lbo.htm Cockburn: Israel and "Anti-Semitism" ---------- 1480.html Why the US supports Israel ---------- The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of MAY DAY by Peter Linebaugh (from -------- SFBG: Why women are leading the battle against censorship. (from the --------- Felix Stalder on LLessig at ----------- According to the Wall Street Journal, the ELF has caused more than $43 million in damage in 600 acts of violence since 1996.4 ------------ To my mind, the most valuable point in here is: "Can we not ask that those concerned about the supposed silence of the left regarding anti-Semitism demonstrate their own good faith by denouncing Israel's behavior towards Palestinians?" * * * May 16, 2002 American Journal Israel and "Anti-Semitism" by Alexander Cockburn Right in the wake of House Majority leader Dick Armey's explicit call for two million Palestinians to be booted out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Gaza as well, came yet one more of those earnest articles accusing a vague entity called "the left" of anti-Semitism. This one was in Salon, by a man called Dennis Fox, identified as an associate professor of legal studies and psychology at the University of Illinois. Leaving nothing to chance, Salon titled Fox's contribution, "The shame of the pro-Palestinian left: Ignorance and anti-Semitism are undercutting the moral legitimacy of Israel's critics." Over the past 20 years I've learned there's a quick way of figuring just how badly Israel is behaving. There's a brisk uptick in the number of articles here accusing "the left" of anti-Semitism. These articles adopt varying strategies. Particularly intricate, though I think well-intentioned, was a recent column by Naomi Klein who wrote that "It is precisely because anti-Semitism is used by the likes of Sharon that the fight against it must be reclaimed." Is Klein saying the anti-globalization movement has forgotten how to be anti-anti-Semitic? I don't think it has. Are all denunciations of the government of Israel to be prefaced by strident assertions of pro-Semitism? If this is the case, can we not ask that those concerned about the supposed silence of the left regarding anti-Semitism demonstrate their own good faith by denouncing Israel's behavior towards Palestinians? Klein did, but most don't. In a recent piece in the New York Times Frank Rich managed to write an entire column puportedly about Jewish overreaction here to news reporting from Israel without even a fleeting reference to the fact that there might be some factual basis for reports presenting Israel and its leaders in a bad light, even though he found time for plenty of abuse for the "inexcusable" Arafat. Isn't Sharon "inexcusable" in Rich's book? So the left gets the rotten eggs and those tossing the eggs mostly don't feel it necessary to concede that Israel is a racist state whose obvious and provable intent is to continue to steal Palestinian land, oppress Palestinians, herd them into smaller and smaller enclaves and in all likelihood ultimately drive them into the sea or Lebanon or Jordan or Dearborn or the space in Dallas/Fort Worth airport between the third and fourth runways (the bold Armey plan). Here's how Fox begins his article for Salon: '"Let's move back," my wife insisted when she saw the nearby banner: "Israel Is a Terrorist State!" We were at the April 20 Boston march opposing Israel's incursion into the West Bank. So drop back we did, dragging our friends with us to wait for an empty space we could put between us and the anti-Israel sign.' Inference by Fox: the banner is grotesque, presumptively anti-Semitic. But there are plenty of sound arguments that from the Palestinian point of view Israel is indeed a terrorist state, and anyway, even if it wasn't, the description would not per se be evidence of anti-Semitism. Only if the banner read "All Jews are terrorists", would Fox have a point. Of course the rhetorical trick is to conflate "Israel" or "the State of Israel" with "Jews" and argue that they are synonymous. Ergo, to criticize Israel is to be anti-Semitic. Leave aside the fact that many of Israel's most articulate critics are Jews, honorably committed to the cause of justice for all in the Middle East. Many Jews just don't like hearing bad things said about Israel, same way they don't like reading articles about the Jewish lobby here. Mention the lobby and someone like Fox will rush into print denouncing those who "toy with the old anti-Semitic canard that the Jews control the press." These days you can't even say that New York Times is owned by a Jewish family without risking charges that you stand in Goebbels' shoes. I even got accused of anti-Semitism the other day for mentioning that the Jews founded Hollywood, which they most certainly did, as recounted in a funny and informative book published in 1988, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood by Neal Gabler. So cowed are commentators (which is of course the prime motive of those charges of anti-Semitism) that even after the US Congress recently voted full-throated endorsement of Sharon and Israel, with only two senators and 21 US reps (I exclude the chickenshit 28 who voted "present") voting against, you could scarcely find a mainstream paper prepared to analyze this astounding demonstration of the power of AIPAC and other Jewish organizations, plus the Christian Right and the military industrial complex which profits enormously from military aid to Israel since Congress put through a law concerning US overall aid to Israel, to the effect that 75 per cent of such supplies must be bought from US firms like Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin, lobbying for Israel. The encouraging fact is that despite the efforts of the Southern Povery Law Center to drum up funds by hollering that the Nazis are about to march down Main Street, there's remarkably little anti-Semitism in the US, and almost none that I've ever been able to detect on the American left, which is of course amply stocked with non-self-hating Jews. It's comical to find the left's assailants trudging all the way back to Leroi Jones and the 60s to dig up the necessary anti-Semitic jibes. The less encouraging fact is that there's not nearly enough criticism of Israel's ghastly conduct towards Palestinians, which in its present phase is testing the waters for reaction here to a major ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, just as Armey called for. So why don't people like Fox write about Armey's appalling remarks, (which the White House declared he hadn't made,) instead of trying to change the subject with nonsense about anti-Semitism? It's not anti-Semitic to denounce ethnic cleansing, a strategy which according to recent polls, around half all Israeli Jews now heartily endorse. In this instance the left really has nothing to apologize for, but those who accuse of it of anti-Semitism certainly do. They're apologists for policies put into practice by racists, ethnic cleansers and in Sharon's case, an unquestioned war criminal who should be in the dock for his conduct. -------------------- These days you can't even say that New York Times is owned by a Jewish >family without risking charges that you stand in Goebbels' shoes. ------------ And what's the point of making this point in the first place? How does the NYT's coverage of Israel differ from that of media outlets not owned by Jews (e.g., the New York Post, owned by the grandson of a Presbyterian minister)? And how does their editorial stance differ from that of the Bush administration? Doug ---------------- I think Doug's point (lots of 'points' here -- would avoiding it be Fowler's elegant variation?) -- anyhow, to start over. I think Doug's point is crucial. There is NOTHING to be gained by even marginally noting that the ownership of this or that is Jewish. And there is an awful lot to be lost. And his comparison to the Presbyterian owner of the Post is apt. There are very few instances where it is even minimally intelligent to add irrelevant or marginal information about the persons whose positions one is attacking. The NYT is a dreadful -- even criminal -- institution. Would it be one bit better if a presbyterian or an amerindian owned it and followed the same policy. In political discourse it is reasonable for the reader to assume that information transmitted is relevant and material. Going out of one's way to speak of "Jewish supporters of Israel" instead of merely "supporters of Israel" does suggest that the fact is relevant. How could it be relevant? The obvious (and vicious) answer is that u.s. policy toward israel is a jewish plot. It is worthwhile to note that a given critic of Israel is Jewish, because it is necessary to break through the lie that anti-zionism is anti-semitic. Hauling "The Jews" or "Jewish ownership of the Times" in really gives support to Israel. It is objectively anti-palestinian. And we have had several threads on this list (and the point has been discussed on other lists too) that conspiracy theories are in effect apologies for imperialism. Carrol ----- I must disagree: the jewishness of an institution could matter in some instances and not in others. It seems to me that it is not corret to say that it is relevant or not relevant without further argumentation. One reason it is relevant is that it is difficult to otherwise explain why the NYT lacks sensitivity to the plight of the Palestinians...a patently true observation. It may be simple economics -- circulation would be worse witha pro-Palestinian editorial page. As for the Post, one can look to its conservative politics as the reason for its position. The same does not hold true for the NYT, so one must turn to another explanation for the NYT's tone deafness on the issue. So, I see it neither as absurd nor irrelevant to point out the jewishness of the NYT. LIkewise, I do not see the fact that the NYT has Jewish blood, as it were, as meaningful without more. That "more" is the burden of the person making the point public. Certainly, we are right to point out that the NYT and most papers do not have racial diversity. By making that point you are saying either (1) they are racist or (2) they therefore lack sensitivity to issues meaningful to other races. In fact, that is the entire argument in favor of affirmative action: who you are affects what you say, do, and bring to the table. eric Carrol Cox wrote: I think Doug's point (lots of 'points' here -- would avoiding it be Fowler's elegant variation?) -------- That lack of "sensitivity" is endemic in U.S. society. The position of the NYT is almost indistinguishable from other publications and broadcasters. The paper reflects perfectly the thinking of the more liberal wing of the U.S. ruling class, just as the WSJ's editpage reflects that formation's right wing. With Zionists eager to treat every criticism of Israel as motivated by anti-Semitism, why do any of their work for