“It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis: Well, It Sure Seems Like It IS Happening Here…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I was driving home last night and happened to hear the opening salvo from Michael Savage.  Now, I’ve never been a fan of Savage, but he seems to have caught on to what’s really going on with the Obama Administration.  So, I don’t gag when I hear him as much as I have in the past.

Last night he brought up Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel, “It Can’t Happen Here”.  The novel was written as Hitler was on the rise.

Basically, the novel is about a right wing President, but the point of Savage’s opening was that much of this work sure sounds like the left wing today (except for the glaring Point 10 about Negroes…)

He read only a few of the points from the novel, but here is the entire list from that section of the book which reveals the platform on which Senator Windrip runs for the Presidency:

During the very first week of his campaign, Senator Windrip clarified his philosophy by issuing his distinguished proclamation: “The Fifteen Points of Victory for the Forgotten Men.” The fifteen planks, in his own words (or maybe in Lee Sarason’s words, or Dewey Haik’s words), were these:

(1) All finance in the country, including banking, insurance, stocks and bonds and mortgages, shall be under the absolute control of a Federal Central Bank, owned by the government and conducted by a Board appointed by the President, which Board shall, without need of recourse to Congress for legislative authorization, be empowered to make all regulations governing finance. Thereafter, as soon as may be practicable, this said Board shall consider the nationalization and government-ownership, for the Profit of the Whole People, of all mines, oilfields, water power, public utilities, transportation, and communication.

(2) The President shall appoint a commission, equally divided between manual workers, employers, and representatives of the Public, to determine which Labor Unions are qualified to represent the Workers; and report to the Executive, for legal action, all pretended labor organizations, whether “Company Unions,” or “Red Unions,” controlled by Communists and the so-called “Third International.” The duly recognized Unions shall be constituted Bureaus of the Government, with power of decision in all labor disputes. Later, the same investigation and official recognition shall be extended to farm organizations. In this elevation of the position of the Worker, it shall be emphasized that the League of Forgotten Men is the chief bulwark against the menace of destructive and un-American Radicalism.

(3) In contradistinction to the doctrines of Red Radicals, with their felonious expropriation of the arduously acquired possessions which insure to aged persons their security, this League and Party will guarantee Private Initiative and the Right to Private Property for all time.

(4) Believing that only under God Almighty, to Whom we render all homage, do we Americans hold our vast Power, we shall guarantee to all persons absolute freedom of religious worship, provided, however, that no atheist, agnostic, believer in Black Magic, nor any Jew who shall refuse to swear allegiance to the New Testament, nor any person of any faith who refuses to take the Pledge to the Flag, shall be permitted to hold any public office or to practice as a teacher, professor, lawyer, judge, or as a physician, except in the category of Obstetrics.

(5) Annual net income per person shall be limited to $500,000. No accumulated fortune may at any one time exceed $3,000,000 per person. No one person shall, during his entire lifetime, be permitted to retain an inheritance or various inheritances in total exceeding $2,000,000. All incomes or estates in excess of the sums named shall be seized by the Federal Government for use in Relief and in Administrative expenses.

(6) Profit shall be taken out of War by seizing all dividends over and above 6 per cent that shall be received from the manufacture, distribution, or sale, during Wartime, of all arms, munitions, aircraft, ships, tanks, and all other things directly applicable to warfare, as well as from food, textiles, and all other supplies furnished to the American or to any allied army.

(7) Our armaments and the size of our military and naval establishments shall be consistently enlarged until they shall equal, but–since this country has no desire for foreign conquest of any kind–not surpass, in every branch of the forces of defense, the martial strength of any other single country or empire in the world. Upon inauguration, this League and Party shall make this its first obligation, together with the issuance of a firm proclamation to all nations of the world that our armed forces are to be maintained solely for the purpose of insuring world peace and amity.

(8) Congress shall have the sole right to issue money and immediately upon our inauguration it shall at least double the present supply of money, in order to facilitate the fluidity of credit.

(9) We cannot too strongly condemn the un-Christian attitude of certain otherwise progressive nations in their discriminations against the Jews, who have been among the strongest supporters of the League, and who will continue to prosper and to be recognized as fully Americanized, though only so long as they continue to support our ideals.

