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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The people will waken and listen to hear the hurrying hoof-beats of that steed

Let us revere what actually happened in 1775:

The story of "Paul Revere's ride" needs not only correction but perspective.  One hundred twenty-two people lost their lives within hours of Revere's heroics, and almost twice that number were wounded.  Revere's ride was not the major event of that day, nor was Revere's warning so critical in triggering the bloodbath.  Patriotic farmers had been preparing to oppose the British for the better part of a year.  Paul Revere himself had contributed to those preparations with other important rides...

Paul Revere was one among tens of thousands of patriot from Massachusetts who rose to fight the British.  Most of those people lived outside of Boston, and, contrary to the traditional telling, these people were not country cousins to their urban counterparts.  They were rebels in their own right, although their story is rarely told...

In truth, the country folk...staged their own Revolution more than a half a year before.
...
The Massachusetts Revolution of 1774 was the most successful popular uprising in the nation's history, the only one to remove existing political authority.  Despite its power--or possibly because of its power--this momentous event has been virtually lost to history.
...
The very strengths of the Revolution of 1774 have insured its anonymity.  The force of the people was so overwhelming that violence became unnecessary.  The handful of Crown-appointed officials...when confronted by 4,622 angry militiamen, had no choice but to submit.  Had opposition been stronger, there might have been violence; that would have made for a bloodier tale but a weaker revolution.
...
The United States owes its very existence to the premise that all authority resides with the people, yet our standard telling of history does not reflect this fundamental principle.  The story of the revolution before the Revolution can remind us of what we are all about.

And about that successful, bloodless revolution in Mass the year before:

For ordinary citizens, the most visible sign of direct British rule under [1774's Coercive] Acts was to be seen in each county’s Court of Common Pleas. These courts, in session four times a year, heard hundreds of cases, most involving the nonpayment of debts. The courts, with their power to foreclose on property, would now be presided over by new judges, appointed by the royal governor and answerable only to him. Understandably, the county courthouses became the focus of the colonists’ resistance to the new regime:

    * When the governor’s new judges arrived at the Worcester County courthouse, they were met by a crowd of five or six thousand citizens, including one thousand armed militamen. The judges, sheriffs, and lawyers were forced to process in front of the crowd and repeatedly promise not to hold court under the terms of the Acts.

    * In Great Barrington, 1500 unarmed men packed the courthouse so full that the judges literally could not take their seats.

    * In Springfield, a crowd of about 3000 forced the judges and other officials to resign their positions.

In addition to closing the courts, crowds throughout the colony forced the resignations (or escapes into Boston) of all thirty-six of the governor’s councilors, including Thomas Oliver, the lieutentant governor of the colony. They also ignored the prohibition against nonapproved town meetings; they not only met, they held elections, and began to assemble an armed colonial militia. In short, they simply ignored the royal government and proceeded to set up their own.

In a period of about thirty days, from mid-August to mid-September of 1774, the ordinary people of rural Massachusetts, mostly farmers, ended British rule over themselves and their countryside forever. With no real organization, no official leaders, no fixed institutions – and no bloodshed – they went up against the most powerful empire on earth, and won. Their victory resulted from the sheer force of their numbers, along with their unshakable determination to be their own rulers. As one British loyalist unhappily put it at the time: “Government has now devolved upon the people; and they seem to be for using it.”

How come Longfellow wrote about The Ride and The Arsenal at Springfield, but not about bloodless revolution?

ntodd

April 18, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 06, 2018

April Hartal

Let's begin with this scene from a movie:

PATEL: [I]t seems to me it's gone beyond remedies like passive resistance.

GANDHI: If I may – I, for one, have never advocated passive anything.

GANDHI: I am with Mr. Jinnah. We must never submit to such laws – ever. And I think our resistance must be active and provocative.
...
AZAD: And what "resistance" would you offer?

GANDHI: The law is due to take effect from April sixth. I want to call on the nation to make that a day of prayer and fasting.

JINNAH: You mean a general strike?

GANDHI: I mean a day of prayer and fasting. But of course no work could be done – no buses, no trains, no factories, no administration. The country would stop.

PATEL: My God, it would terrify them! 

Now, a little more backstory.  Gandhi used a tactic similar to the general strike quite effectively during India's struggle for independence.  His approach is called hartal:

"Hartal" is a Gujurati word. "Har" means "everything" or "always"; "Tal" or "tala" means "to close". The word "hartal" means a day of mourning or protest, on which all the shops are shut and no-one goes to work or does any shopping.

