The Capital Strike

Roosevelt went on in later weeks to speculate that the slowdown in investment was not economically explicable but was, rather, part of a political conspiracy against him, a "capital strike" designed to dislodge him from office and destroy the New Deal…In a reprise of his tactics in the "wealth tax" battle of 1935 and the electoral campaign of 1936, Roosevelt loosed Assistant Attorney General Robert Jackson, along with Ickes, to give a series of blistering speeches in December 1937.  Ickes inveighed against Henry Ford, Tom Girdler and the "Sixty Families,"…Left unchecked, Ickes thundered, they would create "big-business Fascist America – an enslaved America."  For his part, Jackson decried the slump in private investment as "a general strike – the first general strike in America – a strike against the government – a strike to coerce political action."  Roosevelt even ordered an FBI investigation of possible criminal conspiracy in the alleged capitalist strike, but it revealed nothing of substance.

(From David M. Kennedy’s Freedom from Fear (p. 352) in The Oxford History of the United States.)

A group of capitalists go on strike to protest a government that is confiscating their wealth. The government vows to force them back to work and sets agents on their trail. Hmmm…..seems like there could be a novel in that.


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