Russian Revolution of 1917Russian Revolution of 1917Posted November 7, 2017, by Mary Grabar: on the 100th anniversary of the bloody, Bolshevik Revolution. Originally published in Enquiry, the independent student-run publication, of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. 

Hamilton College is acknowledging the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution with displays of crimson banners, books from International Publishers (a Communist organization), and visages of Lenin in the library.

What should be added is a rendering of a handless and toothless frozen corpse, with this death certificate from 1939:

Surname, name and patronymic: Fort-Whiteman, Lovett

Year and place of birth: 1894 American

. . . .

Nationality: American

Social position: White-collar worker

By whom and when convicted: Special board of the NKVD of the USSR art. of criminal code Anti-Soviet agitation sentenced to 5 years

Other distinguishing features: Above-average height, normal build, black hair, normal nose . . .

Another “distinguishing feature,” not listed, was the color of Fort-Whiteman’s skin. Presumably this did not matter to a regime that presented itself as a multicultural workers’ paradise.

Lovett Fort-Whiteman, an African American from Texas and a drama critic for the Messenger, among other things, in the 1920s, was a pathbreaker, traveling to the Soviet Union for educational training and then returning to the United States to recruit. In 1930, he moved to Moscow and married a Russian woman.

Fort-Whiteman was discussed in the autobiographies of two other African-Americans who had moved to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s and escaped decades later: Homer Smith, a journalist, who wrote Black Man in Red Russia in 1964; and Jamaican-born Robert Robinson, an engineer, who wrote Black on Red: My 44 Years Inside the Soviet Union in 1988.

Smith described Fort-Whiteman as the “ideological mentor” to the “small group of American Negroes,” all college-educated “intellectuals” but classified as “ ‘non-politicals’ and distinct from other Negroes, mainly from Africa and the West Indies, who were being trained as revolutionaries in Communist political schools.” Fort-Whiteman “stoutly supported the Communist ‘line’ of that time on a separate Negro state to be gerrymandered out of the southern American Black Belt” and defended sending gold to the outside world for “fomenting and financing revolutionary organizations and movements.” He helped write a script for the anti-American propaganda film “Black and White,” and he “pleaded fervently for formal and material support for the Scottsboro boys and Angelo Herndon . . . expounded loud and long on lynchings, Jim Crow and oppression of his people in America and condemned with fiery emotions the enslavement of black people in the African colonies of European imperialist nations.”

But in 1936, Fort-Whiteman disappeared.

Robert Robinson, in his 1988 memoir, also noted Fort-Whiteman’s disappearance. He knew that Fort-Whiteman had been accused of being a counter-revolutionary for criticizing Langston Hughes’s short story collection, The Ways of White Folks.

In August 1935, at the Foreign Workers Club in Moscow, Fort-Whiteman was critiquing the stories, which Hughes had begun to write during his own sojourn in the Soviet Union in 1931-32. Hughes, whom many may know as the “poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance” for such poems as “Harlem” (“What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?”), had recruited a cast of about twenty African-American “actors” for the “Black and White” movie. The project was scotched when the Soviets sought diplomatic recognition from the U.S. Though most of the “actors” went home upset, Hughes took up the offer to live and travel throughout the Soviet Union and write for its newspaper Izvestia and, later, poems for the Communist-directed New Masses like “Stalingrad.”

Lovett Fort-Whiteman in 1926Lovett Fort-Whiteman in 1926For Fort-Whiteman, Hughes’s stories had not been revolutionary or anti-bourgeois enough. He apparently had not gotten the memo (so to speak) about the change in the Communist Party line to the “Popular Front” strategy: “Reformists,” like President Roosevelt, were no longer enemy “social fascists,” but allies. William Patterson, another black Communist leader, overheard Fort-Whiteman’s barroom “anti-revolutionary” literary critique of Langston Hughes.

Longstanding rumors about Fort-Whiteman’s demise were confirmed when archives were opened for a period after the fall of the Soviet Union. The death certificate and fingerprints, which came from Kazakhstan after its independence in 1996, were reproduced by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Kyrill M. Anderson in their book The Soviet World of American Communism (Yale University Press, 1998).

They revealed that in 1935 Fort-Whiteman was the subject of a Comintern committee meeting concerning the American party, with prominent U.S. communists Earl Browder, William Schneiderman, and Sam Darcy present. This led to a resolution calling for “Comrades Paterson [sic] and [James] Ford [another black Communist leader ]” to hold “a meeting with all the Negro comrades” to discuss the “reported efforts of Lovett Whiteman to mislead some of the Negro comrades.”