The first time we saw hartal employed was in 1919 to protest of the Rowlatt Act, which severely limited civil liberties in the Raj:

The idea came to me...in a dream that we should call upon the country to observe a general hartal. Satyagraha is a process of self-purification, and ours is a sacred fight, and it seems to me to be in the fitness of things that it should be commenced with an act of self-purification. Let all the people of India therefore, suspend their business on that day and observe the day as one of fasting and prayer. The Musalmans may not fast for more than one day; so the duration of the fast should be twenty-four hours. It is very difficult to say whether all the provinces would respond to this appeal of ours or not, but I feel fairly sure of Bombay, Madras, Bihar and Sindh. I think we should have every reason to feel satisfied even if all these places observe the hartal fittingly.

...I drafted a brief appeal. The date of the hartal was first fixed on the 30th March, 1919, but was subsequently changed to 6th April. The people thus had only a short notice of the hartal. As the work had to be started at once, it was hardly possible to give longer notice.

But who knows how it all came about? The whole of India from one end to the other, towns as well as villages, observed a complete hartal on that day. It was a most wonderful spectacle.

What's interesting is that Gandhi soon came to believe this action was an error:

[W]hen I reached Nadiad and saw the actual state of things there and heard reports about a large number of people from Kheda district having been arrested, it suddenly dawned upon me that I had committed a grave error in calling upon the people in the Kheda district and elsewhere to launch upon civil disobedience prematurely, as it now seemed to me. I was addressing a public meeting.

My confession brought down upon me no small amount of ridicule. But I have never regretted having made that confession. For I have always held that it is only when one sees one's own mistakes with a convex lens, and does just the reverse in the case of others, that one is able to arrive at a just relative estimate of the two. I further believe that a scrupulous and conscientious observance of this rule is necessary for one who wants to be a Satyagrahi.

Let us now see what the Himalayan miscalculation was. Before one can be fit for the practice of civil disobedience one must have rendered a willing and respectful obedience to the state laws. For the most part we obey such laws out of fear of the penalty for their breach, and this holds good particularly in respect of such laws as do not involve a moral principal.

For instance, an honest, respectable man will not suddenly take to stealing, whether there is a law against stealing or not, but this very man will not feel any remorse for failure to observe the rule about carrying head-lights on bicycles after dark. Indeed it is doubtful whether he would even accept advice kindly about being more careful in this respect. But he would observe any obligatory rule of this kind, if only to escape the inconvenience of facing a prosecution for a breach of the rule. Such compliance is not, however, the willing and spontaneous obedience that is required of a Satyagrahi.

A Satyagrahi obeys the laws of society intelligently and of his own free will, because he considers it to be his sacred duty to do so. It is only when a person has thus obeyed the laws of society scrupulously that he is in a position to judge as to which particular rules are good and just and which are unjust and iniquitous. Only then does the right accrue to him of the civil disobedience of certain laws in well-defined circumstances.

My error lay in my failure to observe this necessary limitation. I had called on the people to launch upon civil disobedience before they had thus qualified themselves for it, and this mistake seemed to me Himalayan magnitude.

Constant, courageous learning.  I'm not so sure he was wrong in the particular, but his principle was right: we endure, follow the law scrupulously, and then showing our virtue, make the calculated decision to break social norms in civil ways. 

That's what we've seen in Black Lives Matter, West Virginia, and now Oklahoma.  And we need more.

ntodd

April 6, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

See? Marches Never Work.

It started in Ohio:

In 1894, Jacob S. Coxey, an owner of a sand quarry in Massillon, Ohio, faced difficult financial times as the Panic of 1893 gripped the United States. In protest of the federal government's failure to assist the American populace during this economic downturn, Coxey formed a protest march that became known as "Coxey's Army." The group left Massillon, numbering one hundred men, on Easter Sunday, with the intention of marching to Washington, DC, to demand that the United States government assist the American worker. As the group marched to Washington, hundreds more workers joined it along the route. Coxey claimed that his army would eventually number more than 100,000 men. By the time that the army reached Washington, it numbered only five hundred men.

Upon arriving in Washington, Coxey and his supporters demanded that the federal government immediately assist workers by hiring them to work on public projects such as roads and government buildings. The United States Congress and President Grover Cleveland refused.

