29 November 2011

Socialist and socialistic quotes

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” – Anonymous (no, not the hacker group)

“If God existed, only in one way could he serve the cause of human liberty—by ceasing to exist.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“If God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“He who desires to worship God must harbor no childish illusions about the matter but bravely renounce his liberty and humanity.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy.” –Mikhail Bakunin

“The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.” – Mikhail Bakunin

“I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.” – Brendan Behan

“No republic can long exist unless a substantial equality in the wealth of citizens prevails.” – Edward Ballamy

“A rich enemy excites their avarice, a poor one their ambition.  To robbery, slaughter, and plunder they give the lying name of government; they create a wasteland and call it peace.” – Calgacus of the Caledonii, 85 CE

“You got what you asked for, Dean, no paradise, no hell, just more of the same.  I mean it, Dean; what would you rather have?  Peace or freedom?” – Castiel

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.” – Cesar Chavez

“An injury to one is an injury to all.” – David C. Coates

“I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose.” - Clarence Darrow

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” – Eugene Debs

“I have no country to fight for; for my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world.” –Eugene Debs

“The God of the Christians is a father who is a great deal more concerned about his apples than he is about his children.” – Denis Diderot

“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” -Denis Diderot

“A nation which thinks that it is belief in God and not good law which makes people honest does not seem to me very advanced.” - Denis Diderot

“The God of the Christians is a father who is a great deal more concerned about his apples than he is about his children.” – Denis Diderot

“It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God.” – Denis Diderot

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from inferior minds.” – Albert Einstein

“I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate [the] grave evils [of capitalism], namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.” – Albert Einstein

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.” - Albert Einstein

“I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.” - Albert Einstein

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.” – Emma Goldman

"The only demand that property recognizes is its own gluttonous appetite for greater wealth, because wealth means power; the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade." – Emma Goldman

“Anarchism stands for liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from shackles and restraint of government.” – Emma Goldman

“'What I believe' is a process rather than a finality. Finalities are for gods and governments, not for the human intellect.” – Emma Goldman

“If they don’t give you work, ask them for bread. If they deny you bread, take it!” – Emma Goldman

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine." – Che Guevara

“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” – Che Guevara

 “Our affluent society contains those of talent and insight who are driven to prefer poverty, to choose it, rather than to submit to the desolation of an empty abundance. It is a strange part of the other America that one finds in the intellectual slums.” – Michael Harrington

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” - Thomas Jefferson

“Socialism without democracy is unthinkable.” – Karl Kautsky

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King

“The arch of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King

“You have to distinguish between two things – the economy and the stock market.  The economy is the sum of all the goods and services that are produced in the country every day.  The stock market is something very different.  There is no economy and no production of goods and services.  There are only fantasies in which people from one hour to the next decide that this or that company is worth so many billions, more or less.  It doesn’t have a thing to do with reality or the economy.” – Stieg Larsson

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest tossed, to me. I will lift up my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital.  Capital is the only fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed.  Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves the much higher consideration.” - Abraham Lincoln

 “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” – Abraham Lincoln

 “There is no democracy without socialism, and there is no socialism without democracy." – Rosa Luxemburg

“Religious suffering is the expression of real suffering and at the same time a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” –Karl Marx

“The traditions of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.” – Karl Marx

“Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” – Benito Mussolini

“In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

“Finding that no religion is based on facts and cannot therefore be true, I began to reflect what must be the condition of mankind trained from infancy to believe in error.” - Robert Owen

“You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea.” – Bobby Sands

“Guns don't win wars; guns and bombs may kill a man but they cannot make him follow their lead, nor will they ever coerce an unyielding man to yield.” – Bobby Sands

“Everyone has his or her particular part to play.  No part is too great or too small.  No one is too old or too young to do something.” – Bobby Sands

“There are still too, too many who walk amongst the people bubbling with false enthusiasm, false patriotism and false concern...political magpies and political opportunists and parasites. Equality and fraternity, can't, and never will be, gained whilst these parasites dominate and rule the lives of a nation.'” – Bobby Sands

“I believe that if we had would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own.” – Gen. David Shoup, USMC (ret.)

