[personal profile] wickdzoot
...learned to fear the Kochs, and started marching

There's a reason for the adage about those who forget their history being condemned to repeat it.

Far be it from me to inadvertently break Godwin's rule, but I submit to you, dear Reader, the comparison that follows:

In a discussion with my brother explaining why I've moved from a slightly left of center moderate in 2000 to so far left I can't even see socialism from here, I used the following items to explain why I fear the contributions of what my uncle calls MoronNation to the rise of the Tea Party, not to mention the Tea Party itself, which masquerades under the cloak of libertarianism, but really is pretty much founded in racism and other types of xenophobia....

Today's causal factors for the support of the Tea Party, at least as I see it.

1. Nationalism - 9/11 really left a huge dent in the American psyche, only the third time we've been attacked on our own soil. (The War of 1812 was the first once America actually existed, and there following, nearly 130 years later, Pearl Harbor.)

2. Civil unrest attributed to left wing groups - as witness the over the top crackdown on OWS and the ranting of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk about 'em. Glenn Beck has gone so far as to rant something about them coming to kill all the wealthy (sometimes I wish), but Glenn is an entirely different story, a fringe Mormon who apparently believes in the Protocols of Zion and fears a latter day Madame LaFarge.

3. Hyperinflation - This one is maybe stretching, and I could be thinking this because the price of food has increased since they started using corn for distilling ethanol for cars. Also, remember, I had no income at all for a while, once my unemployment ran out, and therefore while living on the kindness of my daughter and son in law, food prices looked as if they'd gone up enormously.

4. The Global Great Recession - if not for the New Deal policies that set up safety nets, like unemployment benefits, it would be a Great Depression. The safety net is all that kept that from our door, but the Tea Party just hates and fears that safety net.

5. The reaction against the counter-traditionalism and liberalism - Somehow, hate has become a traditional value. Now, as to liberals, I'd rather be shot than called a liberal, because my perception, fair or not, is that liberals talk the game, but they tend not to actually walk their talk, and about as spineless as cooked macaroni when confronted by aggressive neo-fascism.

6. Voter frustration expressed in repudiation of democracy which appears incapable of functioning and the rising support of far right-wing and far left-wing political parties, opting for political extremists. Self-explanatory, I think.

7. Radical economic policy - because of who I am I can never decide if I loathe their Ayn Rand worship because I think she's a crappy writer or because I think she was a crappy human being.

8. Desire to restore national pride - See above about 9/11

9. Racial and immigrant control - I don't think I need to explain this. either, but I'll add a few points. From stop and frisk in African American neighborhoods in New York, to the proposal of electrified fences along the borders, it's pretty clear.

10. Promise of national and cultural renewal based on traditional values - tradition expressed as xenophobia and outright hate. In other words, about 90 percent of the trash talk used by neo-cons and Tea Parties and the combination of the two as regular propaganda.

Okay, here's a similar list of issues that contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party and the appointment of Adolph Hitler as chancellor of Germany. They aren't identical, of course, and there are things that American stated principles (as opposed to actual) will not allow to occur, at least not openly.

For one thing, the Tea Party espouses a far less centralized government in spite of some of their other views, and as we know, Hitler's government was the only government, and Austrian laws and principles were subsumed into the Third Reich. Too, whatever the Tea Party preaches, I find it hard to believe that the majority really would go along with racial cleansing at the point of a gun. I may be over-optimistic there, but the death of my idealism has been slow and painful and there are a few twitches left in the corpse.

So, Germany in the 1920s-1930s:

1. Nationalism - Post WWI, Germany was humiliated, devastated, and forced to pay out war reparations.

2. Civil unrest attributed to left wing groups: Remember the era. In the 1920s, the economics and workers situation was bad enough that there was a Communist party gaining popularity in Germany.

3. Hyperinflation - There actually was some period where it took a wheelbarrow of cash to buy food for, perhaps, a few days; unlike Americans who could afford ice boxes or later, refrigerators, people (particularly in Europe) only bought for a few days at a time. Even at the end of the 1970s, in England, the usual size of refrigerator and freezer barely handled a few days worth of groceries and one or two ice trays. Wages, of course, had not kept pace with hyperinflation.

4. The Global Great Depression - In Germany, the hyperinflation had just finally begun to ease up when the great stock market crash came in 1929. People who had finally seen the very beginning of some personal economic recovery were flattened again.

5. The reaction against the counter-traditionalism and liberalism - The liberalism was associated with the Weimar republic, which had failed to deal effectively with almost anything. Now, the Weimar republic was more parliamentary in nature than the US version, so as in Britain, the majority party had to be able to successfully form a working government. The rise of the Nazi party and the move toward the far right meant that the people whose political parties might have entered a coalition with any other majority party were further splintered. I forget the actual numbers, but in 1930, only a few Nazi representatives were elected, so they were even less than a minority. By 1932, I believe the representation from the Nazi party had quadrupled.

6. Voter frustration was expressed in repudiation of a democracy which appeared incapable of functioning as well as the rising support of far right-wing and far left-wing political parties; in other words, frustration was such that the German people seemed to be opting for political extremists. The Nazi party was on the far right and the Communist party was on the far left, and the people perceived as the do-nothings in the middle.

7. Nazis established a radical economic policy - I think I'd have to describe this as the cessation of agreed upon reparations, the push in the industrial field to get the machines of war ready, and the 'cleansing' or dispersal of ethnic Slavs and Jews from land and belongings so that the land and belongings could be given to ethnic Germans.

8. Desire to restore national pride - One of the ways that Hitler succeeded was to play on the feelings of Germans that they had been humiliated and punished internationally.

9. Racial cleansing - Hitler makes many anti-Semitic accusations in Mein Kampf, but it is in the unpublished (which actually was recently published) sequel, he lays racial cleansing out with all the insanity to see. In the 30s and 40s, most people thought his rhetoric was actually just that, florid and over the top rhetoric. They didn't believe that he meant what he said. But he did, and he proved it.

10. Promise of national and cultural renewal based on traditional values: There's actually a German term for it, but since I don't speak German and can't remember it, I'll try to describe it. There was a particular sensibility to old fashioned traditional German values, something referred to as folkish, as in valuing the old folk ways of distrusting foreigners, throwing pogroms for Jews, and following a strict hierarchy.

Then there was the Gilded Age.

I've been watching for some years and marveling at how weird history is the way it cycles. We didn't, thankfully, have a second Civil War, but we did have the Vietnam 'conflict' (doncha just love that kind of careful double talk?) and we did, in fact, have something of a recession when all the wonderful war profiteering in Vietnam and Cambodia wound down. The 80s saw the start of the second Gilded Age, as far as I am concerned, particularly when the former 1960s-1970s activists started making a profit in various ways and suddenly no longer believed in the ideals of yesteryear. (For some reason, when I say that, I am reminded of Catch 22 and the plaintive question "Where are the Snowdens of Yesteryear".)

Yossarian might have been crazy, but he wasn't wrong.

And now Newt Gingrich has advocated doing away with child labor laws, and Perry wants to do away with civilian control over the military. Does he realize that to eliminate the President's control over the military would pave the way for military juntas and even more military adventurism? In the unlikely event that he's elected president, I swear to you, I'm going to illegally emigrate to Canada. Harper's a right wing idiot, but at least he has a few sparks of intellect.

Or how to have a revolution....

Okay, so, let's talk about police overreaction. This is nothing new. The police have overreacted with every anti-war demonstration that accompanied the Iraq war, just as they overreacted during the 1960s and 1970s during anti-war demonstrations over American involvement in Vietnam, or during the Republican convention in Minneapolis/St Paul. Is there a time when the police haven't served their corporate masters? Let me think. Doh, no, there hasn't been. Then, just as now, there are officers who disagree with the official position and wish they could do something, but jeez, they're just rank and file, what can they do?

Let's have a look at what my uncle, the former photojournalist, wrote in an email to me, shall we?

"On 8 March 1917 -- 23 February by the old Tsarist calendar and in either case International Women's Day -- some 5,000 women of the Lesnoy Textile Works boiled into the streets of Petrograd in a strike against the firing of their Bolshevik sisters who had been helping them organize a union.
As the women marched through the war-starved industrial neighborhoods and toward the center of the city and the Tsar's Winter Palace, they chanted "Klyeb! Myr!" (Bread! Peace!).

Soon they were joined by thousands more, a huge outpouring of men who had been locked out of the nearby Tupulov Machine Works, then a growing mass of soldiers' wives, shopkeepers, typists, soldiers home on leave from World War I.

By now numbering at least 50,000, the demonstrators reached the bridges across the Neva River but were met there by police, formations of Cossacks with drawn sabers and lines of infantry with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets.

The demonstrators paused, unsure what to do next. It was bitterly cold; the Neva was solid ice. Toes and fingers ached. The Cossacks' horses were restless, chomping their bits and stomping their iron-shod hooves on the cobblestones, their breath steaming in the frozen air.

At two of the bridges, the marchers turned away. Then, at a third bridge, something happened. A young woman stepped forward and pled with the troops to let the demonstrators pass; a man -- perhaps a soldier on leave -- argued that to fire on women and girls was to fire on Mother Russia herself. Stories differ wildly as to what was said and who said it; nobody was taking notes. But the Cossacks refused orders to charge, the soldiers refused orders to fire. The police-line drew back. The marchers strode across the bridge, onto the Nevskiy Prospekt and into the center of Petrograd.

The rest is history."

I understand the fear of losing one's job, of being ostracized by one's brothers in blue. I truly do. But sometimes, just sometimes, a person has to reach way down inside for the courage to do what is right. Not every protester is right; there are some who are provoking overreaction. When the police overreact, it becomes a vicious cycle. It's necessary for the free to police themselves, that's one of the tough pieces of freedom. But equally, it's necessary for the police to police fairly and righteously, and question the orders they're given by their corporate masters.
Who are they? Are they Americans or are they hired thugs, like the Pinkertons of old during the mine strikes?

The hilarious thing is that if not for George W Bush, I might never have awakened my radical roots, I might have focused on day to day life and survival and raising my kids or focusing on grandkids until my death. I so admire that lovely 81 year old schoolteacher who was pepper sprayed in Seattle. I hope I'll be that gutsy then.

The hilarious thing is that if not for Barack Obama, I might not be quoting my uncle's views on the Russian revolution.

So let's make a little list, shall we?

NYPD - Pepper spray, batons, the kettling maneuver.

UC Berkeley - Batons

UC Davis - Pepper spray, with the comment by another agency that the use of pepper spray and batons were standard law enforcement behaviors when face with non-compliance. Not, mind you, violence, but non-compliance. A comment was also made that the UC Davis students were resisting. Yes, they were, but non-violently, so far as I could tell in the video, and the officer who brandished the pepper spray before slowly walking down the line of students and very deliberately spraying them in the face, going so far as to lean down enough to make sure he got them, made my jaw drop.

Washington DC - Where the conservative provocateur actually got hammered by the very police officers he hoped would crush the protesters. Sadly, of course, this means that every one else got hammered as well.

Chicago - Rahm Emmanuel - nuff said.

Seattle - Pepper spraying an 81 year old retired school teacher in the face. I've seen the vid, she looks totally dangerous. Oh, look, I rolled my eyes so hard one just took off down the hall.


Oh hell, just make a list of your own, it's too damned depressing.

But your list or my list, above all, remember the telling phrase 'standard law enforcement behaviors for non-compliance'.

Isn't non-violent, passive resistance all about non-compliance? Too bad we don't have a Ghandi.

And that's all the opinion and worry that's fit or unfit to print, ladies and germs. Keep the faith and do not go quietly
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