Political Prairie Fire

by
Abby Zimet

North Dakota, portrayed as a loyal "red, white, and blue" woman, places its trust in the North Dakota Farmer, a pilgrim whose musket represents the political power won by the Nonpartisan League.

How cool is this: The ongoing success of the country's only socialist bank,
born of the 1915 radical workers' and farmers' insurgency known as the
Nonpartisan League, may serve as a model for states struggling with the
economic crisis. The state-owned Bank of North Dakota, along with state-owned grain operations, was the brainchild of
a failed flax farmer and Socialist organizer who wanted to wrest
control from big out-of-state corporate interests. Today's bank serves
as a sort of "mini-Federal Reserve" offering cheap loans to farmers,
students and businesses. And it's doing just fine, thanks.

"In my experience,
you make a contact with the (Bank of North Dakota), and their question
is, 'How do we get this done? They're not looking at
ways to knock it down." - Gary Petersen, president of the Lakeside State
Bank of New Town, a community on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

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