them? >Certainly, we are right to point out that the NYT and most papers do >not have racial diversity. Yup. But that's more a labor issue than a content issue. Doug -------------------- The lack of sensitivity is endemic because that is what is communicated by the people in the know. For better for worse, the NYT is THE paper of record. There is no Whitewater, no Starr if the NYT does not run the Whitewater story. If the NYT repreatedly debunked the bull promoted by pro-Israeli commentators and the Israeli governement the debate would take on a much different tone. I would expect the NYT to side with black South Africans and in favor of an end to Apartheid. If the NYT did not, I would ask why. One ready answer would be that the editorial page is made up of almost exclusively whites. I do not need the same analysis for the WSJ because you can say that it is a syncphant to big business and big business prefers apartheid. My point is that it should not be beyond discussion a priori, though I would agree that one should look for a pretty good argument before you give the position any credence. -------------------- Aside from being politically dumb, citing the Times jewish forebears is positively ignorant. One ought not forget that the waves of Jewish immigration between 1890--1920 were not warmly welcomed by Jews already resident in the U.S. The former were from Poland and Russia and mostly poor, while the latter were predominantly German and relatively well-off. The Sulzbergers settled in America in the *18*th century. Adolph Ochs' family was from Bavaria and came before 1900. He bought the Times with somebody else's money, usually a good sign of someone already well-endowed. These people have little in common with most Jews, Zionist or otherwise. They are different from you and me. mbs -------------------- How do you explain the rabidly anti-Palestinian and unsensitive editorial and news page practice of the Chicago Tribune, which is not one whit better than the Tribune? The point about newspapers is that they are owned by capitalists. Bringing in ancestry just blurs this central point. Carrol ------------------------ What we really need is daily newspapers owned by left-wing political parties and/or supported by individual subscriptions of people in a mass movement (the latter of which is more difficult), but as Jim Cullen of _The Progressive Populist_ said, it's cost-prohibitive to put out a daily (in print) in the States. The JCP still has a daily called _Akahata_ [The Red Flag] -- with the circulation of about 700,000, I believe. Italy has _L'Unita_, _Liberazione_, and _Il Manifesto_, but.... ***** Who Will Pay the Price of a New United Europe? by David Bacon ROME, ITALY (1/15/98) ...L'Unita followed the PDS wing of the split in the old PCI. A daily with a huge circulation, it's been the envy of other western communist parties for years. The annual festival for the paper still draws over a million people. It is an institution, not just of the Italian, but of the European left. Pivetti warns, however, that sometime this coming year L'Unita will lay off half its 300 workers. The "Mattina" editions, started to serve readers with local news in cities like Florence and Milan, will likely be discontinued. This can't help but be a bitter irony, not just to the papers' staff, but to millions of Italians who loyally supported Europe's most widely-read communist periodical through thick and thin. The PDS won the government, but they may lose the paper. "The PDS can't carry the paper the way the old party did," Pivetti says. When the Italian Communist Party dissolved, party subsidies ended which had helped to pay L'Unita's bills. "Now we will have to make it on our own, just from sales, subscriptions and advertising," she explains. Whether the paper will survive in a chilly new market-oriented world is a question no one can answer. While it certainly has a loyal readership, it's hard to imagine department stores and big corporations paying for pages of ads.... ***** ------------- the NYT is the biggest agenda setting part of the media. it's not that signifigant that it is jewish owned but it is indicative of the dangerous line american jewish elites are towing esp with the way over abused allegations of "antisemitism". any serious analysis of antisemitism charges would probably find they out number actual antisemitism 500 to 1. antisemitism has pretty much been defeated fairly decisively it is most ridiculous with the american jewish's worse here than in even Israel where there is at least debate on these matters. there is a dangerous line being walked here and it's only going to cause an antisemitic backlash at somepoint. ~M.E. ------------------- i think there is a major contradiction with this..... if it doesn't matter that a jewish owned institution is prob the no 1 perpetuator of defamatory stereotypes against jews then it shouldn't matter if critics of zionism are jewish or not. ~M.E. ------- i think doug's analogy was a bad would have been more illustrative to ask if the NYT would be any different if it were owned by a palestinian or arab muslim family. that's the's very difficult to answer that definatively, one would have to first ask would it be even possible for a palestinian or arab muslim family to own the NYT. what if the saudi royals or some other wealthy saudi family owned it? fairly easy to speculate it would prob be rabidly anti shia.....that serves the interest of the state....but would it be rabidly pro israel? ~M.E. ------ Certainly, we are right to point out that the NYT and most papers do >not have racial diversity. Yup. But that's more a labor issue than a content issue. Doug * * * Hold up. Every year I go to conferences where African-American journalists argue that race coverage in this country's media is what it is because of the overwhelmingly white hue of media owners, editors and journalists. Sure, racism isn't just about individuals, it's institutional and systemic, etc. -- but the fact is that they have a point, and outlets that have more African-Americans in charge generally have better coverage. We can quibble over how much, come up with counter-examples, etc., but I don't think the overall point is deniable. So why is it somehow anti-Semitic to make the similar point that if, say, Arab-Americans ran the New York Times (and other U.S. media outlets), coverage of the Middle East wouldn't be so virulently anti-Arab? It's not a guarantee, but isn't it likely? ---------------- 1263 why the us supports israel --- Doug's post nicely explains why elite policy-makers support Israel, but the U.S. is a democracy, albiet a very imperect one, and there are many ordinary Americans who go along with the government. Why? Here I think we have to look beyond economic self-interest and bring in cultural explanations. 1) As already discussed on the list, many Christian fundamentalists support Israel because, in their religious fantasies, the founding of the Jewish State is a necessary pre-condition for the return of Christ. 2) Even Christians who are not fundamentalists see the world through a Biblical prism, so Israel is dear to there hearts simply as a place where their religion was born. 3) Among more secular folks, whites tend to support Israel more than non-whites. I suspect this is because Israel, like the U.S. is a settler colony and Americans, even in this supposedly p.c. world, have very little sympathy for the victims of a frontier society. The Palestinians are just another group of natives to be pushed out of the way. 4) Related to the three points above is the fact that on some deep level, many in the U.S. see their country as successor to the Bblical Israel, a choosen nation favored by God. Reagan's rhetoric about the US being a "city on a hill" offers clues about the emotional affinity felt between some Americans (largely white Christian conservative ones) and Israel ------------------------- NO IT DOES NOT! IT EXPLAINS WHY SOME REPUBLICAN NUT-BOYS NOW HOLDING EXECUTIVE POWER SUPPORT ISRAEL!! You forgot (4) the legacy of the Nazi war against the Jews... I would put (3) differently: it's both the resonance between the U.S. and Israel as the products of settler migration, and the lack of resonance between the U.S. and the Palestinian population in terms of their welcome to immigrating Jews. Think of it: People fleeing cruel, oppressive, anti-Semitic Europe--the Dreyfus Affair, Kishinev, et cetera--come to America, where they are welcomed and become an important part of the task of civilization. Others fleeing cruel, oppressive, anti-Semitic Europe come to Palestine, where they are scorned, attacked, told that they will be pushed into the sea--and then for good measure all the other Arab countries decide to expel their Jewish populations as well. It's both that the Palestinians are another group of natives to be civilized and assimilated if possible and pushed out if not, and also that the Palestinians have committed the historical sin (in American eyes) of failing to welcome distressed people fleeing cruel, oppressive, anti-semitic Europe. Both parts are there... Brad DeLong --------------- So it's mostly Republican nut-boys who support Israel now, or are there others who do so with equal passion for different reasons? U.S. support for Israel has been bipartisan since 1967. Aid goes up under Dem and Rep admins alike. Look at the vote on the Congressional support for Israel bill from the other week. Was that just RN-Bs too? What's Joe Lieberman, an honorary RN-B? Doug ----------------- I hereby declare that anyone who believes that Israel is or has been an important "strategic asset" to the United States is ipso facto a Republican Nut-Boy. There is a different set of nut-boys who support Israel for Fundamentalist Christian reasons--and they tend to support the colonization of Judea and Samaria by settlers and the expulsion of Palestinians as well (cf. Dick Armey). There is a different set of [insert your favorite characterization here] who, as I said before, support Israel because we have a moral obligation to prevent a second Holocaust. (I find myself in this group. We tend to loathe West Bank settlements.) There is, now, yet a third group--people who hadn't thought a lot about it before, but now support Israel because Yassir Arafat has failed to differentiate his brand sufficiently from Osama bin Laden. But the idea that I--that I--would support Israel because it played the important role of containing that Soviet Puppet Syria... First of all, Assad the Elder was not a Soviet Puppet. He had no desire to be a Soviet Puppet. He was happy to accept Russian weapons, sure, and to make pro-Kremlin noises. But he had no desire to have a Group of Soviet Forces in Syria powerful enough to pull a Prague Winter and thus able to make him dance to the Kremlin's tune, ever. Nevertheless, Alexander Haig's belief that "Peace for Galilee" was a great victory for the U.S.--our client beat their client, you see, and we gain prestige--came closer than anything else to actually getting Assad the Elder to invite a Soviet motorized rifle core to Syria, in which case Syria *would* have become a Soviet Puppet. Brad DeLong --------------- This is despicable anti-Semitism. The Jews who came to America did not arrive declaring their will to take over the country, expel the native inhabitants and dispossess them of their land. Seth -------------------- Evian! The St. Louis! The immigration laws! Virtually no Jewish refugees would have gone to Palestine if they had been acceptable, welcome or not, in the Land Of The Free. Shane Mage "Thunderbolt steers all things." Herakleitos of Ephesos, fr. 64 -------------------- I actually agree with this point, but it points out why another argument used by some pro-Palestinians, namely that Arabs can't be anti-semites since they are the same race as Jews, doesn't hold up. Jews in Israel get denounced as white colonialists when it serves one rhetorical purpose, then get treated as just one more semetic race among many when their unique history wants to be denied. Given the large number of Mizrachi/Sephardic Jews in Israel due to fleeing oppression in Arab states following the 1948 war, the "refugee" and "native" issue is not as completely one-sided as sometimes pictured. The Israelis are still far on the wrong side of the oppression stick on the Occupied Territories, but if the Palestinians deserve their own state instead of being absorbed into Jordan (as Sharon would have it), it would seem that the one million plus Jews in Israel who had to flee Arab oppression have a similar claim. -- Nathan Newman ---------------------- Yeah. But if you were a Sephardic Jew living in Israel, would you like to move and find yourself... as a despised minority in Cairo governed by Hosni Mubarrak? as a despised minority in Damascus governed by Bashir Assad? as a despised minority in Baghdad governed by Saddam Hussein? Methinks that the number of people wishing to take advantage of such a "right of return" to the old Jewish Quarters of Middle Eastern cities would be very small... Brad DeLong ----------------- I agree that the Nazi legacy (and perhaps guilt over not doing enough) > informs the way many in the U.S view the Middle East. But I'm not sure > that you're comparison of the U.S. with Palestinians is fair. Were the > Jews welcolmed with open arms to the U.S.? Yes, at the turn of the century > there was a great deal of philo-semiticism in North America and in general > the polygot culture of the US (and Canada) has been the best home the > Jewish diaspora ever had. BUT, lest we forget, in the crucial decades of > the 1920 to the 1960s, immigration to the U.S. was severly restricted, at > the behest of nativists and anti-Semites. (Also in Canada: asked how many > Jewish immigants Canada should accept, the head of Canadian immigration in > the 1930s said that "none is too many.") The fact is, if the US and other > Western democracies had the same immigration policies in the 1930s that > they had say in 1910, most of the Jews in Europe would have been save and > Israel would never have been established. So the contrast between the > welcoming arms o Very true... I tend to want to forget the complicity of the U.S. in the Holocaust through the interwar "reforms" of its immigration policy... But I'm not sure you're right about "most"; most of the Jews in Europe were Polish and Russian after all; a lot would have migrated to the U.S., but a lot would have still been there when the Nazi tanks came... Brad DeLong, trying to decide whether he should depress himself further by reading Benny Morris's _Righteous Victims_ or Christopher Browning's _Ordinary Men_... -------------------- BM says that in 1948, Israel had a military force clearly superior to that of any Arab country, and for practical purposes superior to the lot of them. In light of the importance of the Canal and oil fields, wouldn't that make it a strategic asset then? Now of course its military and intelligence forces are formidable. They also have nukes. Wouldn't they be a strategic asset now? Do you find yourself a little over-extended on this? Republican Nut-Boy --------------------- A strategic asset against whom? In what state of the world would we like to see Israeli tanks roll where? Countries we want to stay nice and peaceful and commercial loathe Israel--and loathe us too because we support Israel. Would we have wanted israeli tanks to roll... Against a Russian attack from north to take control of the Persian Gulf?--But rolling Israel's tanks would have made the Arabs join the Russians. Against Saudi princelings who had decided never to sell oil to the Infidels again?--But only the presence of Israel and the fact of U.S. support for it led them to ever think of the oil weapon at all. Against Syrian Soviet Puppets?--But operation "Peace for Galilee" was the only thing that came close to turning Assad the Elder into a tool of the Soviet Union. U.S. support for Israel is a strategic pain in the **** as regards our real, material, strategic interests in the Middle East--(back then) to contain the Soviet Union and to keep the oil flowing... Brad DeLong ------------------ How about potential left-nationalist revolutions in Jordan or Lebanon? How about an OBL takeover in S.A.? How about accepting the role of bad guy and bombing locales for producing weapons of mass destruction in, say, Iraq? Just to take some wild hypotheticals, how about being a transfer point for shipment of U.S. arms to people the U.S. would rather not be seen associating with, like the Ayatollah, apartheid South Africa, or right-wing death squads in South/Latin America? Republican Nut-Boy (M-L) --------------------- I hope this doesn't mean you're stepping down for your leadership role in the Anybody But Lieberman & Hillary movement. Hillary's stance on welfare reform earned a rebuke from the NYT edit page today. Gail Sheehey claimed that contrary to frequent liberal fantasy, Hill was often to the right of Bill. Doug ---- New York Times - May 15, 2002 A Surprise From Senator Clinton When President Bill Clinton worked with Republicans to "end welfare as we know it" six years ago, there was speculation that Hillary Rodham Clinton was a silent critic. But whatever her views then, Mrs. Clinton now favors a tougher policy. To the surprise of many, New York's junior senator has decided to side with President Bush and others advocating punitive new work requirements in legislation to be voted on this week in the House. The House bill, a travesty of the concept of reform, would undermine the positive features of the measure signed by President Clinton in 1996. Mrs. Clinton has pledged to improve the bill in the Senate, and some of her proposals are positive. But they do not go far enough. The House bill imposes a work requirement of 40 hours a week, up from the current level of 30. Mrs. Clinton and a few other Democratic senators propose raising it to 37, with a bonus for states that get recipients to work 40. Many governors have testified that this requirement is unworkable without a huge new investment in day care and other services, which the House bill lacks. Mrs. Clinton hopes to please both the right wing and left by combining the longer work requirement with $8 billion over the next five years for day care for welfare recipients and some limited exemptions for mothers with small children. But even in the unlikely event that the Senate can add all the money she wants, it would almost certainly not be enough. Outside experts say at least $11 billion would be needed to take care of the children of mothers affected by the House legislation. While Mrs. Clinton is making a mistake in thinking she can appease both sides on this issue, President Bush has betrayed his pledge of "compassionate conservatism" by supporting the House approach instead of building on the reforms of six years ago. The House bill would almost certainly force states to create make-work public jobs in order to meet new federal requirements. Worst of all, it would apply a "super waiver" enabling some states to ignore federal requirements in food stamps, housing, job training and education programs and spend the money in ways they prefer. This is the wrong kind of flexibility; it could easily allow states to cut back on serving the most desperately needy populations in their care in favor of more politically popular priorities. A better alternative in the Senate is a measure supported by a bipartisan group including some influential Republicans like Orrin Hatch and Olympia Snowe. It would keep the work requirement at its current level of 30 hours a week. However, in its current form it does not have a specific amount for day care or other services. Ideally, new welfare legislation should include both realistic work requirements and sufficient money to supply day care and education subsidies for all those who need them. Meanwhile, anyone who favors genuine welfare reform should oppose the destructive bill before the House. Forum: Join a Discussion on Today's Editorials ------- Interactivist Info Exchange Independent Media & Analysis The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful < Date: Thursday May 02, @01:24AM Posted by: hydrarchist Topic: In the Streets From the red-and-green dept. The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful History of MAY DAY by Peter Linebaugh A Beginning The Soviet government parades missiles and marches soldiers on May Day. The American government has called May First "Loyalty Day" and associates it with militarism. The real meaning of this day has been obscured by the designing propaganda of both governments. The truth of May Day is totally different. To the history of May Day there is a Green side and there is a Red side. Under the rainbow, our methodology must be colorful. Green is a relationship to the earth and what grows therefrom. Red is a relationship to other people and the blood spilt there among. Green designates life with only necessary labor; Red designates death with surplus labor. Green is natural appropriation; Red is social expropriation. Green is husbandry and nurturance; Red is proletarianization and prostitution. Green is useful activity; Red is useless toil. Green is creation of desire; Red is class struggle. May Day is both. THE GREEN Once upon a time, long before Weinberger bombed north Africans, before the Bank of Boston laundered money, or Reagan honored the Nazi war dead, the earth was blanketed by a broad mantle of forests. As late as Caesar's time a person might travel through the woods for two months without gaining an unobstructed view of the sky. The immense forests of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America provided the atmosphere with oxygen and the earth with nutrients. Within the woodland ecology our ancestors did not have to work the graveyard shift, or to deal with flextime, or