Friday, November 7, 2008

Colorado in the Great Depression

There is a very good book in the Central Denver Public Library called "Colorado in the Great Depression" by James F Wickens (1979).

To my knowledge there are at least 2 copies that library has. One copy is located in the Western History Reading room on the 5th floor, which can there be photo copied but cannot be removed from the library. The other copy is in general circulation and has a call number of


It is currently checked out by me and in my possession.

I'm finding it very interesting because I think it is very important in a general way for radicals and activists to know their local political history (see my article on this subject here: ), and specifically in our present position, of activists, with an incoming liberal president (though he is rather bad on foreign policy), and a very bad economy, I think we need to know that story and have it as a frame of reference as we approach local organizing today.

This specific book does a good job of combining a survey of economic conditions, official political responses, yet taking a great deal of time to point out "ordinary citizens'" own responses. Mentioned in just the bits I've read have been the formation of unemployed councils around the state who provided work for their members (often on a barter basis), community gardening programs, rather angry demonstrations at the capitol, including one which stormed it in 1933 and drove out the representatives for a day, generally futile illusions in a revival of a gold mining past, among others.

I also think it's very interesting to know the different proposed solutions from various sections of the establishment, whether they be calls for tax cuts or increased highway constructions, to see how well they worked, and to compare them against those calls the establishment is suggesting today.

Anyways, if any of you are interested in such things, swing by the Western History Reading room and you'll find their copy over on the left on one of the shelves that you face north to look at. The staff there can of course help you find it better. There are photocopiers at the library, or, if anyone would like, this thing is 448 pages including the index, and for kinko's $.09 a page I could make anyone a copy for $20.16. The price of course would be different if you know a cheaper printer.

Alternately, there are 4 copies currently on Amazon, but they're starting at 100 bucks a pop ( ) I assume this thing is rather rare and long out of print.

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