The New York Times reported--in a tone one modern chronicler calls "bewildered amusement"--the day before departure:

IN DREAMS HE SEES AN ARMY.; Then Coxey Awakes and Sees Only Fifty Tramps.

MASSILLON, Ohio, March 24 -- Nearly 100 recruits for Coxey's Commonweal Army arrived to-day from different points. Most of them are tramps who camped in the woods surrounding the town during the night. A number of them slept in the lock-up, but were rehersed this morning. Among the arrivals is lass M. McCallum, who represents Mrs. Lease, and who asked permission to have her address the army at Pittsburg, which Coxey refused.
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It is claimed by Marshal Browne that nearly fifty recruits have arrived in Massillon, but up to last night, none of them had been discovered, and reputable Massillonians asserted that the arrivals were all in the mind of the the “Seer and Prophet” as the Marshal styles himself.  The headquarters of the Commonweal consist of one unfurnished room in a new block in West Main Street, one small desk, which when new, cost $7.25, one small soft-coal stove, one nail keg, two chairs, and one saloon table, which has recently seen some service.  Here the mail is opened every morning, and plans for the great movement are talked over.

The Paper of Record didn't know quite what to make of all this, and it's not clear the particpants did either.  While there was a good bit of energy and a lot of common interest, there doesn't appear to have been a whole lot of cohesion in the so-called army.

For example, here's a story in the Times on April 14COMMONWEALERS NIGH UNTO RIOT.; Marshal Browne Bounced by Coxey's "Unknown" in Maryland.  And then when they arrived in DC on April 30th:

  • COXEY WILL DEFY THE LAW - WILL SPEAK AT THE CAPITOL EVEN IF FORBIDDEN. (April 30)
  • COXEY PLACED UNDER ARREST - The Leader of the Mob of Tramps...May Be Fined or Imprisoned Sixty Days. (May 2)
  • COXEY'S ARMY DWINDLING AWAY - According to the order issued yesterday by the District Commissioners, Gen. Coxley would have to remove his camp by Saturday morning...[he] explained that it would be impossible for him to get his men out on so short notice. (May 10)

None other than Jack London took part in the Western contingent:

A "stiff" is a tramp. It was once my fortune to travel a few weeks with a "push" that numbered two thousand. This was known as "Kelly's Army." Across the wild and woolly West, clear from California, General Kelly and his heroes had captured trains; but they fell down when they crossed the Missouri and went up against the effete East. The East hadn't the slightest intention of giving free transportation to two thousand hoboes. Kelly's Army lay helplessly for some time at Council Bluffs. The day I joined it, made desperate by delay, it marched out to capture a train.
...
Then some local genius solved the problem. We wouldn't walk. Very good. We should ride. From Des Moines to Keokuk on the Mississippi flowed the Des Moines River. This particular stretch of river was three hundred miles long. We could ride on it, said the local genius; and, once equipped with floating stock, we could ride on down the Mississippi to the Ohio, and thence up the Ohio, winding up with a short portage over the mountains to Washington.

Des Moines took up a subscription. Public-spirited citizens contributed several thousand dollars. Lumber, rope, nails, and cotton for calking were bought in large quantities, and on the banks of the Des Moines was inaugurated a tremendous era of shipbuilding. Now the Des Moines is a picayune stream, unduly dignified by the appellation of "river." In our spacious western land it would be called a "creek." The oldest inhabitants shook their heads and said we couldn't make it, that there wasn't enough water to float us. Des Moines didn't care, so long as it got rid of us, and we were such well-fed optimists that we didn't care either.

Pay special attention to what happened when London and 9 others went Galt.  Anyway, being an angry, dispossesed tramp is a lot of work...

ntodd

March 25, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, March 12, 2018

A Pinch Of Salt Can Bring Down Empires

On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi gave some parting remarks at Chandola lake to those who came to see his party off as they began the Salt March:

There were rumours of my arrest last night. God is great, mysterious indeed are His ways. I am here to say good-bye to you. But even if I were in prison, with your strength I could come back...

[B]e prepared to offer yourselves as civil resisters. Let there be no flinching. Your way at present, however, lies homeward; mine straight on to the sea-coast. You cannot accompany me at present, but you will have an opportunity to accompany me in a different sense later. . . .

The purpose of the March and this satyagraha was, in part, to break the British monopoly on salt manufacture through a form of economic non-cooperation (Method 90: Revenue Refusal).  By making their own salt, Indians would deny a small, symbolic amount of tax monies to the Raj in defiance of an unjust law that was part of the larger injustice of occupation.