work from Nine to Five. Indeed, the native Americans whom Captain John Smith encountered in 1606 only worked four hours a week. The origin of May Day is to be found in the Woodland Epoch of History. In Europe, as in Africa, people honored the woods in many ways. With the leafing of the trees in spring, people celebrated "the fructifying spirit of vegetation," to use the phrase of J.G. Frazer, the anthropologist. They did this in May, a month named after Maia, the mother of all the gods according to the ancient Greeks, giving birth even to Zeus. The Greeks had their sacred groves, the Druids their oak worship, the Romans their games in honor of Floralia. In Scotland the herdsman formed circles and danced around fires. The Celts lit bonfires in hilltops to honor their god, Beltane. In the Tyrol people let their dogs bark and made music with pots and pans. In Scandinavia fires were lit and the witches came out. Everywhere people "went a-Maying" by going into the woods and bringing back leaf, bough, and blossom to decorate their persons, homes, and loved ones with green garlands. Outside theater was performed with characters like "Jack-in-the-Green" and the "Queen of the May." Trees were planted. Maypoles were erected. Dances were danced. Music was played. Drinks were drunk, and love was made. Winter was over, spring had sprung. The history of these customs is complex and affords the student of the past with many interesting insights into the history of religion, gender, reproduction, and village ecology. Take Joan of Arc who was burned in May 1431. Her inquisitors believed she was a witch. Not far from her birthplace, she told the judges, "there is a tree that they call 'The Ladies Tree' - others call it 'The Fairies Tree.' It is a beautiful tree, from which comes the Maypole. I have sometimes been to play with the young girls to make garlands for Our Lady of Domremy. Often I have heard the old folk say that the fairies haunt this tree...." In the general indictment against Joan, one of the particulars against her was dressing like a man. The paganism of Joan's heresy originated in the Old Stone Age when religion was animistic and hamans were women and men. Monotheism arose with the Mediterranean empires. Even the most powerful Roman Empire had to make deals with its conquered and enslaved peoples (syncretism). As it destroyed some customs, it had to accept or transform others. Thus, we have Christmas Trees. May Day became a day to honor the saints, Philip and James, who were unwilling slaves to Empire. James the Less neither drank nor shaved. He spent so much time praying that he developed huge callouses on his knees, likening them to camel legs. Philip was a lazy guy. When Jesus said "Follow me" Philip tried to get out of it by saying he had to tend to his father's funeral, and it was to this excuse that the Carpenter's son made his famous reply, "Let the dead bury the dead." James was stoned to death, and Philip was crucified head downwards. Their martyrdom introduces the Red side of the story, even still the Green side is preserved because, according to the Floral Directory, the tulip is dedicated to Philip and bachelor buttons to James. The farmers, workers, and child-bearers (laborers) of the Middle Ages had hundreds of holy days which preserved the May Green, despite the attack on peasants and witches. Despite the complexities, whether May Day was observed by sacred or profane ritual, by pagan or Christian, by magic or not, by straights or gays, by gentle or calloused hands, it was always a celebration of all that is free and life-giving in the world. That is the Green side of the story. Whatever else it was, it was not a time to work. Therefore, it was attacked by the authorities. The repression had begun with the burning of women and it continued in the 16th century when America was "discovered," the slave trade was begun, and nation-states and capitalism were formed. In 1550 an Act of Parliament demanded that Maypoles be destroyed, and it outlawed games. In 1644 the Puritans in England abolished May Day altogether. To these work-ethicists the festival was obnoxious for paganism and worldliness. Philip Stubs, for example, in Anatomy of Abuses (1585) wrote of the Maypole, "and then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and daunce about it, as the Heathen people did at the dedication of their Idolles." When a Puritan mentioned "heathen" we know genocide was not far away. According to the excellent slide show at the Quincy Historical Society, 90% of the Massachusetts people, including chief Chicatabat, died from chicken pox or small pox a few years after the Puritans landed in 1619. The Puritans also objected to the unrepressed sexuality of the day. Stubs said, "of fourtie, threescore, or an hundred maides going to the wood, there have scarcely the third part of them returned home again as they went." The people resisted the repressions. Thenceforth, they called their May sports, the "Robin Hood Games." Capering about with sprigs of hawthorn in their hair and bells jangling from their knees, the ancient charaders of May were transformed into an outlaw community, Maid Marions and Little Johns. The May feast was presided over by the "Lord of Misrule," "the King of Unreason," or the "Abbot of Inobedience." Washington Irving was later to write that the feeling for May "has become chilled by habits of gain and traffic." As the gainers and traffickers sought to impose the regimen of monotonous work, the people responded to preserve their holyday. Thus began in earnest the Red side of the story of May Day. The struggle was brought to Massachusetts in 1626. THOMAS MORTON OF MERRY MOUNT In 1625 Captain Wollaston, Thomas Morton, and thirty others sailed from England and months later, taking their bearings from a red cedar tree, they disembarked in Quincy Bay. A year later Wollaston, impatient for lucre and gain, left for good to Virginia. Thomas Morton settled in Passonaggessit which he named Merry Mount. The land seemed a "Paradise" to him. He wrote, there are "fowls in abundance, fish in multitudes, and I discovered besides, millions of turtle doves on the green boughs, which sat pecking of the full, ripe, pleasant grapes that were supported by the lusty trees, whose fruitful load did cause the arms to bend." On May Day, 1627, he and his Indian friends, stirred by the sound of drums, erected a Maypole eighty feet high, decorated it with garlands, wrapped it in ribbons, and nailed to its top the antlers of a buck. Later he wrote that he "sett up a Maypole upon the festival day of Philip and James, and therefore brewed a barrell of excellent beare." A ganymede sang a Bacchanalian song. Morton attached to the pole the first lyric verses penned in America which concluded. With the proclamation that the first of May At Merry Mount shall be kept holly day The Puritans at Plymouth were opposed to the May Day. they called the Maypole "an Idoll" and named Merry Mount "Mount Dagon" after the god of the first ocean-going imperialist, the Phoenicians. More likely, though the Puritans were the imperialist, not Morton, who worked with slaves, servants, and native Americans, person to person. Everyone was equal in his "social contract." Governor Bradford wrote, "they allso set up a Maypole, drinking and dancing aboute it many days together, inviting the Indean women for thier consorts, dancing and frisking together (like so many faires, or furies rather) and worse practise." Merry Mount became a refuge for Indians, the discontented, gay people, runaway servants, and what the governor called "all the scume of the countrie." When the authorities reminded him that his actions violated the King's Proclamation, Morton replied that it was "no law." Miles Standish, whom Morton called "Mr. Shrimp," attacked. The Maypole was cut down. The settlement was burned. Morton's goods were confiscated, he was chained in the bilboes, and ostracized to England aboard the ship "The Gift," at a cost the Puritans complained of twelve pounds seven shillings. The rainbow coalition of Merry Mount was thus destroyed for the time being. That Merry Mount later (1636) became associated with Anne Hutchinson, the famous mid-wife, spiritualist, and feminist, surely was more than coincidental. Her brother-in-law ran the Chapel of Ease. She thought that god loved everybody, regardless of their sins. She doubted the Puritans' authority to make law. A statue of Robert Burns in Quincy near to Merry Mount, quotes the poet's lines, A fig for those by law protected! Liberty's a glorious feast! Courts for cowards were erected, Churches built to please the priest. Thomas Morton was a thorn in the side of the Boston and Plymouth Puritans, because he had an alternate vision of Massachusetts. He was impressed by its fertility; they by its scarcity. He befriended the Indians; they shuddered at the thought. He was egalitarian; they proclaimed themselves the "Elect". He freed servants; they lived off them. He armed the Indians; they used arms against Indians. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, the destiny of American settlement was decided at Merry Mount. Casting the struggle as mirth vs. gloom, grizzly saints vs. gay sinners, green vs. iron, it was the Puritans who won, and the fate of America was determined in favor of psalm-singing, Indian-scalpers whose notion of the Maypole was a whipping post. Parts of the past live, parts die. The red cedar that drew Morton first to Merry Mount blew down in the gale of 1898. A section of it, about eight feet of its trunk became a power fetish in 1919, placed as it was next to the President's chair of the Quincy City Council. Interested parties may now view it in the Quincy Historical Museum. Living trees, however, have since grown, despite the closure of the ship-yards. ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC In England the attacks on May Day were a necessary part of the wearisome, unending attempt to establish industrial work discipline. The attempt was led by the Puritans with their belief that toil was godly and less toil wicked. Absolute surplus value could be increased only by increasing the hours of labor and abolishing holydays. A parson wrote a piece of work propaganda called Funebria Florae, Or the Downfall of the May Games. He attacked, "ignorants, atheists, papists, drunkards, swearers, swashbucklers, maid-marians, morrice-dancers, maskers, mummers, Maypole stealers, health-drinkers, together with a rapscallion rout of fiddlers, fools fighters, gamesters, lewd-women, light-women, contemmers of magistracy, affronters of ministry, disobedients to parents, misspenders of time, and abusers of the creature, &c." At about this time, Isaac Newton, the gravitationist and machinist of time, said work was a law of planets and apples alike. Thus work ceased to be merely the ideology of the Puritans, it became a law of the universe. In 1717 Newton purchased London's hundred foot Maypole and used it to prop up his telescope. Chimney sweeps and dairy maids led the resistance. The sweeps dressed up as women on May Day, or put on aristocratic perriwigs. They sang songs and collected money. When the Earl of Bute in 1763 refused to pay, the opprobrium was so great that he was forced to resign. Milk maids used to go a-Maying by dressing in floral garlands, dancing and getting the dairymen to distribute their milk-yield freely. Soot  and milk workers thus helped to retain the holyday right into the industrial revolution. The ruling class used the day for its own purposes. Thus, when Parliament was forced to abolish slavery in the British dominions, it did so on May Day 1807. In 1820 the Cato Street conspirators plotted to destroy the British cabinet while it was having dinner. Irish, Jamaican, and Cockney were hanged for the attempt on May Day 1820. A conspirator wrote his wife saying "justice and liberty have taken their flight... to other distant shores." He meant America, where Boston Brahmin, Robber Baron, and Southern Plantocrat divided and ruled an arching rainbow of people. Two bands of that rainbow came from English and Irish islands. One was Green. Robert Owen, union leader, socialist, and founder of utopian communities in America, announced the beginning of the millennium after May Day 1833. The other was Red. On May Day 1830, a founder of the Knights of Labor, the United Mine Workers of America, and the Wobblies was born in Ireland, Mary Harris Jones, a.k.a., "Mother Jones." She was a Maia of the American working class. May Day continued to be commemorated in America, one way or another, despite the victory of the Puritans at Merry Mount. On May Day 1779 the revolutionaries of Boston confiscated the estates of "enemies of Liberty." On May Day 1808 "twenty different dancing groups of the wretched Africans" in New Orleans danced to the tunes of their own drums until sunset when the slave patrols showed themselves with their cutlasses. "The principal dancers or leaders are dressed in a variety of wild and savage fashions, always ornamented with a number of tails of the small wild beasts," observed a strolling white man. THE RED: HAYMARKET CENTENNIAL The history of the modern May Day originates in the center of the North American plains, at Haymarket, in Chicago - "the city on the make" - in May 1886. The Red side of that story is more well-known than the Green, because it was bloody. But there was also a Green side to the tale, though the green was not so much that of pretty grass garlands, as it was of greenbacks, for in Chicago, it was said, the dollar is king. Of course the prairies are green in May. Virgin soil, dark, brown, crumbling, shot with fine black sand, it was the produce of thousands of years of humus and organic decomposition. For many centuries this earth was husbanded by the native Americans of the plains. As Black Elk said theirs is "the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell, and of us two-leggeds sharing in it with the four- leggeds and the wings of the air and all green things; for these are children of one mother and their father is one Spirit." From such a green perspective, the white men appeared as pharaohs, and indeed, as Abe Lincoln put it, these prairies were the "Egypt of the West". The land was mechanized. Relative surplus value could only be obtained by reducing the price of food. The proteins and vitamins of this fertile earth spread through the whole world. Chicago was the jugular vein. Cyrus McCormick wielded the surgeon's knife. His mechanical reapers harvested the grasses and grains. McCormick produced 1,500 reapers in 1849; by 1884 he was producing 80,000. Not that McCormick actually made reapers, members of the Molders Union Local 23 did that, and on May Day 1867 they went on strike, starting the Eight Hour Movement. A staggering transformation was wrought. It was: "Farewell" to the hammer and sickle. "Goodby" to the cradle scythe. "So long" to Emerson's man with the hoe. These now became the artifacts of nostalgia and romance. It became "Hello" to the hobo. "Move on" to the harvest stiffs. "Line up" the proletarians. Such were the new commands of civilization. Thousands of immigrants, many from Germany, poured into Chicago after the Civil War. Class war was advanced, technically and logistically. In 1855 the Chicago police used Gatling guns against the workers who protested the closing of the beer gardens. In the Bread Riot of 1872 the police clubbed hungry people in a tunnel under the river. In the 1877 railway strike, Federal troops fought workers at "The Battle of the Viaduct." These troops were recently seasoned from fighting the Sioux who had killed Custer. Henceforth, the defeated Sioux could only "Go to a mountain top and cry for a vision." The Pinkerton Detective Agency put visions into practice by teaching the city police how to spy and to form fighting columns for deployment in city streets. A hundred years ago during the street car strike, the police issued a shoot-to-kill order. McCormick cut wages 15%. His profit rate was 71%. In May 1886 four molders whom McCormick locked-out was shot dead by the police. Thus, did this 'grim reaper' maintain his profits. Nationally, May First 1886 was important because a couple of years earlier the Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, "RESOLVED... that eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor, from and after May 1, 1886. On 4 May 1886 several thousand people gathered near Haymarket Square to hear what August Spies, a newspaperman, had to say about the shootings at the McCormick works. Albert Parsons, a typographer and labor leader spoke net. Later, at his trial, he said, "What is Socialism or Anarchism? Briefly stated it is the right of the toilers to the free and equal use of the tools of production and the right of the producers to their product." He was followed by "Good-Natured Sam" Fielden who as a child had worked in the textile factories of Lancashire, England. He was a Methodist preacher and labor organizer. He got done speaking at 10:30 PM. At that time 176 policemen charged the crowd that had dwindled to about 200. An unknown hand threw a stick of dynamite, the first time that Alfred Nobel's invention was used in class battle. All hell broke lose, many were killed, and the rest is history. "Make the raids first and look up the law afterwards," was the Sheriff's dictum. It was followed religiously across the country. Newspaper screamed for blood, homes were ransacked, and suspects were subjected to the "third degree." Eight men were railroaded in Chicago at a farcical trial. Four men hanged on "Black Friday," 11 November 1887. "There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today," said Spies before he choked. MAY DAY SINCE 1886 Lucy Parsons, widowed by Chicago's "just-us," was born in Teas. She was partly Afro-American, partly native American, and partly Hispanic. She set out to tell the world the true story "of one whose only crime was that he lived in advance of his time." She went to England and encouraged English workers to make May Day an international holiday for shortening the hours of work. Her friend, William Morris, wrote a poem called "May Day." WORKERS They are few, we are many: and yet, O our Mother, Many years were wordless and nought was our deed, But now the word flitteth from brother to brother: We have furrowed the acres and scattered the seed. EARTH Win on then unyielding, through fair and foul weather, And pass not a day that your deed shall avail. And in hope every spring-tide come gather together That unto the Earth ye may tell all your tale. Her work was not in vain. May Day, or "The Day of the Chicago Martyrs" as it is still called in Meico "belongs to the working class and is dedicated to the revolution," as Eugene Debs put it in his May Day editorial of 1907. The A. F. of L. declared it a holiday. Sam Gompers sent an emissary to Europe to have it proclaimed an international labor day. Both the Knights of Labor and the Second International officially adopted the day. Bismarck, on the other hand, outlawed May Day. President Grover Cleveland announced that the first Monday in September would be Labor Day in America, as he tried to divide the international working class. Huge numbers were out of work, and they began marching. Under the generalship of Jacob Coey they descended on Washington D. C. on May Day 1894, the first big march on Washington. Two years later across the world Lenin wrote an important May Day pamphlet for the Russian factory workers in 1896. The Russian Revolution of 1905 began on May Day. With the success of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution the Red side of May Day became scarlet, crimson, for ten million people were slaughtered in World War I. The end of the war brought work stoppings, general strikes, and insurrections all over the world, from Mexico to Kenya, from China to France. In Boston on May Day 1919 the young telephone workers threatened to strike, and 20,000 workers in Lawrence went on strike again for the 8-hour day. There were fierce clashes between working people and police in Cleveland as well as in other cities on May Day of that year. A lot of socialists, anarchists, bolsheviks, wobblies and other "I-Won't- Workers," ended up in jail as a result. This didn't get them down. At "Wire City," as they called the federal pen at Fort Leavenworth, there was a grand parade and no work on May Day 1919. Pictures of Lenin and Lincoln were tied to the end of broom sticks and held afloat. There speeches and songs. The Liberator supplies us with an account of the day, but it does not tell us who won the Wobbly-Socialist horseshoe throwing contest. Nor does it tell us what happened to the soldier caught waving a red ribbon from the guards' barracks. Meanwhile, one mile underground in the copper mines of Bisbee where there are no national boundaries, Spanish-speaking Americans were singing "The International" on May Day. In the 1920s and 1930s the day was celebrated by union organizers, the unemployed, and determined workers. In New York City the big May Day celebration was held in Union Square. In the 1930s Lucy Parsons marched in Chicago at May Day with her young friend, Studs Terkel. May Day 1946 the Arabs began a general strike in Palestine, and the Jews of the Displaced Persons Camps in Landsberg, Germany, went on hunger strike. On May Day 1947 auto workers in Paris downed tools, an insurrection in Paraguay broke out, the Mafia killed six May Day marchers in Sicily, and the Boston Parks Commissioner said that this was the first year in living memory when neither Communist nor Socialist had applied for a permit to rally on the Common. 1968 was a good year for May Day. Allen Ginsberg was made the "Lord of Misrule" in Prague before the Russians got there. In London hundreds of students lobbied Parliament against a bill to stop Third World immigration into England. In Mississippi police could not prevent 350 Black students from supporting their jailed friends. At Columbia University thousands of students petitioned against armed police on campus. In Detroit with the help of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, the first wildcat strike in fifteen years took place at the Hamtramck Assembly plant (Dodge Main), against speed-up. In Cambridge, Mass., Black leaders advocated police reforms while in New York the Mayor signed a bill providing the police with the most sweeping "emergency" powers known in American history. The climax to the '68 Mai was reached in France where there was a gigantic General Strike under strange slogans such as Parlez a vos voisins! L'Imagination prend le pouvoir! Dessous les paves c'est la plage! On May Day in 1971 President Nixon couldn't sleep. He order 10,000 paratroopers and marines to Washington D.C. because he was afraid that some people calling themselves the May Day Tribe might succeed in their goal of blocking access to the Department of Justice. In the Philippines four students were shot to death protesting the dictatorship. In Boston Mayor White argued against the right of municipal workers, including the police, to withdraw their services, or stop working. In May 1980 we may see Green themes in Mozambique where the workers lamented the absence of beer, or in Germany where three hundred women witches rampaged through Hamburg. Red themes may be seen in the 30,000 Brazilian auto workers who struck, or in the 5.8 million Japanese who struck against inflation. On May Day 1980 the Green and Red themes were combined when a former Buick auto-maker from Detroit, one "Mr. Toad," sat at a picnic table and penned the following lines, The eight hour day is not enough; We are thinking of more and better stuff. So here is our prayer and here is our plan, We want what we want and we'll take what we can. Down with wars both small and large, Except for the ones where we're in charge: Those are the wars of class against class, Where we get a chance to kick some ass.. For air to breathe and water to drink, And no more poison from the kitchen sink. For land that's green and life that's saved And less and less of the earth that's paved. No more women who are less than free, Or men who cannot learn to see Their power steals their humanity And makes us all less than we can be. For teachers who learn and students who teach And schools that are kept beyond the reach Of provosts and deans and chancellors and such And Xerox and Kodak and Shell, Royal Dutch. An end to shops that are dark and dingy, An end to Bosses whether good or stingy, An end to work that produces junk, An end to junk that produces work, And an end to all in charge - the jerks. For all who dance and sing, loud cheers, To the prophets of doom we send some jeers, To our friends and lovers we give free beers, And to all who are here, a day without fears. So, on this first of May we all should say That we will either make it or break it. Or, to put this thought another way, Let's take it easy, but let's take it. LAW DAY/U.S.A. Yet, May Day was always a troubling day in America; some wished to forget it. In 1939 Pennsylvania declared it "Americanism Day." In 1947 Congress declared it to be "Loyalty Day." Yet, these attempts to hide the meaning of the day have never succeeded. As the Wobblies say, "We Never Forget." Like in 1958, at the urging of Charles Rhyne, proclaimed May First "Law Day/U.S.A." As a result the politicians had another opportunity for bombast about the Cold War and to tout their own virtues. Senator Javits, for instance, took a deep historical breath in May 1960 by saying American ideas were the highest "ever espoused since the dawn of civilization. Governor Rockefeller of New York got right to his point by saying that the traditional May Day "bordered on treason." As an activity for the day Senator Wiley recommended that people read Statute Books. In preaching on "Obedience to Authority" on May Day 1960, the Chaplain of the Senate believed it was the first time in the 20th century that the subject had been addressed. He reminded people of the words carved on the courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts: "Obedience to Law is Liberty." He said God is "all law" and suggested we sing the hymn, "Make Me a Captive, Lord, and Then I shall be Free." He complained that TV shows made fun of cops and husbands. He said God had become too maternal. Beneath the hypocrisy of such talk (at the time the Senate was rejecting the jurisdiction of the World Court), there were indications of the revolt in the kitchens. In addition to the trumpeting Cold War overtones, frightened patriarchal undertones were essential to the Law Day music. Indeed, it attempted to drown out both the Red and the Green. Those who have to face the law and order music on a daily basis, the lawyers and the orderers, also have to make their own deals. Among the lawyers there are conservatives and liberals; they are generally ideologues. On Law Day 1964 the President of the Connecticut Bar wrote against civil rights demonstrators, "corrupt" labor unions, "juvenile delinquency," and Liz Taylor! William O. Douglas, on the other hand on Law Day 1962 warned against mimicking British imperialism and favored independence movements and the Peace Corps by saying "We need Michigan-in- Nigeria, California-in-the-Congo, Columbia-in-Iran" which has come true, at least judging by what's written on sweat shirts around the world. Neither the conservative nor the liberal, however, said it should be a holiday for the lawyers, nor did they advocate the 8- hour day for the workers of the legal apparatus. In Boston only the New England School of Law, the Law and Justice Program at UMass., and the College of Public and Community Service celebrate the Green and the Red. Among the orderers (the police) Law Day isn't much of a holiday either. Yet, police, men and women, all over the United States owe a lot to May Day and the Boston police. It is true that more than 1,000 Boston men of blue lost their jobs owing to Calvin Coolidge's suppression of the Boston police strike of 1919. They had been busy earlier in the summer during May Day. At the same time there were lasting gains: a small pay increase ($300 a year), shorter hours (73-90 a week had been the norm), and most important, free uniforms! AN ENDING Where is the Red and Green today? Is it in Mao's Red Book? or in Col. Khadafy's Green Book? Some perhaps. Leigh Hunt, the English essayist of the 19th century, wrote that May Day is "the union of the two best things in the world, the love of nature, and the love of each other." Certainly, such green union is possible, because we all can imagine it, and we know that what is real now was once only imagined. Just as certainly, that union can be realized only by red struggle, because there is no gain without pain, as the aerobiticians say, or no dreams without responsibility, no birth without labor, no green without red. The children used to celebrate May Day. I think schools stopped encouraging them sometime around when "Law Day" was created, but I'm not sure. A correspondent from East Arlington, Mass., writes that in the late 1940s, "On any given Saturday in May, anywhere from 10-30 children would dress up in crepe paper costumes (hats, shirts, &c.); we would pick baskets of flowers and parade up and down several streets (until the flowers ran out!) The whole time we would be chanting, 'May Party, May Party, rah, rah, rah!'. A leader would be chosen, but I don't remember how. (Probably by throwing fingers out). Then, we would parade up to Spy Pond at the edge of the Center off Lake Street and have a picnic lunch." This correspondent now teaches kindergarten. "In recent years," she continues, "I have always decorated a May Pole for my kindergarten class (they do the decorations actually), and we would dance around it. It would always attract attention from the older children." RESEARCH The best way to learn more is to participate in May Day activities and to talk to your neighbours. Using your library's newspaper collection, talking to school teachers, and getting people to talk about their childhood, their strikes, and their working conditions are good ways too. For those who wish to read more, here are a few suggestions. William Adelman, HAYMARKET REVISITED (Illinois Labor History Society, 1976); Charles Francis Adams, THREE EPISODES IN MASSACHUSETTS HISTORY (1894); William Bradford, HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH PLANTATION 1620-1647; Jeremy Brecher, Strike! (1972); R. Chambers, THE BOOK OF DAYS: A MISCELLANY OF POPULAR ANTIQUITIES (1864); Henry David, THE HISTORY OF THE HAYMARKET AFFAIR (1936); J.G. Frazer, THE GOLDEN BOUGH: A STUDY OF COMPARATIVE RELIGION (1890); James R. Green and Hugh Donahue, BOSTON'S WORKERS: A LABOR HISTORY (The Public Library, 1979); Jane Hatch, THE AMERICAN BOOK OF DAYS (1976); William Hone, THE EVERY-DAY BOOK (1824); Thomas Morton, THE NEW ENGLISH CANAAN (1637); Edward Thompson, THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH WORKING CLASS (1963); Aleander Trachtenberg, THE HISTORY OF MAY DAY (1947); Midnight Notes, THE WORK/ENERGY CRISIS AND THE APOCALYPSE (1981). " The Incomplete, True, Authentic and Wonderful < | Login/Create an Account | Top | 3 comments | Search Discussion Click this button to post a comment to this story The options below will change how the comments display Threshold: The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way. Haymarket without anarchists? (Score:0) by Anonymous Comrade on Thursday May 02, @10:59AM (#635) I'm amazed that anyone could write a history of May Day and *not* mention that the Martyrs were anarchists. Well, not that amazed as I've seen Leninist papers like _Socialist Worker_ in the UK fail to mention this fact (they get labelled as "union militants" and such like). but I expected better here... Iain [ Reply to This | Parent ] Redwashing? (Score:0) by Anonymous Comrade on Thursday May 02, @04:50PM (#636) Iain has a good point. There have been too many accounts of May Day that have tiptoed around the important fact that the Haymarket martyrs were anarchists. Any accounting of the history of May Day is going to be incomplete if it leaves out the anarchist part of the story. When was this article written? Chuck0 [ Reply to This | Parent ] Re:Redwashing? (Score:2) by hydrarchist on Thursday May 02, @06:29PM (#637) User #15 Info | Last Journal: Wednesday May 08, @05:28AM The article was originally composed in 1986 and published by Midnight Notes, whom I think could be faiurly described as libertarian communists. And it is avowedly incomplete. And yes, it did occur to me that it would be nice if it were the green the red and the black, but on the other hand the author is certainly not a hack for the SWP(!) and is far from ill-disposed towards anarchists. If it was still the case the commie sects exerted a stranglehold over the political climate then I would feel it more important to stress the anarcho side of the tale, but given the current circumstances I don't think we need to plaster 'anarchist' all over everything but rather think of social radicality as a whole, which is a story of workers lives rather than parties. Of course there are specifically anarchist accounts which emphasise the background to the Haymarket Martyrs and clarify their politics such as the pamphlet /poster by theWorkers Solidarity Movement []. But I posted the Linebaugh piece as much for its beauty and sensibility as for its documentary aspect. Forgive me! Peter Linebaugh is a radical historian in the E.P. Thompson mould, writing history from below. He has published two excellent books (The London Hanged & The Many Headed Hydra) disinterring the lost circuits of insurrection and agitation between The Carribean, the US and Euope, which I'd highly recommend. Anyway, to you all, Happy Fucking May Day, Black, Red and Green ! ----------------------------------- Obscene feminists Why women are leading the battle against censorship. By Annalee Newitz DIAN HANSON IS sorting through dozens of porn magazines. In one pile are Jaybird nudist publications from the late 1960s, featuring what she calls "crotch liberation" fantasies of happy, unshaven hippie kids. Filed in a different category are the British magazines, which "are so tidy and sensible they have names like Practical Photography." Hanson, a career pornographer who has run popular adult magazines like Leg Show and Juggs, is working on several pictorial histories of men's magazines for art publisher Taschen. She's been on the editorial staff of various porn mags since 1976, and although she's joined the art world now, she says proudly, "I still consider myself a pornographer." Although Hanson estimates that close to 10 percent of adult magazines are run by women, public perception lags behind the facts. Most people assume women avoid pornography. Playboy's CEO may be Christie Hefner, and the wildly popular adult Web site Danni's Hard Drive may be woman-owned, but the conventional wisdom is that naked pictures exist only in man's domain. Women are supposed to be deeply disturbed by porn that's why companies marketing "adulteryware" on the Internet aim their e-mail ads at women, who will supposedly want to catch their male companions in the "naughty" act of downloading a little tits and ass. There's a reason for this. In the 1980s and '90s, antiporn feminist crusaders Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon sparked intense debate among feminists and progressives by forming a coalition with the religious right to stamp out pornography, based on the idea that it violated women's civil rights. They never managed to push through a piece of federal legislation called the Pornography Victims Compensation Act that would have denied porn First Amendment protection as free speech. Although Dworkin-MacKinnon ordinances in more than a dozen states were struck down largely owing to feminists who organized against them they nevertheless left a mark on U.S. pop culture, as well as the municipal laws of several cities, including Indianapolis. These days women, and feminists especially, are still being treated as if pornography should threaten and disgust them. Yet the truth is, women are generally in the vanguard when it comes to fighting sexual censorship. The civil rights lawyers, activists, sex workers, media pundits, and professors who fight for your right to have dirty pictures are by and large female. Many call themselves feminists. Read more Link: 32/news_womenvscensorship.html < Center of Counterinformation and Anarchyst Material | US Oil Company Reaps the Fruits of Afghan War > An Individualist Feminist writes on Wednesday May 15 2002 @ 11:24AM PDT: [ reply | parent ] A Woman's Right to Pornography 
://www.blancmanget/tmh/tmhframe.html a fan writes on Wednesday May 15 2002 @ 05:24PM PDT: [ reply | parent ] Re Dwokin, check out her home page, particularly her "lie detector" section at: ACLU/dworkin/LieDetect.html also note that her book "Woman Hating" is dedicated to Emma Goldman! Glank writes on Thursday May 16 2002 @ 06:43PM PDT: [ reply | parent ] The next poll should be about porn. Somehow. ----------------------------- Business Week as an interesting interview with Lawrence Lessig (though not terribly new if you have read is latest book). Below is a excerpt. Q: What's the result of a controlled network? A: The cost of innovation goes up significantly. Before, you just had to worry about complying with basic network protocol. Now you have to worry about making your program run on the full range of proprietary systems and devices connected to the network. Before, the network would serve whoever and whatever people wanted it to. Soon, you will need the permission of network owners. Think about other platforms in our lives, like the highway system. Imagine if General Motors could build the highway system such that GM trucks ran better on it than Ford trucks. Or think about the electrical grid. Imagine if a Sony TV worked better on it than a Panasonic TV. The highway and electricity grids are all neutral platforms -- a common standard that everyone builds on top of. That's an extraordinarily important feature for networks to have. -------------------- 02/01/10/1937229&mode=nested Originally published in Telepolis Innovation makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old regime, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would prosper under the new. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) In The Future of Ideas Lawrence Lessig, a professor at the Stanford Law School, conveys a bleak message: We are destroying the conditions of freedom and creativity on the Internet. Right at the moment when the Internet has begun to show its full potential for increasing growth and innovation globally, a counterrevolution is threatening, if not already succeeding, to undermine this potential. There are two reasons for this: one is timeless, already understood by Machiavelli: radical change threatens those who profit from the status quo but offers only uncertain prospects to others. The second reason, and the main focus of the book, is this: A sensible premise - markets and private ownership can be efficient ways to allocate resources and promote growth - has hardened into an orthodoxy that postulates that all resources are always managed best when divided among private owners. This view is propagated by a lethally effective cohort of organized interests, politicians subservient to campaign contributors, and ignorant judges. Together, they are in the process of turning the open and dynamic world of the Internet into something that might well end-up resembling the controlled and static world of Television where corporate decision makers control what the public can see or do. Lessig makes a passionate argument that we need to preserve the Internet as an open, creative environment. Even though the orthodoxy has difficulty seeing it, this openness is socially beneficial and fully consistent with the our legal and political traditions. In the first part of the book Lessig analyzes the conditions for openness online and the creativity that they engender. He then describes how these characteristics are being destroyed and, finally, proposes alternative approaches to regulation to preserve the openness of Internet. The Internet has allowed creativity to burgeon because many of its resources have been free. As Lessig writes, "free resources have been crucial to innovation and creativity; without them, creativity is crippled" (p.14). But what does "free" mean? Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, famously reminded us to think of "free speech, not free beer."[ ] This approach has led to a great deal of confusion, particularly outside the US, where free speech is less of a beacon. Lessig's definition is more pragmatic, and more useful: "a resource is 'free' if (1) one can use it without permission of anyone else; or (2) the permission one needs is granted neutrally" (p.12). Our roads, for example, are free in Lessig's sense. This is the case even if a toll charge is levied because the charge is imposed neutrally. Everyone pays the same price independent of the purpose of driving on the road. A road would no longer be free if, say, Coke had sponsored its construction and therefore could prohibit Pepsi trucks from using it. Free resources are a "commons". A commons is defined not by ownership but by access rights. A road can be privately or publicly owned, as long as everyone has the same access rights, it's part of the commons. The crucial distinction here is between control and openness. A commons is a resource open to everyone within a community, whereas private property is controlled exclusively by the owner. In this context it doesn't matter if the owner is a private entity, the state, or a co-op. The openness of the Internet was not the result of its somehow inherent nature, as many of the early pundits thought, but a consequence of specific design decisions. Perhaps the most important technical decision was to follow the "end-to-end" (e2e) principle [ ]. The e2e principle says that the network itself is kept simple and "stupid" while the "intelligence" is pushed towards the edges, i.e. the individual machines plugged into the network and the applications running on them. The Internet, in its original conception, was simple in the sense that it handled all packets equally, without regard to content or ownership. The early engineers took this approach deliberately because they had the humility to understand that they could not foresee the future uses of network. In order not to artificially limit future innovation, they designed the network to treat all applications equally. This e2e principle, and the fact that the protocols were released into the public domain, created a "commons of the wires." Anyone could run an application on the Internet without being discriminated against. The network worked the same for everyone: it simply forwarded all packets without further ado. This is changing rapidly. "Intelligence" is relocated back into the network and the edges are dumbed down. The "Internet appliance" reduces the machine plugged into the network to the status of an enhanced TV set. ISPs, particularly cable companies, have an increasing arsenal of technologies at their disposal to differentiate among packets, and, say, slow down access to certain sites and restrict what users can and cannot to do on the network. Regulation plays an important role in this change. As long as much of the Internet's infrastructure was provided by telecom companies, regulation, at least in the US, mandated that these companies would not control the traffic on their wires and, furthermore, that the wires had to open to third party businesses. This created an enormously competitive ISP market by regulating the network to be neutral, "free" under Lessig's definition. As Internet access shifts to broadband, cable companies are becoming the dominant ISPs. Cable companies, however, are subject to a different regulatory regime, one that allows them to tightly control the traffic that runs over their wires. Network equipment manufacturers such as Cisco and Nortel are only too willing to develop new "intelligent" routers that can discriminate packages based on content and ownership. In the developed world, this is used to control the user experience and to structurally disadvantage competitors and certain types of services. In China [ ] and other countries, however, the same technology can monitor Internet traffic for political reasons and secure the "great firewall". The effect in both contexts is the same. Power, i.e. the ability to control the uses of the network, moves from the users to the owners, from the many to the few. Lessig's argues against this centralization of control because it stifles innovation that is likely to be beneficial to the public. Referring to the "Inventor's Dilemma" [ ], Lessig argues that large firms innovate differently than small firms and or non-commercial entities. Large firms are best at expanding, improving and controlling large existing markets, but are structurally handicapped to develop radically new ones. New markets tend to arise at the margins, while large companies concentrate on the center, i.e. the place where their large clients operate. Furthermore, because new markets cannot be analyzed, it is nearly impossible to invest in them rationally. The availability of venture capital mitigates this problem, but only to a limited extent. Finally, companies that control an existing market have no interest in innovations that threaten to make their markets obsolete. The music industry is a case in point. It was very successful at managing the transition from analog vinyl to digital CDs because this innovation did not change the relationships among the market participants. CDs are what is called a "sustaining technology" because they sustain the "value chain" of the existing market. Napster's peer-to-peer distribution, on the other hand, is a "disruptive technology" because it potentially disrupts the established market by creating new relationships among its participants and possibly removing some of them altogether. With billions in investment tied to the old value chain, record companies have very little to gain, but much to lose, from such innovation. Should that give established institutions the right to effectively veto disruptive technologies? No, Lessig argues, because this would be a great loss to the dynamism of society. He points out that almost all of the groundbreaking applications of the Internet - email, the web, instant messaging, peer-to-peer transfers, to name but a few - were created by inventors far from the centers of industry. For all of these inventions, the openness of the Internet was crucial to enable them to grow and expand to their full potential which often not even their inventors knew. Without a commons, the Internet might have joined the fate of industry-controlled projects such as video-on-demand or videotext. The effect of the dismantling of the e2e principle is exacerbated the expansion of the copyright and patent law, the other main areas covered in by Lessig. Together, these developments drive the enclosure of the Internet, granting the owners of the wires, patents, and copyrights ever more control over the future development of the Internet. This reduces the chances of radical innovations from the margins ever reaching mainstream. If only innovation that suits the interests of a small group of powerful owners is allowed onto the network, a tremendous potential for socially beneficial change is lost, without us ever knowing such potential existed. This does not serve the interest of the public, neither in China or here, but only those of the old guard. Lessig is a realist and a pragmatist. He does not argue for a "new economy" utopia where everything should be free, nor is he "against" the market. Lessig is very clear that his conception of the commons applies primarily to resources that are "nonrivalrous" which means that my use does not affect your use of the resource. To these resources, the "tragedy of the commons" [ ] does not apply. Immaterial products cannot be depleted. All that is necessary is to assure that such resources are produced. What Lessig is arguing for is a balance between the rights of the owners to derive profit from their resources and the rights of the public to use these resources as raw material for further creation. Copyright and patent law were conceived with this balance in mind. Now they are being expanded in favour of control and ownership to such a degree that they no longer serve the only goal that legitimizes their existence: the promotion innovation and creativity. Lessig makes several concrete proposals on how to adapt the law to help restore this balance. These range from reducing the duration of patents and copyrights to their original length to the granting of compulsory licenses which allow owners to derive a profit from their property but not to control it against the public interest. Lessig's concerns are not really not legal but social. He develops two scenarios, one in which the tools of innovation are controlled by a few established interests, or one in which these tool are made accessible to everyone. He advocates the latter because only the latter is consistent with core values of a true, enlightened democracy: social welfare through the empowerment of individuals. Lessig's argument, though, exhibits a strange internal contradiction. One the one hand, it is a call to arms, a passionate warning about the loss of freedom and creativity, on the other hand, he declares the battle already lost. This contradiction, it seems, stems from the fact that he grounds what is essentially a (global) social argument in primarily (American) legal evidence. This leads to a distortion. For Lessig, the story of open file sharing ended with the defeat of Napster in a Californian court. However, despite the demise of Napster as a company, the phenomenon of file sharing is still very significant. It is far from clear that the changes in the legal landscape will effectively determine user behaviour. One could make the argument that enforcing some aspects of the law might be so difficult, or come at such an expense to other rights or interests, that in practice it will be impossible to do so. If the DMCA limits security research in the US, but European provisions are not as strict, then pressure could amount on the US to revise its legislation on the grounds that it harms the industry's competitiveness. A similar situation led to the easing of US export restrictions on strong cryptography. Perhaps Lessig overestimates the ability of US law to determine social reality globally. He is certainly right to argue that it has become a powerful weapon of established interests trying to fend off the challenge of the new. Lessig, Lawrence: (2001) The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. Random House, New York. ISBN 0-375-50578-4 For those who do not read entire books, there is a shorter article available: Lessig, Lawrence (2001). The Internet Under Siege. Foreign Policy (November-December) ------------------- (via via Target of Animal Rights Activists Becomes a Target for Explosives DATE: May 10, 2002 BACKGROUND: On May 3, 2002, an explosion damaged a truck at Sims Poultry Inc., a poultry plant outside of Bloomington, Indiana. Witnesses saw what appeared to be homemade incendiary devices being pulled out from under the truck, according to the Herald Times of Bloomington, Indiana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is currently investigating what they call a deliberate attack. The poultry company, which distributes chicken wholesale to businesses and Indiana University student groups, had been the target of animal rights groups in the past.1 Some extreme animal rights organizations have committed many acts of terrorism over the years and caused millions of dollars of damage. Luckily, these attacks have not yet resulted in loss of human life. TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Americans should denounce the violent tactics used by some animal rights groups. It is only a matter of time until these cowardly acts hurt or kill someone. THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: Acts of violence in the name of religion are strongly condemned in our society and acts of violence in the name of animal rights should be as well. The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is an animal rights organization, which the FBI has labeled as "the largest and most active U.S.-based terrorist group."2 However, few arrests have been made for these crimes.3 DISCUSSION: According to the Wall Street Journal, the ELF has caused more than $43 million in damage in 600 acts of violence since 1996.4 The U.S. Congress is taking steps toward increasing penalties for these acts of terrorism. Representative George Nethercutt (R-WA) introduced a bill that would provide a minimum five years prison sentence for eco-terrorist arson attacks, and it would allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty should anyone die in such attacks. U.S. Representative and Western Caucus Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) put it well, saying, "The cause that a terrorist takes up, whether it is an environmental jihad or a religious one, does not change the buildings they blow up or the people's lives they destroy."5 by Chris Burger, Program Coordinator John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs The National Center for Public Policy Research Contact the author at: 202-371-1400 or The National Center for Public Policy Research 777 N. Capitol St. NE Suite 803 Washington, D.C. 20002 Footnotes: 1 Bethany Swaby, "Truck firebombed at poultry company," The Herald-Times, May 4, 2002, downloaded from stories/2002/05/04/ news.020504_HT_A1_PM029481.sto on May 6, 2002. 2 Stefan Friedman, "The PETA-ELF connection," New York Post, March 7, 2002, downloaded on March 7, 2002. 3 Scott Sunde and Paul Shukovsky, "Elusive radicals escalate attacks in nature's name," The Seattle Post Intelligencer, June 18, 2001, downloaded from local/27871_ecoterror18.shtml on February 25, 2002. 4 Collin Levey, "Terrorist buds," The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2002, downloaded from columnists/clevey/?id=100001681 on February 20, 2002. 5 United States House of Representatives Western Caucus, "Western Caucus Leaders Condemn Eco-Terrorism, Call for Crackdown on Purveyors of Criminal Environmental Activity," Press Release, February 12, 2002. 
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