Devil’s Apprentice, of Hell and High Water

An “internet pioneer” since 1953

Niall Ferguson: Keynesian Economics Flawed Because Keynes Was Gay, Childless

Posted by devilsapprentice on May 14, 2013


Yes you are so historically correct we should forget all reactionary Gay involvement thorough out history simply because they are Gay as if no Gay can be criminal nor reactionary as in many were involved in the Nazi Brownshirt movement that it conveniently forgotten: Which one can ask why? Because Gays are so much a constituency of the current political landscape whereby they have elevated themselves often in support of the status quo much as Roy Cohen did in his association with Joseph McCarthy did at the expense of others.

Am I intellectual I do not even address that issue as it is irrelevant for as the facts speak for themselves in what I present as truth and you present as mere snotty conjecture as yours is the rant of hatred in microcosm not mine for you despise the facts as Obama the Clintons and Tony Blair are all great reactionary Republicans just as you and George W Bush are.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Super Delegates Nominate Hillary Clinton

Posted by devilsapprentice on June 4, 2008

Super Delegates Nominate Hillary Clinton

 

The title some what fictitious but the reality of possibilities is not very far from the truth.

 

With all the misplaced enthusiasm of adolescent perceptions in a political reality stating the world is what it is supposed to be (but is not so don’t hold your breath)  the world is held captive in the turmoil generated by a corporate media that seems to hold little value in truth.

 

To judge the world by the headlines of the corporate media and most others that maintain those views which hold us prisoner to falsehood:

 

Thinking that “Barack Obama has locked up the Democratic Party nomination for the 2008 Presidential  election” in what is misplaced because in truth that is the farthest thing from the truth unless you support the business as usual crowd for maintaining the status quo.

 

“Barack Obama has locked up the Democratic Party nomination for the 2008 Presidential  election “

 

Is that really so? Is that way the Democratic Party will do it? Or is that what some would have us think in what is the jockeying for positioning related to the final voting.

 

One Super delegate offered his vote for sale for supposed altruistic reasons I am sure he is not the only one.

 

What all the wonderful over paid, over educated, over played, over valued, and worthless spin doctors and pundits (mainly of the mainstream corporate media) fail to state is that due to the brilliance of the National Democratic Party and its rules:

 

Super delegates on which Barack Obama is based can vote for whom ever they feel like in views that can change as often as those delegates can change their mind in preference up until the moment they vote at the National Democratic Party Convention for as long as it takes to reach a successful conclusion.

 

Imagine the possible headlines:

 

“Super delegates nominate FDR to run again with Bonzo as his running mate, as FDR is brought back to life due to advanced DNA cloning”

 

I do not agree with the super delegate system but as a realistic observer I am cognizant of it as a reality of real circumstances not imagined ones.

 

In theory the super delegates do not have to vote for either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

 

So why have so many mainstream media sources chosen to illuminate us with such falsehoods, to simplify the political landscape so we can receive their simplified views in what is once again dumb and dumber?

 

Surely they will rationalize truthfully that most likely delegates will do this and that but not once will they challenge the underpinnings of on which all that political trash and waste is based!

 

Why is it that the most complicated country in the world embroiled in every corner of the world with the most subversive of intrigues is summarized into the most simplistic of explanations that most of the time is simply untrue and false, unethical and immoral?

 

Let us ask what Jesus would do!

Let us ask what Buddha would say!

Let us ask what ET would say and do!

 

But most of all let us ask why has America declined to such a low point of ignorant discussion as is maintain in the mainstream media.

 

The fact of the matter is that without super delegates neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama has enough support to be nominated as the rules currently stand. As Barack Obama has 1,765½ delegates (52%) and Hillary Clinton 1,639½ (48%) with approx 690 super delegates deciding the outcome as it now stands though that means the Democratic Party is not expressing the will of the people but the established circles of power..

 

But who says that being democratic or republican means one is supposed to be fair and egalitarian?

 

But do I hear anyone except myself discussing or calling for the elimination of the super delegate system?

 

NOOOOOO!

 

The fact of the matter remains that if the super delegates decide in convention to change their votes to support Hillary Clinton she will become the Democratic Party’s nominee albeit one without a full mandate from the people just like Barack Obama will not have a mandate of the people if he was nominated on which grounds I oppose them as weak wasteful candidates currently destined for defeat.

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The Ballot Brawl of 1924

Posted by devilsapprentice on May 21, 2008

Relive the Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, at the Democrats’ Deadlocked Convention

By Peter Carlson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 4, 2008; C01

 

Those TV yappers are in a tizzy about the upcoming Democratic convention. They keep jibber-jabbering about how neither Clinton nor Obama will have enough delegates to win the presidential nomination and they’ll need to woo the high-powered superdelegates. They keep yakking about a deadlocked convention! Or, better yet, a brokered convention !

These young whippersnappers don’t know doodley about a deadlocked convention. Most of them weren’t even born the last time a convention fight went beyond the first ballot, which was in 1952.

Back in my day, Democrats had real conventions with real nomination fights that went on for dozens of ballots. It took 46 ballots to nominate Woodrow Wilson in 1912, and 44 ballots to nominate James Cox in 1920. Jeez, it took four ballots to nominate Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 — and he was FDR, for crying out loud!

In those days, people weren’t in such a damn hurry. They liked to vote for their state’s “favorite son” candidate for a few ballots just to show some local pride. In 1932, FDR’s campaign manager asked Sam Rayburn, who was the campaign manager for John Nance Garner of Texas, if he could get the Texas delegation to vote for FDR after the first ballot.

“Hell, no,” Rayburn said, “we’ve got a lot of people up here who’ve never been to a convention before, and they’ve got to vote for Garner a few times.”

But you didn’t come all the way out here to the old folks’ home to hear me beat my gums about the good old days. You want to hear about the greatest deadlocked convention of them all, don’t you? That would be 1924, when the battle went on for 103 ballots and even governors were getting into fistfights on the convention floor.

Give me a minute to put my teeth in and I’ll tell you all about it.

 

* * *

It was the Roaring Twenties, the days of hot jazz and bathtub gin, and the Democrats met in Madison Square Garden, which was packed to the rafters with New York characters, described in The Washington Post as “Tammany shouters, Yiddish chanters, vaudeville performers, Sagwa Indians, hula dancers, street cleaners, firemen, policemen, movie actors and actresses, bootleggers . . .” Plus 1,098 delegates and 15 presidential candidates.

To win, a candidate needed the votes of two-thirds of the delegates and, as the convention opened on June 24, nobody was even close. But the obvious front-runners were Al Smith, the governor of New York, and William McAdoo, a California lawyer who had been Woodrow Wilson’s Treasury secretary and was Wilson’s son-in-law.

Smith and McAdoo represented the two sides of America’s cultural divide — what today’s TV yappers would call the red states and blue states. Smith’s backers tended to be Northern, urban, Catholic and “wet,” meaning anti-Prohibition. McAdoo’s supporters tended to be Southern or Western, rural, Protestant and dry.

Just to make things more interesting, a lot of McAdoo’s rooters were members of the Ku Klux Klan, which was then at the height of its power. The Klan hated Catholics and Smith was a Catholic. (Needless to say, there were exactly zero black delegates.)

It wasn’t going to be easy uniting these factions, but the party bosses tried. They managed to finesse the Prohibition issue with a compromise that called for the enforcement of all laws but avoided mentioning the hated law against hooch. They tried to finesse the Klan issue in the same way, writing a platform that denounced violent secret societies but neglected to actually mention the Klan.

That didn’t work. The anti-Klan folks balked, demanding a resolution that named the Klan. This sparked an anti-Klan demonstration on the floor that led to fistfights as pro- and anti-Klan delegates fought for possession of various state banners. Believe it or not, the governors of Kentucky and Colorado got into fistfights trying to keep their state banners out of the hands of anti-Klan delegates.

Governors throwing punches — now, that’s the kind of convention high jinks you just don’t see anymore!

Ultimately, the anti-Klan resolution that didn’t mention the Klan beat the anti-Klan resolution that did mention the Klan by exactly one vote.

And then this seething, angry crowd settled down to try to pick a presidential candidate. First came 15 windy nominating speeches, followed by 15 windy seconding speeches. This torrent of oratory produced only two words that anybody still remembers: FDR calling Smith the “happy warrior.”

When FDR ended his speech, the crowd went nuts. Smith’s Tammany machine had packed the galleries with thousands of hacks armed with drums, tubas, trumpets and a bunch of ear-piercing electric fire sirens that were so loud that people scooted out of the hall with their fingers in their ears.

“It sounded,” The Post reported, “like 10,000 voodoo doctors in a tropical jungle beating 10,000 tom-toms made of resonant washtubs.”