(10) All Negroes shall be prohibited from voting, holding public office, practicing law, medicine, or teaching in any class above the grade of grammar school, and they shall be taxed 100 per cent of all sums in excess of $10,000 per family per year which they may earn or in any other manner receive. In order, however, to give the most sympathetic aid possible to all Negroes who comprehend their proper and valuable place in society, all such colored persons, male or female, as can prove that they have devoted not less than forty-five years to such suitable tasks as domestic service, agricultural labor, and common labor in industries, shall at the age of sixty-five be permitted to appear before a special Board, composed entirely of white persons, and upon proof that while employed they have never been idle except through sickness, they shall be recommended for pensions not to exceed the sum of $500.00 per person per year, nor to exceed $700.00 per family. Negroes shall, by definition, be persons with at least one sixteenth colored blood.

(11) Far from opposing such high-minded and economically sound methods of the relief of poverty, unemployment, and old age as the EPIC plan of the Hon. Upton Sinclair, the “Share the Wealth” and “Every Man a King” proposals of the late Hon. Huey Long to assure every family $5000 a year, the Townsend plan, the Utopian plan, Technocracy, and all competent schemes of unemployment insurance, a Commission shall immediately be appointed by the New Administration to study, reconcile, and recommend for immediate adoption the best features in these several plans for Social Security, and the Hon. Messrs. Sinclair, Townsend, Eugene Reed, and Howard Scott are herewith invited to in every way advise and collaborate with that Commission.

(12) All women now employed shall, as rapidly as possible, except in such peculiarly feminine spheres of activity as nursing and beauty parlors, be assisted to return to their incomparably sacred duties as home-makers and as mothers of strong, honorable future Citizens of the Commonwealth.

(13) Any person advocating Communism, Socialism, or Anarchism, advocating refusal to enlist in case of war, or advocating alliance with Russia in any war whatsoever, shall be subject to trial for high treason, with a minimum penalty of twenty years at hard labor in prison, and a maximum of death on the gallows, or other form of execution which the judges may find convenient.

(14) All bonuses promised to former soldiers of any war in which America has ever engaged shall be immediately paid in full, in cash, and in all cases of veterans with incomes of less than $5,000.00 a year, the formerly promised sums shall be doubled.

(15) Congress shall, immediately upon our inauguration, initiate amendments to the Constitution providing (a), that the President shall have the authority to institute and execute all necessary measures for the conduct of the government during this critical epoch; (b), that Congress shall serve only in an advisory capacity, calling to the attention of the President and his aides and Cabinet any needed legislation, but not acting upon same until authorized by the President so to act; and (c), that the Supreme Court shall immediately have removed from its jurisdiction the power to negate, by ruling them to be unconstitutional or by any other judicial action, any or all acts of the President, his duly appointed aides, or Congress.

Addendum: It shall be strictly understood that, as the League of Forgotten Men and the Democratic Party, as now constituted, have no purpose nor desire to carry out any measure that shall not unqualifiedly meet with the desire of the majority of voters in these United States, the League and Party regard none of the above fifteen points as obligatory and unmodifiable except No. 15, and upon the others they will act or refrain from acting in accordance with the general desire of the Public, who shall under the new régime be again granted an individual freedom of which they have been deprived by the harsh and restrictive economic measures of former administrations, both Republican and Democratic.

…”But what does it mean?” marveled Mrs. Jessup, when her husband had read the platform to her. “It’s so inconsistent. Sounds like a combination of Norman Thomas and Calvin Coolidge. I don’t seem to understand it. I wonder if Mr. Windrip understands it himself?”

Later in the work, a character comments on what has developed in America:

In La Voix littéraire of Paris, the celebrated and genial professor of belles-lettres, Guillaume Semit, wrote with his accustomed sympathy:

I do not pretend to any knowledge of politics, and probably what I saw on my fourth journey to the States United this summer of 1938 was mostly on the surface and cannot be considered a profound analysis of the effects of Corpoism, but I assure you that I have never before seen that nation so great, our young and gigantic cousin in the West, in such bounding health and good spirits. I leave it to my economic confrères to explain such dull phenomena as wage-scales, and tell only what I saw, which is that the innumerable parades and vast athletic conferences of the Minute Men and the lads and lassies of the Corpo Youth Movement exhibited such rosy, contented faces, such undeviating enthusiasm for their hero, the Chief, M. Windrip, that involuntarily I exclaimed, “Here is a whole nation dipped in the River of Youth.”

Everywhere in the country was such feverish rebuilding of public edifices and apartment houses for the poor as has never hitherto been known. In Washington, my old colleague, M. le Secretary Macgoblin, was so good as to cry, in that virile yet cultivated manner of his which is so well known, “Our enemies maintain that our labor camps are virtual slavery. Come, my old one! You shall see for yourself.” He conducted me by one of the marvelously speedy American automobiles to such a camp, near Washington, and having the workers assembled, he put to them frankly: “Are you low in the heart?” As one man they chorused, “No,” with a spirit like our own brave soldiers on the ramparts of Verdun.

During the full hour we spent there, I was permitted to roam at will, asking such questions as I cared to, through the offices of the interpreter kindly furnished by His Excellency, M. le Dr. Macgoblin, and every worker whom I thus approached assured me that never has he been so well fed, so tenderly treated, and so assisted to find an almost poetic interest in his chosen work as in this labor camp–this scientific cooperation for the well-being of all.

With a certain temerity I ventured to demand of M. Macgoblin what truth was there in the reports so shamefully circulated (especially, alas, in our beloved France) that in the concentration camps the opponents of Corpoism are ill fed and harshly treated. M. Macgoblin explained to me that there are no such things as “concentration camps,” if that term is to carry any penological significance. They are, actually, schools, in which adults who have unfortunately been misled by the glib prophets of that milk-and-water religion, “Liberalism,” are reconditioned to comprehend the new day of authoritative economic control. In such camps, he assured me, there are actually no guards, but only patient teachers, and men who were once utterly uncomprehending of Corpoism, and therefore opposed to it, are now daily going forth as the most enthusiastic disciples of the Chief.

Alas that France and Great Britain should still be thrashing about in the slough of Parliamentarianism and so-called Democracy, daily sinking deeper into debt and paralysis of industry, because of the cowardice and traditionalism of our Liberal leaders, feeble and outmoded men who are afraid to plump for either Fascism or Communism; who dare not–or who are too power hungry–to cast off outmoded techniques, like the Germans, Americans, Italians, Turks, and other really courageous peoples, and place the sane and scientific control of the all-powerful Totalitarian State in the hands of Men of Resolution!

The novel also digs into religion and preachers buying air time, political “gangs,” youth, political advisers and all sorts of other things that sound eerily familiar.  (Windrip’ appoints his political guru as Secretary of State:  “his former secretary and press-agent, Lee Sarason, who also took the position of High Marshal, or Commander-in-Chief, of the Minute Men, which organization was to be established permanently, as an innocent marching club.”)

Project Gutenberg Australia has the entire novel online, so go over and scroll through it.  I think you will be pretty amazed.

You might also find it very scary…

***

Background information on “It Can’t Happen Here”

Background information on Norman Thomas

For another eerie novel see “The Black President”: A 1926 Novel “Predicts” the Politics of 2008 with Some Eerily Similar Details

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19 Responses

  1. […] See the original post here: “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis: Well, It Sure Seems Like It IS Happening Here… […]

  2. Thanks for posting this. I heard Savage talk about it last night and went searching for some extra info.

  3. Oh yes, it could happen here. The things that are being done behind the scenes, with carryovers from the Bush Administration, are things we thought could never happen in America. Just hold on to your hat – not a day goes by that we aren’t blasted with another proclomation. Many of the plans that are hatching now were begun under the hot little hands of George W. Bush. Bush was so secretive that we didn’t realize what he and Cheney were doing.

    Now with Obama, he is on the tv every day throwing another blow at us even before we have recovered from the last one. I think part of his method is to keep us fomented all the time so we won’t know what he is really doing.

    In another few years, IMO, Sinclair Lewis’ novel could be re-published as current events, or maybe even history.

    Things are moving too fast. Who was it who said “Stop the world, I want to get off”?

    • Here is a link from the Tribune that demonstrates just how close to dictatorship we came during Bush’s terms… And if you read through, you will find that John Yoo, in the Office of Legal Counsel to the president wrote the articles that nearly brought us into the realm of H*tler, etc…
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-bush-memos_04mar04,0,2464157.story

      Since TehOne has been loath to rescind the Bush Rulz, we may see ourselve hurtling ever onward to the place where “Yes We Can” takes on a whole new meaning.

