Map shows how socialist New York City already was 127 years ago

"In favor of a fully-socialized city"

When Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed his New Deal Legislation in the 1930s, hardcore market capitalists derided him as a socialist. This refrain is often heard anytime there is a proposal to spend public resources on the public, directly to all the people, rather than the Jim Crowed redistributive policies in the 20th Century US or through corporate trickle-down policies. Attesting to the growing interest is redistributive justice, in his 2016 State of the Union address, Donald J. Trump had to emphatically state, "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country." Well, it may be too late, according to these maps at the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, which offer a history-altering explanation of public resource expenditures.

"This map uses a clever technique to argue that New York City was already mostly socialist by the end of the 19th century. It uses just two colors: red, the printing color, and the negative white space of the paper color. The red area shows the parts of the city that were putatively "socialist" already—things like roads, parks, bridges, and wharves that were owned and managed by the public. Only the leftover space was devoted to private enterprises. If the government could already handle so much of the infrastructure that made city life possible, this map seems to argue, couldn't its role be expanded into a full socialist control of the economy?"

"This map appeared in the book Government Ownership in Production and Distribution by the socialist activist Walter Vrooman. Vrooman was an advocate for public amenities like parks, playgrounds, and educational institutions, and he believed that the government had a crucial role to play in creating a fairer economy."