Voices (Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove) [2009]


– Kan kultur – skönlitteratur, musik , poesi…

A people’s history gives the context, this book shows that egalitarian ideals, classconsciousness and political insight has been around for centuries, but lost in the ‘winner’s’ version of history…

Ur Columbus dagbok om de första indianerna de möter efter landstigningen:

They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves.

Bartolomé de Las Casas, präst och historiker som var samtida med Columbus, bevittnade delar av de första mötena med lokalbefolkningen och opponerade sig mot grymheterna de fick utstå:

[Hispaniola] was perhaps the most densely populated place in the world. […] These people are the most devoid of rancors, hatreds, or desire for vengeance… for they not only possess little but have no desire to possess worldly goods. For this reason they are not arrogant, embittered, or greedy. […] The island of Cuba is nearly as long as the distance between Valladolid and Rome; it is now almost completely depopulated. […] We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the forty years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians, there have been unjustly slain more than twelve million men, women, and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifteen million.

Om slavuppror, slavar som skickar hemliga meddelanden:

…I am fully satisfied we shall be in full possession of the [w]hole country in a few weeks. [vilken optimism!]

Vidare om om slavar som skickade petitioner till lagstadgare och ansökte om sin frihet. [vilket mod!]

In England and in other countries of Northern Europe, the desperation of the poor was turned into profit by merchants and ship captains who arranged to transport men and women to the Americas to work as servants. These people, known as indentured servants, had to turn over their pay for five or seven years or cover the cost of passage… and those who became free after their term of labor came to be a large part of the working classes of the colonies. Some of them became small landowners. Most became tenants or wandering poor, and a good number returned to England, disillusioned with their life in America.

Bacon’s rebellion: ”frontiersmen believed they were not getting proper protection from Indian attacks”.

Om indentured slaves, Gottfried Mittelberger, 1754:

When the ships have landed at Philadelphia, no one is permitted to leave them except those who pay for their passage or can give good security; the others, who cannot pay, must remain on board the ships till they are purchased… When a husband or wife has died at sea, when the ship has made more than half of her trip, the survivor must pay or serve not only for himself or herself, but also for the deceased.

The Seven Years’ War between France and England… ended in 1763, with the French defeated. Now the English could turn their attention to tightening control over the American colonies… With the French out of the way, the colonial leadership was less in need of English protection. At the same time, the English were now more in need of the colonies’ wealth. […] In debt from its war against France, the British imposed a stiff tax on tea in the American colonies. Tea was a popular drink, so the tax was a broadly unpopular one… On December 16, 1773, a crowd of men disguising themselves as Native Americans raided the ships and threw the cargo overboard. [Which later inspired the foundation of the ‘Boston tea party’.]

Ur Thomas Paines Common Sense, 1776:

But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families.

Om Declaration of independence:

But the reality behind those inspiring words was that a rising class of important people needed to enlist on their side enough Americans to defeat England, without disturbing too much the relations of wealth and power that had developed over 150 years of colonial history.

Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of Some of the Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of a Revolutionary Soldier (1830):

All this too in the heart of winter, when a New England farmer, if his cattle had been in my situation, would not have slept a wink from the sheer anxiety for them. And if I stepped into a house to warm me, when passing, wet to the skin and almost dead with cold, hunger, and fatigue, what scornful looks and hard words have I experienced.

Almost every one has heard of the soldiers of the Revolution being tracked by the blood of their feet on the frozen ground.

General Washington, facing nearly two thousand mutineers, a substantial part of his army, assembled at Princeton, New Jersey, decided to make concessions. Many of the rebels were allowed to leave the army, and Washington asked state governors for money to deal with the grievances of the soldiers. The Pennsylvania line quieted down. But when another mutiny broke out in the New Jersey line, involving only a few hundred, Washington ordered harsh measures. He saw the possibility of ”this dangerous spirit” spreading. Two of ”the most atrocious offenders” were court-martialed on the spot, sentenced to be shot, and their fellow mutineers, some of them weeping as they did so, carried out the executions.

Shay’s rebellion:

They surrounded courthouses and would not let the selling off of their property continue. This was an armed revolt, taking its name from one of the leaders, Captain Daniel Shays, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

[Henry Knox, officer som sedermera blev USA:s första ”försvarsminister” (på den tiden hette det fortfarande krigsminister), kommenterar rebellerna i ett brev till George Washington:]

[…] But they see the weakness of government; They feel at once their own poverty, compared with the opulent, and their own force, and they are determined to make use of the latter, in order to remedy the former…

James Madison, under pseudonymen Publius, skriver i tidningen Federal och diskuterar fördelarna med ett republikanskt statsskick:

[…] to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations… On the other hand, the effect may be inverted. Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people. […] A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State. [Om alltså en delstat skulle få för sig dessa galna idéer kan man stänga in upproret och kväva det i sin linda med den nationella armén innan det sprider sig.]

