Leave a comment

These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without faith and worship without awareness… Anthony de Mello

There have always been internal and external pressures on America. The British attempted to turn both the slaves and the indians against first the American Revolution and then against they new nation in 1812 only to abandon and betray both when they were defeated. We have grown and fostered our own radicals like John Brown, supported by Thoreau and the unwashed awakening of New England. After Lincoln used the abolitionists to gain the White House and equally unprincipled Southerners used the frustrated anger of the semi-literate members of the Ku Klux Klan to ostensibly defend themselves against the worst depredations of an occupying power – and maybe really since Andrew Jackson first mad the mob king in 1828 – the lunatic fringe has always had a seat at the table in American politics.

The non-combatant famous for decrying, "We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting. Make way for Democracy!."

The non-combatant famous for decrying, “We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting. Make way for Democracy!.”

The willingness of these groups to piggyback on one another – or be manipulated into cooperation by someone who sees an over reaching goal – is what has turned the isolated pockets of insanity into political movements. Suffregetes and prohibitionist made common cause until women got the vote and dried up the country. Democrats seeking to exploit the black vote in the South – which was solidly Republican from Lincoln through Taft – joined forces with their labor unions – who had joined, through their European connections – with the most radical elements of socialism, including finally communism and so you have the solid blocks of the modern Democratic Party. The Labor Wing and the Black Wing both of which have solid underpinnings in socialism which is no stranger to violence as a continuation of politics.

Golla Chambers, House 38 Loray Mill, Gastonia, N.C. 12 years old. In mill 3 years, spinning 2 years, weaver 1 year. Other sisters spinners. Location: Gastonia, North Carolina.

Golla Chambers, House 38 Loray Mill, Gastonia, N.C. 12 years old. In mill 3 years, spinning 2 years, weaver 1 year. Other sisters spinners. Location: Gastonia, North Carolina.

One of the examples cited in the book is the mill riots in Gastonia, N.C. where labor was to claim a great victory. Though unsuccessful in attaining its goals of better working conditions and wages, the strike was considered very successful by labor since it caused an immense controversy which gave the labor movement publicity which propelled the movement in its national development. We have included before and after pictures so that the reader can see that the conditions may not have been idyllic before the riots but apparently only the leadership benefited as a consequence since the mills closed and the workers were reduced to being sharecroppers.

White sharecropper family, formerly mill workers in the Gastonia textile mills. When the mills closed down seven years ago, they came to this farm near Hartwell, Georgia

White sharecropper family, formerly mill workers in the Gastonia textile mills. When the mills closed down seven years ago, they came to this farm near Hartwell, Georgia

Defying Dixie: the radical roots of civil rights, 1919-1950 New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c 2008 Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore Radicalism Southern States History 20th century Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xii, 642 p., [24] p. of plates: ill.; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 559-620) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Portrait of Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones in Langston Hughes' Don't You Want to be Free?. He would later be blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s for some of the contacts he had made through Hughes and his radical milleau

Portrait of Robert Earl Jones, father of James Earl Jones in Langston Hughes’ Don’t You Want to be Free?. He would later be blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s for some of the contacts he had made through Hughes and his radical milleau

The racial agitation that loomed over the 1950s and 1960s was the tip of an iceberg, the legal and political remnant of a broad, raucous movement for social agitation that flourished from the 1920s through the 1940s. This contentious mix of home-grown radicals, labor activists, newspaper editors, black workers, and pseudo-intellectuals employed every strategy imaginable to take America down, from a ludicrous attempt to organize black workers with a stage production of Pushkin — in Russian — to the armed insurrection of striking workers against the police in Gastonia in 1929.

Just as Thoreau had advocated for John Brown at the northeast corner of the Monandock Country Club is the MacDowell Colony of Peterborough, New Hampshire - the far removed breeding ground of the violence of the politics of racial confrontation - Photograph showing in the back row, left to right: Sol Stein, James Baldwin, Irving Fine, Gregorio Prestopino, Sally Michel, Kent Kennan, Otto Luening, Paul Pisk, Louise Talma, Leland Procter, Felix Labunski, Vladimir Ussachevsky. In the front row, left to right: Gordon Binkerd, Virginia Sorensen, Ernst Toch, Esther Williams, Peter Viereck, Milton Avery, Paul Burlin, Pauli Murray, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, Elizabeth Dauber, Nickolai Lopatnikoff, Sara Henderson Hay, Gordon Reevey, Lester Trimble.

Just as Thoreau had advocated for John Brown at the northeast corner of the Monandock Country Club is the MacDowell Colony of Peterborough, New Hampshire – the far removed breeding ground of the violence of the politics of racial confrontation – Photograph showing in the back row, left to right: Sol Stein, James Baldwin, Irving Fine, Gregorio Prestopino, Sally Michel, Kent Kennan, Otto Luening, Paul Pisk, Louise Talma, Leland Procter, Felix Labunski, Vladimir Ussachevsky. In the front row, left to right: Gordon Binkerd, Virginia Sorensen, Ernst Toch, Esther Williams, Peter Viereck, Milton Avery, Paul Burlin, Pauli Murray, Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, Elizabeth Dauber, Nickolai Lopatnikoff, Sara Henderson Hay, Gordon Reevey, Lester Trimble.

In a narrative that owes as much to drama as history Gilmore argues how the movement unfolded against national and global developments, gaining focus and finally arriving at a narrow legal strategy for securing desegregation and political privledges. Shadowy characters abound in a book that will recast our understanding of the most ideas of rights that may have been inherent but had to be won anew daily were subverted into claims of entitlement that have destroyed the last vestiges of freedom in what used to the Republic for which we stood.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: