Tribute to President William V. S. Tubman (Part 4)

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Tubman and first Israeli Ambassador

By Rev. Dr. Samuel E. Vanisea

President Tubman’s Open-Door Policy brought enormous economic growth: For example, the budget rose from $750,000.00 in 1943 to $50 million in 1963 (Liberia’s Open-Door Policy by Lawrence A. Marinelli, 1964). But where did the money go? In this section, we will follow the money. We will focus on education which is the important aspect of development—human resources. But first, a word on his Integration and Unification Policy and how it evolved.

When President Tubman proposed to create a society of mutual respect and equal opportunity for all, many felt it was another empty rhetoric to be soon forgotten. But he took it religiously. He turned to Israel for guidance and support. Almost all the development projects that Israel sponsored in Liberia were meant to enhance Tubman’s Unification Policy. One Israeli historian wrote, “However, the primary assistance which Israel could offer to Liberia related to Tubman’s Unification project.” (Israel and Liberia by Yekutiel Gershoni).

Tubman and the Natives

Historians applauded Tubman’s outreach to the natives. Geneva C. Turner wrote in the Negro History Bulletin in 1962 that Tubman was the first president who showed respect and benevolence toward the natives. He elevated natives to high offices in government and had an advisory council among them. On the corner of McDonald Street and Camp Johnson Road once stood the Native Mansion where native chiefs visiting Monrovia were lodged and treated like dignitaries.

The conservative wing of his own True Whig Party resented his growing popularity with the natives. Natives in high offices created a sense of unease in the party and they would do anything to undermine them. For example, in 1954 former President Edwin Barclay and defectors from the party launched the Independent True Whig Party to oppose Tubman (Historical Dictionary of Liberia by D. Elwood Dunn, Amos J. Beyan, & Carl P. Burrowes, 2001). Their purpose was to reverse Tubman’s policies and keep the natives at bay. Of course, Tubman crushed them. He won back some, but the relationship was by no means normal because he would not abandon the natives. Tubman continued to emphasize unification and integration.

Tubman and Mass Education

The conservatives were relentless still to undermine the natives, so the president needed another strategy to enhance his Unification Policy. That was why and when he pivoted and began to emphasize mass education in the 1950s. He reasoned it was a great idea to appoint natives to high offices, but that would be short-lived if the masses of them remained illiterate. He believed education will empower indigenous people to eventually advocate for themselves in a society where they were economically and politically marginalized.

Mr. Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi, Tubman’s Secretary of Public Education in 1957-1962, explained it like this, “Within the framework of an organized education program, they (the natives) will be able to improve their condition and to develop their own initiative” (The Unification Question and Education in Liberia by Nathaniel V. Massaquoi, 1960).

President William V. S. Tubman and Dr. J. Max Bond

When Tubman upgraded the former Liberia College to University of Liberia in 1951, he hired Dr. J. Max Bond as president. Dr. Bond was former Educational Advisor for the Republic of Haiti. The president and Dr. Bond made plans to recruit more indigenous students to the university. As a result, in 1952, a Negro History Bulletin commentary on the university stated that, “… the student body is made up not only of sons and daughters of the original settlers … but in fact, the largest  portions of students are representatives of all the different tribal groups.” 

Researchers viewed Tubman’s mass education program as revolutionary. Emmanuel Boone Waydon, Lui Ying, and Barbara L. Ketter jointly wrote that, “Following economic growth and Tubman’s inclusive policy, schooling in Liberia revolutionized and extension of education for indigenous Liberians ensured” (Free and Compulsory Primary Education Policy in Liberia: Gap Between Promise and Actual Performance, 2016). Mass education would be an expensive undertaking, but the president was resolute, and he dedicated a large portion of his budget to education (The Problem of Mass Education in Liberia by O’Hara Lanier, 1961).

Education Spending

Analysts were stunned that Tubman pumped so much money in education. Before he became president, there were 251 schools (mostly missionary schools), 19,000 students, 500 teachers, and a total budget of $50,000 up to 1944. Under Tubman, the increase was astronomical. By 1967, there were 1,092 schools (mostly government schools), 120,741 students, 3,874 teachers, and an education budget of over $5 million (Liberia: The Dynamics of Continuity by Thomas P. Wrubel, 1971). That amount did not include textbooks and scholarships.

