Posts Tagged ‘History’

America for Americans

Posted in Pictures on January 21st, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

This letter is from the archives of the Seattle municipality. Dated November 16th, 1937, it’s addressed to the city council and written by the Chief of Staff of the Ku Klux Klan. Complete with a depiction of a burning cross and hooded night riders at the top, the letterhead features the motto “Communism Will Not Be Tolerated” emblazoned in the footer.

It is easy to forget, in our day and age, that the Klan was once a fairly mainstream organization in the United States. Their chilling self-characterization as “All Americans” who salute only “the Stars and Stripes” prefigures the American Right of today.

Ku Klux Klan letter, 1937

The Bi-Partisan War Against the Poor

Posted in Curated Links on January 15th, 2014 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

DSA Vice Chairman Joseph Schwartz reviews the recent MSNBC special commemorating the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, noting that discussion of the thirty year bi-partian assault on working people received little attention.

The biggest change in the face of poverty in the U.S. from the initiation of the War on Poverty to today is that poverty is now a problem of working families; it was not in 1962.  Today, one half of families living in official poverty have a full-time worker in the household. In 1962, a fully employed worker guaranteed that the family would live above the poverty line.  Why this change? In part, this is due to the conscious corporate assault on union strength.

Read more: The Bi-Partisan Neoliberal War Against the Poor – Democratic Socialists of America.

What I’m Reading: Dirty Wars

Posted in Other Content on August 29th, 2013 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Scahill brings the secret forces conducting our global war into the light of day. They are not a pretty sight.

May Day Joint Statement

Posted in Curated Links on May 1st, 2013 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The first of May is a moment for us to remember the Chicago Haymarket Martyrs of 127 years ago. These Chicago anarchists helped to lead the major battle of the day, not only for the 8 Hour Day, but also for social liberation.

Chicago’s Four Star Anarchists and several other allied groups have issued a joint statement titled Remembering the Past, Fighting for Tomorrow. It includes a short history of May Day, an examination of present conditions, a positive vision for our world and a call to action.

I commend it to you as appropriate for this May Day, 2013. Click here to read it.

Solidarity!

★★★

Today’s Must Read: A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

Posted in Curated Links on April 10th, 2013 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

“Submitting oneself to labor discipline—supervision, control, even the self-control of the ambitious self-employed—does not make one a better person. In most really important ways, it probably makes one worse. To undergo it is a misfortune that at best is sometimes necessary. Yet it’s only when we reject the idea that such labor is virtuous in itself that we can start to ask what is virtuous about labor. To which the answer is obvious. Labor is virtuous if it helps others.”

Read the Full Article: A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse | David Graeber | The Baffler.

What I’m Reading: Subterranean Fire

Posted in Other Content on February 22nd, 2013 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

Sharon Smith presents the history of radicalism in the U.S. Labor Movement from the late 1800s forward, with an eye toward reclaiming its rich heritage for the Working Class struggles of today.

The title of the book comes from something Labor martyr August Spies said prior to his execution. “If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement, then hang us. Here you will tread upon a spark, but here, and there, and behind you, and in front of you, the flames will blaze up. It is a subterranean fire. You cannot put it out. The ground is on fire upon which you stand.”

The Master Class Has Always Declared The Wars

Posted in Quotes on December 12th, 2012 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

“Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose—especially their lives.”

The Words That Sent Debs To Prison (Full Text) - 16 June 1918, Canton Ohio

The Second Bill of Rights

Posted in Commentary on September 19th, 2012 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

On January 11th of 1944, in his State of the Union Message to Congress, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proposed a “Second Bill of Rights” which would guarantee economic security for all Americans. Sixty-eight years later, we’re still arguing about whether or not people ought by birth to have the right to these basic necessities of life. The right to work at a living wage, the right to education, the right to decent housing, the right to adequate medical care, the right to security in old age – all of these rights that FDR saw as “self-evident” in 1944 have yet to be ensured, and are, in fact, increasingly under attack in our society today.

I wonder what might happen if President Obama were to make these rights the foundation of his bid for re-election. Would the American people rally to such a program? Would we recognize that political rights alone cannot ensure liberty and justice for all? Would we recognize that today our freedom is most threatened, not by the government, but by the tyranny of the marketplace? Would we recognize, at long last, that there is no democracy without economic democracy?

Some, I’m sure, would be quick to shout “Socialist!” Many did during FDR’s day as well. The fact is that we have made little progress toward securing these rights over the course of time. Today we have a President (elected on promises of “hope” and “change”) who has run about as far away from such modest social goals as he can. We have a Congress that has done all that is within its power to block progress and to roll back whatever meager gains have been made. We have one major political party with designs on dismantling Medicare and Social Security, and another that has shown great eagerness to capitulate to such demands. There is little danger that President Obama, or any other candidate with good prospects for his office, would openly embrace such a “radical” platform today.

FDR warned against the dangers of “rightist reaction” to progress under the New Deal. It seems that we have allowed those reactionary forces to become the main stream of American political discourse in this new century.

I commend Roosevelt’s words to your attention and consideration. Hurry the day that at least these fundamental economic rights are assured – not just for all Americans, but for all of humankind.

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people – whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth – is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights – among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however – as our industrial economy expanded – these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

One of the great American industrialists of our day – a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis – recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop – if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s – then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

★ ★ ★

Read the full text of FDR’s 1944 State of the Union Speech from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

American Labor History Timeline

Posted in Curated Links on September 6th, 2012 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

The American Prospect magazine’s Website has posted an interactive timeline depicting a brief history of the Labor Movement in the U.S. adapted from If Labor Dies, Whats Next? - a Harold Meyerson piece that appears in the September/October issue.

The timeline includes such notable moments as the founding of the Knights of Labor, the Pullman Strike of 1894 (shown above), the Triangle Fire, the founding of the IWW and more. It’s basic information that every American ought to know, but relatively few do.

See the interactive timeline: A Brief History of American Labor.

What I’m Reading: The S Word

Posted in Other Content on August 29th, 2012 by Noebie – Be the first to comment

From the publisher:

Tom Paine was enamored of early socialists, Horace Greeley employed Karl Marx as a correspondent, and Helen Keller was an avowed socialist. The “S” Word gives Americans back a crucial aspect of their past and makes a forthright case for socialist ideas today.

Learn More:

Hits From the Basement: The ‘S’ Word [Abandon All Despair Ye Who Enter Here]