In the days leading up to the middle of the year, including July 4th, we will be thinking of ways to improve our work and facilitate readers’ finding it.
We’ll be back on Tuesday, July 5th
In the days leading up to the middle of the year, including July 4th, we will be thinking of ways to improve our work and facilitate readers’ finding it.
We’ll be back on Tuesday, July 5th
BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW
A COLD-WAR RELIC WITH POLICE STATE POTENTIAL NOW
This Day in History
Today among aficionados of mathematics is a date to dispute Pi and argue the superiority of a different measure – the ratio of the circumference to the radius instead of to the diameter — of a circle circumference to its size, in Tau Day; in the territory that still serves as the most fertile grounds on Earth for imperial murder and profiteering plunder of different sorts, nine hundred eighteen years ago, the ‘knights’ of the First Crusade routed the fighters of Kerbogha of Mosull in what is now Iraq; twenty-six decades and two years subsequent to that conjunction in the Levant, in 1360, at the other end of the Mediterranean, another outbreak of erstwhile Islamic Christian conflict erupted in the final years of Islamic control over much of the Iberian Peninsula, as Muhammed VI murdered his brother-in-law to take control of the flailing imperial presence; four hundred and thirty-nine years in advance of today,the male infant first regarded the world on his way to becoming the brilliant and beloved artist Peter Paul Rubens; two years short of six decades thereafter, in 1635, France inserted its imperial imprimatur in the Caribbean with the establishment of a colony in Guadeloupe;
A Thought for the Day
To insist on collective accountability does not demean personal responsibility; instead, the former provides an inescapable contextualization of the latter, since only when humans, one by one by one, join together to claim the power of authority over such crucial aspects of social sustainability as children and agriculture and culture and governance can the potential exist even to request, let alone to require, that particular persons be answerable for themselves, the upshot of which reasoning about reality is that only fatuous fools, or tricky schemers whose agendas are hidden from view, will rail about reckless or careless or negligent individuals without a clear and insistent grounding of such complaints in a critique of the irresponsible social system that encouraged the cavalier miscues of single citizens on their own.
"church committee" findings OR exposes OR revelations cia OR "u.s. foreign policy" cuba OR assassination documentation OR investigation OR analysis mockingbird OR cointelpro critique OR deconstruction OR criticism radical OR marxist = 33,600 Connections.
TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
Journalists from the Baltic and EU Eastern Partnership countries can apply for a scholarship to participate in this program in Riga, Latvia.
Escape Pod is one of the premiere sources online for high-quality audio sci-fi content, and they’re also open to submissions. Their stated mandate is simply “fun,” and they are open to works between 2000 and 6000 words that fall somewhere within the spectrum of “science fiction.” They pay $0.06 a word for original work and a non-negotiable rate of $100.00 for reprinted material. To learn more, read Escape Pod’s submission guidelines.
Glittership seeks LGBTQ-focused sci-fi and fantasy fiction from authors of all backgrounds. Episodes appear twice monthly, featuring stories of 100 to 6000 words. Authors can expect to be paid $0.01 per word. While the magazine’s remit is specifically LGBTQ speculative fiction, the editors stress that they “believe in queer as a large umbrella term and specifically include trans, genderqueer, and ace/aro identities” as well. When in doubt, they conclude, send it anyway. To learn more,read Glittership’s submission guidelines
As a member of our Communications & Creative Services team, you will supply in-house clients with inspirational marketing materials in a variety of formats, such as blogs, letters, speeches, fundraising proposals, donor updates and press releases. You will have opportunities to travel to developing countries to gather stories about our life-changing work and share those stories with our donors. Location Boca Raton, FL.
A Truth Dig article by a very insightful commentator worth knowing that analyzes the path to progressive victory as one that deviates extremely from what is now offered by the so-called ‘democratic’ party: “Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate power or continue to watch our democracy atrophy into a police state and our ecosystem unravel.”
A thoughtful analysis from Motherboard by an insightful commentator who looks at the ramifications of family estrangement forums, a phenomenom that sheds light on a divisive role that the internet can play in our most basic family structures: “There is something unfathomably grim about estrangement forums, but what’s interesting is how they push the power of online community to its limits. Long before talk of “safe spaces” entered the cultural lexicon, forums provided just that. SeaTurtlesCanFly listed the positive effects /r/raisedbynarcissists has had: “We see reports of people taking their power back from abusers regularly. We see posts from people learning to set boundaries. We see the magic that is a person who is having their feelings about the abuse they have suffered validated for the first time.””
An LARB book review from a very compelling writer who dissects the transactional nature of many male/female relationships in a world where gender disparities still exist: “Shopgirls, Sugar Babies, and sex workers all perform what the sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls “emotional labor.” Weigel defines it as “work that required workers to manage their feelings in order to display particular emotions.” “We speak of ‘service with a smile,’” she writes, “but in many jobs, the smile is the service.” Sex work is the ultimate in emotional labor, an industry in which workers have to simulate intense emotions of affection and sexual attraction. But almost all of what we term “women’s work” is emotional labor, and not just because so many women work as salespeople, food service workers, educators, and caregivers. Rather, women are so represented in these sectors because of our expectations of their emotions.”
A Smirking Chimp article that looks at the harrowing experiences suffered under western occupation of Crimea: “This news-report consists of a compilation of accounts that Crimeans have given to human rights groups or directly posted to the internet, regarding their experiences when the freely elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who had received 75% of the votes of Crimeans, was violently overthrown during January and February of 2014.”
An NPR audio posting that shares with readers the wonderful work of minors in juvenile centers shared through a well-meaning prize program: “”They have a national program where kids submit their work, and they go into literacy programs in the facilities,” Baca said. The students’ work “goes to several judges, and ultimately it gets to me. And I have to pick the winners out of the top 15 poems.””
An IJNet posting of interest to all writers and journalists looking to interact more effectively with their data: ““Atlas is becoming an open platform because we think it has potential to become the world’s largest repository of user-generated charts and data,” wrote Zach Seward, Quartz’s vice president of product and executive director. “Imagine a network of people who work with data every day, sharing it all with each other and the rest of the world. That’s the vision we’re pursuing, and hope you’ll join us in getting there.”.”
A Media Life Magazine post that predicts exciting new developments to the world of radio: “Radio is now mostly music with some talk. What we are seeing with all the excitement over podcasting is the potential for radio to be so much more—in some regards to return to what radio was before the advent of television, as a medium for storytelling that in many ways is far more compelling than video.”
An IJNet article that examines the developments of an empowering all-women media conference: “As recent FIU graduates, we compiled the agenda for the three-day mediathon thinking of things we would have liked to talk about when we were in school, such as salary negotiation, work-life balance, being the only woman in a department and being a minority in the newsroom. We also featured sessions on technology and innovation, including virtual reality, audio storytelling, building an online portfolio and social media. On the third day, we sent students onto the streets of Miami to work on stories about gentrification. Throughout these three days, the more than 150 women who attended the mediathon destroyed myths and misconceptions about women in the workplace (and out of it). It was something beautiful to watch.”
