How Politics Works

On Upton Sinclair’s I, Candidate for Governor and How I Got Licked:

I meant to get this issue of The Scoop out on February 1 or soon thereafter, but decided first to finish reading Upton Sinclair’s account of running for governor of California during 1934 so I could include a review

Though the book is in one sense applicable to a particular time in history (the Great Depression era) and to a particular place (California), it also exposes the way politics works in most if not all times and places — with the will and good of the people as a whole being overwhelmed by the lies of the powerful and their mercenary accomplices.

Sinclair, one of the most popular novelists of the early 20th century, considered himself a moderate socialist (think Bernie) when he and some like-minded thinkers developed a plan called EPIC (End Poverty in California). The plan envisioned putting the unemployed to work in factories and on farms sponsored by the state government. These enterprises would supply the needs of the otherwise unemployed and their families, thereby cutting the cost of state relief programs without interfering with the larger economy. For the details of how this could work, read the book. But in short, under the EPIC plan, everybody would win.

Clubs in support of EPIC launched all over California. The movement’s popularity convinced Democratic party leaders to enlist Sinclair to run as a democrat.

He won the primary in a landslide and appeared on the way to the governorship.

But the power brokers, once they came to understand that Sinclair and his kind wouldn’t play ball with them by compromising their principles for votes, rallied and besieged him with every sort of propaganda. Newspapers, billboards, and millions of leaflets labeled him a communist, an empty-headed dreamer, a liar, a swindler, a pawn of foreign powers.

Anyone who cares to understand what goes on politically in our time, should consider the book essential.

Buy it here,
Or here.