Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 15, 2005

Billmon: 04/15 (2)

V: The One True Frist


IV: Man of the Hour

But now they're going after the Progressive Era -- first the inheritance tax (1916), then the income tax (1913) to be followed, no doubt in the fullness of time, the Food and Drug Act, the Interstate Commerce Act and the Sherman Act ... .

So many laws, so much repealing to do before the Lord returns. And at this point it isn't too hard to imagine what the Republican Jesus will look like.

Posted by b on April 15, 2005 at 18:14 UTC | Permalink


This is class warfare

By a 238-194 vote, the House rejected a Democratic alternative that would have shielded $3.5 million of an estate's value from taxation -- enough to exempt 99.7 percent of estates from the tax, according to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.
0.3% of the U.S. population benefitted from this vote, 99.7% lost benefit/money through this vote.

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2005 19:39 utc | 1

Billmon, where ever you are- I'm so glad you're back.

Sometimes I think I'm going crazy. Then I read your posts and remember that at least one lost soul sees the world the way I do.

Pathetic, eh? Hey, what's a poor four legged barfly to do?

Posted by: four legs good | Apr 15 2005 19:43 utc | 2

Yes, the new Gilded Age is here. Now we can trust fund babies like Bushie in power from now to eternity. It makes me sick that some little punk thats been babied by mommy and daddy all their lives rule the world. Case in point is David Rockefeller. Hes done more to ruin lives in the world than any other trust fund baby in the world.

The current global trading system and the systematic crushing of opposition in central and south america were funded by Rockefeller trust. Rockefellers trust funded many of the studies for Nafta and Gatt and he funded much of the lobbying to get them passed. The world slavery to bankers acts. I remeber a rare appearance by Rockefeller on the McLaughlin Group to push Nafta. They all sucked his ass. For years his own daughter hated him and wouldn't talk to him because she felt he was the main architect of the central American policies of the 1970s and 80s. To much money, to much power. And the thing is, none of it hurt his pocketbook a bit. Like his grandfather John D. David believes it is his job to rule the masses and make sure the system is secure for the elite.

Another case in point is the Coors family and the Mellon Scaifes. These people want the good old days of ruling the little people.

Its time to fight back. A new populist era must arise. The problem with the Dems is if they do gain power will they have gonads enough to reverse course and punish the Rethugs. I say no.

The new barbarians at the gate will be the peasants knocking at the door of the filthy rich. Yes, the new Gilded Age is here

Posted by: jdp | Apr 15 2005 19:53 utc | 3

I'm all for doing away with inheritance completely. When you die you should forfeit all your stuff to the state. All these snotty little assholes that have the easy life handed to them on a silver platter because Daddy's rich--screw them! And I'd far rather contribute my share after I'm dead than to have it taken away now.

Posted by: Chris | Apr 15 2005 20:04 utc | 4

Um Chris, what would the state do then with your stuff but give it to Halliburton.

Posted by: rapt | Apr 15 2005 20:20 utc | 5

ô if only a real class war was possible. if only those whose interests are being attacked every day the courage to fight back against those who have too much already

i never believed there was a soft form of capitalism. there was just a servant press who hid from the people the real & concrete conditions in which they were living.

the working class has always freamed of the house on the hill, the pie in the sky - in the coming future that never comes

in the last thirty years - taking their lesson from the way capital comprimised, demolished & killed any real form of sundicalism in the united states - the rest of the west has followed suit with admirable viciousness

britain, once the home to a valiant & militant union movement allowed thatcher & her disciples major & blair to utterly demolish that movement.

i go back & back again to della chiessi(?) the anti mafia prefect who described the standard operating procedure of capital/gangsters - of isolation, then of demonising & once these two steps were achieved then the person could be assasinated - as he was

this was exactly what happened to the union movement - isolate the most militant - the miners or the dockers & then attack them for all they are worth - to tell other workers that to defend them will codt their own jobs. the criminalisation of militancy. the use of the media to tell lies as they did with the miners, the printing workers & the dockers. lies spread by men - murdoch & the fat guy that fell into the sea who were themselves gansters of a kind unparalleled. & it worked. the union movement or what is left of it in britain - is a puppet - is a servant - a faithful servant of the ruling class. their infamy will be written one day

& it is true again in australia - just different unions - building workers & shipworkers & dockers. deregister the unions, criminalise militancy - corrupt officials - on & on - the sad pantomime of the death of working class insitutions. institutions that had created living wages, real housing, substantial health & in a good moment an internationalism that would have done a wobbly proud

but when the miners were attacked in what they sadly call the united kingdom - the largest financial support those miners got was from the marginalised youth of holland of germany & of france.

