Tag Archives: Osawatomie

Did Obama’s middle class speech, as the MSM says, strike a chord? From Osawatomie, the note was sour.

OBAMA STRIKES A CHORD WITH MIDDLE CLASS SPEECH. What cynical populist fable-telling. President Obama delivered a speech in Kansas yesterday appearing to speak up for America’s middle class, as if he wasn’t the reddest-handed fox in the hen house. Once again President Hope spews Orwellian double-speak as he eviscerates the world’s social fabric. Yet the media trumpets that Obama’s speech “struck a chord” in a most pernicious stretch of dissembling. If Obama struck a chord, it was like a guitarist strikes a chord, on a wrong note, or ringing true, but to say Obama’s words resonated is to pretend that wasn’t entirely the product of media amplification. In Obama’s case, lined-in through spin effects – in guitar terms it’s called Reverb. To strike a chord used to mean saying something that hit your listeners just right. Is that what happened? Does our Nero have anyone convinced –beside our media– that he’s Spartacus?
 
I’m disturbed because President Obama chose Osawatomie, Kansas to grace with his forked tongue. Osawatomie was the nickname given Abolitionist John Brown, for holding his ground in an early anti-slavery battle at the Osawatomie slave sanctuary. Obama might have chosen the locale for its historic Free State significance, but instead of mentioning the radical Brown, he praised Teddy Roosevelt, the father of American imperialism. BTW, the Weather Underground published its anti-imperial, anti-racism missives in an underground press magazine called Osawatomie.

John Brown, from a grateful people

John BrownThis weekend marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, an attempt to appropriate from the US armory to defend a slavery free territory. The already notorious anti-slavery evangelist had lost the earlier Free State sanctuaries Palmyra and Osawatomie. On October 16-17, 1859, the band of 22 abolitionists and free men, held off the townsmen and US Marines, until ten were killed and five escaped. The seven survivors were hanged, including Brown, who said at the scaffold: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
 
The raid on Harpers Ferry set into motion the fight in earnest to emancipate the southern slaves, ending 305 years of American slavery. Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, Central America, Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, and all British, French, Danish, Dutch, and Portuguese colonies, had already abolished slavery between 1811 and 1863. The US was followed by Cuba then Brazil in 1888.

Osawatomie Brown‘s band were fanatical and violent, but were hailed as heroes by the Union in the Civil War. This statue was erected in 1911, inscribed “erected to the memory of John Brown by a grateful people.” It stands in Kansas City, in a neighborhood which once was the town of Quindaro, a major stop along the underground railway.

Brown’s fellow domestic terrorists were:

Killed: Jeremiah G. Anderson, Oliver Brown, Watson Brown, John H. Kagi, Lewis S. Leary, William H. Leeman, Dangerfield Newby, Stewart Taylor, Dauphin Thompson and William Thompson.

Executed: John E. Cook, John A. Copeland, Edwin Coppoc, Shields Green, Albert Hazlett, and Aaron D. Stevens.

Escaped: Osborne P. Anderson, Owen Brown, Barclay Coppoc, Francis J. Merriam, and Charles P. Tidd.

John Brown Obama vs Barack Lincoln

John BrownIn their quest to muddy Barack Obama by his association with Weatherman Bill Ayers, some right wing bloggers dug up a copy of the old SDS/ Weathermen zine OSAWATOMIE which Ayers and company published and distributed while on the lam. What could the title mean, the blimp-necks wondered…

Googling “Osawatomie” revealed it was a town in Missouri associated with the abolitionist terrorist John Brown, who ultimately led the ill-fated armed insurrection against slavery at Harper’s Ferry, which sparked the Civil War and finally decided the matter. The reich-wing bloggers were certain this was the meaningful link, “there is no other Osawatomie listed on the map, anywhere,” one blogger assured readers.

If they had looked inside the first issue, on the inside cover, they’d have found the explanation for why Students for a Democratic Society, frustrated with the false promise of non-violent resistance, had chosen to honor John Brown:

Inset: In 1856, at the Battle of Osawatomie, Kansas, John Brown and 30 other abolitionists, using guerrilla tactics, beat back an armed attack by 250 slavery supporters, who were trying to make Kansas a slave state. This was a turning point in the fight against slavery. For this, John Brown was given the name “Osawatomie” by his comrades.

While some today are excited to paint Barack Obama’s face over the portrait of Abraham Lincoln, I wish it had been John Brown whose example might have inspired Obama. Abraham Lincoln bent to the eventual will of the American people to emancipate the slaves, but it was Brown who led the way.