Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Mr.E, Mar 11, 2018.
You'll see the next post.
Directed by Devdas Jain
Written by Aditya Lalita Kaur
Produced by Seema Korrapati
MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) is a political satire comedy film starring Ravinder Korrapati, Shakti Bachchan, Kapil Akshay Vemulakonda, Rajni Chaudhary, Vasant Kaur, Rajneesh Chaudhari, and Varsha Rao
Ravinder plays Nagendra Tamboli, a former action film star facing bankruptcy after a series of failed films. As an attempt to revive his career his manager Jayant (Shakti Bachchan) suggests he enters politics as other films stars have done in the past. When Nagandra says he does not know any anything about current affairs or political issues Jayant advises him 'neither did the other stars, that is why they have advisors and writers.' Jayant and Nagendra decide to travel to Nagendra's village of Nasjur, where Nagendra left about fifteen years ago, in order to establish residency. While Nagendra and Jayant are travelling by bus a radio announces that the MLA for Nasjur has died from a heart attack and that a special election will be held in several months time.
Nagendra and Jayant arrive in Nasjur where several people recognize Nagendra as the son of the local schoolteacher Chander (Kapil Akshay Vemulakonda), who has now retired. When Nagendra and Jayant arrive at his family's house his father refuses to meet them but his mother Navdeep (Rajni Chaudhary) and younger brothers greet him warmly. After some refreshments Jayant and Nagendra tour the village where except for a few new signs and houses little has changed since Nagendra left. Already posters for the election are appearing with Tushar Patil (Vasant Kaur) as the leading candidate. Nagendra and Jayant rent a room with Agni (Rajneesh Chaudhari) a chemist and school time friend of Nagendra's.
The next day Nagendra and Jayant visit the local school where they meet Puja (Varsha Rao), a classmate of Nagendra's and now head teacher after Chander retired. While having lunch Puja tells Nagendra and Jayant that the former MLA Ganesh Kulkarni started out as a reformer when he was elected ten years ago. However when his wife died of a long illness much of his spirit left him and he became a recluse and corrupt, trading his votes for money. Agni and Puja are hoping to nominate an independent candidate against Tushar Patil, who is supported by various landlords and business people and whose factories are known polluters. Puja invites Nagendra to her family's house where she shows the effects that pollution are having on her community. The next day Nagendra and Jayant file the paperwork to run as an independent candidate in the election. Nagendra uses his popularity as a film star and roots with the local communities to tour the constituency vowing to clear up pollution and listen to local concerns. Through a montage we see Nagendra, Jayant and Agni meeting voters with sometimes hilarious results and posters for Nagendra replacing Tushar's. A few days before the vote Nagendra and Jayant are invited by Tushar Patil for dinner. At the dinner Tushar offers a 'gift' of one lakh rupees (100,000) for him to withdraw from the election. Jayant agrees but Nagendra stops him and refuses which causes an argument between the two. Meanwhile Tushar is secretly recording the argument and has the video released to a local news channel.
The video leads to protests outside the house of Nagendra where he and Jayant are thrown out by Agni. Puja accuses him of being another corrupt politician and that it was better to be openly corrupt than to hide his intentions and hurt his family. While waiting for a bus a car stops and a couple asks to speak with Nagendra. They reveal themselves to be Harish and Anima Kulkarni, the son and daughter in law of Ganesh Kulkarni. At their home in the city they tell Nagendra that their father had accrued a massive debt while taking care of their mother and that Tushar Patil and others offered to pay off the debt and fund Harish's college tuition and wedding. Ganesh accepted but kept a record of all the transactions and wrongdoings of Tushar and his partners in a book that they give Nagendra. Nagendra insists they take this to the proper authorities and requests a ride back to Nasjur.
At a rally Tushar Patil is addressing the crowd and blames Ganesh Kulkarni and Nagendra for a 'culture of corruption'. When Nagendra arrives he is initially booed but requests an opportunity to speak, which Tushar grants. Nagendra addresses the crowd, saying that he planned to run for the wrong reasons and that he should be honest with his own family and community. Over time he changed his mind and decided not to go back to the city and stay in the village if they want him to stay. Just then a car of police officers and election officials arrive and announce that Tushar Patil is under arrest for bribery. Meanwhile news of Ganesh's records and corruption are messaged to everyone's mobile phones. While stepping down from the stage Nagendra is hugged by his father and family along with Agni, Puja and Jayant while surrounded by a cheering crowd.
The end scenes show Nagendra and Puja, now married, moving furniture into a new house with assistance from Agni and Jayant with a television announcing the election of Nagendra as the new MLA. Nagendra asks Agni, Puja and Jayant "What do you think of this title, Chief Minister Tamboli?" All three look worried as the credits start.
Holiday Journal: Ontario's Premiere Travel Magazine
An Oasis of Old Times: The Amish
June 15, 1994
Part 2: Dragged Into the Modern World by Gunfire
Picture of an Amish community, 1934
Jakob and his carriage pulled in to what was his house. To my surprise, he offered me a chance to stay for lunch. A humble white house, he graciously opened the door for me, and when I walked in I was greeted by his wife Linda, and his four children, Paul, Noah, Rebecca, and Rachel.
"Father", they all greeted him, which left me with a bit of cognitive dissonance. Even in my childhood, 'father' had become somewhat outdated, and most of the children I've met in Philadelphia had little problem calling their parents by their first name. To see old family relations in the middle of the UASR was a bit jarring.
Linda and her daughters went into the kitchen bring out the lunch, while Paul and Noah played cards. I walked into the kitchen, and to my shock, I found a sink . Here in this bastion of old school life, was a very symbol of modernity.
"I thought Amish disliked everything modern," I asked Linda, who was pulling a chicken out of the old wood stove oven.
"We all have to get with the times," she said, shrugging.
"Well, with plumbing you've at least kept up with the Romans," I quipped. Linda and Jakob chuckled a bit at that, and after some solemn prayers to God, we enjoyed our meal.
For Canadians caught in the Red Turn, they have longed faced a battle to balance tradition with social change, with the lesson being that one must bend to avoid breaking. In almost all stories about the Amish and in Amish history, this is especially a central theme.
The 1930s would produce the greatest challenge that the Amish would face since Jakob Amman's separation from Hans Reist: the Second American Civil War.
Having lived isolated and within a wall of tradition and technological backwardness, Amish were often bystanders of the labor struggles of the 20th century. Capitalist and communist alike avoided the Amish, who were content to live in their bubble. But when civil wars break out, there are often no neutrals, no bystanders. And not especially in the Second American Revolution where the stakes were perhaps higher then in any previous conflict in American history.
Amish, going back to their ancestors in the Protestant Reformation, lived by a code of non-resistance, in which they avoided systemic state violence.
This earned them the ire of both sides. The forces of fascist oppression and workers' liberation had little respect for the Amish, and Amish on both sides found themselves victims of military slavery, oppression, and in some cases, outright massacres. In a mirror of what happened to the pacifist Hutterites during World War I , an Ohio Swartzentruber Amish settlement, whose male population resisted joining White forces, was arrested and deported to a prison camp in Indiana. Of the 82 deportees, only 51 would survive the brutal conditions.
Reds were often slightly less harsh, willing to allow Amish to do non-violence grunt work. But many Amish, due to their religion and disinterest in the cause, were often victims of Red military tribunals, run by fanatics.
"Pacifism did them no good," says Brian Lee, a Lancaster city official and historian. "In such a conflict, 'with us or against us' was the norm, not the exception. Refusing to fight made you the enemy."
Lancaster Amish, being caught between the White countryside and the Red city of Philadelphia, found themselves on both sides of the conflict, willingly or not.
Jakob revealed to me his grandparents had actually worked as cooks for a White commander during the civil war. Having an ancestor who fought for the Whites is often a family shame in the UASR, but Jakob regards this with nonchalance.
"When you are caught in that war, you do the best you can," Jakob said.
When the war ended, the Amish were divided between those who had managed to maintain neutrality, those who joined the Whites, and those who had served the Reds.
The divisions, and the treatment of the former two by the new revolutionary government would be the thing that nearly ended Amish identity.
 Contrary to the stereotype, there are many Amish who embrace some modern conveniences.
 Hutterites were pacifist Christians who were often imprisoned during World War I for refusing the draft. Their treatment was, to the say least, horrific.
I've thought about the status of the Amish in the UASR, but it's going to be interesting how you get them to maintain their status. They'll have to basically have an explicit exception in the Pennsylvania Basic Law.
Good stuff! Seems like this line may have been a mistake though - they're divided between neutrals, neutrals, and reds?
I meant to say some of them "served the Whites".
I do think the treatment of Plain Folk by the Reds will be markedly less bad than implied here. There are certainly going to be some stark cases. But fundamentally while the Reds will not have much respect or admiration for religious pacifism as such, I think there will be a recognition that these people are not major participants in the capitalist system.
Now for all I know, they actually are. I certainly suspect that by normal economic accounting in our society today, and to a certain extent already in the 1920s and '30s, they are probably quite rich. This would mainly be because the land they occupy will have skyrocketed in "value" as (per Marx) it is fictitiously and spuriously (but very very effectively) "priced" in modern capitalist economical. It is not the actual use land is put to but the potentials its attributes--not just its actual physical attributes though those figure heavily of course, but its utility due to convenient proximity and accessibility--give it that determine the market price. This phenomenon has "forced" many a decently prosperous and more sweepingly of course marginal to failing modern farmer to sell out, cash in and move on, either to cease farming at all and become urban (perhaps as a well off rentier of some kind, though I suspect the real windfalls of spiraling land prices near developing urban centers fall into the hands of more specialized professional speculators) or to join the urban working classes. The phenomenon is not seen as darkly as it might be in that the appreciated land value can be quite substantial before the wave of use transformation quite crests and many a former family in rural drudgery finds itself fairly well off by the deal...but again, they are unlikely to get more than a token of the total pseudo-"value" appreciation, and while the sums involved might be dazzling at the time, the loss of access to a prime means of production is ultimate doom.
It would be interesting to know how the various Plain Folk have responded to these surging land prices, which bring with them normally surging land taxes which must be paid. My suspicion is that Plain Folk do in fact participate in the market economy and make a decent amount of money, and are, being frugal with it, able to pay the taxes and will do so as part of their culture of political quietism--grudgingly against the grasping greed of the princes of the world, but after all it beats a massacre.
Anyway from the smatterings of popular culture knowledge I have of Amish, Mennonites and other Plain Folks, they wouldn't, on their own initiative, take an active opposition to the Revolution. The same principles isolating them from the general Red Turn also isolate them from (as far as I know) close engagement with US politics and I would think their business affairs, massive though they might be in dollar evaluations made by "English" mainstream authorities, are kept localized and in their personal hands on their land. I suppose they have banked reserves, possibly kept in hard gold or the like, possibly conventional bank accounts. But by and large accrual of exchange value will be cashed out in concrete improvements of an acceptably "plain" nature such as more land acquisition, or simply hoarded. Money "hoarded" in banks is of course a contribution to the capitalist system and mobilized for exploitive investment by third parties...but when the rebels take over the banks, at a stroke it is now instead mobilized under general democratic control, so no quarrel there unless of course they are grossly expropriated--still I think the vanishing of paper wealth like mist would be philosophically accepted as definitely nothing to get violent about if their material control of their plain lives remains in their hands.
There is a general trope that religion and the left are mortal and natural enemies and God knows there are causes for that belief to have currency, reinforced vigorously by both sides; the religious reactionary is generally also a political reactionary, and the radical is often a militant atheist, a libertine on principle (offset by the cult of revolutionary discipline), iconoclastic by inclination and when "spiritual" generally in a heterodox way Jesus of Nazareth or the presumptive saints of the Book of Acts might recognize kinship with but the Scribes and Pharisees and clerics of the Great and Good in society generally revile as perhaps worse than atheists.
I think it would be a gross mistake to simply carry over this assumption to the Plain People mindlessly though; I suppose maybe some of these sects are more actively reactionary than others, but my impression is they leave people alone and hope to be left alone.
So if there is to be bloodshed and bad blood between Red America and these quaint elements of our cultural quilt, I think it must come from sustained Red animosity. Should we expect that?
