« Meanwhile, In Other News ... | Main | Keep Iraq Off My Lawn Soil »

September 25, 2008

Comments

Now kiss me....

IT'S EDUCATIONAL

Here is a letter from the Central Council of the IWA to President Lincoln, congratulating him on his re-election. "The workingmen of Europe... consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world."

Well, Hitchens is a fathead. Fortunately, there are lots of brains in there too.

That reminds me of the line that his brother Peter said that led to a 6 year estrangement which was that Hitchens quoted Hitchens saying that he didn't care if the Red Army watered their horses in Herndon in a Spectator article in 2001, which led to 'the US reactionary press' branding Hitchens as a 'communist sympathizer' Was surprised at how that line could have Hitchens really lose his cool (the way he went after his brother was amazing, even for him) and it seemed like accusing him of flaws in his logical reasoning was the basest insult of all.

I refuse to read anything by Hitchens, for any reason. But I'd like to point out that anyone who thinks the British were going to "move troops" down from Canada to fight on the side of the south is, and would have been, an absolute moron. They didn't have enough troops up there, or the will to fight a land battle all the way down to the border between the fighting parties. And I don't think there was ever a chance that they were going to try to seize the new england states while our attention was turned.

The issue was *sea power* and the *sea blockade* that prevented the unindustrialized south from getting the industrial goods and weapons it needed to fight the war. The blockade also affected working men in england since it cut off supplies of cotton for the mills but I don't know if that was really a problem for public sentiment. Its of course no surprise that the *working men* of england and the continent were opposed to *slave labor* that undercut working labor so it should be no surprise that marx, engels, and every other working class type abominated slavery. Also, England had a huge abolitionist movement going and had long tied that to a boycott of such slave produced goods as *sugar* which the british economy needed to keep feeding its own workers cheaply. I guess I'm annoyed to have Hitchens given the credit for resurrecting this piece of historical trivia. Who has forgotten it? Not me. So screw him and his posing.

aimai

Its of course no surprise that the *working men* of england and the continent were opposed to *slave labor* that undercut working labor so it should be no surprise that marx, engels, and every other working class type abominated slavery

The surprise wasn't that Marx and Engels opposed slavery. The surprise was how influential they were in guiding policy in a way that favored the Union.

I guess I'm annoyed to have Hitchens given the credit for resurrecting this piece of historical trivia. Who has forgotten it? Not me.

Me.

That was kind of the point of the post. Contrary to widespread belief (and I know I'm going to disillusion a lot of people with this admission): I'm not omniscient. Having a day job, and a somewhat incomplete eduction, I don't know all things.

Of this I'm glad in a way: life still has surprises! Even some well-known facts are still out there to be learned by me.

So screw him and his posing.

Well, I don't think I said otherwise.

I found the information interesting too. But your last line is gratuitously nasty. You already said what you thought of Hitchens; thanking him and then kicking him in the balls is just petty.

Simon Schama has some interesting bits in his book series A History of Britain (based on the BBC show) about the politics of the US Civil War in Great Britain. It was a polarizing issue along class warfare lines over there, with advocates for working class people very much seeing a Union victory under Lincoln as beneficial to their cause and visa-versa for the big industrialists.

But your last line is gratuitously nasty

That is entirely possible.

I'm not perfect, and perhaps I should have been more generous. Fair point.

But your last line is gratuitously nasty

Really. What have squirrels ever done to you?

Christopher "The Man Who Came To Dinner " Hitchens.

i've been waiting 6 long years now for someone in the left blogs to make a pixies reference.

it was worth the wait. umass no less.

btw, politics go so good with beer.

Eric Martin,
sorry, didn't mean to implicate you in my general dislike of Hitchens whose knowledge base always seems to me to be no greater than most people I know and whose arrogance and snottiness is far greater than it should be. Hitchens is one of those guys who was a middle sized fish in a very small pond and moved to america where he thought he could live better and be a bigger fish in a larger pond *because of his accent and his generally high level of tolerance for abusing his liver and his audience*. I've known a ton of brits who coasted on their accent and their affectations once they were over here.

aimai

Aimai: No worries.

Hitchens does that to people. I think I was just being a bit defensive. Besides, you'd have to do a lot more to get me upset. And you have a large deposit of awesomeness with which to draw against.

But your last line is gratuitously nasty

With Hitchens, he could have called the squirrel fat and ugly to boot and still be reasonably accurate (link may not be safe for the eyes!):
http://www.vanityfair.com/images/culture/2007/10/cusl01_hitchens0710.jpg

Marx's letter to Lincoln.

There's a reason that the American brigade in the Spanish Civil War was the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade," and it wasn't just blind American patriotism.

These connections are also part of the mythology by various rightwingers and Southern sympathizers as to Why Lincoln Was An Evil Totalitarian.

Ah, Modesto Kid also pointed out that letter. Sorry.

Lincoln, 1859: "Labor is prior to, and independent of capital...in face, capital is the fruit of labor."

Affinities abound.

"I found the information interesting too. But your last line is gratuitously nasty. You already said what you thought of Hitchens; thanking him and then kicking him in the balls is just petty."

Oh brother. I haven't read the review, but if Hitchens is still posing as someone morally superior because he supported the Iraq War, then, if anything, Eric should have kicked him harder.

Well, Hitchens may be "right" in the sense of pointing out a little-known factor of history: but as usual, he's made a couple of howlers: assuming, I suppose, that even American readers won't know the difference:

"...because the movement of solidarity was partly led by Karl Marx and his European allies (as was gratefully acknowledged by Henry Adams in his Education)..."

Yep, odd-but-true, and generally little-remembered over here.

"... and because the boycott of Confederate goods, the blocking of shipbuilding orders for the Confederate fleet, and other such actions were to some degree orchestrated by the founders of the communist movement -"

Much less sustainable an argument: said boycotts were required, under the such international law as was current at the time. IIRC, an "insurrection" against a legitimate government was considered, for purposes of diplomacy and trade, to be equivalent to a war between nations (which indeed was how the Confederates always tried to frame it) - and ousider powers were supposed to stay neutral; since there was legally, not much of a middle ground. Which would involve becoming embroiled in a conflict with one side or another. Not that this stopped a great deal of blockade-running, and other under-the-table dealings: but the British Government - whatever the sentiments of the populace - had a couple of years of hemming and hawing under Disraeli until the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862 made intervention/Confederate recognition a no-go.

I've known a ton of brits who coasted on their accent and their affectations once they were over here.

That brings to mind How to Lose Friends & Alienate People by Toby Young and of course Peter Fallow in Bonfire of the Vanities. The results of that strategy were mixed.

There's a reason that the American brigade in the Spanish Civil War was the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade"

Thanks Gary -- I never made this connection and had always vaguely wondered why it was called that.

Speaking of letters, here's a whole batch of correspondence between Marx and Engles from the 1860's; the Civil War is mentioned in every letter I've looked at so far.

Monomania poisons everything.


Lincoln, 1859: "Labor is prior to, and independent of capital...in face, capital is the fruit of labor."

It's a very misleading quote.

The full graf is:

But another class of reasoners hold the opinois that there is no such relation between capital and labor, as assumed; and that there is no such thing as a freeman being fatally fixed for life, in the condition of a hired laborer, that bothe these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them groundless. They hold that labor 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 superiour-of capital.

It goes on and on, but the gist is that the American way is that you start out a laborer, and then you open your own shop, etc.. It's actually really boneheaded, and is pages and pages of Lincoln demonstrating he has no idea what capitalism means.

Actual relevant segment of Lincoln's first State of the Union speech.

Full first State of the Union speech, 1861.

It's more useful to actually cite, then to not, I've always found.

Eric, there's a Penguin book of Marx and Engels's Civil War journalism that you might like.

Thanks Josh. I'll try to locate using Teh Google Machine

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad