by AndrewMc | 3/29/2010 08:13:00 AM
It's kind of hard to write a eulogy for anyone, or anything for that matter. There's a sort of finality about summarizing the high points of a life. You know you can't include everything that's important, and if you leave anything out you'll come back later and say "Oh, I can't believe I didn't mention that."

The same is certainly true for blogs and Progressive Historians is no exception.

I started reading this blog a few years ago, and was immediately struck by the forthright intelligence of the editor, Jeremey Young, and of the various writers. Jeremey's energy was a sight to behold, and even when I disagreed with him I couldn't help but admire his ability to get into writing the ideas bouncing around his head. And to do it with a regularity that made me, and others, want to come back to see what new thing was on his mind. Even more importantly, I think, is that when he was wrong he was as strident in his self-correction as he was in making his error. His ability to self-correct is a rarity in the blogging world, and is something that I believe will make him a distinguished historian during the course of his career.

I followed the other writers as well, of course. I can't possibly recall each and every one here, but I will single out Winter Rabbit's tireless advocacy as an example of what makes blogging--and progressivism--great.

A couple of years ago I began to write here, and then in December 2008 I took over the blog when Jeremy's time became too taken up with his studies.

I was always a placeholder though. And my own time became fractured almost immediately after taking over Progressive Historians. I won't get into the gory details, but everyone in academia understands that departments and deans get first dibs on an academics' time, and they tend to make those "requests" quite suddenly. In the past few weeks it has become clear to me that the demands on my time had reached a level at which I could no longer be certain that I could post even weekly.

After speaking with Jeremy we both agreed that it is time to put the blog to bed. A the time of this writing we have had more than 379,000 visits to the site, and are averaging around 250 visitors per day (down from about 450/day at the beginning of the year). That's a pretty impressive accomplishment.

For several years Progressive Historians set a standard for history-blogging, and I know that many of the current writers are still writing elsewhere. As it should be. I hope that Jeremy, too, will return to the blogging world.

So, it's goodbye for now. Thanks to Jeremy for his tireless work. I wish him, and all the others who've written for this blog a fond farewell. If you see me at a meeting, stop me and say "Hi."

by midtowng | 3/28/2010 12:55:00 PM
Mark Twain once said, "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
I wonder what Twain would think if he looked around America today?

When unemployment rates hit crisis levels during the early 1930's, the unemployed took to the streets and demanded relief aid from the government.
Today the unemployed are again taking to the streets, but their demands are somewhat different.
At rallies, gatherings and training sessions in recent months, activists often tell a similar story in interviews: they had lost their jobs, or perhaps watched their homes plummet in value, and they found common cause in the Tea Party’s fight for lower taxes and smaller government.
The Great Depression, too, mobilized many middle-class people who had fallen on hard times. Though, as Michael Kazin, the author of “The Populist Persuasion,” notes, they tended to push for more government involvement. The Tea Party vehemently wants less — though a number of its members acknowledge that they are relying on government programs for help.

It boggles the mind to see unemployed, working class people using their time to demonstrate for less government involvement, while living off of unemployment or social security checks. What exactly are these people thinking? How can people work so directly against their own best interests?
It's an insanity that Thomas Frank spoke of in his book What's the Matter with Kansas?
the country we have inhabited for the last three decades seems more like a panorama of madness and delusion worthy of Hieronymous Bosch: of sturdy patriots reciting the Pledge while they resolutely strangle their own life chances; of small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land; of devoted family men carefully seeing to it that their children will never be able to afford college or proper health care; of hardened blue-collar workers in midwestern burgs cheering as they deliver up a landslide for a candidate whose policies will end their way of life, will transform their region into a “rust belt,” will strike people like them blows from which they will never recover.
I won't try to speculate on these people's knowledge of politics, economics or history, because I don't think ignorance can explain it all. They obviously feel strongly about what they are doing and are willing to sacrifice to achieve it, and that I must respect.
However, you have to wonder if these people know anything at all about how their unemployment insurance and social security checks came into being. I'm only guessing, but I bet they probably believe that the federal government "imposed" these new laws on the people of America. The idea that the federal government fought the concepts tooth and nail, and were forced by a nationwide grassroots movement to approve it, is probably not something that has occurred to these people.

That's why I'd like to tell the story of the International Unemployment Day - March 6, 1930.

Unemployment in 1930

“Any lack of confidence in the economic future or the basic strength of business in the United States is foolish.”
- Herbert Hoover, November 1929

In the early years of the Great Depression, before the New Deal, unemployment was something to fear. In many places there simply was no "outdoor" relief. The elderly and infirm that could not work got institutionalized. Those who needed aid but could work had to turn to degrading work and ostracism at almshouses or workhouses. The relief system created a pariah underclass to serve as a warning to the struggling workers of America, and even this pathetic system was easily overwhelmed during hard times.

