Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cloning of Holocaust Martyrs Seen As Only Way to Preserve Extermination Legend - Mass Production of Elie Wiesels to Start This Week

by Michael K. Smith

Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island

With the WWII generation rapidly passing into history, custodians of the official Holocaust narrative have concluded that the only way to preserve the extermination legend is to clone the remaining Holocaust martyrs while time still permits.

Proponents of the extermination thesis have long worried that the death of eyewitnesses to the Holocaust will cast undue attention on the lack of forensic evidence for mega-gas-chambers, calling into question how an assembly line of extermination could have existed without leaving behind material and documentary evidence. The temporary solution of intimidating the public with an avalanche of tear-jerking stories has the defect of depending on mortal eyewitnesses whose testimony necessarily loses dramatic impact upon their deaths. The "final solution" was hit upon last year by Dr. Avigdor Leibowitz at a conference of Cloners For Social Responsibility, where he proposed to "keep guilt alive" by mass producing key eyewitnesses in perpetuity, thus immortalizing exterminationist gas chambers and Holocaust martyrdom. The ambitious project is slated to kick off in just a few days with the cloning of Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, who has called the effort to extend his melancholic existence unto eternity, "the thrill of my life."

Authorization for the first run of Wiesels has been issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, which, citing the Endangered Species Act, says 500 Wiesels are needed immediately to preserve a gas chamber legend facing extinction at the hands of an unprecedented upsurge in rational skepticism throughout the world. The situation is now widely seen to be critical, with the board of directors of the Jewish Institute of Holocaust Addicted Dogmatists (JIHAD) determining that cloned Wiesels and Holocaust museums must become as common as ATM machines, in order to hold off the rising tide of "hate speech" viciously asking for Holocaust martyrs to substantiate their factual claims.

The Wiesel clones are scheduled for international speaking tours for the next fifty years, with the revenue generated by their speeches earmarked for settlement expansion in Israel. Related plans to clone Ariel Sharon to solve the Palestinian problem are still in the planning stages, but non-partisan AIPAC lobbyists insist these efforts will soon usher in permanent Middle East peace.

In a telephone interview with Legalienate's editors yesterday, Dr. Leibowitz indicated that the cell to be used as the donor for the cloning of Wiesel will be taken from his larynx. The original plan to extract a donor cell from his brain was abandoned upon discovery that Wiesel's brain is largely disengaged when he speaks of the Holocaust, so that the actual source of his martyr testimony originates in random fluctuations of the larynx.

Due to Wiesel's advanced age, there is some concern as to whether his clones will be able to reproduce themselves, or even whether they should. After all, the real concern is not the children, but the parents, whose immortality must be preserved for the good of humanity. Clone families will thus have a different psychology from ordinary families, where the children are the vehicle for expressing the immortality of the parents. In clone families, on the other hand, children will likely be seen as detracting from parental efforts to immortalize the Holocaust. Child abuse could result if these children develop interests other than the Holocaust, although this threat is believed to be minimal since clones and their offspring will be required by law to live in Holocaust museums, where exposure to other themes will be exceedingly unlikely.

One technical issue that caused initial consternation is that cloning cannot re-create what comes from the environment, which means that memories of actual Holocaust survivors will have to be downloaded into the brains of the cloned martyrs after birth. Though this is not difficult technically, psychologists have expressed concern that downloading delusional beliefs could have unpleasant developmental consequences. Mathematicians, for example, worry that those who accept that one can reduce the estimated number of deaths at Auschwitz from four million to one million without affecting the overall death toll of six million, may prove incapable of even simple math. Thus Wiesel clones could be at a severe disadvantage in making change, balancing their checkbooks, and cutting proportional slices of birthday cake.

Similarly, those who accept at face value Wiesel's writing that geysers of blood spurted from the ground for months on end in the wake of Nazi atrocities in Europe, may face insurmountable challenges in judging liquid volume, confusing a leaky faucet with a Biblical flood, trying to fill swimming pools with an eyedropper, and installing lighthouses in the bathtub so their children don't get "lost at sea."