the workers of so many countries have been sold the human face of capitalism - but this face never existed. ever. in your country - in america - you have conditions of scholarity, of health of social programmes - that are a scandal & would have been a scandal in the 1930's. why do you think the new deal happened - it happened because there was a very real threat from that class that had already tasted the bloodbath of the great war & had suffered for all the lies they were told about the good world after - housing was & remains an enoprmous problem in america. america contains a levelm of incarceration & the murdering of its inmates that would do the harshest systems on earth proud. the difference between a turkish prison & an american one is the hand of the torturer. & who are the people who live in these prisons. were they not worthy of destiny of dreaming & of wonder. the working class as a living entity was demolished in america for all the sinclair lewis, the dresiers & dos passos. that working class that eugene o' neill saw as sacred soil was despoiled, violated & then sent off to endless wars of empire & occupation

what benefits has this system given. the right to enter a middle class that is so spiritually hollow & thin you can read the new york times through it. that is what the working class gained - emptiness. it gained art linkletter as the perverted & pious papa

the working class was demolished through the presses of readers digest or encounter. & the intellectuals who took part in their demolition whether it was a george orwell, a harald lasky or a stephen spender are the scum of the earth. they were bought by nickels & dimes. as were the false leaders of the working class who were bought or became fearful & were useless as tools for their class

& that class has suffered consistently since then. worse than that - the absence of defence has created a permanent underclass - a moving lumpen proletariat - that is finally still at the service of capital - whether they are american, french, german or algerian or african

i believe what fanon sd - i believe their is only one way of dealing with an oppressor - only one way that they really understand & that is force

& no i do not mind that at the moment the fighters of capital in the middle east are not my natural friends & are themselves enemies of real communities - what they do needs to be done - the beast must be hit where it hursts - even if that hurt includeds innocents. i do not regars an occupation army as innocent. if that were true then the einsatzgruppen were innocent when they massacred people all over eastern europe. they were only doing their jobs after all

& that is what capitalism does best - takes the sacred truth of the working class & turns it against itself & in it most perverse way creates almost perfect killers like the peurto rican soldier diaz but it still say more about capital than it does about the thug

i wish the diaz of this world would carry out 1 2 3 many insurrestions like los angeles - tear the cities down because those cities are not the homes to men but the refuges of a class

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 15 2005 20:25 utc | 6

Joe Bageant on the Southern prole. The piece IMHO applies equally well to a significant number of folks N. of the Mason-Dixon line;they're all around, in fact. But the Southern version is in a class by himself.


Posted by: Groucho | Apr 15 2005 21:00 utc | 7

Above meant for Open Thread.

Posted by: Groucho | Apr 15 2005 21:02 utc | 8

""Would it not be more noble," he asked, "to portray our great country as a humanitarian nation with the honest intentions of aiding and advising the weak rather than to be recognized as a military power and hostile enforcer of our political aims?" If we who are privileged to live in the United States enjoy a prosperity built on the backs of poor nations, he asked, are we not living the good life "at the expense of the blood and bones of our fellow human beings?" 1966

corky gonzales r i p

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 15 2005 21:03 utc | 9

Problem is as I see it; not enough money to go around with the elite in the USA; hence Iraq.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Apr 15 2005 21:15 utc | 10>"I am the masses of my people and I refuse to be absorbed."

If Corky was followed badly it was because of the demand for racial and not class confrontation. I'm as yet unclear how Corky and "viva la raza" negotiated this problem over three decades of activism.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 15 2005 21:41 utc | 11

Atlanta - Former US President Jimmy Carter on Thursday harshly criticized his own country and other wealthy states for being stingy with foreign aid and said in rich countries "We really don't give a damn."

    In a speech to a human rights conference in Atlanta, Carter said increasing financial assistance was critical to battling malaria, AIDS and other common diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest parts of the world.

    "Unfortunately, in the rich countries like ours, we really don't give a damn," said Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981 and who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 15 2005 22:00 utc | 12

→ Link to Interview

From a Bill Moyer interview with Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins.

MOYERS: Are we living in a new gilded you fear that we're living in that kind of time again?

GATES: I do. I do. You know, the data is very clear. We have this enormous accretion of wealth in the top levels, and it's hugely out of balance. The disparity is very disturbing.

Where is the support for this bill coming from? The man up there, you dummy. Apparently, many of America's super rich acknowledge the importance and legitimacy of this 1916 Act. Chuck Collins, an heir to the Oscar Meyer fortune condemns the repeal of the Act to such an extent that he has written a book, "WEALTH AND OUR COMMONWEALTH", supporting the estate tax. The House of Representatives proclaimed justification for the Act’s repeal on the premise that it forces small farmers out of business, unfairly blocking the "American dream" from being realized. However, Collins asked the American Farm Bureau to come up with a single case in which a family farm had been seized by the "greedy" hands of the estate tax. Unsurprisingly, there has not been a single case substantiating the claim that the estate tax robs farmers of their land or the American dream for that matter. Ironically, a motion which repeals the estate tax will do exactly the opposite of its said purpose.

On the other hand, how can you argue with God's will; who was that said "God gave me my money". The estate tax is "immoral"(Tom Delay) and immoral things are against the will of God. Didn't you know that Delay is the New Worlds awaited apostle? He speaks and so its, never mind anything else.

Posted by: Chevy | Apr 15 2005 22:12 utc | 13

Posted by: Chevy | Apr 15 2005 22:13 utc | 14

Now old J.D. looks like a snapping turtle in the beak.

Posted by: Groucho | Apr 15 2005 23:07 utc | 15>Playing the Bible Card

as (conservative!) blogger John Cole sums it up,>Vote Republican, or you Hate the Baby Jesus!

sometimes you wonder, can these people sink any lower? and then they do...

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 15 2005 23:18 utc | 16

I'm a trust fund baby. My parents already died, so I payed the estate tax. But I just wanted to let you know that not all of us are spoiled brats leeching off of the rest of you. I grow more food (sustainably) than I can eat, with my own two hands and aching back,and I give away the extras. I breed open-pollinated, disease- and drought-resistant crops and share the seed with others so that your children's children will have food to eat when Monsanto's hybrids succumb to the reality of agriculture without its petroleum fix. I give to progressive charities, in order to avoid subsidizing Halliburton. And I have no brats to leave the money to. It all goes to progressive organizations when I croak.

Jerome, I faithfully read your diaries at Kos.

Posted by: pusilla | Apr 15 2005 23:53 utc | 17


I keep asking the same thing, but hey keep coming back with even more extreme wingnut to out do the extreme wingnut. (Is there levels of wingnuttery?) This Frist thing is so over the top the most imaginative science fiction writer couldn't come up with it.

I think by the 2008 election, we will have seen more shit than humanly possible. At that time, I really believe the voters will say pox on your house you wingnut assholes.

Posted by: jdp | Apr 15 2005 23:58 utc | 18

California man wants Mount Diablo renamed 'because it offends his religious sensitivities'

And lo, faith shall move mountains!

Posted by: Old Nick | Apr 16 2005 1:01 utc | 19

Remember, when Jesus comes back, he's coming back as a salesman: The Man Nobody Knows

Posted by: notyou | Apr 16 2005 1:16 utc | 20

I think by the 2008 election, we will have seen more shit than humanly possible.
I bet...
I don't see how it's possible to "turn clock back"...
Yes masses can be "hypnotized" or pressured for a while but in the end it only can result in bloodshed cause eventually they’ll realize what’s happening... bloodshed happened before and it will happen again because people are just short in memory...


"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."
Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

Posted by: vbo | Apr 16 2005 2:18 utc | 21


I hear you. The attitude that all rich folks are evil is just as dangerous as the rich ones claiming that the poor have no virtue. The mirror works both ways I guess. Beware of top dog/bottom dog syndrome: when the roles reverse, as in communism, the former bottom dogs adopt and justify their own exploitive top dog behaviors.

Posted by: gylangirl | Apr 16 2005 2:47 utc | 22

Billmon is right about turning back the clock. The early 20th century new-dealers saved capitalism from devouring itself. They were facing massive civil unrest resulting from decades of abuse. The communists and the anarchists didn't just fall from the sky. Indeed, it appears that those who do not learn from the past ARE doomed to repeat it. I learned all this stuff in high school history class. What the heck have they been teaching in high school since then that so few remember or recognize the danger signs?

Then again, the Bushie social security road show isn't working. Maybe folks do remember some things after all.

Posted by: gylangirl | Apr 16 2005 3:12 utc | 23


I agree there are many rich people that are altruistic and look out for the good of community and have since. Warren Buffet, capitalist extrordinair comes to mind.

But, I would have to say a great number are unproductive little brats who in a position of power are more than willing to crush others to keep their status. I've seen it happen. Also, I don't like elite social engineering, playing with lives like exploitive free trade agreement do.

I am damn well sure some line worker at Pontiac Motors didn't think of Nafta or Gatt, two of the most un-democratic indtituitons in the world.

Excuse me for ranting but I am a populist progressive and I am for re-distribution of wealth through national welfare programs, national retirement and national health care, all on a progressive taxation scale.

Posted by: jdp | Apr 16 2005 3:30 utc | 24

@jdp>GodAssault: Morality as the Ultimate Game -- an overview of the End Times religious fad.

Calvary Chapel's Apocalypse, however, bears a resemblance to the fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons. Just as "D and D" players excel by learning complicated strategies and knowing arcane sub-rules of sub-rules, Calvary Chapel Christians win by following a set of instructions taken straight from the Bible. They must know the secret passwords, identify their enemies correctly, and understand what lies beneath the various layers of evil. False prophets will become popular in the end times, for example, and those who don't want to be damned will recognize these poseurs and refuse to worship with them.

Whether heaven's riches are 17 virgins or a beautiful set of angel wings, Calvary Chapel won't say. Prizes aren't important to the game, because winning is defined as not losing; not having to endure unthinkable tortures. And not losing rests on adhering to all of the rules.

My friends in L.A. wanted to know what this new "morality" meant in terms of American politics. Was there some way to maneuver on this new political landscape, dominated by religion, and reclaim "the moral voter"?

Leading Democrats were also looking to put new moral moves in their political playbook. At a Roe v. Wade commemoration Hillary Clinton announced that her once-firm stance on legal abortion had turned Jell-o soft, showing exactly what churches like Calvary Chapel mean to politicians. Clinton and other party leaders are now determined to win over Calvary Chapel-style evangelicals by taking stands they imagine those Christians will consider "moral." In the meantime, they hope to preserve their wider political philosophies in the shadows.

But take heed, oh keepers of the Democratic word, I say unto you: Lo, do not give into the temptation of moral appearances that will not bear fruit in the next elections. Change your view on abortion and they still won't vote for you, Hillary, not if you don't play the total version of GodAssault.

oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 16 2005 3:31 utc | 25

In a speech to a human rights conference in Atlanta, Carter said increasing financial assistance was critical to battling malaria, AIDS and other common diseases that disproportionately affect the poorest parts of the world.

"Unfortunately, in the rich countries like ours, we really don't give a damn," said Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981 and who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Best ex-president we've ever had.

Posted by: Billmon | Apr 16 2005 4:14 utc | 26

It appears we're on schedule to "liberate" the Philippines again....sign me up! I've got family there!

Posted by: zencomix | Apr 16 2005 4:42 utc | 27

Power Lie - Don't know where else to post this. Excellent paragraph ny Billmon here, regarding the right's reaction to the Schiavo memo:
"Actually, a few conservatives are doing the more-or-less decent thing. Heilrocket at least has acknowledged the Post story, and Michelle Malkin has even started talking about a Republican conspiracy -- which for the GOP is like having your toy poodle nip you on the ankle because you fed it a bad can of dog food."
I had actually pondered emailing Malkin to say I thought she did well in not reflexively defending the extremists in this case - but after reading this comment, it sums it all up so much better.

Posted by: phrith | Apr 16 2005 5:56 utc | 28

Remembringgiap - you have a rosy view of the labor movement that has not been justified since WWI when all those workers of the world lined up to enlist in the National Glory. And improved living standards decrease militance. Finally, thatcher/blain may exploit weak labour, but they did not cause the UK coal and auto industries to collapse. Thatcher was able to crush the miners BECAUSE they had already lost relative power in the economy. Imaginative nostalgia is a poor intellectual tool for confronting world capitalism in the 21st.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 16 2005 9:36 utc | 29

@citizen k

Totally concur. The valiant & militant union movement is a flight of fantasy. And many working class people despised unions because they wielded their power just like any other powerful group - mostly concerned only with protecting their own factional interests. You had to know somebody to get a union ticket in a well-paid industry.

The only remaining vested interest union of any note is the AMA.

