Thursday, November 06, 2014

Socialism Pamphlet from 1910 Echoes in 2014.

I had prepared this post just before I tumbled into the anti-bio-driven underworld. On re-surfacing, looking it over again, I reckon its content fits in even better now:

Tidying my desk of accumulated bits and bobs I found an old pamphlet bought on one of our trips years ago for, according to the ticket, $4. I'd placed it in a pile of "pending" papers to feature in a future post - then forgot about it.
The pamphlet, titled Should Socialism be Crushed? was
published in Chicago by the National Socialist Party, around 1910. A bit of light research indicates that its author was Robert Hunter (here's his Wikipedia page). Hunter was a prominent figure in socialist circles in the USA in the early 1900s, during part of what has become known as the "Robber Baron Era".
"Hunter ran for political office twice on the socialist ticket, first for a seat in the New York State Assembly, and next as a candidate for United States Senator for the State of Connecticut; both campaigns ended in defeat. After the outbreak of the First World War a rift in the socialist movement led to Hunter’s resignation, along with those of a number of other high-profile members, including London and Sinclair. Years later, Hunter would support Republican Wendell Willkie over President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 1940 presidential campaign." (Wiki)
What a turncoat! Anyway, reading through the aged and frail 31 page pamphlet, it was the final paragraphs which struck a chord or rang a bell. With a few amendments some lines might have been written last week, especially those I have highlighted.
 Back cover of pamphlet. Click to enlarge image.

After discussion of the workers' situation in Europe and Britain:

When they organised trade unions and fought they got at least something. And remember this when the workers of America organise a political union and vote and fight for themselves they will be victorious.

Now brothers, do you think these accomplishments of the Socialists of Europe should be condemned as anarchy, and free love? Do you think any labor men are working in your interest when they fight with Belmont, Low and Carnegie [capitalists of the time] to stamp out Socialism and to disrupt a political movement of the workers?

In fact can you see anything wrong with socialism? Can you honestly oppose political party unity and the political organization of the workers?

Do you wish to fight a workingmen's party, financed by ourselves and administered by ourselves?

Republicans will fight these views because they need our votes to keep them in power. Democrats will fight these views for the same reason. Both those parties are owned, controlled and financed by the very men who own, control and finance the Manufacturers' Association and the Civic Federation. They are the men who come pretty near owning this country and they intend to prevent the growth of organizations hostile to them. They believe this country was made and developed by capitalists to be forever owned and controlled by capitalists.

To preserve their trusts and monopolies organized to rob and exploit the people, they have been forced to buy legislatures and courts. To preserve their political machines they will, if necessary, spend millions to fight a workingmen's party. To convince the people that Socialism is a monstrous doctrine advocated by vicious, immoral agitators, they will even try to buy labor leaders and labor editors.
They used to fight Trade Unionism that way. They will fight every new doctrine for welfare of the people in the same way. Belmont and his crowd are simply fighting to maintain THEIR POWER, just as the slave owners of the South fought to maintain their power or the Czar of Russia fights to maintain his power.

Typing the pamphlet's title into Google search box brought up this, from New York Times of June 22 1910:

A SOCIALIST PAMPHLET. "Should Socialism Be Crushed" Makes Strange Use of Statistics,
(This brief abstract is all that's available without subscription).

To the Editor of The New York Times: The Socialist politicians are up to their old tricks of trying to fool the people, and have now issued through the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party a pamphlet named "Should Socialism Be Crushed?"

What else can I say? There's this: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


mike said...

I have to say that things have changed in the land of capitalism. One of the grandest socialist acts occurred during the last year of the Bush-Cheney was called TARP...the financial sector bailout at taxpayers' expense. 2008 gave us the slogan "too big to fail". Capitalism is all about open-market competition and failure of the weak and mismanaged corporations.

TARP (our tax dollars) gave the financial sector about $500 billion. A further $800 billion was allocated under Obama in the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" passed by congress in 2009.

The savings and loan bailout of the 1980s was another socialist bailout of the financial sector. So, the US government has willfully played the socialist cards over the past decades, but calling it a capitalist game. The conservative right has made a bundle of money from these socialist rescues of their failed management practices.

