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6.16.2017 Doc of the Day

1. Mary Shelley, 1818.
2. Abraham Lincoln, 1858.
3. Eugene Debs, 1918.
4. Daniel Little, 2008

Numero Uno—Letter 1

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17—

TO Mrs. Saville, England

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.  I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking.

I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with delight.  Do you understand this feeling?  This breeze, which has travelled from the regions towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes.  Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become more fervent and vivid.  I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and delight.  There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a perpetual splendour.  There—for with your leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators—there snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable globe.  Its productions and features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes.   What may not be expected in a country of eternal light?  I may there discover the wondrous power which attracts the needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations that require only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever.   I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man.  These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river.  But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.

These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.  This expedition has been the favourite dream of my early years.  I have read with ardour the accounts of the various voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole.  You may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ library.   My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading.  These volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that my father’s dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark in a seafaring life.

These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, those poets whose effusions entranced my soul and lifted it to heaven.  I also became a poet and for one year lived in a paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated.  You are well acquainted with my failure and how heavily I bore the disappointment.  But just at that time I inherited the fortune of my cousin, and my thoughts were turned into the channel of their earlier bent.

Six years have passed since I resolved on my present undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he consider my services. And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing.

This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an English stagecoach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs—a dress which I have already adopted, for there is a great difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel. I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can easily be done by paying the insurance for the owner, and to engage as many sailors as I think necessary among those who are accustomed to the whale-fishing. I do not intend to sail until the month of June; and when shall I return? Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this question? If I succeed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never. Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness.

Your affectionate brother,     R. Walton

Letter 2

Archangel, 28th March, 17—

To Mrs. Saville, England

How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost and snow! Yet a second step is taken towards my enterprise. I have hired a vessel and am occupied in collecting my sailors; those whom I have already engaged appear to be men on whom I can depend and are certainly possessed of dauntless courage.

But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother! I am too ardent in execution and too impatient of difficulties. But it is a still greater evil to me that I am self-educated: for the first fourteen years of my life I ran wild on a common and read nothing but our Uncle Thomas’ books of voyages. At that age I became acquainted with the celebrated poets of our own country; but it was only when it had ceased to be in my power to derive its most important benefits from such a conviction that I perceived the necessity of becoming acquainted with more languages than that of my native country. Now I am twenty-eight and am in reality more illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen. It is true that I have thought more and that my daydreams are more extended and magnificent, but they want (as the painters call it) KEEPING; and I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me to endeavour to regulate my mind. Well, these are useless complaints; I shall certainly find no friend on the wide ocean, nor even here in Archangel, among merchants and seamen. Yet some feelings, unallied to the dross of human nature, beat even in these rugged bosoms. My lieutenant, for instance, is a man of wonderful courage and enterprise; he is madly desirous of glory, or rather, to word my phrase more characteristically, of advancement in his profession. He is an Englishman, and in the midst of national and professional prejudices, unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest endowments of humanity. I first became acquainted with him on board a whale vessel; finding that he was unemployed in this city, I easily engaged him to assist in my enterprise. The master is a person of an excellent disposition and is remarkable in the ship for his gentleness and the mildness of his discipline. This circumstance, added to his well-known integrity and dauntless courage, made me very desirous to engage him. A youth passed in solitude, my best years spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage, has so refined the groundwork of my character that I cannot overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality exercised on board ship: I have never believed it to be necessary, and when I heard of a mariner equally noted for his kindliness of heart and the respect and obedience paid to him by his crew, I felt myself peculiarly fortunate in being able to secure his services. I heard of him first in rather a romantic manner, from a lady who owes to him the happiness of her life. This, briefly, is his story. Some years ago he loved a young Russian lady of moderate fortune, and having amassed a considerable sum in prize-money, the father of the girl consented to the match. He saw his mistress once before the destined ceremony; but she was bathed in tears, and throwing herself at his feet, entreated him to spare her, confessing at the same time that she loved another, but that he was poor, and that her father would never consent to the union. My generous friend reassured the suppliant, and on being informed of the name of her lover, instantly abandoned his pursuit. He had already bought a farm with his money, on which he had designed to pass the remainder of his life; but he bestowed the whole on his rival, together with the remains of his prize-money to purchase stock, and then himself solicited the young woman’s father to consent to her marriage with her lover. But the old man decidedly refused, thinking himself bound in honour to my friend, who, when he found the father inexorable, quitted his country, nor returned until he heard that his former mistress was married according to her inclinations. “What a noble fellow!” you will exclaim. He is so; but then he is wholly uneducated: he is as silent as a Turk, and a kind of ignorant carelessness attends him, which, while it renders his conduct the more astonishing, detracts from the interest and sympathy which otherwise he would command.

Yet do not suppose, because I complain a little or because I can conceive a consolation for my toils which I may never know, that I am wavering in my resolutions. Those are as fixed as fate, and my voyage is only now delayed until the weather shall permit my embarkation. The winter has been dreadfully severe, but the spring promises well, and it is considered as a remarkably early season, so that perhaps I may sail sooner than I expected. I shall do nothing rashly: you know me sufficiently to confide in my prudence and considerateness whenever the safety of others is committed to my care.

I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of my undertaking. It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to depart. I am going to unexplored regions, to “the land of mist and snow,” but I shall kill no albatross; therefore do not be alarmed for my safety or if I should come back to you as worn and woeful as the “Ancient Mariner.” You will smile at my allusion, but I will disclose a secret. I have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean to that production of the most imaginative of modern poets. There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand. I am practically industrious—painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour—but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore. But to return to dearer considerations. Shall I meet you again, after having traversed immense seas, and returned by the most southern cape of Africa or America? I dare not expect such success, yet I cannot bear to look on the reverse of the picture. Continue for the present to write to me by every opportunity: I may receive your letters on some occasions when I need them most to support my spirits. I love you very tenderly. Remember me with affection, should you never hear from me again.

Your affectionate brother, Robert Walton

Letter 3

July 7th, 17—

To Mrs. Saville, England

My dear Sister,

I write a few lines in haste to say that I am safe—and well advanced on my voyage. This letter will reach England by a merchantman now on its homeward voyage from Archangel; more fortunate than I, who may not see my native land, perhaps, for many years. I am, however, in good spirits: my men are bold and apparently firm of purpose, nor do the floating sheets of ice that continually pass us, indicating the dangers of the region towards which we are advancing, appear to dismay them. We have already reached a very high latitude; but it is the height of summer, and although not so warm as in England, the southern gales, which blow us speedily towards those shores which I so ardently desire to attain, breathe a degree of renovating warmth which I had not expected.

No incidents have hitherto befallen us that would make a figure in a letter. One or two stiff gales and the springing of a leak are accidents which experienced navigators scarcely remember to record, and I shall be well content if nothing worse happen to us during our voyage.

Adieu, my dear Margaret. Be assured that for my own sake, as well as yours, I will not rashly encounter danger. I will be cool, persevering, and prudent.

But success SHALL crown my endeavours. Wherefore not? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph. Why not still proceed over the untamed yet obedient element? What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?

My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out thus. But I must finish. Heaven bless my beloved sister!


Letter 4

August 5th, 17—

To Mrs. Saville, England

So strange an accident has happened to us that I cannot forbear recording it, although it is very probable that you will see me before these papers can come into your possession.

Last Monday (July 31st) we were nearly surrounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which she floated. Our situation was somewhat dangerous, especially as we were compassed round by a very thick fog. We accordingly lay to, hoping that some change would take place in the atmosphere and weather.

About two o’clock the mist cleared away, and we beheld, stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice, which seemed to have no end. Some of my comrades groaned, and my own mind began to grow watchful with anxious thoughts, when a strange sight suddenly attracted our attention and diverted our solicitude from our own situation. We perceived a low carriage, fixed on a sledge and drawn by dogs, pass on towards the north, at the distance of half a mile; a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the sledge and guided the dogs. We watched the rapid progress of the traveller with our telescopes until he was lost among the distant inequalities of the ice. This appearance excited our unqualified wonder. We were, as we believed, many hundred miles from any land; but this apparition seemed to denote that it was not, in reality, so distant as we had supposed. Shut in, however, by ice, it was impossible to follow his track, which we had observed with the greatest attention. About two hours after this occurrence we heard the ground sea, and before night the ice broke and freed our ship. We, however, lay to until the morning, fearing to encounter in the dark those large loose masses which float about after the breaking up of the ice. I profited of this time to rest for a few hours.

In the morning, however, as soon as it was light, I went upon deck and found all the sailors busy on one side of the vessel, apparently talking to someone in the sea. It was, in fact, a sledge, like that we had seen before, which had drifted towards us in the night on a large fragment of ice. Only one dog remained alive; but there was a human being within it whom the sailors were persuading to enter the vessel. He was not, as the other traveller seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but a European. When I appeared on deck the master said, “Here is our captain, and he will not allow you to perish on the open sea.”

On perceiving me, the stranger addressed me in English, although with a foreign accent. “Before I come on board your vessel,” said he, “will you have the kindness to inform me whither you are bound?”

You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question addressed to me from a man on the brink of destruction and to whom I should have supposed that my vessel would have been a resource which he would not have exchanged for the most precious wealth the earth can afford. I replied, however, that we were on a voyage of discovery towards the northern pole.

Upon hearing this he appeared satisfied and consented to come on board. Good God! Margaret, if you had seen the man who thus capitulated for his safety, your surprise would have been boundless. His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition. We attempted to carry him into the cabin, but as soon as he had quitted the fresh air he fainted. We accordingly brought him back to the deck and restored him to animation by rubbing him with brandy and forcing him to swallow a small quantity. As soon as he showed signs of life we wrapped him up in blankets and placed him near the chimney of the kitchen stove. By slow degrees he recovered and ate a little soup, which restored him wonderfully.

Two days passed in this manner before he was able to speak, and I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of understanding. When he had in some measure recovered, I removed him to my own cabin and attended on him as much as my duty would permit. I never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him or does him any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled. But he is generally melancholy and despairing, and sometimes he gnashes his teeth, as if impatient of the weight of woes that oppresses him.

When my guest was a little recovered I had great trouble to keep off the men, who wished to ask him a thousand questions; but I would not allow him to be tormented by their idle curiosity, in a state of body and mind whose restoration evidently depended upon entire repose. Once, however, the lieutenant asked why he had come so far upon the ice in so strange a vehicle.

His countenance instantly assumed an aspect of the deepest gloom, and he replied, “To seek one who fled from me.”

“And did the man whom you pursued travel in the same fashion?”


“Then I fancy we have seen him, for the day before we picked you up we saw some dogs drawing a sledge, with a man in it, across the ice.”

This aroused the stranger’s attention, and he asked a multitude of questions concerning the route which the demon, as he called him, had pursued. Soon after, when he was alone with me, he said, “I have, doubtless, excited your curiosity, as well as that of these good people; but you are too considerate to make inquiries.”

“Certainly; it would indeed be very impertinent and inhuman in me to trouble you with any inquisitiveness of mine.”

“And yet you rescued me from a strange and perilous situation; you have benevolently restored me to life.”

Soon after this he inquired if I thought that the breaking up of the ice had destroyed the other sledge. I replied that I could not answer with any degree of certainty, for the ice had not broken until near midnight, and the traveller might have arrived at a place of safety before that time; but of this I could not judge. From this time a new spirit of life animated the decaying frame of the stranger. He manifested the greatest eagerness to be upon deck to watch for the sledge which had before appeared; but I have persuaded him to remain in the cabin, for he is far too weak to sustain the rawness of the atmosphere. I have promised that someone should watch for him and give him instant notice if any new object should appear in sight.

Such is my journal of what relates to this strange occurrence up to the present day. The stranger has gradually improved in health but is very silent and appears uneasy when anyone except myself enters his cabin. Yet his manners are so conciliating and gentle that the sailors are all interested in him, although they have had very little communication with him. For my own part, I begin to love him as a brother, and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion. He must have been a noble creature in his better days, being even now in wreck so attractive and amiable. I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man who, before his spirit had been broken by misery, I should have been happy to have possessed as the brother of my heart.

I shall continue my journal concerning the stranger at intervals, should I have any fresh incidents to record.

August 13th, 17—

My affection for my guest increases every day. He excites at once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing degree. How can I see so noble a creature destroyed by misery without feeling the most poignant grief? He is so gentle, yet so wise; his mind is so cultivated, and when he speaks, although his words are culled with the choicest art, yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence. He is now much recovered from his illness and is continually on the deck, apparently watching for the sledge that preceded his own. Yet, although unhappy, he is not so utterly occupied by his own misery but that he interests himself deeply in the projects of others. He has frequently conversed with me on mine, which I have communicated to him without disguise. He entered attentively into all my arguments in favour of my eventual success and into every minute detail of the measures I had taken to secure it. I was easily led by the sympathy which he evinced to use the language of my heart, to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man’s life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. As I spoke, a dark gloom spread over my listener’s countenance. At first I perceived that he tried to suppress his emotion; he placed his hands before his eyes, and my voice quivered and failed me as I beheld tears trickle fast from between his fingers; a groan burst from his heaving breast. I paused; at length he spoke, in broken accents: “Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me; let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips!”

Such words, you may imagine, strongly excited my curiosity; but the paroxysm of grief that had seized the stranger overcame his weakened powers, and many hours of repose and tranquil conversation were necessary to restore his composure. Having conquered the violence of his feelings, he appeared to despise himself for being the slave of passion; and quelling the dark tyranny of despair, he led me again to converse concerning myself personally. He asked me the history of my earlier years. The tale was quickly told, but it awakened various trains of reflection. I spoke of my desire of finding a friend, of my thirst for a more intimate sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my lot, and expressed my conviction that a man could boast of little happiness who did not enjoy this blessing. “I agree with you,” replied the stranger; “we are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves—such a friend ought to be—do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures. I once had a friend, the most noble of human creatures, and am entitled, therefore, to judge respecting friendship. You have hope, and the world before you, and have no cause for despair. But I—I have lost everything and cannot begin life anew.”

As he said this his countenance became expressive of a calm, settled grief that touched me to the heart. But he was silent and presently retired to his cabin.

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions seem still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.

Will you smile at the enthusiasm I express concerning this divine wanderer? You would not if you saw him. You have been tutored and refined by books and retirement from the world, and you are therefore somewhat fastidious; but this only renders you the more fit to appreciate the extraordinary merits of this wonderful man. Sometimes I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he possesses that elevates him so immeasurably above any other person I ever knew. I believe it to be an intuitive discernment, a quick but never-failing power of judgment, a penetration into the causes of things, unequalled for clearness and precision; add to this a facility of expression and a voice whose varied intonations are soul-subduing music.

August 19, 17—

Yesterday the stranger said to me, “You may easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had determined at one time that the memory of these evils should die with me, but you have won me to alter my determination. You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. I do not know that the relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale, one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking and console you in case of failure. Prepare to hear of occurrences which are usually deemed marvellous. Were we among the tamer scenes of nature I might fear to encounter your unbelief, perhaps your ridicule; but many things will appear possible in these wild and mysterious regions which would provoke the laughter of those unacquainted with the ever-varied powers of nature; nor can I doubt but that my tale conveys in its series internal evidence of the truth of the events of which it is composed.”

You may easily imagine that I was much gratified by the offered communication, yet I could not endure that he should renew his grief by a recital of his misfortunes. I felt the greatest eagerness to hear the promised narrative, partly from curiosity and partly from a strong desire to ameliorate his fate if it were in my power. I expressed these feelings in my answer.

“I thank you,” he replied, “for your sympathy, but it is useless; my fate is nearly fulfilled. I wait but for one event, and then I shall repose in peace. I understand your feeling,” continued he, perceiving that I wished to interrupt him; “but you are mistaken, my friend, if thus you will allow me to name you; nothing can alter my destiny; listen to my history, and you will perceive how irrevocably it is determined.”

He then told me that he would commence his narrative the next day when I should be at leisure. This promise drew from me the warmest thanks. I have resolved every night, when I am not imperatively occupied by my duties, to record, as nearly as possible in his own words, what he has related during the day. If I should be engaged, I will at least make notes. This manuscript will doubtless afford you the greatest pleasure; but to me, who know him, and who hear it from his own lips—with what interest and sympathy shall I read it in some future day! Even now, as I commence my task, his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness; I see his thin hand raised in animation, while the lineaments of his face are irradiated by the soul within.

Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!

Chapter 1

I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic. My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics, and my father had filled several public situations with honour and reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger days perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.

As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his character, I cannot refrain from relating them. One of his most intimate friends was a merchant who, from a flourishing state, fell, through numerous mischances, into poverty. This man, whose name was Beaufort, was of a proud and unbending disposition and could not bear to live in poverty and oblivion in the same country where he had formerly been distinguished for his rank and magnificence. Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in wretchedness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship and was deeply grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them. He lost no time in endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope of persuading him to begin the world again through his credit and assistance.

Beaufort had taken effectual measures to conceal himself, and it was ten months before my father discovered his abode. Overjoyed at this discovery, he hastened to the house, which was situated in a mean street near the Reuss. But when he entered, misery and despair alone welcomed him. Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money from the wreck of his fortunes, but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the meantime he hoped to procure some respectable employment in a merchant’s house. The interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became more deep and rankling when he had leisure for reflection, and at length it took so fast hold of his mind that at the end of three months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable of any exertion.

His daughter attended him with the greatest tenderness, but she saw with despair that their little fund was rapidly decreasing and that there was no other prospect of support. But Caroline Beaufort possessed a mind of an uncommon mould, and her courage rose to support her in her adversity. She procured plain work; she plaited straw and by various means contrived to earn a pittance scarcely sufficient to support life.

Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her time was more entirely occupied in attending him; her means of subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. This last blow overcame her, and she knelt by Beaufort’s coffin weeping bitterly, when my father entered the chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the interment of his friend he conducted her to Geneva and placed her under the protection of a relation. Two years after this event Caroline became his wife.

There was a considerable difference between the ages of my parents, but this circumstance seemed to unite them only closer in bonds of devoted affection. There was a sense of justice in my father’s upright mind which rendered it necessary that he should approve highly to love strongly. Perhaps during former years he had suffered from the late-discovered unworthiness of one beloved and so was disposed to set a greater value on tried worth. There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother, differing wholly from the doting fondness of age, for it was inspired by reverence for her virtues and a desire to be the means of, in some degree, recompensing her for the sorrows she had endured, but which gave inexpressible grace to his behaviour to her. Everything was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every rougher wind and to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind. Her health, and even the tranquillity of her hitherto constant spirit, had been shaken by what she had gone through. During the two years that had elapsed previous to their marriage my father had gradually relinquished all his public functions; and immediately after their union they sought the pleasant climate of Italy, and the change of scene and interest attendant on a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for her weakened frame.

