America was a land of wealth for some, but the excesses of capitalism and hard times for farmers and workers gave rise to reform movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Utopians, Socialists, and Communists were among those offering different economic models. In Nebraska, Socialists and Communists found a foothold.
Socialist Party Office in Spalding, Nebraska.
Loup City Riot
It was Flag Day 1934 in Loup City and several hundred people gathered on the courthouse square. Some were there to support local women chicken processors in their struggle for better wages and working conditions. There were others who assembled to keep an eye on "outside agitators."
Among the outsiders was Ella Reeve "Mother" Bloor, a major figure in the American Communist Party.
Suddenly, someone in the crowd yelled "Hey Rube!" (a rallying cry in the rough and tumble world of the circus when a carnie got into a fight with a local). A free-for-all erupted. Even though many of the rioters were armed with clubs, rocks, and homemade blackjacks, only one person was seriously injured.
Following World War II the Cold War inflamed the fear of Communists in America. In 1952 Joseph McCarthy came to Lincoln to deliver a major national anti-Communist speech over radio. The photograph is of McCarthy in Lincoln on August 24, 1951.
Socialist Eric Hass was born and schooled in Lincoln. He worked as a waiter, cook, railroad brakeman, engine-wiper, and newspaper reporter. In 1928 Hass came into contact with the Socialist Labor Party. By 1932 he was a National Organizer and became editor of the Weekly People, the official party paper in 1938. He was re-elected to this office in 1940 and served as editor until 1968, when he resigned. A year later he also resigned from the Socialist Party. Hass was the author of many pamphlets on Socialism and of a history of the Socialist Labor Party and the Internationalists.
Hass was the Socialist's nominee for the President of the United States in 1952, 1956, 1960, and 1964. In 1956 and 1960, he received over 46,000 votes. He also ran on the Socialist Labor Party ticket for governor and U.S. senator in New York, mayor of New York City, and U.S. senator in Oregon.