An Atlantic piece that looks at military developments in the Middle East: “Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, retook the central part of Fallujah from the Islamic State on Friday in an assault to end the three-year-long occupation of the city 40 miles from Baghdad.”
A Washington Post look at the probably consequences of a Mrs. Clinton presidency: “Unlike Trump, who has offered few specifics on his agenda and has at many times taken contradictory positions on issues, Clinton has laid out a consistent and largely detailed agenda, although some questions remain (such as what top corporate tax rate she favors). It is well described as an extension of President Obama’s agenda — with a notable deviation on trade — and because she has put flesh to it, it is easier to summarize and to critique than Trump’s.”
Today among aficionados of mathematics is a date to dispute Pi and argue the superiority of a different measure – the ratio of the circumference to the radius instead of to the diameter — of a circle circumference to its size, in Tau Day; in the territory that still serves as the most fertile grounds on Earth for imperial murder and profiteering plunder of different sorts, nine hundred eighteen years ago, the ‘knights’ of the First Crusade routed the fighters of Kerbogha of Mosull in what is now Iraq; twenty-six decades and two years subsequent to that conjunction in the Levant, in 1360, at the other end of the Mediterranean, another outbreak of erstwhile Islamic Christian conflict erupted in the final years of Islamic control over much of the Iberian Peninsula, as Muhammed VI murdered his brother-in-law to take control of the flailing imperial presence; four hundred and thirty-nine years in advance of today,the male infant first regarded the world on his way to becoming the brilliant and beloved artist Peter Paul Rubens; two years short of six decades thereafter, in 1635, France inserted its imperial imprimatur in the Caribbean with the establishment of a colony in Guadeloupe; seventy-seven years past that point in time, in 1712, the little baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the inimitable voice of Enlightenment, Jean Jacques Rousseau; a single year shy of another six decades onward, in 1776, Scotch-Irish private in the Continental Army, Thomas Hickey, died at the end of a rope for spying on the leader of the American troops, George Washington; two hundred
nine years back, in their attempt to recapture Buenos Aires, English forces faced defeat at the hands of local fighters in still-Spanish Argentina; just short of three decades hence, in 1836, the life of the ‘Founding Father’ and Federalist Paper mastermind, James Madison, closed out its final chapter; nine years beyond that momentous passing, in 1846, Adolphe Sax inaugurated the era of the saxophone with his patent on that musical instrument; one thousand four hundred sixty-one days more in the direction of today, in 1850, the male child came along who would become putative fonder of Labor Day, machinist Matthew Maguire; seventeen years precisely past that moment in time and space, in 1867, a baby boy was born who would mature as the prominent thinker, writer, and dramatist , destined to win the Nobel Prize, Luigi Pirandello; fourteen years yet later on, in 1881, in a secret pact that would soon enough affect a world that was sliding into war, Serbia and Austria signed a ironclad alliance; three hundred sixty-five days further along the temporal arc, in 1882, Britain and France initiated part of the carving up of Africa by agreeing to borders between Guinea and Sierra Leone; a decade exactly forward from that, in 1894, the United States celebrated the first ‘Labor Day;’ a year further along, in 1895, a couple thousand miles to the South, three Central American countries, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, formed the brief-lived Greater Republic of Central America; another annual orbit of the earth around the sun afterward, in 1896, back in the United States in Pennsylvania,
negligent coal company profiteers oversaw a massive explosion at the Pittston Mine that claimed the lives of almost 60 colliers; half a dozen years subsequently, in 1902, the US Congress passed the Spooner Act, which permitted the United States to acquire land for the Panama Canal from Colombia, an eventuality that proved unnecessary when Panama ‘conveniently’ seceded from Colombia, and the male baby entered our midst who would become the lyricist and songsmith Richard Rodgers; seven years even closer to the current context, in 1909, the boy child entered the world in standard fashion who would grow into the acclaimed and incisive storyteller Eric Ambler; half a decade farther down the pike, in 1914, the human prospect changed irretrievably with the assassination of the Archduke and Duchess of Austria by a Serbian nationalist, conveniently operationalizing the already-extant groundwork for the vast and bloody carnage of World War One; a mere year further onward, in 1915, the male child was born who would become the aficionado of blues and Delta culture, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards; four years henceforth, in 1919, the victorious ‘allies’ imposed draconian penalties on Germany for its role in initiating World War One, establishing the basis for what John Maynard Keynes on that very day predicted would be another world conflagration within a generation; a thousand ninety-six days afterward, in 1922, the Russian poet and critic and ‘Futurist’ Velimir Khlebnikov lived out his final verse, and to the West in Ireland, the Civil War there began with a shelling of Republican positions near Dublin that signaled the start of the British-backed Free State’s successful attempt to establish national control; four years more proximate to the present pass, in 1926, the baby boy shouted out
who would entertain audiences with cutting edge madcap mayhem as Mel Brooks; a decade onward from that entry, in 1936, Japanese imperialists created a puppet state in Northern China to justify their predatory behavior; half a decade more in the direction of the here and now, in 1941, a male infant entered our midst who would become the computer scientist and programmer Joseph Goguen who created the OBJ computer language; seven additional years in the future from that, in 1948,in a development to make Cold Warriors ecstatic, the two Josephs –Tito and Stalin – oversaw a substantial rift in the ‘Communist movement’ that resulted in the expulsion of the Yugoslav representatives from the Cominform; seven hundred and thirty days toward today’s light and air, in 1950, developments in the exploding Korean conflict included the North’s capture of Seoul, their army’s massacre of non-combatants at the Seoul University Hospital, and the annihilation of between 100,000 and 200,000 ‘suspected communists’ by the U.S.-backed army of the Republic of Korea; fourteen more years later still, in 1964, Malcolm X oversaw the creation of the Organization of Afro-American Unity; five moreyears down the pike, in 1969, protesters initiated the so-called Stonewall Riots that in many ways of thinking marked the beginning of a Gay Rights movement; seven years thereafter, in 1976, roughly seven thousand miles to the South, a newly triumphant revolutionary court in Luanda sentenced to death U.S. and U.K. mercenaries who had been fighting for the murderous pro-colonial counterrevolution; two years yet nearer to now, in 1978, the Supreme Court issued the Bakke decision that outlawed quota systems in university admissions; not quite a decade after that, in 1987, Iraq, in its bloody war with Iran, for the first time in modern war targeted a civilian population in a chemical weapons attack; three hundred sixty-six days subsequently, in 1988, both the U.S. Government and the Teamster’s Union signed a consent degree that established steps toward union democracy, including an Independent Review Board, as consequences of corruption in the powerful labor organization; half a dozen years farther along the temporal path, in 1994, the Japanese cult Aum Shunrikyo dispensed Sarin gas in the Tokyo subways, killing seven and injuring well over six hundred people; two years past that point in space and time precisely, in 1996, around the world in Eastern Europe, Ukraine adopted its post-Soviet Constitution; another year in time’s forward march, in 1997, Mike Tyson forfeited a prize fight, his second against Evander Holyfield, when ‘Iron Mike’ bit off part of his opponent’s ear; four years henceforth, in 2001, the estimable and ancient philosopher and academic Mortimer J. Adler breathed his last; three years later on, in 2004, in that year’s most evocative version of WHAT IS THIS, A JOKE? America’s imperial masters, under the guise of the Coalition Provisional Authority, handed ‘sovereign power’ to Iraqi authorities; half a decade still more on the route to today, in 2009, a CIA-and-State-Department-
“The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the economic organization by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century. We assume some of the most peculiar and temporary of our late advantages as natural, permanent, and to be depended on, and we lay our plans accordingly.