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – John Steinbeck

“It's an incredible con job when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous.” - Gloria Steinem

“Sacred cows make the best hamburger.” – Mark Twain

“People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.” – V

“Anarchy does not mean without rules; it means without rulers.” – V

“Artists use lies to tell the truth; politicians use the truth to tell lies.” – V

“It is better to live on your feet than to die on your knees.” – Emilio Zapata

“Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church (mosque/synagogue/temple/pagoda, etc.) falls on the last priest (mullah/rabbi/brahmin/bhikku, etc.).” – Emile Zola

28 November 2011

The REAL Zodiac, according to the International Astronomical Union

The astrological signs that you see in your daily horoscope are 2500 years out of date due to the the axial precession of Earth, or "precession of the equinoxes".  The constellations of the zodiac are those which appear on Terra's (Earth's) elliptic plane of revolution around Sol, our planetary system's star, progressively throughout the year.  In addition to horoscope's zodiac being out of date, there are actually 13 constellations rather than 12.  The "age" is whatever sign is dominant at the time of the spring equinox, in the current case, the Age of Pisces.

Pisces – 11 March-18 April

Aries – 18 April-13 May

Taurus – 13 May-21 June

Gemini – 21 June-20 July

Cancer – 20 July-10 August

Leo – 10 August-18 September

Virgo – 18 September-30 October

Libra – 30 October-23 November

Scorpius – 23 November-29 November

Serpentarius aka Ophiuchus – 29 November-17 December

Sagittarius – 17 December-20 January

Capricornus – 20 January-16 February

Aquarius – 16 February-11 March

The Greek astronomer Hipparchus (c. 190-120 BCE), founder of trigonometry, discovered that the constellations in the zodiac do not sit statically in the sky but "move" due to axial precession, or progression of the equinoxes.  The discovery caused a revolution in science and philosophy and led directly to the mystery religion of Mithraism.

19 November 2011

We Are The Many, by Makana

The anthemn of the OWS movement

Farewell to Glasgow, by Solas, featuring John Williams

Written by the Irish-American John Williams and performed by the Celtic band Solas led by Seamus Egan, this song made me cry the first time I heard it. Still does.

Tom Paine's Bones, by The Shee

Oro se do bheatha bhaile, by Sinead O'Connor

One of her best performances, and one of the best renditions of this song, ever.

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" marching song (Oro se do bheatha bhaile)

