Celebrate 80th Anniversary of FDR's 1933 Inauguration and Remember Glass-Steagall, London Professor Says
February 21, 2013 • 10:25AM

"A Year to Remember: 1933 Brings the New Deal," is the headline on a Jan. 18, 2013 article on www.social.europe by University of London professor John Weeks, a citizen of both the U.S. and the U.K. The date to remember, Weeks explains, is the March 4, 1933 inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt, the 80th anniversary of which is this year.

With appropriate sarcasm, Weeks points out that this anniversary will be celebrated "by very few" in the U.S. and "only noted in passing by President Barack Obama (if he does that)."

Weeks notes that key among the "extraordinary series of legislative changes" that FDR carried out, was the Glass-Steagall law of 1933. "It is no exaggeration to attribute to Glass-Steagall the prevention of another financial crisis for fifty years," he says. He then goes on to document many of FDR's other bold programs, whose anniversaries are also celebrated this year: the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Securities Act, among others. Even more important, he says, is the political message from the first days of the New Deal "that economic crises create the possibility of bold, radical and rapid change."

Roosevelt and his advisors achieved these basic changes, Weeks recalls, "through a combination of optimism, commitment and willingness to 'think outside the box.'" EC and German authorities would do well to take that lesson to heart, he warned. "They might also recall Albert Einstein's view of repetitive failure: 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.'"

Weeks recalls Roosevelt's own words in explaining why he tended to even go against previously-held beliefs: "Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do something else."

Weeks is part of a European-wide but UK-based-organization, The Good Banking Forum, which bears further investigation but appears to be focused on banking reform, breaking up the big banks, and strengthening regulatory mechanisms. He has written previously about Glass-Steagall, notably in a 2012 article published in The Real News in which he recommended, at that time, that the Occupy movement focus on "Glass-Steagall on steroids," and slammed Obama for failing to implement that policy as soon as he took office in January of 2009. He warned that "there's going to be another banking collapse. It will probably be in the next year."