It wasn't all fun and games...
- Communism & Anarchism
- Marx & Engels, 1848
- Feudalism → Capitalism → Communism
- Capitalism, Communism mutually exclusive
- No private property, all state controlled
- The 'perfect system' - a "worker's paradise"
- "Bolsheviks" take control of government apparatus
- The Cheka, 1917 to 'protect the revolution'
- Wants international revolution - national revolutions aren't enough
America, like a few other nations, has become characteristic for the depth of the abyss that divides a handful of brutal millionaires who are stagnating in a mire of luxury, and millions of laboring starving men and women who are always staring want in the face.
- Lenin, 1918
- Institutions standing for fair wages against the 'bourgeoise' since the mid-1800s...
- demands sound pretty communist
- International Workers of the World at their peak by 1923
socialist "wobblies"; want managers elected, self-management, the end of capitalism... too crazy for other unions like the AFL, but they all get lumped together
Americans don't like the sound of any of this.
US Government Response:
- General Intelligence Division within Dept. of Justice, 1919
- J. Edgar Hoover - unscrupulous, feared dissent
also, a 33° Freemason...
- Collected information about "clandestine radical activities" (esp. communism)
- Palmer Raids, 1920; thousands arrested, deported
- May Day predictions - and failure
Cosa Nostra → Italian Mafia
As some Italians flee Mussolini's crime crackdown, they bring their traditional trade. Women excluded.
The Sicilian Mafia, practicing since 1812!
This sort of crime continues until Prohibition's repeal, and the FBI's focus on organized crime.
(Capone eventually dies of neurosyphilis in 1947.)
Racism & Xenophobia
Chicago Race Riots
Blacks vs. Whites in Chicago
- set fire to city buildings & businesses
- attacked whites in the streets
- were not arrested by police for their actions
- started the whole thing
- that was the official story
- whites did all of these things
- the police were of no help (arrested blacks)
- African Americans blamed for 'starting it'
- President Wilson furious
- Fears & predjudices against sourthern & eastern Europeans
- Increasing Immigration: 110,000 in 1919 → 805,000 in 1921
- 5-6 million members by 1923 after 1920 membership drive.
- They start burning crosses (not something the first Klan did.)
- Had a women's auxilliary
Now, the KKK is broken up into small chapters all over the country.
- NY City club in Harlem
- whites only, but featured the day's best African American entertainers
- Lena Horne (singer/dancer, later women's rights activist)
- Duke Ellington (jazz musician, pianist)
- started by a boxer, taken over by a gangster from within Sing Sing
African Americans depicted as lazy, dim, easily entertained.
To sum up:
Despite women's suffrage, unparalleled American prosperity, and seemingly limitless amounts of fun, 1920s America had serious problems.
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