17 November 2011

Palestinian Freedom Rides to Jerusalem

I’m a Freedom Rider! I’m just trying to go to Jerusalem!” shouted Palestinian activist Huwaida Arraf Tuesday evening as a live Internet video feed showed Israeli police officers dragging her off a bus linking Israeli settlements in the West Bank to Jerusalem.
Arraf and five other Palestinian activists boarded segregated Israeli public bus number 148 — which connects the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel to Jerusalem — on Tuesday in an act of civil disobedience aimed to draw attention to Israeli colonial and apartheid policies and the lack of basic human rights Palestinians are afforded under this system.
After sitting peacefully on the bus at Israel’s Hizma checkpoint, just outside the northern entrance to Jerusalem, and nonviolently resisting attempts by the Israeli authorities to get them off the bus, all six “Freedom Riders” were eventually removed by force and arrested for illegally entering Israel without permits.
Another Palestinian Freedom Rider was also arrested while attempting to ride the segregated buses, and according to a Freedom Riders press release, was taken with the six other activists to Atarot police station (“Palestinian Freedom Riders On Their Way to Jerusalem Violently Arrested on Israeli Settler Bus”).
Their protest action was inspired by the Freedom Riders of the civil rights movement in the United States, who nonviolently challenged segregation in the American South in the 1950s and 1960s.
It’s going to be a challenge for Palestinians and for every human being for their morality. It’s going to be a challenge for the whole world to really take action against the Israeli crimes,” Palestinian Freedom Riders spokesperson Hurriyah Ziada told The Electronic Intifada on Monday.
While Palestinians are not explicitly barred from boarding Israeli public transportation in the West Bank, since most buses pass through Israeli settlements that are off-limits to Palestinians, the system is de facto segregated.
Our challenge is going to be on the ground dealing with the settlers, but on the other hand, we’re waiting for the peoples’ reactions and the world’s reactions. Enough talk; we need real action on the ground and for people to take a side, taking a rightful side against Israeli discrimination,” Ziada said.
Tense hours at the checkpoint
The Freedom Riders left Ramallah Tuesday afternoon and headed to a bus stop in the occupied West Bank, which serves Israeli settlers near the Israeli settlement of Psagot. After a few buses drove past the Palestinian activists without stopping, six Freedom Riders, and a large group of journalists, managed to board a bus.
The bus was reportedly followed along its route by Israeli soldiers and police, and was stopped shortly after arriving at the Hizma checkpoint. Once there, Israeli settlers who had been on the bus got off, and Israeli soldiers and police officers boarded to check passengers’ IDs, according to images broadcast on the Freedom Waves live Internet video feed.
The Israelis can’t take the wait and so they are getting off the bus. Let them see what we have to go through and let them ask why this is happening, and why it has to happen this way in order to try to change things,” said Freedom Rider Huwaida Arraf, as the settlers stood up and began leaving the bus, as documented in the Freedom Waves video feed.
Whether they’re corralled in pens at checkpoints or held up and detained, not told why, arrested, held for days, weeks, sometimes months without any kind of legal justification at all … this happens to Palestinians every day,” she said.
I want people to see the apartheid system here”
The Electronic Intifada spoke directly with Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, one of the Freedom Riders, at approximately 4:20pm local time on Tuesday, as he sat on the bus at the checkpoint.
We’re on the bus. They just moved us a few yards beyond the [Hizma] checkpoint. We are in a parking lot and the soldiers are asking us to come down from the bus. The people refuse to come down from the bus. They are telling [us] that [we] are detained and [we] have to come from the bus. We don’t know yet what they are going to do. They took one person from the bus. There’s [Israeli] special forces, border police, regular police and soldiers surrounding the bus,” Qumsiyeh said.
I don’t know [what will happen] but I think we will be punished severely,” Qumsiyeh, who was later arrested with the five other Freedom Riders, added. “I want [people] to see that we have an apartheid system here. There are illegal, colonial settlements in our land. These settlements have their own buses and they get to Jerusalem without anybody checking them, yet we, the native Palestinians, are not allowed to get to Jerusalem.”
Freedom of movement severely restricted
Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal according to international law, including the Geneva conventions. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 Jewish Israelis currently live in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem estimates that from 1967 — when Israel imposed its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip — to mid-2010, the Israeli government established 121 settlements in the West Bank that were officially recognized by the Israeli Ministry of Interior.
In that same period, approximately 100 settler outposts, considered illegal under both international and Israeli laws, were erected, while twelve so-called “neighborhoods” of Jerusalem were built on land illegally annexed by Israel and are thereby also illegal under international law.
According to B’Tselem, Israel has created a system of “separation and discrimination, with two separate systems of law” in the occupied West Bank.
One system, for the settlers, de facto annexes the settlements to Israel and grants settlers the rights of citizens of a democratic state. The other is a system of military law that systematically deprives Palestinian of their rights and denies them the ability to have any real effect on shaping the policy regarding the land space in which they live and with respect to their rights,” B’Tselem states on its website (“Land expropriation and settlements”).
Restrictions on Palestinian freedoms do not end at the settlements themselves, however. Instead, Palestinians’ rights are also violated by the infrastructure built to accommodate Israeli settlers, especially private, Israeli-only roads. “In October 2010, there were 232 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that Israel classified for the sole, or almost sole, use of Israelis, primarily of settlers,” says B’Tselem (“Checkpoints, Physical Obstructions, and Forbidden Roads”).
Israel also prohibits Palestinians from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby restricting their access to nearby roads that they are ostensibly not prohibited from using. In these cases, Palestinians travelers have to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side,” according to the human rights group.
Veolia a boycott target for serving settlements
Egged, Israel’s largest public transportation company, operates the bus that the Freedom Riders boarded in the West Bank Tuesday. French company Veolia also operates bus lines serving illegal Israeli settlements throughout the occupied West Bank.
According to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), which organizes around the 2005 Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a way to end Israeli violations of international law and promote Palestinian rights, Egged and Veolia “are complicit in Israel’s violations of international law due to their involvement in and profiting from Israel’s illegal settlement infrastructure.”
Palestinian Freedom Rides Spokesperson Hurriyah Ziada told The Electronic Intifada that promoting the BDS call — and the specific boycott of and divestment from Egged and Veolia — is a major aim of the Freedom Rides movement.
We’re trying to support the BDS campaign,” Ziadah said. “Negotiations have been going for too long and we haven’t been achieving anything on the ground. Everybody knows that these settlements are illegal on our land, but nobody is doing anything. Israel is not paying any cost for any of its actions. They have to pay a price by people boycotting them and by highlighting how racist they are. We ask for human rights and freedom, justice and dignity.”
In the civil rights movement, they were fighting against racism,” Ziadah added, “but we’re going to be fighting against racism, discrimination [and] occupation. We’re going to be fighting to exist.”
Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at http://jkdamours.com.

