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Trumps Indictment: Historical and Future Implications II

Ahavati
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The first thread was slapped with an adult warning and de-prioritized ( I have not received a reason ), but you can access it here ( I suggest subscribing ):

https://deepundergroundpoetry.com/forum/speakeasy/read/12585/

Former President Trump gave voices to the hoards of Americans ( and unfortunately there are hoards ) who are racist, much like Hitler and quest to create an Aryan race.

The word Aryan has a long history. Initially, it was used to refer to groups of people who spoke a variety of related languages, including most of the European ones and several Asian ones. Over time, however, the word took on new and different meanings. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, some scholars and others transformed the Aryans into a mythical “race” that they claimed was superior to other races. In Germany, the Nazis promoted this false notion that glorified the German people as members of the "Aryan race." At the same time, the denigrated Jews, Black people, and Roma View This Term in the Glossary (Gypsies) as “non-Aryans.”

Read more here: https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/aryan-1

This thread will also expand upon the history of American politics so that those who are engaging can understand it better.

Heather is touching base on race being a factor in current politics:

Four days ago, on Saturday, August 26, in the early afternoon, a heavily armed, 21-year-old white supremacist in a tactical vest and mask, who had written a number of racist manifestos and had swastikas painted on his rifle, murdered three Black Americans at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. He had apparently intended to attack Edward Waters University, a historically Black institution, but students who saw him put on tactical gear warned a security guard, who chased him off and alerted a sheriff’s deputy.

As David Kurtz of Talking Points Memo put it two days later, “America is living through a reign of white supremacist terror,” and in a speech to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law on Monday, President Joe Biden reminded listeners that “the U.S. intelligence community has determined that domestic terrorism, rooted in white supremacy, is the greatest terrorist threat we face in the homeland—the greatest threat.”

Biden said he has made it a point to make “clear that America is the most multiracial, most dynamic nation in the history of the world.” He noted that he had nominated the first Black woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, for the Supreme Court and has put more Black women on the federal circuit courts than every other U.S. president combined. Under him, Congress has protected interracial and same-sex marriages, and his administration has more women than men. He warned that “hate never dies. It just hides.”  

But in his Editorial Board newsletter, John Stoehr pointed out that the increasing violence of white supremacists isn’t just about an “ideology of hate” rising, but it is “about a minority faction of the country going to war, literal war, with a majority faction.” He pointed to former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin’s recent prediction of civil war because “We’re not going to keep putting up with this…. We do need to rise up and take our country back.” Stoehr calls these white supremacists “Realamericans” who believe they should rule and, if they can’t do so lawfully, believe they are justified in taking the law into their own hands.

Indeed, today’s white supremacist violence has everything to do with the 1965 Voting Rights Act that protected the right to vote guaranteed by the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1870 after white supremacists refused to recognize the right of Black Americans to vote and hold office. Minority voting means a government—and a country—that white men don’t dominate.

In the 1870s, once the federal government began to prosecute those white men attacking their Black neighbors for exercising their right to vote, white supremacists immediately began to say that they had no issues with Black voting on grounds of race. Their issue, they said, was that Black men were poor, and they were voting for lawmakers—some Black but primarily white—who supported the construction of roads, schools, hospitals, and so on. While these investments were crucial in the devastated South and would help white Americans as well as Black ones, white supremacists insisted that such government action redistributed wealth from white people to Black people and thus was a form of socialism.

It was a short step from this argument to insisting that Black men shouldn’t vote because they were “corrupting” the American system. By 1876, former Confederates had regained control of southern state legislatures, where they rewrote voting laws to exclude Black men and people of color on grounds other than that of race, which the Fifteenth Amendment had made unconstitutional.

By the end of the nineteenth century, white southerners greeted any attempt to protect Black voting as an attempt to destroy true America. Finally, in North Carolina in 1898, Democrats recognized they were losing ground to a biracial fusion ticket of Republicans and Populists who promised economic and political reforms. Before that year’s election, white Democratic leaders ran a viciously racist campaign to fire up their white base. “It is time for the oft quoted shotgun to play a part, and an active one,” one woman wrote, ”in the elections.”

Blocking Fusion voters from the polls and threatening them with guns gave the Democrats a victory, but in Wilmington the biracial city government had not been up for reelection and so remained in power. Vigilantes said they would never again be ruled by Black men and their unscrupulous white allies who intended to “dominate the intelligent and thrifty element in the community.” They destroyed Black businesses and property and killed as many as 300 Black Americans, then portrayed themselves as reluctant victims who had been obliged to remove inefficient and stupid officials before they reduced the city to further chaos.

