Southern History Month 2019: The Dust Bowl, Soil Erosion, Okies

Lately, I have been amazed by the Democrats who are running on the “Green New Deal,” which conservatives have successfully turned into a laughing stock by arguing that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to ban farting cows to stop climate change.

I’m just watching the stupid politics on television as a disaffected White populist and nationalist voter and wonder why the Democratic strategists never respond to the “conservatives” and attack their paradigm of free-market capitalism by pointing to, say, the Dust Bowl, the exodus of the Okies to California or the massive soil erosion all throughout the Cotton Kingdom of the sub-tropical South whose soils were leached and eroded by heavy rainfall. The New Deal had programs that successfully responded to this problem like the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936.

3.5 million people left the Great Plains states to immigrate to places California. 1 out of every 8 people in California is descended from an Okie. It was the largest exodus of people in American history and was caused by an unprecedented environmental disaster. And yet, it is like there isn’t a single Democratic strategist left in the United States who remembers it happened. Is there a Democratic strategist who has ever listened to Woody Guthrie or read John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath?

If I were a Democratic strategist, I wouldn’t be attacking all the angry White populist voters in the center of the electorate as “far right.” This might cause them to vote for Blompf out of spite in 2020 like they all did back in 2016. Those people are Left-Authoritarians who value social cohesion and economic fairness. I would try to communicate my vision and message with better arguments?

Soil erosion devastated the American South:

“Unlike many northern and midwestern soils, most southern soils could not sustain continuous crop production and therefore prompted migration to the West. The disparity between the potentials of southern and midwestern soils to support continuous cultivation and a dense rural population was apparent in the numbers of rural youth available to fight the Civil War. In 1860 Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi supported an average 17.3 rural residents per square mile, while Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois had an average 37.5 rural residents per square mile.”

Martin Melosi, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Environment (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), p.144

The Dust Bowl is only the most spectacular example of soil erosion in Southern history. The Tennessee Valley was devastated by soil erosion like the rest of the humid South:

“Since European settlement, erosion has been a problem in the South. Native Americans had developed a sustainable system in the prefertilizer era. Fire recycled nutrients to provide game habitat and allowed for a very limited amount of cropland. The region had the highest intensity and duration of rainfal in the continental United States. Climate, combined with an affinity for cleanly tilled, widely spaced rows on sloping hillsides, unleashed erosion. Subsequent loss of topsoil, the growing medium, was to be lamented. But many southern topsoils and especially the subsoils were not loaded with nutrients, as the historical literature too often assumes. Topsoil “richness” was very limited to the nutrient content of rotting vegetation and/or the ash that could be obtained from burning the bio,ass that took several years to grow …”

Martin Melosi, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Environment (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), p.144

Throughout most of our history, Southerners constantly moved westward because of the impact that rainfall and soil erosion had on our environment. Our Southern ancestors simply exhausted the soil and picked up and moved on from the Eastern South to the Western South. At least that was the way it was until the 20th century when the problem was recognized and remedied.

Note: Oklahoma used to be a hotbed of labor and agrarian militancy. It was one of the most radical states in the country in the early 20th century.




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7 Comments

  1. You’ve matured over the years … but along the way have alienated southern white Christians. Hitler heilers were welcomed on your site and those with ideas about Confederacy 2.0 were attacked and mocked. Couple this with at least 30 % of the comments here being from trolls who don’t want to see whitey move up … and you’ve shaped and molded your audience into anti white southern anti Christian yes men.

    Your mission should you decide to accept it is to save the south. To do this you’ll have to reshape your audience into a more intelligent “founder like” “Confederate like” imagination having bunch.

    See yourself 5 years from now. See your platform 5 years from now. Had you done this “Southern History” series awhile back, you’ld have had a lot more comments under each article.

    You won’t accomplish any good meaningful change to the white south with the audience you’ve built.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    You can still save the south if you market quickly and heavily to your alienated southern white Christian audience. These are the masses of people who will follow and donate to you. Not the fringe goofball immature Hitler heilers. They in fact will turn your cash cow / political cow crowd away.

    Good luck man. “I” want to see the south rise again. I’m for and with anyone helping that to happen.

    • You won’t find any Yankee who is a stronger advocate for Southern secession than me, GG. I would’ve been beating up niggers and Union troops with my fellow New Yorkers during the Draft Riots of July 1863.

      PS: The Fuhrer’s birthday is this Saturday. Heil Hitler!

  2. My Wife is from Lawton, Oklahoma. She remembers spending time with family in Bakersfield, California in the 1960s. In the farm country of California, their were a lot of people who spoke Southern. LA was a lot like Dallas.

    I had a friend who lived for a time there. He said it was a lot like a farm town in Texas.

    Before colonists from Yankeedom transformed it into Mexichusetts, California was the second Texas.

    When I was a kid in Sherman, Tx, every Spring for a few years, the sky to the west would be cloudy red. After recess, we’d wash the taste of West Texas out of our mouths at the water fountain. People still fear the return of another dust bowl.

    • All the way into the 1970s LA still had some remnants of its Western cow town heritage.

      Lawton, OK…right outside the main gate of Fort Sill. A real Army town, replete with strip clubs, payday loan stores and head shops. Not exactly a cultural mecca, I’m afraid.

      • @spahnranch1969

        When I went to Lawton, I visited the Museum of The Great Plains with its live prairie dog town and a preserved MKT steam locomotive.

        I also visited the Artillery museum at Fort Sill.
        I went through Duncan, Oklahoma on the way to and from Lawton, and saw the main Haliburton manufacturing facilities, where they build and repair mobile cement units for themselves and outside customers.

  3. “I’m just watching the stupid politics on television as a disaffected White populist and nationalist voter and wonder why the Democratic strategists never respond to the “conservatives” and attack their paradigm of free-market capitalism by pointing to, say, the Dust Bowl, the exodus of the Okies to California or the massive soil erosion all throughout the Cotton Kingdom of the sub-tropical South”

    As I’ve said before, the Democrats don’t care about the South or the Interior West.
    Neither do the Republicans. The vast majority of them are from Yankeedom, that nation within a nation that sees itself as the true and real America. And at perpetual war with the South and West, which they see as colonial possessions and as subordinate subjects, if not outright enemies, and not as “fellow Americans.”

    Joe Biden isn’t going to make any real effort to get votes from Southerners or folks in Montana and Kansas. He doesn’t really need their votes in order to win.

    He’s gonna rely on factory workers in the Rust Belt, farmers in the Corn Belt, and the begrudging vote of Northeasterners and Mexifornians, to put him in office.

    If Trump hadn’t gotten five Northern states to switch sides and vote with the South and West, he wouldn’t have won.

    The South and West are politically irrelevant, and have been since 1860.
    The original Southern Nationalists knew and saw this.

    That’s why we’ll never get anywhere as long as we can’t govern our own states, and the South as a whole, as we see fit, rather than as Yankeedom sees fit.

    The Democratic and Republican parties are not parties of the South and West. They have to go.

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