From Italy they visited Germany and France. I, their eldest child, was born at Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me. My mother’s tender caresses and my father’s smile of benevolent pleasure while regarding me are my first recollections. I was their plaything and their idol, and something better—their child, the innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by heaven, whom to bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct to happiness or misery, according as they fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant life I received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self-control, I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of enjoyment to me. For a long time I was their only care. My mother had much desired to have a daughter, but I continued their single offspring. When I was about five years old, while making an excursion beyond the frontiers of Italy, they passed a week on the shores of the Lake of Como. Their benevolent disposition often made them enter the cottages of the poor. This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was a necessity, a passion—remembering what she had suffered, and how she had been relieved—for her to act in her turn the guardian angel to the afflicted. During one of their walks a poor cot in the foldings of a vale attracted their notice as being singularly disconsolate, while the number of half-clothed children gathered about it spoke of penury in its worst shape. One day, when my father had gone by himself to Milan, my mother, accompanied by me, visited this abode. She found a peasant and his wife, hard working, bent down by care and labour, distributing a scanty meal to five hungry babes. Among these there was one which attracted my mother far above all the rest. She appeared of a different stock. The four others were dark-eyed, hardy little vagrants; this child was thin and very fair. Her hair was the brightest living gold, and despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed to set a crown of distinction on her head. Her brow was clear and ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness that none could behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features. The peasant woman, perceiving that my mother fixed eyes of wonder and admiration on this lovely girl, eagerly communicated her history. She was not her child, but the daughter of a Milanese nobleman. Her mother was a German and had died on giving her birth. The infant had been placed with these good people to nurse: they were better off then. They had not been long married, and their eldest child was but just born. The father of their charge was one of those Italians nursed in the memory of the antique glory of Italy—one among the schiavi ognor frementi, who exerted himself to obtain the liberty of his country. He became the victim of its weakness. Whether he had died or still lingered in the dungeons of Austria was not known. His property was confiscated; his child became an orphan and a beggar. She continued with her foster parents and bloomed in their rude abode, fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles. When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub—a creature who seemed to shed radiance from her looks and whose form and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills. The apparition was soon explained. With his permission my mother prevailed on her rustic guardians to yield their charge to her. They were fond of the sweet orphan. Her presence had seemed a blessing to them, but it would be unfair to her to keep her in poverty and want when Providence afforded her such powerful protection. They consulted their village priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of my parents’ house—my more than sister—the beautiful and adored companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.

Everyone loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my pride and my delight. On the evening previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had said playfully, “I have a pretty present for my Victor—tomorrow he shall have it.” And when, on the morrow, she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally and looked upon Elizabeth as mine—mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises bestowed on her I received as made to a possession of my own. We called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to me—my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.

Chapter 2

We were brought up together; there was not quite a year difference in our ages. I need not say that we were strangers to any species of disunion or dispute. Harmony was the soul of our companionship, and the diversity and contrast that subsisted in our characters drew us nearer together. Elizabeth was of a calmer and more concentrated disposition; but, with all my ardour, I was capable of a more intense application and was more deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge. She busied herself with following the aerial creations of the poets; and in the majestic and wondrous scenes which surrounded our Swiss home —the sublime shapes of the mountains, the changes of the seasons, tempest and calm, the silence of winter, and the life and turbulence of our Alpine summers—she found ample scope for admiration and delight. While my companion contemplated with a serious and satisfied spirit the magnificent appearances of things, I delighted in investigating their causes. The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me, are among the earliest sensations I can remember.

On the birth of a second son, my junior by seven years, my parents gave up entirely their wandering life and fixed themselves in their native country. We possessed a house in Geneva, and a campagne on Belrive, the eastern shore of the lake, at the distance of rather more than a league from the city. We resided principally in the latter, and the lives of my parents were passed in considerable seclusion. It was my temper to avoid a crowd and to attach myself fervently to a few. I was indifferent, therefore, to my school-fellows in general; but I united myself in the bonds of the closest friendship to one among them. Henry Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva. He was a boy of singular talent and fancy. He loved enterprise, hardship, and even danger for its own sake. He was deeply read in books of chivalry and romance. He composed heroic songs and began to write many a tale of enchantment and knightly adventure. He tried to make us act plays and to enter into masquerades, in which the characters were drawn from the heroes of Roncesvalles, of the Round Table of King Arthur, and the chivalrous train who shed their blood to redeem the holy sepulchre from the hands of the infidels.

No human being could have passed a happier childhood than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with other families I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and gratitude assisted the development of filial love.

My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement; but by some law in my temperature they were turned not towards childish pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately. I confess that neither the structure of languages, nor the code of governments, nor the politics of various states possessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of things or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the world.

Meanwhile Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, with the moral relations of things. The busy stage of life, the virtues of heroes, and the actions of men were his theme; and his hope and his dream was to become one among those whose names are recorded in story as the gallant and adventurous benefactors of our species. The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful home. Her sympathy was ours; her smile, her soft voice, the sweet glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there to bless and animate us. She was the living spirit of love to soften and attract; I might have become sullen in my study, rough through the ardour of my nature, but that she was there to subdue me to a semblance of her own gentleness. And Clerval—could aught ill entrench on the noble spirit of Clerval? Yet he might not have been so perfectly humane, so thoughtful in his generosity, so full of kindness and tenderness amidst his passion for adventurous exploit, had she not unfolded to him the real loveliness of beneficence and made the doing good the end and aim of his soaring ambition.

I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self. Besides, in drawing the picture of my early days, I also record those events which led, by insensible steps, to my after tale of misery, for when I would account to myself for the birth of that passion which afterwards ruled my destiny I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys. Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science. When I was thirteen years of age we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon; the inclemency of the weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the inn. In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy; the theory which he attempts to demonstrate and the wonderful facts which he relates soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm. A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind, and bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father. My father looked carelessly at the title page of my book and said, “Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste your time upon this; it is sad trash.”

If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely exploded and that a modern system of science had been introduced which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the former were real and practical, under such circumstances I should certainly have thrown Agrippa aside and have contented my imagination, warmed as it was, by returning with greater ardour to my former studies. It is even possible that the train of my ideas would never have received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was acquainted with its contents, and I continued to read with the greatest avidity. When I returned home my first care was to procure the whole works of this author, and afterwards of Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. I read and studied the wild fancies of these writers with delight; they appeared to me treasures known to few besides myself. I have described myself as always having been imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature. In spite of the intense labour and wonderful discoveries of modern philosophers, I always came from my studies discontented and unsatisfied. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have avowed that he felt like a child picking up shells beside the great and unexplored ocean of truth. Those of his successors in each branch of natural philosophy with whom I was acquainted appeared even to my boy’s apprehensions as tyros engaged in the same pursuit.

The untaught peasant beheld the elements around him and was acquainted with their practical uses. The most learned philosopher knew little more. He had partially unveiled the face of Nature, but her immortal lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery. He might dissect, anatomize, and give names; but, not to speak of a final cause, causes in their secondary and tertiary grades were utterly unknown to him. I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had repined.

But here were books, and here were men who had penetrated deeper and knew more. I took their word for all that they averred, and I became their disciple. It may appear strange that such should arise in the eighteenth century; but while I followed the routine of education in the schools of Geneva, I was, to a great degree, self-taught with regard to my favourite studies. My father was not scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child’s blindness, added to a student’s thirst for knowledge. Under the guidance of my new preceptors I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher’s stone and the elixir of life; but the latter soon obtained my undivided attention. Wealth was an inferior object, but what glory would attend the discovery if I could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death! Nor were these my only visions. The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors. And thus for a time I was occupied by exploded systems, mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories and floundering desperately in a very slough of multifarious knowledge, guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning, till an accident again changed the current of my ideas. When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura, and the thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribbons of wood. I never beheld anything so utterly destroyed.

Before this I was not unacquainted with the more obvious laws of electricity.  On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy was with us, and excited by this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me.  All that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the lords of my imagination; but by some fatality the overthrow of these men disinclined me to pursue my accustomed studies.  It seemed to me as if nothing would or could ever be known.  All that had so long engaged my attention suddenly grew despicable.  By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge.  In this mood of mind I betook myself to the mathematics and the branches of study appertaining to that science as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my consideration.

Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin.   When I look back, it seems to me as if this almost miraculous change of inclination and will was the immediate suggestion of the guardian angel of my life—the last effort made by the spirit of preservation to avert the storm that was even then hanging in the stars and ready to envelop me.  Her victory was announced by an unusual tranquillity and gladness of soul which followed the relinquishing of my ancient and latterly tormenting studies.   It was thus that I was to be taught to associate evil with their prosecution, happiness with their disregard.

It was a strong effort of the spirit of good, but it was ineffectual.  estiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.”      Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Letters 1-4 & Chapters 1-2, 1818


Numero Dos—“Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:
If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it.  We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation.  Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly augmented.  In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed.  ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’  I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.  I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing, or all the other.  Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, North as well as South.Have we no tendency to the latter condition?Let anyone who doubts carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination — piece of machinery, so to speak — compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision.  Let him consider, not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted, but also let him study the history of its construction and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design and concert of action among its chief architects, from the beginning.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the states by state constitutions and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition.  Four days latercommenced the struggle which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition.  This opened all the national territory to slavery and was the first point gained.

But, so far, Congress only had acted; and an endorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable to save the point already gained and give chance for more.

This necessity had not been overlooked, but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of ‘squatter sovereignty,’ otherwise called ‘sacred right of self-government,’ which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object.  That argument was incorporated into the Nebraska Bill itself, in the language which follows:

It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into an territory or state, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people there-of perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of ‘squatter sovereignty’ and ‘sacred right of self-government.’  ‘But,’ said opposition members, ‘let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the territory may exclude slavery.’  ‘Not we,’ said the friends of the measure; and down they voted the amendment.

While the Nebraska Bill was passing through Congress, a law case, involving the question of a Negro’s freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free state and then into a territory covered by the congressional prohibition, and held him as a slave for a long time in each, was passing through the United States Circuit Court for the district of Missouri; and both Nebraska Bill and lawsuit were brought to a decision in the same month of May 1854.  The Negro’s name was Dred Scott, which name now designates the decision finally made in the case.  Before the then next presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election.  Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requested the leading advocate of the Nebraska Bill to state his opinion whether the people of a territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits; and the latter answers: ‘That is a question for the Supreme Court.’

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the endorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The endorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly 400,000 votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory. The outgoing President, in his last annual message, as impressively as possible echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of the endorsement. The Supreme Court met again, did not announce their decision, but ordered a reargument.

The presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the Court; but the incoming President, in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever it might be. Then, in a few days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion to make a speech at this capital endorsing the Dred Scott decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman letter to endorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained!

At length a squabble springs up between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton constitution was or was not in any just sense made by the people of Kansas; and in that quarrel the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration, that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind — the principle for which he declares he has suffered so much and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that principle! If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine.

Under the Dred Scott decision, “squatter sovereignty” squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding; like the mold at the foundry, served through one blast and fell back into loose sand; helped to carry an election and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint struggle with the Republicans against the Lecompton constitution involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle was made on a point — the right of a people to make their own constitution — upon which he and the Republicans have never differed.

The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas’ “care not” policy, constitute the piece of machinery in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained. The working points of that machinery are:

First, that no Negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any state in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the Negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution which declares that “the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.”

Second, that, “subject to the Constitution of the United States,” neither Congress nor a territorial legislature can exclude slavery from any United States territory. This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.

Third, that whether the holding a Negro in actual slavery in a free state makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave state the Negro may be forced into by the master. This point is made, not to be pressed immediately but, if acquiesced in for awhile, and apparently endorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott’s master might lawfully do with Dred Scott in the free state of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or 1,000 slaves, in Illinois or in any other free state.
Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mold public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. This shows exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending.

It will throw additional light on the latter to go back and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated.  Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring.  The people were to be left ‘perfectly free,’ ‘subject only to the Constitution.’  What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see.  Plainly enough, now, it was an exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in and declare the perfect freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all.

Why was the amendment expressly declaring the right of the people voted down?  Plainly enough, now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.  Why was the Court decision held up?  Why even a senator’s individual opinion withheld till after the presidential election?  Plainly enough, now, the speaking out then would have damaged the ‘perfectly free’ argument upon which the election was to be carried.  Why the outgoing President’s felicitation on the endorsement? Why the delay of a reargument?  Why the incoming President’s advance exhortation in favor of the decision?  These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall.  And why the hasty after-endorsement of the decision by the President and others?

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert.  But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen — Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance — and when we see these timbers joined together and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few, not omitting even scaffolding, or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in — in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.”      Abraham Lincoln, “House Divided Speech;” at the Illinois State Republican convention, 1858

Numero Tres—“Comrades, friends and fellow-workers, for this very cordial greeting, this very hearty reception, I thank you all with the fullest appreciation of your interest in and your devotion to the cause for which I am to speak to you this afternoon. To speak for labor; to plead the cause of the men and women and children who toil; to serve the working class, has always been to me a high privilege; a duty of love.

I have just returned from a visit over yonder, where three of our most loyal comrades are paying the penalty for their devotion to the cause of the working class.  They have come to realize, as many of us have, that it is extremely dangerous to exercise the constitutional right of free speech in a country fighting to make democracy safe in the world.

I realize that, in speaking to you this afternoon, there are certain limitations placed upon the right of free speech.  I must be exceedingly careful, prudent, as to what I say, and even more careful and prudent as to how I say it.  I may not be able to say all I think; but I am not going to say anything that I do not think.  I would rather a thousand times be a free soul in jail than to be a sycophant and coward in the streets.  They may put those boys in jail—and some of the rest of us in jail—but they can not put the Socialist movement in jail.  Those prison bars separate their bodies from ours, but their souls are here this afternoon.  They are simply paying the penalty that all men have paid in all the ages of history for standing erect, and for seeking to pave the way to better conditions for mankind.

If it had not been for the men and women who, in the past, have had the moral courage to go to jail, we would still be in the jungles.

This assemblage is exceedingly good to look upon.  I wish it were possible for me to give you what you are giving me this afternoon.   What I say here amounts to but little; what I see here is exceedingly important.  You workers in Ohio, enlisted in the greatest cause ever organized in the interest of your class, are making history today in the face of threatening opposition of all kinds—history that is going to be read with profound interest by coming generations.

There is but one thing you have to be concerned about, and that is that you keep foursquare with the principles of the international Socialist movement.   It is only when you begin to compromise that trouble begins.  So far as I am concerned, it does not matter what others may say, or think, or do, as long as I am sure that I am right with myself and the cause.   There are so many who seek refuge in the popular side of a great question.  As a Socialist, I have long since learned how to stand alone.  For the last month I have been traveling over the Hoosier State; and, let me say to you, that, in all my connection with the Socialist movement, I have never seen such meetings, such enthusiasm, such unity of purpose; never have I seen such a promising outlook as there is today, notwithstanding the statement published repeatedly that our leaders have deserted us.  Well, for myself, I never had much faith in leaders.  I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader.  I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety.  Give me the rank and file every day in the week.  If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses—you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction.  I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself.  I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks.  When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.

When I came away from Indiana, the comrades said: “When you cross the line and get over into the Buckeye State, tell the comrades there that we are on duty and doing duty. Give them for us, a hearty greeting, and tell them that we are going to make a record this fall that will be read around the world.”

ŒThe Socialists of Ohio, it appears, are very much alive this year. The party has been killed recently, which, no doubt, accounts for its extraordinary activity. There is nothing that helps the Socialist Party so much as receiving an occasional deathblow. The oftener it is killed the more active, the more energetic, the more powerful it becomes.

They who have been reading the capitalist newspapers realize what a capacity they have for lying. We have been reading them lately. They know all about the Socialist Party—the Socialist movement, except what is true. Only the other day they took an article that I had written—and most of you have read it—most of you members of the party, at least—and they made it appear that I had undergone a marvelous transformation. I had suddenly become changed—had in fact come to my senses; I had ceased to be a wicked Socialist, and had become a respectable Socialist , a patriotic Socialist—as if I had ever been anything else.

What was the purpose of this deliberate misrepresentation? It is so self-evident that it suggests itself. The purpose was to sow the seeds of dissension in our ranks; to have it appear that we were divided among ourselves; that we were pitted against each other, to our mutual undoing. But Socialists were not born yesterday. They know how to read capitalist newspapers ; and to believe exactly the opposite of what they read.

Why should a Socialist be discouraged on the eve of the greatest triumph in all the history of the Socialist movement? It is true that these are anxious, trying days for us all—testing days for the women and men who are upholding the banner of labor in the struggle of the working class of all the world against the exploiters of all the world; a time in which the weak and cowardly will falter and fail and desert. They lack the fiber to endure the revolutionary test; they fall away; they disappear as if they had never been. On the other hand, they who are animated by the unconquerable spirit of the social revolution; they who have the moral courage to stand erect and assert their convictions; stand by them; fight for them; go to jail or to hell for them, if need be —they are writing their names, in this crucial hour—they are writing their names in faceless letters in the history of mankind.

Those boys over yonder—those comrades of ours—and how I love them! Aye, they are my younger brothers ; their very names throb in my heart, thrill in my veins, and surge in my soul. I am proud of them; they are there for us; and we are here for them. Their lips, though temporarily mute, are more eloquent than ever before; and their voice, though silent, is heard around the world.

Are we opposed to Prussian militarism? Why, we have been fighting it since the day the Socialist movement was born; and we are going to continue to fight it, day and night, until it is wiped from the face of the earth. Between us there is no truce—no compromise.

But, before I proceed along this line, let me recall a little history, in which I think we are all interested.

In 1869 that grand old warrior of the social revolution, the elder Liebknecht, was arrested and sentenced to prison for three months, because of his war, as a Socialist, on the Kaiser and on the Junkers that rule Germany. In the meantime the Franco-Prussian war broke out. Liebknecht and Bebel were the Socialist members in the Reichstag. They were the only two who had the courage to protest against taking Alsace-Lorraine from France and annexing it to Germany. And for this they were sentenced two years to a prison fortress charged with high treason; because, even in that early day, almost fifty years ago, these leaders, these forerunners of the international Socialist movement were fighting the Kaiser and fighting the Junkers of Germany. They have continued to fight them from that day to this. Multiplied thousands of Socialists have languished in the jails of Germany because of their heroic warfare upon the despotic ruling class of that country.

Let us come down the line a little farther. You remember that, at the close of Theodore Roosevelt’s second term as President, he went over to Africa to make war on some of his ancestors. You remember that, at the close of his expedition, he visited the capitals of Europe; and that he was wined and dined, dignified and glorified by all the Kaisers and Czars and Emperors of the Old World. He visited Potsdam while the Kaiser was there; and, according to the accounts published in the American newspapers, he and the Kaiser were soon on the most familiar terms. They were hilariously intimate with each other, and slapped each other on the back. After Roosevelt had reviewed the Kaiser’s troops, according to the same accounts, he became enthusiastic over the Kaiser’s legions and said: “If I had that kind of an army, I could conquer the world.” He knew the Kaiser then just as well as he knows him now. He knew that he was the Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin. And yet, he permitted himself to be entertained by that Beast of Berlin; had his feet under the mahogany of the Beast of Berlin; was cheek by jowl with the Beast of Berlin. And, while Roosevelt was being entertained royally by the German Kaiser, that same Kaiser was putting the leaders of the Socialist Party in jail for fighting the Kaiser and the Junkers of Germany. Roosevelt was the guest of honor in the white house of the Kaiser, while the Socialists were in the jails of the Kaiser for fighting the Kaiser. Who then was fighting for democracy? Roosevelt? Roosevelt, who was honored by the Kaiser, or the Socialists who were in jail by order of the Kaiser?

“Birds of a feather flock together.”

When the newspapers reported that Kaiser Wilhelm and ax-President Theodore recognized each other at sight, were perfectly intimate with each other at the first touch, they made the admission that is fatal to the claim of Theodore Roosevelt, that he is the friend of the common people and the champion of democracy; they admitted that they were kith and kin; that they were very much alike; that their ideas and ideals were about the same. If Theodore Roosevelt is the great champion of democracy —the arch foe of autocracy , what business had he as the guest of honor of the Prussian Kaiser? And when he met the Kaiser, and did honor to the Kaiser, under the terms imputed to him, wasn’t it pretty strong proof that he himself was a Kaiser at heart? Now, after being the guest of Emperor Wilhelm, the Beast of Berlin, he comes back to this country, and wants you to send ten million men over there to kill the Kaiser; to murder his former friend and pal. Rather queer, isn’t it? And yet, he is the patriot, and we are the traitors. I challenge you to find a Socialist anywhere on the face of the earth who was ever the guest of the Beast of Berlin , except as an inmate of his prison—the elder Liebknecht and the younger Liebknecht, the heroic son of his immortal sire.

