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Helen Keller: Oh blind vanity of slaves!

"It is in your power to refuse to carry the artillery ... You do not need to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms." Strike Against War To begin with, I have a word to say to my good friends, the editors, and others who are moved to pity me. Some people are grieved because they imagine I am in the hands of unscrupulous persons who lead me astray and persuade me to espouse unpopular causes and make me the mouthpiece of their propaganda. Now, let it be understood once and for all that I do not want their pity; I would not change places with one of them. I know what I am talking about. My sources of information are as good and reliable as anybody else's. I have papers and magazines from England, France, Germany and Austria that I can read myself. Not all the editors I have met can do that. Quite a number of them have to take their French and German second hand. No, I will not disparage the editors. They are an overworked, misunderstood class. Let them remember, though, that if I cannot see the fire at the end of their cigarettes, neither can they thread a needle in the dark. All I ask, gentlemen, is a fair field and no favor. I have entered the fight against preparedness and against the economic system under which we live. It is to be a fight to the finish, and I ask no quarter. The future of the world rests in the hands of America. The future of America rests on the backs of 80,000,000 working men and women and their children. We are facing a grave crisis in our national life. The few who profit from the labor of the masses want to organize the workers into an army which will protect the interests of the capitalists. You are urged to add to the heavy burdens you already bear, the burden of a larger army and many additional warships. It is in your power to refuse to carry the artillery and the dread-noughts and to shake off some of the burdens, too, such as limousines, steam yachts and country estates. You do not need to make a great noise about it. With the silence and dignity of creators you can end wars and the system of selfishness and exploitation that causes wars. All you need to do to bring about this stupendous revolution is to straighten up and fold your arms. We are not preparing to defend our country. Even if we were as helpless as Congressman Gardner says we are, we have no enemies foolhardy enough to attempt to invade the United States. The talk about attack from Germany and Japan is absurd. Germany has its hands full

Eugene V. Debs “When I shall fight”

I am not opposed to all war, nor am I opposed to fighting under all circumstances, and any declaration to the contrary would disqualify me as a revolutionist. When I say I am opposed to war I mean ruling class war, for the ruling class is the only class that makes war. It matters not to me whether this war be offensive or defensive, or what other lying excuse may be invented for it, I am opposed to it, and I would be shot for treason before I would enter such a war. Capitalists' wars for capitalist conquest and capitalist plunder must be fought by the capitalists themselves so far as I am concerned, and upon that question there can be no compromise and no misunderstanding as to my position. I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth; I am a citizen of the world. I would not violate my principles for God, much less for a crazy kaiser, a savage czar, a degenerate king, or a gang of pot-bellied parasites. But while I have not a drop of blood to shed for the oppressors of the working class and the robbers of the poor, the thieves and looters, the brigands and murderers whose debauched misrule is the crime of the ages, I have a heart-full to shed for their victims when it shall be needed in the war for their liberation. I am not a capitalist soldier; I am a proletarian revolutionist. I do not belong to the regular army of the plutocracy, but to the irregular army of the people. I refuse to obey any command to fight from the ruling class, but I will not wait to be commanded to fight for the working class. I am opposed to every war but one; I am for the war with heart and soul, and that is the world-wide war of social revolution. In that war I am prepared to fight in any way the ruling class may make necessary, even to the barricades. There is where I stand and where I believe the Socialist Party stands, or ought to stand, on the question of war. -- Eugene V. Debs, When I Shall Fight - Appeal to Reason (September 11, 1915)

Eugene Debs about Jesus Christ

The great American socialist Eugene Debs had this to say about Jesus Christ and those who would convince others that Christ was a turn the other cheek, milquetoast pacifist. 'I told my friends of the cloth that I did not believe Christ was meek and lowly but a real living, vital agitator who went into the temple with a lash and a krout and whipped the oppressors of the poor, routed them out of the doors and spilled their blood and got silver on the floor. He told the robbed and misruled and exploited and driven people to disobey their plunderers, he denounced the profiteers, and it was for this that they nailed his quivering body to the cross and spiked it to the gates of Jerusalem, not because he told them to love one another. That was harmless doctrine. But when he touched their profits and denounced them before their people he was marked for crucifixion. (Eugene Debs,Speaking to a reporter for Call from his prison cell in 1919 while serving time for making anti-war speeches.) Contrast this image of Jesus to the one that many in the so-called Christian 'Peace community' try to sell us on. Here, we have Jesus, The Living as a revolutionary, not some sort of dead, worshipped saint. We have a model to try to follow that is totally different than the one that is given to us so often. Jesus the Dead, or Jesus the Living? You choose.

Anarchism as applied to washing dishes

WASH YOUR OWN DISHES via CrimethInc CAPITALISM You wash the dishes, the ones who own them profit.   ANARCHISM We all share in the dishwashing. DEMOCRACY Even as a dishwasher, you deserve a say in which politician is best suited to protect the economy that keeps you in the kitchen. NATIONALISM Forget about those dishes for a second -- you're a citizen of the proudest hation on earth! LIBERTARIANISM You wash the dishes, the owner profits even more. FASCISM The Mexicans who washed the dishes are deported, the Jews who owned the place are imprisoned, and everyone else is conscripted for military service. UNEMPLOYMENT The only thing worse than being trapped in a dish room is being trapped outside one. NEO-LIBERALISM (AKA "Free Trade") The dishes are shipped overseas to be washed and you're free to develop your own combination of Unemployment and Nationalism REFORM Smaller stack, warmer water, longer breaks --same dishes! SOCIALISM Dishwashers' wages increase just enough to afford higher takes COMMUNISM From each according to his means, to each according to his need --as determined outside the dish room. MARXISM Between shifts, the dishwasher studies the intricacies of dialectical materialism. It turns out that thanks to his efforts, the dirty dishes have been accumulating value for his boss to invest in more dishes. The stuff about the dictatorship of the proletariat is more perplexing, but the party theorists reassure him that it makes perfect sense to them. Under their direction, he joins his fellow dishwashers in a risky coup d'etat. Afterwards, he is distraught to find himself still in the kitchen, washing dishes for the party bureaucrats. The bureaucrats reassure him that they will eventually wither away. SYNDICALISM The dishwashers join labor syndicates that send representatives to a council, at which it is decided which dishes are to be washed and when. ANARCHA-FEMINISM You wash the dishes for the boss -- who washes the dishes at home? ANARCHO-PRIMITIVISM Down with dishes! ANARCHO-PUNK Down with washing! INSURRECTIONARY ANARCHISM A quixotic attempt to distill a political theory from the practice of smashing dishes. -Crimethinc

An American Socialism?

In the current housing bankruptcy "crisis" which was in fact created by the privately owned Fed through interest rates that reached 1% in 2003 combined with lax oversight of the banks, the bail out now being talked about in Congress will help... no surprise... the banks by and large. It is meant to deceive the public again by using words such as "helping" the homeowners, or "saving" peoples homes. NOTE: When you save a mortgage you save the bank's payments by insuring they keep coming in. Besides the fact that people don't own their homes, the banks do! Regardless, in a socialist system this kind of gross manipulation would never have happened in the first place. And the half honest sensible solution by these charlatans in Congress should be to refi these homes to these homebuyers at the new lesser value. Because the value is lost anyway. And these homes were wildly overvalued by an out of control speculatory financial cabal. Besides, the bundled debt obligations and structured investment vehicles are worthless. Adding misery, the value of these homes will keep crashing. The rub? The banks and Investors made millions off these paper schemes and walked away... and probably paid little or no taxes. And now, the home buyers who were preyed upon by these lenders, owe money on a devalued home that was used only as a commodity by the "gentlemen" on Wall St. to manipulate, through the creation of CDO's and SIVs? Sure! That's capitalism. Systemic political and corporate corruption. And it's going to get worse. Congress desperately needs this property tax, interest payment, revenue stream to keep flowing to the banks and the states. But the reason this is a problem for Congress of "what is the best poison" to cure this, is that to bail out the home buyer who got screwed, is using tax money to keep receiving tax money. It's double taxation!! And a zero sum game... besides rewarding the crooks. More deficit spending. But the Fed doesn't care about homeowners and thusly told Congress as much by introducing Paulson's new scheme to have the Fed take over the duties of the SEC and oversight of the big investment banks and their financial debauchery and chicanery. To keep the graft and secret deals going. The "dark trades" as they're called. And spineless Congress cannot protest. They are owned by the Fed. In fact they are linked in responsibility by their repealing of the Glass-Steagall act with Greenspan's urging (which Clinton didn't veto) and attaching the Commodities Reauthorization Act attached to an appropriations bill in 2000. Ahhh the rewards for the capitalist elite are sweet indeed. No accountability, no worries, no chance of getting the blame. The yellow press at their beckon call. Socialism would put all properties under the ownership of the people with all rents going to the citizens public fund and distributed to each social association for necessary services, loans, needs. There is no reason for housing or land to have any

Marx and Steinbeck

Karl Marx died today in 1883. Though I consider communism to be largely a failed experiment, I do agree with many of Marx' tenets. Here is the opening paragraph of The Communist Manifesto: The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. Today in 1939, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath was published. The following passage typifies the message of the book which made Steinbeck and his novel a capitalist-socialist battleground. One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a single tractor took my land. I am alone and I am bewildered. And in the night one family camps in a ditch and another family pulls in and the tents come out. The two men squat on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other… When word of the book burnings, bannings, denouncements and death threats reached Congress, an Oklahoma representative rose up to "say to you, and to every honest, square-minded reader in America, that the painting Steinbeck made in this book is a lie, a black, infernal creation of a twisted, distorted mind." I don't know if it makes me feel better or worse to know that truth that threatens the status quo has always been suppressed, and its proponents ever maligned. But remember that those on the fringe are the ones whose positions provoke a rethinking of assumptions, who spark epiphanies and change the course of human history. In the immortal words of another rabble rouser, Henry David Thoreau, Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. Yes, let's!

The falsity of Stalinist “Socialism”

Socialism does not equal tyranny, unlike the claims and demagoguery of the capitalists. A true democratic Socialism and fair market system is a natural course for human society. It is free of predatory and parasitic capitalist schemes to dominate and exploit everyone and everything. It is decentralization of power distributed to citizens, as opposed to the fascist model that benefits from centralization and concentration of power. It can disperse wealth and enrich citizens if they can be de-programmed of their false worship and idolization of wealth as success and exploitation as the norm. And it doesn't have to be an exact model of Marx or Engels or Trotsky or Lenin. But it should include the takeover of production from the fascists with community worker councils in control. And the shift away from enslavement of the worlds workers by the bankers and through globalisation. And control of currency back to the citizens. The capitalists are middlemen who get in our way of a just fair society that we have the ability to create. It is they who have created all of the false propaganda about Socialism. They who choke by way of embargoes, sanctions, and political disruption, any countries attempt toward a just socialist society. Their domination as a minority over the majority cannot and should not stand any longer. Here's a good read. Dated but still valid. Enjoy. Also enjoy the many thorough and insightful articles on Socialism and Democracy James P. Cannon gave the following talk to a meeting at the Socialist Workers Party’s West Coast Vacation School, September 1, 1957. It was first published in the Fall 1957 International Socialist Review. Comrades, I am glad to be here with you today, and to accept your invitation to speak on socialism and democracy. Before we can make real headway in the discussion of other important parts of the program, we have to find agreement on what we mean by socialism and what we mean by democracy, and how they are related to each other, and what we are going to say to the American workers about them. Strange as it may seem, an agreement on these two simple, elementary points, as experience has already demonstrated, will not be arrived at easily. The confusion and demoralization created by Stalinism, and the successful exploitation of this confusion by the ruling capitalists of this country and all their agents and apologists, still hang heavily over all sections of the workers’ movement. Shakespeare’s Mark Antony reminded us that evil quite often outlives its authors. That is true in the present case also. Stalin is dead; but the crippling influence of Stalinism on the minds of a whole generation of people who considered themselves socialists or communists lives after Stalin. Now, of course, the Stalinists and their apologists have not created all the confusion in this country about the meaning of socialism, at least not directly. At every step the Stalinist work of befuddlement and demoralization, of debasing words into their opposite meanings, has been supported by reciprocal action