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Real socialists weren’t fond of FDR, a president accused of being ‘socialist’

Real socialists weren’t fond of FDR, a president accused of being ‘socialist’
President Franklin D. Roosevelt broadcasts one of his fireside chats on Nov. 2, 1936. (Associated Press)

To the editor: Columnist Michael Hiltzik did a great job describing the ways in which Franklin D. Roosevelt was called a socialist because of his programs to stop the Great Depression. But he left out the reaction of real socialists to him.

I am old enough to have been in college when I was invited to a meeting of the Socialist Workers Party. A woman gave a long diatribe against FDR as a villain. The theme was that “Roosevelt saved capitalism.”

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Farmers were losing their farms, and workers were rioting. The country was in chaos, but FDR’s New Deal turned things around.

If capitalism is to be saved again, we must go back to what works.

Emil Lawton, Sherman Oaks

..

To the editor: During the era of high taxes on the wealthy described by Hiltzik, the city of Bridgeport, Conn., elected a socialist mayor, Jasper McLevy, to 12 consecutive terms from 1933-57.

Bridgeport, at the time a heavily industrialized manufacturing city, was not alone: For example, Milwaukee; Rockford, Ill.; and Bridgeport’s neighboring city, Norwalk, all elected self-identified socialists as mayor in this era.

Maybe, as President Trump claims, the U.S. will never be a socialist nation. But certain issues associated by some with socialism (universal healthcare and equitable taxation, to name a few) have refused to go away despite the longstanding and vigorous efforts by those opposed to them.

The polls quoted in the article show continuing support for such issues among the public at large.

Richard Neal, Sandy Hook, Conn.

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