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Transcript of Communism
Okies were sadly mistreated by the law, and they had no power to change the system.
The ultimate authority in California was basically the local police force, and they had power to do almost anything to anyone even without reasonable cause.
All of this was caused by their views of inequality between the okies and the rest of the people living in California. “For here “I lost my land” is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate -“We lost our land.” The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first “we” there grows a still more dangerous thing: “I have a little food” plus “I have none.” If from this problem the sum is “We have a little food,” the thing is on its way, the movement has direction.” (206) What is Communism? political theory derived from Karl Marx
advocates class war
no private property
equal distribution of goods
group over the individual The 1930s Dust Bowl Economy Public Opinion Grapes of Wrath
Communism Devestated american farmers in the midwest.
Caused thousands of families to be pushed out of their homes.
People took out loans from the bank, unknowingly signing away their farms.
The main cause of the migration to California.
Demostrates the mistreatment of the middle and lower classes by the wealthiest people. Wealth at this time was already concentrated at the upper few percentages of citizens.
Banks were draining the money from the poor rural farmers.
Capitalism was working poorly at this time, the poor didn't really have a chance to rise in society.
Farmers began moving to California looking for wages.
No one could make money farming in the mid-west anymore. “Why in the hell you gonna git me on? I’ll make it shorter. What you cuttin’ your own throat for?” One of the men just replied, “I dunno. Got no sense I guess” (Steinbeck 401) Tom throughout whole journey has been cheated by greedy men
Finds it hard to believe that men are willing to help him when it could hurt them
As a collective, Weedpatch is all about the common interest, just like Communism
To Tom it seems like the men are hurting themselves, in the long run Weedpatch will become more succesful with his work
Communism is built on the shoulders of the common worker and strength through unification and numbers “Ya see? Cops cause more trouble than they stop” (524) (Jim)
As in most things, the law has a very large “grey area”. What one man interprets as illegal another could say is within the law. There was no strong court system in california at this time, so the law was entirely under the jurisdiction of the police. The police are in no way consistent in their policies, but they generally have a bias against the migrant okies. A police force with this much variablility is certainly not a benefit to society. Any need for a police force is removed by communism because everyone is equal in society. 3. In chapter five, Steinbeck refers to the bank as a “monster,” something “more than men…men made it, but they can’t control it” (Steinbeck 45). 1. “The more fellas [a farm owner] can get, an’ the hungrier, less he’s gonna pay” (Steinbeck 259). “Folks is their own cops” (Steinbeck 523). Weedpatch has own self-regulating government where everyone is equal
No person has authority over anyone
All decisions must be made by a large majority of the people
Communism frowns at any forms of authority
Believes they create more trouble than they're worth 2.*Farm ownders did not care about the working condition of the laborers.
*Farmers only pureley sought for farming profits over anything else.
*Number of laborers increased, but the wage per person decreased.
*-> this ultimately benefited the farm owners because they had more source of work.
*Suggests the corrupted nature of capitalism embedded in farmer's mindset.
*Steinbeck indirectly promotes for equality, which can be seen as communism. “The deputy fired from the ground. A woman in front of a tent screamed and then looked at a hand which had no knuckles. The fingers hung on strings against her palm, and the torn flesh was white and bloodless.” (266)
This is another example of the inefficiency and variability of police. While one man could be smart with the authority given to him, another man could act like this, shooting without any real cause and hitting an innocent woman. This novel truly brings to light the benefits of not needing a police force, especially one with so much corruption, bias and imperfection. The manager said, "Try not to hit her. She isn't well. She just isn't well." And he added softly, "I wish she'd go away, and all her family. She brings more trouble on the camp than all the rest together." (Steinbeck 435) 4. *Bank was an instutiton that took away small farmers' lands for its profits.
*Bank replaced the farmers with tractors and abandoned many people.
*Bank seemed to be the root cause of total chaos between the farmers to desperately look for lands.
*Steinbeck implicitly pushes for communism by denouncing the authority of banks and capitalistic society. Weedpatch, and Communism, are both compared to a Utopian societys
Problems always arise when not all agree with the collectives main idea
Those people don't contribute to the society and end up hurting it
A Communist system requires the majority to have a large lead, or the sociey will stagnate from conflict
While rest of the book extols many of the Communist ideals, this is the first look at some of its flaws “This is the beginning - from “I” to “we”(206) this movement Steinbeck mentions is not only the movement towards california but the movement of individuality to a collective group of people In the Grapes of Wrath, the Okies have worked together to survive, and have depended on each other, which depicts the idea of communism as the group functions together. With the evil of capitalism and big business trying to tear them down, trying to keep them hungry in order to make an extra buck, the Okies don’t become hard and cold, they do not turn away those who are like them. Their empathy brings them together, from “I” to “we”. They share what little they have, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The Police The Grapes of Wrath took place in between the two major "Red Scares" which was a period of fear of communism
People were generally scared of communists taking over, and were very cautious when they spotted any inkling of communist ideals.
Whoever spoke against the United States government was considered "Communist"
John Steinbeck, subtly speaking out against capitalism and the government, recieved doubtful looks. Do YOU think Steinbeck was advocating Communism? The Grapes of Wrath demonstrates the failings and shortcomings of a capitalist society. The poor and middle classes are mistreated and disrespected. Only the small percentage of wealthy people prosper in a society like this. The Grapes of Wrath is appeared to promote communism by making capitalism seem almost evil in its effects on the lower and middle classes. It advocates communism by revealing the problems with capitalism and showing a society where no one really has opportunity to be successful. lol new frame