What happened to Indiana?


That state went from Eugene Debs to Mike Pence. What a downfall!

Another great quote from the great socialist, his statement after being sentence to prison for speaking out against war:

…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.

Comments

  1. hemidactylus says

    I’m prefacing this by saying my own state has plenty to answer for: the Seminole wars, Rosewood, and more recently hanging chads, Voldemort (as Governor and Senator), and Florida Man. Yet didn’t Indiana have a love of eugenics and sundown towns? Hardly a light to the nation.

  2. unclefrogy says

    the problem for socialism at least here in the U.S. is the conservatives managed to connect and equate socialism with Stalinist totalitarianism while claiming they are for a more laissez-faire capitalism but actually work for state protection of their interests.

    There never were many like Eugene Debs any where but there have always been many people like Pence.
    I wonder what his Pence’sbe god will say (if he existed) when he meets him at the pearly gates with the record of his life?
    as an aside that is one of the fun things about the “Lucifer show” I like besides the silliness
    uncle frogy

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    What happened to Indiana? I’m guessing the about same that happened here in this once great bastion of progressivism and socialism, Wisconsin! The local Socialist politicians were absorbed into the Democratic party and slowly forgotten. Manufacturing died when the jobs were sent over seas, but higher taxes and regulations where blamed rather than corporate greed. Blacks and Latinos started to movie in in hopes of opportunity and discovered discrimination and de facto segregation instead. Whites fled Milwaukee where they blamed the existence of welfare for minority poverty rather than prejudice. Meanwhile, older, lower class voters rebelled against changing cultural mores by embracing conservative Christianity, thus empowering the religious right.

    I might be wrong, but that’s just the way I see it.

  4. says

    Or, for that matter, happened to Wisconsin?

    Robert La Follette, Sr: “God, how patient are Thy poor! These corporations and masters of manipulation in finance heaping up great fortunes by a system of legalized extortion, and then exacting from the contributors-to whom a little means so much-a double share to guard the treasure!”.

    (Looks like Akira MacKenzie just beat me by mentioning WI.)

  5. nomdeplume says

    We now have a social order in which those things are not just possible but mandatory. It is impossible to imagine a Debs emerging today. Sanders is probably the closest American comparison, but Bernie would not make statements like that, and if he did he would be savaged by the media.

  6. PaulBC says

    Indiana, Wisconson… I can’t even figure out what happened to Pennsylvania. Growing up near Philly, I know I had a very different experience from those on the more midwestern Pittsburgh side (not to mention the consistently conservative rural areas).

    But at one time PA had its shared of abolitionists and stops on the underground railroad. It was founded by one of the few colonial voices of actual religious tolerance William Penn (not the usual “We are fleeing to escape religious oppression so we can oppress other religions.”) It’s been a middle of the road state since I can remember, and even the Philly suburbs were often Republican, but how the hell did it wind up going to Trump in 2016? Has someone reintroduced leaded gasoline since I moved away?

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry, it’s not the economy, stupid. It’s the culture. It’s always about cultural and social issues.

    Sure the average working class hero could be convinced to support the economic goals of socialism; a living wage, unions, national benefits that aren’t tied to employment, safety regulations, a safety net for the hard times, generally sticking it to the bosses, etc.. However, those same working class folk still goes to church on Sunday, still think the wife should stay at home to cook and clean, would relish beating the crap out of a gay man, and dreads the day a anyone with a darker complexion than his moves into the neighborhood. There lies the disconnect between the secular and egalitarian Leftist and the more “provincial” (not to say, ignorant and bigoted) Joes he wants to convince.

    It’s the reason the “Regan Democrats” arose in the 80s. Yeah, those Wall Street corporate raiders may close the plant and cut their pensions, but at least Ronnie will stand up to the commies, put prayer back into school, tell off the hippies, do something about dope peddlers and welfare queens (i.e. ”the N*ggers”)! It’s the same story with Trump. While we may say they are “voting against their best interests” they think they are protecting something more important than their jobs and financial welfare, the Good Old American Way of Life. Baseball, Mom, Apple Pie, the forty of July and, of course, Jesus. Sure, we know it’s all racist, hyper-macho, jingoistic, superstitious bullshit, but to them it’s more important than affordable health care or the minimum wage.

    This is what we got to get past before we can hope to have the sort of world we Leftists dream of. I just don’t know how to convince working class America to let go of their bigotries.