Some have argued for editing out such troublesome beliefs before downloading them into the clones, but others point out that it is no simple matter to separate the factual from the fantastical. For example, Wiesel simultaneously claims that his Nazi captors were the most viciously cruel monsters in all of history and that he voluntarily abandoned Auschwitz with them, avoiding liberation by the Soviet Army. This belief would seem to be a prime candidate for editing out, as its starkly contradictory nature could produce a cerebral hemorrhage in an unwitting clone recipient, but many orthodox Holocaust proponents argue that the Wiesel brain is akin to the King James Bible, i.e., that it is the literal word of God and must not be altered even slightly.

------Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire" and "The Madness of King George" (illustrations by Matt Wuerker) from Common Courage Press.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

America's Minority Threat

American minorities have long been defined as racial, ethnic or religious groups by comparison to white Anglo Saxon protestants , the nation’s founding colonist majority. The population has changed radically since our origins and those suffering discrimination have seen that minority definition outlive its usefulness. Groups demanding equality have led to conflicting policies that set a highly visible majority against itself , while a barely visible minority is hardly noticed. That most dangerous minority maintains power with the help of divisive social programs that keep Americans battling over small portions of the society’s massive wealth, while it luxuriates in the nation’s riches.

Old world social divisions were supposedly erased as we advanced to become a middle class nation of affluent equality . But our working class is artificially reduced to competing factions set against one another by a new world ruling power . Middle class unity only exists in unconscious crowds at the commodity consumption mall. When it comes to alleged democracy, citizens are categorized into isolated groups kept apart by those who profit from socializing individual identities. We need to oppose all forms of discrimination, but while most receive at least some attention those of class and wealth receive hardly any at all.

Our dominating minority holds power by cooperating with its members while it forces the majority into competitive war, whether in local markets or on foreign battlefields . It sustains power in a degeneration of democracy that enables it to purchase politicians and send the bill to that majority who pay and suffer for its political perversion. Present social stress can be blamed on a president who looks black but is half white, and the hateful reaction to him by a minority which looks white and is all racist , but its roots are even deeper. Racism is as great a national problem as it was before Obama was born, but the minority group that selected him to be elected by its subjects is the real issue. It is not a race, but an economic class which rules America. That class has long adjusted to the changing face of the nation and through affirmative action seen to it that so-called minorities and women - really the majority - occupy major positions in all corporate institutions , both private and public .

When groups that suffered discrimination see one of their own raised to power status there should be celebration, but with the understanding that only those individual members profit, while most of the group remain at a loss . This social pleasure at individual achievement is programmed into the consciousness of the culture and it helps the controlling minority to maintain its power. The group having one of its members join the upper class strengthens the fable of meritocracy that says anyone can achieve wealth and power in America, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority never do any such thing.

America’s majority tax payers of all races, creeds and faiths have been made to bail out America’s minority tax collectors of banking and finance , and this unnatural fact of the political economy needs to be confronted before it creates further poverty and suffering for the entire population.

When the nation expends hundreds of billions of dollars to fight wars that benefit a munitions industry and a foreign policy owned and run by minorities, it should not glorify one of its fragmented groups being awarded a senate seat or a court appointment. When that nation spends trillions of dollars to bail out minority finance capital it should not glorify one of its splinter groups winning a business contract or cabinet position. Those individuals who meet physical or cultural descriptions common to a narrowly identified group will be acting for the ruling monetary power and against the interest of their disassembled majority. And that majority will continue being distracted by individual success while it pays for wars, economic chaos , ecological destruction and ultimate social failure .

These divisions manipulate us to replace an old president waging supposedly stupid wars with a new president waging supposedly smart wars , without noticing that they are the same wars. Whichever private servant of capital occupies the publicly subsidized housing in Washington, he or she, of whatever imposed identity group label, will continue to slaughter foreigners and squander our wealth on degradation abroad that brings more poverty at home. The only minority that profits from these destructive policies is not the easily noticed scapegoat group at the bottom of the economic pyramid , but the least noticed at the top. That group is really only 1% of the population or less, and though it is mostly white it is integrated enough in its servant class so that the crumbs dropped from its table are falsely seen a full meal by those socialized to accept malnutrition as a healthy diet because the waiter or waitress is “one of us”.

If we are to achieve a truly democratic society our minority consciousness must change to one in which we become united members of a majority. That majority will not tolerate paying off minority investors by laying off majority workers , nor will it allow bankers in debt to be bailed out of their loans while workers in debt are being thrown out of their homes. Anti democratic power must be taken from our most dangerous minority , and democratic control assumed by the real majority. If we go on battling among ourselves over which minority is the chosen one , we will continue paying the deadly price of subsidizing the destruction of everyone’s social, political and natural environment. Only a minority can be ignorant enough to sustain its demise , but only a majority can be smart enough to change its future.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Holocaust Museum Near Hiroshima Sparks Controversy

by Michael K. Smith

A "Holocaust Education Center" near Hiroshima has sparked public controversy about the meaning of Jewish suffering in Japan.

Speaking to an overflow audience at the annual Japanese Holocaust Survivor Conference in Tokyo, Abraham Foxman, National Director of of the Anti-Defamation League, articulated a viewpoint that enjoys increasing prominence in Japan of late: "Japanese banks, some of the largest in the world, are as free of Jews as Hitler would have wanted. It's disgraceful."

Heads nodded and eyes welled up with tears as Foxman went on to observe that, "The prejudice and hatred against Japanese Jews is one of the great untold stories of human history." To objective observers only one explanation for this silence stands out. "That Japanese public life can remain nearly 'Jew free' in the 21st century is chilling testimony to the genocidal impulse that has been allowed to triumph here," explained Foxman. Asked what it all means, he said, "Never again will Japanese Jews be meekly led to the slaughterhouse."

Calling for a worldwide sushi boycott until every sushi shop in Japan has a Holocaust memorial detailing the monstrous 2000-year history of Japanese anti-Semitism culminating in complete Jewish exclusion from Japanese life, Foxman urged Japanese Holocaust Survivors to spearhead a movement dedicated to overcoming the country's hateful past. Roaring applause greeted his call for, "One, two, a thousand Elie Wiesels."

Taking the opposite view is the increasingly embattled "Japanese Association For the Advancement of Japanese People," a racist organization dedicated to the idea that logic deserves a role in historical debate, an extremist notion finding little support among mainstream historians. The group's president, Yasuo Murayama, claims that charges of Japanese anti-Semitism are senseless, because Japan shut itself off from the world for more than two centuries to prevent Christian "contamination" of the country, a militant policy that included the 1638 Shimabara Rebellion in which tens of thousands of Christians were slaughtered to keep Japan free of Christian proselytizing. For this reason the country is almost completely free of anti-Semitism. Foxman disagrees, insisting that although all Christians are racists, anti-Semitism does not derive from Christianity at all, and actually pre-dates the Big Bang. He claims that Jew hatred has spread to the far reaches of the universe billions of galaxies away, including Japan, although an overwhelming Japanese majority denies that Japan is part of the universe.

Among the displays at Hiroshima's Holocaust Education Center are a pictorial representation of Jewish influence on the evolution of Kabuki and Noh, featuring the Japanese penchant for beauty in miniature, and items left from a Tokyo Bar Mitzvah that the Simon Wiesenthal Center claims was raided by the Gestapo in August 1943. According to the organization's super-sophisticated intelligence operatives, all of the Bar Mitvah participants were shipped to Auschwitz on ocean-going rail cars, never to be heard from again.

A Japanese teenager who recently became the 6 millionth visitor of the Holocaust Education Center received a free copy of the best-selling "Diary of a Young Geisha," which tells the tragic story of a young Japanese girl who adopts the identity of a geisha in order to hide from the Gestapo, only to discover that the Nazis are thousands of miles away in Europe, leaving her to a life of mindless banter and playing the shamisen. She commits suicide.

The more cynical minded visitors to the Holocaust Education Center have alleged that the location of the museum just forty-five minutes from where the atomic bomb was dropped represents a Zionist ploy to elbow out atomic bomb survivors for entitlement to the world's most prestigious victim monopoly. As is well known, competitive victimhood is a fiercely contested sport around the world, and, to quote the legendary major league baseball manager Leo Durocher, "nice guys finish last."


"Teen Becomes 100,000th Visitor at Holocaust Center in Japan,"Japan Today, August 30, 2009

-------Michael K. Smith is the author of "Portraits of Empire," and "The Madness of King George," with Common Courage Press

Friday, September 4, 2009

When Working Class Heroes Were Something To Be: Celebrating the IWW on Labor Day

By Michael K. Smith

One hundred and four years ago Big Bill Haywood lumbered onto the platform at Brand’s Hall in Chicago, gaveled the podium with a piece of loose board, and called the assembly to order. Flanked by Eugene Debs, Mother Jones, and Lucy Parsons, he announced the birth of the Industrial Workers of the World, a union of native-born radicals whose capacity for militant solidarity was and remains unmatched in U.S. history.

Haywood told the two hundred plus delegates crammed into the hot, overcrowded hall that they were “the Continental Congress of the working class,” adding that, “The aims and objects of this organization should be to put the working class in possession of the economic power, the means of life, in control of production and distribution, without regard to capitalist masters.” This ambition was to be fulfilled, not by violent seizure of state power, but by paralyzing big business with a series of general strikes, culminating in direct workers’ control of all industries.

After trekking to the graves of the 1886 Haymarket martyrs buried in Waldheim Cemetery, the I.W.W. delegates passed a resolution endorsing the Russian revolution then in progress. The preamble of their constitution announced a complete divorce from those who rented their labor: “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people and the few who make up the capitalist class have all the good things in life.” Therefore, conflict “must go on until all the toilers come together ... and take and hold that which they produce by their labor.”

Revolutionary in spirit, the “Wobblies” plunged directly into danger, demanding their due without haggling or hassle. They saw the profit system as one giant leach on the back of the working class, and insisted that compromise between owners and workers made no more sense than between a fungus and blighted potato. Determined to gain control of production, not negotiate the terms of subservience, they disdained gradualism as procrastination and disliked contracts for surrendering the right to strike at any time. They had even less regard for elections, agreeing with the socialist priest Father Hagerty that, “Dropping pieces of paper into a hole in a box never did achieve emancipation.”

Furthermore, where other unions shunned the lowly in preference for the “skilled,” the I.W.W. welcomed all races, privileged no one, included housework as a category of labor, and organized chambermaids and prostitutes. The answer to the owners’ One Big Trust, they declared, was One Big Union, which, they believed, was the prelude to a society where all would take their share of production and receive the necessities of life without resort to money.

Outdoor workers addicted to jokes and wild stories, the Wobblies thrived on disaster—and had to—as they were constantly attacked by police, shot by militia, beaten by scabs and vigilantes, and bitterly denounced as “the scum of the earth” by a business press dedicated to egging the bullies on. For Wobblies to speak their minds was itself a crime, and they were regularly dragged off soapboxes for reading seditious material—like the U.S. Constitution. Characterized by soaring idealism and police brutality, these “free speech fights,” as they came to be known, featured Wobblies dropping their tools for hundreds of miles around and walking or riding the rails to besiege the conflict zone. There they sang, shouted, lectured, and put on skits until the jails were swamped, a city’s treasury was drained, and the First Amendment was recognized. The San Diego Tribune supplied a standard press reaction in 1912: “Hanging is none too good for them and they would be much better dead; for they are absolutely useless in the human economy; they are waste material of creation and should be drained off in the sewer of oblivion there to rot in cold obstruction like any other excrement.”

The most famous—and infamous—of Wobblies was the nationally renowned “Big Bill” Haywood. A child of the West, he was recognized on the streets of New York the way a star athlete might be today. Adored by women and instinctively obeyed by men, he was the most popular unionist in the country. Possessed of the manners of a gentleman, he packed a revolver, cried like a baby when reciting poetry, and delivered thunderous orations that ignited crowds of workers like a wick in a powder keg.

The brutality of wage work taught Haywood of injustice early and converted him to socialism. His first boss whipped him when he was only twelve, and the same year he witnessed a black man surrendered to the tender mercies of a lynch mob. Three years later he was a Nevada miner doing a “man’s work for a boy’s pay,” breaking the loneliness of Eagle Canyon reading Darwin, Marx, Burns, Voltaire, Byron, and Shakespeare. An older miner’s explanation of the class struggle capped his education, though the lesson didn’t sink in until the Haymarket anarchists were hung two years later.

In subsequent years Haywood saw scores of men poisoned at Utah’s Brooklyn lead mine, watched a friend’s head crushed against an air drill by a slab of falling rock, and had his own right hand smashed between a descending car and the side of the shaft at Iowa’s Silver City mine. “I’ve never read Marx’s Capital,” he liked to say, “but I have the marks of capital all over me.” Of the class subordination that made such disfigurement routine, he said this: “[The] barbarous gold barons do not find the gold, they do not mine the gold, they do not mill the gold, but by some weird alchemy all the gold belongs to them.”

After Haywood in the annals of great I.W.W. leaders came Vincent Saint John. Son of a pony express rider, he was also a delivery boy, a farm hand, a tinner, a printer, an upholsterer, a prospecter, a miner, and a militant unionist. In the 1890s he had ruined his lungs rescuing dozens of men from a smoke-filled mine in Telluride. In 1901, his men rewarded him with the presidency of the Telluride miners’ union at the tender age of 25. St. John promptly armed them with 250 rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition, which they used to ambush scabs from behind boulders and trees and shoot their way into possession of the mines.

His men nicknamed him “the Saint” to honor his incorruptibility, with one of them remembering later that “the air smelled clean in his presence.” On the other hand, the mine owners considered him a dynamiter, a gunman, and a dangerous agitator—and always kept a price on his head. With a graduate degree from the school of hard knocks St. John’s only creed was action.

In 1906, he found himself at the center of a brutal labor struggle in Goldfield, Nevada, the biggest, busiest, richest gold camp in the world. Crowded with dance halls, saloons, and gambling houses, it was a boom town swarming with claim jumpers, fortune hunters, and gamblers, all drawn to the gold like children to candy from every district in the West. St. John recruited 20,000 local workers for the I.W.W., including miners, dishwashers, engineers, stenographers, teamsters, clerks, newsboys, croupiers, maids, and prostitutes. He established the eight-hour day, guaranteed a minimum daily wage of $4.50 for all, and abolished begging for jobs. Any employer wishing to hire workers had to come and negotiate with the union committees. A company detective explained to the Rocky Mountain News that the I.W.W. leader posed an intolerable threat to civilized society wherever he went: “St. John has given the mine owners of Colorado more trouble in the past years than twenty other men up there. If left undisturbed, he would have the entire district organized in another year.”

But the Wobblies were really about the rank-and-file. Striking dramatically in the East for the first time, the I.W.W. led one of its most memorable strikes in Lawrence Massachusetts in 1912, where 20,000 textile workers without a dime to their names walked off the job in mid-winter to protest a cut in their already desperately low pay. Accusing their employers of wrecking families, they charged them with having “taken away our wives from the homes, our children ... from the playground, stolen out of schools and driven into the mills, where they were strapped to the machines, not only to force the fathers to compete, but that their young lives may be coined into dollars for a parasite class, that their very nerves, their laughter and joy denied, may be woven into cloth ... .” Reverend Harry Emerson Fosdick, a stockholder in the American Woolen Company, responded for the employers, explaining with admirable directness that, “Any man who pays more for labor than the lowest sum he can get men for is robbing his stockholders.”

The employers held all the cards, but the I.W.W.’s direct action proved to be trump. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the “Joan of Arc of Labor,” mesmerized the workers with her poignant explanations of class warfare. “Would you like to have nice clothes?” she rhetorically asked throngs of immigrant women. “Oh, yes!” they shouted in unison. “Well, you can’t have them,” she responded. “Your bosses’ daughters have those things!” Flynn then proceeded to ask the women why they had abandoned their native villages, their aged parents, and their children to come to an alien land, knowing full well they had come for a better life in the New World, free from tyranny and oppression, from landlords and military conscription, a life of work, savings, education for their children, and a chance to send for others.

“What freedom?” Flynn shouted, blasting their hopes with a harsh dose of class reality. She asked if they were free when they were herded into fortress-like New England mills, or when they were branded as inferiors and intruders, or when they were disdained as “Greenhorns” and “Hunkies.” She asked if they were free as wage slaves, hired and fired at the whim of a soulless company, paid unlivable wages for grueling hours tending a whizzing machine. She asked if they were free when they were clubbed, jailed, and shot down in the street, or when politicians ignored their suffering because they couldn’t vote.