16 November 2011

Birds of a Feather

From left to right and top to bottom: Chicago's former Mayor Richard Daley, Syria's President Bashar al Assad, Libya's former Leader of the Revolution Muammar Qaddafi, Alabama's former Governor George Wallace, Tunisia's former President Zine El Abdine Ben Ali, NYC's Mayor-for-life Michael "Billionaire" Bloomberg, Oakland's Mayor Jean Quan, Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak, Wisconsin's former Senator Joe McCarthy, America's former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, Iran's Leader of the Revolution Ali Hosseini Moussavi Khamenei

11 November 2011

Iran Elections Crackdowns Photo Compilation (Sunday Bloody Sunday)

Letters from Iran - General - Al Jazeera English

Letters from Iran - General - Al Jazeera English

From the Al Jazeera English website:

While winds of change have been blowing through the Arab world this year, Iranians have been forced to wait for political reform.

In 2009, in the aftermath of an election that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad controversially returned to power as president of the Islamic Republic, millions took to the streets of Tehran to protest against the result. But the demonstrations were brutally repressed and the hopes of the "green revolutionaries" were dashed.

Since then Iran has closed itself off to international media scrutiny and it has been difficult to determine exactly what happened to the many thousands of dissidents arrested and imprisoned during the protests, or the current scale of political opposition to the regime.

Yet as this film reveals, that opposition is still alive and kicking and just as eager for change as before. Letters from Iran paints a fascinating portrait of the aftermath of the Green Revolution and a country holding its breath.


07 November 2011

For a Cooperative Commonwealth

Why socialism?

Because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Why capitalism?

Because the greed of the few overshadows the needs of the many.

Why do common working class people defend capitalism and Authority?

Because each of them fancies themselves a house slave rather than a common field slave. 

Why do they do this even against their own interests?

Because everyone wants to be a slave-owner. 

Why pursue this goal when its attainment is only an illusion?

Because they confuse delusion for true hope and will do anything to preserve it.

Socialism, real socialism, is not some invasive foreign import but is as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. 

Real socialism (as opposed to what the Bolsheviks erected under Lenin’s direction in the former Russian Empire after their coup d’etat known as the October Revolution) is not the end of democracy but the beginning of true democracy.  Without economic, social, and industrial democracy, political democracy is meaningless. 

Other than those who followed the line of Lenin and his disciples and their ideological offspring, American socialists never wanted to set up anything like a “People’s Democratic Socialist Workers Republic” or a “dictatorship of the proletariat” controlled by a party “vanguard”.  No, their idea was the Cooperative Commonwealth.

Vladimir Lenin never made any attempt to introduce socialism to the Soviet Union.  By his own declaration, he and his disciples set up what he himself called state capitalism, modeled, according to him, upon that of the Prussian Junker capitalists.  The very system against which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto and first campaigned as leaders of the Communist League. 

Leninism and all of its ideological offspring (Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, Fidelism, etc.) are an aberration from, not the fulfillment of, Marx and Engels.  Their true ideological heir was not Vladimir Lenin but Karl Kautsky.

Many socialists today recognize as the progenitor of modern socialism the same person recognized as the godfather of Irish and Scottish as well as English republicanism, a hero of the French Revolution, and father of American independence: Thomas Paine.  Paine cut his political teeth with a letter to Parliament protesting the working conditions of the officers of excise in the United Kingdom.  It was the quality of his writing in that letter which led Ben Franklin to conscript him for the movement in America.

To most Americans, the name Thomas Paine means Common Sense and The Crisis, while to the rest of the world it also means Rights of Man and Age of Reason.  The first major advocate of independence in the English colonies, Paine may very well be called the First American, in the sense of “American” being a citizen of the United States. 

His Rights of Man was a defense of republicanism and of the French Revolution against former ally Edmund Burke’s advocacy of constitutional monarchism and condemnation of events in France.  His Age of Reasondefended freedom of thought and the creation of an atmosphere in which that can grow against ideology, superstition, and theocracy.

Not as well known other than by historically-minded socialists is Paine’s staunch advocacy of the rights of workers as first evidenced in the above-mentioned letter.  He also strongly opposed and wrote essays againstslavery, illiteracy, and poverty, and other social evils, as well as for the equal rights of women, public education, universal suffrage, old-age pensions, a guaranteed income, and the fair distribution of land.  In many respects, Paine was far ahead of his time.

The very first socialist party (which also functioned as a labor union) in the world was founded in New York City and Philadelphia in 1828.  It lasted only five years but left its mark on America and the rest of the world.

Though they had been involved in other organizations previously, when Marx and Engels first put together their own organization, they called it the Committees of Correspondence, the same name used by the Patriots of colonial and revolutionary America.

Always in favor of any advance toward actual freedom for all rather than an ideological purist, Marx strongly supported the cause of the Union as a reporter in New York City during the War Between the States.  This despite his sharing of President Lincoln’s misgivings to Col. Wilkins about the “money power of this country”.  In the question of imperial capitalism versus the planter slavocracy, the choice for Marx was easy.

When Marx and Engels helped found the International Workingmens Association (the First International, or IWA) in 1864, they clearly anticipated the coming horrific abuses of the Second Industrial Revolution that began around 1867 and moved directly into the Gilded Age of the later 19thcentury.  The IWA gained its first American section in 1867 and by 1870 had enough sections to support a Central Committee of the IWA for North America. 

The following year the more than thirty sections of the IWA in America formed the North American Federation of the IWA.  Rather than being largely an immigrants’ organization as many so often accuse, the IWA in America included such leading figures as suffragette pioneer Victoria Woodhull and former slave Frederick Douglas.

In 1872, after the IWA Congress at The Hague in which the followers of the anarchist Mikail Bakunin left the International to form their own group, the international headquarters of the IWA moved to New York City.  There it remained for the next four years, until its international congress voted to dissolve in 1876. 

Immediately, the remaining American sections joined together with other groups in the country at the convention hall to form the Workingmens Party of America.  In time this became the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLPA).  The SLPA did, unlike its immediate predecessor, devolve into largely a German-language organization, divorced from the American public and the American working class as a whole.  SLPA members also strayed into the increasingly extremist anarchism of Bakunin’s followers, many leaving to form violent anarchist groups.

Both trends in the SLPA continued until reined in first by Laurence Gronlund, who in 1884 published an examination of Marxist doctrine aimed at the American worker called The Cooperative Commonwealth in its Outlines, an Exposition of Modern Socialism, and second by Daniel DeLeon, who took the helm of the party, put it on a strictly Marxist course, and led it until his death in 1914.

Gronlund’s work gave a name by which American socialists of the late 19thcentury and well into the early 20th century referred to their ultimate goal.  But the work which painted a more accurate picture of what American socialists then and now have always wanted was written by Edward Bellamy, called Looking Backward.  Gronlund was so impressed he withdrew his own work from publication, at least for several years.

Bellamy’s Looking Backward is a science fiction novel about a man who goes to sleep in his basement in the late 19th century and wakes up in the year 2000 in which the needs of the many outweigh the greed of the few.  Rather than dictating how the coming Cooperative Commonwealth should run, he drew a portrait what it could be like.

The works of Horatio Alger still hang like a yoke around the necks of the American poor and middle class.  A very anti-FDR granddaughter of Laura Engels Wilder edited out all references to public support and mutual assistance from her grandmother’s journals of life on the frontier to such an extent that they became fiction.  The silent film “Birth of a Nation”, inspired by the book The Clansman, gave rise to the birth of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Therefore, the American socialist movement’s attraction to a work of fiction in this country is anything but unique.  Of course, American socialists realized that Looking Backward was a work of fiction, unlike their bigoted opposites in the Knights of the KKK.

A trend developed within American socialism based on the vision Edward Bellamy painted on the canvas of book’s pages that came to be called Nationalism.  This form of Nationalism was specifically referred to Nation versus Capital, or citizenship versus entrepreneurship, rather than bigoted, exclusive chauvninism.

Edward had a cousin named Francis, who was a Baptist preacher and in 1892 published what he named the Pledge of Allegiance, with the aim of encouraging children’s focus on each other and on fellow citizens for direction and to support rather than looking to the robber barons then currently stealing the country blind.

What Francis originally wrote was: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, indivisible, with liberty, equality, fraternity, and justice for all.”

As you can see from the wording in the original, the focus was on the republic than the flag as idol.  Besides his pastorship and his membership on the Board of Education, Francis worked for a company which produced flags.  In addition to his own motives, Francis’ bosses wanted to use his pledge, his encouragement to good citizenship, to sell flags to American schools, which as the time did not commonly fly them.

Francis’ editor immediately struck out the word “equality”, the first time Francis’ pledge was butchered (“my flag” was changed to “the Flag of the United States of America” in 1924 and the phrase “under God” inserted in 1954).  The editor did not want to offend anyone at height of Jim Crow.  Still, the pledge focused on the republic and citizens to each other.

The Pledge of Allegiance and flags in nearly all Americans schools both came out of American socialism.  Remember that next time you hear or say the pledge or stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner” at a sports game

Around the same time of Ralph was publishing his pledge, another figure who became a giant of American socialism began to make his considerable presence known: Eugene Debs, who led the American Railway Union in the last decade of the 19th century and would go on to found and preside over the Socialist Party of America for most of the first two decades of the 20th century.

Debs and DeLeon, frequently referenced the Founding Fathers individually and collectively.  One of DeLeon’s earliest essays was “The Voice of Madison”.  In spite of their rivalry, Debs and DeLeon ultimately respected each other and worked together on several projects, such joining with Bill Haywood to create as the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905.

Most Americans are not aware that Jack London, best known for literary expressions of man’s rugged individualism in the face of wild nature such asThe Call of the Wild and White Fang, was one of the leading literary lights of the Socialist Party, founding—along with Clarence Darrow, Walter Lippman, Helen Keller, Upton Sinclair, and others—the SPA’s Intercollegiate Socialist Society.  London’s socialist writings include the futuristic novel The Iron Heeland his nonfiction novel People of the Abyss.

The growing American socialist movement found itself surrounded and vulnerable in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in February 1917 and the Bolshevik Revolution in October the same year.  What stunted its further growth was the combination of persecution by the government and splits within its own ranks caused by the hands of Lenin and his inner circle reaching out to control the whole international movement with as iron a hand as they controlled Russia.

Until Lenin and his clique removed their cloaks and showed their true colors, praise for their accomplishment in the October “Revolution” (coup d’etat) was well nigh universal among socialists world-wide.  Ironically, one of the more moderate Bolsheviks, the only major figure in Russia at the February Revolution and one willing to work with Mensheviks, liberal democrats, and others, was Josef Stalin.  Clearly he changed over the years.

Once news began to trickle out about the lack of real democracy, the increasing centralized control by the highest organs of the Party with no input from below appreciated, various atrocities, and the emasculation of the soviets, the councils of the people in whose name Lenin & Co. ruled with an iron heel, respected socialist leaders spoke out loudly.

Rosa Luxemburg was one of the first, and there is suspicion among some that Lenin, or at least the Comintern, the Third or Communist, International chaired by Zinoviev, may have been at least indirectly responsible for her death.  From America, Debs, DeLeon, and virtually every American socialist not part of the Communist Party joined such international voices as Scotland’s John Maclean in condemning the Bolshevik coup once it became apparent that is what it was.

Kautsky remarked at the time that, “Socialism without democracy is unthinkable,” echoing Luxemburg’s earlier statement that, “There is no democracy without socialism, and there is no socialism without democracy.”

One can easily imagine Marx looking at the events in Russia, shaking his head, and saying, “If this is Marxism, all I can say is that I am not a Marxist”.

