Reds! A Revolutionary Timeline: (Special Edition)

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by Jello_Biafra, Oct 6, 2010.

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  1. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
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    Declaration of the Rights of Workers and Exploited Peoples

    Ratified 7 October 1934

    Preamble

    With the victory of proletarian revolution in America, and the establishment of a soviet society and economy now achieved, the revolutionary government has the duty sweep aside the reactionary and oppressive remnants of the old order, which treated people, especially those deemed lesser than the dominant clique of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, as disposable tools.

    The dictatorship of the proletariat rejects the selfish and evil sentiment of class society that every man is for himself and let the devil take the hindmost. Freedom is more than just protections from undue abuse by the state. Individual freedom cannot exist without economic security, for necessitous men are not free men. People who are ostracized for their language, their nation, their race or their religion are not free. Women who are subjected to cruel dependency on men to support themselves and their children, and who must undertake the socially necessary but nonetheless unremunerated domestic labor that supports the basis for society, are not free.

    This declaration is a compact by the revolutionary workers of the Union of American Socialist Republics to establish a social order where everyone would be free from fear and free from want.

    Article I

    The strength of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is unity in diversity. While we hold the full compatibility of social and cultural self-determination with the revolution, no article of this declaration shall be construed as undermining the revolutionary democratic institutions of workers power.

    Article II

    The Union of American Socialist Republics is a nation of nations. Pursuant to this, all peoples have the right of self-determination, and thus the right to freely determine their political status, and pursue economic, social and cultural development.

    Article III

    The many immigrant nations of the UASR have the right to speak their language, and pursue their own social, cultural and religious practices within the UASR.

    Article IV

    The development of productive forces across the imperial possessions of the old United States, as well as many areas within the country proper, has been highly uneven and malformed by bourgeois political economy. All parties of the Union, including the all-Union government, shall individually and collectively take steps to provide economic, technical, and educational assistance, maximizing the development of eusocial productive forces so that all may benefit.

    Article V

    All parties of the Union, including the all-Union government, must ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights in this declaration. This article shall not be construed to prohibit the necessary protections women need as mothers and as a historically disadvantage sex to ensure they may enjoy equality of condition.

    Article VI

    All parties of the Union must ensure the equal right of all races, nationalities, and peoples to the enjoyment of all economic, social, and cultural rights in this declaration. This article shall not be construed to prohibit the necessary protections historically disadvantaged groups need against the legacy of disenfranchisement and prejudice to ensure they may enjoy equality of condition.

    Article VII

    1. All parties of the Union the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the free association of labor, the democratic management of economic life, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.
    2. To achieve the full realization of this right, the all-Union government shall organize technical and vocational guidance and training programs, policies and techniques to achieve steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual.

    Article VIII

    All persons shall have the right to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work which ensure:
    [FONT=&quot]a) [/FONT]Remuneration which provides all workers with fair wages and equal remunerations for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular with respect to race, sex, or nation;
    [FONT=&quot]b) [/FONT]Safe and healthy working conditions;
    [FONT=&quot]c) [/FONT]Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than seniority and competence;
    [FONT=&quot]d) [/FONT]Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays;

    Article IX

    All parties to the present declaration shall ensure:
    [FONT=&quot]a) [/FONT]The right of everyone to form and to join alternative trade unions of their choice, subject only to the rules of the organization concern, for the promotion of their economic and social interests. No person exercising this right shall be excluded from membership in, nor be sanctioned in anyway by, the official trade union federation. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others;
    [FONT=&quot]b) [/FONT]The right of all trade unions to establish national federations, and the right of trade union federations to form or join international organizations;
    [FONT=&quot]c) [/FONT]The right to strike, limited only by restrictions prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public order or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others;

    Article X

    All persons shall have the right to social security, including social insurance.

    Article XI

    All persons shall have the right to an irreducible minimum of resources to ensure an adequate standard of living. All persons have the right to freedom from want, especially freedom from hunger, subject only to the limitations of the level of the development of productive forces.

    Article XII

    Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing. All parties of the union must take reasonable measures within available resources to achieve the progressive realization of this right.

    Article XIII

    Everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water.

    Article XIV

    All persons shall have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This shall include, but not be limited to:
    [FONT=&quot]a) [/FONT]The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality, and for the healthy development of all children;
    [FONT=&quot]b) [/FONT]The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;
    [FONT=&quot]c) [/FONT]The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other disease;
    [FONT=&quot]d) [/FONT]The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness;

    Article XV

    Every child has the right:
    [FONT=&quot]a) [/FONT]To a name and a nationality from birth
    [FONT=&quot]b) [/FONT]To family care or parental care, or to the appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment
    [FONT=&quot]c) [/FONT]To basic nutrition, shelter, health care services and social services
    [FONT=&quot]d) [/FONT]To be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation
    [FONT=&quot]e) [/FONT]To be protected from exploitative labor practices
    [FONT=&quot]f) [/FONT]Not to be required or permitted to perform work that is inappropriate for a person of that age, or places at risk the child's wellbeing, education, physical or mental or social development.

    Article XVI

    Everyone shall have the right to free education, directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups.

    Article XVII

    Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state, subject only to the reasonable restrictions of national security and public order, as determined by national security juries.

    Article XVIII

    Everyone shall have the right to take part in cultural life; to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its application.

    Article XIX

    All persons are guaranteed freedom of scientific, technical, and artistic work. This freedom is ensured by broadening scientific research, encouraging invention and innovation, and developing literature and the arts. The state shall, as permitted by the level of development of productive forces, take steps to provide the progressive realization of the necessary material conditions for this and support for voluntary societies and unions of workers in the arts. The rights of authors, inventors and innovators are protected by the state.

    Article XX

    The all-Union government shall take progressive steps to organize the introduction of inventions and innovations in production and other spheres of activity.

    Article XXI

    To promote the further development of productive forces, and realize the abolition of toil, the UASR shall take progressive steps to socialize domestic labor.

    Article XXII

    Any direct or indirect restriction of the rights of, or, conversely, any establishment of direct or indirect privileges for, citizens on account of their race or nationality, as well as any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness or hatred and contempt, is punishable by law.

    Article XXIII

    The UASR shall afford the right of asylum to foreign citizens persecuted for defending the interests of working people, or for their scientific or cultural activities, or for their struggle for national liberation.

    * There are some textual borrowings from the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the 1936 Soviet Constitution and the South African Constitution.
     
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  2. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Revolution Retrospective

    Since the ill-fated attempt to install a pliant anticommunist regime in Washington, the world had been turned upside down. America was once the beating heart of the world capitalist system. Now she is the headquarters of an authentically global communist revolutionary movement. A storm of revolution has swept across almost the entirety of the New World, with local revolutionaries joining hand-in-hand with their neighbors to answer the call to arms.

    At the center of this maelstrom, William Zebulon Foster is the American Revolution personified. More than any man living, he embodies the American experience of class struggle, its own internal frictions, its prides and its prejudices.

    Born the son of poor Irish immigrants, never completing formal education, working a string of hard, dangerous and ill-paying jobs for much of his young life, Foster was the last person anyone would expect to amount to anything. In his youth, he'd left schooling and an apprenticeship as a die-sinker to take up dangerous industrial work to help support his family.

    Class struggle became his education. He joined the Socialist Labor Party in 1901. Barely twenty years old, became he very quickly recognized as a fiercely effective and intelligent organizer in the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. Never employed in any one job for very long, he became an organizer-at-large for industrial unionism, agitating in everything from sailors and longshoremen to lumberjacks. All the while, he immersed himself in the theory class struggle, reading the old Marxist classics as well as new works streaming in from Europe. He became fluent in German and French, wrote critical appraisals of Kautsky and Bernstein, and became a leading figure in the fight to organize steel workers.

    Like many low and mid-level labor leaders, he found himself drafted into the military. He served in the navy for three years, starting in 1915, owing to his sailing experience. He found the experience not much worse than the hated conditions aboard the merchant ships he'd worked on.

    With the armistice, Foster returned to the class war. During the Biennio Rosso, his reputation within the party soared. Intelligent, resourceful and authentic; he could appeal to the rank and file as well as the intellectuals, and speak in both lingoes fluently. He ran for US Congress in 1920, winning a seat to represent his old home town in Philadelphia. He reached true national prominence in the 1921 SLP National Convention. He had criticized the Bolsheviks from the left during the Biennio Rosso, but the arguments made by luminaries like Debs, Reed and Hilquit convinced him that the future lay with the nascent Communist International.

    Now a newly baptized Bolshevik, Foster divided his time between intellectual pursuits and organizing. He became finance secretary for the Spartacus League from 1923 to 1926. During this period, he secured funds from the Soviet government to support the League's operations. He began his lifelong friendship with Harry Haywood in this post. The two would hammer out the Party's "Southern Strategy," to harness the great revolutionary potential of Southern blacks and poor whites.

    As Haywood had put it, "Foster approached the issue of Negro equality with the level of zeal that only a guilty conscience can provide." Foster talked openly of the experience of his youth; as a teen he'd been part of the gang activity endemic among working class youths. In that culture, ethnic bigotry, especially against blacks, was a major focus of activity. The Southern Strategy would serve to bring about a new class consciousness among American workers, which would equate racism with class treason.

    This would be put into practice in 1926 when Foster stepped down from his post in the Spartacus League to join the Politburo of the WPA. He worked hard to include a continued emphasis on ethnic interunity in the Party's organizational mission. His success was hard won.

    When the Great Depression hit, all of his careful preparation would have to turn into action. He had feared that the WPA was losing its edge. Like the SPD before it, it had become a veritable state-within-a-state. Under its organizational umbrella, a large array of independent proletarian civic organizations had flourished, from youth groups to art societies to hobby collectives. With capitalism in crisis, the task of pushing workers back into militancy was paramount. As the leader of the opposition, and one of the most influential members of the Politburo, Foster would use the umbrella organizations as weapons of the class war.

    The need was clear: all aspects of life were political, and the workers needed to be reminded of this, to have that drilled into them. In the lead up to the fateful 1932 election, Foster was unambigiously a man from the party's left; increasingly critical of the Bolshevism he had once pledged to, against all capitulations to reformism.

    While his faction had won the day at the convention, in the aftermath the party's more rigid elements moved to reassert control. Foster condemned the WPA's support for MacArthur's ascension to Secretary of War as "Letting a rabid dog into the house." His criticism of the rightward turn, the no strike pledge and of the naïve trust they had in the guardians of the bourgeois state earned him a stint in the political wilderness. He was removed from the frontbench after the victory, condemned to being "kicked upstairs" to the increasingly impotent Senate.

    He was in Chicago, meeting with allies in the unions and the Spartacus League when the coup began. Amidst the devastation of the Party's leadership, he made a pact with his old rival Earl Browder to take the reins and fight back. He organized the All-American Central Committee for Anti-Fascist Resistance with another stalwart of the left, Martin Abern. Soon, he was tapped to lead the Provisional Government itself.

    As head of government, he proved brutally effective in war. His compassion was unencumbered by sentiment, and he did not balk at the necessary evils. While he lamented that social transformation proved to be a murderous process, he borrowed Marx's own formula: terror was the midwife of revolution, easing the pains of a new birth.

    The Red Terror began on his watch, and he would see it through to the end of the Civil War and the establishment of the new system.

    With the revolution all but won, he met with British Prime Minister Baldwin in Toronto in December. By all accounts, he was rough and abrasive to his British counterpart. He did not varnish his words. There was no talk of "peace in our time", or a return to normal relations. The friendship between Great Britain and America was over, and Foster did not mourn its loss. While British support for the White cause was ultimately inconsequential (advisors, some ineffectual tanks, and decent aircraft), Foster never forgave them for it. It was proof to him of where the next war would come from. So in his dealings, he talked only of a pact among thieves: the nascent UASR would continue commerce with Britain much as before because it was in their interest to do so. Britain would do the same. A settlement on private and public debt owed to British nationals would be hammered out.

    He would return to Washington, "the ill-fitting capital of a revolutionary republic" as he'd called it, to news that MacArthur had fled to Cuba. With the war won, Foster would set his sights on winning the peace.

    The First Cultural Revolution

    The following updates will consist of an examination of the dimensions of what would later be known as the First Cultural Revolution, a period roughly from 1934 to 1940 that would herald dramatic changes in all facets of American culture and society, from politics, economics and religion to recreation, art and even personal relationships. To begin, I offer you excerpts from Murray Bookchin’s foreword to Paul Avrich’s seminal work on the period, A Return to Eden: A Social History of the Cultural Revolution (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1984).
    We normally live completely immersed in the present—to such a degree, in fact, that we often fail to see how much our own social period differs from the past—indeed from a mere generation ago. Events that we celebrate, cherish and immortalize become removed from the time and circumstances of their own epoch. Disconnected from their own circumstances, events of history become the free-floating ideological debris of our own age, constantly filtered and re-filtered through the discriminating lens of the historian. But as a result, our sense of history is impoverished. It becomes the burden of those of us who had borne witness, as well as those who consider themselves to be proper students of history, to cut back the veil of time and breathe life into the dead past so that we may fend off the cycle of historical tragedy and farce.

    In my own lifetime, I have seen world capitalism brought to its knees by a crisis of its own making. I have lived through the counter-revolutionary junta of the American master class, and manned the barricades during the revolution. I’ve watched fascism cover the whole of Europe in a terror never before seen in the world. I, like everyone else of my generation, took up arms to defend the country of my birth as well as the country of my mother’s birth. I saw firsthand the results of Stalin’s wanton betrayal of the revolutionary movement. I too gasped in awe and horror upon seeing the news reels of the harnessing of the power of the atom, and the liberation of Nazi death camps in Central Europe. Had these tragedies alone been our legacy as a species, we would have already had our share of blood spilt.

    But new horrors would follow the Second World War. The world evermore divided itself into armed camps. The last of the Imperialist powers, the Franco-British Union, recovered its strength and clutched onto its colonies ever tighter, while Dewey and Bulganin sapped the vitality of the world revolutionary movement in their struggle to control the Comintern and the path that international communism would follow. The only way to go was down. Each passing year brought more warheads, more powerful nuclear weapons and deadlier means of delivery. Our collective race to suicide was sad and terrifying. The world over, we saw the end of the classical worker’s movement, its revolutionary potential negated by the march of history.

    ...At some point, we must ask, where did this all begin? We hear often of the good that came from the Revolution. Where did it come from? And how?

    This is where Avrich’s book comes in. As his own words show (see Preface), Paul began writing this book seeking to answer exactly these questions for the high school history students of America. As with many of the great history texts, a commission from the People’s Secretariat for Education set the ball rolling, but hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals devoted their time and effort to making this book possible. I am proud to have contributed in my own way to this project. As Karl Marx noted, “History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this.”
    Excerpts from the AH.com thread "The First Cultural Revolution: top-down or bottom-up?"

    Fundamental Principles of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (Ratified 12 December 1934)


    We the peoples of the Union of North American Socialist Council Republics, having succeeded in winning our initial liberation from class dictatorship, must resolve never to surrender the freedom we have won. In establishing our workers' republic, we recognize that our state is a transitional state, serving as a channel for popular democratic power and a guardian against counterrevolution at home and reaction abroad. With the final victory of the world revolution, when unity among all peoples is achieved, the barriers of nation-state, class, caste, and language are torn down, the workers' states shall too dissolve into a universal brotherhood of man.

    But until that day, the victories of the Revolution shall not be surrendered. The political foundations of the dictatorship of the proletariat shall be an entrenched law, protected by the armed masses from threat of reaction or counterrevolution.

    Article I

    The political apparatus of the workers' republic shall always adhere to the principle of democratic centralism. Political power derives from the base. Each Soviet Congress shall only have power over matters that substantially affect the constituents it represents. Policies of broader scope must be decided, at least, by a plenum of all Soviet Congresses affected, or through the superior Soviet Congress.

    Article II

    There shall never be more than three degrees of separation between the masses and the All-Union Congress of Soviets.

    Article III

    Democratic self-rule requires openness. The dictatorship of the proletariat is an open society, and all functions of government must be accessible to the public all times. Information may only be held secret in a manner decided by law. Classification must be reviewed by revolutionary security juries selected from the general population. The workers' republic may punish for breaches of lawfully held secrets, but protection must be rendered to those who violate official secrets in the act of exposing malfeasance.

    Article IV

    The well-governed republic depends upon the creation of a better way of life than office-holding. The institutions of state, political parties and other political organizations must develop rules and procedures to limit careerism and the establishment of a new class.

    Article V

    The right of recall shall be protected for all elected political offices.

    Article VI

    Any patronage of substantial value is prohibited.

    Article VII

    Terms of office in the Soviets are limited to two years. The Soviets shall be working bodies, with dual legislative and executive functions.

    Article VIII

    Land, water, forests, minerals, and wildlife shall be common property. All private property in these areas is prohibited. Title shall be granted based on use, but all holders shall be protected from arbitrary revocation of this right.

    Article IX

    The International Workers' Solidarity Union shall be the backbone of the socialist-syndicalist economy. Solidarity shall be subject to the norms of democratic centralism. The right to form alternative trade unions is protected.

    Article X

    The planned economy shall operate under principles of democratic centralism. All enterprises shall be comprised of a free association of workers, who shall elect their leaders in a manner congruent with general law. All workers in state enterprises and critical industries shall be represented in the Council of the National Economy.

    Article XI

    The revolution shall be preserved by the arming of the masses. The propertied classes, counterrevolutionaries, parolees, and the insane shall be disarmed. The Soviets shall maintain arsenals to provide for the arming of the masses.

    Article XII

    The political and civil rights of the revolutionary armed forces shall be protected. Soldiers and sailors shall be represented by their duly elected soviets, and shall elect officers in a manner consistent with the needs of revolutionary defense.

    Article XIII

    The workers' republic is committed to the advancement of the world revolution, and the attainment of the higher stage of communism.

    Article XIV

    The attainment of communism is predicated on the reduction of toil, the development of productive forces, the end of man's alienation from his labor, his fellow men, and from nature. The workers' republic shall take affirmative action to bring about uniform international development.

    Article XV

    The workers' republic has the power to prohibit groups hostile to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the free order and liberties it protects. All civil servants and elected officers must swear to defend the dictatorship of the proletariat. All people have the right to resistance against those who would abolish this constitutional order.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
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  3. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Overview: All-Union Government during the First Cultural Revolution

    All-Union Congress of Soviets, II Congress (16 February 1934 – 28 March 1936)

    1881 members

    Workers' Communist Party: 985 seats
    Democratic Farmer Labor Party: 525 seats
    Democratic-Republican Party: 170 seats
    "True" Democrats: 120 seats
    Independents: 81 seats

    Central Executive Council of the Congress of Soviets, II Congress

    231 + 53 members

    WCP: 171 seats
    DFLP: 68 seats
    DRP: 45 seats

    I Presidium of the Congress of Soviets (2 August 1933 – 31 October 1937)

    Secretary-General of the Presidium: Upton Sinclair
    Deputies: Harold L. Ickes, Aubrey Willis Williams, Hubert Harrison, Sam DeWitt, Haim Kantorovitch, Rosa Pastor Stokes

    Central Committee (Foster I)

    Premier: William Z. Foster (WCP)
    Deputy Premier: Robert LaFollette Jr. (DFLP)
    People's Secretary for Foreign Affairs: John Reed (WCP)
    Attorney General: Crystal Eastman (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Defense: Martin Abern (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Labor: Emma Goldman (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Finance: Clarence Edwin Ayres (DFLP)
    People's Secretary for Foreign Trade: Walter Lippman (DFLP)
    People's Secretary for Agriculture: Henry A. Wallace (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Education: John Dewey (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Public Safety: J. Edgar Hoover (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Railways: Robert Taft (DRP)
    People's Secretary for Communication: Max Eastman (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Maritime Transport: Joseph Ryan (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Energy: Burton K. Wheeler (DFLP)
    People's Secretary for Manufacturing: John Pepper (WCP)
    People's Secretary for Light Industry: Theodore Roosevelt Jr (DRP)
    People's Secretary for Construction: John Fitzpatrick (DFLP)
    People’s Secretary for Culture: Louise Bryant (WCP)
    People’s Secretary for Welfare: Vito Marcantonio (WCP)
    Chairman, State Planning Commission: L.E. Katterfield (WCP)
    Chairman, Academy of Arts and Sciences: Eugene O'Neill (Nonpartisan)
    Chairman, Union Bank: Robert A. Brady (WCP)
    Speaker of the CEC: Benjamin Gitlow (WCP)
    Chief Whip, CEC: Jay Lovestone (WCP)

    Membership of Key Organs in the Workers' Communist Party

    Central Committee

    75 members, elected by biannual Party Congress.

    Initial breakdown
    Liberation: 14
    Vanguard: 30
    Democratic Centralist: 23
    Fabian: 8

    Secretariat of the Workers' Communist Party

    Secretary-General:Earl Browder
    Communications Secretary: Alfred Wagenknecht
    Nationalities Secretary: Langston Hughes
    Other Senior Secretaries: Alice Paul, Louis Fraina, Benjamin Gitlow, John Brophy, Jacob Panken

    Politburo

    Earl Browder, Abraham Cahan, James Rorty, Morris Rapheal Cohen, William Z. Foster, A. Phillip Randolph, John Dewey, L.E. Katterfield

    Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal of the UASR

    Chief Justice: Louis Brandeis
    Associate Judges: Roger Nash Baldwin*, Samuel Leibowitz*, James Clark McReynolds, Roscoe Pound, Harlan F. Stone, Owen Roberts, Benjamin Cardozo, John J. Parker,

    *appointed post-revolution

    Excerpts from Politics of the UASR, 5th Edition (Glasgow, UK: Progress Publishers, 2005)[/FONT]

    Progress Publishers is a self-styled left-wing independent publishing house. Originally an arm of the Comintern's Education International, the pressure of the Cold War has led to a parting of ways in the 60s. It primarily publishes academic textbooks, both domestic and international focus, as well as providing local editions of American and Soviet books of historic import.

    Political historians generally refer to the period from 1933 to 1948 as the “First Period” of American party politics. As noted by the eminent political historian V.O. Key, the First Period’s political alignment grew from three defining factors (1955). The first, often ignored in discourse on the subject, was the long and painful development of the Workers’ Communist Party in the terminal period of the United States. From its founding in 1876 as the Socialist Labor Party, the Party would play a critical role as the crossroads of left-wing and revolutionary politics in the Second Republic period, the period extending from the resolution of the first Civil War until the beginning of the second.

    Under late capitalist society, the Socialist Labor Party represented a diverse and often seemingly contradictory constituency. Motley syndicalist miners mingled with prairie socialists among yeoman farmers. Immigrant radicals in the cities often came into fierce conflict with native workers in the Party. The party’s intellectual constituency was conflicted as well. The hardline Marxists intellectuals among the immigrants and radical youth clashed with the moderate visions of the radicalized Progressive reformers (Kahn 1964). Nevertheless, the trials caused by the Party’s opposition to the imperial adventures in the First World War unified the party under a genuinely radical, revolutionary platform while maintaining the critical ideological diversity necessary to avoid slipping into autocracy after the revolution.

    The second key event in the development of the First Period was the dramatic upheaval caused by the Great Depression and subsequent Revolution and Second Civil War. The Depression would provide the key stimulus to dispelling false consciousness among sections of the American populace that had previous remained indifferent or even hostile to the aims of socialism, and realigning vast sectors of the American electorate for the 1932 general election (Chambers & Burnham 1972).

    The third key event was the split of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the First World War. The ascendency of the populist faction in the 1918 midterm elections, and their subsequent losing battle over control of the party machinery gave birth to the revolution's second force, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Southern Populists, trade unionists, Christian Socialists and, admittedly, more than a few labor skates among the Southern plantation elite had created a new center of power in the Democratic Party that was willing to adapt to changing political winds (Bensel 1984). During the February Crisis, the previously reformist DFLP were progressively won over to the revolutionary position by Upton Sinclair's persuasive idealism less than William Z. Foster's pragmatic insistence (Trotsky 1948).

    The existence of genuine multiparty competition following the Revolution provides a clear contrast between the Soviet and American experiences. This was an intentional feature agreed upon by the revolutionary leadership. Earl Browder encouraged continuing alliance with the DFLP in the form of the United Democratic Front, and even the admittedly minimal participation of the Democratic-Republicans, formed by the anti-putsch members of the bourgeois parties.

    The legitimacy of the revolution depended on the preservation of pluralism. While seditious counterrevolution was ruthlessly suppressed by the Red Terror, there remained limited channels for legal parliamentary opposition and protest. Ideological diversity, both within and outside of the party, was the key factor in distinguishing the relative success of the American socialist experiment from the blunders and atrocities of the Soviet experiment (Hartz 1955).

    The defining characteristic of the First Period of party politics is the overwhelming hegemony of the Workers’ Communist Party on the political, social and ideological fronts. The Party routinely polled above 60 percent in national elections during this period. The Party was a coalition partner in every state, and in only a few occasions did they play the junior party to the DFLP.

    In the final days of the Second Republic, the Workers' Communist Party had been a state-within-a-state, running parallel civic organizations, a paramilitary army, an intelligence apparatus, and many free associations such as the local soviets which existed in a dual power position against the bourgeois state. Post-revolution, the governing, judicial and economic apparatuses were subsumed into the framework created by the Party (Draper 1961).

    Before the revolution, while the federal government had assumed a commanding role in a few spheres, the dominant political actors were the states. Post-revolution saw immense transfers of power to the local and all-union spheres at the expense of the states. Localities achieved increase autonomy, especially cities, which became coherent political-economic units. Metropolitan areas were rationalized under a single government. The localities, whether the cities or the rural counties, developed institutions of participatory democracy in the local soviets and the popular assemblies. The local institutions, supported by block grants from the states and all-union government, became the primary allocators of housing, health care, and social aid.

    The professional police forces were replaced by the paramilitary police militias. Professionalization was discouraged. Instead, it became prevalent to "serve the revolution" by spending a stint in the police militia, like one might serve their country in the military and then move onto a different career.

