What's Wrong With Woodrow Wilson? Radley Balko: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2010-10-11). A: He was a fucking fascist, that's what's wrong. (Linked Monday 2010-10-11.)
Modesto Police Shoot Francisco Moran and Rita Elias. Modesto Anarcho!'s MySpace Blog (2010-10-04).
On Friday night, Rita Elias, 31, died after off-duty sheriff's detective Kari Abbey, shot and killed her after an hour long argument. Kari Abbey, a 6 year veteran to the force, and a detective of four...(Linked Monday 2010-10-11.)
Under Surveillance America. Darian Worden, Center for a Stateless Society (2010-09-16).
Federal Bureau of Investigation files indicate that Ernest Withers, prominent photographer of 1960s Civil Rights activism, was also a federal informant. According to the Washington Post, he provided photographs, scheduling information and biographical sketches on Civil Rights leaders to the FBI. Whether Withers was trying to cash in on information...(Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Nothing new under the sun. John Markley, The Superfluous Man (2010-10-06).
Contemporary American politics makes a great deal more sense in light of the realization that Barack Obama's most devoted fans and fiercest critics are united by a shared delusion: the belief that Obama is really, really interesting.How this manifests among his supporters is apparent enough in the starry-eyed adulation he...(Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Homesteading in Haiti: Very Adverse Possession. Jesse Walker, Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2010-10-12).
Emily Troutman reports from the hills near Port-au-Prince: Six months ago, this land was nothing but crickets in the grass. Now, it's Haiti's new frontier, a landscape of squatters whose greatest hope is a home of their own. Gray and blue shacks and shanties extend for miles. Small gardens and...(Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Event: The Prospects and Ethics of Political Reform. justino, DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left (2010-09-27).
What: As we near election time, candidates for office will inevitably present themselves as an alternative to the status quo that plagues us. But what types of reform in practice, if any, are consistent with a libertarian political philosophy? The first article we will study is Ron Paul’s “My Plan...(Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Event: ‘For the Bible Tells Me So’ Movie. justino, DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left (2010-09-22).
What: 1919 Hemphill, a local DIY collective, is hosting a screening of the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So (2007) as part of its long-time movie series Conscientious Projector. A recipient of numerous international awards, the film documents the turmoil Christian families with a gay child face and “sometimes...(Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Grieving Student Suspected of Using Marijuana Reinstated. DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left (2010-10-12). Narco-Statism Vs. Compassion and Human Decency (Cont'd) (Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
Getting Away With Murder. Center for a Stateless Society (2010-10-12). Cops are here to keep us safe. (Cont'd) (Linked Tuesday 2010-10-12.)
I really like this shirt, due to the fact that it’s just about the cutest thing ever, and would love to be able to buy it as a gift for some toddler of my acquaintance. Unfortunately, I can’t bring myself to pay one red cent for it.
Why not? Well, consider the source: https://unionshop.aflcio.org/I_m_a_Little_Wobbly_T-shirt_P177.cfm
The AFL-CIO Retail Store for Activists. The
product details explains:
Your little one toddling around will show his or her union roots with this “I’m a Little Wobbly” children’s T-shirt in bright red.Wobbly,of course, refers to a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
Of course. The Industrial Workers of the World. Which you may remember as the union whose founding convention was marked by an address where Big Bill Haywood argued that the conservative and bureaucratic AF of L,
which presumes to be the labor movement of this country, is not a working-class movement, and which to this day routinely condemns the AFL-CIO as
business unionists and
labor fakirs. You may also remember it as the union which the AFL’s Great Leader and President-for-Life Sam Gompers declared
a radical fungus on the labor movement, a union organized of, by, and for
the reckless, the unprincipled, the uneducated, the unstable. You may also recall that, from 1917 to 1919, Gompers and his AFL actively collaborated with, and publicly defended, the Wilson War Government’s systematic efforts to stamp out those same Wobblies, through press censorship, through raids on union headquarters, through the seizure of membership lists and internal records, through mass arrests, through espionage and sedition prosecutions, through imprisonment, and through torture of imprisoned organizers. For his patriotic efforts Gompers was rewarded with newfound influence as an apparatchik for Wilson’s National War Labor Board.
I have to hand it to the AFL-CIO: I haven’t seen such chutzpah since maybe 1921 (when the the Bolsheviks gave a handful of Anarchist political prisoners day-passes out of jail so they could help put on a big state funeral for Peter Kropotkin).
For what it’s worth, if you want actual Wobbly merchandise, you can get it through the IWW Online Store.
Allowing people into a nation who do not identify themselves as part of that nation—who do not speak the language, who do not observe the holidays, who do not know or care about the history and ideals and cultural icons—is simply suicidal.
I’m sure that all of you properly assimilated Americans realized that June 14th is Flag Day — a commemoration of the military colors of the Union, first established by the rabid segregationist, anti-feminist, and President Woodrow Wilson. And I hope that you all have observed this holiday in a manner befitting the solemnity of the occasion, and the importance of such cultural icons to the flourishing — indeed, the survival — of so great a nation.
So perish all compromises with tyranny! And let all the people say, Amen! —William Lloyd Garrison
Over My Shoulder #20: Damon W. Root (2006), review of David W. Southern’s The Progressive Era and Race
You know the rules; here’s the quote. I’ve mentioned before some of the reasons that I refuse to call myself a
Progressive, and why I loathe the current vogue for the term on the Left. I alluded to some of the historical reasons for it but didn’t actually spell the details out at the time. Fortunately, while I was riding to work on the bus a couple days ago I found out that a book review from this month’s issue of Reason said just what I wanted to say, at least as far as the topic of race is concerned. (There are some analogous points to be made about the experiences of women, workers, immigrants, and psychiatric patients during the same dark, violent era. But the book under review deals specifically with the relationship between the Progressive movement and the triumph of Jim Crow in its most brutal incarnation.) So, thanks to Damon W. Root and his review of David W. Southern’s The Progressive Era and Race, here’s a good precis of how I learned to start worrying and loathe Progressivism:
The Progressive movement swept America from roughly the early 1890s through the early 1920s, producing a broad popular consensus that government should be the primary agent of social change. To that end, legions of idealistic young crusaders, operating at the local, state, and federal levels, seized and wielded sweeping new powers and enacted a mountain of new legislation, including minimum wage and maximum hour laws, antitrust statutes, restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol, appropriations for hundreds of miles of roads and highways, assistance to new immigrants and the poor, women’s suffrage, and electoral reform, among much else.
Today many on the liberal left would like to revive that movement and its aura of social justice. Journalist Bill Moyers, speaking at a conference sponsored by the left-wing Campaign for America’s Future, described Progressivism asone of the country’s great traditions.Progressives, he told the crowd,exalted and extended the original American Revolution. They spelled out new terms of partnership between the people and their rulers. And they kindled a flame that lit some of the most prosperous decades in modern history.
Yet the Progressive Era was also a time of vicious, state-sponsored racism. In fact, from the standpoint of African-American history, the Progressive Era qualifies as arguably the single worst period since Emancipation. The wholesale disfranchisement of Southern black voters occurred during these years, as did the rise and triumph of Jim Crow. Furthermore, as the Westminster College historian David W. Southern notes in his recent book, The Progressive Era and Race: Reform and Reaction, 1900–1917, the very worst of it—disfranchisement, segregation, race baiting, lynching—went hand-in-hand with the most advanced forms of southern progressivism.Racism was the norm, not the exception, among the very crusaders romanticized by today’s activist left.
At the heart of Southern’s flawed but useful study is a deceptively simple question: How did reformers infused with lofty ideals embrace such abominable bigotry? His answer begins with the race-based pseudoscience that dominated educated opinion at the turn of the 20th century.At college,Southern notes,budding progressives not only read exposés of capitalistic barons and attacks on laissez-faire economics by muckraking journalists, they also read racist tracts that drew on the latest anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, eugenics, and medical science.
Popular titles included Charles Carroll’s The Negro a Beast (1900) and R.W. Shufeldt’s The Negro, a Menace to American Civilization (1907). One bestseller, Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race (1916), discussed the concept ofrace suicide,the theory that inferior races were out-breeding their betters. President Theodore Roosevelt was one of many Progressives captivated by this notion: He opposed voting rights for African-American men, which were guaranteed by the 15th amendment, on the grounds that the black race was still in its adolescence.
Such thinking, which emphasizedexpertopinion and advocated sweeping governmental power, fit perfectly within the Progressive worldview, which favored a large, active government that engaged in technocratic, paternalistic planning. As for reconciling white supremacy with egalitarian democracy, keep in mind that when a racist Progressive championedthe working man,the common man,orthe people,he typically prefixed the silent adjective white.
For a good illustration, consider Carter Glass of Virginia. Glass was a Progressive state and U.S. senator and, as chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, one of the major architects of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of his state’s massive effort to disfranchise black voters.Discrimination! Why that is exactly what we propose,he declared to one journalist.To remove every negro voter who can be gotten rid of, legally, without materially impairing the numerical strength of the white electorate.
Then there was political scientist John R. Commons, an adviser to the Progressive Wisconsin governor and senator Robert M. LaFollette and a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Immigration Commission. Commons, the author of Races and Immigrants in America (1907), criticized immigration on both protectionist grounds (he believed immigrants depressed wages and weakened labor unions) and racist ones (he wrote that the so-called tropical races wereindolent and fickle).
Woodrow Wilson, whose Progressive presidential legacy includes the Federal Reserve System, a federal loan program for farmers, and an eight-hour workday for railroad employees, segregated the federal bureaucracy in Washington, D.C.I have recently spent several days in Washington,the black leader Booker T. Washington wrote during Wilson’s first term,and I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.
Perhaps the most notorious figure of the era was BenjaminPitchforkTillman, a leading Southern Progressive and inveterate white supremacist. As senator from South Carolina from 1895 to 1918, Tillman stumped forFree Silver,the economic panacea of the agrarian populist (and future secretary of state) William Jennings Bryan, whom Tillman repeatedly supported for president.PitchforkTillman favored such Progressive staples as antitrust laws, railroad regulations, and public education, but felt the latter was fit only for whites.When you educate a negro,he brayed,you educate a candidate for the penitentiary or spoil a good field hand.
As Southern thoroughly documents, Root notes a bit further down,
these examples just begin to scratch the surface. Progressivism was infested with the most repugnant strains of racism. That was no accident. And it wasn’t just some minor blight on a basically good movement. It was part and parcel of Progressivism, its pseudodemocratic anti-radicalism, its sustained assault on autonomous, state-free mutual aid assocations and labor unions, its contemptuous pity for the downtrodden, and its embrace of the government-backed Expert as the natural person to solve their problems for them (whether they liked it or not). It’s long past time for Progressivism to be left in the dustbin of history, for we as a society, and the left as a movement, to progress beyond that kind of adolescent power trip to a theory and practice based on respect, mutuality, solidarity, and freedom. Dump the bosses of your back.
For the past week, there’s been a lot of hubbub over All Things Beautiful’s Ten Worst Americans challenge. For a lot of reasons, I don’t have a comprehensive list, and I’m not that keen on the whole project (there’s lots of evil and ugliness in the world without going out of your way to seek it out, compile it, and cross-index it; I have no idea what the criteria would be for choosing ten people as more evil than any others; and I think that most of us are already far too fascinated with and fixated on demonology as it is). So I don’t have a Worst Ten list to provide. But I do have a list of additions that I think ought to be there, if lists are to be made. Coming out for the left-liberal corner we have Ampersand at Alas, A Blog (2005-12-27) with a list of seven villains, Patrick at Tiberius and Gaius Speaking… with a list of ten, and Glenn Greenwald and Hypatia at Unclaimed Territory (2005-12-28) with another ten to throw on the barbie. With the exception of Glenn’s silly inclusion of Harry Blackmun, they are pretty much right, as far as it goes, but there are some notable names that I notice tend to get left out. I suggested some additions at Alas and some dishonorable mentions at Tiberius and Gaius, which have been followed up with some debate.
Here’s my contribution of evildoers. I make no attempt to be comprehensive — there are lots of truly rotten people who aren’t on the list, mainly because they are mentioned elsewhere. But these folks are truly rotten, and often overlooked — sometimes because they get shoved out of the way by contemporary contenders that contemporary writers tend to give disproportionate space to, sometimes because the villains are overlooked by pop history anyway, and sometimes simply because political blinders prevent their names from being given serious consideration. The interesting thing is that the blinders rarely constitute defenses of their deeds — although in at least two of the three cases I discuss with Patrick that is what’s happening. It’s just that, for whatever reason, some folks whose crimes are readily admitted, if mentioned, aren’t thought of when you sit down thinking
Who should I put down as a terrible evil-doer? I have some ideas about the reasons behind that, but I’d be interested to hear what you think in comments, too.
In any case, here’s my unordered list of overlooked evildoers, cobbled together from my suggestions elsewhere:
Curtis LeMay. He carried out the murder of 500,000 - 1,000,000 Japanese civilians over the course of half a year in 1945. He planned and carried out the low-altitude firebombing of Kobe, Tokyo, and 65 other Japanese cities. A nuclear maniac who explicitly denied that there were any innocent bystanders in war, went on to coin the phrase
bomb them back into the Stone Age(in reference to the Vietnam War), and went on to become George Wallace’s running mate in 1968, on a platform of white supremacy and more militant anticommunism. During World War II, he repeatedly indicated his belief that the Japanese deserved wholesale slaughter of civilians, and his own public statements and the reminiscences of the soldiers who served under him reveal him as simply reveling in death and destruction.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a pseudo-leftist demagogue who created the military-industrial complex; imprisoned political opponents; seized sweeping censorship powers; pandered to the worst sorts of racism, first in his political alliances with arch-segregationist Dixiecrats and then in whipping up war fever for war against Japan; ordered internment of Japanese-Americans; happily allied with, propagandized for, and consigned 1/2 of Europe to the totalitarian terror of, Joseph Stalin; and became one of the three men who came the closest to becoming a dictator in the United States.
Woodrow Wilson, unreprentant liar and war-monger, KKK fan, arch-segregationist, ardent anti-feminist. His published academic work delighted in white supremacist myth-making; his warmongering drew the United States needlessly into one of the worst and most senseless wars in world history; he built a slave army with the second federal draft in American history, and shredded civil liberties with abandon, happily imprisoning political opponents both during and after the War and presiding over the devastating Palmer Raids. Wilson is one of the three men who came the closest to becoming a dictator in the United States.
George Fitzhugh, who fused the worst elements of statist utopian socialism with a nostalgic view of feudal hierarchy to provide the most militant theoretical defense of white supremacy and race slavery in the prewar South. He authored Slavery Justified, Sociology in the South, and Cannibals All!.
William Tecumseh Sherman, one of the inventors of modern scorched-earth warfare, ravager of the South and murderer of Southern civilians. Sherman followed up his most famous role by pursuing genocidal campaigns against the Plains Indians and Indians in the Southwest from 1869 until his retirement in 1884.
James Eastland, the militant white supremacist Senator from Mississippi, mad dog McCarthyist, and founding father of the White Citizens Councils.
In addition to another Alas commenter’s suggestion of Larry Flynt, I’d also like to add Chuck Traynor, the pimp / pornographer / rapist / batterer / slave-driver who forced Linda Boreman into Deep Throat (among other pornography) and played an instrumental role in founding the mass-market, above-ground film pornography industry in the U.S. through repeated filmed rapes.
Sergio Méndez reminded me that Ronald Reagan certainly needs a mention, yet he seems notoriously absent from many of the lists. I mention him here not because I think he’s often overlooked on lefty lists of rotten people, but rather because I think the primary reasons to include him — his complicity in the formation of the death squads of El Salvador and the plainly genocidal massacre of some 200,000 Indians in Guatemala — is often overlooked in favor of a frankly silly focus on his contributions to the rhetoric of the contemporary Right in America.
The exercise, whatever its demerits, does seem to be a good conversation-starter. What do you think?