Egalitarianism is an American Tradition

Egalitarianism is an American Tradition

There Is A Deep History Of American Egalitarianism That Is A Long Cultural Tradition
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In the year 2017, many people mistakenly assume that concepts like communism and socialism are strictly European traditions that migrated around the world to various places when being adopted. This mistake is largely associated with the immense crackdown of anything resembling Soviet communism and Marxist theories of that nature that took root in Europe and Asia in the 20th century. Events like the Cold War perverted terminology and distorted history to the point that many forget that there is a deep historical root of communalism and socialized egalitarianism that conceived ideas in both theory and practice that parallel with the theories developed in Europe during the same time periods such as with Karl Marx and the communist philosophy.

Decades before Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto, the Massachusetts mill girls in the 1840s were the first in the United States to call for the democratization of the work place following the early industrial revolution. They made their argument by saying "workers who work in the mills should own the mills"; a question that placed intense emphasis on the rationality of the Boss-Worker relationship, given democratic councils of the worker themselves would distribute the economic surplus value extracted from the collective labor of the workers in a manner that fit the worker interests rather than the interests of the boss. This rationality of democratizing factory work paralleled with the questioning of the Master-Slave relationship that perpetuated the markets that relied on institutional slave labor of the chattel variety.

By the time the Civil War started to break out, calls to abolish the wage labor system became prevalent to the point that abolishing chattel slavery and wage slavery, as it became called, went hand-in-hand throughout the abolition movement. Calls for abolishing wage slavery for being on par with chattel slavery was within the original Republican Party platform. Many who fought for the Union did so under the pretense that both systems would be abolished. The Master-Slave relationship was exposed as completely antithetical to any democratic pre-text even if the illusion of democracy was perpetuated by the aristocracy slave master class. It was recognized that not only was slave master aristocracy and their plantation system illegitimate and antithetical to American traditions and values; so too were Industrialist aristocracy deemed illegitimate for similar reasons. Over the next few decades, that industrialist aristocracy became known as Robber Barons.

Calls to democratize the workplace intensified after the Civil War with militant labor wars and entire worker uprisings occurring during the 1870s-1910s. The Robber Barons established such power that roughly 300 individuals/families owned most of the US economy at the time. They attempted to retain their power and economic dominance through perpetuating the Boss-Worker hierarchy to the point that workers were held in line and factories were kept going by the barrel of a gun and threats of violence and death. This eventually led mass worker revolts, entire cities and towns rising up; and establishing successful democratic communes and councils to operate the institutions within their regions. One of the largest most successful of these were during the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 where numerous cities, including Chicago, rose up in worker rebellions. These strikes and conflicts continued for decades, The United States saw the most violent and bloody labor wars seen in any industrialized nation. Thousands died; tens of thousands injured, blacklisted, or ostracized in one form or another.

Momentum towards democratizing the economy saw boost during the anti-trust busting era of Theodore Roosevelt and his progressive wing, worker movements continued with a wide spectrum of ideologies from socialist, communist, and anarchist, to radicals and progressive liberals. These forces were making rapidly more progress; that is until the United States entered the First World War. Upon entering, the United States passed legislation such as the espionage act and alien sedition act that justified the state intervention and break up/dismantling/destruction of numerous organizations on the economic and political left that were systematically uprooted and left husks of their former selves. This dismantling and destruction continued through the red scare of the postwar years, the post World War II years with legislation passed by Harry Truman following the end of the war, the McCarthy era, the FBI's COINTELPRO, and even to the modern day Occupy Movements.

While the forces of mobilized response to the antithetical existence of the Boss aristocracy class of US society has been broken, it has not been forgotten. Every act to crush and suppress these egalitarian movement only invigorates the next generation to push forward strong and greater. The history of this egalitarianism may be attempted to get distorted and disguised by historical revisionism and biased mythology; but the United States has a deep history of egalitarianism that rivaled the European traditions. And in some cases, the US varieties bore greater fruits and learned wiser lessons than the egalitarian counterparts elsewhere on the planet.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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We Need To Call the Waffle House Shooting What It Is: White Terrorism

Ignoring the racial and political aspects of recent shootings only treats the symptoms, not the root cause.
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In my Environmental Ethics class, we talked about the idea of a "non-place" - industrialization leading to places that are the same no matter where you go, where you know what to expect each time. You walk in and each is a carbon copy of the last.

The core idea behind making each identical is that no matter where you are, you know what you can expect. Its familiarity is its comfort – you are home, even if it's somewhere you've never been.

But the effect only stands part of the time: as we've seen recently, many public places have been the setting for mass murder.

One of the most recent shootings covered to varying degrees in the news took place at a Waffle House in Nashville. While the shooting has been covered in basic terms, objective reporting removes an integral degree of what this violence means for its victims.

Everyone involved in the Waffle House shooting was in their 20s. Everyone shot was a person of color.

The shooter had a history of supporting Trump and his ideologies, in addition to a record of both racist views and run-ins with the government.

The AR-15 that was used in the shooting was previously taken from him in one of the run-ins, though the government returned the rifle to his father with the promise that he would keep the gun from his son. He gave the gun back to his son sometime between the run-in and the shooting.

The Waffle House shooting exemplifies white privilege and white terrorism in how the shooter has been treated and how people of color, especially black people, are targeted both by civilians and by enforcement.

The shooter's bond, which was later revoked, was widely publicized in contrast with the release of rapper Meek Mill two days later, who was not given bond when he was originally arrested last year for a much lesser charge than murder.

Multiple acts of white terrorism, including the Charleston church shooting, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and the Waffle House shooting, were curtailed with the perpetrator arrested and unharmed.

Cops can nonviolently restrain, but only do so when the arrestee is white.

If the person is black, they will be targeted for living. They will be targeted for golfing too slowly. They will be targeted for giving change to the poor. They will be targeted for standing in their own backyard.

Racism and police brutality go long before the past few years, but the increase is unignorably tied to the current administration.

One of the Waffle House shooter's previous government run-ins was because he wanted to meet Trump.

Multiple other recent terrorists, including the Stoneman Douglas shooter, expressed wide support for Trump and his beliefs. The president himself said he could shoot someone and get away with it.

Taurean Sanderlin, Joe Perez, DeEbony Groves and Akilah DaSilva have their names remembered with love because they victims of this tragedy.

The two injured - Shanita Waggonerand Sharita Henderson - are remembered because they survived.

James Shaw Jr., who wrestled the gun away from the shooter, is remembered as a hero, even as he was humble in the aftermath: saying in an interview, “He was going to have to work to kill me.

He is remembered as a hero because he kept more from dying, but in another situation, another non-place, he could've been the men who were arrested in Starbucks.

It doesn't even have to be a non-place.

He could be any number of names from any number of places that have been carved into remembrance for fear of forgetting what #BlackLivesMatter stands for.

Multiple articles following the Waffle House shooting have said that the main detail unknown about the event is the shooter's motives. I don't think that's something we'll ever explicitly find out, but it doesn't take a detective to see the trail.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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