Fort-Whiteman had also praised the prominent Soviet communists Nikolai Bukharin and Karl Radek, who were accused of sympathizing with the anti-Stalin communist leader Leon Trotsky.

On July 1, 1937 Fort-Whiteman was sentenced to five years of internal exile in Alma-Ata in Kazakhstan, where he taught school and boxing.

On May 8, 1938, his punishment was upped to five years’ hard labor at the Sevvostlag prison labor camp in Siberia, where prisoners slept in holes they dug in the tundra as they worked on the Kolyma Highway. Temperatures went down to 60 below zero.

Fort-Whiteman’s fingerprints were taken posthumously; hands had to be chopped off from frozen corpses and thawed in a heated office. The official cause of death was “Weakening of cardiac activity.” He was 44. The former teacher, actor, writer, and athlete had not been able to fulfill his work quota. So he received decreased food rations--and beatings so severe that all his teeth were knocked out. Details came from eyewitness accounts and medical records.      

One would think that everyone would be horrified at the fate of Fort-Whiteman.

But Yale history professor Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, who holds an endowed chair, in her book Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950 (W.W. Norton, 2008), praises Fort-Whiteman as the “first African American communist.” For her, the Soviet Union’s disregard for the race of the corpse evidences racial progressivism.

Gilmore rebukes her native South, in which she grew up in the 1950s, for its ill treatment of African-Americans and its anti-communism. Ignoring overwhelming evidence to the contrary, she writes: “In the 1920s and 1930s, the Communists alone argued for complete equality between the races” and thus led the way for the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. She contends that the idea of “Moscow gold,” the funding of activities in the United States, is a “myth.”  

In their 1998 book, Klehr, Haynes, and Anderson ruefully noted that Fort-Whiteman had been ignored by historians in the 1980s and 1990s. Gilmore, in her 2008 book, takes a different tack. She acknowledges their path-breaking archival work but ignores their conclusion that:

The Soviets established the ideology, provided the money, chose or approved the leaders, and monitored the tactics of the Americans.

That included ordering American Communists to agitate for the “black belt” in the South, which would mean civil war, and sure death for thousands, mostly African-Americans. They used the Scottsboro Boys rape case for publicity, stole from their funds, put their lives at risk, and prolonged their imprisonment. Communist agitation led to deaths of tenant farmers. Communists betrayed, then tortured and killed, Lovett Fort-Whiteman.

Gilmore, however, praises Fort-Whiteman for “never allowing [himself] to be silenced,” then describes his experiences, including his time in “Alma-Ata, a beautiful small town in southeast Kazakhstan in mountainous Central Asia.”

She ends her chapter about him with the following paragraph:

Deep disappointments, crushing blows, starvations: It took them all to break Lovett Fort-Whiteman. Did he dream, there in a frozen hole in the tundra, of hot nights on Sweet Ellum Street back home in Dallas? Of midday classes at Tuskegee, where sweating students performed the heavy work of uplift? Of humid mornings in Yucatan spent imbibing Socialism? Of escaping J. Edgar Hoover’s men in St. Louis? Or did he dream his own ‘dream deferred,’ of bringing the revolution to Chicago streets, equality to the South, and black liberation to the Kremlin? There in Kolyma no one mourned him, no one knew he was the first African American Communist. No one knew of his eagerness, his recklessness, his abiding faith in poor working people. In the final, perfect equality of the gulag, it mattered not a whit that he was a black man, only that he was a broken man.

Communist ideology inspired unthinkable cruelties in the 20th century. In the 21st century, pro-communist ideologues, some at Ivy League universities, romanticize the death of the “first African American Communist.”

(Lovett Fort-Whiteman photo: PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45391459)

Comments   

 
0 #3 Patricia Ranels 2017-11-10 15:10
I meant to upvote Mr. Wills’ comment. Can’t figure out how to change it.

Also, want to thank you, Mary, for enhancing my knowledge, especially about communism. It angers me to see what professors in America sow in young minds. Seems they want a new generation of comrades to take up their despicable cause.
Quote
 
 
+1 #2 Jim Clark 2017-11-07 19:19
5 years for "anti-Soviet agitation". That is my second favorite crime described in Solzhenitzyn's Gulag Archipelago. My very favorite is "suspicions of anti-Soviet agitation". I'm happy to say that is a crime I've been practising for quite a while. (Words such as happy and favorite are written with considerable sarcasm as many on this web site will appreciate.)
Quote
 
 
-1 #1 Joseph Rush Wills, I 2017-11-07 17:00
Communist sympathizers take the failures and abuses of that system in stride, denying the truth and hoping somehow, someday the “right people” will be put in charge and make Marxism work...

Joe
Quote
 

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Quantitative Easing Illustrated

by William Matheson, posted June 11, 2012

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The iconic question from Ronald Reagan aided his rise in the polls and eventual ascension to the White House a few months later.

During the Carter Presidency, the country experienced both slow economic growth and inflation, known as stagflation. Gas prices skyrocketed due to contracted supply and unemployment grew as well. At the end of the administration, the misery index, inflation plus unemployment, was a staggering 19.72.

Today, despite promises to the contrary by President Obama, unemployment is above 8 percent and the price of gas has nearly doubled.

In total, the misery index has been as high as 12.7 under Obama, and no amount of jobs “saved or created” can change that.

Accompanying the rise in the prices of energy like gasoline and coal is an increase in food prices. After all, farming and transportation require energy. In 2009, during several stimulus debates, Republican lawmakers, including Steve Cabot (R-Ohio) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz), warned against the Keynesian policies, in part because of inflation concerns. Three years later, one massive stimulus package, the nation’s first credit downgrade, several rounds of money printing, and five trillion dollars added to the national deficit, the concerns have been justified.

The Consumer Price Index has risen from 214.5 in 2009 to 226.2 in 2011, the last year available for data. The increase, though only 5.4 percent, is hardly telling of the true story. As previously mentioned, the average price of a gallon of gas has nearly doubled, from $1.85 per gallon in 2009 to over $3.50 gallon in June 2012. Considering that gasoline is the lifeblood of the economy, this meteoric rise cannot be stressed enough.

no longer a cheap mealFood prices are also on the rise. In January of 2009, the month President Obama was inaugurated, the average price of a pound of ground beef was $2.36. In April of 2012, the price had risen to $2.998, essentially $3.00, a change of roughly 27 percent. Bacon, another American favorite, rose from $3.73 per pound to $4.53 per pound in that same time frame, representing a 22 percent increase.

Corn is also more expensive. In 2008/2009, the average price of corn was $4.06 per bushel. So far, for 2011/2012, the average price is about $6.10 per bushel, which represents an increase of a staggering 50.2 percent. Of all changes, this one is perhaps the most worrisome next to gasoline. In our economy, corn is almost omnipresent. Gasoline is about 10 to 15 percent ethanol, and most American beef is corn fed. Rises in corn prices lead to higher fuel and beef prices, and also higher prices in things such as cereals.

ethanolThe economics of inflation are so simple that it can be learned in economics 101 classes. As a student, I would know. Increasing the money supply (printing money) leads to higher inflation and less bang for each buck. Incentivizing ethanol production leads to less corn for food, and higher prices for that food. For products like corn fed beef, the rise in input prices leads to a rise in final prices, and in regards to oil, cutting off the supply by banning off shore drilling or rejecting the Keystone Pipeline leads to lower supply, thus higher prices.

People may think this outlook is simplistic, but numbers don’t lie. Prices are rising, just as Republicans predicted, and the reasons are evident. The big government, top down, central planning model is failing the country. People are out of work, burning through their savings. This situation is only made worse by rising prices, giving each family less purchasing power. Needless to say, the “quantitative easing,” the current administration’s euphemism for printing money, is bad for the country.

Fortunately, the solutions are simple. Stop printing money, let free markets work, and stop spending into eternity. Unfortunately, only one party seems to recognize this and has the courage to confront it.

William MathesonWilliam Matheson is a college student at Emory University. He is studying business and hopes find success in both business and military service in his future.

 

 

 

 

Georgia Perimeter College Nursing Prof
Emory University student William Matheson offers this A+ essay that clarifies the difference between rights and commodities, a lesson that Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke seems to have slept through.

Nonetheless, she was invited to address undergraduates at Georgetown on April 16--no press allowed.  The talk was called "A Conversation with Sandra Fluke on Contraception Access."

 

By William Matheson, posted April 18, 2012: What is a right? To me, a right is something each person possesses upon birth. It carries no cost and is not determined by law, customs, or cultures. It is universal and cost free.

This definition of a right is based on “Natural Law, which can be traced back to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. The first sentence of the Declaration of Independence, our founding document, clearly demonstrates that the Founding Fathers embraced this philosophy.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that     among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 

From the passage, the message is evident. People, upon birth, regardless of race, religion, or location, possess certain rights. The government does not give these rights; therefore the government cannot revoke these rights. Look no further than the language of the United States Bill of Rights, particularly the first two amendments.

 

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

Founding FathersIt is clear, after examining the language, that the government does not bestow the rights to the people. Instead, it simply states that Congress cannot make laws “abridging” or “prohibiting” such things. After all, no document, even the U.S. Constitution, can bestow these rights, because all possess them at birth. Therefore, as opposed to providing the people with rights, the federal government, under the United States Constitution, acts as a protector of the rights.

In current political discourse, the question of rights has been resurrected. Whether it is the current administration claiming birth control and health care as rights, or Occupy Wall Street protestors claiming college education as a right, the issue has been forced back into the public forum. For the most part, liberal activists have come out claiming these as absolute and necessary rights of every person. However, the arguments, most of which are attempts at appealing to emotion, fail to address the key aspect of said “rights”. Health care, birth control, and college education are all commodities, and no person has a right to a commodity.

Rights and commodities stand in stark contrast. As defined earlier, a right is something all people possess at birth that is above law and carries no cost, while a commodity, or good, must be produced, gathered, or harvested by man. This difference is paramount. For example, my right to free speech costs you nothing, as do my rights to bear arms and religious belief.

Sandra FlukeTo the contrary, the so-called “right” to health care does come with a price. Birth control did not appear out of nowhere and spread across the market. Instead, it was created through countless hours of research, testing, and human labor. The same can be said for health care. Surgeons do not grow on trees. In order to receive birth control, health care, or college education, a price must be paid for the resources used and the services provided. If these are rights, then it logically follows that they must be provided to individuals free of charge. After all, my other rights do not come with a price tag. They are mine at birth, so how can a price be put on them? Surely imposing a burden on one to exercise his rights is a form of denying said rights.

Beware those who would take from others to give to themselves. Even if sanctioned by the government, the action still constitutes theft, a violation of people’s rights. To claim a commodity as a right is to claim another man’s labor as one’s own. If you believe you have a right to someone else’s property, then you do not believe in the other’s property rights. Claiming what is mine as something that should be yours is to say that what I have produced does not truly belong to me. If I do not have a right to the fruits of my labor, do I have property rights? Am I free? The answer to both questions is no. For this reason, no person has any right to such things as health care, birth control, education, food, shelter, and the like. All of these are commodities, and no man, regardless of race, wealth, or location, has a right to them.

William MathesonWilliam Matheson is a college student at Emory University. He is studying business and hopes find success in both business and military service in his future.

 "So very many conservatives were weaned on the delusion that we had only to nominate a sure-enough conservative to ensure a national landslide, that they cannot now look defeat in the face as indicating what in fact it is: that the majority of the American people do not, at the present time, desire a hard Conservative as President of the United States.

that outlook which values the collective above the individual necessarily disparages Friendship; it is a relation between men at their highest level of individuality.

It withdraws men from collective ‘togetherness’ as surely as solitude itself could do; and more dangerously, for it withdraws them by twos and threes.  Some forms of democratic sentiment are naturally hostile to it because it is selective and an affair of the few.  To say ‘These are my friends’ implies ‘Those are not.’”  from The Four Loves

Compare this to first safe schools czar under Barack Obama, Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network), who stated the definition of “safe schools” as being those where no student is subject to “social rejection, uncivil behavior, verbal threats, and hate language.”

Read my report on the Third International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education, where Jennings made this statement in his keynote address. 

Jennings quietly left his post in May of 2011 to head up Be the Change, a phrase I heard repeated like a mantra, by glassy-eyed conference participants.

“Our village school teachers should be placed on a level that has never been achieved, and can never be achieved, in bourgeois society.

Dissident Diary

Almost Least Credible HistorianA Ho Chi Zinn Week by Mary Grabar, posted July 27, 2012: The historians have spoken!  And they have deemed The Jefferson Lies by David Barton and endorsed by Glenn Beck as the least credible history book in print.  That was the finding in a poll on the History News Network.  Among those criticizing Barton's book were two professors from Grove City College.

Coming in close (very close) behind, though, was Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.  (But HNN's headline named only Barton.)  Zinn earned the ire of 641 historians as opposed to the 650 who condemned Barton's book.

CPB: More Than a Yellow BirdStarve the Beast! (yes, Big Bird) by Mary Grabar, posted July 20, 2012. Although it might seem hopeless with a Democrat-controlled Senate, funds should be eliminated for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and for Americorps, the national service program.  That's what Republicans in the House want to do in the budget, with alarm raised by the Associated Press (ever so subtly) about it pleasing the Tea Party (and by implication only a few extremists).  But while the media may want to present PBS and Americorps as sacrosanct American institutions, the truth is that both are  taxpayer-funded programs for indoctrinating the youth of the country.

Educate America? (On Roosevelt's Fireside Chats?)By Mary Grabar, Posted July 13, 2012: Dissident Prof was in Rochester, New York, last week visiting family and chomping down on those yummy white hots and Abbott’s frozen custard, so she was unaware that the National Education Association was holding its convention during the Fourth of July in Washington.

It figures.

The AP story began by describing it like a re-election rally, with “thousands packing a convention center, Barack Obama T-shirts, videos celebrating the health care law, and a wall-size banner with encouraging messages to the incumbent president.”

Apply for an "Organizing Fellowship"Dissident Prof allies helped spread the word about the bribery scandal at a Georgia State University Teach-In.  Minding the Campus posted "Teach Them What to Think, and Maybe Bribe Them Too."  Over at National Association of Scholars Ashley Thorne notes in her post that NAS President Peter Wood wrote about the inappropriateness of professors giving students credit for participating in Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign; the NAS post was then picked up by Education News.  Reminiscent of the 2008 campaign, the 2012 Obama-Biden "organizing" fellowship application asks applicants if they are students and whether their schools offer credit for such "fellowships."  Dissident Prof received notice for this volunteer opportunity from First Lady Michelle Obama.

"Civic Engagement" classThe big news last week--because it was made big news by the media and exploitative politicians--was the Trayvon Martin case.  Students streamed out of classes, where if the professoriate were doing their duty they might learn about due process, to protestSeminole State College officials unilaterally decided to expel George Zimmerman, who claims he shot Trayvon in self defense. Administrators cave to mobs stirred up by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.  The Black Panthers put a bounty on Zimmerman's head, and face no repercussions.  

Yet, the academics use this as an opportunity to advance their favorite cause: left-wing activism.

 

Mary Beth Gasman, blogging at the Chronicle of Higher Education, gasses on about the role of Historically Black Colleges (HBCU's):

Dissident Cat's RelativeDissident Prof has incorporated!  Dissident Prof is now registered as a non-profit corporation in the state of Georgia as Dissident Prof Education Project, Inc.  Just got the checking account and EIN number.  Now for the IRS paperwork. Dissident Prof believes she has 27 months to file the paperwork, so contributions might be tax-deductible now.  She is a bit behind in dispatches because of all the paperwork, but promises not to take 27 months!

Speaking of contributions, she is extremely grateful for a start-up grant, and contributions from dissident supporter-citizens.  Most recent ones include

Don Vodopich

Eric Ribitsch

Ernie Gaida

Anonymous (but he's a great dancer!)

It's been an exciting month with Dissident Prof testifying before the Georgia Non-Civil House Judiciary Committee on a bill that would deny illegal aliens the right to attend public colleges.  Why did she feel like Whittaker Chambers?  Maybe it was because an advocate of illegal behavior, one of the attendees of the Teach-In, accused HER of lying by shouting it out in the committee room.

Dissident Colloquim

In the Academy StillBy Scott Herring, posted April 25, 2012 The National Association of Scholars recently released one of the most thorough autopsies of political bias in a university system I have ever seen, and happily, the university system is my own.  A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California does not merely establish the bias, but quantifies it and shows that it is actively destructive, producing an ever more inferior UC, year after year.

A Crisis of Competence is packed with data, but what struck me most were the stories undergrads told, including this report from a lonely student at UC Santa Barbara.  That used to be my favorite UC, I thought, remembering a golden weekend I spent there at an academic conference.  Then I noticed that I was actually remembering the beach.

Conservatives Need Not ApplyBy Mary Grabar, Posted June 25, 2012, originally posted at National Association of Scholars, www.nas.org. A colleague on the job market tells me about a posting for a lecturer in World History at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, that, along with the usual transcripts and letters of recommendation, requires “a separate statement describing a history of working with or demonstrated commitment to addressing issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or other issues of historic marginalization.”  To make it even more clear that conservatives need not apply, the college’s web page advertises the fact that it is located in a “friendly, progressive community.”

Our ColloquiumOn Contemporary Academic Discourse by Ewa Thompson, Rice University

In 1990 the American philosopher Alasdair Macintyre published Three  Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy, Tradition.[i] The last chapter of this book is titled “Reconceiving the university and the lecture,”  and it ends with a proposition: in academic discourse we should “introduce” ourselves before we start speaking.

Are you a dissident?  Do you teach someplace either out in the open (with tenure, lucky you!) or in the shadows as an adjunct?  If not, are you in school?  Do you help pay for a school?  If Dissident Prof determines that you have something valuable to say about re-education, she will award you an honorary degree and ask you to contribute a blog post or essay as a visiting prof.  She asks her tenured colleagues to take a stand for the little guy.  She may grant undocumented profs with young mouths to feed anonymity.  News tips are also welcome.  Please send all inquiries here.