Confederate Society
 
Picture
It is of special interest to read the words of Marcus Tullius Cicero regarding the danger of internal subversion. In a speech to the Roman Senate, as recorded by Sallust, Cicero said:

"A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious.But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and he carries his banners openly against the city. But the traitor moves among those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears no traitor; he speaks in the accents familiar to his victim, and he wears their face and their garments and he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation; he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of a city; he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to be feared. The traitor is the plague."




by Charles Hugh Smith, via the Charleston Voice.   Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This is how empires collapse: one complicit participant at a time.

Before an empire collapses, it first erodes from within.
 The collapse may appear sudden, but the processes of internal rot hollowed out the resilience, resolve, purpose and vitality of the empire long before its final implosion.

What are these processes of internal rot? Here are a few of the most pervasive and destructive forces of internal corrosion:

1. Each institution within the system loses sight of its original purpose of serving the populace and becomes self-serving. This erosion of common purpose serving the common good is so gradual that participants forget there was a time when the focus wasn't on gaming the system to avoid work and accountability but serving the common good.

2. The corrupt Status Quo corrupts every individual who works within the system.Once an institution loses its original purpose and becomes self-serving, everyone within either seeks to maximize their own personal share of the swag and minimize their accountability, or they are forced out as a potentially dangerous uncorrupted insider.

The justification is always the same: everybody else is getting away with it, why shouldn't I? Empires decline one corruptible individual at a time.
 
3. Self-serving institutions select sociopathic leaders whose skills are not competency or leadership but conning others into believing the institution is functioning optimally when in reality it is faltering/failing.

The late Roman Empire offers a fine example: entire Army legions in the hinterlands were listed as full-strength on the official rolls in Rome and payroll was issued accordingly, but the legions only existed on paper: corrupt officials pocketed the payroll for phantom legions.

Self-serving institutions reward con-artists in leadership roles because only con-artists can mask the internal rot with happy-story PR and get away with it.

4. The institutional memory rewards conserving the existing Status Quo and punishes innovation. Innovation necessarily entails risk, and those busy feathering their own nests (i.e. accepting money for phantom work, phantom legions, etc.) have no desire to place their share of the swag at risk just to improve sagging output and accountability.

So reforms and innovations that might salvage the institution are shelved or buried.

5. As the sunk costs of the subsystems increase, the institutional resistance to new technologies and processes increases accordingly. Those manufacturing steam locomotives in the early 20th century had an enormous amount of capital and institutional knowledge sunk in their factories. Tossing all of that out to invest in building diesel-electric locomotives that were much more efficient than the old-tech steam locomotives made little sense to those looking at sunk costs.
As a result, the steam locomotive manufacturers clung to the old ways and went out of business. The sunk costs of empire are enormous, as is the internal resistance to change.

6. Institutional memory and knowledge support "doing more of what worked in the past" even when it is clearly failing.
 I refer to this institutional risk-avoidance and lack of imagination as doing more of what has failed spectacularly.

Inept leadership keeps doing more of what once worked, even when it is clearly failing, in effect ignoring real-world feedback in favor of magical-thinking. The Federal Reserve is an excellent example.

7. These dynamics of eroding accountability, effectiveness and purpose lead to systemic diminishing returns. Each failing institution now needs more money to sustain its operations, as inefficiencies, corruption and incompetence reduce output while dramatically raising costs (phantom legions still get paid).

8. Incompetence is rewarded and competence punished. The classic example of this was "Good job, Brownie:" cronies and con-artists are elevated to leadership roles to reward loyalty and the ability to mask the rot with good PR. Serving the common good is set aside as sychophancy (obedient flattery) to incompetent leaders is rewarded and real competence is punished as a threat to the self-serving leadership.

