California Studies Association

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Gray Brechin on the Living New Deal

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Last fall, in remarks at the FDR Library on the 75th anniversary of the WPA, Gray Brechin gave a speech focusing on the multifaceted impact of the New Deal, in which he highlighted the California Living New Deal project at UC-Berkeley’s Geography Department (of which Prof. Brechin a the founder) and efforts to expand it nationwide. From the speech:

The people responsible for building this invisible New Deal archipelago had a big idea: they believed they were building a civilization worthy of the name, a democratic civilization that would endure and be a beacon to the world then darkening with the fundamentalist ideologies of those times. They had no idea that we would let it fall into ruin because we were persuaded that we should not have to pay taxes, as, for example, the governor and university administrators are now doing at the University of California because (as they say) they have no alternative. The example of the New Deal shows that there is an alternative — it’s a matter of priorities.The people responsible for building this invisible New Deal archipelago had a big idea: they believed they were building a civilization worthy of the name, a democratic civilization that would endure and be a beacon to the world then darkening with the fundamentalist ideologies of those times. They had no idea that we would let it fall into ruin because we were persuaded that we should not have to pay taxes, as, for example, the governor and university administrators are now doing at the University of California because (as they say) they have no alternative. The example of the New Deal shows that there is an alternative — it’s a matter of priorities.

To read the whole speech, click here.

One thought on “Gray Brechin on the Living New Deal

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