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The More things change, The more they remain the same [Oligarchs = Facism]

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  By 1865 the War between  the States had ended and the face of the entire Confederacy had completely changed. While the Southern people were hopeful at keeping their old way of living, destiny had turned in a way that allowed the Union of the States to continue. In the year 1890, Kate Chopin wrote a novel entitled "At Fault" which David Russell said seemed as a kind of "fiction" where "a Northern man and a Southern woman meet, fall in love, and after overcoming some obstacles, marry, metaphorically reuniting the country" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 8). This novel was meant to give a presentation of the "race and social order" in the South and to "seduce both the novel's Northern characters and readers" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 8). Although this view of the South was indeed from the Old Southern point of view, it also presented a situation in which the South was changing in view of "post-Reconstruction America" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 8).      Kate Chopin describes the landscape of the area where the story takes place in Louisiana and talks about the "ground of the plantation-rich in its exhaustless powers of reproduction" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion page 9, Kate Chopin, 1890). The landscape is divided between "sluggish" and "cultivated" which refers to more than just crops, but the "antebellum social structure" of "Place-Du-Bois" which is the plantation on which the story takes place (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 9). The character in the story discovers theft by her workers on the plantation and notes that the servants, who are black, "must be put in their place" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 10). She mentions the way in which the servant's quarters are separated which metaphorically speaks of the separation of black and white political power (Russell, 2008, page 10). The word "whitewash" is also mentioned which has an underlying tone of covering the blackness on the plantation (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 10). These workers seem happy with their lifestyle in the story, a perfect world in which labor is not seen, but the peaceful surroundings of perfection. The character in the story takes the workers for granted and has "little use for ces negres Americains" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 11). Ms. Chopin also discusses the "ideal New South womanhood" (Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 12), which we also find in her story, The Awakening which was published in the year 1899. In this story we see the leisurely life of women on the plantation in Louisiana in which "Madame Ratignolle" is "feminine"..."her body"..."clean and symmetrical"...etc. (Rubenstein & Larson, 1993, page 1344). We see a similar prose in Desiree's baby with the character "Madame Valmonde" who visits a mother and baby, in which the baby is sent to the funeral pyre for being mulatto (Andrews, William L. et.al., 1998, page 304-305).     After reading these three stories I see that the South has always wanted to maintain some sort of separatism within society. The North has been viewed as conquerors and champions of justice and equality in this scenario; however no one speaks of the point of view of Southern people. They lost, so it seems to make them completely wrong in their thinking. It is my opinion that whites, both North and South really are not much different than their old Colonial masters of England. Our country worked so hard at achieving independence, only to colonize other races, such as the former colonial intervention in the Philippines, and Guam, Hawaii,( Craig et. Al, 2005, page 595) which became a state, not to mention the dehumanization and destruction of Native Americans. This is all common knowledge.. Kate Chopin wrote "color fiction, and like the earlier colorists, she focused on those elements of her region-in her case, Southern Louisiana...distinctive in character, language, and social mores" (Andrews, William L. et.al., 1998, page 300).   