Thecrucial thing is this--"rich" though they may be, I think they are not capitalists. They are I suspect hold-outs for archaic categories, one of which normally never applied in the USA at all (at least not until the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow era, where not only African Americans but also poorer whites were caught in a web of debt peonage into sharecropping and the like) of the peasant, and the other--Marx's little noted category of "simple commodity producer."
There is a chapter or so on Simple Commodity Production in Capital V2 IIRC. The distinction between an SCP and a capitalist is, that while they like capitalists own the means of production and like capitalists are dependent on market transactions for regular livelihood, they do not employ other people (or anyway, in a manner that is transitional toward capitalist status based on magnitude, not nearly enough people so that profits skimmed from appropriating their contribution toward the value of the commodities sold is enough to sustain the owners all by itself) but rather provide the necessary labor themselves. This, Marx notes, gives a hypothetical society composed completely of SCPs a different dynamic than capitalism proper.
Marx obviously had reasons to treat this whole potential mode of production, which people might recognize as the idealism of Jefferson or Proudhon, and indeed as the actual reality of large numbers, possibly solid majorities, of the relatively better off working classes of the world in the various European colonies, classically of course colonial and independent republican former British North America--both in the USA and Canada, this sort of mode of living could plausibly be assumed to be the norm in distinction to a proper capitalist society for a very long time embracing large numbers of people. Insofar as being a simple commodity producer is a step up from being a wage worker, this was the appeal of the frontier and the transformative effect such frontiers, not only in the USA and Canada but in Australia and New Zealand--and even for many people such colonies as South Africa though there the ubiquity of reliance on subordinated native African labor mitigates this claim (but does not wholly negate it yet!-- Indeed similarly here in the USA, aside from the moral factor of ripping the land away with minimal to negative compensation in a forced transaction with the Native people, mostly treated as People In the Way instead of exploited systematically beyond stealing their land, slavery was rather more extensive than many assume and the famous essay "What is an American?" featuring the catchphrase, "this new man?" which at least in my personal high school experience was still held up reverently as an outpouring of the new republican spirt and a manifesto of American virtue was in fact written by a man whose self-transforming personal enterprise he celebrates and boasts of was in fact a slave plantation venture! I owe it to Toni Morrison to point this out to me, or maybe it was Maya Angelou. But it is not entirely unreasonable to at least visualize American frontier expansion separately from slavery, though the intertwinings are indeed extensive; the total amount of market wealth facilitating this devouring of a continental empire was much increased with the profits of slaveholding to be sure, and perhaps a sober economic analysis would prove it have fallen below a certain critical level had it not been so subsidized. Still, the abstract idea of Simple Commodity Production appears to resonate strongly with many a 19th century and later reformers' notions of rectitude, and seems to be a Paradise Lost to many an American or other citizens of other developed former colonies.
Still Marx treated it as a large footnote and did not concern either Capital the book or the Communist movement with any further glances backward at it. Fundamentally this is because first of all the dynamic, while different than capitalism and superficially far less vicious and virtuous in a way, is also quite unstable. The roots of capitalism exist in it in potential and the gradual differentiation of different market outcomes from whatever cause soon make for the basic class distinctions, as the more successful acquire concentration of the means of production and the less successful lose their ownership of these factors and become wage workers.
The other reason to ignore this mode except as a passing glance to comment on its dynamics insofar as it ever does temporarily seem to prevail for a while in some temporarily favored location is that in general, while this mode of living does emerge more or less ubiquitously in any society developing capitalism and can be argued to persist, albeit in strained circumstances, in the surge and heyday of advanced capitalism, is that it is generally mixed up in other modes whose overall dynamics predominate. Thus already noted, the successful SCP is preoccupied, if not restrained by some deep and extensive ethical considerations or a consciously developed social structure set up for the purpose, with becoming a capitalist, and some minority of them are certain to acquire the means to do so if again not prevented by deliberate social design. In the same process of wealth concentration that enables these few to become capitalists, the necessary wage labor workforce is just as automatically and inexoribly being sweated out as less successful SCPs fall by the wayside. But this example though obviously highly salient to societies like the USA is not entirely typical of the rise of capitalism in general. In general modern societies emerge from a base whose broad laboring classes are neither freeholders nor slaves, but peasants.
The distinction here is, peasants are people who live in rural communities which are oriented primarily not for market production but for direct communal reproduction of the basic material use values needed for survival in organic communities; they generally in some mix either do appear to own the means of production outright or if particularly abject, the legal title of the land is held by some exploiting class--but either way, they are as a class subjugated to pay some kind of tribute, in the form of rent or taxes or liability of corvee labor to sustain the upper classes in both their luxury and their power; within these parameters their control of the uses of the means of production is left to their discretion practically, but with a shrewd eye on any surplus they might visibly produce and a grasping hand ready to seize larger shares and to in harder times indifferently squeeze out the minimum these elites feel entitled to. We can recognize this kind of relationship applying to Southern African American rural people, and to an extent in Jim Crow even "white" people fell into this kind of peonage. Such people are indeed concerned with the marketplace, for a fairly profitable mode of this kind of exploitation is to demand payment of extorted tributes in a cash form, and leave it to the subject to figure out how they will scrape up this coin, which might not be organic to their preferred and customary mode of living at all; this in effect forces them to either devote a large share of personal or communal agrarian production, including cottage industry, that normally would just circulate in the local community on whatever basis, with an eye to surrendering market proceeds to the tax man or rent collector lest they do worse, or labor leaving the rural setting that fostered them to do stints of work as wage workers, again with the lion's share of the earnings that manage to be saved (by remittance usually) to hold the wolves of the predatory classes at bay leaving essentially none for the home community to operate on a cash basis. So peasants know the market all right, but as a hell they are forced by the visible hand of coercive ruling classes and their grasping agents. To an extent they function as simple commodity producers but it does not form the center of their mentality or organization.
The American classic farmer was a different breed entirely. American frontier expansion was driven by essentially market centered aspirations.
But the Plain Folk now, are something yet again different. It is not coercive external classes that constrain them to an essentially peasant-centered lifestyle, but rather internal social norms due to a particular religious outlook, one historically associated with the radical populist peasant forms of the Reformation that such clerics as Martin Luther and Calvin denounced quite in concert with the Roman hierarchy and violently crusaded against. The religious radicals of the reformation era took many forms, some violent in their milnienarianism. A kind of social natural selection was at work of course; any sect that could not take over the dominant power structure stood as "heretics" to be hunted down. The Anabaptist survivors have tended to be those who learned somehow or other to keep their heads down.
As is my wont, I find that being rather ignorant of details I need to go hunting some down. My search on various topics has presented me with a rather contradictory set of leads.
Let me be clear I am not suggesting that the Plain People are saints on Earth. In fact one might well guess such a traditional and closed set of societies could turn into quite a hellhole for some people, women especially. One set of leads worth following up on and reflecting is the story of Torah Bontrager who is interviewed in that link but speaks quite articulately on her own behalf as an activist. She is an example of a person who has turned away from the society as it is, but what her views would be on the possibility that perhaps it could remain viable if the victims of the pervasive training in submission and obedience she speaks of were to be repeatedly offered opportunities to consider other views instead of being "protected" from them. Would the communities simply dissolve into one Red mass stew?
One of the popular culture notions spread around modern America at large is about "rumspringa," is that the "Amish" (not clear how much this is either confined to that particular set versus overlapping into other Anabaptist separatist communities, and it is clear that it is not permitted in all Amish communities) permit their youth a period of time to observe and experiment with the outside world, and judge for themselves whether they wish to be baptized (as Anabaptists, they do not hold with infant baptism and expect baptism to be a free choice by a responsible adult) and thus come under the full authority of their communal "Ordnung" or withdraw. Some accounts I have previously seen express this an institution designed to give them all a fair chance---but one thing that was ambiguous to me, and remains so after reading the Wiki article, is whether similar liberty is granted young women as to young men. Are women expected to agree to the rules without the same honest freedom their spouses had, on the theory that she is a helpmeet and covered by his authority anyway, or can a girl expect similar latitude? In any case this Wiki article suggests the notion it is an institution meant to give a fair choice is a mistaken superficial expression, and that "springing around" is just their cultural acceptance of the wildness and rebelliousness of adolescence. As I dimly understand Anabaptist theology, individual freedom and responsibility (in the consuming matter of accepting the rule of Christ and thus in the view of these communities, their collective order) is very central and compelling. But the idea seems to be that kids, in the course of running wild, will in fact go where they really ought not and try things they should not ideally. Because they have not yet taken baptism and settled as adults in the community, the full responsibility to conform to norms is suspended.
Against this we have Ms Bontrager's accounts of how she was manipulated via a culture of strict obedience and submission into suffering massive abuse--we may speculate whether her hell was and is typical for Amish and other Plain People women, or if she was an unfortunate victim of relatively few outliers and the mainstream culture maintains a more proper respect for human rights in their patriarchal terms. Certainly a certain level of abuse is going to be a thing in a closed society; the question is, how effectively open is it really, in the sense that a person who dares suffer "strict shunning" is in fact free to then go. Certainly Bontrager's story suggests that powerful elders are in typical authoritarian fashion quite unwilling to blame the abuser when victim blaming is more convenient.
All this relates to positive reasons why some elements of Red society in the ATL might seek to actively rip open these communities and via the means of exposing abuses, hope to disperse them. But that is not the sort of conflict @Bookmark1995 is suggesting is the major nexus of Red persecution of the Plain Folk. Let us then set aside for a moment the question of whether the high retention rates of Amish communities (with "low" ones being 90 percent, and high ones near 100 percent) reflects 1) the perceived desirability, after a fair shake at experiencing the freedom (and potential isolation) of "English" outside society, of embracing the simple and ordered life; 2) mind forged manacles of warped perception that make even the freedom during "rumspringa" youth not really a fair trial at all, and as Bontrager points out, with dark lessons punctuated by tragic examples (she recalls a funeral for a boy who splurged on an automobile forbidden to his people and died in the resulting wreck, with the minister using it as a springboard to lecture on the wickedness and destructiveness of outsider ways) and as Bontrager also stresses, very poor preparation for realistic survival and good sense in the "English" ways of living; 3) some other kinds of string attached. Assume the Reds spoken of in the Civil War period are not particularly interested in the question of whether the Amish are comrades to also be liberated.
Clearly the Plain Folk will not generally attack the Reds; will the Reds have cause to attack them?
I think that while plenty of situations might arise in which conflict might brew easily, first of all they have little interest in bothering the Plain Folk of whatever sects, when these are quietist and profess nonviolence. Do the Plain Folk in fact have some street cred among progressives as "good people" or in some sense fellow travelers, aside from the Reformation era credentials I have alluded to? It was a search for "Amish Underground Railroad" that led me to Torah Bontrager's own site, for she uses the Underground RR as a metaphor for her own flight to freedom from the Amish community's abusive authoritarianism. But on the other hand, as I suspected it would, this link suggests that showing the Plain People were of some help to the African American struggle for freedom might be a fruitful topic to pursue.
As people withdrawn from the mainstream of global capitalism, the Amish and other such groups would I think be considered as detachable from the capitalist order by revolutionaries buckling down to the nitty gritty nuts and bolts of making a real revolution. I suggested this kind of thing prevailed in some other contexts, such as in neutralizing West Virginia as an asset to the MacArthur coup regime by granting broad autonomy to the perhaps still in the ATL deeply religious people of that state. The idea in winning the Civil War is not so much to destroy everyone who stands in any way askew from a single monolithic vanguard party detailed program, but rather to simply prevent them from closing ranks around reaction. A certain diplomacy toward people who might be somewhat in the way but perhaps could be enticed easily to stand aside and let the vanguard forces through, as it were, might be all that is called for.
I should note, in this eclectic post formed by my quite sudden exposure to various facts, that in the ATL 1930s the total "Amish" population, at least the old order Amish the posts I am responding to focus on, was quite low. Today the population is in the 200,000s but at that time it was well under 10,000--the Amish have in fact recently enjoyed quite a high growth rate.