In 2005, white supremacists in North Carolina echoed this version of the Wilmington coup, claiming it was a natural reaction to “oppressive radical social policies” and a “carnival of corruption and criminality” by their opponents, who used the votes of ignorant Black men to stay in power.  

That echo is no accident. The 1965 Voting Rights Act ended the power of white supremacists in the Democratic Party once and for all, and they switched to the Republicans. Then-Democratic South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond had launched the longest filibuster in U.S. history to try to stop the 1957 Civil Rights Act; Republican candidate Richard Nixon deliberately courted him and those who thought like him in 1968.

Republicans adopted the same pattern Democrats had used in the late nineteenth century, claiming their concerns were about taxes and government corruption, pushing voter suppression legislation by insisting they cared about “voter fraud,” insisting their opponents were un-American socialists attempting to overthrow a fairly-elected government.

cont below

Ahavati
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This political side of white supremacy is all around us. As Democracy Docket put it last month, “Republicans have a math problem, and they know it. Regardless of their candidate, it is nearly certain that more people will vote to reelect Joe Biden than his [Republican] opponent.” After all, Democrats have won the popular vote since 2008. Under these circumstances and unwilling to moderate their platform, “Republicans need to make it harder to vote and easier to cheat.”

Republican-dominated state legislatures are working to make it as hard as possible for minorities and younger Americans to vote, while also pushing the election denier movement to undermine the counting and certification of election results. At the same time, eight Republican-dominated states have left the nonpartisan Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a compact between the states that makes it easier to share voter information to avoid duplicate registration and voting, and three more are considering leaving.

In a special session of the Tennessee legislature this week, Republican lawmakers blocked the public from holding signs (a judge blocked the rule), kicked the public out of a hearing, and passed new rules that could prohibit Democrats from speaking. House speaker Cameron Sexton silenced young Black Democratic representative Justin Jones for a day and today suggested the Republicans might make the rule silencing minority members permanent.

In Wisconsin, where one of the nation’s most extreme gerrymanders gives Republicans dominance in the legislature, Republicans in 2018 stripped Democratic governor-elect Tony Evers of power before they left office, and now right-wing Chief Justice Annette Ziegler has told the liberal majority on the state supreme court that it is staging a “coup” by exercising their new power after voters elected Justice Janet Protasiewicz to the court by a large majority in April. Now the legislature is talking about keeping the majority from getting rid of the gerrymandered maps by impeaching Protasiewicz.  

The courts are trying to hold the line against this movement. In Washington, D.C., today, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell decided in favor of Black election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who claimed that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani defamed them when he claimed they had committed voter fraud. Not only did Howell award the two women court costs and damages, she called out Giuliani and his associates for trying to keep their records hidden.

But as the courts are trying to hold the line, its supporters are targeting the courts themselves, with MAGA Republicans threatening to defund state and federal prosecutors they claim are targeting Republicans, and announcing their intention to gather the power of the Department of Justice into their own hands should they win office in 2024.

After pushing a social studies curriculum that erases Black agency and resistance to white supremacy, Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Monday suggested the Jacksonville shooting was an isolated incident.

The Black audience booed.



~ Heather Cox Richardson, August 30th

Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-30-2023

runaway-mindtrain
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NAZIS always lock up their political opposition...

Ahavati
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[ FEMA and government responses to Hurricane Idalia and Maui. ]

Biden’s use of the government contrasts sharply with former president Trump’s promise to turn the government into an agent of retribution for those he perceives as his enemies. On Tuesday, right-wing radio host Glenn Beck asked him if he would use the presidency to imprison his political opponents if he were reelected. “You said in 2016, you know, ‘lock her up.’ And then when you became president, you said, ‘We don’t do that in America.’ That’s just not the right thing to do. That’s what they’re doing. Do you regret not locking her up? And if you’re president again, will you lock people up?”

Trump replied: “[T]he answer is you have no choice because they’re doing it to us.”

Trump’s legal troubles have sparked an outpouring of violent talk from him, but it is simply an escalation of the theme he staked out at his first campaign rally in March 2023, held in Waco, Texas, a spot that is a rallying cry for those of his base who believe the government is oppressing them. There, Trump told his supporters: "I am your warrior, I am your justice…. For those who have been wronged and betrayed…I am your retribution." [ HEIL! ]

Trump promises retribution and power for those MAGA Republicans determined to impose their will on the majority of Americans, like those cheering on Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall, who claimed in a court filing on Monday that Alabama, which has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country, can prosecute people who help women travel out of the state to obtain an abortion as part of a “criminal conspiracy.”

