Class Warrior 2011 -Killing the Middle Class
Class Warrior 1900 -Giving Life to a Middle Class
Class Warfare? It might be. Rather, I see it as a masquerade of wanna-bees like porky film-maker and plutocrat Michael Moore doing a Big Bill Waywood imitation in Madison, Wisconsin last winter.
Movies need funding, especially documentary films. One must go where the money hides.
I am re-reading a wonderful book, Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America published in 1998 and written by the late J. Anthony Lukas. Lukas wrote a brilliant study of the Boston Desegregation atrocity in the Boston Public School system - Common Ground in 1986. I read that book while I was teaching in Kankakee, IL. Bishop McNamara High School was beset by a down-turn in enrollment due to the closing of industries in the late 1970's. The school attempted an innovative restructure of tuition payment for struggling families - Negotiated Tuition. It worked for a couple of years and then the economy righted itself and Kankakee went from light industry to service industry. Common Ground studied three families - two white and one African American; two urban matriarchies ( one white and one African American) and one two-parent family of affluent suburban Liberals.
I was in Lake Forest, Il one day a year or so back and there was a street festival. A Huge banner proclaimed 'We Celebrate Diversity!' The streets seemed packed with Laplanders. Nary a dusky hued person celebrating diversity among the well-heeled caucasians.
Here is a review of that book -
As one who actually lived through these terrible, terrible times in Boston, this book is one of the only pieces of journalism that doesn't portray white, working class Boston as the bad, ugly racists, but rather shows that the children of Boston were used as pawns by well-heeled suburbanites and a lofty judge who walked away and then pointed the finger. It was always, always about class and not race and the whole busing debacle nearly ruined a great American city. Stopping the desegregation at the City limits was the biggest mistake ever made and the people of Boston simply refused to abide by it. Sure, people were accused of being racist and certainly some ugly things happened, but to act as though discrimination ended at the borders of Boston was ridiculous, which is now acknowledged. Hopefully the suburbs will not be let off the hook again.
There is one negative review that reads like an MSNBC commentary among the 21 Five Star ratings for the work.
Lukas, committed suicide shortly before Big Trouble was published. It is said that he set impossibly high standards for himself as a journalist. That is a problem that evades too many names on the Media mastheads these days.
Big Trouble weaves around the story of the assassination of former Idaho Governor Frank Steunenberg who had called in Federal troops to put down a strike at the Coeur d'Alene mining district in 1899.
A man named Orchard was arrested and charged with the crime. The Mining interests called in the Pinkertons and special agent James McPartland, the man who befriended the coal miners association known as the Molly Maguires and rigged their hangings, orchestrated to have Orchard placed on Death row without a trial.
In no times at all, following threats and bribes, McPartland and the Pinkertons obtained a 64 page confession by Orchard that included at least 17 other murders at the orders of the United Federation of Miners (UFM) a very radical union led by Marxist Bill (Big Bill) Haywood*. Haywood and two other union leaders were illegally extradited to Idaho from Colorado on forged papers - drafted by the energetic McPartland.
James McPartland was the G. Flint Taylor of his day. Jon Burge, the police officer tagged with hundreds and soon to be thousands of police torture incidents, required an energetic Class Warrior of post-racial age. For thirty years, G. Flint Taylor, like James McPartland the century before, has patiently and energetically shopped judges, journalists and juries and managed to have Burge convicted, not on torture, but perjury.
Lukas, in Big Trouble, painstakingly presents the facts about the last Turn-of-the-Century Class Warfare. At that time, there was virtually no middle class. There were owners and there were workers. In order to keep workers from the middle class, the Capitalists and Ruling Brahmin Class exercised power politics over the Laws and the people.
Today, the Ruling Class is evaporating the American Middle Class. The class warriors then and now face one another in a crazy-house mirror reflecting Hegelian power.
Like the Boston Desegregation fiasco - the ruling elites pitted black against white working classes and coated the narrative with the dismissive charge of racism. Southie Irish Catholic racists, like their ethnic counterparts in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Detroit are not worth considering. Very much like Tea Party people.
Lukas burst that balloon.
In 1904 there were very few African Americans living in Chicago. Some of those black skinned Americans lived next door to Irish, Lithuanian, Czech, German and Polish folks in the Stockyard region. In the summer of 1904 there was long and deadly strike by the Amalgamated Meat Cutters. You will find almost nothing about that strike on the Web these days. Companies were formed by people like Frank Curry of St. Louis to bring strikebreakers into cities where labor unrest erupted.
Upton Sinclair happened to be writing a story about the 1886 strike by the Knights of Labor in the Stockyards and he spent the early days of the summer of 1904 on the steps of black-listed Knight of Labor strike-leader John Joyce. That tale was never written. Upton Sinclair witnessed a huge strike himself and wrote about a Lithuanian meat-cutter who yelled to car loads of African Americans brought into Chicago by the likes of Curry as strike breakers -" It's not your skin! It's your Scabbing!"
Like McPartland, modern activists have succeeded in tagging Class War as meat and racism as its gravy. J. Anthony Lukas is not with us to make clear the issues and the personalities. The journolistas today operate according to a template provided by their benefactors.
White is Black and Black is Purple, if SEIU Mandarin Andy Stern says it is so.
Chicago cop Jon Burge tortured young black men 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Everyone knows that! If you do not know that fact you are hater, racist idiot.
Taxing billions-aires means taxing familes making $250,000.
Reading about a 1905 set-up to keep workers from attaining American middle class status makes sense of that same Class terminating the Middle Class. Warren Buffet will be fine. The husband and wife who use their college degrees and work long hours to gross $ 250,000 annually are in Big Trouble.
Click my post title and read Lukas's books.
* Big Bill Haywood went to the Soviet Union and worked for Lenin and later Joe Stalin, with whom he fell from grace. Big Bill died of alcoholism related maladies in a Moscow hosptial. Half of his ashes were scattered at Haymarket.