Merriam-Sinclair Battle Outstanding
in National Political Scene - 1934
Advertisement for the California
League Against Sinclairism - 1934
Quinn Flays Sinclair in Radio
Talk - 1934
Sinclair Would Place Jobless
on Ranches - 1934
Sinclair - The Radical Years
Londons Letters to Upton Sinclair
ON-LINE BOOKS BY UPTON SINCLAIR
of Religion - 1917
Consequences of Land Speculation... . - 1924
Poverty in California
The EPIC Movement
DIGEST asked Upton Sinclair, Democratic candidate for Governor of California,
to contribute the current article on the outstanding issues of the
forthcoming campaign and the fundamental problems confronting the country
Democratic Candidate for Governor of California
of our movment to End Poverty In California and its polling the largest
vote ever cast in a California primary, is that our people have reached
the saturation point as regards suffering. We are just about to begin the
sixth year of the depression. We have one-and-a-quarter million
persons dependent upon public charity, and probably as many more who are
able to get only one or two days work a week or who are dependent upon
relatives and friends. That is too heavy a burden of suffering for any
civilized community to carry.
attitude toward this situation depends upon one factor. If he believes
that private industry is coming back, he is willing to wait
and endure and patch things up. But finally in must occur to him to wonder
whether the thing called prosperity will ever come back again.
If he makes up his mind that it is not coming back, then his whole attitude
changes and he is ready to consider some new procedure, thoroughgoing and
been telling the people of California for the past year that this is the
permanent crisis, the one which does not pass away. I claim to speak with
authority, because I have devoted my whole thinking life to the study of
depressions, their cause and their cure; I proved my knowledge by predicting
thirty-one years ago, and continuously ever since, this particular
crisis, the permanent one. I assert that it is caused by the
overproduction not merely of consumption goods such as food and clothing
which are quickly used up, but of production goods, the great machines
and factories, which do not get used up but stay right where they are.
I am telling
the people of America that we have ten million unemployed who will never
work again while the present system endures. For the past year I have been
telling the people of California that the burden of supporting their permanently
unemployed million-and-a-quarter is driving cities, counties,
and State directly into bankruptcy. I have told them that in some hundred
and fifty mass meetings, attended by from one thousand to fifteen thousand
persons. I have told them in some three hundred thousand pamphlets and
some five million copies of weekly newspapers. And in August some four
hundred and fifty thousand of them went to the polls and said that they
agreed with me.
is to be done? No more important question confronts the American people
today. If we do not find an orderly solution, we are going straight into
the course of horrors which we have witnessed in Germany. I have believed
all my life in democracy, the right and ability of the people to govern
themselves. I am now offering the people of my home State a plan and a
technique of procedure which will remedy the depression by gradual stages
in a peaceable and human fashion, without violence and the overthrow of
our political, industrial, or social system.
(End Poverty in California) movement proposes that our unemployed shall
be put at productive labor, producing everything which they themselves
consume and exchanging those goods among themselves by a method of barter,
using warehouse receipts or labor certificates or whatever name you may
choose to give to the paper employed. It asserts that the State must advance
sufficient capital to give the unemployed access to good land and machinery,
so that they may work and support themselves and thus take themselves off
the backs of the taxpayers. The EPIC movement asserts that
this will not hurt private industry, because the unemployed are no longer
of any use to industry.
a new cooperative system for the unemployed. Whether it will be permanent
depents upon whether I am right in my belief about the permanent nature
of the depression. If prosperty comes back the workers will drift back
into private industry. No harm will have been done, because certainly the
unemployed will produce something in the meantime, and the State will be
that much to the good.
the immediate emergency in our State and get the money to start our new
cooperative system, we propose what we call an EPIC tax. That
is an ad valorem tax on property assessed above $100,000, which
means about $250,000 of actual value. This tax will fall almost entirely
upon our great corporations and utilities, and to make it easier for them
we shall make it payable at the option of the State, in goods and services.
That will give us most of the raw materials and all of the utility services
which the unemployed will need to get production started.
a great irrigation and power project known as the Central Valley Project.
We propose to send fifty thousand unemployed into this work and ask the
farmers of the Central Valleys to bring their surplus food crops, taking
credits which will be good for water and power when the project is completed.
The EPIC tax will give us the needed lumber, cement, rock and
gravel, steel, etc., and light, heat, power, and transportation. The project
will be carried out by our Public Works Department, and it will bring industry
back to life in California.
October 13, 1934
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