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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:18 AM
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Roosevelt Historian: The Tea Party Movement: Successor to the American Liberty League?
The Tea Party Movement: Successor to the American Liberty League?
Roosevelt historian David Woolner shines a light on todays issues with lessons from the past.

Much has been written about the parallels between President Obama and Franklin Roosevelt. Both leaders assumed office during a time of great economic crisis and at a moment when the United States faced significant security threats from abroad. And, even though President Obama has turned out to be a more of a centrist politician than his liberal supporters would like, he nevertheless shares (albeit to a lesser extent) FDRs belief in the use of government as an instrument to help restore the economy and provide the American people with a basic measure of social and economic security hence the push for the stimulus bill and for health care reform, however imperfect critics on both the left and the right find these two pieces of legislation. One further and largely overlooked parallel, however, is the conservative/right-wing reaction to the two mens assumption of power; a reaction that led to the creation of two remarkably similar organizations: the American Liberty League in 1934, and the Tea Party Movement in 2009.

The American Liberty League was essentially an anti-government organization that ruthlessly attacked nearly every New Deal measure under the guise of its goals to defend and uphold the Constitutionto teach the duty of government to protect individual and group initiative and enterprise, to foster the right to work, earn, save and acquire property and to preserve the ownership and lawful use of property when acquired. In hundreds of published pamphlets, the League often sent mixed or contradictory messages, variously accusing the New Deal of being inspired by fascism, socialism or communism, and the Presidents leadership of being so strong that it was tantamount to the establishment of a dictatorship, or so weak that he rendered himself unable to ward off the sinister influence of his socialistic advisers.

The League saw economic planning and regulation as a threat to American values, the growth of the national debt as sign of permanent economic decline, and the New Deal itself as the enemy of private enterprise and hence the Constitution. Like the Tea Party, the Liberty League also claimed to be a non-partisan, popularly based organization, but its membership never exceeded 125,000. It was largely financed by some of the most powerful business interests in the country, including the du Pont family (which provided roughly 30% of the Leagues budget) and the leaders of General Motors, General Foods, Chase National Bank, Standard Oil, and other major corporations. The League spent enormous sums of money in an attempt to unseat FDR in the 1936 Presidential election, but thanks to the Presidents exposure of the Leagues ties to Americas wealthy corporate elite whom FDR famously termed economic royalists their plans backfired and the Republicans suffered one of the worst electoral defeats in American history.

The Tea Party Movement also calls for Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets. Like the American Liberty League, it views the recent government initiatives to bring an end to the financial/economic crisis and reform health care as unconstitutional and accuses President Obama of pursuing policies that will turn the United States into a socialist country. The Tea Party also claims to be a non-partisan, populist movement, but a recent New York Times article noted that its membership is disproportionately made up of white male Republicans over the age of 45. It has also been widely reported that the Tea Party has received significant financial support from wealthy donors.

-snip

http://www.newdeal20.org/2010/07/01/the-tea-party-movem... /

Hat tip to Jennifer Brunner, who posted this above link to FB.


where was this leading?



1934: The Plot Against America

-snip

In November 1934, federal investigators uncovered an amazing plot involving some two dozen senior businessmen, a good many of them Wall Street financiers, to topple the government of the United States and install a fascist dictatorship. Roths novel is developed from several strands of this factual account; he assumed the plot is actually carried out, whereas in fact an alert FDR shut it down but stopped short of retaliatory measures against the plotters. A key element of the plot involved a retired prominent general who was to have raised a private army of 500,000 men from unemployed veterans and who blew the whistle when he learned more of what the plot entailed. The plot was heavily funded and well developed and had strong links with fascist forces abroad. A story in the New York Times and several other newspapers reported on it, and a special Congressional committee was created to conduct an investigation. The records of this committee were scrubbed and sealed away in the National Archives, where they have only recently been made available.

The Congressional committee kept the names of many of the participants under wraps and no criminal action was ever brought against them. But a few names have leaked out. And one is Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the incumbent president. Prescott Bush was of course deep into the business of the Hamburg-America Lines, and had tight relations throughout this period with the new Government that had come to power in Germany a year earlier under Chancellor Aldoph Hitler. It appears that Bush was to have formed a key liaison for the group with the new German government.

Prescott Bush, of course, went on to service as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, and his son, George H.W. Bush emerged from World War II as a hero.

-snip

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/07/hbc-90000651


The Whitehouse Coup
Monday 23 July 2007



The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bushs Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/document/document_2...
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. recommend
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. Fascinating, this gyre we call History.
This definitely deserves a closer read. So many parallels.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:31 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Funny what they conveniently leave out of the history textbooks.
:hi:
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
3. "Smirk." - RepubliCorp Occultists (R)
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 08:33 AM by SpiralHawk
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CanonRay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:42 AM
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5. Combine the American Liberty League
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 08:42 AM by CanonRay
with 24 hour Fox News, and unlimited corporate cash, and the New Deal never happens. The Rethugs learned their lessons well. We didn't.
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
6. Not to be a provocateur, but
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 08:47 AM by StandingInLeftField
This opening paragraph from Wikipedia:

"The American Liberty League was an American political organization formed in 1934 by conservative Democrats to oppose the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt and other liberal Democrats. Jouett Shouse, a prominent Democrat, was the League's president. Other leaders included prominent Democrats and businessmen, such as Al Smith, the 1928 Democratic presidential nominee; John W. Davis, the 1924 Democratic presidential nominee; John Jacob Raskob, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the foremost opponent of prohibition; Dean Acheson, a former Treasury Department official early in the FDR administration and future Secretary of State under Harry Truman; and Bainbridge Colby, Secretary of State in the final months of the Wilson administration. It attracted many industrialists.<1>"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Liberty_League
______________________________________________________________________________________________

I don't have access to the citation for this, but, if true, what does it say about Democratic oligarchic machinations in the first half of the 20th century? the schism between pro-business and pro-working class Democrats? can we draw parallels and lessons learned between that era's Dem party and today's? Very interesting subject not covered even in my undergrad American History classes.

bold in quote added for emphasis
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yes except the Blue Dogs lost ground and were replaced by their
Republican counterparts this time.
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Very true
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. I read that also but this says "Republicans and 'some' southern Democrats"
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Good find!
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? :hi:
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. someone spinning history @ Wiki, probably.
:mad:
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. I agree.
And not being able to access the citation for that paragraph without more digging, I have no way of knowing the slant of the author. Those who live by the Wiki, die by the Wiki! ;-)
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. That's the type of information that can help in our arguments.
Repugs could rebutt that the ALL was a democratic-led organization, and, on the face of it, that would seem true. The more citations gathered the more evident it becomes that the ALL was really a corporo-fascist movement led by industrialists that co-opted several perhaps embittered southern Blue Dog Democrats as figureheads.

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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
10. The thing is this time, the administration didn't fight.
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 08:59 AM by mmonk
So what are we in for going forward? That is the uncharted part of history being laid right now.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 08:59 AM
Response to Original message
13. Good point

Can't accuse the capitalists of being original. Just as the entire 'libertarian movement' is largely a creature of the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers I'll bet a dollar that the funding of the TB's comes from a similar source. They are petty fools, imagining themselves on the same footing as the Waltons but just carrying their water.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
16. More on the connections of the American Liberty League
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 01:05 PM by starroute
The DuPonts directly formed the American Liberty League -- in much the same way the Koch brothers formed the Tea Parties -- and it was also supported by "the Morgan, DuPont, Rockefeller, Pew, and Mellon interests."
(http://www.gametec.com/hemp/Thirties.wd6.html )

"The American Liberty League, funded by the DuPonts, was to complement the coup by functioning as a propaganda organ to discredit the overthrown Roosevelt in the publics mind."
(http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg85... )

After the failure of the coup, the Liberty League continued to serve a general propaganda function: "The 'Old Right' emerged in the 1930's in opposition to Roosevelt and the New Deal. The American Liberty League founded in August, 1934, as a bipartisan anti-FDR coalition of the rich and corporate oligarchy, led by the duPonts as the leading contributors - organizers were John J. Raskob, John Davis, Nathan Miller, Irenee duPont, James Wadsworth - supported by Al Smith who opposed the New Deal and declared in Nov. 1935 that he was going to 'take a walk' - spent $1m 1934-36 to defeat FDR, especially with propaganda sent to newspapers - Postmaster General Jim Farley called it the 'American Cellophane League' because it was a DuPont product you could see right through - but Liberty League financed lawsuits against the New Deal, especially the 1935 Wagner Act that required collective bargaining."
(http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=1... )

And the League's influence didn't end even with the onset of World War II. According to an article from 2004, which was recently reposted at http://medialeft.net/main/index.php?option=com_content&... "After FDR died, and the American military machine had been established, many of FDR's opponents flooded the political scene. Prescott Bush, who had been implicated in financial dealings with the Nazis became a Senator, Allen Dulles became head of the new CIA, and conservatives who had developed ties with the Republicans through the American Liberty League began their strong effort to promote a Republican based anti-communist and anti-liberal agenda."

There are also important cross-connections by way of the National Association of Manufacturers, which was originally founded by Samuel Bush (Prescott's father) and which in the 1950's provided an important link between old-line right-wingers and new extremist groups like the John Birch Society.

"In congressional hearings held on March 2, 1938 evidence was entered showing that NAM was controlled and financed by 207 firms. Leading the list of firms were General Motors, du Pont, Chrysler, National Steel and the Pennsylvania Railroad. The leading contributors to NAM were also the leading contributors to a number of pro-Nazi groups such as the American Liberty League, the Crusaders, the Sentinels of the Republic, and the National Economy League." (http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/53/nam.html )

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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 01:38 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. thanks for providing this info, starroute!
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Dawson Leery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
18. See starroute's post! Dupont Family = Koch Brothers
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. Frank Rich connected some of the dots a few months ago
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html?_...

The Billionaires Bankrolling the Tea Party

Three heavy hitters rule. Youve heard of one of them, Rupert Murdoch. The other two, the brothers David and Charles Koch, are even richer, with a combined wealth exceeded only by that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett among Americans. But even those carrying the Kochs banner may not know who these brothers are. . . .

All three tycoons are the latest incarnation of what the historian Kim Phillips-Fein labeled Invisible Hands in her prescient 2009 book of that title: those corporate players who have financed the far right ever since the du Pont brothers spawned the American Liberty League in 1934 to bring down F.D.R. You can draw a straight line from the Liberty Leagues crusade against the New Deal socialism of Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and child labor laws to the John Birch Society-Barry Goldwater assault on J.F.K. and Medicare to the Koch-Murdoch-backed juggernaut against our socialist president.

Only the fat cats change not their methods and not their pet bugaboos (taxes, corporate regulation, organized labor, and government handouts to the poor, unemployed, ill and elderly). Even the sources of their fortunes remain fairly constant. Koch Industries began with oil in the 1930s and now also spews an array of industrial products, from Dixie cups to Lycra, not unlike DuPonts portfolio of paint and plastics. Sometimes the biological DNA persists as well. The Koch brothers father, Fred, was among the select group chosen to serve on the Birch Societys top governing body. In a recorded 1963 speech that survives in a University of Michigan archive, he can be heard warning of a takeover of America in which Communists would infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us. That rant could be delivered as is at any Tea Party rally today. . . .