Urging the women to neutralize the police and militia by putting down their tools, folding their arms, and bringing machinery, production, and profits to a halt, she poignantly inquired: “Can they weave cloth with soldiers’ bayonets or policemen’s clubs?” “Did they dig coal with bayonets in the miners’ strikes or make steel or run trains with bayonets?” Heads nodded and eyes welled up with tears as Flynn explained a magical new English word: “Solidarity.”

Labor journalist Mary Heaton Vorse, a friend of Flynn’s, never forgot what she witnessed: “She stirred them, lifted them up in her appeal for solidarity ... It was as though a spurt of flame had gone through the audience ... . Something beautiful and strong had swept through the people and welded them together, singing.”

For once, the mill owners’ bag of repressive tricks failed them. They banned fixed picket lines by local ordinance, but the strikers responded with a roving human chain that circulated the mills 24 hours a day, while supporting crowds surged through town singing labor songs and occupying department stores. They imported scabs, but the strikers denied them sleep, serenading them with mocking choirs that recorded their names and sent them back to their native lands to disgrace their families. Police, clerics, mill management, and city officials tried to proceed with business as usual, but found themselves loudly jeered at wherever they went. Soldiers discovered the backs of their uniforms being suddenly shredded by anonymous scissors emerging from beneath long cloaks. Female gangs stripped the proud forces of order bare, forcing them to flee in humiliation while the women hooted and pointed at their nakedness.

National publicity of a tactical blunder proved decisive. Besieged by police, militia, and cavalry, the workers arranged for host families in neighboring towns to temporarily care for their children. Margaret Sanger helped escort a flock of “pale, emaciated, dejected children” to the train station, all of them lacking even “a stitch of wool on their bodies.” Troopers surrounded the station and the police attacked, clubbing the children and tearing them away from their parents. Dozens of frantic women and kids were beaten, arrested, and thrown kicking and screaming into patrol wagons. Hauled away to jail, the parents were charged with “neglect” and improper guardianship, while their children were shipped off to the Lawrence Poor Farm. Livid strikers besieged the police station as shock reverberated throughout the country at the cowardly attack on children. The U.S. Bureau of Labor ordered an investigation and the House Committee on Rules opened hearings on the strike and the textile industry. Governor Foss of Massachusetts suddenly informed the mill owners that the state troopers had to be withdrawn.

The mill agents’ smug confidence that workers divided into countless different crafts and nationalities couldn’t possibly pull off a strike proved to be unfounded. With public support cratering and the loss of their tariff on imported woolens increasingly likely, the companies gave in, granting the strikers a raise, reduced hours, overtime pay, and a promise not to retaliate for the strike.

Crowds of exuberant workers celebrated their stunning victory, joyously singing the Internationale in two dozen languages.


Bird, Stewart with Dan Georgakas and Deborah Shaffer, Solidarity Forever - An Oral History of the I.W.W. (Lake View Press, 1985)

Camp, Helen C., Iron In Her Soul - Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Left, (Washington State University Press, 1995)

Dubofsky, Melvyn, ‘Big Bill’ Haywood, (Manchester University Press, 1987)

-----We Shall Be All - A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (University of Illinois, 1988)

Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley, The Rebel Girl, (International Publishers, 1955)

Foner, Philip S., ed., History of the Labor Movement in The United States, Volume 4, The Industrial Workers of the World, 1905-1917, (International Publishers, 1965)

Garrison, Dee, Mary Heaton Vorse - The Life of an American Insurgent, (Temple University, 1989)

Lens, Sidney, The Labor Wars - From the Molly Maguires to the Sitdowns, (Anchor, 1973)

Milkman, Ruth, ed., Women, Work & Protest - A Century of U.S. Women’s Labor History (Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1985)

Renshaw, Patrick, The Wobblies - The Story of the I.W.W. and Syndicalism in the United States, (Ivan R. Dee, 1999)

Zinn, Howard, The Zinn Reader, (Seven Stories, 1997)

Michael K. Smith is the author of “Portraits of Empire,” “The Madness of King George (with Matt Wuerker), and “Rise To Empire” (forthcoming), all from Common Courage Press.