- from Amazon:
When economic opportunity disappeared from the American landscape during the Great Depression, it was replaced by numerous unheard-of options that would have been judged unthinkable in previous decades. Among these was the scheme to burn your own house down in order to collect the insurance premium check(s).
This article was written by an anonymous soul who wanted the Script readers to understand that the life of an American Communist during the Great Depression was not a good one. Their lives often involved constant police surveillance and harassment to say nothing of blacklisting.
"What boon can membership in the Communist Party confer upon them in exchange for the martyrdom they almost inevitably suffer? But is any membership card ever printed worth having one's skull fractured for?"
More about American Communists during the Great depression can be read here
This is a graduation commencement speech that was written simply to appear on the printed page of a 1933 magazine - it was far too depressing to have ever been recited before an audience of eager-eared graduates and their doting relatives.
"You know, of course, that 'times are hard'... You know that less than ten percent of the post-graduate professional men from last year's class have found work. And you have heard from home. Allowances have been cut. Classmates have had to drop out of college. Old family friends have had grave misfortunes. Homes have been lost. You know all these things, but you can't realize them fully at this moment. You will, unfortunately, realize them only too well when you yourselves try to find a place in the world."
"Scrip (sometimes called chit) is a term for any substitute for legal tender and is often a form of credit" - so reads the Wikipedia definition for those items that served as currency in those portions of the U.S. where the bucks were scarce.
The attached news column tells a scrip story from the Great Depression - the sort of story that was probably most common on the old frontier.
Columnist George Sokolosky (1893 - 1962), writing from the road, reported that a general uneasiness had fallen across the land as a result of the economic stagnation:
"Wherever I go, I am told of how many families live on the city and country. In Williamsport, Pa., a delightfully intelligent young woman explained to me how this year was different from last in that many of those who contributed to charities are now, rather quietly, taking charity."
Three years into the Great Depression a citizen of Chicago realizes that there is nowhere he can go to escape the uneasy presence of the hungry poor in his city:
"They're on the boulevards and in the parks. They're on the shady streets in nice neighborhoods and around the corner from expensive restaurants. You can tell they're starving by looking at them. Their nerve is gone - they don't even beg. You see thousands every day... Young men and old women never begged in this country before."