A report in the Journal of Modern Africa (1973) found that from 1966 to 1971, education alone consumed the highest budget expenditure of $30.1 million (over $6 million per year) compared to the total of all other government spending of $26 million for the same period.

Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS)

MCSS was President Tubman’s signature project. There was no structured education program in Liberia till Tubman became president. Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) he reached out to San Francisco State College (SFSC) in California in 1961 to create a school infrastructure and instructional program for Liberia. The goal for the 10-year project can be summarized into four categories: 1. To do away with schools held in private buildings not suited for instruction; 2. To build a school infrastructure and instructional program that meet international standard; 3. To create a school system that has its own secretariat (for less political control); and 4. To meet the need of the growing population of school-age children in Monrovia. For example, Tubman High, G. W. Gibson, and New Port Junior High schools, when they were initially built, they matched most schools currently in the USA. I first entered a well-equipped science laboratory in G. W. Gibson School when I was in the 4th grade. There I first used a microscope. We had a school nurse on campus. Kindergarten to 1st grade received free writing pads, pencils, and books. When I attended Gas School in Bassa Community (K to 3rd grade) we had free meals of buckwheat/rice and gravy or cornbread and Klim milk at least twice a week. Weeks before school began, we went to the Public Health Clinics for full medical checkup and to be vaccinated. All free.

When completed, the MCSS model would be adapted in every county, whereby each county will control its own education system and customize it to its needs.  

USAID provided the initial funds over $5 million for the infrastructure and the Liberian government covered operational costs of more than $4 million initially. Additional government spending for MCSS doubled from $494,000.00 in 1963 to $977,000.00 in 1970. Government also set aside extra money for Liberian technicians to be able to replicate the MCSS-style project in other counties without delay. A World Bank report said in 1970, the year before he died, President Tubman’s education expenditure exceeded $13 million (International Funding of Educational Development: …The Case of Liberia, by Joanne Nagel and Conrad W. Snyder, Jr., 1989). Data on MCSS may be accessed through the archives of San Francisco State College in California, USA.

Unfortunately, Tubman died the year MCSS project was to be completed. Disappointingly, under succeeding administrations education budget began to diminish by the millions. MCSS seems to be a lost treasure in Liberia’s education.

Healthcare

We do not have space to discuss healthcare, but it followed the same pattern as education. As a result, by 1971 Liberia was deemed the healthiest country with the lowest death rate of 1.6 percent compared to the rest of West Africa (The Development of Liberia by Louis P. Beleky, 1973). Beginning in 1950 Tubman allocated more than 15% of each year’s budget to healthcare (The Liberian Foundation: Aims and Methods, by Stanley J. Leland).

Growth With Development

In 1960, the Tubman government, through USAID, invited economists Robert W. Clower, George Dalton, Mitchell Harwitz, and Alan. A. Walters to evaluate Liberia’s economy. The survey was done from January 1961 to August 1962 and published in 1966 by Northwestern University Press. The title is “Growth Without Development.” That book has been touted by Tubman’s critics as an indictment. They claim it reveals that Tubman’s economy was selfishly motivated and it did not impact the country in any meaningful way.  

Ashmun Street Monrovia 1948

I cannot critique the book, just few observations: First, the survey was completed in 1962, nine years before Tubman’s regime ended in 1971. Thus, it is fair to say that the book did not reflect the entire Tubman era. Second, the book has had several peer reviews and almost all of them disavow its conclusion about Liberia. For example, one reviewer concluded, “Another serious fault of Growth without Development is that it is badly out of date. Since all the material in the book dates from 1962 or earlier …”  (Growth without Development: An Economic Survey of Liberia. A Review by Paul B. Huber. Published by American Economic Association, 1967).

On the other hand, a comprehensive study of the entire Tubman regime was conducted for The Journal of Modern African Studies in 1973 and published by Cambridge University Press. The title is “The Development of Liberia” by Louis P. Beleky. Here is an excerpt of the conclusion:

“Yet today Liberia is placed by the UN Committee for Planned Development ahead of 25 ‘hard-core’ least-development nations, which include 16 in Africa … In probably every developed country, development began subtly for decades, if not generations, before it accelerated to a rate rapid enough to identify. It can, therefore, be safely said that Liberia has not only been growing but also developing.”

