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Obama is among those who have brains enough to rise to the top, due to the intellectual gifts

he inherited from his parents.  But his rise was impossible without the assistance of elites

who were already in power.  Thus his vague progressivism, which was doomed from

the beginning, is symbolized by his feeble efforts at creating a national health care system.



Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Tea Party Schmee Party

Dems, Reps and Baggers all Have the Same Effect

By Wilson J. Moses


Back during the Presidential campaign of 2008, many of those who opposed the Big Bank Bail-out were Old Reaganites, long-time supporters of the deregulation that allowed the banks to pull down the economy in the first place.  Or they were Old-Goldwaterites, or libertarians, or small-government advocates who oppose the existence of the Federal Reserve System, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and every other mechanism that was established in the 20th century for the ostensible purpose of protecting the public from what Louis Brandeis called “The Money Trust.”

Of course, all the above agencies are controlled by the very entities they are supposed to regulate.  This state of affairs was sardonically predicted in the 1880s by William Graham Sumner, a social Darwinist who insisted that Big Business would inexorably devour individual freedom and that there was nothing anybody could do about it. There was no point in progressive era reform “to make the world better.”  Workers were inevitably doomed to become cogs in monopolistic industrial machines.  

As early as 1776, Adam Smith had noted, the progressive tendencies of society towards industrialization. Smith championed the "labor theory of value."  He believed in the moral and material rights of the working people as did Benjamin Franklin before him and Karl Marx after him.  But Smith, although sympathetic to the rights of the emergent working class, recognized the difficulty of workers ensuring those rights.  He feared that combinations of workers, i.e., labor unions, must always be doomed to failure because, “We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work, but many against combining to raise it.” 

Smith’s statement seemed woefully outdated to anyone looking at the American economy in 1960, when the United Auto Workers was reaching its peak, wages were high, and the population of Detroit was close to 2 million.  The collapse of the Detroit economy, and the concurrent withering of the industrial labor movement, makes Smith’s observations tragically appropriate.  Recent  union busting activities of the Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio legislatures, aided by powerful combinations of anti-labor forces, such as the Koch Brothers, Fox Television, and Donald Trump demonstrate that Smith’s grim observations are every bit as valid today as they were 225 years ago.  It is the “masters,” not the workers, who make the laws.

The masters not only make the laws, but interpret them as well, sometimes turning progressive laws against their original progressive aims.  Sumner observed that progressive laws seemed only to generate endless legal disputes, which ended in court decisions favorable to the bosses, not the workers.  As early as the Slaughterhouse Cases of 1873, the 14th Amendment was being used by a conservative Supreme Court, not to protect the rights of the emancipated slaves, but as a means of breaking the unions.  It was far from the minds of the Justices that trade unions happened, incidentally, to discriminate against black workers; it was very much on their minds that the existence of unions was bothersome to the master class.   The Supreme Court came to support an interpretation of the 14th Amendment that treated corporations as persons—in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (1886).  Thus, as historians Tindall and Shi have observed, “the fourteenth amendment became a judicial harbor for laissez faire.”

In Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, as Wikipedia summarizes, that “spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech.”  Most recently in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205 (2010), the Supreme Court has ruled that money is the same thing as speech.  Thus every political position today reflects the interests of the master class. 

The Supreme Court has deregulated campaign donations, and state legislatures have crippled the labor unions.  Big government no longer balances the interests of big business, and the individual American worker is left to his or her own devices.  The historical tendency of the past 35 years is to carry the society in the direction of feudalism, towards an environment of absolute, unregulated “liberty,” in which life will become increasingly "nasty, brutish, and short."

In the progressive era, a number of wise and temperate members of the elite, most prominently J. P. Morgan, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, recognized the usefulness of a balance between big government and big business, and the necessity of both.  They saw that the anarchy of unbridled capitalism was injurious to the interests of the elite.  For this reason, they worked to fashion a new commonwealth in which government would place limitations on the greed of shallow-thinking capitalists, but could also be used to protect the feckless mob from its own ignorance.

The progressive tradition seeks to protect the mindless masses from their industrial masters as well as from their commercial masters, the greedy banks, insurance companies.  Government is the only instrument that can protect the masses from the free-wheeling robber barons and swaggering exploiters who silently tax them.  As George Fitzhugh observed, the man of strong intelligence and unstable morality exerts a tax on every inferior he encounters. In a world without big government, the brilliant and immoral capitalist exists in the natural state of a feudal lord.  He is a robber baron in a Hobbesian universe.   He desires a state of anarchy in which the ignorant masses suffer from the laissez faire system which they mindlessly praise. 

The Democrats, the Republicans, and the Tea Party are tools of the people of superior intelligence and superior economic resources.  All men are not created equal.   Some are born with more money, more brains, better looks, better social contacts, more powerful families, greater charm.  Others achieve positions of power.  Obama is among those who have brains enough to rise to the top, due to the intellectual gifts he inherited from his parents.  But his rise was impossible without the assistance of elites who were already in power.  Thus his vague progressivism, which was doomed from the beginning, is symbolized by his feeble efforts at creating a national health care system.

I was among the first to criticize Obama’s half-stepping approach to health care.  In my view, he should have “thrown the Hail Mary Pass,” as soon as he took office, by insisting on Socialized Medicine.  If he had done so, the current state of play would have been no worse than it is.   In the political cycle, Obama was destined to face disappointment.  He should have accepted that fact and taken a firmer stand for the principles that ostensibly drove him in the progressive tradition.   Had he done so, the only consequence of Obama's failure, would have been the right to say, “I tried.”  

As it now stands we have a weak health bill that nobody understands, and which is disappointing to most progressives.  A series of reforms that will not take effect immediately, and that has a good chance of being overturned, before it can take effect, humble as it is.

Progressive forces in America are scattered and disorganized, just as Adam Smith predicted centuries ago. Some Pan-Africanists and Afrocentrists are more concerned with defending Gaddafi than with defending the public employees unions.  White workers are terrified of “big government,” suspicious of “big business,” and completely brainwashed by both.  Intellectuals and progressive elites are in complete disarray, and their immediate destiny of weakness and ineffectuality is apparently ineluctable.  

American political thought is dominated by the meaningless rhetoric of three parties, all of which stand ultimately for sinking the price of labor, raising the price of education, protecting the insurance companies, rewarding corrupt bankers, inflating the stock market, cutting taxes, devaluing the currency, and bankrupting the United  States Treasury.

11 April 2011

Source: WilsonMosesBlog

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Note from Editor: To help the reader understand words used in Professor Moses' "Tea Party Schmee Party," namely, "money trust" and "progressivism" and thus the overall thrust of the article, I have (below) presented definitions first from Wikipedia and then from American Progress. I have also made these links within the text  of Moses' article.Rudolph Lewis

Money Trust—Pujo hearings; "We define a money trust as an established identity and community of interest between a few leaders of finance, which has been created and is held together through stock-holding, interlocking directorates, and other forms of domination over banks, trust companies, railroads, public service and industrial corporations, and which has resulted in vast and growing concentration and control of money and credits in the hands of a few men".

Although the Pujo Committee brought public awareness to the existence of money trusts and was instrumental in the enacting of various laws and legislations to address and curb the practice, there is a school of thought that money trusts have continued to thrive and grow since 1913 and continue in the present time.—Wikipedia

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Progressivism has always found expressions both within and outside the major political parties, beginning with the early protest movements of the populists and other third party insurgencies to the transformative candidacies of William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt. As Herbert Croly, co-founder of The New Republic, notes, the most distinctive progressive faction—as opposed to the more populist and agrarian one represented by Bryan—was located within the Republican Party and most fiercely advocated by prominent voices such as Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette of Wisconsin. Roosevelt and La Follette both formed outside Progressive Parties to promote the ideas of national reform after failing to transform the Republican Party into a genuinely progressive vehicle. . . . 

Improvements in American life would not have happened without the pioneering ideas of these early progressives. The shift from conservatism toward progressivism helped to structure our society in far more humane and effective ways and gave real meaning to our founding principles of liberty, equality, and opportunity. Progressives built on this new foundation and expanding levels of support from the American public, successfully amassing a worthy list of policy accomplishments over the last century. These included such landmarks of equality and social justice as the eight-hour workday and 40-hour workweek; the constitutional right to vote, full legal equality, and the elimination of formal discrimination for women and minorities; and Social Security and Medicare to aid the elderly and Medicaid to help low-income families and children.—AmericanProgress

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The Reagan Doctrine of National Suicide  /Open Letter to President Barack Obama

A Time for Peace: A Time for War / Obama’s Libyan Choices

The Country We Believe In  (Obama)  / Tea Party, Schmee Party (Moses

Cornel West and the fight against injustice  /  Cornel West Calls Out Barack Obama  

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.

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Malcolm X

A Life of Reinvention

By Manning Marable

Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist.

Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins' bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.

Manning Marable's new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.

Reaching into Malcolm's troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents' activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 13 April 2011 




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Related files:  Tea Party, Schmee Party   Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination  The History of White People  White Nationalism Black Interests   

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