      • Leslie, it’s difficult to tell in many cases where Bush leaves off and Obama begins. My fear is, that the ones referred to as terrorists in this present administration are none other thatn “we The People”.

  4. it is happening here..

  5. lee,
    I agree completely.
    and with as much trepidation as you.

  6. I just got home from the kiln & Michael Savage was still ranting about point #1 on the car radio. I suggest y’all take him with a very large grain of salt becuz he is spreading some very serious misinformation. Contrary to what Savage is spewing, Nobama is NOT nationalizing the the banks, & therein lies the problem. I have some financial training & have been following this meltdown for the past couple years (yep, it’s been going on that long) Re: the banks, Krugman & the other economists I’ve been reading say the banks should be nationalized. That way We The People have ownership of them, & once they are reorganized & back on track (yes, the banks- & the economy- will get back on track. When you’ve hit bottom the only place to go is up) Anyhow, once the economy gets going again, the Treasury coffers will fill up since We The People own the banks. It will be our money. Not so with these bailouts- & nobody’s forcing the banks to take them, on the contrary, the banks are the ones demanding them- it’s throwing good money after bad since we don’t get any ownership in exchange for dumping our tax dollars in a black hole.

    Savage is also wrong about a leftist dictatorship. That’s an oxymoron. Any authoritarian govt by nature is right wing. The true leftist counterpart to a dictatorsip is anarchy, & by that I don’t mean chaos- think ant farm. But human beings are not ants- we don’t just automaically do whatever needs doing to keep things running smoothly, so the next thing would be a participatory democracy. But that is not practical for most of us. Think of all the spam you find in your mailbox every day. Now what if all that spam was actually bills & resolutions requiring your vote? Sound time consuming? This is why we elect representatives to deal with that stuff.

    Savage is full of crap. This is not to say Sinclair Lewis doesn’t make some vaild points, Savage just doesn’t know what they are. The one about women is especially chilling, & we all know how Teh One feels about us. I’m also concerned about the Obamatons habit of stifling dissent & criticism of their Messiah, & that we have a Messiah in leiu of a President. Why are they trashing the 1st Amendment? Why did he vote to trash the 4th Amendment, & WTF do they want with our email addresses? Yeah there’s some scary stuff going on alright, but the money’s the least of it.

  7. Well, it seems banks WERE strong-armed into taking money they didn’t need. I know the folks at Wells Fargo are hopping mad about it, esp. since Obama turned around and PR’d them over the annual meeting.

    A director of TCI (?) bank was just on Greta…they’re giving the money back. She asked him about being threatened and he said that when a regulator suggests something, the response is how how do we jump? He was quite clear that pressure was brought to bear in those locked door meetings…

    I just heard that the gov’t. has about 30% of banking’s capitalization now. The gov’t. has their hands in pretty deep.

    And here’s a tidbit that I found for an upcoming article…

    Citicorp, now about $1 a share and recipient of recent bailout money, is planning to finance the 3rd largest port in the world that will be built in Mexico. Our money goes to them and then they finance a Mexican port???

    There will be more on the growing “monetary” unity here in North America next week…

  8. Sonrisa,

    Just curious if you have something substantive to make you believe Obama is not trying to nationalize the banks, or is that your personal observation?

    Who believes that Obama is a leftist? He is definitely a continuation of George W. Bush (whatever he was), and doesn’t appear to have any liberal inclinations whatsoever except when it comes to abortion.

    • Savage thinks Nobama’s a leftist. Like I was saying the idiot is spreading misinformation. Take point 5- Savage was ranting about that the other nite too- now I’m reading that to mean that any & all income in excess of $3,000,000 would be siezed by by Lewis’ govt. IOW you make $4000,000- the extra $1000,000 is siezed- all of it. What Savage was bitching about was Giethner’s proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire & raise taxes on the wealthy. Nobody’s talking about putting a cap on how much you can make- just taxing what you do make- & why not? If the rest of us have to pay taxes, then people who can afford to pay taxes should pay them too, imho.