Conclusion

Doubtless, there were missteps during Tubman’s administration. But all things considered, objective data point to “Growth with Development.” Millions of dollars poured into the country, and correspondingly, government buildings and institutions sprung up; roads and hospitals were built and extended to the interior, and jobs were plentiful. Electricity and water systems were put in place and a greater part of the budget was dedicated to education. All that, plus more, was happening for the first time in a 100-year-old nation.  

Tubman inherited crippling loans and deficits, plus a city that mirrored plantation-style architecture of the old American South, and a nation drained by internal conflicts. Within two decades he turned all that around and Liberia ascended as a competitive international trade partnership, profiting from the vast expanse of capitalism that pervaded at the time.

He created wealth for the country, and just the same, he spent the wealth on the country. He inherited $1.5 million from his predecessor, and dying, he left over $100 million for his successor. Sadly, many misunderstood him because, according to those who observed his personality, he did not wear his successes and feelings on his face. He kept a balance between power and humility.

St. Paul says one person plants and the other waters. So, the path to Liberia’s future rests squarely on the shoulders of succeeding administrations—how they manage the wealth entrusted to them.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Vansiea is pastor of Joy World Universal Church in Minnesota, USA (though his writings here do not represent the church’s opinion). His email: [email protected]

8 COMMENTS

  1. I want to thank Dr. Vansiea for his historical insight into the Tubman era, though brief. It was W.V.S. Tubman who modernized Liberia. I hope those who are criticizing Tubman and his administration will come up with an in depth historical perspective of their favorite Liberian president, before or after Tubman. Liberians will be in a better position to compare and contrast and make their own judgements. Sitting back in a hammock and criticising, is not enough.

    Some of the ideas that Tubman cultivated and applied in his administration, were from one of his political opposition, Didwo Tweh. If one could revisit some of Tweh’s speeches long before Tubman’s administration, he/she will realize what I am stating. Tweh and Tubman were follow south easterners. He was not totally oblivious to some of Tweh’s main concerns: the national integration and unification policies; national education policy; and opening up the hinterland of the country. I know that among some of Tubman’s critics are some Liberians from Nimba, Loffa, Grand Gedeh, and Bong Counties. These counties came into being due to Tubman’s initiatives. As former Secretary of the Interior, opening up the interior, was one of D. Tweh’s dreams. He made this known in government, his speeches, and his political activism.

    Who was Tubman? Was he one of the bourgeouis of the Americo-Liberian establishment of Monrovia? Did he benefit from the education that Liberia’s only institution of higher learning, the Liberia College, could offer? Did he obtain a scholarship to go abroad and pursue his education? The answer is no, no, no,and no! He was the son of a Methodist Preacher in Harper, Cape Palmas. He sponsered a good portion of his education himself, of course with some help from parents and relatives. He worked his way through high school, and then the apprenticeship law system in Harper City. With all things considered, he was not a child of great meanse and wealth, growing up, but he turned around the history of Liberia for the better.

  2. Replacing divisions of caste with those of class in a de facto semi apartheid so called political system or country in which the majority were excluded even from the franchise, but were named new counties to legitimize the physical and mental torture on them to pay tax to the settlers government in which they the majority had no say nor representation are no developments.

    Heaping praises on a visionless despot, tyrant, and malignant dictator who denied and trampled on the first generation rights of liberty, as well as the second and third generation rights of equality, and even brotherhood, as the majority , but with the enjoyment of all such rights only apportioned for the visionless wicked dictator and his fellow one percent settlers kin and their Masonic Craft are what you fantasy as developments? You are simply propagating falsehood. Samuel Vansiea is is an agent of STATAN and this is why he is obsessed with spreading this falsehood …the trademark of SATAN OR LUCIFER.

    A son of a pastor becoming president of a nation but is so much involved in human sacrifice is what you believe is working way through high school? For your education, that ritualistic killer and do nothin Tubman never entered high school, nor college. He stopped in the eight grade, but eigth grade during those days was worthy of praise! You people should desist from disseminating myths and falsehood. The late great Willie Lohn Tolbert was the one who graduated from high school and from college with a Bachelor degree in Economics. Tubman and King were simply ritualistic killers living on human blood.

    Those two visionless heathens had all the economic means to erect great and durable developments. But they squandered everything when during their evil regimes as they sold their fellow human beings into slavery amid periods of massive influx of foreign capital..the highest on the continent of Africa for a considerable period. A phenomenal growth which only produced great distortions in the economy and vastly exacerbated existing social inequalities in the distribution of wealth and rights.

