Monday, October 29, 2007

Studs Terkel still fighting for the working man

By Libby

Somehow it encourages me greatly to know Studs Terkel is on our side. I urge you to read the whole op-ed but here's a meaty portion.

During my lifetime, there has been a sea change in the way that politically active Americans view their relationship with government. In 1920, during my youth, I recall the Palmer raids in which more than 10,000 people were rounded up, most because they were members of particular labor unions or belonged to groups that advocated change in American domestic or foreign policy. Unrestrained surveillance was used to further the investigations leading to these detentions, and the Bureau of Investigation — the forerunner to the F.B.I. — eventually created a database on the activities of individuals. This activity continued through the Red Scare of the period.

In the 1950s, during the sad period known as the McCarthy era, one’s political beliefs again served as a rationale for government monitoring. Individual corporations and entire industries were coerced by government leaders into informing on individuals and barring their ability to earn a living.
I was among those blacklisted for my political beliefs. My crime? I had signed petitions. Lots of them. [...]

I have observed and written about American life for some time. In truth, nothing much surprises me anymore. But I always feel uplifted by this: Given the facts and an opportunity to act, the body politic generally does the right thing. By revealing the truth in a public forum, the American people will have the facts to play their historic, heroic role in putting our nation back on the path toward freedom. That is why we deserve our day in court.
Studs is one of the plaintiffs in the citizen lawsuits against the telecoms that would be shut down if retroactive immunity is passed by the Congress. He has been wielding his eloquence on behalf of the working man for most of his 95 years. We couldn't ask for a better champion in this fight. The Democrats would do well to allow him to wage it instead of cowering in faux fear of the White House to excuse placating their deep pocket corporate funders in the telecom industry.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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6 Comments:

Anonymous swampcracker said...

Studs Terkel is far more optimistic than I am right now about the wisdom of the American people. It was the electorate, afterall, that gave Shrub a majority in the 2004 election. And "Dumbing Down" of the population hardly accounts for this.

This sounds "elitist," doesn't it?

11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think the dumbing down has been going on for a very long time and explains why the people elected Bush twice, although I think the jury is still out on whether he actually won either time.

9:03:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I think we have nearly always been a nation of hysterical, credulous and superstitious idiots. I agree -- the very phrase "wisdom of the American People" missed being an oxymoron only because it isn't at all funny.

What he sees as a sea change, I see as increased effectiveness in the process of disenfranchising the electorate and installing the oligarchy.

I don't think we were torturing people during the McCarthy era. The databases of the early 20th century were rudimentary, the plans to secure the oil fields were more diplomatic than nuclear, but the important observation is that the dynamics are the same while the modern ability to spread propaganda and disinformation has increased immeasurably. It's the same old game, but we've made the poison taste better.

9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Well said Fogg and that of course is the real danger. The lightning speed at which the disinformation can be spread and made a part of the public narrative thanks to a complicit press.

11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous swampcracker said...

Libby: I think the jury is still out on whether he actually won either time.

As a one man jury, I find the accused guilty as charged. The 2000 election was more than rigged. I am co-authoring a book on the subject with one of the major players from the Palm Beach Canvassing Board, year 2000.

Captain: I see as increased effectiveness in the process of disenfranchising the electorate and installing the oligarchy.

Partly our fault. We allowed ourselves to be blind-sighted with spinnerisms and spin (notwithstanding the right-wing penchant for treating politics as a state of war). Only recently have we been learning how to catch up.

2:52:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

SC - glad to hear you're working on a book. It reminds me we need to be plugging for voting veracity starting really soon if we're to avoid the same problems in 08.

6:25:00 PM  

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