Posted by: DM | Apr 16 2005 11:02 utc | 30

I had this dream the other night:

It's on the eve of Frist Sunday, and Bill Frist was riding on the foal of an Ass (George Bush Jr) preparing to enter the capital of the Sun Myung Moon's second Israel (Washington, D.C.) with Tom Delay laying down palm branches all the way to the Supreme Court building. The adoring disciples were alternately praising St. Frist, and throwing rocks at three pillars representing the Democratic party and Satan's liberalism. As they stood on the court house steps together, they burned the Constitution while the activist judges huddled inside for fear. And as the last flame died a great Hosanna arose from the masses and they threw whatever they had in their hands up in the air in a cry of triumph. And a miracle happened: the statue of Justice Blindolded came to life and took off her blindfold and said, "Thank You! Now at last I can take sides!" And as I watched, a beer bottle came back down and hit me in the head. Everything went black. And here is where I had the dream!

It was April 2009 and a Democratic Senate got a list of Supreme Court nominees that were decidedly liberal. And this got the few Republicans left after numerous Bush failures and scandals very angry. And they said, "We're going to fillibuster you!" And the Democrats answered, "Can't you get over the fact that you lost the election? In fact since 2006, you Republicans have proven that you can't win elections! What's left of your party after the religious rhetoric burns out, worn out Rush and Ann Coulter hate rhetoric produces yawns, and Sun Myung Moon is back in jail? And where's your support not that angry people have left your politicized right wing churches realizing that their porfolios have been shot to Hell, that your President lied to get them into an endless occupation in Iraq, that the EPA did pesticide experiments on babies, that there are no jobs except at Walmart, and that their Social Security benefits were massively cut with Bush's privitization plan? Besides: everyone knows that God forbids the use of the fillibuster. You said so yourselves!" And then another miracle happens. The Neocons shut up!

(thanks to Imo Phillips for the form)

Posted by: diogenes | Apr 16 2005 12:43 utc | 31


The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

FDR, Second Inaugural Address, Wednesday, January 20, 1937

Posted by: Steve J. | Apr 16 2005 13:25 utc | 32

Re: The One True Frist

"But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value." - Job 13:4

Posted by: Night Owl | Apr 16 2005 16:20 utc | 33

Colonel Sam Gardiner back in 2003 pointed out that the US military was conducting a Psyops Campaign in Iraq. The Operation is clearly working since there is little or no internal US opposition to the Iraq War and President Bush was re-elected.

The problem with Psyops and Propaganda is that they are based on beliefs and tribal emotions not on truth or reality. Since the Federal Government is no longer reality based, you get distorted falsehoods. The recent example is the theme that those opposing the dismantling of the Senate Filibuster Tradition are anti-Jesus.

Thank God, Senator Reid had started a War Room to counter Republican Propaganda. I suggest they bring out of retirement some of the Voice of American veterans who were experienced at countering Soviet Propaganda as consultants.

I don’t remember seeing the Colonel Gardiner on NewsHour again since he inappropriately pointed out the obvious that can’t be mentioned on Corporate Media.

Posted by: Jim S | Apr 16 2005 16:29 utc | 34

@diogenes - love your dream :-)

Posted by: b | Apr 16 2005 19:45 utc | 35

me too.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 16 2005 20:34 utc | 36

citizen k & dm

i don't knows what your real experience of the union movement is - but it seems to be taken from the softer parts of lifestyle magazines owned by you know who

if you would like to have a bibliography that will try to contextualise what i actually sd i will be glad to provide

your fashionable anti union babble is not in the least legitimmised by any history of working class movements - even by historians whose natural sympathies do not exist on the side of the working people

to attack unions as you do - as if we all live in the great luxurious middle class - is done to hide the real & very concrete existence of a growing underclass in all the countries i mentioned

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 22:04 utc | 37



Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 22:06 utc | 38

& also you throw away the toil & utility of workers labour as if it is nothing. the miners for example were the backbone fro a broken down britain before it becaame just one more whore in the marketplace

you speak of their struggles so lightly as if the very real benefits - that even middle class people experience fell fromù the skies

one of the very real reasons for solidarity in france is the gains of that workers movement the popular front is not so distant - 1936 - & people remember here who brought them those benefits

for dm - whom i often agree with - on several questions we could not be more opposite - he sees a happy aboriginal people shining under the glowing & caring leadership of the bush lackey john howard, all the benefits that workers receive came from the enlightened political & legislative leadership & not from the people, dm claims that there is no underclass - that it is a figment of my diseased maoist imagination - but my dear dm i was borne from that class & know its concrete conditions today in a manner that is hardly romantic & certainly not sentimental - you describe your new home as paradise on earth for almost all of its inhabitants but you do not mention refugees, you do not enter into a real dialogue about what is happening to aboriginal people & you have never mentioned the underclass - as if they do not exist at all. from your descriptions australia must be a place of full employment

citizen k - ahistoricises & speaks of english scottish workers in exactly thge same way maxell, murdoch & desmond speak of them - as old fashioned, useless & then criminal - it is a wonder you did not mention moscow gold

i think when i speak of these movements i am doing so reasonably & most reasonable histories would attest to that - if there is extremism in me at this point in time - i am not unashamed of saying where it exists - i want the american military machine stopped by any means necessary - even if that is done by organisations & movements i do not have the luxury to disavow

but i take responsibility fro my views - expect no other to share them - to take them as a critique - & as they are often the furious theses of a person who has dedicated his life to change & has witnessed - wonder turned to worry

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 22:30 utc | 39

If you have not read it yet, go read former barfly bellatrys's diary on a closely related topic: An Ex-Theocrat Speaks: They're Crazy Like Foxes.

But - as I have said over and over again in this blog and elsewhere - it's way too hard to go up against the Machine, it's much easier and satisfiying to tell people that their poorer and/or less-protected neighbors are to blame for all their problems, and send them after the scapegoats, while a consolidating elite tightens the chokehold ever more (and thus must find more scapegoats to blame.) Thus Coughlin went from being a champion of the common man to an endorser of totalitarianism, for our own "good" - just as modern populism looks for its victims in immigrants - who make up a very small percentage of US population - and "lazy" welfare blacks and "selfish" women and the minority of non-Christians and increasingly in that other very small group, those of unconventional sexual orientation...rather than going after that even smaller minority who holds almost all of the wealth and methods of production in this country, and who happens to be mostly WASP males and their dependents whom they often put on their payrolls, as Tom DeLay has recently been discovered to have done. Why go after the dynasties of robber barons and their nouveau riche proteges, when you can beat down your fellow serfs instead?

I'll ask her if she agrees that I make her diary a front post.

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 16 2005 22:36 utc | 40

Giap; I read every word you say. You bring a beating heart to the truth that needs debating ad naseum; without the limbs and blood of Iraqi's and all else scattered to the media blogosphere.

Cloned Poster

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Apr 16 2005 22:37 utc | 41

jérôme & i share literally in the benefits of workers struggles in the form of our health scheme - i do not think of the care the french health gives me lightly nor take it for granted because i have witnessed in my own lifetime these real benefits dissapear as they are in england & australia & have never existed in a real sense for the american working poor

it was the workers movement that put me through university - who in fact taught me the morality & ethics i now consider my own

i once knew giants who really cared for others more than they cared for themselves - anti pascalians if you will - that there shadows stilml inspire me today

& it is ironic that one of the few writers today to do honour to thos people in his books & in his journalism is of australian origin - john pilger - who has been vilified & demonised while masking the substantial offering he has made to a complete understanding of our time

he is not an icon but at least he is one of the few fighting for human decency & forms of solidarity that speak of the other not as an enemy but as a possible ally

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 22:51 utc | 42

RGiap: I'm not anti-union, I'm anti-fabulation. It's a historical fact that at the peak of union power in Europe, the labor movements of Germany, England, and France all decided to line up for their various fatherlands and cheer for WWI. It's a historical fact that unions often degenerated into protection of labor aristocracies. The accomplishments of the unions and the need for organizations to counter concentrated power of capital, don't make nostalgia about the idyllic days of worker solidarity into fact. Capitalism is dynamic. In our era, the pre-thatcher era British coal miners union is of little relevance.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 16 2005 22:55 utc | 43

on the contrary, citizen k - "the pre-thatcher era British coal miners union" - is of a pertinence - you will not utter

& for me you need to cite your histories - before the great war there were multiple tendencies within both the workers & organised labour movement - which included that of being anti imperial, & anti war - who are these labour aristocrats you speak of - it seems very muddled to me - if you are anti fabulist - cite correctly histories that substantiate your claim & i will stand corrected - from the works that i know - the very opposite would seem to be the case - you refuse to see their mutiplicities, you seem to see the labout movement as the capitalist class has always seen them - as a many headed hydra

yes, on the contrary - the history of the working class remains a living history - after all i witness & work with them here in france each working day & i see the results of modern capitalism & the creation of a permanant underclass who are completely absent from view unless they appear on a 'reality' show as an object to be mocked & ridiculed by their betters who ar so morally hollow they do not see they are next in line

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 23:06 utc | 44

cloned poster

someone here mention that pet pig of thatcher - a bernard ingram & the very name gives me shivers - but i remember also there was a feminine version of him that you would often see on bbc - & i forget her name - it was a proramme 'covering the press' & i use all those three world lightly including the the - i rmember her as a harridan always screaming in her dickensian voice at the journalist for an arabic paper based in london - bari(?) - just thinking of thes caricatures gives me the horros & no dount they will invade my sleep

when engels spoke of monster he would never have imagined how monstrous

& thank you cp

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 16 2005 23:43 utc | 45

RGiap: Do you doubt that, to cite just the most infamous example, the German SPD made that historic vote for war loans and enthusiastically endorsed the Kaiser and his war? The Communist unions in 1920s South Africa used the slogan "White workers of the world unite" to oppose black labor in the mines. You seem to believe there is no alternative other than Murdochism or a misty eyed view of stalwart Workers battling for Solidarity against the Evil of Capital.

Why could thatcher destroy the same unions that were able to beat back Heath? Was she just more evil or did something change? Do you think that the organizations that worked, sort-of, in a coal-based Imperial Britian should still be the models for the Post-Enron Era of the Poodle?

As for France, the underclass is easy to see for anyone who leaves central paris by train and even from the tracks can gaze in despair at the ring of segregated and devastated urban misery around the core. And, of course, the true underclass for France is still out there in Africa enjoying the residual benefits of the mission civilatrice brought to them by Europe's most unionized paradise.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 16 2005 23:55 utc | 46

i'm afraid i do not see any sense in your attacks nor much historical analysis. from a hodgepodge of miscellaneous events you seem to creat an edifice that i cannot see

crying to connect organises german labour with a miniscule communist party in south africa is tenuous if not a complete riddle for me

what thatcher did in unison with her pals murodch & maxwell in perfect fascist symmetry is public knowledge - i see no point in labouring what is obvious to anybody who understands a little history

the attack on france - as if i embody her - is also quite puzzling - i defend not her sins & in my day to day work here hopefully contribute to ameliorating situations that in all countries have become horrifying

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 17 2005 0:47 utc | 47


I guess our failure to communicate is due to, among other things, my impatience with your pigeonholing. Thatcher was a pig, no doubt, but calling her "fascist" is symbology over analysis. Unions are the Lawrence strikers, but also the racist SA miner unions and Herr Haase's declaration of Kaiser-loyalty. Union members at Electric Boat building Trident submarines or in Tolouse making jets partly subsidized by Europe's imposition of debt peonage on the third world tend to see the world differently than did the guys at the River Rouge plant or strikers in Shenzen. Murdoch and Maxwell and Thatcher took an opportunity that was partly made by technology, the collapse of the unlamented British empire, and a globalization of finance that would have astounded Marx. They were no more anti-union or unscrupulous than their predecessors. The good old days when Welsh strikers could put a spanner in the black-smoke wreathed gears of the British Navy's world domination and thus gain a miserable pittance just don't fill me with nostalgia and their passing is no more an indication of the triumph of the Bad Guys than was the end of the era in which workers in Venice's Arsenal could command high wages because of their lynchpin role in keeping the Doge rich. If there is to be success in stopping war, ameliorating poverty, deepening democracy, or even saving the environment, I doubt it can be constructed from the cliches of the old industrial labor movement or those of nostalgic leftism.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 17 2005 1:12 utc | 48

citizen k,
It's a historical fact that unions often degenerated into protection of labor aristocracies.

It seems right to me that unions have often ended up protecting very small interests, and so I am tempted to agree. But I cannot agree with at least two words in that statement about historical fact: degenerated, and aristocracies.

Unions are always under assault, initially in the most obvious ways, and should they manage to survive and win some battles, in more subtle ways. I do not think unions "degenerate" any more than an army private degenerates when he gets shot in the head. The more accurate decision is that he gets killed, from the head. This would also seem to describe what happens to powerful unions, they are taken out, from the head.

If you accept that capital has a history of taking out unions (yes?), then you may agree that by the time a union is only interested in its existing members, they are no longer an aristocracy, but the last of a declining group.

I hope this doesn't sound like quibbling, and I do appreciate anti-fabulism. But the same way that I try to stay on my own side because I'm all I've got, I'm also pro-union. Sure I (they) screw myself (us) sometimes. But that's no reason to spite my face.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 17 2005 1:40 utc | 49

If there is to be success in stopping war, ameliorating poverty, deepening democracy, or even saving the environment, I doubt it can be constructed from the cliches of the old industrial labor movement or those of nostalgic leftism.

Okay, sure, we won't build anything good out of cliches. But we are still going to have to find a way to get a grip on what's happening. So long as Marxian analysis is realist and neo-liberal analysis is idealist, I'll strive for the grip on reality every time. Is there another articulate analysis of society that starts by aiming to analyze the real and how it causes the world we experience?

Posted by: citizen | Apr 17 2005 1:47 utc | 50

fellow citizen:

Realism is good, if hard to bear. Unions - I'm for 'em but they are like all human organizations prone to develop self-serving managers and they are also, by nature, in bed with their employers and states. You could say that the purpose of a union in a first world nation is to impose some fairness on the division of spoils. The Brotherhood of Mongol Warriors Local #234 is not necessarily a good thing for the people of north China, any more than the British Coal Miner unions were good for the victims of the coal-fired British Navy. Marxian analysis - a little too schematic and Victorian for my tastes, I'm afraid. History is a nightmare from which we try to awake - that I can endorse.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 17 2005 3:28 utc | 51

good citizen k,

My taste in Marxian analysis runs more to Moishe Postone (recently debated in Historical Materialism Vol. 12. Issue 3). The problem of analyzing from this perspective is more how to move from A) an abstracting social logic that increasingly tears apart concrete social fabrics required to reproduce human life; to B) interpreting actual events. But that is exactly the problem we face, and so Postone's take gives a nice sense of how the game is inextricably linked to whirling faster and faster, that more and more must be taken from labor and paid to capital, that as with any addict the same size fix 'does the job' less and less. And those sorts of insights seem enlightening - but they do leave me wanting to defend groups that are more likely to defend those actual concrete social webs that allow us to reproduce ourselves (raise families, put food on them, etc.). So, to return to my non-fabulist pro-unionism, I can do no other than believe that, for example, a Wal-Mart union would be an improvement because it seems to promise one more avenue to stave off rampant sociopathy.

You might like Moishe's read. His article in Historical Materialism is nice and compact, but the book is good too. Time, Labor, and Social Domination. R'giap and slothrop, I'm talking to you too.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 17 2005 6:16 utc | 52

I agree there are many rich people that are altruistic and look out for the good of community and have since.
Not many here in Australia. Here rich give away only 1% of their wealth for charity…it’s a shame…

Posted by: vbo | Apr 17 2005 9:59 utc | 53

for those ill read or unread i labour history i suggest strongly the www vitual library labour history special topics

or the organisation of american historians

tat give a richer & more detailed offering than citizen k is willing to display

also suggest guardian journalist seamus milne's book on the miner strike as definitive & makes clear exactly what plan thatcher/maxwell/murdochh set in place

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 17 2005 14:47 utc | 54

citizen k

Marxian analysis - a little too schematic and Victorian for my tastes, I'm afraid.

What's a "marxian schematic" of labor? Normatively, solution-wise, such a "schematic" has nothing whatsoever to do with the way union leadership often is compromised by power. A "leftist" solution to the problems facing workers must include organization of labor. Any perceived inefficacy of such organization has not one thing to do with marxism, that's for sure.

Also, the view you seem to have about the "tendency (prone)" of persons to abuse power, as if this was a kind of human nature, is indefensible unless the view is joined to a general critique of capitalist ideology. To be sure, the nineteenth century populists in England and America were motivated more by the bourgeois values of unlimited accumulation and a "level playing field" demand for economic inclusion rather than any sense of social justice or class-consciousness.

Again, these problems have little to do with Marxism, fabianism, anarchosyndicalism, fourierism, any ism, but more to do with "praxis" and leadership.

C. Wright Mills, from New Men of Power:

In the sphere of ideology, the liberal ideas which now prevail so widely are capable of leading those who take them seriously into a perilous adventure. Liberalism today often looks like a mantrap whose victims might well be collected in the hunting trips of the sophisticated conservatives.

That is, class solidarity is achieved by radical understanding of the contradictions of capital accumulation. No doubt, overcoming the usual "economism" (as Lenin called it) of unionoization and the advancement of revolutionary politics within worker movements is difficult, but always necessary. In any case, Marxism, leftism, etc. may valuably set the goals, but the failure or success of organization always implicates leadership.

Also, generally speaking, I have yet to be impressed by any person's certain dismissal of Marx. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, people who cavalierly pronounce the uselessness of Marx don't read Marx, or provide inadequate justifications for doing so.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 17 2005 16:21 utc | 55


the virtual library thingy is cool. thanx.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 17 2005 16:25 utc | 56

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