomas Mann returns as First Secretary (breakdown of the cabinet below). The Democratic Party, at the lowest point since Reconstruction, is threatened with eventual demise, even in its previously unassailable strongholds in the South.

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President Wood’s Cabinet, 1921-1925
Vice President: Calvin Coolidge (R-MA)
First Secretary: James Mann (R-IL)
Secretary of State: Charles Evan Hughes (R-NY)
Secretary of the Treasury: Joseph Fordney (R-MI)
Secretary of War: John W. Meeks (R-MA)
Attorney General: Harry M. Daughtery (R-OH)
Postmaster General: Hubert Work (R-PA)
Secretary of the Navy: Edwin Denby (R-MI)
Secretary of the Interior: Knute Nelson (R-MN)
Secretary of Agriculture: Gilbert N. Haugen (R-IA)
Secretary of Commerce: Herbert Hoover (R-NY)
Secretary of Industrial Coordination: William S. Vare (R-PA)
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Excerpt from Storming the Gates of Heaven: A History of the Comintern, by Albert E. Kahn, Progress Publishers, Cambridge, Mass., 1962.
The Second World Congress of the Comintern laid out the basic doctrine of the international communist movement from early July to late August of 1920. To the modern eye, the decisions made at the Second Congress seem frightfully premature. While Lenin sent his 21 Conditions for approval by the Congress, he and his comrades were still bitterly engaged in the Rossiyan Civil War. Yet the delegates prefaced their speeches with talk of the imminent world revolution, while all of the major capitalist powers had encircled Rossiya with bayonets, and threatened to strangle that very revolution in the cradle. Still, the deputies at the Congress maintained sufficient foresight to at least tackle the issues of the future of the movement.

...The severity of the 21 Conditions would prove too much for most delegations. The inability to compromise on certain areas of doctrine, such as the strict adoption of democratic centralism, or the requirement for the complete expulsion of members deemed to be reformist, would deepen the already disastrous rift in the international Left. This hardline of the First Period policies would be made all the more disastrous with the Third Period policy of denouncing moderates as “Social Fascists”, but for now, it served to create two competing Workers’ Parties in nearly every advanced capitalist nation. And in the new Communist parties it molded, it created insidious weapons for internal witch-hunts and factional squabbles.

...The American delegation to the Comintern faced the same unenviable choice as the French Section. While the use of state terror had destroyed much of the Progressive Socialist Party’s moderate faction, either by pushing them to the Left or out of the movement altogether, even many on the Left were hesitant to completely endorse the 21 Conditions. While many conditions were rather agreeable, the second, seventh and seventeenth conditions proved particularly worrisome. The party was simply in no shape for the internal purge necessary to put “tested communists” in every important decision. Similarly, a drastic restyling of the party was most unsavory at a time when the existing party name was finally gaining strength among the proletariat.

...In the end, the American delegation gave their unanimous recommendation to adopt the 21 Conditions and join the Comintern as a full member. However, that decision would ultimately be put to the test at the Progressive Socialist Party National Convention, to be held in the Chicago Commune in January of 1921. The debate would be heated, and threatened to split the party in two. The rump of the reformist faction, severely depleted of delegates and speakers, clustered around president of the former Typographical Union Max S. Hayes, and vehemently opposed joining the Comintern. The moderate Left, committed to revolutionary socialism in spirit, but facing many reservations with the 21 Conditions, also criticized the proposal. They centered around the leadership of famed academician Walter Lippmann, and the hero of the Manhattan Commune, Morris Hilquit. The hard Left, represented by the party leadership, fought back with just as much tenacity.

...In the course of the debate, Debs, in ill health, cast aside his traditional role as unifying leader figure, and gave his endorsement, with reservations, to the 21 Conditions. Comrade Reed, the boyish face of the future, personally presented Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin’s personal remarks to the American proletariat, offering their reasons in favor of the Comintern and the conditions it imposed. He ended his speech with his own reflections of his time in Rossiya during the revolution, and the decisive moment the question of whether to strike in Petrograd was considered. “This decision,” he argued, “will be no less momentous than that fateful decision by the workers of the Pulitov Plant, in Petrograd, to consider their shivering and starving children’s plight, throw caution to the winds and a spanner in the Pulitov works. That one decision [...] set off the chain of events that toppled an Emperor, ended a war, and established the first worker’s republic the world has ever seen. Fortune favors the bold, my comrades.”

...It was Lippmann who spoke after Big Bill Haywood. While he congratulated the stout Wobbly on his work organizing the industrial unions and fighting against the imperialist game of the First World War, he offered his own annotations to the late German communist Karl Liebknecht’s criticism of the excesses of the Bolsheviks, relating them directly to the matter of the Comintern’s conditions. The specter of a “red bureaucracy” just as sinister as the old, he argued, lay within this focus on doctrinal pieties and democratic centralism: “If Rosa Luxemburg, the fiery and defiant leader of the German Communist Party and seasoned revolutionary, finds herself deposed and purged from the very party she helped forge because the central committee felt her politics deviated from the program established by the Comintern, then how safe are any of we from internal bloodletting?” Indeed, his words would prove all to true over the next two decades. The purge would become the favored weapon of communist organizations the world over until the beginning of the Popular Front.

...Ultimately, what stole the show and sealed the decision was a speech by the most unlikely of party members. Former Senator LaFollette arrived at the convention fashionably late, excusably so. Recently pardoned by President Wood for conviction under the Sedition Act, the former Republican and moderate fellow traveller of socialism came to the convention a broken man. Freshly divorced, penniless, and emaciated from his stay in federal prison, LaFollette proved to be another strange convert to the Left. He spoke of how his trust in the American dream had been shattered by the events of the last six years, half-cursing the naivete of his past. As a pariah now, he accepted his fate handed down from on high, but did not shrink from fighting against. Shocking everyone, he spoke in favor of the Comintern and endorsed the 21 Conditions. In the end, the Left prevailed. The moderate Left agreed to ratify the conditions, though they urged solidarity and fairness in their application. And the majority of the Right, though they voted against acceptance of the 21 Conditions, agreed to abide by them and to not quit the party. On February 15th, 1921, newly rechristened Workers’ Party of America formally joined the Communist International.
KGB World Factbook
Union of American Socialist Republics
Flag: Flag of the Union of American Socialist Republics
Motto: Workers of the world, unite! (official), E Pluribus Unum (traditional)
Anthem: “The Internationale”
Capital: Washington-Debs, D.C.
Official languages: English, Spanish, French, several dozen recognized native languages
Demonym: American
Government: Federal socialist republic
- Head of State: President David McReynolds (SPA)
- Head of Government: Premier Alix Olson (SEU)
Legislature: Federation Assembly
- Lower house: Congress of People’s Deputies
- Upper house: Council of the Union
- Declared: May 1, 1933
- Recognized: August 8, 1933
- Current constitution: February 24, 1934
- Total: 11,445,211 km2 (2nd)
- Water (%): 6.76
- 2009 estimate: 338,361,574 (3rd)
- Density: 29.5/km2 (175th)
GDP (PPP): 2008 estimate
- Total: $16.051 trillion (1st)
- Per capita: $47,440 (6th)
Gini (2007): 12.1[1] (1st)
HDI (2007): ▲ 0.981[5] (very high) (2nd)
Currency: American dollar ($) (UD)

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Excerpts from George Patton: Proletarian Soldier1, by Oliver Lark, London, Doubleday, 1977.
Of one thing there is no doubt, and that is the simple fact that George Patton lived an extraordinary life. Born into an aristocratic conservative family in California on November 11, 1885, Patton would go on to serve with distinction in the First World War, advancing to the rank of Colonel in the American Expeditionary Force. While serving, he helped pioneer the use of armoured warfare, innovating tactics and strategies would later become staples in the American military. Facing the hardships and horrors of life in the trenches, Patton, like so many others of his generation, came home a changed man. He soon renounced his birthright, became estranged with his wife and family, and joined the Workers’ Party of America, all within a few short months of returning from France in 1919. Patton, along with his close comrade David Eisenhower, had set the pattern for so many World War veterans. They went off to war committed to their nation’s cause, and came home subversives.

...The sheer number of career military officers in the United States Army who professed belief in Socialism after the Great War is simply astounding. While no reliable figures can be found to establish the exact percentage, estimates range from fifteen percent to as high as twenty-eight percent! Whatever the rate, it is clear just how much the American polity and her military were rotting by 1920. Patton was hardly alone in his beliefs in the army, and as his letter’s show, he formed a discussion club among trusted comrades from the army to correspond on politics.

...In one such letter, Patton writes to Eisenhower, confessing about his experiences in the Great War. “Dear Ike,” he writes:
It was at Chemin-de-Dames that it hit me with the force of revelation. Our Mk. IVs had bogged down in the German auxillary trench, and the Jerries soon came down on us with artillery, followed by an infantry attack. We soon ran out of ammunition for our tank’s machine guns, and we had to fend off the last of their assault hand to hand, with knives and bayonets. The kids we bayonetted, they couldn’t have been older than sixteen or seventeen. I felt old, and worn out. And as relief came, and we finally had a moment of peace, I suddenly realized I had no idea why I was here, or why I was butchering young German boys, or why they were doing the same to us. I didn’t know whether I could believe in my country anymore, or even believe in God.
While the exact details of Patton’s conversion from Christian soldier to atheist communist remain to the imagination, the documentary evidence suggests that it occurred shortly after the end of the Chemin-de-Dames campaign, while Patton was on a three-day pass in Paris.2 Patton’s letters, and own recollections preserved on archival film suggest that during that time, Patton met up with a French socialist group. One of the few details that are known is that the group was composed of some number of dissident intellectuals, as well as a number of veterans of the French army, discharged as amputees. Patton, now semi-fluent in French, conversed with this group about the political issues of the war and economics for from anywhere from a few hours to whole evening, depending on the account.

...The first self-reference of socialist belief would not come until a diary entry some three months later. He writes tepidly in favour of socialism and its “brotherhood of man,” and suggests at an imperial nature in the First World War, impugning the motives the national leaders of the Allies as well as the Central Powers. In perhaps the strongest language seen from this previously gentlemanly character, he calls the current president, Woodrow Wilson, a “pompous old jackass” and “a capitalist running-dog.” Where he picked up such an obviously German construction is impossible to tell.

...Like many radicals of his generation, it was the Bolshevik Revolution that ultimately steeled his convictions in socialism. His correspondence after the war contains many recollections and conversations about the aforementioned event. One such letter was written to John Reed, praising his work on Ten Days That Shook the World, and propositioning a collaborative history of the Rossiyan Civil War, a project that later became the infamous three volume history compendium, written with Reed and Leon Trotsky, the charismatic exile from the very regime he helped build. A History of the Soviet Union, from Birth to Betrayal is perhaps the most oft-cited history of the early Soviet period, and became one of Patton’s fixations from 1928 to its final publishing in late 1932, just before the American Revolution.
1. One of the great things about writing in character is that you can explore the interactions of various points of view. In this case, the (fictional) writer, a British author with no sympathy for socialism or revolution, is mischaracterizing Patton, who was no proletarian by any stretch of the imagination. But hey, it’s a snappy title, likely to sell lots of copies among military buffs in the Anglo-French Union.

2. The author here is being hyperbolic, and it will be important to keep that in mind.

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Events of the Wood Presidency, 1921

January 28: The Italian Communist Party (PCI) is founded in Livorno, as part of the growing split in international socialism.

February 1: In the ongoing Russian Civil War, Bolshevik troops occupy Tblisi. The Menshevik government of the Georgian Democratic Republic is captured, but sporadic fighting continues around the capital and in the countryside.

February 8: Sailors at the Bolshevik-controlled Russian naval fort of Kronstadt mutiny. They deliver a list of demands to the Bolshevik government that include increased restrictions on the Cheka secret police, a return to soviet democracy, and free elections, among others.

February 18: The Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic is officially declared in Tiblisi. In reality, the government is a puppet of Moscow.

March 4: Leonard Wood is inaugurated president of the United States in Washington DC.

March 14: The Kronstadt mutiny is crushed by a force of loyal Cheka volunteers and Red Army officer cadets, demonstrating the severe instability of the Bolshevik government at this point. In Moscow, the Council of People’s Commissars formally implements the New Economic Policy.

March 28: The Budgeting and Accounting Act of 1921 is formally ratified by the U.S. government.1

April 11: In Britain, the miners’, railway, and transportation unions announce the beginning of a strike. The government threatens to suppress the strike with military force.

May 1: In a symbolic act of national reconciliation, President Wood issues a general amnesty to all radicals convicted or deported over violations of the Espionage or Sedition Acts. Eugene Debs, released in an earlier pardon deal, meets with President Wood at the White House to “cordially discuss the national affairs of the United States.” Wood’s attempts at reconciliation prove to be deeply unpopular within his party.

May 19: First Secretary James Mann passes away from a sudden stroke. President Wood seizes the opportunity to launch a palace coup within the House Republicans, hoping to push aside the designated incumbent, Speaker of the House Fredrick Gillett, in favor of noted liberal Leonidas C. Dyer. Such a noted reactionary, he argues, will only serve to further arouse class conflict in the United States.

June 1: Leonidas Dyer is appointed to the officer of First Secretary. In the coming days, he reshuffles the Cabinet, removing William Vare, Secretary of Industrial Coordination, and Charles Hughes, Secretary of State, in favor of James J. Davis and Frank B. Kellogg, respectively.

June 4: President Wood formally signs a joint resolution officially ending the formal state of war between the United States and Germany, Austria and Hungary.

July 29: In Germany, a lowly formal corporal from the German Army signal corps is elected leader of the so-called National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP).

October 1: A peace conference between the United Kingdom and éire begins in London.2

November 7: The National Fascist Party is established in Italy.

December 1: The Irish-British peace conference concludes, formally recognizing the Republic of éire, an independent nation incorporating 26 of the 32 counties in Ireland.

1. Basically the same as reality. Many things noted here that happened in some form in reality will be included in updates, simply because they’re historically important enough.

2. Very similar to reality, except that Ireland is recognized as a Republic from the start.

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Events of the Wood Presidency, 1922

January 18: The London Naval Conference begins, hoping to arrest the potential arms race between Britain, America, France and Japan.

February 1: A challenge to the 18th Amendment, which established women’s right to vote in the US, is rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

March 11: In Mumbai, a young Indian lawyer and independence leader named Mohandas Gandhi is arrested for Sedition.

March 20: The USS Langley (CV-1) is commissioned as the first aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy.

April 1: Josef Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. His new nickname among the party leadership loosely translates to something like “Comrade Rolodex”.

May 1: In another inroad to reconciliation, President Wood and First Secretary Dyer sign legislation formally declaring May 1st to be a federal holiday, dubbed “International Labor Day”. Later that day, Dyer lays out a progressive legislative agenda before the House. The platform contains legislation establishing a fifty-hour standard work week with guaranteed overtime pay, nationalizing the majority of country’s railroads, establishing a first-ever progressive income tax, creating a national health service and a cabinet level Department of Health, establishing cabinet Departments of Education and Labor, and a law recognizing the right of labor unions to organize. The platform is controversial and ambitious, and a crisis of leadership soon erupts.

June 11: President Wood gives the first ever national radio address. In his speech, he urges moderation and reform to fight the tide of class warfare and militancy within the country. In his words, “the choice is reform or revolution; the rascals in Congress would sooner see revolution before tear away their claws from their acquired power.”

July 8: The Fordney-McCumber Tarriff act passes the Senate with a 2/3rds majority, completely undercutting President Wood’s threatened veto. In an attempt to compromise and push forward his agenda, First Secretary Dyer steers the act through the House.

August 16: A limited version of Dyer’s “Progress Platform” is enacted by the U.S. House. It contains provisions establishing a cabinet Department of Education and Labor, regulates food and drug standards via the Department of Industrial Coordination, and establishes a 50 hour standard work week.

October 28: The Italian Fascists stage their “March on Rome”, steering Benito Mussolini to power. The Constitution is soon suspended, as a general terror campaign begins on enemies of the Fascists. Elsewhere, the Red Army occupies Vladivostok, signalling an end to major fighting in the Russian Civil War.

November 1: UK General elections occur, precipitated by Conservative withdrawal from the National Coalition. The Conservatives win a razor-thin majority government.1

December 28: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Transcaucasia sign a treaty of union, creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

1. More precise results, for those of you who are wondering:

UK General Election, 1922
Party Seats Change
Conservative Party 340 +10
Labour Party 146 +89
Liberal Party 68 +32
National Liberal Party 47 -80
Other 14 +1

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Events of the Wood Presidency, 1923

January 8: The limits on capital ship construction established by the Washington Naval Conference are rejected by the U.S. Senate. Capital ship construction continues as planned in 1920, with 8 Lexington-class battlecruisers and 8 Odin-class battleships (so named in honor of Cabinet Secretary Knute Nelson’s Norwegian heritage) in various stages of construction.1

March 6: Vladimir Lenin suffers his third stroke, and subsequently retires as Chair of Soviet Government.

March 18: First Secretary Dyer’s pet law, making lynching a federal crime punishable by death, manages to pass over a Senate filibuster attempt, thanks to Vice-President Calvin Coolidge’s deft use of parliamentary tactics to outmanuever Democratic opposition. In the House, the law passes in spite of major opposition within the House Republicans, thanks to the unanimous support of the law by the Workers’ Party. Dyer and Wood both agree that this is perhaps the first green shoots of their reform policy.

May 8: The World War Adjusted Compensation Act, AKA the Bonus Bill, is signed into law.

June 1: The National Forests are significantly enlarged by the Clarke-McNary Act, in a strong tri-partisan vote. President Wood and First Secretary Dyer agree that the “unthinkable option” just might be in order now.

August 2: Warren G. Harding, U.S. Senator, passes away of an apparent heart attack. With one of the more powerful conservative voices in the Senate absent, Wood delivers his ultimatum to the Congress: support the “Progress Platform” as originally intended, or split the Republican Party. Dyer announces that a failure to act will mean a drastic reshuffling of the Cabinet: moderate Republicans will form a coalition government with the Workers’ Party in both the House and Senate, and he will force through the Platform anyway. Such a coalition, he calculates, will have majority support in both the Senate and the House.

August 8: Upton Sinclair, Opposition Leader, goes on record in favor of the First Secretary’s terms. He is willing to accept junior partnership in a coalition government in exchange for reforms more drastic than those outlined in the Progress Platform. Industrial workers across the U.S. go out on strike in support of the re-alignment.

September 16: First Secretary Dyer finds himself caught in a bind. The votes he needed to pass the reforms have quickly dried up, scared off by labor unrest and second thoughts, while simultaneously the votes he needs to go through with his ultimatum have vanished in both houses of Congress. With his gambit failed, and his political legitimacy destroyed, Dyer resigns before the motion of confidence can be filed.

October 1: Frederick Gillett is elected First Secretary by the House of Representatives. True to form, reshuffles the cabinet upon taking office, removing Dyer’s appointees and re-instating Mann’s snubbed Secretaries.

November 8: In spite of the major differences in ideology, Gillett passes some of the legislation sponsored by Dyer’s government, including a law greatly restricting the use of child labor in manufacturing. Elsewhere, Adolf Hitler begins the ultimately unsuccessful Beer-Hall Putsch.

1. This will probably be the only time I do this, but I feel I must invoke “Rule of Cool” here. Naming battleships after states is rather lame, so I felt I had to put a stop to the U.S. Navy’s absurd naming conventions. Anyway, here are some vital stats for battleship aficionados to drool over in the meantime.

Type: Lexington-class battlecruiser (similar to reality)
Displacement: 48,550 tons (empty)
Length: 270 meters
Beam: 32.1 meters
Draft: 9.2 meters
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, four shafts, total 180,000 shp
Speed: 33 knots
Armament: 8 x 406mm/50 cal (4x2)
16 x 152mm/53 cal
4 x 76mm/50 cal
Armor: 178mm belt, 130-230mm barbette, 305mm conning tower, 280mm turret, 152mm side, 76-152mm deck

Type: Odin-class battleship
Displacement: 58,200 tons (empty)
Length: 252 meters
Beam: 34 meters
Draft: 10 meters
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, four shafts, total 180,000 shp
Speed: 27 knots
Armament: 12 x 406mm/50 cal (4x3)
16 x 152mm/53 cal
12 x 76mm/50 cal
Armor: 380mm belt, 380 barbette, 406mm conning tower, 460mm turret, 152mm side, 203mm deck

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Events of the Wood Presidency, 1924

January 21: Vladimir Lenin dies; in the leadership vacuum left by the passing of such a living legend, the slow purging process by Josef Stalin soon begins.

January 27: Petrograd is renamed Leningrad; Lenin’s body is embalmed and interred in a mausoleum against his explicit wishes.

February 1: Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour prime minister of Britain.

February 16: The United Kingdom formally recognizes the USSR. The US, under President Wood’s directive, soon follows suit.

March 8: The Castle Gate mine disaster in kills over one hundred miners in Utah, prompting major outcries for mine-safety across the US. Across the US, the National Guard is called out to suppress miner’s strikes.

April 1: Adolf Hitler is sentenced to 5 years in jail for his participation in the Beer Hall Putsch. He serves only 9 months.

April 7: In a rigged election, the Italian Fascists cement a 2/3rds control of the Italian Parliament.

May 8: Debate begins in the U.S. Congress over the formation of a national investigatory police.

July 1: The National Bureau of Investigation is founded. J. Edgar Hoover is appointed the head of the undersized, underfunded institution with investigatory authority only over the distribution of condoms and pornography across state lines.1

August 6: An act of Congress is passed granting all Native Americans within the territorial boundaries of the United States full citizenship rights.

October 27: The Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic formally joins the USSR.

November 4: United States General Election: President Wood is re-elected by a comfortable margin. First Secretary Gillett forms a Republican minority-government.

1. Basically, not all that different than reality. It’s amazing that something so big can start out so pathetic.

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Events of the Wood Presidency, 1925

January 8: Benito Mussolini assumes dictatorial powers in Italy.

February 18: The Workers’ Party sponsored national newspaper, The Daily Worker, reaches parity with The New York Times in circulation.

March 4: President Wood is inaugurated President for his second term.

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The 1924 U.S. Presidential Election

President Wood, in spite of the rancor, manages to win the Republican Nomination, though he is forced to take conservative Herbert Hoover as his running mate.

The Workers’ Party nominates Upton Sinclair and Walter Lippmann for its ticket. The party hopes to strengthen its foothold among northern workers and further edge out Democratic voters in the north.

As for the Democratic Party, the nomination of Bourbon Democrat John W. Davis has done little to help the party’s electoral prospects. In many cases, party leaders see the participation in national elections as pro forma. So long as the party controls the southern State governments, all is well.


Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Leonard Wood (R) 13,012,123 303
Upton Sinclair (W) 9,753,111 116
John W. Davis (D) 6,486,324 112

1924 electoral vote map

The 1924 U.S. Congressional Election

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Minority Government
Republican Party 200 -14
Independent 1 -3
Workers’ Party 158 +26
Democratic Party 76 -9

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 50 -2
Democratic Party 29 -2
Workers’ Party 17 +4

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Excerpt from Storming the Gates of Heaven: A History of the Comintern, by Albert E. Kahn, Progress Publishers, Cambridge, Mass., 1962.
Lenin’s corpse was hardly even cold before the power struggle began in the USSR. The struggle for dominance between Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin1, at first limited to the Soviet Politburo, would eventually come to be played out on a dramatic world stage, becoming one of the pre-eminent international ideological conflicts of the 20th Century.

...At the Sixth World Congress, held from July to August of 1925, the delegates agreed that a major restructuring of the International’s strategy was in order. The complete failure of revolutionary movements to spread socialism through central Europe had seriously affected the legitimacy of worker’s movements all accross the world. The unfortunate outcome, as might be guessed, was that this failure damaged the credibility of internationalists within the Soviet state, and ultimately gave Josef Stalin, the unscrupulous Rossiyan chauvinist and political manipulator that he was, just the leverage he needed to secure total mastery of the Soviet state.

It was at the Sixth Congress that Bukharin outlined Stalin’s thesis of “socialism in one country”. The programme laid out before the Congress by Zinoviev generally finalized the disastrous splits within the international left; Comintern parties would abandon their insurrectionary tactics and underground organizations to stand for parliamentary elections, but they would still offer only limited cooperation with socialist parties. In the United States, this resulted in the dissolution of the underground Communist Party apparatus into the mainstream Workers’ Party, and a general turnover of leadership within the party.

...John Reed reluctantly complied with Zinoviev’s order to resign his position as Executive Secretary and stand for a by-election to the U.S. House in Greenwich Village, a constituency he won and held until his eventual retirement from politics in 1945. A more pro-Moscow Troika would be placed in the party’s leadership, consisting of Reed’s successor, C.E. Ruthenberg, the inimitable Wobbly leader “Big Bill” Haywood, and Earl Browder. This move led directly to an internal conflict between the party’s organization apparatus and the parliamentary party, under the tenure of Opposition Leader Upton Sinclair and his whip, William Z. Foster.

That year’s national convention would dramatically illustrate this tension. The parliamentary faction, which generally favored increased party pluralism and syndicalism, quickly began to resent Moscow’s increasingly heavy hand in internal party politics. The pro-Moscow party organization fought to tighten standards of membership, and bring the parliamentary faction under Moscow’s directives. The central flashpoints that year were the choice of many syndicalist groups, many anarchist or left communist, to begin entry into the party, including the famous German émigré and self-professed anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker. The Muscovites generally opposed allowing such groups to join the party, decrying them as “infantile leftists”. The parliamentary faction, with the support of much of the union’s rank and file, was much in favor of a united left front.

The other was the question of parliamentary tactics, especially on the electoral front. Prior to this date, with the exception of a few of the most concentrated industrial regions, the Workers’ Party had generally avoided campaigning in the South for tactical reasons. The party’s limited resources would make a campaign in the South futile due to the combined weight of the completely dominant reactionary Democratic Party. Not even the national Republican Party, which commanded resources far more vast than than the Workers’ Party could hope to field, could successfully crack into the South. Campaigning among Negroes was similarly futile; though population of former slaves in both the North and South were incredibly receptive to socialism, throughout much of the South voting was an absolute impossibility, even in federal elections. Regrettably, even as these words are written the battle for full suffrage and equality for the American Negroe in the South is not yet fully won.

...The outcome of the convention was mixed, and neither faction came away with a clear victory. The Muscovites “Southern Strategy” had ultimately prevailed. The party would have a candidate standing in each and every one of the 435 House constituencies, and the unionization drives would now focus on organizing rural and urban Southern workers, both black and white. On the other hand, the Muscovites were forced to accept, against the Comintern’s directives, that syndicalists, left communists and even anarchists be counted among the “tested communists” the Comintern demanded be placed in the party’s offices.
1. In the popular imagination in our world, the complexities of the post-Lenin power vacuum are most often reduced to a long conflict between Stalin and Trotsky. For whatever reason (Trotsky had been an opponent of Stalin since almost the very beginning, and was one of the last leaders to be co-opted or silenced), Trotsky became the poster boy for the dissident left. And as you can imagine, for a movement and eventually a state that attached itself to Trotsky, that enduring myth would color everyone’s perceptions, even an academic’s.

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Events of the Wood/Hoover Presidencies, 1925

March 8: The American section of the Young Pioneers communist youth group is formally founded in New York. Essentially a political, urban Boy Scouts, the group becomes an important facet of inner city life quickly after its founding.

April 8: F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes his (eventually) famous novel, Under Red, White and Blue, to mixed critical reception and moderate commercial success.1

May 1: Turnout at annual May Day parades and demonstrations is a disappointment this year. The steadily growing economy and reduced unemployment have in many ways deflated militancy on the Left. The Workers’ Party and the Solidarity labor union face the first decline in total membership after almost two decades of steady growth in membership.

May 17: National news suddenly turns to a small town in Iowa, over a teacher’s defiance of the state’s anti-evolution law. The impending trial is expected to have national ramifications.

July 4: Independence Day celebrations across the country suddenly turn very somber, as news spreads of an assassination attempt on President Wood. The lone gunman is killed while attempting escape. Wood, already in poor health, is gravely wounded by two shots to the chest from the assassin’s revolver.

July 11: Herbert Hoover is sworn in as President. Due to a miscommunication about President Wood’s death, Hoover is accidently sworn in almost a full hour before the President’s passing. Due to this, and other unsightly coincidences in the affair, conspiracy theories begin to form around the assassination in later years.

August 1: The National Revenue Act of 1925 is signed into law by President Hoover. The Act greatly reduced federal income taxes across the board, especially on higher incomes. The federal government still maintains a modest surplus after the tax reductions, allowing the government to continue retiring some of the war debt from the First World War.

August 18: In the USSR, Leon Trotsky resigns his position in Sovnarkom as the People’s Commissar for War, under mounting criticism within the party over, among other things, his earlier criticism of Zinoviev and Kamanev as well as his thesis on permanent revolution.

October 3: A Congressional joint resolution authorizing a constitutional amendment to ban the production, sale and distribution of alcohol is soundly defeated. The Prohibition movement begins a long, slow death in American politics, lingering in some areas for decades but losing most if not all of the former national attention it had received.

October 25: Walter Francis White, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, cautiously endorses the Workers’ Party’s new emphasis on anti-segregation and anti-racism. W.E.B. Du Bois, Publications Director for the NAACP, is not so tepid. He begins publishing a series of essays in Crisis, the NAACP journal, championing an alliance between “the forces of labor liberation and the forces of Negroe liberation”.

December 11: At the Fourteenth Party Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, the Troika between Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev disintegrates. Zinoviev and Kamanev criticize Stalin over the increasingly dictatorial nature of his leadership of the Party. Stalin, now allied with Bukharin, Molotov and Kalininn, begins strengthening his grip on the Politburo.

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Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1926

January 16: A BBC radio play about a worker’s revolution causes a panic in London, dramatically revealing the great tension between labor and capital in the UK.

February 4: Eugene Debs, five-time presidential candidate and spiritual leader of the American socialist movement, passes away in his sleep. With the unifying force of Debs gone, many fear that the Workers’ Party will soon splinter.

April 28: A coal miner’s strike begins in Britain. The conflict soon boils over into a full general strike. While the labor’s taking to the streets is far short of a revolution in progress, the quick degeneration of the situation proves that fears of labor uprising are not totally without merit.

May 14: The British general strike ends with a negotiated settlement.

July 17: The Automobile Workers’ Union is founded in Detroit, Michigan.

August 1: President Hoover cautiously endorses First Secretary Gilett’s proposal for legislation that would, in effect, legitimate the existence of industrial unions and enforce collective bargaining contracts. With unions entrenched in every major American industry, the need for arbitration becomes manifestly apparent.

October 11: A decree issued by Mussolini’s government in Italy orders the arrest of all parliamentary deputies of the Italian Communist Party.

October 14: The Labor Standards Act, legitimating industrial unionism, passes the U.S. House 287-111. However, the legislation faces an uncertain fate in the more aristocratic Senate.

December 1: Compromise deals over the Labor Standards Act fail, resulting in the defeat of the Act 36-58 in the Senate. In response, the House votes on a constitutional amendment resolution to strip powers from the U.S. Senate. Gilett hopes that the controversy, and the threat of a constitutional convention called by the states, might give the Senate reason to reconsider. Ultimately, the controversy goes nowhere.

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Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1927

February 1: Norman Thomas, a former Presbyterian minister and New York City councilman, is elected to the U.S. House in a by-election. A powerful orator and an enthusiastic activist, he quickly becomes a powerful figure in New York labor politics.

May 17: Charles Lindbergh, a daring airmail pilot, is pronounced missing and presumed dead, after his plane fails to arrive in Great Britain. An attempt at the first solo flight across the Atlantic will not be made again for several months.

June 1: In the USSR, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev, former adversaires, form a United Opposition against Stalin’s growing hegemony in the Communist Party.

June 8: Actor William Haines, the number one box office draw of the year, openly discusses his homosexuality and his relationship with his partner Jimmie Shields in an interview with The Daily Worker. The national news attention following is more one of curiosity than condemnation.2

July 16: American troops are deployed to China to protect vital American commercial interests.

October 6: The silent film era ends with the release of The Jazz Singer.

November 8: Leon Trotsky and Grigory Zinoviev are formally expelled from the Communist Party. Trotsky and his associates refuse to capitulate, and soon face the prospect of internal exile.

December 6: The Soviet Communist Party, at its Fifteenth Congress, issues an official edict condemning all deviation from the party line. Josef Stalin is effectively undisputed master of the Soviet state.

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Events of the Hoover Presidency, 1928

January 30: Leon Trotsky is arrested by State Security. He assumes a state of passive resistance, and is exiled to Alma Ata in the following month.

March 2: In accordance with “Second Period” Comintern policies, the Workers’ Party of America adopts the name “Workers’ (Communist) Party”.

April 4: Max Eastman, editor of The Daily Worker, publishes an article in the paper in support of Leon Trotsky, and heavily criticizes Josef Stalin’s growing leadership cult. Calls by the Comintern for his expulsion from the party begin almost immediately.

April 8: The United States Republican Party begins issuing its first official membership cards. President Hoover accepts the first card, becoming the first “official” member of the Republican Party. Membership dues, collected during the primary season at party rallies, will be used to fund the national Congressional campaign.

May 4: Aviatrix Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to successfully fly across the Atlantic.

June 18: American troops stationed in China begin a general withdrawal.

July 2: A papal edict is issued, aimed at the growing involvement of U.S. Catholics with the socialist movement. It harshly condemns socialism and laborism, and instead encourages humility and charity as an alternative. Known members of the Workers’ Party are to be explicitly denied communion.

August 6: First Secretary Gilett publicly announces his retirement from leadership of the Republican Party and from politics in general. Majority Leader Nicholas Longworth is elected to head the government for the remainder of the Congress.

November 6: U.S. general election. President Hoover is reelected to a second term, and Republican Party returns a solid majority in the House of Representatives. Cooperation between the President and the First Secretary is expected to be high.3

December 18: In one of its last acts, the lame duck 68th Congress approves construction of a hydroelectric dam in the Boulder Canyon on the Colorado River.

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Events of the First Hoover Presidency, 1929

February 11: Leon Trotsky, along with his wife and son, is expelled from the USSR, to Istanbul, Turkey.

March 4: Herbert Hoover is sworn into his second term as President. Nicholas Longworth forms a Republican majority government.

1. The Great Gatsby. Under Red, White and Blue was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s preferred title in our timeline, but he arrived at it too late in publication to change the name of the book.

2. I was surprised to learn this, but apparently the Roaring Twenties was a period of relative acceptance of homosexuality unmatched until the mid-to-late 1970s. I’d chalk it up to innocence rather than a progressive social attitude, but at any rate a major interview with an already openly gay individual seems like a decent point of departure for the development of different LBGT politics.

The 1928 U.S. Presidential Election

Herbert Hoover handily wins the nomination from the Republican Party. The Republican Party national secretary, a close confidant of the president, sets the party’s sights on the South, hoping to crack the Democratic Party’s dominance of the region once and for all. Campaigners, organizers and a slew of hopeful Congressional candidates descend upon the South during the campaign season. Many run under the banner of the Conservative Party. However, the Conservative Party is little more than a regional auxiliary to the Republican Party to avoid much anti-Republican sentiment left over from the Civil War.

The Workers’ (Communist) Party again nominates Upton Sinclair for President. His running mate, young New Yorker Norman Thomas, brings a helpful human face to the ticket. Thomas’ success at organizing with churches and religious groups bolsters the party’s campaign, as it mirrors the dominant Republicans’ turn towards the South. The party hopes to rally Southern populists, tenant farmers, exploited blacks and white industrial workers into an effective coalition to take control of the House of Representatives.

The ailing Democratic Party further entrenches, and again nominates Bourbon Democrat John W. Davis. The party finds itself beset on two fronts, and struggles to hold onto its remaining House seats, as well as the Southern state governments.


Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Herbert Hoover (R) 19,345,891 337
Upton Sinclair (W) 12,125,054 130
John W. Davis (D) 6,521,324 64

1928 electoral vote map

The 1928 U.S. Congressional Election

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Republican Majority Government
Republican Party 246 +46
Conservative Party 41 +41
Workers’ Party 112 -46
Democratic Party 36 -40
Independent 0 -1

U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 49 -1
Democratic Party 21 -8
Conservative Party 8 +8
Workers’ Party 18 +1

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Excerpts from “Review: Towards a Permanent Republican Majority” by George Catlin, in American Political Science Review, Vol. 24, No. 1, February 1930.
Nathan Fines’ recent study of American political trends gives us a bold prediction: as a direct consequence of political dynamics, demographic trends and most of all economic cycles, the American Republican Party will be uniquely situated to dominate American political life for the foreseeable future. Fines’ thesis is bold indeed, and while the Republican Party’s landslide general election victory and the political success of the Hoover-Longworth Administration’s1 political programme may seem to the pedestrian observer to be proof positive, we must be more cautious in evaluating the strength of such a profound claim. Nevertheless, Fines has come prepared, marshalling an impressive range of evidence with remarkable clarity.

...One of the strongest planks of Fines’ thesis is his analysis of the Republican Party’s successful strategy of co-opting both the political programmes and organization methods of their adversaries at the polls. Since the final midterm Congressional election in 1918, the Republican Party’s chief adversary has been the communist Workers’ Party. As Fines so eloquently put it, “the socialist opposition has been the most able and thorough schoolmaster in the art of mass politics in the entirety of the Grand Old Party’s existence.” Indeed, the Republicans have made able use of their education. The modern Republican Party, organizationally, is the mirror image of the mass-based membership Workers’ Party2. The Republicans’ impressive resources have allowed for the mobilization of an impressive membership group, and a powerful electoral apparatus to mobilize support for the party on Election Day.

The Republicans have done more than learn new organizational methods from the opposition, though. While many high-profile attempts at political realignment failed under the Wood presidency, the Republican Party has spent most of the ’20s experimenting with adopting facets of the Workers’ Party’s “Minimal Programme”. Hoover’s first term led to limited success on that front, adopting landmark workplace safety legislation; it was ultimately First Secretary Longworth’s decisive reorganization of the parliamentary Republican membership leading up to and after the 1928 election victory that have allowed the social democratic reforms of the past year. Hoover’s controversial election platform, which called for the nationalisation of the railroads and comprehensive federal disaster relief programmes, are, as Fines’ polling data demonstrates, a key factor to winning over many Midwestern and Southern farmers to the Republican Party. In spite of high profile opposition within the party, both measures passed under Longworth’s strong parliamentary leadership.

...However, there remain some problems with Fines’ thesis. A permanent Republican majority rests on extrapolating current economic and demographic trends. A dramatic increase in the rate of urbanisation, or a weakening of economic standard of living growth, could very easily upset the Republican Party’s prospects for the future. Similarly, Fines’ prediction of the total demise of the Democratic Party within the next decade is beset with reasonable doubts. Identification with the Democratic Party is still very strong in the American South, in spite of the success of both the Republican and Workers’ Parties’ penetration of the electorate in the last election. The Republicans’ Southern auxiliary, the Conservative Party, simply may not have the staying power to uproot such an enduring tradition.
1. The new trend in this late period has become one of naming the President and the First Secretary together for a given administration.

2. The author here omits the Solidarity labor union’s position within the Workers’ Party apparatus in the analysis, as he doesn’t find it an important distinction.

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Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre
“Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.”
-Irving Fisher
The Roaring Twenties, as they’d been called, had been revered as a new Golden Age of Civilization. The growth of science, the arts, education and standards of living across Europe and the United States had been unprecedented in history. The Weimar Republic, in spite of difficulties imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, had presided over an age of tolerance, humanism and culture envied the world over. Britain and France had recovered much of their strength, depleted from the trenches of the First World War. The colonies remained mostly docile. And the United States, the continued revolutions in the arts promised to transform the dull drudgery of daily life for all time. Radio and cinema became the new universal language, and new developments in a strange scientific contraption called a “television” promised to bring the cinema to the home within a decade or two.

But the Golden Age was not to last. It would soon collapse under its own internal stresses. The dreamers of the Roaring Twenties were abruptly woken up on Thursday, February 6th, 1930. What had seemed like a normal business cycle abruptly accelerated. In the panic on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, a record 14 million shares were traded on Black Thursday.

Though the actions of a few high profile investors had temporarily averted panic that day, the news of the growing crisis continued to spread across the United States. The panic could not be contained. The following Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 45 points (12 percent). The panic only continued the next day, losing a further 14 percent that Tuesday.

The Stock Market Crash of 1930 would become the opening act of what would be known the world over as “The Great Depression”. The Great Depression would herald a decade of despair and revolution. Empires and republics alike would topple under the weight of the economic collapse. Fascism rise to power in Europe, ravaging the world with horrors never matched in all of human history.

Governments would soon scramble to contain the crisis. In the United States, a controversial tariff, the Smoot-Hawley Act, was reluctantly signed into law by President Hoover in June of 1930. The Act not only contained the largest increases in tariffs ever proposed, but also contained measures effectively outlawing trade unions, which had been tolerated but never fully endorsed by the federal government since the First World War. International trade would soon grind to a near halt, and the act further inflamed the seething tensions between capital and labor.

August of 1930 would see a wave of major bank failures in the United States. The faltering of credit and finance was followed quickly by deflation. The Federal Reserve and the Longworth Government were unable and unwilling to abandon the Gold Standard, and through a combination of ill-advised action by the former and inaction by the latter, the money supply would only further contract in 1931. The ensuing deflationary spiral and new waves of bank failures deepened the crisis.

The crisis originated in the United States, and ultimately the U.S. was among the nations hardest hit by the Great Depression. By the time the Depression reached its nadir in June of 1933, industrial production had fallen by almost 50 percent. Half of the 25,000 banks in the United States had failed. GDP fell by 35.2 percent. Total unemployment reached a high of 28 percent, and non-farm employment reached 43 percent. Over 1 million families lost their farms, and average family income fell by almost half.

The nadir of the Great Depression would coincide with the fall of Washington D.C. during the brief Second American Civil War and the rise of the Nazis to absolute power in Germany.

The preceding excerpt was from the introduction of a chapter titled “The Great Depression and the Revolution” from a generic high school American history textbook, circa 1988.

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The Opening Salvo: 1930 Senate Elections

One peculiar artifact of the constitutional system of the late United States was the off-year Senate elections. In spite of Woodrow Wilson’s attempts, he was unable to significantly change the operations of the Senate. While it usually assumed a secondary role to the House, its electoral cycles still followed the same six-year, staggered terms, with one third of the house up for election every two years. And in the middle of the Great Depression, this off-year election suddenly mattered again.

The only major reform made to the Senate had occurred early in 1929, in which the Senate, at the recommendation of President Hoover, with “urgent insistence” of First Secretary Longworth, re-adopted the rules for moving the previous question, 113 years after they had been excised as “redundant”. Now that a simple majority could control the Senate, the results of the election made it abundantly clear that the Republican Party would soon be in deep trouble.

By this point, nearly 3/4ths of the states had adopted some form of electoral component for Senate elections, ultimately serving to increase the volatility of the Senate’s membership.


U.S. Senate
Party Seats Change
Republican Party 36 -13
Workers’ Party 29 +11
Democratic Party 27 +6
Conservative Party 4 -4

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’Tis the Final Conflict: The Workers’ (Communist) Party Convention

In sharp contrast to the bitter accusations at the Republican convention, and the catatonic snoring at the Democratic Party convention, the Workers’ Party convention reflected a great deal of optimism and euphoria. The party’s membership rolls, declining for years, had practically exploded. New locals from all across America, even in the Deep South, had been chartered and sent delegates to the convention.

Still, there were numerous issues to be settled. The slate of Congressional candidates had to be approved, the party platform adopted, and most importantly, the leadership candidates would have to be selected, the most important of which would be the man who would run for president; he might very well be the party’s first president, and if a peaceful, democratic changing of the guard was to occur, the right man for the job would need to be selected.