9. As returns diminish and costs rise, systemic fragility increases. This can be illustrated as a rising wedge: as output declines and costs rise, the break-even point keeps edging higher, until even a modest reduction of input (revenue, energy, etc.) causes the system to break down:

A modern-day example is oil-exporting states that have bought the complicity of their citizenry with generous welfare benefits and subsidies. As their populations and welfare benefits keep rising, the revenues they need to keep the system going require an ever-higher price of oil. Should the price of oil decline, these regimes will be unable to fund their welfare. With the social contract broken, there is nothing left to stem the tide of revolt.

10. Economies of scale no longer generate returns. In the good old days, stretching out supply lines to reach lower-cost suppliers and digitizing management reaped huge gains in productivity. Now that the scale of enterprise is global, the gains from economies of scale have faltered and the high overhead costs of maintaining this vast managerial infrastructure have become a drain.

11. Redundancy is sacrificed to preserve a corrupt and failing core. Rather than demand sacrifices of the Roman Elites and the entertainment-addicted bread-and-circus masses to maintain the forces protecting the Imperial borders, late-Roman Empire leaders eliminated defense-in-depth (redundancy). This left the borders thinly defended. With no legions in reserve, an invasion could no longer be stopped without mobilizing the entire border defense, in effect leaving huge swaths of the border undefended to push back the invaders.

Phantom legions line the pockets of insiders and cronies while creating a useful illusion of stability and strength.

12. The feedback from those tasked with doing the real work of the Empire is ignored as Elites and vested interests dominate decision-making. As I noted yesterday in The Political Poison of Vested Interests, when this bottoms-up feedback is tossed out, ignored or marginalized, all decisions are necessarily unwise because they are no longer grounded in the consequences experienced by the 95% doing the real work.

This lack of feedback from the bottom 95% is captured by the expression "Let them eat cake." (Though attributed to Marie Antoinette, there is no evidence that she actually said Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.)

The point is that decisions made with no feedback from the real-world of the bottom 95%, that is, decisions made solely in response to the demands of cronies, vested interests and various elites, are intrinsically unsound and doomed to fail catastrophically.

How does an Empire end up with phantom legions? The same way the U.S. ended up with ObamaCare/Affordable Care Act. The payroll is being paid but there is no real-world feedback, no accountability, no purpose other than private profit/gain and no common good being served.

That's how empires collapse: one corrupted, self-serving individual at a time, gaming one corrupted, self-serving institution or another; it no longer matters which one because they're all equally compromised. It's not just the border legions that are phantom; the entire stability and strength of the empire is phantom. The un-corruptible and competent are banished or punished, and the corrupt, self-serving and inept are lavished with treasure.

This is how empires collapse: one complicit participant at a time.



 
 
Picture
by Al Benson Jr.

Anyone remember the Sagebrush Rebellion back in the 1970's and 80's? In thirteen Western states the federal government control's between 30% and 75-80% of the land, depending on which state you are in.

Although I don’t always believe everything Wikipedia says, by any means, once in awhile they get it right, and awhile back http://en.wikipedia.org  said of the Sagebrush Rebellion that it was: “An extension of the older controversy of state vs. federal powers, Sagebrush Rebels wanted the federal government to give more control of federally owned Western lands to state and local authorities. This was meant to increase the growth of Western economies.” As for the current regime in Washington, the last thing in the world they are concerned about is the growth of Western economies–unless that “growth” is administered by their friends who will make sweetheart deals with countries hostile to the US, so that both hostile countries and politicians can make big bucks selling off US sovereignty and helping to destroy the middle class. That’s what Marxism/corporate fascism is really all about, and our “public servants”  today abound in it!

Even Wikipedia sort of half-halfheartedly recognized the Sagebrush Rebellion as, basically a states rights issue. And what has been going on at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada is the same states rights issue. But the feds, as usual, don’t plan to taking NO for an answer. They didn't at Waco and Ruby Ridge and they won’t here. They will exert their power in any way they have to in order to show that they run things, and if they end up having to kill a bunch of people off, so what? They believe in the Marxist principle  that the end justifies the means. When they incinerated those people at Waco, including the children, it was all for their own good, right? That’s the way those people think–whatever they do has to be good and right–because, after all, they are the go(d)vernment and they know best!

Comrade Reid (aka “Dirty Harry”) had an ominous message for Mr. Bundy and his family according to http://www.foxnews.com when he said: “Well, it’s not over, we can’t have, in America, people that violate the law and just walk away from it. So it’s not over.” What he really meant was that he was ticked off because all the controversy raised by the Bundy Ranch situation exposed his and his son’s sweet deal with a Chinese solar farm company and made him look bad. He wasn't all that happy about that. So he and our Marxist-in-Chief and probably his “Attorney General” will have to find some way to get back at those nasty ranchers and make them pay, in spades, for daring to defy “national authority.” Fox News noted Reid’s hesitancy to speak on this issue and said: “That’s perhaps due to Reid’s  reported lobbying of the (Bureau of Land Management) to change the desert tortoise’s mapped habitat, allowing Nevada real estate mogul Harvey Whittemore to build on land near the Bundy Ranch. Last year Whittemore was convicted of making illegal campaign  contributions to Reid, and the Majority Leader’s former senior adviser was confirmed as the new head of BLM just last week.” Is this a great country or what?

The site http://thecommonsenseshow.com carried an article by Dave Hodges on April 14th  that noted: “China, allied with Russia, is in the process of taking over the United States, or should I say that our public officials are giving away the country to them…In my previous article, it was clearly demonstrated  that the Chinese are preparing, among other things, to assume control of supplying America’s energy needs at a cost they deem appropriate. It is a simple business proposition. They own our debt, we have defaulted and they are here to be compensated.”

Mr. Hodges continued: “The Bundy affair affirmed the fact that  Chinese are being handed control of solar energy inside the United States and that this is being facilitated by Senator Harry Reid. The takeover of American energy is being manifested on many fronts, but in particular, it is being concentrated on the takeover of the solar energy industry in the newAgenda 21 designation with the so-called ‘Solar Energy Zones’.” So there is a lot more involved here than the habitat of the desert tortoise–the UN’s Agenda 21 project is their blueprint and that bodes no good for the American public.

As if to reassert what much of this is all about http://townhall.com stated in an article on 4/14 that “Outraged over the heavy-handed tactics, about 1,000 states rights activists traveled to Mesquite (Nevada) to support Bundy. Many gun owners showed up lawfully carrying firearms, and local cowboys came riding in on horses. They were afraid they could be the next targets of  a federal government overreach, and felt it was time to take a stand.” Men, as far as you all being the next federal targets–depend on it–the federal drones have recorded who was there, and after the feds get through getting even with the Bundys, they will come looking for you, especially if you own any land they want in the “national interest.”

Sadly, this isn’t over and those governmental Marxist mentalities don’t quit. Part of our problem in this country is that we do quit and they don’t–until they get what they want–and at that point we all begin to experience what the Communists refer to as “peaceful co-existence.”

The question hasn’t arisen much, but I think it should.  Why should the federal government own so much land in so many states? Once a state has been given statehood, the land in that state should belong to that state, not to the federal government. If you have a state, anywhere, where the feds control 75% of the land in that state, is that state really a sovereign state or is it, in effect, still mostly a federal territory with the feds calling all the shots? What states rights do the people in any state have if the feds still control 75% of the real estate in their state?

This should concern Southern folks as well as Western folks. Seems to me we are all fighting the same battle. Folks in the South fought it first, but we are all fighting it now–maybe on different levels depending how much land the feds control in different states–but it’s still the same battle.  Maybe the Cowboys and the Confederates ought to get together.  We have a lot of the same problems and the same people, in many cases, are causing the problems we both experience.  Maybe it’s time for a Cowboy/Confederate Alliance.


 
 
Picture
By: Al Benson Jr.

