Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Today -100: November 21, 1917: Our State should not be taxed to educate useless or worthless children


Massachusetts Gov. Samuel McCall (R) refuses an extradition request from West Virginia for a black man accused of an assault on a white girl, because there’s a “grave danger” he’d be convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

Memphis Mayor H.H. Litty bans a proposed Woman’s Party meeting when he hears they intend to support the White House picketers.

Pres. Wilson blocks supply shipments to Russia, not knowing who’ll wind up getting their hands on them.

The New York State Woman Suffrage Party holds Victory Night at the Metropolitan Opera House during its 49th annual convention. The Party will respond to receiving women’s suffrage in New York by reorganizing itself along congressional-district lines and punishing every New York politician who opposed women’s suffrage in the past [update: no, this plank will be rejected] or who won’t commit themselves to the federal women’s suffrage amendment. Gov. Charles Whitman, who didn’t know about that, makes a speech recommending that women not vote for any politician just because he supported women’s suffrage or vote against one “merely” because he opposed it.

50+ Wobblies are arrested in the Kansas oilfields. On what charges, is not revealed.

NY District Superintendent of Schools Joseph Wade, supporting the witch hunt against teachers, says that in Germany, teachers who said anything disloyal were fired, jailed or even executed. He says this admiringly. “There must not remain in our schools a single discontented teachers. There is a spirit of restlessness that will grow up among our children unless those above them are absolutely loyal and continue teaching obedience to authority.” Any disloyal students 16 or over should be expelled; “Our State should not be taxed to educate useless or worthless children.” The teachers’ union is supporting the De Witt Clinton High School teachers, saying (if I read this correctly) that what is being done to them is what the ed. system does to students, “crushing out all manhood and womanhood in the process of making us spiritless automata”. And your point is?


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Monday, November 20, 2017

Today -100: November 20, 1917: Of masses, war dinners, teachers, and enemy aliens


A federal grand jury indicts 7 members of the staff of The Masses, including Max Eastman and John Reed,  under the Espionage Act for knowingly distributed unmailable material and for conspiring to cause “Insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny and refusal of [military] duty”. Reed (who is in Russia) is charged for writing an article, “Knit a Straitjacket for Your Soldier Boy,” and Arthur Young and Henry Glinterkamp are indicted for drawings, Glinterkamp for a cartoon of Death taking the measurements of a draftee for his coffin.

Headline of the Day -100: 

Hey, that’s what we call it in my house too!

The specific charges against the De Witt Clinton High School (Bronx) teachers who were suspended or transferred are made public. Thomas Mufson evidently thought it was proper to be neutral during a discussion of anarchism, A. Henry Schneer said patriotism should not be discussed in school, and Samuel Schmalhausen has a funny name and also doesn’t think it’s his job to inculcate an instinctive respect for the president and other government officials and did I mention he has a funny name? At the hearing, a faculty member complained that (this quote is from the newspaper, not necessarily the verbatim words of Isaac A. Dotey, who also has a funny name) “the pupils had of late consulted their own individual opinion, and that this had been subversive of discipline.”

Pres. Wilson bans enemy aliens (Germans only for now; the US is not at war with Austria or Turkey) from the District of Columbia, the Panama Canal Zone, within 3 miles of navigable streams or 100 yards of docks, piers, canals, railroad terminals, etc. Enemy aliens must register and must get government permission to travel or change jobs. They are not allowed to fly in airplanes or balloons. Within a few hours, before the news could reasonably be expected to have been disseminated, soldiers are sent into River Street in Hoboken (which also has a funny name). They grab 200 suspected Germans out of stores, rooming houses, saloons, and just off the streets. Before being sent to Ellis Island, some are held on an army transport ship. Which then mysteriously bursts into flame.


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Today -100: November 19, 1917: Of temporary supreme commanders, farms, and free men


Russia: Gen. Nikolay Dukhonin proclaims himself temporary Supreme Commander of the military “in view of my ignorance of the place of residence of the Chief Commander [Kerensky]”. The job will indeed be temporary.

Sen. Warren G. Harding suggests that every returning soldier should be given a farm if he wants one. He thinks cities are bad and tiny farms, like in France, are good.

French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau celebrates his new job by restoring the name of his newspaper to L’Homme Libre. He had changed it to L’Homme Enchainé when he fell afoul of the censors early in the war.


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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Today -100: November 18, 1917: Of Rodins, pork, disloyal/doubtful teachers, courts-martial, apartments, and Polish primes


French sculptor Auguste Rodin dies at 77. Which reminds me I still haven’t gotten around to seeing the movie “Camille Claudel 1915.”

Headline of the Day -100: 


The NYT editorial page strongly supports firing all “disloyal or doubtful” teachers.

The first US Army court-martial execution of the war, a soldier who raped and murdered a woman in France. Evidently, Gen. Pershing can give the go-ahead to a firing squad without any reference to President Wilson.

Six high-rise, high-class apartment buildings (elevators, telephone service, etc) in Harlem have been taken over by a black real estate company and are now being rented to black people (the previous white tenants are all leaving). Blacks have been moving into Harlem for a few years, but this is their first successful entry into the upper end of the real estate market.

Prof. Jan Kucharzewski is appointed prime minister of Poland.


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Friday, November 17, 2017

Today -100: November 17, 1917: Of thrift, operas, shams, political prisoners, fake sailors, and axes


Headline of the Day -100: 

TOTALLY worth it. The government is literally demanding the money out of children’s piggy banks. The new war taxes on, say, movie tickets, mean that things that used to cost a dime or a quarter now cost a penny or two more, so the government wants those pennies out of the piggy banks and back in circulation so it doesn’t have to mint new ones.

A bomb fails to go off at the Chicago Grand Opera during a production of Meyerbeer’s Dinorah. There is a flash and a smell of sulphur, which starts a panic until the orchestra starts up the Star-Spangled Banner, which as we know has magical powers against pipe bombs. It is suspected, naturally, that this is retaliation for the company’s ban on German opera.

At Princeton, Theodore Roosevelt says unless we break up Austria and Turkey and free their subject races, all the talk of making the world safe for democracy is a “sham.” He’s still bitching that the US didn’t declare war immediately after the sinking of the Lusitania.

The women suffragist prisoners are refusing to wear prison clothes and trying to make demands, and are being roughly handled, manacled to prison bars, put in cells with detoxing men, and any other humiliation the guards can imagine.

Kerensky seems to have fled again. Dressed as a sailor. After his little band of Cossacks made a deal with the Bolsheviks to turn him over.

The British ambassador to Russia refuses to see Foreign Minister Trotsky.

The German Independent Socialists ask for an immediate session of the Reichstag to consider Lenin’s peace offer.

Three Austrian nationals in Virginia, Minnesota are killed with an axe for buying Liberty Loans and giving money to the American Red Cross (we know this because the killer left a note).


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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Today -100: November 16, 1917: Of tigers


French President Poincaré asks Georges Clemenceau to form a new government. “The Tiger” is 76 years old. A doctor, journalist, former political exile in the US during the Second Empire, Clemenceau has moved over the years from fierce radicalism to fierce not-radicalism, and has been highly critical of the government’s insufficiently ferocious prosecution of the war, to the extent that his newspapers were suspended several times early in the war.

There are now 32 suffragist hunger strikers in the Occoquan Workhouse.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Today -100: November 15, 1917: Of underwear. And other stuff.


The outside world has no idea what is going on in Russia, but boy are there a lot of contradictory rumors.

As Central forces move into Italy, Venice is evacuated. Including all the art, such as the symbol of Venice, the bronze horses of San Marco.

A warrant is issued for Robert Pettigrew, the former US senator from South Dakota and congresscritter from the Dakota Territory, for violating the Espionage Act by giving a newspaper interview in which he said the war was a capitalist scheme and suggesting men evade the draft. The government will eventually drop the charges, perhaps after hearing he’d hired Clarence Darrow.

Headline of the Day -100: 


Soldiers, who are being issued undershirts and underpants and may not want to go back to the traditional one-piece “union suit” with the little flap on the butt.

Sociologist Émile Durkheim dies. The NYT doesn’t notice.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Today -100: November 14, 1917: The bourgeoisie has endeavored to separate the army from the revolution


China rejects the recent US-Japan agreement recognizing Japan’s “special interests” in China and the “open door” for US trade in China. China says agreements between other nations are not binding on it.

Paul Painlevé resigns as French prime minister after 9 weeks, after losing a confidence motion. There is some push-back against the new inter-allied war council.

There are contradictory reports about the clashes between Bolshevik-controlled military forces and Kerensky’s. Trotsky is declaring victory, as was the custom: “The bourgeoisie has endeavored to separate the army from the revolution. Kerensky has attempted to break it by the violence of Cossackdom. Both efforts have failed. ... The opposition to Kerensky is the opposition to the landlords, the bourgeois, and Kornilov. The opposition to Kerensky is also the affirmation of the people’s right to peace, free life, the land, bread and power.”

Speaking of bread and power, Food Administrator Herbert Hoover bans the destruction of stale bread.

The newly enfranchised women of New York are now demanding the right to sit on juries. They’ll get it at, er, some point, but it won’t be mandatory as it is for men until the mid-1970s.

NYC Associate Superintendent of Schools John Tildlsey, after holding his own little inquisition for De Witt Clinton High School (Bronx) teachers, has suspended 3 and transferred 8 for “holding views which are subversive of discipline in the schools and which undermine good citizenship,” i.e., not being completely gung ho about the war. One of the teachers who was cross-examined (the article doesn’t say if he’s one of the ones disciplined) says that one question he was asked was “Don’t you believe that Jewish students, especially the Russians, need to be disciplined out of their individualistic tendencies?” They were also asked their views of the Bolsheviks, whether teachers should inculcate instinctive obedience to superiors like they do in Germany, etc.

Feds and local police raid an IWW meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, and arrest 50 delegates.

Woodrow Wilsons personal secretary Joseph Tumulty denies persistent rumors that he has been arrested and imprisoned as a spy.


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Today -100: November 13, 1917: We are making all our statements now by means of cannon


In a speech in Paris, British Prime Minister Lloyd George says of the recent creation of an inter-allied council staff to oversee more central coordination of the militaries of Britain, France, and Italy, that the Italian disaster necessitated acting quickly without bringing in Russia (!) and the US, which will hopefully join soon. “Disaster,” by the way, is the word he uses to describe Italy’s military near-collapse. He also says the council is necessary because of past “blunders.” Actually, “incredible blunders.”

The military forces of Kerensky and the Bolsheviks clash.

Trotsky replies to an AP interview request: “we are making all our statements now by means of cannon. I have nothing to say otherwise.”

Judge Mallowney of D.C. police court suspends the sentences of the 41 suffragist White House picketers. So with this unexpected free time (so to speak), they go back and picket the White House again, although Woodrow Wilson is actually....

...in Buffalo, speaking at the American Federation of Labor annual convention, where he attacks pacifists: “I want peace, but I know how to get it, and they do not.”


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