Even when unemployment was endemic, the poor suffered in silence, often blaming themselves for their short-comings. Occasionally, when unemployment became so widespread that it reached destructive levels, the unemployed began to realize that their misfortune wasn't a result of personal failings.
It was at these times that the unemployed would take to the streets. When that happened they were almost always met with police brutality. Tompkins Square Park in New York City was the scene of several of these events during the 19th Century. Coxey's Army in 1894 was a milestone that helped create public soup kitchens in most cities, but nothing else.
Being unemployed in America in 1930 still meant that you were on your own.

Since no official unemployment numbers were kept before 1938, no one knows for absolute certainty how bad things got and at what pace. However, President Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security later estimated that the number of unemployed jumped from 429,000 in October 1929 to 4,065,000 in January 1930. While below 9%, the rate of job loss was sudden and dramatic.
Nevertheless, the depression was still early. The nation had seen severe, but short, recessions before. Most people in Washington felt that they just needed to wait it out.

"Gentleman, you have come sixty days too late. The depression is over."
- Herbert Hoover, responding to a delegation requesting a public works program to help speed the recovery, June 1930

There was one group that considered the depression very differently. They didn't blame the unemployed for their misfortune. They blamed the economic system that tolerated this suffering. These people were very unpopular in powerful circles.
The group was called the Trade Union Unity League, and it was an industrial umbrella group for the Communist Party of the United States. It had been formed just six months earlier, and its purpose was to organize disenfranchised groups such as women, the unemployed, and blacks in the South.
They were in the right place at the right time. Until 1931 they were the only national organization in America that was agitating for federal relief.

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The TUUL was led by William Zebulon Foster. Since entering the working world at the tender age of 10, Foster had bounced around between various left-wing labor organizations. He was a member of the Socialist Party, the IWW, and the AFL at different times. He earned his credentials serving time in prison for free speech, and being run out of town at gunpoint by corporate thugs. Disillusioned by the failure of the 1919 Steel Strike, he joined the Communist Party in 1923. In 1929 he became the General Secretary for the CPUSA.


The TUUL's strategy was simple - make it impossible for people to ignore the suffering via confrontation.
Bleeding heads converted unemployment from a little-noticed to a page-one problem in every important newspaper in every important city in the United States. No one could any longer afford to ignore it.
If bleeding heads were the objective, the police were more than happy to oblige.

Two thousand demonstrated for "free food for children" in Cleveland on February 11, 1930. The mounted police charged and beat the demonstrators. It was the first of many to come.
On February 14, 1930, 250 TUUL member demonstrated at City Hall Plaza in Philadelphia "to point out that while the manufacturers are reaping huge profits...there are 200,000 unemployed workers in the city of Philadelphia."
During the fifteen-minute engagement with 150 patrolmen, detectives and mounted policemen two of the paraders were sent to hospitals and seventeen were arrested.
- NY Times
The very next week, 1,200 jobless men and women marched on City Hall in Chicago, but before they reached their goal "they were dispersed by mounted and foot policemen, who swept through them time and again, swinging sticks right and left."
A few days later the police broke up a mob of 3,000 unemployed men in Los Angeles with tear gas before they had a chance to start their march. Several more communists were sent to the hospital before the jail.
The same day about 100 mostly women and children, carrying a banner that said "We demand relief for the unemployed" attempted another demonstration in front of City Hall in New York. Once again there was a police riot.
"In the riot which resulted, women and children of from 8 to 15 years were roughly handled and beaten by the police, who used their fists.
"When the detectives, patrolmen and mounted men finally cleared City Hall Park, three women, two girls, and a man had been arrested and locked up at the Oak Street station charged with disorderly conduct. Those beaten and bruised were left to shift for themselves."
- NY Times, March 2, 1930
It's amazing to think that the police could beat women and children with their fists and still be considered the "good guys". But in these days communists were something less than human, even when they came in the form of 8 year old girls. It wasn't just the Nazis of Germany that had a sub-human class.

"Unemployment is increasing - the crisis is sharpening. Everywhere misery and suffering exists and increases daily.
"Billions of dollars for bosses' wars - wage-cuts, unemployment for the workers."

- TUUL handbill, 1930

By this time the decision was made to perform an unprecedented, global demonstration of unemployed men and women to draw attention to the growing depression. They called it International Unemployment Day. Flyers were handed out, the communists began organizing.
The authorities responded first by smears. The media reported that Foster received $1.25 million from, of all places, Berlin.
"The Department of Justice hopes also by this fake story to demoralize the great unemployed demonstration on March 6, which is to be world wide."
- William Foster
The authorities next turned to their most effective weapon - fear.

The following day a story was released to the media about 88 boxes of dynamite being stolen from a construction site in the Bronx. The police "believed the explosives might have been stolen by Communists to make bombs" for the demonstration (NY Times, March 3, 1930). No proof was offered and no one was arrested for the theft.
Then there were stories about communist plans to blow up City Hall, the New York Stock Exchange, assassinate President Hoover, John D. Rockefeller, Mayor Walker, and several others.
The New York police amassed riot wagons, armored vehicles, tear gas bombs, and machine guns. Several people were arrested simply for handing out circulars announcing the demonstration.