The Comintern had always been apathetic to the notion of American exceptionalism: that socialism in the United States could be achieved at the ballot box, without a violent overthrow of the old order. At the convention, four candidates with very different backgrounds decided to step into the ring for the honor.

Opposition Leader Upton Sinclair of New Jersey was the universally acknowledged front-runner. A brilliant writer and parliamentary leader with impeccable leftist credentials, Sinclair had been the party’s Congressional leader since 1914, and perhaps the spiritual leader of the party after Grandfather Debs’ passing.

Sinclair’s closest rival for the position was party General Secretary Earl Browder, a powerful statesman and effective organizer with strong ties to Moscow and the Comintern. However, his position as Stalin’s favorite had caused some in the party to be suspicious of him. Even with Stalin’s general esteem within the American left, there was growing resentment at his heavy-handed international leadership.

The admitted underdog at the convention was Rep. John Reed of New York. His popularity among leftists and non-leftists was considerable, but his openly admitted sympathies for Trotsky had caused a great deal of controversy, as had his cooperation with Trotsky on a volume of Soviet history. While pro-Trotsky members were a substantial minority within the party, even many who were sympathetic saw Reed as a source of unnecessary controversy with the Comintern.

The dark horse of the ensemble was the young and charismatic Norman Thomas, also from New York. A rising star within the party, he tempered his unabashed leftism with a strongly humanistic leadership style, and open Christian sensibilities.

The debate was intense, and ultimately much of the substance of the debate was over leadership qualities rather than any major doctrinal differences. Nevertheless, some key issues of policy did come up. Browder favored the total revocation of the tax-exempt status of religious groups and the total abolition of private schools. Thomas strongly objected to such heavy-handed practices, and favored a casual re-integration of parochial school students into mainstream schools. Sinclair and Reed favored the collectivization of small business properties into worker-owned enterprises, whereas Browder argued for nationalization.

When the votes were tallied on the first ballot, Sinclair and Thomas were roughly neck and neck, with Browder falling behind considerably, and Reed taking only a mere fifteen percent of the votes. With Browder and Reed eliminated in the second ballot, the two threw their support to Sinclair and Thomas respectively. With the second ballot, Thomas clinched a narrow victory for the nomination. With Sinclair’s own assent, and Thomas’ strong support, Sinclair received and accepted the nomination for Vice-President.

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The 1932 U.S. Presidential Election

The 1932 general election campaign was the longest and most intense campaign season for both major parties yet recorded. Everyone knew how much was at stake for both camps, and without accurate polling data, the prospect of victory was uncertain for either camp.

Assuredly, The Daily Worker predicted landslide victories for Thomas as often as The New York Times predicted landslide victories for Hoover. Sometimes, they even cited surveys to support their predictions, but doubtlessly, such surveys would be laughed at by any modern statistician.

Hoover, at any rate, knew how much trouble he and his party were in. His back door plea to controversial Democratic Party presidential nominee Huey Long to drop out of the race to avoid splitting the anti-communist vote was met with Long’s explicit indifference to whether capitalism or socialism was the order of the day in the United States.

Thomas and Sinclair toured the country by train, delivering speeches to unemployed (and workers desperately hanging onto their jobs) in every state. Ultimately, it was their continued insistence for a full-employment program that was their biggest asset in the election, more than any of their other planks of their platform. Nationalization of industry and the development of a planned economy may have been appealing planks to party workers, but ultimately, it was not enthusiasm or disgust with which most workers received those ideas, but total ambivalence.


Candidate Popular Vote Electoral Vote
Norman Thomas (W) 21,205,786 381
Herbert Hoover (R) 14,143,945 13
Huey Long (D) 7,652,125 137

1932 electoral vote map

(Note that the color schema have been changed)

The 1932 U.S. Congressional Election

House of Representatives
Party Seats Change
Workers’ Party Majority Government
Workers’ Party 265 +143
Democratic Party 81 +45
Republican Party 80 -166
Conservative Party 9 -32

U.S. Senate Election Results
Party Seats Change
Workers’ Party 39 +10
Democratic Party 29 +2
Republican Party 24 -12
Conservative Party 4 +0

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Revolution a-Knockin’ at the Door: The Ensuing Panic

Those who had been associated with the old order—businessmen, political leaders, intellectuals and government ministers—had thought they had been prepared for the worst with the election. The sheer scale of the Workers’ Party’s victory, and the many Democratic lawmakers who had pledged cooperation with First Secretary-apparent William Z. Foster’s future government, had frightened far too many important people. While they were prepared to endure British style Labourism, the scale of the victory, and the millions of workers out in the streets, had set many into a panic.

To anyone with an objective view of history, their panic was largely unwarranted. While the Workers’ Party was disciplined, and had a solid majority in the House of Representatives, and the control of a large majority of state governments, without control of the Senate or the courts, the party’s goals would have to advance at a frustratingly slow pace. There would have been socialism in the United States, but it wouldn’t have been the full blown Bolshevism that so many feared.

The military, however, was completely unwilling to take that chance. Longworth’s lame duck government, more importantly, was entirely willing to accept the heavy handed measures that General MacArthur had proposed to the mid-November emergency Cabinet meeting. They terrorized themselves with nightmares of Bolshevik monsters running through their minds, and soon enough, they chose to take the course that would make them self-fulfilling prophets.

Finally, on February 1, 1933, President Hoover reluctantly relented, and under the provision of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution, he declared the United States to be in a state of unlawful insurrection, and declared martial law. Habeas corpus would be suspended, and leaders of the Workers’ Party were to be arrested under the terms of the Sedition Act for “encouraging insurrection and the willful destruction of property”, and made ineligible for holding federal office under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. Legal pretexts aside, what the President and General MacArthur had essentially done was suspend the Constitution and place the country at the mercy of a military junta.

How the putschists hoped to maintain control of the country with only the modest U.S. military, with perhaps 250,000 active service members in the Army, and another forty thousand serving in the Marines, with maybe another quarter million in the National Guard can only be guessed at. Regardless, on that day, the Second American Civil War began.

That very same day, a band of some forty-thousand army veterans, calling themselves the “Bonus Expeditionary Force”, had just made the decision to march on Washington D.C. to petition the government to redeem their promised service bonuses at an early date. Hungry and out of work, little did these beleaguered veterans know that in the coming months, they would be at the center of the world’s attention.

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A Spanner in the Works: The U.S. General Strike of 1933

The actions of February 1 by the MacArthur military junta would not go long unanswered. While President-elect Thomas and Workers’ (Communist) Party General Secretary Browder were quickly apprehended by the NBI, much of the party’s central executive committee had gone underground quickly enough. With the Congress permanently suspended, and the Cabinet committed to using whatever measures to contain the situation, it was quickly agreed that the time for subtle measures had long since past. On February 4, a telegram was relayed from the Workers’ Party central office in Chicago to every party and union local across the country. The unsigned telegram, likely written by “Big Bill” Haywood, simply read, “General strike ordered. Resist capitalist oppressors at every turn. WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!”

Nearly ten million workers answered the call by the end of the week. Every major industry, from textiles to steel, from auto manufacturing to power generation, had ground to a near total standstill. In Detroit, Michigan, the automobile workers occupied the majority of the plants belonging to Ford as well as General Motors. The workers of Pittsburgh, supported by the striking municipal police, declared the second Pittsburgh Commune. And in the Chicago Commune, the spiritual heart of the American labor movement, the Commune’s government declared the expropriation of all the heavy industry in the city.

In New York City, the five Communes1 declared their relationship with the reactionary state government in Albany to be nullified, and declared the formation of the New York Autonomous Socialist Republic. Like in Pittsburgh, and in sharp contrast to the Communards’ last struggles, the New York police supported the cause this time.

On February 9, a delegation of union leaders from all the constituent members of the Solidarity labor union met with the several dozen Workers’ Party congressmen who had escaped arrest in the Chicago Commune. In two short days of furious discussion, they drafted the Labor Declaration of Independence. Strongly echoing the classic document, the Declaration demanded the restoration of the Constitution, the seating of the Workers’ Party in the Congress, the arrest and treason trial of all the leading members of the military junta, including General MacArthur, President Hoover, and First Secretary Longworth. As was agreed, only when these demands were totally met would the call for strike be rescinded.

The junta was apparently not impressed by the workers’ ultimatum. The National Guards of every state were called out and placed under the direct control of the Cabinet. Army units were being mobilized to strike at the centers of power controlled by the strikers. Naval personnel were armed and pressed into service at vital port cities to force an end to strikes in Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Norfolk, Boston and Annapolis. To maintain order in the South and deal with the Long-led insurgency within the Democratic Party, members of the KKK were being organized into “freedom corps” led by U.S. Marshals and loyal state troopers.

On February 14, the first of these Freedom Corps struck at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A Marine battalion, supplemented by six hundred armed Klansmen auxiliaries, marched on the state capitol building, arriving just after Long had arrived to speak before the emergency session of the state legislature. State troopers loyal to the Kingfish tried desperately to hold off the onslaught, but the building was quickly surrounded. A detachment of Klansmen, armed with BARs and Thompson submachine guns, entered the state House chamber, where the Governor and many of the state legislators had taken refuge. What followed has since been known as the “Bloody Valentine Massacre”; 111 members of the state legislature, along with Governor Huey Long, were assassinated for their support of the Workers’ Party and their opposition to the military junta. By week’s end, much of the Louisiana state police had been successfully purged, and much of the civil service made to sign loyalty oaths to the federal government.

Similar purges were carried out among dissidents throughout the Southern United States. Freedom Corps, armed and sanctioned by the federal government, bullied reluctant state governments to support the military junta, massacred several rallies of striking workers, and undertook a ruthless purge of the (mostly black) membership of the Workers’ Party in the Southern states.

The situation was little better in the North. While Southerners had to endure the ham-handed efforts of inept National Guard regiments and vicious paramilitary groups, MacArthur had pledged the full weight of the U.S. Army to be used on the “open revolution” in the North.

Army divisions were dispatched to suppress the Chicago, Seattle and Milwaukee communes. National Guardsmen were mobilized to retake Pittsburgh, and a daring Marine landing on Long Island was planned to put an end to the festering New York situation once and for all. MacArthur had hoped that the forty thousand plus army veterans of the “Bonus Army” could be bought off and armed as paramilitaries, but when this overture was rebuffed on March 1, he ordered 3d Cavalry Regiment, under the command of Lt. Colonel George S. Patton, to march on their current camp in Pennsylvania and disperse them.

If all went according to plan, the “insurrection” would be crushed within two months, and the country could return to normalcy within a few years. What the leaders of the coup did not take into account was the extraordinary rot within the armed forces, and the daring of a few junior officers to take the first step.

1. The five Burroughs of New York

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Our Bullets Are for Our Own Generals: The Birth of the Red Army

Curious as it may be, the future of American democracy rested on a peculiar case of nepotism. By surrounding himself with friends and loyal confidants (such as Major Eisenhower or his comrades from the Socialist Club of the early ’20s) during his command of the 3d Cavalry Regiment, Patton was able to make the first bold step in defeating the ambitions of the reactionaries. Morale, even among the professionals of the Cavalry, was abysmally low as they set out to disperse a group of former comrades who wanted nothing more than bread to feed their families. The enlisted men and non-commissioned officers had, more likely than not, voted socialist in the last election. And at least half the officers had no stomach for the duty their government had given them.

Patton, seizing the initiative, order many of the more loyal officers to lead a small scouting detachment away from the main van as the regiment neared its meeting place with the Bonus Army. There, rather than carrying out his orders, Patton announced in front of his men and the veterans that he would be mutinying against the unlawful dictatorship in Washington. He rallied the veterans to join with his men to fight for freedom, democracy and socialism. On March 12, 1933, his rag-tag group of cavalry troopers and World War veterans declared themselves to “the Red Army”, and marched on the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory. The Pennsylvania National Guard brigade sent to intercept the Red Army mutinied as well, and fraternized with the Red Army. On March 18, the Armory surrendered without a fight, and Patton set about arming, organizing and drilling his soldiers into proper units.

There would be no time to spare, either. Pittsburgh was under siege by the 1st Infantry Division and elements of the Pennsylvania National Guard. The Red Army was forced to break camp and march double-time to relieve their comrades. Factory militias and city police could not hold out long against trained and well-armed soldiers. The ensuring Battle of Pittsburgh would be the first major battle of the Second Civil War. The battle, fought from March 28 to April 4, was a draw, with both sides taking considerable casualties, but it served to prove one thing: the Red Army could stand up against professional army units on equal terms.

As everyday passed by, and more workers took up arms and organized their own Red Army units, the hope of a restoration of the Constitution and a return to normalcy grew ever more dim. Even with the high profile successes of Patton’s group in Pennsylvania, almost everywhere the military still held the upper hand.

As April wore on, the battles grew in intensity. During that month, the Red Army in Ohio (composed of mutinying regiments of the Ohio National Guard as well as many volunteers) lost and retook Cincinnati twice. Similar battles took place all along the rail lines linking Chicago to Pittsburgh to New York. On the 15th, Springfield, Illinois, fell to the U.S. Army, and the 1st Marine Division landed on Long Island. The U.S. Army’s only major armored formation, the 1st Cavalry Division under Colonel Adna Chaffee, was dispatched to Chicago, with direct orders to “crush Red Guards insurrectionists protecting the seat of the rebellion, and prepare1 the city for assault by 3rd Inf. Div.”

April 26 would be American democracy’s darkest hour. The 1st Cavalry moved into the outskirts of Chicago that very morning. Pittsburgh came under attack by the 1st and 4th Infantry, and even “Blood and Guts” himself admitted that they only had a slim chance of holding onto the city facing such artillery superiority. A squadron of battle cruisers was moving into position to provide support for the 1st Marine’s assault on Queens.

But suddenly, the dawn broke over the horizon. On the 27th, Chaffee led his tanks into Chicago waving a red flag. The howitzers of the divisions attacking Pittsburgh exhausted their ammunition, and in the face of counterattacks by the Red Army were forced to retire. And the guns of the battlecruisers Lexington, Saratoga, Ticonderoga and Gettysburg fired, not on the Red Army emplacements, but on the positions of the 1st Marine Division.

On the morning of the 29th of April, hemmed in by Patton’s well-executed encirclement, the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions surrendered. Later that afternoon, the 1st Marine division surrendered as well. The tide had turned.

1. Euphemism for siege and artillery bombardment.

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May Day: The Revolution Consummated

With news of the victories of the previous day flooding into the Workers’ Party office on the 30th, William Z. Foster decided that it was now time to seize the initiative. Previously, they had been fighting just to restore the old order, and the old Constitution. Now that they had proven they could hold their own against the forces of reaction, it was time to surge forward. He quickly gathered the party leadership that remained, including Big Bill Haywood, John Reed, Upton Sinclair, Louis Fraina, James Cannon, Crystal Eastman and John Dewey.

That evening, he gave them a controversial plan of action: they would declare a formation of a new nation and a provisional government, dedicated to socialist principles and democracy. It was dangerous, but it was bold, and it might give them just the impetus they needed not only to win the Civil War, but also to cast aside the old order once and for all.

The debate was furious, and the assembled political leadership could not reach a sufficient consensus to go ahead or not, until the surprise entrance of Leon Trotsky late in the evening. The old revolutionary, having traveled from his home in Mexico to the U.S. at the first stirrings of trouble, had arrived to offer his counsel and support to his friends in America. Upon hearing of the debate at hand, Trotsky took his friend Reed aside and urged him to set aside caution and move forward. With Reed’s support in the next vote also came Cannon’s and Eastman’s. Reaching a consensus that night, they agreed to make a radio broadcast and send telegrams to all the locals declaring the formation of a provisional government.

At 9 A.M. the next morning, Foster delivered his address, syndicated across America. With a stirring speech, he urged workers across America to remain strong in their resolve to fight for democracy. He quickly outlined the party’s decision to form a provisional government, and added that this May Day, the holiest of holies for the American labor movement, would mark the birth of the Union of American Socialist Republics.

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The Formation of the Provisional Government

On May 3, 1933, 265 members of the Workers’ (Communist) Party met at the Balaban and Katz Chicago Theatre. Each member had been elected, or was standing in for someone elected, to the House of Representatives in last general election. Upon convention that morning, they adopted a resolution authorizing the formal creation of a provisional government for a Union of American Socialist Republics until such time as a formal constitution could be drafted and adopted. Declaring their quorum to be “a congress of People’s Deputies”, they elected a Central Committee to lead the government.1

The Provisional Revolutionary Government claimed sovereignty over the whole of the United States and all of its territories. However, at founding, its real control was far more limited. The New York Autonomous Socialist Republic, the Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin Socialist Republics, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Chicago, Seattle and St. Louis Communes had all officially endorsed the declaration of the provisional government.2 Similarly, Red Army units everywhere swore their allegiance to the provisional government, and attempted to cobble together a unified chain of command. State governments and local administrations elsewhere remained mostly under the control of the military junta.

But attempting to reduce the control of the nation at this point to lines on a map would be a futile exercise that would conceal the real truth: there was no line in the sand. Dozens of different paramilitary groups operated on both sides of the lines of battle, for both factions. The oft-forgotten battle by guerillas on both sides was at least as important as the major armies organized by either faction.

Fresh from victories at the end of April, now came the difficult task of winning the Civil War. At the first Central Committee meeting on May 4, First Secretary Foster laid out a list of immediate goals for the new government. Of prime importance, he argued, was the capture or smashing of the state machinery. Citing Marx’s The Civil War in France, he argued that the survival of the Revolution depended upon co-opting what parts of the bureaucracy, federal and state, that they could, and disrupting or destroying what could not be controlled. The government’s first decree, then, would be the emergency nationalization of state and local bureaucracies under their control, particularly police forces.

Next, a centralized chain of command for the Red Army would need to be established. Martin Abern, as People’s Secretary for Defense, would be the effective civilian commander of the armed forces. Though with limited military experience, Abern was a superb organizer, and a man ably suited to the task of fulfilling the Central Committee’s directive to form a General Staff and organize the logistics for the fledgling armed forces.

The final part of Foster’s strategy was foreign policy. To speed the new government’s recognition and secure aid from the Soviet government, John Reed was appointed People’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs. As the first step in what would later be known as the Foster-Reed Doctrine3, Reed was hurriedly dispatched to Canada, to hopefully secure mutual neutrality between Canada’s depression-addled but still highly conservative government and the provisional government. The eventual meeting with the Canadian Foreign Minister on the 15th, though unofficial, at least secured conditions for neutrality for the time being.

Some potential windfalls would arrive on the week starting May 15. On that Monday, a delegation of 34 Democratic members of Congress, led by the ambitious Harry Truman of Missouri, arrived in Chicago and requested to join the provisional government. Whether their motives were pure or cynical will likely never be known. Nevertheless, their actions did create some controversy. While it would give the provisional government much needed legitimacy, Foster feared that admitting such potential opportunists to the government would ultimately undermine the revolution more than it would help.

Upton Sinclair responded to Foster’s stonewalling with an end run around the hardliner head-of-government. On Wednesday, Sinclair, introducing himself as President of the Union of American Socialist Republics4, welcomed the Democratic delegation to the provisional government, and seated them in the Congress of People’s Deputies.

That Thursday, Emma Goldman, the brilliant and passionate anarchist orator, would make the most difficult decision of her life. She had been a committed anarchist all of her life. In her exile in Russia she’d seen the promises of Bolshevism betrayed one by one. And upon her return to America, she had formed the Syndicalist Federation, a pressure group within the Solidarity trade union to oppose the official Leninism of the Workers’ (Communist) Party. The question before her was unenviable: would she and other anarchists stick to their principles, and oppose the new government? Or would they abandon them to secure the lesser evil, to join the provisional government with the hope of steering it towards a more desirable end?

The Syndicalist Federation made its decision. Emma Goldman, voting with the majority, endorsed joining the provisional government. After meeting with Foster later that week, she and seven other anarchists would be granted frontbencher seats in the Congress. Goldman herself would take leadership of the People’s Secretariat of Labor. While no doubt Foster thought of Goldman as nothing more than a useful idiot, Goldman was determined to do everything in her power to keep the American Revolution from suffering the same tragedy as the Russian Revolution.

1. Membership of the first Central Committee as of June, 1933
First Secretary: William Z. Foster
People’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs: John Reed
Attorney General: Crystal Eastman
People’s Secretary for Defense: Martin Abern
People’s Secretary for Labor: Emma Goldman
People’s Secretary for Finance: Earl Browder
People’s Secretary for Trade and Industry: Walter Lippmann
People’s Secretary for Agriculture: Henry A. Wallace
People’s Secretary for Education: John Dewey
People’s Secretary for Rail: James P. Cannon
2. A brief explanation of the various styles used by states and municipalities. “Autonomous Socialist Republic” is a term currently unique to New York City, which refers to the federation set up the 5 Communes of New York with deliberate autonomy from the State government. “Socialist Republic” refers to state-level governments set up in opposition to the established government, which has most often suspended its constitution. By contrast, any state referred to by its OTL name, such as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, means that the elected stage government has been seated and has chosen to side with the provisional government. “Commune” refers to any city-sized organization set up on a model echoing the classic Paris Commune.

3. The Foster-Reed Doctrine is the eventual name for the official foreign policy of the UASR from 1933 to 1939. While often seen as an American restatement of the Stalinist position of “socialism in one country”, the doctrine is a deliberate compromise between “socialism in one country” and the Trotskyite position of permanent revolution. Realizing the upheaval caused by the Revolution, the doctrine seeks to make the containment of Fascism the primary goal of the Comintern. This policy is a deliberate act of appeasement to both the Western capitalist powers and the ever-more-estranged allies in the USSR.

4. With Norman Thomas assassinated, Upton Sinclair, as Vice President-elect, would be the legitimate president of the United States as of March 4. However, this is the first indication that he intended to carry over that position to the Provisional Government. This and the deliberate makeup of the first Congress of People’s Deputies with members elected to the House in the ’32 election would establish a pattern of continuity between the old government and the new that would eventually be expanded and formalized in the 1934 Basic Law of the UASR.

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The Reds Go Marching On: The Ongoing Civil War

On May 16, Lieutenant Colonel Patton1 received his first orders from the Revolutionary Defense Committee. The provisional government had decided that the capture of Washington D.C. would be of prime importance to the legitimacy of the revolution. Furthermore, a capture of Washington would significantly hinder the coordination of the Whites. To accomplish this, Patton was to take the four divisions (including the surrendered 1st and 4th Infantry) and some eighty thousand men under his command and march to Manassas, Virginia and take control of the bridges and ferries of the Potomac River. The West Virginia State Red Militia, numbering some thirty thousand irregulars and ten thousand military reservists, would secure Patton’s flank and make preparations to march on Richmond. Finally, the Pennsylvania Red Guards2, camped at Harrison, Pennsylvania, would move to take Baltimore, Maryland.

From the very beginning, the operation met with significant difficulties. Patton’s advance was hindered by the slow advance of the West Virginia irregulars, and MacArthur seized the opportunity to further foil these plans. Patton was forced to fight push through bloody delaying actions, as MacArthur’s cavalry attacked his supply lines and Virginia militias staged pitched battles at points of opportunity along the advance. The Pennsylvania Red Guards reached Baltimore late, finding the city abandoned of its defenders to reinforce Washington.

Finally, on June 1, MacArthur sprung his final gambit. With Patton’s troops arriving at the Manassas low country exhausted, MacArthur threw all five of his divisions at Patton, hoping to encircle and crush the Red Army quickly before turning and dealing with the Pennsylvania Red Guards.

By the end of the first day, Patton had yielded the town. While his own 3d Cavalry Regimented had stopped the encircling division, the first day of battle was bloody, with both sides suffering as many as five thousand casualties. On the second day of battle, Patton’s troops dug in in the hills around Manassas, weathered an artillery bombardment, and fought off a direct assault. This continued for the third and fourth day, continuing the bloody stalemate of the battle. But by then, Patton’s own trap had been sprung. At dawn on the fifth day, the 3d Cavalry regiment, supplemented by local pro-Red paramilitaries, swept past the enemy scouts and attacked MacArthur’s artillery. Patton’s own artillery, in position and zeroed in on the less prepared White positions, began its own barrage. With the enemy artillery suppressed and the White Army battered, Patton launched his counterattack that afternoon. By the end of the sixth day, most of the units guarding Washington would surrender. On June 8, 1933, Washington D.C. fell.

While the government had already since evacuated, the capture of Washington would be a powerful victory, which would reverberate through the whole country. Responding to the news, on June 12, the American Pacific fleet at San Diego mutinied. Most of the coastal cities in California quickly declared their allegiance to the Provisional Government soon after. Finally, on June 16, the state government evacuated as the Red Guards took the state capital of Sacramento. On June 17, with the new state legislature finally seated and the Governor resigning in disgrace, the State of Oregon formally endorsed the provisional government.

By the end of June, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia had all, with varying degrees of peacefulness, endorsed the provisional government. While the Civil War was not yet over, the tide had definitely swung in favor of the Reds.

1. The provisional government has not had its ducks in a row sufficiently to begin handing out promotions yet, and with the nucleus of the Red Army formed by professional soldiers, no one is going to be taking titles for themselves, which is why someone who is technically a Lt. Colonel is in command of a Corps.

2. Red Guards is a term stochastically adopted by National Guard units that sided with the provisional government and the Red Army instead of the military junta.

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A Red Dawn Breaks

It is July 2, 1933, and on this sweltering summer day, John Reed is walking briskly through the Capitol building. It’s only been three days since the Provisional Government had relocated to Washington, and amidst the hustle of aids and busy moving crews, Reed’s face is flushed with anger. He bumps into a Democratic people’s deputy as he marches up the stairs. He mutters to himself, “Of all the confounded...I just get back from Mexico and this is what I hear upon my return...”

He reaches what had once been the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and enters without knocking. Leaving the door open, Reed barks, “You son of a bitch!” at the man sitting behind the desk.

“You know Jack, I’d appreciate it if you would close the door and keep our disagreements private,” Foster deadpans.

“Fine, Will, I’ll close the door, when you explain to me just what the hell is going on.”

“Jack, at least sit down if you want to hear me out.” Foster motioned to the leather chair across the desk from his. “Can I offer you anything to drink? The Speaker kept a bottle of thirty-year-old Scotch in here, and seeing as he’s probably half-way to Cuba by now, I don’t think he’ll be needing it any time soon.”

“Will, now is not the time for pleasantries,” Jack hissed as he reluctantly took the seat. “I want to know why in God’s name you’re making deals with reactionaries.”

Reed pours two glasses anyway, handing one to Reed. “I see you’ve heard. I must say, your ears must be quite keen to learn of official Party business all the way in Mexico. I trust your meeting with Foreign Secretary Casauranc went as planned.”

Jack glared at him, “Yes, the Mexican government has agreed to formally recognize the UASR. You’ll find the details in my report at the next Central Committee. But, before that, I need to know why J. Edgar Hoover is going to be at the next Central Committee meeting.”

“Jack, you’re a wonderful idealist, but you’re a poor politician. Hoover offered his services as director of the NBI, and I couldn’t refuse. Do you know how many traitors he brought in with him? The NBI managed to arrest half of the Cabinet, including the First Secretary, and turn them over to us.”

“And that’s why you’re trusting him? Jesus Will, you really don’t have much room to talk about naiveté.”

“Trust him? God no, I wouldn’t trust that bastard as far as I could throw him. But the thing about Hoover is that it doesn’t matter who is in power as long as he’s part of it. That’s why I can use him.”

“The man’s a snake–”

“Jack, he’s our snake now.”

“I still wouldn’t like to see him run free, let alone put him in charge of the People’s Secretariat for Public Safety. We can’t trust him, and we can’t trust any of the G-Men he’s bringing with him.”

Foster chuckled, “I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. We can worry about their ideological loyalties later. For now, simply wishing to be on the winning side will have to be enough.” He took a sip of his whisky, savoring it. “I say, I hate his guts, but I must admit, Tilson left us some fine spoils of war.”

Reed cautiously sipped his own Scotch. “Fine, we’ll let that matter stand. I heard the Soviet ambassador arrived last week. Did he say anything about formal diplomatic recognition yet?”

“Well, off the record, of course, he has indicated that Stalin has been playing it cool since the start of the Revolution, to avoid enflaming reactionary sentiment.”


“We can’t afford it either, Jack. Anyway, the Soviet government will issue formal diplomatic recognition once they are certain that the Provisional Government has control over all 48 states.”

“Reasonable, I suppose.”

“Most of the West has already come along peacefully anyway. All that’s really left is the Deep South, and that’s where the remnants of the White Army, and couple hundred thousand White Militia are holed up. We’ve heard whispers that the whole Army is going to evacuate to Cuba, but nothing so far on that front. The loss of most of the Atlantic Fleet at Norfolk--which, I might add, the NBI assisted us with--will hinder that possibility. They’ll have to commandeer every fishing boat in New Orleans to make it possible.”

“What of the partisans throughout the country? They don’t seem to be anywhere close to willing to surrender.”

“We’re preparing a plan for that as well. And with Hoover’s help, we may pull it off. The SecPubSafe is going to be forming special task forces to root them out. With modern wiretapping and surveillance techniques, we’ll be able to pinpoint where they hide, and then dispatch armed secret police to deal with them.” Foster leaned back in his chair, “That’s about all that’s new on my end. I know I’ve been looking forward to your report on the colonial question. Got a brief on it?”

Reed finished his whisky. “From what the reports tell me, the only real option we have right now is just to cut the colonies loose. The domestic economic situation is too bad to be worth trying to hold on to. At the very least, we can use some of the colonies as a bartering chip to defuse reactionary pressure.”

“How so?”

“Well, in the preliminary report, we recommend turning over Hawaii to the UK, Alaska to Canada, and letting the Philippines fall to whomever can claim it fastest. Nicaragua has already expressed interest in partnership and trade with us. Cuba and Panama will likely remain under White military control for the time being, but Haiti and the Dominican Republic are likely candidates for full independence, though I have heard some intelligence that suggests that the Communist Party might use this opportunity to strike in Haiti.”

“The whole business leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but we have precious little choice.”

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The Civil War Ends

On August 1, facing impending encirclement by the Red Army, the remnants of the U.S. Army began a full scale evacuation to Cuba. In the next week, close to three hundred thousand soldiers and irregulars would make the journey by whatever means they could. Over a thousand are thought to have perished in the overloaded and unseaworthy boats during the journey.

On MacArthur’s orders, the White Army overthrew the Cuban government, taking control of the machinery of state to serve the American government in exile. Close to half of the Cabinet had accompanied the White Army, along with dozens of Republican lawmakers, state governors and other officials. Hoover himself, however, would not be among them. He had chosen a more noble exile in Britain.

By joint resolution, General Douglas MacArthur was appointed President of the United States of America on August 8, 1933. On that very same day, Canada, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom formally recognized the Union of American Socialist Republics. The maneuvering necessary to achieve this outcome was no small feat on the part of the Foreign Secretariat. In exchange for Alaska, the maintenance of current trade relations, plus (admittedly meager) reparations for the nationalization of property in America owned by Canadian citizens, Canada would recognize the new government, and pressure its British comrades to do so as well.

Britain accepted Hawaii and other minor U.S. possessions, as well as similar reparations for the nationalization of British property. However, Britain’s foreign policy at this time can easily be seen as a case of keeping one’s enemy’s closer. The British Admiralty had already been planning for months developing a war strategy for the outbreak of a naval war with the UASR. The operations, which assumed an American invasion of Canada, a blockade of the Panama Canal Zone, and the deployment of American troops to assist a Soviet invasion of Central Europe, would be the paramount concern of the British General Staff until the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Soviet government publicly received the news of victory of their American comrades with much fanfare, but in the inner circles, the reaction was much more cynical. America, even at the nadir of its depression, would soon come to dominate the Comintern. And the Americans’ hospitality to Trotsky further complicated relations between the two socialist states. While talk of rehabilitating Trotsky’s image was considered, it was quite clear that it was too late for that. Foster may have been a reliable ally of Moscow before the Revolution, but now as head of government, his alliances with Trotskyites, Syndicalists and Social Democrats had totally smashed the uniformity to the Comintern’s “third period” policy.

However, their American comrades had little time to worry about a potential power struggle in the Comintern. A constitutional convention was currently in the works, attracting everyone’s attention. The new government would not only have to take over all the functions of the old, but also many new ones. If the revolution were to survive more than a few years, a massive economic recovery plan would be necessary. Counterrevolutionaries were still being dealt with across the country, and trials for captured members of the military junta needed to be arranged, appeasing the loyal opposition. And the issue of how to deal with the courts, who had condemned the junta and generally declared their neutrality in the civil war, had yet to be decided. But, for now, there was a general sense of mirth in the country. The Civil War was over, a people’s government had been seated, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow beckoned.

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The Constitutional Convention

On September 2, 1933, delegates from worker’s councils across America converged on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their aim would be to write the constitution that would guide America forward in this new revolutionary age. After a ceremonial tour of Independence Hall, the almost six hundred delegates convened at the Academy of Music building and set about their task.

Eugene O’Neill, the distinguished author and playwright, was elected to preside over the convention. On the first day, delegates voted near unanimously to accept two guiding instructions. The first was that the current Provisional Government would serve as the basic template for the governmental structure. The second was a desire to preserve continuity between the old government and the new one. Thus, it was agreed that the last Congress of the United States would by law and right be the first Congress of the UASR. Similarly, Upton Sinclair would be both the last president of the United States and the first president of the UASR.

What would eventually be referred to as the Basic Law was drafted over a three month period from early September to mid-December. The first draft, jointly authored by Walter Lippmann and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, made very modest changes to the existing state of affairs. The semi-presidential system of the latter years of the United States would be preserved, and while the lower house of the legislature would be granted additional authority, the Senate would remain much as it had before. Additionally, the Lippman-Roosevelt plan essentially reincorporated the old court system in toto, including the body of common law inherited from the English legal tradition. The draft’s timidity, coupled by its refusal to say much on the subject of the economy, essentially doomed it from the start.

A counter-proposal was made, authored by Thomas E. Dewey, James P. Cannon, Langston Hughes, and Ruth Benedict, which ultimately would serve as the prototype of the final constitution. The “Left Plan”, as it would later be called, completely redefined the American tradition of separation of powers. The distinction between executive and legislative powers would be cast aside. A single body, the All-Union People’s Assembly, would encompass all the legislative and executive powers of the Union government. The lower house of the parliament, the Congress of People’s Deputies, would be the primary lawmaking body. It would elect the Central Committee, which would serve as the primary executive body, functioning in a manner very similar to the Cabinet of a Westminster parliament. The upper house, the Council of the Union, would serve as a deliberative and investigative body, and would have the power to delay acts of the lower house, as well as conduct oversight of the Central Committee. In turn, the Congress would elect the membership of the Council.

The Left Plan would also greatly restrict the independence of the judiciary. All federal judges would be appointed to terms of fixed duration. And the common law tradition itself would be totally overturned in favor of a Soviet-style civil law system, including inquisitorial trials.

Though the Left Plan enjoyed greater support then the more moderate Lippmann-Roosevelt Plan, it did not totally escape controversy. It would eventually be amended fairly extensively. The proportional representation model would be modified to a mixed member model, with half of the people’s deputies being elected from single member constituencies apportioned to the republics by population, and the other half elected from national party lists. The Council of the Union was altered to have half of its membership selected by the provincial governments. The directly elected President of the Union, a near-total figurehead before, would now preside over the Council of the Union. The elected office of vice-president was abolished, replaced by a deputy president elected by the Council of the Union.

The Declaration of Human Rights, an integral part of the Left Plan, was amended to include many of the “bourgeois liberties”, such as a right to an adversarial trial, that official Marxism-Leninism derided. Sections in the Declaration on economic rights, such as public ownership of natural resources and workers’ control of the means of production, were clarified. And finally, the shift to a civil law system was removed in favor of a compromise position, a “new common law” which would effectively start jurisprudence from scratch.

The final draft of the Basic Law would include a variety of ways for amendment. The Council of the Union could amend the Basic Law by a 2/3rds vote, with the concurrence of the Congress of People’s Deputies and 2/3rds of the Union Republics. Or, by a simple majority vote, both chambers could call for a national referendum on a proposed amendment. Or, 2/3rds of the Union Republics could at any time call for a constitutional convention to revise the Basic Law or propose amendments for ratification by referendum. In any case, all amendments would be made directly to the text, and a revised version of the Basic Law would be published after any such amendment.

The Basic Law was eventually ratified on February 11, 1934, with 3/4ths of the republics agreeing to ratification. The last holdout, Utah, would eventually agree to ratification on December 2 of that year. The ratification of the Basic Law would mark the conventional ending point of the Revolution. On the very next day, the Provisional Government formally dissolved itself, and the government of the UASR was formally sworn in. President Sinclair took the oath of office at noon, and the Congress of People’s Deputies opened its first official meeting soon after. After the adoption of the rules, Premier Foster formally submitted the budget to the floor, and upon the vote of the Congress, issued the first official government decree, directing the republics to form official provincial governments with all due haste so that the Council of the Union could be convened.

In the coming days, the Congress would the other half of the Council of the Union, call for a national special election to be held in April to fill the almost one hundred and twenty vacant single-member constituencies and to elect the national party lists. Four parties would stand for the special elections: the Workers’ (Communist) Party, the Left Democrats, the Right Democrats, and the remnants of the Republican Party.

The election would heavily favor the Workers’ Party, since the Democratic Party split into pro- and anti-socialist factions. The Left Democrats (officially the Left-Wing Caucus of the Democratic Party) under the leadership of Harry Truman aggressively campaigned against the official Democratic Party candidates in all of the by-elections, hoping to dethrone the old leadership’s control of the Democratic Party apparatus. And those few Republican politicians who had not gone into exile or found themselves in front of a people’s tribunal and (eventually) a firing squad sought to derail the new government and force a constitutional crisis.

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Constitution of the Union of American Socialist Republics

We the People of the United States of America, having found the Bourgeois government irreconcilably destructive to the Natural Rights of the Common Man, are compelled to alter it, instituting new Government to unite in our common purpose to fight the oppressors, to bring an end to man’s inhumanity against man, bring emancipation to wage-slavery and the exploitation of human Labor, and to ensure that there shall be Freedom, Justice, Democracy and Socialism for all of our posterity, do hereby establish the Union of American Socialist Republics as a federal socialist republic and a permanent, indivisible Union, and do hereby ordain this Basic Law for the Union of American Socialist Republics.

Article I: Declaration of Human Rights

Section 1

All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of comradeship. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, whether by race, creed, religion or sex.

Section 2

All persons born or naturalized in the Union, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the Union and of the Socialist Republic in which they reside. No party to the Union shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges, rights or immunities of citizens; nor shall any party to the Union deprive any person of life or liberty without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law.

Section 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

Section 4

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. No warrants be shall issued except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Section 5

No law shall be made or enforced that abridges the right of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of the broadcast and recorded media. The right of the people to peacefully assemble and participate in politics shall not be infringed.

Section 5

No one shall be subjected to torture, or to cruel and unusual punishment, nor shall any punishment be disproportionate to the crime committed.

Section 6

No person shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Section 7

No person shall be held to answer for any capital or otherwise infamous crime unless upon indictment by a Grand Jury, nor shall any person be made to answer twice for the same offence, nor shall any person be compelled to bear witness against himself.

Section 8

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him. Everyone is entitled to be informed of the nature and cause of any accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have legal counsel for his defense.

Section 9

Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

Section 10

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Section 11

The Union of American Socialist Republics is a secular nation; no party to the Union shall make or enforce any law with respect to the establishment of religion, nor shall any affirmative religious belief be promoted by any public institution.

Section 12

Everyone has the right to work, and the right of free choice in employment, to just and favorable conditions of work, and to protection against unemployment. The right of workers to manage their workplaces shall not be infringed. The right to form and join independent trade unions shall be inalienable.

Section 13

The Union of American Socialist Republics is a socialist state; the state, natural resources, and the means of production shall belong to the People, to be administered fairly and democratically for the common benefit of all.

Section 14

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Section 15

Everyone has the right to education, funded in whole by the polity. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial and religious groups.

Section 16
The universal age of majority shall be eighteen. All persons of this age are entitled to vote, and may stand for any office within the Union. The right to vote, individual or collective, shall not be infringed.

Article II: The People’s Assembly

Section 1

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the All-Union People’s Assembly, which shall consist of a Congress of People’s Deputies and the Central Committee; and Council of the Union and the President of the Union.

Executive Power shall be vested in the Central Committee of the Union of American Socialist Republics and in the President of the Union.

Section 2

One Half of the People’s Deputies shall be elected from single-member constituencies, to be apportioned among the Republics according to population after each Census, which shall continue as under the previous Constitution.

The other Half of the People’s Deputies shall be elected from National Party Lists by the whole people during General Elections. The uniform rules concerning the manner and number of apportionment shall be a matter of federal law.

In the case where a seat should become vacant because of retirement or death, the manner of replacement shall depend on the seat. If elected from a constituency, a by-election shall be held. If apportioned from National Party Lists, then the replacement shall be chosen from that list.

Voting shall be direct, free, and equal with secret ballots. Each voter shall cast two ballots during General Elections, one for their constituency and one for the National Party Lists.

The Congress of People’s Deputies shall be elected to a term not exceeding five years from the date of the last election. This requirement shall not be infringed except in time of war, and only with the consent of both chambers of the People’s Assembly. New elections shall be held within sixty days of dissolution of the chamber. The Congress of People’s Deputies shall convene no later than the thirtieth day after the election. The Congress of People’s Deputies shall determine when its sessions shall be adjourned and resumed, but may be called to reconvene if the Speaker calls for convention. He shall be obliged to do so if one third of the members, the Premier or the President of the Union so demand.

The Congress of People’s Deputies shall elect its Speaker and all other officers, and adopt its rules of procedure.

All acts of the Congress of People’s Deputies shall require a simple majority of votes cast unless this Basic Law otherwise provides.

Section 3

The Central Committee shall consist of the People’s Secretaries and be presided over by the Premier, who shall serve as First Secretary, elected from the membership of the Congress of People’s Deputies. The Central Committee shall be a constituent organ of the Congress of People’s Deputies.

The Premier shall be elected by the Congress of People’s Deputies without debate, holding the confidence of a majority of People’s Deputies. The President of the Union shall appoint the People’s Deputy so elected. If no person can hold the confidence of the Congress of People’s Deputies, the President of the Union shall dissolve the Congress of People’s Deputies.

The People’s Secretaries of the Central Committee shall be elected by the Congress of People’s Deputies upon the proposal of the Premier, and shall be appointed upon election by the President of the Union.

On taking office, the People’s Secretaries shall be take the following oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Basic Law of the Union of American Socialist Republics against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
Command of the Revolutionary Defense Forces shall be vested in the People’s Secretary of Defense.

If a constructive motion of no confidence receives the support of the majority of the Congress of People’s Deputies, then the current Central Committee must resign or be dismissed, and the new Premier appointed.

If at any time the Central Committee loses the confidence of the Congress of People’s Deputies, and no new Premier has been elected on the same ballot, then the Congress shall be dissolved, and new elections held.

