I have recently read this review by Ronald Radosh of the book The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia. The book describes the lot of about 10,000 American workers who, during the Great Depression, “… could not help but be tempted by the offers coming from Moscow: Skilled workers were promised paid passage, jobs at high pay, paid vacations, and free medical care. When the Soviet agency Amtorg advertised for help in American papers in 1931, they got over 100,000 applications for slightly over 10,000 advertised jobs. The flood of immigrants included not only steelworkers and auto-assembly-line workers (including Walter and Victor Reuther) but also teachers, clerical workers, dentists, and doctors.
… the American migrants to the Soviet Union learned the bitter truth soon after their arrival. There they found not a worker’s paradise, but near-starvation standards of living, lack of adequate or even slightly decent housing, and little to purchase with the meager funds they were actually paid. When they arrived in the Soviet Union, the Americans were asked to “temporarily” give up their passports. Realizing their mistake and seeking to return to the United States, they were told they were now Soviet citizens subject exclusively to Soviet law, and were not free to come home.”
Ofter reading it, it occurred to me that current situation has some parallels to the tragedy described in “The Forsaken”.
Given the financial mess, some are attracted by Obama’s propaganda the same way people were fooled by the Soviet Propaganda during the Great Depression. They are willing to get on the Obama’s ship on Nov. 4th and sail with their hero to the Workers Paradise. Unfortunately, they will awake in 2009 to something that will not be like the dream they were promised.