Shared posts

28 Aug 06:35

Ban on Gay Bars + Mafia = Nightmare to Homophobes Everywhere



Handwritten chalk text on a boarded-up window of the Stonewall Inn (1969)

Why did the Mafia own virtually every gay bar including the historic Stonewall Inn?

In the early 1960s the State Liquor Authority (SLA) of New York considered establishments that openly served alcohol to gay people to be “disorderly houses” as well as places where “unlawful practices are habitually carried on by the public”. Consequently, the SLA refused to issue liquor licenses to gay bars and revoked popular gay establishments’ licenses for “indecent conduct”. Sounds like a bulletproof plan to put an end to “indecent conduct”, right?

🍷 👨‍❤️‍💋‍👨 🙅 💰 👮 👯  🌈  😷 🔪 💰 

How it became every homophobes’ nightmare:

  • The Mafia realized that there was a huge, profitable, and untapped market for creating drinking establishments catered towards homosexuals. By the mid-60s, the Genovese crime family controlled the majority of the gay bars in Greenwich Village.

  • The Mob owner of the famous Stonewall Inn, Tony Lauria Genovese or “Fat Tony”, made as much as $5,000 to  $6,000 on the average Friday night from almost a 100% profit. 

  • As a result, Fat Tony had no trouble sliding the New York’s Sixth Police Precinct an envelope with $1,200 a month to turn a blind eye to his many city code violations. 

  • However, the payoffs did not meant that the Mafia-run establishments were exempt from state laws. Luckily, a choreographed dance routine was established between mobsters and cops so that they could each play out their appearances without threatening their mutual access to easy cash. 

  • For instance, police raids never occurred on the busy nights and the owners were always prepared for regular raids. And the managers made sure that there were only a few liquor bottles on the actual premise as they would be confiscated during the police raid, meaning that owners like Fat Tony could continue be open for business again from only suffering minor losses.

It could be said that the price of banning gay bars made the Mafia richer whilst allowing “indecent conducts” such as slow dancing with someone of your own sex, and realizing that you might belong to something of a minority group, to thrive. Unfortunately for the homophobes, this would eventually contribute to the outbreak of the Stonewall Riots, the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ movement. 

Despite the benefits the new era of LGBTQ+ activism would reap, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the system was also a nightmare to the patrons of gay bars:

  • The payoffs to the police also enabled Fat Tony to cut corners on hygiene. For instance, Stonewall did not have access to running water so drinks were served in dirty used glasses. The bar was accused of a breakout of hepatitis among its patrons by many Gay Rights groups. 

  • Safety was a serious issue at the Stonewall. The bar lacked a rear exit. which meant that the only escape in the event of a fire or emergency was the narrow front door.

  • Rumour has it that the alcohol served at the gay bars were stolen or bootlegged. Yet, they were watered down and sold at top-shelf prices when the majority of the patrons of gay bars belonged to the poorest group of New York city.

  • The more wealthy patrons were subject to blackmail for large sums of money by the Mafia. The employees would single out affluent customers whom were not publicly open with their sexuality. This practice of extortion is said to have been the most profitable aspect of the Mafia club-management.  

Overall, the system the Mafia had been established only benefited them. The real nightmare was of course the health and security risks the patrons of gay bars suffered from as the result of SLA’s unfair and homophobic treatment. Thankfully, Stonewall Riots would come out of this and pave the way for the fight towards equality for all sexualities and gender identities. 


Documentaries: Stonewall Uprising directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Image: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

Web Sources: (x), (x), (x), (x).

27 Aug 21:00

A Cyclist's Track Stand Befuddled One of Google's Self-Driving Cars

by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on Gizmodo, shared by Justin Westbrook to Jalopnik

It’s usually easy for our human brains to predict how any given car, pedestrian, or cyclist is going to act, but computers must be programmed to “understand” all of our varying behaviors on the road. The latest thing perplexing Google’s self-driving cars (and thereby entertaining us)? A simple track stand, according to Washington Post’s Matt McFarland.


28 Aug 00:49

tuttifuckinfruittyyy: The Nymph of Amalthea, 1780s


The Nymph of Amalthea, 1780s

27 Aug 18:00

My Journey – As Told Through Bras

by Freiya

Submitted by Celina / Cedric, the model and photographer.

“This collage is part of my finals art project. I chose gender roles as my topic, especially so, as I’m trying to find out if I’m trans or genderqueer right now.
You can see me wearing all bras I ever owned in pretty much the chronological order I bought them in. What I wanted to enact was a a transformation from typically female to typically male traits but it occurred to me in the making, that that’s exactly my own transformation and my own journey, that I seem to have been on longer than I realized.”

27 Aug 17:55

Regarding Trans* and Transgenderism

by -julia

haters gonna confound your attempts to reclaim words and create increasingly inclusive language

Last year, in the second half of my piece A Personal History of the “T-word” (and some more general reflections on language and activism), I described what I call the activist language merry-go-round. Here’s how it works: Because trans people are highly stigmatized and face undue scrutiny in our culture, all of the language associated with us will face similar stigma and scrutiny. At some point, every single trans-related term will be called out as “problematic” for some reason or another—e.g., its origin, history, aesthetic quality (or lack thereof), literal meaning, alternate definitions, potential misinterpretations or connotations, or occasional exclusionary or defamatory usage. And supposedly more liberatory or inclusive alternative terms will gain favor. But over time, these new terms will eventually be challenged too. Because the crux of the problem is not the words themselves, but rather the negative or narrow views of trans people that ultimately influence how these words are viewed and used by others.

So rather than constantly trying to eliminate certain words and inventing new replacement terms, I argue that we would be best off challenging the narrow or negative views of trans people that sometimes latch themselves onto trans terminology. That is a brief synopsis of the activist language merry-go-round; I encourage you to read the linked-to essay above, as I make my case far more thoughtfully and thoroughly there than I have in these two paragraphs. 

The reason why I am bringing this up now is because I want to share some of my personal thoughts regarding the terms trans* and transgenderism, both of which have come under activist-language-merry-go-round scrutiny lately.


Since the 1990’s, the words “transgender” and “trans” have been the most often used broad umbrella terms to refer to people who defy societal norms with regards to gender. But on many occasions over the years, some people have objected to them. For instance, I’ve heard some transsexuals object to “transgender” because it was previously favored by Virginia Prince to distinguish herself from transsexuals (even though that is not how most people use the word today). And some non-binary folks have told me that they don't like “trans” because they feel it is too closely associated with transsexuals who identify within the binary (e.g., when it is used in the phrases “trans woman” or “trans men”).

In attempts to be inclusive of people who dislike these labels for one reason or another, trans activists (including myself) sometimes turn to alternate umbrella terms, the most common ones being “gender non-conforming” and “gender variant.” But of course there have been complaints about these terms as well (e.g., too clunky, too vague, seems to favor some identities over others, objections to being called “variant” or “non-conforming”). Again, it’s not that any of these terms are inherently better or worse than others—they can all be used in a respectful and inclusive manner. It’s just that there is no perfect word: Every term will have its detractors, and so long as trans people are stigmatized in our culture, some people will use these terms in disparaging or exclusionary ways.

Over the last few years, trans* has become the new umbrella term du jour. The way it was told to me, the asterisk is intended to serve the same “wild card” function that it does in search engines—thus, trans* would include trans, transgender, transsexual, transvestite, and so on. While I had seen the term used on a few occasions in the past, starting around 2013 (and seemingly out of the blue), it was practically everywhere: in articles and trans-themed glossaries, in the names of organizations and events, and so on. Being interested in trans terminology, I was curious as to how this came to be. Perhaps there was some blog-post or manifesto out there that galvanized the community to start using the word? I never did find out, in part, because doing searches for trans* is complicated by the fact that search engines view the asterisk as a wild card!

While I have no problems with the term trans*, I did dislike some of the dynamics that accompanied it during its rise in popularity. Specifically, I’m talking about a phenomenon that I’ve seen play out before in other marginalized communities, and I’ve come to call it word-sabotage (to contrast it with word-elimination). Here is what I mean: When activists say “don’t use the word tranny,” or “it’s transgender, not transgendered,” that is an explicit word-elimination campaign, one that directly states that the word in question (e.g., tranny, transgendered) is bad and should not be used. Word-sabotage is indirect, as it insinuates that certain terms are suspect or problematic on the basis that they are supposedly not as liberatory or inclusive as the term being championed. I have encountered this on many occasions within BMNOPPQ communities, were some people prefer to call themselves pansexual, or multisexual, or polysexual, rather than bisexual. And this is totally fine—people are free to self-identify however they like. However, sometimes people will claim that they have chosen their preferred label because it is supposedly more liberatory or inclusive than bisexual. This latter case is an example of word-sabotage, because now people who identify as bisexual and who use that term in an inclusive manner (such as me) are now presumed to be conservative and exclusionary.

On a number of occasions, I saw this sort of word-sabotage come into play with the popularization of trans*: Because many people viewed the asterisk as imparting broad inclusion, suddenly the use of the terms transgender and trans sans asterisk—which I have used in a broad inclusive manner for well over a decade—would sometimes be questioned, or might be interpreted as promoting exclusion.

It is rather surreal to have the language you have long used as part of your activism shift in meaning or connotation so quickly. But the activist language merry-go-round keeps on spinning, so of course the inevitable happened: People started critiquing trans*.

The first such complaint that I heard was from a trans woman who felt that the asterisk seemed to suggest that being trans is illegitimate—the example she offered was how asterisks are used in sports statistics to imply that a particular record is not legitimate for some reason. I suppose that somebody somewhere out there has probably complained about how asterisks are often used for footnotes, thereby insinuating that trans people are merely footnotes rather than part of the main text! I am joking a bit here, but these sorts of literal interpretations of words are often invoked in word-elimination attempts (e.g., “I don’t like the word ‘transsexual’ because it has the word ‘sexual’ in it”). In general, people don’t read words literally—they get their meanings from how they are used in everyday conversation. However, when it’s a term associated with a marginalized group, then people will tend to pick it apart in this manner, and in countless other ways.

In the last few months, I have become aware of a new claim: Trans* is apparently trans-misogynistic. I am not sure where this originated, but it seems to have garnered steam (a recent google search using “asterisk” and “transmisogyny” revealed numerous pages of results to this effect). According to a recent post by Tobi Hill-Meyer (that I encourage you to check out), she summarizes the current arguments being made against trans* this way: “that female assigned genderqueers popularized it as a way to prioritize their issues at the expense of trans women.” But she then goes on to talk about many previous incarnations of the trans* in “2010, 2007, 2003, and 1998” when it was forwarded by trans women to circumvent “transsexual vs. transgender” infighting that was occurring in those settings at that time. The last paragraph of her post really resonated with me:

I'm not really invested in whether or not people use [trans*]. I don't feel it's important enough to fight over. But seeing the way people talk about it now makes me sad that the trans community seems to have a historical memory permanently limited to only 2-4 years back.

The word trans* is not inherently inclusive or trans-misogynistic. Rather, like all words, it gets its meaning from the way in which people use it. And it may be utilized towards positive or negative ends. Just because some people may use it in an exclusionary way doesn’t mean that the word itself disparaging or exclusionary.


The word transgenderism has been around for as long as I have been aware of transgender activism. It appeared in the titles of explicitly trans activist books such as Patrick Califia’s 1997 book Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism, and the 2003 anthology Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others. It appears in Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw, Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation, and countless other trans activist books, including Whipping Girl—most notably in the chapter “Coming to Terms with Transgenderism and Transsexuality.”

In all of these cases, the word “transgenderism” was used in a neutral manner to denote one of two things: the phenomenon of transgender people (our existence and our experiences), or the state of being transgender (e.g., I might talk about my own transgenderism). It is very common in English to use the suffixes “-ity” and “-ism” to create nouns that describe a phenomenon or state of being—for example, I might talk about my curiosity or intellectualism. So transsexuality and transgenderism are linguistically akin to those examples, and to me talking about my bisexuality, or discussing the subject of lesbianism more generally.

Prior to the last two years, I would (on rare occasions) hear complaints that transgenderism sounded like jargon or was too academic. Admittedly, it is not an “everyday conversation” word, but it does sometimes come in handy when one is writing about gender variant people and experiences (e.g., transgenderism throughout history, or people’s differing experiences with transgenderism). I have heard people presume that transgenderism has its origins in psychiatric/sexology discourses, the implication being that this would automatically make the word problematic. While I haven’t been able to confirm its first usage, I have doubts that this is necessarily the case. “Transgender” itself was a community term (not a psychiatric/sexology one), so it seems likely that the first usage of “transgenderism” would come from within the community, or at least from someone who was aware of and respectful toward trans perspectives. But even if it did originate in psychiatric/sexology discourses, this (in and of itself) wouldn’t disqualify its usage, as many other terms that trans people use all the time (e.g., transsexual, FTM/MTF, dysphoria, SRS) had similar origins. Indeed, the first known usage of cis terminology occurred in a 1914 German sexology article—I certainly do not think that we should stop using it for that reason.

So anyway, transgenderism has a long history of being used in a nonjudgmental and neutral manner, often by trans people themselves. But then, in the last couple years, some TERFs (trans-exclusive radical feminists) have purposefully misappropriated it in a way that confuses the state of being transgender with a potentially dangerous political ideology. This tactic is most obvious in Sheila Jeffreys’ 2014 book Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. And it was repeated in last year’s Michelle Goldberg “faux journalism” article “What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.” Both of these subtitles compare apples to oranges—transgenderism is a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a political ideology—and both subtitles would have been more accurate had they pitted trans-exclusionary radical feminism against transgender activism (which is an actual ongoing political/ideological debate). This incorrect usage seems to purposefully capitalize on the fact that transgenderism is not an everyday word (so it will strike trans-unaware readers as somewhat alien) and seems intended to invoke certain oppressive ideologies (e.g., sexism, racism, fascism, and others) that also just so happen to end with the suffix “-ism.”

Jeffreys’ and Goldberg’s subtitles most certainly should be critiqued for insinuating that the existence of transgender people and the state of being transgender (i.e., transgenderism) is merely an oppressive political ideology. But sadly, it is so much easier to destroy words than to save them. So unsurprisingly I suppose, in the wake of Jeffreys’ book and Goldberg’s article, a word-elimination campaign against transgenderism began to pick up speed.

The most common complaint in this campaign against transgenderism centers on statements like “transgender people are not an ‘ism’.” But as I said earlier, “isms” aren’t always ideologies—many of them (e.g., magnetism, metabolism, hypothyroidism, lesbianism, transgenderism) are simply naturally occurring phenomena. Plus, not all ideological “isms” are bad or dangerous—for instance, I personally think that feminism (as a whole) is a positive and beneficial thing. If the subtitle to Jeffreys’ book was “A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgender Activism” (as would be more appropriate), would we be calling for a ban of the phrase “transgender activism” because it implies that transgender people are associated with an "ism"?

The other meme I’ve heard on multiple occasions in this recent word-elimination campaign is that trans people have never accepted or have always rejected the term transgenderism. Such statements are utterly ahistorical: As I’ve detailed above, the word has been used by trans activists (including myself) in a nonjudgmental and neutral manner for over two decades. What is new is that the term is now being misused by TERFs. And even if you do not personally like the word transgenderism (which is absolutely your right), you can probably recognize that it would be an extremely counterproductive strategy to surrender trans-related words to our enemies (whether they be TERFs, conservative political forces, etc.) as soon as they start misappropriating them. To take another example: Jeffreys and others misuse and abuse the word transgender in all sorts of ways (e.g., “transgendering,” “transgenders”), so does that mean that we should eliminate that word as well? And what would the ramifications of that be?

An alternative to sabotaging and eliminating words

I didn’t write this essay to tell others what words they should or should not use. And I am fine with trans-related language gradually evolving over time. But I do wish that we (transgender/trans/trans* folks) would think more about the long-term ramifications before engaging in word-sabotage (e.g., trans* is the most inclusive, so therefore trans sans asterisk is exclusionary) and word-elimination (e.g., transgenderism is a slur, and trans* is inherently trans-misogynistic, so therefore we should all stop using these words). As I have shown, such arguments are arbitrary and ahistorical, as words are often used by different people in different ways, and may take on positive, negative, or neutral connotations depending on the context.

But more importantly, the people who use trans-related terminology the most (by far!) are other transgender/trans/trans* folks. And whether intentional or not, attempts to undermine some specific trans-related term will have the effect of undermining those transgender/trans/trans* individuals who use that term in their activism and/or to describe their experiences.

It is really easy to condemn a word: to take offense when people say it, to tell others it is disparaging or exclusionary, and that they should not use it. But it is not the only path (or even the best path) moving forward. Perhaps instead, we could try saving words, by calling out the negative or narrow assumptions that sometimes latch themselves onto trans-related language. When someone uses a trans-related term in a disparaging or exclusionary way, perhaps we should challenge the misappropriation of that term, rather than surrendering or undermining the word itself. It is not the words themselves, but the negative assumptions and sentiments behind the words that are the problem—so perhaps they should be our primary target.

26 Aug 11:30

FEATURE: "Photographer Explores The Beautiful Diversity Of Redheads Of Color"

by Eye Candy

Check out these images from London-based photographer Michelle Marshall, her on-going documentation of Redheads Of Color - or as the The Huffington Post states, "documenting the stunningly diverse manifestations of the MC1R gene" (in most cases, red hair is the result of a mutation in the melanocortin 1 receptor, aka MC1R gene). In regards to her latest work, the French-born photographer tells The Huffington Post: "I am currently interested in documenting the incidents of the MC1R gene variant responsible for red hair and freckles, particularly amongst black and mixed raced individuals of all ages [...] I want to stir the perception that most of us have of a ‘ginger' as a white caucasian individual, potentially of Celtic descent ... As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own course, embracing society’s plurality and, in the process, shaking up our perceptions about origins, ethnicity and identity." Explore below.

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor


26 Aug 19:56

tiffanybozic: A while back my husband and I went snowshoeing...


A while back my husband and I went snowshoeing round Mt. Lassen, CA. I took photos of this warm stream cutting a deep meandering channel through the snow all the way down the volcano. At the time I thought of these deep sea organisms slowly drifting up into the sky from the black current of the water. After many years I finally got around to painting this one. I suppose the image stuck with me because it could be a metaphor for a lot of my different emotions… some light and warm, some deep and cold.

Melting Glass, 30" x 35", acrylic on maple panel, 2014


26 Aug 19:03

Rorisang Lu 20 rio de janeiro,...

Rorisang Lu


rio de janeiro, brasil

26 Aug 17:30

Crust-Punk Porn is Independent, Cruelty Free, Makes You Feel Bad They Have A Dog

by Emperor Rhombus

link is sfw. links from there, not so much.

25 Aug 23:21

skarrin: miss-mouth: chronic-genderbender: jaredsadalecki: br...


first rule of politics, never get into a popularity contest with a dead guy or an imaginary friend





breaking news: obama is not real. obama is a figment of our imaginations. this country is being run by our imaginary friend, barack obama

Breaking News: Mitt Romney campaigned against an imaginary man and still lost the presidency.

I am ugly laughing so hard.

This is the GOP in a nutshell - blind faith over facts.

25 Aug 22:47

In the year 2000, technology will be so advanced that we can store your entire consciousness and run it on home appliances like your CDI. Are you ready for the future?

I’m ready for a nightmarish vision of techno-immortality where copies of our consciousness are bought and sold on Steam (and given low user reviews for getting boring after 400 hours of use). Let’s do this thing!

25 Aug 23:00

The Upside to Jellyfish Blooms

by Kate Wheeling
Jellyfish, despite their delicate, squishy frames, have actually fared quite well in the face of climate change. While nearly every ocean-dwelling animal, from coral polyps to blue whales, is struggling to adapt to warmer waters, many jellyfish are indeed ...

Continue reading

25 Aug 23:45

Black fashion - afropunk 2015 photo by lovejonescreative...

Black fashion - afropunk 2015 photo by lovejonescreative @lovejonesphoto_

26 Aug 00:55

One time I went to see Wicked with my friend and he's green/brown color blind so for the first half of the show he looked slightly uncomfortable and at intermission I asked if he was ok and he was like "they all hate her cause she's black that's not right..." And everyone stared at him for awhile and then slowly he looks down at the program and goes "wait a minute is she.... Green?" And that's the story of how my friend thought we brought him to the most racist Broadway musical ever

oh my gOD

25 Aug 20:00



welp i found where my brain is today

23 Aug 18:30

The "Butches And Babies" Tumblr Is Spreading The Cute While Breaking Down Stereotypes

The "Butches And Babies" Tumblr Is Spreading The Cute While Breaking Down Stereotypes:

There seem to be no end to the extremes people are willing to go to keep gender simple. Women who chose to express masculinity, for instance, have been dismissed as false women, false lesbians, false everything, because they are not following the script, whether this is “all women are feminine” or “no lesbian is masculine” or “all butches are gay” “no real butch is trans” or whatever.

The tumblr site Butches and Babes, run by Meaghan O’Malley,   kills yet another myth: That butches – being masculine – cannot express loving care for children.

It says a lot about our culture when pictures of butch women holding kids cause us to stop up, surprised. Why is that? After all, masculine men have been known to change a diaper.

It all boils down to this strange double play of the human mind – i.e. we stick to the stereotypes (only feminine women care for children) even if we in our daily lives see that this is not true. This is why we over and over again must point out this to others who still try to box us in. In the way O’Malley does on her blog.

By the way, O’Malley refuses to box butch in. Buzzfeed writes:

O’Malley makes it quite clear that the site will never define what “butch” means for its audience or users sending in submissions. “You have the freedom to do that yourself,” the project’s FAQ section reads. “I believe butch exists on a spectrum, just like gender, and it without a doubt includes our trans* brethren. I will not judge or critique you, and I encourage the same from the readership. Butch, in all of its iterations, is welcome here.”

Photos from the blog.

17 Aug 16:31

Who are they?


butt rock(s)

Who are they?

20 Aug 20:36

eternallyspotlesssunshine: my new favorite okcupid message


my new favorite okcupid message

19 Aug 20:40

Breaking: Deez Nuts Polling at 8 Percent in North Carolina

by Joanna Rothkopf on The Slot, shared by Kate Dries to Jezebel

I believe in Deez

Registered presidential candidate Deez Nuts is polling at nine percent in North Carolina, according to Public Policy Polling — only 13 points away from current leader in the Republican field, Donald Trump.


20 Aug 00:34

killerville: dracofidus: I JUST WANTED TO PLAY MONOPOLY LOCAL...


good dog





20 Aug 00:00

Kracken 20-Sided Die

by John Farrier

Release the kraken and roll for a sanity check! Nvenom8 Designs made this 20-sided die that screams out from the abyss should you botch your roll. It lacks the flat sides of a traditional die, but it lands clearly enough on its many tentacles. It's about 3 inches across and can be manufactured in steel which is presumably cursed.

-via Dude I Want That

20 Aug 00:26

elysskama: 11 x 14 Deardorff daguerreotypeBy Dan Carrillo


11 x 14 Deardorff daguerreotype
By Dan Carrillo

19 Aug 23:30

doodleforfood: Guest comic by John Sutton of The Petri Dish...


Guest comic by John Sutton of The Petri Dish comics.

19 Aug 15:53

Everything You Think You Know About The History and Future of Jobs Is Likely Wrong

by Scott Santens

vai Sophianotloren

"47 Percent..."

That's the highly cited estimate out of Oxford by Frey and Osbourne of the percentage of existing jobs that are likely to be automated away with the help of technology within the next two decades. According to this paper, flip a coin and call heads or machines to see if your job will exist in 20 years. This is the 21st century fear for many called "technological unemployment."

There is also a conception among many (about half of those considered experts, so again flip a coin) that there is no technological unemployment problem because even though technology eliminates jobs, it also creates new and better ones of sufficient supply such that pretty much everyone is better off than they would be in otherwise "undisrupted" lives.

There does tend to be one caveat to this dismissal of automation fears that most of all of these high-skill jobs will require high-skill labor, and thus a highly skilled work force which will require more education. So of course the answer to what could otherwise be a somewhat thorny future, is simply education, education, and more education.

Well, David Autor of MIT just published a fascinating paper (though we reach different conclusions) in the Summer 2015 Journal of Economic Perspectives titled, "Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? The History and Future of Workplace Automation". In this paper he compiled the following chart, and it should blow anyone's mind who holds a strong opinion about the historical effects on jobs of computing technology since it took off in the 1970s, and so the possible future we should expect if the trends continue.

Employment changes by occupational skill

This chart has some very interesting complexity to it, which I'll attempt to simplify with snippets from Autor's paper. The most important thing to recognize is that all points above the flat red line show relative growth in jobs while points below show relative loss in jobs. Points to the left show jobs with less skill required and points to the right show jobs with more skill required. Each curve represents basically a different decade.

Three Important Employment Observations

First, the pace of employment gains in low-wage, manual task-intensive jobs has risen successively across periods, as shown at the left-hand side of the figure.

If we look at the far left of the chart, we see growth in jobs with the least skill, increasing decade after decade after decade. As the story goes, technology should have the opposite effect. The simpler a job is, the easier it should be to automate, and yet we're not seeing this at all. Instead we're seeing more and more low-skill jobs being created not destroyed.

Second, the occupations that are losing employment share appear to be increasingly drawn from higher ranks of the occupational distribution. For example, the highest ranked occupation to lose employment share during the 1980s lay at approximately the 45th percentile of the skill distribution. In the final two subperiods, this rank rose still further to above the 75th percentile—suggesting that the locus of displaced middle-skill employment is moving into higher-skilled territories.

Where these curves intersect the red line has been moving to the right, meaning that more and more middle-skill jobs have been lost in a way that even increasingly eats into higher and higher skill ranges. This is a hollowing out of the middle and even upper-middle. Jobs that require what's considered between a low and high amount of skill have been disappearing. This appears to reflect the loss of the middle class. As each decade passes, the jobs that require mostly a medium amount of skill are simply going away, replaced instead with jobs requiring less skill ,not more skill, and thus jobs that tend to pay less, not more.

Third, growth of high-skill, high-wage occupations (those associated with abstract work) decelerated markedly in the 2000s, with no relative growth in the top two deciles of the occupational skill distribution during 1999 through 2007, and only a modest recovery between 2007 and 2012. Stated plainly, the growth of occupational employment across skill levels looks U-shaped earlier in the period, with gains at low-skill and high-skill levels. By the 2000s, the pattern of occupational employment across skill levels began to resemble a downward ramp.

We should expect to see what we see on the left of this chart on the right instead, but we don't. Between 1979 and 2007, a span of almost 30 years, there was less and less growth in jobs requiring the most skill. Only since 2007 has there been a reversal with a small amount of growth in these jobs. Other than that, as Autor himself describes it, it looks like a "downward ramp", meaning that both middle and high-skill jobs are being steeply replaced with low-skill jobs, and have been since the 1970s.

This is not the story we are told. Instead we read story after story like this latest one from the Guardian, claiming that 140 years of job creation show that jobs will always be created. And yet the ongoing trend of such articles is to mostly ignore the potentially unnecessary nature of the jobs themselves, the level of skill involved to perform them, and the lower pay they can command than the jobs they are replacing. Take for example the following excerpt:

Their conclusion is unremittingly cheerful: rather than destroying jobs, technology has been a “great job-creating machine”. Findings by Deloitte such as a fourfold rise in bar staff since the 1950s or a surge in the number of hairdressers this century suggest to the authors that technology has increased spending power, therefore creating new demand and new jobs.

So there's no need to worry about technological unemployment, because there will always be a need for more bar-backs and haircuts? Is that bar-back better off no longer having a manufacturing job paying $40,000 per year and instead having a job paying $20,000 per year in the service industry? Is that an important job to the human species, bringing empty glasses from Point A to Point B? And is this a job that just can't possibly be done by a machine, or outright eliminated? Ever? Is the service industry really safe?

We should also probably keep in mind that the percentage of the population in the labor force peaked back in the year 2000, and has been falling since. The above chart of employment skills polarization only examines the makeup of those employed, and ignores all those unemployed and all those not even looking for work anymore. The amount of those employed within the total population is at a record 38-year low of 62.6%. Meanwhile, despite slowing, GDP is still growing, so all the work is still obviously getting done somehow...

Many Questions Unasked

Centuries of data may show us how jobs have been both destroyed and created but recent decades worth of more nuanced data more importantly show us there's more to this story. Whenever we see someone claiming new jobs are being created and will continue to be created so as to provide everyone a job, we need to look deeper and ask, "What kind of job? What are the skills required? How much does it pay for how many hours? Does it provide more security or less? What are the benefits it offers? Is the job really necessary? Does the job provide meaning to those tasked with it? Are jobs and work the same thing? Is there work to do that's more important than what the job involves? Is working in the job actually better than not working at all?"

Regarding that last question in particular, there's this important finding which should not go ignored in any discussion celebrating job creation:

Those who moved into optimal jobs showed significant improvement in mental health compared to those who remained unemployed. Those respondents who moved into poor-quality jobs showed a significant worsening in their mental health compared to those who remained unemployed.

That's right, having no job at all can be better than having a bullshit one. Thanks, science. And if low-skill jobs are more likely to be worse on mental health than medium and high-skill jobs, then for decades we've been increasingly working in newly created jobs that are depressingly worse for us than not working in any job.

All of the above questions are important to actually ask because when we get right down to it, the mere existence of a job means very little. We have to ask additional questions about the nature of the job itself. Those not asking these additional questions are simplifying the story in such a way it becomes even simpler than a story. It becomes a fairy tale.

Yes, our economy is so far creating more and more jobs as our technology destroys old ones, but these jobs are not at all the jobs we may assume they are. They are mostly low-skill jobs, and that means mostly low-paying jobs. For every new job as a Facebook engineer, there are countless more jobs in fast food, and there are a whole lot fewer jobs in car assembly plants. There are also not as many total jobs available for everyone as we may think. What does this all mean to us and to our country as a whole? What does it mean for the great increases in productivity we could otherwise see if job elimination were instead actually our goal?

This also means that more education isn't the answer. As the decades have passed, the population has gotten more and more educated. Our workforce now is the most educated workforce in US history, and a great deal of this education is being put to work in jobs that don't need it, because the jobs that do need it aren't being created in sufficient numbers. Are bar-backs with PhDs a triumph of new job creation?

The true story of technology and jobs is a story of an eroding middle, a relatively slowing top, and a vastly growing bottom.

So unless we all wish to pursue insecure lives of low-skill underpaid mostly meaningless employment thanks to all the machines increasingly doing all the rest of the work (not really for us but mostly for the benefit of those who own them), we will need to break the connection between work and income by providing everyone an income floor sufficient to both meet basic needs and purchase the goods and services the machines are providing. It's as simple as that. Without that decoupling, there will be no economy, because there will be insufficient consumer buying power to drive it.

If we look at the details of the last few decades of job creation and destruction, we're either going to make enough new low-skill jobs in numbers sufficient to keep unemployment numbers low enough to actually run a society... or we're not. Either way, consumer buying power is likely to steeply erode, even after we account for the effects technology has on lowering prices because the costs of basic needs like food and housing are the costs technology has had relatively little effect on this century. Meanwhile, if we can eliminate half of our jobs in just 20 years, do we really even want to create that many tens of millions of new ways to work for someone else? Why?

There appears to be no happy ending to this story that doesn't involve universal basic income. So instead of continuing to ask if jobs are going to be automated in sufficient quantities to need basic income, let's instead start to increasingly ask if there's any job we can't automate so we're all more freed to live by it.

You can play a part. Contact your representative and tell them to support the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2015 which would provide everyone with a Social Security number an equal share of the revenue raised by making the air we all breathe more expensive to pollute, or in other words, a 'cap and dividend' universal partial basic income. You can also sign this petition to the President and Congress for a basic income for all, or donate your time or money to Basic Income Action, a non-profit organization founded to transform basic income from idea to reality. You can also support pieces like this by sharing them and supporting me on Patreon.

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19 Aug 04:00

Killing Reconstruction

by Heather Cox Richardson

The new issue of Jacobin, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Union victory and emancipation, is out now.

Subscribe today to get a copy or order a single issue.

Northern victory in the Civil War was supposed to usher in a new nation. The slaughter of hundreds of thousands on the battlefields did not simply end slavery in America, it also created a new kind of national government designed to promote economic opportunity for everyone.

As Northerners struggled to fight and fund a war of unprecedented magnitude, they replaced a prewar system run by a handful of wealthy Southern slaveholders with a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” That new, popular government took firm root in the country after the war, as citizenship was extended and all men got the right to vote. Between 1860 and 1870, it seemed, a Second American Revolution had finally aligned the Constitution with the promise of the Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal.

It didn’t last.

A year after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, many soured on the idea of popular government. They looked to the South, where an observer warned that a “proletariat Parliament” dominated by black men was ruining South Carolina, and to the North, where the rising power of workers made a popular magazine snarl that “the interference of ignorant labor with politics is dangerous to society.”

They concluded that not everyone should have a say in government. With this ideological shift, things changed fast. In 1875, the Supreme Court suggested that citizens could be denied voting rights so long as discrimination was not based on race. The next year, white voters took back the South.

Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people had lasted only about a decade.

The usual story of Reconstruction blames its failure on the racism of Southern whites, helped by accidental President Andrew Johnson. But Confederates did not control national politics; their stock was too low after losing a war that had killed more than 600,000 Americans and cost more than $6 billion to control anything. Northerners controlled national politics.

Reconstruction failed not because Southern whites opposed it — although most of them did — but because Northerners abandoned it. They came to believe that antebellum slaveholders were right in one important way: they had warned that poor workers must not be allowed to vote because, given the chance, they would insist on a redistribution of wealth.

Northerners in 1861 began a four-year crusade to remake the American government so that wealthy men would not dominate it. They poured out their blood and sacrificed their brothers for that cause. Ten years later, that course would be reversed. America depended not on human equality, they came to think, but rather on what slaveholders had always said: the protection of property.

The story of this momentous change depended on a strange twist of politics that brought together a coup in Paris, industrialization in New York City, and black suffrage in South Carolina in the year before a presidential election. Those three seemingly disparate events came together in a toxic mix that linked antisocialism and racism in American thought so tightly that they have never come undone.

The Threat from Below

From March through May 1871, workers in Paris established a commune. This relatively minor development in world affairs became headline news in America because in 1866, after years of failure, entrepreneurs had finally completed a transatlantic telegraph cable that linked America to Europe. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 had provided sensational copy to feed a nation hungry for exciting news after its own war. With the end of that conflict, editors turned to scenes from the Commune to fill their columns.

They reported lurid stories of the Commune as a nightmare, a “wild, reckless, irresponsible, murderous mobocracy.” Workers in Paris had taken over the government and were confiscating all money, factories, and land. Their plan was to redistribute wealth from men of means to themselves.

The Philadelphia Inquirer claimed that the “Communists of Paris” were operating with the “communistic idea ‘that property is robbery.’” In that, they were echoing the International Workingmen’s Association, which, the Boston Evening Transcript warned, was made up of “agrarians, levelers, revolutionaries, inciters or anarchy, and . . . promoters of indiscriminate pillage and murder.”

During the Civil War, when American workers were laying down their lives to protect the nation, few Northerners would have believed that the working class would deliberately destroy society. Indeed, wartime Republicans thought that workers were key to a healthy economy, and they deliberately remade the government during the war to respond to the needs of those they believed were central to the Union cause.

Pushing aside the Plains Indians, Republicans passed the Homestead Act to put every man on his own farm; they created public colleges and the Department of Agriculture to make sure poor farmers had access to the newest ideas. They funded a transcontinental railroad to take settlers to the Western fields and mines. Finally, they passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.

Republicans believed they were bolstering the economy by guaranteeing every man a chance to rise and “contribute to the greatness and glory of the Republic.”

“What is beneficial to the people cannot be detrimental to the Government; for in this country the interests of both are identical,” said Illinois Republican Owen Lovejoy. “With us the Government is simply an agency through which the people act for their own benefit.” Schools and the Department of Agriculture would “increase the prosperity of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.” The upfront costs would be “richly paid over and over again in absolute increase of wealth. There is no doubt of that,” insisted notorious budget hawk William Pitt Fessenden.

When Northern Democrats howled in horror at the racial equality established by the Thirteenth Amendment, Republican James Ashley of Ohio retorted that their free labor would make America “the most powerful and populous, the most enterprising and wealthy nation in the world.”

Only six years later, Republicans were willing to entertain the idea that, far from being the heart of America, workers were dangerous levelers. Far from advancing their interests, the government must be protected from their influence.

It Can Happen Here

This about-face had its roots in the economic developments of the war years. The Civil War created a business boom in the North as industries met military needs. Congress passed high tariffs to protect domestic industry from foreign competition, recognizing that industry would need nurturing to enable it to bear the new manufacturing taxes Congress imposed. By the end of the war, thriving businesses produced iron, railroads, shovels, horseshoes, buttons, rain slickers, and every other thing soldiers or their families needed.

But the boom did not spread prosperity to industrial workers. There was little labor agitation during the war as the drain of men to the battlefields kept unemployment low, but wages did not keep up with inflation. At the same time, government contracts poured tax dollars into the coffers of industrialists and financiers. As soon as the war was over, workers organized to demand that Congress level the economic playing field.

As workers began to organize, growing industries brought immigrants to New York City, where they tended to vote for Democrats. New York State was Republican, but control of the city determined which way the state would swing in national elections. New York had far more electoral votes than any other state, giving its largest municipality special importance in national politics. In 1870, New York as a whole had swung into the Democratic column, which did not bode well for Republicans hoping to maintain control of the White House in 1872.

So in 1871, furious that New York City workers, and immigrants at that, threatened their control of national politics, Republicans warned that what was happening in Paris could just as easily happen in America. Indeed, maybe it was already happening.

The First International had established headquarters in the city in 1867, where they were fomenting disturbances, Republicans warned. They were at war against capital and property, and would force anyone who owned anything to divide it with those who had nothing. In their eyes, every small farmer was a member of the “landed aristocracy,” who should be forced to share his wealth. This philosophy would only appeal to poor, lazy, vicious men, who would rather steal from the nation’s small farmers and mechanics than work themselves.

In April 1871 the New York Times noted that

the very extravagances and horrible crimes of the Parisian Communists will, for some years, weaken the influence of the working classes in all countries. The great ‘middle-class,’ which now governs the world, will everywhere be terrified at these terrible outburst[s] and absurd[ities], they will hold a strong rein on the lower.

The Johnson Counterrevolution

Southern Democrats had fought viciously against Republican Reconstruction measures, but Northerners ignored their racist howling. Republican attacks on workers in 1871 gave Southerners a powerful new weapon.

Immediately after the war, white Southerners did all they could to reinstate racial dominance. They resurrected the prewar world of white supremacy, passing what became known as “Black Codes,” a series of laws that kept black Southerners in a state as close to slavery as the Thirteenth Amendment would permit.

In Mississippi, courts could “apprentice” black children to white masters, and black men could be arrested, fined, and then “hired out” to anyone who paid their fines. Most states sentenced “vagrants” to forced labor, and the punishment for breaking the law was the lash, the chain gang, or a fine that required a prisoner to work for the man who paid it. Nowhere could a black person testify against a white person.

Republicans refused to accept a “reconstruction” that remanded loyal black Unionists to quasi-slavery under the same men who had been fighting to destroy the Union less than a year before. They refused to seat the newly elected Southern congressmen.

Then, while a committee hashed out a congressional plan for Reconstruction, Congress tried to spread equality to the South. In 1866, it expanded the scope of the Freedmen’s Bureau to enable it to buy land to put impoverished black and white Southerners onto homesteads and to get the education that they so sorely lacked. Republicans did not limit the operation of the measure to the Confederate states. They included the black and poor white populations in the border states, as well. Congress also provided for federal courts in states where African Americans could not testify or sit on juries.

Republicans considered these relatively uncontroversial measures, designed to integrate the South into the national free-labor economy with the same sort of government programs that Republicans had advanced so successfully in the wartime Union.

But they faced the resistance of Andrew Johnson. He vetoed the bills. In his veto messages, the president tied racism to fears of a dangerous underclass and hatred of the new federal taxes the Republicans had created during the war. Johnson offered a way for racists to oppose black rights by using a new, apparently principled, language about small government.

Johnson enlisted traditional Southern racism to attack the argument that government should help poor men rise. Ignoring the benefits for white Southerners, he claimed the measures would simply give a handout to lazy blacks, paid for by hardworking white men.

Homestead and education legislation was far beyond the scope of the government’s authority, he said. Congress had “never deemed itself authorized to expend the public money for the rent or purchase of homes for the thousands, not to say millions, of the white race who are honestly toiling from day to day for their subsistence.” He also claimed that the government “has never founded schools for any class of our own people.”

While these statements were technically true, since the government had acquired by treaty the land distributed under the Homestead Act and the Land-Grant College Act provided means for states to establish colleges rather than providing federal schools, they threw a racist slur onto Republicans’ government activism.

Johnson then undermined the argument that homesteads and education benefited the entire country. The homestead provisions of the new bill were simply a “system for the support of indigent persons,” he insisted. Why, he asked in a rhetorical question that misrepresented the bill, should the government provide homes for ex-slaves, when it had never done so for white men? Freedmen should work hard to succeed, not look for handouts.

Johnson tied racism and fears of class warfare to the new national taxes imposed during the war. Republicans were using tax money to create an army of loyal bureaucrats that would suck the nation’s new taxpayers dry, Johnson said. The new requirements for federal courts and the “Freedmen’s Bureau” would cost more than $23 million, he insisted, and would create “an immense patronage,” including agents and officers and clerks, all funded by tax dollars.

Johnson’s veto message laid out the argument that has dogged American politics ever since: that government activism means special help for black people paid for by hardworking white taxpayers.

Divide and Rule

This was the formula Southern white Democrats adopted in 1871. When Republicans began to attack Northern workers, Southern Democrats abandoned overtly racist arguments and instead began to insist that ex-slaves were forcing communism on the South. The Fifteenth Amendment established black male suffrage in 1870, and South Carolina had a black majority. This meant that white South Carolinians could argue that their state provided a perfect illustration of workers plundering the wealthy through the ballot box.

Before the Civil War, wealthy white Southerners had explicitly warned Northerners that letting poor workers vote would destroy society. Slave owners argued that a society’s workers were strong and loyal, but they were also stupid, and must be kept down. Like logs driven into the ground to form the foundation of a house, these people were the “mudsill” of society, performing its menial labor. Their work supported the small, refined upper class, which led progress and civilization.

Maintaining this system depended on keeping government in the hands of society’s best men. If members of the mudsill were allowed a say, they would demand policies that put more of the fruits of their labor into their own pockets. Allowing the mudsill to vote would mean an active government that would redistribute wealth. They would divert money to themselves and fritter it away, rather than permitting rich men to accumulate the fortunes that would enable them to improve society. Human progress would stop.

Southern whites had achieved an ideal “harmony of . . . political and social institutions,” as a South Carolina senator said, by enslaving its mudsill according to race. The North, in contrast, made the grave error of letting its mudsill vote. Poor voters were fledgling revolutionaries.

When Republicans guaranteed the suffrage to black men, they enabled Democrats to recall the planters’ argument that letting the “mudsill” vote would force a redistribution of wealth. Republican politicians would court black voters by promising policies that gave jobs and services to blacks, the argument went. Ex-slaves would do anything to get out of low-paying field work, so unproductive but highly paid government jobs would replace the actual production the South so desperately needed. A leading Democratic newspaper in New York claimed there would soon be “negro governors, negro mayors of cities, and negro occupants of every grade of office State and municipal.”

What would fund such extravagance? Tax dollars paid by hardworking white men. This system would “corrupt” government, as those without property spent other people’s money.

And since poor African Americans would not have to pay the taxes they levied, their governments would be “among the most wasteful and corrupt that ever existed.” Black governments would “perpetuate robbery,” making “extravagant expenditures” for roads, schools, hospitals, asylums, and other public institutions. Taxes would carry away the wealth of laborers, who would be ground into poverty. An active government would mean the nation’s hard workers would become slaves to unproductive, lazy African Americans.

This was precisely the argument that white South Carolinians developed in 1871. The South Carolina legislature had a black majority. In reality, African-American legislators tended to vote in favor of propertied interests rather than workers, but white observers insisted they were radical levelers. To rebuild the shattered state, the legislature levied new taxes.

But while taxes in South Carolina had fallen disproportionately on professionals, bankers, and merchants before the war, the new legislature placed taxes on land, making large landowners pay new, large tax bills. The same legislature also used state funds to buy land to sell to settlers — usually freedmen — at low prices.

South Carolina Democrats railed in racist agony against the “crow-congress,” the “monkey-show,” but they also interpreted the new tax through a class lens. One observer commented that, with prominent white South Carolinians disenfranchised and black men voting, “a proletariat Parliament has been constituted, the like of which could not be produced under the widest suffrage in any part of the world save in some of these Southern States.” When the South Carolina government began to collect the new tax, a “Tax-payers’ Convention” insisted that workers were confiscating property.

Northern Republicans who were unwilling to entertain the racist arguments of Southern whites picked up this new class argument. The New York Tribune explained that white South Carolinians trying to overthrow the black majority in the state were not racists; they were anticommunists. The problem in South Carolina was that African Americans were taking wealth away from hardworking white South Carolinians and redistributing it to “ignorant, superstitious, semi-barbarians,” who were “extremely indolent, and will make no exertion beyond what is necessary to obtain food enough to satisfy their hunger.”

Ignoring the very real needs of a state rebuilding from a war that had destroyed its cities, fields, and people, the New York Tribune reported that the tax robbed property owners to support the “Nigger Government.”

Explicitly, the New York Tribune compared ex-slaves to the Paris Communards. It ran an interview with Georgia Democrat Robert Toombs, a former slaveholder who had been a staunch secessionist and served as the first Confederate secretary of state. He explained that a mob was “the most dangerous class in the world to be trusted with any of the powers of government.” Unless voting was limited to men of property, “the lower classes . . . the dangerous, irresponsible element” would control government and “attack the interests of the landed proprietors.” According to Toombs: “Only those who owned the country should govern it, and men who had no property had no right to make laws for property-holders.”

In the end, the Taxpayer’s Convention called only for the South Carolina government to trim its budget, but the convention’s work reached far beyond that lackluster end. White Southerners had managed to turn their racial animosities into an economic argument acceptable to northern Republicans.

Republicans continued to link class and racial animosities. What was happening in South Carolina was just like what was going on in New York, they warned. Both were being ruled by “irresponsible non-property-holders.” Taxpayers must stand against the growth of the government, even for good ends, because it inevitably bred waste and corruption. When black men began to vote after the Civil War they had brought socialism to South Carolina.

Better Dead Than Red

It appeared the nation could share the same fate.

The timing of the South Carolina Taxpayer’s Convention spread its language widely across the North. In the next year’s presidential election, pro-Grant and anti-Grant factions fought for control of the Republican Party. Anti-Grant forces used the language of the convention to attack the Reconstruction governments that Grant supported in the Southern states. In Republican as well as Democratic newspapers, story after story repeated the idea that the Southern governments were corrupt, that lazy black legislators were using government contracts to funnel the wealth of white taxpayers to poor ex-slaves.

When the economy crashed in 1873, Northern “reformers” were primed to attack “socialism” across the country. E. L. Godkin, the editor of the Nation, explained that African Americans were “but slightly above the level of animals,” and were plundering property holders. “The sum and substance of it all is confiscation,” he said. In the North, he went on, taxpayers had to beg for relief from those imitating South Carolina, and making “socialism in America the dangerous, deadly poison it is.”

It was not taxation people opposed, an author wrote in Scribner’s Monthly, but rather “unjust, tyrannical, arbitrary, overwhelming taxation, producing revenues which never get any further than the already bursting pockets of knaves and dupes.”

In 1875, the Supreme Court offered a way to guard America from this creeping socialism. In Minor v. Happersett, it ruled that citizenship did not necessarily guarantee voting. This opened the door for restrictions based on qualifications other than race, which was prohibited under the Fifteenth Amendment. In the election of 1876, whites took back the South. In 1880, the former Confederacy voted solidly Democratic.

By 1890, the trend in America was to keep the vote from workers, immigrants, and people of color, even as white middle-class women won it at the state level. A push in 1889 to protect black voting and establish federal funding for schools created a backlash as people conjured up images of Reconstruction as an era when “a large mass of ignorant voters” had taken over government and “ruined” the South.

“White voters, as a class, are the more intelligent, masterful, and powerful, and they are the property owners,” Harper’s Weekly noted. Black men simply wanted to confiscate white tax dollars. Southern whites appealed to “the business men of the North” to keep lazy black men from voting and imperiling “not only the properties of Southern, but of Northern men also — railroad stocks, state bonds, city bonds, county bonds, mining and manufacturing interests.”

In 1890, the New York Times suggested limiting suffrage based on either education or property to keep poor workers from voting. Mississippi did just that. Other Southern states followed suit. Northern states also found ways to restrict voting by immigrants and poor whites.

There was one final necessary step to keep poor voters from corrupting government: to reject any government workers and African Americans supported, even if they had won fair and square.

In 1898, after a coalition of blacks and white Populists won control of Wilmington, North Carolina’s municipal government, 2,000 of the “best citizens” rioted to take back the city. It was imperative for the “ministers, lawyers, doctors, merchants, railroad officials, cotton exporters, and . . . the reputable, taxpaying, substantial men of the city” to enforce “white supremacy,” they said, because “thriftless, improvident” black men had used their votes to put their coalition into power.

