Regional Differences and the US Left

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo kklcac at
Sat Mar 17 20:49:48 MST 2001

Tony Abdo wrote:

> 'Populism' was strong in Oklahoma and Texas.     But Carrol is correct
> to point out its limitations at the time.      It was a rural movement
> that challenged very little of the racism in the rural areas.

I agree with Carroll that "The SP throughout its history had an
opportunist response to racial issues and included open racists within
its ranks," but even so, it is wrong to say that the Socialist Party of
Oklahoma "challenged very little of the racism in the rural areas." For
example, at their 1912 convention, they adopted a resolution that
denounced the racism of the Democrats and Republicans. It protested
against the "lawlessness, oppression, and violence" that Blacks were
subjected to and called for "class conscious solidarity" of Black and
white workers and farmers. It warned poor whites that their own
disenfranchisement would follow that of Blacks. This resolution was not
only adopted by the Oklahoma Socialist Party at their 1912 convention,
it was later ratified by the party's rank-and-file in a special
referendum (see James R. Green, *Grass Roots Socialism: Radical
Movements in the Southwest, 1895-1943*, Louisiana State University
Press, 1978, pp. 237-238).

--Kevin Lindemann

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