Apologies for the lack of updates, friends. However, after watching Representative Alan Grayson introduce the War is Making You Poor Act (H.R. 5353) on the House floor on May 20, I've been inspired to post this picture of one of the great American political heroes of the 20th century: Representative Vito Marcantonio.
Marcantonio was elected to represent New York's 20th Congressional District in 1934 as a Republican in the Fiorella LaGuardia mould; he moved to the American Labor Party ticket in 1938 and was elected for a further six terms.
Marcantonio was a true progressive who always voted in the best interests of working people (he was a tireless defender of the pro-labour Wagner Act and opponent of the 'pro-slavery' Taft-Hartley Act), whilst also being a vocal supporter of civil rights legislation decades before it was politically feasible. Though it's easy to consider him as a patsy for the Communist Party, Marconantonio fought tooth and nail against blacklisting and HUAC.
We live in a time when very few left-wing politicians are willing to stand on principle. Alan Grayson and Dennis Kucinich are our two current heroes in the House, but whenever I listen to them, I think of Vito Marcantonio. If you've never read his book, I Vote My Conscience, there are plenty of second-hand copies available online for a dollar or two.
- ▼ 2010 (11)