Chicago also had a "bomb plot". Police there raided communist headquarters the night before in the hopes of finding weapons.
The Detroit police readied firehoses. Boston also arrested "sympathizers" for distributing handbills about the demonstration, and refused to authorize any mass meeting "under any circumstance". Atlanta formed a riot squad after refusing to issue a permit for a parade.

The red-baiting and repression by authorities had reached such a level of hysteria that educators and artists, such as H.L. Mencken, issued a petition warning of the dangers of a new Red Scare.
"An Ohio court has actually sentenced two young girls to ten years for distributing pamphlets. In California more than 900 unemployed were arrested for the crime of being out of work. In Chicago 137 are being tried for sedition for holding an indoor meeting to discuss unemployment...In the South workers are being sent to the chain-gang for organizing unions.
"To combat this persecution for political opinion, concerted protest is necessary. The people of the United States must be awakened to the threatened complete destruction of their civil rights."
- John Reed Club petition, May 1930
I wonder what the tea party protesters of today would think if they met the same sort of repression that the socialists of 1930 encountered? Would they still think that health care reform and government benefits was the problem?

Interestingly, the American Federation of Labor viewed the coming demonstration not as an opportunity, but as a personal threat. Joseph Ryan, the vice-president of the AFL, said in response to reports of tens of thousands of workers planning to quit for half a day to join the demonstration "it will not be permitted".
The AFL accused the demonstrations of being "a well-designed policy, directed from Moscow, to stir up as much trouble as possible. It is inconceivable that any party or organization can be so devoid of any sense of decency to resort to such measures."
The AFL said that the motives behind the demonstrations didn't represent the unemployed. Yet, for some reason, the unemployed kept turning up at the demonstrations.

The Big Day

"The seven million totally unemployed and millions more of part-time workers in the United States are not going to passively starve.
- William Foster

Despite similar repression and intimidation, when the sun rose on March 6, 1930, in Europe, the leftists turned out by the tens of thousands. The authorities responded as expected.
Two demonstrators were killed in Berlin. In Vienna the police charged the crowd with fixed bayonets. 15 were shot and wounded in Bilboa, Spain. Everywhere there were arrests and beatings by police.
Less violent demonstrations happened in London and Sydney.
The New York Times were quick to announce that the worldwide protest was a "complete fiasco" for the communists. It never said exactly why that was.

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In spite of the hysteria, beatings, arrests, and general repression, workers and unemployed turned out in massive numbers in America. Somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 turned out in New York City.
William Foster was guilty of "inciting" the demonstrators to "march"
The police prepared for action as soon as it became apparent that all hopes for averting a riot had been shattered by the Communists' defiance. Immediately after Foster's speech some 2,000 communists forming the heart of the audience, led by special cohorts bearing inflammatory signs, moved in the direction of Broadway and down toward Sixteenth Street and the battle began.
- NY Time, March 1930
I'm not sure how "moving" towards downtown constitutes a "riot", but it was all the police needed as an excuse.

"If this were a meeting of bankers you wouldn't keep them from marching on City Hall."
- William Foster to Police Chief Whalen
The mob was led by a group of children holding aloft placards and singing the Internationale.
Maybe its just me, but when I think of a "mob" I don't picture singing children.
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Hundreds of policemen and detectives, swinging nightsticks, blackjacks and bare fists, rushed into the crowd, hitting out at all with whom they came in contact, chasing many across the street and into adjacent thoroughfares and rushing hundreds off their feet. Some of the Communists showed fight. This only served to spur the police, whose attack carried behind it the force of an avalanche.
- NY Times, March 1930
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More than a hundred of the New York demonstrators were hurt when mounted police charged the crowd. Hundreds more were arrested, usually after being beaten.
Foster and four other communist leaders were arrested and held without bail for the crime of unlawful assembly - a misdemeanor. Weeks later they were still in jail. Police Chief Whalen received a commendation from the Chamber of Commerce for his handling of the situation.

The scene was repeated all over the country. In Cleveland, over 10,000 unemployed demonstrated. The moment the demonstration was scheduled to be over, mounted police charged the crowd, "scattering it like chaff".
In Detroit over 75,000 turned out for a massive protest.
The threatening crush, which might have meant serious injuries to many, was averated when the police ordered Woodward Avenue cars and buses to drive straight through the crowd-jammed street.
- NY Times, March 1930
I'm not exactly certain how driving buses into crowds was supposed to prevent injuries.

