Opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune.

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

I listened to all that was said in this court in support and justification of this prosecution, but my mind remains unchanged. I look upon the Espionage Law as a despotic enactment in flagrant conflict with democratic principles and with the spirit of free institutions.

Your Honor, I have stated in this court that I am opposed to the social system in which we live; that I believe in a fundamental change—but if possible by peaceable and orderly mean.

Standing here this morning, I recall my boyhood. At fourteen I went to work in a railroad shop; at sixteen I was firing a freight engine on a railroad. I remember all the hardships and privations of that earlier day, and from that time until now my heart has been with the working class. I could have been in Congress long ago. I have preferred to go to prison.

I am thinking this morning of the men in the mills and the factories; of the men in the mines and on the railroads. I am thinking of the women who for a paltry wage are compelled to work out their barren lives; of the little children who in this system are robbed of their childhood and in their tender years are seized in the remorseless grasp of Mammon and forced into the industrial dungeons, there to feed the monster machines while they themselves are being starved and stunted, body and soul. I see them dwarfed and diseased and their little lives broken and blasted because in this high noon of Christian civilization money is still so much more important than the flesh and blood of childhood. In very truth gold is god today and rules with pitiless sway in the affairs of men.

In this country—the most favored beneath the bending skies—we have vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, material resources in inexhaustible abundance, the most marvelous productive machinery on earth, and millions of eager workers ready to apply their labor to that machinery to produce in abundance for every man, woman, and child—and if there are still vast numbers of our people who are the victims of poverty and whose lives are an unceasing struggle all the way from youth to old age, until at last death comes to their rescue and lulls these hapless victims to dreamless sleep, it is not the fault of the Almighty: it cannot be charged to nature, but it is due entirely to the outgrown social system in which we live that ought to be abolished not only in the interest of the toiling masses but in the higher interest of all humanity.

I believe, Your Honor, in common with all Socialists, that this nation ought to own and control its own industries. I believe, as all Socialists do, that all things that are jointly needed and used ought to be jointly owned—that industry, the basis of our social life, instead of being the private property of a few and operated for their enrichment, ought to be the common property of all, democratically administered in the interest of all.

I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.

This order of things cannot always endure. I have registered my protest against it. I recognize the feebleness of my effort, but, fortunately, I am not alone. There are multiplied thousands of others who, like myself, have come to realize that before we may truly enjoy the blessings of civilized life, we must reorganize society upon a mutual and cooperative basis; and to this end we have organized a great economic and political movement that spreads over the face of all the earth.

There are today upwards of sixty millions of Socialists, loyal, devoted adherents to this cause, regardless of nationality, race, creed, color, or sex. They are all making common cause. They are spreading with tireless energy the propaganda of the new social order. They are waiting, watching, and working hopefully through all the hours of the day and the night. They are still in a minority. But they have learned how to be patient and to bide their time. The feel—they know, indeed—that the time is coming, in spite of all opposition, all persecution, when this emancipating gospel will spread among all the peoples, and when this minority will become the triumphant majority and, sweeping into power, inaugurate the greatest social and economic change in history.

In that day we shall have the universal commonwealth—the harmonious cooperation of every nation with every other nation on earth.

Your Honor, I ask no mercy and I plead for no immunity. I realize that finally the right must prevail. I never so clearly comprehended as now the great struggle between the powers of greed and exploitation on the one hand and upon the other the rising hosts of industrial freedom and social justice.

I can see the dawn of the better day for humanity. The people are awakening. In due time they will and must come to their own.

When the mariner, sailing over tropic seas, looks for relief from his weary watch, he turns his eyes toward the southern cross, burning luridly above the tempest-vexed ocean. As the midnight approaches, the southern cross begins to bend, the whirling worlds change their places, and with starry finger-points the Almighty marks the passage of time upon the dial of the universe, and though no bell may beat the glad tidings, the lookout knows that the midnight is passing and that relief and rest are close at hand. Let the people everywhere take heart of hope, for the cross is bending, the midnight is passing, and joy cometh with the morning.

I am now prepared to receive your sentence.

Statement to the Court
Eugene Debs, September 18, 1918

Eugene V. Debs Foundation

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In the Midst of the Health Care Debate and the H1N1 Vaccine Crisis

“The modern “heresy” that medical care (as it is traditionally conceived) is generally unrelated to improvements in the health of populations (as distinct from individuals) is still dismissed as unthinkable in much the same way as the so-called heresies of former times. And this is despite a long history of support in popular and scientific writings as well as from able minds in a variety of disciplines.”

The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century

by John B. McKinlay; Sonja M. McKinlay

Published in 1977 in the Milbank Memorial Quarterly, Vol. 55, No.3. pp. 405-428

In this study, the McKinlays explore a steep decline in the top 10 communicable diseases. (Tuberculosis, Scarlet Fever, Influenza, Pneumonia, Diptheria, Whooping Cough, Measels, Smallpox, Typhoid, Poliomyelitis) This unified decline occurred over a period of about 100 years from 1900 to 1973 . Even the most virulent of these diseases were near their currently flat expression when science developed the means to mass produce vaccines in the years leading up to 1949.

Male and Female Mortality Rates Since 1900

As this chart from the paper shows, the decline in mortality from 1900 to the 1970’s for both males and females was markedly dramatic.

They compare this decline in mortality to similar declines in the communicable diseases listed previously.

Decline in Communicable Diseases since 1900

Decline in Communicable Diseases since 1900

Decline in Communicable Diseases Since 1900 pt. 2

And also included is a graph charting causes of death from the early 1900’s in comparison to the years just prior to this paper’s publication.

Changes in Causes of Mortality since 1900

Changes in Causes of Mortality since 1900

Which leads to the authors’ conclusion:

In general, medical measures (both chemotherapeutic andprophylactic) appear to have contributed little to the overall decline in mortality in the United States since about 1900-having in many instances been introduced several decades after a marked decline had already set in and having no detectable influence in most instances. More specifically, with reference to those five conditions (influenza, pneumonia, diphtheria, whooping cough, and poliomyelitis) for which the decline in mortality appears substantial after the point of intervention-and on the unlikely assumption that all of this decline is attributable to the intervention-it is estimated that at most 3.5 percent of the total decline in mortality since 1900 could beascribed to medical measures introduced for the diseases considered here.

This graph shows the diseases and their declines in comparison:

Compilation Graph

Compilation Graph

I would imagine that even the average lay reader, on viewing this graph of the mass decline, can easily imagine each disease effortlessly reaching current levels without the advent of commonly available vaccines. But if vaccines are not responsible for the dramatic decline in mortality, how else can it be explained?

It is widely known that a sea change in patient survival came after more stringent practices regarding hygiene and sterility of spaces and implements used in medical procedures were undertaken for both patient and physician. And as medicine and science progressed in their research of communicable disease and underlying factors that allowed them to spread. Along the way researchers and doctors also began to understand the things that create health.

Massive public campaigns, programs and projects were implemented. For instance swamps were drained to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And a broad swath of society, from low to high, were educated about cleanliness and hygiene.

From the CDC’s website:

In 1900 in some U.S. cities, up to 30% of infants died before reaching their first birthday (1). Efforts to reduce infant mortality focused on improving environmental and living conditions in urban areas (1). Urban environmental interventions (e.g., sewage and refuse disposal and safe drinking water) played key roles in reducing infant mortality. Rising standards of living, including improvements in economic and education levels of families, helped to promote health. Declining fertility rates also contributed to reductions in infant mortality through longer spacing of children, smaller family size, and better nutritional status of mothers and infants (1). Milk pasteurization, first adopted in Chicago in 1908, contributed to the control of milkborne diseases (e.g., gastrointestinal infections) from contaminated milk supplies.

Refrigeration became commonly available. That and other household inventions like window screens, indoor plumbing, and strategies to deal with outhouse placement in relation to well placement and other improvements made possible by gains in real income.

Because, according to the McKinlay’s paper:

With the appearance of his book, Who Shall Live? (1974), Fuchs, a health economist, contributed to the resurgence of interest in the relative contribution of medical care to the modern decline in mortality in the United States. He believes there has been an unprecedented improvement in health in the United States since about the middle of the eighteenth century, associated primarily with a rise in real income.

In light of a number of similar reports, which have been ignored or overlooked questions about vaccines begin to center on efficacy versus the potential for harm. There are those “skeptics” who are quick to label any such questions as the “heresy” described by the McKinlays’. One would hope, at this point, they might review the widely accepted definition of skepticism as one of continuing exploration. There are no concrete truths in science, only evolving theories that should, in the best of all possible worlds, be continuously re-examined and re-tested.

We should also consider similar themes of hygiene in relation to income levels through the lens of such ideas as: mandated control of working conditions, food preparation and storage, statutes for safe drinking water and the establishment of agencies dealing specifically with issues of public health. Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle can act as a literary touchstone for the ideas presented here.

Now is the time for us to ask ourselves: Would the money spent on the now all-but-neutered health care bill be used more effectively by developing jobs for the populace so that real income levels rise for those most affected by the downturn? Would a combination of public health education and income increases work to reduce the current spate of common causes of death as it did in the first half of the last century even though the cause of mortality has changed? I think we need to take a broader view of what has worked in the past, as it is evident that medicating the problems will not solve them now any more than it did then.

A Poker Run for Danny, 10 am Saturday as a form of Socialized Medical Care.

The name has been intentionally altered.

The name has been intentionally altered.

There seems to be a number of  willfully misinformed people who continue to insist that Socialism is solely a political system. A system imposed by an Authoritarian structure. Well, in its most complex incarnation that is a completely factual assessment.

