Chris Hedges: Forgotten Victims of America’s Class War

Once the jobs left and Democrats abandoned working men and women, people became desperate in the author’s hometown in Maine — as in tens of thousands of white, rural enclaves across the country.

Maine Street America – by Mr. Fish.

By Chris Hedges
in Mechanic Falls, Maine
Original to ScheerPost

I am sitting in Eric Heimel’s barbershop in the center of Mechanic Falls. Russ Day, who was the owner for 52 years before he sold it to Eric, cut my hair as a boy. The shop looks the same. The mounted trout on the walls. The worn linoleum floor. The 1956 Emil J. Paidar barber chair. The two American flags on the wall flanking the oval mirror. The plaque that reads: “If a Man is Alone In the Woods, With No Woman to Hear Him, Is He Still Wrong?” Another plaque that reads: “Men have 3 hairstyles parted…unparted…and DEPARTED!” I can almost see my grandfather, with his thick gold masonic ring on his pinky finger smoking an unfiltered Camel cigarette, waiting for Russ to finish.

Eric charges $15 per cut. He wanted to be a welder, but the welding classes were full.

“Hair. Welding. Same fuckin’ thing,” he says, wearing a black T-shirt that reads “Toad Suck” and has a picture of a toad riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. On Eric’s hat is a homemade deer hair fly, known as a mouse, he uses for fly fishing. 

“Big bait. Big fish,” he says.

“There are 17,000 cars and trucks a day that go through that light,” he says, looking at the traffic light outside his shop. “I only need 10 or 20 of them a day to stop for a cut.”

The pandemic hit his barbershop hard. Clients, for months, disappeared. Eric did not get the Covid vaccine. He doesn’t trust pharmaceutical companies and is not convinced by government assurances that it is safe and effective. Then, on top of Covid, there was an issue of the sign over the shop that read: “Russ Day’s Barbershop.”

Russ wanted it back.

“When I bought the shop I bought the sign,” Eric says.

One night the sign was stolen.

“It wasn’t Russ,” he says. “He’s in his eighties. It must have been his son-in-law.”

“Did you call the police?” I ask.

“How are you going to win in court against an 82-year-old guy?” he answers. “Besides, I’ve never called the police on anyone.”

Russ informed Eric he wanted his mounted trout.

“I already gave him his salmon,” Eric says. “It’s not Russ’s trout anymore. It’s Eric’s trout.”

We discuss local news, including the man who last fall put his credit card in the Citgo gas pump, poured gas over his head and lit himself on fire. He died. An intoxicated man in May fired several shots at another man on True Street. He missed. There was also a stabbing when two neighbors got in a fight. But serious crime is a rarity, although many people have small arsenals in their homes.

Glory Days Long Gone

1922 postcard of Pleasant Street, Mechanic Falls, Maine. (Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

The former mill town of 3,107 people, like rural towns all across America, struggles to survive. There isn’t much work since the Marcal Paper Company mill — which operated three shifts a day and was located on the banks of the Little Androscoggin River that runs through the center of Mechanic Falls — closed in 1981. My aunt worked in the accounting department. By then the town’s glory days were long gone. The Evans Rifle Manufacturing Company, which made repeating rifles and, the brick and canned goods factories, shoe shops, the steam engine plant, W. Penney and Sons, one of the largest machine shops in the state, were already distant memories.   

The weed-choked foundations of the old factories lie on the outskirts of town, forgotten and neglected. The old paper mill was destroyed by fire in 2018. There are empty storefronts downtown and the ubiquitous problem with food insecurity — the regional high school has a year-round free breakfast and lunch program — and opiates and alcoholism. Within a small radius, are three or four marijuana dispensaries.

The house where my grandparents lived, two blocks from the center of town, burned down. So did the church across the street. Its charred remains have never been razed. On Sunday mornings I could hear the congregation singing hymns. The bank in the center of town closed. It is now a photographer’s studio and a hair salon. There is a casino in the town of Oxford which, like lottery tickets, functions as a stealth tax on the poor. The day I visit, a fundraiser is being held at an ice cream shop for an 8-year-old boy who needs a kidney transplant.

When Democrats Won Here

President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter at a White House congressional ball in 1978, Washington, D.C. (Marion S. Trikosko, Library of Congress)

The town is 97 percent white. The average age is 40. The median household income is $34,864. Former President Donald Trump won Androscoggin County, where Mechanic Falls is located, with 49.9 percent of the vote in the last election. Joe Biden received 47 percent. Republicans like Trump never had much appeal in the past. Franklin D. Roosevelt carried the county in the 1932 election. In 1972 the county voted for George McGovern. Jimmy Carter won the county in his two presidential elections.

But, as in tens of thousands of rural enclaves across the country, once the jobs left and Democrats abandoned working men and women, people became desperate. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, after the mill closed with the loss of over 200 jobs, won the county, as they did the state. But things have not improved.  

Across the street from the barbershop is Bamboo Garden, a restaurant run by the only Chinese family in town. Eric says the owners won it from another Chinese couple in a poker game. What was their experience like? How did their daughter cope with being the only Chinese girl in the school? Were they accepted and integrated into the community? I talk to the owner, Layla Wang. I ask her if she experiences racism. “Very nice people,” she says. I ask if her daughter — who is now 26 and lives in Boston — had a hard time in school. “Very nice people.” I ask about her neighbors. “Very nice people,” she says.

It must have been hell.

My grandfather had little use for Blacks, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, communists, foreigners or anyone from Boston. If you weren’t white, Protestant and from Mechanic Falls, you were far down on the racial and social ladder. I cannot imagine him inviting the Wangs over for dinner.

Outside of town is Top Gun of Maine which sells firearms and has a shooting range. There is a red flag with the stars and bars on the wall which reads: “Trump Nation.” The owner periodically puts messages on a board in front of the shop such as “Biden is Going to Take Your Guns” and “Let’s Go Brandon.”

I meet Nancy Petersons, the town librarian, and her husband, Eriks, who runs the town historical society in the town library. The library is located in what was the old high school’s home economics room. My mother and aunt took home economics classes here. High school students now go to a magnet school in the neighboring town of Poland. The building that used to house the town library when I was a boy was sold.

Memories of World War II

The National World War II Memorial against Washington Monument backdrop, 2005. (Skyring, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

On one of the walls on the first floor, where the town office is located, is a sepia photograph of Maine’s 103rd Infantry Regiment. My grandfather, a sergeant, is seated on the right at the end of the first row. My uncle Maurice is standing in the back row. My grandfather was sent to Texas during World War II to train recruits. Maurice went with the regiment to the South Pacific, fighting in Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, the Russell Islands, New Georgia Islands, New Guinea and Luzon in the Philippines. He was wounded. He returned to Mechanic Falls physically and psychologically broken. He worked in my uncle’s lumber mill, but often disappeared for days. He never spoke about the war. He lived in a trailer and drank himself to death.

With the mill gone, people had to find work out of town. Bath Iron Works, Maine’s largest military ship builder, used to send vans to pick up workers early in the morning and bring them back at night. It is a 90-minute drive to Bath.

General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works in Maine, 2002. (U.S. National Archives)

Maine breeds eccentrics. Nancy and Eriks tell me about Mesannie Wilkins, buried in the town cemetery, who in 1955, five weeks before her 63rd birthday, was told she had two to four years to live. The bank was poised to foreclose on her home. She decided, if life was to be that short and she was homeless, to ride horseback from Maine to California. She left town with $32 in her pocket. She rode a horse named King. Depeche Toi, her dog, rode a rusty black horse named Tarzan.

Mesannie, who made the 7,000 -mile journey in 16 months dressed in a hunting cap with earflaps and lumberman’s felt boots, lived for another 25 years. Jackass Annie Road in Minot is named after her.

And then there was Bill Dunlop, a Navy veteran and truck driver, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a 9-foot fiberglass boat called Wind’s Will. He used a $16 sextant for navigation. He made it into The Guinness Book of World Records for the smallest vessel to cross the Atlantic. He then set out in his tiny craft to circumnavigate the globe, a trip expected to take two-and-a-half to three years. He passed through the Panama Canal and halfway across the Pacific Ocean but in 1984 disappeared between the vast expanse of water separating the Cook Islands and Australia.

Burger Night at the American Legion Hall 

Mural on Dallcher Legion Post 632 in Melcher-Dallas, Iowa. (Lwadle, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

It is late afternoon. I am at a table at The American Legion Post 150 on Elm Street with Rogene LaBelle, who was a waitress for 50 years and her friend Linda Record. It is burger night. Members can buy a burger and fries for $5. The hall is crowded. The bar is busy. There are American flags on the wall and a picture of the National World War II Memorial.

The women remember the town before the mill closed.

“Whole families worked there, husbands and wives,” Rogene says. “And when the mill went, local businesses went with it. Now most everyone works out of town.”

She lists numerous restaurants she waitressed at over the years that closed or burned down.

“This legion hall used to be a movie theater,” she says. “I walked down the movie aisle and right up on the stage when I was in eighth grade to get my diploma.”

Colleen Starbird, wearing a gray tank-top and jeans, sat with a friend, Richard Tibbets — who did two tours in the Marine Corps in Vietnam — on the porch. Colleen’s husband, Charles, did three tours as a Marine Corp gunner on Huey helicopters in Vietnam. He died 17 years ago of lung and bone cancer, which Colleen believes was caused by Agent Orange. The couple owned the old paper mill, which they were turning into apartments, when it burned down. They did not have insurance.

“He saw bad stuff,” she says. “They would interrogate Vietcong and throw them alive out of the helicopters. He had flashbacks. He would re-enact events. One night he forced me to crawl under the jeep yelling ‘They’re here! They’re here!’ He really believed in this country. He didn’t want to know he went to war for nothing.”

Colleen has pink toenails, long amber sparkle dip nails and heavily tattooed arms. The tattoo she got when she was married reads: “I have found the one my soul belongs to.” She got another when her husband died. It reads: “Forever in My Heart.”

We cannot dismiss and demonize rural white Americans. The class war waged by corporations and the ruling oligarchs has devastated their lives and communities. They have been betrayed. They have every right to be angry. That anger can sometimes be expressed in inappropriate ways, but they are not the enemy. They too are victims. In my case, they are family. I come from here. Our fight for economic justice must include them. We will wrest back control of our nation together or not at all.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

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30 comments for “Chris Hedges: Forgotten Victims of America’s Class War

  1. TJ
    August 4, 2023 at 12:46

    The reason they have “Let’s go Branden” is because Trump was able to have an economic plan that raised lower and middle class. Biden was put in by the war machine (Bush, Cheney, and the Generals that Trump ticked off). When we spend in these wars, the political and military cheats’ profit. It doesn’t protect us, it weakens us. The same money put through our efficient economy creates productive people and small business jobs. Through governments (military, education, now healthcare and climate) it creates large silo, nepotistic, inefficient money grab fiefdoms. I am sorry that the only way it changes is complete failure or death. Each is inevitable in nature.

  2. Claudette Tremback
    August 3, 2023 at 08:18

    Below is the reason why I moved back to my hometown in Maine. Unsophisticated and completely devoid of makeup Maine is. I left and came back 62 years later because of that.

    International Man: If not cities, where would you recommend people consider living?

    Doug Casey: Well, certainly not the suburbs. They used to be a good alternative that allowed some space, sunshine, and other advantages of a rural environment while maintaining many of the advantages of a city. But no longer. If you’re going to get out of the city, forget the suburbs.

    It’s best to head for small towns, especially those in red states. If you narrow the focus further, choose a small town on a body of water—the ocean, a river, or a lake, preferably with mountains nearby. Those things make them more recreation-oriented. More pleasant and amenable, drawing economically successful people. California was perfect 75 years ago. But, as they say, that was then. And this is now—a different world.

  3. Renate
    August 2, 2023 at 11:33

    Chris Hedges keeps reminding us of our unsocial and uncaring political class. Thank you, Chris.

    The corporate and political elite owns the nation. Laws are written to protect and benefit enormous profits. The government, both parties, are pro-business and anti-family and labor. They never lifted a finger of support when the industry de-industrialized the Rust Belt. IT WAS THE CRADLE OF THE NATIONS INDUSTRIAL POWER and they let it rust away.

  4. J Anthony
    August 2, 2023 at 10:28

    I get what Hedges is saying here. But these folks are looking for succor in the wrong place- Trump and the Republicans. Both parties are morally, ethically bankrupt, so why these folks continue to support Trump and Republicans, to me, is inexcusable at this point. If they can get beyond their own binary thought processes, which won’t be easy, I know, there might be some hope.

    • August 3, 2023 at 08:59

      I don’t think it’s about “their own binary thought process”. It’s about the fake binary political process which since the dawn of Reagan’s America for the Filthy Rich in the eighties, went all into the service for the filthy rich. Nobody else exists, noone else has needs. The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that the GOP talking heads at least fake their concern for the “working” Americans. And the poor wretches lap it up. Reminds me of the Russian writer Anatoly Rybakov’s paraphrase of Proudhon: “After the rich, the people I hate the most are the poor.”

      • J Anthony
        August 3, 2023 at 14:45

        Yes, the fake binary political process that has conditioned so many people to then think that way, be they Republican or Democratic voters. And when it comes to faking concern for working people, are Republicans worse than Democrats? It’s debatable. There are certainly individuals in both parties who genuinely mean well, but the parties as institutions are beyond help at this point. They have been taken over completely by plutocrats, oligarchs, what have you…so it is little wonder, except to the so-called elites, why many voters refuse to vote for either in the national elections anymore.

  5. Balu
    August 2, 2023 at 09:15

    “… “We cannot dismiss and demonize rural white Americans.…”

    It’s actually rural white americans who despise the “other”. The black man , the brown man , the red man , the chinaman. It has been dinned into them that all their problems are caused by “the others” – the stranger among them.
    Some day , when nobody is left to blame , they MIGHT wake up. The fox is strong on the weak minded.

  6. cookie out west
    August 1, 2023 at 22:13

    A bow of thanks to you, Chris Hedges, for this article (and all you writings/presentations also for peace and social justice). It matters immensely that someone speak up on behalf of the poor white communities. Who else will dare to do it, due to fear of being pro Trump and/or racist. Dialogue inclusion of the outsiders …the path of compassion. I value the details you give us in your narrative, the honest anecdotes about your ancestors and people today. Embracing outsiders as if our neighbors, even family…is not that the call of dare I say the Good Shepherd, who talked about leaving those safe ones to go out and seek the lost sheep, reach down and lift them up on to his shoulders. Whereas, looking down upon others as supposedly inferior to enlightened ones….what Freud called in Civilization and Its Discontents the attitude of narcissistic people whose satisfaction is in feeling superior to others. Freud tried to heal suffers. You do too, Chris, in your ministries (and I as a poet). Thank you so very much. Carolyn (Grassi) in California, born and raised in Brooklyn, p.s. I found J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy a powerful experience about the Appalachian poor. (If only the billions going to the proxy war in Ukraine were used to help the poor in the U.S.A.

  7. August 1, 2023 at 17:47

    Chris…should have known you were a Maine boy. You’ve got that chip on your shoulder that very Mainer has carried since the Civil War. My family came here in 1813 and worked in the clipper ship yards on the Kennebec. I was 5th generation yard bird at BIW…the first to attend college of any of my extended family. Blood relatives fought in every war since the war of southern rebellion. My brother in law has done 5 tours in the Middle East. We all have done our part to support our constitution and democratic way of life. Keep speaking the truth brother…no matter the consequences. And for chrissakes…read COVER-UP.

    • August 1, 2023 at 20:25

      What were they rebelling against Lew?

  8. CaseyG
    August 1, 2023 at 17:42

    I wonder what life would be like if when war came—-then Congress had to suit up and go to war, as did the elected ones and the President. See —I finally found a need for the vice president. But I have yet to think of a need for war–for any war. Somehow wars seem to make people forget that we only have the one planet.

  9. Kevin
    August 1, 2023 at 16:31

    Thank you for seeing us, Chris.

  10. Lois Gagnon
    August 1, 2023 at 16:24

    Occupy Wall Street had it right. “We are the 99%.”

    • Rafi Simonton
      August 2, 2023 at 13:01

      Used as a Dem apologist stat to make it seem that what was once the party of the New Deal still cares for us, the majority working class. We know the Rs represent the 1%ers. But since the Ds have the same set of sponsors, whose interests do they serve? The 10-19% professional and administrative class that benefits from the econopathy and disdains the declasse’ masses. So then “we’re the 80%” is closer to the truth.

      • Susan Siens
        August 2, 2023 at 15:14

        Thank you for this, Rafi. I hated that 1% crap when I watched the servants of the 1% living in luxury, paying few taxes, etc. A good way to think about it is that the 1% are the rulers who are extremely dependent upon the class of scribes (lawyers) and other members of the PM class. And 20% was the figure I heard as well.

  11. Caliman
    August 1, 2023 at 16:22

    Great stuff, as always, Chris. Re:

    “We cannot dismiss and demonize rural white Americans. The class war waged by corporations and the ruling oligarchs has devastated their lives and communities. They have been betrayed. They have every right to be angry. That anger can sometimes be expressed in inappropriate ways, but they are not the enemy.”

    In fact, if we find ourselves being led into a POV where we are outright despising our fellow Americans as a group by people who want us to think of them as “deplorable” and worse, you know you are being misled and hoodwinked. White vs black, gay vs trans vs straight, women vs men; the real ruling class only wins when we are apart and in chaos.

  12. Lee Vail
    August 1, 2023 at 16:16

    This has happened in hundreds of towns, thousands possibly, in every part of this once great nation, thanks to the traitors that we called politicians of both parties.

  13. Susan Siens
    August 1, 2023 at 16:12

    I appreciate this essay and the people Chris Hedges writes about. However, there’s a big however.

    How much of the hopelessness, the mental illness, the depression, the anxiety in the U.S. is caused by people’s buying into junk values? The rulers want us to buy into junk values — THEIR values — that war is good for America, that people should all look the same, that success is everything, that having the latest piece of junk is more important than reading or reveling in the natural world? I simultaneously feel empathy for people and impatience with them as they get angry at everyone except themselves. I remember too many blue-collar fascists during the war in Vietnam which they enthusiastically supported. And they then expect a country with such values to do right by them?

    • firstpersoninfinite
      August 1, 2023 at 23:45

      You make some very good points. Eventually, we all have to grow up and count to four by twos instead of counting other people’s misery as our rightful gain in pursuing material happiness at any cost. Even reason seems like madness now, because it must first serve the madness of the powerful before it can meet the basic dictates of anything like reason.

    • Eddy Schmid
      August 2, 2023 at 00:05

      Susan, as a Vietnam Vet myself, though served with the Australian military alongside U.S. servicemen, I am constantly astounded by the blind trust and faith the average American has with their Govt. This is amply demonstrated in the quote from Chris’s article, “He really believed in this country. He didn’t want to know he went to war for nothing.”Unquote. In my experience it is the, “He didn’t want to know he went to war for nothing.” that did, and even today, still does the most damage. From cradle to grave, we are told your Government has got your interests at heart, yet when reality strikes, we discover to opposite is true. When your brain has been conditioned to accept the propoganda as fact throughout all your life, the hardest thing to do, is discard the lies, and face the FACTS openly. Which in my experience, has destroyed totally, many lives, and many others, simply cannot face the reality, and continue to swallow the lies being preached. It really is a sad state of affairs. Luckily I was only 18 when I was sent away to the funny country, and woke up within the first 4 weeks of arriving. The hardest part then, for me, was to survive the 13 months, carry out my obligation to my Govt, (which was achived by telling me LIES, therefore legally, not valid, but who can take on the Govt for breach of contract ?) On arrival back home, I was able to obtain a discharge, and have never looked back on my Govt as an Honest Govt ever since. Today, that dishonesty is once again rising to the surface with the LIES being spread regarding China and Russia. It’s quiet disconcerting to see the public once again falling for the same crap that we did back them. When I try to explain to the younger folks the realities, they don’t want to know, I’m just a crazy old coot who’s lost his marbles. Ah well, so be it. Guess I’ll be the one laughing when they receive their call up papers in the mail.

      • Susan Siens
        August 2, 2023 at 15:30

        My sympathies, Eddy. I think it’s particularly hard for parents whose children either died or came home maimed to accept the truth. My eyes were opened to a lot of this when I saw a friend’s two sons enlist, and I learned that 1) she had done nothing to prepare them for the real world about which they knew naught, and 2) they now finally had a father figure (Sarge!) in their lives. I never buy the economic excuse because we have both Job Corps and good community colleges in Maine; there is something deeper that causes children to enlist. And I would never dismiss the constant militarism on display in Maine as not influential. Someone told me about her son in military college — where he was being tortured by a roommate — feeling embarrassed when he wore his uniform and strangers came up to “thank” him. I actually had a neighbor stand in my kitchen and wait for me to “thank” him! He finally realized it wasn’t gonna happen.

    • Valerie
      August 2, 2023 at 02:57

      I agree with the “junk” aspect Susan. I would also add “junk” food as a poison which inflicts numerous ailments on the populace.

      • Susan Siens
        August 2, 2023 at 15:16

        Omigod, yes, Valerie, junk food and junk “medical care”! I have watched intelligent friends essentially go down the drain taking all the drugs the pushers (doctors) were handing them. After poisoning their brains, they then voted for war criminals despite being supposedly antiwar!

    • Annie MCSTRAVICK
      August 2, 2023 at 08:42

      Good observations.

    • Charles E. Carroll
      August 2, 2023 at 11:36

      Well said Susan!

    • Kurt
      August 2, 2023 at 13:52

      Junk values, a euphemistic junk term for capitalism, everyone’s elephant in the room.

      • Susan Siens
        August 2, 2023 at 15:24

        I agree that the junk values are all rooted in capitalism, but they predated capitalism. I’m a fan of Albert Nolan’s Jesus Before Christianity, and he writes of Jesus’ rejection of the junk values in his time: status, prestige, money, tribe. A prophet could speak to people then because the junk values of their era CLEARLY left them out in the cold — they did not have the money or status to follow all the laws to be “pure.” However, now people have swallowed the junk values and I think that makes it a lot more difficult to transcend them.

        What Chris forgets to tell us in his essay are the yards full of snowmobiles, expensive pickup trucks, RVs, etc. I live in Maine in a poor area and I know whereof I speak; I don’t care that people may be in a world of debt, no one forces you to buy snowmobiles! It’s a lot easier sitting in a VFW hall drinking beer and bitching about whatever than it is to go out, learn how the world works, and fight to make life better for all.

        • Kurt
          August 2, 2023 at 23:19

          Transcend the junk values to what? A reformed capitalism where the reformers think they can beg and plead with the ruling class and the one headed two body duopoly lapdogs to be altruists?
          No one forces you to buy things you don’t need, but no one teaches you not to. Capitalism despises a well educated, frugal citizenry. In a demoralizing for profit world of ultra competitiveness from cradle to grave the concept you are educated to is consumerism through credit, and being an obedient surplus laborer for the Wall Street class who gamble your retirement in the Ponzi scheme called the stock exchange. Blaming the poor for acquiring junk
          ( aren’t they just doing their capitalist duties ) makes you sound like the typical bourgeois upper middle class American who can afford to put their own excess consumerism in a storage unit.

        • August 3, 2023 at 10:13

          Dear Susan, it is what it is. I worked in a Montreal youth detention centre in the eighties and noticed how some kids (I was mostly in the girls’ wing) had more self-respect than others. There would be fourteen-year olds that lived in the streets, full of drugs, ripoffs, hookers and somehow were able to keep clean of all that. The majority didn’t. In my life experience this is how it was always, and always will be. People on the Left are blind to the truth that it is not capitalism that destroys character, but the interacting human characters that build formal and informal relations, whatever names we choose to give them. I grew up in communist Eastern Europe. When I was ten, Nikita Khrushchev promised that my generation would live in communism, i.e. social order that removes social inequality between people thus destroying the basis of human misery for all. It didn’t happen and it never will. The Soviets taught three generations of their kids that individualism and self-concern were wrong and the needs of the “collective” were paramount. And what happened? During an October revolution parade in Moscow in 1989, people carried a banner reading “Seventy-two years on the road to Nowhere!”. Two years later, an opinion poll found that 80% of the Soviet people wanted to live like Americans. As the old Soviet joke went: Under capitalism, man exploits man. In our system it is quite the contrary.

          • J Anthony
            August 3, 2023 at 14:57

            Just because the Soviet Union was a failure doesn’t mean genuine leftist values aren’t worth anything. I imagine when you say “Left” you’re referring to the identity-obsessed Democrats or mainstream liberals, who are all proud capitalists. They are not leftist in the traditional sense at all. Today people don’t know enough history to grasp that it was all those “evil lefties” that fought for labor rights, regulations that protect our air, water and food supply, civil rights for minority, and more. So much of these hard-fought gains have been systematically decimated over the last 4 decades, and the red-scare fear-mongering still works. It’s a sad state of affairs.
            And if you don’t think we can do better than either capitalism or socialism, with the technological capabilities available to us today, then I’d say that only shows the limits of your imagination.

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