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Sunday, March 11, 2018

"What I had never realized was the number of Americans who were not considered worthy to belong to this community.”

Look at those sleepy-eyed, globalist immigrants.


March 11, 2018 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

More Honor For Mutter

Ah, this again:

During a news conference on Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan urged American women to have more babies, saying their lack of procreation was stunting economic growth.

“People — this is going to be the new economic challenge for America. People,” Ryan said, in response to a question about entitlement reform.


Alluding to the fact that he’s a father of three, Ryan added, “I did my part, but we need to have higher birth rates in this country. Meaning, baby boomers are retiring, and we have fewer people following them in the work force.”

I'm hearing a rhyme...


December 16, 2017 in Soaking In Patriarchy, Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Muslim Situation In America

What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, that is the entire Torah, the rest is just commentary, now go and study.

 - Rabbi Hillel, Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Why do I care about bans on Muslims, refugees, immigrants, et al?  Start with a 1922 article entitled "The Jewish Situation in America," which included this picture and caption:

The Leader, Mr. Abram Pritsky, has recently returned from Russia.

Dude in the middle is Abram, my great-grandfather who came over in 1913, flanked by his wife on his right.  He apparently made the theological publications a couple times at least.  By design to cover his activities getting more Jews out of tsarist and commie Russia over the years.

My grandfather Boris--the boy on the left at his parents' feet, with his enthusiastic little bro on the other side--was born in the US a bit more than a year after we got here.  He naturally spoke English, but was forced by Папа to learn Russian, which is weird since we're Ukes, but it helped him in the Army during WWII.  The lessons involved translating the Bible.  Fun!

Thankfully, we wouldn't probably be banned by the Snowflake-in-Chief today because we could pronounce shibbólet properly.  Pity there will be great-grandchildren who won't enjoy the Newly Made Great Again America because of cowardly acts.  Wonder what it would look like if we had the bravery to shut down America?


January 28, 2017 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Submitting Demands To The Vanquished In Installments

Loomis on his being on the Heinz 57 Liberal Prof Enemies List:

But while all of this has gotten me a few congratulations from colleagues and students, it’s still a very real threat. Over the years, a lot of people like to easily say that they would have stood up and fought the Nazis. Or the Stalinists. Or whatever oppressive regime where we don’t understand how a population could have let bad people take over. But this is how it happens. It’s not overnight until it is. It’s a slow creep, day by day, action by action. It has advanced enormously in 2016. Very bad people are taking power. They have no intention on ever giving up power again if they can help it. It’s now when we have to stand up, as well as when, after a terrorist attack from a Muslim, the Sessions Department of Justice orders concentration camps for American Muslims. This stupid watchlist is very much part of this larger fight.

Indeed, as I wrote a decade ago:

[E]ven as the SS pushed them closer and closer to the abyss, [Jews] thought "this is it, this is the absolute bottom."  It is a pretty long way from relegating a people to particular professions, to forcing them to register and wear Yellow Stars, to putting them into ghettoes, to killing them, isn't it?

Hitler took power in 1933, immediately staged a 9/11-esque event that provided him an excuse to acquire dictatorial powers, and slowly but surely made life hell for Jews and other undesirables, culminating in the Final Solution.

In addition to the usual "it can't happen here" defense, one of the problems with suggesting that we face the danger of tyranny is that any attempt to bring up historical parallels generates outrage and questions like, "oh yeah, then where are the death camps?"  I would simply observe that there were no death camps in 1933, but there were more modest concentration camps and a variety of other laws were passed to control particular segments of the population. 

Lots of bad things were done via legal measures for several years.  Kristallnacht didn't happen until 1938.  There was no open discussion of getting rid of Jews until 1939.  German Jews didn't have to wear yellow stars until 1941.  Logistics of the Final Solution weren't planned until 1942.  So you see, the Nazi regime that most people think of was not created ex nihilo--it evolved over time, and might have been stopped had people fought each injustice.

Much of the overt State hostility toward Jews began to manifest itself in 1934, the same year that 90% of Germany approved of Hitler's new powers.  I wonder how history would've been different had the German people stood against evil instead of giving into their fears of the Other.

Even the Nazis weren't doing the Nazi things that we think of right at the outset.  All it took was a few Good Germans abdicating their moral responsibility to enable ever bolder crimes...


November 25, 2016 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It Can, But Isn't Quite Yet, Happening Here

Killer Whale Guy is probably right about fascist-lite Trump.  Which doesn't make Mr Dad Gave Me Money And After Umpteen Bankruptcies I'm Still A Billionaire any less dangerous.  Shit like this is Why We Fight.


December 2, 2015 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Tausendjähriges Reich

This is rich:

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, proclaimed Wednesday that Republicans may have built a “hundred-year majority” in the House.

"We're back to a majority as big as any of us have seen in our lifetimes. It may be a hundred-year majority," he said.

Remember the Permanent Republican Majority that lasted...half the time of the Third Reich?

Anyway, the spox pushed back on my interpretation, alleging Walden meant more like a hundred-year flood.  Mmmokay.


November 6, 2014 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Why We Fight: Agit-prop Is Crazy Bad

I really don't want to excerpt this piece by Josh MarshallWhen the Crazy Drifts Toward the Evil.

It's about why we should keep paying attention to the misquoting, cherrypicking and outright whackadoodle stuff.


March 14, 2014 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

One-percenters Financed The Nazis

Every man is a king so long as he has someone to look down on.

 - Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here (Chapter 17)

Counterpoint to Perkins, here's Tooze's Wages of Destruction:

On Monday, 20 February 1933, at 6.00 p.m., a group of about twenty- five businessmen were summoned to attend a private meeting in the villa of Hermann Goering, now acting as president of the Reichstag, at which Hitler, the Reich Chancellor, was to 'explain his policies'. The guests were an oddly assorted bunch. The invitees included leaders of German industry, men such as Georg von Schnitzler, second in command at IG Farben, Krupp von Bohlen, who was both head-by-marriage of the Krupp empire and the current chairman of the Reich industrial association, and Dr Albert Voegler the CEO of the Vereinigte Stahlwerke, the world's second largest steel firm. But there were also a number of decidedly second-tier figures on the list. The businessmen were greeted first by Goering and Hjalmar Schacht. Hitler himself appeared only after a considerable wait.

If the businessmen had expected a discussion of the specifics of economic policy they were to be disappointed. Hitler instead launched into a general survey of the political situation...Hitler would show no mercy towards his enemies on the left. It was time 'to crush the other side completely'. The next phase in the struggle would begin after the elections of 5 March. If the Nazis were able to gain another 33 seats in the Reichstag, then the actions against the Commu- nists would be covered by 'constitutional means'. But, 'regardless of the outcome there will be no retreat ... if the election does not decide .. . the decision must be brought about even by other means'.

Hitler did not take questions from his audience, nor did he spell out exactly what was expected of the business leaders. Hitler had not come to negotiate. He had come to inform them of his intentions. And his audience can have been left in no doubt. Germany's new Chancellor planned to put an end to parliamentary democracy. He planned to crush the German left and in the process he was more than willing to use physical force.

At least according to the surviving record, the conflict between left and right was the central theme of the speeches by both Hitler and Goering on 20 February. There was no mention either of anti-Jewish policy or a campaign of foreign conquest.2 Hitler left it to Goering to reveal the immediate purpose of the meeting. Since German business had a major stake in the struggle against the left, it should make an appropriate financial contribution. 'The sacrifice[s]', Goering pointed out, 'would be so much easier ... to bear if it [industry] realized that the election of 5 March will surely be the last one for the next ten years, probably even for the next hundred years.'
Hitler and Goering departed and Hjalmar Schacht got down to business. He proposed an election fund of 3 million Reichsmarks, to be shared between the Nazis and their nationalist coalition partners. Over the following three weeks Schacht received contributions from seventeen different business groups. 
The meeting of 20 February and its aftermath are the most notorious instances of the willingness of German big business to assist Hitler in establishing his dictatorial regime. The evidence cannot be dodged. Nothing suggests that the leaders of German big business were filled with ideological ardour for National Socialism, before or after February 1933. Nor did Hitler ask Krupp & Co. to sign up to an agenda of violent anti-Semitism or a war of conquest...

But what Hitler and his government did promise was an end to parliamentary democracy and the destruction of the German left and for this most of German big business was willing to make a substantial down-payment. In light of what Hitler said on the evening of 20 February, the violence of the Machtergreifung should not have come as any surprise. Krupp and his colleagues were willing partners in the destruction of political pluralism in Germany. And the net effect, by the end of 1934, was precisely as intended: a comprehensive popular demobilization...

[W]hat was clear was that legitimate authority in the Third Reich proceeded from the top down, ideally from the very top down. And what was also clear was that many leaders of German business thrived in this authoritarian atmosphere. In the sphere of their own firms they were now the undisputed leaders, empowered as such by the national labour law of 1934. Owners and managers alike bought enthusiastically into the rhetoric of Fuehrertum. It meshed all too neatly with the concept of Unternehmertum (entrepreneurial leadership) that had become increasingly fashionable in business circles, as an ideological counterpoint to the interventionist tendencies of trade unions and the Weimar welfare state

Good thing nothing like that can happen here...


February 20, 2014 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

Bentham Lives!

Good point at TP:

A citizenry that’s constantly on guard for secret, unaccountable surveillance is one that’s constantly being remade along the lines the state would prefer. Foucault illustrated this point by reference to a hypothetical prison called the Panopticon. Designed by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the Panopticon is a prison where all cells can be seen from a central tower shielded such that the guards can see out but the prisoners can’t see in. The prisoners in the Panopticon could thus never know whether they were being surveilled, meaning that they have to, if they want to avoid running the risk of severe punishment, assume that they were being watched at all times. Thus, the Panopticon functioned as an effective tool of social control even when it wasn’t being staffed by a single guard.

In his famous Discipline and Punish, Foucault argues that we live in a world where the state exercises power in the same fashion as the Panopticon’s guards. Foucault called it “disciplinary power;” the basic idea is that the omnipresent fear of being watched by the state or judged according to prevailing social norms caused people to adjust the way they acted and even thought without ever actually punished. People had become “self-regulating” agents, people who “voluntarily” changed who they were to fit social and political expectations without any need for actual coercion.

But my biggest fear regarding observation comes not from the government, but the neighborhood girls who have very little sense of boundaries or timing...


* Tenth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or we get rid of the kittens! *

June 8, 2013 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution, Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Military Keynesianism In Vermont


Revision Eyewear in Essex Junction has won a three-year contract with the U.S. Army worth nearly $2 million to develop a next-generation helmet that will apply the "grim lessons" learned in Iran [sic] and Afghanistan to improve head protection, Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office announced Friday.

I'd say the grimmest lesson learned is "don't go fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan", but that's neither here nor there.  I suppose it's a good thing that we're investing monies to protect our unfortunate cannon fodder, and it's coming to Vermont, yet I can only focus on the further entrenching of the military industrial complex into our economy as opposed to investing in sustainable industries not predicated on a permanent state of war.

It reminds me of the old Standard Oil octopus:

We already have a lot of tentacles in our fair state, and $2M is actually small potatoes.  Thanks to Congressman Peter Welch:

  • $10 million, XM312 machine guns, General Dynamics, Burlington
  • [$4 million], Kiowa helicopter “warrior health system,” Goodrich Corporation, Vergennes
  • $2.4 million, wireless sensors for Navy aircraft, Microstrain, Williston

There's even $1.6M in wool sock sales to the Marines.  Senators Leahy and Sanders have also brought millions of defense-related spending into Vermont for General Dynamics and Lockheed.  

While I've used the octopus metaphor, one might think of all these grants and earmarks as symptoms of a disease instead.  Chris Hedges cites Seymour Melman:

In "Pentagon Capitalism" Seymour Melman described the defense industry as viral. Defense and military industries in permanent war, he wrote, trash economies. They are able to upend priorities. They redirect government expenditures toward their huge military projects and starve domestic investment in the name of national security. We produce sophisticated fighter jets, while Boeing is unable to finish its new commercial plane on schedule. Our automotive industry goes bankrupt. We sink money into research and development of weapons systems and neglect renewable energy technologies to fight global warming. Universities are flooded with defense-related cash and grants, and struggle to find money for environmental studies. This is the disease of permanent war. 