    The American tradition of secularism was strengthened into a general policy of state atheism. Education sought to discourage superstition. Religion was regarded, politically, as a private affair, and the state took a very dim view on religious exemptions to generally applicable law.

    The Cultural Revolution, a complex amalgamation of grassroots action from below and the dictata of the Party, dominated domestic politics. The workers' republic, secure in its New World fortress, adopted Trotsky's permanent revolution as a guide for domestic life. "Forward, always forward," was Workers' Party Culture Secretary James P. Cannon's motto. The guns of the Civil War had not even been silenced when the revolution against reactionary culture began.

    It began with assaults on the symbols of reactionary culture. Mobs of poor Southern whites had worked together with poor blacks at arm's length in the revolutionary struggle against the planter class and their Putschist allies. This alliance continued through the process of de-Planterization. Monuments to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy were torn down. Cities, streets and schools were renamed. School teachers exhorted their students to rip out the "reactionary propaganda" from the old history textbooks when new ones were not available. This process occurred in tandem with the collectivization of agriculture and industry (Kennan 1971).

    The New South was not a picture of racial harmony. Only the larger political project of revolution and economic development maintained the alliance. The establishment of the African National Federal Republic, an autonomous socialist republic created in the Black Belt by land ceded from the Southern states and the dissolution of the State of South Carolina, encouraged a trend towards self-segregation. Within the ANFR, the black political majority pursued economic development and cultural rebirth with the patronage of the national government (Macnair 2002). The white minority, approximately 35 percent of the population, didn't suddenly abandon generations of racialism. By and large, the racial malcontents simply left. Those more amenable to the new order remained, and some whites, both from the North and South, emigrated in pursuit of economic opportunity.

    Within the ANFR, the black population were quite poor, but no longer lived in constant terror of White terrorism. But much of the country's black population remained living outside the ANFR. The Party sought to give both sides their due in pursuit of peace, resulting in compromises that were acceptable to neither side. The cause of racial justice was harmed by Communist moderation. An endemic low-level conflict occurred across the South until the start of the Second World War. White reactionaries terrorized blacks. The African National Congress faction of the Workers' Party fought back, establishing multi-racial militias to secure the peace. Barely tolerated under the auspices of the Red Terror, men like Harry Haywood waged a guerilla war against KKK remnants with propaganda, strikes, armed confrontation and firing squads (Zinn 1984).

    The violence of the South sorely tested Langston Hughes' "Nation of Nations" strategy. Elsewhere, it bore more peaceful fruit. The Sequoyah Autonomous Socialist Republic was established from land ceded in eastern Oklahoma. The solidarity politics of the pre-revolution era were more peaceful in the former Indian Territory. And while Sequoyah would not be Indian majority, its new constitution strengthened Indian cultural expression, and established the first framework for polities not defined strictly by geographic location. The 1934 Law of Nationalities repealed blood quanta for determining racial identification. The Indian tribal republics were empowered to establish their own generally applicable standards of tribal membership. In the Sequoyah ASR, and the Seminole, Black Hills, Navojo ASRs established later in the 30s, the bonds among the people would be determined by oath and way of life, not by blood. Whether by adoption or intermarriage, many modern Indian tribes have substantial European membership.

    Beyond taking the first concrete steps in ending the legacy of White supremacy in America, the Cultural Revolution would deeply change the balance of power between men and women, and the domestic sphere. In a mix of revolution from below and from above, the personal and the political became intertwined. The revolutionaries cast off laws defining and punishing obscenities, rejecting this control of bodies as reactionary feudal holdovers now uncritically accepted as bourgeois public morality. The Metropolis Autonomous Socialist Republic became the leader in this libertine crusade. When peace returned in early 1934, and the factories and shops shifted from supporting the revolutionary war effort back to domestic economy, it became clear that the artists, bohemians, and the workers who looked up to their example were the new political power in the great city-state.

    They repealed laws against public indecency. Bourgeois body-shame became a new snarl word. Sections of the population embraced naturism and the free expression of the body's natural beauty. All censorious injunctions against the press had been rejected. The all-Union government repealed laws prohibiting the use of the mail system for the distribution of "obscene materials". Condoms, family planning, marital aids, and erotica were all legalized.

    Metropolis further led the way in 1936. The pre-revolution laws criminalizing sex-work were repealed. After a bitter political battle, the "Red Garters" trade union was accepted into the Solidarity union. A trade union composed of sex workers, the Red Garters waged a class war against pimps and exploiters since before the revolution. Now legalized, and with the Metropolitan Red Militia(1) as their ally, they won the battle for liberation. Representing prostitutes, burlesque performers, the workers of public bathhouses, and the support staff, the Red Garters established rules for the industry that would ensure that the work would be safe and fair.

    The other red banners of the revolution would follow in Metropolis' lead. California's intellectual radicals and artists were the first to adopt the legalization regime pioneered in the East. The revolutionary heartland in the "Steel Belt" followed not long after.

    These revolutions came hand in hand with the dramatic changes in the roles women played in the larger economy. Of the close to one million people who served in the Red Army, Red Guards, Spartacus League, Minutemen, Black Brigades and other revolutionary militia during the Civil War, nearly twenty percent were women. A million more had taken up traditionally male professions in the factories and machine shops to support the war effort. Those who had taken up the sword of the revolution would not return to quiet domesticity.

    The Cultural Revolution would not only see women continue to penetrate traditional male roles in the military, militia, law, factory and trades, but also see the beginning of a domestic work revolution. The socialization and rationalization of domestic labor would become a new crux of the revolution, which united both feminist firebrands and the world revolutionists in a common cause.

    The workers' republic, they decided, would not squander the labor and genius of half its population in inefficient domestic servitude. The family would not be an organ of domestic production, but an association built on bonds of trust and solidarity. The cities and collective farms would be the battlefronts of this new revolution. Communal living was emphasized. Multiple families or individuals living together could more productively spend their leisure time. Tiresome domestic chores could be performed more efficiently as a professional service. Laundromats, using modern labor saving technology, became another spear of the revolution. Housekeeping services slowly transitioned away from the image of a servile maid serving the rich to a service provided by unionized professionals to the communal living system. Men, both bachelors and married, found less and less shame in the traditionally female domestic labor.

    Child care was socialized. The community crèches established safe systems were working men and women could have their children learn and be watched over while they worked or took part in politics. Socially supported by community governments, they have become pillars of the American way of life.

    The politics of education dramatically changed during the Cultural Revolution. The old school system, with its class based tiers, regimented classrooms, and parochialism was on its way out. The old boarding schools for the children of the wealthy were reorganized as academies for the best and brightest.

    In fits and starts, the old norms of the classroom were replaced by new democratic norms suitable to a revolutionary society. The new Secretariat for Education took a role in guiding this process, ensuring a just outcome across the nation. New resources for training and retraining teachers were offered. The new system emphasized teachers as leaders and collaborators instead of dictators. Students were not tied to assigned seats and desks. They did not have to ask permission to use the bathroom. Critical thinking and learning as doing were the new standards. It would be a necessary ingredient in returning the divided population into feeling like a single country again, especially with regards to the country's checkered, complicated history.

    The battle for history consumed most efforts. The cynicism of the 20s and Great Depression had greatly marred public perception of the canons of America's past. The educators sought to salvage what was good from the past while remaining in touch with its faults. In this regard it was hoped to soothe the malcontents who felt that the revolution was consumed by hatred of the nation's history and leaders.

    America as a work-in-progress was the new tone. The good done by past leaders and movements was remembered, and their faults were not forgotten. The revolutionaries hoped to continue this trend. As People's Secretary for Education John Dewey argued, "It is my fondest hope that our children see us for as we are, not as saints or sinners, but as a flawed people seeking to build a more perfect union. Just as we must now mourn the suffering our ancestors had inflicted upon one another over race or class, and yet still commemorate the good work they did in fighting evils like slavery, we must raise our children to carry the flag forward, to forget neither the good nor the evil we do, and commit once again to building a more perfect union."

    However, the Communists themselves were not without their discontents. The dissident factions and affinity groups of the Workers' Party that would one day split it and form new social movements were already active in the 30s. While groups like the prairie and mountain based Independent Socialist Labor Party, the ethnic solidarity groups like the African National Congress, the American Indian Movement and the Asiatic Council, and the socialist feminist Women's Revolutionary Union would remain under the umbrella of the Workers' Party in this period, their activity signaled the internal stress the Party underwent in power. Keeping the many groups within the party, from anarcho-syndicalists aligned with Emma Goldman to the moderates in the vein of Thomas Dewey, was a chore in itself, and certain compromises would inevitably favor some groups over others.

    The eminent historian Norman Thomas Washington attributes the birth and growth of the African National Congress to the growing consciousness within the African community, and among intellectuals especially, to the limitations within the Marxist framework. Marxism’s economic reductionism, as many African leftists came to realize immediately after the Revolution, left it ill-equipped to conceptualize and address the uniqueness of social and cultural realities that are, at best, only tangentially related to questions of economics and class (Washington 1989). The ANC's increasing militancy, and the controversial and outspoken leadership provided by leaders such as Richard Wright was an important step in the development of post-Marxist political theory. The ANC would eventually become home to some of the most poignant critics of the reigning Marxian orthodoxy in the 60s and 70s, including Malcolm Little, John Henrik Clarke and Angela Davis.

    The Independent Socialist Labor Party, originally a left-social democratic holdover from the formation of the Comintern, found a new home in the mines and collective farms of Montana. Drawing on the tradition of independence of the Western Federation of Miners, a new cadre of ISLP leaders arose, such as theoretician Mike Mansfield. The ISLP stressed independence from DeLeon-Debs, decentralization, and intercommunal solidarity in the extractive regions of the Northwest and the prairies.

    The birth of the ISLP's growing influence in the Party belied the notion that Marxian socialism could do away with economic conflicts in society. While class conflicts had been sequestered (at least mostly, as even critics of the alleged class conflict such as Michael Albert admit), the potential for sectional conflicts still remained. The extractive nature of the economies of the Rocky Mountain and Prairie provinces placed them in economic subordination to the industrialized regions in the East, Pacific West and the new South. Raw materials, whether in agriculture or natural resources, remained volatile commodities, subject to price fluctuation and low surplus value under the Union’s planned economy. For the same reason that farmers and workers in these periphery regions turned to the Communists before the Revolution, so they began to split from them afterwards (Bensel 1984).

    The opposition during the First Period remained in a constant state of flux for the most part, adapting and re-adapting to remain relevant in the world turned upside down. Overall, the DFLP collaborated more than it opposed. While the party’s message was confused in the immediate wake of the Revolution, the party quickly adopted the banner of Marxism, world revolution and the future of pure communism. At the pivotal 1936 National Convention in New Orleans, the new party constitution declared the DFLP was a fellow traveler of “Christian Communism and Liberation Theology...” in support of “...the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.” The Party’s New Orleans Program widely lauded many of the fundamental economic policies instituted in the past three years by the Communists. However, the DFLP distanced itself from the more radical libertine and solidarity cultural stances taken by the Communists, thus tapping into discontent over the radical upheavals of the Communist’s radical egalitarian and libertine cultural policies.

    The Democratic-Republicans took a more pink stance. Socialism as free association, drawing on the mutualism of Proudhon and shades of the individualist anarchism of the American luminaries of the tradition, they maintained a strong connection to the classical liberal tradition. In this regard they became the party of tepid support for the revolution by nationalists, and those of classical liberal persuasion. "Free trade and free love" declared one banner by college supporters of the DRP.

    The so-called True Democrats, by contrast, suffered disaster after disaster in this period. The arrest, imprisonment and even assassination of many of the True Democrats’ prominent leaders during the Red Terror crippled the party. Party offices were routinely raided by Public Safety agents, and numerous “black bag” burglaries were conducted by Public Safety’s infamous Section 9. Undercover agents infiltrated the party, creating networks of paid informants to disrupt and neutralize the effectiveness of the party (Churchill & Wall 1990).

    The climate of paranoia created by the official disruption campaign would develop disastrous rifts within the True Democrats. The above-ground parliamentary party was no longer willing to shield the underground resisters and putschist holdovers in the party. Tensions mounted as party workers accused each other of being informants or undercover agents. The situation at times bordered on farce; one infamous incident involving a Louisiana party local has become an omnipresent joke about government incompetence. A party local in Monroe was staffed and attended by a roll of party “members” consisting entirely of undercover agents and paid informants from Public Safety, the Louisiana Red Militia, and the local parish militia.

    These tensions came to a head in 1935, when the True Democrats nearly disintegrated as a party. Major sections of the party abandoned legal pretenses and chose to focus solely on underground resistance to the new government. Facing financial ruin, the moderate elements of the party often left politics all-together, or became willing informants to the Public Safety services.

    The True Democrats won their right to continued resistance within the traditional halls of government according to several controversial rulings by the Supreme Revolutionary Tribunal, but the continued trend towards sabotage and even terrorism led to several short-term bans of the party for being an "unconstitutional antidemocratic conspiracy."

    The True Democrats would only disarm at the outbreak of the Second World War. The war effort against fascism would finish where the Civil War, Red Terror and Cultural Revolution had left off in consolidating the Revolution. The war effort would solidify the controversial transformations of economic and social policy, entrenching the socialization of domestic labor and the expanded role women played in the military and economy. The fascists provided a convenient external visualization of the forces the revolutionaries were fighting at home, serving to further discredit reaction and give new boons to revolution.

    With the war drawing to a close in both the European and Pacific theaters, the brave new world of the future loomed on the horizon. The end of the war would mean the first general election in six years. A month after the final surrender by the Empire of Japan, the Popular Unity Government disbanded. The DFLP and DRP both left the United Democratic Front to pursue their own course, and the Workers' Communist Party itself was riven by factionalism.

    While there is still some debate on the subject, the general scholarly consensus on the subject is that the First Period came to an end in 1948. The reasons for why this occurred can be easily understood. The broad electoral coalition that united under the banner of the Workers’ Communist Party had largely achieved all of its consensus goals by 1940. The Left in the party wanted to continue pushing “forward” while the Moderates had largely been satisfied by the party’s accomplishments in economics as well as social issues. The changing geo-political realities created by the Second World War further intensified this divide. The Left saw the devastation caused by bourgeois and capitalist reaction, and vowed "never again." The Permanent Revolution would go forward, inexorably to victory, and a powerful Comintern would be the face of this world Revolution.

    The Moderates considered this unwise adventurism, blind to the realities of nationhood. As the new center, the revolution had already achieved their consensus goals. Unwilling to compromise American nationalism so fully, they were more skeptical of the Comintern, wary of the Soviets, and hoped to see a peaceful transition to socialism in the Franco-British Union. In the 1948 convention, the Left accused the Moderates of allowing the reactionaries unlimited time and resources via the Truman Plan to reconsolidate their position, and begin the Cold War. The Moderates fired back that the Left's adventurism had led to an all too predictable turn to reaction for very little gain in the world revolution (Key 1955).

    The division in the Party would prove irreconcilable. When no consensus could be achieved, the moderates broke from the Left in the Congress of Soviets, caucusing as the Labor faction in opposition. The Left, under the Liberation banner, could hold no majority in either the Congress or the Central Executive Council. From this precarious position, they governed for three chaotic months, putting off demobilization until a new emergency convention could be convened.

    The emergency convention agreed to a peaceful separation. By mutual agreement, the old names of Socialist Labor, Workers' Party and Workers' Communist Party were off the table. The Liberation Communist Party formed around the caretaker ministry of Henry Wallace, who would only continue as Premier until new elections could be held. The Communist Labor Party took to the opposition benches under the leadership of Jack Stachel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
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  4. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Excerpts from The History of Soviet America, (London: Penguin, 1975)

    A university level history textbook, groundbreaking in its atypical neutral tone, and use of both internal and external sources to discuss the history of the UASR. It went out of print following the 1979 crisis and faded from popular consciousness before the advent of mass internet culture. Its subsequent rediscovery as a curiosity from the era of détente led to renewed interest, and an expanded second edition, covering the years following 1975, was announced.

    Chapter IV: From War Syndicalism to State Socialism

    Key Terms:

    Collective: A “high-level cooperative,” where all productive resources are held in common.

    Cooperative: An economic enterprise run by an association of workers.

    Mutual: A “low-level cooperative,” typically agricultural or housing. A voluntary association in which members pool shared assets for mutual benefit, but retain private ownership of some assets. In a mutual farm, the mutual owns productive assets such as tractors, irrigation, etc., while land remains in the hands of the individual members.

    State socialism: An economic system based on a tripartite balance between state investment and planning, cooperative enterprises, and market mechanisms in allocation and exchange.

    War syndicalism: Economic policy of the American Civil War, an ad hoc arrangement in which unions took a commanding role in organizing production for the war effort with state assistance

    ----

    America’s civil war had been relatively short. This did not mean that the damage, in both blood and treasure, was negligible. Recent studies have estimated that nearly fifty-five thousand soldiers died on the battlefield or from related industries. A further thirty thousand civilians perished from collateral damage, hunger and pestilence in 1933 alone. Sociologists estimated another twenty thousand excess deaths occurred during the winter of 1933-34, due to de-housing, disruption of infrastructure, and famine.

    Much of the provisional government’s business was occupied with distributing food and fuel, and finding accommodations for the many hundreds of thousands who find their lives disrupted by the civil war. The previous ad hoc economic arrangements—War Syndicalism—continued throughout the winter. While the left was setting the agenda in the Congress of Soviets, especially in shaping the constitutional basis of the new union, in the actual administration of government the right was making its presence felt.

    While the Workers’ Party had a mass of enthusiasm and shop-floor expertise, it was stymied by a lack of experience in administration. The new right-wing of the political spectrum, which encompassed farmer-laborists such as Mike Mansfield, progressive liberals such as Theodore Roosevelt III, and the ranks of the recently converted in the military and the civil service. By necessity, Foster’s government would rely upon their experience in the formative years of the UASR.

    The new Basic Law was ratified on 15 March 1934, establishing the basic forms of the workers’ republic. As previously agreed upon, the Congress of Soviets dissolved itself for new elections. The new republic’s first election, scheduled for 6-8 of April, would meet the minimum criteria for a free election. Free speech and assembly would be protected, and all the major parties were given space to propagandize and debate. Even the restrictions on the counterrevolutionary “True” Democrats were relaxed. It however, would not be a competitive election. The three largest parties in membership, the Communists, the DFLP, and the DRP, were united in an alliance. The election would serve only to establish the relative balance of power within the United Democratic Front.

    The Front had its own line which it enforced based on the principle of democratic centralism. In practice, the UDF’s line was mostly an agreement between the party leaders that certain issues would remain uncontroversial. Whatever misgivings one had about the Red Terror, the hardline on racism, the suppression of counterrevolutionary organizations, a member of the Front would not raise these issues in the election or as part of debate.

    The parties did compete in certain avenues. But it was well understood from very early on that the Communists would lead the governing coalition by weight of membership, and expected to carry the day in most political disputes.

    The resulting II Congress of Soviets convened on 16 April. Acting President Upton Sinclair was confirmed as the Secretary-General of the Presidium at the opening of the day’s proceedings. He addressed the Congress, outlining the challenges facing the new republic, and the necessity of bold action. Often called the “What is to be Done?” speech, Sinclair’s words would be broadcast across the entire country, and repeated in extracts in news reels around the world.

    In his speech, Sinclair summarized “the state of the world proletarian revolution.” The workers of the world, he argued, “have captured a beachhead in the center of global capital. The tyrant has retired across Caribbean to reign in hell rather than serve in heaven, but this is not the end of the world revolution. It is not even the beginning of the end. The American proletariat has united in the universal purpose of abolishing class domination. They control the most advanced and productive industrial economy in the world, the very fulcrum of the global economic system, but the task is far from over. It is not the beginning of the end; rather the end of a beginning.”

    The American economy was still on life support. War Syndicalism had maintained production for the anti-fascist war effort, but the system of requisition and command economy could not be maintained. Economic normalization would prove to be a trying, often painful process, necessitating balancing numerous material and ideological interests.

    The friction had begun even before the ink had dried on the nation’s constitutional documents. The provisional government had begun the transition to normalization in January. Foreign Secretary Reed had reached a preliminary agreement with the British and French delegations regarding outstanding debt owed to the United States as well as nationalization financial institutions. As part of the agreement, the revolutionary government made certain guarantees about the status of property owned by foreign nationals.

    Practical concessions were made to get the economy back on its feet, and assuage the fears of the more moderate fellow travelers of the revolution that the nation would descend into an austere Bolshevist autocracy. The new economic policy sought to balance pragmatic economic considerations with the dictatorship of the proletariat. Limited spheres for private ownership would be permitted.

    Outside of the state owned core enterprises, economic activity would be organized either by cooperatives or petty producer private holdings. Private enterprise was retained with strict limits on wage labor and rentier behavior. Private land plots were restricted in size. The small shops and family businesses could employ limited wage labor, provided they obeyed closed shop and collective bargaining rules; restrictions in the size of wage labor force would be set by the trade union.

    Cooperatives would follow their own framework; in essence, a limited liability corporation with a workers’ association as majority stakeholder. This allowed third parties to invest through stock ownership while still preserving the irreducible program of worker control.

    The new economic policy faced a tumultuous road to passage. After its presentation at the Party Congress on Monday, 22 January 1934, howls of protest came from the left wing factions. Four days of debate were scheduled to put a lid on the rancor, which in several instances broke into fistfights among the party deputies. Party General Secretary Earl Browder took the floor on Tuesday to personally present the case for the “basic socialism” of the policy.

    In a surprising move, Browder outlined a left communist case for the cautious program. After a short excursus on the dynamics of international capital, he argued that the American revolution’s position as a beachhead against world capital, the move to fully communist relations would be impossible. Communism must be, in Marxian terms, a world system, integrating the productive capacities of a critical mass of the world into a united framework. Without this necessary condition, the construction of more advanced communist relations, fully abolishing private property, money, and wagedom would be unfeasible. The limitations of productive forces, technics, and the necessity for defense against counterrevolution were roadblocks that could only be overcome in time, after a “dual campaign” against both the threat of external reaction and the development of technological forces.

    Browder defended his thesis with the first official statements by the Workers Party leadership on the limitations of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the bureaucratic deformations that developed in the Soviet Union. While he employed the language of excuseology, Browder’s critical remarks drew some protest from the Soviet ambassador, Sergei Kirov, who had attended the Party Congress as a guest.

    Solon DeLeon, a stalwart of the Party’s left wing, cross-examined Browder tenaciously, focusing his questions on the General Secretary’s historical materialist analysis. Browder handled the questions excellently, quoting from Das Kapital from memory, and citing more recent analyses by the German Marxist economist Paul Mattick. Satisfied with Browder’s answers, DeLeon moved from the opposition camp to a position of critical support, though this would not become apparent until the next day of debate.

    The Harvard University political economist and latter day communist Abraham Cheshire(1) spoke next. Cheshire, a co-author of the policy, defended the program on its technical merits. He focused on the role the central government would play in undoing the legacy of bourgeois market failure, directing resources to get the nation back to work, and utilizing its productive capacity to benefit the multitude. He likened the preservation of private incentives to “greasing the wheels” of industry. It would serve as a lubricant to enable efficient allocation of resources. The Solidarity Union leader Guy Firenze(2) grilled him in cross examination. Cheshire, to his credit, stayed on message, and emphasized the strong protection of worker power in the compromises.

    The next day’s business was dominated by more critical voices. DeLeon voiced his concerns about the potential for bureaucratic deformation, and the threat of a new class forming within the ranks of the planning apparatus. Clarence Ayres, another Veblenite economist, argued that the chair’s projections for economic recovery were overly optimistic, and criticized the numerous gray areas in the plan.

    The proposal was ratified on Friday. The final vote tally, after a number of amendments were made to the proposal, gave state socialism just over a 2:1 margin in support. The truly difficult work would come in the months ahead, as Foster’s government began to put the policy into practice.

    [FONT=&quot](1) [/FONT]Fictional.
    [FONT=&quot](2) [/FONT]Fictional.
     
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  5. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    The Central Committee of the CEC

    Premier: By convention, the office of Premier of the Central Executive Council is held concurrently with the office of Chairman of the Central Committee as well as Vice-Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Committee, a party-state organization controlling military policy.

    The Central Committee Office, formerly the Executive Residence of the POTUS, often called the “White House,” serves as the venue for Central Committee meetings. Additionally, the Premier and the Central Committee’s support staff maintain offices in the White House and its expanded wings.

    Constitutionally, the Premier is first among equals. They chair meetings, and typically hold high office within their party. While by convention Premiers show deference to the other members within their portfolios, they are also the enforcer of the party line, and typically set the agenda for the legislative session.

    In case of absence or incapacity, the Deputy Premier exercises the functions of their office. In cases when the Premier is incapacitated or passes away, the Deputy Premier makes preparations for permanent succession. The Premier may voluntarily recuse themselves, or be declared incapacitated by a majority vote of the Central Committee, or by the Presidium of the Congress of Soviets. All such declarations must be confirmed by a full quorum of the CEC, and any disabilities may be removed by the CEC by a simple majority vote. Legally, the CEC must be convened whenever disability is declared.

    Speaker of the CEC: The presiding officer of the CEC, the Speaker manages debates and maintains decorum of the chamber. Unlike the Westminster Speakers, the Speaker of the CEC does not renounce party affiliation. However, in spite of their position within the Central Committee, they typically do not play a major role in party politics and administration. Instead, they coordinate the Central Committee’s role as the steering committee for the CEC.

    Because they must both serve the needs of the government as well as fairly protect the rights of the opposition, the Speakership is typically reserved for elder statesmen figures, often selected with input from the opposition. It is a demanding role that requires considerable excellence in statecraft to be considered.

    Chief Whip of the CEC: The right-hand of the Premier, the Chief Whip enforces party discipline within the chamber. Typically, this is the end point for a certain type of Party member’s cursus honorum; few go on to hold higher offices within the state, lacking the administrative drive or technical knowledge that People’s Secretaries hold.

    The Whips are the communication link between the backbenchers and the leadership in the CEC. While they enforce the party line, they also serve to carry grievances to the leadership.

    The People’s Secretaries: The heads of the executive secretariats and chairmen of legislative committees in the CEC, the People’s Secretaries work directly with the members of the chamber, and serve as the link between the government and the civil service. They hold office in the Capitol Building as well as the headquarters buildings of their Secretariat. They are assisted in their duties by a Deputy People’s Secretary, in practice a Party member not serving as a deputy in the CEC, often with relevant technical knowledge in the Secretariat. The Deputy People’s Secretaries typically work most in the executive and administrative side of the role, but do also work with members of the CEC, including the opposition.

    People’s Secretariat for Foreign Affairs

    Preceding Agency: United States Department of State

    Headquarters: The Jacobin Building, DeLeon City, Debs Commune

    Executive: John Reed

    Foreign Affairs, like its bourgeois counterparts, manages diplomatic negotiations with other states, maintains diplomatic consulates and embassies, and receives diplomatic envoys on behalf of the All-Union government. Foreign Affairs also manages the revolutionary state’s role within the burgeoning Communist International.

    While ostensibly the Party had given Foreign Affairs the mission of “promoting peace among all nations and peoples”, it also served a darker purpose. Foreign Affairs provided the legal face for espionage infiltration of the bourgeois powers of Europe.

    Reed established the mold that future foreign secretaries would follow. Widely recognized as the number two man in the Central Committee, Reed personal charisma, intellect and connections across the movement gave him tremendous influence even in domestic policy. Within his own sphere, Reed worked tirelessly to strengthen American-Soviet relations. After several months of secret negotiations, Reed returned to DeLeon DC with the finished Treaty of Leningrad.

    The treaty established a permanent strategic alliance among socialist states. Signatories would be committed to a mutual defense and trade pact under the auspices of the Comintern. The various articles committed signatories to defending Comintern states from foreign aggression, maintaining free movement of labor and economic trade amongst them, and committed the advanced states to providing development aid and technical assistance to the developing worker-peasant run “people’s republics” in the Global South.

    Reed also managed several rounds of tense negotiations with his British counterpart Anthony Eden. After the initial settlement of debt and foreign trade questions, Reed sought to secure a more lasting peace. However, Eden would not budge on the Cuba question, rejecting the American government’s position that the Republic of Cuba had been occupied by an illegal, fugitive regime. Britain continued to affirm its desire to defend Cuba, as well as its Commonwealth realms from any communist infiltration or attack.

    The biggest point of contention was Canada. As part of the backlash against the revolution, the British government began to exert more control over the Dominions, even in measures of domestic policy. Canada’s Tory government was forced by realpolitik to maintain strong trade relations with the UASR, but could do nothing to prevent the home country from militarizing the border. Nor could they avoid the pressure to essentially double the size of the standing military, restructuring the Permanent Active Militia into a professional Canadian Army with a command hierarchy increasingly interwoven with the British military establishment.

    Foreign Affairs would also serve as an arm of the world revolutionary struggle. Through its operations, the UASR would legitimate rebel movements in South America, and push left-nationalist/communist coalitions into power. By 1936, only a handful of holdouts remained clustered around Brazil and the European dependencies. The rest of South and Central America had reliably been pulled into the Comintern camp, with only a display of military strength on the part of the American government.

    Reed’s work in China to negotiate a peace and power sharing agreement in the Chinese Civil War was perhaps his greatest legacy. It was a major propaganda coup for the American government, earning Reed the 1936 Nobel Peace Prize (a highly controversial decision), as well as permanently pulling the Republic of China into the Comintern’s orbit.

    People’s Secretariat for Justice

    Preceding Agency: US Department of Justice

    Headquarters: Fiat Iustitia, DeLeon DC

    Executive: Crystal Eastman

    During the reorganization of the federal government, the Department of Justice’s duties were split between the People’s Secretariat for Justice and the new People’s Secretariat for Public Safety. As part of the division of labor, the criminal and civil justice systems would remain within Justice, while the police power functions were transferred to Public Safety, with the exception of the Marshals Service, which would remain as the direct servant of the courts, tasked with the apprehension of fugitives.

    Crystal Eastman, a tested revolutionary and specialist in criminal law, chose to keep the position of Attorney-General during the transition from provisional to constitutional government in spite of her failing health.

    She faced a hefty workload. The role played by the central government had expanded greatly during the revolution and civil war, and it could not comfortably return to the laissez-faire of the pre-revolution era, where the states held the preponderance of power. The patchwork of different conflicting state laws had only been exacerbated by the revolution. Foster tasked Eastman with developing a policy of “synchronization,” an all-union legal framework, accompanied by reforms to be adopted by the states, that would put the institutions of the states firmly on a revolutionary footing.

    “Synchronization” soon became the catch-all term for the Party’s legal, institutional and cultural reforms during the Cultural Revolution. The first task was the re-establishment of the federal courts. To preserve continuity, and throw a bone to the pink members of the new establishment, Eastman proposed retaining a large percentage of the judiciary and legal establishment, only purging the most recalcitrant. Vacancies in the courts could be filled with tested communists, and so long as the system of legal education was under the control of the Party, the deadwood could be removed in the fullness of time.

    The Secretariat for Justice also established a Commission for Legal Reform, composed of top law professors, criminologists, and Party appointees, to bring the criminal and civil codes of nation into line with social science and the new revolutionary order. Their proposed Uniform Criminal Code, published in 1936, and subsequently adopted by the all-Union government and a majority of the states, standardized and clarified legal definitions, and systematized the elements of crime. As part of the reforms of criminal procedure, the UCC codified the guarantees of due process protection granted by the organic laws adopted by the Congress of Soviets, and for the first time codified the process of jury nullification.

    The ink had not dried on the laws establishing the People’s Tribunals when the first round of trials began. Foster had preferred to deal with the matter quietly, and focus public attention on the positive program of the Party. Eastman disagreed; the new order would be solidified by public justice. Browder agreed, and Foster reluctantly accepted. Twenty top defendants, including Brigadier George C. Marshall and Charles Coughlin, were to be tried publicly in Chicago for their counterrevolutionary offenses.

    The trials had a veneer of due process. The judges were pre-revolution appointees. The People’s Tribune presented a case that, legally, hinged on them being traitors for making war against the United States. But it would be naïve to pretend it was anything but a show-trial. It was very clear that the prosecution’s rhetoric hinged on the defendant’s counterrevolutionary actions, not their treason against the moribund old republic.

    Given the composition the venue, deep in the heart of the revolution, the composition of the jury (the propertied classes and their supporters having been disenfranchised by the revolutionary regime), and the zeitgeist meant there was no possibility of anything other than a conviction. The legal protections of due process were observed in careful pageantry. Given the public and infamous nature of the defendant’s actions (Eastman carefully ensured that those who were absolutely guilty as sin were given any media attention), the lingering question for historians is whether there was any miscarriage of justice.

    Some of the best lawyers of the era, many of them tested communists, fought very professionally and valiantly to defend their clients. Their due process rights were respected, and the new constitutional documents afforded defendants even broader protections than the 1787 Constitution. In spite of all this, in the period of the First Cultural Revolution, two thousand four hundred sixty-seven persons were condemned to die in a very public campaign, the Legal Terror. Tens of thousands more were convicted of lesser crimes and sentenced to harsh prison sentences.

    Main Directorate of the People’s Tribunate

    The executive side of the People’s Tribunals, the MDPT represents the state in civil and criminal cases as the successor the United States Attorneys. In addition, the People’s Tribunes and their staff were placed in a supervisory position over state and local judicial systems to monitor ongoing reform efforts, and, if need be, indict state officials for their miscarriages of justice.

    All-Union Corrections Agency

    Established to bring federal oversight to the state prison systems as well as manage the federal prisons. The All-Union Corrections Agency is responsible for the incarceration and rehabilitation of those convicted of “non-political” crimes. Crimes against the revolution are the responsibility of a separate institution under the Public Safety secretariat.

    At the behest of the Party’s left-wing, Corrections began a serious study on prison reform. The veteran labor lawyer Felix Frankfurter took over as Director-General in mid 1934 to spearhead this effort. The Frankfurter led Commission for Prison Reform published its summary report in early 1935. It was a scathing political document, tinged in the language of class struggle, that broadly condemned the brutality of the prison systems inherited from the old Republic.

    In his testimony before the CEC, Frankfurter recommend “cleaning house with an iron broom.” Not just the personnel and the procedures, but also the very buildings themselves, were enemies of justice.

    Frankfurter’s reforms were hard fought. He secured the passage of an amnesty program, which granted full pardon to thousands of convicts for property crimes, and clemency for many petty criminals under the logic that their crimes were the social disease of an unjust system and could not be held fully culpable for being forced to survive in inhumane conditions.

    Marshals Service

    The enforcement arm of the courts, the Marshals provide security in court proceedings, retrieve fugitives of justice, and compelling compliance to federal subpoena and summons. Due to their limited scope, and pre-revolutionary institutional heritage, they are the least political of the all-Union law enforcement bodies.

    People’s Secretariat for Defense

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of War, US Department of the Navy

    Headquarters: August Willich Complex, Arlington, Debs Commune

    Executive: Martin Abern

    The People’s Secretariat for Defense is the one major exception to the general rule of Secretarial independence. The Defense Secretariat is only one cog in the party-state’s control of the revolutionary military forces of the UASR. The real command authority in the military is vested in the Workers’ Party’s Revolutionary Military Committee and its mirror in the all-Union Revolutionary Military Committee. The two organizations are nearly identical in membership. During the period from the revolution to the splinter of the Workers Party, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Committee was held by the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party, the Vice-Chair by the Premier of the CEC. Other core members were the People’s Secretary for Defense, the People’s Secretary of Public Safety, the Chief of the Defense Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Chief of the Political Commissariat.

    The Revolutionary Military Committee, along with the People’s Secretariat for Defense, exercises the principle of civilian control of the military, though this principle is highly confused by the Party’s direct control of the military, and the high-ranking officers being important members of the Party in their own right. Colloquially, the whole complex is often referred to with the Russian loanword Stavka (“headquarters,” from the old Russian ставка – “tent”, i.e., the commander’s tent.), but within the military, Stavka refers to the General Staff Commission, the senior uniformed leaders and main command of the armed forces.

    The agenda for the Defense establishment had been set by Foster very early in the new era. The next conflict was assumed to be against the British Empire; the Defense Secretariat began its preparations almost immediately. The various partisan militias that had composed the Civil War era Revolutionary Army were forged into a single professional body. The cream of the crop of veterans were cajoled into staying in the military.

    The Revolutionary Defense Act of 1934 established the framework of the military system. One-year compulsory social service was introduced, implementing the constitution’s “armed mass of the whole people” doctrine. All citizens, upon graduating high school or reaching the age of majority would be inducted into the People’s Defense Militia. The PDM is a training force; the one year of service is spent training in military arms and procedure, basic vocational education, and doing social work alongside the Public Works Commission. Upon completion, conscripts can return to civilian life as part of the People’s Defense Reserve, or join the states organized militias (Red Guards), or the professional military (the Revolutionary Army and Navy).

    Reservists are subject to call in periods of national emergencies, and may be periodically required to take refresher courses to maintain reserve readiness.

    While many apolitical or White officers who served (and surrendered) honorably continued to serve in the professional military after being cleared by the Party’s Control Commission, in practice they were increasingly sidelined by a cadre of younger communist officers, even in the thoroughly bourgeois Navy brass. Some, such as General of the Army John J. Pershing, continued to hold high position in the command hierarchy, but their subordinates tended exercise more actual power within the military.

    It was the officers who led the Red Army to victory in the Civil War that would shape the new era. The combined arms, deep operations advocates like Patton, Chaffee and Eisenhower held the most sway. Through their connection to the Party, whether by sincere belief or early defection, they held the political power necessary to overcome the military’s institutional conservatism.

    The expanded ranks of the professional military helped to absorb some of the ranks of the mass unemployed from the Depression. And if you didn’t believe in the revolutionary mission already, the thorough penetration of communist doctrine among the senior NCOs, the junior officers, and the educational program instituted by the political commissars made sure you believed it by the time you became a seasoned soldier.

    The Navy brass, starved by arms treaties and the Depression, suddenly found an abundance of funds flowing their direction. The Revolutionary Military Committee had a very simple directive: take mastery of the high seas from the Royal Navy. They were more than happy to bankroll the necessary naval architecture to make this a reality. A core of twelve new battleships were ordered as a “New Standard” class; fast battleships sharing a core of machinery and armor arrangements. Later designs were modified into a super heavy design to challenge the Japanese Yamato class and British Lion class super heavies. In addition, six (later eight) new carriers were ordered to replace the two experimental carriers that acquitted themselves well in the few naval battles of the civil war. Cruisers, destroyers, tenders and submarines were ordered to support the new capital ships.

    The Revolutionary Military Committee overhauled ship naming conventions to fit the new revolutionary era. New battleships and battlecruisers tended to be named after legendary heroes with appropriate qualities for the revolutionary era, or after martyrs of past revolutions such as Wat Tyler or Maximilien Robespierre. Carriers were named after events, battles or qualities of revolutionary importance (e.g., Haymarket, Toledo, or Solidarity). Cruisers and destroyers were named after works of art or song with fitting symbolism (e.g., John Brown’s Body, Forbidden Land, Fields of Athenry).

    While the Navy had paramount importance due to geographic reality, the Army was not neglected in rearmament. Mechanization was the order of the day, and the People’s Secretariat for Defense worked with the new nationalized defense collectives to procure top of the line tanks, artillery and aircraft to fit its guiding doctrine of revolutionary war.

    As part of the Comintern STANAG, much equipment would be standardized between the American and Soviet armies. The 7x51mm Pedersen was adopted as the primary infantry cartridge. The ground forces adopted the M1 Garand rifle, and eventually a complimentary machine gun, the MG-5, chambered in that caliber, replacing the 7.7x58mm Springfield cartridge, though the latter continued to be used for a time by the Army Air Forces as a light aircraft machine gun caliber.
     
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  6. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    People’s Secretariat for Labor

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of Commerce

    Headquarters: 1 World Revolution Plaza, DeLeon City DC

    Executive: Emma Goldman

    The Labor Secretariat, established out of the husk of the old United States Department of Commerce, would quickly grow into one of the most important instruments of the workers republic. As established in its organic act, Labor would be the link between the day to day policy of the all-Union government, and the trade union federations.

    In this regard, it would be somewhat administrative and technocratic. It would work with the unions to set most internal regulations on work and safety. The cornerstone of the state socialist system would be the Labor Relations Act, ratified on 17 July 1934. The act established the Central Labor Commission, a semi-independent agency to serve as the umpire for enforcing labor law in the workers’ republic.

    The act would serve as the enforcement mechanism for the constitution’s guarantees of worker control of the means of production. To prevent the formation of new class relations, the act established a system of universal trade union membership. Small private businesses, cooperatives and state enterprises alike were required to hire union members, allow for collective bargaining and other ironclad guarantees of worker rights. This would serve as a check against the power of management, especially in the state industries and large cooperatives.

    Beyond collective defense of labor rights, it placed the trade unions, whether as part of the primary Solidarity union federation, or independent trade unions, in the role of finding work for their members. Jobseekers would be directed by their trade union’s employment commission towards suitable work. Workers hired outside of the employment commission system would be required to join, as per the collective bargaining agreement.

    The Labor Relations Act prohibited most child labor under the age of 16, and strictly regulated the work hours and safety for workers between 16 and 18 years of age. A standard forty hour work week was established, though unions and enterprises could establish shorter standard work weeks if they wished. All work over forty hours in a given week would be paid at a time and a half rate. Additionally, work hours outside of the normal work day would receive additional compensation. Hours worked between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. would be paid at time and a half.

    People’s Secretariat for Finance

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of the Treasury

    Headquarters: Treasury Building, DeLeon City, Debs Commune

    Executive: Clarence Edwin Ayres

    The social chaos caused by revolution, civil war and collectivization left the nation’s finances wrecked. Clarence E. Ayres had as provisional Treasury Secretary begged, borrowed and stolen to keep the provisional government afloat, war production stable, and the armies in the field fed and supplied. He’d inherited the job after two previous secretaries had proven to be unfit for the job.

    As hostilities began to wind down in October 1933, Ayres was appointed to chair the Workers’ Party’s Financial Commission, a special body tasked with overhauling the federal and state tax systems.

    Ayres and his fellow commissioners worked three months to research and develop their initial proposal before presenting it before the Party Congress in January 1934. The proposal was as much propaganda as practical policy; the system rebranded taxes as “social dividends.” Ayre’s “Social Dividend System for the New World Economy” rebuilt the tax code from scratch.

    In place of personal income taxes, the bulk of union and state revenue would be provided by a “social dividend” paid by economic firms out of surplus value. Consequently, accounting practices would be overhauled in Marxian terms. A firm would report surplus value to the Internal Revenue Commission, the value generated by economic activity after paying for inputs, upkeep and reinvestment in capital, but before wages or other dividends are paid out. A percentage of surplus value—the social dividend—would be paid to the all-Union government.

    The system was flexible, allowing rates to be set progressively, and allowed deductions and credits to be applied to tailor tax policy to different industries and avoid unfairly harming thin margin economic activity.

    Additional revenues would be collected from a land tax paid by title holders to the all-Union government on the principle that land was common property. The tax rate was based on zoning; a farm would pay a different rate per hectare than a factory or residential dwelling.

    People’s Secretariat for Foreign Trade

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of State Office of Trade Affairs

    Headquarters: Edward Bellamy Plaza Plaza, Manhattan, Metropolis

    Executive: Walter Lippman

    Foreign Trade as an executive agency elevated to full cabinet position in the new republic. By necessity, Foreign Trade works closely with Foreign Affairs, and its People’s Secretary is often considered to be a prospective candidate for the Foreign Affairs job.

    Its task is simple: negotiate bilateral trade relations with foreign states, represent the UASR in the Communist International’s Council for Mutual Economic Assitance (COMECON), and provide technical advice to the Central Committee about trade policy. Walter Lippman, a respected public intellectual and party functionary, was elected to the new position in 20 March 1934. As chair of the CEC’s Foreign Trade Committee, he had little legislative experience, often delegating much of the work relating to legislative affairs to his Deputy Secretary Louis Waldman.

    Lippman’s most important work was the economic protocols in the Treaty of Leningrad. With the advice of many of the Party’s up and coming economists, Lippman worked with the Soviet delegation to produce an economic framework for mutual benefit and development for the Comintern.

    The battle against the protectionist spirit, both at home and abroad, was the primary obstacle. Lippman envisioned the Comintern presiding over a global free trade pact among socialist states, in which labor and capital could be exchanged freely by worker councils and cooperatives. His outline proposal established an international development bank, a monetary commission, a trade council, and an industrial standards agreement, available to Comintern aligned nations for the purposes of streamlining trade, resolving disputes, ensuring fair labor standards, and promoting the aim of world socialism through economic development.

    After intense negotiations, balancing the preservation of sovereignty with the needs of the global proletarian movement, a modified version of his outline paper was established as the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance. The first meeting of the COMECON Executive Committee, in the spring of 1935, would establish the International Standards Organization, which established uniform international standards for everything from train track and loading gauge to Romanization schemes for languages.

    Bilateral trade talks between the UASR and the bourgeois powers of Europe consumed much of Foreign Trade’s workload for the 1930s. Bilateral tariff reductions, and ongoing labor issues with the Atlantic merchant fleets dominated discussions. “Bolshevism,” it seemed, rubbed off on the sailors and dockworkers of Britain, France and Spain. Britain feared the growing power of the trade unions, and their ties to DeLeon Debs would lead to a de facto collectivization of her merchant fleet lifeline. But the UASR’s state policy forbade port entry to ships and companies not up to strict labor standards, regardless of what flag they flew. At times, the WFRN stopped and searched merchant vessels to investigate claims of mistreatment on the high seas, and only released the ships and cargoes after they recognized the sailor’s unions or whatever demands the captain made, a practice the Royal Navy condemned as little better than piracy.

    [FONT=&quot]It is a small wonder that Lippman or his successors achieved any resolution at all to these questions, and only weeks before the outbreak of hostilities with Nazi Germany.[/FONT]
     
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  7. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    Location:
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    People’s Secretariat for Agriculture

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of Agriculture

    Headquarters: Richard Owen Plaza, DeLeon DC

    Executive: Henry Wallace

    American agriculture, particularly in the Great Plains, was in a serious state of crisis when the Revolution began in early 1933. Low crop prices, massive land repossession, and drought conditions had already plagued Midwestern and Western communities. As these drought conditions continued to worsen, the agricultural crisis reached its terrible apogee. The Dust Bowl, in which millions of tons of topsoil were blown away, ruined millions of hectares of farmland. The drought would continue to worsen leading into 1934, prompting one of the most drastic government industrial reorganizations in history.

    An agricultural research task force, formed under the provisional government, spent the winter of 1933-4 analyzing the economic and ecological crisis facing agriculture in America. Their final report, delivered to by Secretary Wallace to the Central Executive Council, outlined a systemic crisis going back decades. In giving away over one million square kilometers of land to homesteaders, the federal government had set in motion a perfect storm of sociological problems.

    Homesteaders, many of whom had little or no experience in farming, especially in the climate of the Great Plains, had adopted a lethal mixture of poor farming practices that overexploited the soil, and exacerbated erosion. The homesteaders were not subsistence farming peasants, but petty-producers integrated into the national capitalist market. Free land had led to a glutted agricultural market, especially as new technologies increased yields.

    Capitalist farming had proven to be a crisis-prone ecological disaster. At the Party leadership’s insistence, Secretary Wallace, a moderate from the right-wing of the Party, began a drastic reorganization of the nation’s agricultural economy.

    General Order No. 131 had ordered the seizure of all land, chattel, and capital from MacArthur Junta supporters along with the large landlords. This Civil War policy was put into law at the cessation of hostilities. The land itself was constitutionally defined as public property, along with all natural resources. Land, mineral, forestry and fishing rights would be established by a joint federal/state agency, the Land and Natural Resource Trust. Under this system, land use would be regulated according to principles of common good. Despoiling the land could lead to penalties or the revocation of stewardship.

    Those holding stewardship titles were required to farm or otherwise work the land provided in their title to maintain rights to it. The amount of land stewarded was limited the amount that a single family, with no hired help, could reasonably be expected to cultivate (this limit based on household size of the title holder).

    Using a mixture of carrot and stick, small farmers would be persuaded to rationalize their holdings. A combination of debt forbearance, technical assistance, capital aid and other economic incentives were established to promote the formation of farming cooperatives. Land that had been most severely affected by the Dust Bowl would be nationalized outright. Agricultural collectives would be established from the despoiled land as well as the former plantations. The government-sponsored collectives, patterned off Palestinian kibbutzim, would use techniques of soil conservation and industrialization to re-cultivate the land.

    In addition to education projects to aid farmers in ecological land use, mechanization was promoted. Labor freed up from the land by the spread of mechanized agriculture would go into education or the growing cooperative sector, in local light industry or services.

    A National Agricultural Research Center was established in 1936to continue developing and promoting new methods of increasing crop yield through more productive, hardier breeds, more efficient fertilizers and pesticides, and farming techniques.

    People’s Secretariat for Education

    Preceding Agency(s): Federal Education Commission

    Headquarters: Benjamin Franklin Building, DeLeon DC

    Executive: John Dewey

    Education reform would prove to be an organic part of the Cultural Revolution. At times bottom-up, at others top-down, education reform discarded many of the old norms of hierarchical instruction. As many in the Party hoped, the purpose of education would no longer be to make competent factory workers or obedient soldiers. Instead, education would serve to raise thinking, reasoning and politically participating “socialist citizens”.

    John Dewey would play a pivotal role in guiding this process. A veteran academic, and theorist of progressive education (among many other subjects), his school reforms would affect all levels of education, from kindergarten to the university. As part of the program, traditional models of education emphasizing the regimented classroom with the dictatorial teacher would be discarded. The Deweyite school would place far more emphasis on active critical thinking and democratic discourse than it would on concerns such as attendance or punctuality. Problem solving and critical thinking would be promoted hand-in-hand with cooperative projects and civic service. Individual homework would be discarded in favor of collaborative projects; each individual would succeed or fail not only on their own brilliance, but on cultivating the talents and cooperation of their peers as well.

    The new educational models heavily reflected Marxist-DeLeonist ideology. While the full effect of the new educational models, rapidly implemented in the mid-’30s, would take decades to observe, there was little doubt among proponents and detractors that it would achieve much of what it aimed. What differed was only whether those effects would be reflected positively or negatively. Would the thinking, engaged democratic citizen be in practice little more than a herd animal, or would he become the citizen of the future the world over?

    The other major educational reforms of the period were more structural than methodological. The 1934 Basic Law abolished private educational institutions, including parochial schools, and the mid-’30s saw the continued battle to integrate former parochial school students into public school systems. Many feathers were ruffled, particularly among American Catholics, and the end of the Catholic educational system in America added further complexities to the growing theological disputes in Catholicism.

    Significant reforms were made to higher education as well. Federal and provincial support for higher education was substantially increased. Access to higher education would be made entirely free to individuals, opening up positions in all colleges and universities to be based solely on merit. Programs were established to increase the number of available slots for students at universities, and dozens of new universities were planned and chartered, some of which would eventually become among America’s leaders in education.

    School curricula reflected the new political climate in America. Though largely voluntary, the changes in educational curricula would be at the forefront of the Cultural Revolution, and would serve to create a “new mythology”, with its own folk heroes and villains, as a new national historical and cultural narrative.

    People’s Secretariat for Public Safety

    Preceding Agency(s): National Bureau of Investigation, Special Committee of Public Safety

    Headquarters: The Citadel, Arlington, Debs Commune

    Executive: J. Edgar Hoover

    As part of Public Law 1934-17, the provisional government’s Special Committee of Public Safety was elevated to a permanent, cabinet level of importance. “The first line of defense against counterrevolution,” as Earl Browder put it, the Secretariat for Public Safety was the face of national law enforcement.

    While it presented a united front publicly, Public Safety was divided internally. J. Edgar Hoover tried to present himself as the second coming of Felix Dzerzhinsky, he was not fully trusted within the Party. Hoover, for his part, was quite serious in adapting himself and the cadre of loyal NBI men he brought into the organization followed his lead. This was sufficient for the public safety services, but the political services were much more directly controlled by the Party (though the DFLP had token involvement as well).

    Public Safety’s nominal role was national law enforcement and emergency response. Through the National Militia Agency, Public Safety would coordinate and train state and local police militias to a uniform standard, and provide a means of coordinating crimefighting across state lines. The paramilitary Proletarian Guard would serve as the direct arm of the all-Union government in law enforcement.

    In truth, both served a more coercive function during the Cultural Revolution. As part of “Synchronization,” much of Public Safety’s work was dedicated to ensure the doctrinal and ideological compliance of local police and governments to the new regime. This included both ideological indoctrination through the increasing federal and Party control of police academies, as well as the purging of “reactionaries” from the police forces.

    This second task was accomplished through a sophisticated domestic surveillance and spying program, under the auspices of the Committee for State Security, directed against “ideologically suspect organizations,” and “critical political-economic assets.” In short, organizations unsympathetic or hostile to the new order were under intense scrutiny, as were those involved in the defense industry, advanced technology and government, with an eye to countering domestic and foreign subversion.

    This would serve as the enforcement arm of the ongoing Red Terror, a function it inherited form the Civil War Special Committee. Its predecessor had been founded as much to restrain the often out of control, spontaneous acts of terror and revenge against class enemies, actual and otherwise, as it was to coordinate efforts against enemies of the revolution. The new organization would serve to give the application of terror the veneer of due process.

    Through dubious interpretations of the constitution’s protections against surveillance and police powers, Public Safety would amass evidence to convict counterrevolutionaries in public show trials, spectacles put on by the Justice Secretariat to demoralize opposition to the new regime. Most suspects would actually never be tried, let alone in a spectacle. The large majority, the minnows and other low level internal enemies, were simply intimidated into serving as informants and spies for Public Safety.

    Using the Public Safety Act’s measures, Hoover established a policy of offering conditional amnesty to such informants. After fulfilling a statutorily limited term as an informant, they would be granted amnesty and given a way out. This was perhaps the most important tool in actually defeating internal insurgents; allowing militants a way out of the fight encouraged the destruction of counterrevolutionary organizations much more easily than any liquidationist measures.

    Which is not to say that liquidation did not occur. In armed confrontations, counterrevolutionary insurgents were seldom given the opportunity to surrender.

    The main thrust of Hoover and his successor’s work in the Cultural Revolution was to sever the link between organized crime and counterrevolution. This alliance between criminal economic activity such as protection rackets, bootlegging, smuggling and other illicit and profitable activity, and the remaining counterrevolutionary underground of the KKK, the American Legion, the Christian Front, and other reactionary militants. Having been defeated decisively in the field, reactionary militants had turned to organized criminal activity to continue to fund their operations, especially bank robbing.

    Clamping down on the primary smuggling routes, in the Gulf from the British Caribbean, and across the Canadian border, was the highest priority target. Through modification in domestic tax policy, the Party hoped to direct the states into giving low level organized crime a path to legitimacy, especially the practice of “moonshining” in agricultural communities. By cutting off this revenue, the apparatus of counterrevolutionary terror would wither on the vine, and be forced into more flagrant acts, increasing the chance of apprehension.

    National Militia Agency: Civilian coordinating body for the state level police militias. Established in 1935, the NMA financial supports state police academies, and provides much of the curriculum, and sets fitness standards. More surreptitiously, it monitors the police militia for ideological compliance, encouraging internal affairs doctrines increase Party control and ensure the force follows the general line of the party.

    Proletarian Guard: Established from a core of Spartacus League militants, the Proletarian Guard serves as the paramilitary internal troops of the UASR. As well as handling national investigations into organized crime, counterrevolution, and the enforcement of federal laws, they serve as an elite gendarmerie, tasked with suppressing riots and insurrection, guarding the borders, trains, and sensitive installations. They serve as the public face of the Committee for State Security.

    Committee for State Security: Secret police, tasked with domestic espionage, counterintelligence, as well as foreign espionage. Party membership, either in the Workers Party or the DFLP is practically a requirement. They are barely restrained by the veneer of the rule of law, and their influence is felt everywhere, from the factory floor to the military. Soldier-commissars in the Army and Navy are trained by the CSS, and serve as quasi-members of the state security apparatus in educating (and enforcing) the general line of the party within the military.

    The CSS is divided into nine sections, many of which correspond to directorates in the Proletarian Guard. The most well-known are Section 1 and Section 9; Foreign intelligence and Counterintelligence respectively. Of course, officially, neither “exists” but they have become known by reputation for their roles in the subversion of enemy states and the domestic destruction of counterrevolutionary organizations.
     
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  8. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

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    People’s Secretariat for Railways

    Preceding Agency(s): Federal Railway Commission

    Headquarters: Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan, Metropolis

    Executive: Robert Taft

    The management of the nation’s railways was perhaps one of the least dramatic changes following the revolution. The preceding administration had already undertaken a somewhat controversial nationalization of the railways themselves, freeing the rail companies from the burden of maintenance, expansion and problems of competition between regional monopolies. Additionally, the Federal Railway Commission, an independent executive branch agency, had been established to regulate passenger and freight practices, along with a number of state agencies.

    The revolutionary government’s War Syndicalism had amalgamated all of these functions, as well as the ownership and control of the rolling stock and locomotives under the control of the WFRA’s Logistics Commission, a military-trade union partnership. In the transition to peacetime normalcy, Foster had decided to maintain this federal supremacy in the railways. The rail companies were nationalized and amalgamated into a public corporation, American Rail Link, managed by the all-Union government in partnership with the Railway Union. The all-Union government maintained more direct ownership of the railways themselves separate from the ARL.

    A number of smaller rail lines were reverted to state control, or to local industrial combines, but the large majority of the country’s railways and rolling stock were controlled by the federal government.

    The Federal Railway Commission was expanded into a full cabinet level secretariat. As part of the alliance brokered with the progressive bourgeois, represented by the Democratic-Republican Party, Robert Taft was selected to manage the Secretariat during Synchronization. He proved quickly to be an able, if somewhat pliant administrator, having no objections to the tenor of Communist policies with regards to railways as one of the original legislative architects of the nationalization of the railroads.

    While Taft busied himself with legislative issues, his Secretariat executed a major reform and reinvestment of the nation’s railroads. After several decades of benign neglect by their private owners, and the damage wrought by the civil war, they were ripe for major reinvestment. For a mix of military and economic reasons, a total revamping of the railways was pushed through the CEC by Foster. The expensive program would be the flagship public works project of the post-revolution government. Rail lines would be systematically rationalized, and many of the winding passages that the original transcontinentals had taken to soak up more federal subsidies would be simplified. Bridges and tunnels would be expanded to meet Soviet loading gauge standards (3.4m width and 5.3m height), enabling larger cargo volumes. More controversially, the track gauge would be widened to the Soviet standard of 1520mm, an expensive program that would require many tracks to be temporarily converted to a 4 track double gauge during the transition period.

    Foster justified this policy on three grounds. First, he wished to promote a broader Comintern unity in industrial standards. Second since the railways were due for an overhaul this would be relatively cheaper. And finally, on a military level this would force a break of gauge between the Comintern sphere and their enemies, hampering logistics in the event of invasion.

    Work would begin on this project in the summer of 1934, by the end of the year the Public Works Commission would recruit almost a million workers for this and other projects, with the promise of three hots & a cot, a decent wage, union membership, and assistance in moving into more permanent employment.

    The maintenance, regauging and upgrading project began to taper off in 1938, with the crucial work finished. Track regauging was completed in that year, and the upgrades to newer diesel-electric locomotives on many lines, and the availability of new or converted rolling stock resulted in a gradual end of the era of dual gauge. While many military and industrial critical lines had met the new loading gauge, less critical lines were still in a mix of loading gauges, and work would be suspended on these conversions with the outbreak of the war.

    In the meantime, the Railways Secretariat funded research into new technologies, and subsidized the deployment of promising ones. Experiments in high-speed steam turbine passenger services, utilizing continuously welded rail reached limited deployment, as did a number of local electric light-rail projects, accomplished by block grants to state and local governments.

    The biggest changes, though, were behind the scenes. While public focus was on the grumbling of the unions by the large numbers of workers who would be rendered obsolete by new and more efficient diesel technologies, the complicated command and control aspect of railway timetables were being revolutionized by the adoption of electro-mechanical computers to aid in calculations, and advanced communications developed by the telephone and telegraph industry. By the end of the decade, both rail speed and traffic density were able to dramatically increase without any reduction in safety.

    People’s Secretariat for Communication

    Preceding Agency(s): US Post Office Deparment

    Headquarters: Karl Kautsky Plaza, DeLeon DC

    Executive: Max Eastman

    The Communications Secretariat was established during the Civil War to assist in the coordination of war production and the direction of the far-flung armies bringing the reactionary held states into revolutionary compliance.

    After the war, it was codified as a cabinet level secretariat, with the experienced radical leader Max Eastman taking the helm of the new organization. Communication would serve as the parent department for the successor to the old United States Postal Office, the North American Postal Service, an independent agency jointly managed with the government of the Mexican Socialist Republic, and serving broadly to manage all postal service within the Comintern aligned North America in partnership with local national post offices.

    Apart from the managerial input by the postal workers, and the changing of the stamps to reflect the revolutionary situation, not a lot changed. The post remained functional and reasonably efficient along the lines it had long operated under, though the internationalization of its functions served to provide a dramatically increase the ease of trade within the Comintern aligned Americas.

    Under War Syndicalism, the telephone and telegraph services had been commandeered by the unions. This system was made official by the nationalization of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company in early 1934. Renamed North American Telephone and Telegraph, or NATT, the old regulated private monopoly would serve as the basis for a new public communication utility for the whole of North America.

    Much of the organization of the old Bell System was retained. The AT&T Long Lines division, renamed Interevolution, continued to manage the long-distance communication infrastructure and exchanges. A minor revolution occurred in the development and deployment of automated switchboards and an international telephone numbering plan was developed for eventual implementation.

    The Western Electric Company, previously Ma Bell’s equipment manufacturing subsidiary, was spun off into an independent worker collective, General Automaton, but would continue to serve as a business partner and collaborator in the Bell Labs research division, which would now serve as a public research institute with a focus in the communications industry.

    The various Bell Operating Companies would be reorganized public-state partnerships, managed as worker collectives with significant state ownership stakes, providing a local telephone service as a public utility.

    The key to this new framework was Eastman’s directive of “Openness.” NATT would maintain no trade secrets, engage in no patent wars. As a public utility, its research was considered to be the common province of all mankind. Its internal operations would be transparent to the public, the Bell Operating Companies would involve the local soviets in their operations, and basic telephone and telegraph services would be available for very low cost to individuals and businesses.

    Naturally, there would be complications. The NATT subsidiary Bell Canada maintained a monopoly on telephone and telegraph service in Canada. The changing political climate made this arrangement immediately threatening, and the Canadian government made several attempts to nationalize its holdings before its eventual resolution as part of the protocols of the 1935 Treaty of Ottawa, which stipulated that NATT would continue to operate Bell Canada according to the dictates of Canadian regulators, including barring Public Safety any ability to tap or otherwise interfere with communications delivered by Bell Canada within Canada itself.

    These protocols of the comprehensive trade treaty represented an uneasy compromise. Bell Canada and many other local subsidiaries of American collectives would remain in spite of fears that they would be internal fifth columns because the threat of dangerous escalation was enough to give even the most stalwart of reactionaries, something that the British government strongly emphasized. The suppression of Canadian workers, returning them to capitalist domination would be the exact kind of casus belli that the Americans could use to spark off the anticipated World Revolutionary War, which neither Canada nor Great Britain were prepared for. And ultimately, it would prove pragmatic to have the American government subsidize the telephone and telegraph services used by Canadian consumers and businesses; why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
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  9. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    People’s Secretariat for Maritime Transport

    Preceding Agency(s): Maritime Agency, Provisional Government

    Headquarters: The Oceanic Hall, Potomac Industrial Park, DeLeon, DC

    Executive: Joseph Ryan

    The Secretariat was established by the Organic Acts of 1934, bringing a myriad collection of federal, state and local responsibilities under the supervision of a cabinet level all-Union secretariat. Encompassing the regulation of both internal waterways, territorial waters, and ships carrying the flag of the UASR, the new organization enjoyed a broad scope to act.

    Its chief role would be in the regulation of the operations and working conditions of American merchant and fishing vessels in partnership with the Marine Union, a section of the broader Solidarity Union uniting all maritime workers from the shipyards and docks to the sailors themselves. The new Seamen’s Acts of 1934 gave the organs of the Maritime Transport Secretariat broad authority to enforce strict labor and safety standards on all vessels entering American ports or even American territorial waters, a policy given teeth by the militant labor actions of the longshoremen, who would not load or unload any vessel found in violation of all-Union maritime law, and directly enforced by the Revolutionary Coast Guard.

    The Seamen’s Acts and other naval laws were further formalized under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, which established accreditation standards for sailing rates, and a number of all-Union academies to educate and train sailors and specialists. Further, the formalized Merchant Marine would serve as a naval auxiliary in wartime, and its members would be considered military personnel.

    Maritime Transport exercised regulatory control over the ports and shipyards of the country, both the nationalized core industries as well as the cooperatives. The Naval Architecture Collective, established in early 1935 under Martime Transport’s aegis, would serve as primary supplier of ships to the Revolutionary Navy and Coast Guard. The NAC would own its own shipyards, as well as contract with other ship building firms as needed.

    People’s Secretariat for Energy

    Preceding Agency(s): none

    Headquarters: Michael Faraday Complex, DeLeon DC

    Executive: Burton K. Wheeler

    Under the War Syndicalism regime, energy policy in America had been under the administration of the WFRA’s Service Forces. As part of the war effort, the military had taken over the direction of most aspects of energy production, from seizing the coal mines and oil fields from Pinkerton and other mercenary guards by force, to the rationing of fuel.

    In the transition to normalcy, these functions were transferred to the civilian People’s Secretariat for Energy. Foster’s government asserted federal supremacy in all aspects of the energy system, describing it as the “metabolism of civilization.” The Energy Secretariat would manage and improve the nation’s electrical transmission systems in coordination with the state level energy secretariats. Under this federal system, the all-Union government would control all high capacity and long distance lines. Local distribution would fall to state and/or local administrations, supported by block grants.

    Beneath the administration committee, Wheeler established a series of commissions to control different sectors in the energy industry. In most cases, the commissions were concerned only with the actual production of electrical energy; the mining of coal and other energy sources were handled by separate institutions, usually by state or federally owned collectives.

    The Hydroelectric Energy Commission, for example, nationalized most existing dams over 20 meters in height (after a controversial legislative battle with the Maritime Transport Secretariat). They similarly took over projects that had been aborted during the civil war, such as the Boulder Canyon project and continued construction.

    New appropriations for dam construction became a popular public works project. Already in the public consciousness since before the Depression, when the Boulder Canyon project and the battle for the aborted Muscle Shoals project started, the new revolutionary government was able to quickly adapt this to its own ends.

    The crown jewel of 1934’s public works proposals was the Tennessee Valley Project. One of the poorest areas in the country, plagued by flooding, malaria, poor soil quality and poor infrastructure, Foster unveiled an ambitious program as the first of a string of federal infrastructure investments. The finalized project would include over a dozen hydroelectric dams, locks and dredging to support shipping through the Tennessee River, new rail infrastructure, soil conservation programs for the new collective farms, and new factories to utilize the electrical power.

    Similar projects followed in other major river valleys, including truly massive dams that began construction in the Grand Coulee (1936), Klamath River (1938) and the Bridge Canyon (1940). While work on many of these projects initially slowed due to the war, the increasing demand for electrical energy diverted new resources for their rapid completion.

    The Energy Secretariat provided a similar framework for regulating the production of electricity via coal and oil (the Coal Energy Commission and Petroleum Energy Commission). As part of revolutionary war measures, the old Standard Oil monopoly had been seized by the WFRA. As part of post-war socialization, Standard Oil was broken up into several publicly owned collectives: the Oil Development Collective which controlled oil and natural gas exploration, the Petrochemical Collective which controlled the refining of petroleum into usable chemicals, and the Petroleum Energy Commission itself, which served to finance research, regulate standards, build distribution infrastructure such as pipelines, and manage production and pricing according to the all-Union economic plan.

    Distribution elements were divested to a variety of other firms. The sale of refined petroleum products such as gasoline were generally handled by small firms and general stores. The “full service station” comes into its own in this era, offering fuel as well as various levels of maintenance to customers. They purchase fuel from local distribution cooperatives, usually shipped by rail from refineries and then by truck to end users.

    However, the Revolutionary Military Committee interferes significantly in the operations of the Energy Secretariat (and in the economic plans in general). To preserve critical infrastructure in the event of war, the military places large survivability demands on energy infrastructure. New dams typically incorporate anti-aircraft artillery positions on or around the infrastructure; the electrical network is radically overbuilt, with redundant transformer stations and lines to prevent disruption, and electrical plants themselves are scattered as much as feasible to avoid concentrated targets for British bombers (coupled with abundant AAA defense options in the event of war mobilization). Pipelines and refineries are hardened as much as feasible, and camouflaged whenever possible, and a strategic petroleum reserve is maintained in hardened bunkers under the join supervision of the Energy and Defense Secretariats.

    People’s Secretariat for Manufacturing

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of Industrial Coordination

    Headquarters: The Soviet Power Building, Debs DC

    Executive: John Pepper

    The Manufacturing Secretariat serves as the successor agency to the old Department of Industrial Coordination, which regulated the various trusts and monopolies in the Second Republic. With the destruction of the old system of monopoly capitalism, the new socialist-syndicalist economy took its first uneasy steps forward. With the path forward to full communization blocked by material conditions, old norms of state planning were reemployed to ease the transition period.

    This was never an uncontroversial move; the left communists chafed in the continued dependence on bourgeois technocrats, and the restrictions on free access and association that were imposed. The bourgeois radicals resented state interference in the cooperatives and feared a move to command economy.

    But the new revolutionary government had neither the desire nor the ability to impose a command economy. The working class remained in the seat of power. The state was controlled by the working class, which accepted some limits to immediate autonomy in exchange for institutions that could serve the broader interests of class power. Manufacturing collectives would mostly be autonomous from the state, but still regulated. The Secretariat would enforce the industrial standards established by the Comintern, promote innovation and patent sharing, and keep the collectives in line with the general economic plan of the Workers’ Party.

    The basic industrial policy, which guided the reorganization of capitalist firms into workers’ cooperatives, was to make each independent unit lean, focused and efficient. Large conglomerates were shunned, as were a myriad of petty producers. Vertical and horizontal integration was limited. Collectives growing to encompass a large number of industries was seen as a backdoor to the return of capitalist relations.

    This policy emphasized the utility of markets, at the expense of goals of ending alienation and commodity fetishism. Without an easy road forward, retaining the laws of value and market exchange were unavoidable. Job markets and rationing by money remained in “lower stage communism” according to Workers’ Party doctrine. The state served as the administration arm of the working class, but had not yet begun to wither away, though they believed it had met Marx’s goal of rendering it wholly subordinated to society.

    The unions, both large and small, would protect workers from the vestiges of capitalism that remained through their collective bargaining and unemployment support systems. In turn, the Manufacturing Secretariat helped enforce the closed shop in all state industries, cooperatives and petty producers.

    In peace time, the Manufacturing Secretariat would serve as a parent for the state owned defense corporations and arsenals. During the 30s, it would charter multiple new arsenals and munitions plants to support rearmament policies, as well as the decision to restructure certain aircraft collectives into state defense corporations, notably Bell, Grumman, and North American Aviation.

    In terms of day to day operations, Manufacturing was focused on improving productivity and reducing waste. In this regard, it tended to become involved in public research and development through a number of semi-independent agencies modeled after the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) inherited from the second republic. The various National Advisory Committees in industries as diverse as automotive, electronics, chemical and food, joined with other institutions serving other Secretariats to promote and extend American technological advantages and end deficiencies.
     
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  10. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    People’s Secretariat for Light Industry

    Preceding Agency(s): US Department of Commerce

    Headquarters: Federal Triangle, DeLeon DC

    Executive: Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

    The Light Industry Secretariat was established almost as an afterthought, to take over the functions of the old US Department of Commerce that didn’t fit neatly into Labor, Manufacturing or Foreign Trade. In this respect, its mandate covers commercial activity in the cooperative sector that doesn’t pertain to heavy industry or manufacturing. It and its subordinate agencies serve to draft and implement regulations and support policies primarily aimed at small cooperatives.

    Additionally, it serves as the parent for a number of important economic agencies in the broader economy, such as the Patent Office and the Bureau of the Census.

    People’s Secretariat for Construction

    Preceding Agency(s): none

    Headquarters: Public Works Building

    Executive: John Fitzpatrick

    The Construction Secretariat was established as the headquarters of the various public works and infrastructure building projects. As the scale of the economic recovery plan grew, it became clear that a central administration to avoid duplication, and efficiently use materials and labor would be necessary.

    On 12 January 1935, the Construction Secretariat was established. It quickly grew, establishing offices in every state and in most major cities, mobilizing the reserve army of the unemployed into action, building everything from parks and nature trails to efficient public housing.

    Naturally, the size of the department grew along with the size of its budget, and by 1936 a new headquarters building was commissioned to deal with its growing army of apparatchiks. Of all the Secretariats, Construction endured the most micromanagement from Foster. At Central Committee meetings, the Premier frequently castigated Fitzpatrick for the spartan feel of initial public housing proposals, condemning them as the “warehousing of the proletariat.” Eventually, an accommodation was reached that would still keep the cost of the public housing program from exploding, but still would yield public housing in the cities and country side that would be safe, hygienic, and conducive to social living.

    Foster’s “palaces for the poor,” as they became known across the Atlantic, endure today as architectural legacy of the Cultural Revolution and the First Five Year Plan, apartment complexes in Constructivist and Organic styles define the style of the modern American city. The public and civic buildings; union locals, workers’ clubs, cantinas, parks, libraries and theaters built in the 30s often still serve as the center of public life, or have been superseded by later works that maintain the communist social purpose in a newer or more refined aesthetic.

    People’s Secretariat for Culture

    Preceding Agency(s): none

    Headquarters: Lincoln Square, Manhattan, Metropolis ASR

    Executive: Louise Bryant

    The Secretariat for Culture was established in January 1936 to amalgamate the union government’s role as patron for the arts. In partnership with state and local governments, Culture built theaters, cinemas, art exhibits and museums, provided grants and stipends to artists, as well as organized contests and exhibitions in the various arts.

    The line between propaganda and art was very murky in the 1930s, and the Secretariat for Culture should be seen in this light; a propaganda department that maintains the pretense that its primary work is apolitical. While it often served as a conduit for other groups in the government to get their message out in news reels, murals, or radio broadcasts, the Secretariat did not make its propaganda role explicit until the outbreak of the Second World War.

    Culture supports the many amateur and professional sports clubs, and served to organize the 1936 American Olympic Team, and would have done similarly in 1940 had the Comintern not voted unanimously to boycott the Olympics due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

    State Planning Commission

    Preceding Agency(s): War Syndicalism Commission

    Headquarters: World Revolution Plaza, DeLeon DC

    Executive: L.E. Katterfield

    Originally established as an independent commission under the Provisional Government, as part of its reorganization into the State Planning Commission under the first organic acts of the CEC, it was elevated to cabinet level importance. This reform reflected the growing importance that rational economic planning held in practical policy as well as the mature expression of American communism.

    In spite of the obvious comparison, the system employed by the Americans was fundamentally different than the Stalinist Gosplan. StatePlan existed to coordinate a rational economic plan in an economy that still fundamentally relied upon norms of economic exchange. Relying on theoretical work accomplished by Paul Mattick, Abraham Cheshire, and Oskar Lange, StatePlan coordinated the pricing regimes of state enterprises, directed social expenditures in infrastructure and R&D, and theorized broad-scale macroeconomic policy.

    On this account, the work of StatePlan was intertwined with every major government agency and state corporation. It provided calculations and statistics to support the regime of indicative planning. Its own internal budget was significant, employing a small army of accountants, mathematicians, and political economists. Internally, it quickly became the tip of the sword in computing research, leading to a number of fundamental innovations in computer science and engineering.

    Like in Gosplan, the main products of the system were Five Year Plans, the first of which began on 1 October 1934. Rather than providing marching orders or political quotas for production, the American Five Year Plans were roadmaps to large-scale macroeconomic spending, focused on infrastructure and industrial productivity. They included timelines for each major industry, including goals established with the Council for the National Economy to implement new technologies across the industry.

    Its long-term planning directorate focused on longer-term (10 to 30 years) estimates on macroeconomic impacts for infrastructure and social policy, including demographics. While more theoretical and laden with caveats, they provided officials and industry vital information about total life-cycle cost of various infrastructure and technologies for topics as diverse as cumulative maintenance of various bridge designs to the expected average cost of per kilometer incurred by driving an automobile.

    Academy of Arts and Sciences

    Preceding Agency(s): none

    Headquarters: Haymarket Square, Chicago, Illinois

    Executive: Eugene O’Neill

    One of the major departures in American politics following the Revolution was the creation of a state-sponsored national Academy. The Union Academy of Arts and Sciences would be a nationally sponsored body, made of constituent fellowships from the different academic fields, as well as fellowships of professional trades, from doctors and lawyers to the members of art guilds.

    The Academy would set membership and certification requirements for each of the Fellowships under its supervision. The appropriation of public money for research would be controlled by the Academy, which would democratically elect all of its internal bodies.

    The Academy’s first chairman, Playwright Guild leader Eugene O’Neill, would set the standard for future management of the national Academy. Following in O’Neill’s example, future chairs of the Academy would be nonpartisan, and would remain the only members of the Central Committee appointed entirely independently of the political leadership of the union government.

    Besides its role in promoting research and ensuring responsible membership in professional organizations, the Academy would also serve as the principal means of support to the arts in the ’30s and beyond. The arts guilds, the Hollywood studio collectives, music fellowships and the theater organizations would be promoted and supported with public grant money. The growth of the arts during the ’30s would be key in the end of American feelings of cultural and artistic inferiority to Europe.

    Union Bank

    Preceding Agency(s): Bank of the Republic

    Headquarters: August Willich Complex, Arlington, DC

    Executive: Robert A. Brady

    The pre-revolution central bank, the Bank of the Republic, was reorganized in August 1933 by an emergency decree of the Provisional Government. This marked the beginning of the end of War Syndicalism and command economy. With the capture of the institutions of central banking and control of the money supply, the revolutionary government suspended convertibility of the US dollar with gold. In the same decree, the Provisional Government nationalized all gold stocks, exempting only small amounts of heirloom jewelry at a devalued rate of $35 per troy ounce. It would be the last official act of the government based on the conventional system of weights and measures.

    The reorganized Union Bank controlled monetary policy and regulated financial institutions within the UASR, including the various all-union commercial banks, and the People’s Banks established by states and major cities to provide deposit and commercial services. Its sub-organs would control the minting of coins, printing of notes, and the issuing of government securities.

    Though backed by the large gold reserves maintained by the all-Union government, the Union Bank established a de facto fiat currency regime backed by the full faith and credit of the union. The basic stability was established quickly with the negotiated honoring of pre-revolution debts held foreign nationals and institutions. Expansionary monetary policy, to both reverse the deflationary catastrophe of the depression and promote future economic growth, served as the focus of central bank policy.

    With the stability of the almighty dollar preserved, the revolutionary regime quickly reasserted itself in foreign trade. Most of Latin America, whose economies were heavily integrated via trade with the old USA, fell under the de facto suzerainty of the UASR. Under these contexts, the victory of revolutionary insurgencies was a forgone conclusion. The UASR dollar became the de facto currency of the New World, and through those trade links a socialist free trade bloc was quickly established.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Janey Got Her Gun (Short Story)

    Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Janey Got Her Gun (Revised and Expanded)

    It sounds pretty pathetic to admit it after all of the hell I’ve been through, but I really didn’t join the Red Army for any noble reasons. Coming home after the war, you’d think I was some sort of hero. It’s embarrassing, really. The medals and the fanfare are annoying. Because honestly, I don’t deserve any of it.

    I am told that they make an interesting conversation piece. My fellow flatmates tell me as much quite often, while they ooh and aah at the Hero of Socialist Labor medal on my dresser. They tell me it’s something to be proud of, but looking back, my memories of the event almost don’t seem real, like it was something I read out of a book rather than lived it.

    We were all lauded as heroes when we returned from the war. And it’s true, we served the cause of the world revolution as best we could. But every heartfelt congratulation only ever reminds me of the many men and women who served under my command that never made it home. The Army shrinks call it “survivor’s guilt.” I suppose it’s true enough, but some days it seems like the real me died out there with my comrades, and all that is left is a husk waiting to pay the ferryman.

    Yeah, yeah, I’m a bit of a downer. The young men at the bar tell me that a lot; “A broad as gorgeous as you shouldn’t be so down in the dumps all the time,” they say. The other veterans, man and woman alike, just shake their heads with disgust and return to their beers. And they’re right to. They are the children that Wilfred Owen spoke of, “ardent for some desperate glory.” God-willing, they won’t ever have to learn through painful experience. I’m really not about to explain to them what it feels like to be covered in gore that was until a moment ago your still intact best friend’s face.

    Hey, you asked. But this isn’t really supposed to be a pity party. You wanted to know what it was like to be in the army, and why on Earth I decided to join. Unfortunately, you’re going to be disappointed by the answer. I mean it. It’s a serious anticlimax. I joined because of a boy. Not to chase him, you dope. Jeesh, what’s wrong with you? Didn’t they teach you in high school about the gender segregated units in the 30s and early 40s? I joined the military to get away from him, and the heartbreak he caused.

    I’m not the first person who volunteered for military service because of heartbreak, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. And in 1936, it was the easiest way out from everything I had ever known. It certainly beat going back to Brooklyn when our term in the Armed Masses Militia was over. Social Service was a bit different back in the 30s, though. They moved us around a whole lot less than they do the young’uns these days. Essentially, it’s still the same basic idea: one part universal military training, one part basic higher education, and one part seeing a broad picture of the country, doing socially necessary labor with people from all walks of life.

    So soon after the revolution, there was a greater sense of urgency. We lived with the expectation that we might be mobilized any moment to quell an insurrection or fight off a reactionary invasion. But the essence was the same: we all learned the basics of military life: the nature of military discipline, how to work and fight as a team, how to shoot a rifle, throw a grenade. And lots of PT. Can’t forget that. I’ve heard it likened to the old pre-revolution basic recruit training, though obviously modified for a more democratic military. I’m pretty sure much hasn’t changed.

    In the 30s, we all believed the enemy was the British Empire. The war would come soon, and they’d start it. We’d have to finish it though, and with Britain’s crack divisions mobilizing on the Canadian border, it certainly was a rational fear. In the end, fate conspired to make us allies rather than enemies in that historical moment.

    So when my year-long tour spent drilling for war, doing soil conservation work and occasionally helping kindergarteners learn how to read and write was done, and we had our going away party at our group’s hostel in Ohio, somehow a group of us got it in our minds to join the army.

    It was our first time really drinking, so we were making damned fools of ourselves. I was one of the youngest and hadn’t quite turned 19 yet, though everyone seemed to think I looked mature for my age. I guess a tomboyish cut of red hair, and fair skin shocked with freckles does that. I was tall for the girls in our unit, standing about 175, though the guys loved to call me “Shorty” for some reason.

    “I’m pretty sure it’s because you’re one of the guys to them, Janey,” my friend Anna said, in between sips of lager. She’d heard me complain about it a million times before. Drunk-Anna and Sober-Anna seemed to think the same reason.

    “That doesn’t make any sense!” I was slowly losing control of the volume of my voice with each passing drink. Not that I noticed then. The local lager we were drinking was both strong in taste as well as alcohol content, and I had long since stopped noticing the bitterness of the hops or the fruity back end at this point.

    Anna and I had come from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, and had known each other since we’d taken shelter from fascist air-raids in the same subway. We were thick as thieves ever since and next to him, she was probably the closest friend I had growing up.

    “Don’t start this again,” she scolded. Anna wobbled over to me as I sat pouting on the bottom bunk. Unsteady as she was from all the drinking, she managed to make it without a serious accident, and sat next to me. “Quit pouting like that.”

    “No! You can’t make me!” I said with a huff, crossing my legs ‘like a proper lady’, and turned away from her.

    “I’m gonna make you stop pouting if you don’t quit.”

    “I ain’t a proper lady, but that doesn’t mean I’m a guy.”

    “You sure act like one unless you’re upset. Then you cross your legs and try to act all dignified.” One thing was for certain, she knew me all too well. “Look Janey, you know what I meant. You’re taller than the rest of the girls, and taller than some of the guys even. You get along with the guys well, and you’re a tomboy. That’s all I meant.”

    I finished my beer, slamming the glass bottle down on the end-table. In hindsight, that was a bit too masculine for my protests, but I obviously wasn’t thinking straight. I tried ignoring Anna for a while, but I found myself peering at her out of the corner of my eye. Then I shot my mouth off.

    “Tomboy is just another way of calling a girl ugly.” Seeing the look on her face, I instantly regretted saying that: her mouth hung open and her eyebrows narrowed like I had just stabbed her through the heart.

    Anna was a lot prettier than me, and I think in a lot of ways, I kind of resented her for that. She had gorgeous black hair, with the kind of natural wave that artists just loved to paint, whether on billboards or movie posters. She didn’t wear makeup very often, but she still had luscious eyelashes and a great complexion. And full lips: the kind that didn’t even need lipstick to get everyone’s attention, and became even more alluring with it. How could a frumpy old tomboy like me compare? I was jealous, and I hated myself for it.

    At least this time I hadn’t been the one to start the fight. She slapped me hard across my left check. My guilt disappeared pretty quickly, and I slapped her right back. Then the CQC training took over, and suddenly it was a sloppy drunken wrestling match. We kicked at each other and tried our best to punch each other’s ribs while we grappled and tumbled off the bunk onto the wooden floor.

    We got in a few good hits and chokes, plus knocked over a dresser and lamp before our comrades separated us. Julius, a burly but gentle giant from New Orleans pulled me off Anna and pinned my arms behind my back while Anna’s friends Saul and Esther held her back from rushing at me.

    “Jeepers! What’s gotten into you Shorty!?” said Julius.

    I struggled against his grip for a moment. He was a full head taller than me, and probably had at least 20 kilos of muscle on me. Eventually, I had the good sense to give up.

    “Hey, get your black hands off her!” someone shouted from the other side of the room. Great, the last thing we need in a fight between friends is to inject some race politics. There were a couple of likely suspects, but I was a bit too dazed from drink and blows to the head to pick it out.

    “Stay out of this, Bob,” Saul shot back. “I don’t know what started this fight, but we’re just stopping it.” Bob and Saul were about the same size, though they looked almost nothing alike. Bob was classically Nordic in looks, though from what I remember him telling me, he was French and Spanish by nationality. Saul, on the other hand, was a wiry Italian, with swarthy skin and kinky black hair. Though his parents were both good Catholics, his name and his looks made everyone think he was a Jew.

    “Eh, let ‘em fight it ought,” said Avram, “My friends and I got into a fight over a girl, we’d just end up fighting it out and making up.” Avram was German-Jewish like my family, and spoke Yiddish as a first language, totally unashamed of the accent it gave him. Avram had stepped in between Saul and Bob, hoping to stop a boxing match from breaking out between the two, who had never gotten along well.

    “Look how well that turned out for you, Avram,” teased Liz.

    I kind resented that he was implying that this was over a boy. But when it came down to it, it was kind of about him, though not in the way that Avram seemed to imply. I guess we got distracted by what was going around us, because slowly Anna stopped seething and relaxed, and I started to calm down.

    When we ceased to be interesting, the rest of the unit went back to making merry. Bob rejoined his friends acting out their favorite bits from the plays they’d seen or done. Avram fixed the position of the pieces on the chessboard that his cheating opponent had switched during the distraction (this was a common affair. When I asked them about it, apparently this was all part of the game for them). Liz resumed flirting with the college kid she’d invited as a guest.

    Julius whispered in my ear, “Are y’all gonna play nice now?”

    I nodded, careful to not actually make eye contact with Anna.

    “Good. Now go kiss and make up.”

    He shoved me towards Anna. She caught me before I lost my balance, and we ended up awkwardly hugging each other, waiting for the other to admit they were wrong first.

    I guess I lost my nerve first. “Hey, I’m sorry I said that. That wasn’t nice of me. You’ve been a good friend to me, always, and I shouldn’t have doubted your sincerity like that.”

    Anna blushed a little. We were back on eye contact terms now, and at this point I could see that amidst the sound and fury of our scuffle she’d been crying a bit. “I guess I shouldn’t have slapped you.” She hugged me close, and gave me a friendly kiss.

    “Aww, they do love each other,” said someone from the peanut gallery. It earned an unfriendly glare from both of us in that general direction. Still, normal service was resumed.

    A hot new song started on the radio by some up and coming cat named Francis Sinatra. It had a good swing to it, so Anna and I made up by dancing a bit. It wasn’t as much fun as a live band, but it was still nice. The radio reception was good that night, and we danced like it was going to be our last night on earth.

    The music died suddenly a few songs later. An announcer for IBF News came on the radio; the refined transatlantic accent that was still the standard in arts, culture and even the military gave it away instantly. “Good evening comrades,” he began, “We apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important news bulletin. We have just received word from the Foreign office that Nazi-Fascist troops have begun crossing the German border into Austria. While he can offer no confirmation, Foreign Secretary Reed has concluded that the timing so soon after the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Treaty indicates collusion and a prelude to further military actions against the interests of the workers of all nations. This has been a broadcast from IBF News’ Overseas Desk. Good night and good luck.”

    After a bit of AM static, the music returned. But I didn’t feel like dancing anymore. Neither did Anna. Then she got that look on her face. It was the look I’d seen many times, and had been dreading seeing again. It was the “we really need to talk” look. And it looked like I wasn’t getting out of it this time. So I had a shot of brandy with the guys, and snuck out with Anna while they amused themselves singing a rowdy chorus of “Which Side Are You On?” They must have been angry at the news too.

    It was fairly cool outside. Our hostel was a fairly new building on the outskirts of Toledo. It had a pueblo style, with tan stucco adorned here and there with a few murals. The dorms were organized in a radial pattern around a central cooking and living area. We followed the boardwalk for a ways to a nearby park. The worst of the drunken haze seemed to evaporate in the cool night air, but at any rate we were still pretty sloshed.

    Anna playfully beckoned towards the swing set, and I somewhat reluctantly agreed. We sat next to each other, casually swinging back and forth for a few minutes, not saying anything to each other.

    Anna looked great in the moonlight. It highlighted her lightly tanned skin well. Somehow, she managed to look radiant even in her work denim. “Anna, you look lovely…” Oh god, that slipped out. “I’m sorry, that was kind of weird…forget I said that.”

    “Janey, you don’t have any reason to be jealous. You’re a lot prettier than you give yourself credit for.” She smiled at me, thinking she knew why I was feeling awkward. Unlikely, because then even I didn’t know why. Her smile tugged at my heart some more. It was a tingly feeling I didn’t quite understand. All I knew is that it reminded me of how I felt with him.

    “If you say so, Anna,” I replied, staring at my shoes as I idly kicked at the ground.

    “You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?”

    “Yeah.” I winced as I said it. She always knew me so well.

    “I guess it’s natural. We will be starting on our way home in a few weeks. It’s the changing of the guard in the Militia brigades soon, and he’ll undoubtedly be going home too.”

    “I don’t think I can face him, Anna. I figured some time away running around the country might give me a chance to move on. But it hasn’t. Damn it, I was such an idiot.”

    “Did I give you permission to talk bad about yourself?”

    “What does that—“

    She cut me off, covering my chapped lips with her index finger. “Just don’t, Janey. You’re too hard on yourself.”

    I tried to push her hand away, but she held onto my hand, squeezing gently. “Anna, I ruined a perfectly good friendship by falling in love and thinking he could love me back. Look at what all that heartbreak it has brought me: he can’t stand to be around me, and now he’s engaged to that thing.”

    “You really need some perspective girl. You’re not the only girl to get your heart broken, Janey. You just happen to be the only girl I’ve ever known to try to do something about it. Everyone else laid subtle hints and baits to catch the man’s attention, and then wilted when he went elsewhere. You actively pursued him, and had the courage to confess to him. That’s why you’re my hero, girl.”

    I didn’t know what to say. I blushed with embarrassment (even more than I already was with the alcohol).

    “You still don’t think you can face him?”

    “No, I really don’t.” I bit my lower lip, puzzling over whether or not to tell her about what I’d been thinking. She noticed, and patiently waited for me to gather up the courage. “I was thinking about joining the Army. Like the professionals, not just the Organized Reserve of the Militia.”

    I had expected her to laugh or be angry. Even with the propaganda showing proud women soldiers from the revolution onward, it was still considered taboo for women to volunteer for military service. My mother and grandfather would flip their wigs if they heard the suggestion. Dad, if he were still alive, would probably not want his only daughter taking up arms like he did.

    Instead she seemed to be proud. “You’re not going without me, dummy.”

    “You don’t have to just because I am, Anna.”

    “I meant what I said: we’re best friends for life. Besides, I think it’s kind of romantic, trying to forget a heartbreak by dedicating your life to the world revolution. I think I’d like to be a part of that story.”

    I really had no idea what I was getting us in to. When we returned to the hostel, Anna decided to tell the rest of the troop our plans amidst another round of brandy. Rather than take our train back home, we’d visit the local recruitment office and volunteer for the army.

    I think we really cheapened the guys’ masculinity. A few of them were rather opposed to us doing it. A couple others declared if we were volunteering they’d volunteer too. This turned into a debate about whether or not women actually ought to volunteer for military service even if they’re allowed. To be honest, that kind of solidified my desire to join. Nothing makes me angrier than being told I can’t do something because of what’s between my legs.

    When we went to the recruitment office, a significantly smaller number of our comrades decided to actually go through with it. Anna and I went, as did Esther, another girl from our neighborhood. That was kind of surprising, actually. Julius and Avram came along as well. The rest probably didn’t remember their pledges, to be honest. They had been drinking a lot, and making rather merry.

    The lines at the military soviet headquarters were rather long. Recruitment’s always biggest right around the “graduation” of a new class of Militia cadets, since it’s a prerequisite for joining the professional military. We weren’t the only ones who wanted to get away for a bit longer, or do our revolutionary duty. I guess that’s heartening.

    They provided interviewers to help steer people towards a branch that fit them best, but since we were all dead set on joining the army, we were able to jump forward through that process. We were, after all, a bunch of landlubbers, and the navy always preferred to recruit from those who had prior sea experience. The Workers’ and Farmers’ Revolutionary Army was the prestige branch anyway. They’d been the sword of the revolution, and in any future revolutionary war, they’d take up that task again. When we finally made it to the front of our queue, they broke us up and split us with different interviewers.

    My interviewer was an Army Air Forces reserve officer who introduced himself as Dick Nixon. Like the rest of the deputies on the city’s military soviet, Nixon was here to help with rush week recruitment. He had kind of a rough appearance, like a bulldog, but he was quite friendly as he asked me a few questions. He had my militia file available, since my troop had been in the district.

    “Well, miss, I like your test scores here,” he said with a smile, “You’ve excelled academically in high school as well as in the Militia, and you’ve shown considerable initiative in work and training. While I’m quite happy to see you were the best rifleman in your troop, I do have one important question.”

    “What’s that, comrade?”

    “Why join the army? With this kind of aptitude, you could go to any university in the country and study whatever you like.”

    I’d been dreading this question. I hate lying. I’m absolutely terrible at it, and something about the way Nixon carried himself like a boxer preparing for a tough match up made me think that not only was he a pretty good liar when he needed to be, he knew how to sniff out one pretty well. The truth, then.

    “To be honest, it’s kind of selfish.”

    Nixon leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms with some measure of smug satisfaction. “This ought to be good,” he remarked, not caring whether I heard him or not.

    “While I do want to do my part for the revolution, I chose the army specifically…well…because I don’t want to go back home. Not even once. I don’t think I could face him if I did. I understand if this means you don’t want me in the military, comrade.”

    He smiled a bit. “Miss, you’re not the first person to join the army out of heartbreak. Indeed, I’ve been told that it’s a long tradition going back eons. And I can certainly see the logic. You get to meet new people, dedicate your life to a cause greater than yourself, and get to see new places along the way.”

    “I guess you’re right.”

    “Now, miss, this is a big decision. Are you sure you don’t want to think it over some?”

    “I’m certain.”

    Nixon had me read over the basic contract, and he explained my rights and duties after formally being inducted: how to deal with problems, the reasons I could file for early discharge, participation in the soldiers’ soviets, and the standing reserve I’d be a part of for four years after leaving active duty. I signed on the dotted line dutifully, and he sent me out through the back door to the nurses’ station for a basic physical.

    I blanched a bit stepping on the scale. It’s hard to get over worrying about your weight and your figure, even when you’re running ten kilometers every day. 70 kilos…not as bad as I’d feared. The nurse assured me that it was muscle, but to still expect to lose a bit of weight in AT.

    I could do without a grilling of my non-existent sexual history though. I understand why they don’t want pregnant women in the army, but I really wish there was just an easy test to do for it. They reserve the tests for those who might be determined to be at risk of being currently pregnant.

    The gynecologist examined me, and seemed to believe me. So in went the IUD. That was…uncomfortable…to say the least. He told me to take it easy for a few weeks, and to expect a heavier period and more discomfort for the next few months…hey, don’t look at me like that. I know guys just get the heebie jeebies when women talk about their reproductive health, particularly their periods, but this is important. It’s a natural bodily function, quit being so down about it.

    After that, it was really kind of a blur. Anna, Esther and I were assigned to the same training station, as we’d all opted for assignment to a rifle unit. Esther had wanted to get into nursing later, so she hoped to get a position as a corpsman. They shipped us down to Kentucky with a bunch of other female recruits for advanced infantry school. Somewhere along the way, I managed to get a telegram home to my mother explaining my choice, and of course ordering my little brother to take care of things while I’m gone.

    The instructors were all were all women NCOs, all of them as tough as shoe leather. Apparently, we were the first class of female recruits to have the privilege of being taught by female instructors. They had all fought in the Civil War, and we benefited greatly from their experience. It wasn’t really surprising to find out that they were even sterner taskmasters than the male instructors.

    They told us only at the conclusion of the course that the intimidation, the constant drills, live-fire exercises, and rigid discipline were designed to simulate war time discipline levels. A conclusion course would teach us how to work as a self-managed, democratic military unit outside of combat zone discipline. We were expected to show initiative and individual creativity, and work as a collective unit, not merely to follow orders passively. To be honest, that was harder than the combat discipline.

    ---

    If I could use any words to describe my short time with the 113th Infantry Regiment, it would be “disaster on stilts.” As I quickly found out, the Revolutionary Army had...mixed opinions about women in the combat branches. Some, particularly the pre-revolution Careerists, considered it little more than a political stunt.

    When I arrived fresh out of AT school, the 113th was basically just male cadre officers and NCOs. We were to be the formless mass they’d shape into an infantry combat unit.

    As I quickly found out, this amounted to punishment for political unreliability. From Colonel Jackson on down, they all viewed the task as beneath them, and us as invaders into their sacrosanct military fraternity. They certainly never let us forget that.

    The leaders of F Company, 2nd Battalion were either vicious or incompetent, and sometimes both. They made certain that “shit rolled down hill” on us. I didn’t learn how much until much later, but I’d rather not talk about that right now because I’m in a good mood. You wished to find out how I got to where I am today.

    After all, any idiot can join the Army. It takes a special kind of idiot, like yours truly, to really try to be all she can be. So it’s a surprisingly cold summer day, in early August I think, at Camp Beale, California. I’d recently been promoted to platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon. It might sound pretty rapid, having only been in the Army for five months, but it really wasn’t under the circumstances. The Amazon units were being created out of whole cloth, and there was a dire shortage of women NCOs. All it took to become one was to be a competent rifleman willing to put up with the additional hazing that came with the position.

    After completing PT that morning, showering, and changing into the standard khaki service trousers and Nehru jacket, I found myself summoned to my platoon leader, Lieutenant Jacob Mance’s “office.” I finished lacing up my boots and headed out from the barracks.

    The lieutenant’s “office” was a cramped closet where he did his clerical work, which he shared with several other officers. When I arrived, the door was open as always. I knocked on the wooden frame. “You wanted to see me sir?”

    Mance looked up over his reading glasses at me. “Ah yes, Sergeant Schafer. I was just finishing up some work. The Captain wanted to brief us on new equipment coming down the pipe from Stavka.” He stretched his stout frame before standing.

    Mance was an imposing figure, tall and burly like a lumberjack. His wavy brown hair had started to gray at the temples, even though he was barely thirty. His square face was chiseled and clean-shaven. He pocketed his spectacles, and led me to one of the camp’s rifle ranges.

    As it was, I’d lucked out and gotten maybe the only officer and gentleman in the whole company. I’d been Lt. Mance’s platoon sergeant for about a week at this point. Before, I really only knew about him by reputation. The other officers and male NCOs called him Lt. Nancy, but never to his face. Which probably saved their lives, because Mance loved two things with equal enthusiasm: men and a good scrap.

    Mance was always professional with me and the other women in the company. His leadership of the platoon was always on point, and he’d impressed me as a solid tactician and soldier. He was still only a LIeutenant at his age, even with the rapidly expanding army, because he was as queer as a three-dollar bill and would not let anyone hold it against him.

    “So how are those sergeant’s chevron’s treating you Schafer?” He said as he ducked under the low doorframe.

    “Just fine sir. Still getting used to the job, but nothing I can’t handle.”

    He led the way quite proudly. I followed about a pace behind to his left. “Excellent. If you have any problems, you let me know.”

    “Understood.”

    “So where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?”

    I was still getting to know Mance at the time, and I didn’t know yet if I believed the rumors about his sexual proclivities, so I felt a little wary about his sudden interest. It didn’t take a genius to realize that male officers might have less than honest intentions towards female subordinates. I wasn’t that stupid. “Berlin, Germany originally. But my family lived in Brooklyn since I was little.”

    He chuckled something about being a long way from home.

    “Well, right now this is my home. The only one I’ve ever known.”

    “Relax, I didn’t mean anything by it. Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

    “Yes. I grew up speaking it alongside English. Learned conversational Russian that way too. My extended family were all party members.”

    As we left the administration complex, Mance donned the peaked cap he’d had tucked under his arm. Old habits die hard, and the peaked cap was still in that awkward in between point where it was seen as old-fashioned but not yet hopelessly reactionary. It was like two armies cohabitating at that point; the old bourgeois army with its peaked caps and neckties, and the revolutionary army with its pilotkas and mandarin collars.

    There were several units drilling on the parade ground as we marched are way down the foot paths to our assigned rifle range. I knew the marching cadences by heart and had to stop myself from humming along.

    “Good. Work on your Russian if you have the time. I’ve a feeling it will prove to be useful.”

    “Why’s that, lieutenant?”

