As some of you are aware, I spent a good deal of time in the early nineties sorting through the trove of family papers I inherited at my father’s death and writing two books from them, one about my grandparents and one about my parents [neither of which, of course, I published.] I was especially fascinated by my father’s father, Barnet Wolff, who devoted his life to the Socialist Party and was one of its leaders in New York City during the first three decades of the 20th century. As part of my research on his political career, I dug up the platforms for several years of the Socialist Party [the Norman Thomas organization, for those who are deep into this stuff] and observed that save for the proposal to collectivize the ownership or production, most of its planks had actually been enacted during the New Deal by the Democratic Party under the leadership of FDR.
This morning, as I was turning over in my mind ways to continue the discussion I started on this blog a few days ago, I checked in with the Abbreviated Pundit Roundup on The Daily Kos and found this striking account. It details a number of revolutionary proposals, now being advanced by the most progressive wing of the modern Democratic Party, that were actually put forward by Roosevelt and in some cases in some form written into law. Tears came to my eyes [I cry easily] as I reflected on how much we have lost in the course of my long life. Rather than struggle to identify radical new themes to set the course of a resurgent progressive movement, we could save ourselves a good deal of time by simply resurrecting this seventy-four year old document.