Friday, May 29, 2020

1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1


In Playing Politics With History, John S. Rosenberg suggests that, with its panels devoted to issues of social justice, the American Historical Association’s name should be changed to the Activists Historical Association. The article is written with regards to the 1619 Project, but — unfortunately — the field is in even worse shape than believed humanly possible…
 … it is impossible to find any hot button, controversial issue over the past twenty years or more that did not attract the active participation of historians, invariably supporting the progressive side on every issue.

As I wrote here, when the public encounters historians these days, it is all too often in the form of politically correct scolds — in Op-Eds, petitions, legal briefs — offering their scholarship (and all too often only their political opinions) as ammunition to progressives in various cultural skirmishes.

 … In addition to filing legal briefs and serving as expert witnesses in politically charged litigation, historians have also circulated innumerable petitions and passed resolutions at their professional meetings, always taking the progressive side in political controversies. One opposed the legal views of a Bush administration official; another opposed the nomination of a federal judge. And then there are the petitions and letters to editors and Congress, often with a cast of hundreds or thousands, such as this one, signed by over 2200 ostensible historians opposing the war in Iraq.

These examples of what can be called pontificating public history have several things in common. One is the striking absence of nuance, of humility, of any hint of suspicion that informed and reasonable people could disagree. A classic example is Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s Congressional testimony opposing the impeachment of President Clinton.

 … All public pontifications from historians are based on this argument from authority, but they also share one other common feature: much of the claimed authority is unearned. The December 2019 statement calling for President Trump’s impeachment, for example, begins by stating, “We are American historians devoted to studying our nation’s past who have concluded that Donald J. Trump has violated his oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Many of them, however, are not American historians, or even historians at all.

 … underserving [sic] of the special authority they claim are the large numbers of signers who may be American historians but whose specialties or representative publications give them no special expertise in Constitutional matters. A few examples — there are tons more — also just from the “S” surnames:
  • Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit
  • Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York
  • The Vegetarian Crusade
  • The Newark Earthworks
  • US Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights
  • Signifying Female Adolescence
  • Envisioning Women in World History
  • Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
In fact, there are exceedingly few signatories whose scholarship should award them any special deference in matters involving Madisonian mind-reading, and this absence of any earned authority on the part of most signatories is shared by all the historian petitions and public statements I’ve seen.

As I noted here, for example, in discussing the lack of qualifications by nearly all of these historians to pronounce from on high about the evils of President Bush’s Iraq policy, most had no claim to professional expertise on what the Constitution requires in the making of war. (Examples: environmental history in colonial America; the history of sexuality; how Jewish women shaped modern America; social history adolescent boys and violence; etc.) As citizens, they had every right to express their opinions, but they did not offer their opinions as citizens but as “the undersigned American historians.”

 … The fact that the contributions of historians to public discourse and debate are skewed heavily to the left is hardly surprising since the entire American historical profession is skewed heavily to the left. A recent study of the ratio of Democratic to Republican voter registration in five fields found the following: Economics, 4.5:1; Law, 8.6:1; Psychology, 17.4:1; Journalism/Communications, 20.0:1; History, 33.5:1.

Table 3 of that study provides the party registration ratios by university and department, and some of the better-known history departments have quite dramatic imbalances: UCLA, 67:1; Columbia, 63:1; NYU, 44:1; Duke, 42:1; Princeton: 36:1; Stanford: 33:1; Harvard: 26:1.

 … In what is either irony or poetic justice, the more historians pontificate in public the less respect they and their profession receive. The monotony of their “history lessons” seeming always to endorse progressive positions has led to warnings that they risk being regarded as just another liberal interest group.

 … Perhaps the clearest evidence that historians’ contributions to public discourse are unfailingly progressive is those controversies where they choose not to comment at all.

Hillary’s Email

Take Hillary’s purloined and destroyed public records, “her” email. The historical profession, acting through its associations (American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society for the History of American Foreign Relations, etc.) and their various committees, has a long and honorable history of zealously promoting and protecting the preservation of and access to government information through litigation and other forms of public pressure.

Yet throughout the controversy over Hillary’s email, historians stood or sat, mute … regarding Hillary’s massive destruction of mounds of public records documenting her tenure as Secretary of State, not a peep from the historians. …

The New York Times 1619 Project

It’s not as though there has been no criticism from historians of the shoddy, offensive attempt of The New York Times to (is “blackwash” the opposite of “whitewash”?), well, present all of American history as nothing more than one example of racism after another. Indeed, Princeton’s seemingly permanent resident of the public square, Sean Wilentz, has spoken and written against it and applied his indefatigable organizing talents to securing a letter to the New York Times.

But wait. That letter was signed by, in addition to Wilentz himself, only four other historians (all of them distinguished). Where were the hundreds, thousands, of signatures that appear on most missives from historians about grave matters of public policy? “Wilentz reached out to a larger group of historians, but ultimately sent a letter signed by five historians who had publicly criticized the 1619 Project,” Adam Serwer wrote recently in The Atlantic.” He told Serwer that the idea of trying to rally a larger group was “misconceived.”

If so, perhaps he discovered that many historians did or would refuse to sign because, according to Serwer, they “wondered whether the letter was intended less to resolve factual disputes than to discredit laymen who had challenged an interpretation of American national identity that is cherished by liberals and conservatives alike.” As Nell Irvin Painter of Princeton explained why she refused to sign,
I felt that if I signed on to that, I would be signing on to the white guy’s attack of something that has given a lot of black journalists and writers a chance to speak up in a really big way. So, I support the 1619 Project as kind of a cultural event. For Sean and his colleagues, true history is how they would write it. And I feel like he was asking me to choose sides, and my side is 1619’s side, not his side, in a world in which there are only those two sides.
Given the influence of the Times, it is odd that far fewer historians felt the need to make their views known about the 1619 Project’s warped recommended school curriculum than, say, about changes in a Texas schoolbook.

 … The ideological conformity of historians has not served either the public or themselves well. Public discourse with only left voices being heard has the resonance of one hand clapping.

No doubt part of the explanation of the absence of conservative petitions etc. is, as we have seen, there aren’t many conservative historians. But there are some, and there would probably be more if they did not have a reasonable fear that coming out of the closet and going public would subject them to professional retribution, harassment, shunning, and worse.

 … Roger Baldwin of the American Civil Liberties Union used to criticize those who believe in “civil liberties for our side only.” I suspect that the recent enthusiasm for activist historians is limited to activists for progressive causes only.
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• 1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …
 
• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What Leftists Like Michael Moore Ignore: Cubans wait months, sometimes years, for something as basic as a wheelchair


The hospitals most Cubans go to are shabby reflections of the one where Communist Party members are treated; Cubans wait months, sometimes years, for a wheelchair; they can’t count on oxygen being available; vital equipment breaks down; medicines runs out; doctors and nurses expect to be bribed.

Thus writes Anthony DePalma in a New York Times article reflecting realities that Michael Moore, among many others, ignored (notably in his movie Sicko). Echoing an article by Howard French of almost 30 years ago, the piece is adapted from the author's forthcoming book, The Cubans: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times.

• Related — WikiLeaks: when Michael Moore's Sicko film was shown to Cuban doctors, they were 'disturbed at the blatant misrepresentation of healthcare in Cuba'

• Never disclosed by the MSM: Michael Moore admits to being devoted to Marxism
Until her mother died, [Caridad Limonta] had managed to avoid this unpleasant Cuban reality. But her mother’s illness and death also forced her to confront an unsettling truth that profoundly reshaped her relationship with the Cuban revolution and led her to a deeper understanding of what it really means to be Cuban.

It is an understanding that American voters and politicians might benefit from recognizing, in this election year when relations with Cuba, along with the votes of Cuban-Americans, are on the table. As Ms. Limonta came to realize, being a Cuban means having deep respect for, and first loyalty toward, her fellow Cubans and the heritage, customs and needs of their island society that they share, no matter who holds power there.

But it had taken Ms. Limonta decades to even approach that realization.

The first inkling came when her mother, a retired nurse, had been fussed over by some of Cuba’s best doctors inside Havana’s finest hospitals. Ms. Limonta needed to know: Had she benefited from Cuba’s acclaimed medical prowess because every Cuban does? Or had her mother been pampered because Ms. Limonta herself was a ranking member of the Communist Party and vice minister of light industry for all of Cuba?

Until then, Ms. Limonta’s faith in the revolution had been absolute. Born just three weeks after Fidel Castro started his uprising by beaching an old American yacht called Granma in a mangrove swamp on Cuba’s southern shore in 1956, she had fully embraced his promise to wipe out inequality and create a new Cuba.


Growing up in the tiny sugar mill town of Tacajó in eastern Cuba, she’d believed with all her heart that regardless of her gender, or the poverty into which she’d been born, or the deep mahogany sheen of her skin, she was equal to every other Cuban.
 … On the darkest day of the revolution in August 1994, when angry mobs shouted “Freedom” and “Down with Fidel”— the largest mass protest against the Castro government — she was enjoying a buffet at a Varadero beach resort, a deserved reward for a job well done. She eventually rose to vice minister and held powerful positions within the party. But she couldn’t understand why tens of thousands of Cubans had risked their lives trying to reach Florida in flimsy rafts.

As the revolution aged, contradictions grew harder to ignore. As her job took her around the country, she saw that the hospitals most Cubans went to were shabby reflections of the one where her mother was treated. Other Cubans waited months, sometimes years, for a wheelchair. They couldn’t count on oxygen being available. Vital equipment broke down. Medicines ran out. Doctors and nurses expected to be bribed.

The stark differences weighed on Ms. Limonta, weakening her revolutionary spirit as well as her heart. She was just 48 when she was rushed to the mediocre hospital to which she, as a resident of Guanabacoa, was assigned. But once doctors found out who she was, they insisted on transferring her to Cuba’s top cardiology center.


She got the pacemaker she needed, but the speedy treatment only deepened her doubts. Bound by a strict sense of social justice, she finally forced herself to see the truth. She and her mother had been pampered in their time of need not because they were equal to other Cubans. Not because they were socialists. Not because they loved Fidel. But because they were more important.

 … Standing before a mirror one day, she cried. The scars on her body made her look like she had been torn apart and sewn back together, which was how she felt about her life. She had turned her back on everything she once believed in and had no idea how to go on. 

 … Ms. Limonta’s heart keeps her in Cuba, where she receives free medical care, though not at elite hospitals. Now she brings gifts to see a doctor, as other Cubans do. She squeezes into rattling jalopies to get to work, as everybody else does. She finally feels equal to all the others who are fed up with endless assurances that the future will be better. Fed up with promises of plenty, but shortages of everything. Just surviving, day to day, week to week, saps their strength. Toughened by decades of deprivation, they have found ways to adapt to hardship, but have lost the will to demand change.
 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it


As part of its ambitious “1619” inquiry into the legacy of slavery, The New York Times revives false 19th century revisionist history about the American founding.
Reason's Timothy Sandefur starts out his article on the 1619 Project (thanks to John Leo) with some kind words for the New York Times, but that does not blind him to its (many) flaws. 
Where the [The New York Times 1619 Project's] articles go wrong is in a persistent and off-key theme: an effort to prove that slavery "is the country's very origin," that slavery is the source of "nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional," and that, in Hannah-Jones's words, the founders "used" "racist ideology" "at the nation's founding." In this, the Times steps beyond history and into political polemic—one based on a falsehood and that in an essential way, repudiates the work of countless people of all races, including those Hannah-Jones celebrates, who have believed that what makes America "exceptional" is the proposition that all men are created equal.

For one thing, the idea that, in Hannah-Jones' words, the "white men" who wrote the Declaration of Independence "did not believe" its words applied to black people is simply false. John Adams, James Madison, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others said at the time that the doctrine of equality rendered slavery anathema. True, Jefferson also wrote the infamous passages suggesting that "the blacks…are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind," but he thought even that was irrelevant to the question of slavery's immorality. "Whatever be their degree of talent," Jefferson wrote, "it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the person or property of others." 

The myth that America was premised on slavery took off in the 1830s, not the 1770s [nor, for that matter, in 1619]. That was when John C. Calhoun, Alexander Stephens, George Fitzhugh, and others offered a new vision of America—one that either disregarded the facts of history to portray the founders as white supremacists, or denounced them for not being so. Relatively moderate figures such as Illinois Sen. Stephen Douglas twisted the language of the Declaration to say that the phrase "all men are created equal" actually meant only white men. Abraham Lincoln effectively refuted that in his debates with Douglas. Calhoun was, in a sense, more honest about his abhorrent views; he scorned the Declaration precisely because it made no color distinctions. "There is not a word of truth in it," wrote Calhoun. People are "in no sense…either free or equal." Indiana Sen. John Pettit was even more succinct. The Declaration, he said, was "a self-evident lie."

It was these men—the generation after the founding—who manufactured the myth of American white supremacy. They did so against the opposition of such figures as Lincoln, Charles Sumner, Frederick Douglass, and John Quincy Adams. "From the day of the declaration of independence," wrote Adams, the "wise rulers of the land" had counseled "to repair the injustice" of slavery, not perpetuate it. "Universal emancipation was the lesson which they had urged upon their contemporaries, and held forth as transcendent and irremissible [sic] duties to their children of the present age." These opponents of the new white supremacist myth were hardly fringe figures. Lincoln and Douglass were national leaders backed by millions who agreed with their opposition to the white supremacist lie. Adams was a former president. Sumner was nearly assassinated in the Senate for opposing white supremacy. Yet their work is never discussed in the Times articles.

In 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney sought to make the myth into the law of the land by asserting in Scott v. Sandford that the United States was created as, and could only ever be, a nation for whites. "The right of property in a slave," he declared, "is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution." This was false: the Constitution contains no legal protection for slavery, and doesn't even use the word. Both Lincoln and Douglass answered Taney by citing the historical record as well as the text of the laws: the founders had called slavery both evil and inconsistent with their principles; they forbade the slave trade and tried to ban it in the territories; nothing in the Declaration or the Constitution established a color line; in fact, when the Constitution was ratified, black Americans were citizens in several states and could even vote. The founders deserved blame for not doing more, but the idea that they were white supremacists, said Douglass, was "a slander upon their memory."


Lincoln provided the most thorough refutation. … 

Even some abolitionists embraced the white supremacy legend. William Lloyd Garrison denounced the Constitution because he believed it protected slavery. This, Douglass replied, was false both legally and factually: those who claimed it was pro-slavery had the burden of proof—yet they never offered any. The Constitution's wording gave it no guarantees and provided plentiful means for abolishing it. In fact, none of its words would have to be changed for Congress to eliminate slavery overnight. It was slavery's defenders, he argued, not its enemies, who should fear the Constitution—and secession proved him right. Slaveocrats had realized that the Constitution was, in Douglass's words, "a glorious liberty document," and they wanted out. 

Still, after the war, "Lost Cause" historians rehabilitated the Confederate vision, claiming the Constitution was a racist document, so that the legend remains today. The United States, writes Hannah-Jones, "was founded…as a slavocracy," and the Constitution "preserved and protected slavery." This is once more asserted as an uncontroverted fact—and Lincoln's and Douglass's refutations of it go unmentioned in the Times

No doubt Taney would be delighted at this acceptance of his thesis. What accounts for it? The myth of a white supremacist founding has always served the emotional needs of many people. For racists, it offers a rationalization for hatred. For others, it offers a vision of the founders as arch-villains. Some find it comforting to believe that an evil as colossal as slavery could only be manufactured by diabolically perfect men rather than by quotidian politics and the banality of evil. For still others, it provides a new fable of the fall from Eden, attractive because it implies the possibility of a single act of redemption. If evil entered the world at a single time, by a conscious act, maybe it could be reversed by one conscious revolution.

 … [The efforts of millions of Americans] raise the question of what counts as the historical "truth" about the American Dream. A nation's history, after all, occupies a realm between fact and moral commitments. Like a marriage, a constitution, or an ethical concept like "blame," it encompasses both what actually happened and the philosophical question of what those happenings mean. Slavery certainly happened—but so, too, did the abolitionist movement and the ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. The authors of those amendments viewed them not as changing the Constitution, but as rescuing it from Taney and other mythmakers who had tried to pervert it into a white supremacist document. 

In fact, it would be more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it. Slavery is among the oldest and most ubiquitous of all human institutions; as the Times series' title indicates, American slavery predated the American Revolution by a century and a half. What's unique about America is that it alone announced at birth the principle that all men are created equal—and that its people have struggled to realize that principle since then. As a result of their efforts, the Constitution today has much more to do with what happened in 1865 than in 1776, let alone 1619. Nothing could be more worthwhile than learning slavery's history, and remembering its victims and vanquishers. But to claim that America's essence is white supremacy is to swallow slavery's fatal lie

As usual, Lincoln said it best. When the founders wrote of equality, he explained, they knew they had "no power to confer such a boon" at that instant. But that was not their purpose. Instead, they "set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence, and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere." That constant labor, in the generations that followed, is the true source of "nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional."
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• 1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …
 
• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Sunday, May 24, 2020

1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate — Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves


The 1619 Project has led to Peter Wood writing a Minding the Campus article entitled The Collapse of the Fourth Estate (thanks to Gail Heriot). He is also preparing a book about the 1619 Project (titled 1620, due out in November) "to which end I collected and analyzed several hundred essays by historians and others who called out the Times for countless errors, large and small, in the Project."
The Pulitzer Committee has awarded Nikole Hannah-Jones a prize for her lead essay in The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project.” The news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. It was widely rumored that Hannah-Jones was under consideration, which raised the tantalizing question of how the Pulitzer Committee might find its way the past the evident obstacles. Those include her cavalier disregard of historical facts, her preposterous assertions conjured out of thin air, and her refusal to correct mistakes pointed out by dozens of reputable historians, some of whom have well-earned Pulitzer Prizes of their own.

Hannah-Jones’ essay eccentrically titled, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written,” is mainly remarkable in how much she manages to be wrong in a mere 7,700 or so words. She is wrong about Virginia being the first place that African slaves were brought to America, and wrong too about the status of the slaves whom a group of pirates brought to Virginia in 1619, many of whom gained their freedom. She is wrong that slavery was the founding institution of America and wrong about its importance in key events, including the American Revolution and the Civil War. Her mistakes about the American Revolution included the absurdity that the colonial Americans launched the Revolution to protect their right to hold slaves.

On this single point, The New York Times felt compelled to make a half-hearted correction to the effect that only some of the colonists harbored this motive. To date, no one has been able to identify a single Revolutionary leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who held such a view. Even ardent supporters of slavery in the 1770s knew better because the British government at the time was stalwart in supporting slavery in the colonies. The meaningful opposition to slavery was among the revolutionary colonists, not the British. And this is no obscure historical fact. Historians working with primary sources have documented the slavery politics of the Revolutionary period in detail.

How could Hannah-Jones have gotten the facts so spectacularly wrong? There is no answer that reflects well on her. Did she know the facts and chose to suppress them to enhance the fable she was composing? Did she disregard the facts because she believed that the history as recorded was a tissue of falsehoods and that she alone had been vouchsafed a vision of what really happened? (Or she and a handful of zealous believers in Afro-centric conspiracy theories.) Or was she simply ignorant of the facts, having paid little or no attention to both the documentary record and the syntheses of historians who have spent their careers examining that record? Our choices seem to be liar, lunatic, or hustler. I don’t know Hannah-Jones and can offer no judgment, but I am hard-pressed to imagine a fourth, more honorable alternative.

 … By her own account, Hannah-Jones relied heavily on writings by a radical writer named Lerone Bennett Jr. (1928-2018). Bennett made up lots of pseudo-historical stories that seldom warrant more than a glance by serious historians, but Hannah-Jones seems never to have seen the need to question him. And personal also means self-indulgent or even solipsistic. The writer who specializes in the personal believes her own “truth” to the point of shrugging off all responsibility for ordinary accuracy.

The Pulitzer Committee, choosing its words carefully, managed to sound magnanimous in its praise but avoided any language that would commit to the claim that “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false,” is good writing, good journalism, or good history—let alone an essay that approaches excellence.

The best that the Pulitzer Committee can say is that the essay was part of “the ground-breaking 1619 Project.” Entirely true. That doesn’t say Hannah-Jones’ essay was itself “ground-breaking,” but it is meant to imply something like that. If by ground-breaking, we mean a dramatic break from the usual, both her essay and the whole 1619 Project warrant the adjective. A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids. Breaking ground isn’t always a good thing. Every crank, peddler of tall tales, and herald of false tidings is a ground-breaker too.

 … But the Pulitzer Committee’s bland phrasing that the Project puts slavery at the “center of the American story,” disguises what the 1619 Project really does: it attempts to invalidate and discredit the whole of American history apart from slavery, as—to borrow Hannah-Jones’ phrase—false from the beginning. This is a warrant with some very odd consequences, including the erasure of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., the jettisoning of the ideals of the American Revolution, and the depiction of Lincoln as a racist who wanted nothing more than to exile American blacks.

The citation ends by declaring the beautiful outcome of Hannah-Jones’ labors, “prompting public conversation about the nation’s founding and evolution.” If “conversation” includes letters to The New York Times from prominent historians strongly urging the paper to correct fundamental mistakes, yes, indeed, a conversation has opened. I have written a book about the 1619 Project (titled 1620, due out in November) to which end I collected and analyzed several hundred essays by historians and others who called out the Times for countless errors, large and small, in the Project. The other side of the “conversation” consists of Hannah-Jones quickly disappearing Tweets in which she venomously attacks her critics. (The Tweets, of course, are sweeping and personal.) The other side of the “conversation also includes the Times’ editorial replies to critics expressing its Olympian disdain for their views.)