    And for such wicked and bad governance amid the massive influx of economic miracles, the US AID criticized the Tubman and King eras as ”GROWH WITHOUT DEVELOPMENT”!

    • Sir, with all due respect, the W.V.S. Tubman and C.D.B. King eras were anachronistic. To be exact, King’s administration began in 1920 and ended in 1930, whilst the Tubman era began in 1944 and came to an abrupt end, upon his demise, in 1971. This proves the anachronism of the two presidencies. Tubman may have been a legal advisor to his kin, Vice President Allen N. Yancy, Sr. during the Barclay administration when the Fernando Po Fiasco flared up in the 1920s, but he certainly was not a policy maker at that time. He entered the fray in 1931 in legal defense of the Republic before the League of Nations, mainly because of Allen. Who would not come to the aid of a close kin when in deep trouble? He took some beating, and still does, because of this move, but this is something he felt he had to do at the time.

      Critics always refer to the boom economy of Liberia during the Tubman administration, an economy he is accused of “mismanaging”. Guess whose farsightedness and ingenuity in policy-making created the atmosphere for that boom.

      • Anders, you display yourself as the personification of evil, primitivity, and cruelty and one exhibiting madness and chronic ignorance in his psychopathic mindset when you refer to a President CDB King selling his fellow citizens as slaves to Fernado Po as a “fiasco“ in an international criminal prosecution by an international commission founded and adjudged the the very CDB King as the principal in the first and second degrees of the international crime of selling human beings into slavery.

        With such malodorous mindset, it is not surprising that you would deceive yourself about Tubman a mere eighth grade student and a mere neophyte in law and a niincompoof in international law being “in legal defense of the Republic before the League of Nations“,

        No wonder you would ebb further into your ignorance and jest of yourself by spewing such rubbish as ”farsightedness and ingenuity in policy-making created the atmosphere for that boom on the part of Tubman” when these are the very qualities the fool and extremely wicked and visionless Tubman lacked!

        So according to you Anders, it was ” Tubman’s farsightedness and ingenuity in policy-making which created the atmosphere for Liberia been dubbed the Firestone Republic of Liberia when the Americans planted the Firestone Rubber Company in Liberia for rubber needed by the Americans, as was the case with iron ore which the Americans decided to exploit from the Congo, but because of the crisis envisaged in the Congo, they Americans turned to their de facto colony Liberia.”

        My friend, Tubman knew nothing about farsightedness nor policy making! If one has farsightedness, his or her policy is bound to reflect and produce growth and development!

        But this was never the case with Tubman! Tubman, already a drunk and a big smoker playboy was simply as an heir left in control of a gargantuan wealth went about squandering such wealth in lavish life styles and when Albert Porte blasted him Tubman about that he offered Albert Porte a job to buy Porte’s silence, but Porte refused and resolved to continue to expose Tubman.

  3. Another NOTORIUOSLY HEATHENIC RITUALISTIC KILLER Allen Yancy. His son Allen Yancy Jr. and James Anderson Jr were hanged in the 70s for ritualistic killing..Anderson Jr. was the son of James Anderson Sr.who was at the time the Chairman of the True Whig Party the only and sole political party under the despotic dictatorship of William V.S Tubman and later under another leader when Tubman was thrown into hell on July 23, 1971! Tubman was really a wicked man.,

    I mean William V.S. Tubman was SATAN PERSONIFIED!! The bastard knew that Yancy was a ritualistic killer, but still Tubman appointed the ass as Police Commissioner in Cape Palmas! Just how he knew CDB King was a criminal, but still he appointed the bastard as Liberia’s Ambassador to the UN.

    Yancy Jr. and Anderson Jr. butchered Moses Tweh a popular singer in Maryland County for ritualistic purposes to be become Representative and Senator respectively in the 70s. The Liberian government brought them to book! Stripped their behinds butt naked and hanged their asses! And that was the beginning of the end of the rotten True Whig Party and their Masonic Craft!

  4. We haven’t agreed on anything but this. I can not fathomed the fierce urgency William Tubman garnered to murder David Coleman and his son with a mere concoction of the latter plotting a coup against him.

    In hindsight, Coleman lobbied with President Barclay for his friend William Tubman to act as president while Barclay was taking a sabbatical in the United States. His pay for doing so was paid with his and his son’s lives.

    Tubman obstructed democracy and introduced autocracy whose burdens led to a military coup and subsequent carnage sodden in civil war. Today, every Dick and Harry elected, or, who come to the presidency wants to mimic the gruesome and autocratic style of William Tubman. He might be a saint in the eyes of some people but history is brutal with evidence of the truths.

  5. “WHY LIBERIA SHOULD STOP CELEBRATING WILLIAM V. S. TUBMAN’S BIRTHDAY,” BY BENEDICT NYANKUN WISSEH

    Is the writer of this article below “The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism” and the writer (Mr. Benedict Nyankun Wisseh of this article called “Why Liberia should Stop Celebrating William V. S. Tubman’s Birthday advocating for good economic policies?

    The article below could not have been published at a better time than this special day in Liberia (i.e., November 29-Birthday of William V. S. Tubman, former President of the Republic of Liberia).

    The contents of the article surmise that policies that disenfranchise residents are inconsistent with the views that a community should use the dividends of its resources to promote, enhance, and improve the values and developments of mankind.

    A Community, the article assumes, should abandon those policies that promote economic inequality. Therefore, some USA citizens (i.e., recipients of the dividends of ugly policies) are organizing themselves to fight and replace these policies.

    Unfortunately, Liberians, honoring the views and actions of past and current leaders, have and continue to embrace these ugly policies as the appropriate policies for the development of mankind. For instance, former President Tubman, ruling Liberia for twenty-seven years, instituted policies of exploitation, etc.

    However, some Liberians, especially members of the Liberian People’s Party spoke against Tubman’s policies in the 70s. They, again, spoke against the policies of former President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Now, they are speaking against the policies of the current President of Liberia, Mr. George Weah.

    Please read the article written by Mr. Benedict Nyankun Wisseh called “Why Liberia Should Stop Celebrating William Tubman’s Birthday” published by the Perspective on line to add to your understanding why Liberians are not developing their country. (www.theperspective.org)

    J. Yanqui Zaza

    The writer Zoe Beery wrote this article called “The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism.”
    The nonprofit offers programming that encourages members to see capitalism not as a market-based equalizer promising upward mobility, but as a damaging system predicated on, as Resource Generation puts it, “stolen land, stolen labor and stolen lives.”

    Socialist-minded millennial heirs are trying to live their values by
    • Nov. 27, 2020

    Lately, Sam Jacobs has been having a lot of conversations with his family’s lawyers. He’s trying to gain access to more of his $30 million trust fund. At 25, he’s hit the age when many heirs can blow their money on harebrained businesses or a stable of sports cars. He doesn’t want to do that, but by wealth management standards, his plan is just as bad. He wants to give it all away.
    “I want to build a world where someone like me, a young person who controls tens of millions of dollars, is impossible,” he said.

    A socialist since college, Mr. Jacobs sees his family’s “extreme, plutocratic wealth” as both a moral and economic failure. He wants to put his inheritance toward ending capitalism, and by that he means using his money to undo systems that accumulate money for those at the top, and that have played a large role in widening economic and racial inequality.

    Millennials will be the recipients of the largest generational shift of assets in American history — the Great Wealth Transfer, as finance types call it. Tens of trillions of dollars are expected to pass between generations in just the next decade.

    And that money, like all wealth in the United States, is extremely concentrated in the upper brackets. Mr. Jacobs, whose grandfather was a founder of Qualcomm, expects to receive up to $100 million over the course of his lifetime.
    Most of his fellow millennials, however, are receiving a rotten inheritance — debt, dim job prospects and a figment of a social safety net.

    The youngest of them were 15 in 2011 when Occupy Wall Street drew a line between the have-a-lots and everyone else; the oldest, if they were lucky, were working in a post-recession economy even before the current recession. Class and inequality have been part of the political conversation for most of their adult lives.
    In their time, the ever-widening gulf between the rich and poor has pushed left-wing politics back into the American political mainstream. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. trailed Senator Bernie Sanders, the socialist candidate, by 20 points among millennial voters in this year’s Democratic presidential primary. And over the last six years, millennials have taken the Democratic Socialists of America from a fringe organization with an average member age of 60 to a national force with chapters in every state and a membership of nearly 100,000, most of them under 35.

    Mr. Jacobs, as both a trust-fund kid and an anticapitalist, is in a rare position among leftists fighting against economic inequality. But he isn’t alone in trying to figure out, as he put it, “what it means to be with the 99 percent, when you’re the 1 percent.”
    Challenging the System

    “I was always taught that this is just the way the world is, that my family has wealth while others don’t, and that because of that, I need to give some of it away, but not necessarily question why it was there,” said Rachel Gelman, a 30-year-old in Oakland, Calif., who describes her politics as “anticapitalist, anti-imperialist and abolitionist.”

    Her family always gave generously to liberal causes and civil society groups. Ms. Gelman supports groups devoted to ending inequality, including the Movement for Black Lives, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Critical Resistance, a leading prison abolition group.

    “My money is mostly stocks, which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery,” Ms. Gelman said. “Once I realized that, I couldn’t imagine doing anything with my wealth besides redistribute it to these communities.”

    Image
    Rachel Gelman said that because her family’s wealth accumulated in stocks, “it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people.”

    According to the consulting firm Accenture, the Silent Generation and baby boomers will gift their heirs up to $30 trillion by 2030, and up to $75 trillion by 2060. These fortunes began to amass decades ago — in some cases centuries. But the concentration of wealth became stratospheric starting in the 1970s, when neoliberalism became the financial sector’s guiding economic philosophy and companies began to obsessively pursue higher returns for shareholders.

    “The wealth millennials are inheriting came from a mammoth redistribution away from the working masses, creating a super-rich tiny minority at the expense of a fleeting American dream that is now out of reach to most people,” said Richard D. Wolff, a Marxist and an emeritus economics professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst who has published 12 books about class and inequality.

    He said he has been professionally arguing against capitalism’s selling points since his teaching career began, in 1967, but that his millennial students “are more open to hearing that message than their parents ever were.”

    Heirs whose wealth has come from a specific source sometimes use that history to guide their giving. Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old “socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist or all of the above,” has a trust fund that was financed by their former stepfather’s outlet mall empire. (Mx. Delahunt takes nongendered pronouns.)
    “When I think about outlet malls, I think about intersectional oppression,” Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anticapitalist mission and in some way tackle the externalities of discount shopping.

    Image

    As the beneficiary of a trust fund financed by an outlet mall empire, Pierce Delahunt donates to organizations that are explicitly anticapitalist.

    If money is power, then true wealth redistribution also means redistributing authority. Margi Dashevsky, who is 33 and lives in Alaska, gets guidance on her charitable giving from an advisory team of three women activists from Indigenous and Black power movements. “The happenstance of me being born into this wealth doesn’t mean I’m somehow omniscient about how it should be used,” she said. “It actually gives me a lot of blind spots.”

    She also donates to social justice funds like Third Wave Fund, where grant-making is guided by the communities receiving funding, instead of being decided by a board of wealthy individuals. The latter sort of nonprofit, Ms. Dashevsky said, “comes from a place of assuming incompetence, putting up all these hurdles for activists and wasting their time on things like impact reporting. I want to flip that on its head by stepping back, trusting and listening.”

    Of course, an individual act of wealth redistribution does not, on its own, change a system. But these heirs see themselves as part of a bigger shift, and are dedicated to funding its momentum.
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    The Revolution Starts at the Dinner Table
    Any leftist trying to shake off an inheritance will, at some point, find their way to Resource Generation; all of the heirs in this article did. The organization, founded in 1998, is a politicization machine for wealthy 18- to 35-year-olds.

    The nonprofit offers programming that encourages members to see capitalism not as a market-based equalizer promising upward mobility, but as a damaging system predicated on, as Resource Generation puts it, “stolen land, stolen labor and stolen lives.” In go young people knotted by tension between their progressive values and their wealth; out come determined campaigners with a plan to redistribute.

    Maria Myotte, the organization’s communications director, said that membership grows each time the nation has a reckoning: Occupy Wall Street, the 2016 presidential election, and this year’s twin jolts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the uprising against anti-Black racism all attracted newbies. There are currently around 1,000 dues-paying members at local chapters around the U.S. According to the most recent internal survey, the wider Resource Generation network, which includes some nonmembers, collectively expects to control $22 billion in their lifetimes.

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