But socialism (small “s”) fundamentally, is a group in which each person contributes what they can, so that all are supported as necessary.

By way of example: When Widder Walkins needs a barn raised, because her man was crushed dead felling trees for lumber; her neighbors get together and do the job for her. They don’t do it because they benefit directly. Some might. But most do it because it is the human and humane thing to do.

And as part of the social contract (which is the part that seems to be getting lost in the shuffle, so to speak) the good Widder will do her part in the future, when Gladys Mays needs help with that new baby’s teethin’ or Macon Tally comes down with the influenza and needs some chicken soup delivered to his bedside.

If these people don’t help each other, by neglect or by refusal, eventually they will all stumble and fall. Some, if not all, will perish. They will fail to thrive individually and as a community, because there are too many hardships for each to bear alone. Without a loose communal or tribal support structure to help them in times of need, they will, without question or exception, come up short somewhere along the line.

So lately, to satisfy my own morbid curiosity, I have been taking a loose count of the number of local requests for help with medical expenses through individual and community actions. These would include: Poker Runs, Cycle Runs, Bar-B-Que Dinners, Church fundraisers, Bake Sales, plastic jars on the counters of locally owned gas stations, posters on store windows and so on. This, by the way, does not include formally organized requests (i.e. recognized charities or non-profits) or those found in the newspaper or on the Internet.

In my very small range of territory (20 miles or so) I estimate that there is at least one fundraiser every 2 miles in any direction within a 360 degree radius. Now granted we are not talking an infinite number of points leading outward from me. (See, I’ll even admit I’m not the absolute center of the universe). But yesterday I took note of two local stores, a church, a fire station and a fruit stand all within 4 miles of me. There were 6 requests. That’s on 2 roads. I live in a very rural area, in one of the least populated parts of this county.

As I see it, allowing someone a little more savvy and organized than Henry Lee down at the Stop and Shop to manage and distribute that money allows for a number of positive things to occur:

  • Henry Lee can go back to shilling for the Stop and Shop instead of working for Suzie’s parents, keeping track of the money bucket, taking phone calls, answering questions and the like. He can work for himself as a shop keeper, rather than working for every underinsured or uninsured family in crisis.
  • Suzie’s parents can go to one place to request help. They don’t have to rely on the generosity of their neighbors who may be in worse shape than they are. They won’t have to worry that Henry Lee won’t keep an eye on the till so that drunken lout George Sacks, can’t pilfer through it and drink away the last hope for their daughter’s treatment.

There are some who are so set against any entity larger than a gas station collecting and using their money for the common good that they would rather cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Following this masochistic path to its logical conclusion, let’s say if these folks don’t want to participate they should be allowed to opt out. They will pay no more monies (taxes, surcharges, user’s fees) that are collected and utilized for a collective good. (read also as: lower costs for everyone participating because greater participation lowers costs)  In doing so, most will opt out of use of systems and lifestyles that utilize:

Fire departments

Water and sewer use and maintenance

Trash collection

Postal delivery

Police protection

Clean air

Clean water

Meat inspection

Paved roads

Traffic signage and signals

Structurally sound buildings with safety features like emergency egress and fire suppression, along with handicap access.

Public education

Elevator safety and inspection

Driver’s licenses

Public libraries

Public hospitals that treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay

So in the end, these folks suggest, by logical extension, that they can live in a poorly built shack with no lights, air conditioning, refrigeration, or running water. They will use an outhouse, heat and cook with wood, walk to get food from their garden or the nearby woods (as available), hunt their meat, burn or bury their waste, never travel on paved roads to any towns or cities and be utterly illiterate, uneducated and unemployable.

I can see that working out for them.

Interestingly some of the people I hear howling the loudest about creeping socialism are Medicaid recipients or have parents on Medicaid or Medicare and who literally could not survive without government assisted prescription coverage. Some work for state, local or county governments or the postal service, have cushy jobs and sponsored benefits like health insurance. Benefits and jobs that my taxes pay for. Go figure.

Some folks will say that they will gladly chip in and help others in need; so it’s not the collectivistic aspect that bothers them. They claim the problem is having a government run program. All the while failing to consider that our government is made up of people who elect representation to develop, run and maintain these very programs.

As long as we are a Democratic Republic we are a collective of people who run the country through representation. If we were simply a Democracy, them with the most votes would get their way. But we are not a democracy. Our system is designed to consider those who are so weak and so powerless that their voices get lost in the crowd. Like Suzie’s parents, who need help paying for her medical treatments. Or like Margaret in Hospice or Wanda with lymphoma or the half a dozen folks whose names, faces and personal tragedies are plastered on plastic buckets in the Stop and Shop or on a 5 foot sign in front of the local volunteer fire department that reads: Poker Run for Danny, starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday.