War Socialism

©2010 drkate

Symbol of Fascism

The size of the federal government in the United States took a quantum leap with U.S. entry in World War I. It is a textbook case of how a military crisis abroad can be parlayed into opportunities for significant institutional change in the relationship between government and individual

In 1916, Woodrow Wilson campaigned on the slogan  “he kept us out of war”, but barely two years later, Wilson could not resist the opportunity to participate in the war to advance a progressive agenda throughout the world. For Wilson, it was about power; recall Wilson is the first President to speak openly and disparagingly about the U.S. Constitution.

Forces at home and abroad gave Wilson an excuse to seize as much power as he could, including U.S. holders of British bonds; a willing cadre of establishment intellectuals, willing to interpret events justifying American involvement in the war; and Winston Churchill.  When U.S. merchant ships were sunk in the Kaiser’s declared open submarine warfare zone, Wilson asked and Congress  declared war.

In the essay, “On Power”, the author notes that

What the Progressive Era was unable to achieve in transforming the United States from a market-oriented society into a government-dominated corporatist garrison, the war accomplished handily.Without exaggeration, the economic system in America during its participation in the war has been dubbed “war socialism.”

The Conditioning of the American Public

This war socialism had begun even before the United States entered the war.  In response to a shipping shortage, Wilson pushed Congress to create a federal shipping company as well regulations of carriers and their rates.  By the time the war ended, Wilson had control over

shipbuilding, wheat trading, and building construction; undertaken to lend huge sums to business directly or indirectly and to regulate the private issuance of securities; established official priorities for the use of transportation facilities, food, fuel, and many raw materials; fixed the prices of dozens of important commodities; intervened in hundreds of labor disputes; and conscripted millions of men for service in the armed forces.

By far the most fascist and insidious bureaucracy established by the Wilson administration  was  a ministry of propaganda, the Committee on Public Information, known as the Creel Committee, which, among other things, recruited intellectuals to persuade Americans to support the war, censured newspapers, and combined with the 1917-1918 Espionage and Sedition Acts, terrorized and jailed thousands of Americans.

More important, the experience of “war socialism” further accustomed the American people to government control of their lives.  While most of the programs put in place by Wilson were ‘ended’ at the end of the war, many were also just put on the shelf for use at future times.  In little more than a decade after Wilson’s tenure, enduring structures of statism would be erected by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on this foundation.

The Aftermath

While the federal government would never shrink back to its pre-war size, the graph below illustrates the results of the Wilson administration  in terms of overall government spending. Remember that through the borrowing from the Federal Reserve and the taxing authority fraudulently granted in the non-ratified 16th Amendment–all during Wilson’s tenure, the balance of power between the government and the people radically changed.


It is not surprising that the next President, Warren G. Harding, would run on a campaign theme of  ‘a return to normalcy’, which “…called an end to the abnormal era of the Great War, along with a call to reflect three trends of his time: a renewed isolationism in reaction to the War, a resurgence of nativism, and a turning away from the government activism of the reform era.”

The next big spike in the graph occurs in 1931 and then 1941, the next “Great War”, where again government grew to an enormous size and the practices of the Wilson administration returned through FDR.

Wilson gave us the Federal Reserve and a non-ratified, unconstitutional federal tax on income.  Then came WWI, vastly expanded government powers, propaganda ministries, sedition acts, free speech restrictions, media censorship, and a nationalized society organized around war…not around our Country, but around war.

Thus the foundation for fascism in America was laid by Woodrow Wilson, and lives to this day.  We can learn that the socialists, fascists, and progressives always search for ways to expand government and to use emergencies as vehicles to fundamentally change society.

Why does this sound so familiar? 😕

9 Responses to “War Socialism”

  1. 1 No-nonsense-nancy February 8, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Dr. Kate, very good essay. What part did Winston Churchill play, you mentioned him. He must have been much younger. I really need to get one of those books on Woodrow Wilson.
    How sad it is that leaders think war is the way to help economy. I am very much against any war. Those third world countries in the middle east would still be fighting each other, they have been for thousands of years, but it would be with knives and swords except that the civilized countries gave them more powerful weapons. If women had been ruling the countries of the world all along there probably would have been no wars or very few. If a woman has to send her son or daughter off to war she will think twice before starting one! And the economy wouldn’t be messed up in the first place.
    PS I’m not a feminist, really. I know this post may sound that way. Forgive me, guys.But I just don’t think men have done a great job running this country.

  2. 2 No-nonsense-nancy February 8, 2010 at 8:12 am

    This is a good essay, Dr. Kate. What part did Churchill play in the 1st world war? He must have been pretty young. Or was there one before him. I can’t remember. It is sad that world leaders think that war is good for the economy. I am against any war of any kind. The middle east is a mess. Those countries have been fighting with themselves for centuries. Nothing is going to stop them. The difference is they would still be using knives and swords instead of the forearms that civilized countries have supplied them with. If women had been ruling the countries all this time there probably would have been no wars. If they had to send their sons or daughters off to war they would think twice before starting one! And the economy would be better.

    I’m not a feminist, really, although this comment looks that way. Sorry, guys but I do think that the men haven’t run our country all that well.

    • 3 drkate February 8, 2010 at 9:33 am

      I am researching that as well, as I was quite surprised myself. I should have another essay up in a couple of days once I track this down!

  3. 4 No-nonsense-nancy February 8, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Sorry, I didn’t think the first one got posted. I lost it.

  4. 5 jtx February 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Wilson wasn’t the first President to stick it to We The People however. Actually, it was Abraham Lincoln when he was able to impose an income tax during the era of the war between the states.

    Such a tax was before too many years declared unconstituytional by SCOTUS followed by various “tax skirmishes” in the three branches of government ending in the pre-Wilson era with a Republican President (Taft) making a horribly poor political judgement and being tricked into supporting what has become our beloved present day income tax which many still believe is unconstitutional (but which SCOTUS won’t touch with the proverbial 10-foot pole). So it is now up to Congress to end this power-giver to the political police state (i.e., the income tax) by passing something like the FairTax along with a Constitutional Amendment to eliminate income taxes.

    Will congress ever do this, voluntarily giving up their cash (and power over the people) cow??? Do rocks float??? It will take We The People “speaking” in no uncertain political terms just as it will in getting rid of our ineligible president.

    Wilson was merely the first true Socialist president but there have certainly been others since … but there were some very poor ones before – such as Taft. Thanks, William Howard!! You helped put Americans in thrall to the government – and that wasn’t the Founders intent at all.

    • 6 drkate February 8, 2010 at 11:32 am

      I wholeheartedly agree. IN fact Lincoln’s effort on taxes caused the supreme court to rule them unconstitutional in 1897–taxes on labor are unconstitutional.

      Since starting this series on fascism in America, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and next FDR, Clinton and Obama…to name a few.

      Thank you again.

  5. 7 drkate February 8, 2010 at 11:33 am

    OT–New Kerchner add in Washington Post: Obama’s citizenship policy is ‘dont ask, dont tell’ lol:


  6. 8 Quantum Leap February 8, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Nightly News says that if they didn’t spend more and increase the deficit, the unemployment rate would be 13-14% because the spending is creating jobs. Huh?

    People are free falling—–>right through the cracks and them there jobs ain’t never coming back. People are now trying to rely on their own ingenuity on how to survive. They do not have jobs and they don’t get any of that deficit money. Unemployment is really 30% and it’s not getting any better for people.
    I too hope for a turn around but I don’t see it in sight. Less and less people are qualified for loans because they raised the bar so high that the credit market is out of reach for many. People need a leg up not a hand out.

    Nightly News also says with the deficit we have now, we will be paying 45% taxes in 20 years. {sigh}

    And Infowars has been censored in several countries who have cracked down on their own people’s web access just a few days ago. I thought Hillary was lecturing that Internet censorship was not a good thing. What was that all about? 🙄

  7. 9 d2i February 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Fabulous essay, dk. Like you, the investigative journalist team over at RBO is piecing together 0’s relationships w/the CPUSA and all ties starting w/Frank Marshall Davis to Alice Palmer to Vernon Jarrett to Earl Durham (not dunham). Forgive me in advance, but rather than posting a link, I opted to do a cut and paste of the whole piece. Why? B/c it fits right in w/your great essay and folks need to read it.

    RBOFeeds:PostsCommentsLoudon: Coincidence? Obama, Frank Marshall Davis and the Earl Durham Connection
    February 8, 2010 by Brenda J. Elliott

    Trevor Loudon writes on his New Zeal blog: In this post I highlighted the link between Barack Obama’s communist childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, and Chicago journalist Vernon Jarrett, father-in-law of senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.

    I cited the link as evidence that the communist networks that touched Obama in both Hawaii and Chicago were connected.

    Vernon Jarrett and Frank Marshall Davis worked together in a communist front, the Citizen’s Committee to Aid Packinghouse Workers in 1948 Chicago, the same year Davis moved to Hawaii.

    More than forty years later Vernon Jarrett followed Obama’s career in Chicago and used his newspaper column to promote Obama’s successful Senate campaign in 2004.

    The question is, did some of Frank Marshall Davis’ old Chicago comrades aid Barack Obama’s career in Chicago more than four decades on?

    This post looks at another link between Frank Marshall Davis and Obama’s Chicago network.

    The Abraham Lincoln School for Social Sciences was a Chicago institution of the 1930s and 1940s, run by the Communist Party USA.

    The faculty members included known Party members Frank Marshall Davis, David Englestein, William L. Patterson, Geraldyne Lightfoot, Claude Lightfoot, Ishmael Flory and Earl Durham.

    Frank Marshall Davis went off to work for the Hawaiian Communist Party, gradually sinking into obscurity. His former comrade and colleague, Earl Durham, rose to the top of the communist ladder and went on to make a major impact on Chicago education and politics.