Our permanent war economy has not been challenged by Obama and the Democratic Party. They support its destructive fury because it funds them. They validate its evil assumptions because to take them on is political suicide. They repeat the narrative of fear because it keeps us dormant. They do this because they have become weaker than the corporate forces that profit from permanent war. 

This disease causes the breakdown of our infrastructure, connective tissue and the body politic.  I'm all for Keynsian stimulus, but not of the kind that feeds a great, destructive beast whilst starving the rest of us.  As Joseph Stiglitz observed:

The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military—the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that.

Foreign policy, by definition, is about the balancing of national interests and national resources. With the top 1 percent in charge, and paying no price, the notion of balance and restraint goes out the window. There is no limit to the adventures we can undertake; corporations and contractors stand only to gain.

So the war profiteers (in which I include the financial and oil industries, amongst others) get richer and gain more control over our nation, economy and lives.  Meanwhile, we get table scraps: some lucky folks get to work for them, others go to war for them, and the vital government services upon which many depend get more and more depleted as a massive wealth transfer takes place.

This is why we fight...


July 1, 2011 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, June 05, 2011

Apropos Of Paul Revere's Warning To Sarah Palin

Oh, Sarah:

"I didn't mess up about Paul Revere," replied Palin, a paid contributor to the network.

"Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there. That, hey, you're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have," she added. "He did warn the British."

And Jesus' Sermon on the Mount was a warning to the Romans, right?

Anyway, she really should 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.”

No warning shots needed to kick out the British.


June 5, 2011 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Looking Forward

A number of years ago I was going through a pile of my books and I discovered a copy of Edward Bellamy's Looking Forward.  Turns out I'd checked it out from the Colby library over a decade earlier and failed to return it, and somehow they never found out.  I figure that all the massive donations I gave the school during my Gravy Train Days have more than made up for the fines, and the reason fate allowed me to keep the book was so I could write a superfluous, Tom Friedman-esque opening graf for an inconsequential blog post (minus any cab drivers).

Anyway, what interested me in Bellamy's groundbreaking tome was his obsession with "the labor question" and its solution.  My cadre of 6 regular readers might recall one of my majors at Colby was Russian and Soviet Studies (I graduated the same year the Soviet Union gave up the ghost).  So labor and the proletariat thing was something I investigated as part of the curriculum, though I tended to focus more on the philosophical side of things (e.g., Marx's inversion of Hegelian Dialectic, etc) being a Philosophy major as well.

If I'd been a more motivated student, I would have been another person.  I also would have pursued a thesis--assuredly not unique, nor particularly accurate or insightful--about unions that I toyed with before wandering down the Wittgensteinian path of the philosophy of language (that's how I chose to mate my two fields of study).

I saw some hints of that thesis in an article I read today at Salon (yes, I still read Salon):

Lind correctly notes that American labor unions have historically resisted universal social programs in favor of their employer-based bargains. But this has much to do with the very same reasons that American labor unions have in the past been less successful in reducing economic inequality. American labor unions are characteristically fragmented and historically wedded to a narrow, craft-union philosophy. But labor unions are undergoing tremendous change, as they must if they are to survive. Accordingly, it is not clear why Lind holds up the Old Labor of the past as any indication of how a revitalized labor will act in the future. The labor movement must do more to change itself, but given the transformations thus far, there is little reason to think the New will be anything like the Old.

I recommend reading the original Michael Lind piece from earlier in the week--I found much to agree and disagree with, and appreciate the follow up article today.

Now lemme walk this back a few steps.  I studied the Soviet Union and Marxism because I wanted to understand our Cold War adversaries (I was originally attracted to the Russian language because of family history).  I thought Marx was pretty out to lunch, but had some decent observations and kinda just missed the point.