Socialism, and American socialism at that, gave the world nonviolence as a means of mass social protest.

Nonviolence civil disobedience as a mass social protest tactic began in Spokane, Washington, in 1908, during the Free Speech fights of the Industrial Workers of the World with the municipal government of that city. Wobblies were perturbed by the fact that whenever one of them gave a speech in the street, he or she was arrested for disturbing the peace while the Salvation Army went unmolested doing the same even to the music of a brass band.

The Wobblies sent out a call to all men willing to be arrested. One would take the soapbox, literally, speak until arrested upon which another would take his place. So many volunteers showed that soon both the city and county jails were packed, and eventually the city surrendered.

It was from the Wobblies that Gandhi derived the practical application of his principle of nonviolence, and, of course, from Gandhi that King derived his own. Ironically, one of the chief developers of the Wobblies’ tactics was none other than Irish socialist James Connolly, who eight years later was shot in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, Ireland while tied to a chair because of wounds he received in the Easter Rising.

Connolly started his socialist political career in his Scottish hometown of Edinburgh before moving to Ireland, then America, then back to Ireland.

Neoliberalism, the economic philosophy guiding every American administration since Ronald Reagan and imitated by governments and heads-of-state across the world (including every President in the Islamic Republic since Rafsanjani), has given the private sector, Corporate America, the main role in forming economic and social policy.  The way to do this, they say, is through free enterprise, open markets, abolition of tariffs, turning governmental functions over to private corporations, deregulation of industry and finance, slashing of support for higher education, and destruction of organizations of the working- and middle-classes.

Before the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who in order to save capitalism forced the plutocrats to admit they couldn’t plunder resources and steal the country blind without repercussions, all of the above were features of the unbridled greed which had ruled America since the 18th century.

So, let’s take a look and see how letting the marketplace take care of just its own affairs has worked out.

Since 1789, the United States of America has experienced bank panics accompanied by stock market crashes in 1792, 1796, 1819, 1837, 1847, 1873, 1884, 1893, 1896, 1901, 1907, 1929, and 2007.

In that period there have been bank panics additionally in 1797, 1825, 1866, 1910, and 1911, but without stock market crashes.

Also in that period there have been stock market crashes in 1869, 1882, 1920, 1929, 1937, 1973, 1980, 1982, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2010 (twice), and 2011.

During that time frame, the republic and its citizens have experienced economic recessions and depressions in the periods of 1796-1799, 1815-1821, 1836-1843, 1857-1858, 1873-1879, 1882-1885, 1893-1896, 1907-1908, 1918-1919, 1920-1921 (termed a depression, with which the Roaring Twenties both began and ended), 1929-1947, 1949, 1953-1954, 1958, 1960-1961, 1969-1970, 1973-1975, 1980, 1981-1982, 1990-1992, 2000-2003, and 2007-present.

Keep in mind these figures are according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the same clueless idiots who declared that the recession ended in July 2009.

This state of affairs is a major reason why people are Occupying Wall Street, in Manhattan, in the rest of New York City, in every state and major city across America, and why it has spread across the world.

Of the two methods of a “weaker” opponent carrying out a war of attrition against a superior foe, guerrilla war and nonviolence, nonviolence is the only one that permits eventual reconciliation while allowing both sides to save face.  Historical experience has shown that when a minority gets into power using violence, it never ends well.  Take, for example, the Montagnards (usually but incorrectly called Jacobins) of the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks of the Russian Revolution, or the Khomeinists of the Iran Revolution.

At Tyner Junior High School, there was a small group of us who got picked on a lot. Then one day we were standing around and decided, “Hey, an injury to one of us is an injury to all of us”. So, when one of us got picked on, we all would go meet the bully and tell him he would have to fight each of us one at a time, or he could quit.

That started when we were in 7th grade, and by 9th grade there were a few hundred of us. We never picked fights or pushed anyone around, but we did stand up for each other, and even kids outside our group. And we never had to fight, not even once. We were the runts, but not even the biggest bully wants to fight 200 runts, even one at a time.

That’s what’s happening now in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan and in locations all across the United States and the world.

Robin Williams needs to go to New York City and do his J.B. Stoner imitation for the gods of Wall Street: "Look here, dudes; does the name 'Custer' mean anything to you?"