Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Bonus Army: Forgotten or Relevant?

In 1932, the US government sent active duty army troops to attack its own WW I Veterans.
This is a guest post from Herb Freeman

It was inspiring to me to manage to get to Zuccotti Square on Monday and to make my small contribution against the weather. I'm pretty old, but not anywhere old enough to have participated in the World War I veterans' bonus march in 1932, encompassing about 30,000 veterans and families, from all over the country, demanding that the government honor their promised $1.25 a day veterans' bonus in the middle of the 1930s depression.

Instead, President Hoover sent Major General Douglas MacArthur, Major Patton in charge of two troops of cavalry and four tanks, and oh yes, Major Eisenhower, who later called MacArthur "that dumb son of a bitch", not for dispelling and burning the veterans' makeshift dwellings, but for personally overseeing it. That overkill reaction, according to many historians led to Herbert Hoover's defeat by Roosevelt, who wasn't much better to the veterans.

Your Occupy the Highways, is what reminded me of this event, which has many parallels to what you are now accomplishing, and you may already know of this history, or have been reminded of it many times.  I just thought that it was significant that this action follows an American tradition of dissent, and not only the Arab Spring model.

Possibly better articles are on the History website and Wikipedia.  I didn't find any from a participant's point of view.

Fight on.

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