Interview conducted by David Josef Volodzko
Good day Margaret and David Josef Volodzko,
> I think Reich’s rhetoric is dangerous for the same reason I shake my head when climate change scientists are caught fudging the numbers. They do this to raise alarm, but what they fail to realize is that if and when they are caught, people will not merely think to themselves, “those numbers were wrong.” They will think,” I better not trust climate scientists anymore.” This is precisely why scientists should be as accurate as possible at all times, especially if their field is a highly politicized one. This is also why we shouldn’t throw the word “fascist” around simply to describe our political rivals.
REPLY: This maybe a tangent.
I shake my head too. In the 1960s and 1970s it was pollution that powered climate change, The folks you point at who change the numbers (WEF etc.) are the progeny of the very folks that stonewalled the Environmental movement spawned in the late 1960s. In the early 1970s President Nixon appointed Earl Butz Agriculture Secretary of the US. He told the small farmers of that day (almost all farmers were small holders) to GET BIG or GET OUT! So began the mass migration to the suburbs and cities as small farmers were de-platformed and Corporate agriculture installed, heavily funded by the US tax payers. So to the massive pollution of air soil, water and soul. Today the cities and burbs are human CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) as almost all the food people buy is corporate with an agenda.
It seems you are sympathetic to these oligarchs, I may be mistaken about that. What I see is a deliberate land grab first from the indigenous peoples of the US and world and then another grab at what is left of those of us at the bottom who struggle to pay our bills with $s that are worthless. Now to be blamed for Climate Change when in fact it is pollution. 80,000 + chemicals (unregulated) dumped by the tons into the air, water, soil and bodies of living beings. This is not an accident. It started at least 70 or more years ago with better living through chemistry.
Be aware what has happened to East Palestine Ohio a disaster, euphemistically called a train derailment occurring on February 3, 2023. In truth it was an environmental disaster (hydrogen chloride). Now in Maui a land grab is underway. Maui can be a case study in micro of how land is in precess of being taken from the first peoples.
Much more could be said. I am not eloquent, nor educated (barely high school) but I have been paying painful attention all my life. So I remark here.
Oh my gosh this was lovely....and I got lost in all the links, but here I am and this was
just so lovely to hear civilized and erudite people having a conversation...about important ideas.
Not gossp, not people, not things...ideas.
As well as being a wonderful learning experience.
Humor humanizes us. This exchange is interesting. I look forward to reading more of it. :-)
Love this, Margaret Anna Alice! So excited read all of it:) Thank you for yet another thought-provoking, enlightening, and entertaining series on our most important issues.
Margaret and David:
I wrote this comment to the Anderson Valley Advertiser as a response to a comment by an older southern lady who claimed plantation slavery really wasn't that bad.
It's only tangentially related to your conversation; however, it is related.
"During my last bicycle vacation in Florida, I took a break after reaching Gulf Junction Trail Head—the northern end of the Withlacoochee Bike Trail. I was nibbling my snack of assorted nuts and slices of granny apple under the shade of a gazebo when I was joined by another cyclist.
We talked about the great weather, the beautiful trail, and how nice it was to be warm in Florida instead of freezing our asses off in New Jersey or Michigan. However, the conversation drifted to why Florida—and the South, was great to visit, but we wouldn’t want to live there.
He was an electrician and talked about the appalling wages for skilled workers in the South and the union busting tactic of “open shops” prevalent in the southern states. I mentioned the salary I earned as a teacher in NYC public schools and the coolie wages non-union teachers are paid in states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina.
My companion observed,
—I read an article that called the South the only remaining bastion of feudalism.
—I’d call it “fascism” —I replied.
Doug Henwood, publisher of The Left Business Observer, has a show on KPFA called "Behind The News". On a recent program, his guest was James Q. Whitman, author of "Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law". It was a fascinating program. For anyone interested, here is the link:
One review of Whitman’s book notes,
“In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies.
As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer. German praise for American practices, already found in Hitler's Mein Kampf, was continuous throughout the early 1930s, and the most radical Nazi lawyers were eager advocates of the use of American models. But while Jim Crow segregation was one aspect of American law that appealed to Nazi radicals, it was not the most consequential one. Rather, both American citizenship and anti-miscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws—the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Whitman looks at the ultimate, ugly irony that when Nazis rejected American practices, it was sometimes not because they found them too enlightened, but too harsh.”
Another review observes that,
“In the 1930s, Nazi Germany and the American South had the look, in the words of two southern historians, of a “mirror image”: These were two unapologetically racist regimes, unmatched in their pitilessness. In the early 1930s the Jews of Germany were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered, by mobs and by the state alike. In the same years the blacks of the American South were hounded, beaten, and sometimes murdered as well.”
I must confess that the Confederate flag gives me the creeps. When I see it on a bumper or on the rear window of a pick up truck, I want to stay as far away from the driver as possible. He or she is not my friend.
I feel the same revulsion that the Swastika inspires. At least one reviewer of the Whitman book agrees:
“Hitler drew a similar, more sinister comparison in “Mein Kampf.” He describes the United States as “the one state” that had made headway toward what he regarded as a healthy and utterly necessary racist regime. Historians have long sought to minimize the importance of that passage. But in recent years, archival research in Germany has shown that the Nazis were keenly focused on Jim Crow segregation laws, on statutes that criminalized interracial marriage and on other policies that created second-class citizenship in the United States.”
“Nazism and the tradition of American white supremacy that is memorialized in monuments throughout the South are the fruit of the same poisonous tree. In this light, the Confederate flag can legitimately be seen as an alternate version of the Nazi emblem.”
I confess that I’m not much of a Jew. I hate Israel, I don’t believe Jews are God’s chosen people, I don’t believe in Jehovah, the stupid vindictive Jewish God, and I dislike Kosher food. The Kosher business is a grift.
However, I despise people who deny the Holocaust. The Nazis murdered people they considered “untermenschen”—Poles, Russians, Gypsies, queers, and Jews. Lots of Jews. Millions of Jews. Anyone who denies this is not only an imbecile, but probably a Jew hater and a Nazi sympathizer.
Slavery was a Holocaust too. If you deny this, you are a fool and a racist. The Middle Passage was a nightmare beyond my comprehension. And if you take time to read books like Sven Beckert's "Empire of Cotton: A Global History", you understand that slavery in the cotton fields of Mississippi was as brutal as slavery in a German concentration camp:
“By the end of the eighteenth century, the main way to increase plantation productivity was to torture slaves into working harder and faster. Systematic whipping and beating became the cornerstone of this first modern “speed up,” a dynamic closely analyzed by Edward Baptist. Perhaps more important, the first labor accounting methods were also developed for the plantation. Standardizing the output per slave “hand,” calculating slave depreciation, and setting picking requirements based on previous years’ harvest are some examples, set out by historian Caitlin Rosenthal. As Beckert says, “The all encompassing control of workers—a core characteristic of capitalism—experienced its first great successes on the cotton plantation of the American south”
Although slavery no longer exists in its original form, prison labor is still used to harvest sugar cane or pick cotton. Open shop laws impede workers from organizing in order to earn higher wages or salaries. In Florida, workers from Mexico are imported and recruited—often only quasi-legally—to harvest citrus, strawberries, peanuts and other crops. They’re paid a miserable wage with no benefits and are obliged to leave when the harvest is finished.
The Clintons’ friends and allies in Arkansas, the Waltons and the Tysons are virulent union busters, but so are most businesses in the South. That’s why they’re in the South.
Southerners continue to resist the demolition of statues of criminals like Stonewall Johnson and Robert E. Lee. And they continue to proudly display their disgusting flag—The Stars and Bars. Often they display the Swastika alongside of it. A good match.
So good but now I’m an hour late for work!
I love the formulas at the end. I struggle with humor...as the world has made me too serious. It's probably why I love illustrating comic book heroes at night, I tap into my inner silly child.
Thanks for sharing David's page! I've subscribed and looking forward to some mental stimulation.
Wonderful piece. I look forward to more.
Thank you for sharing this, it has been a stolen pleasure listening to your conversation. Once again thank you.
Outstanding efforts by both Margaret Anna and David.
On the saved list - this requires attention, not a late evening read. Looking forward to it :)
My quote list, by the way, is slowly growing - thank you for the push!
I enjoyed that very much.
We would have been better off if the colonial committees of correspondence had survived to the present day.
I would have to read more of David Josef Volodzko to make a determination..
AS TRUST IS GONE!!!
I wonder what ChatGPT would make of these equations. Recently it was asked a housewife logic question, that it mistakenly saw as an arithmetic problem: If 3 wet towels hung on a laundry line take 3 hours to dry, how long would it take 9 wet towels to dry? It answered "9 hours".
Thank you, Margaret. Humor is indeed a way to open a door that otherwise remains firmly shut. The conversation on national stereotypes reminds me of Robin Williams being interviewed on live German television, which went something like this...
Presenter: 'So Robin, why do you think we Germans are lacking in a sense of humor?'
RW: 'Because you killed all the funny people.'