The hacks in the galleries weren’t so friendly to McAdoo. Anytime a speaker uttered his name, the hacks chanted, “Oil! Oil!” — a snide reference to the fact that McAdoo had received two mysterious payments from an oil baron implicated in the Teapot Dome scandal. It was as if Obama delegates greeted any mention of Hillary by hollering, “Whitewater! Whitewater!”

Anyway, after all this folderol, they finally called the roll for the first ballot and, needless to say, nobody got the 732 votes needed to win. McAdoo led with 431, followed by Smith with 241, and 13 other guys, mostly favorite sons with delusions of grandeur, each with fewer than 60 votes.

What happens when you get no winner? Those TV yappers probably don’t know but the answer’s simple: You vote again. That first day, which was June 30, they took 15 roll-call votes and still nobody was anywhere near victory. The next day, they came back and took 15 more roll-call votes and still nobody won.

This was the first convention broadcast on radio, and all over America people listened to the endless roll calls, each of them beginning with an Alabama delegate drawling, “Al-a-ba- ma casts twen-ty fo-ah votes fo-ah Os-cah Dub-ya Unnn-der-wood Soon, everybody in America was mimicking that drawl, saying, ” Os-cah Dub-ya Unnn-der-wood!”!”

The voting was weird, even for Democrats: On the 20th ballot, the Missouri delegation switched all 36 votes from McAdoo to John W. Davis, the favorite son from West Virginia, which got everybody all excited, but on the 39th ballot, they all switched back to McAdoo.

On Wednesday, the third day of voting, William Jennings Bryan asked the chairman for permission to explain his vote for McAdoo. Bryan was the grand old man of the Democratic Party, which had nominated him for president three times. He was the “Great Commoner” who’d delivered the legendary “Cross of Gold” speech at the 1896 convention. But when he started orating for McAdoo, he was drowned out by angry boos from the gallery and chants of “Oil! Oil!”

“His voice, which had competed in the past with foghorns and tornadoes, sounded like the hum of a gnat,” The Post reported. “For the first time, Bill Bryan’s larynx had met its master.”

Listening on the radio, Americans were shocked to hear the rabble of evil New York shouting down a good Christian gentleman like Bryan.

On and on the voting went — 50 ballots, 60 ballots, 70 ballots. The convention was supposed to be over but it still hadn’t nominated a candidate, so it went into extra innings, like a tied baseball game. Some delegates gave up and left, others wired home for more money. The McAdoo people complained that rural delegates couldn’t afford New York prices and urged the party to pay their hotel bills, which caused the Smith people to accuse the McAdoo people of trying to bribe the delegates by paying their hotel bills.

“This convention,” wrote H.L. Mencken, the most famous reporter of the age, is “almost as vain and idiotic as a golf tournament or a disarmament conference.”

But still it continued, day after day — 80 ballots, 90 ballots, 100 ballots. Finally, both Smith and McAdoo gave up and released their delegates and on July 9, after 16 days and 103 ballots, the Democrats nominated John W. Davis of West Virginia for president.

The band played “Glory, Glory Hallelujah” and the delegates limped home, weary and bleary, their self-loathing exceeded only by their loathing of the other Democrats.

In the November election, Davis was creamed by Calvin “Silent Cal” Coolidge, a laid-back dude who didn’t let the duties of his office interfere with his afternoon nap.

* * *

What? Speak up, young fella, I don’t hear too good. Those Tammany fire sirens ruined my ears.

Fun? You wanna know if the 1924 convention was fun? Well, it was fun for the first 20 or 30 ballots, but after 50 or 60 it got a tad tedious, and by the 80th or 90th even the driest of the dry delegates longed to take a swan dive into a bottle of bootleg bourbon.

People said the 1924 convention was so ugly it would kill the Democratic Party. It didn’t, but it did kill the romance of the deadlocked convention. After 1924, Democrats hated deadlocks even more than they hated rival Democrats.

At the 1932 convention, the party leaders started to panic after three ballots and McAdoo got up and urged the convention to avoid “another disastrous contest like that of 1924.” FDR’s people offered the vice presidency to anybody who controlled enough votes to break the deadlock. John Nance Garner took the deal, delivered the Texas delegation and ended up vice president, a job he later reportedly described as “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

The last time a convention went more than one ballot was 1952, when the Democrats took three ballots to nominate Adlai Stevenson, who was trounced by Dwight Eisenhower. These days, both parties confine their brawling to the primaries and by the time the convention rolls around they’re cooing and kissing like newlyweds. Now, conventions are just long infomercials for the candidates. They’re so dull they make you pine for a deadlock.

Maybe that’s why the TV yappers are jabbering about a deadlocked Democratic convention. If Clinton wins Texas and Ohio today, they say, then neither she nor Obama may have enough delegates to win, so the nomination will be decided by the 796 superdelegates, the people we used to call the party bosses.

Well, I think they’re full of baloney, but I hope they’re right. A little deadlock livens things up, and the prospect of floor fights, fistfights and backroom wheeling and dealing quickens the blood.

Two ballots, five ballots, 10 ballots — that would give an old geezer a reason to go on living. But, please, not 103 ballots. Take it from me, young fella, that’s a little too much of a good thing.

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Hillary Clinton and John McCain join Forces:

Posted by devilsapprentice on April 14, 2008

Hillary Clinton and John McCain join Forces:

Supporting Terrorism:

 

By Andrew Stergiou

 

Comments, “posted Friday on The Huffington Post Web site, set off a blast of criticism from Clinton, Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain and other GOP officials” (Associated Press, By JIM KUHNHENN and CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writers, April 13, 2008)

 

Hillary Clinton’s recent attacks on Barack Obama are Republican style attacks that the Republicans joined in on, showing her complete lack of understanding of the problems in small towns of America, and America in general. They show a complete opportunistic side of the Clintons Democratic favored brand of Republicanism where they have good conservative bed fellows in the Republican Party.

 

Obviously Hillary Clinton, her staff, top Democrats, and their counterparts in the Republican Party have not watched the Michael Moore Movie Bowling for Columbine, or if they watched it sharply disagree or pay lip service to the message of Michael Moore because they are in denial of the problems really facing America. That on one hand rabidly speaks of crime and terror domestic and foreign and then denies it exists.

 

It was said that “A political tempest over Barack Obama’s comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.”

 

But the facts are that the Barack Obama has been endorsed at this point by the majority of organized labor and represents the best interests of American working people.

 

While successive Republican (and to a lesser degree Democratic party) administrations has catered to American fears, fears of crime, fear of terrorism, fear of the races, fear of what is foreign and big cities, in their wrapping themselves in the American flag and denying there are any problems with America:

 

So as to avoid they own guilt and responsibility for the last 40 forty of Republican subversion that began with Nixon and is a clear line to the present administration of George W. Bush that escalates the fear factor year after year thru a corporate media that has long lost its independent intellectual capacity to think without catering to the dumbing down of America which they have created.

 

The National Rifle Association and similar like minded organizations and individuals remind us constantly how the honest citizen is overwhelmed especially by crime in our communities, as long as they can use that as an excuse to increase spending on what has become more or less a gulag of gulags, and a police state in what can not be described as “The Free World”.

 

 Just as the conservative minded police and news constantly remind us of crime in the community but when Barack Obama goes to the root of those problems in order to address them, of what are delusions and illusions of those conservative bulwarks that prevent America from constructively changing he is attacked.

 

American conservatives do not want to resolve the crime, violence issues in America for in such problems resolution goes the issues that have kept them in power for the last forty years as they retreated from their forbearers policies support of racism and segregation.

 

In showing the Clinton camp’s insincere and opportunistic hypocrisy:

“One of Clinton‘s staunchest supporters, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., acknowledged there was some truth in Obama’s remarks. But he said Republicans would use them against him anyway.”

 

And as so does Hillary Clinton in her attacks on Barack Obama which are preludes to the Republicans attacks in the current presidential campaigning, in which Barack Obama has been attacked without any greater reason except they do so for their own advancement and good but not the country’s betterment and improvement.

 

Barack Obama stated in what was attacked that:

“It’s not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

 

In what is admittedly a truthful statement as stated by Sen. Bayh, but was hypocritically attacked by the Clintons and the Republicans at the same time, those conservatives Democratic and Republican alike emphasize security and protection from crime. Crime invading small towns and cities in what spills over from larger cities and urban centers  because the mainstream corporate America and politicians have exported it due to the failed polities of the last forty years much like Wal-Mart imports the prison made goods it sells from China, and exports into our local communities economies to destroy our local economies, jobs, and businesses.

 

Barack Obama stated “people don’t feel like they are being listened to.”

 

And that is absolutely true across the broad political Spectrum as American society has broken down if not collapsed in many areas of the country.

 

There is some indication the Clinton campaign has used this opportunity as an unfounded and unprincipled basis to draw attention away from the lie related to her stating she landed at “an airport” *** in Bosnia 10 years ago” under enemy fire when she didn’t. Clinton is known for her embellishments of speech as she started her campaign with the slogan “let the communication begin” when it has been anything but communication on her part in what is a onesided monologue in which she has more than once sided with the Republican Party and has played fast and free with the truth, and  continues with such distortions and misspeaking to undermine the American people.

 

In reality the Clinton campaign’s latest comments shows how Hillary Clinton being completely out of touch with the American people, and how hypocritically she addresses issues with a genuine cynicism of a evil nature merely to score political points.

 

As a democrat or merely a Democrat i must object to Hillary Clinton and her mannerism that represents business as usual as she is most unreal and insincere.

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$5,000 BET: How to become a Billionaire! Or My Perfect Computer, Perfect Computer?

Posted by devilsapprentice on March 26, 2008

How to become a Billionaire!

Or My Perfect Computer, Perfect Computer?

By Andrew Stergiou, March 26 2008.

First off to show the seriousness of what I propose I bet the computer industry that it will never be able to satisfy the reasonable spirit of this article so there for to show that computer industry for the corrupt bastards they are I bet them $5,000 they will never come up with a personal computer to satisfy my needs:

Without accompanying it with problems, bugs, of need to call tech support, my having to waste time on their crummy lousy ill designed products for the IBM compatible personal computer market.

Where is my perfect computer? I started out back in 1988 using a Commodore 64 personal computer that was toted by the industry of movers and shakers as one of the latest and great developments that was part of a wave of the future before us in personal computers.

I imagine as many people do the CEOs of computer companies lording over their minions as if it were in the “James Bond” Movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” as the evil mastermind asks:

“Mr Jones are we ready to release our new software?

Yes Sir, as requested it is full of bugs, which means they would be  forced to update for years!”

“Excellent!” answered the evil nemesis.

The Commodore 64 like all computers of the times then were full of bugs and problems, with machines and software that never really worked in harmony as promised.

As  personal computering was still the domain of the elite of white upper middle class techie geeks and as people were expected to hack they way into functionality with maybe only 5,000,000 Americans online at that time nationwide. Nothing in a real sense has changed as personal computers are still full of bugs and problems.

Then I moved on to the next step up by the Commodore Business Machines Corporation the Commodore 128 with some improved speed, and functionality but still none the better with bugs and problems for their new proud owners as users to get those machines to live up to their expectations of what they were promised and sold on by advertising that was less than honest.

I then continued moving up purchasing for I seem to remember $1350  a cool top of the line Chinese built IBM XT Clone with a 40 Megabyte Mitsubishi hard drive and a v.90 Modem that was fast humming at a speed of 41.8K  or 32 to 50 times slower that the current speed  of broadband DSL modem speeds so generally we can say that personal computers have improved.

But though they have improved over the many years, with billions spent on the information technology industry those personal computers never ever functioned without problems and we should ask could they ever function without the major problems and bugs that they generally have been associated in the public’s mind and to which we have become all to accustomed to.

James Taranto (currently an associate editor for the Wall Street Journal) Tuesday, August 7, 1990, in writing for the New York City Tribune, about me (as part of the hysteria he exudes from every pore as the McCarthyite  type of conservative who oozes the hyperboles of bad taste and the bad residuals of a bad Catholic pre-Vatican II upbringing of God, country, the church, Franco, and McCarthy, in a Cold war hysteria) even as the cold war was ending stated  back in 1990 called me an Internet  pioneer\These Marxist Hacks Are Hackers, Too

Online pioneers of the kooky left.

Well eighteen years later with all the common lies and deceptions spread like manure by these cold wars, I think I am allowed to look in retrospect of how what their society fashioned by the propagandas machines of false promises and deceptions on how they have lived up to they promise, or promises as I find them severely lacking.

We were promised a plethora of benefits from the cornucopia of a technological boom with the dawning of the age of the personal computer but in speaking with a Canadian Technical Support  Representative for Verizon and their Supervisor on asking:

Has there ever been, or have you ever heard of a personal computer that was made that came up to the industry current standards of application and ability (in 2008) that was without defect, flaw or bugs?

And again I was reminded of the “James Bond” Movie “Tomorrow Never Dies” and the evil nemesis because the tech support representative, and her supervisor both answered as I did in the negative.

For there was never a basic all round applicable useful personal ever made that was ever made that was operable without the user wasting valuable protection production time on trouble shooting what should of never been a problem and resolved at the design level.

So vehemently I lamented to those tech reps that over the last five years for all the time I spent trouble shooting my personal computer I hated and resisted calling them for anything and fixed it all myself.  That I was paid at a rate of even a minimum wage of $10 and hour that I could of bought a brand new luxury car.  For in all time I had to waste that was lost in non productivity labor, with a greater cumulative effect that those technical problems diminished my over all ability to reinvest my own labor in bigger and greater projects as part of the economy:

The computer industry has been destroying the economy of small artists and entrepreneurs so daring as to attempt all proficiency in all aspects of computer technology that affected they professions.

I developed and came up when the retort I would pay twice what I paid for my $450 Acer laptop, or the Hewlet-Packard  personal computer, and laptop.

So then I upped the ante to five times the price on the basic personal computer.

Then I started dreaming, and said to myself what would be willing to pay for a personal computer that I could use and operate without incurring all these problems. As I was an artist, producer, musician, small publisher, and writer, I never wanted to get sucked into using computers, but had to in order to keep up with the trends and competition. I never wanted to become a computer engineer, but I was forced to understand my computer because whereas an artist, or writer for a big established company could call up for technical and go on writing I could not unless I bought more than the usually two computer that I had on hand (one desktop, and one laptop)

I started thinking:

Usually I did not buy the lowest level personal computer because I wanted all practical features and as much functionality as it could muster, nor did purchase the highest level PC since never again did I want to be financing that high end of the design curve where the first customers were the ones that financed the start of new trends. I wanted a highly dependable middle of the road personal computer.

Then I said with all the time I have wasted, it would be worth it to pay ten times the current price of my personal computer to have a personal computer for ten years that I could use with fully functionality and no problems.

SO ARE YOU LISTEN BILL THE DUMB ASS GATES?

ARE YOU LISTENING APPLE DELL LENOVA?

ARE ALL TO DUMB ASS JERKS IN SILICON VALLEY LISTENING? YOU DIRT BAG YUPPY SCUM!

You hate that can say that and I can make it stick regardless of all the fancy convoluted answers you excuse your pitiful stinks asses with.

So if you are still listening after that emotional release, I suggest, propose, and bet that the general home professional entrepreneur market that should a computer would be worth at minimum at least a BILLION DOLLARS in generated sales for the company willing to develop a personal computer in satisfaction of my needs over a period of ten years.

So I bet $5000 that you jerks can not (I repeat can not) develop a personal computer that would stay comtemporary and up to date and not malfunction over a period of ten years during my use without exception or 100% guaranteed I get my money back guarantee.

And the bonus prize is you gain market share of at least a billion dollars in computer sales of like minded serious computer consumers such as myself.

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Just blog off!

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

In Response to Janet Street Porter Editor at Large The Independent, UK, Sunday, 6 January 2008, OPED piece of the same title.

by Andrew Stergiou

Admittedly, though albeit said generally without specifications of anything more, as a long time blogger, one who has blogged from a time before it was even referred to as blogging since 1988:

In comment of Janet Street-Porter article published: 06 January 2008

In all honestly much of her criticisms of bloggers are a most courageous stand, of the highest distinction for which the people of the UK should feel some what proud, but will not, since her article specifies with a manner, mindset, wording, and definition, as tainted as they come, and also rather revealing enough so we can not call her completely honest.

Up until now, other critics have taken note of her headlines, and generalities, but have not addressed the substance of her motivations.

Now we can quibble, as to her exact meaning, but where a higher standard of literal meaning prevails, she is insultingly referring in class bias to the working class where:

“Thousands of hackneyed opinions about books on Amazon written by people who can’t use a three syllable word *** as interesting as watching cheese develop mould or Gordon Brown crack a joke”

Now often I must write with out benefit of time, money or editors babysitting me watching over my shoulder but she has no such excuse.

What she said might be quite true, but it is the ruling elite, which she represents in class, education, in mindset, and financial demeanors, whom produced such shining examples of western civilization, whom as commoners, plebians and working class members, saluted in that their efforts are today addressed. Amazing? No!

As the common joke goes, called the infinite monkey theorem stating what I find offensive as a human being, as I would not dare say:

“That a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a particular chosen text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare”, (Quoted from some irrelevant wiki in the internet).

In what was thought up (by Ms. Janet Street-Porter perhaps), in some quiet moments after work, when she too rambled freely, and with much of which I can agree whole-heartedly, but only if I am allowed my qualifying remarks: regarding a modern decadent civilization that seems to require a greater sense of propriety, dignity and honesty.

The hackneyed, and hackney, petty in their ways are the mainstay and backbone of western civilization, regardless of how angry they can get or make us, they are loyal to every man woman, and child for they do not have the vested interests which create political ambitions.

Like I said, she is admirable in her views of courage, because:

Who really wants to read blogs, and listen in chat rooms to the petty vulgar gossip spread like manure by unlettered unskilled farmhands?

Whom for the most part I would not hire them to clean my dishes. They are ignorant as is shown and characterized by their poor sense in their commentary, while she I will respect and expect more from in her views as brilliant, though misguided, as her partiality indicates she has higher (“Greater”) “expectations” for them, than they have of themselves.

Where they should be ashamed of their comments without a doubt, as they are the intolerant incompetent wretches they are, as I also apologize, for if it were not for this technology I most like could not type, nor be able to afford a secretary-typist to do so for me, with or without a title.

P.S.

PS the too bad the commercial media is so self-serving, that it can not see reality even as it gets paid for it: For neither love nor money but for the hell of it do what it is supposed to representing the public’s interests but when has the mainstream media criticszed themselves like Ms. Porter criticizes bloggers?

 

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W.C. FIELDS, ELVIS, AND THE RAT PACK

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

W.C. FIELDS, ELVIS, AND THE RAT PACK:

In Perspective by Andrew Stergiou Feb. 03, 2003

Words 1979, characters 10216, paragraphs 47, Sentences 65,

Sentences per paragraph 1.9, Words per Sentence 24.6,

Characters per word 5, Flesch Reading Ease 35,

passive Sentences 7%, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 12

In mention of W.C. Fields, the juggler, the actor, the Vaudevillian, radio performer, he is spoken often spoken of fondly,; and, irreverently with the fervor of hypocritical preachers all too ready to makes cracks about the next man without appropriate consideration of themselves their actions or their actions affects.

I have listened and heard W.C Fields spoken of as “often inebriated” and called “a drunk”, I have heard people denigrate Elvis as “racist”, and Sinatra as Sinatra (and god knows what), Dean Martin also as “a drunk”, and Sammy Davis as “a house N****r”, without any reason or specific good cause to do so when those five gentlemen though excessive in their own human manner great contributors to not merely American culture but world culture as they changed singled handed in their own manner the world.

I stand to defend them so as to give no one the impression that I condone the intolerance of such aforementioned statements which is translated into a threat against each and every working class man, woman and child: Where such petty back biting callous remarks are the ammunition of a regressive politic reactionary that is founded in dysfunctional pathological perspectives that is inbreed into generation after generation of working class people.

As a poet member of ASCAP, known amongst musicians, writers, and the public alike, at I could speak at great length of many instances where people have fallen from grace including my self.

The first to come to mind is that exceptional socialist man of personal note, Thomas McGrath, whom I feel was also maligned in the aid of McCarthyism by slanderous gossip was spoken, and on whom a biographical article in reference appears at the bottom of this article, and of which I only make quick mention that:

THOMAS Mc GRATH born 1916, four younger brothers, one sister, parents were second generation farmers, working Ransom County, North Dakota, University studies at Moorhead State University. University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, awarded a B.A. , in 1939. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, World War II veteran, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. published first book poems, The Swallow Press, 1940-1941 taught Colby College in Maine, worked the Kearney Shipyards, until he entered the armed forces in 1942. He was discharged with rank of sergeant, 1945. resumed studet on Rhodes Scholarship, spent 1947-1948 at New College, Oxford, England; faculty Los Angeles State University, 1951 to 1954.

Dismissed from this institution was directly connected with his appearance as an unfriendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, when that infamous body brought its hearings to Los Angeles in 1953. 1954 to 1960 McGrath a secondary school teacher at a private institution, for a company that manufactured carved wooden animals, and at other jobs that might earn him his keep. He wrote film and television scripts from time to time, several of the former for director Mike Cimino. In 1960 he resumed his academic career, teaching at C. W. Post College (now part of Long Island University) in New York. At about this time he founded, with his wife Genia, the journal Crazy Horse.

Comrade McGrath was privately know to have been a drinker to what extent I am unsure and not privy but am sure justified in mentioning in his passing that the avove referenced remarks made in an off hand manner is why the socialist in America do not pass beyond marginalization:

Where W.C. Fields, Mr. Thomas McGrath, and myself can be attacked though being victims of the savage brutality of the capitalist system, harming no one:

But some claiming to be “socialists” refuse and resist explaining and accounting for their conduct, behavior, and involvement on higher levels beyond mere personal faults in their corrupt practices of leaderships that have been indicted for crimes against the people.

E.g. Elaine Brown, associated with socialist of the Green Party and ipso facto the Socialist Party USA, in regard to Huey P. Newton’s debaucheries in a conduct of abuse tyrannical while use of drugs, and drink paid for with party funds (while Chairman of the Black Panther Party); as erstwhile she maintains ambitions, even as a Green Party Presidential candidate who rationalizes her conduct by means of attacking her opponents, cloaked in the deceptive garb of allegedly revolutionary rhetoric, while never admitting faults, of any significant proportion in self-criticism.; and to a lesser degree Angela Davis.

It is time to have an accounting on the socialist for what are criminal acts in the service of counter revolution! To remove the weapons of deception from the arsenal of capitalism where on one hand people are encouraged to pursue normal healthy lives and pushed at the same time into illnesses.

One dramatic affect of alcoholism is on the children, who become adults mainly of the working class as it it is the working class that has no universal health care, and poor heath care when they do have it that effects the course of progress towards socialism which if it is to succeed must address these issues::

Dr. Janet G. Woititz identified in her book, Adult Children of Alcoholics, thirteen primary characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics:[3]

* Guessing at what normal behavior is.
* Difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.
* Lying when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
* Judging themselves without mercy.
* Having difficulty having fun.
* Taking themselves very seriously.
* Having difficulty with intimate relationships.

* Overreacting to changes over which they have no control.

* Constantly seeking approval and affirmation.

* Usually feeling that they are different from other people.

* Extreme responsibility or irresponsibility.

* Extreme loyalty, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

* Impulsivity – tending to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.

W.C. Fields is well known, and many people relate to him, that Paul A. Cantor wrote of in “Fields of Glory: The absurdist anti-politics of W.C. Fields”. http://www.reason.com/news/show/27701.html

At first glance I was going to be highly critical of W.C. Fields being spoken of in that manner, but then found some mitigating information. Information, that presents the above referenced quote in the light of being merely one sided, opportunistic, self-serving, myopic, and self-defeating as it was in some context not a complete lie but a half truth that I address as I am not know to try to speak in that manner normally.

Quoting from Wikipedia.org

“Fields’s screen character was often fond of alcohol and this trait has become part of the Fields legend. In his younger days as a juggler, Fields himself never drank, because he didn’t want to impair his functions while performing. The loneliness of his constant touring and traveling, however, compelled Fields to keep liquor on hand for fellow performers, so he could invite them to his dressing room for companionship and cocktails. Only then did Fields cultivate a fondness for alcohol. This did not have a negative effect on his film persona because Hollywood, in the 1930s and thereafter, glamorized alcohol.”

Though W.C. Fields career was prematurely ended, when he fell into a conflict with the studio system, and film studio moguls who governed Hollywood, and the motion picture industry in that epoch of time where drinking were rampant as drugs is today.

“With a presidential election looming in 1940, Fields toyed with the idea of lampooning political campaign speeches. He wrote to candidate Henry Wallace, intending to glean comedy material from Wallace’s speeches, but when Wallace responded with a warm, personal fan letter to Fields, the comedian decided against skewering Wallace. Instead, Fields wrote a book entitled Fields for President, humorous essays in the form of a campaign speech” (Wikipedia, Fields bio).

“Fields often fought with studio producers, directors, and writers over the content of his films. He was determined to make a movie his way, with his own script and staging and his own choice of supporting players. Universal finally gave him the chance, and the resulting film, Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, (1941) is a masterpiece of absurd humor in which Fields appeared as himself, “The Great Man.” Universal’s singing star Gloria Jean played opposite Fields, and his old cronies Leon Errol and Franklin Pangborn served as his comic foils. But the film Fields delivered was so nonsensical that Universal recut and reshot parts of it and then quietly released both the film and Fields. Sucker turned out to be his last starring film”. (Ibid.)

Dean Martin was first known as construction worker, and then as an alcoholic when actually in fact didn’t really drink, though was much maligned for it as a celebrity as he and frank Sinatra together with Sammy Davis Junior also known as (aka) “the Rat Pack”:

“was largely responsible for the integration of Las Vegas. Sinatra and Martin steadfastly refused to appear anywhere that barred Davis, forcing the casinos to open their doors to African-American entertainers and patrons, and to drop restrictive covenants against Jews.’

In also what is fondly remembered by many real honest working class American people even progressives and socialists, especially, in retrospect with the present.

Elvis Aron Presley, who started his life as a truck driver, befell victim in death to prescribed abuse in the form of prescription drugs dished out to an unwary Elvis.

