I Learned About Flying [and Mass Work] From That…
Reprinted in 4th Media By Jim Craven Omahkohkiaayiipooyii
Flying Magazine has a regular column called “I Learned About Flying From That”. Each article deals with a flight situation (hanger stories) from which lessons were learned and what those lessons were. In my own case, as a former commercial pilot and as pilot over 40 years, I am here and able to write this partly because of what I learned in some of those articles I read; lessons that helped to get me out of some tight and potentially fatal situations.
Well the same applies in struggle, There are lessons to be learned that may help reduce costs, avoid mistakes and even losses of lives. Practical tips and lessons, principles, sources, data, heads-ups, pithy quotes, legal principles and tactics–weapons for effective struggle–that increase scope, depth and effectiveness of outreach and debate and thus overall resistance to that which literally threatens the survival of this planet and all life forms.
In my classes I have many veterans as well as active-duty military. And I have had many students, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Gulf I and II wars, that I could spot the infamous and not mythical “1000-yard-stare” they manifested in so many ways. The first moments of all my classes all students get “the treatment” so that they are all fully informed as to what to expect in terms of diversity of thought allowed and encouraged, all issues relevant to the course subjects are wide open, that I am most assuradely not for everyone, so they can make an informed choice to stay or leave.
I do this by posing a question: “If someone hands you say a textbook, with no title or author on it, how would you go about figuring out the ideological biases and rhetorical (persuasion) intentions of the author without reading any of the MAIN content of the book? “. Most answer going to the preface, to recommendations of other authors with known biases, and others argue that is still part of the main content of the book you have to wait to discover.
Then I get to the index. What is the purpose of an index? It is to give a quick reference to pages where different concepts, names, terms etc are to be found? Yes. But an index is even more revealing in other ways. An index also reveals what is NOT in the main content of the book and that is quite revealing of the paradigm and likely rhetorical intent of the author and publishers by what is missing or absent or addressed in shallow ways if at all.
So I ask: “Please give me page references for the following concepts” and I have a long list: Commodification, Imperialism, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Colonialism, Karl Marx, Monopoly Capitalism, Unconscionability, Primitive Accumulation of Capital, Feudalism, Slavery, Communalism, Social Structures of Accumulation, Social Darwinism, Eugenics Movement, Skull and Bones, Power, Enron, Council on Foreign Relations, Genocide, Fascism, Indigenous Peoples…
I typically ask: “Does anyone disagree with the proposition that all of these things mentioned, or at least the ones that you already know something about, have something to do with economics and economics has something to do with them? No one disagrees–not publicly at least.
Then I lay it out that some may well have for them, as they define it, a better experience somewhere else. If anyone does not like hearing, or hearing about, ideas, opinions, paradigms, data etc that are different from, and perhaps even challenge, their own sacreds, then my class may not be for them. All ideas are welcome but all “thought experiments” will be, like any experiments, tested by attempts to refute (nullify) them with counter evidence, counter reasoning, counter sources and counter anecdotes etc. I tell them if you hear something you disagree with, then don’t just sit there in the passive-aggressive-pissed-off position simmering, because you just heard something you didn’t like or agree with but perhaps you lack the courage and/or preparation and/or dedication to your own particular sacreds to take it on. If you are worried about your grade suffering because of your expressed opinions, now you are making an assumption about my character and integrity, that I would even even contemplate reprisals for opinions not like mine, and then this is definitely not the place for you. This is all also spelled out in my syllabus so that no one can claim they were not fully warned that my class is not Capitalist Triumphalism 101 or America Uber Alles 101 or Homo Oeconomicus 101 as is commonly the case in “mainstream economics”.
I give them one of my favorite quotations from Karl Marx from a letter to Arnold Ruge in 1843:
“If the construction of the future, and completion for all time is not our task, all the more certain is what we must accomplish in the present: I mean, the ruthless criticism of everything that exists; the criticism being ruthless in the sense that it does not fear its own results and never fears conflict with the powers-that-be.”
Now imagine after all that one of my students was an active duty (working with a Reserve unit) Sergeant Major in the U.S. Marine Corps whose medals showed heavy duty combat and sacrifice. A very quiet man, very studious, made few comments but took diligent notes. Now what, in some people’s mind, what would the common stereotype be: A Jarhead? A Redneck? full of macho swagger and Southern “White Trash” grateful for the “home” the USMC gave him?; Not much “formal education”? All wrong on so many levels, about Marines in general I might add, except for the mere fact of his being from the South and White.
Well this Sergeant Major approached me after the class had been going for about 8 weeks. It was an Intro to Economics 101 at night. For me I love teaching the basic courses where people are getting their first taste of economics. He said to me: “Could I ask you a big favor?” So I said “Well if I can, and it does not violate my principles.” He laughed. He said “I am on active duty and work as an advisor with a Marine Reserve Unit across the river and we have to put on, as a requirement, some kind of cross-cultural sensitivity training for a certain amount of hours per year. Could you do two hours on Native American ways of thinking and customs and perhaps something about famous Native Americans in the USMC?”
I said “Well there is no such thing as “Native American” whatever from the perspective of many Indians. We are different Nations with different languages, etc But yet there are some common denominators.” I also noted, with a smile: “If your purpose is for me to give you information on how best to get potential recruits from Indigenous peoples, then… ” He laughed and said no. “We just want you to expand our knowledge and horizons.” I then said to him out of genuine concern for him as a human being, student and member of the military: “You have been in this class eight weeks, are you sure you want me speaking to your unit with your Commanding Officer present? This might do for your career what the movies “JAWS I, II and III” did for ocean bathing.” I told him I would have to discuss the proposition that genocide was committed and is being committed against Indigenous Peoples and why some conditions on the Reserves drive Indians into the military; and he said whatever you want to say..
Well of I went to give my talk to this Marine Corps unit with a bunch of officers, enlisted and NCOs and a Lt. Colonel present. The first hour I talked about “holistic thinking” versus linear thinking and how what may appear to be a strong point in linear thinking terms, turns out to be a major weak point when viewed “holistically” and strategically. I talked about famous Indigenous Marines like Ira Hamilton Hayes, a Pima Indian who was one of those who raised the flag at Iwo Jima and wound up after the war back on the Rez were he died in a ditch from alcoholism and hypothermia. I noted that like so many Vets, he had been used up and thrown away and that the death certificate should have read as cause of death: ”Genocide”.
Now in the Marine Corps, there is one icon no one will dare try to trash: Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, three times nominated, twice a winner of the Medal of Honor. Every Marine learns in boot camp about the “Marine’s Marine” General Butler.
Actually they learn only some aspects of the life of General Butler. Actually General Butler was nominated for the Medal of Honor three times, but once, in 1905, it had to be rescinded because then officers could not earn it until 1914. The Marines did not know this. Then I got into the “Warrior Code” that recruiters often allude to with potential Indian recruits, which is like “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful”) and asked: “But that begs the question: “Faithful to what?” And they all answered first “Traditions of the Corps” and then,”The Constitution”. I asked “How about the Commander in Chief?” They answered “only if he gives ‘lawful orders’; our allegiance is to The Constitution and the Laws, the chain of command and all LAWFUL orders of our superiors; but not to any person as a person.” I knew I just hit a goldmine.
I also did ask “Since unlawful orders can be given, and should not be obeyed, even in an essentially lawful and defensive (according to international law) war, that begs the question: can ‘lawful orders’ ever be given, and should they ever be followed in an unlawful (according to international law) war?” That one went by the wayside with the notion that they are not in a position to determine if a war is lawful or unlawful.
I then went into the 1934 plot to overthrow FDR. This involved a conspiracy to overthrow FDR and the Government of the U.S. and replace him with General Butler as a sort of figurehead to mobilize veterans as shock troops and to set up and run a fascist regime over America. They wanted General Butler because he was charismatic and beloved by rank-and-file troops whereas the alternative, Douglas MacArthur, was hated because of his arrogance and slaughter (against orders of Herbert Hoover the Commander in Chief)of “Bonus March” WWI veterans in 1932.
I showed how General Butler pretended to join the conspiracy and sucked the plotters in only to blow the whistle on them publicly and stop the fascist plot from being completed. I also passed along the History Channel’s program on it Called “The Plot to Overthrow FDR to show that this is covered even in the “mainstream”.