Today’s Republicans have abandoned the Reagan-era Republican plan to gut the federal government and are instead determined to capture it, replacing nonpartisan civil servants with Republican extremists who will carry out the ideals of Trump or any candidate like him who can defeat Biden in 2024. Their nearly-1,000-page plan, called “Project 2025,” calls for politicizing the Department of Justice and law enforcement officers and giving far more power to the president.    

Today, Trump waived his right to appear at his arraignment in Fulton County on racketeering charges for his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and entered a plea of not guilty.

Also today, Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas filed their annual financial disclosure report after receiving an extension from the May deadline. Thomas’s report included three gifts of transportation from megadonor Harlan Crow and two of meals and lodging from Crow when Thomas was his guest. Thomas defended his previous omission of such gifts by saying the omission was inadvertent, as he had used old guidelines that were changed only in March 2023 (in fact, ethics experts say he should have disclosed the previous gifts at the time).

Thomas also suggested he needed to travel on private planes because “the increased security risk following the Dobbs opinion leak” meant that his “security detail recommended noncommercial travel whenever possible.”

~ Heather Cox Richardson
August 31, 2023



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/august-31-2023

Ahavati
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I guess I need to repost this took: Read the FULL indictment against former president Trump.

https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2023/08/trump-indictment.pdf

Ahavati
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WTF is happening in America?! While this letter doesn't mention Trump directly, which is why I am not going to post it in its entirety, the below portion does relate to his, "Make America Great Again" campaign platform slogan. THIS is making America great again?! It's an absolute authoritarian nightmare that could only get worse come election time. It embodies the "Because I don't believe in abortion personally I am going to make damn sure you can't get one and will tattle on and sue you if you do."

God help the incest and rape victims, like that little 13-year-old girl in Mississippi who was raped by a stranger in her own yard and forced to carry and birth the baby because it was a "Gift from God".

[ . . . ]

Meanwhile, Republicans continue to focus on ending abortion, and their determination is leading them to assert power over citizens of Republican-dominated states in a way that is commonly associated with authoritarian governments.  

Alabama attorney general Steve Marshall claimed in a court filing on Monday that Alabama, which has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country, can prosecute people who help women travel out of the state to obtain an abortion as part of a “criminal conspiracy.”

Today, Caroline Kitchener reported in the Washington Post that at least 51 jurisdictions in Texas have passed ordinances to make it illegal to transport anyone on roads within city or county limits to get an abortion. Their hope is to target interstates and the roads around airports to block off routes out of Texas and keep pregnant women trapped in the antiabortion state.

The laws also allow any private citizen to sue any person or organization they think is violating the ordinance, leading to expensive lawsuits against the friends and family members of the most economically vulnerable people in society. Antiabortion activists call aid to women seeking abortions “abortion trafficking,” which makes it sound like women are being forced to get an abortion, when in fact, the ordinances ensnare women who want to get an abortion and their friends, preventing them from leaving an antiabortion state. Even if such an ordinance is impossible to enforce, it legally endangers the people who would help someone trying to get an abortion, moving such reproductive care beyond the financial reach of many women, and makes people hesitant to help each other.

Such barriers are precisely the same as those for people trying to leave authoritarian countries. Someone who is prohibited from leaving a jurisdiction is not a citizen but a subject. Free and full citizens of a democracy have the right to travel, both inside the country and out of it. That right is guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Constitution. But authoritarian countries often restrict travel for their subjects outside their borders out of concern that exposure to freer countries will weaken the authority of the government at home.

Crucially, authoritarian countries also urge people to turn on each other, reporting them to the state for punishment, often in exchange for a reward. Such a system breaks the ability of opponents to organize to resist the government because of the risk that their neighbors will sell them out.

While such circumstances affect most authoritarian governments, it is impossible to miss the parallels between these ordinances and the various laws that circumscribed the lives of Black Americans before the Civil War here in the United States. In that era, free Black Americans had to carry identification papers, known as “free papers,” to prove they should be allowed to travel. White Americans had no such requirement.

Enslaved Americans could not travel at all, of course, unless they accompanied their enslavers; they were confined to the states in which they were enslaved. When some escaped north to freedom, that restriction was enforced with the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Part of the Compromise of 1850, which was a series of laws cobbled together in an attempt to reduce the tensions between the North and the South over human enslavement, the Fugitive Slave Act required federal officials—including those in free states—to return to the South anyone a white enslaver claimed was his property. Black Americans could not testify in their own defense, and anyone helping a “runaway” could be imprisoned for six months and fined $1,000, about three years’ income. Those turning in Black refugees were paid a fee and the costs of their effort.

When citizens of free states spoke out against the Fugitive Slave Act for making them enforce laws they opposed, southern enslavers insisted they were “radicals” because they refused to enforce a law, and insisted that American democracy supported enslavement. Ten years later, extremists in the South put that argument into their political platform, saying that “the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.”

No longer willing to say they would accept free states in the West if voters there wanted freedom, enslavers demanded that Congress pass a new federal law to protect enslavement in the western territories. No longer defending states’ rights except when it protected them from federal intervention into the institution of slavery, they demanded the right to use the power of the federal government to control the majority of Americans who opposed enslavement.

Although the Supreme Court justified last year’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by saying abortion should be a state decision, antiabortion activists are echoing enslavers in their attempt to get federal legislation to enforce their will. More than half of all abortions in the U.S. are medication abortions, and a Trump-appointed antiabortion judge in Texas, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, is currently trying to get rid of such abortions by suspending the approval of mifepristone, given by the Food and Drug Administration more than 20 years ago. Republican presidential candidates former vice president Mike Pence and South Carolina senator Tim Scott both say they support a federal ban on abortion.

Today’s attempted restriction of those who are supposed to be equal citizens from leaving extremist states raises a whole factory of red flags.

Last year, after the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision ending the recognition of the constitutional right to an abortion, I suggested to a group of people that it was only a question of time until we saw laws designed to make it impossible for women to travel across state lines. They told me there was no way such a thing could happen in the United States.

And yet, here we are.



Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/september-1-2023

robert43041
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It's 2025.  Trump is president again. His supporters pardonned and freed from jail. ALL  citizens MUST have their ID codes implanted in their upper arm, a matter for MAGA cops to know who is a supporter.and who is not.  Those who are not ''allies'' get a free pass to visit (and stay at) the nearest jail for up to a week........and then some, depending on the mood of the Goat Keepers..........

Ahavati
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robert43041 said:It's 2025.  Trump is president again. His supporters pardonned and freed from jail. ALL  citizens MUST have their ID codes implanted in their upper arm, a matter for MAGA cops to know who is a supporter.and who is not.  Those who are not ''allies'' get a free pass to visit (and stay at) the nearest jail for up to a week........and then some, depending on the mood of the Goat Keepers..........

Truth ( the pardoning and jail part - according to his own public statements and threats ). The remaining, high possibility.

Ahavati
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A bit of Political History to understand the current turn:

On March 4, 1858, South Carolina senator James Henry Hammond rose to his feet to explain to the Senate how society worked. “In all social systems,” he said, “there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life.” That class, he said, needed little intellect and little skill, but it should be strong, docile, and loyal.

“Such a class you must have, or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization and refinement,” Hammond said. His workers were the “mud-sill” on which society rested, the same way that a stately house rested on wooden sills driven into the mud.

He told his northern colleagues that the South had perfected this system by enslavement based on race, while northerners pretended that they had abolished slavery. “Aye, the name, but not the thing,” he said. “[Y]our whole hireling class of manual laborers and ‘operatives,’ as you call them, are essentially slaves.”

While southern leaders had made sure to keep their enslaved people from political power, Hammond said, he warned that northerners had made the terrible mistake of giving their “slaves” the vote. As the majority, they could, if they only realized it, control society. Then “where would you  be?” he asked. “Your society would be reconstructed, your government overthrown, your property divided, not…with arms…but by the quiet process of the ballot-box.”

He warned that it was only a matter of time before workers took over northern cities and began slaughtering men of property.

Hammond’s vision was of a world divided between the haves and the have-nots, where men of means commandeered the production of workers and justified that theft with the argument that such a concentration of wealth would allow superior men to move society forward. It was a vision that spoke for the South’s wealthy planter class—enslavers who held more than 50 of their Black neighbors in bondage and made up about 1% of the population—but such a vision didn’t even speak for the majority of white southerners, most of whom were much poorer than such a vision suggested.

And it certainly didn’t speak for northerners, to whom Hammond’s vision of a society divided between dim drudges and the rich and powerful was both troubling and deeply insulting.

On September 30, 1859, at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Fair, rising politician Abraham Lincoln answered Hammond’s vision of a society dominated by a few wealthy men. While the South Carolina enslaver argued that labor depended on capital to spur men to work, either by hiring them or enslaving them, Lincoln said there was an entirely different way to see the world.  

Representing an economy in which most people worked directly on the land or water to pull wheat into wagons and fish into barrels, Lincoln believed that “[l]abor is prior to, and independent of, capital; that, in fact, capital is the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed—that labor can exist without capital, but that capital could never have existed without labor. Hence they hold that labor is the superior—greatly the superior of capital.”

A man who had, himself, worked his way up from poverty to prominence (while Hammond had married into money), Lincoln went on: “[T]he opponents of the ‘mud-sill’ theory insist that there is not…any such things as the free hired laborer being fixed to that condition for life.”

And then Lincoln articulated what would become the ideology of the fledgling Republican Party:

“The prudent, penniless beginner in the world, labors for wages awhile, saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land, for himself; then labors on his own account for another while, and at length hires another new beginner to help him. This, say its advocates, is free labor—the just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all—gives hope to all, and energy and progress, and improvement of condition to all.”

In such a worldview, everyone shared a harmony of interest. What was good for the individual worker was, ultimately, good for everyone. There was no conflict between labor and capital; capital was simply “pre-exerted labor.” Except for a few unproductive financiers and those who wasted their wealth on luxuries, everyone was part of the same harmonious system.

The protection of property was crucial to this system, but so was opposition to great accumulations of wealth. Levelers who wanted to confiscate property would upset this harmony, as Hammond warned, but so would rich men who sought to monopolize land, money, or the means of production. If a few people took over most of a country’s money or resources, rising laborers would be forced to work for them forever or, at best, would have to pay exorbitant prices for the land or equipment they needed to become independent.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since Lincoln’s day, but on this Labor Day weekend, it strikes me that the worldviews of men like Hammond and Lincoln are still fundamental to our society: Should our government protect people of property as they exploit the majority so they can accumulate wealth and move society forward as they wish? Or should we protect the right of ordinary Americans to build their own lives, making sure that no one can monopolize the country’s money and resources, with the expectation that their efforts will build society from the ground up?

~ Heather Cox Richardson, Letter from an American, Sept 02, 2023


Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/september-2-2023

robert43041
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On recent appearances before his extemist supporters now Trump  declares himself to be a victim. A martyr also, I suppose especially if-when he lands in jail and it's a diet of bread and water (ok, I jest.)

Abracadabra
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Life in a Few Words #147

"Donald's busy polishing his trumpette
 rehearsing bum notes for votes"

runaway-mindtrain
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Abracadabra said:Life in a Few Words #147

"Donald's busy polishing his trumpette
 rehearsing bum notes for votes"


While Biden takes another vacation weekend to fondle and sniff little kids.  

Always interesting to see the Biden Democrats call Trump supporters "extremist" The entire world watched leftist democrats murder conservatives, mainly blacks democrats killing black Republicans, put over 5500 cops in the hospital or dead, assault over 150 government buildings including the Capitol,  Supreme Court and the White house. ..spend a decade censoring free speech via government agencies online, and 3 years arresting political opponents.....But they are the "civilized good moral ones", RIGHT??

Voter fraud traitor Jim Crow supporters are simply Nazis.  That is why they call everyone else a Nazi and "extremist"....while conveniently ignoring segregationist Biden's bribery and pedophilia....

"Accuse your opponent of that which you are guilty"

I don't have to quote pages of someone's else words to act like I have a point....

Rew
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`` I don't have to quote pages of someone's else words to act like I have a point....

Of course you do

Abracadabra
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Aww, shucks did my little wordplay touch a nerve.
Good to know I haven't lost my touch. They're all my own words, btw.
No wonder America's empire is a ruined house of cards when extremists of whatever persuasion think they have all the answers while presenting different versions of the same 'facts'.
Did I say facts, when I meant ideas, silly me. Well, you got yours and I got mine but unless y'all wake up and quit the backyard bickering I'm afraid there won't be a system to fret over.
There will be no winners or losers more than a handful of shit slinging politicos who frittered the time we have left until you and your opponents will be astonished to realize we're all passengers on the same planet.
Trump, Biden, you, me, Uncle Murdoch, Auntie Oprah, Bill Burns and Christopher Wray will have to get in a lifeboat together in order to survive. God help us all.
And no need to reply I'm too busy elsewhere writing about what really matters.

