Tag: New Deal

When Politics Becomes Professional: From the Obamanauts to the New Deal

The historian Josh Freeman has an excellent review of Michael Walzer’s Political Action, which came out in 1971 but has been reissued by NYRB Books. Freeman compares Walzer’s short pamphlet to the Manual of Practical Political Action, another how-to political guide, prepared in 1946 by the labor movement’s National Citizens Political Action Committee (NCPAC), one of the first modern PACs. Both texts were written at moments of political deceleration, when the velocities of change were about to alter dramatically or already had. But here’s what Josh says about that earlier moment that’s relevant for today: For NCPAC…organizing requires strategies that are not inherently progressive. Somewhat apologetically, the Manual suggests borrowing techniques from commercial advertising, presenting detailed guidance, much of it derived from standard business practices, […]

Race Talk and the New Deal

Hillary Clinton, in her 2003 memoir, on the Clintons’ decision to push for welfare reform: The sixty-year-old welfare system…helped to create generations of welfare-dependent Americans. Clinton is talking there about AFDC, a New Deal social program. It’s fascinating—given the recent fights on Twitter, social media, and elsewhere, about the racism of the New Deal—to recall this language of Clinton. Back in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, that kind of talk—”generations of welfare-dependent Americans”—was code for black people, who were thought to be languishing on the welfare rolls for decades, addicted to the drug of free money, living off the hard work of hard-working white Americans. That’s the kind of language that was used to attack the New Deal. Not only by Republicans but also […]