ŒA little more history along the same line. In 1902 Prince Henry paid a visit to this country. Do you remember him? I do, exceedingly well. Prince Henry is the brother of Emperor Wilhelm. Prince Henry is another Beast of Berlin, an autocrat, an aristocrat, a Junker of Junkers—very much despised by our American patriots. He came over here in 1902 as the representative of Kaiser Wilhelm; he was received by Congress and by several state legislatures—among others, by the state legislature of Massachusetts, then in session. He was invited there by the capitalist captains of that so-called commonwealth. And when Prince Henry arrived, there was one member of that body who kept his self-respect, put on his hat, and as Henry, the Prince, walked in, that member of the body walked out. And that was James F. Carey, the Socialist member of that body. All the rest—all the rest of the representatives in the Massachusetts legislature—all, all of them—joined in doing honor, in the most servile spirit, to the high representative of the autocracy of Europe. And the only man who left that body, was a Socialist. And yet , and yet they have the hardihood to claim that they are fighting autocracy and that we are in the service of the German government.

A little more history along the same line. I have a distinct recollection of it. It occurred fifteen years ago when Prince Henry came here. All of our plutocracy, all of the wealthy representatives living along Fifth Avenue—all, all of them—threw their palace doors wide open and received Prince Henry with open arms. But they were not satisfied with this; they got down and grovelled in the dust at his feet. Our plutocracy—women and men alike—vied with each other to lick the boots of Prince Henry, the brother and representative of the “Beast of Berlin.” And still our plutocracy, our Junkers, would have us believe that all the Junkers are confined to Germany. It is precisely because we refuse to believe this that they brand us as disloyalists. They want our eyes focused on the Junkers in Berlin so that we will not see those within our own borders.

I hate, I loathe, I despise Junkers and junkerdom. I have no earthly use for the Junkers of Germany, and not one particle more use for the Junkers in the United States.

They tell us that we live in a great free republic; that our institutions are democratic; that we are a free and self-governing people. This is too much, even for a joke. But it is not a subject for levity; it is an exceedingly serious matter.

To whom do the Wall Street Junkers in our country marry their daughters? After they have wrung their countless millions from your sweat, your agony and your life’s blood, in a time of war as in a time of peace, they invest these untold millions in the purchase of titles of broken-down aristocrats, such as princes, dukes, counts and other parasites and no-accounts. Would they be satisfied to wed their daughters to honest workingmen? To real democrats? Oh, no! They scour the markets of Europe for vampires who are titled and nothing else. And they swap their millions for the titles, so that matrimony with them becomes literally a matter of money.

These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to Junker rule in the United Sates. No wonder Sam Johnson declared that “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” He must have had this Wall Street gentry in mind, or at least their prototypes, for in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people.

They would have you believe that the Socialist Party consists in the main of disloyalists and traitors. It is true in a sense not at all to their discredit. We frankly admit that we are disloyalists and traitors to the real traitors of this nation; to the gang that on the Pacific coast are trying to hang Tom Mooney and Warren Billings in spite of their well-known innocence and the protest of practically the whole civilized world.

I know Tom Mooney intimately—as if he were my own brother. He is an absolutely honest man. He had no more to do with the crime with which he was charged and for which he was convicted than I had. And if he ought to go to the gallows, so ought I. If he is guilty every man who belongs to a labor organization or to the Socialist Party is likewise guilty.

What is Tom Mooney guilty of? I will tell you. I am familiar with his record. For years he has been fighting bravely and without compromise the battles of the working class out on the Pacific coast. He refused to be bribed and he could not be browbeaten. In spite of all attempts to intimidate him he continued loyally in the service of the organized workers, and for this he became a marked man. The henchmen of the powerful and corrupt corporations, concluding finally that he could not be bought or bribed or bullied, decided he must therefore be murdered. That is why Tom Mooney is today a life prisoner, and why he would have been hanged as a felon long ago but for the world-wide protest of the working class.

Let us review another bit of history. You remember Francis J. Heney, special investigator of the state of California, who was shot down in cold blood in the courtroom in San Francisco. You remember that dastardly crime, do you not? The United Railways, consisting of a lot of plutocrats and highbinders represented by the Chamber of Commerce, absolutely control the city of San Francisco. The city was and is their private reservation. Their will is the supreme law. Take your stand against them and question their authority, and you are doomed. They do not hesitate a moment to plot murder or any other crime to perpetuate their corrupt and enslaving regime. Tom Mooney was the chief representative of the working class they could not control. They own the railways; they control the great industries; they are the industrial masters and the political rulers of the people. From their decision there is no appeal. They are the autocrats of the Pacific coast—as cruel and infamous as any that ever ruled in Germany or any other country in the old world. When their rule became so corrupt that at last a grand jury indicted them and they were placed on trial, and Francis J. Heney was selected to assist in their prosecution, this gang, represented by the Chamber of Commerce; this gang of plutocrats, autocrats and highbinders, hired an assassin to shoot Heney down in the courtroom. Heney, however, happened to live through it. But that was not their fault. The same identical gang that hired the murderer to kill Heney also hired false witnesses to swear away the fife of Tom Mooney and, foiled in that, they have kept him in a foul prisonhole ever since.

Every solitary one of these aristocratic conspirators and would-be murderers claims to be an arch-patriot; every one of them insists that the war is being waged to make the world safe for democracy. What humbug! What rot! What false pretense! These autocrats, these tyrants, these red-handed robbers and murderers, the “patriots,” while the men who have the courage to stand face to face with them, speak the truth, and fight for their exploited victims—they are the disloyalists and traitors. If this be true, I want to take my place side by side with the traitors in this fight.

The other day they sentenced Kate Richards O’Hare to the penitentiary for five years. Think of sentencing a woman to the penitentiary simply for talking. The United States, under plutocratic rule, is the only country that would send a woman to prison for five years for exercising the right of free speech. If this be treason, let them make the most of it.

Let me review a bit of history in connection with this case. I have known Kate Richards O’Hare intimately for twenty years. I am familiar with her public record. Personally I know her as if she were my own sister. All who know Mrs. O’Hare know her to be a woman of unquestioned integrity.’ And they also know that she is a woman of unimpeachable loyalty to the Socialist movement. When she went out into North Dakota to make her speech, followed by plain-clothes men in the service of the government intent upon effecting her arrest and securing her prosecution and conviction—when she went out there, it was with the full knowledge on her part that sooner or later these detectives would accomplish their purpose. She made her speech, and that speech was deliberately misrepresented for the purpose of securing her conviction. The only testimony against her was that of a hired witness. And when the farmers, the men and women who were in the audience she addressed—when they went to Bismarck where the trial was held to testify in her favor, to swear that she had not used the language she was charged with having used, the judge refused to allow them to go upon the stand. This would seem incredible to me if I had not had some experience of my own with federal courts.

Who appoints our federal judges? The people? In all the history of the country, the working class have never named a federal judge. There are 121 of these judges and every solitary one holds his position, his tenure, through the influence and power of corporate capital. The corporations and trusts dictate their appointment. And when they go to the bench, they go, not to serve, the people, but to serve the interests that place them and keep them where they are.

Why, the other day, by a vote of five to four—a kind of craps game—come seven, come ‘leven —they declared the child labor law unconstitutional—a law secured after twenty years of education and agitation on the part of all kinds of people. And yet, by a majority of one, the Supreme Court a body of corporation lawyers, with just one exception, wiped that law from the statute books, and this in our so-called democracy, so that we may continue to grind the flesh and blood and bones of puny little children into profits for the Junkers of Wall Street. And this in a country that boasts of fighting to make the world safe for democracy! The history of this country is being written in the blood of the childhood the industrial lords have murdered.

These are not palatable truths to them. They do not like to hear them; and what is more they do not want you to hear them. And that is why they brand us as undesirable citizens , and as disloyalists and traitors. If we were actual traitors—traitors to the people and to their welfare and progress, we would be regarded as eminently respectable citizens of the republic; we would hold high office, have princely incomes, and ride in limousines; and we would be pointed out as the elect who have succeeded in life in honorable pursuit, and worthy of emulation by the youth of the land. It is precisely because we are disloyal to the traitors that we are loyal to the people of this nation.

Scott Nearing! You have heard of Scott Nearing. He is the greatest teacher in the United States. He was in the University of Pennsylvania until the Board of Trustees, consisting of great capitalists, captains of industry, found that he was teaching sound economics to the students in his classes. This sealed his fate in that institution. They sneeringly charged—just as the same usurers, money-changers, pharisees, hypocrites charged the Judean Carpenter some twenty centuries ago—that he was a false teacher and that he was stirring up the people.

The Man of Galilee, the Carpenter, the workingman who became the revolutionary agitator of his day soon found himself to be an undesirable citizen in the eyes of the ruling knaves and they had him crucified. And now their lineal descendants say of Scott Nearing, “He is preaching false economics. We cannot crucify him as we did his elder brother but we can deprive him of employment and so cut off his income and starve him to death or into submission. We will not only discharge him but place his name upon the blacklist and make it impossible for him to earn a living. He is a dangerous man for he is teaching the truth and opening the eyes of the people.” And the truth, oh, the truth has always been unpalatable and intolerable to the class who live out of the sweat and misery of the working class.

Max Eastman has been indicted and his paper suppressed, just as the papers with which I have been connected have all been suppressed. What a wonderful compliment they pay us! They are afraid that we may mislead and contaminate you. You are their wards; they are your guardians and they know what is best for you to read and hear and know. They are bound to see to it that our vicious doctrines do not reach your ears. And so in our great democracy, under our free institutions, they flatter our press by suppression; and they ignorantly imagine that they have silenced revolutionary propaganda in the United States. What an awful mistake they make for our benefit! As a matter of justice to them we should respond with resolutions of thanks and gratitude. Thousands of people who had never before heard of our papers are now inquiring for and insisting upon seeing them. They have succeeded only in arousing curiosity in our literature and propaganda. And woe to him who reads Socialist literature from curiosity! He is surely a goner. I have known of a thousand experiments but never one that failed.

John M. Work! You know John, now on the editorial staff of the Milwaukee Leader! When I first knew him he was a lawyer out in Iowa. The capitalists out there became alarmed because of the rapid growth of the Socialist movement. So they said: “We have to find some able fellow to fight this menace.” They concluded that John Work was the man for the job and they said to him: “John, you are a bright young lawyer; you have a brilliant future before you. We want to engage you to find out all you can about socialism and then proceed to counteract its baneful effects and check its further growth.”

John at once provided himself with Socialist literature and began his study of the red menace, with the result that after he had read and digested a few volumes he was a full-fledged Socialist and has been fighting for socialism ever since.

ŒHow stupid and shortsighted the ruling class really is! Cupidity is stone blind. It has no vision. The greedy, profit-seeking exploiter cannot see beyond the end of his nose. He can see a chance for an “opening”; he is cunning enough to know what graft is and where it is, and how it can be secured, but vision he has none—not the slightest. He knows nothing of the great throbbing world that spreads out in all directions. He has no capacity for literature; no appreciation of art; no soul for beauty. That is the penalty the parasites pay for the violation of the laws of life. The Rockefellers are blind. Every move they make in their game of greed but hastens their own doom. Every blow they strike at the Socialist movement reacts upon themselves. Every time they strike at us they hit themselves. It never fails. Every time they strangle a Socialist paper they add a thousand voices proclaiming the truth of the principles of socialism and the ideals of the Socialist movement. They help us in spite of themselves.

Socialism is a growing idea; an expanding philosophy. It is spreading over the entire face of the earth: It is as vain to resist it as it would be to arrest the sunrise on the morrow. It is coming, coming, coming all along the line. Can you not see it? If not, I advise you to consult an oculist. There is certainly something the matter with your vision. It is the mightiest movement in the history of mankind. What a privilege to serve it! I have regretted a thousand times that I can do so little for the movement that has done so much for me. The little that I am, the little that I am hoping to be, I owe to the Socialist movement. It has given me my ideas and ideals; my principles and convictions, and I would not exchange one of them for all of Rockefeller’s bloodstained dollars. It has taught me how to serve—a lesson to me of priceless value. It has taught me the ecstasy in the handclasp of a comrade. It has enabled me to hold high communion with you, and made it possible for me to take my place side by side with you in the great struggle for the better day; to multiply myself over and over again, to thrill with a fresh-born manhood; to feel life truly worthwhile; to open new avenues of vision; to spread out glorious vistas; to know that I am kin to all that throbs; to be class-conscious, and to realize that, regardless of nationality, race, creed, color or sex, every man, every woman who toils, who renders useful service, every member of the working class without an exception, is my comrade, my brother and sister—and that to serve them and their cause is the highest duty of my life.

And in their service I can feel myself expand; I can rise to the stature of a man and claim the right to a place on earth—a place where I can stand and strive to speed the day of industrial freedom and social justice.

Yes, my comrades, my heart is attuned to yours. Aye, all our hearts now throb as one great heart responsive to the battle cry of the social revolution. Here, in this alert and inspiring assemblage our hearts are with the Bolsheviki of Russia. Those heroic men and women, those unconquerable comrades have by their incomparable valor and sacrifice added fresh luster to the fame of the international movement. Those Russian comrades of ours have made greater sacrifices, have suffered more, and have shed more heroic blood than any like number of men and women anywhere on earth; they have laid the foundation of the first real democracy that ever drew the breath of life in this world. And the very first act of the triumphant Russian revolution was to proclaim a state of peace with all mankind, coupled with a fervent moral appeal, not to kings, not to emperors, rulers or diplomats but to the people of all nations. Here we have the very breath of democracy, the quintessence of the dawning freedom. The Russian revolution proclaimed its glorious triumph in its ringing and inspiring appeal to the peoples of all the earth. In a humane and fraternal spirit new Russia, emancipated at last from the curse of the centuries, called upon all nations engaged in the frightful war, the Central Powers as well as the Allies, to send representatives to a conference to lay down terms of peace that should be just and lasting. Here was the supreme opportunity to strike the blow to make the world safe for democracy. Was there any response to that noble appeal that in some day to come will be written in letters of gold in the history of the world? Was there any response whatever to that appeal for universal peace? No, not the slightest attention was paid to it by the Christian nations engaged in the terrible slaughter.

It has been charged that Lenin and Trotsky and the leaders of the revolution were treacherous, that they made a traitorous peace with Germany. Let us consider that proposition briefly. At the time of the revolution Russia had been three years in the war. Under the Czar she had lost more than four million of her ill-clad, poorly-equipped, half-starved soldiers, slain outright or disabled on the field of battle. She was absolutely bankrupt. Her soldiers were mainly without arms. This was what was bequeathed to the revolution by the Czar and his regime; and for this condition Lenin and Trotsky were not responsible, nor the Bolsheviki. For this appalling state of affairs the Czar and his rotten bureaucracy were solely responsible. When the Bolsheviki came into power and went through the archives they found and exposed the secret treaties—the treaties that were made between the Czar and the French government, the British government and the Italian government, proposing, after the victory was achieved, to dismember the German Empire and destroy the Central Powers. These treaties have never been denied nor repudiated. Very little has been said about them in the American press. I have a copy of these treaties, showing that the purpose of the Allies is exactly the purpose of the Central Powers, and that is the conquest and spoilation of the weaker nations that has always been the purpose of war.

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

They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.

And here let me emphasize the fact—and it cannot be repeated too often—that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.

Yours not to reason why;
Yours but to do and die.

That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.

If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace.

Rose Pastor Stokes! And when I mention her name I take off my hat. Here we have another heroic and inspiring comrade. She had her millions of dollars at command. Did her wealth restrain her an instant? On the contrary her supreme devotion to the cause outweighed all considerations of a financial or social nature. She went out boldly to plead the cause of the working class and they rewarded her high courage with a ten years’ sentence to the penitentiary. Think of it! Ten years! What atrocious crime had she committed? What frightful things had she said? Let me answer candidly. She said nothing more than I have said here this afternoon. I want to admit—I want to admit without reservation that if Rose Pastor Stokes is guilty of crime, so am I. If she is guilty for the brave part she has taken in this testing time of human souls I would not be cowardly enough to plead my innocence. And if she ought to be sent to the penitentiary for ten years, so ought I without a doubt.

What did Rose Pastor Stokes say? Why, she said that a government could not at the same time serve both the profiteers and the victims of the profiteers. Is it not true? Certainly it is and no one can successfully dispute it.

Roosevelt said a thousand times more in the very same paper, the Kansas City Star. Roosevelt said vauntingly the other day that he would be heard if he went to jail. He knows very well that he is taking no risk of going to jail. He is shrewdly laying his wires for the Republican nomination in 1920 and he is an adept in making the appeal of the demagogue. He would do anything to discredit the Wilson administration that he may give himself and his party all credit. That is the only rivalry there is between the two old capitalist parties—the Republican Party and the Democratic Party—the political twins of the master class. They are not going to have any friction between them this fall. They are all patriots in this campaign, and they are going to combine to prevent the election of any disloyal Socialist. I have never heard anyone tell of any difference between these corrupt capitalist parties. Do you know of any? I certainly do not. The situation is that one is in and the other trying to break in, and that is substantially the only difference between them.

Rose Pastor Stokes never uttered a word she did not have a legal, constitutional right to utter. But her message to the people, the message that stirred their thoughts and opened their eyes—that must be suppressed; her voice must be silenced. And so she was promptly subjected to a mock trial and sentenced to the penitentiary for ten years. Her conviction was a foregone conclusion. The trial of a Socialist in a capitalist court is at best a farcical affair. What ghost of a chance had she in a court with a packed jury and a corporation tool on the bench? Not the least in the world. And so she goes to the penitentiary for ten years if they carry out their brutal and disgraceful graceful program. For my part I do not think they will. In fact I feel sure they will not. If the war were over tomorrow the prison doors would open to our people. They simply mean to silence the voice of protest during the war.

What a compliment it is to the Socialist movement to be thus persecuted for the sake of the truth! The truth alone will make the people free. And for this reason the truth must not be permitted to reach the people. The truth has always been dangerous to the rule of the rogue, the exploiter, the robber. So the truth must be ruthlessly suppressed. That is why they are trying to destroy the Socialist movement; and every time they strike a blow they add a thousand new voices to the hosts proclaiming that socialism is the hope of humanity and has come to emancipate the people from their final form of servitude.

How good this sip of cool water from the hand of a comrade! It is as refreshing as if it were out on the desert waste. And how good it is to look into your glowing faces this afternoon! You are really good looking to me, I assure you. And I am glad there are so many of you. Your tribe has increased amazingly since first I came here. You used to be so few and far between. A few years ago when you struck a town the first thing you had to do was to see if you could locate a Socialist; and you were pretty lucky if you struck the trail of one before you left town. If he happened to be the only one and he is still living, he is now regarded as a pioneer and pathfinder; he holds a place of honor in your esteem, and he has lodgment in the hearts of all who have come after him. It is far different now. You can hardly throw a stone in the dark without hitting a Socialist. They are everywhere in increasing numbers; and what marvelous changes are taking place in the people!

Some years ago I was to speak at Warren in this state. It happened to be at the time that President McKinley was assassinated. In common with all others I deplored that tragic event. There is not a Socialist who would have been guilty of that crime. We do not attack individuals. We do not seek to avenge ourselves upon those opposed to our faith. We have no fight with individuals as such. We are capable of pitying those who hate us. We do not hate them; we know better; we would freely give them a cup of water if they needed it. There is no room in our hearts for hate, except for the system, the social system in which it is possible for one man to amass a stupendous fortune doing nothing, while millions of others suffer and struggle and agonize and die for the bare necessities of existence.