The conservative right gets their underwear in a bunch over the notion of Obamacare being a socialist program, therefore un-American. Ya, whatever.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - It's perplexing that so many USA corporations don't mind exploring tax loop-holes and write-offs that are essentially taxpayer subsidies, ie socialist. Major corporations have decided it is perfectly fine to manufacture their products in socialist or communist countries. Most large corporations shelter their profits against paying USA taxes by having their headquarters outside the USA, some in socialist countries.

In today's news is this:

"More than 300 companies, including PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N), AIG Inc (AIG.N) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE), secured secret deals from Luxembourg to slash their tax bills, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported, quoting leaked documents.

The companies appear to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes, the group of investigative journalists said, based on a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents."|main5|dl7|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D558488

Sonny G said...

I enjoy reading your's and Mike's words on this subject.
I willingly admit I do not have the
financial mind to speak on such matters..
all I do know is that those in power spend many many more millions to AVOID those in need than they would actually spend, to help those in need.
To me, this goes far beyond greed into true evil and that I am surrounded and governed by these people scares and sickens me.
Until such time as the american public stands up to these tyrants, as happened during the Civil Rights movement- we will continue to suffer under them.
Even then, there's a part of me that realizes Civil Rights finally gained ground only because it would benefit, in ways I cant even imagine, financially and politically others agendas.
Its only on paper that civil rights even exists.. You still better not be black or your life is at risk every time you're out in public, as the news has proven.
ps= I have often wanted to put on my tax form
"I paid in total for the groceries , rent and electricity for the "Smith" family... thank you and no response required"

I do wonder what their response would be :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes, indeed agree on all points. Hypocrisy runs amok here, now more than ever. They know every trick in the book! Yet the people refuse to stare it in the face.

I doubt there's a solution though.
A principled stand by some Democrat who people respect could help - someone such as Elizabeth Warren. But they'd have to stand firm, not mind being pilloried, ridiculed, shouted down. Obama compromises far too easily. It's far better to stay strong, stick fast to one's principles even if it means defeat. People respect that more...and they would remember.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ Yes, the people, especially Democrats, must find their backbones again and straighten 'em, and resolve to get so mad - as in Howard Beale - so "they'll not take it any more".
As to what could bring them to such a point...I don't know. Maybe the next couple of years will show us.

Twilight said...

GROAN ... now there's this:

He didn't wait long did he?

Now I don't feel sorry for him any more. He's one of them. Always has been in reality - Trojan horse par excellence!

LB said...

Twilight ~ The thing is most of us have no idea how close we are to the edge until we fall off.

We don't yet realize Obamacare is an insurance mandate that doesn't come anywhere near providing Universal healthcare - or that poor folks are going without water in Detroit and without affordable housing in places like San Francisco, where long-time, low income renters are being displaced with nowhere to go.

The irony is many of these same folks will receive a higher minimum wage beginning in 2015 - that is if they're not laid off or don't have their hours cut because higher operating costs mean lower profits.

Don't know how it is where you live but in our area it's becoming more and more common for some supermarkets, drugstores, fast-food restaurants and other businesses to replace human workers with (more cost-effective) machines.

We have one local supermarket that opened a few years ago. They started out with human checkers, all paid a descent living wage and receiving healthcare benefits - I know because I made a point of asking before shopping there. Now there isn't one human checker, though they do have an employee or two hanging around in case of emergencies.

LB said...

Adding how I don't mean to suggest cities like Detroit and San Francisco are the only places where people are struggling.

My point was how many of us here in the US are finally getting (or will soon get) a taste of what others have known for a long time, though I don't wish it on anyone.

mike (again) said...

Re War authorization (Commondreams) - This isn't anything new. I've been reading about this for the past four months regarding intervention against ISIS. Obama has the authorization right now through the PATRIOT Act and AUMF. This first came-up about two years ago when the Republicans (think McCain) wanted to blast Syria, but Obama did not...last year Obama wanted to, but it was met eventually with public disapproval. We have been at war against "terrorism" for the past 11 years starting with Iraq, or 13 years starting with Afghanistan. Any declaration of war against ISIS actually began under the Bush regime's open-ended war against "terrorism". The lease is always extended with or without congressional approval, but it's always better to share blame via congressional votes on record...LOL. ("A rose by any other name would smell as sweet")

"The 2001 authorization provides for the use of force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated groups. Administration officials said ISIS also falls under the 2001 AUMF due to its previous affiliation with al-Qaeda. The group had a highly public falling out with al-Qaeda earlier this year, but their roots trace back to the group al-Qaeda in Iraq.