In Pittsburgh, around 5,000 demonstrators were attacked by police after a march of just half a block. Five were hospitalized.
In Boston, police arrested five men and one woman the moment that a crowd began to form. 42 were arrested in Milwaukee. Five more were arrested in Buffalo, 12 in Seattle, and three in New Haven.
In Madison, a group of university students attacked the unemployed demonstration.
In Washington D.C. the police used tear gas against a mostly black demonstration in front of the White House after one of the leaders attempted to give a speech from the fence. Nine of them were beaten and arrested.
Several of the band of radicals were small Negro boys 9 or 10 years old, who carried placards opposing child labor.
The following day, the NY Times headline was (I kid you not!) "Communist demonstrators are charged at Washington with using bad language." I didn't even know that could be a crime.
The unemployed were given sentences of $50 (a fortune for someone out of work in those days) or spending 30 days in jail.

Demonstrations in Philadelphia, Youngstown, Denver, San Francisco, and many other cities were uneventful.


A lot of people got seriously hurt, but did they accomplish anything? Yes.

On the very same day as the demonstration, the Canadian legislature passed an unemployment relief bill. Within a couple months, member of Congress were on the floor proposing bills for relief programs for the unemployed.
What was noticeable was that the suffering of the unemployed was finally pushed to the front page. The media would continue to make efforts to ignore the suffering. Food riots, while common, wouldn't get reported because of the fear that it would alarm the public. But the March 6, 1930, demonstrations caused the first crack in this wall of silence. By 1932, the wall of silence finally broke down.

Even more importantly, despite the brutal repression, the March 6 demonstration began a trend. As the Great Depression got worse month after month, and unemployment skyrocketed with no end in sight, the unemployed demonstration grew in size. Before long, a demonstration of more than 100,000 was common.
With these demonstration came organization and education. People began to question the model of capitalism that the authorities enforced with an iron fist. By late 1932, the general public had decided that the country needed a real change.

I think the world needs another International Unemployment Day.

by AndrewMc | 3/21/2010 06:27:00 PM
I hope people are watching history being made.


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by AndrewMc | 3/19/2010 09:00:00 AM
This rambling is a short one.

Today (Friday) is the seventh anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It's hard to believe that it's been seven years since we began a war that saw us greeted as liberators by the Iraqi people, and in which we were, thankfully, able to safely remove the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein had been amassing to use against his neighbors and against us (here, here). It's a shame that Hussein chose the path he did, and several months earlier had thrown weapons inspectors out of Iraq, rendering them incapable of tracking Hussein's programs.

All nations agreed that war was imminent, and that action was needed (here, here, here, here).

And the war came.

Today, the peaceful democracy that is Iraq has helped pave the way for democracy across the region.

And, all of this was accomplished for the relatively small price of under $2 billion dollars.

Take a few moments to remember what happens when your government engages in a systematic campaign of everything ranging from subtle misdirections to outright lies. And when people don't stand up to that government on those issues, the result is an illegal war.

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by Clio Bluestocking | 3/18/2010 01:04:00 PM
Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. Others wear their ignorance on their chests.

Count how many things are wrong with this t-shirt: "Standing Alone Against Northern Aggression Since 1861":

1) 1861? South Carolina seceded in December 1860.

2) Since 1861? Alone? Really? How many states seceded? How many fought against the U.S. Army? How many states enacted Jim Crow? How many segregated the races? How many fought every piece of progressive legislation to appear before Congress in the past century or more? Also, would you really want to use a "national" flag -- one that was supposed to represent a confederation involving more than one state -- to symbolize and emphasize your isolation?

3) Northern Aggression? When even that alleged dyed-in-the-wool Yankee abolitionist Abraham Lincoln said that he believed that he did not have the power to violate the concept of private property and free slaves in states where the institution was protected? Or during Plessy v. Ferguson? Or the rise of Jim Crow? Or ....well, you get the picture. Based on the shape of the Confederate flag in the background of the image, a shape that became popular during the resistance to the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century, I'd say that "northern aggression" means anytime that white folks have to recognize the humanity and -- at the very least -- political equality of black folks.

4) Given that SC has been majority black for a majority of its history since colonization, I hardly think that this is the majority opinion in the state. Are they trying to erase that part of the population as well as their participation in history? After all, African American participation in that history might be in direct opposition to the interpretation on this t-shirt?

Or perhaps the majority, African American position might be similar. They have been standing alone against northern aggression aiding and abetting southern aggression against non-whites for most of U.S. history. Only, the dates on the shirt would probably include "except" rather than "since."

This store did not get our business.

Cross-posted at Clio Bluestocking Tales.

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by Winter Rabbit | 3/17/2010 07:33:00 PM
"Mr. Joel's Army himself," C. Peter Wagner, is in the video below. The title of it is “Native American Christian Reconciliation Ministry.”

Rick Warren's (amazingly extensive) connections with Joel's Army groups

a) Apparently being directly mentored by none other than Mr. Joel's Army himself (C. Peter Wagner) and actively teaching at Wagner's ordination mill, Fuller Seminary and cross-promotion of Wagner's and Warren's material by the two

Video is down, go here

Below is the type of rhetoric heard in the video.

Blog Against Theocracy


They are GATE KEEPERS for this land... this is part of the healing for America... God told Bobby Conner that we had to COME THROUGH THEM INTO AMERICA!!!

One of the Indian leaders prays for REVIVAL to come to America and to all of the First Nation People...Bob Jones comes up... the First Nation People are the keepers of the land... they have the ability to bless the land... they are a spiritual people... when they get saved, they naturally know how to flow in the Spirit.

Furthermore, this is written by Jean Steffenson of the "Native American Resource Network," who was in the video along with "Mr. Joel's Army himself," C. Peter Wagner.

The other native leaders expressed a deep gratitude for the Word of God that came and repented for the resistance that had been built against the gospel. They welcomed King Jesus into the land to take His place and fill this land with His glorious presence. Jay shut the gate to the Babylonian spirit and made some declarations that I believe engaged the angels of God and terrified the demonic powers.

What is "the gate to the Babylonian spirit" that she believes "terrified the demonic powers?" Let's review what we know first.

First, an overview of “Reconciliation” Cultural Genocide.

Use of Reconciliation Events

Glazier is on the board of the International Reconciliation Coalition founded by John
Dawson, International President of YWAM (Youth With a Mission). The reconciliation
approach, including reconciliation walks, has been used to gain access to Native American groups in the U.S and Canada, and also to African Americans, Amish, Turkish Muslims, and other groups around the world. Link to "Palin and the Apostles" for an account of New Apostolics in a prophetic ceremony representing the shielding of Native Alaskans from interference from other churches and social services.

Reconciliation is designed to remove the generational curses and other demons which are
preventing the target group from being open to evangelization. For instance, a reconciliation walk in Turkey in 1999 was advertised as apologizing for the Crusades to the Muslim population. However, following the reconciliation walk, the New Apostolics embarked on an aggressive proselytizing campaign which included a ceremony in the Ephesus amphitheater. Organized by Ted Haggard and others and with participation of groups from Korea, they chanted Jesus is Lord for four hours in the amphitheater.

Second, let's review a reconciliation event that ended in "native artifacts and ritual items like carved masks were thrown into bonfires."

The New Apostolic Reformation was formed as an institution through the efforts of C. Peter Wagner. More details on the history of this movement are in the section "Sources of the Transformations." Wagner has developed a network of 500 Apostles, most with Apostolic networks of their own over which they have authority. In addition to this structure there is a national and international structure of "prayer warriors" overseen by Apostles. Initially named the Spiritual Warfare Network, this structure has been renamed twice, first to the United States Strategic Prayer Network (USSPN), and again recently to the United States Global Apostolic Prayer Network (USGAPN). There is also an international network under the authority of Wagner.

- snip -

However, the story moves on to one island area that remained blighted despite the miracles. This is an island on which the indigenous populations' ancestors had killed a missionary in 1867. The video shows the process through which the community prayed, fasted, and repented of this generational curse. Like other vignettes in the Transformation videos, native artifacts and ritual items like carved masks were thrown into bonfires. The descendants of the murdered (and eaten) missionary traveled to the island to attend a ceremony of repentance by the inhabitants and release them from the generational curse. The island was also miraculously renewed after the event, including the immediate cleansing of a poisonous polluted stream.

Now, what is "the gate to the Babylonian spirit" that Jean Steffenson believes "terrified the demonic powers?"

The repentance, forgiveness and declarations that took place at Plymouth Rock and the town of Plymouth, MA September 27th got the attention of God and His adversaries. Jeremiah 1:10 came to my mind as we stood at this historical and present day gateway. There were many things that took root at this gate and were spread throughout the country, some good - some bad. The pilgrims no doubt loved God and wanted to serve Him. Yet In their zeal to have religious freedom they inadvertently gave place to a religious spirit. They sought a place of liberty to practice their beliefs and they fell into that age-old trap of legalism as was evident in their ministry to the native people. On the good side was the Indian's friend, John Elliot, who brought them the gospel with
the love of God.

And just who was this "Indian's friend, John Elliot" who demanded the American Indians act "civilized" by farming, wearing English clothes, cutting their hair, cease practicing their culture, and discarding their real names for English ones?

Excerpt from "Puritans, Indians & Manifest Destiny" (Charles M. Segal and David C. Stineback. pp. 155-157.

In 1647, one year after Massachusetts launched its missionary effort, John Eliot recorded - with what must have been some embarrassment - a question put to him by Wabbakoxets, reputed to have been an old powwow: "...why did we never teach them to know God till now?...."

"It is therefore ordered and decreed, by this Court, for the honor of the eternal God, whom only we worship & serve, that no person within the jurisdiction, whether Christian or pagan, either by willful or obstinate denying the true God, or his creation or government of the world, or shall curse God, or reproach the holy religion of God, as if it were but a politic device to keep ignorant men in awe, nor shall utter any other eminent kind of blasphemy, of the like nature & degree; if any person or persons whatsoever, within our jurisdiction, shall break this law they shall be put to death."

What a perfect compliment to Joel’s Army that is.

One of the parts of their theology that is very rarely discussed--save by a few of us researchers--is that they are one of the very few groups on the planet to literally have a theological mandate for not only genocide but near omnicide--both pre- and post-Tribulation. Combined with the known use of coercive tactics and the decidedly unique interpretations of Biblical verses that claim they're part of an end-time army of "God Warriors"'s not exaggeration to state this is a potential threat to humanity.

- big snip –

And if this doesn't scare you yet--these groups may have influence to the very highest levels of government and documented histories of particularly horrific genocides (ask Guatemala about the hell it endured under Gen. Rios Montt sometime)...and the largest denomination embracing "Joel's Army" theology has an estimated membership of nearly three million people...and they've rather explicitly targeted the largest Protestant denomination in the US, the Southern Baptist Convention, for total conversion from within.

To conclude, I’m reposting the first part of Opinion: American Fascists or Christian Fascists?

American fascism is the term used by Dr. James Luther Adams, who “was in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church.” He said that American fascists would dismantle the open society, using scripture, during “prolonged social instability or a national crisis.” Either of those conditions certainly meets the living conditions on many reservations of their social structure and their Nation. I argue from definition that "Christian fascists" or American fascists are appropriate to be applied to those who christianize Indigenous People as well as to be applied to those who committed ”the slaughters of yesteryear" for the following reasons:

Duncan Campbell Scott, an Indian Affairs Superintendent, created the term “Final Solution;” Christianizing Indigenous People has historically destroyed cultures and languages, an activity still practiced; Baer before the U.N. said, “the international community should begin to view the violation of language rights as a crime against humanity;” and, the fact that Indigenous People exist in the post Extermination stage of genocide, while the general dominant culture practices the post Extermination stage of genocide, which is Denial. To clarify, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, ”The term ‘Final Solution”’was not coined by the Nazis, but by Indian Affairs Superintendent Duncan Campbell Scott in April of 1910 when he referred to how he envisioned the “Indian Problem” being resolved.” Hence, Christian fascism or American fascism by definition is appropriate when discussing christianizing Indigenous People, and is appropriate to be applied to those who committed ”the slaughters of yesteryear" - strictly my own opinion. Lastly, I think both Christian fascism and American fascism should have two categories: violent fascism and non – violent fascism (for the post Extermination stage of genocide) with definitions fitting both categories and used according to the timeline. Let me explain.

I would say that Christian fascists were and are more motivated by Christendom. For example, Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 combined with his religious motivations for making it led Pope Alexander VI to issue a Papal Bull in 1493. Pope Alexander VI ordered Ferdinand and Isabella to observe and to do the following: that the primary purpose of all future voyages and ensuing discoveries of land and people was to Christianize and “overthrow” any Nations who resisted; that Columbus himself be used for the next voyage, since there was consensus among Columbus, Ferdinand, Isabella, and the Papacy with regards to spreading Christianity to the entire world; that the Indians might have been good converts; that all this was to be carried out “By the Authority of Almighty God;” that it applied to the entire world; that any possible Christian rulers were to not be overthrown; that Ferdinand and Isabella had power over such possible Christian rulers, while the Papacy had power over them and any possible Christian rulers; that overthrown Nations would have a Christian ruler put in place; that anyone who traded with anyone who overthrew a Christian ruler would be excommunicated; and that anyone who went against the Papal Bull would “Incur the wrath of Almighty God.”


From the moment of its birth Christianity had envisioned the end of the world. Saints and theologians differed on many details about the end, but few disagreements were as intense as those concerned with the nature and timing of the events involved...As word of these predictions spread, the most fundamental affairs of both Church and state were affected. And there had been no previous time in human history when ideas were able to circulate further or more rapidly, for it was in the late 1430s that Johann Gutenberg developed the technique of printing with movable type cast in molds. It has been estimated that as many as 20 million books-and an incalculable number of pamphlets and tracts-were produced and distributed in Europe between just 1450 and 1500."

I think Christian fascists, which could be an international term, have more motivations from Christendom than do American fascists.

by AndrewMc | 3/17/2010 06:00:00 AM
As many of you have no doubt seen, the Texas State Board of "Education" has re-worked the state standards to bring them more in line with a far-right agenda that seeks to re-write history, subsuming it to the political expediency of programming a generation of school children.

From the New York Times:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

The vote was 10 to 5 along party lines, with all the Republicans on the board voting for it.

A great deal of alarm has been raised over these developments, but I think there may be hope for a positive outcome.

First, some of the issues. It has been clear for a number of years that in Texas education takes a back seat to neo-conservative evangelical political indoctrination. The state Board of Education has for years been re-writing the standards a little bit at a time in an effort to weed out what conservatives on the board see as the pernicious influence of liberalism.

Over time this has resulted in the removal or devaluing of the contributions of such figures as Cesar Chavez and others in the labor movement. Civil Rights has taken a back seat to cheerleading the United States' role in the Cold War. And Joseph McCarthy has reemerged as an American hero.

From the Washington Post:

A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

More interesting, from my own perspective, Thomas Jefferson will be removed as one of the people studied in order to understand the Enlightenment. Now I know we tend to study Jefferson in a rather bland way, as the person who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Resolutions, the 3rd president, etc. But he is a key Enlightenment thinker, and the Declaration of Independence is important as a summation of a number of key Enlightenment principles.

Not the least of these is "we hold these truths to be self-evident." It would be hard to find a more concise summation of Enlightenment principles in a widely distributed public document. It almost perfectly captures the spirit of the Enlightenment.

According to the New York Times article, "Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term 'separation between church and state'.” He was also a Deist, which is problematic if you're trying to make the case that the Founders intended to establish a Christian nation. Sure, many of the Founders were Deists, but TJ was certainly one of the more vocal Deists.

So, what to make of all this ignorance? Bloggers have gone 'round and 'round, with much sputtering. And I agree with news and bloggers at HNN weighing in with resounding criticism.

But let me offer a positive spin. It's not news that the current economy has hit states quite hard, and that education budgets in all states are taking a hit. If anything good is to come from the Texas Board of Education's revision to the standards, it's that now may be the time for states to jettison traditional textbooks in favor of online sources, DIY texts, and other electronic materials. Some are much cheaper, some are free, and some electronic materials could certainly be linked to district-level grant initiatives that might bring both technology and educational materials into the classroom.

So, now is the time. Are you outraged by what's going on in Texas? Do you see that this is going to have a broad effect on how school districts in your states purchase textbooks? Then start helping out. Help your district or state assemble an online textbook that speaks to your state standards and/or the national standards and can be had cheaper than a traditional textbook. Don't let Texas dictate what your schools teach.

In many ways, this is a teachable moment. Seize it.

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by Unknown | 3/15/2010 12:50:00 PM
According to a new policy adopted by the American Historical Association, AHA members can now create "interest groups," or sub-societies under the AHA's auspices. All that's needed is an application and signatures from 50 AHA members.

I've argued before for a Bloggers' Caucus at the AHA to push for more recognition of history blogging as a vital scholarly endeavor deserving of favorable consideration during the hiring and tenure processes. It seems to me the interest group setup would be ideal for such a caucus; bloggers could constitute themselves as a pressure group within the AHA while also sponsoring affiliated panels, lunches, and awards at the conference to promote blogging as scholarship.

All we'd need to get started is an organizer. I nominate Ralph Luker, Jonathan Dresner, or Claire Potter for the position.

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by AndrewMc | 3/05/2010 11:59:00 AM
As usual, Frank Rich nails is.

No one knows what history will make of the present — least of all journalists, who can at best write history’s sloppy first draft. But if I were to place an incautious bet on which political event will prove the most significant of February 2010, I wouldn’t choose the kabuki health care summit that generated all the ink and 24/7 cable chatter in Washington. I’d put my money instead on the murder-suicide of Andrew Joseph Stack III, the tax protester who flew a plane into an office building housing Internal Revenue Service employees in Austin, Tex., on Feb. 18. It was a flare with the dark afterlife of an omen.

The modern conservative movement has gone completely batshit crazy, and makes no apologies for it.

Follow me . . .

Rove says this about the questions surrounding the complete lack of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and therefore the lack of any justification for the war:

"When the pattern of the Democratic attacks became apparent in July 2003, we should have countered in a forceful and overwhelming way," he writes. "We should have seen this for what it was: a poison-tipped dagger aimed at the heart of the Bush presidency."

Hey, Karl? No. It wasn't a "pattern of Democratic attacks." It was a growing recognition that the administration had gotten us into a war on false pretenses, therefore needlessly sacrificing the blood and treasure of the nation. At best it was a horrible mistake. At worst it was criminal in nature. My only regret is that instead of throwing you and your cronies in jail, it seems as if the judgment will be left to subsequent generations.

But, hey, thanks for spelling the name of my political party correctly. It's more than I can say for most Republicans.

There's a movement afoot to repeal the 17th amendment. No, seriously.

Here's the logical from bizarro-land, where history stops in 1789:

Until 1913, when the 17th Amendment was ratified, the citizens of the states elected U.S. senators indirectly: Voters elected the state legislators, and they in turn selected U.S. senators. From 1913 onward, voters have directly elected U.S. senators in statewide elections.

This change has led to a number of negative results, including

-Vastly increased federal power and vastly decreased state, local, and personal authority due to the state governments losing their representation in the federal government;

-The domination of Senate elections (and legislation) by forces outside of the particular states wherein elections are being held, e.g., out-of-state donations, political party operatives, and campaign consultants; and

-A decline of the influence of individual voters and small, local associations of voters over who is selected to be a senator from their state.