By itself, that action wouldn't amount to much, so Gandhi had to generate what we'd call buzz today--without social media, no less--hence the March.  It generated popular interest in every locality his party passed through, and the media propagated the message far and wide.

Before embarking on this first stage of the satyagraha, Gandhi wrote to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin on March 2:

I know that in embarking on non-violence I shall be running what might fairly be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been won without risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed I know that in embarking on non-violence I shall be running what might fairly be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been won without risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed. 
...
[I]f you cannot see your way to deal with these evils and my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the 11th day of this month,1 I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the salt laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint. As the independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land the beginning will be made with this evil. The wonder is that we have submitted to the cruel monopoly for so long.

It is, I know, open to you to frustrate my design by arresting me. I hope that there will be tens of thousands ready, in a disciplined manner, to take up the work after me, and, in the act of disobeying the Salt Act to lay themselves open to the penalties of a law that should never have disfigured the Statute-book.

It might seem odd at first blush to alert the authorities that you plan on breaking the law, but civil resistance is all about letting the people in power know what you're doing and why.  That way they can either amend their ways or be provoked into counterproductive actions that undermine their authority and give power to the resisters.

A few days before the March ended in Dandi, spoke at a prayer meeting:

Another piece of information that I have received is that the Government intends to use fire-engines to stop us. We have prepared ourselves for death from cannons and guns, compared to which this is nothing. Of course, even with jets of water, the Government can kill us through torture. It is certainly painful. However, you must bear in mind that not one of us will retreat. I do not think the Government will be so cruel, but we must be prepared.

The March arrived at Dandi on April 5:

That I have reached here is in no small measure due to the power of peace and non-violence: that power is universally felt. The Government may, if it wishes, congratulate itself on acting as it has done, for it could have arrested every one of us. In saying that it did not have the courage to arrest this army of peace, we praise it. It felt ashamed to arrest such an army. He is a civilized man who feels ashamed to do anything which his neighbours would disapprove. The Government deserves to be congratulated on not arresting us, even if it desisted only from fear of world opinion.

Tomorrow we shall break the salt tax law. Whether the Government will tolerate that is a different question. It may not tolerate it, but it deserves congratulations on the patience and forbearance it has displayed in regard to this party.

If the civil disobedience movement becomes widespread in the country and the Government tolerates it, the salt law may be taken as abolished. I have no doubt in my mind that the salt tax stood abolished the very moment that the decision to break the salt laws was reached and a few men took the pledge to carry on the movement even at the risk of their lives till swaraj was won.

If the Government tolerates the impending civil disobedience you may take it for certain that the Government, too, has resolved to abolish this tax sooner or later. If they arrest me or my companions tomorrow, I shall not be surprised, I shall certainly not be pained. It would be absurd to be pained if we get something that we have invited on ourselves.

Then on April 6 (as reported by The Bombay Chronicle):

When they made a beginning in the morning he had himself picked up more mud than salt, but after washing and cleaning he could get two tolas of pure quality which was sufficient for his day’s requirements. That was only a beginning but that signified great things.

In an interview, Gandhi suggested everybody ought to engage in this civil disobedience:

Now that a technical or ceremonial breach of the salt law has been committed, it is now open to anyone who would take the risk of prosecution under the salt law to manufacture salt wherever he wishes and wherever it is convenient.

My advice is that a worker should everywhere manufacture salt and where he knows how to prepare clean salt should make use of it and instruct villagers to do likewise, telling the villagers at the same time that he runs the risk of being prosecuted. In other words the villagers should be fully instructed as to the incidence of salt tax and the manner of breaking laws and regulations in connection with it, so as to have the salt tax repealed and it should be made absolutely clear to the villagers that this breach is to be open and in no way stealthy.

This condition being known they may manufacture salt or help themselves to salt manufactured by nature in creeks and pits near the seashore, to use it for themselves and for their cattle and to sell it to those who will buy it, it being well und- erstood that all such people are committing a breach of the salt law and therefore running the risk of prosecution or even without prosecution to be subjected by the so-called salt officers to harassment. Thus the war against salt tax should be continue...

Gandhi was not arrested yet.  That would happen a bit later when the satyagrahis escalated, announcing their nonviolent raid on the Dharasana saltworks.  But this was a real turning point in the struggle, massively mobilizing the Indian people while not alienating more moderate members of the Indian National Congress.