President McKinley, as I have said, had been assassinated. I was first to speak at Portsmouth, having been booked there some time before the assassination. Promptly the Christian ministers of Portsmouth met in special session and passed a resolution declaring that “Debs, more than any other person, was responsible for the assassination of our beloved President.” It was due to the doctrine that Debs was preaching that this crime was committed, according to these patriotic parsons, and so this pious gentry, the followers of the meek and lowly Nazarene, concluded that I must not be permitted to enter the city. And they had the mayor issue an order to that effect. I went there soon after, however. I was to speak at Warren, where President McKinley’s double-cousin was postmaster. I went there and registered. I was soon afterward invited to leave the hotel. I was exceedingly undesirable that day. I was served with notice that the hall would not be opened and that I would not be permitted to speak. I sent back word to the mayor by the only Socialist left in town—and he only remained because they did not know he was there—I sent word to the mayor that I would speak in Warren that night, according to schedule, or I would leave there in a box for the return turn trip.

The Grand Army of the Republic called a special meeting and then marched to the hall in full uniform and occupied the front seats in order to silence me if my speech did not suit them. I went to the hall, however, found it open, and made my speech. There was no interruption. I told the audience frankly who was responsible for the President’s assassination. I said: “As long as there is misery caused by robbery at the bottom there will be assassination at the top.” I showed them, evidently to their satisfaction, that it was their own capitalist system that was responsible; the system that had impoverished and brutalized the ancestors of the poor witless boy who had murdered the President. Yes, I made my speech that night and it was well received but when I left there I was still an “undesirable citizen.”

Some years later I returned to Warren. It seemed that the whole population was out for the occasion. I was received with open arms. I was no longer a demagogue; no longer a fanatic or an undesirable citizen. I had become exceedingly respectable simply because the Socialists had increased in numbers and socialism had grown in influence and power. If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself.

It is the minorities who have made the history of this world. It is the few who have had the courage to take their places at the front; who have been true enough to themselves to speak the truth that was in them; who have dared oppose the established order of things; who have espoused the cause of the suffering, struggling poor; who have upheld without regard to personal consequences the cause of freedom and righteousness. It is they, the heroic, self-sacrificing few who have made the history of the race and who have paved the way from barbarism to civilization. The many prefer to remain upon the popular side. They lack the courage and vision to join a despised minority that stands for a principle; they have not the moral fiber that withstands, endures and finally conquers. They are to be pitied and not treated with contempt for they cannot help their cowardice. But, thank God, in every age and in every nation there have been the brave and self-reliant few, and they have been sufficient to their historic task; and we, who are here today, are under infinite obligations to them because they suffered, they sacrificed, they went to jail, they had their bones broken upon the wheel, they were burned at the stake and their ashes scattered to the winds by the hands of hate and revenge in their struggle to leave the world better for us than they found it for themselves. We are under eternal obligations to them because of what they did and what they suffered for us and the only way we can discharge that obligation is by doing the best we can for those who are to come after us. And this is the high purpose of every Socialist on earth. Everywhere they are animated by the same lofty principles; everywhere they have the same noble ideals; everywhere they are clasping hands across national boundary lines; everywhere they are calling one another Comrade, the blessed word that springs from the heart of unity and bursts into blossom upon the lips. Each passing day they are getting into closer touch all along the battle line, wagig the holy war of the working class of the world against the ruling and exploiting class of the world. They make many mistakes and they profit by them all. They encounter numerous defeats, and grow stronger through them all. They never take a backward step. Œ

The heart of the international Socialist never beats a retreat.

They are pressing forward, here, there and everywhere, in all the zones that girdle the globe. Everywhere these awakening workers, these class-conscious proletarians, these hardy sons and daughters of honest toil are proclaiming the glad tidings of the coming emancipation, everywhere their hearts are attuned to the most sacred cause that ever challenged men and women to action in all the history of the world. Everywhere they are moving toward democracy and the dawn; marching toward the sunrise, their faces all aglow with the light of the coming day. These are the Socialists, the most zealous and enthusiastic crusaders the world has ever known. They are making history that will light up the horizon of coming generations, for their mission is the emancipation of the human race. They have been reviled; they have been ridiculed, persecuted, imprisoned and have suffered death, but they have been sufficient to themselves and their cause, and their final triumph is but a question of time.

Do you wish to hasten the day of victory? Join the Socialist Party! Don’t wait for the morrow. Join now! Enroll your name without fear and take your place where you belong. You cannot do your duty by proxy. You have got to do it yourself and do it squarely and then as you look yourself in the face you will have no occasion to blush. You will know what it is to be a real man or woman. You will lose nothing; you will gain everything. Not only will you lose nothing but you will find something of infinite value, and that something will be yourself. And that is your supreme need—to find yourself—to really know yourself and your purpose in life.

You need at this time especially to know that you are fit for something better than slavery and cannon fodder. You need to know that you were not created to work and produce and impoverish yourself to enrich an idle exploiter. You need to know that you have a mind to improve, a soul to develop, and a manhood to sustain.

You need to know that it is your duty to rise above the animal plane of existence. You need to know that it is for you to know something about literature and science and art. You need to know that you are verging on the edge of a great new world. You need to get in touch with your comrades and fellow workers and to become conscious of your interests, your powers and your possibilities as a class. You need to know that you belong to the great majority of mankind. You need to know that as long as you are ignorant, as long as you are indifferent, as long as you are apathetic, unorganized and content, you will remain exactly where you are. You will be exploited; you will be degraded, and you will have to beg for a job. You will get just enough for your slavish toil to keep you in working order, and you will be looked down upon with scorn and contempt by the very parasites that live and luxuriate out of your sweat and unpaid labor.

If you would be respected you have got to begin by respecting yourself. Stand up squarely and look yourself in the face and see a man! Do not allow yourself to fall into the predicament of the poor fellow who, after he had heard a Socialist speech concluded that he too ought to be a Socialist. The argument he had heard was unanswerable. “Yes,” he said to himself, “all the speaker said was true and I certainly ought to join the party.” But after a while he allowed his ardor to cool and he soberly concluded that by joining the party he might anger his boss and lose his job. He then concluded: “I can’t take the chance.” That night he slept alone. There was something on his conscience and it resulted in a dreadful dream. Men always have such dreams when they betray themselves. A Socialist is free to go to bed with a clear conscience. He goes to sleep with his manhood and he awakens and walks forth in the morning with his self-respect. He is unafraid and he can look the whole world in the face, without a tremor and without a blush. But this poor weakling who lacked the courage to do the bidding of his reason and conscience was haunted by a startling dream and at midnight he awoke in terror, bounded from his bed and exclaimed: “My God, there is nobody in this room.” He was absolutely right. There was nobody in that room.

How would you like to sleep in a room that had nobody in it? It is an awful thing to be nobody. That is certainly a state of mind to get out of, the sooner the better.

There is a great deal of hope for Baker, Ruthenberg and Wagenknecht who are in jail for their convictions; but for the fellow that is nobody there is no pardoning power. He is “in” for life. Anybody can be nobody; but it takes a man to be somebody.

To turn your back on the corrupt Republican Party and the still more corrupt Democratic Party—the gold-dust lackeys of the ruling class counts for still more after you have stepped out of those popular and corrupt capitalist parties to join a minority party that has an ideal, that stands for a principle, and fights for a cause. This will be the most important change you have ever made and the time will come when you will thank me for having made the suggestion. It was the day of days for me. I remember it well. It was like passing from midnight darkness to the noontide light of day. It came almost like a flash and found me ready. It must have been in such a flash that great, seething, throbbing Russia, prepared by centuries of slavery and tears and martyrdom, was transformed from a dark continent to a land of living light.

There is something splendid, something sustaining and inspiring in the prompting of the heart to be true to yourself and to the best you know, especially in a crucial hour of your life. You are in the crucible today, my Socialist comrades! You are going to be tried by fire, to what extent no one knows. If you are weak-fibered and fainthearted you will be lost to the Socialist movement. We will have to bid you goodbye. You are not the stuff of which revolutions are made. We are sorry for you unless you chance to be an “intellectual.” The “intellectuals,” many of them, are already gone. No loss on our side nor gain on the other.

I am always amused in the discussion of the “intellectual” phase of this question. It is the same old standard under which the rank and file are judged. What would become of the sheep if they had no shepherd to lead them out of the wilderness into the land of milk and honey?

Oh, yes, “I am your shepherd and ye are my mutton.”

They would have us believe that if we had no “intellectuals” we would have no movement. They would have our party, the rank and file, controlled by the “intellectual” bosses as the Republican and Democratic parties are controlled. These capitalist parties are managed by “intellectual” leaders and the rank and file are sheep that follow the bellwether to the shambles.

In the Republican and Democratic parties you of the common herd are not expected to think. That is not only unnecessary but might lead you astray. That is what the “intellectual” leaders are for. They do the thinking and you do the voting. They ride in carriages at the front where the band plays and you tramp in the mud, bringing up the rear with great enthusiasm.

The capitalist system affects to have great regard and reward for intellect, and the capitalists give themselves full credit for having superior brains. When we have ventured to say that the time would come when the working class would rule they have bluntly answered “Never! it requires brains to rule.” The workers of course have none. And they certainly try hard to prove it by proudly supporting the political parties of their masters under whose administration they are kept in poverty and servitude.

The government is now operating its railroads for the more effective prosecution of the war. Private ownership has broken down utterly and the government has had to come to the rescue. We have always said that the people ought to own the railroads and operate them for the benefit of the people. We advocated that twenty years ago. But the capitalists and their henchmen emphatically objected. “You have got to have brains to run the railroads,” they tauntingly retorted. Well, the other day McAdoo, the governor-general of the railroads under government operation; discharged all the high-salaried presidents and other supernumeraries. In other words, he fired the “brains” bodily and yet all the trains have been coming and going on schedule time. Have you noticed any change for the worse since the “brains” are gone? It is a brainless system now, being operated by “hands.” But a good deal more efficiently than it had been operated by so-called “brains” before. And this determines infallibly the quality of their vaunted, high-priced capitalist “brains.” It is the kind you can get at a reasonable figure at the market place. They have always given themselves credit for having superior brains and given this as the reason for the supremacy of their class. It is true that they have the brains that indicates the cunning of the fox, the wolf, but as for brains denoting real intelligence and the measure of intellectual capacity they are the most woefully ignorant people on earth. Give me a hundred capitalists just as you find them here in Ohio and let me ask them a dozen simple questions about the history of their own country and I will prove to you that they are as ignorant and unlettered as any you may find in the so-called lower class. They know little of history; they are strangers to science; they are ignorant of sociology and blind to art but they know how to exploit, how to gouge, how to rob, and do it with legal sanction. They always proceed legally for the reaon that the class which has the power to rob upon a large scale has also the power to control the government and legalize their robbery. I regret that lack of time prevents me from discussing this phase of the question more at length.

They are continually talking about your patriotic duty. It is not their but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches.

And now among other things they are urging you to “cultivate” war gardens, while at the same time a government war report just issued shows that practically 52 percent of the arable, tillable soil is held out of use by the landlords, speculators and profiteers. They themselves do not cultivate the soil. They could not if they would. Nor do they allow others to cultivate it. They keep it idle to enrich themselves, to pocket the millions of dollars of unearned increment. Who is it that makes this land valuable while it is fenced in and kept out of use? It is the people. Who pockets this tremendous accumulation of value? The landlords. And these landlords who toil not and spin not are supreme among American “patriots.”

In passing I suggest that we stop a moment to think about the term “landlord.” “LANDLORD!” Lord of the Land! The lord of the land is indeed a superpatriot. This lord who practically owns the earth tells you that we are fighting this war to make the world safe for democracy—he who shuts out all humanity from his private domain; he who profiteers at the expense of the people who have been slain and mutilated by multiplied thousands, under pretense of being the great American patriot. It is he, this identical patriot who is in fact the archenemy of the people; it is he that you need to wipe from power. It is he who is a far greater menace to your liberty and your well-being than the Prussian Junkers on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.

Fifty-two percent of the land kept out of use, according to their own figures! They tell you that there is an alarming shortage of flour and that you need to produce more. They tell you further that you have got to save wheat so that more can be exported for the soldiers who are fighting on the other side, while half of your tillable soil is held out of use by the landlords and profiteers. What do you think of that?

Again, they tell you there is a coal famine now in the state of Ohio. The state of Indiana, where I live, is largely underlaid with coal. There is practically an inexhaustible supply. The coal is banked beneath our very feet. It is within touch all about us—all we can possibly use and more. And here are the miners, ready to enter the mines. Here is the machinery ready to be put into operation to increase the output to any desired capacity. And three weeks ago a national officer of the United Mine Workers issued and published a statement to the Labor Department of the United States government to the effect that the 600,000 coal miners in the United States at this time, when they talk about a coal famine, are not permitted to work more than half time. I have been around over Indiana for many years. I have often been in the coal fields; again and again I have seen the miners idle while at the same time there was a scarcity of coal.

They tell you that you ought to buy your coal right away; that you may freeze next winter if you do not. At the same time they charge you three prices for your coat Oh, yes, this ought to suit you perfectly if you vote the Republican or Democratic ticket and believe in the private ownership of the coal mines and their operation for private profit.

The coal mines now being privately owned, the operators want a scarcity of coal so they can boost their prices and enrich themselves accordingly. If an abundance of coal were mined there would be lower prices and this would not suit the mine owners. Prices soar and profits increase when there is a scarcity of coal.

It is also apparent that there is collusion between the mine owners and the railroads. The mine owners declare there are no cars while the railroad men insist that there is no coal. And between them they delude, defraud and rob the people.

Let us illustrate a vital point. Here is the coal in great deposits all about us; here are the miners and the machinery of production. Why should there be a coal famine upon the one hand and an army of idle and hungry miners on the other hand? Is it not an incredibly stupid situation, an almost idiotic if not criminal state of affairs?

We Socialists say: “Take possession of the mines in the name of the people.” Set the miners at work and give every miner the equivalent of all the coal he produces. Reduce the work day in proportion to the development of productive machinery. That would at once settle the matter of a coal famine and of idle miners. But that is too simple a proposition and the people will have none of it. The time will come, however, when the people will be driven to take such action for there is no other efficient and permanent solution of the problem.

In the present system the miner, a wage slave, gets down into a pit 300 or 400 feet deep. He works hard and produces a ton of coal. But he does not own an ounce of it. That coal belongs to some mine-owning plutocrat who may be in New York or sailing the high seas in his private yacht; or he may be hobnobbing with royalty in the capitals of Europe, and that is where most of them were before the war was declared. The industrial captain, so- called, who lives in Paris, London, Vienna or some other center of gaiety does not have to work to revel in luxury. He owns the mines and he might as well own the miners.

That is where you workers are and where you will remain as long as you give your support to the political parties of your masters and exploiters. You vote these miners out of a job and reduce them to corporation vassals and paupers.

We Socialists say: “Take possession of the mines; call the miner to work and return to him the equivalent of the value of his product.” He can then build himself a comfortable home; live in it; enjoy it with his family. He can provide himself and his wife and children with clothes—good clothes—not shoddy; wholesome food in abundance, education for the children, and the chance to live the lives of civilized human beings, while at the same time the people will get coal at just what it costs to mine it.

Of course that would be socialism as far as it goes. But you are not in favor of that program. It is too visionary because it is so simple and practical. So you will have to continue to wait until winter is upon you before you get your coal and then pay three prices for it because you insist upon voting a capitalist ticket and giving your support to the present wage-slave system. The trouble with you is that you are still in a capitalist state of mind.

Lincoln said: “If you want that thing that is the thing you want”; and you will get it to your heart’s content. But some good day you will wake up and realize that a change is needed and wonder why you did not know it long before. Yes, a change is certainly needed, not merely a change of party but a change of system; a change from slavery to freedom and from despotism to democracy, wide as the world. When this change comes at last, we shall rise from brutehood to brotherhood, and to accomplish it we have to educate and organize the workers industrially and politically, but not along the zigzag craft lines laid down by Gompers, who through all of his career has favored the master class. You never hear the capitalist press speak of him nowadays except in praise and adulation. He has recently come into great prominence as a patriot. You never find him on the unpopular side of a great issue. He is always conservative, satisfied to leave the labor problem to be settled finally at the banqueting board with Elihu Root, Andrew Carnegie and the rest of the plutocratic civic federationists. When they drink wine and smoke scab cigars together the labor question is settled so far as they are concerned.

And while they are praising Gompers they are denouncing the I.W.W. There are few men who have the courage to say a word in favor of the I.W.W. I have. Let me say here that I have great respect for the I.W.W. Far greater than I have for their infamous detractors.

Listen! There has just been published a pamphlet called “The Truth About the I.W.W.” It has been issued after long and thorough investigation by five men of unquestioned standing in the capitalist world. At the head of these investigators was Professor John Graham Brooks of Harvard University, and next to him John A. Fish of the Survey of the Religious Organizations of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Bruere, the government investigator. Five of these prominent men conducted an impartial examination of the I.W.W. To quote their own words they “followed its trail.” They examined into its doings beginning at Bisbee where the “patriots,” the cowardly business men, the arch-criminals, made up the mob that deported 1,200 workingmen under the most brutal conditions, charging them with being members of the I.W.W. when they knew it to be false.

It is only necessary to label a man “I.W.W.” to have him lynched as they did Praeger, an absolutely innocent man. He was a Socialist and bore a German name, and that was his crime. A rumor was started that he was disloyal and he was promptly seized and lynched by the cowardly mob of so-called “patriots.”

War makes possible all such crimes and outrages. And war comes in spite of the people. When Wall Street says war the press says war and the pulpit promptly follows with its Amen. In every age the pulpit has been on the side of the rulers and not on the side of the people. That is one reason why the preachers so fiercely denounce the I.W.W.

Take the time to read this pamphlet about the I.W.W. Don’t take the word of Wall Street and its press as final. Read this report by five impartial and highly reputable men who made their investigation to know the truth, and that they might tell the truth to the American people. They declare that the I.W.W. in all its career never committed as much violence against the ruling class as the ruling class has committed against the I.W.W.

You are not now reading any reports in the daily press about the trial at Chicago, are you? They used to publish extensive reports when the trial first began, and to prate about what they proposed to prove against the I.W.W. as a gigantic conspiracy against the government. The trial has continued until they have exhausted all their testimony and they have not yet proven violence in a single instance. No, not one! They are utterly without incriminating testimony and yet 112 men are in the dock after lying in jail for months without the shadow of a crime upon them save that of belonging to the I.W.W. That is enough it would seem to convict any man of any crime and send his body to prison and his soul to hell. Just whisper the name of the I.W.W. and you are branded as a disloyalist. And the reason for this is wholly to the credit of the I.W.W., for whatever may be charged against it the I.W.W. has always fought for the bottom dog. And that is why Haywood is despised and prosecuted while Gompers is lauded and glorified by the same gang.

Now what you workers need is to organize, not along craft lines but along revolutionary industrial lines. All of you workers in a given industry, regardless of your trade or occupation, should belong to one and the same union.

Political action and industrial action must supplement and sustain each other. You will never vote the Socialist republic into existence. You will have to lay its foundations in industrial organization. The industrial union is the forerunner of industrial democracy. In the shop where the workers are associated is where industrial democracy has its beginning. Organize according to your industries! Get together in every department of industrial service! United and acting together for the common good your power is invincible.

When you have organized industrially you will soon learn that you can manage as well as operate industry. You will soon realize that you do not need the idle masters and exploiters. They are simply parasites. They do not employ you as you imagine but you employ them to take from you what you produce, and that is how they function in industry. You can certainly dispense with them in that capacity. You do not need them to depend upon for your jobs. You can never be free while you work and live by their sufferance. You must own your own tools and then you will control your own jobs, enjoy the products of your own labor and be free men instead of industrial slaves.

Organize industrially and make your organization complete. Then unite in the Socialist Party. Vote as you strike and strike as you vote.

Your union and your party embrace the working class. The Socialist Party expresses the interests, hopes and aspirations of the toilers of all the world.

Get your fellow workers into the industrial union and the political party to which they rightly belong, especially this year, this historic year in which the forces of labor will assert themselves as they never have before. This is the year that calls for men and women who have courage, the manhood and womanhood to do their duty.

Get into the Socialist Party and take your place in its ranks; help to inspire the weak and strengthen the faltering, and do your share to speed the coming of the brighter and better day for us all.

When we unite and act together on the industrial field and when we vote together on election day we shall develop the supreme power of the one class that can and will bring permanent peace to the world. We shall then have the intelligence, the courage and the power for our great task. In due time industry will be organized on a cooperative basis. We shall conquer the public power. We shall then transfer the title deeds of the railroads, the telegraph lines, the mines, mills and great industries to the people in their collective capacity; we shall take possession of all these social utilities in the name of the people. We shall then have industrial democracy. We shall be a free nation whose government is of and by and for the people.

And now for all of us to do our duty!  The clarion call is ringing in our ears and we cannot falter without being convicted of treason to ourselves and to our great cause.

Do not worry over the charge of treason to your masters, but be concerned about the treason that involves yourselves.  Be true to yourself and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on earth.

Yes, in good time we are going to sweep into power in this nation and throughout the world.  We are going to destroy all enslaving and degrading capitalist institutions and re-create them as free and humanizing institutions.  The world is daily changing before our eyes.  The sun of capitalism is setting; the sun of socialism is rising.  It is our duty to build the new nation and the free republic.  We need industrial and social builders.  We Socialists are the builders of the beautiful world that is to be.  We are all pledged to do our part.  We are inviting—aye challenging you this afternoon in the name of your own manhood and womanhood to join us and do your part.

In due time the hour will strike and this great cause triumphant—the greatest in history—will proclaim the emancipation of the working class and the brotherhood of all mankind.”       Eugene Debs, “The Canton Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech;” The Call, 1918

CC BY-SA by Tomathon
CC BY-SA by Tomathon

Numero Cuatro—“One of the historians whom I most admire is Marc Bloch.  He was one of France’s most important medieval historians in the first half of the twentieth century, and he died at the hands of the Gestapo while serving in the Resistance in Paris in 1944.  (Carole Fink’s biography is an outstanding treatment of his thought and life; Marc Bloch: A Life in History; also important is Marc Bloch, l’historien et la cite.)

Here I am primarily interested in the substantive contributions Bloch brought to the writing of history.  Bloch was one of the founders of the Annales school of history, along with Lucien Febvre, and he left a deep impression on subsequent historical imagination later in the twentieth century.  In particular, he gave a strong impetus to social and sociological history, and he brought a non-Marxist materialism into the writing of history that represented a very important angle of view.   The largest impact of the Annales school — Febvre, Bloch, Ladurie, Braudel, Le Goff — is the set of perspectives it forged for the understanding of social and cultural history — looking at the structures and experiences of ordinary people as one foundation for the formation of history.  This required the invention of new historical vocabulary and new sources of data. And Bloch was central in each area.

A couple of Bloch’s books are most significant.  Feudal Society is a very important contribution to our understanding of the institutions and social relations of feudalism — the manorial system, vassalage, and kingship.  And his writings about French agricultural history are of special interest (French Rural History: An Essay on Its Basic Characteristics).  These books document quite a few important aspects of French rural social life — both high and low.  But even more importantly, Bloch brought several distinctive ideas into historical writing that continue to serve as illuminating models about how to understand the past.  One is a version of materialist historical investigation — Bloch provides great insight into the forces and relations of production in rural medieval France and the material culture of the middle ages.  A second is an adept ability to single out and scrutinize some of the forms of political structure and power that defined French feudal society.  And a third is a subtle way of characterizing the social whole of medieval society and mentality that owed much to Durkheim. I n a curious way, then, Bloch’s work picked up some of the themes that constituted modern social theory in Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.

Bloch’s materialism is most evident in French Rural History. Here Bloch gives a detailed and scholarly treatment of the social and community consequences of the diffusion of the heavy wheeled plough. He provides a careful technical analysis of the advantages and exigencies of the heavy plough, which was most suited to the heavy soil of northern France. And he works out the social prerequisites of this technology — basically, a degree of community organization that could successfully coordinate land use consistent with ownership and the turning radius of the heavy implement and its team of horses. The technical requirements of the plough required certain social arrangements. And the social structure of the northern French village satisfied these conditions — in striking contrast to the looser coordination found in southern French villages. “Only a society of great compactness, composed of men who thought instinctively in terms of the community, could have created such a regime. The land itself was the fruit of collective labour” (French Rural History, 45).

This is materialism; but it is not especially Marxist materialism. It doesn’t give primacy to class relations. And it doesn’t support any kind of teleology in historical development. But the central point was clear. Bloch sought to demonstrate that a major technology — for example, cultivation with the heavy plough — incorporates and implicates a whole complex social and cultural system. And a major part of social history is to discover the sequence of adjustments through which the technology system is incorporated.

The Durkheim part of the story is also an important one.  Durkheim was a major influence on French social thought in the teens and twenties, and the vector to Bloch was particularly direct.  The journal Annales d’Histoire Economique et Sociale was created by Bloch and Febvre as a vehicle for inviting a more sociological approach to economic history and to encourage interdisciplinary research in this field, and Bloch and Febvre were deeply influenced by the debate that surrounded history and Durkheimian sociology in the period 1890-1910.  R. Colbert Rhodes has written a good essay on Durkheim’s influence on Bloch.  Rhodes writes: ‘Bloch’s essentially sociological approach to historical writing is responsible for some of the most distinctive and useful features of his work.  Bloch reflects the Durkheimian social realist metaphysic by reaching behind individuals to the social group considered in its broadest aspect, the collective mentality.  Bloch acknowledges in the Historian’s Craft his dominant interest in the study of man integrated into the social group.  In the Craft, Bloch borrows a citation from Lucien Febvre to state his own interest as ‘not man, again, never man.’  We are interested in ‘human societies, organized groups.’

The final feature of Bloch’s thought I want to highlight is his vocabulary of structure and power in his treatment of French feudalism.  There is a parallel with Weber in this body of thinking.  Bloch spent a year studying in Germany and was presumably aware of Weber’s thought, but there is no clear evidence of direct influence. But there are several ways in which some of Bloch’s thought parallels Weber’s.   One is in his use of ideas about historical concepts that are similar to Weber’s concept of ideal types.  And the other is his careful analysis of the historical realities of relations of power and social structures that embody power.

Bloch’s writings repay a careful reading — both for their importance as first-rate historical scholarship and for the light they shed on the problem of historical knowledge and conceptualization.  And it is highly relevant to find that all the strands of classical sociological theory find a counterpart in his thought.”    Daniel Little, “Marc Bloch’s History;” Understanding Society, 2008

6.16.2017 Day in History

Charles Tsevis My African star flickr
Charles Tsevis My African star flickr

Today is the International Day of the African Child, and, in South Africa, Youth Day, while this date is when Argentina celebrates Engineer’s Day, and, also on this day, everywhere on Earth where appreciation of James Joyce is manifest commemorates Bloomsday; attesting to the deep roots of conflict over Persia, Turkey, and the Levant, sixteen hundred fifty-four years back, Rome’s Emperor Julian ordered his army’s fleet of supply ships burned as they began engaging Persian forces in the Italian, Roman imperial bid for expanded hegemony; in a related development a few centuries on, one thousand three hundred eighty-five years before the here and now, the last pre-Muslim ruler of what is now Iran rose to the Sasanian throne, a mere eight year old boy with the name of Yazdegerd, the third of that appelation; six hundred ten years ahead of today, Ming Chinese invaders, in one of many incursions into what is now Northern Vietnam, captured the Ho Dynasty king and his son; just a year less than eighteen decades onward, in 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots designated Spain’s second Philip as her formal replacement; two hundred ninety-four years back, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the estimable thinker and critic of capitalism, Adam Smith; fifteen years hence, across the wide Atlantic in 1738, a female child called out to her postmaster father en route to a life as one of early America’s first female publishers and postmistresses, Mary Katherine Goddard; an additional seven years toward today, in 1745, one of capital’s early ‘world wars,’ the War of the Austrian Succession, resulted in hostilities in North America in which New England marauders permanently captured parts of Nova Scotia for England; a mere decade afterward, in 1755, in the global conflagration of the Seven Years War, which in America had the title French and Indian Wars, the same territory was again in contention, and this time the British captured the region permanently, shipping out Acadians to Louisiana; two dozen years later, in 1779, Spain and France took advantage of Britain’s focus on retaining its American colonies by investing a massive siege of the English fortifications at Gibraltar on this day, a three year action that in the event failed; twenty-seven years after that to the day, in 1806, a baby boy was born who would grow up as renowned British medical thinker, Edward Davy; another decade along the temporal pathway, in 1816, at a rented villa near Geneva, Lord Byron read his Fantasmagoriana to his fellow writers and storytellers and challenged all of them to come up with credible ‘Ghost Stories,’ which resulted in the creation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and John Polidori’s tale, The Vampyre; thirteen years henceforth, in 1829, six thousand miles or so West in the land of the Apache, a male infant uttered a first cry on his way to life as the leader, Geronimo; seven years more down the road, in 1836, the London Working Men’s Association—a central pillar of Chartism and supporter of the 1838 People’s Charter—took shape as a step toward working class engagement under the early auspices of Victorian bourgeois power in Britain; twenty-two years subsequent to that moment, in 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered his House Divided presentation in Illinois’ capitol at Springfield, and around the world in India, the Battle of Morar—one of the final engagements in England’s crushing the first Indian War of Independence—unfolded in Britain’s favor; thirteen years later, back in the imperial center in 1871, Parliament itself passed legislation that removed religious tests as a requisite for entry into universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham; just shy of two decades more on time’s forward march, in 1890, a male child stared at the world in wonder en route to life as the comedian, actor, and screenwriter, Stan Laurel; three years farther down the pike, and thousands of miles South and West in 1893, the United States and Hawaii finalized the former ‘Republic’s’ annexation, which would eventually pave the way to Statehood for the islands; eleven years nearer to now, in 1904, James Joyce consummated his love for Nora Barnacle, subsequently book-Joyce Ulysses2using the day as the benchmark for his monumental tome, Ulyssesseven years subsequently, in 1911, the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company came into existence in New York en route to its manifestation of International Business Machines; seven additional years along the temporal arc, in 1918, the indefatigable courage of Eugene Debs showed as he spoke against the predatory plutocracy of the American state in a speech that questioned the validity of conscription and war and mass murder and thereby landed him in prison; eleven years yet later on, in 1929, a prime mover of the American Studies canon, Vernon Louis Parrington, drew a final breath; four years thereafter precisely, in 1933, the U.S. Congress passed the National Industrial Recovery Act as an attempt to ameliorate capital’s profound and deepening crises; four further years closer to today, in 1937, the Segal family welcomed a new member, Erich, who would mature as the promulgator of a beloved, if superficial, Love Story; three hundred sixty-five days more proximate to the present pass, in 1938, a girl infant made her way into the world in standard fashion on her way to a life as the powerful thinker, critic, and writer, Joyce Carol Oates; two years still later, in 1940, Lithuania became a Communist country briefly, prior to Germany’s invasion and another brief imposition of fascist dictatorship, and the trust-fund Charlestonian and creator of Porgy, Dubose Heyward, had his final day on Earth; four years after that juncture, in 1944, across the Atlantic in France, Marc Bloch, the historian who insisted that social and economic assessments were equally as important as political and individual annals, died as a victim of a Gestapo firing squad that executed him for his work in the French Resistance, and in an even more Nazi-inspired murder back in the U.S., South Carolina electrocuted fourteen year old George Stinney for the crime of being a Black boy in the wrong place at the wrong time; a thousand four hundred sixty-one additional days more proximate to the present, in 1948, halfway round the globe, another group of resistance fighters rose up in Malaysia, to which the British imperial response was a thoroughgoing terror against any such expression of a struggle for freedom; a half decade nearer to now, in 1953, a jury in Honolulu, under the auspices of the fascist Smith Act, convicted International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union President Jack Hall and six labor ‘comrades’ for the ‘crime’ of communism; seven hundred thirty days hence, in 1955, in another uprising—this time by reactionary forces in Argentina—hundreds died as a result of air force bombing of a rally for Juan Peron, whom elements in the military were seeking to overthrow; across the Atlantic three years hence, in 1958, Hungarian leaders who had sought to overturn their country’s Communist leadership faced swift and brutal capital punishment for their actions; a thousand ninety-six days past that conjunction, in 1961, the ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union; two years later precisely, in 1963, just to the East in Russia, Vostok 6 launched into orbit with the first woman space traveler; half a dozen years subsequent to that, in 1969, a male infant bounced into the world who would mature as the rapper, MC Ren, a founder of the group Niggaz Wit Attitude; two years beyond that conjunction, in 1971, a radical mother gave birth to her boy child, whose musical and communication talents would soon enough Pixabay Image 1201697blossom into the work of Tupac Shakur; half a decade afterward, in 1976, a peaceful protest against viciously substandard schooling in Soweto, South Africa turned into a riot when police fired on the 15,000 marchers, killing scores or more; another year toward today, in 1977, the Software Development Corporation incorporated on its way to becoming the present-day Oracle firm; eleven years past that precise passage, in 1988, the iconic interlocutor of Puerto Rican narrative and drama, Miguel Pinero, drew a final breath; twelve years later, in 2000, Israel withdrew from almost all of the Lebanese territories that it had occupied for more than two decades in contravention of International Law and United Nations mandates, and the Inacom computer dealership sent over five thousand e-mails to its employees telling them that their jobs no longer existed; five years after that exact instant, in 2005, the ninety-nine year old Puerto Rican critic, writer, thinker, and teacher, Enrique Laguerre, lived out his final day; another half decade even more in the vicinity of today, in 2010, Bhutan became the only State completely to outlaw tobacco use.

6.16.2017 Nearly Naked Links

From Thursday’s Files

More on Qatar –

Revolutionary Possibilities –

Islam Economics Scholar –

Thucydides Trap –

Sex Work Is Work –

Industry of Terror –

Intercept Digest, Comey+ –

Important New Films –

Fluoridation Lawsuit –

US Trains Enemies –

Analysis of French ‘Left’

Turkey Qatar Troops –

Two Decade Life Expectancy Gap in US –

US Surpasses Most in Healthcare Inequality –

Lose Lose Syria –

BIldeberg –

Radio Canada Innovates –

6.16.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

Believing that, without diligent and duly enthusiastic dialog, anything even vaguely kindred to democracy can exist approximates hoping for bounteous breath without plentiful oxygen, a lovely garden without adequate rainfall, and such other fatuous fantasies as morons and dolts might concoct, yet rather than providing citizens with anything like robust and engaged social and political forums, where all and sundry respectfully, attentively, and skeptically participate in discussion and then plan to take action on their mutual behalf, current societal dynamics encourage the one-way electromagnetic spectrum mediation of a combination of cant and diatribe that at best yields pretentious non-sequiturs, absurd arguments, and large lies, a situation, in other words, that in the context of nuclear ‘saber-rattling’ positively reeks of ruination, some exterminating emanation of holocaust, mass collective suicide in one form or another.

  Quote of the Day  
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos. Mary Shelley

 This Day in History

Today is the International Day of the African Child, and, in South Africa, Youth Day, while this date is when Argentina celebrates Engineer’s Day, and, also on this day, everywhere on Earth where appreciation of James Joyce is manifest commemorates Bloomsday; attesting to the deep roots of conflict over Persia, Turkey, and the Levant, sixteen hundred fifty-four years back, Rome’s Emperor Julian ordered his army’s fleet of supply ships burned as they began engaging Persian forces in the Italian, Roman imperial bid for expanded hegemony; in a related development a few centuries on, one thousand three hundred eighty-five years before the here and now, the last pre-Muslim ruler of what is now Iran rose to the Sasanian throne, a mere eight year old boy with the name of Yazdegerd, the third of that appelation; six hundred ten years ahead of today, Ming Chinese invaders, in one of many incursions into what is now Northern Vietnam, captured the Ho Dynasty king and his son;  MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. Mary Shelley, 1818.
2. Abraham Lincoln, 1858.
3. Eugene Debs, 1918.
4. Daniel Little, 2008
Numero Uno—Letter 1

St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17—

TO Mrs. Saville, England

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings.  I arrived here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of my undertaking. MORE HERE

book hor2

"political power" grassroots OR populism OR "popular rule" OR "bottom up" OR "from below" "social democracy" OR "democratic socialism" OR socialist OR communist methodology OR strategy OR plan history OR origins OR background analysis OR explication = 2,090,000 results

book hor

                    Nearly Naked Links               

From Thursday’s Files


Writers Tools Issues 

Web Essays to Support Novels

A Lit Hub analysis of the always nauseating task of talking up and promoting your published work: “You should probably write something about your book, now that it’s being published. But you are worried because you don’t have anything left to say about your book. The problem with writing is you haven’t really done it in two and half years, since you finished the book, which emptied you out. The space you entered to write the book now feels used-up and potentially noxious, a place of dormant chemicals you’re forbidden to revisit. You picture Pripyat’s hastily-abandoned rooms, its dry swimming pool, rust and grime.”


Recent Events

Putin’s POV

A Consortium News piece that provides a good counterpoint narrative to all the Putin hysteria out there: “The mainstream U.S. media has assumed the role of protecting the American people from alternative viewpoints, which is why Oliver Stone’s long-form interviews with Vladimir Putin are such a concern, reports Robert Parry.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Basic Income Overview

A Naked Capitalism view on UBI: “What’s at stake: the concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), an unconditional transfer paid to each individual, was prominent earlier this year when Finland announced a pilot project. It’s now back in the discussion as the OECD published a report illustrating costs and distributional implications for selected countries. We review the most recent contributions on this topic.”

6.15.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

Despite how impossible the prospect looks upon even the most cursory examination, Homo Sapiens survival quite likely depends on moving from a general situation in which crazes and fetishes and the utter bullshit of divide-and-conquer characterize popular awaresness to a developing dynamic in which grassroots thinking and engagement lead to a negotiated and empowering Solidarity-Forever consciousness among workers, the mass of humanity, a critical component of any capacity for organization and action from below, capabilities in turn that very plausibly, and some would say clearly, represent humankind’s only chance to finesse the imperial profiteering of plutocracy that inevitably results in conflicts that cannot help but eventually lead again to a general World War that would almost certainly spell the end, the complete annihilation, of the human project.

  Quote of the Day  
danae-1643.jpg!LargeThis painting depicts the mythical character of Danae, welcoming Zeus into her bed, and who later bore his son, Perseus. Rembrandt originally used his first wife, Saskia, as the model in the painting, but later replaced her face with the face of his mistress Geertje Dircx. In 1985, a man threw acid on the painting as it hung on display at the Hermitage Museum. He also cut the canvas twice with a knife. The most badly damaged parts of the painting were to the face and hair of Danae, her right arm, and her legs. The entire middle section of the painting was also dripping with a conglomeration of paint spots. Restoration of the painting began the same day, and was finished twelve years later. Then man who threw the acid was later declared insane.

