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Forum Post: "The Myth of Freedom in the Land of the Free", by John Stoehr.

Posted 2 years ago on March 28, 2012, 5:06 p.m. EST by shadz66 (18261)
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"The Myth of Freedom in the Land of the Free."

The US touts itself as the land of free, but it has laws which are designed to crush criticisms of the state.

By John Stoehr.

March 28, 2012 : "Information Clearing House" - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ .

In 1893, a massive financial panic sent demand for the Pullman Palace Car Company into a downward spiral. The luxury rail car company reacted by slashing workers' wages and increasing their work load. After negotiations with ownership broke down the following year, the American Railway Union, in solidarity with Pullman factory workers, launched a boycott that eventually shut down railroads across the US. It was a full-scale insurrection, as the late historian Howard Zinn put it, that soon "met with the full force of the capitalist state".

The US Attorney General won a court order to stop the strike, but the union and its leader, Eugene V Debs, refused to quit. President Grover Cleveland, over the objections of Illinois' governor, ordered federal troops to Chicago under the pretense of maintaining public safety. Soldiers fired their bayoneted rifles into the crowd of 5,000, killing 13 strike sympathisers. Seven hundred, including Debs, were arrested. Debs wasn't a socialist before the strike, but he was after. The event radicalised him. "In the gleam of every bayonet and the flash of every rifle," Debs said later on, "the class struggle was revealed".

I imagine a similar revelation for the tens of thousands of Americans who participated in last fall's Occupy Wall Street protests. As you know, the movement began in New York City and spread quickly, inspiring activists in the biggest cities and the smallest hamlets. Outraged by the broken promise of the US and inspired by democratic revolts of Egypt and Tunisia, they assembled to protest economic injustice and corrupt corporate power in Washington.

Yet the harder they pushed, the harder they were pushed back - with violence. Protesters met with police wearing body armour, face shields, helmets and batons; police legally undermined Americans' right to assemble freely with "non-lethal" weaponry like tear gas, rubber bullets and sonic grenades. There was no need for the president to call in the army. An army, as Mayor Bloomberg quipped, was already there. ...

Want to read more ? See : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30925.htm .

[John Stoehr is the editor of the New Haven Advocate and a lecturer at Yale. Follow him on Twitter: @johnastoehr / https://twitter.com/#%21/johnastoehr ]

~

fiat lux ..

ommm .

16 Comments

16 Comments


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[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5854) 2 years ago

The thing about freedom is that so long as it's never defined, any state of repression will qualify. You can ignore having initiative, referendum, and recall at all levels of government, prohibit the nationwide consumption of alcohol or any other drug, and even maintain slavery under the terms of imprisonment while targeting the same population for it, and people will wave flags and call it freedom until something they feel they should be free to do becomes subject to repression. Then, all of a sudden, the country has changed and people start crying about losing their freedom. It's like moving freely within the confines of a prison cell. So long as one doesn't venture to approach the walls, it's called freedom.

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

'Leo' : Further to your excellent comment. I'd also like to draw your attention to :

  • "The Century of the Self" : http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/ , (2002). The four films are about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings profoundly.

Caveat : As per the comment thread on http://occupywallst.org/forum/information-documentary-maker-video-essayist-adam-/ - I am obliged to suggest an element of caution before viewing.

fiat lux ...

[-] 2 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Indeed.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

'T' : I'd like to draw your attention to :

  • "The Power of Nightmares" : http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-power-of-nightmares/ , (2004). The three films compare the rise of the American Neo-Conservative movement and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and noting strong similarities between the two.

Taken from : http://occupywallst.org/forum/information-documentary-maker-video-essayist-adam-/ .

ad iudicium ...

[-] 2 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

I remember the time I was told to keep under wraps an essay I had written in my English 101 class about how ineffectual the UN was, particularly the role of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council in this shameful state of affairs. This was in the fall of 2005.

My professor said (and I quote) "I would not advise you to put this kind of material out in the public domain. It gives a wrong impression and attracts the wrong kind of attention."

This was in a university classroom. A place where knowledge is supposed to be freely disseminated.

[-] 2 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

A frequent source of information for me nowadays.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

Worrisome but thought provoking !! Thanx. pax et lux ...

[-] 2 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

The thing is I learned my history a little differently. Or... to be more exact, I was friends with mostly foreign students in my time as a University student. Students from countries like India, China, Russia, Iran, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Japan and Korea.

Our conversations enlightened me about many things I never knew or (sadly) just didn't care about.

It appalled me how little most people (including myself at the time) actually knew about world history (heck... even just US history) compared to them.

Of course every country likes to tailor their history books to their liking, but most of your youth tend to be wholly ignorant about it.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

With a view to the sentiments and lessons to be drawn from your comment, I would like to proffer : http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ .

ad iudicium ...

[-] -1 points by SteveKJR (-497) 2 years ago

You can be sure that university was receiving money from the Federal Government -

[-] 2 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

It was a state university after all.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 2 years ago

Our country is not what we were taught. Also look up the Bonus marchers of 1932. Tens of thousands of Americans camping out in Washington DC. The original occupiers?

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

A link to those events which you allude to ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonus_Army ) and an article for these times that we are in :

fiat lux ...

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[-] -3 points by lobbypoo321 (1) from Jersey City, NJ 2 years ago

yes yes I agree -there is much more freedom in cuba

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (18261) 2 years ago

I realise that it may all be a bit too complicated for you to take but as well as the above, see if you can get your empty head around :

e tenebris, lux ...

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