On this sandy and false foundation we scheme for social improvement and dress our political platforms, pursue our animosities and particular ambitions, and feel ourselves with enough margin in hand to foster, not assuage, civil conflict in the European family. Moved by insane delusion and reckless self-regard, the German people overturned the foundations on which we all lived and built. But the spokesmen of the French and British peoples have run the risk of completing the ruin, which Germany began, by a Peace which, if it is carried into effect, must impair yet further, when it might have restored, the delicate, complicated organization, already shaken and broken by war, through which alone the European peoples can employ themselves and live.
In England the outward aspect of life does not yet teach us to feel or realize in the least that an age is over. We are busy picking up the threads of our life where we dropped them, with this difference only, that many of us seem a good deal richer than we were before. Where we spent millions before the war, we have now learnt that we can spend hundreds of millions and apparently not suffer for it. Evidently we did not exploit to the utmost the possibilities of our economic life. We look, therefore, not only to a return to the comforts of 1914, but to an immense broadening and intensification of them. All classes alike thus build their plans, the rich to spend more and save less, the poor to spend more and work less.
But perhaps it is only in England (and America) that it is possible to be so unconscious. In continental Europe the earth heaves and no one but is aware of the rumblings. There it is not just a matter of extravagance or ‘labor troubles;’ but of life and death, of starvation and existence, and of the fearful convulsions of a dying civilization.
For one who spent in Paris the greater part of the six months which succeeded the Armistice an occasional visit to London was a strange experience. England still stands outside Europe. Europe’s voiceless tremors do not reach her. Europe is apart and England is not of her flesh and body. But Europe is solid with herself. France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Holland, Russia and Roumania and Poland, throb together, and their structure and civilization are essentially one.
They flourished together, they have rocked together in a war, which we, in spite of our enormous contributions and sacrifices (like though in a less degree than America), economically stood outside, and they may fall together. In this lies the destructive significance of the Peace of Paris. If the European Civil War is to end with France and Italy abusing their momentary victorious power to destroy Germany and Austria-Hungary now prostrate, they invite their own destruction also, being so deeply and inextricably intertwined with their victims by hidden psychic and economic bonds.
At any rate an Englishman who took part in the Conference of Paris and was during those months a member of the Supreme Economic Council of the Allied Powers, was bound to become, for him a new experience, a European in his cares and outlook. There, at the nerve center of the European system, his British preoccupations must largely fall away and he must be haunted by other and more dreadful specters. Paris was a nightmare, and every one there was morbid. A sense of impending catastrophe overhung the frivolous scene; the futility and smallness of man before the great events confronting him; the mingled significance and unreality of the decisions; levity, blindness, insolence, confused cries from without,—all the elements of ancient tragedy were there. Seated indeed amid the theatrical trappings of the French Saloons of State, one could wonder if the extraordinary visages of Wilson and of Clemenceau, with their fixed hue and unchanging characterization, were really faces at all and not the tragi-comic masks of some strange drama or puppet-show.
The proceedings of Paris all had this air of extraordinary importance and unimportance at the same time. The decisions seemed charged with consequences to the future of human society; yet the air whispered that the word was not flesh, that it was futile, insignificant, of no effect, dissociated from events; and one felt most strongly the impression, described by Tolstoy in War and Peace or by Hardy in The Dynasts, of events marching on to their fated conclusion uninfluenced and unaffected by the cerebrations of Statesmen in Council:
Spirit of the Years
I have told thee that It works unwittingly,
As one possessed not judging.
In Paris, where those connected with the Supreme Economic Council received almost hourly the reports of the misery, disorder, and decaying organization of all Central and Eastern Europe, allied and enemy alike, and learnt from the lips of the financial representatives of Germany and Austria unanswerable evidence of the terrible exhaustion of their countries, an occasional visit to the hot, dry room in the President’s house, where the Four fulfilled their destinies in empty and arid intrigue, only added to the sense of nightmare. Yet there in Paris the problems of Europe were terrible and clamant, and an occasional return to the vast unconcern of London a little disconcerting. For in London these questions were very far away, and our own lesser problems alone troubling. London believed that Paris was making a great confusion of its business, but remained uninterested. In this spirit the British people received the Treaty without reading it. But it is under the influence of Paris, not London, that this book has been written by one who, though an Englishman, feels himself a European also, and, because of too vivid recent experience, cannot disinterest himself from the further unfolding of the great historic drama of these days which will destroy great institutions, but may also create a new world.” John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, from the “Introductory” section words that must resonate powerfully now as Brexit and brouhaha predominate in Europe.
BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW
AN HISTORIC AFFIRMATION OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS & ANTI-FASCISM
This Day in History
On this date, the United States marks National PTSD Awareness Day, National HIV Testing Day, and Helen Keller Day, at the same time that Canada celebrates National Multiculturalism Day and Brazil commemorates Mixed-Race Day; in a final horror of Catholic imprimatur in England forty-six decades ago, thirteen Protestants died when authorities burned them alive at the stake as the Stratford Martyrs, events that unfolded near London; two hundred three years past that particular passage, in 1759, in one of the most important battles of the colonial period, the English General James Wolfe led forces in the British siege of Quebec that eliminated most French capacity in Canada; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
Blaming the system is not blaming the victim, though those whose specialty is divide and conquer—having cooked up identity fetishism and micro categories of social complaint and an entire ideology of victimization and revenge—and whose entire purpose is to rule despite remaining a vanishingly small minority with nearly infinite levels of privilege, would certainly like to spin matters in that fashion, making sure to play one social set off another faction or fraction or identifiable group in search of any kind of traction; this highly refined version of divident et vincet, as the Roman originators of the vicious art termed the ploy, complements the other primary means by which plutocratic minorities continue to maintain their imprimatur over the rest of the vast herd of humanity, longing for surcease and simple justice, this secondary methodology a combination of stupefaction and enervation of the pining masses so that they believe that they are powerless and, subjectively if not in reality, consider themselves too ignorant and stupid to make any difference in solving their own problems, which they might easily do, of course, just by uniting in solidarity, recognizing that they already operate the machine that eviscerates them under the ownership of their masters, and assuming the mantle of their own potential greatness.