 This Day in History

Today is Global Wind Day, for those who favor a sustainable and eco-friendly path toward possible reductions in climate-change’s impacts, while Costa Rica celebrates Arbor Day & Italy marks this date as Engineers Day; in Assyria, present day Syria, two thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine years ago, priests and other close observers of ‘the heavens’ took careful note of a solar eclipse and thereby permitted confirmations of various conjunctions in Mesopotamian history; eight hundred and two years ahead of this moment, the various noble elites of England induced King John to sign the Magna Carta, putatively guaranteeing them their rights; MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. Eugene Debs, 1917.
2. Lloyd Sederer, 1998, and Saul McLeod, 2008.
3. Jim Hickey, 2010.
Numero Uno“At the recent Emergency Convention [St. Louis: April 7-14, 1917], called for the purpose mainly of defining and declaring the position of the Socialist Party toward the present war and toward war in general, three reports were submitted by the committee chosen to deal with that important matter and submit the result of its deliberations to the convention.  A majority report and two minority reports were submitted.  We advise our readers to carefully examine each of the reports which are now before the party for a referendum vote. MORE HERE

book hor2

expertise OR authority OR specialist OR scientist OR researcher bias OR corruption OR prejudice OR "conflict of interest" knowledge OR data OR facts disinformation OR "half truth" OR propaganda OR misinformation OR distortion OR misrepresentation "history of science" OR sts analysis OR explication OR investigation critique OR criticism radical OR marxist = 3,260,000 results

book hor

                    Nearly Naked Links               

From Wednesday’s Files 

Puerto Rico –

Qatar –

Destabilization and Regime Change –


Interesting People Places Things of Note

Current Revolutionary Marxian Possibilities

An interesting Truth Out thought piece about future possibilities in the crumbling wake of this one: “As such structures progressively emerge over the next 50 and 100 years, a new kind of politics will, necessarily, evolve on their basis. The gradual, global “social revolution” will not, and cannot, be politically willed and imposed after a seizure of state power, as Lenin attempted and Friedrich Engels predicted. (“The proletariat seizes state power, and then transforms the means of production into state property.” What you have in this case is just state capitalism.) Rather, the long-drawn-out political revolutions will occur step-by-step as society, in particular the economy, gradually and organically evolves new, more democratic institutions, precisely to the degree that the old economy descends into crisis.”

Writers Tools Issues 

J-School Grad Speeches

A Poynter look at some actually inspiring commencement journalism speeches: “As a recent college graduate, I can attest that it’s been a busy — albeit exciting — couple of months. And some journalists and media executives have been getting in on the action.

Several prominent national journalists, editors and media executives, including Marty Baron of The Washington Post and Nikole Hannah-Jones of New York magazine, have addressed the newest batch of college graduates over the past few weeks. While the speeches vary in tone and subject, they all share a reverence for facts and responsible storytelling.”

General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues

Internet Media Impacts

A MEdium glimpse at the revolutionary role of the internet in media economy and consumption: “This essay contains my thoughts, analysis, and supporting links about how Internet has been evolving over the past 20 years. These ideas have been driving me over the past decade to develop a set of improved technologies, practices and standards.

Let’s come together and fulfill the dream that was at the core of Internet: to unleashing the potential of networked humanity.”

Recent Events

A Bilderberg Screed

A Blacklisted News bit about the infamous plutocrats meeting: “A secretive group of 131 elite power brokers met last weekend at the heavily guarded Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia for the highly secretive annual Bilderberg meeting.

Established in 1954 by Polish political advisor Józef Retinger – founder of the European Movement which gave birth to the EU, the informal meeting of over 130 of the world’s top bankers, politicians, spymasters, and titans of industry has been referred to as the world’s largest lobbying event. (guest list)”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Nazi Not Occultists

A useful Aeon posting that reminds people of what’s truly important about the fascist past: “To blame Nazism on otherworldly forces is to exonerate the prosaic causes that brought Hitler to power in the first place. Yet such beliefs persist because they face scarce competition; solid scholarship on the relations between the Nazi regime and occult currents is rare. Not entirely absent, however: historians have often shied away from the apparently disreputable subject of occultism, but there are several incisive assessments of its status in Nazi Germany. Though usually overshadowed by sensationalist treatments, serious works on the topic continue to appear. There is much to debate about the arguments raised in these books, but they do offer a critical examination of a neglected part of history.”

6.15.2017 Nearly Naked Links

From Wednesday’s Files 

Puerto Rico –

Qatar –

Destabilization and Regime Change –

William Gibson –

Age of Anger –

Loving Case –

James Baldwin File –

Digital Revolution –

Polanski’s Victim Plea –

Corbyn –

Several Corbyn Articles –

Macron –

Deep State –

Brexit Britain –

Spies from the Past –

Democracy and Poetry –

Drug War Fascism –

David Lessig Century of the Self –

Opinion v. Argument –

Podcast –

Energy Crisis and Middle East –

6.15.2017 Day in History

Wind farm Molgreen
Wind farm Molgreen

Today is Global Wind Day, for those who favor a sustainable and eco-friendly path toward possible reductions in climate-change’s impacts, while Costa Rica celebrates Arbor Day & Italy marks this date as Engineers Day; in Assyria, present day Syria, two thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine years ago, priests and other close observers of ‘the heavens’ took careful note of a solar eclipse and thereby permitted confirmations of various conjunctions in Mesopotamian history; eight hundred and two years ahead of this moment, the various noble elites of England induced King John to sign the Magna Carta, putatively guaranteeing them their rights; four years subsequent to that, in 1219, Danish forces in the Northern Crusades induced Estonian pagans to recognize their rule in the Baltic at the Battle of Lyndanisse; eighty one years hence, in 1300, residents of the Iberian peninsula founded the city of Bilbao, and Dante is named Prior of the city of Florence; a dozen years later, in 1312, Hungarian king Charles I led forces in an internecine struggle that for a time drove out the Palatine rule of Amade Aba; seventy-seven years onward from that, in 1389, Ottoman fighters put this earlier Balkan upheaval in a new context by crushing a combined Serbian-Croatian attempt for independence; an additional twenty-one years forward in space and time, in 1410, fighters of Chinese Emperor Yongle crushed Mongolian opponents at the Battle of Onon River; five hundred fifteen years back, Christopher Columbus’ fourth expedition to the ‘new world’ went ashore to establish Spanish rule in what is now Martinique; eighteen years after that juncture, in 1520, back in the Mediterranean, a tenth Pope Leo excommunicated Martin Luther for his ‘protesting’ heresies; one hundred and twenty eight hears henceforth, in 1648, North of West across the Atlantic, Massachusetts Bay executed Margaret Jones, in a precursor to the witchcraft trials in Plymouth forty-four years closer to today; just short of two decades afterward, in 1667, the French physician Jean-Baptiste Denys performed the first human blood transfusion, using a small quantity of sheep plasma, that did not kill the patient; eight and a half decades more in the direction of now, in 1752, or at least traditionally so since the exact date is unknown, Benjamin Franklin flew a kite with a key attached to a string and proved that lightning is electricity; two dozen years farther along the temporal arc, in 1776, Delaware both seceded from Pennsylvania and declared itself free of British rule; nine more years henceforth, in 1785, two hapless French balloonists became the first casualties of human flight when their hot air device exploded over the English Channel; just a year less than six decades afterward, in 1844, Charles Goodyear patented a vulcanization process that revolutionized rubber’s ‘hitting the road;’ seven hundred thirty days after that point, in 1846, the U.S. and the U.K. agreed in the Oregon Treaty to establish the forty-ninth parallel as the dividing line between Canada and the United States in the Northwest, and Francis Parkman arrives at Fort Laramie; exactly thirteen years later, in 1859, a homesteader’s shooting of a marauding hog along that line of demarcation involved England and America in a ‘war’ that lasted thirteen years, an oddity of imperial conflict in which the only casualty was the pig; eighteen years further toward today, in 1877, the U.S. Military Academy graduated its first African American lieutenant, Henry Flipper; a year subsequently, in 1878, across the North Atlantic, Eadweard Muybridge accomplished the stop motion photography that both proved that horses feet all leave the ground and offered a foundation from which to develop motion picture technology; two dozen years henceforth, in 1902, a baby boy was born who would mature as the psychoanalytic theoretician of childhood, Erik Erikson; two years closer to now, in 1904, a terrible boating tragedy on New York’s East River cost the lives of thousands who were drowned or burned to death when a fire swept over a river excursion boat;  four years thereafter, in 1908, the American Federation of Labor established its Metal Trades Department; exactly a thousand ninety-five days yet later on, in 1911, a baby boy as born who would, as Wilbert Awdry, create the beloved childhood character Thomas-the-Tank-Engine; two years more proximate to the present, in 1913, half a world away in the Philippines, U.S. troops under John Pershing’s command annihilated Moro rebels who were resisting U.S. dominance at the battle of Bud Bagsak; three years later to the day, in 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Charter for the Boy Scouts of America, the only such organization to operate in that fashion; a total of three hundred sixty-five days after that precise point, in 1917, the U.S. Congress passed a key component of fascism in the form of the Espionage Act, which criminalized all manner of criticism or protest or revelation of government actions three more years further on, close to a thousand miles Northwest in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920, murderous crowds lynched three Black circus workers for a rape that they never committed, and that perhaps didn’t happen; another fourteen years past that conjunction, in 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened its gates for the first time; three years past that juncture, in 1937, the Jennings family welcomed a baby male among them who would grow up as singer-songwriter and ‘highwayman,’ Waylon; four years yet nearer to now, in 1941, a male infant shouted out on his way to life as the lyricist and performer Harry Nilsson; another two years on the march to our own light and air, across the Atlantic in 1943, a baby girl opened her eyes in occupied Belgium who would rise as the ‘naughty’ author and madame, Xaviera Hollander; an additional three hundred sixty-six days still later, in 1944, Saskatchewan citizens voted in the first Socialist government in North America; a year beyond that moment in space and time, in 1945, the iconic Judy Garland married the acclaimed director, Vincente Minnelli; a year even closer to the current context, in 1946, U.S. ‘liberals’ presented the Baruch Plan, which would essentially have left the United States as the sole

Dr. Strangelove by DrFoulplay
Dr. Strangelove
by DrFoulplay

possessor of nuclear weapons; another year onward and upward, in 1947, the Congress of Industrial Organizations expelled the Fur and Leather Workers Union for the ‘crime’ of harboring Communist leaders and members and ideas; seventeen years later, in 1964, President Johnson decided against submitting a resolution asking for authority to wage war;  two years prior to the here and now, an attacker at the Soviet Hermitage Museum, apparently insane, threw Sulphuric acid on Rembrandt’s magnificent Danae, slashing the canvas twice with a knife as well; four years upward and onward from that, roughly eight thousand miles Westward in Los Angeles, police storm-troopers attacked a peaceful protest of over five hundred Service Employee International Union janitors who were protesting poor treatment at the hands of a contractor; a single year closer to now, in 1991, the Nobel Prize winning development economist Arthur Lewis breathed his last; three hundred sixty-six days beyond that conjunction, in 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court found legal, in United States v. Alvarez-Machain, the practice of kidnapping foreign nationals in order to bring them to trial in the U.S.; two years additional along time’s pathway, in 1994, Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic ties; seven more years forward on the road to today, in 2001, Russia, China, and four Central Asian nations formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; a mere year subsequent to that, also in East Asia, in Korea in 2002, the ninety-three year old Korean innovator who created Taekwondo took his final breath; nine years prior to now,  Gore Vidal gave the following account of his view on the death of his great rival William F. Buckley, Jr.,: “I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.”

6.15.2017 Doc of the Day

1. Eugene Debs, 1917.
2. Lloyd Sederer, 1998, and Saul McLeod, 2008.
3. Jim Hickey, 2010.
marxist communist socialist
Numero Uno“At the recent Emergency Convention [St. Louis: April 7-14, 1917], called for the purpose mainly of defining and declaring the position of the Socialist Party toward the present war and toward war in general, three reports were submitted by the committee chosen to deal with that important matter and submit the result of its deliberations to the convention.  A majority report and two minority reports were submitted.  We advise our readers to carefully examine each of the reports which are now before the party for a referendum vote.The majority report, submitted by a large majority of the committee and adopted by an overwhelming majority of the delegates composing the convention, is the report that in our opinion states the true internationalist position of our party and the one that ought to be adopted and made the party’s permanent anti-war platform.


The majority report has been violently assailed by some hitherto prominent members of the party.  They are entitled to their opinion.  They assert that the majority report is ‘treasonable.’  We have not a bit of patience for this charge.  To us it seems base and cowardly.  Let the capitalist press, and not our own comrades, bring this charge.  There are time when it is ‘treasonable’ to be law-abiding and when to be ‘treasonable’ is to be true to revolutionary principles and to the cause of humanity.  We are aware without being reminded by our own comrades that the charge of treason may be brought against us by the servile hirelings of Wall Street who can construe the law to fasten the charge of treason upon any undesirable citizen, and that, like Karl Liebknecht, we may be put in jail or have to face a firing squad, but we would rather a thousand times meet such a fate than to be craven and cowardly as to resort to parlor tactics when red hell threatens to engulf us for feat of being deemed ‘treasonable’ by the wolves of Wall Street.

The opponents of the majority report charge it with being pro-German.  The charge is untrue.  If it were true we would be just as strongly opposed to it as we are now in favor of it.  This charge comes with poor grace from those who are themselves pronounced pro-Ally, and this alone sufficiently accounts for their opposition.


We are neither pro-German nor pro-Ally.   We are Socialists, international Socialists, and we have no use, not one bit, for capitalist wars.

We have no enemies among the workers of other countries; and no friends among the capitalists of any country; the workers of all countries are our friends and the capitalists of all countries are our enemies.

The class war is our war and our only war.  We have no interest in national wars for ruling class conquest and plunder.  In all these wars the workers are slaughtered while their masters wax fat in the spoils of conquest.

The time has come for the workers to cease fighting the battle of their masters and to fight their own; to cease being slaughtered like cattle for the profit of the ruling class and to line up in the class struggle regardless of race or nationality for the overthrow of class rule and for the emancipation of their class and humanity.

These are our principles and convictions as international revolutionary Socialists, and if this be treason we plead guilty and stand ready to take the consequences.


The charge has been brought against the majority report that it encourages the Central Powers to wage the present war for the extermination of democracy and for extending the domain of autocracy and Prussianizing the world. Ye gods! And this is from men who have been recognized as leaders in the Socialist movement.

Let me remind these accusers that they are lined up side by side with the vultures of Wall Street without an exception– with Morgan, Rockefeller, Schwab and company; that they are hand in glove with Elihu Root, the deadly enemy of Russian refugees and the arch-foe of the working class and the common people.

Would they have us simple enough to believe for one moment that Wall Street is recruiting an enormous standing army and a navy… to fight for freedom and self-government, for justice and humanity?

These arch-enemies of democracy, these plunderers of the people, these corrupters of the courts, these debauchers of the electorate, these ruthless exploiters of the working class and despoilers of the nation, these red-handed murderers of our comrades at Ludlow, Cabin Creek, Calumet, Everett, and a hundred other places, these are our enemies and the enemies of our people, and it is a farce and a mockery, if not a crime, to attempt to persuade the working class of America that these, their brutal, relentless, uncompromising enemies, are their friends and waging a war in which they have plunged the nation for their freedom and for democracy and self-government.


In their opposition to the majority report these comrades express the fear that it may be adopted because the great majority of comrades do not understand it.  Precisely!  They have little faith in the intelligence of the lower herd.   It is too bad that the great majority are too ignorant to pass intelligent judgment upon a report which declares that the Socialist Party is opposed to having its members slaughtered in capitalist wars; too ignorant to appreciate the fact that Morgan, Rockefeller, and their plutocratic gang are their friends and putting up millions of their stolen dollars to save the poor American workers from Prussian militarism.

We are for the majority report.  It states our position in plain terms and we propose to stand by it.  Those who believe that it is ‘treasonable’ and fear to be suspected of treason to capitalism, and those who believe that Wall Street is waging war to free the working class and democratize the world may leave the party but the party will live, it will appeal as never before to red-blooded Socialists, and it will bear its revolutionary banner proudly forward to victory.”       Eugene Debs, “The Majority Report;” New Times, 1917

children, kids, art, sun

Numero Dos“‘I have nothing to offer except a way of looking at things,’ wrote Erik Erikson in 1950 when he published what may be his best-known work, Childhood and Society.  Despite his humble preamble, Erikson’s ways of looking at human nature, development, and society have provided remarkable vision and new meaning for lay and professional audiences throughout the latter part of this century.  Consider, for example, terms he coined such as ‘identity,’ ‘identity crisis,’ ‘generativity,’ and the ‘life cycle.’  Consider his innovative works on psychohistory and on Native American culture.  Recall that he was instrumental in extending psychoanalytic thinking beyond the grim determinism of Freud to a vast, culturally appreciative, postwar readership that sought a psychology of hope in a world of diversity.  Erikson was a visionary of our century; his work remains vital, modern, and worthy of empirical research and conceptual debate.Erik Homburger Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1902 and died in Harwich, Mass., in 1994.  As a young man he studied art and began his career as a portrait painter.  In 1927 he was invited by his childhood friend, Peter Blos, to come to Vienna to draw portraits of children in an experimental school established by Dorothy Burlingham and Anna Freud and run by Blos.  It was not long before Erikson was a member of the teaching staff, observing children and immersed in the psychoanalytic world of Vienna and the Freuds.  He became an analytic candidate, and his training analysis was with Anna Freud (author of Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense). With the eye of an artist and the mind of a psychoanalyst, Erikson proceeded to study and offer creative wisdom on human development, from infancy to old age.

Stephen Schlein has collected 47 of Erikson’s papers that were published between 1930 and 1980.  None of these papers has ever been published in a book (or if they were, it was in a substantially different form).  There are also 13 wonderful portraits drawn by Erikson.  The writings are remarkably diverse and clustered thematically, rather than chronologically: Psychoanalysis and Enlightenment; Configurations in Play and Dreams; War Memoranda; Cross-Cultural Observations: The Communal Environment; Thoughts on the Life Cycle; Reflections on Identity, Youth, and Young Adulthood; Portrait Sketches; and Configurations of Human Potential.  The works themselves range from speeches Erikson gave when receiving awards or at ceremonial events, lectures at professional and political gatherings, and scholarly publications.

Let me illustrate each section with a brief description of one (or more) of its chapters. In the section on Psychoanalysis and Enlightenment, Schlein publishes Erikson’s tribute to Anna Freud. In a special 1983 issue of the Bulletin of the Hampstead Clinic to honor her after her death, Erikson contributed a piece that recognizes Miss Freud’s unique psychoanalytic contributions, offers a description of the intellectual life of Vienna and of the Freudian circle, and demonstrates the influence of these remarkable people and circumstances on a young and gifted Erikson. This piece is also characteristic of the sweep of his writing in which person, historical and cultural context, and theory are wonderfully interwoven. In the section on Configurations in Play and Dreams, there is a chapter entitled “The Dream Specimen of Psychoanalysis.” In this 1954 piece, we are offered Erikson’s respectful interpretation of perhaps the most famous dream in psychoanalysis, namely, Sigmund Freud’s Irma dream. Erikson approached the dream from his developmental perspective and drew upon Professor Freud’s correspondence with Wilhelm Fliess to understand what was to become the birth of the interpretation of dreams. Freud was 39 and at the edge of a personal, professional, and intellectual crisis. For Erikson, “this dream may, in fact, carry the historical burden of being dreamed in order to be analyzed, and analyzed in order to fulfill a very special fate” (p. 239). From Erikson’s perspective, Freud the revolutionary needed to fulfill what he believed to be his historical destiny; the dream was dreamed not to help him resolve past conflicts per se, but to provide Freud with the material he needed to offer an interpretative view of the unconscious and thereby establish a future for Freud and his creation, psychoanalysis.

The War Memoranda section contains a brief but passionate set of papers and comments offered during World War II, with a particular focus on the German mentality. Although Erikson likens the Nazis to adolescents who have become delinquent, he does not propose treatment as a solution. Rather, he calls for a merciless fight and total victory against the Germans and their propaganda. In the next section, Cross-Cultural Observations, Erikson is the social anthropologist as he demonstrates the interplay among history, environment, family, village, and myth in the construction of meaning and behavior in the Native American Yurok of the coastal Northwest United States and the Sioux of the North Central Plains. Erikson depicts the Sioux as “belligerent nomads.[whose] economic life was dominated by the conviction that `you can’t take it with you’” (p. 446), whereas the Yurok “were peaceful and sedentary.preparing themselves spiritually for the annual miracle of the salmon run” (p. 446). He draws on geographical setting and society to explain their remarkable differences. Erikson’s broadening of our understanding of character and development to include the influence of culture is perhaps one of his most important, and enduring, contributions. Unlike Freud, who cast culture as a set of prohibitions, however civilizing, Erikson depicted culture as a vital and invigorating milieu that is essential for identity and personal fulfillment.

Thoughts on the Life Cycle brings the reader to perhaps the most recognized theoretical aspect of Erikson’s work. His eight stages of development are found in every textbook of psychology in the Western world. Although dispute about the precision of these stages is prevalent today, Erikson’s vision of development throughout our cycle of life enabled psychoanalysis to move beyond Freud’s more fatalistic view that character is established by age 5 and offers every one of us the perennial hope, now well established, that development is continuous (life after Oedipus), with its challenges, failures, and triumphs. Reflections on Identity, Youth, and Young Adulthood provides works from 1945 through 1972. Erikson’s trademark attention to youth and identity is well represented in this section. The chapter on late adolescence reminds clinicians that the turmoil of an adolescent identity crisis should not be confused with psychotic illness or sociopathy and that the capacity for intimacy is reliant on the reasonably successful resolution of this phase and the establishment of a firm identity. For Erikson, opposition was not necessarily “neurotic” but could represent active engagement, even playful interchange, with one’s family and society and a constructive means of identity formation. This section also contains a contribution to the early feminist literature (“On the Potential of Women,” written in 1965).

Portrait Sketches contains eight short pieces and five drawings. These are personal reminiscences and memorials of Erikson’s friends, many of whom have made their own indelible mark on our civilization. Paul Tillich, Peter Blos, Ruth Benedict, and Robert Knight are among the fortunate beneficiaries of Erikson’s literary and artistic portraits. Erikson was a master at recognizing and describing the fortunate collisions of creative individuals and the crises of their respective times: historical greatness occurs when individual solutions are successfully applied universally. The final section, Configurations of Human Potential, is full of optimism, wonder, and concern. “Landing on the Moon,” presented at Harvard University in 1969, lauds mankind’s conquest of space yet cautions that unless “each child brought up to feel at home in his body, mind, and senses.all landings elsewhere remain footless” (p. 746).

This collection of Erikson’s writings is for the advanced student of his work.  Those without graduate status as an Erikson scholar will be better rewarded by reading Childhood and Society (1) (remarkably prescient in 1950) and Insight and Responsibility (3); by relishing the psychohistorical biographies Young Man Luther (4) and Gandhi’s Truth (5); or by selecting some of Erikson’s groundbreaking essays on identity and the life cycle.

In reading Erikson today, with our emphasis on quantitative research, we are best reminded that it was his intuitive genius and artistic vision that led other investigators to the frontiers we are now exploring empirically.  He was a great observer of human nature and culture, and he was a theory builder.  Erik H. Erikson’s gifts as painter, psychologist, analyst, writer, anthropologist, and social philosopher know few equals.  He was a brilliant spokesperson for ego psychology, for the concept of identity, and for development throughout the seasons of our lives.  We have him to thank for a spirit of optimism that encourages us all to believe that existence is not fated, that it is ours to remake throughout life’s journey.

Erik Erikson (1950, 1963) proposed a psychoanalytic theory of psychosocial development comprising eight stages from infancy to adulthood.  During each stage, the person experiences a psychosocial crisis which could have a positive or negative outcome for personality development.

Erikson’s ideas were greatly influenced by Freud, going along with Freud’s (1923) theory regarding the structure and topography of personality.  However, whereas Freud was an id psychologist, Erikson was an ego psychologist.  He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that can take place within the ego itself, whereas Freud emphasized the conflict between the id and the superego.

According to Erikson, the ego develops as it successfully resolves crises that are distinctly social in nature.  These involve establishing a sense of trust in others, developing a sense of identity in society, and helping the next generation prepare for the future.

Erikson extends on Freudian thoughts by focusing on the adaptive and creative characteristic of the ego and expanding the notion of the stages of personality development to include the entire lifespan.

Like Freud and many others, Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and builds upon each previous stage. This is called the epigenic principle.

The outcome of this ‘maturation timetable’ is a wide and integrated set of life skills and abilities that function together within the autonomous individual. However, instead of focusing on sexual development (like Freud), he was interested in how children socialize and how this affects their sense of self.

Psychosocial Stages

Erikson’s (1959) theory of psychosocial development has eight distinct stages, taking in five stages up to the age of 18 years and three further stages beyond, well into adulthood. Erikson suggests that there is still plenty of room for continued growth and development throughout one’s life. Erikson puts a great deal of emphasis on the adolescent period, feeling it was a crucial stage for developing a person’s identity.

Like Freud, Erikson assumes that a crisis occurs at each stage of development. For Erikson (1963), these crises are of a psychosocial nature because they involve psychological needs of the individual (i.e. psycho) conflicting with the needs of society (i.e. social).

According to the theory, successful completion of each stage results in a healthy personality and the acquisition of basic virtues. Basic virtues are characteristic strengths which the ego can use to resolve subsequent crises.

Failure to successfully complete a stage can result in a reduced ability to complete further stages and therefore a more unhealthy personality and sense of self.  These stages, however, can be resolved successfully at a later time.

psychosocial stages summary table

1. Trust vs. Mistrust

Is the world a safe place or is it full of unpredictable events and accidents waiting to happen? Erikson’s first psychosocial crisis occurs during the first year or so of life (like Freud’s oral stage of psychosexual development). The crisis is one of trust vs. mistrust.

During this stage, the infant is uncertain about the world in which they live. To resolve these feelings of uncertainty, the infant looks towards their primary caregiver for stability and consistency of care.

If the care the infant receives is consistent, predictable and reliable, they will develop a sense of trust which will carry with them to other relationships, and they will be able to feel secure even when threatened.

Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of hope. By developing a sense of trust, the infant can have hope that as new crises arise, there is a real possibility that other people will be there as a source of support. Failing to acquire the virtue of hope will lead to the development of fear.

For example, if the care has been harsh or inconsistent, unpredictable and unreliable, then the infant will develop a sense of mistrust and will not have confidence in the world around them or in their abilities to influence events.

This infant will carry the basic sense of mistrust with them to other relationships. It may result in anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over feeling of mistrust in the world around them.

Consistent with Erikson’s views on the importance of trust, research by Bowlby and Ainsworth has outlined how the quality of the early experience of attachment can affect relationships with others in later life.

2. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

The child is developing physically and becoming more mobile. Between the ages of 18 months and three, children begin to assert their independence, by walking away from their mother, picking which toy to play with, and making choices about what they like to wear, to eat, etc.

The child is discovering that he or she has many skills and abilities, such as putting on clothes and shoes, playing with toys, etc. Such skills illustrate the child’s growing sense of independence and autonomy. Erikson states it is critical that parents allow their children to explore the limits of their abilities within an encouraging environment which is tolerant of failure.

For example, rather than put on a child’s clothes a supportive parent should have the patience to allow the child to try until they succeed or ask for assistance. So, the parents need to encourage the child to become more independent while at the same time protecting the child so that constant failure is avoided.

A delicate balance is required from the parent. They must try not to do everything for the child, but if the child fails at a particular task they must not criticize the child for failures and accidents (particularly when toilet training). The aim has to be “self control without a loss of self-esteem” (Gross, 1992). Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of will.

If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to survive in the world.

If children are criticized, overly controlled, or not given the opportunity to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem, and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their abilities.

3. Initiative vs. Guilt

Around age three and continuing to age five, children assert themselves more frequently. These are particularly lively, rapid-developing years in a child’s life. According to Bee (1992), it is a “time of vigor of action and of behaviors that the parents may see as aggressive”.

During this period the primary feature involves the child regularly interacting with other children at school. Central to this stage is play, as it provides children with the opportunity to explore their interpersonal skills through initiating activities.

Children begin to plan activities, make up games, and initiate activities with others. If given this opportunity, children develop a sense of initiative and feel secure in their ability to lead others and make decisions.

Conversely, if this tendency is squelched, either through criticism or control, children develop a sense of guilt. They may feel like a nuisance to others and will, therefore, remain followers, lacking in self-initiative.

The child takes initiatives which the parents will often try to stop in order to protect the child. The child will often overstep the mark in his forcefulness, and the danger is that the parents will tend to punish the child and restrict his initiatives too much.

It is at this stage that the child will begin to ask many questions as his thirst for knowledge grows. If the parents treat the child’s questions as trivial, a nuisance or embarrassing or other aspects of their behavior as threatening then the child may have feelings of guilt for “being a nuisance”.

Too much guilt can make the child slow to interact with others and may inhibit their creativity. Some guilt is, of course, necessary; otherwise the child would not know how to exercise self control or have a conscience.

A healthy balance between initiative and guilt is important. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of purpose.

4. Industry (competence) vs. Inferiority

Industry versus inferiority is the fourth stage of Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. The stage occurs during childhood between the ages of five and twelve.

Children are at the stage where they will be learning to read and write, to do sums, to do things on their own. Teachers begin to take an important role in the child’s life as they teach the child specific skills.

It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater significance and will become a major source of the child’s self-esteem. The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrating specific competencies that are valued by society and begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industrious and feel confident in their ability to achieve goals. If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting his own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential.

If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding (e.g. being athletic) then they may develop a sense of inferiority. Some failure may be necessary so that the child can develop some modesty. Again, a balance between competence and modesty is necessary. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of competence.

5. Identity vs. Role Confusion

The fifth stage is identity vs. role confusion, and it occurs during adolescence, from about 12-18 years. During this stage, adolescents search for a sense of self and personal identity, through an intense exploration of personal values, beliefs and goals.

The adolescent mind is essentially a mind or moratorium, a psychosocial stage between childhood and adulthood, and between the morality learned by the child, and the ethics to be developed by the adult (Erikson, 1963, p. 245)

During adolescence the transition from childhood to adulthood is most important. Children are becoming more independent, and begin to look at the future in terms of career, relationships, families, housing, etc. The individual wants to belong to a society and fit in.

This is a major stage of development where the child has to learn the roles he will occupy as an adult. It is during this stage that the adolescent will re-examine his identity and try to find out exactly who he or she is. Erikson suggests that two identities are involved: the sexual and the occupational.

According to Bee (1992), what should happen at the end of this stage is “a reintegrated sense of self, of what one wants to do or be, and of one’s appropriate sex role”. During this stage the body image of the adolescent changes.

Erikson claims that the adolescent may feel uncomfortable about their body for a while until they can adapt and “grow into” the changes. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of fidelity.

Fidelity involves being able to commit one’s self to others on the basis of accepting others, even when there may be ideological differences.

During this period, they explore possibilities and begin to form their own identity based upon the outcome of their explorations. Failure to establish a sense of identity within society (“I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”) can lead to role confusion. Role confusion involves the individual not being sure about themselves or their place in society.

In response to role confusion or identity crisis an adolescent may begin to experiment with different lifestyles (e.g. work, education or political activities). Also pressuring someone into an identity can result in rebellion in the form of establishing a negative identity, and in addition to this feeling of unhappiness.

6. Intimacy vs. Isolation

Occurring in young adulthood (ages 18 to 40 yrs), we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others. We explore relationships leading toward longer-term commitments with someone other than a family member.

Successful completion of this stage can result in happy relationships and a sense of commitment, safety, and care within a relationship. Avoiding intimacy, fearing commitment and relationships can lead to isolation, loneliness, and sometimes depression. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.

7. Generativity vs. Stagnation

During middle adulthood (ages 40 to 65 yrs), we establish our careers, settle down within a relationship, begin our own families and develop a sense of being a part of the bigger picture.

We give back to society through raising our children, being productive at work, and becoming involved in community activities and organizations.

By failing to achieve these objectives, we become stagnant and feel unproductive. Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of care.

8. Ego Integrity vs. Despair

As we grow older (65+ yrs) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and can develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.

Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.

Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear.

Critical Evaluation

Erikson’s theory has good face validity.  Many people find that they can relate to his theories about various stages of the life cycle through their own experiences.

However, Erikson is rather vague about the causes of development.  What kinds of experiences must people have to successfully resolve various psychosocial conflicts and move from one stage to another?  The theory does not have a universal mechanism for crisis resolution.

Indeed, Erikson (1964) acknowledges his theory is more a descriptive overview of human social and emotional development that does not adequately explain how or why this development occurs.  For example, Erikson does not explicitly explain how the outcome of one psychosocial stage influences personality at a later stage.

However, Erikson stressed his work was a ‘tool to think with rather than a factual analysis.’  Its purpose then is to provide a framework within which development can be considered rather than testable theory.

One of the strengths of Erikson’s theory is its ability to tie together important psychosocial development across the entire lifespan.

Although support for Erikson’s stages of personality development exists (McAdams, 1999), critics of his theory provide evidence suggesting a lack of discrete stages of personality development .”        Lloyd Sederer, A Way of Looking at Things: Selected Papers; a review in American Journal of Psychiatry, 1998  —and Saul McLeod, “Erik Erikson: Psychosocial Stages;” Simply Psychology, a website, 2008

abandoned gas station south poverty economy depression
Numero Tres“Prior to the past couple of years, U.S. citizens have more often than not been skittish about appeals to social class, with the exception of a few rare moments of proto-revolutionary fervor, or in select locations–relevant to the energy sector in the Appalachian coal fields–that showed their social contrasts so glaringly that class conflict and class consciousness were inevitable byproducts.  Despite this apparent ‘unity,’ many issues complicate the topic of class, which arguably bursts with paradox and contradiction.


I highly recommend, in considering today’s essay, that readers consider a quick skim of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.  The story under consideration here presents a ‘case study’ of the sort of obfuscated understanding that so often accompanies conflicts in the U.S. that have their roots in the relations between the privileged and laboring sectors of society.

Generally speaking, and especially for White Americans over the past half-century, ‘middle class’ has been the default descriptor despite its having practically no real content, and, one might add without stretching the realm of the plausible, without much grounding in reality.  This lack of class analysis, this frequent rejection of the concept of ‘class’ as applicable to America, has had consistently anomalous and frequently unfortunate results.

The number one misfortune attendant on failing to see implications of class would be losing important struggles that should be winnable.  Nowhere that I have seen recently is this more glaringly obvious than in the counties of Western Michigan, which present a very interesting contrast of high-end tourist trade, and its attendant Lexus allure, with ‘rust-belt’ industry, and its accompanying patina of underemployment and decline.


The scenario is pretty simple. On one side sit passionate opponents of a huge wind-powered electricity development off the Eastern shores of Lake Michigan. On the other side, a coalition has formed to promote this project and, its members say, others that the region should develop with all deliberate speed.

And in the middle stand various agencies, institutions, and bureaucracies that grapple with policies and prospects regarding power. For example, the Great Lakes Wind Council came into existence because a conjunction of opportunity and crisis around energy made coherent policy development–around siting, technical standards, and development protocols–critical to effective and efficient engagement of the possibilities of wind.

In its 2009 Report of the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council (GLOW), the authors summarize the broadly positive view that wind power offers substantial environmental and social benefits to Michigan. They conclude,

“The USDOE estimates that Michigan has the potential to create over 30,000 jobs in wind turbine manufacturing (USDOE 2008). Due to transportation costs and other considerations, wind turbine manufacturers typically invest in manufacturing facilities in areas with local markets. Based on a recent survey, an overwhelming majority (96.8 percent) of Michigan residents believe renewable energy is important to Michigan’s economic recovery (Adelaja 2009).”

This apparent jobs cornucopia occurs in the midst of a long-lasting unemployment rate officially over ten per cent and actually approaching one quarter of the adult population.

Under these circumstance, one might expect that a large operation, orchestrated by an experienced company with an exemplary environmental and community record in Europe, would, in the vernacular, be a ‘shoo-in’ for a ‘fast track’ to testing, licensing, and construction. And one would be dead wrong.

As soon as ‘wind’ of the plans of Scandia Wind came to light, a local group, calling itself the Michigan Protect Our Water, Economy, And Resources (POWER) Coalition mushroomed into a potent fulcrum of opposition to the 1,000 Megawatt project that Scandia proposed. Already, the tale begs for explication. ‘What the heck?’

But the real story lies deeper, as I discovered in a DailyKos diary, ‘recommended’ and highly attended, that updated folks on this story. The author of that diary –a freelance writer and journalist in his own right, amenable to an interview, took me on a subterranean tour of the politics of dollars and dispensation in a windy place full of desperate people. This is the first part of that story.


“It sort of started out as a joke, kind of,” says Eric Justian, the creator of the FaceBook page, “West Michigan Will Take the $3 Billion Wind Project!” He laughs frequently at some of the craziness in the tale he tells. “We’ll take it off your hands, no questions asked.”

This was his and some friends’ response to the news that POWER wanted no part of Scandia’s deal in the hostel haven of Pentwater fifty miles North of his native Muskegon. Readers may keep in mind that this has mostly happened like a fast-developing windstorm, mostly taking place during 2010, and everything unfolding over the past year or so.

But interest and support for the idea of Muskegon as a wind power mecca, “just sort of exploded.” He continues, to put Muskegon in perspective, by referring to Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me.”

“Do you remember the scene where he was talking to the guy from Money Magazine? The headline was something like ‘America’s Worst Cities to Live In.’ Well, right below Flint? Number two? There was Muskegon.”

A bad place to live: but also a natural paradise next to a world-class resort town; again, what is going on?

This story about energy and conflict hinges on political economy and human geography, which have made the bedrock of Michigan History one of the biggest industrial economies ever, in the midst of wild and unique natural settings that are as charming as anywhere on earth (at least anywhere that gets a lot of snow and not daily sunshine). Eric offers guidance.

“You’ve got to understand that the four counties in this part of the State, Ottawa in the South, then Muskegon, then Oceana, then Mason on the North are like two totally different environments.” On the Southern end, even with the ‘pretty white collar’ base in Grand Haven, in Ottawa County, “you’ve got a lot of blue collar people, just like in ‘Roger and Me.'”

Just as Flint suffered decimating losses when General Motors closed factory after factory in the city, so too Muskegon almost came to pieces when auto parts and engine-block companies closed or moved offshore. “A lot of the people who work with us,” and he names Amanda Shunta and Dustin, her husband and many others such Mike and Beth Counsel, Mike and Leslie Narramore, Barry and Angie Klegka as “just a few of the people who’ve mounted just a huge collective effort here, a lot of us are really struggling.”

And many more of their friends and family “are just about at the end of their rope, barely making ends meet, getting off their second job, if they’re lucky enough to be working, at three in the morning,” and just about “desperate here.” “And up in Oceana County, it’s actually a little worse,” where he tells me that, except for the coastal communities, “One third of the county is on state assistance and unemployment is almost twenty per cent, and that’s what they admit to.”

That ‘except for the coastal communities’ is the geohistorical hub of this tale. Mason and Oceana Counties are more rural than their Southern cohorts, but plenty of industries have also closed up there, Eric assures me. “The big difference is the lake front places.” One can see that in relation to Pentwater, the first jurisdiction to invite Scandia to exit.

On a non-profit site that promotes the area, the lead story tells of the local NPR outlet’s featuring the region.

“We recorded on location this month – Pentwater Yacht Club. Interviews Featured: Our Village, Yacht Club, Wooden Boat Show, Fishing Charters, Marina, Art & Wine at the Harbor, Shopping, Dining, and, activities, events, and more.”

Unemployed yacht owners are not oxymoronic, but they don’t need to work for the most part.