Susan B Anthony, som 1872 begick det fruktansvärda brottet att lägga en röst i valurnan, tillsammans med 13 andra kvinnor, försvarar sig i rättegång:

Judge Hunt-(Ordering the defendant to stand up). Has the prisoner anything to say why sentence shall not be pronounced?
Miss Anthony-Yes, your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually but all of my sex are, by your honor’s verdict, doomed to political subjection under this so-called republican form of government.
Judge Hunt-The Court cannot listen to a rehearsal of argument which the prisoner’s counsel has already consumed three hours in presenting.
Miss Anthony-May it please your honor, I am not arguing the question, but simply stating the reasons why sentence can not, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen’s right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offendet against law; therefore, the denial of my sacred right to life, liberty, property and-
Judge Hunt-The Court can not allow the prisoner to go on.
Miss Anthony-But your honor will not deny me this one and only poor privilege of protest against this high-handed outrage upon my citizen’s rights. May it please the Court to remember that, since the day of my arrest last November, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury-
Judge Hunt-The prisoner must sit down-the Court can not allow it.

John G Burnett, som deltog i fördrivningen av Cherokee-indianer som menig soldat, reflekterar tillbaka på sin 80-årsdag 1890:

At this time, 1890, we are too near the removal of the Cherokees for our young people to fully understand the enormity of the crime that was committed against a helpless race. Truth is, the facts are being concealed from the young people of today. School children of today do not know that we are living on lands that were taken from a helpless race at the bayonet point to satisfy the white man’s greed.

David Henry Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849:

A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?… […] I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. […] Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote.

Henry George,The Crime of Poverty, speech 1885:

Here is a man working hour after hour, day after day, week after week, in doing one thing over and over again, and for what? Just to live! He is working ten hours a day in order that he may sleep eight and may have two or three hours for himself when he is tired out and all his faculties are exhausted. That is not a reasonable life; that is not a life for a being possessed of the powers that are in man… Did you ever think of the utter absurdity and strangeness of the fact that, all over the civilized world, the working classes are the poor classes? Go into any city in the world, and get into a cab and ask the man to drive you where the working people live. He won’t take you to where the fine houses are. He will take you, on the contrary, into the squalid quarters, the poorer quarters. Did you ever think how curious that is? Think for a moment how it would strike a rational being who had never been on the earth before, if such an intelligence could come down, and you were to explain to him how we live on earth, how houses and food and clothing, and all the many things we need were all produced by work, would he not think that the working people would be the people who lived in the finest houses and had most of everything that work produces? Yet, whether you took him to London or Paris or New York, or even to Burlington, he would find that those called the working people were the people who live in the poorest houses.

Om Haymarket Square (Chicago), 4:e maj 1886, då arbetare hade samlats för att protestera mot gårdagens mördande av fyra strejkande medarbetare. Polisen bad de fredliga demonstranterna avlägsna sig, varpå en bomb exploderade bland polisen, 66 poliser sårades varav 7 senare avled. Polisen började skjuta vilt, sårade 200 personer, och trots att det aldrig kunde bevisas vem som var skyldig till bomben dömdes åtta anarkister till döden. August Spies var en av dem, läs hans försvarstal här. Det är synd att plocka isär det. Haymarket-incidenten är f.ö. anledningen till att vi firar 1:a maj.

”Populist movement”:

The mechanization of farming in the late nineteenth century forced small farmers to borrow money to pay for their equipment. When they could not pay, their farms were taken away. They began to organize, first in farmers’ alliances. North and South, black and white, and then came together in the Populist movement of the 1880s and 1890s, to fight the banks and railroads that they saw as their enemies. Populism became a powerful force, involving several million farmers, black and white. Its Lecture Bureau sent 35,000 lecturers throughout the country, and there were more than a thousand Populist journals. The movement ultimately fell apart after it threw its support in the 1896 election to the Democratic candidate…

[Mary Ellen Lease, en av ledarna, förklarar rörelsens idéer:]

We fought England for our liberty and put chains on four million of blacks. We wiped out slavery and our tariff laws and national banks began a system of white wage slavery worse than the first. Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street… we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us.

The Omaha Platform of the People’s Party of America, 1892:

The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few unprecedented in the history of mankind, ant the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. […] We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them.  Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham-battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver, and the oppressions of the usurers may all be lost sight of.

Ordet ”lynchning” kommer från en grupp på 1780-talet i Virginia, under ledning av William Lynch, som frilansade som levererare av rättvisa när det gäller tjuvar etc. (de lokala genierna på Wikipedia menar att Charles Lynch gett upphov till ordet, och att han jagade ”lojalister” (GRB-anhängare) under frihetskriget).

Hawaii annexerades 1898, under det pågående spansk-amerikanska kriget (där man också lade beslag på Filippinerna, Kuba, Puerto Rico och Guam).

Smedley D Butler, War is a Racket, 1935 [kommande läsning]:

I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. … I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. […] At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War.

Mother Jones, Agitation – The Greatest Factor for Progress, speech 1903:

I see a lot of society women in this audience, attracted here out of a mere curiosity to see ‘that old Mother Jones.’ I know you better than you do yourselves. I can walk down the aisle and pick every one of you out. You probably think I am crazy but I know you. And you society dudes-poor creatures. You wear high collars to support your jaw and keep your befuddled brains from oozing out of your mouths. While this commercial cannibalism is reaching into the cradle; pulling girls into the factory to be ruined; pulling children into the factory to be destroyed; you, who are doing all in the name of Christianity, you are at home nursing your poodle dogs.

W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903  [också kommande läsning, liksom Bellamy’s ”Looking backward” – tredje lästipset från denna bok!]:

The double-aimed struggle of the black artisan-on the one hand to escape white contempt for a nation of mere hewers of wood and drawers of water, and on the other hand to plough and nail and dig for a poverty-stricken horde-could only result in making him a poor craftsman, for he had but half a heart in either cause.

One of the most dramatic labor struggles in American history took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912 when textile workers, mostly women, European immigrants speaking a dozen different languages, carried on a strike during the bitterly cold monthsof January to March 1912. Despite police violence and hunger, they persisted, and were victorious against the powerful textile mill owners.

Randolph Bourne, The State, 1918:

War sends the current of purpose and activity flowing down to the lowest level of the herd, and to its most remote branches. All the activities of society are linked together as fast as possible to this central purpose of making a military offensive or a military defense, and the State becomes what in peacetimes it has vainly struggled to become-the inexorable arbiter and determinant of men’s business and attitudes and opinions. The slack is taken up, the crosscurrents fade out, and the nation moves lumberingly and slowly, but with ever accelerated speed and integration, toward the great end, toward the ”peacefulness of being at war,” of which L. P. Jacks has so unforgettably spoken. . . . War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups… […] Not for any religious impulse could the American nation have been expected to show such devotion en masse, such sacrifice and labor. Certainly not for any secular good, such as universal education or the subjugation of nature, would it have poured forth its treasure and its life, or would it have permitted such stern coercive measures to be taken against it, such as conscripting its money and its men. […] They live habitually in an industrial serfdom, by which, though nominally free, they are in practice as a class bound to a system of machine-production the implements of which they do not own, and in the distribution of whose product they have not the slightest voice, except what they can occasionally exert by a veiled intimidation which draws slightly more of the product in their direction. From such serfdom, military conscription is not so great a change. But into the military enterprise they go, not with those hurrahs of the significant classes whose instincts war so powerfully feeds, but with the same apathy with which they enter and continue in the industrial enterprise. . . . war can scarcely be avoided unless this poisonous underground system of secret diplomacy is destroyed, this system by which a nation’s power, wealth, and manhood may be signed away like a blank check to an allied nation to be cashed in at some future crisis.

Stockmarket crash: October 24, 1929…

United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Summary Report (Pacific War), 1946:

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

I F Stone, But It’s Not Just Joe McCarthy, 1954 [jag rättar mig – detta är mitt fjärde lästips från boken, och med Dale Maharidges Journey to nowhere (som inspirerade Springsteen till att skriva bl.a. låten ‘Youngstown’), samt Walter Mosley, blir det sex vad jag kan se (osäker på Eqbal Ahmad, men annars är det sju…).]:

There are some charges which must be laughed off or brushed off. They cannot be disproved. If a man charges that he saw Eisenhower riding a broomstick over the White House, he will never be convinced to the contrary by sworn evidence that the President was in bed reading a Western at the time.

The war, the Watergate scandal, the decline in public confidence, led Congress to the unusual action of investigating both the CIA and the FBI. Reports were published that showed both those organizations were engaging in illegal activities, in this country and abroad.