"ruling class" OR "ruling classes" OR "dominant elite" OR "ruling elite" power OR hegemony OR dominance OR dictatorship split OR faction OR fissure OR divisions "finance capital" OR financialization "banking establishment" OR banksters OR central banks versus OR against OR opposition manufacturing OR "industrial capital" OR "petty bourgeois" = 24,100 Links.
TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
From the folks at Mother Jones who seek to balance capital’s case with the demands of the people for social justice and decent fairness, a tough balancing act, to be sure, an amazing longform read about one of the wiliest of scrappy scribes, who embedded himself in a real job, in the veritably belly-of-the-beast in Louisiana, with the Corrections Corporation of America, whose billion dollar profits are only easily attainable so long as incarceration rates continue to climb and imprisonment remains the primary socialization mechanism for the poor and people of color, in other words those ‘genetically predispositioned’ to need big sticks and massive threats arrayed against them, in the process of which literary and reportorial legerdemain this mensch completely deserving of the moniker of reporter managed to video his coworkers and his workplace with enough guile and consent to produce a six-part series of video briefs to supplement the magnificent text of the story that appears here, all of which are available in their own right here, and which RevealNews from the Center for Investigative Reporting further complements with a lengthier audio documentary about the author’s incredible achievement.
The Bacopa Literary review has a contest for the best poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. They offer a $200 first prize, and a $160 runner-up prize for each genre. That is a total of $1,080 in prizes being handed out.
Written by Nick Milne
Story-telling podcasts and radio shows have taken off in a big way in recent years, with programs like The Truth, Serial and Welcome to Night Vale captivating millions. While most such podcasts and radio initiatives are strictly owner-created and –presented, some seek contributions from writers who would like to hear their words brought to life. Here are eight such venues that accept such submissions.
“A one of a kind magazine featuring everything we love about the New Jersey boroughs.”
A people friendly, business savvy magazine with a focus on high standards in various contents,resources and ads. From Food, Fashion, Interviews, Travel, Real Estate, Education– the opportunities are endless! If these words speak to you and describe you to a tee– then we are looking to hire you!
This is a new position and pioneering opportunity for a skilled writer/editor to design her/his own job, with support from our senior editorial team. You must be ambitious and capable of shifting gears at a moment’s notice, and you must also be able to work with us to develop your own editorial strategy. And if you’re brilliant with video and social, we need you.
A New York Times article that explores the damage suffered by veterans thanks to H Bomb contamination: ““There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.””
A WSWS article that explores some of the ways that universities sell out: ““Will the universities remain centres of scholarship and free criticism? Or will they once again become state-directed cadre-training centres for right-wing and militarist ideologies, as previously in German history?” asks the forward to the book, Scholarship or War Propaganda, which deals with the role of Berlin’s Humboldt University in the remilitarization of Germany.”
Journalists can apply for a US$24,000 fellowship to conduct a reporting project abroad. “Sponsored by the John Alexander Project and NPR, the Above the Fray Fellowship is designed to give a promising journalist the opportunity to cover important underreported stories from abroad.
The selected individual will spend three months filing on-air and online stories for NPR.”
A Benton article that contextualizes just how much knowlege is available for everyone: “Imagine, for a moment, if it were possible to provide access not just to those books, but to all knowledge for everyone, everywhere. In fact, we don’t have to imagine: it is possible today, thanks to the combined technologies of digital texts and the Internet. The former means that we can make as many copies of a work as we want for vanishingly small cost; the latter provides a way to distribute those copies to anyone with an Internet connection. The global rise of low-cost smartphones means that “anyone with an Internet connection” will soon include even the poorest members of society in every country. We have the technical means to share all knowledge, and yet we are nowhere near providing everyone with the ability to indulge their learned curiosity.”
A Portside look at the recent vote that looks to be a negative game changer: “Those leading the push for Brexit are no friends of working people, however. Boris Johnson’s personal credo – “I am pro having my cake and pro eating it” – should have been their battlebus slogan. They are pitching Britain’s exit from the EU as all gain and no pain. They promise the masses that everything they like will be better and everything they hate will be gone, when in truth what will be gone are the last vestiges of the welfare state that their grandparents built. For the leave campaign is driven by libertarians who seek to create, in the name of free enterprise, an even more precarious economy than that which has left so many of the English working class insecure and disillusioned.”
An Alter Net look at the creative funding possibilities for college, and the way they take advantage of students’ plight: “Income-sharing agreements (ISAs) may be the future of student lending, but they’re rooted in ideas that date back more than half a century. In 1955, economist and father of libertarianism Milton Friedman proposed that investors might “‘buy’ a share in an individual’s earning prospects,” underwriting schooling and training “on [the] condition that he agree to pay the lender a specified fraction of his future earnings.” With that founding principle, ISAs turn students into assets deemed high- or low-yield based on estimated career profitability and the graduating college’s track record in producing high earners. That means a Dartmouth business school senior is likely to get investors salivating in a way a puppetry major from the University of Connecticut would not.”
He raised an eyebrow, just a little. And what has been the result of having all these wonderful new sleek and efficient and speedy cars? he asked. I was taken aback. I searched for a way to answer. He went on.
How many people die each year as a result of these speedy cars, how many are maimed and crippled? What is life like for the people who produce them, on those famous assembly lines, the same routinized job hour after hour, day after day, like Chaplin’s film? How many fields and forests and even towns and villages have been paved over so that these cars can get to all the places they want to get to — and park there? Where does all the gasoline come from, and at what cost, and what happens when we burn it and exhaust it?
Before I could stammer out a response — thankfully — he went on to tell me about an article written on the subject of progress, a concept I had never really thought of, by one of his Cornell colleagues, the historian Carl Becker, a man I had never heard of, in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, a resource I had never come across. Read it, he said.
I’m afraid it was another fifteen years before I did, though in the meantime I came to learn the wisdom of my father’s skepticism as the modern world repeatedly threw up other examples of invention and advancement — television, electric carving knife, microwave oven, nuclear power — that showed the same problematic nature of progress, taken in the round and negatives factored in, as did the automobile. When I finally got to Becker’s masterful essay, in the course of a wholesale re-examination of modernity, it took no scholarly armament of his to convince me of the peculiar historical provenance of the concept of progress and its status not as an inevitability, a force as given as gravity as my youthful self imagined, but as a cultural construct invented for all practical purposes in the Renaissance and advancing the propaganda of capitalism. It was nothing more than a serviceable myth, a deeply held unexamined construct — like all useful cultural myths — that promoted the idea of regular and eternal improvement of the human condition, largely through the exploitation of nature and the acquisition of material goods.