I wrote a not-entirely-bad paper (hey, it got a B+) about historical frames of reference that used sci-fi as an analogy, particularly relying on Forbidden Planet and Star Trek amongst other things to show how our imagination of what's possible can evolve: the latter illustrating the limits of 1950s thought with flying saucer ships and intoning that we don't get to the moon until the late 21st century (not to mention gender roles); the former, possibly ironically, still spoke of Leningrad just a few years before the USSR collapsed.  

Yeah, it was a strange piece of work, but the pop culture thing helped me understand how trapped we are by our contemporary context, and that Marx was writing in a particular epoch.  Bottom line was that Uncle Karl couldn't foresee the rise of the labor movement as we know it today, what an idiot, etc.

The way I looked at it, unions have not only served as agents of social and economic change, improving working conditions and whatnot, but really as a bulwark against revolution and socialism itself.  Sure they might have been revolutionary to some extent, and have some elements that smack of socialism, but they allowed us to achieve greater equality and better lives for most workers without wholesale rebellion.  Labor was able to gain more of a stake in the future, corporate governance and whatnot, change the dynamic of its relationship with capital, obviating the need for regime change and the proletariat taking over the means of production.

But it seems that all revolutions become institutionalized, ossified, and unable to continue progressing.  Any criticisms I've ever had about labor has been focused on union leadership which, while maybe a reflection of membership, is still as divorced sometimes from those it represents as our government is from the electorate.  One place where they've certainly appeared to be rather parochial and counterproductive is in the healthcare debate.

I am not going to fully document this and admit my recollection might be completely off-base here, so welcome any correction.  But the lasting impression I have going back to the beginning of the HCR debate is this: the AFL-CIO in particular came out in staunch support of single-payer, said they'd fight hard for a public option and would refuse to help Dems who didn't work for that, then capitulated on the diluted, wholly imperfect ACA once they got a concession on th Cadillac Healthplan Tax.  Even if that capsule history is too simplistic and not completely correct, the fact remains that a force that should've been able to mobilize for real reform ended up backing away from the fight.

That's not just a critique of any specific unions or labor in general.  It goes for all of us.  But I had higher expectations that even with dwindling numbers there was an opportunity for the unions to get more people in the streets and the halls of Congress.

I think the problem of 2009 and 2010 is perfectly illustrated by the great action we're now seeing in WI and other states.  The corporatists have done a great job on the divide and conquer routine.  I've seen so many comments online (which may or may not be representative of anything, but I'm a blogger, so whatever) that reflect this: if unions are so great, why aren't more people in them; why do the unions only protest when stuff impacts them; why didn't the public sector unions fight when we private sector folks were getting laid off; etc?

So we're siloed.  In a union or not?  Private sector or public?  Work at a company with good benefits or shitty/no benefits?  And we fight for our small piece of the pie instead of fighting to make sure everybody has a decent piece.

We need to defragment ourselves and defragment our social benefits.  And that's where unions come in, and eventually get rid of themselves.  Unions need to fight as they have been to hold the line against corporatist dilution of our rights and power.  And non-union people need to join in that struggle, as we've seen in Madison and elsewhere.

Then we finish the job and move away from reliance on employer benevolence.  We all fight united for single-payer so we might benefit from the political entity we incorporated to promote the general welfare, and unions will be no longer necessary--they kept us from succumbing to socialist revolution, and now they can provide a bridge to the next progressive stage before riding off into the sunset.

As Uncle Abe said in his State of the Union message to Congress in 1861

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation. 

We need to stop operating with old assumptions about the relationship between capital and labor.  Capital may have lots of dollars and lackeys in government at the moment, but we have the numbers and are starting to show our collective will all around the country.  We have it in us to defend what so many people fought and died for, and to make additional gains if we keep the momentum.

I'm not sure if Bellamy would've been surprised that by 2000 (or 2011) we still weren't (or aren't) a workers' utopia.  He can be forgiven for not exactly predicting the future of labor (yet he was uncannily prescient about a lot of interesting technological and societal developments).  Even though most of the folks in WI, IN, OH and all over the US haven't read his book, they are helping realize an important component of Bellamy's vision: The enfranchisement of humanity...may be regarded as a species of second birth of the race.

Let's stay at it so we can look forward to a more humane future for ourselves and our posterity.