The establishment was worried. Political leaders and certain intellectuals from the United States, Japan, and Western Europe organized the Trilateral Commission to develop a strategy for dealing with the upsurge of the 1960s and early 1970s. A report for the commission by Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington concluded: ”The essence of the democratic surge of the 1950s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private.” According to Huntington, this ”raised questions about the governability of democracy in the 1970s.” Huntington cited an ”excess of democracy” suggesting that there were ”desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.”

Nixon and [Leonid] Brezhnev have much more in common with one another than we have with Nixon. J. Edgar Hoover has far more in common with the head of the Soviet secret police than he has with us. It’s the international dedication to law and order that binds the leaders of all countries in a comradely bond. That’s why we are always surprised when they get together-they smile, they shake hands, they smoke cigars, they really like one another no matter what they say. It’s like the Republican and Democratic parties, who claim that it’s going to make a terrible difference if one or the other wins, yet they are all the same. Basically, it is us against them.

Yossarian was right, remember, in Catch-22′>. He had been accused of giving aid and comfort to the enemy, which nobody should ever be accused of, and Yossarian said to his friend Clevinger: ”The enemy is whoever is going to get you killed, whichever side they are on.” But that didn’t sink in, so he said to Clevinger: ”Now you remember that, or one of these days you’ll be dead.” And remember? Clevinger, after a while, was dead. And we must remember that our enemies are not divided along national lines, that enemies are not just people who speak different languages and occupy different territories. Enemies are people who want to get us killed.

Angela Davis, Political Prisoners, Prisons and Black Liberation, 1970:

The etymology of the term ”penitentiary” furnishes a clue to the controlling idea behind the ”prison system” at its inception. The penitentiary was projected as the locale for doing penitence for an  offense against society, the physical and spiritual purging of proclivities to challenge rules and regulations which command total obedience. While cloaking itself with the bourgeois aura of universality-imprisonment was supposed to cut across all class lines, as crimes were to be defined by the act, not the perpetrator-the prison has actually operated as an instrument of class domination, a means of prohibiting the have-nots from encroaching upon the haves.

Eqbal Ahmad, Roots of the Gulf Crisis, 1990:

Remember the following. Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire (in other words, since the beginning of the nineteenth century), Egypt has played the role of the regional influential in the Arab world. Politically, culturally, even militarily, Egypt has led the Arab world (and ideologically). The Camp David Accords’ supreme achievement was to isolate Egypt from its Arab milieu. […] the negotiations had broken down on one issue. And the issue was Sadat’s insistence that there should be written in the Camp David Accords that Israel will put up no more settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. And [Menachem] Begin would say, ”I am willing to agree on it informally, but won’t do it in writing.” And Carter weighs in and says, ”You must understand Begins difficult position. I give you guarantee that there will be no settlements.” […] And the next day, around afternoon, Israel announced the setting up of new settlements. […] Camp David meant moral, ideological, political isolation of Egypt from its Arab milieu. There would be a political vacuum in the Middle East after Camp David… Saddam Hussein showed the first sign of wanting to fill that vacuum when he, in an unprovoked aggression, invaded Iran… [Går vidare till att diskutera olja:] How is it that through this inflationary cycle of the last ten years (1980 to 1990) oil has been the only product whose prices have been going down? You realize that oil prices have come down from about $42 a barrel to $14 a barrel. How?… Who brought it down? How could they afford to bring it down? […]   I am merely suggesting that it is the great achievement of President Saddam Hussein that he opened the doors wide to American intervention. Those people who somehow think that Saddam Hussein has done something anti-imperialistic are thinking it wrong. Saddam Hussein is not only a tyrant and a dictator, he is also a fool. And that fool has created this situation.

Mumia Abu-Jamal citerar fransmannen Anatole France: ”The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread.”

Och förstås många, många, många fler citat som jag inte kan göra rättvisa här. Citat från Steinbeck, Emma Goldmann, Malcolm X, indianhövdingar, Jefferson, you name it.

Nya ord

  • legerdemain = trolleri, jonglerande
  • cajole = att manipulera, smickra sig till något / fördelar. jfr cajoler.
  • anathema = styggelse
  • fiat = dekret, order
  • toiler = arbetare (självklart förvisso, hade bara inte hört det förut. varifrån kommer den här känslan att jag måste försvara mig?? ingen läser den här skiten ändå…)
  • prudence = klokhet
  • penitence = botfärdighet, ånger
  • poppycock = struntprat, nonsens

~ av bookplanet på november 30, 2011.


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