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Monday, December 17, 2007

South Dakota: More Radical Than You Think

Writing about Senator Pettigrew reminds me of an article I came across last summer on the good Senator's "middle-class radicalism" [George Novak, writing as William F. Warde, "A Forgotten Fighter Against Plutocracy," Fourth International, New York, February 1949, Volume 10, Number 2, pp. 53-57]. Sure, it's Marxist propaganda, but it's a fun read!

As a bonus, here's some wisdom from the esteemed Senator Pettigrew's book Triumphant Plutocracy (available, SDLN tells me, at DSU and DWU -- quotes courtesy of Wikipedia):
  1. "The early years of the [nineteenth] century marked the progress of the race toward individual freedom and permanent victory over the tyranny of hereditary aristocracy, but the closing decades of the century have witnessed the surrender of all that was gained to the more heartless tyranny of accumulated wealth."
  2. On the Republican Party: "It had come into being as a protest against slavery and as the special champion of the Declaration of Independence, it would go out of being and out of power as the champion of slavery and the repudiator of the Declaration of Independence."
  3. "The Russian Revolution is the greatest event of our times. It marks the beginning of the epoch when the working people will assume the task of directing and controlling industry. It blazes a path into this unknown country, where the workers of the world are destined to take from their exploiters the right to control and direct the economic affairs of the community."
I agree with Mr. Lauck that historians should embrace politics. If nothing else, history is more fun that way. But, at peril of mere non-sequiturial wordplay, I humbly suggest it follows that our politicians should embrace history, and South Dakota provides a rich and instructive history of independent thinkers like Pettigrew who could see the tyranny of plutocrats masquerading as defenders of freedom.

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