Two weeks ago I wrote about Don McLeroy, the Texas State Board of Education rep who was singlehandedly, and gleefully, re-writing history. On Tuesday he lost the primary to get reelected. A sliver of sanity from the Lone Star state.

Head 'em up, and move 'em out.

On the one hand, if it's a private institution, they have the right to think, teach, and run their college in any way they want:

Erskine is part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, which describes itself as conservative and evangelical -- well to the right, on political and social issues, of other Presbyterian churches. The ARP (as members call it) is also small, with only 250 churches, so a requirement that all faculty or students at its only college be church members wouldn't yield enough people qualified to enroll or teach. The college has required all faculty members to be Christians, and students of all faiths have been welcome -- with only a minority of students and faculty members coming from the ARP.

This week, however, church leaders will gather to discuss a special report they commissioned about Erskine, which has been well regarded academically for its liberal arts programs, but which critics fear has strayed from its founding faith. The report has not been finalized or formally released, but some faculty members have seen it, as have some outside the college. The report is seemingly most critical of the church leaders themselves, saying that they have been "negligent" in overseeing the college. But the reasons given for why this negligence is faulted have many faculty members scared.

On the other hand, why on earth would they jeopardize faculty retention?

Man, I'd love to believe this is true.

No wonder I feel like I'm not getting enough sleep.

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by AndrewMc | 3/03/2010 06:00:00 AM
In the past few weeks there have been a number of incidents on campuses and in classrooms around the nation that touch on the thorny issue of freedom of speech.

This isn't a new issue—Universities and courts have been grappling with this since the campus protest movements of the 1960s.

But it seems that the problem has come into fresh relief recently. Below the fold I'll bring you a few cases of contested speech, some of which have developed into court cases, others of which I'm just pulling out in order to highlight.

I'll be interested to see what you think.

To my mind, college campuses, and to a lesser but still important degree the secondary classrooms, are a touchy place in which to contest the issue of freedom of speech. Especially on campuses, there should be even more leniency when it comes to freedom of speech.

A college campus exists as a cauldron of ideas. It is a place where ideas and issues should be debated without fear of recrimination or persecution. A campus is a place where extra care should be given to allow people to voice crazy, wild, profound, useless and useful ideas, and where counter debate can go on.

Here's the first of the free speech issues. My own opinion is that the speech here is protected. What do you say?

Every few minutes during a talk last week at the University of California at Irvine, the same thing happened. A student would get up, shout something critical of Israel, be applauded by some in the audience, and be led away by police.

The speaker -- Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States -- was repeatedly forced to stop his talk. He pleaded for the right to continue, and continued. University administrators lectured the students and asked them to let Oren speak. In the end, 11 students were arrested and they may also face charges of violating university rules.

Those who interrupted Oren, not surprisingly, are strong critics of Israel who believe that they must draw attention to the Palestinian cause. But an argument put forward by some national Muslim leaders in the last week has sent the discussion in a new direction. Those groups maintain that interrupting a campus speech -- even repeatedly -- should be seen as a protected form of speech.

OK, how about here?

MIAMI — A South Florida teenager who sued her former principal after she was suspended for creating a Facebook page criticizing a teacher can proceed with her lawsuit, a federal judge has ruled.

The student, Katherine Evans, is seeking to have her suspension expunged from her disciplinary record. School officials suspended her for three days, saying she had been “cyberbullying” the teacher, Sarah Phelps. Ms. Evans is also seeking a “nominal fee” for what she argues was a violation of her First Amendment rights, her lawyers said, and payment of her legal fees.

Is this protected speech?

It also seems to me that school officials are quick to overreact to almost any perceived threat. But the schools' intrusions into students lives seems to go far beyond the need to maintain discipline while providing an education.

Consider these two cases, where school administrators confess to using school-donated laptops to spy on children in their homes. The justification is that the school purchase the laptops, and the kids are supposed to be doing homework. OK, I understand that we want to kids to do the assigned work. But spying on them through a remote camera in their own homes? Without their knowledge?

I'm wondering about the path down which this nation has wandered with regards to free speech and privacy. It probably pre-dates 9/11, but since then we have casually accepted governmental intrusion into even the most mundane aspects of our lives. And far from any kind of outrage, what we see is a broad tolerance. Even justification.

There's a bit of outcry over the school administrators' spying on minors, and the ACLU is involved. But in newspapers and news shows this trend has gotten very little attention.

Are we more generally tolerant of government subversion of freedom of speech and privacy? I think there's something to be said for the idea that the United States is trending towards a police state. Or at least towards one in which police tactics are tolerated and seen as OK.

Consider the recent 9th Circuit Court court decision, which essentially invented new law by allowing police to enter your home without any warrant.

Or the practice on the part of New York police officers of stopping anyone they can in order to get their names into a criminal database.

What on earth is going on here?

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