Of course none of them had ever heard about this. I noted that you can see General Butler was a greater hero than most people know because when it came time for “Semper Fi” he stood up against a plot to overthrow the government and set up full-blown fascism in America. I also pointed out that among the plotters, many tied-in with the “America First” isolationists and the German-American [Nazi] Bund, all were let go and not prosecuted because if this were known, it would have ripped the nation wide open. Among the plotters were: General Douglas MacArthur, the Duponts, JP Morgan Co, Committee for a Sound Dollar, American Liberty League (with Bushes in it), Skull and Bones, John Davis, Al Smith, etc.
“My interest is, my one hobby is, maintaining a democracy. If you get these 500,000 soldiers advocating anything smelling of Fascism, I am going to get 500,000 more and lick the hell out of you, and we will have a real war right at home.”
[Reply to Gerald MacGuire, after being asked to organize WWI veterans (for military support) in a fascist-coup of FDR, as related by Butler in testimony before Congress, 1934. A reporter (a Butler confidant) testified MacGuire said, “We might go along with Roosevelt and then do with him what Mussolini did with the King of Italy.” Which was, made him a figure-head.]
Here are some of the points and sources I raised:
1934 Attempted Overthrow of FDR Government and Replacement with a Fascist Dictatorship (Foiled By Maj. General Smedley Butler). Note, in addition to the Duponts and various other industrialists in the American Liberty League, George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush and other Skull and Bones members were intimately involved in the plot.
[At about the same time the Du Ponts were serving the Nazi cause in Germany, they were involved in a Fascist plot to overthrow the United States government. ]
“Along with friends of the Morgan Bank and General Motors,” in early 1934, writes Higham, “certain Du Pont backers financed a coup d’etat that would overthrow the President with the aid of a $3 million-funded army of terrorists .” The object was to force Roosevelt “to take orders from businessmen as part of a fascist government or face the alternative of imprisonment and execution. . .”
Higham reports that “Du Pont men allegedly held an urgent series of meetings with the Morgans,” to choose who would lead this “bizarre conspiracy.” “They finally settled on one of the most popular soldiers in America, General Smedly Butler of Pennsylvania.” Butler was approached by “fascist attorney” Gerald MacGuire (an official of the American Legion), who attempted to recruit Butler into the role of an American Hitler.–R. William Davis, “The Elkhorn Manifesto,”July 4, 1996] [Butler exposed the plot in a famous press conference to the public.]
[If one were to look closely at the past 58 years, one would be hard pressed to find a single U.S. military or C.I.A. intervention that has brought us one iota of safety, or, for that matter, that has actually been done for national defense purposes.] As Butler illustrated in 1933, and it is even truer now than then, the U.S. engages in interventions meant to protect the interests of the powerful and wealthy of our nation and our allies, and rarely, if ever, in order to actually protect its citizens. This is what General Butler wrote about in his book “War is a Racket””
From Wikipedia General Butler’s Recommendations
In his penultimate chapter, Butler argues that three steps are necessary to disrupt the war racket:
1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be “conscripted” before other citizens are: “It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation’s manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get”;
2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited plebiscite to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.;
3. Limitation of militaries to self-defense. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.
Chris White, “Is War Still a Racket?” CounterPunch, January 9, 2003
Charlie Liteky, “An Open Letter to the U.S. Military: Congressional Medal of Honor recipient addresses U.S. forces in Iraq,” Veterans Against the Iraq War, May 7, 2003
John S.D. Eisenhower, “War Turned Eisenhower Into a Pacifist,” International Herald Tribune, June 6, 2004
Then I closed with this excerpt of speech from General Butler in 1933:
“War is just a racket. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. It may seem odd for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. I was a gangster for Capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service.
My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
I had a great time with these Marines and they had a lot of guts just to sit and listen to what was presented to them. They all got the message I believe, that when push comes to shove, The Constitution to which they swore allegiance, does not sanction fascism or anyone trying to use them to bring it about. I noted that The U.S. Constitution can be nefariously used, under various pretexts, as was the case with the Weimar Constitution in Germany, to bring about Fascism and its own negation; that, General Butler understood well, was part of what “Semper Fi” is supposed to be all about.