When wolves of Murdochs ingenuity and the Kochs stealth have been at the door of our democracy in the past, Democrats have fought back fiercely. Franklin Roosevelts triumphant 1936 re-election campaign pummeled the Liberty League as a Republican ally eager to squeeze the worker dry in his old age and cast him like an orange rind into the refuse pail. When John Kennedys patriotism was assailed by Birchers calling for impeachment, he gave a major speech denouncing their crusades of suspicion.

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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Amazing!
This needs to go viral. Would the people most in need of this even listen though?
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StandingInLeftField Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
19. Key Financiers, Organizers and Groups linked to the American Liberty League:
Edited on Mon Nov-08-10 02:34 PM by StandingInLeftField
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. EXCELLENT Link-what Smedley Butler said then pertains today as well:
This is what I love about DU (excellent link!) sharing of information to put the pieces together!

from StandinginLeftField's link:

Butler was stunned and genuinely alarmed upon reading of the Leagues formation:

"For the first time it dawned upon him that if the American Liberty League was the superorganization behind the plot, it seemed to be, the countrys freedom was in genuine peril. Such money and power as the men behind the League possessed could easily mobilize a thinly-disguised Fascist army from the ranks of jobless, embittered veterans and do what Mussolini had done in Italy with the financial support of the Italian plutocracy.... MacGuire had outlined...the conspirators plans for a putsch , indicating it would easily succeed...because the American Liberty League, was behind it with money and arms.... MacGuire revealed that the people behind him... could... raise $300 million for the putsch."
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Happen to be reading about Butler and the would-be coup...
...in fact, the book that your quote is from.

The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR
http://www.amazon.com/Plot-Seize-White-House-Conspiracy...

originally published ~1973, republished in 2007.

The parallels with today and the attitudes of monied interests is obvious and disturbing.
Essential reading for citizens.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-08-10 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Thanks.
just suggested it as a Christmas Present to hubbie :hi:
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
25. As attractive as the lkening of the two may be, I'm not all that sure.
For one thing, the American Liberty League was all but openly elitist, with only the flimsiest attempt at "populism". Yes, Rene Dupont claimed to speak for the farmers, based on his vast "gentleman's farm", but I doubt many people bought that.

For a video on The Plot to Overthrow FDR: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=628728631767818...
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 07:30 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. In the 30s those "elitists" attempted to stir up average people through
Smedley Butler. This time they've been more successful, throwing $ at small groups of angry white folks.
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. I'm well familiar with that attempt, having studying it closely for quite some time.
Edited on Tue Nov-09-10 09:06 AM by pnorman
In their elitist contempt for "The Common Man", they thought could they could manipulate it with ease. They also misread Smedley Butler, who immediately reported that treason to the White House. But FDR, who although he no doubt recognized its danger, took no official notice and allowed all the principals to walk.

If you're looking for real fascism in the US (with authentic populist overtones) in that decade, look elsewhere -- Father Coughlin, G. L. K. Smith, the`Silver shirts, the Black Legions, the German-American Bund, or especially Huey Long. With the possible exception of Huey long, they were all VIRULENTLY anti-Semitic. This is particularly ironic, since their direct political/intellectual heirs are now babbling about "Our Traditional Judeo-Christian Values"!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
27. Liberty League seems their direct model.
Lots of overlap in their devotion to the right-wing, corporatist, big money, crony capitalist stooges. And both groups have major hidden powers bankrolling them.

The Plot to Seize the White House by Julian Archer.

PS: Sorry reply comes too late to Recommend this excellent thread. The OP and many replies deserve it.

Link to PDF of Mr. Archer's book.
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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-09-10 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
29. Also read that the Tea Party is a successor to the Know-Nothings of the 1850's.
Maybe there's a recurrence of this conservative reaction to change every 70-80 years.

"The Know-Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by the pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males of British lineage over the age of twenty-one."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

Sounds like the Know Nothings wanted their country back from German and Irish Catholic immigrants. Modern teabagges focus instead on reclaiming their country from Blacks, Hispanics and immigrants (though they don't seem too concerned with white German and Irish Catholic immigrants).
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