It is well known that Elvis was often threatened in his early career by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) types, for what they perceived as advancing as a performer “Satanic”, “race mixing”, “nigger music” culture that as part of their vision of the future should not exist. A vision which they sought to to enforce with in the “white” community by the use of exactly such extortionistic slanders adopted by many so called progressives from fascist Klan rhetoric.

Where in later years widespread slanders have been found pervasive to accuse him of racism and the like when no substance to that can be found beyond a normal search and beyond normal conduct for the time; and, in that ironically he was the reason that all the black and white artists were enbled to perform today whatever music they like:

All due to Elvis’s courage to be open minded enough to hear and adopt the music he performed which has its roots in traditional folk music shared by white and black people’s culture in his hometown of Tupelo Mississippi

Elvis Presley was of German, Scottish, French, Jewish (from his maternal great-great-grandmother, a fact that would have classified him as Jewish in Nazi Germany however not in the Jewish religion) and Cherokee ancestry.Presley’s father, Vernon (April 10, 1916–June 26, 1979), had several low-paying jobs, including sharecropper and truck driver. His mother, Gladys Love Smith (April 25, 1912–August 14, 1958) worked as a sewing machine operator. They met in Tupelo, Mississippi, and eloped to Pontotoc County where they married on June 17, 1933. (Ibid)

In closing how can common ordinary poor working people expect fair treatment at the hands of those professing to be “socialists”, in all sincerity many comrades have no sincerity as they have become all to accustom to fighting improperly?

Where some comrades treat other’s questions statements without subjecting themselves, to the same discipline, any given time to the same rules, that they demand adherence, to as responsive pleadings require.

So they so lightly speak in manners so as to distort all; using self-serving deceitful statements rather than respond appropriately in what are merely the tip of the iceberg. Maybe they are descended from alcoholics whom any group must address appropriately in the present climate if those groups expect to continue to exist and expand…

THE END

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ADDENDUM

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Fredrick C. Stern

A Biographical Sketch of Thomas McGrath

THOMAS McGRATH WAS born in 1916, the oldest son of James and Catherine (Shea) McGrath. There were four younger brothers, Jim (killed in World War II), Joe, Martin, and the youngest, Jack. His sister Kathleen was born between Joe and Martin. His parents were farmers, the second generation of them, working the land in Ransom County, North Dakota, near the town of Sheldon, about forty miles west of the Minnesota border, between the Maple and Sheyenne Rivers.

McGrath went to grade and high school in Sheldon, and then started somewhat delayed and intermittent University studies at Moorhead State University. Eventually, he attended the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks, where he earned a B.A. in 1939. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he found that he could not use it immediately, because of the outbreak of World War II. He had received offers from a number of universities to begin work on an advanced degree—as had the other Rhodes Scholars that year—and accepted an offer from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. There he studied, most intensely with Cleanth Brooks, was involved in radical political activity, wrote, and met Alan Swallow, who published McGrath’s first book of poems as part of the development of The Swallow Press.

In the 1940-1941 academic year McGrath taught at Colby College in Maine, but he did not find teaching there entirely satisfactory and thus left at the end of the academic year to go to New York City. There he wrote, organized, did legal research for attorneys engaged in “political” cases, and worked at the Kearney Shipyards, until he entered the armed forces in 1942. Most of his time in the service was spent on Amchitka Island. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1945. After a period of adjustment he was finally able to undertake the year of study provided by the Rhodes Scholarship and spent 1947-1948 at New College, Oxford, England.

Returning to the United States after some travel, McGrath engaged in various occupations and eventually found a faculty position at Los Angeles State University, where he taught from 1951 to 1954. His dismissal from this institution was directly connected with his appearance as an unfriendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, when that infamous body brought its hearings to Los Angeles in 1953.

From 1954 to 1960 McGrath worked variously as a secondary school teacher at a private institution, for a company that manufactured carved wooden animals, and at other jobs that might earn him his keep. He wrote film and television scripts from time to time, several of the former for director Mike Cimino. In 1960 he resumed his academic career, teaching at C. W. Post College (now part of Long Island University) in New York. At about this time he founded, with his wife Genia, the journal Crazy Horse.

In 1962 he returned to North Dakota, where he taught for five years at North Dakota State University at Fargo. In 1969 McGrath accepted a faculty position at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, where he had first begun his studies as an undergraduate. At the end of the 1982- 1983 academic year, he retired from Moorhead State and moved to Minneapolis, where he now lives.

McGrath has held a variety of significant editorial positions and has been awarded a variety of distinguished prizes and fellowships for his work as a poet. Among the former, in addition to his founding editorship of Crazy Horse, he has been a contributing editor of Mainstream (later Masses and Mainstream) and has served on the editorial board of the California Quarterly. He has held an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship in Poetry (1965), has twice been awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1974, 1982), was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1967, and was twice a Bush Fellow (1976, 1981). In May 1981 the University of North Dakota awarded him a Doctorate of Letters. In 1977 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Western Literature. In 1986, The Associated Writing Programs presented McGrath an award at a dinner in Chicago, at which tributes to him were presented by author “Studs” Terkel and poets Philip Levine and Michael Anania. In the same year, a “Ceili” was held by Minneapolis‘s “the loft,” at which many distinguished poets and writers celebrated McGrath’s seventieth birthday.

McGrath has been married three times, to Marion, Alice, and Eugenia (Genia), all of whom appear in his poetry. He is the father of a son, Tomasito, to whom much poetry from McGrath’s later work is addressed and dedicated.

From The Revolutionary Poet in the United States: The Poetry of Thomas McGrath. Copyright © 1988 by the Curators of the University of Missouri. END THOMAS MCGRATH

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Posted in In the Flux, Literature and theory of the Arts,, Political, The Poetics of Poetry, Writing Literature and Criticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Stanzas in Remembrance by Louis Aragon

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

Stanzas in Remembrance


Source: Le Roman Inachevé, 1954, Paris, Gallimard;
Translated: by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2007

Aragon wrote this poem in honor of the resistance fighters of the Manouchian Group on the occasion of the naming of a street in Paris in their honor – MA.


You asked for neither glory nor tears,
Not the sound of the organ or the prayer for the dying;
Eleven years already, how quickly they pass, eleven years;
You did naught but use your weapons:
Death doesn’t dazzle the eyes of partisan.

Your portraits were on the walls of our cities,
The black of beards and night, wild-haired, threatening;
The poster seemed like a stain of blood, and
Because your names were so hard to pronounce
It sought to strike fear in those who passed.

No one looked on you as French by preference,
The whole day people passed without a glance;
But at the hour of curfew
Wandering fingers wrote under your photos:
DIED FOR FRANCE,
And the dismals mornings were no more the same.

All had the uniform color of frost
At the end of February, at your last moments;
And then it was that one of you calmly said:
I wish happiness for all, Happiness for those who will survive
I die without hatred for the German people.

Adieu pain, adieu pleasure, adieu roses
Adieu life, adieu light and wind;
Marry, be happy and think of me often,
You who will remain among the beauty of things
When things are over later in Erevan.

A great winter sun illuminates the hill
How beautiful is nature, and how my heart breaks;
Justice will follow upon our triumphant steps
My Melinée, oh my love, my orphan girl,
I tell you to live and to have a child.

They were twenty-three when the gun barrels blossomed,
Twenty three who gave their hearts before their time,
Twenty three foreigners and yet our brothers,
Twenty three who loved life to death;
Twenty three who cried out “La France” as they were struck down.

Posted in Poetry of Poetics, Political | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Religion, Art and Marxism – Alexander Bogdanov

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

Religion, Art and Marxism


Source: The Labour Monthly, August 1924, Bogdanov, pp.489-497;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford and Adam Buick;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2004.

This article consists of notes taken at a series of lectures delivered by Bogdanov in Moscow during 1920 and published in Russian as a series of three articles.

The first two of these articles, which deal with proletarian poetry and proletarian criticism, were published in The Labour Monthly last year, and copies can still be ordered. The conclusion of the third article illustrates the Communist attitude to the artistic inheritance of the working class by reference to “Hamlet” and other classics. We hope to publish this in a future number.

Bogdanov is, of course, the noted economist and the author of “The Short Course of Economic Science.” – Labour Monthly


There are two great problems for the proletariat to solve in the field of the arts. The first is that of independent creation: the perception of self and of the world in harmonious living images, the expression of its mental forces in artistic forms. The second is that of acquiring its inheritance: it must master the artistic treasures created in the past and assimilate all that is great and beautiful in them, without submitting to the spirit of bourgeois and feudal society reflected in them.This second problem is not less difficult than the first. We shall inquire into the general methods of its solution.A religious person who seriously and attentively studies a strange creed exposes himself to the danger of being converted to it, or acquiring from it beliefs which are heresies from the viewpoint of his own religion. Thus it has happened that learned Christians, having devoted themselves to a study of Buddhism, have become Buddhists themselves, or at least have been converted to the moral teaching of Buddhism; the reverse has also happened. The same religious systems may be studied by a freethinker, who sees in all religion only a revelation of the poetic creation of the peoples (this is not the whole truth about religion, but part of it). Is he exposed to the same danger as the religious scholar? Of course not! He may exult in the beauty and depth of the teachings which have attracted hundreds of millions of people, but he perceives them not from the religious but from another and higher viewpoint. The immense richness of thought and feeling which is revealed in Buddhism will certainly appeal to his heart and mind more than to the heart and mind of a learned Christian who cannot get rid of the hidden resistance of his own faith, struggling against the “temptation” of the strange religion; but the fact is that there is no temptation to become a Buddhist for the freethinker – his mind is so constructed as to assimilate the religious material in a manner of its own.Both the Christian and the freethinker take Buddhism “critically.” But the main difference is in the type of their critical attitude, in its bases – “criteria.” The believer is not standing above the subject of his study, but approximately on a level with it. He criticises from the standpoint of his own dogma and his own feelings, and he tries to find contradictions in the strange myths and in their moral revaluations; when he discovers such contradictions he is unable to appreciate the poetic or vital truth which is frequently hidden behind them. And even when he penetrates to this truth, he pays for it by a contradiction with himself – he “submits to temptation.” He is unable to regard Buddhism as a cultural heritage from a strange world; and if he receives this alien favourably, it conquers him and compels him to become an apostate from his former creed.The case of the violent atheist is about the same. He is a representative of the progressive, but not sufficiently developed, bourgeois consciousness, who sees in every religion only superstition and deception. He is an “inverted believer.” He has risen above religion sufficiently to renounce it, but not enough to understand it. For him religion is also not a heritage; and sometimes it is even a temptation; he comes to feel that it is not only deceit and superstition, but does not understand what it really is.

In quite a different position is our freethinker, representative of the highest stage which may be attained by bourgeois consciousness. His view of religion as a product of the poetical creation of the people allows him, within the limits of this viewpoint, to appreciate his subject quite freely and in an unprejudiced manner. For him it will not present a difficult inner contradiction to learn that the laws of Manu, among the ancient Aryan Hindus, are by the depth of their ideal much more sublime than either ancient or modern Christianity, or that their relation to death, as expressed in their burial rites, is incomparably higher than the Christian in nobleness, sublimity, and beauty. He who is free from all religious consciousness, who will struggle against it whenever it tends to obscure the thought or pervert the will of man, is still in a position to make all religions a valuable cultural heritage for himself and for others.

The attitude of the proletariat to all the culture of the past – of the bourgeois world and of the feudal world – passes through the same stages. In the beginning the worker takes it to be merely culture, culture in general; he does not imagine that culture in its essence can be anything other than that; he is all on a level with it. There may be blunderings in its science and philosophy, there may be false motives in its art, injustices in its morals and laws; but all this is not connected with the essence of it; these are its faults, deviations, imperfections, which further progress would improve.

And though he later on begins to notice in this culture something “bourgeois” and “aristocratic,” still he understands these traits only as a defence of the interests of the ruling classes, a “defence” which falsifies the culture; but he still has no doubt as to the essence of this culture, its methods and viewpoint. He is wholly on its level, and while trying to assimilate “whatever is good in it” he is not protected against it even as much as the Buddhist or Brahmin is protected against the temptations of Christianity, or vice versa. He absorbs the old way of thinking and feeling, and the whole attitude towards the world based upon those ways. His own proletarian class viewpoint is preserved only at the moment or the place where he hears sufficiently clearly the imperious voice of class interest speaking. When there is no such clearness and conviction and the problem of life is difficult and complicated, especially when the problem is still new, he does not solve it independently; either a ready-made solution is taken from the surrounding social environment, or even his proletarian class interest is considered and understood from an alien point of view.

Both tendencies have been clearly manifest in the attitude which the working-class intellectuals of the European countries assumed towards the war. Some gave themselves up to the wave of patriotism, almost without stopping even to consider; others were “able to understand” that the “higher interests” of the working class demanded unity with the bourgeoisie to protect or save the fatherland and its wealth, because “their destruction would throw the working class and the whole of civilisation back.” This great and cruel experience revealed quite clearly the fact that as long as the proletariat had not worked out its own attitude towards the world, its own way of thinking, its own all-embracing viewpoint, a proletarian cannot master the culture of the past as his inheritance; that culture will master him and use him as human material for its own aims.

If the proletarian, convinced of this, arrives at a mere anarchical negation of the old culture, i.e., if he renounces his heritage, then he puts himself in the position of the naive atheist with his crude attitude towards our religious heritage. But he is in an even worse case, for it is, after all, possible for the bourgeois atheist to do without an understanding of religion – he has other cultural values to depend upon; only the breadth of his thought and the swing of his creation suffer. But the worker is not in a position to put up anything at all to counterpoise the rich and developed culture of the hostile camp; he is unable to create anew anything on a similar scale. It remains a splendid tool or weapon in the hands of his enemies – against him.

The conclusion is obvious. The working class must find and develop to the greatest possible extent a viewpoint that is higher than the culture of the past, just as the viewpoint of the freethinker is the higher in the world of religion. Then it will become possible to master this culture without submitting to it, to turn it into a tool for the construction of a new life, a weapon for the struggle against that same old society from which this culture comes.

Karl Marx made a beginning in the mastery of the mental forces of the old world. The revolution that he accomplished in the field of social science and social philosophy consists in the fact that he revised their basic methods and their results from a new, higher standpoint – which was the proletarian standpoint. Nine-tenths or even more, not only of the materials for his gigantic construction, but also of the methods of their application, were taken by Marx from bourgeois sources; he used the bourgeois classical economists, the reports of the English factory inspectors, the petty bourgeois criticisms of capitalism made by Sismondi and Proudhon, and as a matter of fact all the intellectual Socialism of the Utopians, the dialectics of the German idealists, the materialism of the French Encyclopaedists and of Feyerbach, the social class theories of the French historians and the admirable descriptions of class psychology by Balzac, etc., etc. All this received a new form and was arranged in new combinations, it was turned into a tool for the building of a proletarian organisation, a weapon for the struggle against the rule of capital.

How was this miracle accomplished?

Marx established that society is primarily an organisation for production; this is the basis for all the laws of its life and the development of its forms. This is the standpoint of a socially productive class, it is the standpoint of a toiling collectivity. With this for his starting point, Marx accomplished a criticism of the science of the past, he purified its material, remelted it in the fire of his ideal, and created out of it proletarian knowledge – scientific Socialism.

Thus we see the way in which cultural achievements of the past have been turned into an actual inheritance for the working class: it is by critical rearrangement from the standpoint of collective labour. This is how Marx himself understood his task; it was not by chance that Marx characterised his main work, Capital, as a “Critique of Political Economy.”

This is not only true in regard to social science. In all other fields the method of acquiring and assimilating the heritage of the past is by means of our criticism, by proletarian class criticism.

We shall now look more fully into the basis of our criticism. We must find the essence of the standpoint of collective labour.

Three stages may be distinguished in the social process, or, to be more accurate, there are three sides to it: the technical, economic and ideological. On the technical side society struggles against Nature and subjugates it, i.e., it organises the external world in the interests of its life and development. On the economic side – the relations of co-operation and distribution among men – society organises itself for this struggle against Nature. On the ideological side society organises its experience, creating out of this experience the tools for the organisation of its life and development. Consequently, every task in technique, in economics and in the sphere of mental culture is an organisational task, a work of social organisation.

There are and can be no exceptions to this rule. An army may have for its aim destruction, annihilation, disorganisation. But this is not its final aim; the army is itself only a means – a means by which to reorganise the world in the interests of the community to which the army belongs. An artist, an individualist, may imagine that he is creating only for and out of himself; but if he really worked only for himself, his creation would not appeal to anyone beside himself. It would have no relation to mental culture, just as passing and incoherent (but beautiful) dreams are not related to it. And if he tried to create only out of himself, without making any use of the material, the methods of work, creation and expression that he receives from his social environment – then he would not create anything at all.

The standpoint of the labour collectivity is all-organisational. It could not possibly be otherwise with the working class, which organises external matter into products in its labour, organises itself into a creative and fighting community in its co-operation and in its class struggle, and organises its experience into class consciousness by its whole mode of life and by its creative work.

It could not be otherwise, with a class which has to accomplish the historical mission of organising harmoniously the whole life of humanity.

We shall now return to our first illustration. Can and should the whole world of religious creation become a heritage for the working class, against whom every religion has up till now been used as a weapon for enslavement? What use could it find in such an inheritance, what could it do with it?

Our criticism gives a clear and comprehensive reply to this question.

Religion is the solution of an ideological problem for a certain type of community, namely for the authoritarian community. It belongs to the collectivity built upon authoritative collaboration, upon the leading role of some men and the executive role of others, on authority and subordination. Such was the patriarchical clan community, such was feudal society, such were the serf and slave organisations, and such are the bureaucratic police States of to-day; the same state of things prevails in the modern army, and upon a smaller scale in the bourgeois family; and finally capital builds its enterprises on the principle of authority and subordination.

What is the organisational use of a system of accepted ideas? To organise harmoniously the experience of society in such a manner as to suit material organisation, so that cultural achievements may, in their turn, serve society as a means of organisation, to preserve, form, strengthen and further develop the given type of collective organisation. And it is quite easy to perceive how all this is arranged in an authoritarian order of life.

This order is simply transplanted into the field of experience and thought. Every action, whether human or elemental, every phenomenon is represented as a combination of two links – of the organising active will and the passive execution. The whole world is represented as an image of the authoritarian society. At the head of it a supreme authority, a “deity,” is put, and, with the complication of the authoritative combinations, a series of subordinated authorities – lower gods, “demigods,” “saints,” etc., are added, who manage different fields or sides of life. And all these representations are accompanied by authoritarian feelings and moods: admiration, humility, respectful awe. Such are the relationships in religion. It is merely an authoritarian ideology.

It is quite plain what a perfect organisational tool this is for an authoritarian order of life. Religion simply introduces man into this order, assigns to him a definite place in its system, and disciplines him for the execution of the role assigned to him in this system. In feeling, thought and experience the personality is fused with the social environment. It forms an indestructible unit.

The form of religious creation is, for the most part, poetic. This was correctly noted by our freethinker, who did not discern, however, the main thing – the social contents of religion. During those stages of social development when religion is in process of formation, poetry is not yet differentiated from practical and theoretical knowledge, it still includes them in its scope. Religion then includes all and every knowledge, it organises the whole experience of men; knowledge is then understood as a revelation emanating from God, either directly or through some intermediary agents.

What kind of inheritance, then, is religious culture for the proletariat? A very important and valuable one. After it has passed through the worker’s criticism it becomes for him a tool not for the support of, but for the understanding of all the authoritarian elements in life. The authoritarian world has decayed, but it is not dead; its vestiges surround us on every side, sometimes openly, but for the most part under the most various and sometimes unexpected disguises. In order to conquer such an enemy, it is necessary to know it, know it thoroughly and seriously.

The question is not only one of renouncing religion; though even in this respect the worker who has acquired the new critical attitude will prove considerably better armed than the furious but naive atheist, who renounces all creeds because of logical calculations, or opposes them with the childish assertion that religion was invented by the priests for the exploitation of the people. More important still is the fact that the possession of this inheritance enables us to form a correct estimate of the significance of the authoritative elements in present-day society, their mutual connection, and their relation to social development. If religion is a tool for the preservation of authoritarian organisation, then it is clear that in the relations of the classes religion for the workers serves only as a means to ensure their subordination, a means to preserve in them the discipline that the ruling classes desire them to possess, in order to keep exploitation secure – in spite of what various religious Socialists say. It is clear that the formula adopted by most Labour parties to the effect that “religion is a private affair” is but a temporary political compromise with which we cannot rest content. It becomes evident why there is such a perpetual alliance between sabre and cassock, between the military and the church; both have a strictly authoritarian organisation. It also becomes clear why the patriarchical petty-bourgeois and peasant family is so attached to religion, to the “law of God”; and at the same time we can see the great danger in the way of social progress that this fecund seed of authoritarianism may represent if it is preserved. A new light is shed upon the role of party leaders, on authorities and the significance of collective control over them.

Further, the whole artistic treasury of the experience of the people, preserved and crystallised as it is in the various holy traditions and letters, pictures of a strange original life with a harmony of its own, is continually broadening the vision of man, giving him a deep insight into the universal motion of humanity, urging him towards new independent creative work which will not be tied down by the usual environment and habits of thought.

Does it, then, not pay the working class to take its religious heritage?

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The Workers’ Artistic Inheritance, Alexander. Bogdanov

Posted by devilsapprentice on February 6, 2008

Alexander. Bogdanov 1924

The Workers’ Artistic Inheritance


Source: The Labour Monthly, September 1924, Bogdanov, pp. 549-597;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford and Adam Buick;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike)


In dealing with religion[1] as an example of the artistic inheritance of the working class I intentionally started out with the most contested and difficult question. In this manner it will be easier for us to master the main problem. It is clear that the weapon with which the working class can and should master that inheritance is that criticism of ours which I have already described, with its new “all-organisational” standpoint of collective labour.

How should our criticism approach its subject?

The soul of a work of art is what we call its “artistic idea.” This is its plot and the essence of its treatment, the problem and the principle of its solution. Of what kind, then, is this problem? We know now. No matter how it has been considered by the artist himself, in reality it is always a problem of organisation. It is this in two senses: in the first it is a question of how to organise harmoniously a certain sum total of the elements of life and experience; in the second sense, it is a question of how to ensure that the unity created in this way may serve as a means of organisation for a certain community. If the first is not accomplished we have no art, but only confusion; if the second is not accomplished, then the work has no interest for anybody except the author himself, and is of no use whatever.

We shall take for an illustration one of the greatest works of world-literature, the finest diamond of the old cultural heritage – Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

What is the “artistic idea” of this work? It is the organisational problem of a human soul torn by the difficult contradictions of life, divided between the striving towards happiness, love and harmony, and the necessity of waging a painful, stern, merciless struggle. Where is the way out of this contradiction, how can all this be reconciled? How can the thirst for harmony be prevented from weakening a man in the inevitable struggle of life, be prevented from robbing him of the strength, firmness and coolness which are necessary for this struggle? At the same time, how can a man avoid the involuntary cruelty of the blows, the blood and dirt of the wounds, destroying the whole joy, the whole beauty of existence? What should be done to restore harmony to the soul rent asunder by the sharp conflict between its deepest and sublimest need, and the imperious demand dictated by the hostility of his environment?

We perceive at once how vast is the scale of this organisational problem, how great is its significance for every man. It is not a problem which faces the Danish Prince alone, nor the numerous “Hamlets” and “little Hamlets” of our middle class and its literature. This problem is an inevitable moment in the life of every man; he who is strong enough to solve it is raised by it to a higher stage of self-consciousness; for the man who cannot solve the problem becomes a source of spiritual ruin, and sometimes even leads to his destruction.

This tragedy penetrates perhaps most acutely the soul of the proletarian idealist, and even more so the collective psychology of the working class. Fraternity is its ideal, the harmonious life of humanity is its highest aim; but how removed from all this is its surrounding environment, how difficult and at times gloomy and cruel is the struggle forced upon it! Yet it must fight if it does not want to be deprived of all that has been attained by previous innumerable exertions, if it does not want to lose its social dignity and the very sense of life. Little joys have been given it, and great is the thirst for them; but even that little is constantly threatened with destruction or deformation by the inevitable elements of social hatred and anarchy. Why, the very ability to love and rejoice may be killed in the exasperation of the fight, in the despair of defeats and in the rage of the countering blows!

The tragedy of Hamlet enfolds itself on just such a basis. He is a very gifted man, with a fine artistic nature; and at the same time life has favoured him. His education as a prince and heir to the throne, several years of wandering in Germany in the capacity of a student, the fullest enjoyment afforded by occupation in the sciences and arts, life in an environment of friendship and good cheer: finally his serene poetical love for Ophelia – it is seldom that a man has an existence so happy and harmonious. Hamlet takes it as a matter of course. He has never experienced, nor can he imagine, any other existence. But then the time comes, the horror and hideousness of life breaks in upon him – at first in dark foreboding and then with painful clearness.

His family has been destroyed, the lawful order of his country has been shattered to the ground. A traitor and fratricide has seized the throne of his father and seduced his mother; at the court, hypocrisy, intrigue and licentiousness are reigning; decline of the old good customs is spreading over the country, breeding confusion. It is necessary to restore law, to cut short crime, to avenge the death of his father and the disgrace of his family. Such is the sacred duty of Hamlet, as defined by the whole order of his feudal conceptions.

Is he sufficiently strong to accomplish all this? Yes, in his rich nature there are the requisite powers. For he is not only an artist and a favourite of fortune, he is not only a “passive aesthetic” for whose life harmony is as indispensable as air. He is, besides, the son of a warrior king, a descendant of the great Vikings; he has received a perfect military education. There is a fighter in him – but one that has not had the opportunity to unfold, to put himself to the test; and, what is worse, the fighter is combined with the, passive aesthete.

Here is the essence of the tragedy. The struggle demands from Hamlet resort to cunning, deception, violence and cruelty; but these are repulsive to his mild and refined soul. And more, he has to direct them against his nearest and dearest: in the camp of his enemies he finds his beloved mother, and he sees that Ophelia herself is used as a tool in the intrigues against him. His enemies put them forward, and thus play skilfully upon the weakest sides of his soul. His hand, which is raised for the blow, is stopped; the inner struggle paralyses his will, the momentary resolution gives way to hesitation and inaction, time passes in fruitless meditation – the result is a deep duality and for a time even the wreck of his personality: everything is confused in the chaos of unavoidable contradictions, Hamlet “becomes insane.”

An ordinary person would have been crushed by the circumstances and would have perished before he could do anything. But Hamlet is a figure not of the ordinary. He is an heroic character. Through the tortures of despair, through the sickness of his soul, he still goes step by step to the real solution. The elements of the two separated personalities in one – of the aesthete and the warrior – penetrate each other and are welded in a new personality: the active aesthete, the champion of the harmony of life. The main contradiction disappears: the thirst for harmony finds an outlet in the exertion of fighting, the blood and mire of the struggle are directly redeemed by the consciousness that it serves to purify life and raise it to a higher level. The organisational problem is solved, the artistic idea has been clothed in form.

Hamlet, it is true, perished; and in this the great poet is objectively right, as always. The enemies of Hamlet had this advantage: while he was gathering the forces of his soul, they acted, and prepared everything for his destruction. But he dies a victor: crime is punished, the lawful order is restored, the fate of Denmark is entrusted to firm hands: to the young hero Fortinbras. He is not so great a man as Hamlet, but has an harmonious character imbued with the principles of the feudal world, whose ideals inspired Hamlet also.

Here another aspect of our criticism comes in. The organisational problem has been solved; but which collectivity was it that gave the author the vital material for the embodiment of this problem? Of course, it was not the proletarian, which did not exist then. The author of Hamlet, no matter who he was – as is well known this is a disputed question – was either an aristocrat himself or a fervent adherent of the aristocracy. It is from this world that he draws the greater part of the material for his dramas, and his works bear the seal of the feudal monarchical ideal. The bases of that social order are authority and subordination, faith in a deity managing the world, faith in the holiness and infallibility of the order which has been established since ancient times, and the recognition that some people are higher beings, by their very birth destined to manage and rule, while others are lower and must be ruled, being incapable of, any other function but that of subordination. Now, does not all this destroy the value of the work for the working class?

I shall answer by another question. Is it necessary for the working class to know other organisational types besides its own? Moreover, is the working class in general able to work out and form its own type otherwise than by way of comparison with others, by the criticism of others, by working them over and using their elements? And who else, if not the great and skilful artist, can lead one into the very depths of an alien organisation of life and thought? It is the task of our criticism to expose the historical significance of that organisation, its connection with lower stages of development, its contradiction with the vital conditions and problems of the proletariat. As soon as this is accomplished there is no more danger of submitting to the influence of the strange type of organisation; the knowledge of it becomes one of our most precious tools for the creation of our own organisation.

And here also the objectivity of the great artist affords the best support for our criticism. Without making it his aim he happens to delineate all the conservatism of the authoritarian world, its inherent narrowness, and the weakness of the human mind in this world. It is worth while to recollect the appearance of the hero Fortinbras, which serves as an impulse towards a change in the soul of Hamlet himself, urging him to enter the course of action leading to the solution of his problem. With a proud conviction of his own right, without any doubts or hesitation, Fortinbras leads his army to conquer a stretch of land which is not worth, perhaps, the blood of one of the soldiers who will perish in this war. . . .

Finally, great significance attaches to the fact that while the organisational problem is set before us and solved on the basis of the life of a society strange to us, while the solution in its general aspect preserves its validity for the present time, and for the proletariat as a class also, whenever the thirst for harmony clashes with the severe demands of its struggle. Here art teaches the working class the universal setting and the universal solution of organisational problems – which is necessary for it in the accomplishment of its universal organisational ideal.

The Belgian artist, Constantine Meunier, in his sculptures depicted the life of the workers. His statue, “The Philosopher,” represents a worker thinking, deeply absorbed in the solution of some important philosophical problem. The naked figure makes an integral and strong impression of exerted thought, concentrated on one thing, and overcoming some great invisible resistance.

What is the artistic idea of the statue? The organisational problem is the following: How to combine hard, physical labour with the strain of thought, with mental creative work? The solution of the problem . . .?

It is only necessary to look at the figure of “The Philosopher,” which is penetrated throughout by reserved effort, in which every visible muscle is fully exerted – an exertion not manifesting itself in any external action, but seeming to pass into the inner depths – and immediately the solution comes forward with the greatest vividness and impressiveness. It is this: “Thought is a physical exertion in itself; its nature is the same as that of labour, there is no contradiction between them, their division is artificial and passing.” The results of exact science, of physiological psychology, confirm this idea; but it is more intimate and comprehensible in its artistic expression. And its enormous significance for the proletariat does not need proof.

But our criticism must put the question: On the standpoint of which class or social group does the artist stand in his creative work? And then it will become plain that although he represents workers, he does it not as an ideologist of the working class: his is the standpoint of labour, but not of collective labour. The worker-thinker is taken as an individual; those connections which fuse the exertion of his thought with the physical and mental exertions of millions, making it a link in the universal chain of labour, are not felt at all, or at best are delineated very vaguely, almost indiscernibly. The artist is an intellectual by his social position; he is accustomed to work individually himself, without noticing to what extent his labour is connected with the collective labour of humanity both by its origin and by its methods and problems. In this the standpoint of the toiling intellectuals is very little different from that of the bourgeoisie – it is just as individualistic – and here also our criticism must supplement that which the artist could not give.

Thus the tasks of proletarian criticism in relation to the art of the past define themselves. By carrying out these tasks it will give the working class an opportunity to master firmly and use independently the organisational experience of thousands of years crystallised in artistic forms.

The usual conception of the role and sense of proletarian criticism is different. It most frequently defends the position of “social arts,” and deals with the problems of its agitational significance in defence of the interest of the working class. Some years ago the worker Ivan Kubikov invited the proletarians to study the best works of the literature of the old world, regarding art’s educational influence in the following manner. No doubt there is in this literature “not only pure gold, but also elements of alloy which are harmful for the proletariat.” These elements are the “conservative moderating forces.” But they are not to be feared, because the worker has his class sense which allows him to distinguish between the gold and the alloy. “If we observe attentively the impressions received from art we shall find that only the gold affects, the alloy passes by the consciousness of the worker. . . . I have personally had the opportunity during my observations to see the very surprising way in which a rebel worker manages to draw revolutionary conclusions from the most innocent works of art.” (“Nasha Zaria,” Our Dawn, 1914, No. 3, pp. 48-49). This is a naive standpoint, and faulty at its base.

There is very little good in such a sense which “manages” to draw revolutionary conclusions from a really innocent work. Misrepresentation is misrepresentation. What does it prove? That there is a great force of direct feeling and a lack of objectivity. It proves that the thought is lower than this feeling and submits to it. Should that be the consciousness of a class destined to solve the universal organisational problem?

As an illustration of the interrelation between “gold and alloy” Kubikov takes Schiller’s Don Karlos; he thinks that the detection of tyranny and the fiery orations of Marquis Posa are the gold, while his dreams about monarchy absolute, but enlightened and humane, is the alloy. This is not true. On “fiery words,” accompanied by vagueness and weakness of thought, the reader might well be brought up in the direction of revolutionary phraseology alone. On the contrary, the live and deeply artistic expression of the ideal of enlightened monarchy is not at all “alloy” for the historically conscious reader who has the standpoint of proletarian criticism. The ideal is the mental model of organisation; the knowledge and understanding of such models which have been worked out by the past is indispensable for a class which is called upon to organise the future. In the struggle of the heroic personalities presented by the artist it is necessary to discern the struggle of social forces which have defined and determined the thought and will of the men of that epoch, and the necessity of the different ideals called forth by the nature of those forces. To get an artistic insight into the soul of perished classes or of those which are passing from history, as well as into the soul of the classes which occupy the scene of history at present, is one of the best means to master the accumulated cultural and organisational experience of man, the most precious inheritance for a class that comes to construct.

And as far as the art of the past can educate the feelings and moods of the proletariat, it should serve as a means to deepen and enlighten them, to extend their field over all the life of humanity, along all its path of toil, but it should not serve as a means of agitation, a tool for propaganda.

The critic who manages to present to the proletariat a great work of the old culture, in the theatre for instance, after the performance of a piece of genius, who can explain to the spectators its sense and value from the organisational standpoint of collective labour, or give them such an explanation in a short and comprehensible programme, or perhaps can explain in an article in a Labour newspaper or magazine the poem or novel of a great master – such a critic will accomplish a serious and important work for the proletariat.

Here is our broadest field for work, for work which will be important and lasting.


1. See “Art, Religion and Marxism,” in the last issue of The Labour Monthly (August, 1924; Vol. VI, No. 8); also “Proletarian Poetry” in the May and June issues of last year (Vol. IV, Nos. 5 & 6), and “The Criticism of Proletarian Art” in the December, 1923, issue (Volume V, No, 6), all by the same author.

 

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