My ambiguous findings leave wide open the question--do the Amish "prosper" today because our mainstream society is objectively fraught with conflict and disruption, making the shelter from the storm the Plain ways offer more attractive--raising the retention rate of youth, some of whom die or otherwise suffer severely in their wild youth as cautionary examples to others--and if so, would the immersion of the Amish into a humane and aggressively iconoclastic libertine order cause their retention rates to drop, their youth to be inexorably drawn away, their hold outs investigated for sexual and other forms of abuse, and thus cause their sect to wither and die? Or would the youth, observing the strangeness of the "new English" ways to be so bizarre that they still prefer to return to the life they were raised in? Or will it be a mixed bag, with on one hand much superior tolerance of their autonomy (provided high standards of basic human rights are generally kept) and possible positive involvement in various regime supportive capacities leading to positive aid, versus the social solvent effect of high tech libertine communism drawing some away. And indeed I think a communistic America would in some ways be less hostile and strange to the Plain People than the competitive individualism of OTL capitalist society--the deeply faithful will maintain their distance in view of what separates them, including their patriarchal theocracy, their rigid gender norms, and of course insofar as some enjoy corruption as Bontrager's frightening story, however rare or typical, indicates some do will naturally shun all outside contact in defense of their privilege. But the adventurous, the curious, the dissident, will find certain aspects of socialist America more congenial. As a practical matter individuals such as Bontrager who have reasons to run will have greater confidence that if they do they will find refuge that is both safe and nearby.
Certainly some Red hotheads might take the notion of smashing this relic of medievalism, but I think given the many decades the American communist movement develops, and the diversity of its members and fellow travelers, and the basic devotion to rule of law and the decision to make the transition toward communism gradual and staged, wiser counsels of tolerance and scrupulous dealing will prevail in pre-revolutionary planning, such that previously hashed out policies already in place when the balloon of war goes up will be known and generally agreed to by revolutionary forces in zones where a fair number of Plain Folk (remember, just 10,000 or so if that--references give just 8000 in 1936 OTL, the higher figure guesses something or other makes life marginally better for them in the run up to revolution) are expected to be found. In the heat of hot fighting anything can happen, but any actions taken when there is time and space for consideration will I think be repudiated, apologized for, amended and compensated--including discipline up to death if it was egregious enough--if they are contrary to a general strategy of encouraging the Plain Folk to have confidence the Reds mean them no harm and will leave them alone generally and hope for cooperation of a kind they can justify by their own lights--simply continuing to market farm goods and "Amish furniture" will be plenty.
They are as noted a sort of free peasant-part time simple commodity producer society, not capitalists. They take care of their own in their own terms. Granting them little bits of autonomy on the land they owned legally, or as much of it as they would reasonably use (which I dare say is most of it) before the Revolution, acknowledging their own authority over themselves (subject, especially as time goes on, to libertarian-humanistic concerns about the well being of the offspring and their effective freedom to choose their own course in life and be free of abuses of power--but as noted if the Red society they are immersed in seems more welcoming and less contemptuous, people with problems can vote with their feet, and if they report real outrages, the Plain People submitting to "English" authority is not a new thing) seems pretty easily done to me.
During the heat of the civil war, front lines will sweep back and forth, and like storm fronts form unexpectedly and dissipate a bit mysteriously. I wonder if anyone knows of any such fronts sweeping over Amish settlements in the Civil War of OTL and how Union and possibly Confederate forces did in dealing with them. My guess is, in terms of actual battle they figure mainly as landscape. It is before and after the battles their role would be most relevant.
@Shevek23, reading your posts is enjoyable, and it makes my head feel like a balloon.
It is less "taking an active opposition" and more "being caught in the middle of two infernos of change." And also the Reds HAVE gone a bit anti-clerical because of the Vatican's denunciation of the Second American Revolution.
You'll see in the next post. I will say right now that it is less "animosity" and more "innocently insensitive."
If you read between the lines, you'd see I've taken a more neutral attitude toward Amish, and have more or less portrayed them as decent human beings.
OTL Amish aren't outside of society. Many of them do work in the market economy.
Again, you'll learn about the relationship between Amish and Reds in the next post.
Again, my take was that the civil war would draw in everybody, and that the Amish would be drafted and persecuted simply because that is what occurs in an ideological civil conflict.
I'm still somewhat confused as to why the pope, Pius XI, who in OTL said "Universally known is the fact that the Catholic Church is never bound to one form of government more than to another, provided the Divine rights of God and of Christian consciences are safe. She does not find any difficulty in adapting herself to various civil institutions, be they monarchic or republican, aristocratic or democratic" would be denouncing the revolution at all? This is the man who tried negotiating with the soviet union for years to stop persecuting eastern catholics (albeit braking off negotiations when they didn't produce results)
It just seems like something where he wouldn't get involved, especially since America's catholic population is rather minor compared to its protestants.
Is it likely there could be a small political party centred around Amish interests, a la the ANC or Jewish Labor Bund? Or are they more likely to vote DFLP, assuming they participate in elections?
1) The Pope isn't the only person making decisions here
2) The Catholic Church hierarchy has never been kind to socialism ("opiate of the masses" and all that)
3) Do you really wanna piss off the guy who gave you a whole tax free country to rule over?
Rachel Jessica Mendoza Humphries (1952-2017) was an American rock musician who gained a cult following in the alternative music scene in Metropolis in the late 1970s. Born in San Antonio, Texas to a Mexican-American family, Rachel felt different from those around her from an early age. With the onset of the Second Cultural Revolution, she came to realize as a teenager that she was transgender. Rachel managed to begin hormone replacement therapy in 1970 at the age of 17, shortly before graduating from high school. Meanwhile, she had also recieved a scholarship to study at the John Sloan Institute of the Arts in New York City. It was here that she would meet many of fellow young artists who she would collabarate and build partnerships with. In late 1971, she would form the avant-garde rock group Polyesters, alongside fellow students Arto Lindsay, Martin Reverby and Charlie Ahearn, filling the role of vocalist and saxophonist, along with occasional use of synthesizers. The band attained recognition and notoriety for its fusion of experimental and confrontational techniques with popular rock and roll music. The band's chaotic performance with composer and cellist Charlotte Moorman at the renowned Parker Club in Manhattan on October 6, 1972 would solidify their legendary status in the Metropolis scene, with their reputation spreading largely through word-of-mouth among rock and art circles in the city. The band would soon have the opportunity to record a studio album in early 1973, but tensions and artistic differences between the members would flare up during the tumultuous recording process. In spite of this, their first and only album, Revolve Me, would be released in August 1973, to an initially polarizing critical reception, but the band would announce their dissolution just five weeks later. In spite of their initial lack of mainstream success, Polyesters would go on to exert a heavy influence over the rock avant-garde in the years ahead, becoming a major precursor to the Metropolis "steel-wave"  scene of the late 1970s and early 80s. After a short hiatus, Humphries would release her debut solo album Zebra, on April 22, 1976. Zebra took heavy inspiration from funk and disco music, and moved towards a more playful, accessible sound, while not forgoing experimentation or rhythmic complexity. With features from figures such as George Clinton and Debbie Harry, Zebra helped Humphries to attain critical and mainstream recognition in her own right, and she would go on to be a respected and influential figure on the more arty side of American popular music through the next two decades. Although her output began to slow significantly after the early 90s, she commanded a strong legacy over the American alternative scene in the years to come.
Rachel Humphries passed away from stomach cancer in Boston on February 19, 2017, at the age of 64.
Rachel Humphries OTL was Lou Reed's partner during part of the 1970s who he actually wrote about in some of his output (who I learnt about through a podcast episode that a friend recommended me) and with the big cultural shift ITTL I thought it might be fun if in the Redsverse she ended up taking the role of Lou Reed in many ways, not much is actually known about her life in reality so this is based largely on the details that tend to be reported
 This was intended as a parallel to OTL's no wave although probably less gritty and pessimistic.
Limited apology; I write this stuff rather dialectically for one thing, forming views and changing them as I write, and sometimes it just seems I had best stop revising for better harmony with later conclusions and just post it already; editing therefore is incomplete. Also it involves my notions of courtesy, which might seem absurd to those overwhelmed, to consider many sides of a question and try to be fair to assertions I initially reject. And honestly I am kind of paranoid and afraid of being misunderstood and so go to great lengths to cover my rear, which is of course counterproductive in that these hemmings and hawings get lost in the sheer mist and fail to serve their purpose. I might therefore be more abrupt here!
But the Amish are as noted few in numbers, and while rather adjacent to some key fields of battle-indeed battles will be fought on their soil, I suppose, overlapping anyway, and I would really like it if someone has information on whether any OTL Civil War battles did encroach on them and how they handled it as that would be most instructive here--on the whole very peripheral. If we assume the Reds take note of this in advance, as I suggest it is not crazy they would, they can provide for policies to largely route their side of the violence around them, circumstances permitting, and come to them with reasonable proposals for terms of participation acceptable to them, at no great sacrifice to the larger cause. The reactionaries of course are on their own lookout, but the salient thing here is Red attitudes. If there is to be tragic conflict on that front, the onus is on the Reds, not the Plain People--probably, subject to new information about the Amish and other such folk being more actively reactionary than I have found much evidence for so far.
No, while I will take issue with aspects of @Baron Steakpuncher 's specifics, the broad point they make points to a more fundamental error here. If the American Reds as described in @Aelita's evolving canon are going to be militantly anticlerical they will have the good sense to discriminate accurately between different sects. There is too much overlap between American religiousity and participation in the movement as both hard core revolutionaries and tolerant to embracing fellow travelers for them to be indiscriminate. People from most sects will participate on all levels and these comrades and fellow travelers will remonstrate on behalf of their own brethren and (in the proper spirit of most of these religions) on behalf of others too; also quite atheistic comrades, both in defense of the kin they are estranged from but connected to culturally, and again on general humanistic principles will join and/or listen sympathetically.
The Amish will generally not be held accountable for anything the Pope in Rome has to say, but for their own actions and reactions only. Some general slosh of attitude can happen as an irresponsible outburst of sentiment to be sure, but I think the democratic and critical self-discipline of the movement will note, check, deter, and if necessary repudiate and rectify such irresponsible sloshing. They probably will not double down in embarrassed defensiveness, in victory they can afford magnanimity, out of sincere humanistic conviction or out of propagandistic expedience. In the heat of the events I suspect on the whole a little investment in diplomacy will be deemed expedient enough and clearly superior; specific circumstances to be apologized for and suitably deplored later might happen.
But certainly holding the Amish responsible for the Pope, or even a generic fear that all religious people are cut from one reactionary cloth, are not views that can stand critical self-scrutiny and will be damped out and corrected, belatedly if necessary.
I'm not accepting your fanfics as canon automatically, to be undiplomatically blunt about it. Perhaps they have been approved by the group of authors currently working on the latest definitive canon elsewhere, and then I suppose I will be reduced to dissent while stipulating what I think is not probable as "fact." Perhaps you will be retroactively supported, same outcome. But I am not yet convinced you have the proper spirit of the thing consistently, and what you offer will be considered by me as a contribution to be judged on merit. I think you are somewhat off base here and expect problems with that post when it appears, but of course you might surprise me.
I certainly dived in to my prior post with at least as much sympathy for them, and it was the credible fact of Torah Bontranger's experience as she reports it that caused me to be more reserved. Of course going in I suspected a certain amount of such abusiveness to be found among such people, as among Catholics or any more or less authoritarian order, including of course OTL Bolshevik leaders in Russia--collective farm managers and other such Little Stalins, or such monstrous figures as Lavrenti Beria, are or should be infamous to us Reddish types as cautionary tales. Gender oppression is all too pervasive in dominator societies after all! (and for fundamental reasons, per the analyses of such ecofeminist types as say Starhawk whom I find quite interesting and persuasive analytically speaking). Other aspects of objective oppression--of the limited and manipulative eduction and upbringing of children generally, or the limited life prospects for people of either gender, I believe I touched on too. Pragmatically though the Reds can take a position that they can leave such questions to post-revolutionary just social evolution, in view of the pragmatic consensus to compromise on the staged evolution of American society in general I think they would agree to punt such questions when they are not immediately pressing and temporize. We seem to agree the ball is in the Red's court and are disagreeing, I think, pending your actual post, that they would as I think take some responsibility to avoid pointless side tracking of their main revolutionary thrust for expedient as well as principled reasons, while it seems you are assuming by their nature they will disregard such caution. That is defensible but I don't feel you have demonstrated deeper knowledge or insight into the Plain People's likely situation on the ground then I started with. As I said, quite other people in much larger numbers in other circumstances that parallel theirs, much more central to the main revolutionary narrative, plausibly would be offered expedient deals. Offsiding them as neutrals is quite good enough, there is no need to strong arm them as cannon fodder.
I think you'll find I made that point myself. They definitely sell goods in the market and buy them. The question is, are they capitalists? I think they generally are not; people might know some specifics to prove otherwise. The fact they have goods to sell is not strike against them! Putting their wealth on the side of reaction would be. Offsiding it to a peasant-millenarian religious commune is not threatening.
You see, there it is in a nutshell. I think you have not yet understood what is supposed to be different about the American revolution described in this TL, how its mass base changes its nature from the boilerplate descriptions I think you are just repeating uncritically. And that's why I will wait for others to declare it canon, and if what you are writing here and now is any indication, they won't.
One recourse the canon authors have is of course butterflying the person, but that is particularly ad hoc for this particular TL since parallelism is so characteristic of its style!
Assuming we are in fact dealing with the same guy, is canon here that he does react with a sweeping, categorical slam of the door implausible or not?
As with the Amish, I am largely shooting from the hip here, but I have at least glanced over the Wikipedia bio of this pope. Indeed at first glance it does look like taking such a drastic action as excommunicating the majority of (formerly!) US Catholic clergy and issuing pronouncements as drastic as canon holds is grandstanding inconsistent with OTL forbearance--not without very concerned language of course.
But let's think about what is different about the American Revolution, particularly from the point of view of a man who takes his role as Pontiff quite seriously. (See the Wiki bio). Pius XI has some broad global concerns but his first and most central charge is "shepherding" the "sheep" of the Catholic Church. When it is Catholics who are in his view sliding into outrageous heresy, the crisis is different than when it is bad guys (including numbers of former Catholics) beating up on the faithful from without.
Let me quote the Nicene Creed in full; quoted from this site. The words are identical to those on this site I was going to quote but it posted with pretty borked up formatting. The precise wording seems to have been changed a bit from when I was a kid in the 1970s and went to Mass every Sunday, every other Holy Day of Obligation, and a number of other times my parents opted for it. With those adjustments I said it every time.
Now for me today, the whole thing is a big tangent because I would gainsay much of this. But what I am suggesting is that many an American Catholic in the ATL could say these things (I don't know whether the Latin Mass used to include a vernacular translation or if they had to say it in Latin--I think that was indeed the case-- but I am talking here about reasonably well educated Catholic kids who would have the Latin explained to them line by line in English. This Creed is by no means comprehensive of complete Catholic doctrine of course, but I submit that someone who could say all this and mean every word sincerely could also be a Communist. What is at issue here is whether that is a false statement solely and only because a Pope decrees they can't be, versus it being a fundamental logical contradiction for a faithful Catholic to also participate in the American Revolution of this ATL without being pathetically confused and logically insincere on one side or the other.
On the side of the Catholic faith, speaking as someone raised as a serious Catholic and as someone also raised in a right wing frame of it (which however I somewhat held aloof from--only somewhat though) I think any arguments made by theologians that point to fundamental reasons why no Catholic can take Marx seriously as a teacher are sophistic. There is nothing in the basic logic of a Christian world view that demands the basic program of the Worker's Party must be resisted or forbids executing it with a good will; certain aspects might seem problematic and require perhaps some dissent in approach. But the notion that God has somehow hallowed capitalist private property seems downright laughable. That God might have hallowed a more proper form of private property might be less absurd to defend, but it does not look like a slam dunk to me. It is significant that in Pius XI's OTL encyclical against the Communists he becomes quite concrete on the point of gender policy, decreeing it a particular outrage that Communists seek to set women on the same equal basis with men, and I suspect that in a theological paper duel the most successful lines of attack consolidating the Church as a bastion against Marxism would be to stand on this ground of a human nature created by a provident God incompatible with Marx's ultimate vision. But from where I stand--admittedly as a non-believer today and so perhaps blinded to some intangible aura--this too would break down in sophistry and stand revealed as the mistaken incorporation of non-essential prejudices of a certain time and place that need not be perpetuated. Now standing outside the Church as I actually do, I can see a certain internal logic tying together aspects of the faith as traditionally understood that are indeed fundamentally reactionary, and this has something to do with why I stopped going to church in the first place. But I think that a deeply believing Catholic could also become a sincere and devoted comrade in the Debs-DeLeonist movement and a proficient student of Marxist analysis as well, without believing they were creating any contradictions.
For the thread as a whole we would want to take up the other side and determine whether or not good, self critical and sincere Debs-DeLeonists must admonish any would be comrades to surrender and repudiate all notions of religiosity as expressed in the Creed above. But again, as a student of Marx as well, while I quite understand the interrelation of Marxism and atheism, I again don't see it as vitally necessary for a good revolutionary and agent of the self-liberation of the people to demand atheism of themselves or others.
Thus I have perceived in the canon of this TL, that the Red movement was quite massive in America, and that while I suppose the majority of hard core Workers Party comrades from a Catholic background would in fact become as atheistic as I have or more so, I can also well believe others would not. The playing out of Marxist logic in the mortal world would to them seem perfectly consistent with seeking to follow Christ and securing a decent place in the immortal world--indeed the best potentials of Christianity and Communism could reinforce one another, so it is mainly about doing the right thing without much regard for eternity, but becoming the kind of person who does right because it is right.
So--in this ATL, Pope Pius XI is facing something quite different than what he faced OTL. OTL, the Red Menace largely came from without the Church; if a person were "converted" to the Red "heresy," they would in fact cease to be Catholic and would often become as converts often do an especially bitter foe.
But here something much worse in his view is going on in parallel with that--people who believe themselves to be good Catholics, who seriously suppose their actions lie within the range of Right Reason, are in fact as he sees it blaspheming, mocking the Church and God, and even more insidiously than the hidden convert to the Red anti-Gospel who pretends to remain faithful the better to undermine the Church as an anti-revolutionary bastion, walks and speaks with an unforgivable false innocence with the sincere and often openly expressed intention of harmonizing the True Church with the satanic deception that in his view is Communism.
This movement of Red "believers" is all the more ominous in that it happens in the USA, which if it were to fall to Communism would plausibly have the power to destroy all opposition in the world.