      IA, capitalization & nationalization are 2 different things. Capitalization is equity ownership, ie having stock in a company, & considering the Govt did buy up bank stock (along with other assets, toxic & otherwise) yes, there is some capitalization going on. You don’t say whether that 30% is a sum total or an across the board average, but no matter, it’s not a controlling interest either way, so it’s not really nationalization, which would actual, ie direct, outright Govt ownership of the banks. We The People own them, We The People operate them, & once they get back on their collective feet, We The People rake in the profits. As opposed to capitalization were We The People would just get a divedend check- provided these banks get to the point where they can start paying out dividends again (Citi is now officially under water) & these half-assed Nobama ponzi schemes are not helping the matter any, infact they could not only delay recovery but weaken it when it finally does happen. Again, not my personal opinion, but from what I’ve read from Krugman, Roubini, & other economists. I must admit I don’t go looking for these stories, I come across them, they grab my attention, & I read them. I haven’t seen any stories about Wells Fargo, so I was unaware that they do not want Govt money. So I went looking. I didn’t find the story you were talking about, but some of the sites I hit are saying that Wells Fargo is in the crapper, so I’m wondering why they aren’t lining up for a handout, along with Citi, AIG, BAC, etc… Ah well, I guess I have to agree with Savage there (even a broken clock is right 2x a day) if a bank doesn’t want bailout money, then don’t give them any.

      Here is a link to Krugman talking about nationalizing the banks. I hope it works.

      http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09055/951102-109.stm

      Krugman didn’t mention it, but you did a few days ago, IA when you were talkimg about Canadian banks eyeballing the carnage here, & possiby buying up things cheap. Better to nationalize the banks & other financial institutions than to have them under foreign control, even if it is our friendly neighbor up north.

  9. The banks (and corporations) are being forced to take from the stimulus/bailout kitty, and as a result, their operations – or at least limits to them – are being dictated by the government. The elephant’s trunk is already in the door, and it’s a matter of time before the takeover is complete.

    I had been dwelling on this whole arena of thought for a while, and Savage’s opening really struck an eerie cord with me. All the pieces are slowing starting to fall in place, and I can only hope (heh) that I’m wrong.

  10. Sonrisa,

    The point of all of this is an ominous one. “The Board” as I will start calling the nebulous group of people now running the country (actually the west) are pushing us towards a North American Union (US – Canada – Mexico; see also 3/6/09 post). So you are right, it’s not really nationalization per se, but it is taking control of the banks to the new government (not the people, ever) and away from the corporate entities that are now the stock holders in the Federal Reserve Board (the master entity that controls our economy). It’s tough to nail down a specific term, because the Board is going for something that’s never been done before in this country. The closest you can come is the European Union and the Euro. Central Bank controlled (read Rothschild and company), and also trying to drive the rest of the world’s economies into the crapper (see recent posts on Russia and China).

    It’s kind of like one of those pictures you have to stare at for a while and then suddenly you see a different pattern than you notice just glancing at it casually. Suddenly it’s an entirely different picture. There’s a huge web here, but it all leads back to the same spiders.

  11. […] out. In today’s morning roundup murphy links to a great deal of stupid PUMA sites, including one by “Insight Analytical” (What, were the names”CutCom,” “EdgeCo,” and “InterSlice” […]

  12. OOH!! Hey, according to this guy, I have an “eccentric” background! Why, because I didn’t sit at the same desk doing the same thing all my life?

    LOL! I’ve made it! I’m being mocked in very personal terms!

    And they can’t even read what I said without completely turning it around! Talk about STUPID…

  13. GRL,

    I read the comments posted on that site, and I’d say you’ve been insulted by a bunch of perpetual 8 year olds. These are people that apparently have nothing more significant to do that spend time making fun of Darragh Murphy and Dakinikat.

    Frankly, I find it disturbing that the “up and coming” generation has no better political insight than to mock that which they obviously are incapable of comprehending. With all the serious problems going on in this country and the world today, all these Gen Jonesers can come up with is it’s fun to laugh at PUMAs. If I were in another country, I’d be laughing my butt off at their ignorance. Since they’re apparently American children, I sigh and hope that soon they will grow up and realize what their arrogance has wrought upon us all.

    These are the children who claim the man-child as their messiah. No wonder we are going under. Not only isn’t the current generation able to learn from history, they are apparently suffering from ADD too badly to even have read it (as they were passed in school in order to maintain political correctness and make each student feel special, no matter how backwards they are in reality). Sad.

  14. Sad…and scary…

  15. today’s supreme court decision allowing corporations to control elections is very very scary

  16. Absolutely, the corpo state that Lewis talked about is the 5 justices decision last week. The constitution is an old, yellowed piece of paper to these guys.

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