Reading Pennsylvania and Socialism
Cited below, by the inclusion of relevant content in picture format, is a very old book about Pennsylvania history. What is very interesting is that much of the existing infrastructure in Pennsylvania today is a result of what was set up earlier. It was good to find that the Pennsylvania of Yesterday is very much recognizable when compared to the Pennsylvania of today.
Reading Pennsylvania was founded by English but inhabited by Germans between Lancaster, Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. When reading the section on Reading (no pun intended) Pennsylvania, I learned that this Pennsylvania Dutch town actually had what was described in the book as a Socialist administration and a history of Union activity and strikes. I also learned that during the original American revolution, the population of Reading was quite revolutionary against the British imperialists. This is interesting, because the people of Reading rejected the mainstream economy and society for revolutionary change, just like the Amish outside of Lancaster City have. However, Reading moved away from capitalism in a Socialist direction, whereas Lancaster Amish purposely insulated their own community from finance capitalism and modernism in a separatist religious direction. Still, it is interesting to be aware of the historical ability of the region to arrange society instead of simply riding the course of history passively. No one can doubt Philadelphia’s own role in bringing about the original American revolution.
While Pennsylvania may have trampled over Southern Revolutionaries, Pennsylvanians have proven themselves capable of revolutionary thought and action. Yet in my opinion what existed in Reading Pa was not true socialism, but capitalism administrated by people with socialist ideologies. The system was still capitalist, but the people who ran the system were socialists. This would most likely be comparable to Mensheviks if any parallel could be drawn to Russia, but drawing a parallel is always an oversimplification of history. Considering the material conditions of America as a whole, Pennsylvania as a state and Reading as a city, that may have been the most ideal arrangement at the time.
By my colloquial knowledge of the region, I know that Reading has a history of being an important manufacturing city with outlets (and is now being outsourced). The included content below alludes to this. Perhaps something about the economy brings about class antagonisms and something about the culture caused people to fight for populist change on behalf of those antagonisms.
Included below is the material which I referenced.