PS--I know this is meandering and longwinded, and quite possibly not overly coherent.  Been a rough couple weeks with SamLTPax and I'm not sure I've got all my wits about me, but I felt compelled to blog this and it just kinda took on a life of its own.  So there you have it.

February 25, 2011 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Indeed, This Is Central To My Point

Robert Reich:

[T]he Republican base keeps the heat on after elections so Republican officeholders accomplish what they promise and are less likely to compromise in the first place. The Republican base fueled the Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts and penalized George H.W. Bush only after he reversed his "read my lips" pledge not to raise taxes.

The Republican base is part of a conservative movement. The Democratic base, by contrast, is a loose coalition that elects a new president and then goes home, expecting the new president to deliver miracles.

When I ask David what he’s done over the last 18 months to push for a more progressive agenda, he says he e-mailed senators in support of a public option and signed a Sierra Club petition for cap-and-trade. "On Afghanistan I even called the White House to tell the president not to send more troops. What else am I supposed to do?"

David thinks of himself as an individual with strong progressive views about specific issues rather than as a member of an ongoing movement with a larger vision of what America should be.

Washington’s network of progressive advocacy groups is just like David. Each has a narrow bandwidth (health, environment, labor, women’s rights) with a national constituency that donates money and sends members of Congress e-mails as requested about particular initiatives.

These groups are staffed by overworked 20-somethings and headed by people who enjoy being minor celebrities at Washington fundraisers and occasional visitors to the White House.

But these groups don’t mobilize people back where they live, and they’re no substitute for a broad progressive movement.

Ms F, family friend and fellow Obama worker who is visiting to help out with the campaign, and I have spoken quite a bit about this throughout the week, not to mention on a certain blog we frequent.  I still wonder aloud: which part of "make me do it" did progressives not fucking understand?


August 5, 2010 in And Fuck..., Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

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How Do You Say 'Dred Scott' In Spanish?

Where's Justice Taney when Arizon needs him?

The question is simply this: Can a Mexican, whose ancestors came illegally into this country, and work for unscrupulous employers, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to all the rights, and privileges, and immunities, guarantied by that instrument to the citizen? One of which rights is the privilege of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified in the Constitution.

If Mexicans are entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens, it would exempt them from the operation of the special laws and from the police regulations which they considered to be necessary for their own safety. It would give to persons of Mexican descent, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both documented and undocumented, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.

Maybe Lindsey Graham can fill in, or perhaps his dear friend Joe Lieberman...


August 5, 2010 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Concordia res parvae crescunt

Let a thousand biofuels bloom...


July 4, 2010 in Biofuels, Bitches!, Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Life, Liberty And The Purfuit Of Happinefs

And I haven't even started drinking yet...


July 3, 2010 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday In The Park, I Think It Was Juneteenth

Well, mostly in City Hall, but we did enjoy City Hall Park, too.


June 21, 2010 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Alternet: The Soviets made a devastating miscalculation: they mistook military power for power on this planet. Sound familiar?

Short answer: Da.


June 21, 2010 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday In Bil'in: 274

My apologies to my friends for not posting yesterday:

Demonstrators in Bili’in today formed their own Palestine national football team, coinciding with the start of the World Cup, to highlight their right to be an independent nation. The players, together with dozens of other Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, marched to the annexation barrier at the edge of the village, where a goal was constructed and a game was begun. Several footballs were kicked over the fence onto land once owned by the village.

Israeli soldiers responded to this entirely non-violent activity by firing volleys of tear gas at the participants. They then came through the fence, and arrested 6 journalists, four of whom were soon released. Two – one Palestinian and one international – remain in detention at the time of writing. The tear gas canisters fired also caused large fires on the dry ground around the olive trees. Soldiers fired more canisters, aiming for the groups of villagers attempting to put out the flames.

As Nasser told me at lunch a year ago yesterday, any struggle for justice anywhere helps the folks in Nabi Saleh, Beit Sahour, and Bil'in.  I take solace in that as I focus on my campaign in Vermont to fight the Empire in a different way.


June 12, 2010 in Viva Palestina, Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alert The Media!

They do sometimes pay attention...


June 10, 2010 in Why We Fight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack