Sawicky bounces

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Sat Jun 6 10:23:39 PDT 1998

The next three posts bounced to me because Max Sawicky seems to have changed his address, and posted these from the old one.



Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 19:08:14 -0400 From: "Max B. Sawicky" <maxsaw at> Reply-To: maxsaw at X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.03 [en] (Win95; I) MIME-Version: 1.0 To: lbo-talk at Subject: Re: Invention of the white race References: <792223f8.35743fd8 at> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Thanks to Dan for his informed post, though I have major beefs with it.

Dhlazare at wrote:

> MBS is also mistaken in asserting that "Urban jewish populations did not
> swell with poor jews until after 1900." Not so; the urban Jewish population
> began to swell after 1880. By 1890, Jews were a major presence in New York
> and in many other cities as well. Ultimately, though, anti-semitism was not
> just a response to local conditions in the late 19th century, but an
> international phenomen. Antisemites were as up in arms over Jews in London
> and Paris as they were over Jews in New York.

This could be, but "presence" is not the same as a perception of hordes of unwashed undesirables, which later cohorts of Jewish immigrants were seen as, not least by German Jewish Americans who preceded them. Nor does this support the view that populists were pronouncedly anti-Semitic and anti-urban.

> Finally, Populist rhetoric was saturated with reactionary Jeffersonian-
> Jacksonian rhetoric. Consider this statement by LL Polk in 1892: "The time
> has arrived for the great West, the great South, and the great Northwest to
> link their hands and hearts together and march to the ballot box and take
> possession of the government [and] restore it to the principles of our
> founders" -- the alliance of the West, South, and Northwest, of course, being
> the great geo-political goal of the Jeffersonian-Jacksonians prior to the
> Civil War.

There is no anti-urban language here. It is consistent with an opportunistic use of Jefferson/Jackson. Populist economics--cooperatives and their monetary critique--had nothing to do with Jefferson and little to do with Jackson. Jackson killed the national bank as a tool of oligarchs, whereas the populists aimed for a new monetary/credit system.

> Of consider this 1890 statement by Kansas Populist leader Mary Lease: The
> West and South are bound prostrate before the manufacturing East" -- another
> evocation of the Jeff/Jack political strategy that was lso unlikely to play
> very well with urban workers.

This is not an anti-industrial statement, but one of the geographic sourceof their economic oppression, and a more or less accurate one. Railing against Wall Street is not anti-urban either.

> Finally, Warren Weaver, the 1892 Populist presidential candidate, referred to
> Jefferson and Jackson in the following manner: "The rugged utterances of
> statesmen ring out today like a startling impeachment of our time. ...
> is enough in them to completely transform and re-invigorate our present
> suppliant and helpless state of public opinion. Those declarations were
> uttered in the purer days of teh republic and before the various departments
> of government had seriously felt the balefult and seductive influences of
> corporate wealth and power." This, to my mind, is classically backward-
> looking, tory-radical analysis of capitalism, one that excoriates "corporate
> wealth and power" while at the same time seeking a solution in a return to
> some long-lost heroic period when men were men and women were pure.

This is some rhetoric, not an "analysis," and not representative of populisttheory. For the latter, you would need to quote from The National Economist, Southern Mercury, or somesuch.

> Jefferson hated banks, cities, markets, and manufacturing. His moral ideal
> was the self-sufficient Southern plantation and the Western subsistence
> farmer, both safely removed from the corruptions of commerce. This is
> precisely why the Populists looked to him fro inspiration.

JEfferson predates the populist heyday by nearly a century. The populistsand their forebears had come a long way over that period.



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