Section 4

The Congress of People’s Deputies shall have the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the execution of the following, enumerated jurisdictions:
  1. Representation of the Union in international relations, conclusion and ratification of treaties with other states;
  2. Questions of war and peace;
  3. Control over the observance of the Basic Law of the UASR and ensuring conformity of the Basic Law of the Union Republics with the Basic Law of the UASR;
  4. Organization of the defense of the UASR and direction of Revolutionary Defense Forces;
  5. Foreign trade on the basis of state monopoly;
  6. Safeguarding the security of the state;
  7. Establishment of the national economic plans of the UASR;
  8. Approval of the single state budget of the UASR as well as of the taxes and revenues which go to the all-Union, Republican and local budgets;
  9. Administration of the banks, industrial and agricultural establishments and enterprises and trading enterprises of all-Union importance;
  10. Administration of transport and communications;
  11. Direction of the monetary and credit system;
  12. Organization of state insurance;
  13. Raising and granting of loans;
  14. Establishment of the basic principles for the use of land as well as for the use of natural deposits, forests and waters;
  15. Establishment of the basic principles in the spheres of education and public health;
  16. Organization of a uniform system of national economic statistics;
  17. Establishment of the principles of labor legislation;
  18. Legislation on the judicial system and judicial procedure; criminal and civil codes;
  19. Laws on citizenship of the Union; laws on the rights of foreigners;
  20. Issuing of All-Union acts of amnesty;
  21. The impeachment of the President of the Union and all other public officers for official misconduct, high crimes or treason.
Section 5

The following powers are prohibited to the Congress of People’s Deputies:
  1. No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be made or enforced.
  2. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any party to the Union.
  3. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one Union Republic over those of another.
  4. No money shall be appropriated from the public trust except by provisions of law. Regular statements and accounts of all receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published regularly.
  5. No title of nobility shall be granted by the Union, and no person shall accept any office or title of any kind from any foreign state except upon the consent of the Congress of People’s Deputies.
Section 6

The Council of the Union shall be composed of one representative of the government of each Union Republic; and an equal number of national representatives, elected by the Congress of People’s Deputies to six-year terms, in three staggered classes consisting of one-third of the national representatives.

The President of the Union shall be the presiding officer of the Council of the Union. The Council of the Union shall choose their other officers, and the Deputy President, who shall preside in the absence of the President of the Union, and shall assume of the office of President of the Union on vacancy, disability or death.

The Council of the Union shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. If the President or Deputy President of the Union is tried, then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside. No person shall be convicted but on concurrence of two thirds of the members present. Judgment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold another office of honor, trust or profit in the Union. The party convicted shall still be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.

Section 7

The Council of the Union shall have the following enumerated powers:
  1. To offer amendments to legislation on the floor of the Congress of People’s Deputies, subject to approval by a simple majority of the Congress of People’s Deputies;
  2. To delay the passage of any act or executive action by Congress of People’s Deputies for up to three months by a simple majority vote, up to six months by a two thirds vote, and to veto legislation by unanimous consent;
  3. To conduct official, independent inquiries and provide oversight over the All-Union and provincial governments.
  4. To oversee All-Union elections and to provide indictments for violation of election law;
  5. To act as the standing legislature in times when the Congress of People’s Deputies is not in session. All acts of the Council of the Union in such periods are subject to ratification by the Congress of People’s Deputies upon reconvening;
  6. Confirmation of alterations of boundaries between Union Republics;
  7. Confirmation of the formation of new territories and regions and also of new Autonomous Republics within Union Republics;
  8. Admission of new republics into the UASR.
Section 8

Each chamber shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum; a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members.

Each chamber may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.

Each chamber shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and regularly publish the same.

Neither chamber, during the session of the People’s Assembly, shall adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.

Section 9

Members of the People’s Assembly shall receive compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law but not exceeding the wage of an average skilled worker, to be paid out of the public trust of the Union. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective chambers, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either chamber.

Section 10

The President of the Union shall be elected in general, direct, free, equal and secret election, and shall hold his office during a term of four years.

The President of the Union may not be a member of the Congress of People’s Deputies or an officer of a Union Republic.

Orders and directions of the President of the Union shall require for their validity the countersignature of the Premier or competent People’s Secretary in the case of domestic affairs, or the countersignature of the People’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs in all other cases. This provision shall not apply to the appointment or dismissal of the Central Committee nor the dissolution of the Congress of People’s Deputies.

The President of the Union shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Council of Union and the People’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to make treaties and appoint ambassadors.

The President of the Union shall represent the Union for the purposes of international law. With the consent of the People’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he shall conclude treaties with foreign states and accredit and receive envoys.

The President of the Union shall have the power, with the advice and consent of the Council of the Union, to appoint all judges of the All-Union Court system.

The President of the Union shall have right to speak upon the floor of either Chamber during debate, as well as during meetings of the Central Committee. However, the President only reserves the right to vote in Council of the Union, and only in such cases as a tie.

Article III: The Judiciary

Section 1

The judicial power shall be vested in a system of courts, consisting of an All-Union Supreme Court, the All-Union Constitutional Court, and all inferior courts established by law. All judges shall hold their offices for ten year terms during good behavior, and shall receive compensation for their services.

Section 2

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Basic Law, the laws of the Union and treaties made; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the Union shall be a party; to controversies between two or more parties to the Union; between citizens of different parties to the Union, and between a party to the union or citizens thereof, and foreign states and citizens.

Section 3

In all cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers and consuls, and those in which a party to the Union are involved, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all other cases mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exception and under such regulations as the Congress of People’s Deputies shall make.

Section 4

In all cases concerning the interpretation of the Basic Law, and of the relation of the laws of the Union and those party to the Union, the Constitutional Court shall have original jurisdiction. The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction over the decisions of law and of fact for all cases before the Constitutional Court.

Section 5: Treason against the Union shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. The punishment of treason shall be a matter of law, but no attainder of treason shall involve corruption of blood.

Article IV: Powers of the Parties to the Union

Section 1

The Union Republics and any Autonomous Republics party to the Union, shall, as provinces of the Union of American Socialist Republics, give full faith and credit to all public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other province. The Congress of People’s Deputies may by law prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings be proved and the effect thereof.

Section 2

All provinces in the Union shall enjoy the right of extradition with all other provinces.

Section 3

The Union of American Socialist Republics shall guarantee to all provinces in the Union a democratic socialist form of government, and shall protect each against invasion.

Section 4

The following powers are prohibited to all provinces:
  1. No province shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation.
  2. No province shall print or coin money.
  3. No bills of attainder nor any ex post facto laws shall be made.
  4. No province shall, without the consent of the Congress of People’s Deputies, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports. The net produce of all such imposts and duties shall be for use in the public trust of the Union, and all such laws shall be subject to revision and control by the Congress of People’s Deputies.
  5. No province shall, without the consent of Congress, keep troops in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with other provinces or with foreign powers, or engage in war, unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
Article V: Amendment

Section 1

Amendments to the Basic may be made in the following prescribed manners. Upon such amendment, a revised version of the Basic Law, incorporating the amendment into the text of the Basic Law, shall be published, detailing such changes to the original text, and listing all amendments in chronological order of ratification.

Section 2

The Congress of People’s Deputies and the Council of the Union together, by a two-thirds vote in both bodies, propose amendments to the Union.

Section 3

Upon the application of two-thirds of the Union Republics (or a two-thirds vote in the Council of the Union), a Convention for proposing Amendments to the Basic Law shall be held at a time and place decided by the Republics.

Section 4

Proposed amendments shall be ratified upon the concurrence of 3/4ths of the Union Republics, or by referendum, in which a majority of the people in 3/4ths of the Union Republics support ratification.

Article VI: Ratification

This Basic Law shall be ratified as an Amendment to the 1787 United States Constitution. Upon ratification, the 1787 Constitution shall be discharged and rendered void, and all governmental bodies of the United States shall be transferred to the Union of American Socialist Republics.

1934 Special Election

Congress of People’s Deputies, single-member districts
Party Seats
Workers’ (Communist) 379
Left Democrats 38
Right Democrats 18
Republican Party 0

Congress of People’s Deputies, national list
Party Votes Seats
Workers’ (Communist) 31,453,112 268
Left Democrats 12,034,056 102
Right Democrats 4,720,342 40
Republican Party 3,010,568 25

Congress of People’s Deputies, total
Party Seats
Workers (Communist) 647
Left Democrats 140
Right Democrats 58
Republican Party 25

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The First Cultural Revolution

The following updates will consist of an in-character examination of the dimensions of what would later be known as the First Cultural Revolution, a period roughly from 1934 to 1940 that would herald dramatic changes in all facets of American culture and society, from politics, economics and religion to recreation, art and even personal relationships. To begin, I offer you excerpts from Murray Bookchin’s foreword to Paul Avrich’s seminal work on the period, A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1984).
We often never realize just how vastly different our own epoch is from past epochs. Events that we celebrate, cherish and immortalize become removed from the time and circumstances of their own epoch. Disconnected from their own circumstances, events of history become the free-floating ideological debris of our own age, constantly filtered and re-filtered through the discriminating lens of the historian. But as a result, our sense of history is impoverished. It becomes the burden of those of us who had borne witness, as well as those who consider themselves to be proper students of history, to cut back the veil of time and breathe life into the dead past so that we may fend off the cycle of historical tragedy and farce.

The great centers of learning in our Union must prepare the students of today to continue the battles of yesterday. And I’m sure they do not need an old man such as me to tell them this. But if I may offer my own experiences to help light the way, I am more than happy to my duty for the great human brotherhood. While it may depress the modern reader to learn that America has not always not been on the right side of the World Revolution, and has failed in her duty to her international comrades many times since her own revolution, it is patent absurdity even to entertain the conservative charge that to teach these truths is anti-American and counter-revolutionary. If that is indeed the case, then we have already lost.

In my own lifetime, I have seen world capitalism brought to its knees by a crisis of its own making. I have lived through the counter-revolutionary junta of the American master class, and manned the barricades during the revolution. I’ve watched fascism cover the whole of Europe in a terror never before seen in the world. I, like everyone else of my generation, took up arms to defend the country of my birth as well as the country of my mother’s birth. I saw firsthand the results of Stalin’s wanton betrayal of the revolutionary movement. I too gasped in awe and horror upon seeing the news reels of the harnessing of the power of the atom, and the liberation of Nazi death camps in Central Europe. Had these tragedies alone been our legacy as a species, we would have already had our share of blood spilt.

But new horrors would follow the Second World War. The world evermore divided itself into three bitterly opposed hostile camps. America and the Soviet Union both in turn betrayed the World Revolution in their rush to divide the world into zones of control. The last of the Imperialist powers, the Franco-British Union, recovered its strength and clutched onto its colonies ever tighter, while Dewey and Bulganin brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war in their struggle to control the Comintern and the path that international communism would follow. The only way to go was down. Each passing year brought more warheads, more powerful nuclear weapons and deadlier means of delivery. Our collective race to suicide was sad and terrifying. The world over, we saw the end of the classical worker’s movement, its revolutionary potential negated by the march of history.

...At some point, we must ask, where did this all begin? We hear often of the good that came from the Revolution. Where did it come from? And how?

This is where Avrich’s book comes in. As his own words show (see Preface), Paul began writing this book seeking to answer exactly these questions for the high school history students of America. As with many of the great history texts, a commission from the People’s Secretariat for Education set the ball rolling, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals devoted their time and effort to making this book possible. I am proud to have contributed in my own way to this project. As Karl Marx noted, “History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this.”
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Politics After the Revolution: An Overview

Membership of the Central Committee, Foster Government 1933-1938

The Central Committee serves as the collective executive body for the UASR. It consists of the head of government and his deputy, the heads of the government secretariats, and the chairmen of important union committees and commissions. Some offices, such as the political head of the People’s Secretariat for Justice, have an atypical title, in this case Attorney General. “*” denotes a position added in April of 1934.

Premier: William Z. Foster
Deputy Premier: Earl Browder*
People’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs: John Reed
Attorney General: Crystal Eastman
People’s Secretary for Defense: Martin Abern
People’s Secretary for Labor: Emma Goldman
People’s Secretary for Finance: Thomas G. Corcoran
People’s Secretary for Foreign Trade: Walter Lippmann*
People’s Secretary for Agriculture: Henry A. Wallace
People’s Secretary for Education: John Dewey
People’s Secretary for Public Safety: J. Edgar Hoover*
People’s Secretary for Railways: James P. Cannon
People’s Secretary for Communication: Max Eastman*
People’s Secretary for Maritime Transport: Joseph Ryan*
People’s Secretary for Energy: Farrell Dobbs*
People’s Secretary for Heavy Industry: W.E.B. Du Bois*
People’s Secretary for Light Industry: Sidney Hillman*
People’s Secretary for Construction and Housing: Clarence Senior*
Chairman, State Planning Commission: Albert Kahn*
Chairman, Academy of Arts and Sciences: Eugene O’Neill*
Chairman, Union Bank: William Truant Foster*

Membership of the Council of the Union, 1934-1938

The Council of the Union, as per the Basic Law, consists of one representative from each Union Republic, and an equal number of national representatives, elected to 10 year terms by the Congress of People’s Deputies. For the first election, representatives were selected in rough proportion to the number of people’s deputies each pro-socialist political party had.

President of the Union: Upton Sinclair (re-elected 1936)
Deputy President: Louis C. Fraina
Provincial representatives: 36 Workers’ Party, 12 Left Democrats
National representatives: 34 Workers’ Party, 14 Left Democrats

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Policies of the Foster Government during the Cultural Revolution

Premier Foster first outlined the basic plans for what would be the First Cultural Revolution at a closed Central Committee meeting on May 6, 1934. With the Workers’ (Communist) Party commanding a supermajority of 3/4ths of the Congress, and the firm control of the vast majority of provincial governments, he argued that now was the time to surge forward.

The Party had promised economic recovery, he noted, and they would deliver on this promise. But if the Revolution was to endure, and America become the shining city on the hill that everyone hoped it could be, then tradition’s chains could no longer bind the movement. Many things would have to be turned upside down.

The Central Committee largely agreed: now was the time to seize the initiative. Where to proceed, however, remained controversial. The government’s political process in crafting the First Five Year Plan and the Cultural Revolution would set the precedent for the decades to come. The Premier would step back and refrain from interfering with the autonomy of any of the People’s Secretaries. At all meetings, he would be merely the first among equals. The government’s policy would be decided by democratic centralism. Any Secretary who felt that he or she could not abide by the decision of the majority would be expected to resign promptly and quietly.

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People’s Secretariat for Foreign Affairs

Foreign policy during the Cultural Revolution represented the tension between revolutionary idealism and political pragmatism, mirroring the friendly rivalry between the two arguably most important members of the Central Committee, Foreign Secretary John Reed and Premier Foster, respectively. At the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, the new nation could only count on two states as allies and friends in the international arena: Mexico under the social democratic Revolutionary Party, and the Soviet Union.

In June of 1934, Reed would return to Leningrad after almost sixteen years of absence to meet with the Soviet Foreign Commissar, Maxim Litvinov. Reed, fluent in Russian, made a great impression upon his Soviet counterpart. After meeting Stalin for a state dinner, Reed and his delegation set about drafting the Leningrad Treaty with Litvinov. The Leningrad Treaty would define Soviet-American relations for the next decade.

The Treaty crafted a permanent strategic alliance between the two socialist states, created a mutual defense pact, opened up avenues for foreign trade and technical exchange, set up cultural exchange programs, and defined both American and Soviet foreign policy towards the European capitalist powers. Under the Treaty’s terms, American engineers and scientists would be given full diplomatic privilege when working in the Soviet Union. And Soviet students and academics could apply to study in America, and learn more advanced techniques in all fields of practical science to enrich the Soviet Academy. Among the first Soviet citizens to take advantage of this opportunity were the constructivist architects Yakov Cherikhinov and the Vesnin brothers Leonid, Victor and Aleksander, who applied to study advanced architecture methods at the Albert Kahn Design Bureau.

That fall, Reed also met the French Foreign Minister, who, as part of the newly formed Popular Front coalition, welcomed closer relations with the American state. A trade agreement was reached, but neither state saw the necessary interest in signing a defensive pact at this time. But, in essence, both Reed and Yvon Delbos agreed that Fascism was an evil in dire need of being contained.

The period of the Foster-Reed Doctrine would continue along this tack, where the UASR, while publically maintaining an ultra-left, anti-imperialist persona, would negotiate with capitalist powers with the hope of isolating Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Friendly relations were made with the center-left governments of Sweden and Norway. Center-right governments in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Spanish Republic were also courted, with the hope of reducing tensions and encouraging the formation of a European wide Popular Front against fascism.

The policy had little to show for it by the summer of 1936. Negotiations and trade concessions had not done enough to weaken the perception of a global Bolshevik conspiracy knocking at Europe’s door. However, the anti-Fascist cause won one of its greatest symbolic victories that very same year. At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany, the American national team, a multi-ethnic team, narrowly edged out Germany in total medal count.

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People’s Secretariat for Justice

The primary policy of Attorney General Crystal Eastman during her tenure was a two-front war against racial and sexual discrimination within the UASR. Working in close cooperation with a consortium of artists from diverse fields, from film and radio to print and visual arts, the Justice Secretariat would fund a propaganda campaign against racism and sexism. Simultaneously, the government would seek new laws, both at the Union and provincial level, to punish overt acts.

The propaganda campaign, Americans Against Fascism, produced a wealth of media that would seek to associate racism, ethnic bigotry and sexism with counter-revolution and fascism. Artists painted murals, carved sculptures and produced plays and radio skits, across the nation, all depicting men and women, Caucasion, African, Asian and Jewish alike, struggling together for freedom and democracy. As one popular leaflet put it, “To be against brotherhood among all races is to be against liberty and democracy.”

As ambitious as Eastman’s plans were, it ultimately caved to practical politics. The full weight of the campaign was only felt in the Northern and Western provinces of the UASR. In the South, the calls for white men to treat their African brothers as equals were few and far between. Enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the South was often ignored to avoid ruffling the feathers of the Southern commissars. The truth of the matter was that the elected manager of the collective farm of today was most likely a plantation owner before the revolution. The Southern establishment had very quickly adapted itself to the new economic and political order.

For all of their faults, the campaigns for racial equality would spark their own revolution, one that would be decades in the making, but would shake the very foundations of the earth.

There were plenty of other pressing concerns as well. First on everyone’s mind was rather simple: what was to be done with the traitors such as Longworth. Eastman’s second major policy was far less bleeding-heart: the Red Terror.

America’s Red Terror was mild in comparison. But the scale of the campaign was unlike anything ever before seen in American law. Thousands of individuals would be tried for treason or other lesser crimes for their role in the military junta and the Civil War. And the Union’s ostensibly independent judiciary complied at every step of the way.

One of the first acts of Foster’s government after the ratification of the Basic Law was the enactment of the Judiciary Omnibus Act, which would set up the structure of the All-Union Court system. The new People’s Tribunals established by the Act would mirror many of the functions of the old Federal district courts. However, during this period, it was very clear that these trial courts, at least in counterrevolution trials, were verging on being kangaroo courts. In most cases, judges were either cowed into compliance by political pressure, or actively agreed with the Red Terror. The juries were out for blood as well. While it cannot be denied that many of the men who found themselves in front of the People’s Tribunals during the Red Terror were guilty as sin, the Red Terror remains a black stain on the country’s record.

The first man to be tried in the People’s Tribunals was Brigadier General George C. Marshall. As a member of the military junta, Marshall was charged with treason, war crimes, desertion and murder. The trial, covered in news reels across the country, became a quick and flashy show trial. His trial, beginning on September 3, 1934, concluded just three weeks later. The jury delivered its verdict: death by firing squad. Two weeks later, Marshall would join First Secretary Longworth and a number of other military officers and government administrators at Haymarket Square, Chicago. The men were offered blindfolds and cigarettes, which Marshall and the other military officers refused, lined up against a brick wall, and shot by soldiers from the Illinois Red Guard.

In the three years of the Red Terror, close to six thousand men were executed by firing squad. The ranks of the executed included nearly every Republican political leader who had not gone into exile, dozens of government administrators connected with the junta, the leaders of the KKK and other paramilitary groups captured at the end of the Civil War, and military officers accused of committing war crimes during the Civil War. Tens of thousands of others received lengthy prison terms for lesser offenses.

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People’s Secretariat for Defense

On July 11, 1934, the sectors of the American armed forces loyal to the UASR were officially reorganized into the Revolutionary Defense Forces, consisting of three branches: the Army, Navy and Air Force. The RDF would be headed by Stavka1. Stavka’s central executive committee would be chaired by the People’s Secretary for Defense. The leading officers of all three branches of the RDF, the head civilian administrators for each branch, and the heads of each of Stavka’s departments would sit on the CEC.

Stavka would coordinate the combined military and logistical operations of the armed forces. It would be responsible for promotions and assigning officer commands, organizing military policy, and drafting the specifications for all military weapon systems.

The RDF itself would undergo a major reform of its military traditions during the ’30s. The rank structure was modified; all officers would now have to serve a standard term of service as enlisted men (or women) before entering the military academy to become officers. The roles of NCOs, already a strong tradition in the American military, were further strengthened.

The UASR would undertake a major rearmament program as part of the First Five Year Plan. As part of the United Against Fascism Act, the Red Army would be expanded to peacetime strength of 750,000 men by 1939. The whole military would begin a mechanization process, and an independent Armor Corps was established, taking tanks away from their previous role of infantry support. John Garand’s 7.62x64mm semi-automatic service rifle, in development since 1932, would be adopted as the universal infantry rifle.2 Designs for a new medium tank, with a 75mm main gun, Christie suspension and sloped armor, were commissioned at the Ford Design Bureau. The tank chassis would also serve as a platform for which armored infantry carriers, self-propelled artillery and anti-air systems would be developed.

The Red Air Force would also be greatly expanded. New designs for fighter aircraft, long range transports, medium and heavy bombers were commissioned in all of the aviation bureaus. The goal would be to have a top of the line fighter-interceptor, and a tactical medium bomber in service by 1941, and have a line of long range, strategic bombers in service by 1943.

The Red Navy would undergo a modest expansion during the 30s. While the UASR held on to the majority of major surface combatants and submarines, it was the role of the Navy’s lone carrier, the former USS Langley (now RDF Haymarket) during one of the few naval engagements of the Civil War that would determine the future role of the Navy. The sinking of a heavy cruiser at sea by naval aviation made the aircraft carrier a major American priority. Following Japanese innovation in carrier aviation, three American aircraft carriers were laid down in late 1934. Displacing 24,000 tonnes, and able to carry over 80 of the planned next generation carrier-borne aircraft, the three ships of the Lenin-class would form the nucleus of the navy’s future.

1934 would also mark two landmark policies. Army, Air Force and Naval units would be totally desegregated by race, and the officer corps was finally opened up to black men. Though there was significant opposition within the military and from conservative elements, those dissenting voices were swiftly ignored, and the policy was carried out with all deliberate speed. Racism within the ranks would be punished with the utmost severity.

That same year, women were offered combat roles within the Army and Air Force. Three all-women regiments would be raised in the Red Army, and the military academies were all ordered to allow a select number of qualified women to join. A recruitment drive was organized and government-sponsored propaganda urged young women to “Be All You Can Be”. These new units, nicknamed the Amazon Regiments, would go on to serve with distinction in the Second World War. In the Air Force, a female fighter-wing was organized, and many young women were recruited as pilots and mechanics. Amelia Earhart, the famed aviatrix, would join the feminist campaign. On December 8, 1934, Ensign Amelia Earhart was formally commissioned as an officer in the Red Air Force.

1. Stavka is a Russian loanword, appropriated expressly for this purpose.

2. As you might guess, America has gone metric. The 7.62x64mm cartridge is the redesignation of the 30-06 Springfield cartridge.

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People’s Secretariat for Labor

Emma Goldman, by any respect, had the most interesting position within the UASR’s government. As a life-long self-professed anarcho-communist, the prospect of even agreeing with a state socialist program, let alone being a government minister, would have once given her chills. She fell in with their lot originally in hopes of using her popularity among American workers to drum up support for an independent syndicalist movement. Now she found herself the architect of policies that made a truly independent syndicalism impossible.

Perhaps more than any other person, Emma Goldman would be the architect of the American economic system and the great political tension that would shape American history: the conflict between grassroots participatory democracy and the program of the nationwide planned economy.

In October of 1934, the passage of the First Five Year Plan would begin a major reorganization of the American economic system. Under the terms of the Plan, the atomic unit of the economic system would be the Solidarity labor union’s syndicate. Each syndicate would organize a single workplace, ranging anywhere from a dozen workers to several hundred, and would be managed by an elected worker council. Syndicates would be part of larger, economically rational units called combines, which would unite any number of syndicates in the same industry under the leadership of an elected committee. Each combine would be part of a manifold, which would organize the economic plans of an entire industry. In turn, each manifold would send to representatives to a National Congress of Workers, chaired by the People’s Secretary for Labor.

The primary goal of this federal system was two-fold: to collect economic information to be used by the State Planning Commission to develop the economic plans, and then to carry out the updating plans set by StatePlan.

The Labor Secretariat would in turn set and enforce the rules of conduct within the industries. As part of Goldman’s tenure, a comprehensive system of health and safety laws were passed. Child labor, previously prohibited by union rules, would now be comprehensively abolished. Strict workplace safety standards were enacted, along with the standardization of the five-day, forty-hour work week. Women workers, a sizeable and growing part of the labor force, would be given state-subsidized maternity leave, and a comprehensive system of government-subsidized daycares were created by a joint trade union/government initiative.

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People’s Secretariat for Finance

Thomas G. Corcoran would have the unenviable duty of completely reorganizing the system of government finance from the ground up. He would have to do this while continuing to service American public debt owned by foreign nationals, lest a major international incident begin. America’s previous systems of taxation at the federal level would no longer be viable in the post-revolutionary era. Similarly, provincial tax systems based upon the property tax were similarly obsolete.

Corcoran’s creative solution to the dilemma was to pass the burden of taxation primarily from individuals to economic units. Based on the principal of public ownership of land and natural resources, a system of economic “rents” paid from a firm’s surplus value would be the primary means of finance for both the Union and provincial governments.

The Comprehensive Finance Act would establish a dual federal and provincial tax system. Each economic firm, from the large industrial manifolds to local cooperatives, would pay a portion of its surplus value to the Finance Secretariat’s provincial tax bureaus. The portion owed to the provincial government would then be paid to the province’s Finance Secretariat. The portion owed to the Union government would be used to fund the operations of the government.

The Act would set variable rent rates based upon the health of an industry and the gross amount of value added. The tax system would also be used to subsidize critical industries and promote economic development in underdeveloped areas, such as the American South or Haiti.

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People’s Secretariat for Foreign Trade

Foreign trade in the UASR existed under the Union’s state monopoly, and the critical job of managing trade with foreign nations, capitalist and socialist, would fall on academic Walter Lippmann. With a team of some of America’s best economists, Lippmann set out to create a trade policy that would assist with development in America’s allies, but not sell out the country to foreign capitalists.

The most critical trade policy in this era was the emerging trade relations with the Soviet Union. The USSR was rapidly industrializing, but faced critical shortages of basic industrial inputs, skilled labor, and consumer goods. Under the terms of the 1934 Moscow trade accords, America would provide free university education for the Soviet Union’s best and brightest, who would return with the skills and expertise that would be of service to their mother country. America would provide a market for the USSR’s Class A industrial goods in exchange for finished consumer goods. The American Union Bank would also arrange investment in the Soviet Union through the purchase of bonds.

Foreign trade and investment with Mexico was another key plank of the Foster-Reed doctrine. Mexico, as an allied developing nation under a left-wing social democratic government, would be a natural ally, and a perfect propaganda tool in the inevitable world revolution. Trade and aid to Mexico would be the tool used to transform Mexico into a first-world socialist state. The government of Mexico would enthusiastically comply. In Mexico from the 1930s to the 1950s, socialism would be synonymous with modernization.

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The People’s Secretariat for Agriculture

American agriculture, particularly in the Great Plains, was in a serious state of crisis when the Revolution began in early 1933. Low crop prices, massive land repossession, and drought conditions had already plagued Midwestern and Western communities. As these drought conditions continued to worsen, the agricultural crisis reached its terrible apogee. The Dust Bowl, in which millions of tons of topsoil were blown away, ruined millions of hectares of farmland. The drought would continue to worsen leading into 1934, prompting one of the most drastic government industrial reorganizations in history.

It would be up to Henry Wallace and his advisers to plot the country’s course through these treacherous waters. There were political concerns that had to be navigated as well as practical ones: in spite of the Party’s pre-revolution propaganda romanticizing the American yeoman farmer, the Party favored farm collectivization to individual land ownership. Farmers were a core of the Party’s constituency, and alienating them would be an inadvisable move.

The 1934 Basic Law contained a provision that declared all natural resources to be public property. But the provision was far from specific: was land a natural resource, to be owned publicly? Furthermore, though “prairie socialism” was a strong phenomenon, would the millions of American farmers who had lost their land accept moving onto a collective farm?

Regardless, there was real pressure to move forward with agriculture collectivization, and Wallace’s eventual solutions were an innovative mixture of carrot and stick approaches. The Natural Resources Act of 1934 would declare all land, forests, mineral, animal and plant resources within the Union to be public property. A dual union-provincial agency, the Land and Natural Resource Trust (more commonly known as the Land Trust), was chartered to manage the allocation of common property. At its founding, all extant legitimate ownership titles (i.e., those not seized from those who supported the junta or nationalized by government) would be converted into stewardship titles.

Those holding stewardship titles were required to farm or otherwise work the land provided in their title to maintain rights to it. The amount of land stewarded was limited the amount that a single family, with no hired help, could reasonably be expected to cultivate (this limit based on household size of the title holder). Besides these restrictions, a stewardship title could not be revoked for any reason, and they could be inherited.

Land that had been most severely affected by the Dust Bowl would be nationalized: the Land Trust would pay farmers to give up their stewardship. Land purchased this way would be used to form agricultural cooperatives. These government supported collectives, patterned off Palestinian kibbutzim, would use techniques of soil conservation and industrialization to re-cultivate the land.

Farmers less severely affected were encouraged to charter farm collectives with their own stewardships. In exchange for collectivizing and forming new kibbutzim, they would receive technical assistance, price supports, and access to mechanization.

The kibbutz project, as it was later called, would be a considerable success and a model for future programs of voluntary collectivization. By 1940, 56% of American agricultural land throughout the Great Plains and Midwest had been collectivized. In the South, collectivization reached a plateau of nearly 80% by 1940.

Wallace used the project as a means of improving the health and efficiency of American agriculture. Hardier, higher-yield hybrid strains of corn and wheat were promoted to increase productivity. A National Agricultural Research Center was established to continue developing and promoting new methods of increasing productivity.

The kibbutz project also contained subsidies to build small-scale light industries in the agricultural collectives to encourage a more even distribution between town and country, as Marx had argued for in The Communist Manifesto. One notable consequence was a revival of American breweries and distilleries, long in decline under the weight of state temperance laws. Before long, each kibbutz would have its own brewery and distillery.1

1. This subject will be covered in more depth in later cultural updates. Rest assured, changes in eating and drinking habits will not be missed in cultural updates. I just do not want to clutter policy updates too much.

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The People’s Secretariat for Education

As part of Foster’s Cultural Revolution, the entire American educational system, from top to bottom, would be totally restructured. As part of this ideological program, the old norms of hierarchical instruction were to be questioned and discarded wherever possible. The purpose of education would not be to make competent factory workers or obedient soldiers, but thinking, reasoning and politically participating “socialist citizens”.

John Dewey’s school reforms would affect all levels of education, from the first grade to the university. As part of the program, traditional models of education emphasizing the regimented classroom with the dictatorial teacher would be discarded. The Deweyite school would place far more emphasis on active critical thinking and democratic discourse than it would on concerns such as attendance or punctuality. Problem solving and critical thinking would be promoted hand-in-hand with cooperative projects and civic service. Individual homework would be discarded in favor of collaborative projects; each individual would succeed or fail not only on their own brilliance, but on cultivating the talents and cooperation of their peers as well.

The new educational models heavily reflected Marxist-Leninist ideology, at least in its American expression. While the full effect of the new educational models, rapidly implemented in the mid-’30s, would take decades to observe, there was little doubt among proponents and detractors that it would achieve much of what it aimed. What differed was only whether those effects would be reflected positively or negatively. Would the thinking, engaged democratic citizen be in practice little more than a herd animal, or would he become the citizen of the future the world over?

The other major educational reforms of the period were more structural than methodological. The 1934 Basic Law abolished private educational institutions, including parochial schools, and the mid-’30s saw the continued battle to integrate former parochial school students into public school systems. Many feathers were ruffled, particularly among American Catholics, and the end of the Catholic educational system in America added further complexities to the growing theological disputes in Catholicism.1

Significant reforms were made to higher education as well. Federal and provincial support for higher education was substantially increased. Access to higher education would be made entirely free to individuals, opening up positions in all colleges and universities to be based solely on merit. Programs were established to increase the number of available slots for students at universities, and dozens of new universities were planned and chartered, some of which would eventually become among America’s leaders in education.

School curricula reflected the new political climate in America. Though largely voluntary, the changes in educational curricula would be at the forefront of the Cultural Revolution, and would serve to create a “new mythology”, with its own folk heroes and villains, as a new national historical and cultural narrative.2

1. This will also be the subject of its own update(s). Religion during the Cultural Revolution will get its own full update, and the policies of major organizations, such as the Catholic Church will also be examined.

2. This will probably be the first update after I’m finished with policy updates.

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The People’s Secretariat for Public Safety

Originally formed out of the old National Bureau of Investigation and the United States Marshals Service, the People’s Secretariat for Public Safety (informally SecPubSafe) would quickly become the UASR’s dual public and secret national police force. Though largely manned by loyal party members during the ’30s, it was quickly clear that its executive officer, J. Edgar Hoover, was the one in complete control of the organization.

The public face of the SecPubSafe was its national police forces: train and shipping police, investigation units, border guards, archive guards, security for national public buildings and public officials, and the counterespionage service. It would also coordinate cooperation between provincial police forces, and take over in cases of major disasters. However, SecPubSafe contained its own secret, paramilitary police forces and espionage services. Many of the public organizations within the Secretariat also had classified divisions and secret functions. The secret police functions were under the direct control of the internal Commissariat for State Security (CSS).

Though J. Edgar Hoover had been welcomed onto the Central Committee for his role in the end of the Civil War, he was far from trusted by the rest of the political establishment. His outing as a homosexual by the Justice Secretariat’s tolerance campaigns was a proverbial shot across the bow: so far he had been depicted as a wholesome patriot, ordinary and normal in every other way. His sexual proclivities, so far, had remained unmentioned.

His own organization was quickly staffed with persons whose loyalties to Hoover were dubious, but were unquestionable with regards to the Revolution. At any rate, Hoover got the message: play by the rules and do your duty, and we can have an understanding. Hoover set out to secure his position by proving where his loyalties lay.

SecPubSafe would play an integral role in the Red Terror. CSS special agents, armed with modern forensics techniques, wiretapping, Thompson submachine guns and Model 1911 autopistols, would scour the nation for paramilitaries and enemies of the state hiding out from the end of the Civil War.

The CSS would wage a two front campaign throughout the country: counterrevolutionaries would be isolated from potential sympathizers through propaganda and careful politics. Then they would be sniffed out and eliminated. The archetype of this campaign was the CSS’s purge of the remnants of the KKK and other paramilitaries in the South. Isolated from sympathizers such as backwoods moonshiners by repeals of temperance laws and alcohol excises, and development programs, KKK cells were forced to undertake much more visible means of support. Following the chains of robberies, CSS units tracked down these cells. More often than not, they did not bother to take prisoners.

While many higher ranking officials in the KKK were given the People’s Tribunal treatment, most rank and file militants from all groups were given far less luxurious treatment. On many occasions, captured counterrevolutionaries would be summarily executed. Hundreds, perhaps thousands more were killed trying to evade capture.

The purges and arrests were not contained to backwoods guerillas either. Southern officials in the Right Democrats or of dubious loyalty were often framed, disgraced or arrested by CSS agents. Several were outright assassinated by Public Safety. CSS largely obeyed the restrictions of its mandate: union members and members of the Workers’ Party or the Left Democrats were immune from the secret police treatment. Dealing with corrupt or disloyal officials in the aforementioned organizations were dealt with by the regular forces of SecPubSafe.

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People’s Secretariat for Railways

Of all the Secretariats in the UASR’s government, the Railway Secretariat was the least controversial and innovative. The railroads had already been nationalized by the Hoover Government in early 1929, and had maintained operation throughout the Depression in spite of the collapse of interstate commerce and shipping. The takeover of the railways by the provisional government had been smooth, and heavily assisted by the American Railway Union.

As part of the First Five Year Plan, James P. Cannon had lobbied for heavy reinvestment and expansion of the rail system, adopting new technologies to improve efficiency and productivity. With rail as the dominant means of overland passenger and freight transport, it was not hard to convince the Central Committee of its importance.

A Research and Development Division within the Secretariat was established to develop and promote new technologies for rail transport. A program to convert the locomotive fleet to diesel-electric power-plants was begun with the hope of reducing freight times and fuel costs. Experimental programs in rail electrification began in New England to serve as a test bed for potential future technologies.

New rail lines were planned in the South to serve industrialization programs. The first new lines to support the Tennessee Valley Industrial Project had already began construction in late 1933.

The period from 1934 to 1940 would see the last major expansion of the American rail system.

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People’s Secretariat for Communication

The nationalization of the American telephone and telegraph system, combined with the needs of information gathering and distribution in a planned economy, prompted the creation of the Secretariat for Communication. Integrating the American postal, telegraph, and telephone systems, as well as the regulation of radio communications, the SecCom had the potential to be one of the most dangerous institutions in the UASR government.

It was a serious bit of fortune that it was Max Eastman, the American Trotskyist and critic of state socialism, who was the one placed in charge during its formative years. The policies set up by Eastman dictated that the SecCom’s portfolio would be limited to the maintenance and improvement of the physical infrastructure necessary for communication.

Under this interpretation, the main goal of SecCom became to expand telephone and telegraph services to cover the entirety of the country. Working in conjunction with provincial Communications Secretariats, telephone service was expanded to rural areas. In ares where coverage already existed, citizens were provided with a telephone and telephone service, free of charge, as available. “A Democratic Society Is a Connected Society,” as the program’s tagline read.

A grant system to support the creation of new local radio cooperatives was put into place in early 1935. An independent, non-political agency was created to review funding applications. Under the rules, the Union government would buy the necessary equipment for radio broadcast, and provide avenues for technical training if necessary, and the cooperatives themselves would fund their own operations through provincial/local grants, donations, or other means.

The program would serve as a basic template for a later program, begun in 1937, to support the filmmaking industry (and in the future, the television filming industry). In conjunction with the Union Academy for the Arts and Sciences, the SecCom created an independent, non-political agency to support both capital procurement and production costs in Hollywood. Controversial even in the Workers’ Party at its inception, the program would eventually become an uncontroversial institution in the Hollywood studio system.1

A pilot program for research and development in television networks began in New York City in 1935. Utilizing the existing infrastructure (with some modifications) of the local radio collectives, programming and expertise from the local university systems, and a bit of ingenuity, the first commercial, city-wide television network was set up.

1. Covered in more depth in a later update

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People’s Secretariat for Maritime Transport

The Secretariat for Maritime Transport was created to administer the nationalized American shipping fleets. As part of the system set up in the mid-’30s, the Secretariat would set policies and, in conjunction with the Foreign Trade Secretariat, would provide the ships to conduct foreign trade with other nations over the sea. However, as a deal to the unions, the Secretariat would give ships a measure of autonomy. Trade unions involved with American shipping, fishing and passenger service would maintain propriety of ship conduct. The unions would elect ship officers and discipline crews.

The system set up by Joseph Ryan, a former sailor and union man himself, would set up a tension between the Union government and the autonomy of the unions. In theory, the two sides remained in balance, but over the course of history, the balance of power and autonomy would shift back and forth with the currents of the times.

The Secretariat would also take over the administration of ports, docks and shipyards in the country. However, while it would set the policies of ports, the actual administration of them would fall to the provincial governments and the Longshoremen’s Union.

During this period, and the Second World War that followed, the Maritime Secretariat would be the primary shipbuilder for the Union, constructing both civilian and military vessels based on designs developed by the independent Naval Architects Bureau.

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People’s Secretariat for Energy

Energy production and distribution was among the first industries of “national importance” to be reorganized under the First Five Year Plan. Economic recovery, as well as future economic growth, would depend upon a stable, ample supply of energy. As part of the National Recovery Act of 1933, all firms related to the mining or recovery of energy resources, or those involved in the refining of energy resources or the production of electricity, were nationalized and placed under the management of the newly organized People’s Secretariat for Energy.

Two primary goals were established by Farrel Dobbs for the transition period. The first was to reutilize unused inputs. Inactive oil fields and coal mines were to be reopened to meet rising demand in the industrial sectors of the economy. The second goal was to improve the efficiency of energy capture and production. New oil refining methods were experimented with, and a United Mineworkers-led research taskforce was established to improve efficiency and safety in coal mining operations.

A major rural electrification program was begun in 1934 with the aim of expanding electrical networks to cover over 95 percent of Americans within five years. New Electro-Industrial projects, typified by the Tennessee Valley Industrial Project, combined massive expansions in road infrastructure with new heavy and light industrial projects, all supported by electricity produced primarily by hydroelectric dams.

The TVIP, under the joint leadership of the Energy and Heavy Industry Secretariats, would serve as the archetypal modernization project under the Five Year Plans. Agriculture in the Tennessee Valley was near universally collectivized. Over a dozen new dams provided a bounty of electrical power to the surrounding region, providing the energy needed to sustain and expand the agro-industrial projects of the kibbutzim set up in the Valley. Increased farm yields and productivity dramatically improved farm incomes for Tennessee Valley farmers. Aluminum smelting and processing plants were built in the Valley, which would later be crucial to the American war effort.1

While the TVIP was the first, it was far from the last. Similar projects were begun in the late ’30s in Missouri River (Missouri River Industrial Collective), the Columbia River (Columbia Valley Authority), the Ohio River (Ohio Valley Authority), the Savannah River (Savannah River Authority) and the Arkansas Valley. Their growing success would prompt the creation of an Atlantic Seaboard Project, a California Authority, and a Colorado River Authority during the Second World War.

While these new projects would eventually be integrated under the authority of the State Planning Commission in the 1950s, their initial planning and creation under the Energy Secretariat would among the crowning achievements of the First Five Year Plan, and would do their fair share of heavy lifting in America’s economic recovery and growth.

1. Basically, OTL’s TVA, only faster and on steroids.

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People’s Secretariat for Heavy Industry

The Heavy Industry Secretariat was similarly created as part of the National Recovery Act of 1933. Charged with the purpose of coordinating industrial production and refining of raw materials and the manufacture of durable, non-maritime goods such as aircraft and automobiles, the Secretariat would be a major player in American recovery.

Keeping with the Central Committee’s central goals of recovery and modernization, W.E.B. DuBois would spend much of his time organizing research and development projects. Newer, more efficient and safer techniques of production were to be developed in all of the major industries, with the goal of improving productivity at a rate of six percent per year. DuBois would also oversee the creation of the Design Bureau system, which would separate design and research on finished durables from production.

The heavily state-supported design bureaus, organized from and sharing the name with the firms from which they drew their talent pool, would develop and test prototypes for the locomotive, aircraft, automobile and shipbuilding industries.

Economic recovery would come swiftly, driven by smart industrial planning and deficit spending: by May of 1936, industrial production had returned to its pre-Depression high. Unemployment was reduced by more than half, to 12 percent. Broad, egalitarian improvements in living standards and real wages had come with the recovery. Real GDP reached pre-Depression levels by early 1937, and 8-9% growth rates were foretasted until the end of the First Five Year Plan in 1939.

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People’s Secretariat for Light Industry

Light Industry, primarily responsible for the coordination of production in consumer goods, would play a less obvious but still crucial role during the economic recovery in the 30s. Light Industry would ultimately serve two major roles during the ’30s and the Cultural Revolution.

First, it would serve its groundbreaking role during the formation and growth of the “kibbutzim” system of agricultural collectives. The Light Industry Secretariat would recruit and train the expertise necessary to make the kibbutzim reasonably self-sufficient. From bakers and brewers to smiths and tanners, many different trades would have to be promoted and expanded to serve the image of the model collective.

Negotiating grants and cheap loans with the Union Bank, the Secretariat promoted the expansion of light industry in the rural agricultural collectives, expanding the supply of consumer goods and providing the basic modernization to many rural areas necessary to ensure sustained economic growth.

The Light Industry Secretariat would also promote the production and distribution of new waves of labor-saving household appliances. While these programs officially discouraged private residences’ use of such appliances in order to promote the expansion of communal living1 in both urban and rural areas, their presence would be universally felt in this era. With more women than ever joining the labor force, such devices were very much welcome.

1. Also covered in later cultural updates.

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People’s Secretariat for Construction and Housing

The Housing and Construction portfolio represented more of a pragmatic compromise than anything. Essentially, in its short existence before being broken up into multiple Secretariats, Housing and Construction served as the catch-all political-economic ministry. In its early years, it would manage housing projects, highway road and bridge construction, earthworks and levees not connected with power generation projects, as well as the construction of industrial factories.

Its chief political officer, Clarence Senior, had been Norman Thomas’ campaign manager in the 32 election, and would have served as his Chief of Staff had the Civil War not broken out over the election result.

Senior would spend much of the 30s busying himself with inner city housing projects in a “war” on the “last vestiges of capitalism”: the slums of major industrial and commercial cities. The ambitious housing projects, most often dual-union and provincial-managed, would build modern, communal-style apartments that would eventually come to house millions of individuals and serve as the architectural expression of the new America in the postwar world.

One of the chief legacies of Senior’s ministry that is still visible decades later are the historical preservation projects. The mansions of the wealthy from before the Revolution, rather than being ransacked, would be preserved as reminders of a bygone era. Many would be converted into vacation cooperatives or hotels, to serve as places of rest and recreation for working people of America.

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State Planning Commission

Every planned economy needs planners, and in an economy the size of an advanced industrial state like America, the planning apparatus itself becomes the most important apparatus of government policy. In America, the economic planning divisions of the People’s Secretariats, the Solidarity labor union, and the Union Republics would be consolidated into a single political directorate. The State Planning Commission would have authority and supervision that would overlap with all of the major offices in the Central Committee, and would ultimately exert authority over the management sectors of every major industry.

It was appropriate that the early tenure of such an ambitious program would fall to the hands of a man who was an architect by trade. An apolitical man, Albert Kahn’s previous experience as senior partner in an architecture firm, handling contracts with clients as diverse as Ford Motor Company and the Soviet Union, would make him an ideal chairman and administrator for StatePlan.

Information would be key, and no expense was spared in the preparations for the First Five Year Plan. The world’s largest and most advanced telecommunications network was built. Local, provincial and union level reporting systems were devised, and methods of statistical sampling were devised and implemented in every industry, from the largest state managed projects to the smallest worker cooperative.

Though in its first two years of existence, StatePlan would adopt a model that was essentially a refined version of the Soviet “brute force” method of economic planning and calculation. Starting in 1936 StatePlan would begin incorporating pricing information, decentralizing its functions significantly and using market simulations to improve both day-to-day and long term economic plans. This new model, often called the Lange Model after its chief formulator, Polish economist and émigré Oskar R. Lange, who would serve as Deputy Chairman of StatePlan from 1937 to 1944, and would become one of the chief architects of the post-war international economic system.

Besides economic planning, StatePlan’s other chief function was the support of research and development programs. New discoveries and improved methods of production would be promoted and universalized by StatePlan to improve the efficiency and productivity of the whole economy.

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Academy of Arts and Sciences

One of the major departures in American politics following the Revolution was the creation of a state-sponsored national Academy. The Union Academy of Arts and Sciences would be a nationally sponsored body, made of constituent fellowships from the different academic fields, as well as fellowships of professional trades, from doctors and lawyers to the members of art guilds.

The Academy would set membership and certification requirements for each of the Fellowships under its supervision. The appropriation of public money for research would be controlled by the Academy, which would democratically elect all of its internal bodies.

The Academy’s first chairman, Playwright Guild leader Eugene O’Neill, would set the standard for future management of the national Academy. Following in O’Neill’s example, future chairs of the Academy would be nonpartisan, and would remain the only members of the Central Committee appointed entirely independently of the political leadership of the union government.

Besides its role in promoting research and ensuring responsible membership in professional organizations, the Academy would also serve as the principal means of support to the arts in the ’30s and beyond. The arts guilds, the Hollywood studio collectives, music fellowships and the theater organizations would be promoted and supported with public grant money. The growth of the arts during the ’30s would be key in the end of American feelings of cultural and artistic inferiority to Europe.

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Union Bank

The Union Bank would be the central bank of the UASR, and would serve as the primary source of banking services for the vast majority of individuals and firms within the nation. The Union Bank would be a federal entity, with the commanding heights of the organization controlled exclusively by the union government, but local branches would be under the control of provincial and local governments.

The Union Bank would fulfill all of the functions typical of a central bank in any industrialized country. The transition to fiat currency, begun belatedly in last months of Hoover’s disastrous presidency, would continue under the provisional government and formalized with the reorganization of the United States Federal Reserve into the Union Bank.

Key to the bank’s policy during the Great Depression recovery was the financing of deficit spending through bond sales, mostly to private citizens and independent cooperatives. The printing and issuing of Federal Reserve Notes (paper currency) from before the revolution would continue throughout this era, until their gradual retirement in the late 1940s and early 1950s with new currency reflecting the political changes in the country.

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Excerpts from Journeys in Red America, by George Orwell (London: Secker and Warburg, 1939)
In my travels through America, I’ve come to see that conventional narratives of American communism; from the Communist Party and the Labour militants on the left, or the reactionaries on the right, are both fundamentally and inescapably wrong. Since the reasons for rejecting the Tory official history on the subject are all too clear, I shall dismiss this right out of hand, and focus on the Left’s ideological shibboleths. It has not been because of the leaders of the Workers’ Communist Party1, nor because of their doctrinaire application of Marxism-Leninism, that socialism has been put into effect. Rather, it has been in spite of the best efforts of men like William Z. Foster or Earl Browder (ashamedly, the working class heroes of European Left) that this idea of libertarian communism was put into effect.

The transformation of the country has been amazing. Very quickly, much of the land in American South was collectively cultivated by the former tenant farmers themselves, without landlords, without bosses, and without instituting capitalist competition to spur production. The government’s collectivization programmes, for all their promises, have been most shameful. In the South, the old foremen and plantation owners have been reappointed as “managers” of the kibbutzim. Power inequalities, between black and white, between worker and manager, have been preserved, not eradicated.

The “genius” of the American planned economy relies less on the planners in their ivory towers, and far more on the initiative of the rank and file union members. In almost all the industries—factories, mills, workshops, transportation services, public services, and utilities—the rank and file workers, their revolutionary committees, and their syndicates reorganized and administered production, distribution, and public services without capitalists, or high salaried managers.

Even more: the various agrarian and industrial collectives immediately instituted economic equality in accordance with the essential principle of communism, ‘From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs.’ They coordinated their efforts through free association in whole regions, created new wealth, increased production (especially in agriculture), built more schools, and bettered public services. They instituted not bourgeois formal democracy but genuine grass roots functional libertarian democracy, where each individual participated directly in the revolutionary reorganization of social life. They replaced the war between men, ‘survival of the fittest,’ by the universal practice of mutual aid, and replaced rivalry by the principle of solidarity...

This experience, in which a nation of some one hundred twenty million directly or indirectly participated, opened a new way of life to those who sought an alternative to anti-social capitalism on the one hand, and totalitarian state bogus socialism on the other.

...When I had first arrived in America in October of 1936, I was confronted with the freshness of the revolutionary fervor. It was as if the revolution had happened yesterday. Only later did I realize that the revolutionary fervor was still high because it had not ended yet. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with the red and black flag of the revolution; every wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost every church had been closed. Churches here and there were being systematically demolished by gangs of workmen. Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal.

Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had disappeared. Nobody said ‘Mister’ or ‘Sir’; everyone called everyone else ‘Comrade’ or ‘Brother’. Tipping was now forbidden by law; almost my first experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a lift-boy. There were few private motor-cars, most had all been commandeered, and the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud. As throngs of people passed through the city’s busy arteries, the radios on the street corners and in the shops bellowed revolutionary songs and broadcasts of the public assembly’s meetings. And it was the aspect of the crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a city of millions in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Except for a small number of women and foreigners there were no ‘well-dressed’ people at all. Practically everyone wore rough denim working-class clothes, or blue overalls or some variant of militia uniform. The greatly diminished number of women who still wore dresses or skirts were far less modest than before the revolution; ‘To save fabric’ one girl explained. ‘Freedom to be a woman and not be smothered by a blanket,’ explained another. All this was queer and moving. There was much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting far as one could judge the people were contented and hopeful. There was no unemployment, and the price of living was still extremely low; you saw very few conspicuously destitute people, and no beggars except the gypsies. Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine.2
1. The party underwent another official renaming in 1935, removing the parentheses from around “Communist”.

2. This was a rewrite of various passages from Homage to Catalonia by Orwell, with the hopes of capturing Orwell’s style.

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Excerpts from Battle Scars of a History Professor: A Memoir, by Norman Thomas Washington (Chicago: Haymarket, 2010).
When I first started teaching modern American history at Columbia University in 1978, life was certainly exciting. Watching a momentous historical event in the making is a uniquely terrifying event for any historian, let alone one fresh out of grad school. Watching the political order that had endured literally my entire life suddenly and dramatically realign was an event of such importance that I don’t think we’ll experience another in my lifetime.

The June 1978 General Election was still fresh in everyone’s minds when classes began that fall. It was wonderful to see our youthful hopes vindicated, that national politics wasn’t the sport of old white men. The Social Ecology Union was the new dominant political party, and it promised to fulfill the ambitions of student movements and the Counterculture that had nurtured and supported its growth. America had her first African1 premier, and almost half of the Central Committee members were women.

Still, one of my students was a little jaded, even with all of this. She was a freshman political science major from Tennessee named Scarlett. I’ll never forget her question to me. She approached me after class one Friday early in the term and wondered if she could ask a question. Not paying too much attention, I hurriedly gathered up my papers and motioned for her to walk with me. “Sorry I’m in a hurry,” I said, “but I need to get home in time for the repairman. Go on.”

She was a bit old fashioned, and still had trouble calling me by my first name. Nevertheless, she managed. “Well, Norm...I guess I was just wondering why politics isn’t as, well, ‘awesome’ as it was during the Revolution. I mean... I look at the leaders we have now, and they just look bland compared to the men who led the Revolution. The speeches aren’t as exciting, the leaders are dull and uninteresting. Why are things so dull?”

I stopped to think for a minute. Truthfully, I didn’t have an answer then, and I apologized for it profusely. However, in retrospect, it’s all so obvious. Things aren’t as exciting in politics because the things that were revolutionary in 1933 are normal now.

In spite of all the kinks that needed to be worked out of the system, the people of my generation, and of succeeding generations, have all known nothing else but socialism. The stories of revolutions and revolutionaries that we tell our children, that fill our novels, are things of fantasy now. Our forefathers sought to build a utopia, and now we’re living in it. This is not to say that life is somehow perfect now, or that all heartaches have been conquered. The project of scientific socialism has never been about such religious absurdities as “perfecting existence”. It’s been about ensuring that man’s animal needs are all met, so that each individual can then find the best way to meet his human needs. “The free development of each is the condition for the free development of all,” as Marx would put it.

We’ve never known wage-slavery in our lives. We’ve never known the adversity that capitalism causes, and so we cannot know the struggle against it. Divorced from the real conditions of that struggle, our past struggles have become romantic folk stories, little different from the tales of knights of old slaying dragons and rescuing maidens. So if I were to answer her question now (though I doubt I’d have to, considering Scarlett is now a distinguished member of the political science faculty at MIT), I’d have to tell her that politics being more “boring” now is a good thing. There’s an old Chinese curse that goes something like “May you live in interesting times.”

The revolutionary fervor is gone because there is no need for it anymore. The goals of the revolution have been accomplished. Socialism, participatory democracy, egalitarianism; these are all accepted facets of life in America. The ’30s were a dangerous time, in America and in the rest of the world, and we should not kid ourselves about what came along with the revolutionary fervor. Atrocities were committed by revolutionaries and the state they created. Had things gone a little differently, it is very easy to see how America could have slid into dictatorship and totalitarianism.
1. Racial terminology is significantly different than IOTL.

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Excerpts from the discussion thread entitled “Did anyone see Public Enemies?”
Originally Posted by Ubermunch Hey guys, I just got back from the cinema, and as you can guess, I just watched the new historical drama Public Enemies. Now, I’m a Brit, so I’m not very well versed in American revolutionary history. There was like literally two paragraphs in my school textbook on the subject, so you’ll have to forgive my ignorance.

While I used to be one of those patriotic Brits who always thought “Better Dead than Red”, since I’ve been at university I’m a little bit less of a wanker about it. I’d like to keep this from turning into a transatlantic flame war (the Cold War is hot enough as it is Cool), so can we please just stick to the discussion of the historical facts. I really don’t care if you think the Revolution was the best thing since sliced bread, or if you think, like the average Brit, that it’s the most terrible thing to happen. Let’s just agree to disagree about politics.

First off, it’s a very well done film. I hate to admit it, but you Yanks know a thing or two about movie making. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it stars Adam Sandler as former NBI agent and reluctant revolutionary Melvin Purvis, and Johnny Depp as the suave, loyal party man and secret police Lieutenant John Dillinger as they’re assigned to lead a task force to infiltrate, disrupt and destroy the KKK in the South from 1933 to 1938. The casting was pretty good, and Sandler did a very good Dixie accent, at least to this Brit’s ear. Hard to believe his first acting roles were in comedies, actually. Johnny Depp plays the suave police officer to the hilt.

Anyway, the film is long, almost three hours, and it covers the drama of SecPubSafe’s campaigns against paramilitaries and terrorists. I admit, I was surprised at the balance of the portrayal. I was expecting them to treat the KKK as cartoonish villains and totally whitewash the secret police atrocities of the era, but it turned out pretty good. Like I said, I don’t know much about the history of the era, so how well did it do?
Originally Posted by DeOpressoLiber Hate to break it to you, bub, but the KKK were cartoonish villains. I know that your history textbooks like to portray the KKK as freedom fighters of sorts, but they were nothing more than racist, fascist thugs and murderers. Yeah, they were human beings too, and a lot of them might have even been sympathetic characters. Doesn’t make them any less of monsters.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard The historical inaccuracies were forgivable in most cases. The chronology of a couple of events were dramatically shifted in a couple cases, and as far as we can tell, the scene where Purvis and Dillinger were arrested by Alabama State Troopers while undercover, and thrown in the same holding cell as Right Democrat strongman Strom Thurmond seems to be apocryphal.

Still, I agree, good show. Though, I’m from South Carolina, and I could tell that Sandler’s accent kept slipping in a number of scenes, especially when he had to raise his voice. I’m glad it didn’t pull its punches, because there were atrocities committed in the name of the revolution in this period, and we shouldn’t kid ourselves about that.
Originally Posted by SeriousSam I liked the “Western” feel they gave to it, in spite of being a serious law and order drama. The score was very good, reminded me a lot of Ennio Morricone. Still, looking back from 2009, I have a hard time believing that the main characters really had that much kinky sex. Sure, the thirties were a time of sexual liberation, but I really don’t think THAT MUCH occurred. The casual threesomes with the female lead seem just gratuitous. I can buy that sort of thing happening in the fifties, but not the thirties.
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Excerpts from Paul Avrich, A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1984)
The shorter skirts of American women in the Cultural Revolution were clearly about more than just saving fabric. The Cultural Revolution had sparked its own sexual revolution, with millions, youth and adult alike, challenging existing social taboos about marriage, divorce, premarital sex, and sexuality. This revolution was not without controversy, and even many of the most committed revolutionaries of the era were taken back by this tide of sexual openness.

Like many of the great political upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, it was carried out primarily in the workers’ councils and public assemblies that had been the vanguard of the Revolution. In the spirited discussions of the era, there were no sacred cows left. Every tradition and taboo was up for review.

...The ball was rolling long before the Civil War was over. In the activist public assemblies of New York, the Working Women’s Federation began its campaign to legalize and promote the distribution of birth control in January of 1933. Within weeks, the small sparks had grown into a raging inferno. With many churches and religious doctrines under intense criticism for their support of the reactionaries, the general feeling became it was a revolutionary act to question any existing dogma.

And question they did. Condoms, once controversial, became tame now. The real question, as one party activist argued, was, “Is sex sinful?” In July of 1933, the consensus position was that sex within marriage was not sinful, even if done purely for pleasure. By January of 1934, that consensus position had shifted to “Sex between men and women is not sinful”.

...The Party, for its part, generally promoted this overturning of old traditions. The Law, throughout much of the UASR, would be mostly silent on the issues of sexuality. Cohabitation, homosexuality, premarital sex, and divorce were all legalized. The Young Pioneers distributed condoms to their members and gave them some rudiments of sexual education at their urban and rural camps. Sexual and health education in secondary schools became a required part of the curriculum. Nudity taboos were discouraged, and most communal living arrangements, public restrooms and baths, and locker rooms built in this period were not gender segregated. Dating and even sexual experimentation by teenagers was quietly promoted, though not without controversy.

Citizens who were taken aback by this new sexual openness largely flocked to the Left Democratic Party in this era, and the LDP changed its party platform accordingly. The party moved dramatically to the left economically, abandoning its earlier moderate socialist/social democratic platform in favor of a full endorsement of many of the economic policies of the Foster government. By shifting the focus to cultural issues, the LDP sought to capture the discontent of moderates left lost and confused by the Cultural Revolution.
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Excerpts from the discussion thread entitled “WI: No Catholic Excommunication?”
Originally Posted by Tanks_A_Lot I think, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest blunder the Catholic Church has ever made was the Church’s interference in the American Revolution. I know a lot of churches were hit hard during that time period, but arguably the Catholics were hit the hardest. So, let’s say Pope Pius XI doesn’t issue his bull excommunicating Catholic members of the Communist Party or the priests who continued to give them communion in defiance of earlier directives.
Originally Posted by Kielbasa Well, that’s a complicated question, for many reasons. The Holy See’s relationship with its American flock had been strained for some time. By and large, American Catholics, especially the most recent immigrants, were working class, and heavily tied to the syndicalist movement and the Communists.

My grandfather was a Polish Catholic immigrant, and I can remember him talking about how in his youth, he didn’t leave the Catholic Church; the Catholic Church left him. I don’t know if that’s generalizable, but I suspect a lot of Americans Catholics felt that way in the Revolution. When the Church supported the military junta, and tried to muscle its flock away from the revolution, it backfired tremendously. I don’t know if we can conceivably change Pius XI’s stance without changing the decades of policy before it. The blanket excommunication of many Americans, clergy and laymember alike, and the resulting formation of the American Trinitarian Church1 was the end result of a Nixon Gambit decades in the making.2
Originally Posted by PatrickBateman I disagree, Kielbasa. You just need to have Pius be the one who flinches. I’m sure he knew that the course he was taking was incredibly risky; he just expected it to pay off. It didn’t, obviously. Just increase his doubts, and he could easily decide to back down to try to salvage what was left of the situation. The results of the decision had long-term repercussions that extended well beyond the UASR as well. All it would take is a little more forethought.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard I don’t know if negating the decision would be enough though. Anti-clericalism was at an all-time high in the Cultural Revolution, and that feeling extended to much of organized religion. When the first Gallup Poll was done on the subject in 1938, I think something like 30+ percent of the population identified as atheists.

Maybe he can salvage what’s left, but the Catholic Church is still going to be a shell of its former self in terms of membership.
Originally Posted by Tanks_A_Lot Hmm. You all make good points. Though I’d just like to point out the major irony of four atheists discussing the subject. Cool I was hoping maybe some religious people might comment, but it seems they decided to stay home today.
Originally Posted by LunaticScrewball Dude, it’s easier to find religious people in a university faculty than it is on the internet Stuck out tongue
1. A Church organization founded in America by dissident Catholics. Notable for its quick rejection of celibate priesthood (1937) and embracing of women clergy (1941).

2. As you might guess, a “Nixon Gambit” or “Nixon’s Gambit” is a slang term for a game of brinkmanship, akin to a game of chicken. I’ll leave you to guess the origin of the phrase.

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Fun and Recreation in the Cultural Revolution

Baseball was still the national pastime in America. The professional baseball associations continued to play, much the same as they did before the Revolution, though it was largely the taxpayers that paid their salaries now. Tickets were dirt cheap, and the radio broadcasts of pro games remained a staple of entertainment and gambling of shady legality. Though the 1933 season was heavily disrupted by the Civil War, the World Series continued as planned, with the New York Giants crushing the Washington Hammers (formerly the Senators) in a 4-0 landslide that October.

Starting in 1934, the tradition of singing “The Star Spangled Banner” in baseball games was replaced with a group singing of “The Internationale”, often in its entirety.

Basketball continued to gain popularity in America’s major urban cities. The sport, heavily dominated by Jewish athletes, fit the faster, more aggressive pace of urban life. Many of the teams gained the sponsorship of the older, more established baseball teams in their cities, and took on similar monikers. The first basketball World Series was held in 1939, in a seven-game series between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knickerbockers, with the Celtics winning 64-53 in the final game of the series.

The ’30s were also a new golden age for film as well. The studio collectives, supported with arts grants by the Academy of Arts and Sciences, continued to make many revolutions within the art of film-making. Three major trends took off in filmmaking: monster films, political cinema, and animation. Adaptations of classic horror novels, such as Frankenstein (1934), Dracula (1935), or Dr. Jekyll (1937) continued to pack theaters full of eager audiences. Many iconic cartoon characters were introduced in animated shorts that bookend feature films, such as Droopy the Dog, Bugs Bunny, or Screwy the Squirrel.

Political cinema became highly popular during the Cultural Revolution. Most often, these films reinterpreted old legends and folk tales. The groundbreaking 1936 color film The Legend of Robin Hood led the pack, recasting Robin Hood from a sympathetic nobleman into a hard-edged proletarian hero in Medieval Britain, leading the peasants in a successful revolt against the corrupt Prince John and his enforcer the Sheriff of Nottingham, who looked curiously like a cross between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Similar treatments were given to the John Henry and Pecos Bill legends.

Other political films of the era included adaptations of Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms (1934), the epic historical drama of the American Revolution titled Red May (1938), and the blockbuster The Grapes of Wrath (1940), adapted from the Steinbeck novel set amongst dispossessed farmers in the Depression organizing and fighting in the Revolution, which is still one of the best received and bestselling films of the century.

The Disney Animation Collective also broke new ground with the first feature-length animated film, a subtle reworking of the old Snow White fairy tale. Snow White, now divorced from any royal blood, is banished by the wicked queen for her beauty, and goes to live with the hardworking proletarian dwarves, of various humors and temperament. The film’s subtle feminist overtones have made it a classic.

The rise of comic books in this era as cheap youth entertainment was also notable. Adapting from the early humorous comic shorts, new writers and artists began using the comic medium to tell different kinds of stories. With the popularity of monster movies at the theater, many early comics followed this route. Towards the end of the ’30s, a new kind of story arose in comics, mirroring the wish-fulfillment fantasies of its core demographic.

The masked hero and the superhero were soon born. Batman, the hard-edged detective and crime-fighter who tracks down criminals and counterrevolutionaries with wit and cool gadgets, and Superman, the vaguely Jewish working-class hero with larger-than-life powers and an incorruptible faith in “Truth, Justice and Socialism”, served as the archetypes of this new genre of modern myths.

Music did not remain untouched either. The spirit of creativity embodied by the revolution drove jazz’s improvisational core to new levels. The faster tempo and more complicated beats of the era of swing brought new performers into the limelight. Songs about love and sex were popular in the major urban scene, sparking their own great deal of controversy. Singers like Frank Sinatra found themselves at the center of moral panic over the sexuality of their performances.

“Classical” music was no less touched by the upheaval. Its own firestorm of experimentation and creativity began in February 1934, when the New York Philharmonic met for a public performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. After the conductor introduced the Orchestra, he gave a signal. The whole Philharmonic silently got up, re-arranged their chairs to form a circle on the stage. The conductor himself picked up a violin, and the Philharmonic played, keeping time with one another by sight and sound.1

1. As strange as it seems, this sort of thing was experimented with during the Russian Revolution, and it works surprisingly well. It’s easy to see why such a collectivist, non-hierarchical idea might be embraced in the environment, even if it causes inconveniences.

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1936 Presidential Election

On November 3, 1936, voters across America went to the polls to select which man would be the head of the American state and the symbolic moral leader of the nation. The election would be a referendum on the Revolution, the Five Year Plan, and the performance of the national government. With so much at stake, it was little wonder that each party selected its best and brightest to stand for election.

Upton Sinclair, the incumbent President and Secretary-General of the Workers’ Communist Party, ran unopposed and secured the nomination from his party quite handily. Though as President of the Union, Sinclair had few formal powers, his position of influence within the party made him still perhaps the most powerful political figure in the country. Sinclair would set the standard for statecraft for his party and for all future presidents, and set the pattern of presidents as party-leaders that would endure for much of the 20th Century.

The Left Democratic Party, seeking to capitalize on discontent over Communist cultural policies, carefully crafted its message to avoid the economic issues that the Communists would win on. To carry their message to a national audience, the Left Democrats nominated the charismatic and popular New Yorker Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The Right Democrats, however, were in a state of disarray. With the Left Democrats taking much of the party apparatus and systematically kicking their politicians out of their strongholds in Southern provincial governments, the party’s convention was a heated debate. The majority faction, led by Texas pragmatist John Nance Garner, argued that the political realities of the Revolution and the Red Terror made the party’s current position untenable. To continue to oppose the Revolution would be political suicide; some accommodation would need to be made. The party would have to shift leftward some, or as a small faction suggested, reconcile with the Left Democrats. The minority faction refused to endorse such measures. The party splintered after the convention, disastrously so, with the majority faction agreeing to support Republican William F. Knox’s presidential run, while the ultra-rightists went underground.

The Republican Party was in bad shape in 1936. A dramatic change of image was desperately needed, or else the GOP would face total political oblivion. That change would come in the form of army veteran and supporter of the late President Wood, William Franklin Knox. Knox’s swift takeover of the GOP in early 1936 led to drastic internal changes. The modern GOP would be running against men like Hoover. Republicans would have to be progressive again; they’d have to evoke the spirit of the party of Abraham Lincoln and the abolitionists.

Other notable events of 1936 can be found below.


Candidate Votes Percentage
Upton Sinclair (C) 31,721,521 60.9%
Franklin Roosevelt (LD) 15,859,015 30.4%
William F. Knox (R) 4,540,012 8.7%

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1938 General Election

Under the terms of the 1934 Basic Law, the term of the Congress of People’s Deputies is 5 years. New elections must be held no later than 1 month before the end of the term. With the Congress’s convention date of May 3, 1933, new elections could be held no later than April 3, 1938. The Union Election Law of 1937 specified 3-day-long, weekend general elections to promote voter turnout. From Friday, April 1 to Sunday, April 3, 1938, the polls opened across America for the general election.

All 870 seats of the Congress of People’s Deputies would be up for election. Voters would cast two ballots, one for the local district’s people’s deputy, and another for the national party lists.


Single Member Constituencies
Party Standing Elected Change
Workers’ Communist 435 291 -88
Left Democrats 327 100 +52
Republican 54 21 +21
Right Democrats 111 12 -6
African National Congress 7 3 +3
Labor Party 14 2 +2
Independents 85 6 +6

National party lists
Party Votes Percentage Seats Change
Workers’ Communist 33,123,079 54.1% 236 -36
Left Democrats 21,452,856 35.1% 153 +51
Republican Party 4,101,390 6.9% 29 +4
Right Democrats 2,515,342 4.1% 17 -23

Congress of People’s Deputies, by bloc
Bloc/Party Seats
Revolutionary Left Bloc 532
Workers’ Communist Party 527
African National Congress 3
Independent Labor Party 2
American People’s Front 259
Left Democratic Party 253
Independents 6
Democratic-Republican Coalition 79
Republican Party 50
Right Democratic Party 29

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Architecture in the UASR

The architectural style of the UASR’s early years was heavily influenced by the Soviet constructivist school, which was influential in the USSR from the 1921 to 1932. With opportunities for cultural exchange opened up by the technical exchange programs between America and the Soviet Union, many disaffected Soviet architects from the now-disfavored constructivist school would find opportunities for their work to flourish in America. They and their American colleagues and students would greatly influence the architectural style of the Cultural Revolution and the postwar world.

Constructivist architecture combined a thorough appreciation of the most advanced science and engineering with an explicitly Communist social purpose. Constructivists sought to make the design of buildings, whether they served as living or working arrangements, be conducive to an egalitarian social and economic existence. Its popularity in early America came in no large part to the futurist rationalism it professed: that humans could with their intellect and their labor build a better existence for themselves and one another. It also reflected a certain reverence among many politically conscious Americans for their Soviet comrades; as the popular imagination had constructed it, they had led the way to the future, America’s overwhelming economic and scientific dominance notwithstanding. Constructivism in its formative stages was a part of the same “Soviet chic” milieu as Russian loanwords were in educated conversation, or as socialist realism was in arts and literature.

Some of the earliest expressions of constructivism are found in the many government ministries constructed early in this era. Among these, the Secretariat for Heavy Industry was no doubt one of the most striking and important statements of the style. Based on the émigré Vesnin brothers’ (rejected) designs for a building of similar function in Moscow, the “Big Bill” Haywood Center, as it was christened, stands on the Potomac River in Washington-Debs, D.C., as a potent symbol of America’s new dawn.1

Heavy Industry Secretariat

One of Vesnin’s early sketches of the Heavy Industry Secretariat, while it was still a Soviet project. The finished building differs very little.

Constructivism was, for obvious reasons, the stylistic choice for the many monuments constructed during the Cultural Revolution. Many, such as the Temple of the Revolution in the National Mall, would offer a subtle deconstruction of the neo-classical motifs of other monuments in the city. The Temple of the Revolution would incorporate the pillars and bright marble of the neo-classical style, inverting its purpose to serve as a shrine not to great men, but to a whole class of people. Its murals and statues have no names. They come from all races and creeds, and from all trades. They are united as workers and as human beings, no one before another as a master or leader.

Palace of Science and Technology

Brooklyn, New York’s Palace of Science and Technology, another exemplar of the style

The influence of constructivism extended far beyond government buildings and monuments. Communal dwellings and workplaces designed and constructed in this era were most often designed by students of the constructivist school. In keeping with constructivist philosophy, the high-rise communal apartments of urban renewal projects, and the centers of life in the rural kibbutzim embodied a commitment to social living. Most dwellings were designed around central kitchen and living spaces, balancing community with privacy.

The average urban communal dwelling of this era tended to be designed to house four to five average families, or roughly two dozen single adults. A communal kitchen, equipped with the latest labor saving devices, would serve as the focal point of the dwelling. A dining room and a central living space, furnished for group activity or discussion, would be built around the kitchen space. And around the communal areas, smaller parlors for reading or study, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc., would be arrayed. Some atypical designs eschewed private bedrooms for communal sleeping arrangements, but these were not as popular, and tended to be utilized either by large extended families or by college students and young independent workers.


Iakov Cherkinov’s overview sketch for the future of Harlem’s skyline

1. It stands roughly where the Watergate complex stands IOTL.

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Rustlin’ up Some Grub

One unexpected consequence of the America’s political and social revolution was that the demands of time placed on the citizenry had greatly increased. The social expectation to participate in the radical democratic experiment was quite powerful, and there were plenty of demands on everyone’s time. The average worker was expected to participate in the bimonthly factory assemblies that ratified basic policy, participate in the discussion and election of the worker council that would serve as the assembly’s steering committee, participate in the bimonthly public assembly of his neighborhood, participate in the policy debate and election of the ward council and of the government of his city commune, along with his or her private life. That is a lot of time that has to be spent thinking about political issues, and a lot of time spent participating in democracy.

Where does one find the hours in the day? The answer had to be some sort of division of labor. Communal living would help alleviate some of the burdens of time and would rationalize the time and energy of the home. But that would not be enough. Not everyone could or wanted to live in a commune. Single dwellings would remain quite common, and for those people to participate in social and political life, there would still need to be a division of labor.

In many ways, this necessity had already been anticipated by the long working hours of the prior capitalist society. Many urban workers didn’t have the time to tend to their own cooking or laundry, and so would patronize local restaurants and launderers to save time and energy. Many municipalities after the revolution took great care to promote this. Restaurants, laundries, and other such facilities would be collectivized, and subsidized by the municipality.

By the late 1940s, America would eventually surpass France in the world imagination as the nation of cafés and restaurants.

The American palate remained largely unchanged throughout the ’30s. In urban areas, the same melting pot of ethnic cuisines, tailored to fill the bellies of men who worked long hours, would remain dominant. In rural communes, the same time-tested formula of locally grown foods was on the menu, much the same as it had been for centuries. Bacon or sausage, fried eggs, and fried bread in the morning. Meat, potatoes and vegetables in the afternoon.

One particular change during the Cultural Revolution was drinking habits. Beer, wine and liquor had long been languishing under state-level prohibition laws. In 1932, eighteen of the forty-eight states were totally dry, and more than a dozen more heavily restricted alcoholic beverages. The Revolution brought a new renaissance in brewing and distilling, and alcohol would become one of the staples of the kibbutzim’s agro-industrial economies. Minimum drinking ages were effectively abolished in most provinces and municipalities, though heavy social pressure continues to exist against unsupervised or excessive drinking by minors.

The proliferation of new breweries, wineries and distilleries in this period brought a new explosion of styles and flavors in drinks. While soft drinks continued to grow in popularity as well in this era, beer as well grew considerably in popularity. Many different styles were experimented with, and new discernible drinking patterns emerged. In the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, dark bitter ales and hoppy lagers were more popular. In the South, lighter, often fruitier lagers were more popular, as were many native wine varieties. In the Midwest, grain whiskeys and dry wines were most popular.

Coffees and teas were often discouraged, due to being imported most often from heavily exploitative capitalist states. However, as part of trade agreements with Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the UASR arranged considerable investment for the creation of non-exploitative coffee collectives in these countries. As part of the “Good Neighbor” policy of foreign investment and modernization, these trade programs provided considerable relief and long-term economic stability to America’s southern allies. Though this arrangement was strained by the admission of Communist-led Haiti and the Dominican Republic into the UASR in 1941 and ’47 respectively, the policy would ultimately endure for many decades before eventually being phased out.

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Some excerpts from the discussion thread titled “WI: Hitler Goes West?”
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders I’ve been thinking of doing a timeline for an alternate Second World War recently, and I’ve been wondering about exploring Hitler’s revanchist ambitions against France and Britain. I probably have a somewhat pedestrian view of world history, but I’ve never really understood why Hitler abandoned this in favour of a direct crusade against Communism. Both National Socialism and Communism were forms of Socialist ideology, so why was there such great animosity kindred ideologies?

I understand there probably is a good reason; it’s just that I’ve made it to freshman year of university without finding it, so I hope someone might be able to enlighten me here. This is an international board; I do know there are plenty of American and Russian posters here as well, so maybe they might have an insight on this.

As we all know, the Second World War began on May 6, 1940, when the German Wehrmacht launched a pre-emptive, surprise invasion of the Soviet Union, violating the non-aggression pact signed just prior to the partition of Poland. The very next day, elements of the Japanese Army in Manchuria crossed the Amur River. Since Japan had already been heavily involved in China and fighting proxy wars over the Philippines and the Indies, this was totally unexpected as well. The Soviets were caught completely off guard, and were forced to fall back.

So how do we get Hitler to go west instead in 1940, and spark off a world war in a showdown with Germany’s old nemeses, France and Britain? And how does the war go? Does the Comintern stay out, and let the Nazis demolish the imperialist powers? Or do they join in the fray to put down the aggressor?
Originally Posted by flibbertygibbet Uh... where to start? Well, being a Brit myself and having been subjected to the absolutely dreadful propaganda they call “history education” here, I can understand your confusion. However, I’m going to say that you just started an international flame war. First off, “National Socialism” is an oxymoron, and the Nazis were about as far away from being good Marxists as anyone can come. I’m sure you didn’t mean it, but basically you might as well have just impugned every Russian or American poster’s relationship with his mother; it would have been less offensive then comparing them to fascists.
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders Wow... that mod action was quick. Three deleted posts and two bans before I could even respond. Well, I feel like such an idiot. At any rate, I’m not British, I’m French, though currently studying physics at Cambridge, but I guess history education is uniformly bad throughout the Union.

Anyway, noobish mistake on my part, and I shan’t be repeating it. I haven’t heard that many colourful metaphors since I was at the pub with some mates and football was on.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard Whoo...looks like I missed quite the flame war. I won’t talk about the difference between fascism and socialism, since you’ve doubtlessly already learned your lesson on that part. Sticking to the facts: how do we get Hitler to go west, and what happens when he does?

That’s going to be very, very difficult to do without totally erasing the American Revolution. In spite of the timidity of the Foster-Reed doctrine, America and the USSR were always the greatest threats to the Nazis, and that’s the reason why Hitler ultimately devoted all his efforts to wiping us off the face of the earth.

Ultimately, the only reason why Britain and France ever entered the war in the first place is because Hitler’s megalomania got the better of him. Stalingrad and the Caucasus oil fields had fallen in 1941, Moscow and Leningrad were both surrounded and under siege that Winter. Beria had already suicided Stalin, and the entire Soviet leadership seem to be on the brink of total collapse. Japan was holding its own against the American navy, and the American army was spread too far to thin, bogged down in China. The American Expeditionary Force in Rossiya, almost three million men in total, was on the brink of collapse. So was the Red Army. The terrifying truth of the Second World War is that the Axis very nearly won.

But we held on, and Hitler’s own genius got the better of him. Opening up a second front against what is now the Franco-British Union was a terrible mistake, even though it too nearly succeeded. By late spring of ’42, Metropolitan France and Algeria had fallen. All of North Africa fell to the Axis by midsummer. That Winter, German and Italian troops had occupied Palestine, Syria, and Transjordan.

Hitler nearly won because he had the audacity to do the unthinkable. This same quality also ultimately doomed him, but I think you can agree that it was a terrifying time.

If Hitler went west first, Rossiya may have stayed out of it, but America would have intervened very quickly. Foster’s government had banked on the hope that the Nazi threat could be contained and then undone at America’s discretion. Just like IOTL, if Hitler sparks a war between the major powers, Foster will resign in disgrace, and just like IOTL, Reed will likely be the one to take over.
Originally Posted by Ленин I’d like to agree with my beard Big Grin (strangely, he’s American Stuck out tongue)

Stalin was an uncouth and unprincipled leader, and he’d more than willingly see Europe perish in Nazi flames before intervening to aggrandize himself. Depending on how well the war went, he’d probably try to invade the Soviet Union anyway. But if he doesn’t begin the War, Stalin will eventually, though at a time of his greatest convenience. The postwar world is definitely going to be interesting. Stalin would likely be more belligerent to the Americans, and that axis of the Cold War would probably be pretty warm compared to OTL.
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Events of interest, 1934

January 1: The Alcatraz Island Federal Penitentiary opens. The new prison will serve as Commissariat for Prisons and Corrections’ depository of choice for political prisoners arrested and convicted under the Red Terror. Among its first inmates is Arizona businessman and junta supporter Barry Goldwater, serving a life sentence for sedition and treason for his part in arming and supporting reactionary militias during the Civil War.

January 6: The first Flash Gordon comic strip is published. In it, the titular hero is whisked away to a far-away planet, Doitsu, where he fights the evil dictator Adolf the Abominable.

January 15: Marinus van der Lubbe is executed in Germany for his alleged role in the Reichstag fire. Demonstrations are held throughout major American cities to protest this display of Nazi brutality. That night, a candlelight vigil is held at the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. President Sinclair delivers a eulogy for the martyred Dutch communist as a stirring call to action to fight fascism.

January 21: Ground is broken on a new national monument in Washington, the Revolutionary Memorial, which will commemorate the heroes and martyrs of the past age. When completed, this imposing neo-classical structure will contain statues of Thomas Paine, Richard Owen, Karl Marx, John Brown, Frederick Douglass and Huey Long, along with engravings of significant quotations of each.

February 1: Political crisis in France. A reactionary rightist coup is attempted against the Third Republic. The coup attempt is defeated by Paris Metropolitan Police, but the crisis has done irreparable damage to the sitting government.

February 3: The sitting French centre-right government, heavily compromised by the crisis caused by fascist groups, collapses. A centre-left Popular Front government is cobbled together under the leadership of SFIO heavyweight Léon Blum.

February 6: France grants formal dipolmatic recognition to the UASR. A formal reopening of the American Embassy in Paris is scheduled for late in the following week. American Foreign Secretary John Reed will meet with his French counterpart, Yvon Delbos, to negotiate trade and other agreements with the French government.

February 11: The Basic Law of the UASR is formally ratified with the concurrence of 3/4ths of American states.

February 12: Upton Sinclair is officially sworn in as President of the Union at noon, taking the oath of office with his right hand placed on a copy of the UASR’s new Basic Law. The President and the Central Committee formally set up office in the White House.

February 13: The Congress of People’s Deputies adopts new rules of procedure, conforming with the new constitutional realities. Special elections are scheduled for early April to fill vacant seats.

February 16: Imperial Japan: the coronation of the first puppet emperor of the Manchu State (Manshūkoku) is held. The newly declared “Great Manchu Empire” is a vassal of the Empire of Japan, and its government ministers merely serve as front men for Japanese imperial ministers. In a speech before the Congress of People’s Deputies, Premier Foster harshly condemns this latest display of Japanese imperialism in China. In a closed Central Committee meeting that evening, policy towards Japan is discussed, and a study by the Foreign Secretariat of the possible effectiveness of resources embargoes against Japan is commissioned.

February 20: In order to go into the special elections strong to earn a mandate from the results, a final vote is scheduled on the National Recovery Act. The omnibus will greatly expand the number of government Secretariats, organize trade, labor and industrial standards, and ratify the basic tenants of the First Five Year Plan. The Act passes 263-84, and is formally signed into law by President Sinclair the next week.

February 26: Responding to a tip left by an informant, Public Safety agents led by Lieutenant John Dillinger corner bank robber and hired gun “Machine Gun” Kelly at a hotel in South Bend, Indiana. Kelly and six accomplices are killed while resisting arrest and attempting to escape, while two Public Safety officers are critically wounded. Evidence seized in the search of the hotel reveal plans to rob the former Merchant National Bank in South Bend later that week. The evidence found at the scene also links the bank robbers to counterrevolutionary groups. In an official press release by People’s Secretary for Public Safety J. Edgar Hoover, this evidence is offered as proof positive that organized crime and reactionary militants are conspiring together against the people.

March 1: Leon Trotsky publishes his first syndicated column for the national newspaper, The Daily Worker. The column, “Reflections on the American Experience with Communism”, offers a careful analysis of what has been accomplished, and what remains to be accomplished in the American Revolution.

March 4: The Dominion of the Phillipines is formally established within the British Empire, at a ceremony in Manila. Manuel L. Quezon is appointed Governor-General of the Dominion. The arrangement between Philippine leaders and the British Empire allows for a considerable measure of self-rule. However, the Philippine armed forces will be integrated into the ANZAC, and considerable control over the Dominions foreign trade will be exerted from London.

March 8: A list of 700 names, consisting of suspected counterrevolutionary political leaders, paramilitaries, organized crime bosses, and other dangerous counterrevolutionaries, is published by SecPubSafe. The publishing of this “Enemies of the People” list is often considered to be the historical starting point of the “Red Terror”. This date is also considered the beginning of the Secretariat for Public Safety’s adoption of its informal motto “Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus”.

March 12: In response to growing to growing insubordination among American lay members and clergy, Pope Pius XI publishes a controversial Papal bull excommunicating any member of the Catholic Church that supports the Revolution and those clergy who have refused to deny such members communion in the years prior. This and other acts by the Vatican are seen as a stunning betrayal by American Catholics.

March 15: Former First Secretary Nicholas Longworth attempts to commit suicide by hanging himself in his cell while awaiting prosecution. He is cut down and resuscitated by prison guards.

March 21: New York socialist leader Morris Hilquit passes away from a stroke at his home in Manhattan. The beloved former Major of New York is given a state funeral procession through Manhattan. After the somber occasion, attended by hundreds of thousands, his body is cremated, and interred in a small plot next to Norman Thomas.

April 2: Special election: The Workers’ (Communist) Party wins by a landslide, securing 61 percent of the national party list vote. When the Congress of People’s Deputies reconvenes, the Communists control nearly 3/4ths of the chamber.

April 12: The Congress of People’s Deputies reconvenes. Scandal erupts as the 58 Right Democratic people’s deputies and 25 Republican people’s deputies refuse to take the oath of office. These lawmakers are not seated.

April 14: A torrent of the worst dust storms recorded in the Dust Bowl wracks the Midwest. The Central Committee declares a state of emergency in the affected regions, and mobilizes the Red Guards to provide relief. The Natural Resources Act and the Agricultural Relief and Reorganization Act, Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace’s response to the national crisis, are moved up in the docket, forcing a significant delay on the Judiciary Omnibus.

April 17: A federal court injunction is placed on Premier Foster’s directive to fill the seats of the people’s deputies who have refused to take the oath of office. The primary plaintiff in the case, Robert Taft (R-OH), alleges that the directive violates the Basic Law’s election provisos. The party list seats, he holds, are awarded to the party, and cannot be filled with members of other political parties.

April 22: The Natural Resources Act passes 701-26, settling the land issue. Under the provisions of the Act, land and all other natural resources are common property, administered by the dual union-provincial Land and Natural Resource Trust. Large plantations and corporate-owned land are nationalized, pending reorganization. The land stewardship system created by the act will be the bedrock of future agricultural reforms.

April 24: The companion bill to the Natural Resources Act, the Agricultural Relief and Reorganization Act, is tabled by the Government in response to significant opposition from the Government’s backbenchers. A compromise committee is created within the party caucus to come to a compromise on the bill, which has drawn significant opposition from prairie socialists and (quietly) from several members on the Left in the Central Committee, including Emma Goldman and John Reed.

April 30: The Judiciary Omnibus is passed without opposition, thanks to a 5-year sunset clause. The omnibus defines the basic structure of the union court system. People’s Tribunals, analogous to the Federal District courts of the previous era, serve as the court of original jurisdiction for the majority of issues. A tier of Appeals Courts are established superior to the People’s Tribunals. Various special courts, such as military justice courts, are also established by the Omnibus.

May 1: Much of the nation comes to a temporary halt today to celebrate International Labor Day. The parades, marches and festivities are much more jovial this year, replacing the often militant tone of previous May Days with a much more celebratory feeling. In the spirit of the day, the White House and other government buildings are decked with red and black bunting.

May 3: Taft v. UASR goes before the Supreme Court today. The same Justices from before the Revolution still sit on the Supreme Court, and though robbed of the entire old body of law, it is doubtful that any of these men harbor any more sympathy for socialism now than when they first took the bench. The case has expanded to challenge the lawfullness of denying to seat people’s deputies for refusing to take the oath of office. The case looks like a slam dunk for the plaintiff.

May 5: President Sinclair signs the largest judicial appointment in the history of American law. To preserve continuity in government, the President has decided to make the bulk of the judicial appointments for the People’s Tribunals and the Appeals Courts from men who had served as federal judges before the Revolution. However, the Secretariat for Justice’s role in vetting these appointments casts serious doubt on how independent the judiciary will be.

May 7: Taft v. UASR: The Supreme Court invalidates Premier Foster’s directive by a unanimous verdict. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, writing the Opinion of the Court, declares that the Basic Law clearly reserves proportional seats to the party, and that any candidate put forth by a Party that takes the oath of office will have the right to the party’s seat in the Congress. However, the Opinion of the Court rejects the plaintiff’s second contention, and upholds the government’s refusal to seat people’s deputies who reject the oath of office.

May 11: The revised Agricultural Relief and Reorganization Act comes to a vote. To ensure its swift passage, Premier Foster has elected to attach a motion of confidence to the bill. The Central Committee retains the confidence of the Congress 640-140.

May 16: J. Edgar Hoover announces the successful completion of a wave of arrests and stings throughout the country, conducted by Public Safety agents against organized crime and counterrevolution. In total, close to eight hundred arrests are made. What is not reported is that close to four hundred suspected counterrevolutionaries were killed while resisting arrest or summarily executed in the field. Other declassified documents would later reveal that this dragnet also included the assassination of several prominent Right Democrat politicians by the secret police of Public Safety’s Section 9. Among the targets was John W. Davis, two-time presidential candidate and dean of arch-conservatism.

May 21: A labor dispute on a sugar plantation in Cuba spirals out of control. By day’s end, armed peasants have seized the plantation and forced the owners to flee. The rebellion begins to spread out of control, as the peasants turn their ire to the American military junta and approximately million-strong American exile community in the country.

May 23: The Uniform Criminal Code Act is signed into law. The UCC, besides defining the majority of federal crimes, also prescribes uniform punishment guidelines for many crimes, which will apply equally to the union as well as the provinces. Only one form of capital punishment is permitted by the code: death by firing squad. The death penalty is reserved for cases of first-degree murder, rape, espionage, sedition and treason. One of the more significant changes from prior criminal codes is the definition of rape. While prior codes had made it perfectly legal for a man to force sex upon his wife, the new code is strictly gender-neutral, and prohibits equally all sexual congress without consent.

May 24: The Cuban Revolution: The U.S. Army is mobilized to put down the wildfire of rebellions in Cuba’s plantations. Havana itself is under strict curfew, and the city’s industrial workers effectively go to work every day with a gun in their back. As reports of these events find their way back to Washington, it becomes very clear that an international incident is fast approaching.

May 26: The British Royal Navy is being mobilized. A fleet is organized to prepare to sortie to the Caribbean, anticipating Washington’s reaction to the crisis in Cuba. A sternly worded telegram is delivered to the American consulate in London, promising immediate and massive retaliation should she threaten British interests in the Caribbean.

May 28: The Red Navy prepares to commit to a naval war in the Caribbean over the Cuba incident. Even with timely British intervention, the Red Navy will still likely have the preponderance of force necessary to deliver the 1st Naval Infantry Division to Cuba before significant naval reinforcement can arrive from the Royal Navy. Elsewhere, the Canadian armed forces go on high alert in accordance with Defense Scheme No. 1, as the Canadian government declares a national state of emergency.

May 30: With the UASR and the British Empire on the brink of full scale war, American Foreign Secretary John Reed makes a detour to Britain on his trip to the Soviet Union to meet with British Foreign Minister Sir John Simon. Though he does not want abandon Cuban revolutionaries to their fate, a war right now would be disastrous for the UASR, and the chance of any sort of victory would be remote.

May 31: The Cuban Revolution reaches its apex, with revolutionaries in control of fifty percent of the island. In London, an agreement is reached for both the Red Navy and the Royal Navy to stand down. The Cuban Revolution will be allowed to play out without foreign intervention.

June 1: The White Army begins major offensives against rebel held areas in Cuba. With the full support of the native Cuban elite, the military junta begins stamping out rebellion throughout the island.

June 7: John Reed arrives in Leningrad, to conclude the negotiation of a major treaty defining foreign trade, mutual defense, and cultural exchange between the UASR and the Soviet Union.

June 12: The Cuban Revolution is effectively over, and with it the threat of a serious international incident. In the coming months, economic aid from the UK will arrive to support the exile regime in exchange for naval facilities in Cuba.

June 14: The American Indian Reorganization Act is passed by the Congress of People’s Deputies. The Act preserves and expands tribal holdings of land in the Land Trust, and provides considerable economic aid to tribes to form collective farms and other cooperative enterprises. Tribal governments are given preference while applying for autonomous status.

June 22: Washington, D.C. is formally renamed Washington-Debs, D.C. by Act of Congress. Construction begins on the Eugene Debs Memorial.

June 30: The Central Committee formally endorses the Lakota Nation’s proposal for a Black Hills Autonomous Socialist Republic. Under the proposal, the Black Hills and surrounding ancestral lands in Wyoming and South Dakota would be returned to the Lakota and Cheyenne people as a multinational autonomous region. Premier Foster remarked that the Black Hills ASR would be the opening act in a long campaign to make amends to they many nations conquered and displaced in the age of imperialism. Leon Trotsky likened the move to the Jewish national hope for a return to Zion.

July 1: The film classic The Legend of Robin Hood premieres on the big screen. The reinterpretation of the Robin Hood myth offered by this (for the time) high-budget, glossy Hollywood epic will capture the imagination of American audiences for decades to come. Considered the archetypical proletarian folk tale, the film catapulted its lead, Marion Morrison, into stardom.

July 4: Independence Day is celebrated with the usual fanfare throughout the UASR.

July 11: The American armed forces are formally reorganized into the Revolutionary Defense Force under the United Against Fascism Act. Stavka’s central executive begins its first meeting to develop policy and military doctrine in response to German rearmament.

July 16: The Comprehensive Finance Act is signed into law. The CFA restructures the American tax system, transferring the bulk of tax burden to economic firms.

July 18: By a vote of 62-21, the Black Hills Autonomous Socialist Republic is established by the Council of the Union. The government supported resettlement program has already begun by the time the roll call is completed.

July 21: The Leningrad Treaty is signed. The general expectation is that the treaty will be ratified with all due haste when the People’s Assembly reconvenes in mid-August.

August 2: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany. Protests by German-Americans are held all across the UASR. President Sinclair delivers a radio address to the nation (and the world), declaring that America will offer asylum to anyone fleeing the tyranny of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy.

August 8: The First Five Year Plan’s strategic directives are formalized in the State Planning Commission. The Plan hopes to achieve a return to pre-depression industrial production levels and a halving of unemployment by June of 1936, pre-depression GDP by February 1937, full employment by January 1938, and real economic growth rates of between 7% and 8% per annum until the Plan’s conclusion in October of 1939.

August 15: The comic strip Lil’ Abner, a beloved American institution for the next forty years, is first published.

August 16: The Tennessee Valley Industrial Project begins. Ground is broken on the first of a dozen dams in the Valley, and plans for a major aluminum smelting industrial center are finalized for the region.

September 3: Brigadier General George C. Marshall is brought before a People’s Tribunal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is charged on two separate counts of treason, four counts of sedition, three counts of desertion, six counts of war crimes, and fifteen counts of murder, as well as conspiracy charges for each crime. The trial is heavily publicized as the first of major prosecutions of supporters of the military junta, and there is little doubt that a speedy conviction will be reached.

September 12: A wave of major arrests of Right Democrat politicians by is conducted the Secretariat for Public Safety. Declassified documents later reveal that the evidence for prosecution was most often secured by warrantless search and seizure by Section 9 secret police.

September 15: The Yiddish word “kibbutz” enters into the American national lexicon, following an in-depth profile by The New York Times of the burgeoning collective farm projects throughout America. The writer, an American Labor Zionist Jew, compares his experience visiting collectives in the Black Belt and the Dust Bowl-ridden prairie to his experience living in the kibbutzim founded by Jewish settlers in Palestine. The word will soon stick and become standard lingo for the agro-industrial collectives in America.

September 24: Brigadier General George C. Marshall’s trial concludes with the jury finding him guilty of the majority of the charges. The jury sentences him to death by firing squad. The motion for appeal is promptly denied.

October 1: The First Five Year Plan formally begins. Presently, unemployment stands at around 20%.

October 7: The Education Reform Act passes on a strict party-line vote. The Act will be the first in a series of Deweyite reforms of primary, secondary and higher education in America. The Act orders the provincial takeover of private schools and their incorporation into public school systems and establishes a comprehensive reform of discipline and curriculum standards in all areas of schooling, ostensibly to promote cooperation, critical thinking and civic virtues in students.

October 9: In a heavily symbolic gesture of the world being turned upside down, former First Secretary Longworth, Brigadier General Marshall, and two dozen other prominent leaders in the military junta are executed by firing squad in Haymarket Square.

October 16: The UASR and the USSR formally join the League of Nations.

October 25: Red October celebrations are held in major American cities as a gesture of brotherhood with their Soviet Comrades.

November 13: The Abyssinian crisis begins with the discovery of an Italian garrison well within the Ethiopian border.

November 25: The Big Bill Haywood Center formally opens in Washington-Debs, D.C. As the home of the Heavy Industry Secretariat, the Haywood Center will become one of the most important symbols of the new America.

December 1: A treaty organizing major foreign investment and aid to Mexico is formally ratified by the UASR. The treaty cements a close alliance between the two nations that will endure throughout the century.

December 5: The Haitian Revolution: an alliance of left-wing groups, led by the Communist Party, takes power in Haiti in a bloodless coup. The new government is recognized by the UASR as the revolution spills across the border into the Dominican Republic.

December 15: The Empire of Japan announces a massive expansion of naval armaments, as a show of force and the Empire’s dominance in the Far East.

December 22: The first observance of the Winter Solstice as a federal holiday. Marking the start of winter, the new secular holiday of Yule will mark a period of rest and making merry beginning with the Winter Solstice and ending with the New Year. The celebration of Christmas remains an important federal holiday during the Yule period.

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Some slang terms, neologisms and jargon that may be of use to the weary ATL traveller, from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, September, 1961.
Antisocial: Adjective. Opposed or detrimental to social order or the principles on which society is constituted: Theft is antisocial.

Apparatchik: (Ross., colloquial, professional functionary). Noun. Civil servant, general positive connotations. Contrast “bureaucrat”.

Babooshka: (Ross., lit. grandmother). Noun. Collquial, an old-timer, or someone with an old-fashioned or conservative view of the world, though not to the point of being a reactionary. See also “dyadooshka”.

Bolshy: Adjective. From Rossiyan1 bolsheviki (majority). Colloquial, something politically left or foreward thinking.

Charles H. Marx: (Obsc.) Slang expression for surprise, confusion or disappointment. Compare “Jesus H. Christ”.

Christian Socialism. Noun. A political ideology associated variously with the center-left and center-right in America. Defining characteristic of American Left Democratic Party.

Comrade: 1. Unisex formal title, replacing “Mister”, “Miss” and “Misses”. In practice, reserved for use in the military and the government. 2. Common form of anonymous address.
1. Would you please return this form to Comrade Herger in the Records Department?
2. Comrades! Could I have your attention please!
Counterrevolutionary: Adjective. 1. Pertaining to or having the quality of being opposed to revolution. 2. Quality of persons or organizations in opposition to the political advancement of popular democracy. Compare “fascist” or “reactionary”.

Dacha. (Ross.) Noun. Communally owned seasonal exurban homes. Compare “vacation property”.

Enemy of the people. Noun. Official designation for those alleged to have committed treason, sedition, desertion, or other infamous counterrevolutionary and anti-social acts. Adj. “public enemy”. Compare “enemy of the state”.

Fink. Noun. 1. Strikebreaker or informant. 2. (Pejorative) a traitor.

Kibbutz: (Hebrew, gathering or clustering). Noun. Collective communities, based on communal agriculture, also incorporating light industry and higher-technology enterprises. Plural kibbutzim, demonym kibbutznik.

Labor skate. Noun. 1. A union official who sees union office as an avenue of privilege and power. 2. A civil servant or party member whose ideological commitment is questionable.

Liberalism: Noun. A political ideology associated with the right-wing in America, advocating some privatization of public resources, free markets, and social safety nets. Associated with the American Democratic-Republican Party or the Canadian Liberal Party.

Running dog: Noun. (Derogatory) A lackey or sycophant. Denotes a servile attitude towards a master, analogous to a trained greyhound mindlessly running long distances at great speeds at the master’s command.

Scab. Noun. 1. Term applied to a worker who refuses to join a strike action. See also “to cross the picket line”. 2. (Slang) An uncommitted, untrustworthy or otherwise cowardly person.

Soyuz: (Ross., lit. union). Noun. A tight-knit circle of friends or colleagues. Compare “band of brothers” or “nakama”.

Wobbly: 1. (Slang) A union member in good standing with the local, who is active in economic management and democratic participation. Contrast “slacker”. 2. (Historical) Name for a member of the Industrial Workers of the World syndicalist labor union.
1. An alternate and, in the opinion of many researchers, more accurate system of Russian transliterations is adopted ITTL.

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Excerpted from the Hetalia Kink Meme, 2010

Robert A. Taft kept his face carefully neutral as he looked at the seemingly young man in his office. Seemingly, because Taft remembered that this man had looked exactly the same when his father had been President.

“You refused to take the oath of office, even though you’ve been elected.” It was a statement, not a question.


“Not just you, the rest of the GOP and some of the Right Democrats also refused.”


The young man sighed and rubbed his eyes under his glasses, “Why?”

Taft didn’t answer immediately, “We are asserting our right to criticize the government.”

Samuel Jones sat down and looked Taft straight in the eyes, “Premier Foster isn’t going to take this lying down. He’s going to try to put Communists and Left Democrats in the seats you wouldn’t fill.”

Taft grinned (it held no joy): “Then we shall find out just how much this new Basic Law is worth, won’t we?”


UASR, Washington-Debs DC, USSR Embassy, 1934

Анна Ивановна Олегова stared disbelievingly at Samuel Franklin Jones, “America, you are actually letting the counter-revolutionaries organize? Why?”

America blinked at Russia, confused, “Because the people have a right to participate in politics, even if they’re Capitalist?”

This didn’t seem to be enough explanation for Anna, “They fought against your Revolution. They should be put up against a wall and shot.”

“If they actively helped the Junta, then they will be. If they’re just calling Marx a fool, Foster a bastard, and Du Bois a Nigger, then that’s their right. I might not like it, but I can’t do anything about it.” The blond nation shrugged.

“Can’t do anything about it? You are America, da?”

“Yeah, so?” Sam responded uncomprehendingly to the tall Russian woman.

“You can arrest them anyway.”

“But that would be illegal.”

“You are the Union of American Socialist Republics, it’s legal if you say it is.”

Sam seemed stunned, “But the Basic Law says...”

“Comrade Stalin says the security of the Revolution is more important.”

America went silent as he considered that, then his expression hardened and he spoke softly, “If Comrade Stalin thinks that Constitutions are for wiping one’s ass, he should feel free to discuss how my People would take such actions with General MacArthur.”

He stood up abruptly, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a court case to attend.”


Detroit, 1934, May 8th

“Hey Jones, did you read the news?” came the enthusiastic greeting from Jack Davidson, factory worker and Union member in good standing, as Samuel F. Jones entered the factory that morning.

Jones grinned and shook his head, “Nah, what’s the rag have to say?”

“Comrade Foster lost his case. Unanimous too. Good to see the Courts still have their stuff.”

Sam raised an eyebrow, “Weren’t you going on last week about how the Republicans should be shot? I thought Taft was the bad guy?”

Davidson fidgeted, “Well, I voted for the Workers’ Party, but that doesn’t mean people who disagree with me shouldn’t have a voice. Stalin was wrong; if we don’t follow the Basic Law and let the counter-revolutionaries have their say, then we’re no better than them.”

Sam nodded as the bell rung and they went to work, he didn’t stop whistling “Lincoln and Liberty” until the lunch bell rang.


1935, DC

“So you’re taking the oath now?”

Taft nodded, silent.

America smiled knowingly, “May I ask why?”

“Because our point has been made. The Party of Lincoln is still a force, and we have been derelict in representing those who voted for us.”

“Well then, Comrade Taft, I’ll walk with you to the Chamber.” And Sam did, humming optimistically the whole way.


Taft vs UASR was a landmark court case in the UASR. After the first election under the Basic Law, none of the GOP politicians would take the seats they had won (all 25 from the National Party List seats). Some of the Right Democrats also refused to take the oath of office. Premier William Z. Foster ordered the vacant seats filled with Communists and Left Democrats. Taft sued the Administration claiming that, while the Basic Law didn’t provide for vacancy because of refusal to take the oath of office, it was clearly intended that seats awarded to the GOP from the National Party List seats couldn’t be filled by anyone else.

The first break between the UASR and the USSR happened when Stalin wrote a scathing criticism of Constitutionalism in response to the announcement that Taft’s case would be heard by the Supreme Court. Since UASR propaganda emphasized the MacArthur Junta’s Constitutional violations to give itself legitimacy, when Stalin’s tract was translated and published in The Daily Worker it largely discredited the Pro-Stalin wing of the Workers’ (Communist) Party in the eyes of the American people.

Many Right Democrats were, indeed, put up against a wall and shot during the Red Terror. Some of them were People’s Deputies. Incidentally, very few Republicans were sentenced to death during the Terror, probably because those who didn’t go to Cuba had been outspoken against the Junta during the Second Revolution.

The six Republicans of the first 25 on the National Party List who avoided jail took their oaths and were seated in the Congress in 1935. They and the Right Democrats formed a Coalition that eventually culminated in the founding of the Democratic-Republican Party, after the historical Party of Jefferson.

“Lincoln and Liberty” was a Union marching song from the First Civil War.
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Summary of American republics by government type and party control, circa 1934

Workers’ Communist Party
Left Democratic Party
Unity Coalition1

Gubernatorial system, strong governor2

Gubernatorial system, weak governor3

New Hampshire
New York ASR

Rhode Island
South Carolina

Parliamentary system

New Jersey
New Mexico
New York

North Carolina
North Dakota
South Dakota

West Virginia

1. Coalition between Workers’ Party and LDP.

2. The “classic” state government model, essentially unchanged. A directly elected governor is the chief executive, and wields a veto power.

3. Essentially a semi-presidential system, with most executive powers transferred to parliamentary leadership of the state legislature.

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Excerpts from Politics of the UASR, 5th Edition, a college government textbook published in 2005.
Political historians generally refer to the period from 1933 to 1946 as the “First Period” of American party politics. As noted by the eminent political historian V.O. Key, the First Period’s political alignment grew from three defining factors (1955). The first, often ignored in discourse on the subject, was the long and painful development of the Workers’ Communist Party in the terminal period of the United States. While the earliest progenitors of the Party date to 1876 with the founding of the Socialist Labor Party, the date of importance in the development of the party was the foundation of the Progressive Socialist Party in 1901.

Under late capitalist society, the Progressive Socialists represented a diverse and often seemingly contradictory constituency. Motley syndicalist miners mingled with prairie socialists among yeoman farmers. Immigrant radicals in the cities often came into fierce conflict with native workers in the Party. The party’s intellectual constituency was conflicted as well. The hardline Marxists intellectuals among the immigrants and radical youth clashed with the moderate visions of the radicalized Progressive reformers (Kahn 1964). Nevertheless, the trials caused by the Party’s opposition to the imperial adventures in the First World War unified the party under a genuinely radical, revolutionary platform while maintaining the critical ideological diversity necessary to avoid slipping into totalitarianism after the revolution.

The second key event in the development of the First Period was the dramatic upheaval caused by the Great Depression and subsequent Revolution and Second Civil War. The Depression would provide the key stimulus to dispelling false consciousness among sections of the American populace that had previous remained indifferent or even hostile to the aims of socialism, and realigning vast sectors of the American electorate for the 1932 general election (Chambers & Burnham 1972).

The third key event was the split of the Democratic Party during the Great Depression. The ascendency of Huey Long in the heavily divided Democratic Convention in 1932 overthrew the Bourbon Democrats’ long dominance of the party. Southern Populists, trade unionists, Christian Socialists and, admittedly, more than a few labor skates among the Southern plantation elite had created a new center of power in the Democratic Party that was willing to adapt to changing political winds (Bensel 1984). During the Revolution, this led to a complete split between the so-called Long faction and the Bourbon Democrats. The split was made permanent by Harry Truman and other members of the Left-Wing Section of the Democratic Party joining the Provisional Government in Chicago in mid-May. In effect, two separate party’s existed, both claiming control of the whole Democratic Party.

Truman’s faction ultimately decided that wresting control of the existing party apparatus was futile and unnecessary, and reorganized their section into the Left Democratic Party. The Bourbon faction, under the leadership of John W. Davis, never officially adopted the name Right Democrats, but the name stuck anyway. The existence of a loyal opposition would be crucial during the First Cultural Revolution and the Second World War. Ideological diversity, both within and outside of the party, was the key factor in distinguishing the relative success of the American socialist experiment from the blunders and atrocities of the Soviet experiment (Hartz 1955).

The defining characteristic of the First Period of party politics is the overwhelming hegemony of the Workers’ Communist Party on the political, social and ideological fronts. The Party routinely polled above 60 percent in national elections during this period. Even with the setbacks in the 1938 general election over the Party’s social policies, more than 2/3rds of the Congress of People’s Deputies remained in the firm control of the Communists.

However, the Communists themselves were not without their discontents. 1937 would see the birth of two dissident groups from the Party that would become prominent in future politics. While both the prairie socialist Independent Labor Party and the African National Congress would remain caucused with the Communists in this period, under the Revolutionary Left Bloc, the birth of these two organizations signalled the stress the Party underwent in power. Keeping the many groups within the party, from anarcho-syndicalists aligned with Emma Goldman to the moderates in the vein of Thomas Dewey, was a chore in itself, and certain compromises would inevitably favor some groups over others.

The eminent historian Norman Thomas Washington attributes the birth and growth of the African National Congress to the growing consciousness within the African community, and among intellectuals especially, to the limitations within the Marxist-Leninist framework. Marxism-Leninism’s economic reductionism, as many African leftists came to realize immediately after the Revolution, left it ill-equipped to conceptualize and address the uniqueness of social and cultural realities that are, at best, only tangentially related to questions of economics and class (Washington 1989). Richard Wright’s break with the Party and the founding of the ANC by Wright and others was an important step in the development of political theory in its own right. The ANC would eventually become home to some of the most poignant critics of the reigning Marxian orthodoxy in the 60s and 70s, including Malcolm Little, John Henrik Clarke and Angela Davis.

The Independent Labor Party was born in the mines and collective farms of Montana. Inspired by the seeming independence and homegrown spirit of the Canadian Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, the Independent Labor Party was the brainchild of Montana teacher and politician Mike Mansfield. The ILP stressed independence from Washington-Debs, effective provincial government, and intercommunal cooperation in the extractive regions of the Northwest and the prairies. The party would win a seat each in Montana and North Dakota in the 1938 general election.

The birth of the ILP belied the notion that Marxian socialism could do away with economic conflicts in society. While class conflicts had been sequestered (at least mostly, as even critics of the alleged class conflict such as Michael Albert admit), the potential for sectional conflicts still remained. The extractive nature of the economies of the Rocky Mountain and Prairie provinces placed them in economic subordination to the industrialized regions in the East, Pacific West and the new South. Raw materials, whether in agriculture or natural resources, remained volatile commodities, subject to price fluctuation and low surplus value under the Union’s planned economy. For the same reason that farmers and workers in these periphery regions turned to the Communists before the Revolution, so they began to split from them afterwards (Bensel 1984).

The opposition during the First Period remained in a constant state of flux for the most part, adapting and re-adapting to remain relevant in the world turned upside down. Overall, the Left Democratic Party fared the best. While the party’s message was confused in the immediate wake of the Revolution, the party clarified its message and organizational questions at the pivotal 1936 National Convention in New Orleans. The new party constitution declared the LDP was “a Christian socialist party...” in support of “...the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.” The Party’s New Orleans Program widely lauded many of the fundamental economic policies instituted in the past three years by the Communists. However, the party’s quite conservative stance on “moral” and cultural issues tapped into discontent over the radical upheavals of the Communist’s radical egalitarian and libertine cultural policies.

The New Orleans program secured the LDP the position as the official opposition throughout this period. After good showings in the 1936 presidential and 1938 general elections, the LDP had captured a third of the electorate. With the outbreak of the Second World War, the LDP would join John Reed’s Popular Unity Government as the junior partner.

The Right Democrats, by contrast, suffered disaster after disaster in this period. The arrest, imprisonment and even assassination of many of the Right Democrats’ prominent leaders during the Red Terror crippled the party. Party offices were routinely raided by Public Safety agents, and numerous “black bag” burglaries were conducted by Public Safety’s infamous Section 9. Undercover agents infiltrated the party, creating networks of paid informants to disrupt and neutralize the effectiveness of the party (Churchill & Wall 1990).

The climate of paranoia created by the official disruption campaign would develop disastrous rifts within the Right Democrats. The above-ground parliamentary party was no longer willing to shield the underground resisters in the party. Tensions mounted as party workers accused each other of being informants or undercover agents. The situation at times bordered on farce; one infamous incident involving a Louisiana party local has become an omnipresent joke about government incompetence. A party local in Monroe was staffed and attended by a roll of party “members” consisting entirely of undercover agents and paid informants from Public Safety, the Louisiana State Police, and the local Parish police.

These tensions came to a head in 1936, when the Right Democrats nearly disintegrated as a party. Major sections of the party abandoned legal pretenses and chose to focus solely on underground resistance to the new government. Facing financial ruin, the moderate elements of the party opted to sit out of the 1936 presidential election to endorse the more organized campaign of Republican William F. Knox.

The Republicans did not escape unmolested. Though the few Republicans who remained had been vehement critics of the MacArthur Junta, they faced suppression under the Red Terror as well. However, the Republican remnant in mainland America chose non-violent civil disobedience to the often terrorist resistance waged by Right Democrats. While the landmark case in judicial independence, Taft v. UASR, had won the Republicans (and Right Democrats) the right to their seats in the Congress of People’s Deputies, the party ultimately was forced to concede to the new political reality. In a symbolic gesture of obedience to the new Basic Law, the Republican people’s deputies chose to take their oath of office.

William F. Knox was able to save the party’s sinking fortunes during this period by recasting the Party in the image of its first president, Abraham Lincoln. A darling of the left and noted critic of capitalism as well as saintly figure in American history, Lincoln was the perfect persona to rebuild the Republicans. The new Republican Party would embrace social democracy and internationalism, giving the Grand Old Party a new lease on life in the face of political extinction.

Though long enemies, the Revolution played a great role in erasing the political differences between the Right Democrats and the Republicans. The successful electoral alliance in 1938 general election would lead to the formation of the Democratic-Republican Party in 1939, and an eventual token spot in the wartime Popular Unity Government in 1940.

While there is still some debate on the subject, the general scholarly consensus on the subject is that the First Period came to an end in 1946. The reasons for why this occurred can be easily understood. The broad electoral coalition that united under the banner of the Workers’ Communist Party had largely achieved all of its consensus goals by 1940. The Left in the party wanted to continue pushing “forward” while the Moderates had largely been satisfied by the party’s accomplishments in economics as well as social issues. The changing geo-political realities created by the Second World War further intensified this divide. The Left saw the post-war world as an opportunity to build a worldwide anti-colonial movement under joint American-Soviet leadership, while the Moderates, unimpressed by political progress in the Soviet Union, favored alignment with the democratic capitalist powers to contain what they saw as Soviet aggression and authoritarianism (Key 1955).

With the war drawing to a close in both the European and Pacific theaters, the brave new world of the future loomed on the horizon. The end of the war would mean the first general election in eight years. The time came for the two factions of the Workers’ Communist Party to go their separate ways. With the final end of the war only a month away, the Popular Unity Government disbanded. At the National Convention, the Workers’ Communist Party voted to dissolve into two successor parties. The Left would form a caretaker government under the leadership of Henry Wallace, and would stand for election in July of 1946 as the Socialist Party. The Moderates withdrew from the government caucus and formed the Progressive Labor Party.

Some confusion exists as to the end of the First Period due to the results of the 1946 General Election. The Socialist Party under Wallace formed a minority government. Wallace himself was a stalwart from the First Cultural Revolution, and many of the Central Committee’s members were the same old faces from the previous Foster and Reed governments. For some, the First Period only definitively comes to an end following the 1948 general election, following Wallace’s dramatic shake up of the Central Committee.
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Excerpts from the thread “Favorite books, tv shows and movies?”
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard Exactly what it says on the tin.

I may be an effete intellectual snob, but beneath this bearded, beret and turtleneck sweater-wearing exterior there lies a preteen boy who likes big explosions and gunfire, so I have a thing for the good old jingoistic action movies. Seeing Sly Stallone and his misfit crew of American special forces and Vietnamese guerillas running around the jungles of Indochina, blowing up Anglo-French helicopters and troop carriers with explosive tipped arrows in First Blood just warms the cockles of my heart.

As for books, I have a profound attraction to the English dystopian writers. Huxley’s Brave New World is a classic, and I think it points out some disturbing tendencies in modern authoritarian societies. I’m sure most modern Brits would compare the hedonistic society of Huxley’s nightmare to modern America, but I think that really misses the point. First of all, we don’t exhibit the kind of disturbing consumerism or political quietism. And second of all, Huxley wrote it as a pretty clear critique of industrial capitalist society.
Originally Posted by Ubermunch Dude, this is non-political chat :p

But anyway, I actually enjoy some of you Yanks’ action movies. When they’re not being too anvilicious, that is. First Blood is not the most egregious example, but too often, the colonial troops are treated like mindless mooks, and in this case, it ignores the multiple dimensions of the conflict.

Quite a few Vietnamese collobarated with the colonial regime, and fought against the NLF, for various reasons. Some for pragmatism, some as soldiers of fortune, and others because they didn’t like the idea of trading foreign dominion from people they know to a group they didn’t know. But I digress. The Indochina Wars were a rough time for us as a country, and I’m glad we did the right thing in the end and granted the region its independence, even though they ended up as an American satellite.

I personally think The Rock was a better one. It was more anviliciously communist than most, but damn, it really did a good job critiquing militarism. The rogue general begins a Nixon’s gambit backed by chemical weapons to expose the government’s history of illegal covert ops around the world. The secret police scramble to take him down and keep the situation under control. Very gray and gray morality, and boy, it shows what your Hollywood collectives can do with the generous state grants they get to make movies. And it was so critical of the national security state. I’m really glad it was made.

I do wish we’d get more of the classic American TV shows over here. And I know my brother, who is doing a cultural exchange program in America, says that finding some of the British classics in America is damned difficult too. I remember seeing Star Trek on the BBC when I was like seven or eight, and I thought it was the coolest thing since Dr. Who. Sure, it was set in the backdrop of a socialist utopian future, but all the strange new worlds were great. Captain Jill T. Kirk is a certified badass, and definitely gave me a lot of respect for women’s liberation. I’m surprised that it only lasted like six seasons on its original run. I’ve been wanting to catch Phase II and the other sequels, but finding those without importing an American disc player is really hard.
Originally Posted by SeriousSam I’m somewhat of a connoisseur of movies actually. Kind of comes from being a film student at Berkeley. On the campus fileshare network, the film department has a massive library of movies from around the world, in all different eras. Even some of the harder-to-get foreign films. Smile

But, in spite of all the seriousness that comes with being a film student, I think I enjoy romantic comedies the best, and I have to admit, it was British filmmakers who wrote the book on the romantic comedy. I think we take our films a little bit too seriously here in America, trying to make them serious literature, but sometimes we miss out on spice-of-life type comedies as a result. My favorite is the Ur-example of the modern sex comedy, American Girls Are Easy.

When it comes to being hilariously subversive, it’s hard to beat Terry Jones. I know a lot of the press here in America was up in arms when American Girls Are Easy came out in 79, but if they had taken the time to actually watch the movie, they’d see that it was a whole lot more on their side than they imagined. It spoofed the hilariously uptight views a lot of establishment Brits and French had about sex, and subverted most of the stereotypes about Americans that are prevalent in British media. Besides, the nerdy main character who falls hopelessly in love with the strong and sexy American exchange student, who can’t love that?

Here’s hoping the Cold War ends soon, because this has ridiculously stifled cultural exchange between our peoples.
Originally Posted by flibbertygibbet Ah, American Girls Are Easy...that was like the biggest movie in the world when I was like 15. I remember standing around the block waiting to get in that summer. Rosanna Aquette was so sexy in that movie.

The gags are just classic. And the greatest part about them, as I found out when I went to New York for grad school, is that those sorts of things would happen. Sure, it’s part adolescent boy’s fantasy. Who wouldn’t want to meet a girl who has no concept of a nudity taboo? And Neil Gaiman plays the nerdy, slightly repressed British school boy to the hilt. You can easily imagine that it’s you when Rosanna Arquette sleeps naked on the bunk bed above you, or follows you into the boy’s locker room and starts undressing.

And yeah, Arquette’s character really subverted a lot of the stereotypes about Americans. Sure, she’s kinda ditzy and flighty on the surface, but that’s just because she’s off in la la land thinking about so many different things. She seems rude at first, but that’s just because she’s friendly and informal, and doesn’t really have much of an ingrained idea of “personal property”. She seems angry only because she bothers to stick up for herself and her friends, espescially against sexism. She might be promiscuous, but only with people she trusts and who will respect her. Unfortunately for our hero, he didn’t realize that she’d been coming onto him basically since they met until just before she has to go home.
Originally Posted by DeOpressoLiber When it comes to movies, i’m really into the Red Westerns and the Soviet Osterns. While the genre started originally in Europe, with the Soviet postwar films set in the American West or the postwar “Spaghetti Westerns” from Italy, it definitely had its impact here. The style was really popularized with 1961’s The Magnificent Seven, which combined many elements of the classic Japanese film with a pretty rough look at class warfare in the American west. What I found really notable was the casting of Marion Morrison as one of the (anti)heroes. When you think of such a legend in acting, you really don’t think of Westerns.

I really liked the Ostern classic White Sun of the Desert too. It really signalled that Soviet cinema was coming into its own, as well as the potentials of the late Khrushchev’s liberalizations, which were continuing under Ryzhkov.

As for books, I think the British and Japanese cyberpunk workers are pretty cool. We don’t get much of that natively in America (probably because our society is a little bit less dysfunctional Cool), but they’re really cool looks at the potential pitfalls of technology being divorced from social responsibility. In particular, I think Ghost in the Shell, in all its varying forms, is magnificent. I remember studying the politics of the Socialist Republic of Japan in college, and boy, it’s easy to see where such a pessimistic vision of the future came from.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard Speaking of stuff from the other side of the Atlantic, The Prisoner is an excellent TV show, even though it’s like four decades old now. I’m sorry to say, but I think it’s been a long downward spiral from there when it comes to British TV. Sure, Dr. Who is as entertaining as ever, but there just aren’t as many standouts as there used to be.

What really disturbs me is this phenomenon of “Reality TV” that you see creeping in from the Anglo and French zones. I was in Quebec over the summer, and I had the opportunity to watch some French language TV, and some of what I saw was rather disturbing. Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?, The Bachelor(ette), and even Rock of Love... where a bunch of young girls compete for the affections of an aging rock star... That sort of stuff just offends me on a deeply preconscious level...
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders *obligatory “that’s cuz ur a bisexual freelovin commie” comment*

Believe me, we probably hate “Reality TV” just as much as you do. However, a lot of people tune into watch these sorts of shows every week, and try to live vicariously through the people on the tube. It’s kind of depressing, really. These shows are very low budget, easily merchandisable, and they avoid all of the actors’ and writers’ guilds, so they’re very profitable. Even if you get half the viewers of a regular TV show, you’ll still make gobs more money.

Still, we all have our share of quirks. You Yanks have full frontal nudity on daytime TV and your obsessively political programming. We have our annoying commercials and Reality TV. I think it balances out in the end.
Originally Posted by Ubermunch That reminds me... American sex ed videos. Big budgets, good actors, much better than any of the pr0n we have here. Kept me company on many a lonely night.
Originally Posted by SeriousSam Uh dude... Too much information.

I really don’t see why there’s such a big deal about sex and nudity. It’s just normal human behavior, no more different than going for a walk. It’s also not like we’re completely uniform about sex here in America anyway. It’s not even a rural vs. urban divide either, it’s much more regional. The really big cosmopolitan centers like New York, Chicago, Detroit or Pittsburgh are extremely libertine about it. The rural kibbutzim, and cities in the Midwest, Deep South and Atlantic Coast are pretty liberated as well. Then again, in other parts of the South and Mountain West they have a much more conservative, almost British view of sexuality.

My roommate my freshman year of college was from Wyoming, and going to Berkeley was quite a shock for him. Orientation was pretty fun for him, lol. It’s hot and humid, since it’s August. So naturally, lots of people are running around topless. It was like he was a kid in a candy store. He’s like “Bubiez!”, and I’m like, “Yeah, so?” Culture shock.
Originally Posted by flibbertygibbet But surely all that sexual openness leads to sex losing some of, well, its magic? I mean sure, America seems on the surface like a pre-teen boy’s wanking fantasy, but sex must just seem so frighteningly ordinary that it stops being so special. I mean, at least here in Britain, it’s kind of a big step into a new world. Without getting into too much detail, my first time with my boyfriend was a romantic, almost magical occaission, and it signified that our relationship had become serious and exclusive.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a proud leftist all of my life. This girl is a red diaper baby born in the steel mills of Birmingham. Every general election, for the Union parliament I dutily vote for the Left Alliance list. For the British Parliament and the local councils I vote Socialist Worker or Labour. But damn, some times I think you Yanks don’t realize how much you’ve lost.

But back on topic. I think the biggest lead the Americans and the Japanese have on us is in animation and comics. They never suffered through the idiocies of censorship codes, and so those two art forms aren’t struggling against the Age Ghetto the same way they are here in Britain or France. My personal favorite are the Disney feature films. Conan is an absolute classic, as are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Sure, they’re adaptations, but they’re pure magic.
Originally Posted by KittehKommitteh Since this is an alternate history board, I’m surprised no one has listed AH literature yet for their favorites. Phillip K. Dick’s classic AH novel The Man in the High Castle is one of my favorites. Its brilliant depiction of the very real dangers of Britain siding with the Axis against America and Russia and the terrifying fascist-dominated world that it would result in is definitely a chiller.

Still relevant today. The Anglo-French Union is fascist in all but name, and is the greatest threat to world peace today. Strange how life imitates art.
Originally Posted by Ubermunch Oh great, KittehKommitteh is back...

Seriously, I know you Yanks are a political lot, and you don’t really think that anything can be truly non-political, but the Non-Political chat stays away from RL politics and current events for a reason. It keeps us from wanting to tear each other’s hearts out.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard Eh, he’s not really that bad in the grand scheme of things. He’s just fiercely patriotic, like most people in the Socialist Party’s base. He’s actually pretty nice when you get to know him, and he’s quite sharp about domestic politics. He just comes off pretty harsh to you guys across the pond. At least he’s not as bad as RuleBritannia, who espouses the far too popular opinion among Tories in Britain that the British Empire should have sided with the Nazis as the lesser evil in WWII.

Anyway, I’ve just found this delightful ’80s political satire and sitcom called Yes, Comrade Secretary, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. It doesn’t advocate like The Committee’s Office often did, but still gives a good, if satirical, portrayal of politics. It really does a good job poking fun at the pitfalls of practical politics. It follows the career of PLP Central Committee member Alphonse “Al” Bundy,1 a bumbling and unlucky politician who has clearly risen to a position way above his merit. Bundy is the perfect portrayal of why the traits of a publicity-minded politician don’t mesh well with civil service (and how often those political marriages are really fakey. His wife, a real battle axe, is just as often stabbing Bundy’s ambitions in the back as promoting them. Their dysfunctional marriage is a nice sideline to the politics).

