Engels on Speculation and Political Formation in the US

Friedrich Engels (1892) on political-economic constraints, including speculation, on US political development:

“(W)holly different groups and interests are represented in each of the two big parties, depending on the locality, and almost each particular section of the possessing class has its representatives in each of the two parties to a very large degree, though today big industry forms the core of the Republicans on the whole, just as the big landowners of the South form that of the Democrats. The apparent haphazardness of this jumbling together is what provides the splendid soil for the corruption and the plundering of the government that flourish there so beautifully. Only when…settlement on the land becomes more and more difficult or falls prey to gouging — only then, I think, will the time come, with peaceful development, for a third party. Land is the basis of speculation, and the American speculative mania and speculative opportunity are the chief levers that hold the native-born worker in bondage to the bourgeoisie.

Only when there is a generation of native-born workers that cannot expect anything from speculation any more will we have a solid foothold in America. But, of course, who can count on peaceful development in America!”

Merci to Doug Henwood.

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