  8. PaulBC says

    Akira MacKenzie@11

    While we may say they are “voting against their best interests” they think they are protecting something more important than their jobs and financial welfare

    I would never say this. Trumpies mostly know what they’re voting for, and they got it with Trump. A lot of them are not hurting economically either. It remains true as always that the more money you have, the more likely you will vote for a Republican. Conservative pro-corporate policies did pave the way for increasing globalization, but nobody on that side is objecting to cheap foreign goods or cheap immigrant labor. What they hate are the immigrants themselves. They are voting for policies that keep white Americans like themselves ahead of others even at an overall loss to the economy.

    Personally, I think it’s condescending to tell anyone they are too ignorant to know what they’re voting for. But beyond that, it’s not even true. They’ve expressed their values in their vote. They need to be fought at the ballot box.

  9. unclefrogy says

    there is no way you are going to be able to convince a large % of the conservative working and middle class voters to change their voting preferences so do not waste your time.
    The better strategy is to convince the left leaning and those sympathetic to “progressive” policies who do not regularly vote who have been turned off and discouraged by years of moderate BS and the lying baseturds who often get elected. That number far out weighs the moderate conservative middle that will stick to the party any way, no matter what kind of shit is pulled .
    uncle frogy

  10. says

    @#11, Akira MacKenzie:

    It’s the same story with Trump. While we may say they are “voting against their best interests” they think they are protecting something more important than their jobs and financial welfare, the Good Old American Way of Life. Baseball, Mom, Apple Pie, the forty of July and, of course, Jesus. Sure, we know it’s all racist, hyper-macho, jingoistic, superstitious bullshit, but to them it’s more important than affordable health care or the minimum wage.

    In order for this to be true, the Democrats would have had to have run somebody who was credibly for “their best interests”. Instead they ran somebody who was proud to be a Reagan Democrat, killed off as many New Deal supporters as possible from within the party, and backed deregulation and NAFTA and the TPP.

    Before Bill Clinton got the nomination (and took over the party — the nominee has the ability to rearrange the national committee) the Democrats controlled Congress for 40 years by standing behind the New Deal. By 1996, it was clear that the national-level Democratic Party was no longer interested in helping the poor or the middle class. Since then, they haven’t been able to hold Congress for 6 years at a stretch. None of the “New Democrats” who came in in the late 80s/early 90s have any credibility when they talk about the economy or foreign policy, and yet the party is coasting on its reputation from the 60s and 70s of being “smarter” about those issues. What sort of fool would ever believe Joe Biden if he promised to bring jobs back to the US, when he spent his entire career helping corporations outsource those jobs?

  11. maeve57 says

    So, I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m in the wrong place, and this just confirms it. I’m really at a loss to figure out how otherwise smart people could be this enamoured with socialism. The amount of empirical economic data you have to ignore to think socialism is a good idea is simply staggering. Fucking hypocrites. You call Republicans science deniers out of the right side of your mouth and then spout this bullshit out of the other? C’mon.

    Debs is just flat out wrong in this quote. And if the west had followed his advice we’d probably be sending these comments in through the mail after having written them on typewriters (if you were rich enough to buy one). Capitalism has made the lower class – if you can call them that anymore in the west – richer, faster than any other economic system ever devised. Why on earth would you want to get rid of it?

    It’s the economic equivalent of being an anti-vaxxer. You need to turn a blind eye to all the data to keep believing in your quasi-religious dogma. Sad.

  12. John Morales says

    maeve57:

    So, I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m in the wrong place, and this just confirms it.

    Heh. And here was I thinking you are the wrong person for this place, for others.

    (You never fail to amuse me)

    I’m really at a loss to figure out how otherwise smart people could be this enamoured with socialism.

    Easy. It’s not that they’re otherwise smart, but rather that you are singularly doltish.

    (No point fisking further, I suppose. More of the same bullshit bluster)

  13. unclefrogy says

    maeve57:
    well I have only one question for you I ask it of all who have similar attitudes as you I am serious this is not a some kind of fishing for fools gotcha question.
    Could you please in your own words tell me what socialism is.
    it might be the thing to do before you go,
    uncle frogy

  14. KG says

    Capitalism has made the lower class – if you can call them that anymore in the west – richer, faster than any other economic system ever devised. – maeve57@15

    Actually, not, unless you call the system China has had for the last 40 years capitalism. Which might be justifiable, but it’s certainly closer to state socialism than anything ever practiced in “the west”, as the “commanding heights” of the economy are still state-owned, and every private firm knows it had better do as it’s told by the agents of the state. (I’m no admirer of the brutally opporessive Chinese Communist Party or its system, but it has raised hundreds of millions out of dire poverty in a few decades.) Among western capitalist states, the ones that have actually come near to ending poverty are those routinely denounced as socialist – those in Scandinavia. Above all, the capitalist world-system shows no sign of being able to respond in a remotely adequate way to the climate and ecological crisis.

  15. KG says

    Further to #18, the fundamental process that has made people richer is the rapid growth of knowledge over the past few centuries. As a matter of fact, that has taken place within the capitalist world-system, but it’s by no means obvious that it had to do so, or has to go on doing so. Indeed, if it does go on doing so, our civilisation is going to run up against fundamental environmental limits within the lifetime of many now living. And insofar as the mass of people have benefited, that has been the result of political struggle – and the ruling class have consistently done their best to corner as much of the benefit for themselves as possible, Very successfully, in “the west”, over the past few decades.

  16. John Morales says

    KG,

    Above all, the capitalist world-system shows no sign of being able to respond in a remotely adequate way to the climate and ecological crisis.

    Externalities.

    :|

    As uber right-winger Jerry Pournelle put his mitigated conservative view:
    “You cannot have a free society without economic freedom, you cannot have economic freedom without a free market, and to that extent Conservatism is wedded to capitalism; but it must always be remembered, unrestricted free capitalism inevitably leads to the sale of human flesh in the market place. If you can’t buy baby parts in the market, someone is restricting your right to sell them. Why? And would it be conservative to end that restriction of your rights?”

    (Shame he died, these days I read Fred Reed for the reactionary viewpoint)

  17. unclefrogy says

    @19
    I agree the advance occurred within the capitalist system but I am not that it was capitalism that was responsible at least in the the 100 years or so the government has taken greater responsibility for education and a greater role as well. It has been the wider and wider spread of education that has in my view contributed the most not just the level of knowledge attained by some.
    as far as prosperity goes and lifting people out of poverty it was not the capitalist alone that did that. it would not have happened without the efforts of organized labor which I have heard branded as socialist and even communist.

    uncle frogy

  18. John Morales says

    unclefrogy, ahem. “As a matter of fact, that has taken place within the capitalist world-system, but it’s by no means obvious that it had to do so, or has to go on doing so.”

  19. hemidactylus says

    The Interstate Highway System, GPS, ARPAnet, street lighting and traffic stops, food safety agencies …

    Berners-Lee was working at CERN (not private???) but on a NeXT which was Job$’ precursor to Darwin based Apple$. UNIX was ATT but public Berkeley had its own flavor.

    Could the internet and web have initiated entirely in the private sector? Interstates?

    So many things are a public private mix. Interstates employ private contractors paid through public funds. People are largely educated through public schools, which like interstates facilitate gains in the private sector.

  20. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I would also note that Indiana was the state where they tried to legislate the value of pi to be 3.

    As to the relative virtues of socialism and capitalism, it would appear that Maeve is the one in denial. If we are to look at the system that has lifted the most people out of poverty, the repressive, authoritarianism of the Chinese or the mildly incompetent socialism of India would win out. And really, there’s no reason to believe either “system” had anything to do with the economic progress. Demographics, improved education and healthcare, along with the green revolution deserve the credit.

    There are socialist systems that work well. There are capitalist systems that work well, if they are sufficiently regulated (the US up to the 1980s is an example). There is no system at present that can deal with the demands of climate change and environmental degradation, although I would note that at present, the Chinese are kicking our pasty, white butts.

    I would also note that believing in markets does not equate to believing in capitalism. Capitalism can at times be antithetical to efficiency of markets. After all, the goal of most capitalists is to enter markets where others face barriers.

  21. John Morales says

    It’s seemed so obvious to me for so long:
    take any two enterprises; one run for profit, the other run to merely cover operating costs.
    take essential needs (food, housing, power, transport etc).
    Clearly, any profit must come from either
       less expenditure (thus less efficacy) for the enterprise
    or
       higher cost to consumers

    (And what is a company but a grouping of investors sharing the risks and profit? Kinda socialist, that — only diff, it’s exclusionary to the investors. Others are externalities)

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @25:

    And what is a company but a grouping of investors sharing the risks and profit? Kinda socialist, that — only diff, it’s exclusionary to the investors

    So feudalism was kinda socialist?

  23. Ishikiri says

    @maeve57: So if we criticize capitalism, we must be a bunch of USSR/PRC loving tankies? That’s some binary thinking alright, and a pretty shitty binary to go off of.

    I would say that liberalism is to thank for the rise in human living standards over the last few centuries. But when you look at the state of the world with endless human exploitation and a degrading biosphere, it becomes pretty clear that liberalism has run it’s course. We’re not going to fix this unless we turn away from the pursuit of endless private wealth, and that means some kind of socialism.

  24. fusilier says

    Yes, Indiana produced Eugene Debs, but it also produced D. C. Stephenson.

    fusilier, in Indianapolis

    James 2:24

  25. PaulBC says

    maeve57@15

    Flat out wrong? So it’s impossible for someone to inherit wealth, do nothing productive, and continue to accumulate it? Like, that just never happens. Under capitalism, all the rich people are “adding value” commensurate to their compensation? And the lives of workers aren’t often wretched despite that they may work hard and contribute? They deserve this?

    First off, Debs was describing the social order as it existed in his time, before some effort was made to reduce inequality (much of which has been lost since). Are you going to argue that anyone with a union manufacturing job in the 1950s should have longed to be back in an 1890s sweatshop? Was that our big mistake? Taking Debs’s criticisms seriously?

    I’m not a socialist. I’m an advocate of mixed economies. I think European social democracy works fine. I also think that’s what Bernie Sanders advocates, and I get annoyed seeing him rebrand it as “democratic socialism” (does it just sound hipper that way?)

    At an ethical level, it’s clear that capitalism is capricious in its rewards. That’s not even subject to dispute. There is no fucking way that today’s CEOs “earn” their salaries let alone their return on existing assets. However, I also believe it is sometimes understandable to hold out crazy lottery-like prizes for innovation. There may be a cost to really trying to even things out and reward in a reasonable fashion. The question is how much inequality do we need to keep the economy moving? Not as much as we have now. It is not that hard to fix. You tax the insane windfalls of unbridled “capitalism” (which often has less to do with business or innovation than outright market manipulation) and use the money for the public good. We moved in that direction from the 1930s until Reagan took office. We actually called it capitalism, though it was a mixed economy, and it worked well.

    Another thing, it is not theft, as libertarians would have it, because the notion of a fundamental right to personal property of billions of dollars is simply ludicrous. It is philosophically indefensible. Nobody can personally be entitled to that much wealth.

    The idea that every grotesque inequality of capitalism somehow directs us towards greater standards of living is merely a lazy, demented form of panglossianism (best represented by discredited “trickle down” economics). Few people actually believe it. Those whose interests it serves may pretend to.

  26. Porivil Sorrens says

    @15

    And if the west had followed his advice we’d probably be sending these comments in through the mail after having written them on typewriters (if you were rich enough to buy one).

    What a laughably soft criticism. If I had to trade computers for an end of capitalist exploitation, I’d laugh my way all the way to the smoke signal office. Imagine thinking that that a bourgeois luxury a bare fraction of the world has any access to as it is would be worth more than equitable standards of living.

  27. vucodlak says

    @ maeve57, #15

    Oh look, it’s the fool who was arguing that touching off a genocidal slaughter is an example of pacifism, and that bowing to a dictator’s every whim is the same thing as bravely standing up to that dictator.

    For today’s dose of ignorance, you argue that we wouldn’t have the internet without capitalism. Hmm… the same internet that was an outgrowth of government research? That internet?

    What capitalism did with the internet was monetize it. What capitalism has given us through the internet is abusive megacorps like Amazon and disinformation engines like Facebook. The agents of capitalism are hard at work strangling every democratic element of the internet to squeeze a few more pennies out of people with one hand, and promoting outright fascism with the other.

    I suppose you’re living proof that the promotion is working. You’ve already got the language, ethnocentrism, and capitalism fetish down pat.

  28. hillaryrettig says

    I’m listening to Rick Perlstein’s excellent histories of modern American conservatism and there seem to be a few states / institutions that have been WAY disproportionately evil in terms of their influence, and one is Indiana. Arizona (home to Barry Goldwater and more recent menaces) is another. And Orange County, CA is another.

    And the Catholic Church, of course – no one here will be surprised at that.

    Orange County has the military industrial complex. Not sure why Indiana and Arizona are so particularly bad, though, unless it’s that both are: (a) mostly rural and (b) also somewhat adjacent to liberal population centers, and so got the white/racist flight. (Happy to hear other / better theories.)

  29. unclefrogy says

    not sure how much military-industrial complex there is in Orange county out there most of that stuff is closer by LAX some how ever. What it did have is White Flight and a lot of fairly level farm land, orchards and vegetables and fruit (straw berries ) and freeways connecting to LA, there is not a lot of it that dates before the Korean war. It changing now how ever the minority population is growing I think its dominance in conservative politics may be shifting.
    Orange county was made by real-estate developers
    uncle frogy

  30. zenlike says

    After a certain person made a fool out of themself when they chose to spout of about international politics, I see they are now trying to spout something about my actual academic studies.

    Great. I eagerly await the empirical economical data. But first, the definition used re: socialism would be in order.

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