It’s also a quote gold mine. This one, from the sequel series Yes, Comrade Premier (Bundy, through the expert manipulation of his Deputy Secretary Steve Rhoades, ends up as head of the parliamentary and the Premier of the Central Committee), is my absolute favorite:
Bundy: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country; The Daily Worker is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Labor Review is read by people who actually do run the country; The Washington Post is read by the wives of the people who run the country; Rational Economy is read by people who plan the country; The Freeman is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; and The New Internationalist is read by people who think it is.
Rhoades: Premier, what about the people who read The New York Sun?
Bundy: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.
Absolutely priceless.
Originally Posted by flibbertygibbet Haha... that’s fucking fantastic. I think you could probably apply that to any country and it’d still be as true ever. I take it The New Internationalist is the American equivalent to the Daily Torygraph?
Originally Posted by Ubermunch Lenin, I like you a lot as a poster. I really do. I know you’re a huge Social Ecology supporter, and thus you’re as far left as they come, but in spite of that, you’re not a complete cock to people from across the pond. But I don’t know why you feel that you need to defend KittehKommitteh. He’s a troll. An educated and articulate troll, but a troll nonetheless.
Originally Posted by RuleBritannia *reads Ubermunch’s post*

I fucking lolled. Considering you’re the one who cited that communist American propagandist Chomsky in political chat, you don’t have much room to talk. More proof that socialism is a mental disorder. If you like those Americans so much why don’t you just move to America, you traitor.

Lol Socialist logic. There’s a reason Labour hasn’t won an election here since 1942.
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders I’m guessing the banhammer is finally going to hit RuleBritannia. It’s a pity, you had so much potential. Sure, Ubermunch is a Labourite and is thus bound to hate you. But I’ve been a member of the Conservative Party since I moved to Cambridge for college, and I’ve got to say, you’re a really poor reflection on other Tories in the forum. It’s not that you’re not intelligent; it’s just that you’ve shown a flagrant disregard for decency and tact ever since you’ve joined the board. Yeah, I enjoy taking the piss out of the Labour Party or their “friendly enemies” in the Socialist Workers’ Party, but you’re clearly going too far in most cases, subscribing to such unfounded conspiracy theories. Come on, even I admire Attlee’s leadership of the country in the Second World War. I’ll even admit that Labour’s economic policies were instrumental in the health of the Anglo-French Union in the post-war world. Yet you’ve, on more than one occasion, trotted out that terrible conspiracy theory that Attlee’s government was filled with Communist agents, and that Attlee was trying to sell out the Country and the Crown to America and the Soviet Union. Come on...

I don’t watch much TV, and I don’t take much time to go to the cinema, mostly because I like the style of my native French cinema over that of my adoptive country, but I read a lot. I read a lot of the classics, stuff like.... [material omitted from prior to known POD – Infinity Patrol Penetration Service]2 … I’ll avoid putting Tolkien on the list, since he’s a given. However, I do rather enjoy other fantasy works. Conan might be from America, but I can’t avoid loving it, just because the meta-series is so diverse. Like most things American, it’s anviliciously political, but as adventure novels they’re first rate. And you can’t help but admire the “No Gods, No Masters” ethos that our barbarian-thief (apparently he multi-classes Stuck out tongue) personifies.

I also enjoy the Bond series of novels and movies. I particularly enjoyed James Bond’s epic clash with the Section 9 agent Felix Lieter in Man with the Golden Gun. More than any other one of the books, Fleming captured the clash of cultures in the Cold War in this book. Yeah, I know that Bond started out as a pulp literature potboiler for the author, but it really challenged the author, and it grew into fairly respectable literature.
1. Yes, I did just, in fact, cross over Yes, Minister with Married...with Children. Cool Here’s to you, President Al Bundy.

2. Give yourself a cookie if you get the reference.

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The Last Man in Europe

No book called 1984 was published in this timeline. However, a slightly more optimistic novel, titled The Last Man in Europe, was published by Mr. Orwell. In this novel, a totalitarian nationalist regime called Oceania, which is essentially a corporatist/fascist restructuring of the British and French Empires, is caught in a permanent conflict of arms races and proxy wars with Eurasia (The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe) and North America (America, Canada and Mexico) over the impoversihed colonial regions of South America, Africa, the Middle East and China.

The Last Man in Europe is similar, in preserving the symmetry between Oceania and Eurasia’s totalitarian regimes, but essentially turns Oceania’s totalitarianism into a reactionary, rather than revolutionary type. The book noted the similarity between the authoritarianism of the left and the right, and how it affected Britain. However, the novel differs in a couple key ways. First, it’s a bit more optimistic. Winston Smith escapes Oceania in the end, and finds the outside world to be entirely different than Oceania’s propaganda describes it to be. North America is still democratic, and the novel ends with Winston Smith witnessing a public debate in New York City. The novel’s critique of totalitarianism qua totalitarianism is more explicit, and can’t easily be confused as a critique of leftist totalitarianism.

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Excerpts from Leaders of the 20th Century: In Their Own Words, (London, UK: Penguin Books, 2001)

Strom Thurmond (Politician, Democratic-Republican Party), in a letter written from a Birmingham jail cell to Right Democrat colleagues, July 1936.
“I’ve heard about the troubles at the convention. I learned most of the scant amount I do know from a letter from Solomon Blatt, but as you might guess, they [the Secretariat for Public Safety] read my mail, and they heavily censored the letter. I’m troubled very much by the rift within our party, but even more troubled by the fact that I don’t know who to side with. I feel like the Majority faction wants us to capitulate, to give in to the Red tyranny. But the Sons of Liberty group wish to fight fire with fire, to wage bloody warfare against our own people to force them to accept the righteousness of our cause.

“This cannot be the way. As I await sentencing for sedition, this terrible fact keeps creeping to me: we’ve lost. Whatever chance we had of winning this fight, if it even ever was there, is long past. My trial was proof of that. The People’s Tribune was a Negroe man, and as he spoke with the fire and passion of a Sunday preecher, the white crowd in the gallery hooped and hollered, not to lynch him, but to convict me. Deep in their hearts, they hated the People’s Tribune, and knew he was inferior, just another nigger, but that disgust was quelled by their hatred for me and what I stood for. After seeing that, I needed no more convincing. The Communists have won, even here in the South....

“I’ve prayed long and hard on this, and still don’t know if I’ve got the answers. But I do have faith in the Lord that nothing happens without a reason. The Communists’ victory in the class war, and the coming of the dictatorship of the proletariat must too also be a part of God’s plan. Perhaps this is to test our faith as Christians, to test our faith before the fires of new zealously atheist regime. But we must also consider the possibility that God is not on our side in this tribulation, that our Lord Jesus Christ might be siding with the Samaritan with good intentions rather than empty faith of the Believer.”
Winston Churchill (Conservative politician, Deputy Prime Minister 1942-6), a speech to the House of Commons, August 1942.
“We cannot, nor should we aim, to ride out the storm of war, and to attempt outlive the menace of tyranny, with hopes that the odious tyranny of Nazi armies find elsewhere to pillage. Large swaths of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen into the grip of the Gestapo. As I speak before you know, Nazi armies lay siege to the great cities of Leningrad and Moscow. The jackboot has tread through ancient Anatolia, and now leaves its black stain upon the Holy Land.

“This war has made former enemies into blood brothers. And through our combined strength, and in the righteousness of our cause, we shall, in the end, bring about the final defeat of the Nazis. The Empire shall, and must, stand with the free peoples of the world. Under the banner of the Internationale, Britain, France, America and the Soviet Union shall meet the enemies of humanity, armed and united. We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in Palestine, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
David Eisenhower (General, RDF Army), address to the soldiers of the Near East Expeditionary Force before the Battle of the Golan Heights, December 1942.
“Soldiers: I am proud to say I have fought with all of you these many long months. We’ve endured the bitter sting of defeat at the hands of our implacable Nazi foes, and still we have fought on. And through it all, it has been the democratic soldier, fighting for liberty against his or her oppressors—no matter what form they may take—that has persevered. Workers from all nations have united in this Great Crusade under the banner of the International Forces. Workers from the steel mills of Britain, the fertile Nile Valley of Egypt, the ancient metropolis of Istanbul, the arid plains of Palestine, have gathered in defiance of tyranny, to throw off the chains of the imperial past. Here today, a Gurkha warrior from India stands side-by-side with a Negro from the American South, united at last by a common enemy.

“The final conflict between oppressor and oppressed is before us. The Nazi war machine marches upon us once more, and we must seek refuge upon an Ark of our solidarity lest we be swept away by the Flood. Soldiers, I speak to you now not as your commanding officer, but as your comrade in the brotherhood of man. We fight today not just for each other, or for this bit of parched, chalky soil, but for all of Creation. Some of you in the ranks have already witnessed the horrors of Nazi brutality, so you know well of the terror that will engulf the world should we fail today. You have seen your homes and communities destroyed by Nazi savagery. You’ve witnessed firsthand your friends and loved ones consumed by the nightmarish Waffen SS. Unprecedented and unimaginable though they may be, these are the signs of our time.

“I stand here with you, my brothers and sisters, because I know that the People of the world can unite against their oppressors. A day may come when our courage fails, when we forsake our comrades and cast away all bonds of fellowship, but it will not be this day! An hour of woes and shattered dreams before the Age of Reason comes crashing down! But it will not be this day! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, soldiers of freedom!”
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Events of Interest, 1935

January 2: An assassination plot against Premier Foster fails in Washington-Debs. The attack, orchestrated by four former members of the U.S. Marines and three of their associates, is foiled by the Public Safety security detail. Foster is uninjured, however, his Deputy Premier Earl Browder, who was accompanying him, is badly wounded by one of the assassin’s bullets.

January 4: The only assassin to escape the failed plot alive is finally captured in Bethesda, Maryland, following an intense manhunt. The assassin, John Birch, is only sixteen. Torture and interrogation soon reveals his role in a Right Democratic Party cadre known as the Sons of Liberty.

January 5: Deputy Premier Browder passes away at a Washington-Debs hospital. In an official statement, Public Safety Secretary J. Edgar Hoover declares that the Sons of Liberty and all of its members, which he alleges has significant support from collaborators within the civil service, to be enemies of the people.

January 7: In spite of pressure from backbenchers in the Workers’ Party, the final vote on the Military Rehabilitation Act succeeds, 464-321. The Act grants formal amnesty to most military officers of the United States Army that did not successfully escape to Cuba, and recommissions those officers who are able and willing to serve the new government. The Act is unpopular with the public at large, but gains wide support within the RDF, including many of the revolutionary leaders, who continue to see such officers as wayward comrades, and not enemies.

January 10: After weeks of intense debate among American Catholic Bishops and lay members, a decision is reached. The leadership council of the American Catholic parishes votes to formally sever all ties with the Vatican. The decision is highly controversial, and a considerable number of American Catholics refuse to abide by its terms and favor reconciliation with the Vatican.

January 14: The first volume of Stavka’s report on the needs for expansion and modernization of the RDF, titled Comparative Proposals for Modernization of the Revolutionary Naval Forces, is released. The report is positively received by the Central Committee, and endorses considerable expansion of the American surface and submarine fleets. It recommends the commissioning of eight new aircraft carriers (including the three already-ordered ships of the Lenin class) following Japanese advancements in the field of carrier aviation. Potential conflict between the Empire of Japan and the UASR is also analyzed, identifying key theaters of interest in the Republic of China, the far east of the Soviet Union, and in the trade between America and the Soviet Union in the vast Pacific Ocean. These concerns, however, are secondary to perceptions of conflict with Britain. If fully enacted, the American navy would surpass the British navy as the largest and most able naval force in the world, an event unlikely to be without repercussions.

January 20: The Haitian Revolution: The Communist Party militia crosses the border into the Dominican Republic, to protect Haitians living on that side of the border from crackdowns by the Dominican Army.

January 22: People’s Secretary for Railways James Cannon takes on the portfolio of Deputy Premier against muted protests of the opposition against the new precedent. This move marks a leftward shift in the government’s policies, sure to further increase tensions with Stalin’s government.

January 25: The revolutionary ensign of the Chicago Commune, a red and black anarcho-syndicalist flag adorned with a central device of hammer, gear, compass and grain wreath, and widely adopted by Red Army units, militias and worker’s syndicates during the Civil War, is formally adopted as the flag of the UASR, replacing the plain red flag informally used by the provisional government.

January 28: The Government Powers Act goes into effect, adding several new seats to the Central Committee. The Speaker of the Congress of People’s Deputies, the Chief Whip of the CPD, and the President of the Union are given permanent seats on the Central Committee. Also, the Act creates potential positions of “Secretary without Portfolio”.

February 1: In an article published in The Daily Worker, the famed anarchist orator and current People’s Secretary for Labor Emma Goldman announces her renunciation of anarchism. She stresses her continued commitment to human liberty, and still wholeheartedly embraces libertarian socialism, but argues that best way for all libertarians in America to support those ends is within the state that is the UASR. The article and its confession are shocking and deeply controversial to many of Goldman’s anarchist colleagues.1

February 3: In a controversial decision, the parliament of the New York ASR votes to legalize abortion within the first trimester.

February 8: The American Trinitarian Church is founded by a congress of delegates from pro-separation Catholic parishes across America. Espousing a radical reinterpretation of Catholic social doctrine that would later be named liberation theology, the Trinitarians uproot much of the remaining hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America.

February 12: By-elections to fill Earl Browder’s vacant seat (Kansas 1st District) and another vacant seat in California’s 3rd District confirm continued popular support for the Communist government. Communist people’s deputies Max Schactman and Evelyn Reed win 65 and 71 percent support respectively in their districts, thoroughly trouncing their Left Democratic opponents.

February 13: Red Air Force aviatrix Ensign Amelia Earhart makes the first solo flight from Hawaii to California.

February 18: A general strike against the Dominican Republic’s autocratic government begins today, marking the conventional beginning date of the Dominican Revolution. Upon learning of this, an American volunteer militia assisting the Haitian provisional government, the Abraham Lincoln Batallion, crosses the border to support the strikers.

February 21: The Educational Revolution Act, first on the government’s docket for the new year, passes 600-144, and is signed into law by President Sinclair. The Act puts much of Education Secretary John Dewey’s educational reforms proposals into practice across America’s public primary, secondary and tertiary schools.

February 24: The Nazi German government announces rearmament in violation of the Versailles Treaty, receiving only condemnation but no action from the major European powers. During the question period in the Congress of People’s Deputies, Foster is grilled by party backbenchers as well as the opposition over the apparent failure of containment policies.

February 28: The second volume of Stavka’s report, detailing the proposals for expanding the Air Force, is released. The report sanctions massive expansions in the American Air Force’s tactical and strategic abilities, including the development of strategic bombers capable of bombing London from the American mainland.

March 1: As part of a the First Five Year Plan, a transition to the metric system begins in America. From this day forward, all new industrial equipment and consumer goods are to be produced according to metric standards. Highway signage is also converted to metric, and gasoline must now be sold by the liter, instead of the gallon.

March 5: Leon Trotsky is formally naturalized as a citizen of the UASR.

March 9: A wave of terrorist attacks across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois leaves almost twenty civilians and six police officers dead. The Sons of Liberty claim responsibility for the attacks, and issue a list of demands to Foster’s government, which are published next week in The Daily Worker and The New York Times. The demands include the resignation of Foster’s government, new elections under the old Constitution, and the release of all political prisoners.

March 11: Against protests from his defense attorney over jury contamination from recent events, John Birch is convicted of treason by a People’s Tribunal, and sentenced to death by firing squad.

March 14: The Red Terror: the beginning of the Loyalty Purges. In the civil service and governments of many republics (as well as the federal civil service), hundreds of government employees are arrested as reactionary sympathizers. Among those arrested is future Democratic-Republican politician and current Edgefield Town attorney Strom Thurmond.

March 15: The final volume of Stavka’s modernization reports, detailing reorganization and modernization of the Army, is released to the Central Committee. The report, with significant contributions from General Adna Chaffee, Major General George Patton and Brigadier David Eisenhower, endorses the creation of a fully mechanized army.

March 17: Rudolph Rocker, an anarcho-syndicalist ally of Emma Goldman, defends Goldman’s decision at the Keynote address of the Syndicalist Federation’s national conference in Detroit. While he does not go as far as abandoning anarchism, like Goldman, Rocker argues that principled opposition to statism does not preclude participation in government administration. The proper role, he insists, is to oppose the illegitimate coercion of the state while ensuring that the administrative roles of the government are made transparent, democratic and decentralized.

March 21: A special “counter-terrorism taskforce” is established in the People’s Secretariat for Public Safety, under the command of Special Agents Melvin Purvis and John Dillinger, as a response to continuing threats of counter-revolutionary terrorists. In actuality, the task force is a public face for Public Safety’s Section 9, the Counter-Intelligence Service. Section 9 is the secret police and enforcement division of Public Safety, and is the primary weapon of the Red Terror.

March 26: The Dominican Revolution: a joint workers’ and peasants’ militia of Haitians and Dominicans, assisted by the Abraham Lincoln Battalion and air support from American naval aviators, take the capital city Cuidad Trujillo (formerly Santo Domingo), overthrowing Trujillo’s military dictatorship.

March 29: The German revolutionary Rosa Luxembourg arrives at Ellis Island from her exile home of Holland to emigrate to the UASR. Upon arrival, she is greeted by Leon Trotsky and Louis Fraina, among others.

April 1: The 1st Armored Division is established at Aberdeen, from the 1st Cavalry Regiment, Chaffee’s old regiment from the Civil War. Major General Patton is to be the division’s first commanding officer. The division’s two tank regiments are to be equipped with the lead units of the T-2 medium tank1, but its two mechanized infantry regiments are forced to make do with converted civilian trucks until suitable purpose built infantry carriers and gun carriages can be produced.

April 4: The Dominican Revolution: the Confederal Congress of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies in Cuidad Trujillo declares the formation of the People’s Republic of Quisqueya, after a poetic name for the country. As one of the first acts of the new government, Cuidad Trujillo is renamed Santo Domingo.

April 10: Tenant revolts and strikes begin to spread across Brazil, and many fear the country is on the verge of full-scale communist revolution, as the sitting president Getúlio Vargas rapidly loses popularity with workers across the country in the face of failed or failing economic relief policies. Among Brazil’s military and middle class, the writings of Plinio Salgado gain great popularity. Membership in the Salgado’s Brazilian Integralist Action party continues to grow.

April 14: Dust storms in eastern New Mexico and Colorado are much milder than anticipated by the Meteorological Commissariat. The Central Committee’s press office declares the windfall proof-positive of the efficacy of the government’s radical agricultural reforms, a claim that is received tepidly in the press.

April 18: The Commissariat for Public Works is established in the Housing and Construction Secretariat. The new agency’s expressed purpose is to provide unemployment relief across the nation through massive public works projects.

April 21: American workers and citizens across the country tune into PBS radio stations to listen to President Sinclair’s radio address, often titled the “Freedom from Want” speech. The speech, besides outlining the government’s goals for the coming year, also popularizes the nickname “Grandfather Debs” for the late American socialist leader, and earns Sinclair the nickname “Uncle Sinclair.”

April 27: At the Party’s National Convention, the name “Workers’ Communist Party” is adopted, dropping the parentheses from the official name.

May 6: As the People’s Assembly reconvenes after May Day festivities, a final vote on the Defense Appropriations Omnibus of 1935 proceeds 711-35. The Omnibus expands the permanent size of the Army to almost 750,000 soldiers, funds the research, design and deployment of weapons systems for a modern, motorized army and air force, and authorizes the laying of many new ships. The National Service is established to administrate a universal national service. All high school students, regardless of gender, are required to register with the National Service on their 18th birthday. Upon graduation, they are required to begin two years of civilian or military service.

May 8: The Socialist Republic of Haiti and the People’s Republic of Quisqueya jointly sign a mutual defense pact with the UASR. Trade negotiations are opened at the American embassy in Santo Domingo over foreign investment and coffee production.

May 10: Retired Lieutenant Colonel T.E. Lawrence visits New York, to establish a correspondence with General Patton about his experiences during the Revolution. Lawrence would right in his private correspondence that the visit was almost spur-of-the-moment, inspired by an intense curiosity about the American military leader. The British and American governments both quietly hope that a high-profile visit between two decorated heroes might help the decidedly sour state of Anglo-American relations.

May 14: Regulations for Combined Arms and Mechanized War, also known as the Chaffee-Patton Report, is adopted as official armor doctrine by Stavka. The dissertation builds off Soviet General Tukhachevsky’s theory of deep battle and sets American tank doctrine in favor of mobility, all-arms cooperation, and independence from the infantry. The future American armor regiment would incorporate blisteringly fast light tanks and infantry carriers as scouts, a main force of mobile medium tanks and mechanized artillery, and a support reserve of fast tank destroyer or slower but still reliable heavy tanks to crack tougher nuts. New designs for vehicles to fit the specified roles in the report are commissioned at the Ford and Chrysler Design Bureaus, to enter service by 1939.

May 17: Under the terms Stavka’s General Order 36, the 177th, 179th and 181st Infantry Regiments are established as the first all-female combat units in the RDF.

May 20: The Communication Secretariat’s radio grant program goes into effect today. A new network of radio cooperatives throughout the country is supported by the program, broadcasting content from the five PBS radio stations as well as their own local content.

May 25: Republican Party leaders, including Robert Taft and rising star William F. Knox, finally take the oath of office for the Congress of People’s Deputies to take their seats and join the “Loyal Opposition” in the Congress.

June 1: The Central Committee announces the beginning of its new urban renovation project, styled as “the war on the last vestiges of capitalism.” Utilizing the new public works agency CPW, the Construction Secretariat plans the complete overhaul of many of America’s major urban areas. The project, which is forecast to be over a decade from beginning to completion, will completely reshape American urban life, replacing slums and cramped, disorganized streets with new high-rise communal apartments, clean urban markets, efficient roads, and public mass transit.

June 6: The militia of the leftist Aliança Nacional Libertadora and the rightist Ação Integralista Brasileira clash in São Paulo. Though order is eventually restored by the army, the crackdown heavily favors the Integralists. President Vargas announces parliamentary elections in six weeks, with the hope of redirecting outrage to the ballot box.

June 7: The Republic of China’s Guómíndǎng government concedes military control of north-east China to the Empire of Japan as part of the He-Umezu Agreement.

June 12: The highest award order in America, the Legion of Honor of Heroes of the UASR, is formally established. Most often called simply the Legion of Honor, the joint military-civilian award is granted personally or collectively for heroic actions in service to American people and to international socialism. With the establishment of the award, the Legion of Honor is awarded posthumously to a number of martyrs of the Revolution, including Norman Thomas, “Big Bill” Haywood, and Huey Long, among many others.

June 18: The Anglo-German Naval Agreement is concluded in London, with Britain granting Germany a navy with a maximum of 45% of the Royal Navy’s total tonnage.

June 24: Ground is broken on the first projects of the Columbia Valley Authority by CPW work crews. New dams, power plants, industrial parks, agricultural collectives and civic centers are planned throughout the valley.

July 1: The 1st Infantry Division is reorganized into the 1st Mechanized Infantry Division, with the activation of the division’s new tank regiment under the command of Brigadier Eisenhower.

July 4: The green-shirted militia of AIB launch a wave of attacks on leftist groups and unions throughout Brazil. These attacks, supported by plantation owners throughout the country, are acknowledged as the prelude to something much greater.

July 6: South Carolina First Minister Solomon Blatt’s shaky Right Democrat-led coalition government collapses, leading to early elections in the state. If Blatt loses the election, the Right Democrats will lose control of the last state government under their control. Early polling by Dr. Gallup’s American Institute of Public Opinion are inconclusive, with roughly thirty percent of the vote held each by the Right Democrats, Left Democrats and the Workers’ Party. With even small variances possibly having dramatic effects, a new poll is commissioned to find the “pulse” of each of 124 House districts.

July 15: In the face of widespread social chaos, and the suppression of the left-wing vote, the Integralists win a plurality of seats in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. President Vargas, unwilling to incur the wrath of the UASR, refuses to cooperate with the Integralists’ demands. Although he wields near dictatorial powers, Vargas has become deeply unpopular with the army and the Brazilian middle class.

July 28: South Carolina Left Democratic leader Charles E. Daniel forms a majority government in the state, after a campaign of successfully co-opting the Communists’ rhetoric and policies gives his party the last minute edge at the polls.

July 30: Integralist green-shirts, supported by the army, launch a coup d’état against Vargas’ government. Plinio Salgado declares the suspension of the Constitution and the formation of the Estado Novo (New State) in Brazil’s capital, Rio de Janeiro. The Central Committee of the UASR issues a statement condemning “the spread of Fascism to the New World.”

August 1: Television broadcasts begin in New York City. The single channel, with content provided by physics graduate students and the theater troupe of Columbia University, is received by a handful of television sets throughout the city, mostly on other college campuses.

August 5: The Pension Act is passed by the Congress of People’s Deputies 565-48, establishing a comprehensive system of public pensions administered jointly by the union and provincial governments. The Act transfers all pension systems to the state sector. Condemned by rightist critics as part of the UASR’s “cradle-to-grave nanny-state” mentality, the Social Pension system it establishes will in years to come be recognized as the third rail of American politics: touch it and die.

August 10: The Fourteenth World Congress of the Communist International becomes a battleground between American and Soviet delegates over the proper role of the vanguard party and the proper response to the growth of fascism worldwide. American delegates favor direct confrontation with fascist states to “strangle fascism in the cradle” before it can spread to more states, while Soviet delegates urge greater caution in containing the threat, with hopes of bringing liberal democracies over to the anti-fascist cause. Regardless, both delegations support the end of “Third Period” policies in other Communist Parties around the world.

August 14: By resolution of the Salt Lake City Council, the city and capital of the Commonwealth of Utah is officially renamed Haywood City, after the martyr of the American Revolution and national labor hero “Big Bill” Haywood.

August 18: Milton Wolff, barely 20 years old and already the elected commander of the all-volunteer Abraham Lincoln Battalion, is awarded the Order of Debs and the Legion of Honor for his decisive role in leading the capture of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Revolution. Wolff becomes the first living recipient of the prestigious awards. The award ceremony in Washington-Debs concludes with the announcement that the volunteer Abraham Lincoln Battalion is being “nationalized” and inducted into the regular Red Army.

August 25: The debut issue of The Sunday Worker is launched in major cities across the UASR. The new paper is modeled off the Sunday Times of London, and focuses on giving a broader range of stories in greater depth then the daily newspapers.

September 2: One of the most powerful hurricanes ever to strike North America makes landfall in the Florida Keys. Over 400 are killed in one of the worst natural disasters of the year. The event precipitates the all-union government to begin investigating the need for increased government involvement in disaster management.

September 8: North Carolina Right Democrat politician Josiah Bailey is assassinated at his home early in the morning. The alleged assassin, Carl Weiss, is arrested after a chance run in with a North Carolina state trooper. While the assassination is portrayed as a typical lone-gunman-with-mental-issues affair, unbeknownst to the North Carolina State Police and the public at large, Carl Weiss was an undercover special agent assigned to Public Safety’s Section 9.

September 13: The Nuremberg Laws go into force in Germany. John Reed meets with German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop to begin secret negotiations about Germany’s “Jewish Question.” The Nazi regime, in spite of its refusal to recognize the “Jewish-Bolshevik” regime in power in Washington-Debs, has considered taking up Foster’s offer of asylum for refugee’s of Nazi terror as a cheap and convenient way to dispose of many of Germany’s Jews.

September 17: One of the Energy Secretariat’s flagship projects, the Karl Marx Hydroelectric Complex in the Boulder Canyon on the border of Arizona and Nevada, begins operation.

September 24: Canadian federal election: Prime Minister R.B. Bennett narrowly holds onto his seat in Canada’s hung parliament.3

October 1: StatePlan announces that the First Five Year Plan is almost a month ahead of schedule. Unemployment is at 14% and falling rapidly and industrial production is growing in most sectors of the economy. The biggest advancement has been made in the area of agricultural production; the collectivization and industrialization programs have proceeded quicker than planned, and the ravages of the Dust Bowl have been met more effectively than anticipated. Farm income is still low, but improving, as productivity increases and many surplus farm laborers move into other trades.

October 5: Plinio Salgado is declared Generalissimo of Brazil by the Congress of Deputies. All political parties except those allied to the ruling AIB are banned by government decree. Trade talks between Nazi Germany and Brazil are proceeding smoothly at this time.

October 7: The Second Italo-Abyssinian War begins as Italian armies invade Ethiopia.

October 12: The Communist’s controversial public morality law, the Education and Equality Act, passes in the Congress only after Premier Foster attaches a confidence motion to the bill to quash dissent by Workers’ Party backbenchers. The law mandates comprehensive sexual education in American secondary schools, ends gender segregation of all publicly owned bathrooms and changing rooms, overturns all provincial codes that prohibit public nudity and that censor the arts for similar reasons, and endorses gay civil unions. Opposition people’s deputies and religious ministers denounce the government’s promotion of free love and other libertine social mores.

October 17: The great Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein tours American film-making industry, which is the subject of the groundbreaking documentary film Eisenstein Goes to Hollywood (1936). Notably, he appears in several cameos in John Ford’s historical drama of the Russian Revolution Ten Days That Shook the World, being filmed by the Universal Studios Collective at the time.

November 1: Woody Guthrie makes a name for himself at the Proletarian Music Festival hosted at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The spread of politically conscious music that sang of the heroism and nobility of ordinary workers has been immense in the UASR. Often referred to as “socialist realist music” at the time, the different currents will later be known as urban folk (typified by Guthrie) and worker swing (typified by Frank Sinatra and others).

November 8: As sanctioned by Secretariat for Labor’s National Economic Program, the Congress of Industrial Organizations first meets in Chicago. Bringing together the elected leaders of the various industrial manifolds of the Solidarity labor union, the CIO will become an integral part of the national planned economy.

November 12: The UK general election: Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Baldwin’s National Government returns with a reduced majority. Notably, the British Union of Fascists makes its electoral debut and entrance into the House of Commons.4

November 18: Notorious bank robber with connections to counter-revolutionary subversives Alphonse “Scarface” Capone is killed by Chicago police while attempting to make his escape from a robbery on a branch of the Chicago Commune’s People’s Bank. Two known members of the Sons of Liberty are captured as well.

November 24: The new Soviet embassy opens in Washington-Debs. At its construction, it is by most accounts the largest and most impressive embassy in the world.

November 28: Thanksgiving is re-established as an American national holiday, taking a leftist tinge in its present incarnation.

December 4: The first regiment of the American Air Force equipped with the new Curtis Design Bureau F-36 fighter activates at Langley AFB, under the command of Lieutenant Commander James Doolittle.

December 8: Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis is elevated to Chief Justice by President Sinclair, following the retirement of Chief Justice Charles Hughes. Roger Nash Baldwin is expected to be confirmed to the now vacant Associate Justice position.

December 12: A mutual defense pact is signed by Nazi Germany and Integralist Brazil. The continued growth of fascism around the world has undermined both the American and Soviet governments.

December 17: John Nance Garner is elected Secretary-General of the Right Democratic Party. Though a conservative at heart, Garner has been very vocal about his belief that the party needed to move to the left to accommodate the political realities of America.

1. This is not to be taken as an authorial verdict on anarchism as a political ideology, or its future in this timeline. In many ways, I identify more strongly with anarchists like Goldman than I do with most Marxists, particularly Leninists, even if I do not subscribe to anarchism in toto.

2. An Americanized copy of the Soviet BT-2 fast tank, which replaces the Soviet DG machine gun and 37mm Model 30 AT gun with a Browning M1919 7.62mm machine gun and a native produced 37mm M3 AT gun.

Complete results of the Canadian federal election:

Party Seats Change
Conservative Party 108 -26
Liberal Party 100 +10
Social Credit 20 +20
Cooperative Commonwealth 9 +9
Liberal-Progressive 4 +1
Labour 3 -2

4. Complete results of the UK general election:

Party Seats Change
Conservative Party 372 -97
Labour Party 160 +108
Union of Fascists 35 +35
National Liberal 30 -5
Liberal Party 11 -21
National Labour 4 -9
Communist 3 +3

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A dramatis personæ of in-universe discussion board commentators

Username: AdmiralSanders
Age: 20
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Straight
Nationality: French
Religion: Anglican
Location: Cambridge, England
Political Affiliation: Conservative and Unionist Party UK
Occupation: Physics student at Cambridge University
Favorite AH work: Marching Through Georgia, by S.M. Stirling
Other hobbies: Classical literature and poetry, fencing, debate, strategy computer games
Likes: Sunday drives in the country side, fine wine, club dancing
Dislikes: Trolls, rudeness, escargot
Favorite quote: “And he piled upon the whale’s white hump, the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon, he would have shot his heart upon it.” ~Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Demeanor: Erudite and abrasive
AH works on the board: “Thunder and Majesty: WWII in the 1930s” - Events following the Second American Revolution result in war between the British Empire and the UASR over intervention in Cuba. Japan becomes America’s ally of convenience to plunder the Asian parts of the British and French Empires while French and German troops duke it out with the Soviets in Byelorussia.
“Race to Suicide” - Decidedly dystopian TL where a chain of events stemming from the 60s Irish Missile Crisis lead to an apocalyptic nuclear exchange between the three superpowers.

Username: DeOpressoLiber
Age: 37
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Lesbian
Nationality: African
Religion: Wicca
Location: South Bend, Indiana Socialist Republic
Political Affiliation: Socialist Party of America, formerly Progressive Labor Party
Occupation: Locomotive engineer, retired Army Special Warfare soldier
Favorite AH work: Timeline 191, by Harry Turtledove
Other hobbies: Match shooting, gardening, martial arts
Likes: Good cheese, dancing, romantic comedies, cyberpunk
Dislikes: Gung-ho war nuts, historical revisionism
Favorite quote: “Man has the right to deal with his oppressors by devouring their palpitating hearts!” ~Jean-Paul Marat
Demeanor: Bitter and sarcastic
AH works on the board: “The Rainforest Wars” - The UASR decides to enact Operation Leveller, the planned invasion of Integralist Brazil, during the Second World War, leading to a campaign fraught with difficulty, and an eventual occupation of the country and a long guerrilla insurgency.

Username: flibbertygibbet
Age: 24
Gender: Female
Sexuality: Bisexual
Nationality: Welsh
Religion: Wiccan
Location: London, England
Political Affiliation: Socialist Workers’ Party UK
Occupation: Librarian
Favorite AH work: Spartakus by Harry Turtledove
Other hobbies: Football, rock guitar, singing
Likes: Gothic romance novels, Indian food, pink roses
Dislikes: The monarchy, the Daily Torygraph, chauvanism
Favorite quote: “The cry of the poor is not always just; but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.” ~Upton Sinclair
Demeanor: Spunky and cheerful
AH works on the board: “Ruled Britannia” - a serious attempt to make the “unmentionable sea mammal” of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s delusions of grandeur plausible and successful.
“To Remember Spain: A Popular Front Victory in the Spanish Civil War” - Greater joint American-Soviet military intervention in the Spanish Civil War results in victory of the Republicans against the fascist coup led by Rafael Mazas.

Username: KittehKommitteh
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Straight
Nationality: Italian, Russian
Religion: Atheist
Location: Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Political Affiliation: Socialist Party, UASR
Occupation: College English major
Favorite AH work: The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick
Other hobbies: Computer games, bass guitar, martial arts
Likes: Fast cars, apple pie, John Steinbeck
Dislikes: Labor skates, rudeness, coffee
Favorite quote: “Philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” ~Karl Marx
Demeanor: Self-righteous and condescending
AH works on the board: “So Long, Il Duce” - Mussolini’s attempted takeover of the Italian state is stopped by an alliance of socialist and communist militia. The Italian revolution strangles fascism in the cradle, butterflying away the Second World War.

Username: LeninsBeard
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Bisexual
Nationality: Ashkenazi Jew
Religion: Atheist
Location: Charleston, Commonwealth of South Carolina
Political Affiliation: Social Ecology Union, UASR
Occupation: Associate Professor of History
Favorite AH work: Back in the USA by Eugene Byrne and Kim Newman
Other hobbies: Jumping from perfectly good airplanes, rock climbing, piano
Likes: flibbertygibbet, chocolate, the funnies section, cannabis
Dislikes: living 7000km away from flibbertygibbet, reality TV, suckups
Favorite quote: “We cannot go on record saying he is no good, Jack. We must be seen to be his friend. After all, it is necessary to get behind someone before you can stab them in the back.” ~William Z. Foster
Demeanor: Magnificent bastard
AH works on the board: “The Presidency of Norman Thomas” - Revolutionary martyr Norman Thomas escapes assassination during the Revolution to become the UASR’s first president. Generally leads to kinder, gentler UASR.
“Stick to Farming!” - A POD in Premier Wallace’s minority government leads to a successful coalition government between Progressive Labor and the Left Democrats following the 1948 general election. A different Cold War results.

Username: Ленин
Age: 25
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Gay
Nationality: Russian, Volga German
Religion: Atheist
Location: Volgagrad, Transcaucasian SSR
Political Affiliation: Socialist Labour Party, USSR
Occupation: Software engineer
Favorite AH work: The Assassination of Premier Trotsky by the Coward Josef Stalin, by Larry McMurtry and Ivan Kalinin
Other hobbies: Computer gaming, Situationist Piracy
Likes: Ostern movies, prog music, gardening
Dislikes: Stalin apologists, bad personal hygiene
Favorite quote: “Marxism does not negate the role of the leaders of the working class in directing the revolutionary liberation movement. While ascribing great importance to the role of the leaders and organisers of the masses, Lenin at the same time mercilessly stigmatised every manifestation of the cult of the individual, inexorably combated [any] foreign-to-Marxism views about a “hero” and a “crowd,” and countered all efforts to oppose a “hero” to the masses and to the people.”~Khrushchev, On the Personality Cult and Its Consequences
Demeanor: Collegial and self-righteous
AH works on the board: “Lenin Lives!” - Vladimir Lenin escapes Fanny Kaplan’s assassination attempt unharmed, and lives ten more years due to better health. The USSR thaws in the late 20s, with the establishment of full multi-party democracy in the mid 30s.

Username: RuleBritannia
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Straight
Nationality: English
Religion: Anglican
Location: Cornwall, England
Political Affiliation: Conservative and Unionist Party, UK
Occupation: College military history student
Favorite AH work: Fear and Loathing in MacArthur’s America, by L. Neil Smith
Other hobbies: Comic collecting, fencing, horseback riding
Likes: tradition, porter, a night at the pub
Dislikes: socialism, Doves, tea
Favorite quote: “Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state.” ~Winston Churchill
Demeanor: Spiteful and headstrong
AH works on the board: N/A

Username: SeriousSam
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Straight
Nationality: German, Polish, Czech
Religion: Trinitarian
Location: San Francisco, California Socialist Republic
Political Affiliation: Left Democratic Party, UASR
Occupation: Film student
Favorite AH work: The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith
Other hobbies: Filmmaking, acting, tabletop RPGs
Likes: romance novels, surrealist films, coffee
Dislikes: smoking, fratboys
Favorite quote: “A day may come when our courage fails, when we forsake our comrades and cast away all bonds of fellowship, but it will not be this day! An hour of woes and shattered dreams before the Age of Reason comes crashing down! But it will not be this day! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, soldiers of freedom!” ~Field Marshal David Eisenhower
Demeanor: quirky and laidback
AH works on the board: “Kropotkin’s Russia” - Pyotr Kropotkin becomes a libertarian Marxist instead of an anarcho-communist, and comes to be the leading figure of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. The timeline explores the divergence caused by a fairly successful democratic USSR on world politics throughout the 20th century. Currently updated to 1974.

Username: Ubermunch
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Sexuality: Straight
Nationality: English
Religion: Non-denominational Christian
Location: Birmingham, England
Political Affiliation: Labour Party, UK
Occupation: Steel mill worker
Favorite AH work: Mobile Armored Riot Police, by Masamune Shirow
Other hobbies: wargaming, rugby, painting
Likes: American sex ed films, Monty Python, Guinness
Dislikes: Neo-Nazis, school uniforms, bottled water
Favorite quote: “Show ‘my proper place’ when before the King? Comrade, I’m afraid the only proper place before a king is placing his royal neck in a noose of most common rope.” ~William Z. Foster, in private to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden
Demeanor: Militantly metro
AH works on the board: “A Federal Franco-British Union” - Clement Attlee’s Labour/SFIO/Socialist Worker coalition government wins the 1947 elections in the nascent Franco-British Union. The union endures, and begins a peaceful transition to socialism and a federal plan for the colonies. Considered one of the more realistic “better world” quasi-utopias. The Cold War ends by the mid-’50s, with swift democratization of the USSR, and the continued strengthening of the Internationale.

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Excerpts from Let Justice Be Done, Though the World Perish: A History of the Secretariat for Public Safety, by Ward Churchill (Toledo, OH: Labor Review Press, 1994)
“Liberty,” so Lenin declared, “is so precious a commodity that it must be carefully rationed.” On face, it is rather unfortunate that such sentiments were once seriously entertained in the UASR. While it would be a gross oversimplification to foist the blame for the trend toward political authoritarianism and centralization under the First Cultural Revolution solely upon the shoulders of Marxism-Leninism, the importance of ideology in informing the bounds of political freedom and the actions of the state cannot be ignored. To be sure, the Union faced great perils at home and abroad in its formative years. The threat of terrorism from within the state, and of reactionary armies from without, were very real dangers that American workers faced on a daily basis. Twice during this period, first in 1934 and again in 1936, the UASR was on the brink of war with the major imperial capitalist powers of Europe.

But in understanding the complexities, we cannot go so far as the apologists for the American history of state terror suggest. To understand is not to condone. We must not have any illusions about what was at stake: the American state amassed many of the trappings of a totalitarian regime in short order. Only the existence of a functional democratic polity in the factory committees, ward councils and the regional soviets, which retained a faith in both democracy and the rule of law, staved off the complete suppression of democratic dissent and the UASR joining the sad list of degenerated worker’s states.

The growth of an authoritarian state apparatus during the Cultural Revolution came swiftly. It was assisted by many of the enforcers of the old regime who proved more than willing to change masters once the outcome was certain. Chief among these labor skates was the inimitable J. Edgar Hoover, a hardline reactionary enforcer turned hardline revolutionary enforcer. Indeed, changing sides was the best career move any ambitious lawman could hope to make. Hoover would go from the head of an undermanned and underfunded federal investigation agency that routinely competed with the Marshals Service and the Secret Service (and state and local law enforcement as well) for jurisdiction, to the master of the one of the largest, most powerful unified national police forces in the entire world and a political leader in the new state.

In terms of resources at its disposal, and the power it commanded, the People’s Secretariat for Public Safety during the 30s and 40s was perhaps second only to the dreaded Soviet NKVD. And after the resolution of the Civil War, the victors of what should have been a movement towards liberty and democracy effectively gave Public Safety carte blanche to eliminate all opponents to the new order. And to this day, the UASR remains the only democratic state with an unapologetic secret police force. While the USSR and other degenerated workers’ states have since abandoned such tactics in the transition to full political and civil democracy, it remains troubling that in the UASR, the option remains on the table.

...J. Edgar Hoover’s conversion to the enforcer of American national ideology came swiftly. As his private secretary noted, his habits of speech, his reading materials, even the company he kept, all changed within the span of a mere year. Hoover embraced Marxism-Leninism so thoroughly, even the most trusting among his personal confidants have admitted to incredible cynicism about his apparent embrace of the hard ideological left. Regardless, what is important to remember is Hoover’s conversion was a reflection of his function in the American revolutionary state.

Like all state security agencies, Public Safety’s primary role was not to enforce the laws of the state, but rather the ideology of the state. While Marxism-Sinclairism1 had its share of discontents during the 1930s, its status as the American national ideology became very clear in the 1938 general election campaign. Both opposition parties, the Left Democrats and the nascent Democratic-Republicans, had officially embraced Marxian socialism to varying degrees, and raced to the left to fight the utter hegemonic electoral strength of the Communists. Consider Robert Taft’s famous “The Genius of Marx and the Foolishness of the Foster Government” address to the Congress, widely rebroadcast on the radio and film reels during the election campaign. In the speech, Taft spends an equal measure of time praising Marx and pointing out Foster’s government’s failure to keep:
Consider now the great foresight Marx had. In 1853, Marx wrote, in one of his many columns for The New York Herald-Tribune, that the hangman’s noose was an instrument of barbarous oppression fitting the barbarities of the capitalist economic system. In his own words, ‘Capital punishment cannot be justified in any society that calls itself civilized.’ So what has this supposedly Marxist government done, in the five years since the revolution? It has put to death more men for counterrevolutionary activities in these five years then fell to the hangman’s noose in the barbarous age before! Comrade Foster, how in God’s name can you call yourself a Marxist!?...The Central Committee’s official security reports have endorsed the use of extralegal terror, summary execution and other heinous, fascist methods in the pursuit of justice. How many of these recommendations have been enacted? Comrade Foster, your only answer so far has been that this is classified information. You have asked us to endorse your Public Safety campaign, and this body has given you carte blanche, and surrendered the purse to the Executive without an accounting of how the Public Safety budget will be spent. Indeed, we can learn all we want about the number of paper clips Section 1’s Marshal’s Service uses, or the amount of paper procured by Section 3 for transportation security. Yet we have no way of knowing how much money the Counterintelligence service in Section 9 spends, let alone what it is spent on. Comrade, this is a travesty of socialist democracy, and unbecoming of any revolutionary state.
1. The use of this term separately from Marxism-Leninism is deliberate. While Sinclairism is derivative of Leninism, the term didn’t come into use until after the Second World War, even though it refers in large part the American variant of Marxist philosophy codified during the First Cultural Revolution.

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A Simple Life

The last seconds of the school day always tick by the slowest, especially on a Friday. For the sixth graders of Alexandra Kollontai Middle School, that was doubly true this Friday. Tomorrow would be May Day, probably the biggest holiday of the whole year.1 The streets and fora of New York would be filled with parades, picnics, art shows, theater troupes, and all other manner of ways for a kid to become lost in youthful exuberance.

And, unfortunately for the American History class, the teacher Lily Edelin insisted upon using every second of seventh period to cover as much ground as possible. The lecture would continue until the final bell rang, and would not relent so much as a moment sooner. This suited Lenina Revmira2 just fine as she watched the birds frolic about outside the classroom window. With a heavy sigh, she slumped down to her desk, wishing she could be as free as the birds. The pigeons suddenly scattered from their roosts, heralding the coming of a great black raven. It perched on the tree branch right outside the window, unconcerned with the panic of the other birds. And as Lenina stared, the raven stared right back.

“Students,” the teacher called, “who can tell me about the dictatorship of the proletariat that we read about in Critique of the Gotha Programme?” The class was silent, fidgeting uncomfortably. Less than a minute to go until the bell, and Comrade Edelin won’t let anyone go until the question is answered to her satisfaction. Since no one volunteered, the teacher began searching through the class to volunteer someone.

Before she could make her choice, one kid finally spoke up. “I’ll bet Lenina knows,” he snickered.

Lenina shot him an icy glare. “You scab!” she wanted to say, but she bit her tongue. Lenina played video games with Fred after school, helped him with his homework, and this was how he showed his thanks? She just couldn’t understand it, let alone why he was laughing about it.

“Pranks like that aren’t very nice, Fred. However, Lenina; you shouldn’t be daydreaming like that in class. It’s disrespectful to your classmates. So, unless the raven outside can answer the question better than you, I’d like to hear your answer.”

Edelin’s smile just sickened Lenina. She was so matronizing about everything. With a sigh, Lenina flipped through her notes, trying to find something important to say so that the day could end and she could go home. “Well,” she paused, fiddling with one of her dreadlocks as she collected herself, “the dictatorship of the proletariat is like when the workers overthrow the capitalists and the state, and set up a new worker’s state to defend the revolution from enemies.”

“And who leads the workers?”

Lenina flipped through her notes again. “Uh, is it the vanguard party?”

“Yes. But who then teaches the vanguard how to fight the revolution?”

“Damn know-it-alls like you” was what she wanted to say. But she wasn’t that rude. “That would be the working class, right?”

“Yes. But it looks like that’s all we have time for now. So, remember to read up on the Foster government’s Red Terror, and be prepared to criticize it in class tomorrow in relation to Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat. Okay, have a nice weekend.”

The class bolted out the door as soon as they heard “all we have time for.” The race outside was brutal, but Lenina was a bit taller and stronger than most in her class, so she had a natural advantage pushing her way through to her locker and then outside. She squeezed her way through the throngs of people, and out through the school’s main entrance. From there, it was a short walk to the metro station. She skipped down the several flights of stairs down to the metro platform. Sticking her hands in her jean pockets, she paced back and forth while the platform began to fill up, waiting for the 3:40 train to arrive. Many of her classmates would ride the same metroline home, and they milled about, gossiping about the day’s drama.

When the sleek train arrived, everyone quickly filed into the train and found a seat. Once the doors closed, the train accelerated quickly, though in the tunnel it was hard to get an accurate sense of speed. The trains in New York’s Metro Line usually cruised at around 130 kph, but the new express lines that ran from the Jersey Shore to the far end of Long Island would routinely break 200 kph.3

Lenina always enjoyed the metro ride to and from school. The trains were very nice, and the whole metro was well maintained, befitting its status as the pride of the New York ASR. While the stops weren’t quite as frequent as the light rail or the bus lines, it was the best way to get long distances. The train soon reached her stop, and she quickly disembarked, along with a couple of her classmates and some other commuters. She didn’t go to her grandfather’s flat often enough to recognize the rest of the commuters on this stop, but her classmates clearly did. Older brothers, friends of the family, fellow communards, it didn’t really matter; the sense of community in the neighborhoods of the city was always strong.

Lenina took her time to get to her grandfather’s flat. As she lollygagged, she looked at the agitprop pasted on the sides of the old buildings, wondering if this sort of thing was common when Grandpa Arnold was a boy. The military’s famous Uncle Sinclair “I want you to join the RDF, comrade!” posters always struck Lenina as a bit odd. Uncle Sinclair just looked too old and jolly to seriously encourage someone to join the military to fulfill their national service requirement. He was like a skinny, beardless Santa Claus; not very intimidating.

She bought two cappuccinos from the café across from Grandpa Arnold’s apartment building. Her grandpa lived up on the eighth floor, so she decided to skip the pastries they barrista tried to offer her before skipping across the street. She took the elevator up, after briefly contemplating taking the stairs. Grandpa’s flat was just down the hall and around the corner, and much to her amazement, her grandpa was already waiting there to welcome her.

“Grandpa!” she cried, “how did you know I was here?”

Grandpa gave her a big hug before taking one of the cappuccinos from her. “Well, baby-doll, I always know when my granddaughter is coming, because you bring joy wherever you go.” He took her backpack, and ushered her into his flat.

“Aww, grandpa,” she blushed and quickly changed the subject, “Are your flatmates in?”

“No, looks like we’ve got the commons to ourselves for the next few hours. Jim’s got his chemistry lab at the university today. Robin and Marian are going out to dinner, and Marcel... well, Marcel is just being Marcel. I think he’s out clubbing or something. He never tells us much.”

Lenina had hear a lot about Marcel these past few weeks. Marcel was one of those people who might be called “antisocial” rather unfairly due to his idiosyncratic behavior and lack of participation in community events. As Grandpa Arnold had described him, he was a nice enough fellow, just not really with the program when it came to communal living and civic virtue. He suspected he was probably from Canada, so sharing a flat with a widowed pensioner, a young married lawyer couple, and a young college student was probably a new experience for him.

“Well that’s a bummer. I was hoping to get to say hi to Robin and Marian; he’s such a funny guy, and Marian really is sweet as can be.”

“Well, I’ll make sure to tell them that you missed them. Now, you tell me about your day while I make us a snack to go with the coffee.” He pulled out a stool at the island in the flat’s well-equipped kitchen before setting about the business of after-school snacks.

Lenina sat on the stool, dangling her feet playfully while she told Grandpa Arnold about her day. “Well, we’re learning about polynomials in Algebra class right now. It’s really hard, but the teacher says it’s important. Oh well. My group aced the quiz though!”

“Oh, that’s great. So, coffee cake or fruit slices?”

“Mm... how about both?”

“Sounds good to me,” Grandpa Arnold smiled as he started chopping the two Fuji apples into slices.

“We watched Premier’s Questions in Politics today. Daniel Berrigan4 is a smart old guy; he really did well fending off Progressive Labor’s questions, I think. My teacher, Comrade Giuliani, says that there’s probably going to be new elections soon.”

“Probably true. So, what else did you do today, sweetie?”

“Well, in Literature we started reading To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s supposedly based on some real events in the author’s life. So kind of the Old South right after the Revolution. I think it’s really interesting. I like Scout, she’s a neat character.”

“Oh, I remember that book. I read it when it was first published. Really good book, good to see your teacher knows a good one when she sees one. Yeah, I wasn’t much older than Scout during the Cultural Revolution, probably about your age when it was going down. Here’s your snacks, sweetie.” He took a first sip of his cappuccino. “I say, I do like Ma Belle’s espresso. She makes it the proper way, like they do in Italy. I remember having cappuccino in Rome with some of the Frente Populare partisans, after we liberated the city from the Fascists. One part espresso, one part milk, one part foam...”

“Grandpa?” Lenina asked, sipping on her cappuccino.

“Yes dear?”

“What was it like, growing up in the Cultural Revolution?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well, Edelin wants us to discuss the Red Terror and other things of that period, and I just can’t help but think that so much of that stuff was just wrong. I mean, what does that say about our country, when we did terrible things then?”

“Well, sweetie,” he said, scratching his graying goatee, “that’s only one part of a very complicated time. I was about your age during that time period, just growing up, but I still remember a whole lot about that time. A lot of things were going on, some good, some bad. But mostly, it was just an exciting time.”

“Like what?” she asked, nibbling on an apple slice.

“Ever heard of the Collectivization Drives?”


“Well, starting in late 35 and early 36, the union government started this massive public campaign to collectivize agriculture and what was left of private capitalist business from the revolution. Mostly the smaller businesses and factories that escaped occupation during the great strikes of 33 and 34.”

“That does sound kind of exciting.”

“Yeah, it really was. I was twelve when it started. I remember when the drive started. My father was a small farmer, and we were in the town of Three Forks, Montana that day to pick up some barb wire fence to string out on the border between our farm and neighbor’s ranch. Just as we were leaving the general store, a group of men from the Ag secretariat, along with a small group of party workers, were collecting a town meeting in a nearby park. So we went down to see what the commotion was about.

“Now, my dad had been a loyal member of the Workers’ Communist Party for over a decade, and he knew all of the officials from the state’s union and party locals. He didn’t recognize most of these men, which must of meant they were from the national party headquarters in Chicago, which meant this must be important.

“The head honcho of the union government officials identified himself as Cecil Salmon, one of the principal administrators the Agriculture Secretariat, and he said something along the lines of ‘In order to continue the revolution, we must not rest until all the vestiges of capitalism are eliminated from our society.’ I’m sure he said a lot more, but I can’t really remember much more than it was a rousing speech and everybody cheered.”

Lenina sipped her cappuccino thoughtfully. “Were all speeches that jingoistic in the 30s, Grandpa?”

“Absolutely, pumpkin. Absolutely.”

She laughed heartily. “So, what did you do?”

“Well, the mayor of the town convened a town assembly that night, and the party workers gave us the brief on the government’s collectivization policy. They encouraged us to form a kibbutz from the town and the surrounding farm land, and collectivize all of the agriculture in the county and bring it under rational management. And with the kind of aid the government was offering, we really would have been stupid to say no. So, going with the revolutionary spirit of the time, we agreed to trade in our private land allotments for tractors and advanced irrigation systems.

“A couple people in the county needed to be dragged along, but mostly, if they put up a lot of resistance we just let them stew in their reactionary juices. So we tore down most of the old fences, and set up new ones, mingled our herds, and marveled at the new wonderful tractors that came in on the railroad that spring. It was a lot of hard work, and the managers and technicians the Ag secretariat assigned to our kibbutz were a bit spread too far, too thin. But they taught us what we needed to learn to keep them running until they could do the more detailed work. Hell, working on those beasts is why I learned how to be a mechanic. Wasn’t quite strong enough to buck hay or rope calves yet, but I was good with my hands and I learned fast.”

“I really never thought of you as a farm boy, Grandpa. Montana’s like three thousand kilometers away from the New York ASR. Why’d you leave for here?” Lenina asked.

“Well, I left because I met your grandma. But that’s another story. Now where was I? Oh yeah, working on the kibbutz. One thing I’ll always remember was during the summer of 36, we got a lot of German immigrants coming into the county. From what I heard, there were a lot of them scattered all around the country. A lot of them couldn’t speak much English when they arrived, and I was always so intrigued by their strange clothes, or that they didn’t go to church with the rest of the community.”

“Why didn’t they go to church, if it was so important in the town?”

“Most of them were Jews, sweetie, fleeing the Nazis.”

“Oh...” she said, realizing how serious it was.

“Quite a few of them came over thanks to cloak and dagger diplomacy between our government and the Nazi regime. The Nazis hated Jews, but didn’t know what to do with them now that they were in power. The politically easy solution was to make as many of them as possible someone else’s problem. They’d take their homes and possessions, and give them a one way ticket to America.”

“That’s terrible!” she gasped, “how could they do such horrible things to other people?”

“Believe me, exiled Ashkenazim got off light compared to the rest of the Jews in Europe. You’ve probably never heard of the Final Solution, have you?”

“No, I haven’t. Though I think Comrade Edelin said that we’d be watching a documentary on that next week.”

Grandpa Arnold sighed. Her innocence was about to be shattered in a pretty brutal way. Better now then later, so he thought. “Well, let’s just say that it’s something you’ll never forget...” he said, as memories of the living skeletons he had seen when his unit liberated Dachau came flooding back in a torrent. The anger was still there as well, the seething hatred he had felt as they marched the townsfolk and captured Hitler Youth paramilitaries through the hell they had turned a blind eye to. If his chest had been a cannon, he’d have shot his heart at the ones who were responsible.

“Grandpa, are you okay? You look upset...”

“Oh, I’m okay,” he lied and then changed the subject, “Did I ever tell you about one of my old friends, Otto Liebgott?”

“No, I don’t think so. Who was he?”

“Well, he was a German immigrant that I met when I was a boy. He settled in Three Forks that summer I was working on the kibbutz’s tractors. In Germany, before the Nazis had come to power, he had been a fairly prosperous banker in Munich. He arrived at Ellis Island with only the clothes on his back, a letter from his brother encouraging him to come out west.

“Needless to say, he did not feel very welcome in the UASR.” Hearing her laugh, he chuckled too. “Sad thing is, a lot of my fellow kibbutzniks didn’t treat him with much respect either. Sure, he wasn’t the friendliest, and had been a class enemy once upon a time. But he was a still a human being, and that might as well have been another life. He was as proletarian as the rest of us now.

“He got employment teaching German at the school house, since the new curricula from the republican government in Helena required all of us to learn a second language. When he wasn’t teaching us, or working on the community projects with the rest of the kibbutz, he would teach other German immigrants how to speak English.”

“Sounds like a neat guy then,” Lenina said.

“I’ll never forget when I first met him. He knew a fair bit about engines, since he used to own a car back in Germany, so he and I were sent to go recover a tractor that had broken down in one of the hayfields during the harvest season. No one else was available, so it was up to a thirteen year old kid with a spot of on-the-job training, and a former banker used to tinkering with passenger cars to go rescue the big beast.

“He wasn’t very talkative in the morning. We stripped apart the engine, looking for the problem all morning, until finally, frustrated and hungry, we decided to break for lunch. I finished before him, and like most kids I hated awkward silences. So I decided to make small talk with him. ‘So, got any family Otto?’ I asked him.

“He was quiet for a long time, and just when I was about to move onto something else, he finally answered. ‘Just one brother,’ he drawled, in between bites of his sandwhich, ‘Karl. I haven’t spoken with him in years though.”

“‘Oh, why is that?’ I asked, forgetting that this was such a touchy subject.

“‘Well, if you must know boy, it’s because of politics. We had a falling out because father disowned him for joining the Communist Party, and I refuse to take his side in the issue. Oh, he was always so impetuous. But, now, he’s probably the only reason I made it out of Germany, even though we haven’t spoken in since he left home almost a decade ago.’

“Now, naïve as I was, I just didn’t understand this. I mean, I had gotten into fights with my brother, but we always worked it out and we stayed friends. ‘Well, why don’t you just talk to him then?’ I said.

“What did he say about that?” she asked.

“He laughed actually. He said something like, ‘If only more people were as straightforward and honest as they were as boys.’ I think we clicked right about then.”

“How did he deal with living here?”

“Pretty well actually. He took to teaching pretty well, and pretty soon he was teaching the philosophy he learned from his days at university to some of the seniors in the high school. I think some good collective labor was great therapy for him, and he finally reunited with his brother too.”

Lenina smiled, “That’s a happy ending.”

1. It’s 1999 at the start of this story

2. Yeah, a nod to Brave New World. But more, it’s just that I think “Lenina” is a pretty name really, regardless of its significance.

3. This timeline will come as close as possible to being a trainwank Stuck out tongue

4. To fend off the inevitable questions, Daniel Berrigan is an ordained Trinitarian priest, and a member of the Left Democratic Party. He leads an electoral coalition with the Socialist Party and the Social Ecology Union.

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American Freecar Challenge Cup (AFCC) (by President Al Bundy)

The American Freecar Challenge Cup, was an SCUA (Sportscar Union of America) sports car racing series from 1966 to 1982.


The AFCC started out as a cooperation between the SCUA and American automotive manufacturers in 1966. They wanted a racing series with cars that have no restrictions in engine capacity, aerodynamics or technical equipment. The hopes of the manufacturers were, that the techniques used in this series might be used for their production cars, as many American manufacturers faced competition by the cheaper and technologically advanced cars from Europe (In particular Germany). Thus, the American Freecar Challenge Cup was born (The “Freecar” should indeed indicate, that the cars were free from any restrictions).

The regulations were minimal, for example the engine size was unlimited (and turbo- and superchargers were allowed). The main idea was that as long as the car had two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels and met the safety standards, it was legal. The AFCC regulations became so popular, that international manufacturers such as Toyota, Nissan or Auto Union from Germany build sportscars after those regulations.

With these factors, the AFCC became quickly popular. The prize money was decent, so a lot of teams built cars for the series to partake. The cars were spectacular, and crowd attendances were high. The “Freecar” (Common abbreviation of the official name) was also the first motorsports series to get coverage on a major television network in the UASR.

But the first clouds on the horizons arrived in the mid-1970s. An economy crises forced foreign manufacturers out of the series, and even some national teams pulled the plug. Only the spendings of American car manufacturers saved the series. The SCUA also cooperated with the FIA, and introduced Group 6 sportscars in 1976. But they had much more restrictions than the old Freecars. While the interest of motorsport enthusiasts was still high, sponsors, TV, and in the end even the manufacturers lost interest in the series. By this time, the rival AMSA (American Motorsports Association) GT Championship attracted fans and manufacturers with cheaper cars, and close racing. The manufacturers went to the AMSA series, while the AFCC became a privatiers-only championship, with an average of 12 cars at every race. After the 1982 season, the SCUA pulled the plug on the series, and thus ended the 16 year old life of the AFCC series.

Notable drivers

Because Freecar was one of the most prestigeous championships in its era, many American drivers competed in this series. But international drivers competed in this series too. Notable drivers were Chris Amon, Mario Andretti, Jack Brabham, John Cannon, Mark Donohue, Vic Elford, Masten Gregory, Dan Gurney, Jim Hall, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Jacky Ickx, Parnelli Jones, Roger McCluskey, Bruce McLaren, Paul Newman, Sam Posey, Peter Revson, Pedro Rodríguez, Jo Siffert, John Cordts, David Hobbs, Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Jochen Mass and Hans Heyer.


Still, the AFCC left a huge legacy for the automotive industry. The excessive use of turbochargers allowed American manufacturers to use this technology for their road cars. The trend went to smaller, but more powerful engines in road cars, which led to the use of these cars in rally competitions, as they were pretty fast, but still easy to drive.

The cars were pretty fast, even by today’s standards. In fact, they could race faster lap times than today’s Formula One or IndyCar cars.

The big disadvantage was the high costs which were ironically triggered by the involvement of the manufacturers. The teams could spend lots and lots of money, because the manufacturers would have paid anyway (Or bailed them out in case of emergency). After the manufacturers pulled out, many teams had to pull out of the AFCC too.


Many private teams (Or “racing collective”, as they were called in America) build cars on their own. Chapparal, McLaren, Lola and Shadow were among them. They were supported by manufacturers like Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler. Even the manufacturers’ design bureaus helped the teams with designing their AFCC race cars.

But foreign involvement was also high. The Auto Union fielded several variations of their AU 917 sports prototype that were very successful. Auto Union was also the only foreign company that provided their Group 6 936s to local teams. Toyota and Nissan also competed with their AFCC prototypes. British manufacturers like Jaguar and BRM also planned to partake in the series, but the frosty relations between Britain and the UASR forced them to abandon their plans. British drivers would nonetheless compete in the series.

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Excerpts from the discussion titled “WI: A Different Nuclear Age?”
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders So I’ve been thinking of working on a new timeline, and it struck me that one of the things most of us seem to hold constant in all of timelines, regardless of the POD, is how the nuclear age begins at the end of the Second World War.

How can we do this differently? And what kind of ramifications are we talking about if, say, the nascent Franco-British Union’s nuclear program gets off the ground first. Attlee’s government devalued funding for the project in favour of conventional arms. Could we get the bomb in time to turn Berlin into a smoking crater? If what would the UASR do then? Does Operation Damocles go through as planned on Japan?
Originally Posted by DeOppressoLiber Now this is a discussion I can really get into.

I think the reason it’s avoided is because figuring out the ramifications will be a lot of work. In many ways, the modern age began when Red Air Force bombers dropped Cortana on the city of Kokura, as a prelude to the invasion of Kyushu.

Now, I think there are several possible PODs that need to be considered for a different nuclear age. The one you mentioned is a possibility, but in my opinion its remote. Given the military situation, I don’t think that you could get the Brits to be beat the Americans in the race by by at least four months in order to make nuking Berlin a viable option. Any later and Soviet and American troops are already in the suburbs of the city, and within a few weeks, British and French troops will be in the city from the west anyway. After that, Britain doesn’t have any viable targets for the bomb. Japan is the only Axis power left, and the Franco-British Union had already had an armistice with them since late 43.

The reason why we wanted to go through with Operation Damocles on the old Empire of Japan was because both the American and Soviet leadership agreed that the complete obliteration of the Japanese state and the feudal superstructure of the society was necessary to pave the way for socialist revolution. That meant invasion and unconditional surrender. So American troops steam roll Kyushu while Soviet armored troops link up with American and Chinese troops to smash the bulk of the Japanese Army in Manchuria. And for the coup de grace, Joyeuse and Durandal get to flatten Yokohama and Kyoto.

However, if the Brit do succeed, it means the Cold War is far more serious far sooner. Americans always enjoyed a sense of military superiority to the Anglo-French througho?t the 1950s. If you beat us to the punch, I expect we’d feel a lot of the same insecurity that British and French people felt throughout that era. Part of the reason for the American-Soviet pole of the Cold War was due to how quickly the Soviets began building large arsenals of nuclear weapons right after the war. It seemed like a betrayal that after jointly developing the bomb with us, the Soviets seemed to be putting a gun to our head.

Under your scenario, ’50s paranoia gets worse. The nuclear age is the age of extremes: the brilliant optimism of futurism armed with the seeming potential of nuclear power, and the terrible fear of global nuclear annihilation. So, paradoxically, I don’t see it changing much in all. We’re still going to have the civil defense drills, the bomb shelters.
Originally Posted by RuleBritannia I think a more interesting POD is no nuclear weapons being used in WWII to begin with. Though I think it’s fitting that the only nation to use nuclear weapons for such atrocities is a socialist state.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard As much as I am loathe to admit it, Joe Fascist did point to a more interesting scenario before he began his usual tirade against socialism.

A less rampant arms race, with perhaps both powers holding their small arsenals of nuclear weapons in secret until the early 50s at least might butterfly away the whole Cold War. Who knows, Labour-Parti Socialiste might win the 51 election, which if I remember correctly, is the closest they’ve come to taking control of the Union parliament. IOTL, the hung parliament gave the Conservatives and their allies a razor-thin advantage over the left. Without an unending parade of militantly anti-internationalist governments in the Anglo-French sphere, maybe the Internationale wouldn’t be constantly hampered and rendered ineffective by one of the four veto powers.
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders I’ve tried reasoning with him, but anymore I just think it’s better to ignore him. He represents all that’s worst about Cold War conservatism, something I’m hoping we can transcend in the new century.

It’s this kind of knee-jerk attitude, devoid of either compassion or realpolitik, that lead to the Congo and Indochina Wars (though, obviously, you Yanks have your own share of the blame for the carnage that resulted) in the 50s through the 70s. A refusal to give any ground to communism, even when the native populations were clearly against any place in the empire, even with a modicum of self-rule, led to the rationalization of terrible atrocities to keep wayward colonies in the fold.
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Computer Technology in the USAR

The basic structure of the GNU/Linux community is probably the most compatible for development of computer OSes in a socialist environment.

So for those of you that aren’t familiar, that means that at least in the American/Soviet tech zones, the baseline operating system, which I’ve decided to call “Unix” (it will likely be designed in much the same way as OTL, at least at first), will be simply a collection of shared technologies developed around a single basic kernel and a collection of basic extension technologies like command line shells and basic windows systems. Different collectives will distribute their own compilations of this basic package, along with other open source technology developed by their communities, to suit various purposes.

There’s still going to be battles over licensing and closed code, but in general, it’s safe to say that the battle for open source will be won fairly decisively, and the base standard for the American/Soviet zone will be open source software built on *Unix systems.

The basic idea that I’m toying with is that the government of the UASR will directly fund the ongoing development of the *Unix kernel and other fundamental software technologies while smaller development syndicates will use a combination of public grants funding, revenue from software sales and donations to fund their operations on the vast majority of end user software, from word processors to computer games.

On the other hand, in the Anglo-French zone, both computer hardware and software is not going to be very cross-compatible with American zone tech. It will also follow much more proprietary hardware and software protocols, making reverse engineering even more difficult. So a lot of computer work being done on different sides of the Iron Curtain will be mutually unintelligible except at basic theoretical levels.

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The Trinitarian Church (by traveller76)

Trinintarianism is Christianity with its sleeves rolled up. It is not afraid to get dirty. It is not afraid to work with the sick, the poor, the illiterate. It is not afraid to go to the ends of the earth, to the jungles and deserts, to the city slums and forgotten villages. It does not discriminate against the dark skinned farm worker daughter or the lighter skinned merchant’s son. It teaches all, helps all, loves all and gives all. Why do we do it? Because we can, because we should, we live in each other’s happiness and not in each other’s misery. To hear children laugh, to see the spark of learning in someone’s eyes is worth more to me than all the gold in heaven and pearls in the sea.

Comrade Tomas Pentti, Trinitarist Service Committee (Retired), The Struggle for Liberation (1970)

The two men came into our town one day wearing dark suits and ties with white shirts, sunglasses and hats hauling suitcases. One was tall and skinny, over six foot tall and one twenty, one thirty I say. The other was about five five and about one sixty. So both of them walk into the cafe and I walk over to them to take their order. I see the tattoos on their hands, the skinny one had ELWOOD on his right hand and the fat one had JAKE on his left. I thought, oh Marx, some reactionaries escaped from prison and me being a good looking girl of eighteen would be kidnapped. Yes I read the romantic magazines to pass the time, what girl didn’t. Anyway. The fat one asks me if we serve fried chicken. I tell him we serve the best damned chicken in the province. He orders four chickens, not four pieces, four entire chickens. The skinny one just wants dry white toast. Both order sweet tea. I take their order and start moving to the phone thinking I can get the switchboard to call the State Police when I look in the mirror. I was concentrating on the hands I didn’t notice the Roman Collars. They were preists!

So I pour two glasses of tea with ice and head back to the counter and place them in front of them. “So, Comrades, what brings you here in all this heat?” The skinny one takes off his hat and sunglasses and I am looking into the greenest eyes I have even seen. “We’re on a mission from God and the People” he says in a flat Midwest voice.

That is how I met my Comrade Elwood Greyson, Trinitarian Brother, my future husband and his brother Jake, also a Brother.

Adwoa “Mama” Grayson, Diary of a Southern Town, 1988.

Timeline of the Trinitarian Church

July 2, 1928: A papal edict is issued, aimed at the growing involvement of U.S. Catholics with the socialist movement. It harshly condemns socialism and laborism, and instead encourages humility and charity as an alternative. Known members of the Workers’ Party are to be explicitly denied communion. This begins what is called the Catholic Splintering as liberal and conservative wings of American Catholicism are soon formed. The Liberal or Reform faction would continue to work with socialism and laborism, arguing that to ignore the plight of the poor and working classes and why they were in that situation lead to stagnation.

When we give bread to the poor, we are called saints. When we ask why the poor have no bread, we are called communists.
-- Brother Bartolomé Fabio, Reform Minster

The Conservatives counter with Matthew 22:15-22:

15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Basically stating that the Church and Catholics were become too involved with politics and were neglecting their missions to assist their communities. While attempts were made to mend the divide, many believed it was too little and too late.

By the time of the Second Civil War the split had become wider and wider with each year. A third faction also formed born of militant Agnostics tired of the divisions in the Church. Both Orthodox and Reformers would serve and die on both sides of the Revolution as both soldiers and civilians. With the end of the war and the success of the Revolution, many of the conservatives form the Underground Churches which received some support from the Vatican. Most of the support is smuggled in from Canada, especially Quebec. Many conservatives are smuggled out along an underground railroad and form the Catholic Church of the United States in Exile.

The Reformers would soon become the Trinitarian Church.

February 8, 1935: The American Trinitarian Church is founded by a congress of delegates from pro-separation Catholic parishes across America. Espousing a radical re-interpretation of Catholic social doctrine that would later be named liberation theology, the Trinitarians uproot much of the Catholic remaining hierarchy of the Church in America.

1935-1940 would see the creation of the Trinitarians fusing together liberal factions of Methodist, Catholic, Unitarian and Universalist groups. In 1936 the first Church Convention would be held in Philadelphia, which would see the voting and adoption of the Trinitarian Covenant, the establishment of February 8th as a Church Holiday and recognition of the blood shed by Catholics and Christians during the Second Civil War and Revolution. A yearly convention would be held and would be open to any member of the church to attend in order to adopt and revise church policies to prevent stagnation.

The Covenant was debated and passed after four days and would set the tone for the policies of the church. Catholic titles were abolished with members referring to each other as Brother or Sister or Comrade. Each church would be organized as a syndicate under a elected council. Instead of Combines based on a particular industry they would be organized along Provincial lines under a elected committee. One Manifold composed of elected representatives from the Combines would be created to organize aid and support to various Combines and Syndicates based on need and reports. Priests or as they were renamed Coordinators would be allowed to marry and have children and women would be allowed to serve. Stances against discrimination by race and sex and economic status would be included and the church would work with all it’s powers to end such relics of the past.

The beginning of the Second World War would see the expansion of the Church into all sections of the AUSR as Trinitarians moved across the country for war work or would serve in the RDF. While the RDF prohibited Chaplains as ‘reactionary throwbacks’ many units would have a Brother with a good knowledge of the Bible lead ‘discussion groups’ and provide counseling for their fellow soldiers. What started as a primarily Northeastern urban based church in 1940 would have syndicates in all Provinces and cities by 1945. Then the Spartans came in.

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A basic election primer, circa 2009

Democratic-Republican Party
Party Leader:
Kevin Carson
Secretary-General: Ronald Ernest Paul
Founded: 1938
Ideology: Social liberalism, geo-libertarianism
Political Position: Right (UASR) Center-left (International)
International Affiliation: International Democrat Union
Official Color: Blue
Youth Wing: Liberal Youth Federation
Party Newspaper: The Free Republic

Political stances
Capital Punishment:
The national DRP maintains no favored preference on capital punishment policy, by default favoring the status quo position, which reserves the death penalty for treason and espionage. Provincial sections have generally favored the abolition of the death penalty for most civil cases.
Civil Defense: The party platform calls for an end to the Civil Defense Initiative, which as part of the National Service, mandates minimal military training of all students as part of the required four year Civil Service after high school graduation.
Cultural Stance: Traditionalist, often aligned with conservative Christian groups. The party’s conservative wing often favors a return of pre-revolutionary cultural mores.
Defense: Since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the DRP has supported a unilateral conventional and nuclear disarmament program, aiming to cut the size of the conventional and nuclear military arsenals by over one-half.
Drug Policy: The party general favors stronger restrictions on controlled substances, most notably criminalization of legally restricted substances such as heroin and PCP, and the institution of a 21 year age restriction on “softer” drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and LSD.
Economy: Considerable scaling back of the central planning in the American economy, including the privatization of the automotive, aircraft, construction and steel industries.
Education: The DRP favors increased local control of education policy, and the reduction of Union involvement in educational standards, including lifting the ban on parochial and private schools.
Environment: The DRP is a defector from the current “Environmental Consensus”, considering efforts to limit climate change and ecological devastation to be ill-advised, unnecessary and harmful to the economy.
Foreign Aid: The DRP often supports the cutting of foreign aid in an effort to trim the Union budget.
Foreign Alliances: Isolationist
Health Policy: Privatization of state and provincial owned hospitals and treatment clinics.
Immigration: Generally restrictive on immigration policy, though the party has in the past voted to allow complete open borders with Mexico and the Commonwealth of Canada.
Social Welfare: The party considers the Union’s policy of supporting rural and urban communal living projects to be detrimental to the private and cooperative sectors of the housing and construction industry.
Taxation: Champions the institution of a national sales tax, to encourage savings and investment.
Trade: The DRP is regarded as the party of free trade, even with capitalist nations.

Left Democratic Party
Party Leader:
Raúl Juliá
Secretary-General: Brian Moore
Founded: 1933
Ideology: Christian socialism
Political Position: Center-left (UASR) Far Left (International)
International Affiliation: Socialist International
Official Color: White
Youth Wing: Student Left Democrats
Party Newspaper: Commonweal

Political stances
Capital Punishment:
Almost universally opposed.
Civil Defense: Left Democrats consider the Civil Defense Initiative to be a relic of yesteryear, unnecessarily militaristic for modern society.
Cultural Stance: Since the 80s, the Left Democrats have wholeheartedly embraced Trinitarian Christianity, moving considerably to the left on cultural issues. The party has repudiated its past support for racial segregation, as well as its past opposition to feminism and gay rights.
Defense: The Left Democrats, since the 80s realignment, have taken a nearly pacifist stance on national defense, advocating a phased, multi-lateral nuclear disarmament agreement with both the Soviets and the Anglo-French.
Drug Policy: Maintain status quo policy.
Economy: Support a mix of participatory and central planning, though some support is given for market reforms in luxury goods.
Education: The LDP supports government initiatives to encourage more young people to take advantage of education opportunities provided by the state.
Environment: While it is a lower-tier issue in the LDP, ecological justice is considered to be an important part of the core value of social justice.
Foreign Aid: The LDP is opposed to the cynical use of foreign aid to benefit the state’s foreign policy objectives. They consider compassion to be the sole legitimate deteriminant in allocating foreign aid.
Foreign Alliances: While supportive of containment of the Franco-British Union, the LDP is categorically opposed to aggressive foreign policy and other destabilizing actions.
Health Policy: A mixture of tighter regulations and programs to encourage healthy lifestyles at work and at home.
Immigration: Generally favoring more open immigration.
Social Welfare: The LDP often styles itself as the party of social justice, and it has committed much of its efforts to turning the vast resources of the American polity to put an end to poverty at home and abroad.
Taxation: The LDP favors taxing socially destructive activities as part of its overall theme of social justice.
Trade: LDP trade policy generally favors autarky in essential industries such as agriculture, mining, steel and energy, but free trade in less essential, more luxury oriented markets.

Progressive Labor Party
Party Leader:
Joshua Muravchik
Secretary-General: Bob Avakian
Founded: 1946
Ideology: Marxism-Sinclairism, Neo-conservativsm
Political Position: Center-right (UASR) Far Left (International)
International Affiliation: Communist International
Official Color: Orange
Youth Wing: Youth Progressive Labor League
Party Newspaper: Unite!

Political stances
Capital Punishment:
The national PLP has continued to support the use of the death penalty in cases of infamous counterrevolutionary crimes. Historically, the party also opposed efforts in the Union and provincial governments to abolish the death penalty for civil crimes.
Civil Defense: The PLP continues to defend the tradition of American civil defense(1), and seeks to promote readiness among the citizenry.
Cultural Stance: The party champions the values of solidarity, militancy, equality and sacrifice that were at the forefront of the First Cultural Revolution. While the PLP has always crusaded against racial, political and sexual inequality, they often find the causes championed by the Left to be “decadent” or “hedonistic”.
Defense: The PLP often styles itself as the party of national defense, and platform explicitly supports sustaining the strength of the military even after the end of perceived threat from the Soviet Union. The party also advocates military intervention to support the interests of the American state and of socialist internationalism more broadly.
Drug Policy: Progressive Labor is generally the party of the status quo on drug policy. Key issues include maintaining the 18 year age limit on the buying and use of drugs such as cannabis and LSD, and the prohibition on the sale of narcotics without valid medical license.
Economy: The PLP champions a more state directed, centrally planned economy. The party is equally suspicious of the participatory planning favored by the Left and the advocacy of markets and privatization on the Right.
Education: The PLP has no national policy on education, preferring to leave the issue to provincial party sections.
Environment: While the PLP has made its own efforts to fight climate change and environmental degradation, it is very much a back-burner issue in the party.
Foreign Aid: The party advocates the use of foreign aid to build strong alliances to serve the interests of the American state.
Foreign Alliances: With the end of tensions with the Soviet Union, the PLP has advocated building alliances with nations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to contain the Franco-British Union.
Health Policy: Proposed reforms include increased support for state directed medical research and tighter regulation of individual practice physicians.
Immigration: Generally restrictive, favoring tighter border security.
Social Welfare: The party proposes expanding state-sponsored child care programs and increasing food subsidies to urban workers and rural kibbutzniks.
Taxation: The PLP is most often the party of balanced budgets.
Trade: The PLP strongly supports autarkic economic policy.

Social Ecology Union
Party Leader:
Alix Olson
Secretary-General: Murray Bookchin
Founded: 1978
Ideology: Social ecology, communalism
Political Position: Far Left (UASR) Ultra Left (International)
International Affiliation: Green International
Official Color: Green
Youth Wing: Students for a Green Society
Party Newspaper: Telos

Political stances
Capital Punishment:
The SEU is categorically opposed to the use of capital punishment.
Civil Defense: The SEU has supported current Civil Defense policies, though it is very much a back burner issue.
Cultural Stance: The SEU has worked to integrate ecological awareness to all facets of proletarian culture. While other members of the Green International might shrink away from the accusation of being watermelons (Green on the outside, Red on the inside), Social Ecologists find this to be the highest compliment.
Defense: The SEU has sought détente with the Franco-British Union, preferring to let the internal contradictions of its capitalist economy bring an end to the foreign threat.
Drug Policy: Total decriminalization, combined with awareness programs and programs to combat addiction.
Economy: Strongly in favor of participatory planning, though central planning to maintain ecological standards is often supported.
Education: The party advocates increased local control of educational policy, in keeping with the party’s strong support for participatory democracy.
Environment: The SEU advocates a total integration of the economy with the biosphere. As part of the philosophy of dialectical naturalism, it is humanity’s responsibility as nature made self-aware to promote biological stability and diversity in the biosphere.
Foreign Aid: The SEU advocates using foreign aid to promote ecologically sound economic policy in developing socialist nations.
Foreign Alliances: The SEU is philosophically internationalist to the core, and has often echoed the Socialists’ support for genuine proletarian internationalism.
Health Policy: The SEU supports public policy initiatives to promote healthier eating, as well as promoting exercise for both students and workers.
Immigration: Permissive
Social Welfare: The SEU has advocating using social welfare policy to promote ecological sustainability, such as massive renovation programs in public housing projects to reduce their ecological footprint.
Taxation: The SEU has supported the institution of a carbon tax to promote sustainable economic policy.
Trade: The SEU considers some forms of foreign trade to be ecologically unsustainable, and have supported the use of mileage taxes on many goods to support ecological localism.

Socialist Party
Party Leader:
Lisa Edelstein
Secretary-General: David McReynolds
Founded: 1946
Ideology: International socialism, council communism
Political Position: Left (UASR) Ultra Left (International)
International Affiliation: Communist International
Official Color: Red
Youth Wing: Youth Vanguard
Party Newspaper: Appeal to Reason

Political stances
Capital Punishment:
The Socialists seek to maintain the use of the death penalty only in cases of treason, and in grievous international crimes such as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Civil Defense: The Socialists continue to champion the Civil Defense Initiative and its role in American society.
Cultural Stance: Like the PLP, the Socialist Party continues to promote the First Cultural Revolution and the traditions that it began. However, the Socialist platform insists that the job is not yet finished, and that the full development of each citizen requires further revolution in culture.
Defense: The Socialist defense policy is based around meeting extant threat of the Anglo-French Union, seeking to force their capitulation.
Drug Policy: The Socialists have lead many efforts to regulate and decriminalize drugs, while at the same time publicly supporting measures to combat addiction among the population.
Economy: The Socialists ideologically favor participatory planning systems, but most often have supported a mixture of central and participatory planning.
Education: The party advocates increased local control of educational policy, in keeping with the party’s strong support for participatory democracy.
Environment: The Socialists support attempts to contain climate change, and have in recent years worked to develop public policy to repair the ecological devastation caused by past industrial policy.
Foreign Aid: The Socialist Party is often seen as the party of foreign aid. The party uses foreign aid policy as a weapon against the Franco-British Union.
Foreign Alliances: The Socialists are both pragmatically and ideologically internationalist, and from the support for the Internationale and its humanitarian causes to the building of strong alliances among socialist nations, the Socialists have been the among the biggest proponents of genuine socialist internationalism.
Health Policy: The Socialists have continued to support public policy initiatives to promote healthier eating, as well as promoting exercise for both students and workers.
Immigration: The Socialists have favored highly permissive immigration policy, including offering asylum to anyone from war torn or oppressive regimes.
Social Welfare: The Socialist Party is the architect of the modern American social welfare system, from the near universal public ownership of housing, to the state system of maternity and paternity leave and other child support subsidies.
Taxation: The Socialists have remained categorically opposed to the institution of individual income taxes or general sales taxes, favoring union and provincial revenue to be derived from rents to publicly owned enterprises.
Trade: The Socialists have championed the development of free-trade blocs among socialist nations.

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Excerpts from the thread “What Irks me about WWII Fiction”
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders Okay, this has been bothering me for a while, and really, it’s a whole lot broader than just alternate history, it’s something that comes up in all fiction and documentaries on the subject to some extent or the other.

First of all, the Second World War was not a one man show. We didn’t show up after 41 and suddenly bring the Jerries to their knees. The Second World War was a collective effort involving every nation that had the decency to not be jackbooted Nazi thugs. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but the Empire didn’t just sweep in and save the world single-handedly.

If anyone gets the credit for fighting the Nazi hordes, it’s the Americans and the Soviets. They’re the ones who bled the ground red trying to contain the Nazis. 80% of the war’s casualties occurred on the Eastern Front. But what history of the war do we learn in schools, and see in movies?

Apparently, the war begins with the fall of Metropolitan France. The Battles of Vilnius, Minsk and Kiev are seldom if ever mentioned. Neither are the Sieges of Leningrad or Sevestapol. Or the Fall of Stalingrad, or the epic Soviet-American last stands at Moscow and Baku.

We don’t hear of American involvement in the liberation of Palestine and North Africa. Apparently we Brits and Frenchmen did that on our own, in spite of International command being placed to an American general for the entire campaign.

Which brings me to my next point, which is more specific to Uchronia: The number of “take thats” against the Soviets or the Americans is ridiculous. And it’s pretty simple: if you want to stop the spread of international revolution, the Nazis are probably your weapon of choice.

But I’m sorry, I don’t care how bad you think the Soviets or Americans are, or how bad of an idea you think international socialist revolution is: they are the lesser evils. It’s like in Mobile Suit Gundam: if you’re not an insane Zeon fanboy, you root for the Federation. It’s not because the Federation are particularly nice. They’re hardcore internationalist socialists, just like the Americans and Soviets in the Second World War. But Zeon is far worse, and that’s all that really matters.
Originally Posted by flibbertygibbet I’m glad someone else is as pissed off about Zeon fanboys as I am...

But in all seriousness, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s shameful what a half-century of Cold War and reactionary opportunism has done to our own sense of history. Entire chapters of history practically erased from public consciousness... it’s disgraceful really.

Don’t find myself agreeing with you very often. Keep up the critical thinking, we’ll make a good socialist out of you yet.
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders Oh not even close, flibbertygibbet Stuck out tongue Granted, I’d give you my means of reproduction any day, but I’m sorry, but the means of production are staying right where they are.

Also, I didn’t know you were a Gundam fan. Admittedly, it’s my favorite World War II allegory in Sci-Fi. Though, you did say you were a fan of the fourth season of the original Star Trek, and that’s when Heinlein debuted the mobile infantry. It’s fascinating really, how differently Americans do TV and movies. Everything is designed by committee. I’m sure Roddenberry, Mack Reynolds and Heinlein must have butted heads a lot making that show.
Originally Posted by LeninsBeard And it looks like AdmiralSanders got distracted and sent off on a tangent. Again. Seriously, is there a subject you aren’t knowledgeable enough to comment on?

Anyway, I suppose it happens for us as well, though from what I can tell it doesn’t seem to be as bad. Our history here really plays of the whole “International struggle against fascism” angle, even if it means sharing the limelight with countries who are now the official enemy.
Originally Posted by AdmiralSanders Hey, it’s not my fault that Norma Jean Baker plays a ridiculously awesome and sexy starship captain! :mad:
Originally Posted by DeOpressoLiber And AdmiralSanders finally admits he is a human being...

Actually, enough with the teasing. You seem to have loosened up quite a bit recently. Anything new going on for the sudden change?
Originally Posted by TacticalNuclearPenguin He said in another thread that he just started taking anti-depressants. Apparently it’s making a quite the difference for him.

On the subject of Captain Kirk’s breasts, it looks like we’re in agreement. And on the subject of history, well, it’s not like any reasonable person can disagree. And yet the cynical abuse of history continues.
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Excerpts from Weapons of the Second World War, (Chicago: Pathfinder Educational, 1987).

T-3 “John Henry” tank

Type: Medium tank
Place of Origin: Union of American Socialist Republics
Used by: UASR, Soviet Union, Republic of China, Palestinian Republic, Mexico
In service: 1938 to 1949
Wars: Spanish Civil War, Second World War, Palestinian War of Independence, First Palestinian War

Designer: Ford Design Bureau
Designed: 1934-37
Produced: 1937-44
Number built: 9,776
Variants: A-3 self-propelled artillery, I-3 infantry carrier

Specifications (Mk I production tank, 1938)
Mass: 26.2 tonnes
Length: 6.65 meters
Width: 2.90 meters
Height: 2.55 meters
Crew: 4
Armor: Hull upper front 45 mm/60°, hull side 40 mm/40°, rear 30 mm, top 20 mm, bottom 10 mm; turret front 60 mm, sides up to 55 mm/30°, rear 40 mm, top 16 mm
Primary Armament: 50 mm/40 caliber AT-36 high velocity gun
Secondary Armament: 2 x M1919 7.62 x 64 mm machine gun
Engine: 12 cylinder Chrysler DB diesel engine, 370 kW
Power to mass: 14.1 kW/tonne
Suspension: Christie
Operational Range: 450 km
Speed: 52 km/hr

All American tanks are, in essence, descended from the Soviet BT-2 fast tank. Produced as the T-2 “Pecos Bill” in the mid 30s in America, the design heritage of BT series would heavily influence the design and doctrine preferences of the American military, for good and ill. American military leadership rejected the traditional emphasis on the role of tanks for infantry support. Anticipating the high probability of conflict on the steppes of the Soviet Union, armor leaders such as Chaffee and Patton would emphasize mobility and firepower at the expense of armor protection.

The first product of the new armor doctrine would be known as the T-3 “John Henry.” The T-3 would be the workhorse of the American tank corps in the first half of the Second World War. The first design requirements, finalized in late 1934, were submitted to the Ford and Chevrolet Design Bureaus. While the initial plans only called for a single, all-purpose mid-weight tank, the design requirements were later amended to include separate designs for light, medium, and heavy tanks.

Chevrolet dropped out of the medium tank competition, to focus its resources on the heavy tank designs. Engineers at the Ford Design Bureau nevertheless cooperated with their counterparts at Chevrolet, sharing resources even though both collectives continued to compete over the light tank design. This cooperation, encouraged by Stavka, resulted in the various final designs sharing a considerable number of components between them in the powerplant, drivetrain and suspension. These standardized components would greatly reduce production costs and ensure field maintenance was easy.

The first prototypes of the T-3 began trials in August of 1936. The designs, while revolutionary at the time, would prove to age badly during the war, resulting in its gradual phase out. Nevertheless, the sleek lines and sloped armor of the John Henry heralded a revolution in tank design that would be repeated elsewhere to great effect. The early prototypes, armed with the same 37 mm gun as the T-2, were upgraded with the new AT-36 50 mm high velocity gun following the finalization of the design in May of 1937.

The new AT-36 would greatly increase the firepower of the John Henry tanks, but unfortunately would only further complicate the issue of the T-3’s undersized turret. The cramped, small turret had a small silhouette, but unfortunately would limit the turret crew to 2 individuals: the loader and the commander-gunner. This would seriously hinder the tank’s effectiveness against its German opponents, in spite of the its slight technical edge over the Panzer III. With the introduction of Panzer IV tanks armed with high velocity 75 mm guns and heavier armor in late 1941, it became clear that the T-3’s days were numbered. However, American tank crews continued to use the T-3’s superb reliability and mobility to thwart their German adversaries best efforts, and continued to trade tanks at a rate of 2 German tanks to every 3 American tanks lost. When units of similar experience met, the ratio most often reached 1:1 parity.

Both American and Soviet tank designers learned from the weaknesses of the T-3, and when the Soviet T-34 came into service in 1941, its three man turret and high velocity 76 mm gun greatly improved the effectiveness of the Internationale’s tank forces.

The proven, reliable T-3 chassis would serve in a variety other capacities throughout the war and beyond, including self-propelled artillery and armored personnel carriers.

T-4 “Paul Bunyan” tank

Type: Heavy tank
Place of Origin: Union of American Socialist Republics
Used by: UASR, Soviet Union, Franco-British Union, Palestinian Republic, Indian Federation
In service: 1939 to 1951
Wars: Spanish Civil War, Second World War, Palestinian War of Independence, First Palestinian War, The Indian Wars

Designer: Chevrolet Design Bureau
Designed: 1936-38
Produced: 1939-47
Number built: 11,413
Variants: D-4 tank destroyer, A-4 self-propelled artillery

Specifications (Mk I production tank, 1939)
Mass: 46.1 tonnes
Length: 6.95 meters
Width: 3.20 meters
Height: 2.84 meters
Crew: 5
Armor: Hull upper front 75 mm/60°, hull side 55 mm/40°, rear 60 mm, top 40 mm, bottom 40 mm; Turret front 75 mm, sides up to 70 mm/30°, rear 70 mm, top 40 mm
Primary Armament: 76.2 mm/45 caliber AT-38 high velocity gun
Secondary Armament: 1 x M2 12.7 x 99 mm machine gun (coaxial), 2 x M1919 7.62 x 64 mm machine gun
Engine: 12 cylinder Chrysler DB diesel engine, 450 kW
Power to mass: 9.8 kW/tonne
Suspension: Christie
Operational Range: 340 km
Speed: 33 km/hr

The T-4 “Paul Bunyan” heavy tank was developed to fulfill a broad array of roles that T-3 medium tanks could not fulfill. While the John Henry was mobile, and in its time very well armed and protected, it was only well suited to killing other tanks. The T-3’s 50 mm high velocity gun could not effectively deliver high explosive shells, and her complement of machine guns was lacking as well. In practice, this would make the John Henry’s substandard for both infantry support and attacking enemy fortifications.

Initial specifications for the T-4 simply involved swapping the high velocity gun out for a short, low velocity 75 mm howitzer. This plan was abandoned quickly, since the new model would share the same design limitations of the T-3. Furthermore, such a tank would be helpless against other tanks. Proponents of heavy tanks within Stavka made their push to very quickly to radically alter the design requirements for the T-4. The new plan was soon approved, and the Chevrolet Design Bureau started from the ground up building an all new tank model that would nonetheless share an important number of components with the T-3.

The Chevrolet Design Bureau team addressed many of the key flaws of the T-3 design while building a new platform capable of serving a heavy tank role. In particular, the designers avoided aping the trends in heavy tank design that were the norm in British and French tank design. The T-4 would essentially be a medium (or in British terminology, cruiser) tank in design philosophy, owing to its lineage from the Soviet BT-2. In spite of the major increases in armor and armament, the Paul Bunyan would still have exceptional mobility, especially for a tank its size.

The new turret gave sufficient room to mount a long 76.2mm high velocity gun, and the three man turret crew necessary for effective massed tank coordination. The larger gun had excellent multipurpose applications, and most importantly, was capable of penetrating the frontal armor of any tank in existence in 1939 at ranges greater than 1000 meters.

The T-4 would at first be deployed to special heavy tank battalions in American armored divisions. However, as the war raged on, and it became clear that the T-3 was becoming increasingly outclassed, the Paul Bunyan series were pushed into a stopgap role, along with the Big Bill Haywood tank destroyers. Eventually, many of the T-4s would be upgraded with the AT-40 84 mm, 60 caliber gun. Along with upgrades in armor and optics, the new gun would extend the service life of the Paul Bunyan to beyond the end of the Second World War.

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Notable Events of 1936

January 1: Today’s scheduled execution of counterrevolutionary John Birch is halted an injunction from the All-Union Constitutional Court. A court date is scheduled in front of the Constitutional Court’s 3rd Cadre for early in March. The issue before the court is the legality under the current Basic Law of executing a minor.

January 5: Attorney-General Crystal Eastman, in a public statement in Washington-Debs, announces the completion of the “Loyalty Purges” within the party. The purges will continue in the military and civil service.

January 8: At the emergency National Convention of the Right Democratic Party, the party virtually disintegrates. Many local sections balk at the Secretary-General John Nance Garner’s attempt to accommodate the changing political winds, vowing to go underground in resisting the socialist government.

January 11: A report by the Labor Secretariat is released, detailing industrial safety in the UASR. The report concludes that in spite of some efforts by the unions in fighting against industrial accidents, work is almost as hazardous as it was before the Revolution.

January 20: King George V of the United Kingdom passes away. His eldest son succeeds the throne as Edward VIII.

January 28: The Constitutional Court delivers its verdict on Birch v. Eastman. While John Birch’s conviction is lawfully upheld, the Constitutional Court issues its opinion that the execution of a minor is unconstitutional under the provisions of the Declaration of Human Rights. While some in the Foster Government wish to challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court, Foster himself gives his assent, and before the ruling takes effect, voluntarily orders the commutation of John Birch’s sentence to life imprisonment.

February 6: The IV Olympic Winter Games open in Germany.

February 10: The Loyalty Purges continue within the military, with the arrest of a major spy ring within the Army. Public Safety agent Elliot Nash, the mastermind behind the dragnet, becomes a national celebrity.

February 16: Following legislative elections in the Spanish Second Republic, the Popular Front achieves a stunning victory over the rightist National Front.1

February 17: The masked hero “The Phantom” makes his debut in American newspapers.

February 20: British economist John Maynard Keynes’ magnum opus, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, is first published in the UK.

February 28: In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, the German Reich reoccupies the Rhineland. In Japan, improving relations between the UASR and the Empire of Japan result in pro-democratic militarist Keisuke Okada taking the office of prime minister.

March 6: Elections in the Republic of Turkey. Rightists opposed to Mustapha Kemal’s government’s close relations with the UASR (and by extension the Soviet Union) make an impact in the transition to multi-party democracy in the Republic.2

March 10: Monetary reforms in the UASR: the transition to fiat money is completed, with the Finance Secretariat retiring the last of the gold-backed treasury notes. Steps to nationalize remaining private holdings of gold bullion begin.

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day flooding in the Pittsburgh Commune causes significant damage and homelessness in the city. Relief efforts begin immediately to resume full industrial production.

March 24: University of Chicago economist Oskar Lange publishes the first volume of his treatise On the Economic Theory of Socialism. Lange’s synthesis of neo-classical economic price theory with Marxist political economy creates considerable stir in intellectual circles.

April 1: The Missouri River Industrial Collective project begins with the construction of a 75-meter-tall dam in Canyon Ferry, Montana.

April 5: A tornado hits Tupelo, Mississippi. One of the worst tornado disasters in history, the tornado kills almost two hundred and injures close to one thousand.

April 7: Marshal of the Soviet Union Mikhail Tukhachevsky begins a tour of American industrial and military institutions, as part of Soviet-American cooperation. His tour begins today with a meeting with Vice Admiral Chester Nimitz, and an inspection of the fleet carrier RDF Vladimir Lenin (CV-2) undergoing final commissioning at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

April 12: The “Special Evacuation Plan” goes into effect in the German Reich. A group of 800 German Jews are deported to the UASR. By the termination of the program in 1939, close to two hundred thousand Germans would make the journey to America.

April 15: Arab revolts against Jewish immigration begin in Palestine. The sporadic revolts greatly increase already high tensions between Arabs and Jews in Palestine.

April 16: The French legislative elections begin: Leon Blum’s Popular Front hopes to hold onto control of the government and defeat the increasingly fascist-sympathizing rightist coalition.

April 21: The Civil Rights Act of 1936 passes without opposition in the CPD. The amended act removes many of the provisions that would have forced integration in Southern provinces. However, the act is notable, in that it does assert the primacy of the all-Union government in electoral law. Discrimination by race in federal elections is strictly forbidden. The act also legalizes abortion throughout the country, and mandates equal pay for equal work standards. The act would be spotty in its enforcement, but would eventually become the prime weapon in the Civil Rights Era from 1947 to 1959, as part of the Second Cultural Revolution.

April 24: Marshal Tukhachevsky meets with General Chaffee at the RDF Armor Corps headquarters, in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The two flag officers discuss armor doctrine, and examine the T-3 “John Henry” prototypes being tested there.

April 27: A major Sons of Liberty cell is broken up by Public Safety in Nashville, Tennessee.

May 1: May Day celebrations across the UASR herald a day of fanfare, feasting and fireworks. However, in some quarters of society, typically among formerly middle class neighborhoods and rural conservatives, moral panic develops over alleged “free love orgies” among the urban youth and workers. Though likely entirely fictional, or at the very most a few very rare incidents, the growth of this urban legend would eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy in the 1950s.

May 2: Sergei Pokofiev’s Russian fairy tale, Peter and the Wolf, debuts at the Nezlobin Theater in Moscow.

May 3: French legislative elections conclude. The Popular Front coalition strengthens its lead in the French National Assembly, and Leon Blum is re-elected President of the Council. Most notably, both the SFIC and SFIO gain seats at the expense of the Radical Socialists.3

May 7: Fascist Italy annexes Ethiopia as part of Italian East Africa.

May 9: The American Left Democratic Party begins its national convention in New Orleans. The eventual adoption of the “New Orleans Programme” marks the final transition of the Left Democrats from a loose left-populist coalition to a coherent party of Christian Socialism.

May 12: A gold panic starts at the London Stock Exchange, following the publishing of a news story in the Daily Mail which claimed that the American government’s nationalization of gold reserves would be a prelude to an “economic attack” upon the Empire, with the American government flooding world gold markets to initiate a collapse of the pound sterling and other gold-backed currencies. In spite of the lack of evidence of any conspiracy by the American government to liquidate its gold reserves, the panic causes considerable short term havoc in world financial markets, briefly threatening a “double-dip” depression in the UK.

May 16: Trade negotiations between the UASR and the Soviet Union nearly break down over an off-the-cuff remark by an American delegate about Stalin’s heavy-handed leadership. A considerable argument breaks out, with the Soviet delegates accusing the Americans of being upstart infantile leftists, and the Americans accusing the Soviets of being the running dogs of a tyrant. Reed’s arrival to contain the situation only makes things worse, as the Trotsky issue is brought into the public view for the first time. The trade talks finally resume a few days later, after one of the American commissars resigns his post over the incident.

May 21: A rail electrification project begins in the heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor. The project hopes to increase passenger travel times and improve the efficiency of trains. As part of the project, continuous welded rail technology is tested on a number of new tracks being built in the corridor.

May 27: On the final day of the LDP’s New Orleans convention, New York people’s deputy Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated as the LDP’s presidential candidate.

June 1: A major heat wave strikes North America starting this week. Temperature records are set that will stand for decades, and in total, over a thousand die from heat-related injuries by the time the heat wave ends.

June 7: General strike ends in France, as the French Popular Front government negotiates the Matignon Agreements between the CGT and the industrial cartels. Often called “the Magna Carta of French Labor”, the Mantignon Agreements ensure the legal right to strike and the removal of all obstacles to union organization. Further government acts in the coming months lead to the establishment of collective bargaining and a standard 40-hour work week.

June 12: The American Union Bank cancels its planned program to begin a slow sell-off of American gold bullion to finance government spending, as the collapsed price of gold has made the program nearly useless.

June 15: A controversial amendment to the Sedition Act (ratified under the provisional government) is passed by the Congress of People’s Deputies on a strict party-line vote. The amended act now prohibits the open display of “reactionary symbols” for the purpose of “inciting rebellion, communal mistrust or other anti-social behavior”. Among the symbols that have been largely banned by the act are most historical Confederate flags (including the “Stars and Bars” and the ‘x’ shaped Confederate Army battle flag), swastikas, fasces, paraphernalia related to reactionary paramilitaries like the KKK or the Sons of Liberty, and the United States flag flown upside down (to symbolize the Union in distress).

June 19: The Workers’ Communist Party national convention begins in Toledo, Ohio. On the opening day, the delegates near-unanimously support a second presidential term for current party Secretary-General Upton Sinclair.

June 23: With a crippled party organization, the remaining “Loyal Oppositionist” Right Democrats vote to support a combined electoral ticket with the Republican Party for the presidential election.

June 26: The groundbreaking color film, A Farewell to Arms, is released in the UASR. Based off the Hemingway novel, the film (starring the previously little-known Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in its leading roles) is notable for refusing to pull any punches on its major themes, whether it was the anti-imperialist plot or the strongly sexual romance between the two leads.

July 1: The U.S. government in exile undergoes a major shake up following declining sugar harvests and a rash of riots in Havana. Several political heavyweights from the junta are purged from the government by MacArthur. Among their replacements is the new Secretary of the Interior Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.

July 6: The Army of Africa launches a coup d’état against the Second Spanish Republic, marking the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. Though forewarned by the CNT, due to its excellent intelligence network, the Republican government is effectively caught unprepared, having ignored the CNT’s warnings. The anarcho-syndicalist CNT begins a proletarian revolution in its strongholds of Valencia, Catalonia and Aragon, defeating Falangist uprisings.

July 10: The aircraft carrier RDF Vladimir Lenin (CV-2) is commissioned today. Her sister ships Karl Marx and Eugene Debs are due to be commissioned in one-month intervals.

July 15: Premier Foster calls an emergency session of the Congress of People’s Deputies, cutting the summer holiday short. At that night’s closed Central Committee meeting, the government discusses policy in regard to the Spanish Civil War. Meanwhile, the Soviet ambassador urges caution, not wishing to allow the situation to degenerate into a world-wide anti-communist crusade.

July 17: Premier Foster issues one of the more famous speeches of his tenure as Premier before the Congress today. In a shocking leadership choice, Foster throws the government’s support to the left-communist and Trotskyist factions of the Worker’s Communist Party, a stark change from his previous adherence to the Moscow line. If only for a moment, it looks like Trotsky’s world revolution has finally arrived.

July 18: A CNT militia, under the leadership of Buenaventura Durruti, successfully relieve the siege of Zaragoza, while the Madrid government remains paralyzed by the coup. Over a third of Spain is under Nationalist control.

July 21: Often mournfully hailed by post-war Anglo-French intellectuals as “The Day Democracy Died”, today the British government successfully pressures the French government to adopt a position of non-intervention. The League of Nations begins negotiating the creation of a “Non-Intervention Committee” to prevent personnel and material from entering the conflict. In practice, this is a clear abandonment of Spain to fascism.

July 25: Fascist Italy begins military aid to the Nationalists, including the provision of aircraft and Italian pilots to support General Sanjuro’s coup, in flagrant violation of the non-intervention agreement.

July 29: Premier Foster’s planned state visit to the Soviet Union should have been a cause for celebration. Instead, on this hot summer day, as Foster enters Leningrad for the first time, it’s an ominous occasion. A preliminary meeting between Foster, Reed and Soviet Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov ends in shouting, as the two socialist leaders come to cross-purposes over Spain, and not even Reed’s celebrity as a participant in the October Revolution will help here.

August 1: The 1936 Summer Olympics open in Berlin, Germany, with the world’s first live television broadcast of a sporting event. In spite of mutual non-recognition, American and Soviet athletes participate, perhaps the only ray of light in the otherwise gloomy state of international cooperation.

August 3: Foster and Stalin meet at the Kremlin, in Moscow. While the Soviet leader appears sympathetic to American concerns, it becomes abundantly clear he will not risk the fragile safety of the Soviet Union to save his Spanish comrades. On the first day, the American and Soviet delegations are at a total impasse over all major points of contention, including whether to abide by the Non-Intervention Agreement and the eventual blockade, whether to support CNT as well as the Republican government, and whether to furnish just aid or to supply troops and training support as well.

August 4: France closes its border with Spain. Meanwhile, Republican counterattacks against Nationalist gains falter, and Mérida falls.

August 6: American-Soviet talks end in Moscow, without any united front to be agreed upon. It is clear that both parties will approach the issue in their own way. American-Soviet relations are at a new low.

August 10: The city of Granada falls to the nationalists. Thousands of Republican soldiers, trade unionists and leftist politicians are massacred by Nationalist forces in the coming days.

August 11: In spite of sending troops and aid to the Nationalists, Italy and Germany both officially join the Non-Intervention agreement, allowing them to participate in the international blockade of Spain. Because aid can still reach the Nationalists from Integralist Portugal, the League of Nation’s non-intervention policy is a de facto support to the Nationalists against the democratically elected Spanish Republic.

August 12: While Foster and Reed’s hope for full military support for the Republic died at Stalin’s hands, neither are content to abandon yet another nation to fascism. At Goldman and Eastman’s insistence, Foster announces that the government will under no circumstances abide by the Non-Intervention Agreement, and will furnish aid to both the Republic and the anarcho-syndicalist CNT.

August 16: The Basque city of Irún falls to the Nationalists. A small CNT militia, poorly armed, starving and ill-supplied, defend the city’s heart to the last man, delaying the final fall of the city for almost three days. In spite of their sacrifice, Basque country is now entirely cut off from the rest of the Republic.

August 17: With the closing of the Olympiad, the UASR gives the Nazis a surprise upset, beating Germany in the number of Gold medals as well as total medal count. American athletes such as African sprinter Jesse Owens and Jewish relay runners Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman make it very clear that their victories are political victories, defiantly sporting the raised fist salute at the medal ceremonies.

August 20: With the eyes of the world upon them, the American Congress of People’s Deputies passes the “Aid to the Spanish Republic Act” without opposition, appropriating humanitarian and military aid, as well as authorizing the lend-lease of arms to the Spanish Republic. One of the act’s chief authors, Franklin Roosevelt, compared the lend of arms to the lending of a garden hose to a neighbor whose house is on fire.

August 21: The first of the Moscow Trials begins in the Soviet Union, marking the beginning of the Great Purge, and Stalin’s paranoid consolidation of power in the USSR.

August 26: The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 is signed, granting Egypt some nominal self-rule.

August 30: The Comintern authorizes the creation of the International Brigades. To avoid diplomatic repercussions, both Foster and Reed agree that the use of a volunteer international force would be more effective than direct military deployment to Spain. Without the Soviets on board, a direct confrontation is out of the question. Stalin will not risk the proxy war developing into a full-scale war.

September 4: The Basque provisional government surrenders San Sebastián to the Nationalists, rather than risk its destruction. Meanwhile, the American Central Committee authorizes the lend-lease of arms and munitions to the anarcho-syndicalist militias of the CNT. Spanish Communists condemn this act as damaging to the anti-fascist struggle.

September 6: Pope Pius XI condemns the Republican Government of Spain for their “satanic hate against God,” following a string of reprisal raids against pro-fascist priests in Barcelona.

September 8: British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden delivers a harsh condemnation of American interventionist policy to the American embassy in London. Neville Chamberlain’s National Government begins discussing possible diplomatic rebukes to the UASR.

September 10: The Public Broadcasting Service is founded in the UASR. Five nationally syndicated radio channels are set to begin broadcast by the end of the year.

September 15: The city of Toledo falls to the Nationalists. With the fall of the city comes a new wave of atrocities, as doctors and nurses in the hospital are summarily executed, along with the wounded militamen in their care.

September 17: The Durruti Column, supported by Republican military units, attack the Nationalist held city of Pamplona. In reprisal for the widely spread atrocities by Nationalist army units, the militias massacre cadres of captured Nationalist officers and supportive priests.

September 20: The Nationalists begin the advance on the capital of the Spanish Republic, Madrid. Meanwhile, the coup leader, General Sanjuro, is declared Generalissimo by the Falangist juntas.

September 24: With the first shipments of American arms and munitions, including much needed artillery (and American volunteers to man them and train the militias), the CNT militias begin counter-attacks. Meanwhile, the General Government in Catalonia capitulates to CNT worker council federation, releasing arms to the people. By month’s end, most of the functions of the Catalonian government are subsumed to the CNT and their POUM allies.

September 27: The Non-Intervention Committee refuses to hear charges against Portugal for its open support of the insurgents and defiance of the blockade. However, charges are heard against the UASR for its open defiance of the League directives.

October 1: The Rome-Berlin Axis is formed today.

October 3: The XI International Brigade, raised by American and Canadian volunteers, sets sail for Spain. Informally named the Eugene Debs Brigade, the unit is a cover for American RDF units to fight in the Spanish Civil War.

October 6: The German-Italian XII International Brigade is formed at Albacete.

October 7: The Soviet government declares that it will be no more bound by the Non-Intervention committee than Portugal, Italy or Germany. The Spanish Republic will now be able to buy arms and munition from the Soviet Union.

October 10: The Siege of Madrid begins. Nationalist tanks crush the Republican Army’s outer defense lines. The Nationalist advance is fought off tooth and nail with “Sanjuro cocktails” and other improvised explosives.

October 14: In the UASR, the release of the yearly progress report for the First Five Year Plan once again exceeds expectations. Unemployment is only at 10 percent, and the economy has returned to pre-Depression GDP. Industrial production is five percent higher than its pre-Depression high.

October 18: The widespread use of terror bombing begins in Madrid, as German and Italian pilots deliberately target civilians to encourage the surrender of the city’s defenders.

October 20: The XI and XII International Brigades, along with the CNT’s Iron and Black Columns, begin marching to relieve the siege of Madrid. While the Stalinist-dominated XII Brigade is suspiscious of their anarchist allies, their trust in the left-communist XI Brigade, led by the legendary American revolutionary David Eisenhower, is enough to make the coalition stand.

October 24: American and Russian volunteer fighter squadrons begin their desperate defense of the beleaguered city of Madrid. While not enough to stop the tide of Nationalist bombers, at the very least the city’s air space will not fall without a fight.

October 26: Following a heavy attack by Moorish cavalry, tanks and aircraft, the Madrid suburb of Getafe falls, and its defenders are completely crushed. Fascist General Valera tells foreign journalists famously, “Madrid will fall within one week.”

October 28: The Nationalists are on the doorstep of Madrid proper, with the fall of the strategically important hill Cerro de los Angeles. The Republican government evacuates to Valencia, to the chagrin of the Anarchists who are in de facto control of the city.

October 29: The Nationalists gain important bridges within the City of Madrid. Fascist General Francisco Franco declares that by the next day, he will take communion in the cathedral of Madrid.

October 30: As an all-out assault begins upon the city of Madrid, the International Brigades and the Anarchist Militias arrive to relieve the city. At dawn, the popularly elected general of the “Popular Liberation Army”, American Brigadier David Eisenhower, orders an all-out artillery bombardment of Nationalist positions. The Internationals begin their counterattack that afternoon, supported by American artillery and Soviet provided T-26 tanks. The Republic will not fall today.

October 31: The massacre of over one thousand political prisoners occurs in the Paracuellos del Jarama. Their guards refuse orders to evacuate the prisoners from Madrid to prevent their liberation by the Nationalists, massacre them all, and head to the front.

November 1: As the Internationals bite into the eastern flank of the Nationalists, the 3,000-man Durruti Column arrives from the Pampalona front to attack the Nationalist’s western flank. Facing potential encirclement, the Nationalist armies begin a withdrawal from the city of Madrid.

November 3: Presidential election in the UASR: Upton Sinclair is re-elected President of the Union by a landslide.4

November 5: Italy and Germany recognize Sanjuro’s government, with the hope that the blow to Republican morale will be enough to turn the tide in the increasingly stalemated Battle of Madrid.

November 7: Close to three thousand Nationalist veterans of the Spanish Foreign Legion are caught in a pocket in the Cuidad Universitaria. Under siege from the west by the Durruti Column, now reinforced by American artillery, and from the north and east by Republican loyalists from the Madrid defense junta, it becomes clear that continued assault in the city has become impossible. By week’s end, the trapped Nationalists will be dead to the last man.

November 10: Generalissimo Sanjuro declares a halt to all offensive operations in Madrid, and a general withdrawal to more defensible positions 50 kilometers to the south of the city. The Siege of Madrid ends, as both sides prepare for a long, bloody and difficult war.

November 13: The Durruti Bridge opens in San Francisco, in honor of the Spanish anarchist and revolutionary hero. The bridge connects San Francisco and Oakland.

November 15: Volunteer drives begin in the UASR, with the hopes of raising two more International Brigades by Spring of 1937. The Defense Secretariat prepares to clandestinely deploy the 101st Independent Armor Regiment, with early production models of the T-3 medium tank as part of the volunteer International Brigades.

November 20: The Anti-Comintern Pact is signed by Germany and Japan.

November 24: The anarchist-dominated provinces of Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia form the Iberian Libertarian Federation, as the social transformation of the Spanish Revolution kicks into overdrive. While there are some in the American Workers’ Communist Party who believe that abandoning the Republic in favor of sole support for the Libertarian Federation would be more appropriate, the government continues its policy of aiding both groups as part of the anti-fascist struggle.

December 1: Mandatory enlistment in the Hitler Youth for all boys between the age of 10 and 18 begins in Germany.

December 5: The Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic is dissolved, and Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia become full Soviet republics.

December 11: Premier Foster meets British King Edward VIII and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on state visit in London. In spite of the pomp of the occasion, American-British relations are very sour, and much of the visit is spent by Foster chastising the British government for its failure to stand by a democratic government under siege by fascism.

1. Considering this will be the last election of the Spanish Republic, the differences are not big enough to really matter.

Turkish general elections results

Party Seats
Republican People’s Party 311
National Solidarity Party 134
Independents 5

3. French legislative elections results

Party Seats
Popular Front
Section Française de l’Internationale Communiste (SFIC) 81
Parti de l’Unité Prolétarienne (PUP) 4
Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière (SFIO) 156
Union Socialiste Républicaine (USR) 25
Parti Républicain, Radical et Radical-Socialiste (PRRRS) 110
Independent Left 15
Centre-Right Opposition
Gauche Démocratique et Radicale Indépendante (GDRI) 34
Alliance des Républicains de Gauche et des Radicaux Indépendants (ARGRI) 43
Indépendants D’Action Populaire (IAP) 16
Parti Démocrate Populaire (PDP) 13
Right Opposition
Indépendants Républicain (IR) 40
Federation Républicain (FR) 63

4. See exact results above.

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Excerpts from Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, Socialism Past and Present, Vol. 2: The American Experience (Boston: Politiea Press, 1977), 1,117 pages.

This chapter is titled “Revolutionary Totalitarianism” not as hyperbole, for the period following Red May, through the First Cultural Revolution and the wartime Popular Unity Government, ending with the dissolution of the Workers’ Communist Party is one that is unequivocally marked with all the facets of totalitarianism: the existence of a democratic centralist party-state, a command economy, and the subordination of all forms of association to the political prerogatives of the party-state. Other trappings of totalitarianism (party-state media, official repression and state terror), while ancillary, were also present during this period. This is all undeniable. There has been no official campaign of censorship in the history books. Even the strongest defenders of the past regime, with the exception of a few truly insane and isolated ones, do not even attempt to deny that these actions were committed by the government. Yet the logic of the party-state is still accepted in many quarters of society. The state was not totalitarian because it exercised its authority as the dictatorship of the proletariat, advancing the social abolitionist role of the party, and thus could not be totalitarian.1

This sort of cognitive dissonance is cute here in the UASR, but in other states with similar legacies of party-state centralism, it is a deadly mixture. And unlike what our critics have accused us of, we do not wholly reject that even certain totalitarian periods may be justifiable or objectively necessary. We do, however, wish to call a spade a spade. As Chomsky has noted in his oft-cited truism, “Armies are totalitarian institutions, whether they are ‘Red’ armies with their soldier soviets and elected officers, or they’re bourgeois armies with top-down command structures. That didn’t diminish their usefulness, their necessity, in combating fascism in the Second World War.”

...It was the Workers’ Communist Party’s utter political hegemony that enabled the spread of a totalitarian political ethos in both the institutions of state and the body politic. At varying times during the totalitarian period, the WCP controlled between two-thirds and three-fourths of the seats in the Congress of People’s Deputies. Given the electoral constitution of the era, which apportioned half of the seats to proportional representation, this is an astonishing feat. But even these figures are misleading when analyzed via bourgeois prejudices of the state’s authority. The Basic Law may make the People’s Assembly the de jure sovereign representative of the American polity, but by fact it is one of many important and powerful political institutions. In wry irony, the ones who are most often the critics of American totalitarianism, the bourgeois liberal intellectuals of the Franco-British coordinator class, have understated their critiques due to their obsolete mode of interpretation.

In the 1930s and ’40s, just as today, there were many cooperating and competing institutions, all ostensibly democratic, that represented the party-state. The one most often neglected in analysis is the Solidarity trade union. This is quite perverse, since in terms of membership and economic power, Solidarity has long been perhaps the single most powerful institution in the party-state. At the height of its influence in 1946, over 86 percent of the American workforce were dues-paying members of Solidarity. Solidarity’s Congress of Industrial Organizations, unifying all of the manifolds that dominated the advanced, industrial sectors of the economy, was in theory the equal partner in the Social Economic Plan with the State Planning Commission. It should come to no-one’s surprise that the leadership of Solidarity and of the Workers’ Communist Party were heavily intertwined, and that the policies of the government in this period heavily reflected the syndicalist-coordinatorist alliance of convenience.

Only one of the opposition parties in this period had any sort of presence within Solidarity. Even then, the Left Democrats’ influence within Solidarity was proportionally much smaller than their share of the national vote. Co-opting communist economic policy could only go so far in penetrating the layers of nested councils in the Social Economy, especially when met by effective, coordinated opposition by Workers’ Communist Party apparatchiks. The Democratic-Republicans or their prior forms had next to no presence in the unions.

The hegemony of communist values enabled the logic of nested councils to flow in reverse. Rather than the base sections maintaining democratic control of the commanding heights, the politics of the lower sections became increasingly directed from above by increasingly powerful leaders within the union and the Party. Insulated from popular pressure by informational constraints, the manipulation of public opinion by the leadership became a direct function of the political organization.

This was reflected in the heavily partisan press. Following the upheaval of the Revolution, it was largely the labor press that survived in the new order. The working class press, a vital force for counter-hegemonic struggle in the pre-revolutionary era, soon became part of the apparatus promoting the hegemony of the party-state. With the exception of The New York Times, all of the powerful, high circulation newspapers of this era were controlled by party-union-elected committees. During higher periods of cohesion within the party, such as from 1933 to 1937, almost no coherent dissension appeared within the press. The growth of dissent in the press coincided with the growth of political factions within the Party.

This political hegemony reflected in all other participatory democratic sections of society, including the oft-lauded ward councils, city and rural soviets, and in the great commune governments of the metropoleis. The immense, vulgar politicization of participatory democracy in what should have been solidaritous institutions had a profoundly corrosive effect on all spheres of association, including kinship associations. The reactionary claim that American revolutionaries were destroying the traditional family was very much true. While the traditional family may not have been something worth preserving, the hindrance of any organic replacement for it reflected the totalitarian nature of American society.

New forms of kinship did evolve, and the hyperpoliticized kinship and solidaritous institutions would return to an organic libertarianism in time. But the experience of totalitarianism had a profoundly negative effect on all of the left’s most lauded goals. In many ways, we still feel this effect today, and it is up to each of us to decide whether our new socialist culture was worth it. The utter hegemony of state atheism and the corresponding ostracization and at times repression of the overtly religious, the obliteration of “bourgeois” taboos against nudity, sex, polyamory, the social pressure towards participation in communal life and even conformity: these are all the legacy of our Revolution. Even if we on the modern Left accept these goals as legitimate, we still must question the means by which society was engineered to ensure their dominance.

It is often said by the Franco-British intellectuals that social engineering is the American pastime. Thankfully, their American counterparts have been more honest about this. Fundamentally, nearly all sectors of American society accept the logic and legitimacy of social engineering. The post-Marxist communalists that the authors find members of are no different. The missing question, however, is an inquiry into how these ends are achieved.

...It is the totality of the American Revolution that often shocks its commentators. The lingering unanswered question in many observers, whether American, Soviet or Franco-British, was how the Americans could achieve such total social transformation within a single generation. After all, they did not have access to, nor use, the totalitarian methods of the Soviets to achieve their goals. On the contrary, the American communists were so much better, so much more insidious in their totalitarianism. This profound misunderstanding of the events of the era reflects the all-too-common problem on the discourse of totalitarianism. In our cultural schema for totalitarianism, people tend to have in mind Orwell’s The Last Man in Europe, with its brutally murderous superstates that use unlimited terror and butchery to coerce obedience to the state, not Huxley’s Brave New World, where totalitarianism is achieved by the abdication of choice through ideology and endless distraction. Brave New World may seem to be a nicer place to live on face, but it is altogether more horrifying. The Big Lie is far worse than the Big Stick, because it turns the well-meaning, active among us into the proselytizers of the Lie.

The use of terror by the Soviets under Stalin, and the repression by the following regimes is evidence of the Soviet state’s weakness, not its strength. The American state, by contrast, controlled the polity through its own love and good intentions, using terror only against the tiny minority of overt official enemies that the polity despised. Because of the extreme consensus and hegemony of communist values, the WCP, function as the workers’ vanguard, was practically omnipotent so long as it could be demonstrated that its policies were even tangentially connected to the revolutionary impulse.

1. Albert and Hahnel’s writing style involves lots and lots of endnotes. So just pretend that there are a bunch there, and that the endnotes are interesting :P

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Excerpts from William F. Buckley Jr.’s review of The American Experience, in Labor Literary Review1, Vol XXII, No 14., July 17, 1977.

Well, what can be said of Comrades Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel? It is oft-repeated that these two young men are among the most important intellectuals alive in the world today. Leaders of the youth movement in the ’60s, they both participated in the Student Revolution on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968, supposedly completing the Deweyite revolution in education. Unfortunately, such youthful adventurism leaves a sour taste in my mouth, but thankfully the pair’s academic credentials have matched up. The two both completed field changing dissertations in political science and economics respectively in 1972, and were both admitted to the National Academy that Fall.

The past five years have been good to them, and I’ve already heard mutterings that Albert and Hahnel are the modern-day Marx and Engels. The jury is still out on that one. I must admit, in my own review of Albert’s republished dissertation What is To Be Undone? (MIT Press, 1974), I, in spite of myself, was rather impressed with the young man’s scholarship. While Albert is certainly well read, and has a profound grasp of Marxist theory, I did not feel his theses were compelling.

I find myself giving the same appraisal to the second volume of their (eventually) massive history/political economy, Socialism: Past and Present. Their critical review of the history and the political economic trends of the American experience in socialism is a mixed bag. Their scholarship is impeccable, but one cannot help but feel that their revisionism is motivated by the youthful infantile leftism they participated in as students.

...Albert and Hahnel seem to be in the same camp of as that of Noam Chomsky, particularly his borderline libelous book American Power and the New Mandarins (which is cited numerous times in Albert and Hahnel’s endnotes and draws upon many of the same primary sources as their work). Their critical appraisal of the excesses of the revolution seems to be un-Marxist and ahistorical, failing to take into account the importance of dialectical thinking or historical materialism. For one, their appraisal of “totalitarianism” in the Cultural Revolution is unconvincing. I will be the first to admit that our Revolutionary Forefathers made mistakes during the Red Terror, but their assertion that the American state was more powerful than the Stalinist state of the period seems just absurd on face. There were simply no American analogues to the Moscow Show Trials.

...For all its punch, this is a flawed work that seems to take the worst of the excesses of ’60s youthful leftism and push them forward into the future. Albert and Hahnel are far from alone. There are many young ultra-leftist adventurists marching their way through America’s institutions now. Thankfully, Albert and Hahnel do not indulge in the same kind of vitriol towards the current Progressive Labor administration as many of their comrades do.

1. Not to be confused with the previously mentioned Labor Review.

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Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine1
החזית העממית לשחרור פלסטין
الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين

Active: 1941-48
Country: British Mandate of Palestine, Palestinian Republic
Type: Paramilitary (pre-independence)
Unified armed forces (post-independence)
Role: Liberation of Nazi occupied Palestine, establishment of a multinational worker's state in Palestine
Ideology: Socialism, Marxism-Leninism, Jewish-Arab multinationalism
Size: ~210,000 at height
Engagements: Second World War
Palestinian Revolution
Palestinian War of Independence
Disbanded: July 28, 1948

1. Don't know if the Hebrew Translation is accurate. Also, I am aware that the probabiltity of OTL's PFLP and TTL's PFLP adopting the same flag is very low. The symbolism is the same, regardless.

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