The Soapbox, Issue 29


Mail Truck, 1968. From the Jonathan Abel Collection, Marine Corps Archives & Special Collections / Library of Congress

The Spirit of ’45?

As a British citizen, I was very interested to read your account of the National Health Service (NHS) last issue. I am 78-years-old and for the last two years have been in poor health with mobility problems. I have had a month in hospital, undergone various tests and procedures and received pieces of equipment, such as walking frames. Despite spending cuts I have always found the NHS staff to be competent, helpful, and friendly. And all this cost me nothing.

I am old enough to remember stories of life before the NHS. If you couldn’t afford an optician you chose a pair of spectacles approximating to your needs from the counter in a supermarket. If a tooth needed removing you tied a piece of string round it, attached the other end to the oven door, and slammed it sharply. And worse … much worse.

So you’re correct that the NHS was “one of the great proletarian victories of the twentieth century.” But we should not romanticise the 1945 Labour government.

Within a week of coming to power it sent troops to break a dockers’ strike in London. Between 1945 and 1951 the army was used to break strikes on no fewer than eighteen occasions. And in 1945 Labour prime minister Clement Attlee sent British soldiers to Vietnam to hold that country until the French were ready to reoccupy their colony. Without British troops Vietnam would have become independent, and two long and bitter wars, with two million dead, would have been unnecessary.

1945 was good — but it could have been so much better.

— Ian Birchall, London, United Kingdom

In Defense of the VA

I’m a subscriber, and I work for the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents over 700,000 federal employees.

“The Health of Nations” issue had a lot of good content, but I was disappointed that not a single word was written about the largest publicly funded, fully integrated health care system in the US — the Veterans Affairs (VA).

Founded during the Civil War in Lincoln’s words “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and orphan” today the VA provides care to close to ten million veterans, dealing with health issues ranging from battle injuries, issues related to aging, mental health, and more.

Studies show that the VA provides better care, and frequently has less wait times than the private sector, and that veterans prefer their care at the VA. The system isn’t perfect, but it’s worthy of more serious attention on the Left.

— Matt Muchowski, Chicago, IL

The Internet Speaks

I Think We’ve Found a New Business Model
There will never be anything that makes me happier than unexpectedly seeing a picture of Wallace Shawn.
— Glen Carpenter, Laramie, WY
Brazilian Hip Hop Still Has a Ways To Go
The Jacobin Mag’s feeling blue
‘Cos The Workers’ Party is through.
Killed by Moro, a jurist
(While you’re just a tourist)
No one buys your bullshit about “coup”
— Elton Msquita, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What’s Going on in Brazil?
This Jacobin article is exactly the type of mind virus
that turns people into weaklings.
— Wikair Lopes, São Paulo, Brazil
We Do. You’re In It. Drink More Acai Juice.
Why DOESN’T jacobin have an advice column?
— @floozyesq
Jacobin: “Nationalize the Pubs”
The most leftist thing about this article are the comments demanding a different article.
— Matt Stenovec, Seattle, WA
So More Ja Rule Memes?
Jacobin, stay away from these silly gimmicks; your content is good enough to not have to resort to memes that can alienate people.
— Eduard Swanepoel, Cape Town, South Africa
The Yacht Socialist Collective
a very large percent of socialists don’t believe in taxes. please stop speaking for all of us.
— Chris Luft, A Golf Course
We Will Do Better
a few hours after each jacobin article is posted i see a thread that is like “hey! i’ve got severe milk protein allergy. when a jacobin editor writes that kids enjoy milk and cookies, they are literally putting my life in danger. here’s a thread about inclusive snacks. [1/24]”
— @getfiscal, Toronto, Canada
And Yet Here We’re Using It To Publish a Shitty Magazine
Socialism is also a tool of genocidal power
— Carly Laing, Troll Lair