I find as much hope and inspiration in our modern satyagrahis fighting the terrorist NRA and Russian puppets in our midst...

ntodd

March 12, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Highest Perfection Is Unattainable Without Highest Restraint

On the same date that Gandhi wrote in Young India about non-violence in March '22, he instructed people what to do in case he was arrested:

The rumour has been revived that my arrest is imminent. It is said to be regarded as a mistake by some officials that I was not arrested when I was to be...It is said, too, that it is now no longer possible for the Government to withstand the ever-rising agitation in London for my arrest and deportation. I myself cannot see how the Government can avoid arresting me if they want a permanent abandonment of civil disobedience, whether individual or mass.

I advised the Working Committee to suspend mass civil disobedience...becauae that disobedience would not have been civil, and if I am now advising all provincial workers to suspend even individual civil disobedience, it is because I know that any disobedience at the present stage will be not civil but criminal. A tranquil atmosphere is an indispensable condition of civil disobedience. It is humiliating for me to discover that there is a spirit of violence abroad and that the Government of the United Provinces has been obliged to enlist additional police...

He also admonished his followers to not engage in any demonstrations or hartal upon his arrest, nor should they revive mass civil disobedience, and they should strictly adhere to the principles of non-violence.  

Gandhi was, in fact, arrested at Ahmedabad late at night on today's date, under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.  His parting words were that "all who bore patriotism and love for India should strain every nerve to propagate peace and goodwill all over India, among all communities."

The authorities charged Gandhi with sedition for writing three articles in Young India:

Fans of Attenborough's movie might remember a stirring court scene that encapsulated the "Great Trial" which ended with this statement (necessarily summarized in the film) on March 18:

I know that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk, and if I were set free I would still do the same. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also last article of my creed. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am sorry for it. Their crime consisted in the love of their country.

I am here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest Penalty. In my opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good Nonviolence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-co-operation with evil. I am here to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be the inflected upon me for what in law is a deliberated crime and what appears to me be the highest duty of a citizen.

The only cause open to, judge, is either to resign post and thus dissociate yourself from evil if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is evil and that I am innocent or to inflict on me the severest penalty, if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the public weal.

He was sentenced to six years in prison, though he was released early because of illness (he was 53 at that point and had an appendectomy two years into his prison term).  How much restraint can Trump and his supporters show?

ntodd

March 10, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

Bloody Sunday


Shall we overcome?

ntodd

March 8, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Speaking Of NV Methods

On February 22, 1986, the four-day nonviolent People Power Revolution began in the Philippines.  They employed a variety of Gene Sharp's Methods, including:

  • 47. Assemblies of protest or support
  • 71. Consumers' boycott
  • 86. Withdrawal of bank deposits
  • 117. General strike

Could it happen here?  Perhaps it already has started...

ntodd

February 22, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Did I happen to mention that I'm impressed?

Already retweeted, but this needs to be re-emphasized:

Oh yes, a good old social intervention in the form of Method175. Overloading of facilities:

Overloading facilities involves the deliberate increase of demands fo services far beyond their capacity, so that the operation of the institution (government department, business, social service, and so on) is slow down or paralyzed.  Such overloading may be initiated by customers, the public, or employees of the institution.  The objectives may vary and may include improved services, wage increases and political ends.

In 1965 at the Los Angeles County Hospital in California, for example, interns protesting pay policies initiated an overloading of facilities by admitting far more patients to the hospital than existing facilities could accommodate--even persons not needing hospitalization were admitted.  This was called a heal-in.  The interns' aim was to obtain a better bargaining position with the hospital administration.  The hospital was filled with patients within four days, and the action cost the city around $250,000 in increased costs.

[The Miami News reported at the time:

Representatives of resident physicians and interns at Los Angeles County General Hospital, miffed by a pay raise of less than $10 a month, said they would flood the huge facility with patients. They called it a "heal in." 

County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn called it "a deliberate plan to disrupt good hospital service." Ho said a delegation of three doctors claiming to represent the 200 interns and 350 resident physicians said their strategy was to admit as many patients as possible and, at the same time, retain present patients longer. 

Hospital administrators said there was a 25 per cent increase in admissions yesterday and a 40 per cent drop in discharges. The doctors had asked fot $400 monthly for interns and a sliding scale foi resident physicians from S510 to $713 a month Interns now get $330 to start and $337 after six months — plus room and board. Resident physicians receive from $435 to $645 a month.]