    Earl Durham served in numerous leadership posts in the Communist Party USA. He was elected to the Communist Party National Committee at the Party’s 16th National Convention held in New York City on February 9-12, 1957, at which time he was also chosen to serve on the party’s 11-member national administrative committee.

    At a meeting of the Party National Administrative Committee in May 1957, Durham was named as youth affairs secretary of the party. He was subsequently appointed as one of nine party secretaries, who functioned as “a collective leadership” for the Communist Party USA.

    After working studying the psychopharmacology of heroin addiction, Earl Durham made the decision to earn a master’s degree at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. On graduation he was hired by the School as a professor, where “he was able to influence many students to consider community organizing as a career”.

    One former student, Ron Sanfield, blogged:

    I was a graduate student at the U of Chicago in the 1970s, and had Earl Durham for a professor.

    Even though it was more than 30 years ago, I can still vividly remember those exciting sessions in his classroom. He challenged us to confront the realities of community organization, and what it REALLY meant. He challenged us to confront our feelings about race, about class, about the gap in America between rhetorical words and deeds.

    One day, he told us, “If you really wanted to be doing community organization, you would be ‘out there in the streets’, not in here in this ivory-tower university” — and taught us about Saul Alinsky who had walked those very same streets of Hyde Park and other Chicago neighborhoods.

    In the early 1980s Earl Durham worked with the Communist Party and Democratic Socialists of America to elect Chicago’s first black mayor, long time communist front activist Harold Washington.

    It was Washington’s election in 1983 that inspired Barack Obama to move to Chicago. Obama even unsuccessfully wrote away for a job in the Washington administration.

    Earl Durham’s brother, writer Richard Durham, served as Washington’s speechwriter.

    While never a confirmed party member, Richard Durham participated in several communist-controlled organizations. In the 1950s, Durham worked as the national program director of the communist-controlled United Packinghouse Workers of America. At the same time he founded Chicago’s Du Bois Theater Guild with Vernon Jarrett and Oscar Brown, Jr., a Communist Party member member and another former official of Frank Marshall Davis’ “Citizen’s Committee to Aid Packinghouse Workers.”

    In the ealy 1980s, until Richard’s death in 1984, both Durham brothers served on the board of the Black Press Institute, the Chicago propaganda organization run by pro-Soviet Illinois State Senator, Alice Palmer.

    In 1995 Alice Palmer launched the political career of her chief-of-staff, Barack Obama, at a meeting in the Hyde Park home of former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

    In 1989, Earl Durham had served on the board of the Chicago Committee in Solidarity with Southern Africa, along with Alice Palmer another long time Obama friend and supporter, Timuel Black.

    Later, Timuel Black was a leader of the Communist Party breakaway group Committees of Correspondence.

    A 1994 Chicago Committees of Correspondence “Membership, subscription and mailing” in my possession includes the names of Earl Durham, Alice Palmer, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

    Earl Durham wrote the Chicago School Reform Act of 1988, which shifted decision-making to the school level and created Chicago’s unique Local School Councils.

    These reforms created an opening which was heavily exploited by radicals like Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky and the up-and-coming Barack Obama.

    In the mid 1990s Earl Durham and Barack Obama almost certainly crossed paths in a new Chicago organization, Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI). Earl Durham was founding board member of the organization, while Barack Obama served in 1994-95 on the COFI sponsoring committee.

    COFI, like many Chicago community groups, was a respectable “front” for radical activism.

    Some of Obama’s radical COFI colleagues included:

    * Ken Rolling, signer of a 2008 statement in support of Bill Ayers.

    * Jackie Grimshaw, Obama’s Hyde Park next door neighbour, Democratic Socialists of America honoree board member of the radical DSA-controlled Midwest Academy.

    * Barbara Engel, served with Bernardine Dorhn in 1991 on a committee of the communist front organization, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights.

    * Anne Hallet, signer of a 2008 statement in support of Bill Ayers, active with both Illinois and national ACORN.

    * Judy Hertz, involved with Illinois ACORN and the Midwest Academy.

    * Elce Redmond, recently close to the Chicago Communist Party and active in the Committees of Correspondence/Democratic Socialists of America dominated Chicago Political Economy Group.

    * Mary Scott-Boria, 1998 co-president of the Democratic Socialists of America influenced Progressive Chicago Area Network (PROCAN).

    * Ellen Schumer, board member of the Committees of Correspondence/Democratic Socialists of America infiltrated, Obama, Ayers, Dohrn and Earl Durham supported Crossroads Fund.

    That Barack Obama has mixed with Alinskyites, communists and socialists for his entire time in Chicago is beyond doubt.

    That Barack Obama was mentored in Hawaii from the age of 11 to 18 by communist Frank Marshall Davis is also well documented.

    Vernon Jarrett and Earl Durham were both connected with Frank Marshall Davis.

    Both men and their interconnected circles helped, directly or indirectly, Barack Obama’s rise through the world of Chicago far-left politics.

    Would Barack Obama be the leader of the Free World today had it not been for Frank Marshall Davis, Vernon Jarrett, Earl Durham and their Chicago comrades?

    What do you think?

    Does it matter?


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