One part of Southern history that is not given much notice is that of the Union League, in which :"Black Republicans [Lincoln's party] in the South secretly banded together for their own protection and interests...driven by a desire for economic and political change" (Fitzgerald, Michael W., The Union League Movement in the Deep South, book review, Virginia Quarterly, 1989). As a Southern people, we are taught that the Union League gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan in retaliation, and to Jim Crow laws. Had the South been left alone, it might have drifted back to the North in a unified country; slavery would have died a natural death as it did in other parts of the world, such as Brazil (Craig, A. M. (2005). Heritage of World Civilizations (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson) since the Confederate Constitution prevented further importation of slaves (Article IV, Part 3, Confederate Constitution, Law Dept, Yale University). This suggestion in no way argues in defense of slavery, but merely shows that as a result, the Constitution of the United States was changed in a radical way, and while it was humane to remove slavery from America, it did not allow the protection of the Constitution to continue, even unto the present day (The Constitution is just a ...piece of paper, President George W. Bush). Politicians are constantly ignoring the Constitution and anyone who defends the Constitution today, is seen as a potential terrorist (MIAC Report, State of Missouri). Hence, it is a dilemma in history of whether slavery should have continued so that the Constitution could remain strong, as Lincoln wanted with the Corwin Amendment (The New York Times, Opinion, Oct 28, 1990) or radically abolish it and weaken the Constitution. Obviously, the will of the leaders was to choose the latter course.     While the Union League was shrouded in secrecy, "it was considerably stronger in Alabama, primarily because of the support given it by the officials in the U.S. Army and the Freedman's Bureau" (Fitzgerald, Michael W., The Union League Movement in the Deep South, book review, Virginia Quarterly, 1989).   Before the War Between the States, we had slavery, a lower class white society of poor and Oligarch rulers of the Plantation South who emigrated from England and Europe. After the war, we had freed slaves and poor whites to deal with.  "Before the Civil War, whites throughout the new nation had the poor and deprived of all sections to look upon condescendingly as white trash. White elitists and merchant classes now had a new, poverty-laden class of deprived whites to despise, along with freed slaves to exploit while at the same time looking upon them as inferior" (Not Quite White, White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness, Matt Wray, Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2006, Book Review Blackwell Publishing, 2007). Blacks were able to use this "in order to describe their superiority over a class of whites who despite being despised by their fellow whites, still consider themselves superior to blacks" (Book Review: Not Quite White, White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness, Matt Wray, Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2006, Blackwell Publishing, 2007 & Becoming Bourgeois, Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865, Frank Byrne, Lexington University Press of Kentucky, 2006). This "poverty laden" class of whites was more prevalent after the War than before, due to the destruction of the Southern economy (Not Quite White, Becoming Bourgeois, Book review Blackwell Publishing 2007).

     This brings us to the 1950s in which the pro-white "American Society of Newspaper Editors ASNE" in which Brown Vs. Board of Education, Supreme Court ruling 1954 "challenged the racial status quo...and ASNE's exclusionary enclave with their North South tennis tournament during their annual convention in Washington, D.C." was alive and well (Mellinger, Gwyneth, Journalism History, 34:3, Fall 2008). The article states: "Rather whiteness is a power differential that asserts certain persons are superior to others, and in this way, whiteness represents social privilege" (Mellinger, Gwyneth, Journalism History, 34:3, Fall 2008). Here we see a struggle between a Supreme court decision regarding racial segregation and education vs. an outdated way of thinking, which in my opinion, brought about by division amongst Southerners caused by the Union League which gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan, and Federal vs. State power, which has always been a sore spot since the inception of the United States of America, first as a loose Confederation of States and then a United States, which culturally has never seemed fully united. In many ways, it reminds me of Kate Chopin's work, which seems to imply that no matter how many laws are passed, or how many wars are fought, not matter how much bickering goes on, people who are culturally different will always maintain a degree of separatism. I have struggled long and hard throughout my life to bridge this gap between the Chinese and Americans, by learning the language of the Chinese, only to be met with racism and those who live in the box and cannot think outside their own culture. It is frustrating to say the least. The Chinese call us "lao wai, gao bizi or long nose" etc. and it is tough being on the receiving end of the stick. For once I can feel how American Indians, Blacks and other races feel.

     When discussing Jim Crow laws, we need to look back at Southern thinking in terms of "ladies and gentlemen" and how the "Civil War was, in part a war of manners" (Book review: Manners and Southern History, Ted Ownby, 2007). This book discusses the myth of  the Southern lady and how they may have become foul tempered over such matters as "Confederate patriotism" which would have resulted in speech that was considered "unladylike behavior' (Book review: Manners and Southern History, Ted Ownby, 2007). Men were considered gentlemen and seemed to want to fight with honor and wanted the North to keep their word regarding matters of secession, which was taught at West Point prior to the War, furthermore it makes me think that guerilla warfare was not pursued, except amongst guerilla irregulars, such as Quantrill, Jesse James, etc. due to the desire for  a code of honor on the battlefield, whereas Lincoln was determined to win at any cost, including hiring foreign mercenaries to defeat the South, since the Northern army could not do this without foreign intervention. As to the Jim Crow laws, blacks and whites were seen to hold their respective places in society amongst ladies and gentlemen, and as Kate Chopin implies:: "the notion that such a peaceful coexistence occurs when place, both physical and social, is rigorously regulated and respected" as David Russell quotes Sandra Gunning in this paragraph (Russell, David, Gunning, Sandra, A Vision of Reunion, 2008, page 11).      In later years, men such as Albert Gore and Lyndon Johnson would challenge this sort of racial bias and these "Southern liberals believed that federally-sponsored economic development would eventually solve the region's race problem" (Badger, A.J., Winter 2005, pages 8). Johnson, however "instinctively wanted to avoid the civil rights issue" whereas Al Gore had to stay with a relative in East Tennessee, on his way to Washington, D.C. in 1939, with his "African-American nanny" as he was not permitted to house them in a motel overnight, though "subsequently came to a compromise that allowed them all to be housed in a motel, provided they arrived after dark and left before sun up" (Badger, A.J., Winter 2005, page 8). In this way we see Gore as a person willing to compromise in an unpleasant situation of racism. At least his was willing to confront the issue, rather than avoid it. Regarding Jim Crow laws, we see that racial values are taught to children (Book review: Growing up Jim Crow, Ritterhouse, Jennifer, 2006).         Now we must consider where we should go from here. In the first place, the Civil rights act of 1964 was created during a "period of low immigration" (Du Bois review, 4:1, 2007). This report talks about how Latinos and Latino Americans will work long hours for minimum wage and less than minimum wage without ever taking a vacation. It also talks about how whites, who are turned down for jobs are unwilling to take the matter to court, due to the nature of the menial tasks that they may apply for, when there are no other jobs available, and they are subsequently turned down. This report suggests that this Civil rights act may not be relevant to modern society (Du Bois review, 4:1, 2007). For example, the law was created to "reduce Black unemployment by creating equal opportunities, as John D. Skrentny quotes Graham in 1990 (Du Bois review, 4:1, 2007).With the influx of Latin American workers, the law needs to be revised; furthermore it is still relevant in some respects as we see from this quote: "The U.S. Civil Rights Act had been enacted that year, but most white, South Dakotans didn't care. Furthermore the text states in quotations: "I've run into prejudge towards blacks, but never in my life have I experienced anything like this" he told me. "I'm going to have to lay you off and hire a white man" (Means, Russell, Where White Men Fear to Tread, 1995. Page 108). If this Civil rights act was designed for blacks, why it not included American Indians aka Native Americans, as this is their country, which was stolen by the white man in the first place. What gives the United States the right to decide on a policy which is unjust and further dehumanizes human beings? I say the law is relevant, but needs to rewritten and overhauled. After all the Civil Rights act of 1964 does make it :"unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" though the goal of "Title VII was to reduce Black unemployment" (Du Bois review, 4:1, 2007), which seems to me to be a misinterpretation of the law by white employers. This brings us back to the white middle class merchants and Oligarchs we spoke about, which continue to the present day, long after 1865. So has the U.S. really accomplished anything by colonizing the South and this so called putting people in their place, besides dehumanizing ordinary people, while maintaining control, as I said before, exactly like their former colonial masters? I would say, definitely NO. Now we must ask ourselves: Was the Revolutionary War fought in vain? Not that our so called forefathers were any different than the English. "Thomas Jefferson had proposed the annihilation of the Indian race to cleanse the Americas" while "Lincoln, who two days before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, signed an order to execute thirty eight Indians, at random, without a hearing or a trial, for the so called Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota" (Russell Means, 2005, page 168). What makes the United States Government policy any different to the racial cleansing policies of the former Yugoslavia? (Craig et. Al, 2005, page 750). Essentially, nothing is different. Human beings are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. The whole system is corrupt and hypocritical.      I tend to agree with the following report from Northampton, New Hampshire, which suggests that "higher wages support economic growth" as the "working poor will spend it, which will put money into the economy" (Hampshire Gazette, Feb 17, 2009, A living wage). Instead the U.S., even under President Obama have sought continuation of Plutocracy and Oligarchy as a way to fix the economic woes of our times, including printing worthless paper, not backed by gold or silver out of nothing. They do so at their own peril and will find that in two years time, 2012 that the entire monetary system is likely to collapse, which will be an era of turmoil if these policies are not curbed or revised. We, as a nation need to put racism behind us and stop bailing out bankers who horde money and start thinking of the working class, which drive the country, protect our own currency and jobs and leave the responsibility of policing the world, in favor of taking care of our own people. A slave wage is not much better than slavery as poverty in America exists "because of the  unequal distribution of power" (Laurer & Laurer, 2008, pages 173 & 281).

Footnotes

Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryRussell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid. Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid. Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryIbid Russell, David, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryWorlds of Fiction, The Awakening, Kate Chopin, Chapter VII, 1993, page 1344, MacMillan Publishing.The Literature of the American South, a Norton Anthology, Desiree's baby, Kate Chopin, page 299-305, 1998. W.W. Norton & Co).Heritage of World Civilizations, Craig et. Al, page 595, Pearson Publishing CoLiterature of the American South a Norton anthology. (1997). New York: W.W. Norton, page 300The Union League Movement in the Deep South, Politics and Agricultural Change During Reconstruction, Virginia Quarterly Review, 1989, Michael W. Fitzgerald.Heritage of World Civilizations, Craig et. Al, page 395, 397, Pearson Publishing Co....http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_csa.aspclick here style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'">http://restoretherepublic.com/pdf/miac-strategic-report.pdfhttp://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/28/opinion/l-control-of-slavery-issue-brought-on-civil-war-corwin-amendment-944390.htmlThe Union League Movement in the Deep South, Politics and Agricultural Change During Reconstruction, Virginia Quarterly Review, 1989, Michael W. Fitzgerald.Not Quite White, White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness, Matt Wray, Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2006, Book Review Blackwell Publishing, 2007.Book Review: Not Quite White, White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness, Matt Wray, Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2006,  Blackwell Publishing, 2007 & Becoming Bourgeois, Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865, Frank Byrne, Lexington University Press of Kentucky, 2006)Book Review: Not Quite White, White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness, Matt Wray, Raleigh: Duke University Press, 2006,  Blackwell Publishing, 2007 & Becoming Bourgeois, Merchant Culture in the South, 1820-1865, Frank Byrne, Lexington University Press of Kentucky, 2006) The ASNE and Desegregation, Maintaining the White Prerogative in the Face of Change, Journalism History, 34:3, Fall 2008, Gwyneth Mellinger.The ASNE and Desegregation, Maintaining the White Prerogative in the Face of Change, Journalism History, 34:3, Fall 2008, Gwyneth Mellinger.Manners and Southern History, Edited by Ted Ownby, Jackson University Press of Mississippi, 2007, p. xvi.Ibid, Manners and Southern History, Edited by Ted Ownby, Jackson University Press of Mississippi, 2007, p. xvi.page 5, 8.Russell, David, Gunning, Sandra, A Vision of Reunion: Kate Chopin's At Fault, Southern Quarterly; Fall 2008; 46; 1; Research libraryLyndon Johnson and Albert Gore: Southern New Dealers And The Modern South, A.J. Badger, Historian, London, Winter, 2005, Issue 88, p 8.Ibid. Lyndon Johnson and Albert Gore: Southern New Dealers And The Modern South, A.J. Badger, Historian, London, Winter, 2005, Issue 88, p 8.Growing up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children learned race, Jennifer Ritterhouse, 2006).Du Bois Review, 4:1, Institute for African and African American research, Are America's Civil Rights laws still relevant?, John D. Skrentny, Dept. of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 2007. Ibid. Du Bois Review, 4:1, Institute for African and African American research, Are America's Civil Rights laws still relevant?, John D. Skrentny, Dept. of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 2007. Ibid Du Bois Review, 4:1, Institute for African and African American research, Are America's Civil Rights laws still relevant?, John D. Skrentny, Dept. of Sociology, University of California, San Diego, 2007. Where White Men Fear to Tread, Russell Means, Chapter 10, page 108, St. Martin's-Griffin Publishing. Ibid, Where White Men Fear to Tread, Russell Means, Chapter 16, page 168, St. Martin's-Griffin Publishing. Chapter 16, page 168 Literature of the American South a Norton anthology. (1997). New York: W.W. Norton, page 750. Hampshire Gazzette, Feb 17, 2009, Northhampton, New Hampshire. Social Problems and the Quality of Life, Laurer & Laurer, 2008, page 173 & 283 McGraw Hill Publishing Company.   

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One article I researched said that Al Gore was in ... by Gary Price on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 8:18:06 AM