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Thread: "Was JFK Developing an 'Industrial Policy?', and/or Was He perceived as Such by His Enemies?"

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    Default "Was JFK Developing an 'Industrial Policy?', and/or Was He perceived as Such by His Enemies?"

    Elsewhere, Nathaniel Heidenheimer has posed the question that comprises the title of this thread. I'd like to offer at least a partial answer by quoting from George Michael Evica's The 81 Promises: Contexts of the Crime.

    Professor Evica's original pamphlet analyzed JFK's efforts to collect and address all of the promises he had made to the American people during the 1960 campaign. During the transition, President-elect Kennedy assigned this task to Richard Goodwin, who in turn created a number of task forces to complete the job.

    The excerpt from 81 herein provided may be of value to Nathaniel.

    What about regional versus state redevelopment?

    This task force report was titled, blandly, "Area Development," but its text presented the first great government intervention since FDR between an often indifferent industrial complex and a less powerful citizenry. Relief for "personal hardship," food for the needy, and increased unemployment compensation were called for. Assistance was to be focused on children in an emergency public works projects drive, and still another task force was called for in this area alone. But jobs need employers, and the report urged the support of new industries in needy, often depressed areas.

    "Area development" legislation was proposed that seriously disturbed the sluggish fifties-oriented Congress. Calls for laws supporting techincal assistance, loans for privately-financed new projects, loans and grants for public facilities, job training combined with subsistence allotments for workers in "distressed areas," a "secondary market for industrial mortgages," and more loan insurance were correctly perceived by the powerful as attempts to establish a large and significant economic welfare plan. And the bloated Pentagon felt the winds of change blowing in from the Kennedy task forces; federal procurement contracts and programs were to be placed in "substantial labor surplus" areas; high unemployment pockets were to get first crack at important Federal orders and purchases from private industry.

    But the areas of physical need in the country were to be matched by attention to educational opportunities, and even a hint of what was called "equal" education for all must have set the country's racists' teeth on edge.

    Training in job skills, placement support, examination in detail of "special employment problems," and that the unemployed be trained in and matched with the country's needs in highways, forest reclamation, parks, agricultural conservation, and fuels and minerals research and development were strongly argued, and, again recalling FDR, a domestic "Youth Conservation Corps" was called for. If private industry agreed to move to distressed areas, the government would be prepared to offer "special tax amortization" plans.

    Finally the idea of united regions encompassing several states or parts of states was advocated, especially where "special regional development problems" were historically present: the Appalachian area, for example, stretching across eleven states. An "early warning system to detect the beginning of [negative economic] trends ... " was to be developed to forestall future Appalachian type disasters.

    There is more. Much more.

    As Professor Evica noted,

    John F. Kennedy was reaching the people [on the issue of disarmament]. A victory in the 1964 election, a Congress more in concert with the vision of his 81 promises, was anticipated. And his arguments for nuclear disarmement, for detente with the Soviet Union, for peace, had helped energize important members of congress, led by Senator George McGovern.

    Senator McGovern, working with Professor Seymour Melman of Columbia University, drafted the National Economic Conversion Act (to establish a National Economic Conversion Commission) and introduced it in the Senate on October 31, 1963. The legislation, McGovern reported, was "co-sponsored by thirty-one members of the Senate. Parallel bills were filed in the House of Representatives, notably under the leadership of F. Bradford Morse (R., Massachusetts) and William Fitts Ryan (D., New York)."

    Conversion from a wartime to a peacetime economy ... When have we heard about this pipedream in recent history?

    Evica again:

    But there was to be no peace issue in the 1964 campaign, and Senator McGovern's economic conversion for peace legislation was to be in serious jeopardy. Less than one month after the introduction of the National Economic Conversion bill, President John F. Kennedy was killed in a deadly crossfire ...

    The [Johnson} Administration effectively stalled the McGovern peace legislation.

    On June 22, 1964, at the bill's second and closing hearing ... [a] group of "official witnesses" from the Johnson Administration, ram-rodded by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, protested the bill's provisions.

    ... And we now know exactly why the peace initiative of Senator McGovern during the last month of JFK's life was so rudely rejected by the succeeding Johnson Administration. Six months prior to the faked Tonkin Gulf incident in August of 1964, [LBJ] had already been running covert military operations against North Vietnam. At the same time, Johnson was " ... planning to obtain a Congressional Resolution ... the equivalent of a Declaration of War."

    I am currently working from Professor Evica's research notes to expand this work. I hope to complete and publish Beyond the 81 Promises during 2009.
    Last edited by Charles Drago; 11-21-2008 at 02:56 PM.

  2. #2


    Therein lies one of the keys Charles and Nathaniel. A war time economy versus a peace time economy. I haven't read GME work in this area but it looks most interesting and I look forward to further post from you on this.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. #3


    I am not surprised to read that JFK was working with George McGovern toward peace. I have always wondered what Senator McGovern thought about the assassination. I wrote to him over the years many times, but not on this issue. (And always received lovely letters in return).
    Perhaps today- on this sad 45th anniversary -I should look him up and write to him one last time, this time not for an opinion, but assuming his opinion is the correct one and ask him to have a talk with the president elect on these an executive decision to undo the magic date when all records will be released. Etc.
    Just a thought, did not mean to veer so off topic.

    I look forward to seeing you update GME's work cd.

  4. Default

    This article from "left'kennedy bashing Counterpunch (it also has some other great articles, otherwise it wouldn't be performing its function) begins in an interesting way.

    Notice how the interview sets up for a good JFK bash that is worthy of any of Mad Sir Alexes snideswipes from his Gallaxy 500s. But then look how Hudson responds.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Nathaniel Heidenheimer View Post
    This article from "left'kennedy bashing Counterpunch (it also has some other great articles, otherwise it wouldn't be performing its function) begins in an interesting way.

    Notice how the interview sets up for a good JFK bash that is worthy of any of Mad Sir Alexes snideswipes from his Gallaxy 500s. But then look how Hudson responds.
    This is actually a fascinating interview of Michael Hudson by the always astute Mike Whitney, which lays out clearly and damningly why we live in an era of Junk Economics.

    The Junk Economists occupy key political, advisory, thinktank and academic positions. They advance the interests of what Hudson defines as Economy #2: the financial, property-based, non-productive part of society. And Econmy #2 is parasitic upon Economy #1: the part of society which produces and consumes.

    When the parasite has chowed on the host so greedily that the host is bleeding, destitute and missing several limbs, it's time for what Naomi Klein defines as Shock Therapy. And with the Junk Economists advising politicians from Obama to Brown, the cattleprods are already sizzling.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  6. Default A Buisnessman's Letter to JFK by David Rockefeller, Life, July 6, 1962

    This is an article I have been meaning to look up for a long time. (:deal: I hope)

    This article is called "A Buisnessman's Letter to JFK by David Rockefeller, Life Magazine,July 6th, 1962.

    I think, if one reads closely one could see some interesting differences between the boilerplate. While today we might not expect it in mass media, there were attempts to maintain a middle brow at this stage of the Cold War, much more so than today, even if this middle brow itself served wider Cold War ends of the day. In short, beneath the boilerplate there are six or seven very interesting paragraphs IMO.

    Battling Wall Street by Gibson, A Century of War by Engdal, and Thy Will be Done, by Colby and Dennett all argue that the years 1957 -63 were a turning point in US Capitalism, or a fork in the road. In these years, the authors agree, Industrial Capitalism was finally abandoned in favor of finance capitalism. Thy Will Be Done even makes the connection to NAFTA.

    In my view the Kennedy years were the critical ones in this transition, and these changes have clearly have clear parallels in foreign policy-- Vietnam, detente possibilities, redirect investment in Latin America, and serious changes in the Alliance for Progress [e.g. Thomas Mann was pacified for abruptness of Stage 2 cut off with the plumb of being named boss of Alliance For Progress. After that, the coups just kept coming] -- but for some reason the important foreign policy decisions are often shorn of their implications for the domestic economy.

    disinformation-pushers work daily to remove the Cold War history from the Assassination, and reduce it to a who done it, a matter for ballistic experts with no clear connection to how we ended up in today's world--in which we are currently experiencing the greatest degree of income inequality since 1917, a fact completely unworthy of mention in today's Corporate Media. This assassination of history enables the misplaced hopes in Goldman-Sachs-Democrats, and enables many to not laugh openly at the puppet show of these two bankers parties, in a year that has turned the Republican Party from widely scorned thieves to """""""""""""""""""populist""""""""""""""""""" ""
    Last edited by Nathaniel Heidenheimer; 01-17-2010 at 05:35 PM.

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