At a close-to-the-water rental agency, these are the amenities of a middle-to-upper-cost spot:

“Separate main floor master suite with deck access, lake and channel view, vaulted ceiling with fan, king bed, cable TV, master bath with large custom two head shower is available for an extra $250.00 per week if rented with main house. With the added master suite, the entire house accommodates 10. July-August Up to 8 people max.: $2,750/week , …Linens Needed…; (or) Up to 10 people max.: $3000/week, opening the 4th Master bedroom and bath… .AUGUST 20, 2010 THROUGH FALL RATES HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO: $1,750 for main house/ week, $2,000 main house with MR Bedroom Suite/week.”

Anybody with the good fortune to have stayed in a really nice house in a truly gorgeous place on our planet would agree, “Now that sounds nice!” And the point of this article is not to degrade the pleasures of the leisure class. But can we ignore the context that this establishes for the rest of this story?

  • Leave aside the disparities between unemployed workers by the tens of thousands in the immediate vicinity who make less than half per month what well-heeled renters pay for a week’s vacation.
  • Pay no attention to the mother who can’t get her eight year old a backpack because she has no extra cash and no credit, while folks party on their yachts.
  • Don’t even worry that people kill themselves, or exist in a state of semi-permanent depression next door to some of the wealthiest real estate on our fair orb.

Perhaps juxtapositions such as these, from a ‘biblical’ perspective or otherwise, just go to show that “the poor are always with us.” I don’t buy this line of reasoning, but that’s a matter of morality, arguably not of equitable social relations, and not obviously of intelligent energy choices.

So the problem is not how sad the contrast is, how tragic the socioeconomic conditions, or anything like that, although sadness and tragedy do lurk within the heart of this situation. One aspect of the true issue of Western Michigan’s quandary’s over wind is that the defense of property rights receive such automatic precedence over the expression of social rights, or put another way, that the elevation of the perquisites of wealth above the unrelenting majority’s desire for surcease from want occurs so naturally and commonly.

Eric provides an example “from about 15 years ago,” when “Wal-Mart wanted to come to a small Muskegon community; they bought up just about every house in this one neighborhood, but a few people held out. They didn’t want to leave or they felt they deserved a better price. Eventually, the city council condemned every unsold house and bought it for a fraction of its value.”

This is the contrast that’s important here. Eric summed it up:

“It’s the difference between condemnation of poor people’s homes, to build a Walmart, and another community’s rights, on other hand, of people lots of times who don’t even live here and who are fabulously rich, to protest wind turbines six miles out in Lake Michigan.”

We did not speak for at least thirty seconds. We both had to process it.

“This speaks volumes about our values as a society–the poor get condemned and plowed under for development; if they’re wealthy, disturbing them even slightly is cause for federally funded studies.”

Moreover, as Eric makes clear, “Politicians are in the thick of this.” An honest-to-God desecration of democracy, in favor of dollars, has occurred and continues to occur. Perhaps Pentwater itself, despite the fact that the folks of Michigan dearly longed for ‘this big old wind farm, might conceivably have mustered a majority against Scandia and its project.
But everywhere else the story was lopsided in favor of this renewable energy source of power and jobs.

“Hell, even at Geoff Hansen’s straight-out GOP town meeting, the vote was 62-38 in favor of Scandia.” Down at the lake front corner of Muskegon and Ottawa Counties, “Representative Mary Valentine found at least two-to-one supporting the wind farm.” Yet, Eric continues, “they’re voting as if the majority were precisely the opposite.”

A corruption of politics in favor of the rich has taken place and continues to take place. In Mason County, the commissioners rejected a proposal by Scandia that Eric Justian labeled “naive,” inasmuch as it believed that majorities would rule in the U.S. if the wealthy opposed them. Then, just two weeks ago, Oceana also “handed them their a***s and said good bye.”

Now he worries that Scandia will just pack up and quit the scene, though he is hopeful that Blue Water Wind will take a different political approach and prevail: all of this in the midst of 97% of the people of Michigan strongly in favor of renewable energy. They think it critical to economic survival, while absentee owners want to preserve views, possibly impacted birds and bats, and hope not to face the prospect of any of the lubricants that wind platforms’ might leak into the lake.

Part Two of this story will consider such matters, and several others, more carefully.

However, a final point is important, to me anyway, about the sociopolitical aspects of this incredible little tale. Eric describes a ‘wild scene’ at a recent public meeting about the Wind Farm. In actuality, as he makes clear, derision and arrogance have characterized the attitudes of the well-to-do, and they continue to characterize that attitude.

The “homeowner segment” at the meeting “used vicious ‘shout-down’ tactics against Deborah Chase” who when she stood to speak and said her residence was the working class village of Walkerville, “they were intimidating jerks,” mean and aggressive, “clearly ma(king) fun of where she lived,” as if she came from a zoo or a sty. “One very outspoken opponent, one of the organizers I think, even apologized for this” brutal rudeness.

“They were like a bunch of T-baggers at a Sarah Palin rally tearing down Obama,” only the objects of their scorn were the human beings who actually resided in the communities adjacent to the lake, who lived their day in and day out. I’m not sure what this disrespect means. I’m not certain how to take such cavalier disregard. But I’m pretty sure that, in the final analysis, ‘what goes around comes around.’


Eric takes a long view about this whole situation. When I ask him, “Why aren’t people more pissed off?” after a time, I ask. “Can you hear me?” And he sighs. “We’re going to win eventually,” he guarantees it. “They can’t stand against progress. Nothing that they say against it really adds up.” And he laughs at how late the hour has gotten. “But I promise you; they cannot stop this thing forever.”

This sort of idea is also part of the technical investigation that will continue in the next installment. But today’s story, though it is about a potential energy victory, a beneficial development in all manner of ways for the people and the planet we all inhabit together, has to have as a central message what is obvious in almost every aspect of what went down in Western Michigan over the past ten months or so.

The United States of America is riven by class privilege and class brutality. Again and again and again, the wealthy have their way–they have their way with the politicians, they have their way (one way or another) with the policies, and they have their way with the poor. Somehow or other, this unconscionable lopsidedness, this destruction of the reality of majority rule with the forms of democracy, has to shift.

This seemingly, in the grand scheme of things, small story has an outside resonance, a bellwether’s ring of accurate depiction of the central tendency. A balancing must come to pass, or inefficient energy, and climate change, will be the least of our difficulties.


Only once during out interview, which covered a lot of controversy and tension in some detail, does the affable reporter use a bad word.   I ask him, ‘Eric, where have the Unions been in all of this?’ and, without a second’s hesitation, he just blurts out, “F*** if I know.”

The leadership of the working class is failing.   As Eric Justian put the matter, ‘We’ve got to find a way to make our majority count,’ or to make them count our majority.   Howard Zinn would agree.  The next article about this situation, after I’ve heard back, hopefully, from the call that I put in to the POWER Coalition, will delve other central elements of this yarn:

  • an examination of the role of social media in a troubled skein of conflict;
  • a deep look at how environmental and technical and business questions play out in chaotic maelstroms of this sort;
  • a dissection of the way that money and public relations distort the sense of size and majority without having to buy a single vote;
  • an exploration of the possibilities for a ‘people’s media’ to have an important part to play in making energy democracy and majority rule generally more likely, compared to how corporate coverage impacts things;
  • and, finally, looking at the loss of leadership as aging activists fade or turn to the rich, and young people are stretched to their utter limit.

And what would Howard Zinn say to all of this?

Perhaps something like this quotation from Nate Shaw would come to mind, from All God’s Dangers.  This passage was during the depression, another time of cataclysm and transitions in science, technology, and society, a time in which established patterns and business-as-usual leadership failed.

“O, it’s plain as your hand. The poor white man and the poor black man is sittin in the same saddle today-big dudes done branched em off that way. The control of a man, the controllin power, is in the hands of the rich man, . .. That class is standin together, and the poor white man is out there (against) the colored list-I’ve caught that: ways and actions a heap of times speaks louder than words.”

A big class of people have to stand up. A lot more than wind energy depends on it.”         Jim Hickey, “Crossing Energy’s Social Divide: Class and Power and Justice in Contemporary America;” a wind power article in JustMeans, 2010

6.14.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

Among the plethora of contemporary relations that seem to express cruel and vicious jokes on the hapless lasses and bemused blokes who experience these gag’s upshots and exigencies, perhaps none is so sickeningly, gaggingly, hilarious as the combination of ‘War-on-Drugs’ rhetoric and its attendant repression with the prescriptive insistence that more or less everybody—and in particular anybody with even the slightest inclination to a critical bent about the present system’s maniacal injustices and lunatic brutality—manifests so-called ‘mental illnesses,’ in most cases one form or other of erstwhile depression, that require treatment with toxic sludge that those who rule term medicine, a manic dynamic that expresses itself tens, or even hundreds, of millions a time a year as regular, and empirically demonstrable, prescriptions for murderously stupid antidepressants, the impotent side-effects of which in turn necessitate insidious reliance on chemical manipulation of masculine arousal in such a way as to make permanent erectile damage inescapably likely, meaning that routine medical protocols create ‘customers for life’ among strapping lads who can henceforth only express their animal needs with drug cocktails that ruined their capacity in the first place.

  Quote of the Day  

Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.

 This Day in History

The United States on this date celebrates Flag Day, while Armenia commemorates Day of Memory for Repressed People, and people around the planet mark World Blood Donors Day; in China, in a particularly complex Chinese development,  seven hundred and forty-one years ago,  Song Dynasty leaders, in retreat from advancing Mongol forces, held the coronation for a new young emperor; just shy of two decades subsequently, in 1285, the Second Mongol Invasion of Vietnam resulted in a crushing defeat of Mongolian navies; just seven hundred thirty days onward in space and time, in 1287, Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, at the other side of his extensive empire, consolidated rule by defeating more ‘traditionalist’ Mongolian interlopers with his newly more ‘Sinofied’ approach; MORE HERE

    Doc of the Day    

1. Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1853.
2. Max Weber, 1905.
3. Che Guevara, 1960.

4. Yasunari Kawabata, 1968.

Numero UnoPREFACE.

The work which the writer here presents to the public is one which has been written with no pleasure, and with much pain.


book hor2

capitalism "periodic crisis" OR depression OR collapse war "sole alternative" OR "only way out" OR "inevitable result" OR "sine qua non" OR "standard response" OR "natural outcome" history OR origins analysis OR explication OR research = 2,120,000 results

book hor

                    Nearly Naked Links               

From Tuesday’s Files

Invasion of Paris –

Little Big Horn –

War Effort Rolls –



Interesting People Places Things of Note
A Sex-Work Disquisition

A curious, open-minded, and informative look from Hazlitt at the world’s oldest profession: “I had relatives and friends who were or had been in the sex trade. …. When it came to their jobs, they were like labouring human beings all over the world. They wanted safe working conditions, good healthcare, and legal protection of their basic human rights. Some of them had been hurt by their clients, or their families, or the police; some of them had never met an abusive client and had worked quietly out of condo buildings their entire careers. One thing they had in common was how profoundly tired they were of other people’s disrespect, hatred, and miscomprehension when it came to them and their livelihoods. All of them supported complete decriminalization of sex work.

Writers Tools Issues 

Writing’s New Je Ne Sais Quois

A Fast Co Design post that gives hope to those who wish to pursue literary skills v. programming chops: “Learning how to write isn’t just an important skill for the future: It’s applicable right now. Trends in digital design emphasize clean lines and few words–giving language itself more weight. “Art direction and copywriting are as fundamental to the user experience as the UI,” as Paul Woods, COO of the digital design firm Edenspiekermann,wrote here on Co.Design. “Sure, you can have a beautiful UI/frame, but once you have that (we all know a great UI is an invisible UI), all the viewer cares about is what’s inside: the artwork, the story.”

General Media & ‘Intellectual Property’ Issues

A Browser Alliance Against Advertising Pollution

A Monday Note look at the war against invasive advertising, with a look at possible consequences: “Next year, will see a major offensive from Google and Apple against the worse parts of the advertising world. It will be tricky for Google, bound to appear as judge and jury. Expect many casualties. But the entire ecosystem will benefit from these initiatives.

To put it bluntly, the ad community has less than a year to clean up its mess before browsers take matters in their own hands.”

Recent Events

Turkey & Saudia Arabia in Qatar

A World Socialist Web Site update as to the ongoing carnage in the Middle East: “The Turkish government has given a clear sign that it is siding with Qatar against diplomatic and trade sanctions and the threat of military intervention by five Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen. They have accused Doha of supporting terrorism and having a “soft” attitude toward Iran. The Gulf sheikdoms had previously recalled their ambassadors from Qatar in 2014, over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

American Communism Lives

A Portside look at the persistence, or resurgence, of an idea whose time has come and that possibly never really went away: “The power of the radical agitator — homegrown as well as outsider — has always been the ability to expose the gap between the narrative of American greatness and the realities of people’s lives. What American Communists, at their best, pioneered was to show how effectively grass-roots movements can challenge the racism, state violence and economic exploitation that people face in their daily lives, and connect those fights to a broader vision of a just world.”

6.14.2017 Day in History

flag american usThe United States on this date celebrates Flag Day, while Armenia commemorates Day of Memory for Repressed People, and people around the planet mark World Blood Donors Day; in China, in a particularly complex Chinese development,  seven hundred and forty-one years ago,  Song Dynasty leaders, in retreat from advancing Mongol forces, held the coronation for a new young emperor; just shy of two decades subsequently, in 1285, the Second Mongol Invasion of Vietnam resulted in a crushing defeat of Mongolian navies; just seven hundred thirty days onward in space and time, in 1287, Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, at the other side of his extensive empire, consolidated rule by defeating more ‘traditionalist’ Mongolian interlopers with his newly more ‘Sinofied’ approach; just half a dozen years less than a century later, in 1381 halfway round the planet in jolly England, a second King Richard stooped to meeting with leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt while rebels swarmed over the Tower of London without resistance; more or less precisely twenty-three years hence, in 1404, the insurgency in Wales under the leadership of Owain Glendwr formally allied with France against England; two centuries and fourteen years forward in time, again more or less exactly, in 1618, across the English Channel in Amsterdam, Joris Veseler oversaw the printing of the first Dutch newspaper; two hundred forty-two years back, the Continental Congress authorized a martial force to act on behalf of the colonies against the crown, thereby establishing, in retrospect, the United States Army; fourteen years father down time’s road, in 1789, around the globe in the South Seas, William Bligh and other survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty arrived in Timor after an open-boat journey of close to 5,000 miles, and an American preacher, Elijah Craig, first distilled spirits that he named after his native county in Kentucky, Bourbon; twenty-two years thereafter, in 1811, a little baby girl opened her eyes who would rise as the champion of freedom and truthful narrative, Harriet Beecher Stowe; nine years farther in the direction of now, in 1820, a male infant cried out en route to a life as an erudite thinker and collector of quotations, John Bartlett; three hundred sixty-five days more along time’s arc, in 1821, roughly five thousand miles Southeast, Ottoman forces consolidated their hold on the Horn of African with the ending of local rule in what is now Sudan; another year toward today, in 1822, Northward in England, Charles Babbage presented a hypothesis to peers for a “Difference Engine” that could

O'Regan, Gerard (2008). A brief history of computing. Springer. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-84800-083-4.
O’Regan, Gerard (2008). A brief history of computing. Springer. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-84800-083-4.

mechanically calculate arithmetical and some mathematical calculations, thereby initiating, in concept anyway, the computational age; eight years yet later on, in 1830, tens of thousands of French troops intruded in Algeria, the initiation of a century and a quarter of exploitative and bloody rule from Paris over this realm of North Africa; in a decidedly more Yankee expression of imperial ‘adventurism’ sixteen years beyond that point, six thousand miles West in California in 1846, Anglo residents near Sonoma proclaimed the Republic of California when they initiated a Bear Flag Revolt; two years less than two decades past that juncture, in 1864, back in Europe, a Bavarian baby boy first shouted out who would mature as the psychiatrist and neurologist Alois Alzheimer, who first discovered a terrible malady that still bears his name; eight years afterward, in 1872, Canada’s Parliament finalized the legalization of trade unions that had begun its formal implementation a few days previously; an additional fourteen years further down the pike, in 1886, the iconic ‘father of Russian theater,’ Alexander Ostrovsky, lived through his final scene; meanwhile, across Siberia in Japan thirteen years subsequent to that passage, in 1899, the baby male entered our midst who would grow up as the spare prose artist Yasunari Kawabata, who would win his country’s first Nobel Literary Laureates; another year nearer to now, in 1900, across the wide Pacific, Hawaii became a U.S. Territory; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days on the march to this moment, in 1904, a girl child came along who would astound the world with her spirit of adventure and her photographs as Margaret Bourke White; three years henceforth, in 1907, Norway legalized women’s suffrage; thirteen further years toward today, in 1920, the estimable sociological theorist and social critic Max Weber died; half a dozen years after that, in 1926, Brazil exited the new League of Nations, and acclaimed painter Mary Cassatt drew a final breath; a year even closer to the current context, in 1927, the British writer and humorist Jerome Jerome had his last laugh; three hundred sixty-six leap days forward in space and time, in 1928, six thousand miles Southwest in Argentina, a male infant looked around on his way to life as the revolutionary and thinker Ernesto, Che, Guevara; half a decade later still, in 1933,

"CheHigh" by Alberto Korda - Museo Che Guevara, Havana Cuba.
“CheHigh” by Alberto Korda – Museo Che Guevara, Havana Cuba.

back in Northern Europe, a baby boy bounced into the world who would soon enough become the brilliant gadfly and storyteller, Jerzy Kosinski; three years again further in the direction of today’s light and air, in 1936, the prolific, popular, and acclaimed chronicler, storyteller, and thinker G.K. Chesterton lived out his final day; four years hence, in 1940, German troops occupied Paris and Polish political prisoners became the first unfortunate ‘residents’ of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp; not quite a decade after that, in 1949, a rhesus monkey rode in a U-2 rocket nearly a hundred miles above the Earth, the first mammal to travel into space; seven hundred thirty days still more proximate to the present pass, in 1951, the Census Bureau inaugurated the computer age more tangibly than Charles Babbage’s theorizing with the dedication of the first UNIVAC-I International Business Machine device; another year afterward, in 1952, a baby boy of Holocaust-surviving parents was born who would grow up as the estimable critic and writer Leon Wieseltier; seven hundred thirty days more toward the present prospect, in 1954, the United States simultaneously held its first ‘civil defense’ drill and followed the statutory insertion of “under God” into the “Pledge of Allegiance;” half a decade later, in 1959, Dominican dissidents who had sought refuge in Cuba returned by boat to their native island with the plan, soon disastrously abortive, of overthrowing the murderous Butcher and darling of Washington, Rafael Trujillo; three years thereafter, in 1962, several nations created the European Space Research Organization, the predecessor of the European Space Agency; four years onward on the path to today, in 1966, the Roman Catholic Church overturned the imprimatur of the centuries-old Index of Prohibited Books, while across the Atlantic the U.S. approved of a different sort of repression by convicting Dr. Benjamin Spock for assisting draft evaders; a mere year past that instant, in 1967, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration oversaw the launching of a fifth Mariner rocket toward Venus, and scientists and technicians of the People’s Republic of China exploded that nation’s first Hydrogen bomb; two years subsequently, in 1968, Italian Nobel Prize poet Salvatore Quasimodo sighed his final stanza; fourteen years further down the pike, in 1982, Argentinean forces in the Falkland Islands surrendered to the English; four years more proximate to the present, in 1986, popular and critically lauded writer Jorge Louis Borges breathed his last; twenty eight years henceforth, or two years before today, in 2014, a Ukrainian military transport crashed as a result of surface to air missile attacks in the Donetsk region, killing the nearly fifty soldiers and crew on board; a single year subsequently, in 2015, the ferocious feminist and atheist and reproductive freedom advocate, Anne Nicol Gaylor, made a final exit after nine decades among the living.