The more you look at Abraham Lincoln the more his socialist proclivities jump out at you from whatever printed page you happen to be browsing. Once you have begun to grasp the fact of his socialist worldview then you can see things in reading about him that you just never noticed before.

I’ve seen articles that referred to radical Tom Paine, the supporter and promoter of the terrorist French Revolution, as “Lincoln’s hero.” If you have done any reading about Tom Paine and his views, that one statement should tell you something about Lincoln.

Awhile back, John Nichols, who writes for the Nation, did an article for the International Socialist Review which was entitled Reading Karl Marx with Abraham Lincoln–Utopian socialists, German communists, and other republicans. Very interesting title, and so very on target. The socialists don’t deny their involvement with Lincoln, they parade it right down Main Street, partly because they feel that decades of public “education” have rendered most Americans too dumb to realize what they are saying, and partly because they are just downright proud that Lincoln was among their number, whether he ever joined any socialist party or not (he didn’t, that we know of at this point). However, the mindset was there, which shows that socialism and communism in this country were a serious problem already by the middle of the 1800s.Nichols noted Lincoln’s close association with Horace Greeley, who was a Utopian socialist. They served together in Congress, each for one term and Lincoln referred to Greeley as “Friend Greeley.” Greeley’s newspaper the New York Tribune, was probably the country’s most influential newspaper in the middle years of the 19th century. Greeley’s left-leaning thinking reflected that of Lincoln, when, in an address to Congress he stated that: “our idea is that labor needs not to combat but to command Capital.” A little of the “class struggle” technique there? Nichols also noted that Lincoln’s “involvement” wasn’t just with Horace Greeley, but also with “his sub-editors and writers, so much so that the first Republican president appointed one of Greeley’s most radical lieutenants—the Fourier-and Proudhon-inspired socialist and longtime editor of Marx’s European correspondence, Charles Dana—as his assistant secretary of war.” Dana was right under Edwin Stanton, another dictatorial soul. And it was Dana who hired Karl Marx to write for Greeley’s paper. So you’ve got all these socialists—Greeley, Lincoln, Dana, and Marx pushing and promoting one another in order to further their agenda. Greeley also made Albert Brisbane, another socialist, who had spent time in France during the 1820s, a columnist. Nichols said of Brisbane that, after his time in France, he returned to the United States “to spread the socialist gospel.” Marx and Brisbane were so radical that Greeley’s paper actually received criticism for spreading leftist views. That didn’t seem to bother Greeley. Nichols noted that “In the mid-1840s, explains historian Roy Marvin Robbins, ‘Greeley preached a new order of society with Brisbane’s socialist ideas as its basis.” Almost sounds as if he promoted a 19th century version of the New World Order. Could it be that when George Bush promoted the New World Order back in the early 1990s that he was really only referring to the second installment of it and that we had already been introduced to the first installment way back in the late 1840s?

Something the “history” books almost never even mention of refer to is the fact that Lincoln was a keen follower of everything that was going on in Europe in the 1840s. He was well aware of what was going on there in 1848—and he was all for it. The European situation was not a new thing for Lincoln. Even before 1848, some German radicals has started showing up in Illinois, Wisconsin, parts of Ohio and New York. One such was Gustav Koerner, a student revolutionary from the University of Munich.

Socialist revolutionary Koerner formed an alliance with Lincoln, which resulted in Koerner being one of seven person delegates-at-large who were named by Lincoln to serve at the Republican State Convention in May of 1860. This was the event that got Lincoln into the presidential race that year. Nichols stated in his article that: “Through Ko(e)rner, Lincoln met and befriended many of the German radicals who, after the failure of the 1848 revolution, fled to Illinois and neighboring Wisconsin. Along with Korner on Lincoln’s list of personal delegates-at-large to the 1860 convention was Friedrich Karl Franz Hecker,…” If you happen to have a copy of Walter Kennedy’s and my book Lincoln’s Marxists you can look up Comrade Hecker in it. Check him out on pages 172-174 if you have the book. Hecker was one of Lincoln’s socialist generals. He got a commission from Lincoln.

Another of Lincoln’s staunchest supporters was Karl Marx’s close associate, Joseph Weydemeyer. Weydemeyer continued to be in close touch with Karl Marx while allying himself with the new Republican Party and Lincoln’s presidential campaign. Part of the result of this was that Weydemeyer’s help to Lincoln’s efforts got him appointed to the staff of General John C. Fremont, yet another American left-leaning radical, as a technical aide.

Lincoln did much more than to simply request that the Forty-eighters enlist to help him. He became involved with their causes. One writer stated that “Lincoln was paying attention to those revolutionaries. While in Springfield, Illinois he sought to gain support for various leftist revolutionary movements in Europe. He was particularly interested at that time in the revolt of Lajos Kossuth in Hungary.

The point to this is that Lincoln was not just an armchair supporter of socialist and communist revolts in Europe. He knew many of those involved. He knew what they were all about, and not from a distance but from personal contact in many cases and he supported their efforts to create a new social(ist) order in Europe, one that would centralize everything in the hands of the leftists, all in the name of the “people.” When it didn’t work over there he gave them another shot at it here. Guess what? It worked here and as you can tell from what inhabits Washington, D.C. today, it’s still working.

In 2009 Adam Max Tuchinsky, associate professor at the University of Southern Maine, wrote an informative book called Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune: Civil War Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor. Tuchinsky noted that Greeley’s paper had, among its contributors, Charles Dana, Albert Brisbane, George Ripley, and the ever-present Karl Marx–all socialists.  It seems that the leftist intelligentsia in this country all had a working relationship with “Friend Greeley.” I never read any of this in my public school “history” books. Did anyone else?

Dana eventually went to Europe, where he could witness the convulsions caused by the 1848 socialist revolts firsthand. He felt those revolts were a “historical turning point.” Unfortunately, he was correct, more correct than even he could know. While in Europe, Dana spent time scrounging around for “alternative strains of socialist thought” and ended up in Cologne. At this juncture, a friend of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ferdinand Freiligrath, worked for a leftist periodical whose editor had lately co-authored a pamphlet called Das Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei. One of its co-authors, the editor, was a deadbeat hack of a writer whose name did not even appear on the first edition–because the ideas in it were not totally his. He was hired by a group called The League of the Just to author the pamphlet and its content was more theirs than his.

And so socialist Charles Dana met socialist Karl Marx. Socialist Carl Schurz had once met Marx and in our book Lincoln’s Marxists, Walter Kennedy and I commented on that. We noted that, according to Carl Schurz, Karl Marx had an ego as big as the plant Pluto and was constantly berating and insulting those that dared to disagree with his exalted pronouncements. So typical for those on the left! They love it when you totally agree with them, but dare to disagree with them on anything and you become chopped liver in their estimation. Somehow, in spite of all the leftist vitriol, Marx and Dana seemed to hit it off. So much so that Dana got Marx probably the only real job he ever had in his life as a columnist for Horace Greeley’s left-leaning paper.

By the time Lincoln and Greeley both left Congress in 1849, Lincoln had developed a close circle of friends which eventually included a batch of the socialist Forty-eighters, and they were working at turning the states of Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois into seething points of agitation. So what we had, in effect, was almost constant socialist agitation in the upper Midwest in the very late 1840s and 1850s. Again, did you ever see any of this in your “history” books in public school? I never did. This is all “memory hole” material we are never supposed to be aware of. Oh, I recall reading about the Kansas-Missouri problems, but that was mostly blamed on Southerners. No mention of Lincoln’s socialist friends stirring the pot at all. In fact, I often wonder how much of this kind of history appears even in home school history studies. I saw very little when we were home schooling our kids, and I’ve seen several history books from Christian schools and none of this was mentioned in any of them. Why not? Wouldn’t our young folks have a much better grasp of our real history if this aspect of it were noted in their history books? Maybe that’s why it’s not there.

John Nichols, in his article in the International Socialist Review has noted, quite accurately, that: “While studies of Lincoln place appropriate focus on his domestic engagements, there has been far too little attention paid to his global interests, especially during the period ‘in the wilderness’ between the end of his congressional term and his return to the political stage. Yet there can be no doubt that the future president was conscious of and highly engaged with developments in foreign lands–thanks no doubt to his close reading of the Tribune…Lincoln invoked the struggles of the European revolutionaries and denounced ‘oppression in any of its forms…’” The invader and destroyer of the South denounces oppression–how touching!

As he got ready for the presidential race in 1860 (he was hardly a reluctant candidate) Lincoln took the time and trouble to align himself with those whose position is “…that labor is the superior–greatly the superior–of capital.” That’s part of the old Marxist line and it comes off sounding somewhat hypocritical from the man who was a lobbyist for the Illinois Central Railroad. You don’t get much more “capitalist” than the railroad people. And Thomas DiLorenzo, in his excellent and informative book The Real Lincoln noted that “…Lincoln was a devoted protectionist over his entire political career. He and other Whigs took this position because it created a stream of economic benefits for a wealthy and powerful constituency group…Having the government dispense special privileges to the wealthy and influential was always the core of the Whig political program to which Lincoln devoted his political career.”  Sounds like the sainted Mr. Lincoln was only opposed to capitalism and capital if they were Southern. He didn’t seem to have all that much problem with Northern capitalism–in fact he profited from it. Interesting that the socialist and communists that fled the failed 1848 socialist revolts in Europe, when they came to this country, ended up joining or allying themselves with the Republican Party–the party of corporate fascism and big government. And they did this because they knew that the party of big government would help them get what they wanted–power and control. The supposed leftist concern for the “poor and oppressed” is nothing more than a self-serving sham.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination for president, with lots of help from Horace Greeley, and also lots of help from socialist Carl Schurz, who worked at rallying the German-American Forty-eighters and ordinary German voters as well.  Your ordinary German voter had no idea what was being pulled on him via Schurz and the rest of the Forty-eighter immigrants in this country. They were all being recruited to combat the “slaveholding capitalists” in the South while ignoring Northern railroad and banking capitalists.  As I stated earlier, it was really the Southern capitalists they were after. The Northern variety got an automatic pass–and most folks never noticed, just like they’ve been conditioned via the media today to not notice the almost total lack of any substantive information about the individual sitting in the White (Red) House.

In the very early days of the Republican Party a man most folks have probably never heard of surfaced. This was Alvin Earl Bovay. He had lived in New York State and become a lawyer there in 1846. He was really into both the Abolitionist and Free Soil Movements.  He became secretary of something called the National Reform Association. This group was mainly concerned with people concentrating too much wealth. According tohttp://www.abovetopsecret.com “They felt there should not be a right to the unlimited accumulation of wealth in this country. The association soon turned toward what is described as ‘a spectrum (of) the most revolutionary anarchist and socialist currents in American life.’ This hostility toward concentrated wealth made them hostile to the South especially seeing as how it was governed largely by wealthy gentry using slavery in replace of paid labor,…Some historians have charged the NRA’s most important members to being under the influence of Socialism, Trade Unionism, and of course Abolitionism.”

By the late 1840s Bovay had moved his family from New York out to the new town of Ripon, Wisconsin. Prior to the forming of the town, the area had been used by a utopian socialist commune, which still seemed to have quite a bit of influence in the area.  Bovay was instrumental in the formation of the new Republican Party, having been in contact with Horace Greeley who was, after all, a utopian socialist. Bovay had suggested that the name of the new party be the “Republican Party.”  Greeley liked that name, as he had also thought of it himself.

Another biggy on the agendas of both the NRA and the new Republican Party was the Homestead Act, which allowed all adult citizens to claim 160 acres of land then in the public domain. Greeley felt it was one of “the most vital reforms ever attempted”  and thought it would bring in a new era of prosperity.  Even though they agreed on the idea of homesteading, Greeley and Lincoln differed over the timing of it. At this time, Greeley and Frederick Douglas  joined forces in demanding of Lincoln that he make the War of Northern Aggression not only a crusade of “preserve the Union” but also an “Abolition war.” Lincoln wasn’t quite ready to do this, being as he had a lot of slaveholding voters in four states that had remained in the Union thorough one way or another.

By this time, Charles Dana was no longer working for Horace Greeley, but was working instead for Lincoln. He was officially assigned to the War Department, which organization he would eventually serve as assistant secretary of.  So already in the 1860s you had an admitted socialist and confidant of Karl Marx serving as Assistant Secretary of War in the United States. That fact is hardly a reassuring one. But it points to the fact that socialism and communism were alive and well in this country much earlier than we have been told about. That just may be why they omit it from our history books. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along!

Part of Dana’s assignment was to be an advisor and an aide to Lincoln pertaining to what has been described as “judicious, humane, and wise uses of executive authority.” So we have a socialist advising Lincoln on the “humane” use of executive authority.  Wonder is such advice had anything to do with why so many Northern folks who disagreed with Lincoln on so many issues wound up in prison with no trials, no lawyers, often their own families not even knowing where they were. I guess some might consider this “judicious” use of executive authority. At least Lincoln didn’t have them executed! But, then, there were so many of them that such might have proved a tad embarrassing.

Appearing on http://historyengine.richmond.edu  was an article entitled The People’s Lincoln. It stated: “In Lincoln’s time, public opinion vigilantly labeled a danger posed by their anti-Constitution imperialist.  Lincoln was widely hated, caricatured, and actively opposed. His concern for the government outweighed his concern for the people, their freedom and prosperity. The Lincoln depicted with loyal troops and grateful slaves is far from the man exposed in John A. Marshall’s series from 1869 American Bastille: A History of the Illegal Arrests and Imprisonment of American Citizens in the Northern and Border States on Account of Their Political Opinions During the Late Civil War. This was eventually published in 1883 as a book, American Bastille.” I recall seeing a copy of this once at a Civil War book sale. It wasn’t in very good shape and I didn’t have the money to buy it–but I thought about it. The History Engine article observed: “Once an arrest was made, not only was the right to a trial denied, but also seeking council was itself considered active rebellion.” It sounds so much like something a socialist would have come up with. The article noted one man who was arrested and, as of 1883, he had yet to be informed why. He had been released long before that, but with never any information as to why he was picked up in the first place. Welcome to the American Gulag–19th century style!

Lincoln spent a good part of his presidency reading dispatches from and seeking the counsel of the man who hired Karl Marx to write for Greeley’s newspaper. John Nichols, who was mentioned earlier, noted in his article that he (Lincoln) “…awarded military commissions to the numerous comrades of the author of The Communist Manifesto who had come to the United States as political refugees  following the failed European revolutions of 1848–is a shard of history rarely seen in the hagiographic accounts that produced a sanitized version of the sixteenth president’s story.”

The Communists, themselves, tell us some interesting things if we can discern between the truth and the propaganda. An article on http://www.worker-communist.org  informs us that the communists were active in the abolitionist movement. No surprise there if you’ve read anything about the abolitionists. Several years ago the chief theoritician  for the Communist Party, Herbert Aptheker, wrote a book called Aboltionism–a Revolutionary Movement. Aptheker had glowing praise for the Abolitionist Movement, which shows that their agenda and that of the Communists coincided. William Lloyd Garrison, one of the leaders among the most radical of the abolitionists once said the same thing. He made a statement that, after the slavery issue had been resolved, the abolitionists would set their sights on “world peace” and the “women’s rights movement”–both of which are on the Marxist agenda. The article also mentions that communists “were active in the left wing of the Republican Party.” Remember, folks, this was in the late 1850s-1860s. Who, in your “history” books, ever read about the “left wing” of the Republican Party in the 1860s, or even today? But they also tell us that the left wing of the GOP was in favor of a “centralized democratic republic.” That would have coincided with Lincoln’s version of what he wanted for a government.