    “Call it a hunch. I think we’re so focused on preparing to fight the English trouble is liable to brew up elsewhere when we’re not prepared for it. I don’t think the Germans and the Russians ever really settled matters from the Great War.”

    It seems obvious with hindsight, but Mance’s speculations were rather out in left field even in late 1936. It wouldn’t be until the Czechoslovak War that we started to see Germany as a serious geopolitical threat, and even then it took some time before the brass regarded them as anything more than Britain’s catspaw on the continent.

    We arrived at the rifle range with little fanfare. The skies were overcast with thick gray clouds this afternoon. But the wind was quiet for now. Chief-Lieutenant Dewitt was waiting under a pavilion with the rest of the platoon leaders. The table they had gathered around was draped with a thick tarpaulin.

    We reported in with the customary salute. The captain was quite evidently displeased at my presence. “I don’t believe my orders requested the presence of platoon sergeants,” he said curtly.

    “I’m sorry if I presumed sir, but I requested Sergeant Schafer accompany me, and your orders did say I should use my best judgment in how to brief the men under my command. Since Sergeant Schafer is one of the best riflemen in the company, I wanted her input as well.”

    “The men under your command,” said Dewitt, “Very well lieutenant. If you think your platoon will benefit from playing house, I don’t see the harm.”

    I certainly didn’t appreciate his sarcastic tone, but had the good sense to pretend otherwise. The captain, at the very least, tried to keep up the pretense of being a professional. The other platoon leaders watched me with thinly concealed contempt.

    A rifle company hasn’t changed much since then. It’s composed of three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon, each lead by a lieutenant. We were only now approaching our authorized full strength of one hundred sixty. While it wasn’t the military we know now, it wasn’t the brutal pre-revolution army everyone has seen from the period dramas. As a non-commissioned officer, I had certain rights and privileges, especially concerning the wellbeing of the enlisted men under my supervision.

    I bit my tongue, though I knew I was well within my rights to speak out. I had learned to pick my battles. While the other lieutenants sneered, Dewitt began rolling up the canvas, revealing an array of weapons and gear that I would become intimately familiar with in time, but at present were completely alien to me.

    “Gentlemen,” said Dewitt, his eyes flitting back to me, “welcome to the new army.”

    Second Platoon’s CO, Lieutenant Hiram Jones, whistled approvingly. “Well this is certainly a welcome change of pace. After a decade of begging for scraps we finally get something new.”

    He wasn’t exaggerating. Jones was in his thirties. He’d made it out of West Point just in time to see some action in the First World War. He’d been lucky enough to stay in the military during demobilization, and had made it to a captain in the Organized Reserves. He’d been busted down a notch to Lieutenant for ‘knowingly following unlawful orders’ in legalspeak. Many other White officer defectors had left in disgrace, but not Jones. The tall, wiry Texan had clung to the military like a barnacle, probably because he didn’t know how to do anything else.

    “Don’t kid yourself, Jones,” said Fourth Platoon’s CO. “You know we’re going to be last in line for the new equipment. I barely have enough Springfields for my platoon. It’ll be a new decade before we see the Garand rifle in our inventory.”

    “I wouldn’t be so pessimistic Andrews,” said Mance. “Supposedly they’re already making almost a thousand of them per day at the arsenals.”

    Andrews and Mance got into yet another one of their on-edge discussions that I was certain were just smokescreens for personal vendetta. And to be honest, I didn’t care enough to remember what it was over this time.

    Robert Lee Andrews had still been a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute during the Civil War. By the time he’d graduated, General Patton had just liberated his old alma mater. Andrews was the new union’s awkward birthing pains personified. A consummate nostalgic for the old order he’d never had a chance to serve, he was never going to fit in the new army. I might have felt sorry for him had he not become such a complete son of a bitch.

    Amidst the banter, Dewitt watched with faint amusement, while Third’s CO, Sublieutenant Morgan Hitch, remained as taciturn as ever behind his wooly handlebar mustache. He looked more at home on the cover of a dimestore western then in the Revolutionary Army.

    “Well, if you’re all quite finished, I’d like to continue with the briefing,” scolded Dewitt.

    After a round of apologies, Dewitt ordered me to present the Garand rifle for his briefing. Since being a prop at least let me have access to the new equipment, I complied readily. I grabbed the Garand from the table, locked the slide back and held it for inspection.

    It felt heavier than the M1903s I was used to. But it felt like a natural evolution of the old standard, lock, stock and barrel.

    “This is the Rifle, 7 mm caliber, Model 1,” said Dewitt, “It is a self-loading rifle chambered in the new seven by fifty-one millimeter cartridge, and it is the rifle of the future. Besides reliable semi-automatic sustained fire, this weapon boasts a ten round internal magazine.”

    All I could think, as he paced around me, was that he must have memorized some army cue cards.

    “As you can see, besides the full stock, the rifle has lugs to attach bayonets or rifle grenade launchers, ensuring reliability in both close quarters as well as fire support.” He held up an ammunition clip in front of me. “The weapon is quickly loaded by these ten round en bloc clips. Sergeant, would you please demonstrate by loading the rifle.”

    I was familiar with the basic idea of an en bloc clip, but I’d never actually used it. The M1903s and M1915s had optional stripper clips, but those had been hard to come by, and we mostly used loose cartridges. I took the clip from his rough hand as he watched stoically.

    It seemed simple enough. There was a little guide to ensure the smooth insertion of the clip. So I held the forearm of the stock with one hand while I inserted the clip with my free hand. I pressed it in with my thumb until I heard a click. As I quickly found out, this was the wrong way to perform this operation, because as soon as the clip was locked in place, the slide slammed forward and caught my thumb.

    I bit my tongue to not shout out. I saw the sadistic grin on Dewitt’s face while the lieutenants save Mance laughed.

    “Thank you, sergeant, for demonstrating how to not charge an M1.”

    I tried to hide my displeasure as I locked the bold open, and resolved to try this again the right way. It didn’t take long to find the release for the clip. I noticed the charging handle had a curved surface in the front. It looked like it was in just the right place to be held open with the same hand inserting the clip.

    I tried it and it worked splendidly. When the bolt released, I had plenty of time to get my thumb out of the way. It smoothly racked a shell in to battery. I double checked to make sure the weapon was still in safety.

    “Very good,” said Dewitt, “As you can see, easy as pie. So simple even a woman can figure it out.”

    The rest of the briefing was pretty formulaic. Hitch briefly grumbled his objections that the new “stubbly little 7mms” wouldn’t have the same stopping power as the longer .303s. Dewitt managed to turn the advantage of smaller, lighter ammo and more manageable recoil into yet another indictment of women’s fitness as soldiers. They mostly seemed impressed by the MG-5 test-type; everyone seemed to view it as a phenomenal improvement over the heavy water-cooled Browning M1915s, and the perceived unreliability of the air-cooled version. Most had fought for the bad guys in the Civil War, and each related their experience of how important volume of fire was in a fast-paced, mobile conflict.

    So they seemed happy that the table of organization and equipment was being overhauled, and each rifle squad was getting a machine gun team. They seemed a bit more ambivalent about the M6 Pistol.

    “Looks just like a 1911,” Andrews remarked as he studied it.

    “That’s about the size of it,” said Dewitt. “Modernized and improved by John Browning and others, so they tell me. New high power 10mm cartridge. Supposed to have better muzzle velocity and fits five more in the double column magazine.”

    “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why would you replace the entire inventory just to do that?”

    “From what I read, Ordnance pulled the trigger on this because they wanted a new machine pistol to replace the heavy and expensive Thompson, and decided that the forty-five didn’t have the range they needed. Change one, you gotta change the other.”

    Andrews picked up something that looked like a slightly refined grease gun. “I suppose this is the end result.”

    “Machine Pistol 3, or MP-3 for short. I suspect it’ll be some time before they get it into service since they’re still working out the kinks. This one is a limited production test type they’ve been passing around like a party favor. I like the thirty round mags, and it seems to have good range but I’m still not convinced.”

    Mance tried on the big steel pot helmet. “Call me crazy, but I think the new helmet is the best change. It fits much better than those awful Brodies we’ve been using, and should protect the head better.” To demonstrate his point, he shook his head while wearing it. The olive painted helmet stayed pretty snug.

    I was an instant convert. The Brody helmet had been first fielded by the Brits in the Great War, and the AEF had ended up predominantly using it or an American produced copy. We’d been using the dinner plate styled helmets since then, and no one liked them. It probably survived only because it was better than nothing, and by the time we got the gumption to try to change it the Great War had already ended it, and the army had demobilized down to a shell.

    While we continued discussing some of the other equipment, particularly that mammoth 20mm anti-tank rifle, an Army Studebaker rolled to a halt outside. Dewitt’s eyebrow cocked as I heard doors clanging shut. He set down the massive box magazine, and snapped to a salute.

    We quickly followed suit. I saw a steely eyed young lieutenant colonel striding towards us. He grudgingly returned the salute while mumbling something about bourgeois bullshit. “At ease, comrades.”

    “Colonel Gracchus,” said Dewitt, “we weren’t expecting you so soon. I was just demonstrating the modern army to the platoon leaders.”

    I’d heard of Marius Gracchus before. Even in the thirties he was somewhat of a legend in the Army. He’d fought with distinction with the Haymarket Brigade in the Civil War, and earned his accolades fighting in the Battle of Chicago. He’d gained a reputation during the Mississippi Campaign serving with the Nat Turner Column as a model officer adept in the practice of maneuver warfare and combined arms tactics. Like many Spartacists, his given name had long since fallen by the wayside. Most of the serious militants adopted noms de guerre before the revolution.

    “No need to worry, Chief-Lieutenant, I’ve only just arrived. I’ll let you make the introductions.”

    I must admit, it was amusing to watch Dewitt strain to maintain his demeanor as a Southern Gentleman now that his commanding officer was black. Dewitt seemed to be talking through gritted teeth as he introduced the lieutenant colonel as the new commander of 2nd Battalion.

    Gracchus was tall and fit. His sable skin was freckled on his cheeks. His short, wiry hair was starting to gray at the temples. A pencil mustache lined his stern lips.

    He instantly noticed me and suddenly I felt so out of place. “I see there’s only one NCO here.”

    Dewitt jumped to answer all too quickly. “Yes sir. My orders made no mention of platoon sergeant’s being involved in this briefing. Lieutenant Mance insisted she be brought along.”

    Gracchus regarded Mance impassively. “Indeed. Why is that lieutenant?”

    Mance replied coolly, “I believe that close cooperation between NCOs and commissioned officers is vital to the performance of our duties, sir. We have far too few experienced female soldiers. Sergeant Schafer has been exemplary in the performance of her duties, but I believe that if we are to go into combat, she and other women NCOs need all the experience they can get.”

    “That is an excellent answer lieutenant.”

    Dewitt seemed to break out in a cold sweat as he tugged at his collar. Andrews, formerly his ever-faithful toady, inched away.

    And it’s rather fortuitous you brought her along. It means I can deliver some news in person.” He looked at me again and smiled thinly. “It’s no secret, gentleman, that most of you regard being billeted to a women’s unit as a sort of punishment.”

    I fought back a chuckle. It was a welcome change to see them squirming for once.

    Gracchus paced as he lectured. “Indeed, it’s why I’m here at all. They’d kept it quiet until now, but I suppose you all deserve the news. I’ve been sent here by Stavka to assume command of this battalion because my predecessor took his own life.”

    Dewitt turned pale as a sheet. “My god…”

    “My condolences Chief. I know he was a friend of yours. I’d only heard myself when I boarded the plane for California this morning. Now, back to my point. You all believe that this posting is your punishment for following what you believed to be the lawful orders of your commanding officers. I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. If they wanted to punish you, you’d be in Alcatraz with the rest of the counterrevolutionaries. You’ve been put here to prove yourselves and your loyalty to the people.

    Save for the whistling wind, the whole range was still and silent.

    “Lieutenant Mance is absolutely correct. You will not benefit by excluding or looking down on your women NCOs. And you may end up losing one of your best ones.” Colonel Gracchus pulled an envelope from his pocket. “This came down from regiment. SecDef has opened up the military service academies to women for the coming year. To jumpstart female admissions, each women’s battalion was supposed to nominate one soldier. Sergeant Schafer was at the top of Second’s list.”

    ---

    When I’d first joined the Army, neither the academies nor OCS had been opened up to women yet. My recruiter had remarked about what a shame it was, and had seemed to think I was officer material. At the time, I wasn’t sure what the hell he was talking about. I got good grades in school, so what.

    I’d spent the entire afternoon thinking about it. My initial reaction was indignation. During the long walk back to the barracks, I stewed in a foul mood. I’d only just started feeling competent at my present rate. I hadn’t even mastered the basics of soldiery and now they wanted to give me more responsibility.

    It was supposed to be an honor. But I sure as hell didn’t feel cut out for it.

    Thankfully, the base had an indoor pistol range. I had free time that night, and it seemed like a good idea to think it over while doing something that I found both relaxing and constructive. Aside from the range safety officer, I was the only one making use of the range that night. Pistols are not terribly useful as weapons of war, and they weren’t standard issue equipment. I’d picked up the hobby during my compulsory.

    I still had the same old M1911 that I’d bought with my first month’s pay. I finished loading seven rounds of 15-gram ball into the last magazine. After slipping the magazine in, and pressing the slide release, I focused on the silhouette target. As I exhaled, I pushed away all of my fears and doubts. All that was left was the target and me. The 1911 was weighty in my hands as I lined up the sights.

    The report was loud even through the safety muffs. The pistol kicked firmly as I squeezed off three rounds. The brimstone smell burned at my nose. It was strangely comforting. I emptied the rest of the magazine, recentering in between each shot.

    I was less than impressed the results. I removed the magazine and set my pistol down on the shelf. I reeled the target in to get a better look. The paper target felt like a disappointing report card. I only counted six holes in it, and those were barely within the black silhouette.

    I was about to reload when I heard the muffled sound of someone talking right behind me. My heart jumped as I spun around and tore the muffs from my head. Mance was standing a professional distance away, looking as world weary as ever.

    “Jesus! You should know better than to sneak up to someone with a gun in her hands.”

    He laughed quietly. “Sorry, I’d been meaning to get your attention, and I figured it was best to do it before you reloaded.”

    “Well, what can I do for you sir?”

    “I wanted to talk to you about Colonel Gracchus’ offer.”

    I decocked my 1911 and set it down. “Well, you’ve come at a good time. I came here to clear my head and think about it.”

    “It’s a big burden he’s placing on you. Even worse, they’ll be starting you as a second year, and you’ll have to sink or swim.”

    “Did you go to West Point sir?”

    “We’re not in combat, Schafer. You don’t need to call me sir. I think we’ve been trying to cling to the ideas of an army that no longer exists. Yes, I went to West Point. I’m not sure how much has changed; I attended in the middle of MacArthur’s reforms.”

    He noticed me bristle at the mention of his name and chuckled. “He wasn’t always the bête noir he is now. Once upon a time, he was a diligent and perhaps even progressive military officer. Anyway, I’m not sure I can be much of a guide for you. But I will say this: if you choose to go, you’ll be treated like an outsider. The other cadets will resent you. Many will even hate you. You’ve seen the treatment these ‘officers and gentlemen’ have been doling out here? The arbitrary punishments, the harassment, the constant hectoring of any iota of initiative or independence on your part? It’ll be ten times worse at the Academy.”

    His solemnness confirmed what I’d been fearing. “You think I should turn it down?”

    “No, rather the opposite. I think you should go. Because I think you can take it.”

    “That doesn’t mean I’m officer material.”

    “You’re smart enough to excel academically. Unlike the other lieutenants, I actually keep tabs on the women under my command. You’re the one person in the whole platoon to read the field manuals Stavka sends us without being ordered to. They call you the ‘bookworm’ in the barracks, and I’d bet you’ve probably read the whole West Point first year curricula already.”

    I felt intensely uncomfortable. There’s an old saying that goes something like that nail that sticks out the most is the first to be hammered down. I’d never liked being different but somehow, I could never manage to help myself. Mom always wanted to set me up with a nice Jewish boy with a decent trade. And yet she never understood why I wanted to go study the Torah with the boys. My teachers always felt I was too rough and mannish, and warned me that it was a bad idea to embarrass my future husband by being smarter than him or too outspoken. I didn’t like sticking out, and yet all my attempts to conform seemed to be rebellious.

    “And most importantly, they trust and respect your leadership. You lead by example. You never ask anything of others that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. And from what I’ve heard, when you decided to enlist, a fair number of your Militia cadre decided to follow you in.”

    “I…I don’t know what to say.”

    “Just think about it. You’ve got a couple days before you need to make a decision.”

    It’s easy with hindsight to see how obviously right Mance was. But at the time, I was terrified. To be honest, I didn’t sleep a wink that night. But somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, I found enough resolve to make a decision. Bleary-eyed and exhausted, I helped lead the troops through PT and a live-fire exercise. The moment I found some free time, I typed out my acceptance letter, and handed it to Mance.

    He read it over once, nodding his head. He looked at me with such pride in his eyes I think I saw the ghost of my father in him. Before I knew it, I was waiting for my train at Sacramento, all prim and proper in my dress uniform, polished boots and pilotka, the rest of my platoon waiting with me on the platform to see me off.
     
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  12. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    The Military of the UASR: Overview

    The military establishment of the UASR, since its foundation in the Revolutionary Defense Act of 1934, consists of a tripartite system of mass, state and all-union organizations; the Armed Masses Militia, the Red Guards, and the Armed Forces respectively.

    The new arrangement borrowed heavily from the experiences of the Civil War to counter the twin threat of reactionary resurgence at home and attack from abroad. American political culture historically mistrusted standing armies and other permanent military establishments. The MacArthur Putsch reinforced this fear. Many within the Party considered the standing army to be a threat to proletarian power, and a throwback to repressive social forms. The army, police and prisons were instruments of class rule ill-fitting the workers’ republics broad emancipatory vision.

    While Synchronization would see the drastic restructuring of these state institutions, they proved impossible to do away with wholesale. In the heated debates over the content of the Revolutionary Defense Act, often called the Abern-Chaffee Act, the Party was internally divided. The junior members of the pro-revolution front were similarly divided.

    The finished act, a compromise organized by Party leader Browder, smoothed over the debate between the “Ultras” and the front-benchers. The Act established the three cornerstones of the modern military establishment, persisting into the present: the armed mass, universal conscription, and military democracy.

    The notion of the “armed mass”, elucidated in Marx’s Civil War in France, Lenin’s State and Revolution, and further elaborated in Martin Abern’s Civil War monograph Call to Arms, is the proletarianization of the old American ideal of the citizen-soldier. The duty of revolutionary defense belonged to the whole people, not to a separate body of armed men. The Armed Mass Militia, as defined by the Abern-Chaffee Act, consists of all able-bodied adults residing in the UASR, minus those excluded for counterrevolutionary acts or membership in the propertied classes. The Armed Mass Militia is divided into two chief sub-units: the Standing Militia, and the Reserve Militia.

    It is not enough to simply call a man or woman a member of the militia. Training in the use of arms, military organization and discipline are as essential as the arms themselves. Starting in September 1934, membership in the Standing Militia became compulsory upon reaching the age of 19 or graduating high school. All permanent residents were required to give one year of service in the Standing Militia. Conscientious objectors and those unfit for militia service would give a year of non-military or auxiliary service instead.

    Upon completion of the year of service, members would rotate into the Reserve Militia. With the exception of occasional training and drill call-ups, they would be civilians. The police militias, the Red Guards and the Armed Forces would recruit volunteers from recent graduates of Standing Militia service.

    The final component, military democracy, was the recognition that in such a heightened state of mobilization, the military could not be treated as separate from civil society, subject to a different and altogether more ruthless set of rules. Traditional military discipline would constitute a reactionary threat against revolutionary society. The norms of the revolutionary military from the civil war: the soldiers’ soviets, the election of NCOs and commissioned officers, the new code of military discipline, would be preserved.

    The Armed Masses Militia: Mildly Military

    In 1934, almost 3 million people would reach the age of majority. Faced with the prospect of a fragile economy still suffering from high unemployment, the establishment of universal conscription proved to be a small blessing. Of these, 2.2 million were accepted for into the Armed Masses Militia.

    In practice, the Militia would serve more as a work program than a true military force. The young men and women of the Militia would be divided into training battalions, and given basic military training by demobilized Civil War veterans, and would spend some of their time in rural and urban combat exercises. Much of their worktime would be spent on public works or vocational training. For this service, they received a basic salary, room and board. While anarchists and liberals alike criticized the system as “barracks communism,” the mild discipline and decent work proved appealing to the youth. The work brigades brought young men and women from all walks of life together, a deliberate intermingling built into the administration that would connect people from different states through shared experience.

    This is not to say it was all roses. The Militia went through its growing pains. In the first few years, there was a definite shortage of facilities available. Many training facilities were inadequate, and inductees spent much of their time building barracks and training courses for the system. Establishing working regulations took trial and error. Preventing hazing and other reactionary social norms proved highly challenging, as did overcoming resistance to race and gender mixing in the units.

    In the first two years, draftees were inducted in six classes spaced two months apart. After eight weeks of basic training, inductees rotated from training units into work brigades. The work brigades balanced public works with ongoing military readiness. A work brigade might be on maneuvers one week, and repairing levees the next.

    At the end of the year, the Standing Militia would produce a competent rifleman. But as combat formations, the work brigades were decidedly lacking, especially in the formative years, with few machine guns, infantry support weapons and no organic artillery. Furthermore, they lacked effective logistical tail for field operations. Consequently, they must be regarded mostly as training and public works formations.

    As a social institution, they served to build cohesion. In economic terms, they provided relief for the unemployment crisis, and a much-needed labor pool to help repair the damage caused by depression, Dust Bowl and civil war. As a military institution, they existed primarily to build a pool of reservists that could be mobilized in wartime very rapidly.

    Reforms were implemented in 1936 to improve the effectiveness of the militia brigades. With much of the infrastructure now built, the number of classes was reduced to four. An additional month of training time was utilized to build specialization and leadership training into militia units. Post 1936 work brigades could mobilize as much more effective combat units, with machine guns, infantry support and anti-tanks guns, complete with organic service units to handle signals, logistics and maintenance.

    The Red Guards: Sentinels of the Revolution

    The core of the Red Guards came from pre-revolution National Guard units that refused MacArthur’s mobilization and sided with the provisional government. Radicalized by the antifascist struggle, the new Red Guards would find a place in the new revolutionary order as the moderate cousin to the eschatological fervor of the professional military.

    Like the National Guard, the Red Guards are dual state/federal creatures. Raised by the states, but organized according to the exacting demands of the all-union government, the Red Guards serve as the backbone of the new revolutionary states. In peace time, their primary duty is the safety and security of the citizens of their states. Mobilized by state central committees for disaster relief and civil disturbance, they are as much police as they are military, shying away from the often-heavy handed tactics that the pre-revolution National Guard utilized.

    As such, in peacetime they are essentially paramilitary gendarmes, replacing the pre-revolution state police, state militias, and the National Guard itself. Most members are citizen-soldiers, owing a specified number of training/maneuver days per month. The rest are full-time members, serving as specialists in training, law enforcement, security, or leadership.

    Red Guards units can be mobilized quickly to deal with disturbance or disaster. In war-time, they can be mobilized into the standing military. All states have Army Red Guards units, typically with some air capability, and some coastal states also organize a Naval Guard as well.

    In the closing days of the Civil War, the reborn Red Guards served as the primary instrument in suppressing reaction. Supported by the Revolutionary Army, the Red Guards of the various states established martial law in the liberated states. After the immediate restoration of order, the suppression of looting and banditry, the Red Guards suppressed the remaining institutions of the bourgeois state, disarming the local police, sheriffs, and private mercenary groups. Suspected collaborators in the MacArthur Putsch and counterrevolutionaries were arrested. Border checkpoints among the states, at the Canadian border, and at the ports of entry halted attempts to escape justice or otherwise flee the new regime.

    In time, new institutions were built from the ground up from men whose loyalty to the revolution was unquestionable. But for most of the first half of 1934 it was martial law, and order upheld by the Red Guards. The result of Synchronization left the Red Guards as the primary state law enforcement agency, with groups tasked with highway security, criminal investigation, etc. In sum, the Red Guards developed specialized forces to take over the pre-revolution roles of state police as well as many of the roles previously allotted to county sheriffs. Devolved law-enforcement powers would be held by city and county police militia as needed.

    The Revolutionary Armed Forces: Faith Militant of the World Revolution

    As part of Foster’s program of Synchronization, the standing military of the new republic would not be a house divided against itself. Determined to end any possibility of a counterrevolutionary “deep-state” asserting itself, the defense establishment itself would undergo a radical reconstruction of its own. The pre-revolution Department of War and Department of the Navy were merged into a single Secretariat for Defense. The army and navy would be forced into cohabitation.

    With most of the Marine Corps aligned firmly with MacArthur, along with a significant fraction of the Battle Fleet, the Navy’s loyalty to the revolution was considered highly suspected. The Workers’ and Farmers Revolutionary Navy represented an aesthetic change that the admiralty and captains endured at best, and actively worked against at worst. The Revolutionary Army, born from mutinying soldiers and Spartacus League militants, and baptized in the fires of the revolutionary struggle, would serve as the counterweight to maintain the vital loyalty of the Navy.

    The Browder-Sinclair-Foster troika rebuffed the Admiralty’s attempts to maintain control of the Marine Corps and other measures to preserve the independence of the Navy. As part of the reorganization, the Army and Navy would be forced into greater levels of cooperation. Supply service would be consolidated, a single logistical hierarchy to serve both combat “services.”

    In effect, the distinction between the Navy and Army was all but erased. The rank systems were rationalized, and a draft program to phase in a single combined rank structure would be phased in. High level theater commands united Army and Navy assets into a single hierarchy, with a combined General Staff Commssion, answering to the party/state Revolutionary Military Committee. The Army would contribute to the Navy’s Marines. Cadres of naval personnel would support the Army’s shore and harbor batteries. Army and Naval aviators would undergo flight training together before specializing. The movement of personnel between the Army and Navy was made easier.

    The political commissars, the direct arm of the party, would maintain their vigil as they had in the Revolution, ensuring discipline to the revolutionary aims of the new regime.

    The Revolutionary Navy: Challenging the Tyranny of Heaven

    Prior to the refining fire of the Second World War, there was only a single theme that served to unite the deeply divided ranks of the Navy: the ambition to dethrone the British Royal Navy and wrest command of the seas from her. The Admirality and senior line officers, a quasi-aristocratic establishment overwhelmingly drawn from “White” southerners, were at odds with much of the mass of junior officers, NCOs and enlisted men.

    The internal conflict in the Navy grew to enompass more than just politics. Each camp soon became defined by differing views in naval doctrine, religion, and society. The so-called “Old Navy” aligned with the pre-revolution Admirality, the Democratic-Republican Party, Anglo-Saxon(ish) ethnicity, Protestant religion, and the Mahanian orthodoxy. Their opposite, maligned as “Boatsheviks” before taking the term as a badge of honor, were drawn to the ultra-left of the Workers’ Party, constituted from a motley coalition of Euro-ethnix, African, Asians and Xicanos, and advanced a neo-Corbettian doctrine.

    The loyalist faction of the Marine Corps, constituted primarily from then Major General Smedley Butler’s 1st Marine Division, would serve as the cadre of a new Revolutionary Marines, incorporating large numbers of Spartacist volunteers and transfers from the Army, with Butler serving as its Commandant.

    The Navy went into the Civil War somewhat of a shell of itself. While on paper, she was impressive, with the 13 “Standard-type” battleships and 5 South Dakota-class battleships, supplemented by 5 Lexington-class battlecruisers, the Great Depression had ravaged her battle worthiness. By 1933, the fleet was only at half-readiness, with only the more modern half of the battle fleet in full commission. Even they were beset with significant deficits in training and readiness due to budgetary restraints. The fleet’s two experimental carriers were at higher readiness, and played a strong role in the few naval engagements of the Civil War.

    The limited action of the Civil War greatly reduced the strength of the fleet, both due to combat losses and defection to the MacArthur Putsch. The largest fleet engagement, the Battle of the Florida Straits, was a pyrrhic victory, which revealed deep problems in some of the Navy’s weapon systems.

    By the end of the Civil War, the Navy had been reduced from near parity with the Royal Navy to the third largest surface fleet from the combined losses of defection and ships sunk or scuttled in the Civil War. The battle fleet had been reduced from 23 to just 15 capital ships, with similar losses in the cruiser and destroyer fleets. The Lexington-class battlecruisers had proven to be expensive white elephants, and the three-remaining serviceable could not be counted to survive combat with ships of the Royal Navy or Imperial Japanese Navy.

    With the economy recovering under the revolutionary government’s restructuring plans, rearmament came to the fore of Premier Foster’s agenda in the second half of 1934. Work would be resumed ex-United States-class battlecruisers (suspended during the Depression and Civil War) with major revisions to ensure their survivability in combat. Two hulls would be completed as aircraft carriers to bolster the Navy’s air arm. The revised battlecruisers would replicate the design philosophy of the British Revenge-class battlecruiser, and thus were in violation of the Washington Naval Treaty, a fact that the government concealed from the world community until it publicly repudiated the treaty in 1936.

    A new class of fast battleship was ordered, still (barely) compliant to the terms of the WNT. The five new ships of the Monitor-class combined adequate survivability with an armament of nine 41-cm guns and 28 knot top speed. Monitor’s sister ships were ordered with relatively innocuous mythological and historical names, a portent of the more radical changes that would come in the culture of the Navy.

    With the Revolution sufficiently entrenched, and peace secured (for now) with the UK, the Revolutionary Military Committee began modernizing existing ships. The refitted ships would often be renamed, particularly capital ships, to new naming themes reflecting the values of the revolution.

    The Navy’s cadres of cruisers would similarly be bolstered. Once freed from the restrictions of the Naval Treaties, powerful new classes of heavy cruisers were laid down to thwart any commerce raiding aims from adversaries, and give the Navy a means of threatening the trade lifelines of the British Empire. These new cruisers had excellent range and anti-aircraft armament, and were well suited to high-speed operations in carrier task forces.

    New destroyer and escort ships continued this developing Corbettian doctrine. The carrier and the battleship would serve as equal partners in exercising control of the sea, to force free passage of American vessels, and deny it to the enemy. The converted Gettysburg-class carriers would soon be supplemented by the Solidarity-class, purpose built carriers designed for a 27,000 tonne displacement.

    By 1937, the revolutionary government had become bold enough to begin openly challenging the British Empire, confirming what their adversaries had long believed to be true: the world revolutionary war would come, and it would be fought on America’s terms. The “Two Ocean Navy Act”, ratified by the CEC in April 1937, mandated the building of a navy “second to none”, capable of fighting and winning against any conceivable combination of adversaries in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans simultaneously. The already large naval budget swelled tremendously; all pre-revolutionary battleships would be modernized by 1941. A further five battleships were ordered for the present fiscal year, and planning for another successor class began in earnest. There would be no end in sight to the naval arms race.

    Classified memos outlined a target date of May Day 1944, the tenth anniversary of the new constitution and the eleventh anniversary of the revolution’s most momentous date. By this date, the government hoped to amass sufficient naval forces to make victory in a world revolutionary war inevitable.

    Smedley Butler, now promoted to full General and Commandant of the Workers’ and Farmers’ Revolutionary Marines, would be tasked with kicking down the door on the British Empire. As a combat hardened veteran of the First World War, Butler uniquely understood the realities of modern total war. In the Civil War, the 1st Marine Division took Patton’s left flank during the drive on Washington. The Vickers Medium Mark IIIs and Light Mark Es of MacArthur’s forces made a considerable impression on Butler and the Marines.

    Patton’s Eastern Army Front had advanced hard and fast using a mix of rapidly constructed native tanks like the T-3, Soviet loans like the T-26, and a massive tail of civilian logistical vehicles to move men and materiel. The war of the future would be mechanized, and must the Marines. Throughout the 30s and early 40s, Butler championed the development of new hardware and doctrine to make the Marines into a weapon of opposed amphibious landing, suited for wresting control of Britain’s possessions in the New World and, if necessary, spearheading the invasion of Great Britain herself.

    The Revolutionary Army: Spear of the Revolution

    If the Navy carried the baggage of the old regime, then the Army carried the zeal of the new regime. The Revolutionary Army was born and baptized in the fires of the Revolution, and forged quickly into a winning force that utilized air power, armor, and artillery in an innovative new manner in defeating the forces of the establishment.

    After harrying MacArthur and his cronies from the mainland, the rising leaders of the new army (many of them junior officers in the bourgeois military) began applying the lessons learned in the Civil War to forge a new professional military establishment to prepare for the next war. Combat operations would continue in a string of police actions throughout the mid-30s, shoring up new allied regimes in the New World while cultivating military officers well versed in the new way of waging war.

    The process began with the professionalization of the Spartacus League, which had formed the core of the revolutionary manpower in the Civil War. Many were military veterans, including numerous WWI veterans, though the swelled ranks of the Civil War Spartacus League included several hundred thousand young men and women who had answered the call to arms. The cream of the crop would serve as the core cadre of the WFRA.

    The 1934 Defense Act set the manpower limit of the WFRA at 800,000 men, a strength the military would not reach until 1936. This strength would include the Army Air Forces, but would not include the Army’s co-involvement with the Navy’s Marine echelon. From the very start, the Army would be racially integrated (a policy that had to be forced on the Navy over the reluctance of the Old Guard).

    The Army also more quickly accommodated the new social reality, pushing forward with women’s combat units, and gender integrated rear-echelon units. Further advances were made with the 1936 Uniform Code of Military Justice, which reduced the substantive nature of officerial privilege.

    The Spartacus League’s soldier democracy would be deeply entrenched into the sinews of the new Army. Elected NCO leaders form the backbone of the soldiers’ soviets. They maintain the military discipline of the units, handle administrative affairs, and vet all officer appointments.

    While regiments formed the organic administrative unit for the Army and Red Guards alike, the division would serve as the primary tactical unit for operational purposes. The existing “square division”(1) layout inherited from the First World War was broken up into a smaller, more flexible “triangular division” of three maneuver regiments.

    This restructuring, developed at the behest of the Revolutionary Military Committee by the Deputy Chief of the Army Staff, then Lieutenant General George Patton, was essentially conservative. The majority of White Army officers were rehabilitated and put into useful roles, preserving the Army’s accumulated knowledge and transferring it to a younger generation of radicalized officers. The expansion plan cribbed heavily from the War Department’s 1923 peacetime mobilization plans. New divisions were activated from the reserve headquarters maintained by the Army.

    By mid-1936, the Army reached its authorized strength of 800,000 active duty personnel. That summer, the future Hans Kahle Military Academy opened its doors, supplementing the existing West Point academy. The standing army consisted of twenty-five divisions (three tank, three mechanized, eighteen infantry). These divisions were organized into seven corps, each supplemented by additional tank and artillery brigades. The army’s ground forces were supported by fifty aviation regiments of the Army Air Forces.

    In 1936, the Army would be introducing a range of modern technologies and equipment. The WFRA became the trendsetting military force that many world powers would consciously or unconsciously measure against. 1936 saw the wide scale introduction of the intermediate cartridge (7 x 51 mm Pedersen), the self-loading battle rifle (the M1 Garand), the general purpose machine gun (MG-5 “Brat”), the all metal monoplane fighter (F-28 Burro), the four-engine heavy bomber (B-13 Flying Fortress). Additionally, less flashy instruments like practical field radios, reliable heavy trucks, precomputed artillery firing tables, and the foil retort pouch revolutionized warfare behind the scenes.

    (1) A division formed of two brigades of two regiments each, usually supported by a large artillery brigade
     
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  13. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Post-Reform Currency of the UASR

    “Money is a measure of poverty,” as Solon DeLeon put it.(1) The imposition of the dictatorship of the proletariat during the revolution had not yet annulled capitalism fully. And post 1933, the Workers’ Party had quietly repudiated Leninist stageism as part of the general line of the party.

    The transitional state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as a practical matter, required maintaining the value form and money, and with that some form of property relations and class distinction was inevitable. Even the notion that America was a union of socialist republics was somewhat blasphemous to this notion. Foster and Browder had walked a careful line, indicating that the official style of the polity was aspirational.

    Consequently, monetary policy and currency were a major practical concern for the workers republic. In full socialism/communism (the two are not distinguished by Marx nor the Workers’ Party’s general line), money would not exist. Even the official economic program of “state socialism” was an (over)simplification of Browder’s notion of “state promotion of socialist relations.”

    With that circle squared, Foster’s government commenced as part of war measures the confiscation of private stocks of gold bullion, coin and jewelry, often without compensation. With the US Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing out of commission for the duration of the war, the economy floated on War Syndicalist fiat and scrip issued by the Provisional Government.

    Following the establishment of a constitutional regime, more substantive reform measures were undertaken. Gold was revalued at $1.25 per gram (~$38.76 per Troy ounce), a major devaluation of the dollar and monetary expansion. As a part of open market operations, the gold reserves held by the Union Bank would nearly treble in five years to approximately 19,000 tonnes. Paradoxically, the socialist state became a major target for capitalist investment, and the expansionary monetary policy greatly eased investment and consumption, and thus economic growth.

    On a more day-to-day level, the UASR continued to mint and print pre-revolution currency for a short time for practical reasons. Series 1914 and 1918 Bank of the Republic Notes, Series 1915 Bank of the Republic Bank Notes, United States Silver Certificates, United States Gold Certificates, and United States Notes continued to circulate and be printed for nearly two years.

    But their political unpalatability, and their continued use in the White-exile regime in Cuba ensured this would not last. Design process for a new currency began in mid 1934, spurred on by reports of a number of dies and engraving plates being unaccounted for. When the exile regime began what amounted to a massive state sponsored counterfeiting operation, the new “Workers’ Currency” was rushed into production. Overstamping of existing banknotes helped thwart the smuggling of exile currency in the interim. For a short period from May Day 1936 until 1938, the new currency was co-official with the old. Old notes would be demonetized after this period, and conversion of unstamped old notes was blocked. Older coinage was retired but never official demonetized, though most were melted down. Older coins and banknotes are consequently prized collectors items in present day.

    The new currency featured a mix of classic and modern design elements. This was politically pragmatic as well as aesthetically appealing, and established a visual sense of continuity with the symbolism of the first revolution.

    1936 Series

    Coinage

    Cent (1¢): “Phrygian cent”.(2) Face: Lady Liberty wearing Phrygian cap. Back: Laurel wreath surrounding “One Cent”.

    Half-dime (5¢): “Arm and Hammer Nickel” Face: Arm and Hammer. Back: Roman numeral V, wreathed by wheat.

    Dime (10¢): “Ploughshares dime”. Face: Worker beating his sword into ploughshares. Back: Olive branch and fasces

    Quarter (25¢): “Liberty quarter”. Face: Liberty armed for battle, with Corinthian helm, hoplon and spear. Back: Seal of the UASR

    Dollar ($1): “Nude Liberty.” Face: Lady Liberty, in style of a Negro freedwoman, arms aloft holding the sun, broken chains at her feet. Back: Coat of Arms of the UASR

    Banknotes

    Standard template. Obverse: Left-side portrait. Right side Allegory.(3) Denomination in the corners. Top banner “Workers of the world unite!”. Reverse: Mural

    $5: Portrait: Abraham Lincoln. Allegory: The Power of Labor (a workman beating chains into munitions. Mural: All Power to the Soviets (dramatized portrayal of the planting of the red flag on the Capitol building)

    $10: Portrait: John Brown. Allegory: Freedom: (woman worker building civilization). Mural: “The Tragic Prelude”

    $25: Portrait: Norman Thomas. Allegory: Proletarian Cincinnatus (workman standing, one hand on the machinery, the other holding fasces in outstretched hand). Mural: Four as One (four Red Army men with rifles and bayonets drawn. One black, one white, one Asian, one Native.)

    $100: Portrait: Daniel DeLeon. Allegory: Justice Casts Aside Her Blindfold. Mural: Congress of Soviets building

    1. I feel I should note that though Daniel DeLeon had a son OTL named Solon, there’s really no biographical information about him, and as far as I can tell he was apolitical. So he’s sort of a literary blank slate for the purposes of this timeline.
    2. Before the current presidential coins were minted (IOTL, the Lincoln Cent was released in 1909, the Washington Quarter in 1932, the FDR Dime in 1945), American coinage had a variety of motifs, usually focused on Lady Liberty, eagles, classical artistic symbols, American Indians, etc. Designs were changed regularly, and the mix of circulating currency resulted in common nicknames for the various designs.
    3. In this sense, art symbolically representing an idea.
     
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  14. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Events of interest, 1934

    January 1:
    The Alcatraz Citadel is transferred from the Navy to the Secretariat for Public Safety. The Citadel’s military prison facilities will be expanded to serve as the primary repository for infamous counterrevolutionaries. Among its first inmates is Arizona businessman and junta supporter Barry Goldwater, serving a life sentence for sedition and treason for his part in arming and supporting reactionary militias during the Civil War.

    January 6: The first Flash Gordon comic strip is published. In it, the titular hero is whisked away to a far-away planet, Doitsu, where he fights the evil dictator Adolf the Abominable.

    January 15:
    Marinus van der Lubbe is executed in Germany for his alleged role in the Reichstag fire. Demonstrations are held throughout major American cities to protest this display of Nazi brutality. That night, a candlelight vigil is held at the Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. Provisional President Sinclair delivers a eulogy for the martyred Dutch communist as a stirring call to action to fight fascism.

    January 21: A group of civic organizations, notably the Sons of the American Revolution, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and International Red Aid, secure land in Washington D.C. for a Second Civil War memorial. WPA Secretary-General Earl Browder sponsors a popular contest, organized by the Architect’s Union, to design the memorial.

    February 1: On the eve of the normalization of relations with the UASR, the French National Gendarmerie conducts a series of arrests of key members of the far-right Action Francaise. A plot against the Third Republic is exposed the following morning.

    February 3: The National Congress of the Workers’ Party adopts Browder-Foster-Sinclair troika’s proposed program for “the state promotion of socialist relations.”

    February 6: American Foreign Secretary John Reed concludes his meeting with his French counterpart, Yvon Delbos. A draft trade treaty is nearing completion as the American embassy in Paris resumes normal operations after a year of political crisis.

    February 9: The Fundamental Principles of the Soviet Congresses is ratified by Mississippi. All 48 states have now consented to the new union.

    February 16: Imperial Japan: the coronation of the first puppet emperor of the Manchu State (Manshūkoku) is held. The newly declared “Great Manchu Empire” is a vassal of the Empire of Japan, and its government ministers merely serve as front men for Japanese imperial ministers. In a speech before the Provisional Congress, Premier Foster harshly condemns this latest display of Japanese imperialism in China. In a closed Central Committee meeting that evening, policy towards Japan is discussed, and a study by the Foreign Secretariat of the possible effectiveness of resources embargoes against Japan is commissioned.

    February 20: The first lynchpin in the state socialist program, the National Recovery Act, is passed unopposed by the Provisional Congress. The NRA omnibus would establish much of the legal framework for the new economy, numerous new all-Union secretariats and agencies, as well as public relief and works projects.

    February 24: The Supreme Court issues its decision in Morgan v. UASR. The Court, formerly reticent about constitutional matters, rules unanimously in rejecting legal arguments questioning the legitimacy of the new constitutional order.

    February 26: Responding to a tip left by an informant, a Public Safety posse comitatus led by Spartacus League Sergeant John Dillinger corner bank robber and hired gun “Machine Gun” Kelly at a hotel in South Bend, Indiana. Kelly and eight accomplices are killed while resisting arrest and attempting to escape, but several members of the posse are killed While Kelly’s gang’s counterrevolutionary spree of bank robbery and terrorism is ended, the ineffective ad hoc cooperation between Spartacists, Indiana Red Guards and Hoover’s NBI-men provokes internal review and public scandal.

    February 28: Leon Trotsky publishes his first syndicated column for the national newspaper, The Daily Worker. The column, “Reflections on the American Experience with Communism”, offers a careful analysis of what has been accomplished, and what remains to be accomplished in the American Revolution.

    March 1: British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin introduces the budget for the 1934 fiscal year in the House of Commons. Amid nominal increases in income tax and social spending, the budget contains a major increase in armaments spending. The Army’s budget is doubled to £13.1 million, while the Royal Navy and Royal Air force both receive an additional £10 million, amounting to £36.4 million and £19.4 million respectively. The funds earmarked for defense preparation studies are a portent of greater changes to come.

    March 4:
    The Dominion of the Philippines is formally established within the British Empire, at a ceremony in Manila. Manuel L. Quezon is appointed Governor-General of the Dominion. The arrangement between Philippine leaders and the British Empire allows for a considerable measure of self-rule. However, the Philippine armed forces will be integrated into the ANZAC, and considerable control over the Dominions foreign trade will be exerted from London.

    March 8:
    A list of 700 names, consisting of suspected counterrevolutionary political leaders, paramilitaries, organized crime bosses, and other dangerous counterrevolutionaries, is published by SecPubSafe. The Enemies of the People list signals an intensification of the Red Terror amidst the transition to constitutional government.

    March 12: On the first anniversary of Pope Pius XI’s anti-communist papal bull, a congress of dissident Catholic priests and lay members convenes in Chicago, establishing what would eventually become the Red Trinitarian Ecumene.

    March 15: The Basic Law of the UASR is ratified by the Congress of Soviets, with only scattered opposition votes by independents and True Democrats. The Congress of Soviets dissolves for elections, as previously agreed.

    March 16: Former First Secretary Nicholas Longworth attempts to commit suicide by hanging himself in his cell while awaiting prosecution. He is cut down and resuscitated by prison guards.

    March 21: New York socialist leader Morris Hilquit passes away from a stroke at his home in Manhattan. The beloved former Mayor of New York is given a state funeral procession through Manhattan. After the somber occasion, attended by hundreds of thousands, his body is cremated, and interred in a small plot next to Norman Thomas.

    March 24: Provisional Secretary for Foreign Trade Walter Lippman announces a comprehensive suite of sanctions against Latin American “caudillo autocracies.” The seizure of overseas assets, trade embargo and naval blockade are expected to deal a crippling blow to the former comprador regimes of the old United States.

    April 6: Elections for the All-Union Congress of Soviets conclude. A decisive supermajority is achieved by the pro-revolution United Democratic Front, with an absolute majority of seats held by the WPA. The demoralized opposition fails to show up at the polls with sufficient weight.

    April 14: The II Congress of Soviets convenes. The Office of the President is legally subsumed into the Presidium of the Congress of Soviets. Upton Sinclair is elected Secretary-General of the Presidium and sworn in at noon. The deputies of the Central Executive Council are elected in the afternoon.

    April 15: A torrent of the worst dust storms recorded in the Dust Bowl wrack the Midwest. The new Central Committee declares a state of emergency in the affected regions, and mobilizes the Red Guards to provide relief. Spurred on by the crisis, work advances on the expansion of the Provisional Government’s Agricultural Relief and Reorganization Act.

    April 18: Troops of the Mexican People’s Liberation Army cross into Guatemala as Jorge Ubico’s regime begins to founder amidst widespread labor unrest.

    April 23:
    A preliminary trade agreement, brokered by Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace with his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Chernov, furnishes grain, agricultural supplies, and tractors to the Soviet Union. This in-kind trade is publicized as repayment for Soviet military aid during the Civil War. In reality, like the Provisional Government’s “tractors for tanks” trade last summer, it is relief aid to counter the mounting problems with the collectivization drives.(1)

    April 30:
    The Judiciary Omnibus is passed. The omnibus defines the basic structure of the union court system. People's Tribunals, analogous to the Federal District courts of the previous era, serve as the court of original jurisdiction for the majority of issues. A tier of Appeals Tribunals are established superior to the People's Tribunals. Various special courts, such as military justice courts, are also established by the Omnibus.

    May 1: Much of the nation comes to a temporary halt today to celebrate International Labor Day. The parades, marches and festivities are much more jovial this year, replacing the often militant tone of previous May Days with a much more celebratory feeling. In the spirit of the day, the White House and other government buildings are decked with red and black bunting.

    May 5: The Socialist Republic of Mexico adopts its new revolutionary constitution.

    May 11: The revised Agricultural Relief and Reorganization Act comes to a vote. To ensure its swift passage, Premier Foster has elected to attach a motion of confidence to the bill. The Central Committee retains the confidence of the Congress 640-140.

    May 13: The Public Safety Act is ratified. The Civil War’s Special Committee for State Security is elevated to permanent state committee status. The law also establishes a national gendarmerie, the Proletarian Guard, as the primary all-union law enforcement agency and the public face of the CSS.

    May 18: The 3rd Cavalry Regiment is reformed into the 3rd Mechanized Brigade. The unit continues maneuvers in Kentucky to study combined arms and tank warfare.

    May 23: The Commission for Legal Reform is established under the Secretariat for Justice to overhaul the American legal system. As a preliminary step, the Workers’ Party announces the suspension on the enforcement of most criminal laws save those deemed essential to basic security. Homosexuality, miscegenation, obscenity, prostitution, cannabis, low-stakes gambling, and birth control are effectively decriminalized throughout the Union.

    May 28: New York City breaks ground on major urban renewal public works projects. The construction program will renovate or build modern public housing, children’s creches, schools, parks and public baths throughout the city.

    June 1: General Jiang Jieshi meets with American ambassadors in Nanjing to discuss economic and military cooperation, especially with regards to Japan’s growing militancy.

    June 4: In accordance to CEC directives, the Union Bank sets the price of gold at $1.25 per gram.

    June 7: John Reed arrives in Leningrad, to conclude the negotiation of a major treaty defining foreign trade, mutual defense, and cultural exchange between the UASR and the Soviet Union.

    June 8: The “Night of Long Knives” purge begins in Nazi Germany, consolidating Nazi rule and eliminating unreliable populist elements like the SA.

    June 14: The Sequoyah Autonomous Socialist Republic is established, the first major reorganization of the government’s social contract with Native Americans. Formed out of eastern Oklahoma, the new autonomie is established concurrently with the abolition of blood quanta laws, allowing the native leaders to redefine what it means to be a member of a Native American nation on their own terms.

    June 18:
    The Council of the National Economy meets in Chicago, establishing the syndicalist administration of state industries.

    June 22: The Commonwealth of Virginia agrees to cede additional land in Arlington to the All-Union Government. The National Revolutionary Defense Act of 1934 is passed by the CEC, authorizing naval spending to complete eight capital ships, four carriers, and thirty smaller warships. A standing army of twenty-five divisions and 800,000 men is authorized, to be supported by twenty Red Guards division cadres capable of mobilizing rapidly to full strength.

    June 30: The Central Committee formally endorses the Lakota Nation's proposal for a Black Hills Autonomous Socialist Republic. Under the proposal, the Black Hills and surrounding ancestral lands in Wyoming and South Dakota would be returned to the Lakota and Cheyenne people as a multinational autonomous region.

    July 1: The film classic, the The Legend of Robin Hood, premieres on the big screen. The reinterpretation of the Robin Hood myth offered by this (for the time) high budget, glossy Hollywood epic will capture the imagination of American audiences for decades to come. Considered the archetypal proletarian folk tale, the film catapulted its lead, Marion Morrison, into stardom.

    July 2: Prime Minister Baldwin meets with German Foreign Minister Konstantin von Neurath. Hitler treats the warm reception of the proposed Anglo-German military cooperation against the Soviets as a blank cheque for rearmament.

    July 4: Independence Day is celebrated with the usual fanfare throughout the UASR.

    July 7: The Anglo-Japanese Naval Treaty is signed in Kyoto. Cooperation and technical exchange are strengthened, and the terms of mutual defense against the Comintern are defined. This amounts to a quiet renunciation of the Naval Treaties by Japan, and diplomatic protests are made by the American government.

    July 8:
    Nicaraguan Revolution: following the conclusion of a pact with rebel leader Augusto Sandino, elements of the 1st Marine Division conduct an amphibious landing near the capital of Managua. Already reeling from the loss of American military support and trade, the demoralized National Guard surrenders with minimal bloodshed.

    July 10: The Soviet Joint-State Political Directorate (OGPU) is reorganized into the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB) as a subordinate agency of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD).

    July 16: The Comprehensive Finance Act is signed into law. The CFA restructures the American tax system, transferring the bulk of tax burden to economic firms.

    July 18: After a contentious debate, the Congress of Soviets recognizes the provisional African National Federal Republic as an Autonomous Republic. Black majority areas in the Deep South’s “Black Belt” are ceded from their respective states to the non-contiguous ANFR. As part of this agreement, the State of South Carolina, hitherto under a black-majority Workers’ Party government, dissolves entirely into ANFR.

    July 21: The Leningrad Treaty is signed, significantly expanding the role of the Communist International and beginning its transformation from a forum of communist parties into an international governing body.

    July 24: Soviet agronomist Trofim Lysenko is arrested by the GUGB. His political opposition to “Wallace’s hybridization Darwinian pseudoscience”, as he termed it, has resulted in his denunciation for complicating Soviet-American relations. After a forced confession for “sabotage”, Lysenko is sentenced to hard labor.

    July 30: Work resumes on the suspended ex-United States-class battlecruisers. Two begin conversion to aircraft carriers, the remaining three are modified beyond the tonnage limits of the Washington Naval Treaty.

    August 2: Adolf Hitler merges of the offices of Reich Chancellor and Reich President into the singular Führer. Protests by German-Americans are held all across the UASR, catching the attention of the All-Union Government. In the coming weeks, Secretary-General Sinclair promulgates policies that will offer asylum to anyone fleeing the tyranny of Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy.

    August 8: The First Five Year Plan's strategic directives are finalized in the State Planning Commission. The Plan hopes to achieve a return to pre-depression industrial production levels and a halving of unemployment by June of 1936, pre-depression GDP by February 1937, full employment by January 1938, and real economic growth rates of between 7% and 8% per annum until the Plan's conclusion in October of 1939.

    August 15: The comic strip Lil' Abner, a beloved American institution for the next forty years, is first published.

    August 16: The Tennessee Valley Industrial Project begins. Ground is broken on the first of a dozen damn in the Valley, and plans for a major aluminum smelting industrial center are finalized for the region.

    August 24: The American 1st Cavalry Division is reorganized as the 1st Mechanized Division. Its two mechanized cavalry regiments are expanded into mechanized brigades with the addition of an extra battalion of tanks each.

    August 27: A Comintern Military Affairs conclave is held in Sevastopol. Among the attendees are the Soviet Army Commanders Mikhail Tukhachevsky and Iona Yakir, Vice Admiral William Halsey, and Lt. General Harry Haywood.

    September 3: Major General George C. Marshall’s sentence of death by firing squad is carried out in Haymarket Square, Chicago. The public of executions of other notable putschists will be carried out in the coming months.

    September 12: A wave of major arrests of True Democrat politicians by is conducted the Proletarian Guard.

    September 15: The Yiddish word “kibbutz” enters into the American national lexicon, following an in depth profile by The New York Times of the burgeoning collective farm projects throughout America. The writer, an American Labor Zionist Jew, compares his experience visiting collectives in the Black Belt and the Dust Bowl ridden prairie to his experience living in the kibbutzim founded by Jewish settlers in Palestine. The word will soon stick, and become standard lingo for the agro-industrial collectives in America.

    September 18: The District of Columbia, and additional land cessions from Virginia and Maryland are combined into the Debs Commune, bringing the City of Washington’s expanded metropolitan area under a single government.

    September 24: The first class of conscripts are inducted into the Armed Masses Militia.

    October 1: The First Five Year Plan formally begins. Presently, unemployment stands at around 20%. Metrification, a voluntary affair half-heartedly promoted since the First World War, becomes mandatory.

    October 7: The Education Reform Act passes on a strict party line vote. The Act will be the first in a series of Deweyite reforms of primary, secondary and higher education in America. The Act orders the state takeover of private schools and their incorporation into public school systems, establishes a comprehensive reform of discipline and curriculum standards in all areas of schooling, ostensibly to promote cooperation, critical thinking and civic virtues in students.

    October 16: The UASR and the USSR formally join the League of Nations.

    October 25: Red October celebrations are held in major American cities as a gesture of brotherhood with their Soviet Comrades.

    October 30: The Eisenstein System is established in the American filmmaking industry, following consultations between the famed Soviet director, the film division of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Hollywood film collectives. The ad hoc syndicalism of the past year is codified, giving the artists unions a major stake. The so-called Eisenstein Code is promulgated, directing film endeavors at least passively towards the Communist social project. A basic self-rating system is included in the code.

    November 1: Following a coup by junior officers, the Socialist Republic of Chile is declared in Santiago. The coup leaders, with the support of the trade unions and the Communist Party of Chile, announce Constituent Assembly elections in February.

    November 4: King Ali bin Hussein of Arabia completes an agreement with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden to begin oil exploration and development in the Al-Ahsa region.

    November 13: The Abyssinia crisis begins with the discovery of an Italian garrison well within the Ethiopian border.

    December 1: A treaty organizing major foreign investment and aid to Mexico is formally ratified by the UASR. The treaty cements a close alliance between the two nations that will endure throughout the century.

    December 4: The first issue of Libertine magazine is published. The monthly magazine, headquartered in Greenwich Village, New York, combines a balance of journalism, artistic review, nude pinups and sexual health advice. The self-proclaimed “vanguard” magazine announces its opposition to reactionary and bourgeois false-morality.

    December 5: The Haitian Revolution: an alliance of left-wing groups, led by the Communist Party, takes power in Haiti in a bloodless coup. The new government is recognized by the UASR as the revolution spills across the border into the Dominican Republic.

    December 15: The Empire of Japan announces an expansion of naval armaments, as a show of force and the Empire's dominance in the Far East.

    December 22: The first observance of the Winter Solstice as a federal holiday. Marking the start of winter, the new secular holiday of Yule will mark a period of rest and making merry beginning with the Winter Solstice and ending with the New Year. The celebration of Christmas remains an important federal holiday during the Yule period.

    December 24: The keel of the battleship Monitor (BB-57) is laid down at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard.

    December 31:
    General of the Armies of the United States Douglas MacArthur is declared President ex perpetuo by the exile government.
    1. This means a greatly greatly reduced collectivization famine. OTL, over 5 million perished in the 1932-33 famine. ITTL, a possible 1933-34 mass famine is averted. Excess deaths by starvation and pestilence are on the order of one hundred thousand.
     
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  15. Jello_Biafra In ur means of production...

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Earth, to my misfortune
    Excerpts from Nina Hartley, Sex and Revolution, (New York: Bantam, 2007)

    Sex and Revolution is a work of popular history by actress and filmmaker Nina Hartley.(1) It is focused heavily on depictions of sex in art and culture, but also analyses, in lurid detail, the history of evolving standards of sexual decency, often through the excursus on primary sources such as journals.

    “Dirty Commies and Bathhouse Bacchanalia”

    As we have seen, the personal-political was hotly contested within the party apparatus. It was one thing to affirm on the shop floor or party cell, the revolutionary catechism renouncing bourgeois moralism amidst the ongoing insurrection against capital. It is quite another to put that into practice.

    Like the Bolsheviks in 1918, the Workers’ Party would trash the entirety of the pre-revolution criminal code as a matter of course. This did not, as reactionaries feared, turn the country into a libertine bacchanalia overnight.

    It did, however, mean that in the councils of soviet government, all aspects of conventional moralist control would be subject to rational scrutiny for the first time in living memory. The schwerpunkt for this battle would prove to be bathing.

    Sanitation is the bedrock of civilization, and under the anarchy of capitalism, it was often neglected. Before the guns of the revolution had even gone cold, the municipal soviets in the new nation were beginning to reckon with the age-old bourgeois nightmare: the unwashed masses.

    The typhus epidemic in the winter of 1933-34 spurred the Metropolitan Central Executive Council into action. The workers’ assemblies had been hashing out a program to deal with the city’s substandard housing, the squalor of overcrowded apartments, many without hot running water. As an interim step, the workers presented a demand for the creation of public sanitation facilities: communal laundries and baths. Existing commercial facilities would be expropriated, but they were deemed insufficient for the demands at hand.

    These were simple programmatic demands, purely functionary, but they’d soon take on a life of their own. Among the city’s literati, the public’s need for adequate bathing facilities lit a fire of imagination. An op-ed in the 6 May 1934 issue of The Daily Worker injected utopianism into a simple health demand. Evoking the splendor of the ancient Roman thermae, writer Stanislav Kazan* transformed the issue into another prong in the fight against atomized bourgeois individuality.

    Bathing was more than just about health and smelling pleasant. It was about liberated sociability, for man to get back in touch with his species-being long alienated by the artifice of bourgeois society.

    Public baths had not been unknown in the United States. Various Turkish or Russian style baths had opened in New York and other cities to private clientele. But in the context of the 1930s, public bathing had been quickly transformed with Communist social purpose. The decadent paganism of mixed bathing could now be openly broached.

    Amid an unusually hot summer, the Metropolitan government re-opened many Turkish baths as public facilities open to all, free of any charge. The response was chaotic. Lines stretched around the block, as many workers sought to enjoy the splendor of the finer things in life they’d been previously excluded from. Other public bathhouses in the city were to be renovated for communal style bathing.

    It was, of course, far from uncontroversial. Even men and women who’d proudly championed the cause of nudism and ending bourgeois body shame found themselves quite timid in public, mixed bathing. Most accounts of the early days describe an almost silent awkwardness to the public bathing milieu.

    But acclimatization happens slowly, and even the most strident of Church groups soon gave up the public protest of such pagan rites. The worst fears proved to be mostly unfounded. Even in the context of public communal bathing, men and women tended to bath together in single-sex groups, keeping respectful distance.

    The new facilities established across Metropolis were lavish. The first opened, the Central Park Baths, was a huge neo-classical facility, as much recreational as it was sanitorial. Bathers would enter a large marble atrium, decorated with paintings and statues both new and old. Exercise rooms, for both traditional classes as well as free-form, stretched on both flanks of the atrium. Deeper in, changing and locker rooms flanked the halls. Bathers could exit directly to shower rooms to clean up before having their pick of cold, warm or hot baths. Bathers would socialize or soak in the filtered water, or take turns giving each other massages.

    The image the Metropolitan Health Secretariat promoted was one of good clean fun, healthy and non-sexual. In the liberatory moment, the idea spread quickly throughout the urban areas. Of course, when it comes to human sexuality matters are never so simple. Efforts to hide away, restrain or repress sexuality fail in unpredictable ways. Just as in the stories of young French or British church-goers preserving their virginal purity by experimenting with anal sex, life finds a way.

    Period propaganda for the new social bathing exudes sensuality while pretending sex doesn’t exist. One notable mural, reproduced in magazines across the country, depicts healthy young Revolutionary Army soldiers going to baths while on liberty. The nudity is purely artistic, no erections or vulvae in sight. But it is impossible to deny the homoeroticism in the athletic young men, like Adonis chiseled in marble, massaging each other’s aching backs.

    And while most people went to the baths for sanitation and relaxation, and they weren’t the dens of sin that foreign reactionaries(2) decried, “sin” did find a niche on the periphery.

    Commercial activity moved into the periphery. Many cities would rent out space to small cooperatives such as barbers, salons, and a relative newcomer, the professional masseur/masseuse. The “full body” massage parlor quickly became a euphemism for a kind of socially acceptable sex work, providing plausible deniability for both worker and client.

    Similarly, a kind of plausible-deniability hook-up culture developed around the baths. Since many were open all night to provide services for shift workers, teens and young adults could use the relatively quiet night shifts to find areas for private hookups in the lounges, steam rooms, and whirlpool tubs. Since late shift staffing usually fell to younger unmarried workers, this kind of arrangement was quietly facilitated.

    The need for privacy is the dividing line between social nudity and sexual nudity. And while the development of new mores to govern this liberated form of self-expression took time and numerous missteps, what is often missed by reactionary accounts is just how strong that barrier really is in the UASR.

    It’s been part of our culture for over seventy years now, and has become old-hat. The conventions have shifted. In the 30s, the baths were utilized by everyone, whether out of necessity or conscious political choice. Present day, convention dictates that children bathe at home, and the first time going to the public baths is a rite of passage into adulthood. Still, you will see everyone there, the good, the bad and the ugly.

    On my last trip to the Central Park baths, the building was still as glamorous as it had been when it opened. After exercising and showering, I decided to lounge in the warm baths for a bit, and let my troubles soak away. To my right, two hairy old grandfathers were playing chess by the pool side, playfully kicking at the water as they moved their pieces. At the same time, a pair of friends had just gotten off work were circling about in the water in front of me. They were maybe twenty, talking gossiping innocently about their colleagues. The young man circled around her, hesitantly trying to nudge the conversation towards his romantic interest in her. Across the way, some construction workers, a little chubby around the waist, had already reached their two-drink limit, laughing heartily about the coming rugby game.

    Nothing really would have changed had the participants been wearing swim trunks or bikinis. Contrast that to the image, oft used in Franco-British exploitation pornography, of the public baths filled with young, sexy hard bodies enraptured in drug-fueled orgies. Such a scene is hot on the heels of the old standbys of “hot young woman seduces the builder/delivery boy” and “powerful businessman seduces his secretary” in terms of popularity in their erotic cinema.

    Such a fantasy persists, despite all the wide-eyed tourists finding the boring reality of social nudity, because it seems deep down, they still cannot conceive of people being naked together for any other reason than sex.

    This is of course, not to say that our own history of erotica is perfect. Similar themes of domination and exploitation have their own sordid history here, but that is the subject of another chapter. But the point is that our tradition of social nudity is neither the squeaky-clean image in our public propaganda, nor is it sordid and oversexed. Like our clothed life, the experience varies wildly. Nudity is not essentially sexual, but it is pointless to protest that it has no relation to sexuality.

    (1) Yes, that Nina Hartley. I would not recommend googling at work.

    (2) “Foreign reactionaries” is practically a stock phrase, usually said with the same sneer one might use with the term “barbarian”.

    Building Socialism: Architecture and Urban Renewal in the 1930s

    The revolutionary workers inherited not only the legacy of capitalist towns and cities, and the unsettling anarchy of construction, both haphazard and inefficient. They also inherited the rubble created by the paroxysm of class war.

    Unlike previous conflicts, much of fighting in the revolutionary war had been clustered in major urban, industrial areas. The early days of the conflict saw low level urban fighting, as radical workers’ militias engaged in streetfighting with reactionary echelons of the police, private goons squads, and far-right militias. Later, many pitched battles would be fought in the great cities between traditionally organized armies, supported by airpower and artillery.

    Beyond giving the victorious Revolutionary Army a strong appreciation for doctrine and tactics of urban warfare, the urban fighting intensified the need for urban renewal and reconstruction.

    Once the rubble was cleared, the Workers’ Party’s Urban Planning Commission began a nation-wide study of the major cities. As many as half of all urban workers were living in substandard housing, missing at least one of the vital modern elements: hot and cold running water, internal heating, insulation, electricity, fire escapes, or adequate living space.

    Re-utilizing existing assets was helping; many of the estates of wealthy emigres were being expropriated to serve as communal apartments. But further building would be needed.

    Metropolis would host, as planned before the revolution, a world fair starting in May 1936. The lavish spectacle, held in the 492 hectare Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, would serve as the debut of the new workers’ republic on the world stage. The heart of American industry, both state owned and cooperative, would hold exhibitions of the triumph of American technology and ingenuity, decked out in revolutionary iconography.

    The “World of Tomorrow” exhibit was the centerpiece of the fair. Sponsored by the All-Union government, with contributions by the major architecture and electronics collectives, “World of Tomorrow” showed the city of the future. A full mockup of the apartment of the future, was at the center of the exhibit. The multifloor, multi-family communal apartment boasted a sleek, modern kitchen, decked out with labor-saving washing machines, garbage disposal and recycling chutes, and the latest in electric appliances.

    Living spaces were large and well-lit, furnished with modern upholstery. Studies gave quiet space for contemplation. A reading library would cultivate the mind. A rumpus room gave space for pool tables, or other games. And a small theater, complete with film projector, boldly announced that the films could be enjoyed from the comfort of home.

    The new “Socialist Living Space” would not be a far-off dream, the exhibit proclaimed. Construction crews were already breaking ground across the country to build new apartments patterned off this mockup.

    Less flashy but no less vital, the Urban Planning Commission made extensive studies of traffic and transportation technologies with the aim to build ergonomic cities, allowing safe and efficient travel as livability. These insights would serve to guide urban planning for the next thirty years.

    In 1939, the UPC unveiled its plan for the “City of Tomorrow” at the annual Revolutionary Science exhibition in Chicago. The tiny mockups of the orderly city integrated years of study in housing, industrial ergonomics, and traffic to create a fully realized city ecology that could accommodate pedestrians and motorists, avoid excessive separation between living and working spaces, and incorporate places for gathering and recreation in parks. The “City of Tomorrow” envisioned safe, clean factories that incorporated quality food cantinas and child care, mere blocks away from orderly apartment complexes furnishing every modern amenity and opportunities for recreation. Living, working and commercial areas would be connected by roads, light rail, and subway lines, free at the point of access. Large green areas, with trees, meadows and ponds, were reserved for city parks.

    It was a vision that would have to wait, for within a year most of the lofty ambitions for building better living and workplaces were put on hold in the face of global industrial war.

    Excerpts from Kenneth Chatham*, “International Revolution in the 1930s” in International Affairs, Vol. 33, Issue 1, January 1957

    The oft-repeated truism, “America’s chief export is revolution”, has informed foreign policy strategy in the Entente for over two decades now. But a failure to understand the texture of American foreign involvement has led to severe strategic miscalculation, with disastrous consequences for both the Entente’s security as well as the preservation of global international law.

    French and especially British policymakers in the 1930s greatly overestimated the aggressiveness of American foreign action, resulting in aggressive counter-strategy that has in effect become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    The new revolutionary regime established in the former United States postured as the vanguard of a world communist revolution, especially in the councils of the nascent Comintern. But the actual actions of that state were far more cautious and tempered.

    …America’s traditional sphere of influence is Latin America. It was ultimately not surprising that the UASR asserted a new form of the long-standing Monroe Doctrine, asserting that it would challenge any “imperialist influence in the New World,” as then Foreign Secretary Jack Reed announced before the 1934 Comintern World Congress. And indeed, the United Republics(1) wasted no time in asserting its influence.

    Both the Great Depression and the Revolution had led to immense economic dislocation in Central and South America. Highly dependent on exports to the United States, and political patronage from American business interests, many states were beginning to face severe political-economic crisis in 1934. But notably, only in Mexico and Chile did this result in the mostly independent seizure of power by indigenous communist movements.

    The UASR enforced compliance with the new political-economic order by various means. For the most part, the state leveraged its immense economic power over the mostly extractive export economies of Latin America to induce compliance with a laundry-list of domestic reforms and military cooperation. But this was always supported by the threat of military intervention, a threat that was not empty as the caudillo regime in Nicaragua discovered. In a lightning campaign, the Revolutionary Marines broke the back of the Guardia Nacional and seized the capital city of Managua amidst a nation-wide general strike. After propelling the rebel leader Augusto César Sandino into power at the head of the Frente de Liberación Nacional.

    In spite of the nominal inclusion of parties for liberals, the petit-bourgeoisie, and peasants, the FLN was thoroughly dominated by its communist elements, with Sandino himself proving quite amiable to becoming a latter-day Marxist. The FLN enforced the dictatorship of the proletariat that would result in calamity for the Catholic Church, land-owners, and ultimately peasants as well.

    With the precedent established, most of the rest of South America quickly began to fall in line. Popular revolt in Argentina resulted in the self-imposed exile of President Hipólito Yrigoyen. A short-lived military regime followed, but failed to impose order amidst the wave of worker revolt following the Red May Revolution. A new constituent assembly was formed, captured by a Popular Front led by the Socialist Party, with the involvement of the Communist Party, and the Democratic Party (formed from the left-wing of the Radical Civic Union). The constituent assembly promulgated a new constitution superficially inspired by the American revolutionary constitution, but lacking key transformative elements.

    Argentina provided the mold for a type of collaborator regime to international communism, classified as a people’s democracy by the Institute for Scientific Socialism in 1935. People’s democracies were broadly social democratic societies with major involvement by workers’ or communist parties, but which ultimately did not result in revolutionary transformation. National-bourgeoisies remained a powerful class within people’s democracies, though ostensibly contained by a social democratic regime.

    Most of Latin America was quickly prodded into this relationship. Workers’ parties and revolutionary unions, serving as the conduit through which American trade and foreign investment would flow, gained political power, but did not take power as a class or suppress other class interests.

    The people’s democracy form was very clearly not revolutionary, though it had broad appeal. It was not outside of the norm of the kinds of welfare states even conservatives in Britain and France had once been willing to countenance.

    …Brazil represents the first break with the new alignment. While President Vargas had curried favor with the UASR, the Integralist coup, established on the back of anti-immigrant sentiment and resentment of the heavy-handedness of American policy to the country, signaled the limits of the “Good Samaritan” foreign policy. Misjudging the strength of the Estado Novo’s hold over the country, and not looking for a major foreign entanglement, the UASR opted to avoid direct intervention.

    Severing economic relations temporarily weakened the Brazilian Integralists, but failed to produce the desired result of popular overthrow. Instead, the Estado Novo would establish a concert of South American states around it that would resist integration into the Comintern, and establish increased economic relations with Europe, particularly the Anti-Comintern Axis.

    ...The promotion of pink people’s democracies characterized world Comintern policy in the 1930s. Whether in China, Latin America, or Liberia, the British military and foreign service interpreted all of these primarily soft-power entreaties as a full prelude to a military assault on the Empire, making no attempt to distinguish reformists from revolutionaries.

    While this might be a reasonable interpretation, given the drastic military expansion currently underway in America, British policymakers refused to consider the perspective taken by American policymakers that such efforts were essentially defensive, and that the permanent revolution hypothesis was only partially entertained in soviet government.(2)

    …Liberia provides a case-study in the limits of communist soft-power, as well as their willingness to use hard-power reluctantly to preserve an existing sphere of influence.(3) Established by free blacks and emancipated slaves from North America, the Republic of Liberia had historically been a peripheral interest to the United States. Aside from a navy coaling station, the US had little in the way of direct presence in the country.

    In 1926, the Firestone Tire Company purchased a large concession from the Liberian government. The resulting rubber plantation, one of the largest in the world, provided work for 25,000 people, and became a major source of revenue for the Liberian Republic.

    Come the Red May Revolution, the once powerful Firestone company was in receivership, with its American holdings collectivized. The Liberian government had borrowed five million dollars from the tire giant, and with global rubber prices tanked it had no hope of paying the debt back.

    The All-Union Central Bank had assumed ownership of the bond in June 1934, a claim hotly contested by Firestone’s struggling foreign subsidiaries. The American Foreign Secretariat offered Liberian President Edwin Barclay a very generous offer, forbearance on the loan in exchange for the re-opening of the abandoned fueling station by the Workers’ and Farmers’ Revolutionary Navy.

    It was impossible to turn down the offer at present. The rubber trees at the plantation were left untapped, the plantation on the verge of rewilding, and the government revenues in the poor nation could not sustain repayment.

    By 1935 though, the global economic outlook had greatly improved. Rubber prices had dramatically recovered in the face of a surge of demand from rearmament. Numerous foreign investors turned their attention to acquiring the bankrupt Firestone Company’s plantation in Liberia, including interests backed variously by the Italian or French government.

    Barclay dithered, wary of France’s long history of threatening Liberian sovereignty, and began finalizing negotiations with Mussolini’s government.

    He received a stern ultimatum from the American Foreign Secretariat. The fine print of his previous agreement with the UASR had the Liberian Republic recognize the assumption of all the assets of the Firestone Company, including the million-acre concession.

    Staring down the ships of the WFRN Atlantic Fleet, and the implicit threat of regime change, Barclay capitulated. The Firestone concession was redeveloped under the ownership of a new co-operative, jointly owned by the American state collective Goodyear Tire and Rubber and its workers.

    Within two years, the old Republic would be overthrown, and the domination of Americo-Liberians over indigenous Liberians ended. The new People’s Republic would host an ever increasing American military presence throughout the 30s and 40s.

    …Ultimately, the Second World War ended the brief experiment in people’s democracies. The scale of the war effort against Brazil resulted in complete upheaval across South America. National war mobilization introduced despotic inroads on the right of private property, proletarianized the peasant class, and consolidated petty-producer and artisan production into capital intensive state or syndicalist hands.

    Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru would leave the war as firmly entrenched dictatorships of the proletariat. A wave of revolutionary reform, initiated at the behest of the UASR, would establish similar workers’ republics in Central American allied states.

    By seeking to block, whether by sabotage, embargo or the full use of catspaw regimes, the pink social democracies established in South America, the British Commonwealth would ultimately only ensure the New World going nearly fully red.

    Post Second World War, American foreign policy has become far more bellicose. The foreign policy line in DeLeon-Debs has been one of “no half-measures.”

    (1) Common short-hand for the UASR in Britain and English-speaking Dominions.

    (2) The author is dramatically overstating how dovish the Workers’ Party was. He interprets the general policy of biding time and building strength while simultaneously rebuilding workers movements in Europe as a lack of interest in revolutionary war, and that’s really an untenable conclusion. It is, however, a popular historical school because it serves the purpose of political interests that favor containment over confrontation.

    (3) The author is incorrect again.
     
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