Property was not safe, and officials and police officers who had been hired under the coalition in the past were so “incompetent” that “highly esteemed” men and women were assaulted on the streets. In November 1898, a citizens’ council organized, burned a black-owned newspaper office, murdered between fifteen and sixty African Americans, and forced the fairly elected coalition members to resign their offices.

One white man declared: “We . . . will never again be ruled by men of African origin.”

An Enduring Legacy

The political events of Reconstruction established in the American mind — both among antislavery Northerners and reactionary Southerners — the idea that an active government redistributes wealth from hardworking white people to lazy African Americans. It has shaped modern day America.

This idea has put a genteel veneer on arguments against both black rights and protection for workers. In the 1950s and ’60s, it enabled movement conservatives to oppose integration by arguing that government efforts to promote equality were sucking tax dollars from hardworking white men to provide benefits for African Americans.

It permitted Nixon’s 1968 Southern Strategy, as Republicans urged Americans to stand against “communism and integration,” a strategy political operative Lee Atwater famously described as a way to say “nigger, nigger, nigger” while talking only about economic freedom.

It was the inspiration for Ronald Reagan’s African-American welfare queen, whom he described as the ultimate government moocher, with “80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards” who “is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names.”

This idea echoes today in the rhetoric deployed by the Right against Barack Obama. A black president, by the peculiar definition laid down a hundred and fifty years ago, must be a socialist. And it threatens to echo into the future as libertarians insist it is not racial or class biases that make them want to undermine the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and protections for workers; they simply want to promote individual freedom.

We continue to reap the poisonous fruits of Reconstruction.

Read the rest of our Civil War issue today. Yearly subscriptions start at just $19.

18 Aug 22:16


18 Aug 21:20

jvnk: Forensic Facial Reconstruction of the Crystal Head...

18 Aug 22:00

Another fake bank discovered in China, inability to withdraw money dead give-away

by Master Blaster

oh good, China's reached the "wildcat bank" phase of capitalism

In less than half a year since a counterfeit bank was discovered in Nanjing, China, the founder of another fake bank has been arrested in Shandong Province. Although not quite as sinister as the previous unlicensed money lenders, this suspected fraudster seemed not so much evil as just stubbornly convinced that he could run a financial institution despite not knowing certain core concepts of banking such as allowing your customers to withdraw money from their accounts.

According to police, China Construction Bank was established by its president, a man by the name of Zhang, with the goal of providing loans to small business in the area. Up until this point the closest thing Zhang had to banking experience was running a furniture store. In spite of this, he was able to set up a fairly well equipped branch in Linyi City, but unfortunately was unable to pass the government inspection that would allow him to become a legal bank.

Having already come this far, Zhang decided to open his China Construction Bank for business anyway. By the middle of July it had gathered about 40,000 yuan (US$6,000) in deposits mostly thanks to its convincing appearance, which included anti-counterfeit warning signs for customers.

No one had any idea the bank was not legitimate until requests for withdrawals began coming in. After being refused access to their cash several times, ‘customers’ began filing reports with the police, who opened an investigation into the bank.

On 14 August, Zhang was taken into custody. The extent of charges against him is unclear as an investigation is underway, but it will probably go down as various forms of fraud. Still, this kind of crime is so bold and increasingly common there really should be a whole new name for it, in our opinion, something like “malensconcement”.

Source: News 163 (Chinese), Yahoo! News Japan via Toychan (Japanese)
Video & Top Image: YouTube – Sina Premium

Origin: Another fake bank discovered in China, inability to withdraw money dead give-away
Copyright© RocketNews24 / SOCIO CORPORATION. All rights reserved.

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18 Aug 22:00

'Cuckservative': the internet's latest Republican insult hits where it hurts

jeb bush
Jeb Bush: a so-called ‘cuckservative’. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

“Cuckservative”: noun, portmanteau of cuckold and conservative, pejorative internet slang. A conservative who is not conservative enough for some other conservatives, with implications of cowardice and sexual impotence and/or deviance.

The term “cuckservative” caught the eye of puzzled observers this week amid the froth of commentary floating around the race to become the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

It has been dubbed a sign of a “raging civil war” tearing the Republican party apart, “the GamerGate” of white supremacists, and a meme expressing “a certain kind of contempt”. But the dictionaries have yet to step in, leaving readers to take it apart more or less on their own.

The basics are simple: cuckold, a man with an adulterous wife or partner, and conservative, which in context means someone on the spectrum of 21st-century Republican thought.

The insult’s most general gist is conservatives accused of bowing to one non-conservative idea or another, eg immigration reform, should feel humiliated, their ideology adulterated.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is thus accused of cuckservatism for supporting a path to citizenship for immigrants, rather than the “big, beautiful wall” to enclose the United States, as endorsed by Donald Trump in last week’s GOP debate.

Radio host Rush Limbaugh alluded to the meme in praise of Trump on Wednesday, saying that “If Trump were your average, ordinary, cuckolded Republican, he‬ would have apologized by now” for criticizing Fox News host Megyn Kelly. In this sense, as it’s used to criticize mainstream Republicans, the insult is an update on the “Rino” (“Republican in name only”).

Mostly, the word is used to belittle conservatives for a perceived weakness, for instance as an emasculation of Fox host Bill O’Reilly for “daring to question” Trump.

But “cuckservative” also draws from darker currents of thought on the far, far right. Beyond its plain meaning of infidelity to the cause, the word sounds like an anti-gay slur; the insulter accuses the insulted of sexual insecurity in addition to everything else.

Then there’s racial antipathy. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups, links the word to white supremacists and nationalists, and the insult is usually thrown to suggest that white people should only support policies that benefit white people, eg stringent immigration (if any) and drug sentencing laws.

Popular conservative commentator Erick Erickson has called out the racist elements who use the word, saying it is “a slur against Christian voters coined by‬ white supremacists”‬. Writing at the Daily Beast, Matt Lewis argues tribalism in the dark corners of the internet is the source of the phenomenon – the idea that anyone who’s not an explicit racist or a liberal enemy earns the label.

A minority are explicit about the racist impulses behind the word. Far-right blogger Alfred W Clark, for instance, wrote last month that “human biodiversity terrifies the cuckservative, as deep down he has bought into blank-slatism and egalitarianism. The cuckservative would rather just have a Herman Cain or Clarence Thomas poster on his wall than actually have to honestly think about race.”

Other bloggers similarly preach a philosophy of victimhood. In the American Renaissance, Gregory Hood writes that true conservatives have been “deceived, cheated antd [sic] exploited” and that the term has ascended in response to “a perfect storm of anti-white aggression by minorities and the media”.

Blogger Mark Cernovich meanwhile gives a recursive bent to his definition of the term: “A cuckservative calls people who use the term ‘cuckservative’ racist.”

Clark and others go farther, averring that white, Gentile support for Israel qualifies a conservative for the label. Because of a shared identity with Israelis, Jewish people cannot be “cuckservatives”, Clark declares, but “the cuckservative cares more about Israel’s borders than his own”.

The word even has a bit of pornography in it. The New Republic noted this week that “cuckold” can allude to a genre of pornography involving husbands who watch their wives have sex with black men. Intentionally or not, the genre plays to fears of black men preying on white women – an anxiety perhaps most associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

18 Aug 21:57

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