Reds: A Revolutionary Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Jello_Biafra, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    Introduction

    This timeline will focus on the events and causes leading up to a successful socialist revolution in the United States in the year 1933, and the impacts that such earth shattering change had on the course of world events. While this timeline will note all of the massive changes that occurred (and also, how much really did not change), it will not begin at the point of divergence. Instead, we will start with a glimpse of the present, in the form of a look at a popular television show at the turn of the 21st century:

    The Committee's Office

    The brainchild of PBS 7's Aaron Sorkin, The Committee's Office was a weekly television drama that detailed the lives and work of the men and women in the Central Committee's senior staff. The senior staff of the Central Committee are responsible for the unglamorous but crucially necessary work that keeps the government of the UASR functioning. Often criticized for having an overly optimistic picture of the inner functions of socialist democracy at the union level, it remained a huge critical and viewer success on public television for eight seasons before drawing to a close.*

    Here follows an excerpt from a novelization of the pilot episode:

    So begins another day at the Committee's Office. With all of the activity in the lobby this morning, it is easy to forget that this is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the seat of the All-Union Central Committee for the Union of American Socialist Republics, and not a busy subway terminal. Amidst the hussle and bussle of the early morning activity, a stately man, advanced in age, walks briskly past the security guards at the entrance. He moves quickly through the lobby, weaving past a busy clerical worker as he walks towards the receptionist's office.

    As he passes the receptionist terminal, the attendant says "Nice morning, Comrade McGarry."

    "We'll take care of that in a hurry, won't we Mike?" the man replies with dry sarcasm.

    "Yes sir," the attendant chuckles.

    The man continues his brisk pace into the inner workings of the west wing of the old Pennsylvania House. He is Leo McGarry, the Chief of Staff to the Central Committee, and a personal friend of the First Secretary.

    He quickly pushes through a set of white double doors, into the inner office. A woman runs past him quickly, pausing only momentarily to exclaim, "Don't kill the messenger, Leo."

    "Oh why the Hell not, Bonnie?" he replies as he grabs the morning's memos. He passes quickly through the press office, making his routine morning acquaintances before calling out for his deputy. "Josh!" he yells.

    Josh's blond assistant responds instead. "Morning Leo," she says.

    "Hey Donna," Leo responds. "Is he in yet?"

    She pauses from stirring her coffee, looking up at him coyly. "Yeah..."

    "Can you get him for me?" he replies, clearly irritated.

    She turns around in her seat and yells "Josh!"

    "Thanks..." he sighs

    "I heard it's broken," she abruptly changes the subject.

    "You heard wrong," he replies, barely pausing from reading the memo.

    "I heard it's-"

    "It's a mild sprain," he interrupts, "he'll be back later today." Anticipating her next question, he continues explaining as he walks towards Josh's office: "He was swerving to miss a tree and he failed."

    Leo walks though Josh's open door just as Josh finishes his phone conversation. "How many Cubans exactly have crammed themselves into these fishing boats?"

    Josh responds as he busily jots down a note, "Well, it's important to understand, Leo, that these aren't exactly fishing boats. You hear the word "fishing boat" and it conjures up an image of, well, a boat first of all. What the Cubans are on would charitably be described as rafts."

    "I get it. How many of them are there exactly?"

    "We don't know."

    "What time did they leave then?"

    "We don't know."

    "Do we know when they get here?"

    "No"

    "True or false: If I stood on high ground in Key West with a good pair of binoculars I'd be as informed as I am right now."

    "That's true..."

    "Well that's the Foreign Office's money well spent then."

    "Well, having any sort of diplomatic relations with the old regime in-exile that's occupying Cuba, we might have a better idea."

    "You look like Hell, by the way," Leo sighs as he begins the walk toward his office.

    "Yes I do. Listen, Leo, did he say anything about it?" Josh asks timidly as he follows Leo.

    "Did he say anything?!" Leo cries, "the First Secretary is pissed as hell at you Josh, and so am I."

    "I know," he protests.

    "We've gotta work with these people, and how the Hell do you get off strutting your--"

    "I know"

    "Caldwell is a good man," Leo scolds.

    "Caldwell wasn't there!"

    "I'm saying you take everyone on the Christian front, dump them into one big basket and label them stupid! We need these people."

    "We do not need these people..."

    "Josh, if this minority government can't get at least some votes from the Left Democrats, then we can't govern. You know we have a whole lot better chance dealing with them than the authoritarian statists in the Socialist Party."
    So that's a little teaser for this timeline. Hopefully, I'll be able to make periodic updates on it throughout this week, but you'll just have to savor this much for now. I will give you this morsel to chew on: the POD is September 5, 1901.

    *Basically The West Wing, but with red flags, in case you didn't catch the reference.
     
  2. MacCaulay Banned

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    I'll follow it. It's an interesting angle you started on, and I like that you didn't just say something like...say...1947: blahdiblah happened.

    I'm on board, man!
     
  3. CCA Member

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    Looks fantastic!

    Looking forward to more!
     
  4. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    Thanks. I've always found it a bit depressing that in this board, devoted to alternate history literature, there isn't much actual literature being written.

    Depending on how much output I can sustain, I'm hoping to keep the amount of dull timelime stuff to an absolute minimum.

    Welcome aboard, comrade. :)
     
  5. Tobit Well-Known Member

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    Is it ok if I laughed while reading this? I am big fan of the West Wing, but what was the most hilarious is that the usual portrayal of Red America is an iron boot stepping on a face for eternity.
     