A similar case occurred in Massachusetts at the Boston City Hospital in 1967, where it was called an "around-the-clock heal-in."  This action was begun by 450 residents and interns at Boston City Hospital on Tuesday, May 16, 1967.  The purpose of the heal-in was to dramatize salary demands by doctors at Boston teaching hospitals; at that time the take home salary of an intern was only sixty dollars per week.  The doctors felt that it would be in violation of their oaths to go on strike, so they chose instead to practice "ultra-conservative medicine in order to overcrowd the hospital.  Dr Philip Caper, President of the House Officers' Association, said: "Everyone gets the best of care," which was ensured by having all the interns and residents work twenty-four hours a day.  "Every patient who might benefit from hospitalization will be admitted, and no-one will be discharged until he is completely well."

The heal-in was patterned after the similar action at the Los Angeles County Hospital eighteen months previously.  The Boston City Hospital doctors began their heal-in as an unannounced experiment on Saturday, with 874 patients in the hospital.  On Sunday there were 890, on Monday 924, and on Tuesday at 7am (after the main action was begun) there were 982.  An unidentified doctor stated; "With 1200 or more patients in the hospital the laundry will not be able to keep up, the kitchens will have trouble getting the food out, the X-ray and laboratory departments will be swamped, and people will begin to listen to our demands..."

By Wednesday morning there were over 1000 patients, and 1075 on Thursday.  The heal-in was supported by private doctors and house officiers at the other major Boston hospitals.  Action was taken only at Boston City Hospital because house officers there had full responsibility for medical procedure, unlike the private hospitals.

Countermeasures by the administration began Tuesday afternoon with an announcement that there were no more beds for male patients, which was disproved that evening by the admission of two more patients.  They next tried to influence the chiefs of services to override the admittances, which these doctors refused to do on the grounds that these patients were indeed getting the best of care.  The administration's final effort was to deny their competence to make salary changes.  On the evening of Thursday, May 18, they relented and promised to make salary adjustments.  The doctors ended the heal-in voluntarily that night.  Observers felt that it was a "safe, effective way of backing up demands for higher wages."

[An LTE in Psychiatric News, 2001:

I was at the time a chief resident in psychiatry on what was then a Harvard service. I recall no mention of proposed union affiliation or concern about compensation, since the vast majority of residents felt privileged to be training under such notable clinicians as Dr. Derek Denny-Brown.

At issue were deplorable conditions for patient care such as grimy, open-bay wards with water-filled grapefruit juice cans filled with cigarette butts, an absence of bed linen, and no assistants to transport patients for X-ray studies or other procedures, such that interns had to push the gurney stretchers themselves.

The city administration had turned a deaf ear to the repeated pleas of the interns and residents. The “heal-in” was a last-ditch effort to draw public attention to the plight of the patients, who were, many of whom were poor and African Americans. We were determined during the heal-in to provide superior round-the-clock care. I recall being on duty for 36 hours straight. There were no “nonpatients” admitted, as described in Dr. Avram’s article. Rather, the decision was made not to discharge patients until every outstanding laboratory or X-ray study result was on the chart—this was had also been a significant problem in the precomputer era because of an absence of lab result dispatchers.

The Boston Globe was contacted in advance, emphasizing that superior care would be provided to patients during the heal-in. Thus, there was widespread public sympathy and support for this effort.

As I recall, the patient census soared from 800 to the full 1,200-bed capacity in two days. This required that some patients seeking admission were temporarily deferred to Massachusetts Memorial and Massachusetts General, New England Medical Center, and other area hospitals.

The city of Boston finally got the message, and the necessary patient care improvements were initiated.

This was not an action taken lightly and indeed only as a last resort. The interns and residents at Boston City Hospital felt totally vindicated by these positive results.]

These kids could gum up the works at their school, and maybe even more than that if they expand the effort.  Increased attention, increased potential.  And yes, this WILL look good on a college application...

ntodd

February 22, 2018 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Armed Rebellion Really, Really Doesn't Work

Since it's come up, a reminder: all your stockpiled AR-15s are worth dick against the State.  And that's not really a bad thing.  Figure out another way to fight tyranny, you libertarian poser assholes.

ntodd

February 18, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It Can't Happen Here Again

It began on this date:

The genius and fearlessness of Rev. James Lawson and the young men and women who followed him are the touchstones of this pivotal chapter of the American civil rights struggle. Inspired by his studies in India of Gandhi's work, as well as the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lawson begins in 1960 to train black and white college students in nonviolent methods to desegregate downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The students stage a sit-in at segregated city lunch counters in February 1960.