Some of you may have heard of the International Working Men’s Association.  This was the organization that officially sent the letter that Karl Marx wrote to Lincoln congratulating him on his re-election to a second term.  This organization had some very interesting people that ended up as members.  This was a group founded in 1864, which sought to unite a plethora of left-wing, socialist, communist and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. This is what Wikipedia said about them, and this time they were pretty much on target. More about them in the next installment.


The Communist website http://www.worker-communist.org carries quite a bit of commentary on the War of Northern Aggression. This site claims that the War brought the communists in America and those in Europe “back into regular contact.” Actually, that contact had never been severed. Actually it was reinforced due to the “news” items that appeared in Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune and the New York Daily Herald that were written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Even “Civil War historians” according to the Communist website, have been forced to admit how important Marx’s articles were. If they’ve been forced to admit that, then they must have limited their admissions to each other because they sure haven’t bothered writing enough about it to inform the American public. This has been one of those little secrets among the “historians” that has been studiously ignored, or if dealt with, they briefly mention it in one or two sentences—not enough to give folks any real information.
The Communists claimed that by the end of the War of Northern Aggression, all of the pieces were in place for “an explosive growth of the movement in the U.S. The mass exposure of workers in the U.S.—both ‘native’ and immigrant—to communist political figures and ideas during the war made it possible for the movement to move beyond its previous organizational forms as propaganda societies and ‘experiments’ and work directly toward becoming a mass force in American politics.” I don’t know if they were quite as influential as they like to let on, but they were definitely in place in this country and making their presence felt.

For instance, their website contains a photo of Wendell Phillips, and the caption under his photo says: “…renowned abolitionist who joined the International Working Men’s Association and became a self-described communist following the end of the Civil War.” What book have you ever read that told you this about Wendell Phillips?

The Worker article had a little more interesting info. It stated that: “In 1866, an emissary for the IWMA,…came to the U.S. and met with prominent leftwing Republicans Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips and Horace Greeley. Orsini interviewed each of them and, when finished, all three joined the International. At the time, Sumner was also the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, thus it can be argued that he was the first elected communist official in U.S. history (albeit one who was not elected as a communist per se). Phillips pledged to donate money he received from his lectures and speeches to the International, and Greeley became a regular publicist for both Marx and the International.” More “memory hole” material! And the article refers to “leftwing Republicans. The Republican Party was already to the left in the 1860s. I guess these guys must have been to the left of left.

These people are mentioned in yet another article on http://www.columbia.edu entitled Marx, Woodhull and Sorge. The article notes: “The people who launched a section of the Communist International in the USA were veteran radicals, who had fought against slavery and for women’s rights for many years. They saw the emerging anti-capitalist struggles in Europe, most especially the Paris Commune of 1871, as consistent with their own. They saw revolutionary socialism as the best way to guarantee of the broader democratic movement…The names of some of the early recruits should give you an indication of the political character of the new movement. Included were abolitionists Horace Greeley, Wendell Phillips and Charles Sumner. Feminist Victoria Woodhull joined in and put her magazine Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly at its disposal. The weekly not only included communications from Karl Marx, but spiritualist musings from Woodhull. The native radical movement of the 1870s was a mixed bag. Socialism, anti-racism, feminism, pacifism and spiritualism co-existed comfortably…Victoria Woodhull was unquestionably the biggest irritant, since she defended all these deviations while at the same time she spoke out forcefully for free love, the biggest deviation imaginable in the Victorian age.”