Of course by now it is no longer such an arcane perception. Many fifteen-year-olds today, seeing clearly the perils with which modern technology has accompanied its progress, some of which threaten the very continuance of the human species, have already worked out for themselves what’s wrong with the myth. It is hard to learn that forests are being cut down at the rate of 56 million acres a year, that desertification threatens 8 billion acres of land worldwide, that all of the world’s seventeen major fisheries are in decline and stand a decade away from virtual exhaustion, that 26 million tons of topsoil is lost to erosion and pollution every year, and believe that this world’s economic system, whose functioning exacts this price, is headed in the right direction and that direction should be labeled “progress.”
E.E. Cummings once called progress a ‘comfortable disease’ of modern ‘manunkind,’ and so it has been for some. But at any time since the triumph of capitalism only a minority of the world’s population could be said to be really living in comfort, and that comfort, continuously threatened, is achieved at considerable expense.
Today of the approximately 6 billion people in the world, it is estimated that at least a billion live in abject poverty, lives cruel, empty, and mercifully short. Another 2 billion eke out life on a bare subsistence level, usually sustained only by one or another starch, the majority without potable drinking water or sanitary toilets. More than 2 billion more live at the bottom edges of the money economy but with incomes less than $5,000 a year and no property or savings, no net worth to pass on to their children. That leaves less than a billion people who even come close to struggling for lives of comfort, with jobs and salaries of some regularity, and a quite small minority at the top of that scale who could really be said to have achieved comfortable lives; in the world, some 350 people can be considered (U.S. dollar) billionaires (with slightly more than 3 million millionaires), and their total net worth is estimated to exceed that of 45 per cent of the world’s population.
This is progress? A disease such a small number can catch? And with such inequity, such imbalance?
In the U.S., the most materially advanced nation in the world and long the most ardent champion of the notion of progress, some 40 million people live below the official poverty line and another 20 million or so below the line adjusted for real costs; 6 million or so are unemployed, more than 30 million said to be too discouraged to look for work, and 45 million are in ‘disposable’ jobs, temporary and part-time, without benefits or security. The top 5 percent of the population owns about two-thirds of the total wealth; 60 percent own no tangible assets or are in debt; in terms of income, the top 20 percent earn half the total income, the bottom 20 percent less than 4 percent of it.
All this hardly suggests the sort of material comfort progress is assumed to have provided. Certainly many in the U.S. and throughout the industrial world live at levels of wealth undreamed of in ages past, able to call forth hundreds of servant-equivalents at the flip of a switch or turn of a key, and probably a third of this ‘first world’ population could be said to have lives of a certain amount of ease and convenience. Yet it is a statistical fact that it is just this segment that most acutely suffers from the true ‘comfortable disease,’ what I would call affluenza: heart disease, stress, overwork, family dysfunction, alcoholism, insecurity, anomie, psychosis, loneliness, impotence, alienation, consumerism, and coldness of heart.
Leopold Kohr, the Austrian economist whose seminal work, The Breakdown of Nations, is an essential tool for understanding the failures of political progress in the last half-millennium, often used to close his lectures with this analogy.
Suppose we are on a progress-train, he said, running full speed ahead in the approved manner, fueled by the rapacious growth and resource depletion and cheered on by highly rewarded economists. What if we then discover that we are headed for a precipitous fall to a certain disaster just a few miles ahead when the tracks end at an uncrossable gulf? Do we take advice of the economists to put more fuel into the engines so that we go at an ever-faster rate, presumable hoping that we build up a head of steam so powerful that it can land us safely on the other side of the gulf; or do we reach for the brakes and come to a screeching if somewhat tumble-around halt as quickly as possible?
Progress is the myth that assures us that full-speed-ahead is never wrong. Ecology is the discipline that teaches us that it is disaster.
Before the altar of progress, attended by its dutiful acolytes of science and technology, modern industrial society has presented an increasing abundance of sacrifices from the natural world, imitating on a much grander and more devastating scale the religious rites of earlier empires built upon similar conceits about the domination of nature. Now, it seems, we are prepared to offer up even the very biosphere itself.
No one knows how resilient the biosphere, how much damage it is able to absorb before it stops functioning — or at least functioning well enough to keep the human species alive. But in recent years some very respectable and authoritative voices have suggested that, if we continue the relentless rush of progress that is so stressing the earth on which it depends, we will reach that point in the quite near future. The Worldwatch Institute, which issues annual accountings of such things, has warned that there is not one life-support system on which the biosphere depends for its existence — healthy air, water, soil, temperature, and the like — that is not now severely threatened and in fact getting worse, decade by decade. Not long ago a gathering of elite environmental scientists and activists in Morelia, Mexico, published a declaration warning of ‘environmental destruction’ and expressing unanimous concern ‘that life on our planet is in grave danger.’ And recently the U.S. Union of Concerned Scientists, in a statement endorsed by more than a hundred Nobel laureates and 1,600 members of national academies of science all over the world, proclaimed a ‘World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity’ stating that the present rates of environmental assault and population increase cannot continue without ‘vast human misery’ and a planet so ‘irretrievably mutilated’ that ‘it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.’
The high-tech global economy will not listen; cannot listen. It continues apace its expansion and exploitation. Thanks to it, human beings annually use up some 40% of all the net photosynthetic energy available to the planet Earth, though we are but a single species of comparatively insignificant numbers. Thanks to it, the world economy has grown by more than five times over in the last 50 years and is continuing at a dizzying pace to use up the world’s resources, create unabating pollution and waste, and increase the enormous inequalities within and between all nations of the world.
Suppose an Objective Observer were to measure the success of Progress — that is to say, the capital-P myth that ever since the Enlightenment has nurtured and guided and presided over that happy marriage of science and capitalism that has produced modern industrial civilization.
Has it been, on the whole, better or worse for the human species? Other species? Has it brought humans more happiness than there was before? More justice? More equality? More efficiency? And if its ends have proven to be more benign than not, what of its means? At what price have its benefits been won? And are they sustainable?
The Objective Observer would have to conclude that the record is mixed, at best. On the plus side, there is no denying that material prosperity has increased for about a sixth of the world’s humans, for some beyond the most avaricious dreams of kings and potentates of the past. The world has developed systems of transportation and communication that allow people, goods, and information to be exchanged on a scale and at a swiftness never before possible. And for maybe a third of these humans longevity has been increased, along with a general improvement in health and sanitation that has allowed the expansion of human numbers by about tenfold in the last three centuries.