First they are ignored, but when they return again and again, they are beaten and jailed. The resulting outrage in the African American community leads to a boycott of downtown stores; many whites stay away as well, disturbed by the brutality and disruption. Business leaders apply pressure for a political solution, and bombing of a prominent black lawyer's house prompts the students to march on city hall and confront the mayor. After he is forced to admit that segregation is wrong, Nashville begins to desegregate.

Following on the heels of Greensboro, this series of actions provides yet another example of how people can collectively resist evil.  well, how people used to...

ntodd

February 13, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Monday, February 05, 2018

RIP, Gene Sharp

Ericka just informed me that I'd missed news of Gene Sharp's death last week.  We really could use more people employing his various Methods of non-violent ACTION now more than ever.

ntodd

February 5, 2018 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Leaving To Spend More Time With His Constitution

Good:

Rep. John Conyers has decided to resign from his post as the leading Democrat on the Judiciary Committee after accusations that he sexually harassed aides.

Yeah, I still resent him and his disdain for my beloved Pinkers, in hearings and elsewhere.

ntodd

November 26, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

1st Battalion, 7th Cav

It started on 11/14/65 at LZ X-Ray.  That first major battle between the US and NVA in the Ia Drang Valley ended with hundreds of Vietnamese and Americans dead, including SFC Luther Vermont Gilreath.

ntodd

November 14, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

"When mobs are no longer possible, liberty will be dead."

This happened in America:

On April Z7, 1915, Mary Phagan, a fourteen-year-old employee of a Marietta, Georgia, pencil company, was found raped and murdered in the basement of the building where she worked. Her employer, Leo M. Frank, a Jew originally from New York, was arrested, tried, and convicted of the murder.

The evidence against Frank was biased and inconsistent. (Not until 1982 would Frank's complete innocence come to light as the result of a witness's deathbed statement.) After various civil liberties groups denounced the injustice of Frank's death sentence, the governor of Georgia commuted it to life imprisonment...

When Frank was found guilty of the Phagan murder, [former U.S. Representative Thomas E. Watson] wrote, “Our Little Girl—ours by the Eternal God—has been pursued to a hideous death and bloody grave by this filthy perverted Jew of New York. " When Frank's sentence was commuted, Watson swiftly decided that the action had been effected by an international Jewish conspiracy. After all, like niggers, Jews had “a ravenous appefite for the forbidden fruit." Furthermore, Frank belonged to the “Jewish aristocracy," and it was easy for the Jews of the world to arrange that “no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working-class Gentile." He ended with a boldfaced exhortation: “RISE! PEOPLE OF GEORGIA!” 

One hundred men answered his call. Gathering at midnight on Mary Phagan’s grave, they selected a team of twenty-five, including a Methodist minister, to avenge the little girl's death. A month later, August 16, 1915, Frank was abducted from a Georgia prison farm and hanged by the first lynching party in America to use automobiles.

The members of the party christened themselves the Knights of Mary Phagan, and exactly two months after the lynching, they climbed Stone Mountain (a 1,780-foot-high chunk of granite eighteen miles from Atlanta) and burned a gigantic cross that was “visible throughout the city.” Many Georgians approved of the lynching and applauded the cross buming. Watson certainly did...and in the September 2 issue of the Jeffersonian, he suggested that “another Ku Klux Klan" be organized “to restore HOME RULE.”

A nice innovation: the first lynching party that used cars.  Progress!

ntodd

August 17, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Nose of Darkness

Rep Dana Rohrbacher: pro-ISIS, anti-nose picking.  He holds a special place in my darkened heart.

ntodd

* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

June 11, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

They Laughed At Carrie, Too

My favorite House Mama is still at it!

It is hard to believe this is happening, but it’s real: The US Department of Justice is literally prosecuting a woman for laughing at now–Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year.

According to Ryan Reilly at HuffPost, Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz was arrested in January after she laughed at a claim from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that Sessions’s history of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”

Sessions, in fact, has a long history of opposing the equal treatment of all Americans under the law. He has repeatedly criticized the historic Voting Rights Act. He voted against hate crime legislation that protected LGBTQ people, arguing, “Today, I'm not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination. I just don't see it.” And his nomination for a position as a federal judge was rejected in the 1980s after he was accused of making racist remarks, including a supposed joke that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

Given this history, Fairooz laughed at Shelby’s claim.

I admit that this story made me wax nostalgiac for the olden days when I'd Amtrak down to DC.  Which is weird because back then, I thought Bush was the worst thing that ever happened in my lifetime...how wrong I was.

ntodd

May 2, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them

 The Romans had laid siege on an ancient fortress for a really long time.  Built a ramp.  Broke down the walls on April 16, 73CE.  Found a bunch of dead Sicarii:

[T]hey then held fast the same resolution, without wavering, which they had upon the hearing of Eleazar's speech, while yet every one of them still retained the natural passion of love to themselves and their families, because the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them; for the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their children into their arms, and gave the longest parting kisses to them, with tears in their eyes.

Yet at the same time did they complete what they had resolved on, as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers; and they had nothing else for their comfort but the necessity they were in of doing this execution, to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies. Nor was there at length any one of these men found that scrupled to act their part in this terrible execution, but every one of them despatched his dearest relations.

Miserable men indeed were they! whose distress forced them to slay their own wives and children with their own hands, as the lightest of those evils that were before them. So they being not able to bear the grief they were under for what they had done any longer, and esteeming it an injury to those they had slain, to live even the shortest space of time after them, they presently laid all they had upon a heap, and set fire to it.

They then chose ten men by lot out of them to slay all the rest; every one of whom laid himself down by his wife and children on the ground, and threw his arms about them, and they offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office; and when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves, that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine, and after all should kill himself.

Accordingly, all these had courage sufficient to be no way behind one another in doing or suffering; so, for a conclusion, the nine offered their necks to the executioner, and he who was the last of all took a view of all the other bodies, lest perchance some or other among so many that were slain should want his assistance to be quite despatched, and when he perceived that they were all slain, he set fire to the palace, and with the great force of his hand ran his sword entirely through himself, and fell down dead near to his own relations.

So these people died with this intention, that they would not leave so much as one soul among them all alive to be subject to the Romans. Yet was there an ancient woman, and another who was of kin to Eleazar, and superior to most women in prudence and learning, with five children, who had concealed themselves in caverns under ground, and had carried water thither for their drink, and were hidden there when the rest were intent upon the slaughter of one another.

Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number, the women and children being withal included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan].

They believed that "a glorious death is preferable to a life of infamy."  Which is why this story usually brings to mind Gandhi's oft-criticized suggestion of what European Jews should have done during WWII (as recounted by Louis Fischer in Gandhi and Stalin):

"I [do] not believe in passive resistance.  Satyagraha is something very active.  It is the reverse of passive.  Submission is passive and I dislike submission.  The Jews of Germany made the mistake of submitting to Hitler."
...
"Hitler," Gandhi solemnly affirmed, "killed five million Jews.  It is the greatest crime of our time.  But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife.  They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.  I believe in hari-kiri.  I do not believe in its militaristic connotations, but it is a heroic method."
...
"[That] would have been heroism.  It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany to the evils of Hitler's violence, especially in 1938, before the war.  As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions."

There were probably other forms of resistance that Jews and Europeans could have employed, but Gandhi's motto was "do or die" and as I've noted before, he even advocated the unthinkable:

[N]on-violence has to be non-violence of the brave and the strong. It must come from inward conviction. I have, therefore, not hesitated to say that it is better to be violent if there is violence in our breasts than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.

The Mahatma hated impotence and passivity even more than violence.  Suicide is, at the very least, active--doing and dying.  So Happy Masada Day! 

ntodd

April 16, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Reverse PsyOps?

Yes, I'm sure Lord Dampnut and HIS military dropped the FOAD to rattle North Korea.  I'm not sure it will have the desired impact, but rather might convince the DPRK that their nuke/missile programs are even more important than ever, not to mention their usual strategy of brinkmanship.  But at least somebody got to wave his dick around, as promised.

ntodd

April 14, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 07, 2017

He Can Only Become Presidential When He Launches Beautiful Rockets With Red Glares


MAGA.

ntodd

April 7, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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When the chemical weapons start flying, I don't know if I want a Quaker doing my fighting for me.

10 years ago I wrote about General Mud, war, and rackets.  Very soon that gum I like is going to come back in style...

ntodd

April 7, 2017 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)