Ahavati
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To Understand the history of Labor Day is to understand American politics and where we are today:

Almost one hundred and forty-one years ago, on September 5, 1882, workers in New York City celebrated the first Labor Day holiday with a parade. The parade almost didn’t happen: there was no band, and no one wanted to start marching without music. Once the Jewelers Union of Newark Two showed up with musicians, the rest of the marchers, eventually numbering between 10,000 and 20,000 men and women, fell in behind them to parade through lower Manhattan. At noon, when they reached the end of the route, the march broke up and the participants listened to speeches, drank beer, and had picnics. Other workers joined them.

Their goal was to emphasize the importance of workers in the industrializing economy and to warn politicians that they could not be ignored. Less than 20 years before, northern men had fought a war to defend a society based on free labor and had, they thought, put in place a government that would support the ability of all hardworking men to rise to prosperity.

By 1882, though, factories and the fortunes they created had swung the government toward men of capital, and workingmen worried they would lose their rights if they didn’t work together. A decade before, the Republican Party, which had formed to protect free labor, had thrown its weight behind Wall Street. By the 1880s, even the staunchly Republican Chicago Tribune complained about the links between business and government: “Behind every one of half of the portly and well-dressed members of the Senate can be seen the outlines of some corporation interested in getting or preventing legislation,” it wrote. The Senate, Harper’s Weekly noted, was “a club of rich men.”

The workers marching in New York City carried banners saying: “Labor Built This Republic and Labor Shall Rule it,” “Labor Creates All Wealth,” “No Land Monopoly,” “No Money Monopoly,” “Labor Pays All Taxes,” “The Laborer Must Receive and Enjoy the Full Fruit of His Labor,” ‘Eight Hours for a Legal Day’s Work,” and “The True Remedy is Organization and the Ballot.”

The New York Times denied that workers were any special class in the United States, saying that “[e]very one who works with his brain, who applies accumulated capital to industry, who directs or facilitates the operations of industry and the exchange of its products, is just as truly a laboring man as he who toils with his hands…and each contributes to the creation of wealth and the payment of taxes and is entitled to a share in the fruits of labor in proportion to the value of his service in the production of net results.”

In other words, the growing inequality in the country was a function of the greater value of bosses than their workers, and the government could not possibly adjust that equation. The New York Daily Tribune scolded the workers for holding a political—even a “demagogical” —event. “It is one thing to organize a large force of…workingmen…when they are led to believe that the demonstration is purely non-partisan; but quite another thing to lead them into a political organization….”

Two years later, workers helped to elect Democrat Grover Cleveland to the White House. A number of Republicans crossed over to support the reformer, afraid that, as he said, “The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor…. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters.”

In 1888, Cleveland won the popular vote by about 100,000 votes, but his Republican opponent, Benjamin Harrison, won in the Electoral College. Harrison promised that his would be “A BUSINESS MAN’S ADMINISTRATION” and said that “before the close of the present Administration business men will be thoroughly well content with it….”

Businessmen mostly were, but the rest of the country wasn’t. In November 1892 a Democratic landslide put Cleveland back in office, along with the first Democratic Congress since before the Civil War. As soon as the results of the election became apparent, the Republicans declared that the economy would collapse. Harrison’s administration had been “beyond question the best business administration the country has ever seen,” one businessmen’s club insisted, so losing it could only be a calamity. “The Republicans will be passive spectators,” the Chicago Tribune noted. “It will not be their funeral.” People would be thrown out of work, but “[p]erhaps the working classes of the country need such a lesson….”

As investors rushed to take their money out of the U.S. stock market, the economy collapsed a few days before Cleveland took office in early March 1893. Trying to stabilize the economy by enacting the proposals capitalists wanted, Cleveland and the Democratic Congress had to abandon many of the pro-worker policies they had promised, and the Supreme Court struck down the rest (including the income tax).

They could, however, support Labor Day and its indication of workers’ political power. On June 28, 1894, Cleveland signed Congress’s bill making Labor Day a legal holiday.    

In Chicago the chair of the House Labor Committee, Lawrence McGann (D-IL), told the crowd gathered for the first official observance: “Let us each Labor day, hold a congress and formulate propositions for the amelioration of the people. Send them to your Representatives with your earnest, intelligent indorsement [sic], and the laws will be changed.”

Heather Cox Richardson,

Notes: https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/september-3-2023

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