I would have to look up the most recent version on this site, which is no longer the most recent version in the world, to reacquaint myself with exactly what the author(s) say Pius XI does, but I believe that IIRC it is to react quite swiftly and one might say shooting from the hip, to the sudden explosion of Red power in America where it might have seemed to have been somewhat contained. But the thing he reacts to is not the mere seizure of power by the Reds in America as a whole; rather I think the actions which thoroughly ruptured relations and set the stage for the Trinitarian Church to emerge were directed against Red Catholics as such. Directed against Red clergy and theologians and so forth especially, but no doubt with certain anathemas applying to categories of laity as well. The ATL challenge would appear to him to take particularly monstrous form and perhaps in haste he would commit blunders he otherwise would have avoided, in explicitly taking sides with MacArthur and demanding on his full authority all Catholics must repudiate the American revolution and join with MacArthur.
It is different than standing with carefully chosen words against the Soviets, or the Mexican anti-clericals, or those in Spain, where these Reds appear as wicked fallen people more pleased to mock the church than appropriate it. The matter at stake in America is the very definition of what a proper Catholic can be, and on this front the intelligent and flexible Pius XI has no wiggle room.
I never said I didn't enjoy your responses. But it is a lot to chew it.
It's not that thinking it's peaches and roses, it's thinking that the Amish are small and isolated enough to avoid the war, which lasts less than a year with the vast majority of fighting elsewhere.
Welcome to The Realms of the Unreal Part IV: The Gemini Reunite At Riverside Amusement Park
Our last detour through history was fun, but now we must return to the present. William Schloeder, Henry Darger's special friend, has returned from his stint in the army and is ready to meet with Anna Teitelbaum, Henry's other, newer special friend, at the Riverside Amusement Park's Fairyland Carousel where the Gemini spent their days before the Revolution.
"...soon, other Earthly nations joined the crusade on Abbieania. The Red Russians sent their finest female soldiers, as did the wise and honorable Chinese. The hardy Mexicans sent a battalion under the name of Our Lady of Guadelupe, and the Spaniards rebuilt old churches as shrines to the saintly sisters. From Berlin, to London, to Bombay and Bagdad (sic), the tide was turning. But those dastardly Glandelinians had another trick up their sleeve.."
-In the Realms of the Unreal, Book 3, Volume 6, Chapter 1
Anna usually stayed away from places like this. They were either too kiddie, too grimy, or even both at once.
But Henry said that he and Whillie always went there before the war, so she had to go there. Whillie was Darger's only friend before Anna came into his life, and Whillie was curious about this new lady friend Henry made. And Anna herself had so many questions she wanted to ask Whillie.
It was a cool spring day when they met Whillie at the train station. Henry was overjoyed at the site of his one and only best friend
"Whillie! Oh, how I've missed you! Your letters were the only thing keeping me sane!"
"Were you even sane to begin with?"
They both laughed at their joke. Henry knew he was seen as a freak, and he didn't really care, which Whillie loved.
"So, I here you've found a new friend?"
"Her name's Anna. She's a Hebrew."
"You didn't try to convert her, didn't you?"
"Of course not!"
While this was going on, Anna felt something. The way they talked didn't feel like they were just friends. There had to be something deeper to this, something close to romantic love.
"Anna told me she has some questions just for you."
"And I'm not supposed to hear any of it."
"Ooh, secrets! I'm okay with that."
Whillie went to Anna, who felt like she was just making the situation awkward. "Sorry to have kept you waiting. My name's William Schloeder, I think you've heard of me."
"Yes I have," she said, "and I have several questions about Henry. Don't take it personally, he's just..."
"I know," said Whillie, "he's a little odd."
That's the second biggest understatement I've ever heard, thought Anna. "Do you know anything about his artwork?"
"He's told me a little about it. What was it called, The Crazy World of the Vivian Girls or something?"
"In the Realms of the Unreal. That's the shorter title."
"Right. Some kinda pulp sci-fi thing? I've only seen parts of it. Not really my thing but I still support him cuz he's my best friend. How much has he told you about it?"
"It was one of the first things we ever talked about. I found him rummaging through the trash and wanted to know what was going on."
"He makes his art out of trash?"
"Yes. It's surprisingly progressive. The little girls aren't really male or female--"
"Oh, so that's why he gave them penises. I was always wondering that."
"It's a long story. I think it has something to do with a saint? Vibia Perpetua?"
"Yes, that one! It makes sense now."
"They liberate a planet full of enslaved children."
"I knew he was a comrade."
"Anyways, I have more questions." Anna paused. "Is Henry...into musicals?"
"He likes opera and church choir more."
"No, I mean--"
"I knew exactly what you mean. Tell me, could you picture Henry having sex with anyone, male or female?"
"...No, I can't."
"Exactly", said Whillie. "I think Henry is disgusted by the very idea of sex."
"Okay. One more question: do you know why he's like this?"
Whillie paused, clearly uncomfortable. "He's lived a hard life. That's all I can say."
The three had fun at Riverside. The carousel was a treat, and they took some crazy pictures at William J. Coultry's photography studio. And Henry was the happiest he had ever been in his life.
For a brief moment, Henry had forgotten everything. His childhood on West Madison Street, losing his father, the Asylum, Elsie Paroubek, the war--it all melted away. All he had were his two best friends, and God. And that would be all he ever needed.
On our next trip into the Realms of the Unreal, the Vivian Girls will encounter their greatest threat ever.
"Nobody wanted to believe it, but it had happened. The Glandelinians had enacted their most dastardly plan yet. For the Holy Mother Church of Rome, the Vivian Girls' greatest ally in the war against the godless child slavers, had abandoned them."
--In the Realms of the Unreal, Book 3, Volume 6, Chapter 1.
(ps happy easter y'all)
Man, Henry Darger sounds like a protagonist from a Tim Burton movie.
Happy Easter to you too @Mr. C
Hey, I read DanielXie's post on TTL's version of TNO, and after also reading the "Free American State" chapter in The Great Crusade, an idea popped into my head. Could it be possible for TTL's Pelley to receive the same treatment that Oskar Dirlewanger got in OTL's TNO? Since Pelley is such a horrific monster ITTL and did things that I'm willing to bet would cause Dirlewanger to raise an eyebrow (if that's possible), I thought he would be perfect for this role.
Separate names with a comma.