On the minus side, the costs have been considerable. The impact upon the earth’s species and systems to provide prosperity for a billion people has been, as we have seen, devastatingly destructive — only one additional measure of which is the fact that it has meant the permanent extinction of perhaps 500,000 species this century alone. The impact upon the remaining five-sixths of the human species has been likewise destructive, as most of them have seen their societies colonized or displaced, their economies wrenched and shattered, and their environments transformed for the worse in the course of it, driving them into an existence of deprivation and misery that is almost certainly worse than they ever knew, however difficult their times past, before the advent of industrial society.
And even the billion whose living standards use up what is effectively 100 percent of the world’s available resources each year to maintain, and who might be therefore assumed to be happy as a result, do not in fact seem to be so. No social indices in any advanced society suggest that people are more content than they were a generation ago, various surveys indicate that the ‘misery quotient’ in most countries has increased, and considerable real-world evidence (such as rising rates of mental illness, drugs, crime, divorce, and depression) argues that the results of material enrichment have not included much individual happiness.
Indeed, on a larger scale, almost all that Progress was supposed to achieve has failed to come about, despite the immense amount of money and technology devoted to its cause. Virtually all of the dreams that have adorned it over the years, particularly in its most robust stages in the late 19th century and in the past twenty years of computerdom, have dissipated as utopian fancies — those that have not, like nuclear power, chemical agriculture, manifest destiny, and the welfare state, turned into nightmares. Progress has not, even in this most progressive nation, eliminated poverty (numbers of poor have increased and real income has declined for 25 years), or drudgery (hours of employment have increased, as has work within the home, for both sexes), or ignorance (literacy rates have declined for fifty years, test scores have declined), or disease (hospitalization, illness, and death rates have all increased since 1980).
It seems quite simple: beyond prosperity and longevity, and those limited to a minority, and each with seriously damaging environmental consequences, progress does not have a great deal going for it. For its adherents, of course, it is probably true that it doesn’t have to; because it is sufficient that wealth is meritorious and affluence desirable and longer life positive. The terms of the game for them are simple: material betterment for as many as possible, as fast as possible, and nothing else, certainly not considerations of personal morality or social cohesion or spiritual depth or participatory government, seems much to matter.
But the Objective Observer is not so narrow, and is able to see how deep and deadly are the shortcomings of such a view. The Objective Observer could only conclude that since the fruits of Progress are so meager, the price by which they have been won is far too high, in social, economic, political, and environmental terms, and that neither societies nor ecosystems of the world will be able to bear the cost for more than a few decades longer, if they have not already been damaged beyond redemption.
Herbert Read, the British philosopher and critic, once wrote that ‘only a people serving an apprenticeship to nature can be trusted with machines.’ It is a profound insight, and he underscored it by adding that ‘only such people will so contrive and control those machines that their products are an enhancement of biological needs, and not a denial of them.’
An apprenticeship to nature — now there’s a myth a stable and durable society could live by.”
On this date, the United States marks National PTSD Awareness Day, National HIV Testing Day, and Helen Keller Day, at the same time that Canada celebrates National Multiculturalism Day and Brazil commemorates Mixed-Race Day; in a final horror of Catholic imprimatur in England forty-six decades ago, thirteen Protestants died when authorities burned them alive at the stake as the Stratford Martyrs, events that unfolded near London; two hundred three years past that particular passage, in 1759, in one of the most important battles of the colonial period, the English General James Wolfe led forces in the British siege of Quebec that eliminated most French capacity in Canada; a mere three hundred sixty-six days onward from that moment, in 1760, a thousand miles South in Western Carolina, Cherokee forces routed the British temporarily at the Battle of Echoee; a year more than four and a half decades thereafter, in 1806, marauding British imperial troops first invaded and temporarily took over Buenos Aires; two years fewer than four more decades in the direction of now, in 1844, the Smith brothers of Mormon fame, died as a result of a lynch mob’s fury in a Missouri town where they awaited a trial for their unconventional religiosity; twenty-eight years subsequent to that ghastly end, in 1872, a more propitious beginning took place as the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the popular establishment bard and dramatist Paul Laurence Dunbar; eight years in the future from that, in 1880, a girl child of unusual abilities entered our midst en route to a life of awesome accomplishment and social justice commitment as Helen Keller; a decade and a half further along time’s pathway, in 1895, the Baltimore and Ohio District of Columbia to New York City line inaugurated the use of electric locomotives; exactly ten years later, in 1905, solidarity activists formulated what we know as a ‘Wobbly’ organization called the International Workers of the World, and thousands of miles to the East, sailors aboard the Battleship Potemkin in Ukraine rose up against the depredations of their officer and Imperial Russia; another decade ahead of that, in 1915, the female infant first cast her gaze in amazement on a world where she would become the writer and thinker and activist Grace Lee Boggs; a dozen years additional marching along time’s path, in 1927, Japan’s Prime Minister led a conference plotting how to carve up China; seven hundred thirty-one days henceforth, in 1929, a male baby first shouted out on his way to a life as the writer and journalist Peter Maas, the biographer of Frank Serpico; another half dozen years toward today, in 1935, the US Congress passed the Wagner Act, which entered the United States code as The National Labor Relation statutes;, which today mean little other than marks on paper; a farther two years down the pike, in 1937, a baby boy was born who would mature as the critic and public intellectual of society and history, Kirkpatrick Sale; a thousand four hundred and sixty-one days subsequently, in 1941, in war-ravaged Poland, a child came along who would grow to become the acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter Krzysztof Kieślowski, and to the South in Romania, in tandem with the murderous efficiency of Operation Barbarossa, Romanian authorities instituted a horrific attack on the country’s Jewish population that resulted quite quickly in close to 15,000 deaths; a year yet nearer to now, in 1942, back in North America, the baby male first shouted out whom fate had designated as Danny Schechter, progressive thinker and journalist; two years on the dot past that juncture, in 1944, back across the Atlantic in England, a female infant graced our presence who would grow up to create the important social justice organization Common Ground; another half dozen years yet later on, in 1950, the United States first committed armies to fight on the Korean Peninsula; two years afterward, in 1952, in Guatemala, the social democratic administration of Jacobo Arbenz passed a decree that for the first time permitted most peasants to own their own property by redistributing tillable acreage from landed estates, an action that sealed his fate with the CIA and set the stage for US trained murderers to kill hundreds of thousands; a single year past that point, in 1953, a baby girl entered the world in standard fashion who would become the acclaimed novelist and writer Alice McDermott; an additional year nearer to now, in 1954,
the Soviet Union opened its first nuclear power station; not quite two decades hence, in 1973, Uruguay’s president dissolved all legislative functions and created a dictatorship in the Southern cone, in keeping with the hopes and dreams of the CIA; a year onward from that in space and time, in 1974, Richard Nixon approached the end of his presidency by making the historic first Chief Executive visit to the Soviet Union; seven years after that, in 1981, the Chinese Communist Party issued a critical evaluation of the nation’s ‘Cultural Revolution’, and Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s role in its initiation; four short years further along time’s arc, in 1985, over 25,000 New York City hospitality workers went on strike, winning substantial wage increases and improved working conditions; another fourteen hundred sixty-one days onward toward now, in 1989, American logician and philosopher A J Ayer breathed his last; a pair of years still later, in 1991, Slovenia’s secession from Yugoslavia resulted in a brief period of civil war and conflict; another two years hence, in 1993, the major ‘rust belt’ employer A. E. Staley began a two and a half year lockout of its over seven hundred employees in Southern Illinois; a dozen years even closer to the current context, in 2005, the popular American novelist Shelby Foote lived out his final chapter; seven hundred thirty days afterward, in 2007, Brazilian militarized police invaded the poor community of Alemao and began a period of repression and violence that came to bear the name Massacre of Alemao; a single year still more proximate to the present, in 2008, Robert Mugabe’s seemingly dictatorial tactics in Zimbabwe’s presidential election paid off as the nominal vote tally was a landslide in his favor.
BREAKING NEWS RIGHT NOW
This Day in History
In the Andean Southern Hemisphere today, while various ‘midsummer’ celebrations take place in Northern latitudes, the Winter Solstice Incan ceremony of Inti Raymi occurs in areas of Peru and its environs, and St. John’s Day continues the celebration of the Summer Solstice in Europe, while Ukraine marks this date as Youth Day; in Rome’s imperial travails two thousand two hundred thirty-two years ago, Roman forces encountered an ambush by Hannibal’s fighters and faced defeat at the Battle of Lake Trasimene; three hundred twenty-six years later, in 109 CE, Emperor Trajan formally opened the Aqua Traiana, an aqueduct that carried water to the metropolis from over 25 miles away; five hundred twenty-eight years beyond that, in 637, at the Northern reaches of what had been the Roman Empire, in Ireland, a fierce battle among Celts and interlopers occurred about who would rule the Emerald Isle; MORE HERE
A Thought for the Day
An apparent contradiction conjoins actual understanding with a universal propagation of propaganda in place of attempts to communicate the components of comprehension that are possible to present, a paradox perhaps in appearance only since what is likely at work are polarized processes in which dialectical dynamics dance toward the covering up of discovery with an opportunistic mixture of mendacity and obfuscation and secrecy so as to maintain a façade of fantastic authority that justifies one set of people—always a small minority, of course, with a tiny elite at its core—in their assertion of imprimatur over the entire social system: the priestly castes that knew metallurgy through trial and error began this duality of dervish division some ten thousand years ago, till, in the here and now, the United States of America has perfected this systemic playing of both ends against the middle, in which knowledge is the domain of the experts and well-paid consultants and everyone else receives a glutton’s diet of mediated horseshit so as to preclude anything but the continued constriction of awareness and the concomitant extraction of a steady and optimal profit from the ignorant.
media OR journalism OR print monopoly intelligence OR spies censorship OR propaganda history OR origins analysis or explication radical OR marxist = 1,140, 000 Connections.
TODAY’S HEART, SOUL, & AWARENESS VIDEO
PROFIT, POWER, DEPREDATION, FAMILIAR FAMILY FAULTLINES
The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing will begin accepting fellowship applications on December 1, 2016. To read about the winners of our 2016-17 fellowships in fiction and poetry (pictured at left), please visit our “fellows” page.
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The American Diabetes Association seeks a wordsmith who is interested in merging his or her expertise in the quality assurance of written communications with our mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
In the Andean Southern Hemisphere today, while various ‘midsummer’ celebrations take place in Northern latitudes, the Winter Solstice Incan ceremony of Inti Raymi occurs in areas of Peru and its environs, and St. John’s Day continues the celebration of the Summer Solstice in Europe, while Ukraine marks this date as Youth Day; in Rome’s imperial travails two thousand two hundred thirty-two years ago, Roman forces encountered an ambush by Hannibal’s fighters and faced defeat at the Battle of Lake Trasimene; three hundred twenty-six years later, in 109 CE, Emperor Trajan formally opened the Aqua Traiana, an aqueduct that carried water to the metropolis from over 25 miles away; five hundred twenty-eight years beyond that, in 637, at the Northern reaches of what had been the Roman Empire, in Ireland, a fierce battle among Celts and interlopers occurred about who would rule the Emerald Isle; just past forty-nine decades subsequently, in 1128, Portuguese independence became much more likely with the victory of Alfonso I against his mother and her lover at the Battle of Moira in the Iberian Peninsula; a century and two years in the future, in 1230, the Siege of the Muslim redoubt at Jaén began during the Spanish Reconquista; one hundred forty-four years hence, in 1374, five hundred miles Northeast in what is now Germany, an outbreak of riotous twitching occurred that people referred to as St John’s Dance, but many contemporary thinkers believe was the result of lysergic acid in rye bread mold; two years less than one and a quarter century more in the direction of now, in 1497, John Cabot led an expedition to what is now Eastern Canada, the first European to visit there since the days of Viking excursions; forty-eight decades and a year back, one of the first Protestant upswellings, the Anabaptist city of Münster, came to an end with its sacking by Catholic forces; thirty-six years past that juncture, in 1571, Spanish imperial forces founded the city of Manila in the Philippines; another twenty-six years along the temporal road, in 1597, the first Dutch imperial incursion into East Asia occurred, at Bantam; seven additional years on the march to the here and now, in 1604, Samuel de Champlain became the first modern European to encounter the site of what is now St John’s New Brunswick, Canada; eighteen years onward from that, in 1622, around the globe in what is now Southern China, the Dutch attempt to consolidate rule of the island of Macau from the Portuguese failed; nine and a half decades thereafter, in 1717, the initial Masonic ‘Grand Lodge’ in the world came into existence in England; seventy-six years further down the pike, in 1793, France’s national assembly, in the aftermath of four years of revolution, adopted the nation’s first Republican Constitution; just a smidgen less than two decades after that, in 1812, the Napoleonic armies of France initiated their disastrous invasion or Russia when they crossed the Neman River; nine years closer to today, in 1821, the decisive battle of Carabobo unfolded in Venezuela’s struggle for Independence from Spain; twenty-one years exactly later on, in 1842, a baby boy was born who would grow up as a humorist, journalist, critic, and thinker of the Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce; half a dozen years further forward in space and time, in 1848, a male infant first encountered the world on his way to a brief life as the union and solidarity activist Albert Parsons, whom the authorities in Chicago murdered for crimes that he did not commit; eighteen years nearer to now, in 1866, the Austrian armies in the Austro-Prussian War inflicted a severe defeat on the Italians; fourteen additional years in time’s inexorable march, in 1880, a girl child entered our midst in the usual way who would become the labor leader and advocate of social justice Agnes Nestor; twenty-one years subsequent to that moment on the dot, in 1901, across the Atlantic in Paris, Pablo Picasso had the breakthrough show that propelled him to the pride of place perch atop the 20th century art world; a thousand ninety-six days afterward, in 1904, five thousand miles back West in Colorado, corrupt authorities near Teluride deported miners for the ‘crime’ of supporting a union; three years still later, in 1907, a Tarkovsky family boy bounced into the world whose destiny was to be the Soviet poet, and translator extraordinaire, Arseny Tarkovsky; seven hundred and thirty one days closer to this point in time, in 1909, the poetess Sarah Orne Jewett breathed her last; seven years additional along time’s path, in 1916, still further West in California, Mary Pickford became the first woman star to earn a million dollar contract; nineteen additional years along time’s path, in 1935, the entire nation of Argentina mourned the iconic crooner and actor and thinker Carlos Gardel when he died in a plane crash; half a decade even closer to the current context, in 1940, across North America and the wide Atlantic, English commandos conducted their first raid into Nazi-occupied Europe; six years further along, in 1946, a baby boy would open his eyes who would rise as the estimable economist and social democratic public intellectual Robert Reich;
three hundred sixty-five days beyond that conjunction, in the westernmost part of North America, in 1947, a nature lover was the first person to report a widely-believed unidentified flying object sighting near Mt Rainier in Washington; a mere year forward in time, in 1948, this time in Germany, Soviet troops cut off overland access to allied-controlled portions of Berlin; another year onward in time, in 1949, the iconic television Western Hopalong Cassidy debuted; one year further on, in 1950, a baby girl was born who would mature as the science fiction/fantasy author Mercedes Lackey; a thousand four hundred and sixty-one days henceforth, in 1954, Vietnamese fighters won one of their many victories en rout to injecting the French from Indochina; three years more proximate to the present, in 1957, across the wide Atlantic ocean, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in Roth v. United States, that ‘obscenity’ did not enjoy the protection of the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights; another half dozen years onward on time’s track, in 1963, England permitted the reconfiguration of its imperial interests by allowing Zanzibar to practice internal self-rule; ten years precisely in the future from that, in 1973, anti-homosexual bigots in New Orleans led an arson attack on the UpStairs Lounge that killed over 30 people; sixteen years even later, in 1989, a shake-up in the Chinese Communist Party occurred in the aftermath of the disastrous Tiananmen Square protests; eight years past that juncture, in 1997, the U.S. Air Force released its ‘final report’ on the supposed alien-crash-landing at Roswell, New Mexico roughly fifty years prior to that; seven years even closer to today’s light and air, in 2004, New York’s courts outlawed the barbaric practice of capital punishment as unconstitutional; eight years afterward, in 2012, the last known member of an endangered subspecies of Galapagos tortoises, Lonesome George, came to its end, three hundred and sixty five days further along time’s arc, in 2013, Silvio Berlusconi received a seven year sentence for abusing his office and engaging in sexual activity with an underage prostitute.
“The labor question is up for settlement. It demands and commands a hearing. The existing disorders threaten not only the peace, but the destruction of society itself. The movement to reduce the work hours is intended by its projectors to give a peaceful solution to the difficulties between capitalists and laborers.
I have always held that there were two ways to settle this trouble-either by peaceable or violent methods. Reduced hours- or eight hours – is a peace-offering. It is for capitalists to give or laborers to take. I hold that capitalists will not give eight hours. Why? Because the rate of wages in every wage-paying country is regulated by what it takes to live on; in other words, it is subsistence wages. This subsistence wage is what political economists call the ‘iron law of wages’, because it is unvarying and inviolable.
How does this law operate? In this way: A laborer is hired to do a day’s work. In the first two hours of the ten he reproduces the equivalent of his wage; the other eight hours is what the employer gets and gets for nothing. Hence the laborer, as the statistics of the census of 1880 show, does ten work for two hours pay. Now, reduced hours, or eight hours, means that the profit monger is to get only six hours instead of, as now, eight hours for nothing.
For this reason employers of labor will not voluntarily concede the reduction. I do not believe that capital will quietly or peaceably permit the economic emancipation of their wage-slaves. It is against all the teachings of history and human nature for men to voluntarily yield up usurped or arbitrary power. The capitalists of the world will for this reason force the workers into armed revolution. Socialists point out this fact and warn the workingmen to prepare for the inevitable.
My ancestors came to this country a good while ago. My friend Oscar Neebe here is the descendant of a Pennsylvania Dutchman. He and I are the only two who had fortune, or the misfortune, as some people may look at it I don’t know and I don’t care-to be born in this country. My ancestors had a hand in drawing up and maintaining the Declaration of Independence. My great great grand-uncle lost a hand at the Battle of Bunker Hill. I had a great great great grand-uncle with Washington at Brandywine, Monmouth and Valley Forge. I have been here long enough, I think, to have rights guaranteed at least in the constitution of the country. …
Our verdict this morning cheers the hearts of tyrants throughout the world, and the result will be celebrated by King Capital in its drunken feast of flowing wine from Chicago to St. Petersburg. Nevertheless, our doom to death is the handwriting on the wall, foretelling the downfall of hate, malice, hypocrisy, judicial murder, oppression, and the domination of man over his fellowman. The oppressed of earth are writhing in their legal chains. The giant Labor is awakening. The masses, aroused from their stupor, will snap their petty chains like reeds in the whirlwind.
We are all creatures of circumstance; we are what we have been made to be. This truth is becoming clearer day by day.
There was no evidence that any one of the eight doomed men knew of, or advised, or abetted the Haymarket tragedy. But what does that matter? The privileged class demands a victim, and we are offered a sacrifice to appease the hungry yells of an infuriated mob of millionaires who will be contented with nothing less than our lives. Monopoly triumphs! Labor in chains ascends the scaffold for having dared to cry out for liberty and right!
Well, my poor, dear wife, I, personally, feel sorry for you and the helpless little babes of our loins.
You I bequeath to the people, a woman of the people. I have one request to make of you: Commit no rash act to yourself when I am gone, but take up the great cause of Socialism where I am compelled to lay it down.
My children – well, their father had better die in the endeavor to secure their liberty and happiness than live contented in a society which condemns nine-tenths of its children to a life of wage slavery and poverty. Bless them; I love them unspeakably, my poor helpless little ones.
Ah, wife, living or dead, we are as one. For you my affection is everlasting. For the people. Humanity. I cry out again and again in the doomed victim’s cell: Liberty! Justice! Equality!” Albert Parsons, Statement from his September, 1887 trial in regard to his and others’ indictment for ‘murder’ in the Haymarket bombings, and the contents of a letter to his wife after the travesty of a verdict