There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about Capitalism verses Socialism or Communism. Capitalism is clear-cut from the other ideologies, but the same cannot be said about communism and socialism. Socialism and communism are often used in place of each other despite being fundamentally different from each other. Capitalism puts the control of one’s assets in the hands of the individual, while socialism and communism put all or most assets in the hands of the government to hand out…or not…as they see fit. In my opinion, the government agencies we have really haven’t done such a great job that I would want to go back and give them more power and control.

These days there are many people who would like to switch to Socialism or Communism, but I think it’s because they don’t understand these ideologies. The United States used to understand them very well, and when some of the immigrants tried to bring Socialism and Communism into this counter, in late 1919, and into January 1920, President Woodrow Wilson directed the United States Department of Justice to carry out a series of raids to capture, arrest, and deport these immigrants, because they should never be allowed to come to our country and they try to change it in the country they chose to leave…especially because the reason they left was because it wasn’t working in their country.

These raids were called the Palmer Raids. The primary targets were Italian immigrants and Eastern European Jewish immigrants with alleged leftist ties, with particular focus on Italian anarchists and immigrant leftist labor activists. Attorney General A Mitchell Palmer spearheaded the operation, and the result was that 3,000 people were arrested. Of the 3,000 arrested, 556 foreign citizens were deported, including a number of prominent leftist leaders.

As often happens in government, what one department likes another doesn’t, so Palmer’s efforts were largely frustrated by officials at the US Department of Labor, which had authority for deportations. They apparently objected to Palmer’s methods. The Palmer Raids during the time of the First Red Scare, a period of fear of and reaction against communists in the US in the years immediately following World War I and the Russian Revolution…the Cold War era. The Palmer Raids were strikes that garnered national attention, and prompted race riots in more than 30 cities, as well as two sets of bombings in April and June 1919, including one bomb mailed to Palmer’s home. Whether the methods were good or bad, I agree that no immigrants should ever expect to come into this country and then fundamentally change how we run things until it becomes just like the nation that they worked so hard to escape.

Unfortunately, Palmer’s raids became the subject of public criticism and led to the rise of the ACLU. Because very little evidence of terrorist bombs was uncovered during the raids, and people were held without legal representation, and some of the raids were carried out without search warrants, the whole operation took on a bad light, even if some of those who were arrested and deported were, in fact, terrorists.

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