'Given the history of this group going back many years, given the fact that we have been in conflict with them for many years and that hasn’t changed, we don’t believe that Congress would have intended to remove the President’s authority to use force against this group simply because the group had a disagreement with al Qaeda leadership,' a senior administration official said Tuesday."

"If Obama seemed unusually calm in his press conference Wednesday, it’s because he felt no pressure to present himself as something other than the center-left technocrat that he is. He learned after 2010 that it doesn’t matter whether he presents himself as a center-left technocrat, a center-right technocrat, a budget hawk, John Boehner’s golf buddy or whatever: Those who are intent on seeing him as a radical leftist hell-bent on America’s destruction will see him as a radical leftist hell-bent on America’s destruction, because that’s the narrative that works for them."

Twilight said...

LB ~ Sure! Things will not improve now. As you say, what some poor souls have bee struggling with for years will visit upon more of us, before enough people grow "mad as hell...." and there could be a chance of something changing.

Re supermarket checkouts etc - our Homeland store still uses all human, Walmart has some self check-outs, but lots of humans too.

I think how some businesses skrimp their employees unfairly is by constantly cutting hours and pay, meaning no health insurance at all, or very reduced assistance amounting to a worthless deal.

It's bad and will get worse until some strong voices are raised and (importantly) keep on being raised, whether seemingly heard or not.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Well yes, I'm aware it's not a new proposal - but his timing sucks in my view. He could have waited a day or two for what he likes to call his "base" to take in what happened on Tuesday.

You see Obama as a centre left Democrat. I see him as a Republican Trojan horse. We shall agree to disagree. :-)

War and more war to fill the coffers, gain control of the demon oil - and maybe kill a few more brown people. Dang! I hate it all!

Sonny G said...

I also check , as LB said, before I shop at grocery or other stores to be sure the employees are paid a decent wage and that they have benefits. I actually know I pay more for my groceries than I would have to at another store but its worth it.
I also shop local small businesses as much as I can.
we're just going to have to find ways to help each other. together any burden will be lighter.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ We have only the choice of two supermarkets here, and choose Homeland over Walmart for almost everything. The store is part of a group described as an employee owned co-operative. How accurate that is I'm not sure, but employees are all happy and very friendly and helpful, always. I take that as a good sign. :-)

mike (again) said...

Well, if you see Obama as a Republican Trojan horse, I'd say you are pretty much back to normal, Twilight! LOL. Don't forget to eat yogurt or take the probiotics...this is the most critical time.

The Republicans wanted the ISIS-AUMF vote post-election. NOT Obama. The following was written last September:

"Congress Ashamed Of Congress For Tending To Elections Before War Authorization Debate

"... But with elections around the corner, many lawmakers aren't inclined to wade into a thorny debate about war authorization that could jeopardize their races. So the debate is being sidelined for two months, at a minimum, as political campaigns take hold. Not that members of Congress seem particularly surprised by their collective priorities.

"I find it an act of cowardice, but not astonishing," said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

"Is it embarrassing? Yes," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.). "It's an election year. Self-preservation trumps national security."

Members leading the charge for a new, better tailored AUMF speculate it's more than the current election cycle that's sending colleagues running from the issue. U.S. military action against the Islamic State could extend into and even beyond 2016, and should things go awry, lawmakers are inclined to let the president take the fall.

"It's easier to be on the sidelines and, you know, if everything goes well, to say, 'I was always with you.' If not, you can say, 'Whoa, you blew it,'" said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). 'The fact that we're all taking great pains to do the absolute minimum to avoid an authorization ... is not only not doing our job, it's cowardice.'"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Just about as normal as I'll ever be, I guess. Took last anti-bio and last anti-fun earlier. I'll start on the pro-biotics tomorrow and back to yogurt for breakfast.

Re the war drums now in earshot again - all we can is to watch what happens next. No point stressing about it - life's too short. I still hate what's going on though.

ex-Chomp said...

That is true: “plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”, that is incredible, but we must add: Oh yessss... and:
So it is...

Twilight said...

ex-Chomp ~ "così sia" :-)
It's a wee bit spooky also!