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How the other half lives: Studies among the tenements of New York. What were Progressivism’s most significant successes and failings?
How the other half lives: Studies among the tenements of New York. [ What were Progressivism’s most significant successes and failings? Answer: The CP leaders talk glibly nowadays of the need to “apply Marxism-Leninism creatively” to the problems of American politics. They ought to start by using the methods of Marxism to analyze why all previous efforts to capture the Democratic Party for
progressive purposes and to reform monopoly capitalism ended in bankruptcy. But they have reasons for refraining from such an investigation. For a Marxist examination of the rise and fall of the progressive movements would not only illuminate the causes of the failure of reformism but likewise expose the fallacies of the current CP line which follows in their well-worn track. The last three decades of the nineteenth century were basically a period of tightening political reaction following the colossal revolutionary leap of the Civil War years and Reconstruction. This “Gilded Age” saw the impetuous, almost uninterrupted rise of capitalist forces in the United States and on a world scale. Despite minor and puffed-up reforms, the triumphant plutocracy was energetically consolidating its grip over the major spheres of our national life. The 1892 platform of the Populist Party, as summarized by Charles Beard in The Rise of American Civilization (p. 210) made the following indictment of “The Gilded Age” of capitalism. ]
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