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.... 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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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Today -100: November 12, 1917: Of speedy wars, collapsing revolutions, wholesome truths, queens, explosives, salutes, and political prisoners

Headline of the Day -100: 

The Bolshevik revolution is “approaching collapse,” reports the NYT. Troops loyal to Kerensky are approaching Petrograd.

Supposedly, new self-appointed Russian foreign minister Leon Trotsky shows up at the Foreign Office and is met with obstruction – not being shown the secret treaties, being told there was no French interpreter available for him to send a telegram, etc – and “the typewriter girls of the Ministry assailed him with some wholesome truths about his origin, his aims, and his activities generally.” Assuming this has any basis in reality, “his origin” almost certainly means his Jewishness.

Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last monarch, deposed by a US-backed coup in 1893, dies.

The Bureau of Mines plans to thwart bomb plots by arresting anyone in possession of explosives without a license.

There is some debate over whether white soldiers in the US Army can refuse to salute black officers.

The 41 suffragists currently out on bail, and 50 of their closest friends, force  their way into the yard of the prison where Alice Paul and Rose Winslow are being forcibly fed, and are able to talk with Paul and get some instruction about how to deal with prison when they’re sentenced. Demand political prisoner status immediately, she says. She complains that they’re force-feeding her 3 times a day where the British prison authorities only did it twice a day.

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Today -100: November 11, 1917: The Maximalists are in no way representative of the whole of Russia

41 suffragist picketers are arrested in front of the White House.

Kerensky resurfaces, in the town of Luga, 85 miles from the capital.

A temporary cabinet is named, with Lenin as prime minister and Trotsky foreign minister.

The Russian Embassy in Washington refuses to recognize the Bolshevik regime. Ambassador Boris Bakhmeteff, who will continue to pretend to be Russia’s ambassador until 1922 and will never see Russia again, says “The Petrograd events are a revolt of a party against a national government. The Maximalists are in no way representative of the whole of Russia.”

A mob of “Knights of Liberty” in Tulsa seize 17 IWW members from the police and flog and tar & feather them. The cops were already going to “persuade” them to leave town, as was the custom.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Today -100: November 10, 1917: We offer a just peace, but we cannot accept unjust terms

Political parties in New York respond to the passage of women’s suffrage by hurriedly recruiting women. Tammany Hall is trying to figure out which ones to bribe with jobs, as was the custom. And the state will have to double the number of election districts.

The State Department thinks the Bolshevik Revolution can’t possibly last. The great hope among the Allies is that “some strong man” – not a Bolshevik – will emerge to take control of Russia.

Lenin says he will propose a 3-month armistice, during which time elected representatives of each country – not diplomats – can work out a peace. “We offer a just peace, but we cannot accept unjust terms.”

The arrest of all members of the Kerensky government is ordered on the grounds of complicity with Gen. Kornilov’s revolt, which is ridiculous.

The prison doctor where the suffragette White House picketers are being held says they weren’t force-fed, they “merely want to advertise themselves by saying they have been fed forcibly.” He is lying.

Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration wants cranberries dropped from Thanksgiving dinner, as they require too much sugar.

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