by AndrewMc | 3/08/2009 04:58:00 AM
Well, I'm out of town for the week, working on some research in England. Tough life, yes.

Mark Grimsley, over at Blog them Out of the Stone Age, highlights a must-see documentary that followed George Wallace and JFK during the Civil Rights crisis of 1963.

Richard Bensel places Obama, Lincoln, and the current fiscal crisis in historical context.

And, the ever-insightful Historiann keeps writing things people really ought to read..

What's on your minds?

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Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/09/2009 12:30 PM:

Speaking of Historiann, the traveling feminist/women's history book discussion has arrived there. I am more than a bit frustrated by the discussion, because it doesn't really afford a lot of entry points for an Asianist, and for someone who doesn't do women's history (or any history) as a political field. The assumptions are too deep and too different. Take this passage:
Bennett’s demand here for more attention to pre-modern history is nothing short of a call for us to return to the longue durée of the Annales school, and is intimately connected to her demand that women’s historians embrace the fact that women’s history is more about continuity than change. This is a radically counter-cultural idea in the historical profession, which is all about the study of change over time. But, as Bennett points out, looking for change over time makes sense in some sub-fields, but perhaps not in others, and anyone working in women’s and gender history and the history of sexuality knows in hir bones that our fields are marked much more by depressing, confounding continuity rather than change.
While I think Gordon Wood (etc., ad nauseum) is grossly overstating the case against history informed by postmodernism, arguments like this one which focus on narrative structure bug the living daylights out of me. Don't get me wrong: I think about narrative when I'm designing a course, but this is a discussion of research for crying out loud! You don't assume your answers when you enter into a research project. That's so fundamental, I don't see how the discussion can proceed beyond that error.


Blogger 1eyedpecker on 3/11/2009 4:16 PM:

Okay,not sure how the thread game is played - not sure of protocol, etc., But here goes anyway -some of my scribbling:


"Obama wants to establish a very powerful socialist, authoritarian government... what Obama is doing is cruel. What the Democrat Party has done is cruel, cruelty in the guise of compassion." -Rush Limbaugh

Contrary to what sweaty, verbose, twisted, bombastic Neo-con windbags such as Rush Limbaugh sputter - "socialism" in America is dead. The bogeyman Limbaugh and company keep trying to inflate to frighten Joe & Jane America is an illusion of Potemkin proportions. Only true idiot villagers see it as a "threat." In fact, the only air in the sails of "socialism" today actually comes from the gaseous emissions the far-right is constantly trying to blow up its long dead ass. And no matter how hard they try to resurrect "Socialism" as a whipping-boy of convenience, it will not float.

Long ago, during the nadir of the Great Depression, America's socialists traded their dogma in for the pragmatic promise of progress. At the periphery of the political process ever since, today's socialists pose no threat to American capitalism: capitalists do. As the Washington Post's Harold Meyerson has aptly observed, US socialists were lured by FDR into trading in their fundamental guiding principles for a chance at partaking in the promise of the New Deal. According to Meyerson, the shift conformed perfectly to the theories of German socialist Eduard Bernstien "who argued that the immediate struggle to humanize capitalism through the instruments of democratic government was everything, and that the goal of supplanting capitalism altogether was meaningless".

Meyerson pegs the US Socialist Party's 1936 decision to endorse FDR's New Deal as the moment when American Socialism abandoned its core beliefs. Since then, in the perverse dance known as US politics, socialists have become little more than the acne riddled policy geeks who can't get the elitist Belle of the Ball to dance with them. Out of tune and out of step with the electorate, they operate solely on the political fringe. The GOP's fear mongering notwithstanding: Today's US Democrats are to socialism, as George W. Bush was to deep thought: both unfamiliar and unacquainted.

In Canada, our 'socialists' long ago found themselves morphing into watered down 'new democrats'. Content to rest on their ancestral laurels and the myths associated with the fight for Medicare; today's NDP is lost. More interested in high profile shenanigans than in presenting voters with a truly alternative political vision; the NDP vainly continues to try and make deals with a status-quo devil their ideological forefathers would have rejected out-of-hand. Opportunists in the true Bernstien-ian sense, Canada's NDP Party perfectly exemplifies Meyerson's point - in North America, socialism is dead.

Socialism is sooo yesterday because its proponents are afraid to speak plainly and take the steps necessary to advocate for the ideology's true principles: nationalization of major industries; and the abolition of the usury speculative fiscal marketplace that props up an economic elite that preys on the poor. In Canada, this has led to the NDP becoming a weirdly-wired and sadly predictable political party destined to remain inconsequential to the debate over true reform. Here, as in the US, voices in support of true socialist ideals are rare, muted and marginalized. Fated to remain largely absent from the coming debate over how we restructure capitalism in the wake of the present crisis. That is a pity.

Better Canada's NDP admit now that they will never win federal power. Better, instead, that it commit itself to a radical new take-no-prisoners political action plan. One designed to exert as much pressure as possible on the sitting government to bring forth real and meaningful social and economic reform. One that pushes the boundaries of acceptable political discourse in this country. One that fervently lobbies for the kind of economic reforms needed to protect us from the very same political status-quo the NDP are constantly trying to appease. Otherwise, nothing will change. Usury capitalism will secure new concessions from the state that see it re-emerge unrepentant and unbowed; and at the end of the day... still in control."

[n.b. Yes it is a cut & paste from my blog. No I am not trying to drum up interest. Yes, I am wondering if anyone else is thinking of such things?]


Blogger AndrewMc on 3/12/2009 1:26 PM:

Yes, many people are. It's entirely appropriate to post a link to your blog, so that others can get there easily and see what you have to say.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 3/13/2009 7:20 PM:

In the "this zombie won't die before I have to teach someone who believes it" category, we have 9/11 was an Israeli-Al-Qaeda conspiracy theories now.....