  6. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    Of course. That's part of the reaction I'm going for.

    Yeah, I loved the West Wing as well. Practically grew up watching that show. I figured it would be a good way to simultaneously show how much changed and really how much didn't change.

    Red timelines are usually either dystopias or (less commonly) utopias, so I figured it would be nice to take the middle way this time.
     
  7. The Doc Well-Known Member

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    For a "common AH cliche", there certainly isn't a lot of work done on this subject. Very much looking forward to the next installment.
     
  8. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake

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    I suppose the only question I have right now is whether this revolution would be socialist or communist in nature. I mean, you said socialist, but the terminology you're using sounds a bit more communist. So I'm a bit lost here.

    Otherwise, your timeline interests me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
     
  9. Venusian Si Well-Known Member

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    So is the POD that the Treaty of Portsmouth is never signed?
     
  10. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    In the American left, there has never really been a distinction between socialism and communism. Part of the rhetoric will be in part influenced by the Russian Revolution, since it predates the American revolution, but it also has its own unique flavor.

    No. There's a much more important event that happens on that day.
     
  11. RCAF Brat Vanguard of your destruction

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    McKinley doesn't get shot? TR never becomes president?
     
  12. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    We have a winner :)
     
  13. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    Playing Kaiserreich ATM, I demand more!
     
  14. CCA Member

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    ...So... Update?
     
  15. DISSIDENT Banned

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    It would make me so happy if you find a way to have Jerry Brown as President later in the ATL like in "California Uber Alles" by the Dead Kennedys. Cool name BTW.
     
  16. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    An selection of posts from the alternatehistory.com discussion titled "WI: McKinley Assassinated in 1901", dated May 1, 2009

    *I know, short update, but finals week is coming up and I have studying to do*
     
  17. Communist Wizard Well-Known Member

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    Interested. VERY interested.
    And you have a good style, though I prefer Year: Events format myself.
    One wonders wat the ramifications for the USSR/Russia would be?
     
  18. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    I will see what I can do about that :)

    Thanks. I will be including some year/event stuff for the less important stretches of time. But I find that a bit of literature is more effective when discussing key moments.

    A slight hint about the USSR situation: A Trotskyist vs Stalinist Cold War
     
  19. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    Some Notable Events, 1901-1904

    October 1901: The Social Democratic Party of America, a relatively weak third party at the time, unites with dissident elements of DeLeon's Socialist Labor Party to form the Socialist Party of America. Though the party contained elements ranging from revolutionary left-wing socialists to more moderate social democratic reformists, it adopts a largely left-wing, industrial unionist platform.

    May 12, 1902: The Coal Strike of 1902. 150,000 miners in the anthracite coal fields of western Pennsylvania from United Mine Workers of America go out on strike, demanding shorter hours, higher pay and increased control over their workplaces. By June 2, the Coal Strike deepens as maintenance and clerical workers affiliated with the mines join the strike in solidarity. While owners originally welcomed a moderate strike lessen the effects of over supply, the situation turns serious by August. The owners appeal to the federal government for aid in defeating the strikers, as the Pennsylvania national guard is not sufficient to maintain security of the mines and suppress the strike. In October, President McKinley deploys units of the US Army to suppress the strike. Dozens of miners are killed in the resulting engagement, and by the early November the strike is over, with the miners accepting a modest paycut in exchange for keeping their jobs. These events anger progressives within the Republican party, driving many into the political wilderness.

    January 1903: In the aftermath of the Coal Strike, leadership of the still recovering UMWA shifts dramatically to the left. The Union affiliates with the Industrial Workers of the World and the nascent Socialist Party.

    April 1903: After Columbia rejects the canal treaty, President McKinley sends Marines to support the Panamanian independence movement. The new Republic of Panama is established as a protectorate of the United States. Construction on canal accross the Isthmus begins late in the year.

    November 17, 1903: Elsewhere, the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits into two factions, the Bolsheviks (Majority) and Mensheviks (Minority). Scarcely a whimper of this change is heard in the US, even among radical circles, until half way through the next year.

    May 1, 1904. US Army engineers begin work on the Panama Canal. Elsewhere, May Day demonstrations by labor groups swell to record numbers, beating expectations.

    The 1904 US Presidential Election

    McKinley, following precedent, chooses not to seek a third term in the White House. At the Republican National Convention that year, the solidly conservative Senator Charles W. Fairbanks is selecte as the Presidential Nominee with little opposition. William Howard Taft is selected as the VP nominee.

    At the Democratic National Convention, Alton B. Barker and Henry G. Davis are selected as the the President and Vice President nominees respectively.

    The Socialists nominate Eugene V. Debs of Indiana and Benjamin Hanford respectively.

    After a productive campaign season, the election results in a near landslide victory for Fairbanks. However, this election also serves to place the Socialists on the national electoral scene.

    Other parties to contend the election were the Prohibition Party and the Populist Party

    Results*
    Charles W. Fairbanks (R).........7,415,312 votes (336 electoral votes)
    Alton B. Barker (D).................4,987,123 (140)
    Eugene V. Debs (S)................705,235 (0)
    Silas Comfort Swallow (Proh)....248,482 (0)
    Thomas E. Watson (P)............114,070 (0)

    *results unlikely to accurately reflect vote counts, due to widespread voting fraud by dominant regional parties
     
  20. CCA Member

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    So close. Yet so...

    Actually its quite far apart, carry on! When is the next update :D?