The Pulitzer Committee no doubt had good reasons for giving Hannah-Jones this award, but I doubt they are the reasons expressed in the citation. The citation is no more than artful camouflage. The 1619 Project is a power play in which, at great expense in both money and reputation, The New York Times has attempted to intensify racial resentment and accelerate identity politics. The timing and the circumstances suggest the Times considered this a good move in rallying black opposition to President Trump, but it was also a move by the editors to appease its own increasingly belligerent faction of minority staff. These practical motives combine with the fundamental hostility to America of the Times and its core readership. Hannah-Jones has emerged as the public face of this “project,” and the Pulitzer Committee in granting the award to her is demonstrating its tribal loyalty to progressivism.
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• 1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …
 
• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619

Saturday, May 16, 2020

A Loss of Faith in France: Pandemic Shakes France’s Faith in a Cornerstone — Strong Central Government


Local governments are now challenging the primacy of the centralized state, the foundation of French society,
write Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut in the New York Times,
after it allowed supplies of virus-fighting masks and test kits to be depleted.

A couple of baguettes tucked under her arm, Maha Rambousek fiddled with a face mask that kept sliding off her nose. After a local decree made masks mandatory in public, she had quickly stitched it together, but was left confused when the policy was overturned two days later by the central government.



The measure in Sceaux, a well-to-do suburb just south of Paris, was one of an increasing number of exceptional local challenges to the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which has shaken confidence in a cornerstone of French society: the primal authority of the centralized state.

The city of Perpignan lodged contagious patients in a hotel after the central government told people to self-isolate at home. Officials in the city of Marseille carried out widespread testing of both the sick and healthy even as the government ordered that only the seriously ill be tested. The city of Paris tightened a national lockdown by banning daytime jogging.


While France’s vaunted health care system has staved off disaster, France has suffered the world’s fourth-biggest death toll — now at 23,660 official deaths, behind the United States, Italy and Spain — a consequence, critics say, of the central government’s failure to anticipate the onslaught of the contagion.

That failure and a critical shortage of masks and testing kits — also resulting from gaps in state policies — led to the virus’s rapid early spread, prompting France to impose one of the word’s strictest nationwide lockdowns, now in its seventh week.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a tentative plan on Monday to gradually reopen the country starting on May 11. Schools and businesses would start reopening, though not restaurants or cafes. He urged companies to keep their employees working at home. And he promised that masks and testing would be made sufficiently available.


But it was not clear that those steps would halt what polls show is declining confidence in the government’s handling of the pandemic.

“Trust in the state has been eroding for some time, since the state is no longer able to respond to the need for security,’’ said Phillipe Laurent, the mayor of Sceaux and the secretary general of the Association of Mayors of France.

About a dozen complaints have been lodged by individuals and medical organizations with the French Court of Justice, a special court that hears accusations of government mismanagement. Several officials have been accused of willfully failing to take appropriate measures to combat the virus, endangering people’s lives.


The government’s failure to stem the initial outbreak undermined the important social contract between the state and the people, said Pierre Vermeren, a historian.


“We have some of the highest taxes and biggest public spending in the world, and the French people accept that because, implicitly, their protection was guaranteed by the state,’’ said Mr. Vermeren, who teaches at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Critics blame France’s poor showing, at least in part, on the excessive centralization of the French state, embodied by a president, Emmanuel Macron, who has spoken of his belief in the “top-down’’ exercise of power and has employed martial language in describing the fight against the virus.

 … He is … held responsible for the government’s flip-flopping messages on masks, which many French now perceive as a deception to cover up a blunder by the state, which allowed its stockpiles to decline.

 … challenges, like that from Sceaux, population 20,000, to the authority of the state have been met with a stiff rebuke, regardless of the shifting understanding of the virus.



France’s interior minister quickly condemned Sceaux’s mask ordinance as a threat to “fundamental freedoms,’’ and the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, overturned it. The city of Nice, which was about to make masks mandatory, backed down.


 … As infections and deaths rose exponentially after the start of the lockdown — forcing Mr. Macron to extend it to two months — several regions in France ordered millions of masks, mainly from China. By that time, though, they were engaging in a worldwide competition for supplies that at times pitted them against their own government.

As France prepares to open up starting on May 11, some regions, feeling bitten, are hedging their bets.

Mr. Rottner, the president of the Grand Est, said that he was already ordering millions of test kits. He said he didn’t want to “make the same mistake again.’’

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Entertainment During the Coronavirus Lock-Down: Do You Know the Rules to the Instapundit Game?


Here is a novel pastime for those forced to remain cooped up at home during the coronavirus lock-down.

The entertainment in question is called the Instapundit game, and it should only be played, really, by veteran readers of the Glenn Reynolds blog (which happens to be celebrating its 20th birthday next year). Presently, you will see why.

The goal of the game is to read a post on Instapundit, while keeping the name of its author hidden below the bottom the screen.

(Alternatively, simply use a finger in front of the screen to hide the name…)

You do this by scrolling down slowly — very slowly — through each post.

The appearance of a blank line may indicate you are nearing the bottom of the post.

This is confirmed by the appearance at right of the top of the tail of a blue comic strip balloon (which gives the number of comments that the post has generated…)

Below are two screen shots, a smartphone screenshot and a computer screenshot.

• the iPhone screenshot:
See the cropped comic book balloon at bottom right?

• the computer screen shot:
After a blank line, check out the top of the blue comic strip
balloon (barely) appearing at bottom right; stop scrolling!

That's your cue! Stop! Stop now! Stop scrolling!

The author's name is right below that!
 
What you have to do now is figure out, to the best of your ability, who is the author of the post!

When you're done, scroll a little further, to check your answer and see if you guessed correctly.

There.

That's it.

That's the Instapundit game.

That's all there is to it.

(Hey! Wait a minute! I didn't say it would rival with Dungeons & Dragons! I didn't say it was particularly exhilarating — just… intellectually satisfying…)

So how good am I, you ask? What are my success statistics?

At the risk of sounding sexist, there are three contributors that I almost always identify before I have read more than a line of two of their posts (no matter how long or short they — the posts, not the contributors — turn out to be): they are the blog's three woman authors, Helen Smith (the Amazon lady), and Gail Heriot (her choice of language is unique), and Sarah Hoyt (just because she is Sarah Hoyt!).

But the ladies are not alone. A close contender is Austin Bay.

With the blog's three most prolific male contributors, it's more complicated. As you may tend to get them mixed up from time to time.

With Stephen Green, I would guess that I get the Vodkapundit posts correct about 85% of the time.

With Glenn Reynolds and Ed Driscoll, I would say that I have about a 70% success rate.

(FYI, in the Jerry Stiller example I used above, I bombed — I got the author wrong…)

Oh. And the question that is on every reader's lips:

Is there a way to know when you have become a master at the Instapundit game?

Yes, my son. You will have become a master, my son, when you've become reasonably good at correctly identifying posts by Mark Tapscott, by Robert Shibley, by David Bernstein, by Charles Glasser, and by John Tierney. 

Feel free to try and beat me. I am sure that it can be done…

Just do not expect this to ever become an official contest in the Olympic Games…

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"


Tom Mackaman is not only journalist at the The World Socialists' Website to interview historians concerned about the 1619 Project; Tom Peters and John Braddock are two of his colleagues to have an interaction with Dolores Janiewski.
Professor Janiewski, who grew up in Florida and whose family participated in the struggle against segregation, now lectures at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand on US history, including the post-Civil War reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement and anti-communist witch hunts. Her many works include Sisterhood Denied: Race, Gender and Class in a New South Community and New Rights New Zealand: Myths, Markets and Moralities (with Paul Morris).
WSWS: What is your overall response to the 1619 Project and particularly the way it leaves out the class struggle in the United States?
DJ: That’s been one of the submerged things in American thinking for a terribly long time. Identity politics in the recent period has buried class under race and gender and so forth. I was an intersectional person before the word got invented, because I was writing about race, gender and class in the 1970s.

I went through the two main articles in the 1619 Project, and what I was immediately struck by from the beginning is it leaves out indigenous people. It starts with slavery in 1619. Hannah-Jones only has one or two paragraphs about the Indians getting removed from Georgia. But in the course I’ve just been teaching, in 1512, the leader of the Taino people in the Caribbean was burned at the stake for leading an indigenous rebellion against the Spanish.

Part of the way capitalism develops in North America is about dispossession. That’s also true in the British Isles, dispossessing the Highlanders, dispossessing the Irish. The first plantations are actually in Ireland. The British take over and deprive the peasants of the land. It’s a much more complicated story than reducing it down to slavery being the engine of capitalism.
WSWS: Slavery is also narrowed down. Hannah-Jones claims that slavery has always existed, but in the US it’s special.
DJ: Yes, it’s an exceptionalist, US original sin story. She ignores slavery in Cuba, Brazil, other places. And if you want to talk about original sin, America has many original sins, one of them is the dispossession of the indigenous people.
WSWS: She uses the expression that slavery is part of America’s DNA.
DJ: It’s somewhat of an ahistorical concept. A lot of the colonising in America was because those people were driven off the land in Europe. They’re indentured servants. Two thirds of the people who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are unfree, some of them are indentured and some of them are slaves.
Edmund Morgan
A really good book by Edmund Morgan called American Freedom, American Slavery, which Hannah-Jones doesn’t seem to look at, is about how, in the first period, they don’t have permanent slavery. So those people coming in 1619 are, in some sense, treated like indentureds. Eventually they can become free along with the indentured white people, and then they become problems. The poor people, black and white, share common interests.

By the late 1600s the wealthy Virginia planters start passing laws to distinguish between black and white, and they create permanent slavery for the African that will be inherited by the children. They make race a privilege: a sign of freedom versus slavery. They change the laws to break up those alliances between poor whites and poor blacks. And they treat women differently: white women are assumed not to have to work in the field as part of that new set of laws, and black women are assumed as laborers.
Sharecroppers’ children
Slavery isn’t a fully developed system from 1619; it evolves. Likewise, Indians were initially seen as whites and then, by the 1850s, they’re seen as “redskins.” So, race is an evolving system developed by people with an economic stake in evolving it.
WSWS: Hannah-Jones says that after the Civil War, “White southerners of all economic classes … experienced substantial improvement in their lives even as they forced black people back into a quasi-slavery.” What do you make of these statements about this period?
DJ: Well, it’s a pretty broad generalisation. If you’re talking about economics, the southern income is half of the national average at 1900. The South doesn’t really recover from the destruction of the Civil War. In the 1930s poverty in the South is one of the major problems for Roosevelt. So, it’s not true that every white person’s life improved. In some sense poverty helped to entrench the racial system over time, because you had one thing that made you better: being white. It wasn’t that you were economically, necessarily, better off. The ideology of white skin privilege was part of the system, but it doesn’t mean in material fact that was actually the case. …
Black and white coal miners in Helen, West Virginia
 … WSWS: So, the employers [after World War II] saw the unity of black and white workers as a real threat?
DJ: Yeah, divide and rule is a common technique. Different industries did it in various ways. The steel industry hired lots of different ethnic groups so they couldn’t speak the same language. That was quite useful. There’s a picture of Uncle Sam, after the great steel strike of 1919, saying “go back to work!” in about 12 languages.

In North Carolina there was an attempt at organizing, under the Farmers Alliance, black and white farmers in the 1890s. They formed a Fusion ticket and they won the state government. It was a Republican-Populist alliance. Blacks and whites were working together but blacks were mostly in the Republican Party and whites were mostly in the Populist Party.

 … So, blacks had some political rights up until 1898. It’s not the full story that after the Civil War everything collapses. But it was pretty systematic from 1890 onwards. In different states there are these ways of driving blacks out of the political system, starting with Mississippi in 1890. But in North Carolina it takes this major upheaval in 1898. Then in 1900 they passed a constitutional amendment that you cannot vote if you’re illiterate unless your grandfather could vote in 1867 [which only white people could do then]. Then you have segregation and all the rest.

There were still people who were critical of it and opposing it. Then in the 1930s the Communists and others in the CIO wanted to prevent workers being divided on racial matters.
WSWS: We are very critical that the Times doesn’t talk about the CIO.
DJ: They're sort of running roughshod over a lot of history in a few paragraphs. It’s not an in-depth analysis.
WSWS: Writing about the beginning of the Civil Rights struggle, Hannah-Jones says, “for the most part black Americans fought back alone.”
DJ: Well, of course that isn’t completely the truth. The tobacco workers’ union was involved in organizing in South Carolina in 1945 and the song that they’re singing as they march on their picket line is “We shall overcome,” which is then taken to a labor history training centre called Highlander, and it becomes the song of the Civil Rights movement. A lot of the labor activists become Civil Rights activists. There is an interaction between them. Bob Korstad has written about how these two movements merged in a book called Civil Rights Unionism.

There were Communists in the 1930s defending the rights of blacks in one way or another, but there were also relatively progressive whites, Christians and people criticising racism. So, it’s not just blacks alone.
Albion W. Tourgée
The NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] was founded by a group of progressive whites and blacks in the North. In North Carolina in the late Reconstruction era, Albion Tourgée, a white progressive from the South, tried to organise poor whites and blacks for the Republican Party in 1868, helped write a non-racial state constitution, then became a judge and had poor whites and blacks as his allies. Then, systematically, the Klan lynched a poor white activist, lynched some of the blacks he knows, and then tried to assassinate Tourgée. Ultimately, he’s forced out of North Carolina in 1878. He then wrote an antilynching column, he tried to challenge segregation in the Supreme Court, then he helped to create the predecessor to the NAACP.

There are probably about 20,000 blacks who are killed and 5,000 whites who are killed in this Reconstruction period by the Klan and those kinds of groups. It’s like death squads in Latin America; you go after activists and organisers using terror. White activists were seen as race traitors.
WSWS: Did any trade unionists who attempted an integrated struggle have any success?
DJ: There was a short period. You can look at Bob Korstad’s book on what happened with his father’s organising in Winston-Salem. That union was fairly progressive. But the other union, the AFL, started raiding, because of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Those unions that don’t sign affidavits and get rid of their communists are no longer protected by the labor law. So, there are times when there are efforts. But the use of race and anti-communism together are very effective.
WSWS: That’s an interesting connection that you make, that the segregationists used anti-communism as a weapon.
A. Philip Randolph (1963)
DJ: Because communists had been progressive on the race question, and anyone who’s interested in racial equality is by definition a subversive. This goes back to the Red Scare of 1919, when you have the first Communist Parties and the Bolsheviks have just had the revolution, and those people like A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen are editing a socialist paper in Harlem. They get targeted. There’s a New York State Senate committee investigating communism in 1919-1920 and they target those people in the North.

 … The NAACP has about 8,000 members before the war. After the war they get 400,000 members and they start the legal battle that leads to the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Veterans came home determined to fight against segregation. The war itself and Germany made racism look somewhat suspect, and so you have a period where a lot of Americans are embarrassed that in a big part of their country blacks can’t vote. So, in the 1950s and 60s there are some kinds of changes. Tobacco workers I interviewed who came back from the war were very determined to fight segregation.
There was a big union presence in the 1963 March on Washington, which in some sense was repeating what Randolph threatened to do. King, when he’s killed in Memphis, he’s there to support organizing garbage workers. The UAW, one of the CIO unions, helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963.
WSWS: The 1619 Project jumps over Martin Luther King. He’s just absent.
DJ: There’s a lot of absences in there.
WSWS: To them it is simply blacks versus whites.
King holding image of murdered civil rights workers (1964)
DJ: They’re imposing identity politics all the way back. And in certain times, people don’t even think in terms of categories of white and black. They have to be taught that skin color is significant. Racial identity politics is real in terms of what it does to you, but also unreal because it has no actual scientific basis, although some people keep trying to reinvent it over and over again. Saying racism is in America’s “DNA,” I don’t think Hannah-Jones really meant it, I think that’s just a metaphor. But still, it’s using a genetic explanation for this stuff, which isn’t necessarily true.

 … My sister and I tore down Klan posters in the park, I think when I was 12, around 1960 or thereabouts. It said, “Be a Man, Join the Klan.” There was a post office box address, so I wrote a letter to the Klan to denounce them saying, “you’re not men!” The deputy sheriff was supposed to be head of the Klan, which was very typical in the South. I kept looking out the front door to see if there was a burning cross.
Ku Klux Klan in Gainesville
The Klan threatened to bomb the high school where my mother was working with black teachers. We were doing a literacy project with black children and we were forced to move to the Episcopalian church. Then we were accused of stealing hymn books, so we were forced to move to the black part of town. I took some black children into the local public library and the librarian was not pleased with me. But I thought they deserved to go there.

When I went to Tallahassee to Florida State university, we did Freedom Schools: setting up schools for black children to teach real history. We went to the black university too. That was one of our subversive activities.

It was a pretty repressive regime in much of the south, and violent too. Those three civil rights workers who were killed [James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner]—part of why they were killed was because it was two white guys with a black guy. …
RELATED: 1619, Mao, & 9-11: History According to the NYT — Plus, a Remarkable Issue of National Geographic Reveals the Leftists' "Blame America First" Approach to History

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: quite a few contemporary Black problems have very little to do with slavery

• "Out of the Revolution came an anti-slavery ethos, which never disappeared": Pulitzer Prize Winner James McPherson Confirms that No Mainstream Historian Was Contacted by the NYT for Its 1619 History Project

• Gordon Wood: "The Revolution unleashed antislavery sentiments that led to the first abolition movements in the history of the world" — another Pulitzer-Winning Historian Had No Warning about the NYT's 1619 Project

• A Black Political Scientist "didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out"; "These people are kind of just making it up as they go"

• Clayborne Carson: Another Black Historian Kept in the Dark About 1619

• If historians did not hear of the NYT's history (sic) plan, chances are great that the 1619 Project was being deliberately kept a tight secret

• Oxford Historian Richard Carwardine: 1619 is “a preposterous and one-dimensional reading of the American past”

• World Socialists: "the 1619 Project is a politically motivated falsification of history" by the New York Times, aka "the mouthpiece of the Democratic Party"

• Dan Gainor on 1619 and rewriting history: "To the Left elite like the NY Times, there’s no narrative they want to destroy more than American exceptionalism"

• Utterly preposterous claims: The 1619 project is a cynical political ploy, aimed at piercing the heart of the American understanding of justice

• One of the Main Sources for the NYT's 1619 Project Is a Career Communist Propagandist who Defends Stalinism

• A Pulitzer Prize?! Among the 1619 Defenders Is "a Fringe Academic" with "a Fetish for Authoritarian Terror" and "a Soft Spot" for Mugabe, Castro, and Even Stalin

• Allen C Guelzo: The New York Times offers bitterness, fragility, and intellectual corruption—The 1619 Project is not history; it is conspiracy theory

• The 1619 Project is an exercise in religious indoctrination: Ignoring, downplaying, or rewriting the history of 1861 to 1865, the Left and the NYT must minimize, downplay, or ignore the deaths of 620,000 Americans

Fake But Accurate: The People Behind the NYT's 1619 Project Make a "Small" Clarification, But Only Begrudgingly and Half-Heartedly, Because Said Mistake Actually Undermines The 1619 Project's Entire Premise

• 1619 and The Collapse of the Fourth Estate by Peter Wood: No one has been able to identify a single leader, soldier, or supporter of the Revolution who wanted to protect his right to hold slaves (A declaration that slavery is the founding institution of America and the center of everything important in our history is a ground-breaking claim, of the same type as claims that America condones rape culture, that 9/11 was an inside job, that vaccinations cause autism, that the Moon landing was a hoax, or that ancient astronauts built the pyramids)

• Mary Beth Norton:  In 1774, a year before Dunmore's proclamation, Americans had already in fact become independent

• Most of the founders, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, writes Rick Atkinson, despite the fact that many of them owned slaves

• Leslie Harris: Far from being fought to preserve slavery, the Revolutionary War became a primary disrupter of slavery in the North American Colonies (even the NYT's fact-checker on the 1619 Project disagrees with its "conclusions": "It took 60 more years for the British government to finally end slavery in its Caribbean colonies")

• Sean Wilentz on 1619: the movement in London to abolish the slave trade formed only in 1787, largely inspired by… American (!) antislavery opinion that had arisen in the 1760s and 1770s

• 1619 & Slavery's Fatal Lie: it is more accurate to say that what makes America unique isn't slavery but the effort to abolish it

• 1619 & 1772: Most of the founders, including Jefferson, opposed slavery’s continued existence, despite many of them owning slaves; And Britain would remain the world's foremost slave-trading nation into the nineteenth century

• Wilfred Reilly on 1619: Slavery was legal in Britain in 1776, and it remained so in all overseas British colonies until 1833

• James Oakes on 1619: "Slavery made the slaveholders rich; But it made the South poor; And it didn’t make the North rich — So the legacy of slavery is poverty, not wealth"

• 1619: No wonder this place is crawling with young socialists and America-haters — the utter failure of the U.S. educational system to teach the history of America’s founding

• 1619: Invariably Taking the Progressive Side — The Ratio of Democratic to Republican Voter Registration in History Departments is More than 33 to 1

• Denying the grandeur of the nation’s founding—Wilfred McClay on 1619: "Most of my students are shocked to learn that that slavery is not uniquely American"

• "Distortions, half-truths, and outright falsehoods": Where does the 1619 project state that Africans themselves were central players in the slave trade? That's right: Nowhere

• John Podhoretz on 1619: the idea of reducing US history to the fact that some people owned slaves is a reductio ad absurdum and the definition of bad faith

• The 1619 Africans in Virginia were not ‘enslaved’, a black historian points out; they were indentured servants — just like the majority of European whites were

"Two thirds of the people, white as well as black, who crossed the Atlantic in the first 200 years are indentured servants" notes Dolores Janiewski; "The poor people, black and white, share common interests"

Wondering Why Slavery Persisted for Almost 75 Years After the Founding of the USA? According to Lincoln, the Democrat Party's "Principled" Opposition to "Hate Speech"

• Victoria Bynum on 1619 and a NYT writer's "ignorance of history": "As dehumanizing and brutal as slavery was, the institution was not a giant concentration camp"

• The Confederate Flag: Another Brick in the Leftwing Activists' (Self-Serving) Demonization of America and Rewriting of History

Who, Exactly, Is It Who Should Apologize for Slavery and Make Reparations? America? The South? The Descendants of the Planters? …
 
• Anti-Americanism in the Age of the Coronavirus, the NBA, and 1619